Friday, November 30, 2007
UPDATE: Bruce just informed me that USA TODAY has named MERRY CHRISTMAS, AMERICA the "Critic's pick" for gift books of 2007!!!!!! How cool is that?!!! And wait until you see what you can win along with an authographed copy of the "best gift book of 2007" here at So A Blonde Walks Into a Review next week! It's gonna be fun, so keep a lookout for it!
Did you miss out on winning an autographed copy of Bruce Littlefield's latest book Merry Christmas, America!
Head on over to the great, big Holiday Scavenger Bloghunt Party for another chance to win!
And did you miss the review of this fabulous book? Click here to read all about it!
Stay tuned here for a special surprise giveaway from Bruce next week. This is one you DON'T want to miss!
Happy hunting (and reading!)
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Christine over at From Dates to Diapers is having some fabulous giveaways and gift ideas!
You could win goodies from EricaLyn Designs, Michabella, and more!
The giveaways continue through this Saturday, so head on over and check them out!
While you're at it, don't forget about the fabulous "12 Days of Christmas Shopping Event" going on at Skimbaco! Details on all the fun can be found here. Happy shopping!
If you're looking for comfortable, stylish and affordable clothing to put under the tree for your kids this year, you must check out Hanes!
Recently, Hanes contacted me and offered me a huge box filled with apparel that my kids and I fell in love with, along with different styles of undergarments and tees that are extremely comfortable on my kids.
These outfits aren't your plain, every day sweats that you may be used to (although we love those, too). You can pair such sweats, though, with tops and bottoms to make them more "dressy," as we learned after receiving the Hanes package.
Check out these gorgeous outfits:
For this look on Natalie, I paired a white, tagless, cotton-rich fleece sweatshirt with a pair of stylish, yet comfortable, pair of stretch-cotton, cropped leggings.
My favorite of all the outfits, this is actually a skort paired with the cute owl puff-sleeve shirt ("Hoot Parade - Yellow Star")...again, all soft and comfortable (in fact, ALL of the apparel that Hanes sent us was super comfortable so I won't keep repeating myself with that particular quality...just assume - Hanes=comfortable!)
Now that winter is approaching, I plan on having Natalie wear tights and boots with this outfit to keep her warm.
This rainbow sweatshirt ("Super Shine - Jubilee Red") reminds me of a cool 70's look, again paired with stretch-cotton, cropped leggings.
Matthew loves his gray, tagless sweatshirt and Natalie is wearing a beautiful, blue, puff-sleeve shirt ("Crown Town Hanes Navy") with blue, tagless, cotton-rich sweatpants (pairing the plain sweats with a matching print).
Then there's the fabulous assortment of underwear and tees:
All cotton, all tagless and all with a comfortable waistband.
The classic A-tank tee, perfect for showing off those muscles!
I myself love the prints available. The tagless, knit boxers are Matthew's fave. He couldn't get over how comfortable the waistband was.
For those who prefer "hybrid" underwear....the popular boxer briefs.
Matthew's favorite of all is his comfy, blue hoodie:
He wears it to go skateboarding outside with his friends all the time. It's easy to just grab it and throw it over whatever he's wearing.
For fun and play, or casual dress, you can count on Hanes to provide you with comfort, style and affordability!
Want a chance to try out Hanes' fabulous line of apparel yourself? Hanes has offered to provide a $50 gift certificate to one lucky winner of the Holiday Scavenger Bloghunt Party. So click on over to enter! Happy hunting!
Sunday, November 25, 2007
This week, I'll be reviewing a few more of the prizes being offered in the Holiday Scavenger Bloghunt Party so stay tuned.
If you haven't entered yet, head on over and do so. Your odds of winning one or more prizes totaling over $6,000 are VERY good!
Once the party is over, I'll be offering you more fun contests and giveaways here on this site so stay tuned for that as well.
Have you checked out Skimbaco's 12 Days of Christmas Shopping? You still have until December 4th to take advantage of this hip, upscale boutique's steals and deals!
