Monday, October 23, 2017

Sweepstakes: Wholly Wholesome

Wholly Wholesome, a leader in All-Natural and organic frozen desserts – announces its annual celebration of National Dessert Month and National Celiac Disease Awareness Month. Through November 11, consumers are invited to visit to vote for their favorite dessert. When doing so, the consumer will earn one entry into the October giveaway. Consumers can vote daily, but only once per day.   
One Grand Prize Winner will be chosen to receive a one-year supply of Wholly Wholesome products. Three Runners Up will receive a six-month supply of Wholly Wholesome products. Contest winners will be selected at random, all prizes will be delivered directly to their home, and all winners will be announced and featured on and on

Consumer Critique: KidStir Spooky Celebration Kit

KidStir is a subscription box aimed to get kids in the kitchen. With kid-friendly recipes and products, it's a great subscription option for just about any family. Cooking with kids teaches them life skills and promotes healthier eating habits (even when you're making treats).

They recently sent me a Subscriber Exclusive Kit for a spooky celebration. The kit has pre-punched recipes to fit in the recipe book, along with trivia and games in addition to the recipes. The recipes make a Witch's Brew with a Freaky Freeze Mold to make skulls and bones for spiced apple cider. The pasta press makes fun Scary-oli, and Yummy Mummies for dessert. It also includes stickers to decorate treat bags.

Right now, you can save 30% by signing up for the newsletter, so it's a great time to check out the subscription. For holiday pre-order, they have an additional $55 in gifts. You can preview the 12-month line up, so you know exactly what you're getting!

Consumer Critique: Mommy's Time Out Wine

Whether Mommy is helping the kids find the perfect costume, spraying spider webs on the shrubs, or running to get candy at the last minute, Halloween can give mommy the willies! Mommy can take a break with a glass of Mommy’s Time Out® wine and a few choice morsels of her favorite candy by her side! (In our house we have a sharing rule, so this is perfectly fine with the kids.)

“Mommy’s Time Out Wine really speaks to women, especially with our theme that the wine is a well-deserved break where Mommy can sit back, kick up her heels and be rewarded for her difficult job that offers no holidays or vacations,” says said Mike Cincotta, president of Selective Wine Estates, Inc. importers and brand owners of Mommy’s Time Out. 

I had a chance to try out some of their wine. I'm not a huge wine connoisseur, but I did enjoy it. It's a good price, a good taste, and fine for someone like me who enjoys a relaxing glass of wine. Plus, I love the name (as well as the other line from the company, Dad's Day Off).

Currently, the line features four varieties that have a suggested retail price of $9.99: Mommy’s Time Out Garganega Pinot Grigio, Mommy’s Time Out Moscato, Mommy’s Time Out Delicious Red and Mommy’s Time Out Delicious Pink.  All are made from grapes grown in Italy and have wonderful fruity undertones.  All the wines are fresh, fruity and well balanced and are delicious for sipping with snacks or to complement a meal.

Mommy’s Time Out comes in 750-ml and 1.5-L sizes for a suggested retail price of $9.99 or $16.99 for the 1.5L (Mommy's Time Out Garganega Pinot Grigio only). Adults over the age of 21 should enjoy Mommy’s Time Out responsibly.

Smart Safety: Halloween Tips for Kids from Skylanders Academy

Whether you dress-up as a heroic Skylander or an evil Doom-Raider this Halloween, it's important to stay safe as you fill your trick-or-treat bag with yummy candy. Spyro and his heroic team are busy making their costumes, but everyone's favorite evil genius Kaos has taken a break from being bad to share some Halloween safety tips with you. Be sure to share this video to make sure everyone has a scary good time while trick-or-treating! 
1) Always trick-or-treat in a group.
2) Stay in a well-lit area.
3) Look both ways before crossing the street.
4) Use a flashlight or reflective tape.
5) Always have an adult check your candy.
6) Remember to brush your teeth.

Healthy Habits: Doctor's Tips on How to Make Halloween Healthier for You and Your Children

Halloween can be scary. Ghosts, ghouls and goblins abound, but the most frightening part of Halloween might be how many calories our children bring home in their trick-or-treat bags.
The candy in an average trick-or-treat bag can contain as much as 7,000 calories* and all that candy can lead to tooth decay and a lot of extra pounds for the entire family.  
 Dr. Mayrene Hernandez of UnitedHealthcare ( a few ideas so health-conscious parents can avoid ruining one of the most kid-friendly celebrations of the year?

