Getting Away With HomeAway

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of HomeAway.

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maui condo3

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of HomeAway.

Last year as I was working to secure a hotel stay for a family reunion in Hawaii, I vented on Facebook about how I was frustrated with our hotel options. As it turns out, most hotels accommodate families of four, but when you add a fifth person to your crew the cost increases dramatically. Either you are prompted to secure a second room for your large family or you are prompted to reserve an expensive suite.

I drafted a blog post about how frustrated I was, but never published it because I felt silly complaining about hotels when I had the luxury of planning a trip to Hawaii in the first place.

My sister was the one who mentioned checking out HomeAway and when we arrived at our oceanfront, pool side condo in Maui I believe my exact words were, “I’m never leaving this place.” Had it been a hotel with that exact same layout it would have cost us upwards of $800 per night. It would have been considered a MASTER Family Suite. But because it was a condo we were paying less than $200 per night.

Maui Condo

My sister’s advice to check out that site changed the way we vacation. Here we were in a two bedroom condo, three times the size of a hotel room that could sleep up to 8 people, equipped with two bedrooms, a kitchen, wifi, a washer and dryer, a pool, just feet away from the ocean AND at a lower cost than any hotel option we had available to us. Not to mention the additional fees we would have paid at a hotel for parking and food.

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When the opportunity to work with HomeAway popped up I practically begged for it. Most recently we used the site to find the perfect staycation over Spring Break with my kids and my sister’s family. We found a wonderful cabin tucked away near the Olympic Peninsula and while the drive was less than two hours, we felt like we were on vacation.

homeaway cabin

There was hiking and beaches, s’mores and movies…the kids had a blast exploring the creek and woods surrounding the cabin and both of our families stayed together for less than $200 each night. The cousins were in heaven. I captured a quick look at the cabin we found through HomeAway here:

A video posted by Kat Bouska (@mamakatslosinit) on

I have since, created an account and filled it with folders based on locations that I want to visit with my kids. I have a folder for every corner of the Pacific Northwest. I have a folder filled with locations for just my family. I have a folder filled with locations for a girls get away. And I have a folder filled with luxury and unique properties that can sleep my family along with my sisters and brothers families. Even at a higher nightly rate it’s still affordable divided among a group of us. Since HomeAway is the world’s largest vacation rental marketplace, with more than one million listing in 190 countries to choose from…just imagine the folders I have left to create filled with some of my favorite properties.

Lake Cushman Cabin

 Win a $5,000 Stay with the HomeAway Kidfluencers Contest

This summer, HomeAway is empowering kidfluencers by giving them even more control over their family’s travel plans with a chance to win a $5,000 vacation rental stay to anywhere in the United States in 2015. To enter, travelers just need to create a 15 to 60-second video of their kids describing why their family should win a vacation from HomeAway. Upload the video to Instagram, YouTube or Vimeo, using the hashtag #HomeAwayVacation and complete the entry form here before May 29, 2015.  HomeAway will select 10 finalists that will be voted on by the public from June 8 to 12 to determine the winner. For more details on the contest, visit HomeAway on Facebook.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of HomeAway.

 

Butterfly Snacks With Horizon Organic

Butterfly Snacks

Who’s ready to get creative with delicious snacks? We’re busy fashioning crackers and veggies into colorful butterflies over here (big thanks to Horizon Organic for sponsoring this post!).

I fall into the category of parents who fashions spiders out of cookies and pretzel sticks at snack time. I don’t do it as a clever way to get them to eat more. I do it because I’m a giant child and I like to play with food. And also because my kids are usually as delighted with my creation as I am.

I cracked open a box of Horizon Organics cheddar snack crackers and showed my kids how to make butterfly snacks.

Horizon Organic Snack Crackers

All you need are:

  • Snack Bags
  • Decorative Tape
  • Clothespins
  • Pipe Cleaners
  • Crackers
  • Veggies or Fruit

Cover your clothespin with your decorative tape.

Add Decorative Tape

Fill one side of your snack bags with crackers and the other with your veggies or fruit.

Fill With Crackers And Veggies

Be sure to keep the sides divided and secure your clothes pin down the middle.

