Buzzing with The Bug Family Band – Review & Giveaway!

August 18th, 2016

We love music in our household, and anytime we can catch a live performance locally we do!  I was so excited to see a new band recently, The Bug Family Band, added to the San Mateo Momdays at Bay Meadows events.  These events are so great, and we try to attend as many of them as we can, and didn’t want to miss a new act in the rotation.

The Bug Family Band typically is made up of a 5 person crew, but with summer holidays and the Queen Bee aka Maddy Streicek currently on tour we were able to see 3 of the members perform, although small in numbers, they didn’t disappoint.  My daughter and I were buzzing along to their fresh, original songs. Their tunes not only appeal to children, but also to adults.   BusyBeeKate-BugFamilyBand-Paddock

After seeing these guys performed I connected with them and they offered up their 2 CDs, ABeeCD and The Bug Family Band, for a giveaway to one of my readers ~ be sure to enter via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of the post after I share the buzz about the band. BusyBeeKate-BugFamilyBand2

Both albums contain original music for kids & ex-kids, with ABeeCD being the newest album.  I love the witty album title, could that really bee more fitting for me!?  

This album is awesome, and contains 17 tracks:

A Bee CD
Bug Family
Goin’ To the Pool (When You Get Out of School)
Joy to the World
Put My Helmet On
Vacay
Bananaphone
Honeybee
Brusha
Dragonfly
Hot Seat
Shape
Charade
One Little Bee
This Land is Your Land My Team
ABC’s / Twinkle Star / Baa Baa Black Sheep Medley
Brusha (2 minute toothbrushing version)

The songs are catchy and the lyrics are clever.  My daughter has been jamming to Vacay and Bananaphone and I’m drawn in by the Honeybee and One Little Bee songs.  ABeeCD recently won a Parents’ Choice Silver Honor Award too!  

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The Bug Family Bands’ first album is self-titled, and contains 12 tracks:

The Problem With Smoothies
Ladybug Picnic
Goin’ to Pick Berries
Giraffe
Garbage Hunters
Hexagon
Ring
Brown Bear
Dandelion
Daddy Don’t Skimp on Cheese
We Bonked Heads
Go To Sleep

My daughter loves The Problem with Smoothies and Ring the best.  My favorites include Ladybug Picnic and Goin’ to Pick Berries.

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When listening to these albums you can hear influence from the Beatles and They Might Be Giants.  My daughter has been asking to put them on repeat ever since discovering them, and I’m happy to oblige because I am enjoying their music just as much as she does!

Both albums are available for purchase on The Bug Family Bands’ website and also on Amazon. BusyBeeKate-BugFamilyBand-Paddock2 These guys really rocked it out, and they also perform at birthday parties, shows, and fundraisers. BusyBeeKate-BugFamilyBand-Paddock3Oh, and how can I forget to mention their stuffed bee friend named Buzzy that they bring to their shows and allow the children to play with.  It was such a big hit with the kids who loved making him dance and tossing him into the air during their performance. BusyBeeKate-BugFamilyBand-Paddock4 Thanks to The Bug Family Band for entertaining us, we can’t wait to catch them on the road again!  Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter below to win one of each of their CDs. 

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway will run from August 18, 2016 through August 31, 2016. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents, aged 18 and up. The winner will be notified by e-mail and will have 48 hours to claim their prize or a new winner will be drawn. This giveaway is not associated with Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media. All entries are optional. Void where prohibited by law.

Sign up to get the latest buzz from Busy Bee Kate here: 

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31 Days of Allergy-Friendly, Healthy & Balanced Nut & Egg-Free Kids Lunch Ideas with No Repeats!

August 15th, 2016

Have your kids started school yet, or is the start of school just around the corner for them?  In our area schools are gearing up to start next week, and while I’m bummed summer is coming to an end I am excited about all the fun Back to School items I am seeing in the stores.  For us, school and Fall will be about getting back into more of a routine with my family, which I am really looking forward to.

I have heard many parents having mixed emotions about back to school including some grumblings because they have to get back into the routine of packing lunches again, and are at a loss.  

Last year around this time I shared nut and egg-free lunch ideas and I’m back to to share them again with you this year.  These lunches are allergy-friendly, healthy and balanced, and the kids will love them!  

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This year my daughter will be in preschool, and as with most preschools ours is nut-free.  Before I had a child with food allergies I didn’t quite understand the need for schools to go nut-free, after all, aren’t children also allergic to other things?  In our case we know my daughters allergy to kiwi is life-threatening (read about how we discovered her kiwi allergy was so severe here,) so would schools ban all of their kids allergens?!  That wouldn’t seem possible and realistic for schools to do with such diverse range of food allergies in children these day.

Now that I’ve been educated about nut allergies, I, along with other food allergy parents, are super grateful for schools that are banning nuts and nut butters.  My eyes and ears are more sensitive now to the words ‘peanuts’ and ‘peanut butter’ and I have heard many non-food allergy parents “sighing” when they hear their child’s school is nut-free and saying “What am I going to feed my child, they LOVE PB&J and I cannot get them to eat anything else!?”  I get it.  I do.  I used to love PB&J too, but there is hope for lunch beyond the PB&J.  

