Friday, November 30, 2012

Winter Wonderland Giveaway Hop

snowman Here is yet another chance to win some gifts for Christmas! Mama Making Changes is participating in the Winter Wonderland Hop sponsored by Andersons Angels and Joy of Momma Joyner. This event will run from 12:01 AM EST on Saturday, December 1, through 11:59 PM EST on Saturday, December 15, 2012. 

It's super easy to join in on the fun! After you enter the giveaway below, just click on one of the links at the bottom of this post, below the Rafflecopter entry form, to go to the next giveaway. From there, you can click on one of the links to go to another giveaway until you hop your way through as many as you want to enter!

For this giveaway, Mama Making Changes is proud to have Bee Alive as a sponsor. 

Bee Alive is giving one lucky reader their Spa Essentials Balance Petite Collection, which has a retail price of $49.95, although the products in this collection are valued at $88.40 if sold separately. 

Learn more about Bee Alive by clicking here to read the review of their Spa Essentials or click here to see them in our 2012 Green Gift Guide

Disclamer: Andersons Angels, Joy of Momma Joyner and the Winter Wonderland bloggers are not responsible for sponsors that fail to fulfill their prizes.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

December Photo-A-Day Challenge Hop

Mama Making Changes is sponsoring a Photo-A-Day Challenge Hop for December 2012! Below is a list of dates in December and beside each one is a prompt, which is a suggestion for your photo that day. Let's see how creative we can get! Think outside the box! And have fun! 

Each day, after I post the photo of the day, I will change the suggestion to a clickable link. Just click the link to see the photo! 

Calling all Bloggers! Would you like to join me? Just copy and paste the button and the intro above and the list below to your page and add your blog to the linky at the bottom of this post. I'll email the linky code to you after you sign up. Feel free to make some changes to the introduction to customize it to your blog, as long as you give include the link to Mama Making Changes.

December Photo-A-Day Challenge

12/1      Smile :)
12/3      Red
12/4      It's so cold!
12/5      Decorate
12/6      One
12/7      Flashback
12/8      Green
12/9      Yummy
12/10     Lights
12/11     Friendship
12/12     Local 
12/13     Candy cane
12/14     Wrap it up!
12/15     I love...
12/16     Two 
12/17     Toy
12/18     Warm and cozy
12/19     Tree
12/20     Special
12/21     Sweet
12/22     White
12/23     Homemade
12/24     Joy
12/25     Good morning!
12/26     Relax
12/27     Me
12/28     Three
12/29     Family
12/30     Resolution
12/31     Celebrate!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sponsor Spotlight and Review: Bee Alive

Bee Alive is a company that makes natural supplements and skin care products from honey and royal jelly. What is royal jelly? That's what I wanted to learn, too! Here's a nice summary from the Bee Alive website:

Royal Jelly is a natural nutritious complex with many bio-active compounds, including 10-HDA found nowhere else in nature. Within the bee hive, Royal Jelly is produced as the exclusive food of the Queen Bee.

The number of worker bees in a hive may be in the tens of thousands, but there is only one Queen. Royal Jelly is eaten by the Queen Bee, and because of her exclusive Royal Jelly diet, the Queen Bee becomes different from the other bees in three significant ways:

- The average worker bee lives about 6 weeks, while the Queen Bee lives an astonishing 4 to 6 years.

- The Queen Bee is twice the size of female worker bees.

- The Queen can lay up to 2,000 eggs a day, often laying 100,000 to 200,000 eggs each year.

When it comes to providing the Queen Bee with sustenance, growth, and long life, Royal Jelly can only be described as one of nature’s miraculous foods. No where else in nature does the food fed to one member of a species, genetically identical at birth with other members, determine its morphology and lifespan.

Known for boosting energy, vitality, and stamina, royal jelly is used widely in Europe and Asia as an anti-fatigue compound. The following are naturally occurring in royal jelly: B Complex vitamin, amino acids, minerals (including calcium, magnesium, pottassium and zinc), peptides, nucleic acids, and a substance that is unique to royal jelly called 10-HDA.

