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Welcome to Grandma's Back Room

Grandma's Back Room is where you'll find all kinds of fun stuff, including GIVEAWAYS, REVIEWS, SPONSORED POSTS and more!

So go ahead: Enter the giveaways, read the reviews, peruse the sponsored posts. And be sure to take a moment to visit the websites of the kind folks who have provided the goodies of which I write about, give away or plug.

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    Wacky Apple: Organic apple products for kids... and grownups (Review)

    Kids love applesauce. Even my picky grandsons love applesauce.

    So when I recently received an email offering me the opportunity to try out Wacky Apple apple products — made right here in my home state of Colorado — I thought, Heck, yeah! My grandsons will love them.

    When I received the package of goodies of Wacky Apple products, I thought, Heck, yeah! My grandsons are going to love these.


    Then I tried one of the Flat Fruit products, a yummy fruit leather, and I loved it. So I shared one with my husband. Then one with my oldest daughter, who just so happened to be visiting. They loved them, too.

    The next morning, I had the Wacky Apple Cinnamon Applesauce... and then I gave in. Forget the grandsons, I thought, these are delicious and perfect for grownups. The kids will never know.

    So, my husband and I ate all the Wacky Apple products — the applesauces, juices, flat fruits — without sharing with my grandsons.

    We loved them all. My favorite? The Wild Berry Applesauce. My least favorite — which surprised me because I'm a huge mango fan — was the Mango Applesauce (the flavor was more apple than mango, but still good).

    The very last one I tried was the regular applesauce, which I used in the following recipe — perfect for grownups and kids — from the Wacky Apple folks:

    Applesauce Cake in a Cup
    1 tablespoon butter
    2 tablespoon sugar
    2 tablespoon Wacky Apple Cinnamon Applesauce
    1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
    2 drops pure vanilla extract
    1/4 cup flour
    1/8 teaspoon baking powder
    pinch of sea salt
    Chopped fresh apple chunks

    Soften butter in microwave until soft, but not melted (about 10 seconds). Stir in sugar and mix well. Stir in Applesauce, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla extract until incorporated. Now stir in the flour, baking powder, salt and apples. Mix until combined and smooth out top of batter in cup. Sprinkle your favorite granola on top, for an easy and delicious crumb topping. Pop it in the microwave for 50 – 80 seconds. Every microwave is different and weather conditions will also effect cook time. After 50 seconds, proceed at 10-second intervals. Enjoy warm, right out of the microwave. (Be careful not to microwave too long; they can get rubbery.)

    Use basic recipe for an easy platform to add nutrients. Try adding flax seed, chia seeds, cranberries, walnuts, granola, or chocolate chips! These make a great way to hide delicious nutrients in a “cake form.”


    Wacky Apple is a family owned and operated local Colorado brand, from the town of Hotchkiss on the Western Slope, dedicated to organic farming and producing delicious applesauces, fruit juices and fruit snacks. Wacky Apple products are made from naturally sweet organic apples, free of pesticides, contain no added water, no artificial colors, no preservatives and no added sugar. They’re gluten free, vegan and contain no GMOs. 

    Wacky Apple products are available in all Colorado Whole Foods, Sprouts, King Soopers + City Markets. For more info, visit the Wacky Apple website or follow Wacky Apple on Facebook and Twitter.

    Disclosure: I received the product free for review. All anecdotes and opinions are my own.


    'Power Rangers Super Samurai: A Christmas Wish' now on DVD

    If you have a Power Ranger fan at your house, here's the DVD for him or her: Power Rangers Super Samurai: A Christmas Wish.

    My daughters never watched Power Rangers when they were kids a decade or so ago. I hear the colorful team of Rangers is super popular again, though (perhaps always have been) so I appreciated the opportunity to receive a copy of A Christmas Wish free for review to share with readers — and to see if my grandsons would enjoy it.

    From left to right: The Pink Ranger ("Mia," far left), the Green Ranger ("Mike," left), the Red Ranger ("Jayden," center), the Blue Ranger ("Kevin," right) and the Yellow Ranger ("Emily," far right) star in Lionsgate Home Entertainment's POWER RANGERS SUPER SAMURAI: A CHRISTMAS WISH.

    As my grandsons are just 5 and 2, I think this flick is a bit too old for them, a bit too, well, powerful in terms of the playful yet violent — though, yes, unrealistic; it is fantasy — action. That said, though, I've no doubt kids in the age 8 and up range will enjoy it.