Peanuts and tree nuts are two of the “top 8” which means they are two of the eight most common food allergies, with peanuts being number one; and 1 in 13 children are now affected by food allergies with that number increasing each year.  Chances are there are 1 or 2 children in your child’s classroom that suffer from food allergies.  

While some children must ingest a food to have an allergic reaction, others can have a reaction just by the proteins in the air or by touching the surface where the food protein still resides.  For instance, let’s say your child does bring a peanut butter sandwich to school and they are neat and clean up his/her area (with a napkin) after eating.  The peanut-allergic child sits in the same spot your child just left.  However, your child accidently missed a spot.  The allergic child touches it and has an allergic reaction.  This was an accident, but it could be life threatening to the child. 

Since so many schools are now nut-free I wanted to provide a month of healthy and balanced lunch options for children that both have and don’t have food allergies.  These options will also be egg-free (because there are so many children with egg allergies nowadays too.)   

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Golden Girl Recipe Challenge! (Slow Cooker) Home Sweet Honey Peach Granola Crumble

July 29th, 2016

Disclosure: I applied to participate in the Golden Girl Granola and received Golden Girl Granola for free. My opinions are my own and I was not paid or required to write this review or create this recipe. 

I recently discovered Golden Girl Granola on a whim… searching the ‘net for something completely unrelated and bam, there it was, and in big words I saw Blogger Recipe Challenge.  “Have a recipe that’s easy to recreate, great for families, delicious, and of course, original and inventive?!
Enter our challenge today!”  

Game on!  By entering their challenge, I agreed to create a dessert recipe using one of their granola varieties…. and I am so in love with the recipe I came up with: (Slow Cooker) Home Sweet Honey Peach Granola Crumble.  Easy to make, full of amazing flavor and texture, and a dessert (especially when topped with your favorite ice cream,) that is perfect for the warm summer months.  And it’s wheat, peanut, nut, egg, and dairy free!

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But before getting to this delicious recipe I want to share a little bit more about Golden Girl Granola.

Golden Girl Granola is a family granola business based in Shirley, MA. They make and sell loose granola in 14oz and 3oz bags and sell primarily in New England area stores and also online on their site. They take great pride in their emphasis on local products made by hand with the highest quality ingredients.

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No Monkeying Around Bandar Foods are Hot & Tasty ~ Review & Giveaway

July 26th, 2016

Disclosure: I was invited to be in the review group by Bandar Foods and received Bandar Foods items for free. My opinions are my own and I was not paid or required to write this review or host this giveaway.  

Recently I attended an event at Love with Food and met the awesome folks at Bandar Foods who introduced me to, and allowed me to sample, some of their products!  And I’m not monkeying around when I say their products are hot & tasty!

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Bandar Foods makes a range of Poppadum, Naan chips, Vegetable Crisps, and sauces, and after the event they sent me some items to share with my family, and I can’t wait to share them with you!  (P.S., they will also send some items to one of my readers ~ so don’t be a monkey and forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of this post!) 

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Based in San Francisco, Bandar reimagines traditional Indian flavors for everyday American foods, and is one of the most successful food product companies on Kickstarter of all time!  

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I love the story of how they were founded – man walks into restaurant, wants a hotter hot sauce, can’t find one, experiments with those currently made, friends like it, they enter the idea into Wharton Business School’s famed innovation tournament and win handily – and Bandar Foods is born.

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CREAM (Cookies – and now more – Rule Everything Around Me) – Crazy Good!

July 18th, 2016

BusyBeeKate-CREAMSignDo you have an extreme sweet tooth?  Cookies AND ice cream together should do the trick…. And as if CREAM couldn’t make these combos any better they are now adding in new and improved cookies, waffles and do’sants… making even more crazy good combinations for you to choose from!

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Recently I was invited to check out CREAM and sample their new & improved line of CREAM cookies (2.0,) as well as their new waffles and do’sants which were recently added to their menu.  I didn’t know what to except and all the options were so amazing, I seriously wanted to try every combo but that just wasn’t possible or they have to roll me out of the shop :)  They did allow us to try as many options as we wanted though and I was excited to see both Vegan and Gluten-Free cookies, as well as dairy-free ice cream available.  

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As soon as I walked into the CREAM store I felt like I was in heaven, everything smells and looks so good.  It reminded me of my childhood as my Mom baked a lot, and the smell of fresh cookies from the oven always takes me back to those days.   I love these CRAZY GOOD cookies, 2.0 style!

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After a few minutes in the store I was greeted by a gentleman who I soon learned was one of the co-founders (Jimmy) of CREAM in 2010.  Upon learning more about CREAM I was drawn to the story of how it was founded and impressed by how much they have grown in such a short period of time.  

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DIY Character Necklaces – Disney: Finding Dory, Doc McStuffins & More!

July 12th, 2016

We finally got to see Finding Dory last weekend (and we give it 5 stars!) and while we were planning our outfits out I kept thinking how we needed some jewelry to match.  I checked out a couple of stores and wasn’t able to find any so I decided that we would make our own… and once we started making them… well, we just couldn’t stop!

