Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bob the Builder: Adventures by the Sea DVD #Giveaway

This giveaway is closed. Congrats to the winner below!

Bob and his Can-Do Crew are making waves and having fun in five new, sea-themed adventures in construction in Bob the Builder: Adventures by the Sea, sailing onto DVD, DIgital Download and On Demand available now from Lionsgate and HIT Entertainment. From facing fears, correcting mistakes, doing good work and always getting the job done, Bob's the man and when you're on his team, life's a beach!

The product: Bob the Builder and his machine team "sea" lots of new ways to work together to get jobs done in and around Fixham Harbor in these 5 exciting stories. Scoop must make a creative seaside rescue to get the lighthouse lesn shining again! Scratch relizes that admitting mistakes is the best way to be cool; the team comes to the rescue when Muck's sandcastle compromises their big job. Scrambler shows that the key to bravery is admitting your fears. Bob and the Can-Do Crew get the job done and find success by the sea with sand, water, sun and friends!

The episodes include:

  • "Scoop's Sea Rescue"
  • "Pineapple Scratch"
  • "Muck's Beach Tower"
  • "Here Comes Muck"
  • "Scrambler Gets Clean"
And this DVD includes the bonus features:
  • "Digger with a Heart of Gold" Music Video
  • "Mixin' It Up" Music Video
What we thought: We've always enjoyed Bob the Builder as a great preschool show. The lessons are good and seeing things being built is exciting no matter how old you are. Zachariah likes Bob and the rest of his crew. This DVD is great because it fits along with all of our summer fun we're having now too.

Where to buy: You can find the Bob the Builder: Adventures by the Sea DVD in stores and online now.

How to connect: Learn more about Bob and the Can-Do Crew at www.bobthebuilder.com. And you can find them on Facebook too.

Prize: One of you can win a copy of the Bob the Builder: Adventures by the Sea DVD.

Giveaway: This giveaway is open until 12:01am EST on 8/15/12. It is open to US residents only. You can enter in the Rafflecopter form below.

*Disclaimer: I received this product to review. All opinions are my own.*

Dove "Show Us Your Skin" & VisibleCare Toning Body Wash #Giveaway

This giveaway is closed. Congrats to the winner listed below!

We show a bit more skin in the summer. And who doesn't want their skin to look great?! Dove has some great products to help you achieve healthier skin that you'll be happy with.

The product: Dove Body Washes and Beauty Bars give women beautifully soft and smooth skin they will want to show off. Only Dove Body Washes contain NutriumMoisture technology that goes beyond moisturization to nourish skin deep down, so it won't dry out your skin like soap. Dove VisibleCare Toning Creme Body Wash is meant to get your skin into tiptop shape.

Dove wants you to take part in the "Show Us Your Skin" campaign. Just visit http://on.fb.me/
DoveShowUsYourSkin and submit a photo of your skin. You will be on the billboard in Times Square. They have also introduced a "Show Us Your Skin" app to create your own Dove mosaic with your family and friends.

Skin care tips from Jenn Falik:
  • Keep hot showers short and sweet. Steaming hot water can really dry out your skin, so convince yourself to enjoy a slightly lukewarm temperature and buy yourself an extra 2 or 3 minutes of blissful bathing.
  • Pesky dry elbows? Take a lemon, cut it in half, and lay each half face up on a flat surface. Then, sink your elbows into them. After about 20 seconds, your dry skin will disappear. Added bonus - the subtle citrus fresh scent lingers.
  • Be patient. Pat your moisturizer into your skin instead of rubbing it on (better absorbtion, less tugging on the skin_ and give it a good minute to soak into the skin before you move onto the next step of your make up routine.
  • Make a difference. Sleeveless season is here, so opt for a body was that will make an actual difference in the way your skin looks - like Dove VisibleCare Body Was. This way, beautiful sking becomes part of your daily shower routine - simple and efficient, two of my favorite words when it comes to beauty.

What I thought:

Monday, July 30, 2012

Norwegian Cruise Line & The Children's Place

It's time for summer fun! Cool clothes and cool trips are a much this year!

The product: We had the chance to go pick out a "cruise worthy" outfit for Zachariah at The Children's Place. Not only could he look great in this cute summer polo shirt, but if we did take a cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line he would have a blast.

Norwegian Cruise Line now offers fun programs for children. Now your whole family can cruise together. Your children ages 6 months through 12 years will enjoy the Splash Academy. They have lots of fun, creative activities to keep kids busy and have a great time on vacation. From crafts to movies there is something for everyone. And for the teens there is the Entourage program where they can participate in theater, fashion, pool parties and more with other kids their age. Parents can relax and have fun, knowing that their kids are having a great time as well.

