Monday, December 30, 2013

Whole Foods Market to Ring in the New Year!

ABCD Diaries was given samples for review purposes only. We were in no other way compensated. The opinions expressed in this post are ours and ours alone.

I love knowing I am giving my family wholesome food from brands I can trust that everyone actually enjoys eating.  Whole Foods Market is my go-to grocery store for healthy, natural and organic products.  They offer a huge variety of foods that are delicious and won't breeak the bank.  We are part of the Whole Foods Market ambassador program and the kind folks from WFM recently sent us a box full of goodies that we'd love to tell you about today.

First up was the Maisie Jane's "Save Our Bees" Almond Butter.  This creamy almond butter was a huge hit!  It is a great switch from our usual peanut butter.  

We also tried Lily's Sweets Fair Trade Stevia-Sweetened dark chocolates and Alter Eco Organic Fair Trade milk chocolate truffles.  Both of these treats were gone in a flash, the sure sign everybody likes them:)  The truffles were so creamy and the dark chocolate was the perfect treat for relaxing.  

We tried out a carton of Saffron Road Classic Culinary Lamb Broth, which was something none of us had ever tried before.  It was rich and smooth and a great base for soup...definitely something we'd use again.  

The Harmless Harvest Raw Teas were so refreshing and thirst-quenching.  

Our favorite items from this round up of goodies were the Suja elements Cold-Pressure Pasteurized Juices.  They were great-tasting and so fresh!  We tried a couple of different flavors, but our favorite was the Green Charge...YUMMO!  

Whole Foods Market never disappoints:)  Stop by your nearest Whole Foods Market to see what deliciousness you can discover today!

"Here Come the Octonauts" DVD Review and Giveaway

ABCD Diaries was given samples for review purposes only. We were in no other way compensated. The opinions expressed in this post are ours and ours alone.
"In Here Come the Octonauts, Captain Barnacles must figure out how to free an old friend who is trapped beneath the ice; Kwazii tries to rescue a reef full of creatures before an undersea storm strikes; and Peso must help a school of frightened fish who have invaded the Octopod!

Based on the books of the same name by Vicki Wong and Michael Murphy, who write under the name Meomi, Octonautsis broadcast weekday mornings on Disney Channel’s Disney Junior block. The Octonauts received a BAFTA nomination for Best Animated Preschool Show in 2011 and 2013; and in October 2012 was nominated for an International EMMY Award.

And watch out in 2014 for some great new Octonauts events—the Octonauts have recently partnered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to work jointly to raise awareness of ocean exploration and science and advance NOAA’s mission!  The partnership, which extends learning beyond the screen, includes plans for events at aquariums nationwide and joint development of educational materials!

And now for some fun and FREE Octonauts activities to enjoy with your child!

Color and collect all of the Octonauts Octo-Crew Cards at, such as this one featuring Captain Barnacles Bear:

Decorate your own Kelp Cake, navigate a maze, play hide and seek and enjoy more coloring activities and “look and find” games at

And you’ll find more Octonauts activities and more from NCircle Entertainment  here."

What we thought:  Both kiddos are big fans of Octonauts, so they were very exicted about this review.  Some of their favorite Octonauts episodes are included on this DVD and they really enjoyed watching them.  I love that the Octonauts get the kiddos interested in learning about sea life in a fun way that really keeps them engaged.  ABCD Diaries gives "Here Come the Octonauts" an A+!

Keep up with the latest NCircle Entertainment news by following the NCircle Entertainment Facebook page

Enter below to win a copy of "Here Come the Octonauts"!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Gourmet Nut Snacks and Sea Salts!

ABCD Diaries was given samples for review purposes only. We were in no other way compensated. The opinions expressed in this post are ours and ours alone.

"Snacks have come to occupy an important place in our daily routines—for many people, they’re as important as “three square meals” a day. Delicious taste is the first thing people look for in a snack, but 65% of people who nosh also say they are most interested in healthy snacks[i]. Gourmet Nut has combined great flavor and healthy ingredients in a line of Gourmet On the Go snack mixes, which are full of protein-containing nuts and antioxidant-packed, fiber-filled dried fruits.

Whether it’s throwing a 2.25 oz. Power Up bag in a gym bag or keeping a resealable 8 oz. bag in the car or desk drawer, Gourmet Nut snacks can help stave off the vending machine or drive through window. Eat them alone or toss them into yogurt, oatmeal, or salads."