Draw Your Butterflys Face

Fashion your pipe cleaner into an antenna and draw a face onto your butterfly snack.

Butterfly Snack

Watch them in action!:

They’re perfect little after school treats! Check out more products offered by Horizon Organic and keep your eyes peeled for them during your next grocery trip!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Horizon Organic. The opinions and text are all mine.

Outsmart Me

outsmarted

I wrote a fun article for SheKnows that highlights ten moments my kids have outsmarted me, to coincide with Season 2 of Idiotest  that’s coming up on The Game Show Network. It wasn’t too difficult to come up with the moments because I swear they think they’re so sly.

Maile was the toddler who would ask if she could have a piece of candy and then dutifully accepted whatever the response was (usually).

Laina was the toddler who would throw a piece of candy in her mouth and then look at you like, “huh? what? I was supposed to ask first?”

Kainoa was the toddler you would find in a corner behind a couch camped out with a pair of scissors and surrounded in candy wrappers.

It’s very telling about their personalities, but there’s one in particular I’m most concerned about and it’s obviously Maile. Don’t get me wrong, Kainoa is a troublemaker and will full on lie to my face about what he’s doing, but he’s terrible at it. I see right through him.

Laina is an open book and her thoughts are written all over her face. It’s the complacent, agreeable one that is most likely to successfully outsmart me…but I’m on to Maile.

Unless by saying that I have now jinxed everything and it will be Laina who fools me into thinking I know her well enough before blindsiding me with her manipulations.

However, am I completely underestimating what Kainoa is capable of?

Sigh.

Let’s be honest.

I’m toast with all three of them.

If you have time, click over to SheKnows and read the top 10 times they have ALL outsmarted me.

SoCozy Hair Products For Kids Review

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of BeautyStat. The opinions and text are all mine.

SoCozy review

I jokingly asked my kids if they wanted the SoCozy Lice Prevention shampoo while we were at Target and they were like, “do we each get our own!?!”

SoCozy is a new line of salon formula kids hair care products available at Target and we found them pretty quickly about midway down the shampoo aisle.

SoCozy at Target2

We picked up a detangler spray, a styling cream, and a 3 in 1 (Shampoo, conditioner, body wash). I was most excited about the detangler spray. If you have a daughter, and spend any time at all brushing her hair, then you probably feel me on that one. My girls were eager to try the 3 in 1 because up to this point they’ve been using two separate bottles for shampoo and conditioner. I just ask so much of them. ;)

I honestly did not realize there was a difference between hair products for kids and hair products for adults. They have always used my shampoo and conditioner, but it makes sense that a child’s hair might be more delicate and therefore require a more delicate treatment. I’m really glad I had the opportunity to work with SoCozy and try these products.

SoCozy at Target

I’m not sure I will buy the styling cream again because my kids don’t style their hair…I might give it a try on Kainoa actually because I think I spend more time styling that boys hair then I do his sisters. I will definitely purchase the detangler and shampoos again. I’m sold. In addition to being non-toxic, paraben free, dye free, etc. They are also gluten, wheat and nut free! And? They smell so good, that might be my favorite part.

Heck, I’m seriously eyeing that lice prevention shampoo at this point. Who wouldn’t want to prevent lice?

Check out my video where I talk a little more about SoCozy hair products and you can see them in action!:


(video here)

If you’re interested, you can check out the SoCozy Stylers free rewards program that rewards social sharing. May all your children have glistening, silk smooth, and tangle free hair. That is my wish for you.

I received products to review and compensation from BeautyStat.com for this post. My opinion is my own and not edited by BeautyStat, please read my Disclosure Policy.

Making Mac And Cheese with Horizon Organic

Horizon Classic Mac

Kainoa shines when I let him help me in the kitchen. It’s a winning situation for me because I feel like I’m teaching him some life skills, he’s doing something productive, fun and all the while filling that little belly of his. So when the opportunity to team with Horizon Organic came up I knew it was right up our alley! I didn’t even know Horizon Organic MADE Mac and Cheese, but I was more than happy to set Kainoa up with an quick and easy recipe even he could handle.