  • Instead of candy, opt for healthier or non-food alternatives. Candy is fun, but healthy food can be as well. Making small oranges, popcorn balls or fruit cups with pumpkin faces drawn on them can encourage healthier eating while still getting into the Halloween spirit. Give trick-or-treaters dried fruit, fruit leathers, crackers or trail mix.  

  • Trick or Toys? Or, if you want to avoid giving out candy or snack foods altogether, give small toys, stickers, temporary tattoos, pencils, Halloween erasers or glow-sticks. Kids receive plenty of candy on Halloween and will enjoy being surprised with the “extras” they gather while trick-or-treating.

  • Get out and exercise. Candy consumption certainly increases on and around Halloween, but so does walking. Fitbit recently analyzed its data and found the average user walked an additional 2,750 steps on Halloween. While those extra steps won’t cancel out all those candy bars you ate, the added walking and exercise can help you control your weight and improve your health. 
             Take family walks around the neighborhood before Halloween to plan your trick-or-               treating route. The additional movement can benefit the whole family.
  • Fill your little goblins’ tummies with healthy food before they hit their candy stash. Eating a healthy dinner before trick-or-treating will help ensure your kids are properly fueled and less tempted to snack their way around the neighborhood. Plus, for safety you should save your candy until you get home to screen for anything potentially hazardous. 

  • If you return home and your family has more candy than they should eat, search online for a local dentist or other business participating in candy-donation or buy-back programs. Call first for each location’s program details.
           This Halloween, have fun dressing up and eating a few treats, but balance the usual                 indulgence with making healthier choices. 

About Dr. Mayrene Hernandez
Dr. Mayrene Hernandez joined UnitedHealth Group in 2012 as part of the South East Clinical Services Leadership Team. She originally started as an inpatient care management medical director. She was promptly promoted to her current role as the Sr. Market Medical Director in Florida. Her role is diverse with direct and indirect engagements with multiple sectors within a manage care organization.
 She is Board Certified in Family Practice for well over 10 years also a practicing physician.  She holds the position of Clinical Assistant professor at Nova Southeastern University and enjoys being a mentor to future medical students.


PetSmart Halloween Event
Humvee at Home Depot Kids Workshop 11/4 9-12

Parenting Pointers: Halloween Tips for Parents

Halloween trick-or-treating can be FUN and a HORROR at the same time!  Our friends at COSTUME SUPERCENTER have put these lists together of 31 THINGS both PARENTS and TRICK-OR-TREATERS are thinking about right now!
For Trick-or-Treaters on parades, walking with small kids can be tiring for both parents and children, so here's our guide to make a WAGON Halloween-ready or as part of a costume AND to keep the fun rolling!
Feel free to link to our 31 lists or DiY WAGON Guides.  We think these ideas would be great for your readers.  You can link directly to any blog post above, or any other Costume SuperCenter Blog that your readers might enjoy. 

Parenting Pointers: 5 Tips to maintaining a welcoming home

Everybody knows the saying that “there is no place like home.” It is the best place to relax and just be comfortable with everything. However, if you are planning to host important guests and friends, then you might want to spend some extra effort in making your home more welcoming and inviting. To help you with just that, below are 5 tips that will surely make things a lot easier for you.

•    First Impression

You know what they say, first impressions last. So, it is best to start creating that welcoming and inviting vibe the moment your guests arrive at your doorstep. A set of clean welcome rugs, fresh flowers, and bright lighting fixtures can do the trick. Additionally, according to studies, having mirrors in your receiving area increases the self-consciousness of your guests which can make them notice the “efforts” you have done.

•    Clean the house

Obviously, when you are hosting guests and friends, it goes without saying that you should be cleaning your house beforehand. However, to make things better, and if you have some money set aside, then hiring professional cleaners to do the job might be a good idea. You can use the time for preparing for other things for your guests such as food, activities and their accommodation. Furthermore, professional cleaners are experts equipped with skills, experience, and knowledge, so they will be able to provide some helpful tips for you too.

Should you take interest in hiring a professional cleaner, then visit this site,

•    Prepare the guest room

The most important part in maintaining a welcoming home is the guest room. It is where they can significantly feel your home’s warmth and welcoming vibe. Most experts recommend having a luggage rack prepared for your guests to make unpacking easier and more organized. Additionally, changing the beddings with newly-washed bed sheets and pillowcases will definitely add more points. Adding different kinds of blankets, from thin sheets to comforter levels of thickness for your guests to choose from will also be well-appreciated. You also might want to check the ventilation system if it is still working properly and is clean enough. As a guide, consider your guests as your precious family member that is coming from a long and tiring travel and is dead-tired and eager for a good night sleep.