Honey is naturally anti-bacterial and I already used honey for the occasional bump or blackhead. Honey masks are known to help prevent acne breakouts because they don't just cleanse, they inhibit the growth of bacteria. 

Recently Bee Alive sent me a 120 day supply of royal jelly supplements in two different forms. I will be reviewing those in early 2013 because it typically has to build up in the system to see results. 

But they also sent me their Spa Essentials Balance Petite Collection, which I can tell you about now.

Spa Essentials is the name of Bee Alive's skincare collection. This Balance Petite Collection is only available for a limited time. Designed for Christmas gift giving, it comes in a very cute, re-usable, jute gift bag. Included inside are the following:

  • 1.8 oz Foaming Honey Cleanser
  • .5 oz Enriching Royal Jelly Creme
  • .5 oz Royal Jelly Serum
  • .6 oz Honey Masque
I love the cleanser. It's in a plastic bottle with a foaming pump dispenser and is very mild and gentle. The Masque goes on smooth and silky and gets sticky as it sits, but it was fun to pamper myself with a facial masque and my skin felt much smoother after using it. My sister and I had a great time trying it! Girl time! The Serum is designed to go under your face cream if you use one or use it alone. The Serum firms without making my skin feel tight. This is by far my favorite of the products in this bag! The Royal Jelly Creme is thick but not heavy, having the consistency of a thick mousse. It went on smooth and light and moisturized without feeling or looking greasy. 

I was very pleased with these products and would highly recommend them to anyone looking for a natural skincare regimen! 


Win it now! Bee Alive has also generously decided to give one lucky reader a Spa Essentials Balance Petite Collection during the Winter Wonderland Giveaway Hop. You can enter by clicking here between December 1 and December 15, 2012!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sponsor Spotlight: Sprout San Francisco Patemm Pad

I was thrilled when I learned that the super-cute eco-friendly boutique, Sprout San Francisco, was sending me there patented Patemm Pad to try! Sprout San Francisco's website features hundreds of natural and organic items for babies and your home. They even have an online registry for expectant families! The Patemm Pad is their brand new, unique item designed to replace both your changing pad and your diaper bag, supposedly making it easier to take baby on the go. 

I received the El Patemm Pad in Storm White Twill, which is actually gray with white elephants on it. It was folded in such a way that one handle strap kept it closed and another served as the actual carrying strap. There were no snaps or buttons or velcro. The organic cotton fabric is covered in a substance that feels like plastic, which their website lists as a CPSIA-certified laminate that is BPA free. It's waterproof and machine washable, too! Which means, it's okay if your little wants to chew on it! 

Opening the patemm pad, I found that it's a large circular pad with pockets all the way around the outside edge. My niece is 15 months and tall for her age and she fit on the 28 inch pad easily. 

Next I stuffed the pockets with diapers and wipes and baby powder and folded the pad up to see how it handled the extra items. It folded up easily and the items inside were completely out of sight. There is a handle on each side of the pad so you don't have to fold the sides in a specific order. I was actually quite surprised! It's much more compact than a diaper bag and lightweight, too.

Bonus? She thinks it's a pocket book so now she wants to carry her own bag! 

To find out more or get your own Patemm Pad, click here to visit Sprout San Francisco.

Between November 28 and December 7, 2012, you can win a Patemm Pad in the Green Gifts Giveaway Hop! Click here to go to the giveaway now!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Green Christmas Giveaway Hop

Green Christmas Giveaway

Welcome to the Green Christmas Giveaway Hop, hosted by Happy Mothering, Going Green with Grizls and The Reynolds Mom

50+ members of the Green Moms Network have come together to offer you tons of chances to win green-themed Christmas gifts! There’s sure to be something for everyone on your list. We hope you’ll discover some great new brands to add to your Christmas list too! 

Mama Making Changes is giving away two prizes! 