And as you can see, he was pretty thrilled about making mac and cheese too:


(video here)

Awesome to see that it’s a winner with my crew and I’m excited to check out these other new Horizon products. No doubt my kids will gobble up these snacks and I’ve actually used the Classic Mac cups in their lunches. It stays warm in a thermos and has become a top lunch request!:

Horizon Organic Snacks

Follow Horizon Organic on Facebook and Twitter for their latest and greatest when it comes to delicious snacks and easy recipes!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Horizon Organic 2015 Social Content. The opinions and text are all mine.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Horizon Organics. The opinions and text are all mine.

I And Love And You…And I Do #Furreal

i and love and you logo

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post for “I and love and you” Total Pet Care.

I got the opportunity to try the most wonderful looking dog food of all time. Not me personally, I mean I didn’t physically eat it…but I was really looking forward to having my dogs taste test I And Love And You!

i and love and you jack

I think it’s wonderful because:

    • The Name!

I love that the name of this dog food is a step off the beaten path. Our pets really ARE loved so much and call me a sucker for clever marketing, but it really drew me in based on the name and packaging alone.

    • Grain Free

Our dogs have allergies and we haven’t been able to pinpoint what is causing them to itch and scratch around the clock. I’ve mentioned before how this is driving me crazy. Our vet recommended a grain free diet for them so obviously this was perfect for us!

i and love and you sandy

  • Heart Shaped With A High Protein Punch

The kibbles are heart shaped and again, I’m a sucker for visual appeal. But these heart shaped bits pack a punch and include prebiotics, probiotics and enzymes for digestive support. I think all food should be heart shaped.

  • It’s Accessible!

I And Love And You is new, but already available in Koger stores in addition to their other retailers. I love that our grocery store now supplies high quality pet food. Check for locations near you.

i and love and you groceries

Want some?

I And Love And You is generously supplying one of my readers with a gift basket filled with approximately $100 worth of “I and love and you” products.

Leave a comment letting me know you’d like to be entered into the giveaway, a winner will be chosen at random, and some lucky pup will receive a really great package!

Find I And Love And You on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and download $3 off coupon here!

Take a look at what my dogs thought of their initial taste test:


(video here)

Looking forward to sending one of you dog lovers that awesome gift package! Comment below!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post for “I and love and you” Total Pet Care.

Wake Up And Live With Marley Coffee #StirItUP

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I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to host some local bloggers at my house this past weekend to taste Marley Coffee because Seattle bloggers + Coffee + Reggae Music = yes please.

There are a few really awesome things about this coffee that I think are amazing, aside from the great taste:

1. Founded by Rohan Marley.

I’m kind of a sucker for Bob Marley’s music, so it was really cool to learn that his son, Rohan Marley, is choosing to keep his legacy alive by aligning himself with things that were important to his Dad. Bob Marley had dreamed of returning to farming one day and that dream was honored when Rohan purchased a coffee farm in the Jamaica Blue Mountains in part to help support farmers and the economy of rural Jamaica.

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2. Marley Coffee Gives Back

I’m also a sucker for companies that have a mind for the greater good and use their platform to give back. Every single serve capsule of Marley Coffee purchased gives back (.01 cents) to the Waterwise Project, an initiative to help clean the river in Sidamo region and improve lives and communities in Ethiopia where Marley Coffee sources beans.

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3. Marley Coffee Making The Eco-Friendly Transition

AND they care about the environment? This one is a big deal because with the introduction of pods and keurigs came this crazy increase in waste. Over 10 billion capsules are consumed and go into landfills annually in North America alone! That’s enough waste to circle the earth over 12 times. Each year. Marley Coffee will transition all existing K-cup compatible products to the EcoCup Capsule in Summer 2015 and will be one of the first brands to market with an easy to use recyclable single serve solution.

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4. Buying Marley Coffee

I’m happy to share this $2 off coupon if you’re interested in trying Marley Coffee. A complete list of retailers who sell this coffee can be found here and you can order it at Amazon.com as well.

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Grab a box and invite me over to stir it up with you, because I am always game for a coffee break!

A video posted by Kat Bouska (@mamakatslosinit) on

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Marley Coffee. The opinions and text are all mine.