Today's deal? Check it:
On the third day of Christmas,
my favorite aunt sent to me
Three warm scarfs,
Two owl shoes,
And an Eiffel tower in a pink dress.
Up to 65% off prices on children's designer
clothing, shoes and accessories.
Hurry over to Skimbaco before the 12 days are over!
Don't forget to enter the Holiday Scavenger Bloghunt Party!!! There are over $6,000 in prizes! Hurry, as the deadline to enter is fast approaching (December 9).
From the start, I felt like I was cheating on my mini-van. I had a fling with a definite upgrade, and only came back to my van because I couldn't keep the Dodge Grand Caravan. My Chevy Venture was pretty ticked because it decided to no longer provide me heat when I drove it again (hubby's working on making it feel better and I think it might be coming around).
All those commercials that say the Caravan is a home on wheels? So true! You can eat, play board and/or card games, video games, watch television, eat on a table, watch movies, tailgate, use GPS navigation, make phone calls from a built-in dashboard phone service, and more.
The middle sweats swivel to face the back row and you can put a table up in between for games and eating. This picture is bad because there was no flash, but this is after a trip to McDonald's and my kids are eating using the table:
There are TWO...count 'em.....two pull down screens with two separate, wireless headphones. I can listen to Sirius satellite radio in the front, Matthew can play Playstation or watch a DVD in the middle, while Natalie watches Sirius Satellite television in the back (it comes with three channels....Disney, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon).
Even the puppy enjoyed the ride. :) We took her along on a trip to my Grandma's too (an hour and a half away) and it was like packing for a newborn! But everything fit perfectly in the spacious trunk:
There was plenty of room for the dog's crate, supplies, groceries (for lunch) with room to spare.
And those back seats? With a push of a button they automatically fold down into the floor to make even more room, or you can have one side up and one down, and....my favorite setting...they fold back and down to provide tailgate seats! Again, all with just a push of a button.
There's also storage in the floorboards if I had needed more room, a feature I used when I had a few grocery bags to toss into the van (closer to me in the front and easier to get to than the trunk).
The side doors automatically open and close and the windows on the doors automatically roll down, as well. I can't tell you how many times my kids wanted the windows down in the back in my old van. I really loved this feature! There were also pull-up screens for when the sun was shining too brightly, something you usually have to purchase separately and install with an ugly suction cup on the window.
The only problem I had with the van was with the passenger-side back door. My driveway slopes uphill a bit and there was one day that I could not get the door to shut automatically. I sat outside in the cold for about twenty minutes trying to get it to close.
I finally got it to shut by hitting the button and waiting until it was almost closed, then hitting it with my butt so that it was forced close. That wasn't fun! I thought it was because of the hill but when it happened again, I pulled into the road (which was a level surface) and tried to close it there with no luck (and had to go back to the button/butt trick again).
I have heard that mine was not the only one with this problem so hopefully Dodge does something to fix it.
Despite the one flaw, I would still buy this beauty if I could. I'll take a little door trouble for all the entertainment it provided to my kids and for all the features I personally loved.
Look how perfect the van looked in my driveway:
It was totally my trophy van! We were meant to be! How could it leave me?
Devra and I were *this* close to running away in the van together but she didn't want to miss reruns of Punky Brewster. ;)
Natalie summed up my feelings pretty well with this expression the morning that the van left us:
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Oh how much fun it is to be a girl! Proof can be found in the fun and exciting new book The Daring Book for Girls by Andrea Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz (who I'm proud to say I know through the excellent group MotherTalk).
Published by Harper Collins, this book is filled with a mix of old-fashioned and modern content that will both fascinate and entertain girls of any age.
The design alone captured my eye. The 50's style makes you feel like you're reading an antique book, but the message for girls is both modern and meaningful (not to mention fun!)
The book is packed with games, stories, activities and more. My whole family (both male and female) kept passing it around, perusing through all of the interesting content.
Girls can learn old-fashioned activities such as making friendship bracelets, daisy chains and lemonade stands, or they can venture into modern fun like karate moves, yoga, changing tires, and how to be a spy.
They'll read stories about women spies as well, and also ancient queens, women leaders and inventors, and more.