Snack Type
Ingredients & Features

Body Boosting Antioxidant Mix
Select blend of:
·         Pecans, the nuts with the most antioxidants
·         Cranberries, which have active compounds that may help maintain urinary tract health
·         Walnuts, raisins, blueberries, dark chocolate

·         Gluten-free, all natural
·         Comes in three sizes: resealable 6 oz. and 14 oz. bags and 2.25 oz. Power Up bag

Feel Good Mix
Select blend of:
·         Peanuts, which are filled with fiber and protein that may help you feel full longer
·         Apricots, which provide vitamin A, a nutrient that promotes proper immune function and is critical for eye health
·         Almonds, granola, raisins, cranberries

·         Gluten-free, cholesterol free, four grams of filling fiber per serving
·         Comes in two sizes: resealable 8 oz. bag and 2.25 oz. Power Up bag

Almond Cranberry Crunch
Select blend of:
·         Almonds, which may help reduce hunger
·         Cranberries, which contain flavonoids linked to heart health
·         Peanuts, raisins

·         All natural, cholesterol free, Trans fat free, has four grams of protein and fiber per serving
·         Comes in two sizes: resealable 8 oz. bag and 2.25 oz. and 14 oz. Power Up bags

Energize Me Protein Mix
Select blend of:
·         Almonds, a natural source of plant-based protein
·         Cashews, which provide more than five grams of protein per ounce
·         Raisins, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, cherries

·         Gluten-free, vegan, All natural
·         Comes in a resealable 8oz. bag and 2.25 oz. and 14 oz. Power Up bags

Soy Nut Health Mix
Select blend of:
·         Soy nuts, a protein powerhouse with nine grams of protein in just ¼ cup
·         Pumpkin seeds, considered an excellent source of magnesium that helps the body use energy
·         Cranberries, raisins, almonds

·         Gluten-free, vegan, cholesterol free
·         Comes in a resealable 8oz. bag

Mega Omega Mix
Select blend of:
·         Almonds, a source of polyunsaturated fats that may help lower cholesterol levels
·         Cashews, which provide monounsaturated fats that may promote heart health when used in place of saturated fat in the diet
·         Cranberries, dried mango, pumpkin seeds

·         Gluten-free, vegan
·         Comes in a resealable 8oz. bag and 2.25 oz. and 14 oz. Power Up bags

High Energy Mix
Select blend of:
·         Cashews, which contain magnesium, an important mineral for helping the body use energy
·         Raisins, a source of fiber that promotes a healthy digestive system
·         Pineapple, banana chips, apricots, brazil nuts, walnuts, papaya

·         Gluten-free, cholesterol-free, trans Fat-free 
·         Comes in a resealable 8oz. bag

Nature’s Mix
Select blend of:
·         Cranberries, which contain natural compounds that promote a healthy heart
·         Almonds, a source of vitamin E, known for its antioxidant activities
·         Peanuts, pineapple, raisins, papaya, cashews

·         Gluten-free, vegan, all natural
·         Comes in a resealable 8oz. bag  and 2.25 oz. Power Up bag

Where to Buy:, select Burlington Coat Factory, Homegoods, Marshalls, and Ross and TJ Maxx stores nationwide
SRP:               $3.99 - $4.99 for a 6 - 8 oz. bag
$1.50 for a Power Up 2.25 oz. snack bag
$7.99 - $8.99 for a 14 oz. bag

Visit for more information.

"In the kitchen or next to the grill, Gourmet Nut Sea Salts make a great addition to any food lover’s home. Whether cooking with the stark white Sonoma Gourmet Sea Salt, the pitch black Hiwa Kai Hawaiian Sea Salt or any color in between, there is a Gourmet Nut Sea Salt to complement to every meal. These salts pair well with special occasion dishes, but they’re priced for everyday use next to the stove or on the dining room table."