•    Lighting

Setting up the lighting is not only important in creating romantic moments. Lighting can also be manipulated to create a welcoming and cozy vibe. As a general rule, the darker it gets, the colder the atmosphere will be. You will want to brighten up the rooms and make your guests feel warmer. There are also studies that say that bright lights can help reduce stress and promote positive hormones, so all the more reason to brighten up your homes.

•    Food

Last but not the least, you should never forget about the food that you will serve to your guests. You don’t need to spend much on expensive meat and wine if you don’t have the means. Simple home cooking with a touch of familial love will be enough to fill the bellies of your guests with love and warmth.

Caring Causes: Zulilly and Women's Small Business

zulily, the online retailer obsessed with bringing special finds every day, has an exciting program running right now! In honor of National Women’s Small Business Month this October, zulily is celebrating female entrepreneurs and raising awareness around their small businesses by launching four weeks of sales events featuring female small business owners and the amazing products they’ve created.

Since the company was founded in 2010, zulily continues to empower and help entrepreneurs thrive at every stage of their journey by providing a platform to reach new customers, highlighting their brand story and providing resources to grow their businesses. Throughout this month, shoppers will have access to more than 100 small businesses, all companies created and owned by women on zulily’s National Women’s Small Business Month page.

By working with zulily, many of these female entrepreneurs have been able to expand their businesses and quickly reach their goals. Some of the sales events have already ended, but you can still find more at the Small Business Month page. Each sales event will feature products ranging from home d├ęcor to footwear, to maternity clothes, women’s and kids’ fashion, to baby gear, beauty, DIY and more.

Healthy Habits: Halloween and Oral Health

While Halloween brings loads of fun, it also brings with it a dental nightmare.  After eating a just a handful of candy corn, there is enough residual sugar on your teeth and inside your cheeks to feed an army of bacteria.
Here are some Halloween oral health tips from Dr. Harold Katz.