One winner will receive a SUG7 Smart Strip from Bits Ltd. To read the full review of this amazing surge protector with a remote control and valued at $34.95, just click here

One winner will receive a pattem pad from Sprout San Francisco valued at $65.00! This online eco-baby boutique has patented their unique "pattem pad", a diaper bag and changing pad in one!  See the full review by clicking here

Below my entry forms, you'll see the links to the other giveaways to enter, as well as information about the grand prize giveaway. It's easy to hop from blog to blog and enter them all!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Our hosts are featuring 5 fabulous grand prize packages from these green and natural brands: 
For Your Bug-a-Boo, Blue Manatee Boxes, Bulk Herb Store, 
Snug Bug Diapers, Nosefrida, My Pretty Playhouse, Wonder Forge, 
Kelly Kits, Kerrific Online, LibreTea, Grounds for Change, 
Zulka Sugar, Justin's Nut Butters, Better Life, ReuseIt, 
Strawesome, generationMe, Soybu, Purely Gorgeous, 
A Mothers Design, Dr. Bronner's and Xmittens!. 

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to Happy Mothering, Going Green with the Grizls and The Reynolds Mom, and not to Facebook. Please note that Happy Mothering, Going Green with the Grizls, The Reynolds Moms and the Green Christmas Gift Giveaway bloggers are not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prizes. We have represented each sponsor with the expectation they will fulfill their prize and in a timely manner. We will contact the sponsor regarding your prize(s). The sponsors, in most cases, are shipping their items to you directly. We will make every effort to assist you obtaining your prize. If there is an issue with a sponsor, please notify the blog you won a prize from within 4-6 weeks for assistance, after that we may be unable to assist you.

Green Resolutions Giveaway Hop

Mama Making Changes is pleased as punch to be participating in the 
Green Resolutions Giveaway Hop!

Come back in January to win lots of prizes from the participating blogs, all of which will be chosen carefully to help with your eco-friendly New Year's Resolutions!

Green Resolutions Giveaway

Blogger sign-ups are now open, so click on the button above to participate!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sponsor Spotlight: Bits Limited Smart Strip

Recently I had the opportunity to review a product that promised to be quite amazing. Bits Limited has a wide variety of surge protecting power strips that go a little further, actually saving energy usage! 

Often called phantom energy usage, or black energy, many devices pull power even when they are turned off. If the device is plugged in, it may still be using expensive power. The Bits Limited Smart Strips are designed to help prevent phantom energy usage.

The SUG7 Smart Strip is the model that I was given to try. At first glance, I was confused. What were these different pieces and why the different plugs? What should go where? Fortunately, I opened the directions and found them to be easy to understand and to the point. I was excited to get started now!

The three outlets on the left area always on. Whatever you plug into these outlets will work just like they do when you plug them into any power strip. They are protected from power surges, however. On the far right, there are several convenient usb inputs for chargers, too.

The 4 outlets on the right, circled in green, are the smart outlets. The items you plug into these outlets will not pull any power unless you tell the strip it's okay. But how do you do that? 

The SUG 7 uses a remote! The little white remote pictured can be mounted on the wall or sat on a table.  Just press the button on the remote to turn the smart outlets on, allowing the devices to receive power. Press the button again to cut the power off again. 
Remove the remont from the mount and plug it into a USB port on your computer or any other device for a different experience. Turn the computer on, the smart outlets turn on. Turn the computer off or let it go to sleep, the outlets turn off again. This is my favorite method. My printer now comes on when I turn the computer on! Better yet, so does my space heater that sits beside my chair! 
There is also a third way to turn on the smart outlets. The power strip has a switch on the side to turn them on and leave them on until you turn them back off. You can turn them off with any of the methods. This is great when I want my heater on but I'm not using the computer. 

One might think this is similar to just hitting the on/off button on a regular power strip. However, with this you can leave some items always on and cut power to others. And, with the wireless remote, I can do it from the sofa!