Suggested Uses
Himalayan Pink Salt
·         Pure, hand-mined salt found deep inside the Himalayan Mountains
·         Recognized for its pink color, due to its mineral content
Use for:
·         Cooking, grilling, roasting, presentation

Adds great flavor to:
·         Chicken, fish, soups, stews, brines
·         3.75 oz. salt grinder
5 oz. salt jars
·         8 oz. salt grinder refill bag
·         13 oz. salt grinder

Northwest Alderwood Smoked Sea Salt
·         Slow smoked over real Alderwood, creating an authentic, clean smoke flavor and aroma reminiscent of a camp fire
Use for:
·         Cooking, grilling, roasting, finishing

Adds great flavor to:
·         Pasta, red meat, salmon, chicken, tomatoes
·         3.5 oz. salt grinder
·         5 oz. salt jars
·         8 oz. salt grinder refill bag
·         13 oz. salt grinder

Sel Gris French Sea Salt
·         A gourmet French sea salt with a grey hue that comes from its mineral content
·         Soft, moist crystals dissolve quickly and evenly, making it a favorite among chefs
Use for:
·         Cooking, grilling, baking, presentation

Adds great flavor to:
·         Soups, sauces, breads

·         3.5 oz. salt grinder
Alaea Hawaiian Sea Salt
·         Reddish Hawaiian clay (Alaea), contains Iron-Oxide, creates the reddish brown color
·         Minimally-processed and contains minerals
·         Also seals in moisture while roasting
Use for:
·         Cooking, roasting, garnishing

Adds great flavor to:
·         Red meat, pork, potatoes

·         3.75 oz. salt grinder
·         5 oz. salt jars
·         8 oz. salt grinder refill bag
·         13 oz. salt grinder

Hiwa Kai Hawaiian Sea Salt
·         Solar evaporated Pacific sea salt combined with activated charcoal creates a unique flavor and beautiful color
·         Lends an earthy flavor to foods
Use for:
·         Cooking, grilling, seasoning, roasting

Adds great flavor to:
·         Poultry, salads, seafood
·         3.5 oz. salt grinder
·         5 oz. salt jars
·         8 oz. salt grinder refill bag
·         13 oz. salt grinder

Sonoma Gourmet Sea Salt
·         Solar evaporated from the Pacific Ocean
·         Pure, unadulterated sea salt
Use for:
·         Cooking, grilling, roasting, baking

Adds great flavor to:
·         A versatile, full-flavor salt that adds clean flavor to any food

·         3.5 oz. salt grinder
·         5 oz. salt jars
·         8 oz. salt grinder refill bag
·         13 oz. salt grinder

Where to Buy:, select Burlington Coat Factory, Homegoods, Marshalls, Ross and TJ Maxx stores nationwide

SRP:               $3.99 - $5.99 for 3.5-3.75 oz. salt grinders
$3.99 - $5.99 for 5 oz. salt jars
$3.99 - $4.99 for 8 oz. salt grinder refill bags
$6.99 - $7.99 for 13 oz. salt grinders  

Visit for more information.

What we thought:  We tried a variety of snack mixes and salts from Gourmet Nut and were impressed with every single item.  We loved the fantastic blends of the snack mixes, especially the Body Boosting Antioxidant Mix.  It was filled with big pieces of fruit, whole nuts and chunks of dark chocolate.  These snacks are a healthier alternative than other snack mixes we've tried and the are great for on-the-go snacking!

The selection gourmet sea salts we tried was absolutely amazing!  They were beautiful too:)  These salts come in a variety of pretty colors and have very descriptive labels which include what makes each salt so special and the best ways to use them.  I was particularly impressed with the Sel Gris French Salt since it could be used in baking.  I usually use iodized salt for baking and love having a healthier option that actually works well for baked goods.  The Northwoods Alderwood Smoked Sea Salt and the Alaea Hawaiian Sea Salt were fantastic for grilling.

We will definitely be using Gourmet Nut for our snack mix and sea salt purchases in the future because of their large variety of high quality products at affordable prices!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Angry Birds GO! JENGA Pirate Attack Game + Giveaway!

ABCD Diaries was given samples for review purposes only. We were in no other way compensated. The opinions expressed in this post are ours and ours alone.

Today, we are bringing you a great gift idea for the little ones on your list: Angry Birds GO! JENGA Pirate Attack Game

(Age: 8+; Players: 1-2; Approximate Retail Price: $29.99, Available: Now)
Set sail as you battle pirate pigs in the new ANGRY BIRDS GO! JENGA PIRATE PIG ATTACK GAME. Race head to head against your rival to destroy the pirate ship! Slingshot your kart down the slope to capture the victory flag and take down the pirate pigs. Players can also unlock ANGRY BIRDS GO! in-app content with a special code in each pack.

What we thought:  If you have a young Angry Birds lover on your gift list (as so many of us do:) this game is a fantastic gift idea!  My kiddos really enjoy playing this game over and over.  It is easy to set up and fast paced.  I love it when a game can hold my kiddo's attention for longer than one sitting!  What a wonderful addition to the Hasbro Angry Birds line up!  ABCD Diaries gives Angry Birds GO! JENGA Pirate Pig Attack game an A+!