What we thought: Believe it or not, my son had fun picking out his "cruise worthy" outfit at The Children's Place. He has been wearing a lot of stylish, cute polos this summer, and this new one (pictured above) is nice and relaxed for summer fun. He likes to spruce it up with nice khaki shorts. We found lots of great options at TCP and plenty of sizes to choose from for growing kids.

We did not get to experience a cruise, but we did get a fun beach ball to enjoy.

Where to purchase: You can get a great "cruise worthy" outfit for your kids at any Children's Place stores near you or online at http://www.childrensplace.com. Book your Norwegian Cruise today at http://www2.ncl.com.

How to connect: You can learn more about the great children's programs for Norwegian Cruise Line at http://www2.ncl.com/freestyle-cruise/freestyle-family-fun/kids-crew-and-teen-crew.

*I received these products to review. All opinions are my own.*

Sunday, July 29, 2012

QRt.co - Create Custom QR Codes for Your Blog

Everywhere you go these days you run into QR codes. If you don't know what a QR code is, you probably are like my and don't own a smart phone. That doesn't mean I don't notice these little codes all over the place. Just try to avoid them when you walk into a store or restaurant. Companies know that this is a quick easy way to get their advertising and information into a customers hands. Most smart cell phone users will make use of QR codes to learn more about a product or place when available. So, why not make your website noticeable and a little more appealing? That's what QRt.co is helping people do.

The product: QRt.co is a website that is a custom QR code generator. Wish you could publicize your blog or website (or product) on a business card or flyer? This is what they help you do. The best part, though, is that it's VERY unique. You can completely customize colors, shapes and more in the design of your QR code. You can even incorporate your own personalized logo.

You develop the code with their easy to use tools online, then when you are finished the product is ready immediately. You can download it and start using it right away. It's yours to print on brochures and business cards or to post on other websites. Or maybe you just want to show off to your friends. With QRt.co you can make your QR logo exactly the way you want it, and with so many options you're sure to find the right thing.

What I thought: I love the idea of creating my own completely customizes QR code. I was thrilled to be able to incorporate some of my blog designs into a code. Now it matches my blog and I can easily print this right on my business cards next time I order some.

The process was very easy. It's simple to log onto QRt.co and get started right away. They have many customization tools, so you can perfect the look of your own code. I used colors that are on my blog and went from there. It was simple and quick. My favorite part is that I could us my blog logo button right on the QR code. Anyone who sees it will know it's mine.

Where to purchase: Just go to QRt.co to get started now. Their pricing is reasonable and clear on their site.

*I received this product for review through Blog Friendly PR. All opinions are my own.*

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Little Caesars Pizza #Giveaway

This giveaway is closed. Congrats to the winner listed below!

My family loves pizza. It's an easy meal to make or buy every once in a while. Actually as we were making some schedule changes and new traditions last fall, we started having Pizza Nights on Fridays. My son looked forward to that at the end of the week. It was a good way to wind down after a week at school (for my son) and work (for my husband). Plus Zachariah thought it was fun that I let him eat in the living room while we watched a "family" movie when we were eating our pizza.

Since we were having pizza once a week (we've take a break this summer), we had to get creative. Some Friday nights we order out, sometimes we make our own. We've made homemade pizza, pizza bagels and other such things. And we've tried many different pizza places around to have something different each time. One such place we've gotten pizza from several times before is Little Caesars Pizza.

The Product: Little Caesars is handy for those busy days. They have their HOT-N-READY pizzas that you can just stop in and grab to go. You can't beat a yummy and quick pizza. And the prices are right too. A large pepperoni HOT-N-READY pizza is only $5. Or for $8 you can get a large HOT-N-READY 3 Meat Treat pizza with pepperoni, sausage and bacon.

What we thought:

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mott's Fruit Flavored Snacks #Giveaway

I don't know about you, but for us summer is a busy time. I'm very thankful right now to be a stay at home mom. Otherwise I don't know how I'd keep up with everything that we do day to day. Even with the busyness, it's been fun. We've had lots of outings and visited neat places. It's fun to be on-the-go, but it requires a little bit of thinking ahead too. You need to make sure you have everything you might need- sunscreen, hats, change to clothing, snacks, drinks and more. Now packing some snacks that my son loves is easy with Mott's Fruit Flavored Snacks.

The product: Now you can get the Mott's taste that kids love in yummy fruit flavored snacks. Available in Assorted Fruit and Berry varieties, Mott's Medleys Fruit Flavored Snacks are the ideal blend of great tasting  and quality ingredients that will make both kids and moms happy.

Mott's Medleys Fruit Flavoed Snacks are made with real fruit & vegetable juice (Made with pear, apple and carrot juice concentrate. See package for complete details. Not intended to replace fruit or vegetables in the diet.) And now they are available with year round Double Box Tops for you to help your schools out.

