The Nestlé Cocoa Plan

nestle

Bring. On. The Chocolate.

For as much as I love to eat chocolate it’s interesting how little I actually know about it. I didn’t know cocoa beans grew in pods on trees. I didn’t know the demand for it has doubled in the past 20 years and I didn’t know that cocoa crops were depleting.

This Halloween I’m happy to help raise awareness about Nestle’s efforts to sustain cocoa crops by better supporting the communities and farmers who are growing them. The Nestlé Cocoa Plan started in 2009 with the intention of “improving the lives of cocoa farmers and the quality of their products”…to put it simply. This year alone Nestlé has provided cocoa farmers with a minimum of 1 million higher yielding trees. They’ve helped hundreds of children found working on cocoa farms and have set a goal to build 40 schools between 2012 and 2015 to help educate those kids.

You can help support these initiatives by purchasing products marked with one of the sustainable cocoa labels like you see here:

sustainable cocoa labels

Here are some brands doing their part to provide products that are made with sustainable cocoa:

• Nestlé CRUNCH
• Nestlé Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups
• Hershey’s Bliss
• Dagoba Organic
• Scharffen Berger
• DOVE Dark Chocolate

I’ll be handing out Nestle Crunch Bars to trick or treaters this year and those kids can rest assured the sustainable cocoa they’re eating is part of a much bigger plan.

Nestle Cocoa Plan Infographic

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

My First Mammogram

Breast Cancer Ribbon

Well I did it.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month Hanes has teamed up with the National Breast Cancer Foundation and I have successfully scheduled and completed my first mammogram appointment!

You know how in the old days housewives would bake beautiful pies and set them on the windowsill to cool?

This process was pretty much exactly like that! Except instead of pies on windowsills it’s actually your boob you’re putting on a tray and then imagine just sort of shutting the window on top of the boob a bit.

Not so much pressure that it’s painful, but just enough for them to get the job done. I would compare the discomfort level to those machines in the grocery store that you stick your arm in for a pulse and blood pressure reading. In fact, I’ll go ahead and take that a step further and say I think those arm machines squeeze tighter than a mammogram machine squeezes.

I was lucky enough to find a mobile bus location close by that was really convenient. It was like a rock star’s tour bus. It had all the bells and whistles of a real office, small office at the front of the bus for checking in and a little lobby area to wait in. The women who helped me were so lovely. After checking in I was escorted to a bathroom where I was asked to disrobe my top and put on a gown.

After that I entered the mammogram room and the equipment in there looked very similar to this:

Mammogram Machine

I let the technician know when I was ready, she got me situated, explained each step exactly, snapped a few x-rays and I was on my way! The whole thing from start to finish took about 20 minutes. Not bad at all. The women were really comfortable to be around and they didn’t give me any opportunity to feel uncomfortable because it was just business as usual for them.

And if you’re nervous about pressure or squeezing or pushing boobs onto trays attached to machines, I will add that ALL of that is a whole lot more comfortable than radiation, chemotherapy, and/or a mastectomy.

Definitely worth making the appointment and of course there are other ways to be proactive about early detection. Being aware of symptoms and signs, self-examinations, and clinical breast exams are all important as well!

I received my clean bill of health and it feels really good to have completed that. Now that I know what to expect I definitely won’t feel as anxious going into my second appointment when the time comes.

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

national breast cancer awareness2

Zoomer Dino Love

My kids have been begging for a Zoomer since they released the dogs last year, so I loved seeing their reactions when a brand new Zoomer Dino arrived in the mail for us to review.

I’ll be honest, I thought since it was the Zoomer dogs they were pining after they wouldn’t be as excited about Zoomer Dino, but I was wrong.

They love him.

His name is Boomer. His eyes turn blue when he’s sweet and happy and they turn red when he’s angry…which is helpful, because then they know when to RUN.

He came with a whole list of hand movements you can do in front of his face to get him to sit, speak, whip his tail. This dinosaur is better trained than both of our dogs and poops 100% less.

A video posted by Kat Bouska (@mamakatslosinit) on

It also comes with a remote control that can make him run, chomp, and get angry with a flick of a button.

He chases, he’s fast, he roars and he’s just unpredictable enough to send my kids squealing and giggling down the hall. They have been so preoccupied with training their new little pet that their cries to each have one of their own have only INCREASED.

I have a feeling these will be topping each of their Christmas lists.

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

Keep Your Marriage Spicy!

love

I wrote about wanting to see Sex Tape awhile back and I finally watched it. Good Lord, Cameron Diaz’s sex life before she got married and became a mom in this movie was extremely…busy.

When I was invited to share my own tips on how to keep your marriage spicy I definitely had a few things to add!

I made a “keeping marriage spicy” video and God bless Pat for being such a good sport. He rarely makes an appearance in my videos because…well because I don’t want him in them, but also because he’s a private man.

So when I was all, “Hey, will you PLEASE put these adult sized footie pajamas on for my video? I PROMISE they’ll only see you in them for like a SECOND…” and he said yes? I was astonished.