    The Power Rangers Super Samurai: A Christmas Wish synopsis, from Lionsgate:

    The Samurai Rangers are stuck in Megazord's cockpit when it breaks down after battling a Nighlok on Christmas Eve. By using their smarts, determination and teamwork, will the Rangers make it out in time to celebrate Christmas?

    Take a look:


    Power Rangers Super Samurai: A Christmas Wish (66 minutes — Not rated) released on DVD Oct. 8, 2013 at a suggested retail price of $14.98.

    Super Samurai Stuck on Christmas
    Mighty Morphin Forever Friends
    Mighty Morphin Alpha’s Magical Christmas

    Bonus Features
    “Mega Bloks Holiday Toymation” video

    Disclosure: I received this product free for review as part of the Entertainment New Media Network. Opinions are my own.


    MedCenter Low Profile Pill System (Review)

    My husband, for a variety of reasons, must take a lot of pills. It's something neither one of us are thrilled about, but it sure came in handy for my review of the MedCenter Low Profile Pill System.

    The uber pill organizer is perfect for folks who take a lot of pills — as well as those who simply forget to take their few pills — so my hubby was the perfect candidate for trying out this product.

    The MedCenter Low Profile Pill System ($69.95 with the clock; $34.95 without clock) is far more than just a typical pill box (like the one my husband has carried around in his pocket for years).

    Features include:

    • Tri-date verification: Matching the visual dates on pill boxes and clock with audible alerts assures accuracy

    • Talking alarm that alerts users when it's time to take medication

    • Allows for setting up to four daily alerts to alert you when your medication is due

    • Two settings, loud and extra loud, ensure the alarm is heard by even those with hearing issues

    • Red and green color coding make it simple to see when daily dose is complete 

    The system, ideally, can be set up a month at a time, with the pill user taking the daily pill box along when leaving home or letting it sit in the proper place on the system.

    The maker recommends the following steps for the MedCenter Low Profile Pill System:

    1. Load the entire month's meds into the (31) Daily Pill Boxes and place them into the Organizer with their Green ends up, showing they are full.
    2. Set up to 4 Daily Alarms to alert you when your medication is due.
    3. At the beginning of the day, take the correct Pill Box out of the stand and place it into the "Today's Pills" tray on the front of the Organizer Stand.
    4. A repeating friendly reminder notifies you of the time, the date and which daily dose to take. "Good morning! Please take your morning pills for the 20th."
    5. Press the red “Alarm Acknowledged" button to confirm compliance and the MedCenter Talking Alarm Clock tells you when the next daily dose is due.
    6. At the end of the day, return the Pill Box to the stand with the Red end up to show the day's pills have been taken.
    7. Press the green "Talk / Time" button at any time for an audible notification of the current time and date.
    8. Press the blue "Alarm Check" button at any time for an audible notification of the upcoming alarms.

    The Pill System has been great for my husband, who often forgot to take his pills simply because he got busy and taking meds would slip his mind. I imagine it would be a lifesaver — literally — for some folks, especially seniors living alone who could use regular reminders to ensure they are taking their medications as prescribed. A caretaker could fill the MedCenter Low Profile Pill System once a month and feel secure that their loved one has regular reminders and pills set out exactly as they need to be taken.

    One of my concerns with the MedCenter Low Profile Pill System was that it wouldn't be all that low profile. It actually fits quite well on our bathroom counter, though, no problem at all.


    My husband isn't a senior by any means, and I certainly have no hand in managing his medication, but I must admit it makes me feel better knowing he's now taking the necessary pills as recommended. (Yes, the daily pill box above is upside down in the photo above but that's my fault for placing it incorrectly for the photo and not noticing. My husband does take his pills correctly now, I promise.)

    For more information on the MedCenter Low Profile Pill System — plus many other useful products of a similar sort — visit the MedCenter website.

    Disclosure: I received this product free for review. Opinions and anecdotes are my own.


    Hot Wheels Car Maker: Giving it a spin, Part I (Review)

    Some things simply take time, some things take doing twice in order to get it right.

    Such is the case with my review of the Hot Wheels Car Maker I recently received free for review. See, the Car Maker is intended for ages 8+. My grandson reviewers are a few years away from the 8+ mark... and they're 815 miles away from me until later this month.