What we thought: Mmmm, the yummy flavors of the new  Mott's Fruit Snacks are great. They are juicy and delicious. We really enjoyed both varieties. These are great to throw into lunches or a bag for a day away. I often keep them handy for playtime at the park or before and after t-ball practices and games. They are a great go-to snack that my whole family enjoys.

Where to buy: You can find Mott's Medley Fruit Flavored Snacks in your local store.

Deal: Right now you can download a printable coupon for $0.60 off the purchase of 1 Mott's Medleys Fruit Flavored Snacks today-  http://bit.ly/MottsCoupon.

How to connect: You will find more about Mott's and their products at http://bit.ly/MottsFFS. They are also on Facebook and Twitter too.

Prize: Four (4!) lucky readers will each win a Mott's Medley gift pack, which includes 3 boxes of MOtt's Medleys Fruit Flavored Snacks in Assorted Fruit + 3 boxes of Mott's Medleys Fruit Flavored Snacks in Berry. (Yes, 4 people will each get 6 boxes of fruit snacks!)

Giveaway: This giveaway is open until 12:01am EST 8/2/12. It is open to US residents only. Please enter in the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclaimer: I received this product, information and gift pack from Mott's free of charge. All opinions are my own.*

Melissa & Doug Suspend Game

My son is 6 years old. He loves games. In the last few years we've had fun finding good games that we can play together and both enjoy. Games that are funny, games that challenge, games with a little competition...they're all good. And there are many good learning opportunities when children are playing games.

The product: A few months ago I saw the neatest looking game in an online newsletter from Melissa & Doug. We love their playthings. We really love their puzzles in this house. And now we're in love with their new game - Suspend.

This game reminds me a little of Jenga (you know the one with the wooden blocks you remove), but instead it uses various sizes of metal rods with grooves. The point is to add a piece one by one until they come tumbling down. You start with a certain number of pieces and play until someone runs outs (they are the winner). 

It's harder than it looks. The little grooves are just enough to hook to other pieces, but sometimes not. It's tricky trying to get certain pieces to stay. And you never know where the other players are going to put their pieces which changes the whole balance of the structure.

What we thought: The first thing I noticed is that Suspend is recommended for ages 8+. My son is 6. At first I could see why this might be a little more difficult for him. The pieces are hard to manipulate and it's a little tougher for him with the hand/eye coordination to get them to go where he wants. But after we played a few times he got a better feel for it, and it was a lot of fun. We really enjoy this new game. It's easy for just two of us to play together. We take turns and try to get all of our pieces to "suspend".

I think this game is great for the whole family. I probably wouldn't recommend it for anyone under 5, but older kids will love this one. And it's pretty fun for parents too. It's fast paced, so you can play over and over or just a quick game when there isn't a lot of time to play. Suspend is one of our new favorites that will stick around for a long time at our house!

Where to buy: You can get Suspend straight from Melissa & Doug's site. It is also available in lots of stores and online many places.

How to connect: Learn more about the game on their website- http://www.melissaanddoug.com/suspend-family-game. And be sure to check out the other great Melissa & Doug toys and games while you're there. You can also find M&D on Twitter and Facebook.

*Disclaimer: I received this product for review. All opinions are my own.*

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - New Camera

Look what arrived at my house yesterday! I'm so excited! I can't wait to learn more about it and start taking awesome photos. Anyone else with a DSLR want to offer pointers?

Friday, July 20, 2012

“Happiness Is…Peanuts: Team Snoopy” DVD #Giveaway

This giveaway is closed. Congrats to the winner listed below!

Cartoons are a great part of every childhood. I have good memories of cartoons I watched on Saturday mornings as a kid. My son now has his favorites too. But once in a while I can pass along a favorite of mine to my son. Peanuts is one of these cartoons that I've enjoyed introducing my son to.

