Tuesday, May 13, 2014

DIY Lemonade Bar

For a few years I have had the fun privilege to be part of an online group called Crowdtap.  This company connects us with many different brands and we are able to give our feedback on products, try new items, get lots of free things, host parties, and earn gift cards for our time and efforts.

A few weeks ago I manage to snag one of the spots for the Crowdtap Summer Concoction Sample and Share.  All that I was asked to do was to come up with a favorite summer drink, enjoy it with friends, and take some photos.  In return, Crowdtap sent me a logo mason jar, straws, napkins, and an ice cube tray.

Some of my girl friends and I had decided to get together this week for a play date for our kids and for a time for us ladies to learn more about the new world of Essential Oils.  This seemed like the perfect intimate setting to try my summer concoction drink ideas and be able to incorporate the Essential Oils at the same time.

After looking through Pinterest and other places online, I could seem to find that perfect idea for just one summer drink.  There was one lady who is a caterer and she discussed how she makes up lemonade a day before an event and makes of fresh fruit simple syrups and refrigerates them until right before the event.  Then she pours the syrup into the lemonade to make great fresh fruit flavors like strawberry or raspberry.  Bingo!  That is exactly what I wanted to do except I wanted to turn this idea into a DIY Lemonade Bar where each lady could make there own flavored lemonade.

There are a few Essential Oils from Young Living that can be taken internally and one of those is Lavender.  I decided to make a water, lemon, lavender concoction as my base.  There was no sugar in this part since the sugar was all in the simple syrups. It amazed me that only one drop of the lavender oil was needed to flavor the whole gallon.

Next I decided to made fresh simple syrups for strawberry and blueberry.  I boiled equal amounts each (about 1 cup each )of water, sugar, and fresh fruit for about two minutes and then removed the pan from the stove for about 30 minutes to cool.  Strawberry and blueberry were each in different pans.  I wanted one more flavor but the only thing I had on  hand was grape koolaid so I decided to use that as a flavor add-in as well.  I just followed the package directions for making the koolaid and this was not boiled.

Next I used the Crowdtap ice cube tray and froze some of the Lavender Lemonade.  I put fresh blueberries and strawberries in the cubes so that as the cubes melted there would be fresh fruit in the glasses.  These Lavender Lemonade ice cubes also would keep the flavor pure instead of watered down by regular ice cubes.

I then assembled the drink station by having each simple syrup in a mason jar with a flavor label.  There were fresh fruit bowls with strawberries, blueberries, and extra lemons.  The Lavendar Lemonade would be used as the base of all the drinks and each lady could mix and match any way they desired.  There also some other fruits and veggies for snacking.

The ladies had a blast mixing their own summer drink concoctions!  I loved this DIY Lemonade bar because it let everyone enjoy the flavors that suited them best, rather than everyone just enjoying the one drink that I thought was the best.

It was fun to see my friends go back for seconds and third glasses of lemonade and to make a different flavor combination each time.  We sat for four hours laughing, talking, chasing our kids, and learning about Essential Oils.  It was fun to incorporate the oil into our summer drink since that was the main reason we were meeting in the first place.  Even the kids wanted to make their own lemonade!

These fun summer concoctions helped us get through four hours of learning about all these different oils!

Thank you Crowdtap for encouraging me to come up with a summer drink concoction and to be creative!  I had so much fun and I think my gal pals did too.  The DIY Lemonade Bar was a huge success.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Where did May go?

Just call me slacker mom. I haven't posted on the blog in a month.  

We have had a very busy May with family visiting here, spending a week in Vermont with grandparents, and spending a weekend in Atlanta as well. 

 The kids have quickly become the best of friends and I love hearing them laugh.

 First time sitting like a big boy in the stroller!

 This girl is an awesome driver of this battery operated car.  
She really does well with changing from forward to reverse.

 Making homemade ice cream.

 Maggie Bear has had a rough month.