Consider it his gift to the Internet (that’s you!).

Check out my marriage tips over at SheKnows today!

Camping With Chevrolet #Chevy4G

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

I snuck away with my family on a camping trip this summer and it was awesome. We went fishing and bike riding, made s’mores and barbecued hotdogs.

One of the beautiful things about working online is that you have the luxury of setting yourself up to leave, as long as you complete your work ahead of time and have some sort of Internet connection to peek in on potential time sensitive emails. The last thing I want is to sabotage future jobs or be part of the bottleneck stopping other people from completing their jobs while they wait for a reply from me.

If I’m going away for an extended time (longer than a weekend), I’ll let people know I’m going to be gone and come up with a backup plan so they’re not waiting on me for anything. But in the case of this camping trip I thought I could sneak away and not tell anyone. I could check on my work first thing in the morning, maybe again midafternoon and one last time before bed. Surely I could complete any outstanding work from my phone while camping!

Except that my phone could not connect to anything at all.

When I learned that Chevrolet is the first automotive company to bring 4G LTE Wi-Fi into their cars, trucks and crossover vehicles I instantly began thinking of all the moments an Internet connection would have come in handy (obviously while parked) and that camping trip was the first on my list.

If I’d had the luxury of internet access from the comfort of our car I definitely feel like I could have relaxed a little more during our trip.

Apparently the 2015 Malibu and Impala (pictured below) are available with built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi and can connect up to seven devices. The other 2015 models pictured will be equipped with Wi-Fi soon!

I’ll take one of each!

Chevrolet is merging the physical freedom of the car with the virtual freedom of Wi-Fi to become the first and only car company to bring built in 4G LTE Wi-Fi to the largest vehicle line-up. Visit http://s.chevy.com/TBX to learn more.

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

We Don’t Like Bugs

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of K9 Advantix® II. The opinions and text are all mine.

We fostered rescue dogs for two years before we decided to take the plunge and adopt one. I wanted to make sure my kids could be gentle with an animal in the house and I wanted to slowly warm my husband up to the a life long friend.

When we got Jack it was completely on my husband’s terms. He had a specific “type” of dog in mind and I hunted one down that fit his checklist.

Small? Check.

Non shedding? Check.

Family friendly and smart? Check check!

Jack is a shih-tzu mix and was such an amazing fit for us that two years later we found him a girlfriend to match. As pack leader, I take on the duties of chasing the dogs down the street when they slip out the front door.

As assistant pack leader my husband takes care of everything else. He is hyper aware of excessive itching, allergies, and God forbid he see a flea on one of those animals…he starts attacking every freckle he finds on every human in our house.

We don’t like bugs on our animals. Ever.

And I don’t like chasing them home from the neighbors house, but I don’t think there is a solution for that yet. In the mean time, Bayer K9 Advantix® II is exactly what we need to keep my husband from attacking freckles on the rest of us. Once we protect our dogs with Bayer’s repellent he can rest assured there are no ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes around to be concerned with and we will all be happy!

The bond between you and your dog is a special one, and you’ll go to great lengths to keep your furry family member safe and healthy. K9 Advantix® II is a once-a-month topical application for dogs and puppies that REPELS and kills ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes. Visit http://petparents.com/products to learn more.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of K9 Advantix® II. The opinions and text are all mine.

4 Successful Summer Morning Habits

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

I’ve been enjoying summer time with my kids this year. They’re definitely becoming little self managers as they get older, but here are 4 successful summer morning habits I try to encourage them to follow to make sure things run smoothly around here!

1. Sleep In

THEY’RE SLEEPING IN!! Every morning I let this little nugget of goodness seep into my consciousness. They’re. sleeping. in. I’ve always been a huge advocate of lots of sleep…not just because the house is a million times quieter and they look so cute, but because so much growing occurs during sleep. It’s taken seven years, but they’re finally allowing themselves to rest.

2. Get Creative

My kids are pretty good about balancing TV/tech time with creative play, but sometimes need a little creative encouragement to put the gadgets down. There is a golden hour every morning when they ignore me completely and play on their own.

3. Get Outside

I feel guilty if my kids are inside all day so if I’ve finished working and can see they’re starting to climb the walls, we leave. Sometimes it’s the library, sometimes it’s a water park or zoo, sometimes it’s the grocery store, and sometimes it’s bike riding with friends…but I need to get those legs outside! And probably mine too.

4. Eat!

It starts in the morning, but all day long “I’m hungry” is the number one complaint here so I nip it from the start by prepping platters of food at a time and we have an open smoothie policy. Add any fruit/veggie of your liking to any healthy drink of your liking and BAM…make your own smoothie. Under my supervision of course, because they’ll destroy my kitchen making the simplest of concoctions if left to their own devices.

For this smoothie Maile is using the new Silk Protein + Fiber Almond Blend. I love that they can excitedly put a drink together using so many healthy ingredients. It sure makes morning meal planning a whole a lot easier!

Visit Silk on Facebook to get your Silk product coupon.

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