I'm very impressed by the SUG 7 Smart Strip! It's easy to use and yet is very advanced. I have surge protection and I'm saving energy and money! And the $34.95 price tag is very reasonable.

Have you tried a smart strip before? What did you think? Would you try a SUG7? If you'd like to get one, just click here to go the Bits Ltd website

November 28 through December 7, 2012, you can click here to enter to win the SUG7 in the Green Christmas Giveaway Hop!

Cozy Christmas Fireplace Giveaway

 Welcome to the Have Yourself a Cozy Little Christmas Event, brought to you by Cheap Is The *New* Classy. This event will end on December 18th and one very lucky individual will win an awesome Classic Flame Phoenix Fireplace in Burnished Walnut to keep you cozy this Christmas. But you can't win if you don't enter! Be sure to come back daily for extra entries! Good luck! Wishing you a warm Christmas from Mama Making Changes!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: Cheap Is The *New* Classy and the #CozyChristmas bloggers are not responsible for prize shipment and/or delivery.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Turkey Day!

I hope you all had a wonderful day! 

I hope you ate way too much. 

I hope you took a nap after dinner.

I hope you were surrounded by family. 

I hope you relaxed.

I hope you laughed.

I hope you have leftovers to last for days.

I hope you are happy.
I hope you are thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Changes, Changes

Wanna talk about a big change? Trying taking on a roommate when you're nearly 40 years old. Yes, this is the adventure upon which I have embarked.

This week, my daughter and I have welcomed my sister and her daughter as our new roomies. I spent weeks emptying 2 rooms, 2 closets, and a bathroom. I cleaned out the "junk room" and made it our new family room, complete with pool table, games, and television. Then on Sunday the U-Haul finally arrived. My sister and I unloaded it ourselves and surprisingly quickly. We put beds together and introduce her doggie to ours. By the time we finished, we were too tired to even spend time together!

Throughout the week, there was lots of unpacking, learning to share certain spaces, buying groceries to suit everyone. Most importantly, we were able to find some time to sit together and just enjoy each other's company. We looked at photos from our younger days and pictures of our babies when they really were just babies. I introduced her to some of my friends and to my church (ya'll know I love my church!).

I'm sure there will be challenges along the way. For now, though, I just want to enjoy having such wonderful company. I know that the support will give for one another will far outweigh any obstacles we come across. I am set in my ways and so is she. But we will just have to learn to live together again.

Wish us luck!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Holiday Deal at Green Virgin Products

One of my favorite green retailers is Green Virgin Products. I use their soap nuts for all of my laundry. After reviewing their all natural all purpose cleaner, I know use it for everything from floors to counters to dishes! You can read the review here

Use the promo code HOLIDAY25OFF to get 25% off any purchase now through December 31, 2012, at!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Southern Cornbread from Scratch

Today in the Carolinas the weather was cold and wet and windy. Exactly the opposite of what we like here in the south! So, like any southern lady would do, I made a meal of warm comfort foods to fend off the cold outside. Homemade vegetable soup is easy and the crock pot is a great way to simmer it all afternoon to fuse the flavors. And what goes great with vegetable soup? Some good ol' southern cornbread, of course! 

I've never made cornbread completely from scratch, but wanted to try. We've been actively trying to eat less processed and pre-packaged foods. 

I pulled from my collection of old cookbooks a book on southern breads. I quickly found a recipe that seemed simple enough for any cook. I modified it slightly, as I tend to do with any recipe and is often necessary with old recipes, which call for ingredients that we just don't have. The result was absolutely delicious!

I started with locally ground corn meal. Always support the local economy if it's a possibility! Blackwell Mills is about 1/2 an hour from my home and delivers to the local Piggly Wiggly stores. 

Measure 4 cups of plain corn meal and mix with 2 teaspoons salt and 2 teaspoons baking soda.

Stir in 4 cups of buttermilk, a little at a time, and 4 beaten eggs. 

The result will be a thin, creamy batter. To this, add about 1/4 cup bacon drippings (I added the bacon to the vegetable soup, yummy!) and 1/4 cup melted shortening. 