 One night the hot air balloons launched while we were shopping at Lowe's.

 We love chasing the balloons with our car and watching them land and pack them up.

 This kid is seriously the sweetest baby ever and rarely is fussy (unless he is around people other than us and then he momentarily loses his mind and is fussy, especially on trips).

 My first attempt at a Playdough swirled ice cream cone.

 This guy turned five months old this month.  Every month we take his photo with his Vermont Teddy Bear from his grandparents.  This month we visited the factory and came home with a new shirt for his bear.

 McKenna and our neighbor have enjoyed trading vehicles.

 Maggie Bear is our newest student in our preschool class. 
 McKenna insisted that she needed her own name tag for her "desk".

 Going on walks is one of our favorite ways to spend our day!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Cottonelle Clean Routine Review!

I was so excited to get this sample and share. We love trying new products and this one was perfect for us as we are finishing up potty training our daughter.
When the package first arrived we had fun making a video and using the toilet paper to make towers and knock them down. As you will see in this video, my daughter was very excited about the contents of the box.

This box of free toilet paper and fresh wipes were provided FREE because I am a member of Crowdtap and was given these products as part of their Sample and Share program. 
The hardest decision was who to give the samples too. Sometimes I feel like I get in a rut and only share with my core group of friends and I wanted to step out of my comfort zone a little bit.
I decided to put a status update announcement on Facebook and this is what it said,
"I need two volunteers! You must #1 live near _________ (or we see each other on a regular basis) #2 be willing to sample the Cottonelle Clean routine which includes toilet paper and clean wipes #3 be willing to discuss how you like the products.
Any takers? You get 4 rolls of Cottonelle and one box of Cottonelle wipes for FREE!"
Within seconds one of my neighbors about 15 houses down for me responded and said he would love to do it. Then another neighbor a few houses past him responded as well.
We agreed to meet in the cul-de-sac that night and discuss the Cottonelle Clean Routine and that I would need them to use it for awhile and then give me some feedback. They were great sports and were willing to have their photos taken as well.
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Image and video hosting by TinyPic
The best part about these two families being part of this sample and share is they both have a two year old that is potty training too! 
The lady's response was "I like it because its thick but the only problem is it is kind of rough, wish they can make it softer.Used the wipes after. It feels great. Make it more clean.So far I am loving the cottonelle. Thank you for letting me try them."
The man's response, "The toilet paper was surprisingly strong and soft. The wipes were a bit rougher than the charmin we use, but the container was designed nicely so they don't dry out and you get one at a time."
After using the Cottonelle Clean Routine for over a week, I must admit that I really don't think the toilet paper is all that soft. It is much rougher than what we normally use. However, I thought that it was much thicker than our normal toilet paper and actually held up much better when wiping. The wipes were interesting. It took me a few times before I was okay with using them. Although they did seem to get things cleaner and fresher down there, I was just weirded out by having something wet on me. 
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I did use it on my two year old when she would go in her little potty. She thought they were awesome and kept wanting to go potty just so we could use them. They must have felt much better than baby wipes to her because she has never gotten excited about using baby wipes after she goes. I did explain to her that unlike baby wipes, these could be flushed. This is what I found a few days later:
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So glad they were flushable!
One thing that I didn't like about using them to wipe my daughter was that they are so much thinner than baby wipes that twice my fingers went through and were covered in poop. Not cool.
The packaging was nice. The wipes really did seem to stay moist and fresh and not dry out.
A concern I have though is that if people have just used toilet paper and reached "down there" and then reach for the box and touch the button to open it, there is the possibility of that button being really gross if people aren't careful to use a clean finger. Not saying that everyone gets their hands dirty when wiping but it does happen and then that box would be a breeding ground for bacteria. Just a thought.
Overall we really enjoyed trying this new Cottonelle Clean Routine! Thank you so much Cottonelle and Crowdtap for letting us test our cleaning logic.

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