Thanks to Hasbro, you can enter to win yours below:

Holiday Gift Guide: Tastykake Holiday Treats!

ABCD Diaries was given samples for review purposes only. We were in no other way compensated. The opinions expressed in this post are ours and ours alone.

Looking for a yummy, fun holiday treat for stuffing those stockings?  Look no further...Tastykake has got you covered!!

"Tastykake is currently offering some delicious, seasonal sweet treats sure to get everyone on your shopping list into the holiday spirit. These are perfect stocking stuffer items and make  great additions to a gift basket of holiday goodies. 

Candy Cane Cakes
Tastykake's Candy Cane Kakes provide sweet lovers with a fun and delicious combination of layered white cake with red peppermint creme' and a white peppermint flavored coating with a decorative red drizzle. These festive cakes not only taste great, they are a perfect way to show-off traditional candy cane colors during the holidays. 
Coconut Frosty Cakes
Featuring a dark chocolate covered coconut candy kake, Tastykake's Coconut Frosty Kakes are the perfect treat for chocolate lovers.
Santa Snacks
Tastykake Santa Snacks include tasty creme-filled vanilla cake with holiday icing and festive sprinkles."

What we thought:  Talk about some happy kiddos!  We really enjoyed our review of Tastykake's holiday treats. The cakes were so moist and tasted super fresh.  These little goodies are full of flavor and so cute!  They would be perfect for stockings, holiday parties or leaving out as a special treat for Santa:)  ABCD Diaries gives Tastykake's holiday treats an A+!

 Tastykakes are now available throughout the East Coast, Southeast, and Southwest.  Visit Tastykake to find a retailer near you!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide: Book Lovers Round-Up #3

ABCD Diaries was given samples for review purposes only. We were in no other way compensated. The opinions expressed in this post are ours and ours alone.

It's that time of year again!  Time to start making those holiday gift lists.  Here at ABCD Diaries we'd like to make that process a little less painful:)  We will bringing you our annual Holiday Gift Guide in which we hand pick the coolest gifts for the whole family and everyone else on that gift list this year.  From now until mid-December we will be highlighting these wonderful gifts.

Today, we are bringing you another round-up of great books for the book-lovers on your list!

"Saying grace is one of our loveliest traditions and one that has stood the test of time for a good reason -it simply feels wonderful. Whether you hold hands and pray to the heavens above or wax poetic about the bounty of food, these blessings turn any group of people into a family, connected by the power of gratitude. Compiled by the editor of and collaborator on the runaway bestseller Attitudes of Gratitude, Brenda Knight has employed the practice of gratitude for years. Grateful Table is not your grandmother's book of graces - but she would like it too! Filled with fresh voices and contemporary expressions of thankfulness in a gorgeously giftable hardcover, this book of blessings will make every occasion more meaningful.

Brenda Knight is a publisher and editor who writes about women's history and issues affecting women's lives today. The author of Sheroes, The Poetry Oracle, Wild Women and Books, and the American Book Award-winning Women of the Beat Generation, Brenda also does volunteer work with women newly diagnosed with breast cancer. Brenda believes everyone does have the inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness and lives in one of the happiest places on earth, the San Francisco Bay Area."

"There is a quiet revolution going on, wherein people are choosing to “live the handmade life.” As our world has become increasingly dependent on technology, artisans and everyday crafters are finding a renewed satisfaction in making something with their own hands. Leagues of people are also finding physical and mental health benefits in handwork, framing it as a spiritual practice. Rev. Maggie Oman Shannon illustrates that you can literally "craft the crazy away" through beading and crocheting, candle-making, and collaging. In Crafting Calm: Projects and Practices for Creativity and Contemplation, a D.I.Y. guide to peace of mind, Maggie explores crafts and creativity as a spiritual practice providing enormous benefits. She takes a rich “potpourri approach” that weaves together interviews, historical facts, "Soul Craft" projects for readers, quotations, and suggested resources.

Rev. Maggie Oman Shannon, M.A., is an interfaith minister, spiritual director, workshop and retreat facilitator, and author of five books, including Prayers for Healing and A String and a Prayer: How to Make and Use Prayer Beads. In 2000, Maggie Oman Shannon founded The New Story, a coaching and consulting business focused on helping people create deeper meaning in their lives. Shannon currently has the honor of serving as Spiritual Director of Unity Spiritual Center of San Francisco."