While reading the book, I kept saying to myself, "How in the world did they come up with all of this?!" You really cannot believe how much there is to learn until you read the book yourself. Which I highly recommend you do.
It's a perfect gift for any girl and you'll find that anyone who gets their hands on it can't put it down. It also makes a great book to read to your little girl at night (my daughter particularly likes the stories on ancient queens).
This is a must-have for any holiday shopping list! And also be sure to check out the authors' appearance on The Today Show if you need more convincing on how awesome this book is.
The book reminded me how much fun it is to be a girl and that the fun goes beyond frilly, pink and glittery stuff. It dares girls to go beyond stereotypes and challenges them to believe in themselves and have fun while doing it. All in one book. You really can't beat that!
As a homeschooling mom, I'm always eager to check out new educational products for my children. When I was offered an opportunity to review Microsoft Student with Encarta Premium 2008, I was really excited to try it out.
Now? Now I can't imagine never having it! My kids have been having so much fun exploring all that the software has to offer, learning while playing (and not even realizing that they're learning).
It's appropriate for all ages, as each of my children have been able to utilize it (ages 18, 11, and 7). My youngest and I were just having fun playing with the Encarta Kids 2008 feature in which we had to identify different dog breeds (you can also play the cat version).
Matthew, my 11-year-old, explored all on his own, having the most fun with the Encarta encyclopedia section on wars (World War II being the most interesting to him).
I myself played around with the tutorials and created a PowerPoint presentation on the water cycle. I've never used PowerPoint so the tutorial provided by Microsoft Student was perfect for me. I learned all the basics of preparing a presentation in a matter of minutes.
My oldest is in her senior year and finds math to be the most challenging subject. Microsoft Student helps her with several of their tools, her favorite being a calculator ("calculator" really does not do this justice) that utilizes 3D technology to help her visualize whatever equation she's working on. It will also show graphs to further help her understand the problem.
This software is packed with other useful features, including homework help, geography, foreign languages, dictionary, thesaurus, and more.
My only complaint with the software is that it doesn't support Windows 2000. The only computer with Windows XP in our home is my laptop, which I use all the time. So I am battling with my kids constantly over who gets to use my computer.
Also, if you're interested in purchasing the software, I recommend that you purchase the actual CD rather than downloading it from the site, since I had problems downloading it (and I know others did too).
I highly recommend it for students of all ages. It's going on my "most valuable" educational resources list for sure!
For more information and/or to order, just click Microsoft Student with Encarta Premium 2008
Monday, November 19, 2007
How will parents, or Santa for that matter, know which ones are appropriate? Thanks to the Entertainment Software Rating Board, it's easy to find out.
The ESRB is a "non-profit, self-regulatory body" that provides information on content and age-appropriateness of games. You can find such information by simply looking at a ratings box on the front of almost all games on the market. Ratings range from EC (Early Childhood 3+) to AO (Adults Only 18+).
On the back of game boxes, you'll find a more detailed explanation on the game's rating, such as "language," "violence," or "blood."
Newer game consoles, such as Microsoft Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, and Sony PlayStation 3, come with ESRB parental controls that can help a parent protect their child from inappropriate content.
ESRB offers detailed explanations on how to set up these controls.
For example, on the WII system, you simply do the following:
- Access the Wii System Settings.
- Click on the blue arrow to reach the Wii System Settings 2 menu options.
- Choose “Parental Controls” and select “Yes.”
- Enter the 4-digit PIN and select “OK.” If you have forgotten the PIN, select “I forgot” to answer the secret question.
- Now you can adjust the “Highest Game Rating allowed” to be played on the Wii console.
Find more information on WII parental controls here.
For Microsoft Xbox 360, use the following guide:
- Using the Xbox 360 controller, select “Family Settings, Console Controls.”
- Select “Game Ratings.”
- Select the maximum ESRB rating category you deem appropriate for your children.
- Select “Set Pass Code” and insert a password.
- Select “Done” from the Console Controls screen to lock settings.
- Select “Yes” to activate.