    With that in mind — and a husband who is over the 8+ mark and ready and available for reviewing any time I need him — I decided to make this a two-part review. This is Part I, in which the resident grandpa tries out the Hot Wheels Car Maker so the resident grandma (that would be me), has seen how it works before making wheels with the wee ones I'll be visiting soon.

    Let Part I commence!

    The Hot Wheels Car Maker is a nifty-as-can-be kit that includes all that's needed to create 10 custom Hot Wheels Cars.

    Now, let me first say that I was a tad wary of a kit for making vehicles due to an unfortunate toy designing kit I received as a child. When I was 7 or 8 years old, I received for Christmas a nifty-as-can-be kit for making miniature bendable dolls that once made and cooled, could be adorned with cute little stickers. (Which is much like the Hot Wheels Car Maker seemed to me at first glance.)

    The unfortunate thing with my bendable dolls kit was that the dolls never fully formed. Never. Not a single one. I carefully read the directions, followed step by step, but every single doll came out lacking a full body.

    It wasn't until years later — years, as in when I was a mom making toys with my daughters — that I realized when carefully following the directions for that long-ago doll maker, I was reading the directions incorrectly. Upon seeing the warning "Do not use internally" on the clay mixture, I (now remember, I was quite young) confused the word internally with the word entirely. So I never used the recommended amount entirely, never added all the clay mixture I was supposed to. Thus never ending up with a fully formed doll.

    Fortunately, it's not hard to figure out how much product to insert into the Hot Wheels Car Maker to end up with fully formed cars, thanks to the colorful wax sticks that amount to, for the most part, one stick per vehicle. So I set about the first part of my review of the Hot Wheels Car Maker, with my husband going through motions, knowing darn well the end result would surely be fully formed cars.

    Here's all you do, from start to finish, to create your own awesome Hot Wheels cars, ready for racing, with the Hot Wheels Car Maker:

    Add a wax stick...

    Insert car or truck mold into the chamber...

    Once the mold is in place, you shut the door to begin the heating cycle as well as some cool sound effects that let you know all is working and running. After 5-7 minutes (took us 6 minutes), you'll hear "Heating complete."

    Then the fun begins. You slowly pull down the handle until hearing the word "Complete." This spurts the wax into the mold (safe inside the chamber, so no mess!)...

    After 8-10 minutes (was 9 minutes for us) and lots of magical sounding effects and blinking lights here and there, the Hot Wheels Car Maker announces "Cooling complete. Car ready"...

    So the door is opened, the mold removed...


    And the excess wax removed from the mold using the handy multi-use gadget included in the kit...

    Using a different side of the same tool, the car is then released from the mold...


    The car body is placed upon a chassis...

    And the car is complete!

    At this point, stickers could then be added. My husband and I decided to leave the sticker sticking for my grandsons, as the boys are sticker happy and stickers on Hot Wheels are a match made in heaven, as far as they're concerned.

    So my husband begged me to please decided to make another one, this time with the truck mold...

    Two super Hot Wheels vehicles from the Hot Wheels Car Maker, ready and awaiting stickers to be applied by my grandsons and featured in Part II of my Hot Wheels Car Maker review...

    My thoughts on the Hot Wheels Car Maker:

    • The Hot Wheels Car Maker obviously uses electricity and it heats up. Which makes the 8+ age recommendation make sense.
    • Everything went exactly as the directions said they would... except the following bullet point.
    • I was under the impression that there'd be one car from one wax stick. So the combined sticks that made up the second vehicle my husband and I made threw me a bit. What if a child wants exactly the color he or she put into the maker? I'm not sure how that would work once there's wax in the chamber. My husband assured me that's not a problem because the combined colors are incredibly cool and why in the world would you not want that? I'm deferring to his boyish reasoning as he should know. (Though I still think it'd be cool to have just one solid-colored sky-blue car coming off the line.)
    • Kids age 8+ might be just fine with the 5-7 minute heating period as well as the 8-10 minute cooling period, but I know darn well my grandsons will be antsy and feel like it's taking fooorrrreeeevvvver. So when making cars with younger kids, an activity to do while the lights blink and awesome sounds go off would be a good idea. I'm thinking coloring pages of Hot Wheels vehicles while we wait. (Stay tuned for Part II to see how that goes.)

    All in all, I think the Hot Wheels Car Maker is great fun for kids. My husband's final analysis? In his words, "This is awesome!" I'm pretty sure any kid age 8+ will agree.

    Find out more about the Hot Wheels Car Maker (MSRP $49.99) on as well is in Part II of this review.