"Contagious Optimism is an uplifting book that includes stories and parables of amazing life turnarounds. A compendium of encouragement, this book includes advice and guidance from business leaders, visionaries, and just plain folk. It shows readers that, despite personal hardship along with economic and political uncertainty worldwide, it’s possible to find silver linings. Contagious Optimism is pure inspiration that lifts hearts, opens minds, and creates a movement of pass-it-on hope and happiness. Stories from "contagious optimists" include: Ricky Wade, orphaned as a child in Jamaica, worked his way up from the grill to become a McDonalds executive; and Nancy Ferrari, the "Oprah of AM Radio," dedicated to giving all women tools and inspiration for success in work and life.

David Mezzapelle has been motivating others to be positive since his childhood. Throughout his life he has encountered great peaks and valleys, all of which he is thankful for. He has been a guest on various radio and TV programs, and he is also a frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal and various other publications around the globe."

"There is a way to take the good life and re-fashion it to fit in with life in the city! In Alys Fowler’s The Edible Garden: How to Have Your Garden and Eat It, Too, Fowler reveals how to abandon the limitations of traditional gardening methods and create a beautifully productive garden where tomatoes sit next to roses, carrots are women between lavender, and potatoes grow in pots. The Edible Garden is fills with tips, tricks, and recipes that are good for the pocket, beneficial to the environment, and rewarding to the soul.

Royal Horticultural Society trained Alys Fowler has made fast progress from her studies at The New Botanical Gardens and the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew to become the head gardener for Gardener’s World, an author and a TV presenter. She also hosts The Edible Garden on BBC 2 where she attempts to avoid shop bought fruit and vegetables and live off her own homegrown produce. Fowler is a gardener who loves food. She has an urban back garden with two chickens, lots of flowers, and plenty of vegetables. Fowler is the author of several books and writes a weekly column on gardening for the Guardian. She lives in London, England."

"To be a mother is to be a warrior, a constant supporter, a provider of shelter in and out of the womb. In an unspeakable vow to one’s child, a mother ensures a never-ending supply of guidance and love. An award-winning novelist and a mother herself, Kuwana reveals her personal journey with motherhood and combines these experiences with lessons meant to guide all mothers toward the path of acceptance, happiness, and appreciation for their children—and even themselves.  Throughout Everything I Needed to Know I Learned From my Six-Month-Old: Awakening to Unconditional Self-Love in Motherhood, a theme of spirituality takes hold of the reader as Kuwana’s prose reveals her search for inner-enlightenment, which she achieves through the role of motherhood and shares with readers that are sure to relate.

Kuwana Haulsey is the author of the critically acclaimed novels, Angel of Harlem and The Red Moon, which was a 2002 finalist for the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Legacy Award for Debut Fiction. Born and raised in New York City, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Rutgers University magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. Kuwana has led seminars for the PEN/Faulkner Foundation in Washington, D.C., and at Rutgers University. She’s taught writing at UCLA and Agape International and is also an actress currently living in North Hollywood where she co-teaches classes on spirituality with Reverend Michael Beckwith."

"After losing her dream home and all of her worldly possessions in a raging and sudden wildfire that killed three people and demolished 21 homes, Kristen Moeller dove headfirst into an exploration of our cultural discomfort with grief, the existence of God, finding humor in the midst of tragedy, and what it means to be a human being with all our fabulousness as well as frailties. Through the sharing of authentic personal stories and profound life lessons, Kristen Moeller explores our pervasive human tendency to wait for life and to look outside ourselves for answers in her new book What Are You Waiting For? Learn to Rise to the Occasion of Your Life. Kristen Moeller's mission in life is to inspire you to get on the path, move forward and take the shot.

Kristen Moeller, MS, is a coach, speaker, author, and radio show host. She delights in "disrupting the ordinary" and inspiring others to do the same. Kristen first discovered her passion for personal development in 1989 after recovering from an eating disorder and addiction. After years of struggling with low self-esteem, she realized that recovery and joy is possible. Determined to provide this for others, Kristen immersed herself in the field of personal growth, earning a master's degree in mental health counseling, volunteering and working in treatment centers while continuing to train and develop herself. Now, a highly popular radio personality, TED speaker and author, Kristen Moeller is an in-demand workshopper and visionary dedicated to providing people with the tools they need to find and live their passion. Moeller lives with her family in Colorado Springs, CO."