Worst Treats
Try to avoid or limit these unhealthy snacks: 
  • Sticky treats like gummy candies, jelly beans, raisins and caramels are bad for dental health. 
  • Full-sized candy bars. Some chocolate bars contain high amounts of saturated fat. The worst offenders are Mounds (11 grams of saturated fat in a two-ounce bar), Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar (nine grams in 1.5 ounces) and Almond Joy (eight grams in 1.7 ounces). 
  • Chips Ahoy!, Oreos, Hostess HOHOs and other snack cakes, Keebler Club & Cheddar Sandwich Crackers, and Starburst Fruit Chews were all voted the worst vending machine snacks for kids by Center for Science in the Public Interest.
Anything STICKY is terrible – including Raisins!
  1. Seek out healthier alternatives to candy. There are many ideas to consider: 
    • Different flavors of popcorn - tie in small cellophane bags with ribbon (for parties only) 
    • Individual packages of fruit or applesauce - even pudding is a better alternative than candy. These are usually sold in 4 or six-packs. Just break them up and give an individual pack to each child. 
    • Granola (muesli) bars (but watch their sugar content also) 
    • Low-sugar, trans fat-free cookies from health food stores. If these are not wrapped individually, wrap large cookies in cellophane and tape together; make little cellophane bundles of smaller cookies (self wrapped bundles for parties only) 
    • Bundle little pretzels in cellophane (for parties only) 
    • Small apples, mandarins are possible but many parents are wary of fruit due to scares about pins etc. being inserted into them. You could investigate packaged sliced apples in clear wrapping as a compromise. Or make a fruit bowl at home just for your own kids and play games like apple bobbing 
    • Nuts ‘n bolts – vary seasoning to suit little palates 
    • Instant spiced apple mix or hot chocolate mix 
    • Fruit bars - there are many pure fruit bars available now. The thin ones are especially good value and will slip into many treat bags as a filler 
    • Individual homemade fruit sweetened cookies (for parties only) 
    • If it's a warm night, fruit juice ice treats might be a good choice, especially for a party 
    • Plain dark chocolate is better than candy. Make sure it has no cream filling or high sugar content. Some claim chocolate even helps to prevent tooth decay. It has certainly been proven that the antioxidants in dark chocolate are healthy. Purchase small pieces in little packets or package small pieces in cellophane (for parties only). 
  1. Sugarless gum 
  1. Corn nuts, peanuts, or trail mix 
  2. Small individual bags of pretzels or popcorn 
  3. Packages of sugar-free cocoa 
  4. Individual bags of roasted pumpkin seeds 
  5. Pre-packed cheese and crackers 
  1. Invest in small games, kits or novelty items instead. Look in dollar stores, party stores, toy stores etc. Buy in bulk if possible and repackage into little treat bags. Look out for small games that are given out as party treats. The possibilities are endless and include: 
    • Halloween pencils, pens, erasers 
    • Stickers with Halloween themes 
    • Magic tricks 
    • Joke, puzzle or maze books 
    • Plastic or rubber animals or figurines 
    • Balloons, party whistles 
    • Miniature cars/dolls 
    • Comic Books from the quarter-bin at your local comic shop 
    • Cards (playing, baseball etc) 
    • Miniature jigsaw puzzles 
    • Crayons/Coloring Books
    • * - Peanuts (individual serving packages)
      * * - Juice boxes (100% juice of course)
      * - Microwave popcorn
      * - Cereal bars
    • Trick-or-treating coupons from places like Dunkin' Donuts are always a hit with kids and they give parents control over what their kids eat.
  1. Purchase entry coupons for local zoos, water parks, movies etc. If you have a set amount of children at a Halloween party, you might like to consider giving each child an entry coupon instead of candy. Unless you're bankrolling your neighborhood's Halloween though, you won't be able to use this idea for kids who come to the door! 
  1. Avoid trick or treating by having a party. Kids can still have all the fun and haunting but serve healthier food like pizza, dips and pita pieces and fresh fruit. Focus on the games more than the food and give good non-food prizes. As an added bonus, you know where the kids are. If it's for older kids, expect a lot of loud and scary sounds, very corny jokes and unexpected ghostly antics. Put breakables away. 
  2. Give mini-toothbrush sets. Maybe this sounds corny but it is a healthy reminder to kids getting so much candy that brushing their teeth is really important. If you're lucky, you might find Halloween themed toothbrushes. You will probably have more luck with this idea if you give out a treat or toy in addition to the toothbrush. 
  3. Spend your time, energy and money on the decorations as the treat. Turn your front yard or porch into a wonderland that kids will marvel at. Use light and sound to greatest effect. Tell visiting kids that the display is their treat. It had better be good though, or you’ll be in for a trick! This idea can also backfire, as kids usually expect houses decorated for Halloween to give out treats and your big attractive display may have them anticipating a big candy reward. 
  4. Work out compromises. Instead of banning sugary snacks altogether, try allowing a limited amount or making rules beforehand about how many treats your kids can have each day. If you're hosting a party, kids may feel deprived if they don't get to go trick-or-treating and you won't give them any candy at all. In addition to healthy treats, fun party games, and spooky decorations, make a small amount of traditional candy available. (It will prbably still be less than they'd get if they actually went out.) Giv each child a goody bag with some small toys, a mix of healthy and sugary treats, and a fun toothbrush. For very young children, see if you can find a small book about brushing your teeth to make the toothbrush seem like a better gift. 
  5. Teach your kids to practice moderation. Try not to make too big a deal out of the candy. A little candy is better than a long, sad memory of being totally denied treats at Halloween. Talk sensibly with them about diet, health and good eating habits at all times, not just at Halloween, so that they grow to understand the relationship between eating and body health. Help them to learn that some indulgence on special occasions is okay, as long as they don't consume too much and they accept that treats belong only to very special occasions. Kids are perfect at understanding and your continued support and good example are what they need the most. 

  1. When it comes to oral care, make sure they use a fluoride-based mouthwash that does not contain any artificial colors or flavors (such as TheraBreath for Kids Organic Grape), available at Walmart,, or  Toothpaste should also contain fluoride, but should be free of detergents.  One such brand is TheraBreath available at Walgreens, CVS, Walmart,, and

About Dr. Harold Katz
Dr. Harold Katz is widely recognized in the media as the “final authority” on breath. He’s been featured on Fox and FriendsFOX Network’s Mike & Juliet ShowABC’s Good Morning America, and The View with Barbara Walters and countless other radio and TV interviews.  Dr. Katz is a graduate of the UCLA School of Dentistry and holds a separate degree in Bacteriology, also from UCLA.  He is the founder of The California Breath Clinics, is the author of “The Bad Breath Bible,” and bearer of the now famous Halimeter which tests the sulfur compounds that cause bad breath.