Help Dogs in Need with MuttNation Fueled by Miranda Lambert + Giveaway!

If you have ever opened your home to a pet, you know that animals can easily and quickly become a beloved member of the family. I’ll admit that I never gave this much thought until our family got its first dog, but now I can’t imagine our home without our little pup Gray. Unfortunately, there are many animals without homes. About 7 million animals go to shelters in the U.S. each year, and about 4 million of those are dogs. With those figures, you can imagine how many never find homes.

Luckily there are charities that work hard to help animals find forever homes, one of which is MuttNation.

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MuttNation is an organization founded by country music star Miranda Lambert and her mother Beverly in 2009. Together with you, the Lamberts hope to raise awareness and funds to aid adoption and rescue programs across the country. MuttNation has several initiatives that focus on ending animal neglect, cruelty, and homelessness, including sales of adorable merchandise that directly supports their fundraising efforts.

MuttNation offers a variety of items for your dog, from beds to chew toys and everything in between. All of their products feature fun designs and prints I haven’t seen anywhere else, and I was excited to receive a few items for Gray. MuttNation was kind enough to send us the Bone Applique Pillow Bed, Food Mat, and Custom Fit Bandana Collar.

Mutt Nation Pillow Bed

Gray has never been a big fan of dog beds. I don’t know what kind of grudge he holds, but every dog bed we’ve tried in the past has ended up in the trash after being ripped open and chewed up. This is how I know MuttNation is doing something right; Gray loves this bed! We’ve been using it for about two weeks, and every time we look for him, he’s sprawled out relaxing on his bed. It’s obviously comfortable, so we’re thrilled to have it. I’m also really fond of the print; the muted brown paisley offers a classic look that doesn’t detract attention from your home’s style, while the applique bone gives it a touch of cuteness for your cute furry friend.

Mutt Nation Food Mat

We’re also really happy with MuttNation’s food mat. Being a relatively new pet owner, I had never thought about some of the little details about caring for pets, like wiping up tiny puddles of water and crumb residue after they eat and drink. Tired of scrubbing Gray’s food spot on a daily basis, I was happy to find a food mat to place under his bowls. Now all the little spills land nicely on a mat that can easily be wiped clean without the need to mop the floor. The food mat also comes in a muted paisley print that works perfectly with Gray’s bowls.

Mutt Nation Collar

As for the bandana collar, I think Gray is in love with it; he’s been wearing it nonstop and even pouts a little when we’ve taken it off.  The collar is made from a really soft material, which means it doesn’t irritate his skin or tangle his fur. My daughter chose the pink bandana print, but there are several available. All the prints look great with the tooled leather portion of the collar, and they’re incredibly well-made and sturdy.

Gray and I both love MuttNation products, and I’m happy to know that these goodies are available from an organization with a great cause. Every MuttNation purchase sends proceeds to dogs in need, so you can treat your pet while helping those less fortunate animals in need of homes and love. You can learn more about MuttNation and their mission at MuttNationFoundation.com and grab their products at PetMate.com. If you have pictures of your dog enjoying MuttNation gear, you can share the love on Instagram by tagging your photos with #MUTTNATION and #MUTTSPOTLIGHT. I hope to see your pets featured soon!

MuttNation is generously offering Game On Mom readers and chance to win the same products that we featured here.  Open to US residents who are 18 and older.  Ends 10/12/16.  Good luck!

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Curious George Returns to the Liberty Science Center + Win 4 Passes!

Living in New Jersey makes us lucky enough to be near some really great cultural centers and museums.  It’s nice for me and my husband, but even better for our kids. I love knowing that I have places nearby that can open their minds, teach them about new things, and entertain them.

One of those nearby places is the Liberty Science Center, located in Liberty State Park in Jersey City. This learning center is huge; it has 12 museum exhibition halls, a live animal collection, giant aquariums, the world’s largest IMAX dome theater, and so much more. It’s one of our favorite places.

Right now Liberty Science Center is hosting an exhibit that I’m so excited to share with you, called Curious George: Let’s Get Curious!  This exhibit celebrates the 75th anniversary of Curious George’s debut, and includes several different buildings and locales from the Curious George book series and PBS Kids television show.

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The event isn’t just about having fun, though. It features key STEM concepts (science, engineering, and math) that are woven throughout the exhibit, and you know how much we love anything that makes STEM learning fun! Some of our favorite features were:

The architect station, where the kids were able to design their own buildings:

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The mini-golf area, which features ramps and pipes that encourage kids to work around roadblocks:

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A phone station featuring a black rotary phone that allows you to call George (my kids were particularly interested in this ancient relic):

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A pretend play area where kids can dress up as the Curious George doorman:

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This exhibit was a lot of fun for the entire family. Curious George has been a big presence in my children’s lives, just as he was in my own childhood. It was wonderful to share something loved by all of us!