More information on Xbox settings can be found here.
With so much violence plaguing today's games for children, the ESRB rating system can be an invaluable tool for parents, especially during the holiday season.
~Candes from The World According to Candes.
~Melissa from Melissa's Research Links *On This Journey of Learning*.
~Pickel from My Two Boys.
And thank you to Santa's Big List for sponsoring this fun and festive giveaway!
If you didn't win but would love a sign for your yard, you can purchase one at a 10% discount using the code "MomsBlog"....but HURRY as supplies are limited and going fast!
And don't forget to head over to Santa's Big List to use their FREE online registry for Christmas!
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Entrants must be 18 years of age or older to enter, and entrants must follow state and local laws concerning sweepstakes.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Words hold extreme power. The power to hurt, the power to offend and the power to heal. We often see and hear how words are used as weapons in today's world.
That's why Marlo Thomas's new, inspirational book The Right Words at the Right Time, Volume 2: Your Turn (published by Simon & Schuster)is so refreshing. The book is a follow-up to the popular first volume, in which celebrities shared how words were used to uplift, challenge and change them.
In this second volume, the stories are instead from everyday people who share their experiences with Thomas. The book is broken into easy-to-digest chunks and is perfect to take along to a doctor's office or any other place where you need an easy read to help pass the time.
Don't be fooled by the "easy" part. The segments may be fairly brief but the message they hold is very powerful and very moving. You'll be amazed at how something as simple as words can change someones entire life.
I loved this book and was encouraged to see kindness and humanity played out in each story. And I was reminded that each of us, including myself, should be aware of what we say and how we say it so that our words encourage others.
You'll find yourself looking for opportunities to reach out to those around you with a compliment, sympathy, encouragement, advice, etc.
As a mother, those opportunities can be found in my everyday life, as well. My children and my husband are the first people that my words touch, and I want to make sure it is always in a positive sense.
If we all followed the message in this book, the world would be a much more peaceful place, in my opinion.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Well, friends, Santa has finally gotten with the times and is now making his list and checking it twice...online! Santa's Big List offers a free Christmas online gift registry with instant access to over 75 popular retailers!
Santa's also gone high-tech with email service. You can now email your child's wish list to Santa, and they will receive an automated, personal reply within 24-hours. When the wish-list is received, a secret registry is created that only parents can see, so Santa AND you know what your child wants and can share it with others.
Now, when Aunt Carol, Uncle Joe, Cousin Jane, Grandma Barb (and on and on) ask what your child wants for Christmas, you can direct them all to your free online registry that you created. That takes a lot of the hassle out of the holidays for you and your family.
Your family and friends can be granted private access to your registry where they can utilize the "pick a present" feature to choose which gifts to buy your children.
If you want to get really fancy (and who doesn't at Christmas?!), you can enroll your child on Santa's naughty or nice list and purchase a certificate that he/she can proudly display (well, that's if he/she makes the nice list, of course *grin*)
Also available for purchase are unique, creative and fun "Santa Diplomas," as well as a popular "Official Santa Landing Zone" yard sign:
To enter, simply leave a comment here. Contest will run until Saturday, November 17 at 11:59 p.m. Winner will be drawn and announced on Sunday, November 18. Good luck!
And while you're entering, get your naughty or nice self over to Santa's Big List and start making those lists! :)
Friday, November 9, 2007
If you're a Nicholas Sparks fan like I am, you know that he has a special way of wrapping up the beginning, middle and end of his book all together in a neat, little package that has a special meaning to all who read it. I have yet to read a book of his without coming away without being surprised, touched and teary.
His latest book, The Choice, didn't let me down. Just when you think you know what the plot is about, Sparks pulls the rug out from under you and leaves you doing a double-take. And the tears. They were quite copious this time (but I don't think anything I've ever read has ever made me cry as hard as "The Notebook").
Hope and love were the eminate themes in this book, as well as choices. The book will speak to your heart and make you wonder what your choice would be if you were in Travis's and Gabby's shoes.