I love this next part! Cooking it in a cast iron skillet! I just love cooking with cast iron!

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease the inside of 10 inch cast iron skillet and place in the hot oven for about 3 minutes to get it very hot. Remove from oven and pour the batter into the pan. 

Immediately put the skillet filled with batter into the oven and turn the temperature up to 450 degrees. Bake for about 40 minutes till a fork inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove and spread butter generously across the top. It will melt on will seep into the cracks. 

Finally we cut the warm cornbread and served it with the vegetable soup.

It was moist, delicious, and definitely comfort food!

See this recipe and more homemaking tips and ideas at the Making A Home Homemaking Linky.


Bamboo Comforter Giveaway

Your child spends about 3,650 hours sleeping in their bed each year. Conventional fabrics used to make comforters and blankets contain all kinds of chemicals, pesticides, and even highly toxic fire retardants. It is so important to invest in natural, non-toxic bedding for their well being when possible. Wouldn't you agree it is more important than the latest toys, gadgets, or entertainment? That's why the generous folks at Cozy Earth are giving one of you a chance to win this twin size bamboo comforter!

The Cozy Earth Bamboo comforter is hand-crafted with the utmost care and attention to detail. It naturally regulates temperature and is perfect for hot and cold sleepers. The shell and the filling naturally wick away moisture from the body, reducing humidity that causes you to be hot or cold. Made from Eco-friendly bamboo, it is a healthy alternative to down, polyester, or conventionally grown cotton. You can read the full review of the Cozy Earth Bamboo Comforter over at Eco-Babyz and see some photos!

Our Favorite Features: 
  • Naturally anti-microbial, anti-fungal
  • Inhospitable to bed bugs and dust mites
  • Fabric stays white and doesn't 'yellow' or 'grey' over time
  • Regulates temperature
  • Made of Eco-friendly bamboo
  • Luxurious, sleek, and silky feel
Purchase: The Cozy Earth Bamboo Twin Comforter retails for $319.99, you can purchase it on the Cozy Earth website. Every purchase supports a charity!

Win One! Cozy Earth is blessing one of you with a Twin Bamboo Comforter for you or your child.

Mama Making Changes would like to send out a special thanks to Eco-Babyz and So Easy Being Green for hosting this giveaway. Huge thanks to all participating bloggers as well! Giveaway ends December 13th at 12:01 am, open worldwide, ages 18+. To enter please use the Rafflecopter form below. Thank you!

Disclaimer: I received no compensation for this publication. Eco-Babyz, So Easy Being Green, and Cozy Earth Bamboo Twin Comforter Giveaway Event bloggers are not responsible for sponsor prize shipment. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Plan Toys Rocking Horse Giveaway Event

Mama Making Changes is so pleased to be part of another amazing giveaway event! And just in time for Christmas, too!

Looking for a great gift for a toddler? Plan Toys has an amazing selection of Eco-friendly wooden toys and today we would like to introduce you to one of them - Tori, a little horse that rocks! Not only will your toddler love rocking on it, your worries about large toys taking over the house can be eased because it is compact and easily folds for storage.

The Plan Toys Tori Rocking Horse is a high quality wooden toy that is designed to last for generations. The genius design makes it really easy to hide when you have company over or when your children outgrow it, then grandchildren can discover it all over again! The gender neutral design blends in seamlessly in any decor. An open ended toy like Tori will have your kids' imagination running wild through castles, battle fields, circuses, and far away lands. You can read the full review of the Plan Toys Tori Rocking Horse over at Eco-Babyz and see detailed photos as well as a short video!

Our Favorite Features: 
  • Compact fold
  • Made from Eco-friendly rubberwood
  • Gender neutral
  • Smooth, splinter free finish
  • Non-toxic
Purchase: The Plan Toys Tori Rocking Horse retails for $99.99, you can purchase it on Amazon ($89.95 with free shipping). You may also purchase on the Plan Toys website

Win One! Plan Toys is blessing one of you with a folding Tori Rocking Horse for your little one.