As I mentioned earlier, Liberty Science Center is huge. There are far more activities than I can share in one blog post, so I encourage you to check out the LSC website. I also suggest checking out some of my family’s favorite activities: Infinity Climber, Wonder Why, and Eat and Be Eaten.

The Infinity Climber is a suspended multi-story play space where families can climb and navigate through pathways, exercising bodies and imaginations.

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Wonder Why is a science exhibit that includes a climbing wall, soap bubbles, air simulators, a Digital Picasso station, and more.

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Eat and Be Eaten is an exhibit with real animals and teaches kids about adaptation and surviving in the wild. This is one of my favorites; the animals are fascinating.

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Curious George: Let’s Get Curious runs from now through January 8, 2017, so you have time to plan your visit. Curious George himself will be at the exhibit on October 1, November 11, November 25, December 28, and December 29, so those would be excellent days to attend!  Your kids can meet and take photos with George before exploring all Liberty Science Center has to offer.  To learn more about the exhibit, purchase tickets, and explore what the learning center has to offer, visit LSC.org.

Enter now to win FOUR Combination Tickets (General Admission + Special Exhibitions) to the Liberty Science Center!  Giveaway is open to US residents who are 18 and older.  Ends 10/10/16.  Good luck!

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The Most Fun Way to Eat Veggies + Birds Eye Giveaway

Now that summer is rapidly approaching its end and the kids are back in school, our schedules are starting to get a little crazy. After school activities have already started and will only increase as the school year goes on, which means more time out of the house during evening hours.  As you might have guessed, that means our dinners may be rushed.

Even on a slow day, it can be difficult to put together a healthy dinner that everyone in the family will enjoy, especially if you have any picky eaters at your dinner table.  Like many parents, my biggest struggle comes from everybody’s favorite troublemaker:  the vegetable.

Did you know that only 28% of dinners include a vegetable?  I want to be surprised by that figure, but honestly I’m not.  It can be really hard to foster a love of vegetables in your kids, no matter how you cook or present them. Ask me about broccoli someday when I’ve had a glass of wine, and I’ll tell you my battle stories.

Birds Eye Steamfresh Veggies with Disney Pasta

There are brands out there willing to go the extra mile to get veggies on the table, one of which is Birds Eye.

I wouldn’t be surprised if you already have some Birds Eye products in your fridge, especially their Steamfresh dishes. You may remember seeing some Disney Steamfresh products in the past, and now their line has been expanded to convince even older (read: more stubborn) kids to get at least one veggie in each meal!

This year, in addition to the already fun Disney Steamfresh veggies, you’ll find:

  • Yoda shaped pasta & broccoli in white cheese sauce
  • R2D2 shaped pasta & green beans in marinara sauce
  • Spiderman shaped pasta & broccoli in yellow cheese sauce
  • Avengers shaped whole grain pasta & peas in butter sauce
Spiderman Pasta with Broccoli

We mixed the Spiderman Pasta & Broccoli with ground turkey for a “super” easy weeknight meal.

Everyone in my family is a big fan of both Star Wars and superheroes, so I was really excited to give these a try!  I love adding a little novelty into the mundane when I can, so I think putting Yoda in my broccoli is basically perfect.  Luckily, my kids agree!  The character-shaped pasta has definitely made veggies more fun for them, and there is also an added side benefit I want to point out.  My son doesn’t like it when foods touch on his plate.  If the green beans slide into the corn, it’s an issue.  We’ve been working to get past that problem, and these Birds Eye dishes have really helped. The veggies are mixed in with the pasta, which would normally be a total no-go, but because it’s Yoda and Spiderman he is willing to eat them together with little complaint. It’s a small victory, but it’s definitely helped us make the transition more smoothly.

The Birds Eye Steamfresh line is available at grocers everywhere, and if you’re looking for a way to liven up your mealtime veggies, these fun varieties are the perfect way to do it! Also, because I know you love goodies as much as I do, I’m happy to tell you that we’re giving away five coupons for free Birds Eye Steamfresh products to one lucky reader!  Make sure to enter the giveaway before you go, and check out BirdsEye.com to learn more about their Steamfresh products.

Giveaway is open to US residents who are 18 and older.  Ends 10/6/16 at 11:59 PM ET.  Good luck!

Birds Eye Coupon Giveaway

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New Amazon Original Kids Series “The Stinky & Dirty Show” + Repurposed T-Shirt Tote Tutorial

If you have Amazon Prime, I bet you’re already familiar with some of the great original programming they’ve made for kids, like Wishenpoof! and Annedroids.

I’m happy to tell you that Amazon has added another children’s show to the mix, and my kids absolutely love it.

Meet Stinky and Dirty, stars of The Stinky & Dirty Show!

Stinky and Dirty Teach Our Kids

Like other Amazon shows for kids, this one seeks not just to entertain, but also to engage children and provide fun teachable moments.

The Stinky & Dirty Show is based on the “I Stink!” book series by Jim and Kate McMullan, and features voice talent from stars like Whoopi Goldberg, Jane Lynch, Andy Richter, Joan Cusack, and Wallace Shawn.