    Disclosure: I received the product free for review. Opinions and anecdotes are my own... well, except for those that are my husband's.


    Strawberry Shortcake: A new DVD and a printable coloring page

    I have only grandsons, no granddaughters (yet). I do know, though, there's a gaggle of grandmothers and others out there who have little girls in their circle of influence, little girls who just might be interested in some printable fun and a recently released DVD, both featuring Strawberry Shortcake.

    Berry Bitty Mysteries

    First the printable. Click the graphic below for a printable coloring page* (PDF format) celebrating the recent release of Strawberry Shortcake Berry Bitty Mysteries:

    Strawberry Shortcake coloring page

    And now, the trailer for the sweet tale, Strawberry Shortcake Berry Bitty Mysteries, released Sept. 24, 2013 on DVD and Digital Copy:

    *Of course, little boys just might enjoy the coloring page (and DVD), too, so be sure to print enough pages to share!


    Estroven offers natural relief, education for Menopause Awareness Month

    This is a sponsored post on behalf of Estroven, in recognition of Menopause Awareness Month.

    The older I get, the more I appreciate about mid-life. I embrace the fearlessness this chapter of my life provides, and I’m happy to report I’m happier in my skin than ever before.

    It’s too bad that ever-so-comfy skin is being stretched to its limits because of the weight gain that accompanies all the far-better aspects of being at a menopausal stage – peri, in my case. I now officially weigh more than I did at my heaviest during any of my three pregnancies three or so decades ago. I feel safe in saying my weight gain can be mostly attributed to menopause, not because I’m a lazy, junk-food-munching slug. For the most part.

    September is Menopause Awareness Month, making it the perfect time for me to try out Estroven Weight Management in hopes of combating the creeping pounds. Only Estroven has a full line of products that safely and effectively provides multi-symptom menopause relief so you can feel like you again. Each product contains naturally-sourced ingredients that go beyond reducing hot flashes and night sweats to relieve your most bothersome menopause symptoms.

    I received from Estroven some of their most popular products for relief of menopause symptoms:

    • Estroven Weight Management
    • Estroven Mood & Memory
    • Estroven Energy
    • Estroven Nighttime

    Because my biggest concern with menopause at this point is the weight gain, that’s the product I decided to try first. I’m only partially through the first month of capsules – you take two per day – but I look forward to the difference the Estroven makers suggest I’ll see in 8 to 10 weeks.

    I like that the weight management formula contains naturally-sourced ingredients that support healthy weight management and contribute to a healthy lifestyle. I’m not alone in hoping for a natural solution; in fact, according to Estroven, 64 percent of perimenopausal and menopausal women say they’d choose a natural solution vs. medication, even if the results were not as effective.

    Specifically, Estroven Weight Management’s proprietary Synetrim CQ balances serotonin to help safely manage weight. In addition, the clinically proven soy isoflavones plus black cohosh help reduce hot flashes and night sweats.

    Fortunately I’ve had limited hot flashes and night sweats. But when I did, I assure you they were no fun. I hope that with the Estroven, I can nip the flashes and sweats in the bud.

    Despite my limited experience with the hot flashes and night sweats – so far – they seem to be the most common complaints associated with menopause, so I appreciate that Estroven offers relief for both in each of their other products. Here, the “power claims” for each of the formulas, in addition to the Weight Management one, that I received free for review from Estroven:
    Estroven Nighttime – Helps reduce hot flashes and night sweats, plus occasional sleeplessness.
    Estroven Energy – Helps reduce hot flashes and night sweats, plus helps manage fatigue.
    Estroven Mood & Memory – Reduces hot flashes and night sweats, plus helps improve mood and support memory.

    There’s also another product, one that I didn’t receive for review but just may pick up myself:
    Maximum Strength – Reduces hot flashes and night sweats, plus helps manage irritability.

    According to Estroven, one out of three women in the U.S. suffer from perimenopause and menopause symptoms, yet no two women experience menopause the same way. I like that, with its variety of products, Estroven allows women to choose which product best addresses the symptoms they experience.

    An astonishing 60 percent of women with menopausal symptoms don’t seek treatment because they are unaware of the solutions available to them. Estroven is dedicated to educating women about menopause – all that accompanies it as well as how to relieve the symptoms.

    September is Menopause Awareness Month. To help prepare for menopause, check out Estroven's website to browse their product suite as well as tips and tricks for managing the good, the bad, and the sweaty!

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