Travis and Gabby are next-door neighbors, and despite Gabby's best efforts to push Travis away, he feels a pull toward her that he can't ignore. Their love takes them, and us, on a beautiful journey and asks the question, "How far would you go for love?"
If you'd like to win a copy of this book, just enter the Holiday Scavenger Bloghunt Party hosted by So a Blonde Walks Into a Review, Mom Views, and Mums the Wurd. The book is one of dozens of prizes being offered (with a value of over $5,500!)
Monday, November 5, 2007
IMPORTANT NOTE: You must visit the main contest page by clicking on the banner below for full details on how to enter. Posting the graphic below is only one step in this fun and easy contest! Thanks! :)
What kind of party will it be if your friends aren't there? So here is a button (also a ticket to win prizes) to use in your blogs/sites to invite your friends. You may either "Right-click and Save The Image" or "Copy and Paste the html code" provided below:
There will also be a page of entrants listed at the contest's headquarters.
This list will be updated as the contest progresses. If you have entered, but do not see your name, please let us know. Also let us know if I have made any errors in your information. Thank you!
As of 11:00 P.M. EST, November 7:
~Aimee from The Fannin's
~Amanda from Click. The Good News
~Amanda from Amanda
~Andrea from The Laughs Will Go On
~Angela from One Baby, Seven Dogs, and a Mommie and Contests Anonymous - A mom's guide to contests!
~bebemiqui from Young Mom in the Big World
~Carrie from Life is Like a Mountain Railway
~Christine from Christinx13
~Crystal from Conversing With Crystal
~Donna from Blessings of Love
~Doreen from Doreen's Place
~Ellinghouse from Ellinghouse
~Girl Unexpected from Girl Unexpected
~Heather from With a Little Luck
~Jean from Working Momma 24/7
~Jenna from Momma Jay
~Jenna from The World of Jenna
~Jennifer from Thoughts From...Jennifer
~Kelly from 4 Kids, 1 Mom~Chaos Thy Name is Home
~Lace from Keeping My Fingers Crossed
~Li Li from Double Down
~Mama Luxe from Mama Saga.
~Mama Zen from The Zen of Motherhood
~Megan from Nick, Megan and and Chelsea King
~Momma to LG from Freitas Family Follies
~Mummy Kwan from Jane of All Trades
~Naomi from superdumb supervillain
~Pickle from My Two Boys
~Qtpies7 from The Good Stuff
~Rebecca from A Not so Desperate Housewife
~Shama-Lama Mama from Shama-Lama Mama
~Shannon from Live For, Love For, Die For...you (Tristan Corey)
~Stephanie from Adventures in Babywearing
~Suzanne from God is Good!
~Treasures of Joy from Treasures of Joy
~Tricia (private blog)
~Vicky from MTVMcC
Care.com matches you with a care provider based on your criteria and zip code. And, what I found most comforting is that all providers listed have been screened with background checks, and members can actually see those background checks themselves. That means they have helped screen out unqualified providers for you. References are also provided along with the background checks.
This can be good and bad. Good because I wouldn't want a criminal to take care of my new puppy Sophie, but bad in that there is only one provider listed in my area for pet care. I'd rather have one good provider, though, then dozens of bad ones.
If you're looking to provide any of these services, you can also post a listing through Care.com, which will network you with people in your area who are in need of your service.
My favorite section is "My Neighborhood." When you click on this tab, you can quickly find results for providers in each category, with a map showing their location, their age, experience, rates and more.
Here's the best part! Care.com has extended an invitation to all of you for a free 3-month trial membership! Just click here to get started!
Sunday, November 4, 2007
And thanks to Bruce for sponsoring the contest!
If you didn't win, don't worry. There will be two more chances for you to win, one of which will be announced tonight!
The HUGE Holiday Scavenger BlogHuntParty will be kicking off this evening, and I believe it will be the BIGGEST contest ever in the Blogworld. You will not believe how many prizes there are to be won!!! You don't want to miss it so tune in tonight!
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Thank you to Ashes to Ashes for sponsoring this heartfelt contest. Your company has helped to bring solace to so many pet lovers. May you be blessed richly for that!