As for our main characters, Stinky is a garbage truck and Dirty is a backhoe.  Together they have fun, learn, and find creative ways to solve problems.  Throughout the series, you’ll hear Stinky and Dirty asking “What if…?,” which is honestly my favorite thing about the show. You know I’m always happy with material that entertains while teaching, and this show is a perfect example of that dynamic at work. And it doesn’t just teach a lesson; it actually encourages your kids to think critically along with Stinky and Dirty, making them part of the creative problem solving process in each episode. There’s also never a straight line from their problems to the solutions; they have a trial and error process that reflects real life and gets everyone thinking, well, what if

I truly love that; anything that fosters critical thinking skills in a fun way is a big hit with me.

The Stinky and Dirty Show

The show premiered on September 2 and it’s already gotten great ratings; it’s rated 4.8 out of 5 stars on Amazon, and 9/10 on IMDb.  I personally think this is a 5-star show, and I definitely recommend it!

Another fun thing about Stinky and Dirty is the fact they like to reuse and repurpose. I won’t spoil anything, but in the first episode our smelly friends have a big problem and turn to some garbage for an answer. By reusing things that had been discarded, they were able to work their way toward a solution.  To celebrate that idea, we decided to do a craft project that allowed us to recycle and repurpose something we might otherwise have thrown out.

DIY T-Shirt Tote Bag

Creating this tote bag was super easy and fun. It’s actually made from an old t-shirt!

All you need to make your own is:

  • A t-shirt
  • Fabric scissors
  • Fabric Glue

T-Shirt Tote

First, cut the sleeves off of the t-shirt and then cut a square or scoop from the neck and back of the neck areas (the remaining fabric will be your handles). Then cut off the bottom of the t-shirt, flip it inside out, and glue a seam.  And that’s it! You’re basically finished!

We used a tie-dyed t-shirt to make our bag a little more fun, and my kids really like it.  A bag like this is great for them to play with and use however they want, but with a little reinforcement it could be a great bag to take to the market as a reusable shopping bag.  We’re going to strengthen the seam by sewing over the glue with needle and thread.

The Stinky & Dirty Show was a great inspiration for this repurposed craft, and I can already think of so many more that we could do. I can’t wait for my kids to finish the full season to see what ideas they have.

If you want to check out The Stinky & Dirty Show, hop over to Amazon.com.  The first episode is free for anyone to watch, and the rest of the season is available for free to Amazon Prime members. If you watch, let us know what you think and tell us about your favorite characters!

 


How to Use Groupon Coupons to Save Money While Shopping

Thank you to Groupon for sponsoring this post.  All opinions are my own.

It’s September, and even though we’re already halfway through the month, I still think it’s July.  (It certainly feels like July outside). I walk down store aisles expecting sunscreen and beach towels and I see jack-o-lanterns and turkeys.

When I see Fall merchandise make its yearly appearance, my mind immediately jumps ahead to Christmas.  I always have good intentions of starting my shopping early, but one thing leads to another and I end up rushing around the mall the week of Christmas with all the other last-minute shoppers. Perhaps I’ve seen you there?  Let’s both do something about that this year.

If there’s one good thing about waiting to do your shopping, it’s the sales.  I’m always on the hunt for a bargain, but especially during the holidays when I’m making a lot of purchases.

Groupon Logo

Instead of waiting for holiday sales, how about kicking off your shopping early with some awesome coupons?

Groupon Coupons, to be exact!

I know you’re familiar with Groupon and their deals on products and activities, but did you know they also offer regular coupons and promo codes for tons of your favorite stores and brands?

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Every time you shop, you can pop over to Groupon Coupons to see what kind of deals await.  For example:

I need some new shirts.  I went in search of bargains at Groupon Coupons and found a 20% off coupon for Kohl’s, and a $10 off $25 coupon for JCPenney.  All I had to do was think of a store, type in the name, and get a little giddy at the money I’m going to save.

It’s as easy as that.  There are no memberships to sign up for, no rewards cards to keep track of, no fine print.  Just deals. You can check the Groupon Coupon site before you leave the house and either print coupons or save them to your phone.  You can also download the Groupon app so you’ll have coupons at the touch of a button when you’re out shopping.

With Groupon Coupons, you’ll find both in-store coupons and online promo codes, so no matter how you prefer to shop, you can save money.  Kohl’s and JCPenney are just two of the many stores you’ll find.  When you start your holiday shopping, you might be excited to know Groupon Coupons are available for these popular retailers:

  • Barnes & Noble
  • Best Buy
  • Disney Store
  • Macy’s
  • Sephora
  • Target
  • ToysRUs
  • and so, so many more.

Are you ready to save now?  Me too!  There are literally thousands of coupons just waiting to be used!  No matter where you’re shopping, it pays to check Groupon Coupons before you buy.  Now get out there and make me proud, smart shoppers, and come back to tell me about all the money you saved!