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I love how simple and easy these were to make, and the cost is probably about under 50 cents for each one.  Of course you could make these fancier with bead strings and clasps, but I love the look of the yarn and using it makes it simple for kids to help too.

I’ve laid out the easy steps below:

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This would be a fun project to do with the kids while they are home for the summer.  You can choose any characters you like ~ the possibilities are endless!  Just hit up your local craft store or the Target Dollar Spot which is where we found our Finding Dory stickers.  

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Allergy-Friendly Festive July 4th Pancakes

July 1st, 2016

Today I’m sharing a festive and fun way to kick off the upcoming July 4th holiday, and one that is so easy to do!  Just whip up a batch of your favorite pancakes, add a side of strawberries and blueberries and top the pancakes with your favorite whipped creamed!  Sprinkles & flags are optional!  

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For our pancakes we used Enjoy Life Foods Pancake + Waffle Mix, a tasty, easy to make vegan, and gluten-free pancake mix.

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These pancakes are top 8 free ~ just use your safe choice of whipped topping (So Delicious CoCo Whip would make a great dairy-free option.)

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Handmade Happy Mail ~ Sending Happiness One Card at a Time ~ Interview & Giveaway

June 27th, 2016

Disclosure: I was invited to be in the review group by Deena and Handmade Happy Mail and received a Handmade Happy Mail subscription box for free. My opinions are my own and I was not paid or required to write this review.

As a prior small business owner I love to support other small business owners, especially those run by women.  Handmade Happy Mail is a new small business bringing beautifully handcrafted greeting cards to your doorstep monthly. Handmade Happy Mail is all about sending happiness one card at a time.

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Handmade Happy Mail was founded by Deena Hopkins who recently took her craft of making handmade greeting cards a little further by making them available on a monthly basis in a subscription box.  I recently spoke with Deena and interviewed her about Handmade Happy Mail and Deena was so generous to offer a giveaway of a 3 months subscription box of Handmade Happy Mail (be sure to enter at the bottom of the post!) 

Here’s a little snippet of what Handmade Happy Mail  “is a monthly subscription box of totally unique and beautiful greeting cards made by my hands. A subscription box works much like a magazine subscription – you sign up once, then a lovely box is delivered to your door every month!  You don’t have to do a thing, it’s all automatic!  The cards and postage stamps come to you, you simply write a personal message and send them to your loved ones.”

Handmade Happy Mail subscription box contains five cards – two birthday cards, two themed cards (like Thank You or Congratulations), and one special holiday card (like Mother’s Day or Halloween). August boxes will be sent on July 15th, September boxes on August 15th, and so on.  Here’s a look at the July subscription box:
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(photo courtesy of Handmade Happy Mail)

Deena personally and makes all of her cards herself – they are handmade in the U.S. using all made in the U.S. supplies, tools, and papers.  That’s pretty awesome.

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School is Out ~ Check out the KIDFUN e-Book for Some Fun Summer Activities & Ideas!

June 18th, 2016

Disclosure: I was invited to be in the review group from Sharla Feldscher and I received a copy of her e-book for free. My opinions are my own and I was not paid or required to write this review.

As a Mom to a 3 year old I am always looking for things to do that are creative and fun, but I must be honest, my mind goes blank sometimes and I start running out of ideas.  While I like to hop on Pinterest for inspiration I can get lost in that sea so easily and find myself pinning organization tips or recipes when I really just was looking for something fun to do for the next hour with my daughter, not pining for the next hour!

Sharla Feldscher has come to the rescue and just in time for Summer.  She is the author of seven books on creative play, and most recently created an updated e-book of KIDFUN—400 Fun & Easy Ideas for Kids Ages 2 to 8.

KIDFUN is filled with hundreds of simple suggestions and ideas for having fun.  With many years of experience writing, and a background in education she has many wonderful and creative ideas that have been kid tested over the years.

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KIDFUN…400 EASY & FUN IDEAS FOR KIDS 2-8

KIDFUN appeals to parents, grandparents, babysitters and anyone who spends time with children. This ultimate guide to fun with kids, first published in 1995, shares amazingly easy and free ideas to inspire creativity.  KIDFUN is available on Amazon.com to purchase for $5.99.

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MELT® Organic – (Dairy-Free) Buttery Spreads that Are Great for Everyday Uses + Giveaway

June 13th, 2016

Disclosure: I was invited to be in the review group from MELT® Organic and I received product samples for free. My opinions are my own and I was not paid or required to host this giveaway.

MELT® Organic reached out to me recently and offered to send me some of their products for review.  I had never heard of them and couldn’t wait to give them a try.  MELT® Organic is a line of luscious, all-natural butter improvements for butter lovers seeking an alternative with beneficial ingredients. Its flagship product line, MELT® Organic Buttery Spreads, is made from the Perfect Blend™ of fruit- and plant-based oils: virgin coconut, flaxseed, hi-oleic sunflower, palm fruit and canola.

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