Special thanks to Eco-Babyz and So Easy Being Green for hosting this giveaway. Huge thanks to all participating bloggers as well! Giveaway ends December 11th at 12:01 am, open to US residents, ages 18+. To enter please use the Rafflecopter form below. Thank you!

Disclaimer: I received no compensation for this publication. Eco-Babyz, So Easy Being Green, and Plan Toys Tori Rocking Horse Giveaway Event bloggers are not responsible for sponsor prize shipment. 

Wordless Weekend

Why I have neglected my post for days ...

All of the above with good friends, good food, and good weather have distracted me. I'm sure you can understand. 

I do apologize. I missed you, my readers! I am back now and promise to be very attentive to make up for lost time :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day

It's that time again! With so many opportunities to vote early this year, you may have voted before today. If you haven't voted already, don't forget that you have to be in line by 7 pm or you will be turned away. Everyone that is in line by 7 pm will get to vote, so it isn't too late to do your civic duty my peeps! 

Remember this is your chance to make your voice heard! Every vote matters because single votes add up to dozens and dozens add up to hundreds and hundreds add up to thousands! 

Regardless of who wins tonight, let's all remember that the President of the United States is the leader of our country and we should follow his lead as we followed our parents when we were children. We may not agree with him on every opinion or every decision, but as long as he acts within reason we should treat him with the respect that his title demands. It is important to the welfare of our country that we stand together, undivided, as citizens of the United States of America. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Christmas Cash Giveaway

Christmas Cash Giveaway Event

Please take a moment to visit our sponsor:! was founded in summer 2012 in order to provide visitors with daily updated list of contests, giveaways, sweepstakes and deals. Enter your email here for a chance to win $500 in cash. If you host any kind of giveaway or contest feel free to submit your contest at Emperola for free.

Stop by and say congrats to Mom to Bed by 8 who is celebrating their 3rd annual gift guide!

Mama Making Changes

 is pleased to be participating in this event to

 make your Christmas brighter!

One lucky reader will receive $500 {winner's choice of Visa Gift Card, Paypal Cash or Amazon Gift Card}!

Giveaway begins November 7th and ends December 5th at 11:59pm, open to worldwide, ages 18+. To enter please use the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck.

Saturday, November 3, 2012


The Vagabond StudioMama Making Changes is happy to be able to join a wonderful event this fall, The Thankvember Blog Hop, sponsored by The Vagabond Studio.  From November 1 to November 30, I will be posting something for which I am thankful each and every day. 

What a great way to get through what is normally a stressful season, worrying about money and planning get-togethers for the holiday season. Instead of focusing on stress, we are going to focus on the joys in life!

Join me and all of the other participating bloggers in November. 

If you have a blog, you can click the picture above, which is also in the right sidebar, to go to the sign-up link. 

Links to all of the participating blogs will be listed at the bottom of this page, below the daily entries that I post during the hop, making it easy to see all of them!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

By the Numbers: Homeschool v. Public School

If you are homeschooling family, or even thinking about homeschooling, you'll love this informative infographic that was recently published by

While public school may be a good fit for some and the only choice for many, parents have turned to homeschooling in record numbers in recent years due to frustration with the public school system. 

Simply put, we think we can do better for our children. According to these numbers, we are correct. Check it out! 

Homeschool Domination
Created by:

Makes me proud to be home schooling and reminds that no matter how much work it is for me, my daughter is worth it! What do you think? I'd love to hear thoughts on this! 

Model Ship Giveaway

Now that November is here, people across the world have holiday shopping on their minds. If you’re looking for a unique holiday gift idea for the man or boy in your life, you’ll love this giveaway! I’ve teamed up with Happy Mothering, and an SEO company in India to offer you a chance to win a $200 gift voucher so you can order the realistic model ship of your choice!, one the leading ship manufacturing companies in the UK, offers more than 600 models to choose from! Their model ship selection includes