The product: Happiness is...Peanuts: Team Snoopy is a video collection of some of the Peanuts gang greatest sports moments. Here's a little more about this DVD:
MAY 8, 2012
Release Includes Television Special Lucy Must Be Traded, Charlie Brown 
BURBANK, CA (February 16, 2012) – It’s a grand slam hit with Charlie Brown and Snoopy in Warner Home Video’s DVD release of Happiness is…Peanuts™: Team Snoopy, the all new animated, sports-themed Peanuts collection available May 8, 2012.Happiness is…Peanuts™: Team Snoopy is the newest installment of the Happiness is…Peanuts™ collection. This title pairs the TV special Lucy Must Be Traded, Charlie Brown with an episode from The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show on one disc.  This title will retail for $14.97 SRP. 
Batter up with Peanuts and celebrate their greatest sports moments in Happiness is…Peanuts™: Team Snoopy. For Charlie Brown, a new baseball season equals new hopes of winning. Unfortunately, one player just isn’t measuring up, which makes the team decide that Lucy Must Be Traded, Charlie Brown. This delightful special finds Charlie Brown trading his teammate, Lucy for Marcie, one of Peppermint Patty’s players in hopes this will finally end his losing streak. Will Marcie lead Charlie Brown’s team to victory? More importantly, will Peppermint Patty have the patience to tolerate Lucy and her antics? 
Viewers will then suit up for a triple-header of laughs with The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show. The three featured segments available on DVD for the first time include, The Pelicans, which finds Charlie Brown getting stuck with mascot duties while Peppermint Patty is on the road to victory with her baseball team. In Great Pumpkin, the Peanuts gang visits the bowling alley in hopes of teaching Charlie Brown a new sport with hilarious results. In Spike, it’s game on as the neighborhood cat meets his match when Snoopy’s older brother Spike trots into town.  It’s time to catch the winning spirit and share these tales with your teammates! 
“With summer on the way Happiness is…Peanuts™: Team Snoopy is the perfect way to celebrate having fun outdoors with sports and activities,” said Mary Ellen Thomas, WHV Executive Marketing Director of Family & Animation Franchise. She added, “We are delighted to add another title to the growing Happiness is…Peanuts™ collection, which offers consumers great value with one Peanuts television special along with an episode from the Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show. It’s a must own title for Peanuts fans and anyone who loves classic animation.” 

What we thought:

"One Breath Away" by Heather Gudenkauf Blog Tour




July 2012

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf follows the phenomenal success of her first two books with her most emotionally charged novel yet. ONE BREATH AWAY (Harlequin MIRA; July 2012; $15.95 U.S./$18.95 CAN.) is a gripping story of a small town caught in the midst of a deadly crisis, as experienced from the points of view of five different people.

On a bitter March day, as a sudden snowstorm envelops the small town of Broken Branch, Iowa, an unknown man with a gun enters the town’s only school and takes a classroom of children hostage. As awareness of the situation spreads, the panicked community is ready to do anything to protect their children, but can only watch and wait.

As a teacher with a long career behind her, Evelyn Oliver is ready to enjoy retirement with her loving husband. But now, faced with a crazy man armed with a gun, terrorizing her classroom, she’d rather die than fail to protect any of her students. But why is he doing this? Evelyn’s been scouring her mind but doesn’t recognize the intruder. Maybe one of the students is the key?

Holly Thwaite left Broken Branch and her family behind without a word eighteen years ago, vowing never to return. But after a debilitating accident leaves her recovering in a hospital in Arizona, she’s forced to send her children to her hometown to be looked after by their grandfather, the man she never wanted them to meet. Will Thwaite never understood why his estranged daughter, Holly, ran away all those years ago. But now that her children are in his care, he refuses to fail his daughter again. One way or another, Will is going to get his grandkids, P.J. and Augie, out of that school safely even if he has to go in and get them himself.  What Will doesn’t know is that thirteen-year-old Augie is just as determined to rescue her little brother from the killer and help her classmates, even if it means putting herself in the crosshairs of the gunman.

Police officer Meg Barrett wants to know who the intruder is and why he’s doing this. Whoever it is, there’s no excuse for this. Meg should know. She’s had plenty of hardships herself. But with innocent lives at stake, Meg is prepared to risk her own life to save these hostages, although it means disobeying orders and taking on the gunman face-to-face.

As the standoff progresses and the snowstorm rages outside, anxiety and frustration start to build to dangerous levels. But everyone knows how precarious the situation is. One wrong move, even a breath, could have the most devastating of consequences.

Heather Gudenkauf is the author of the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling novels The Weight of Silence and These Things Hidden. She lives in Iowa with her family. Visit her website, HeatherGudenkauf.com.

Book Excerpt:
The only sounds in the classroom are the scratch of pencils on paper and Erika’s annoying sniffles; she always has a runny nose and gets up twenty times a day to get a tissue. “I don’t care if I ever see snow or cows ever again.

Guest Blog: 
What draws you to write suspenseful women’s fiction?

I’ve enjoyed writing since I was a child – yes, I was one of those kids who did a fist pump whenever the teacher assigned a writing project -but as is typical with most writers, I was and am, first and foremost an avid reader. As a child my favorite place in the world was our public library and I spent as much time as possible with my nose in a book. I loved mysteries and plowed my way through all the Encyclopedia Brown and Nancy Drew Mystery books. One of my favorite mystery series growing up was The Boxcar Children which I recently learned was originally published in 1924. I read all the books that were available when I was a child, and again as an adult I read them to my own children with enthusiasm. Who can resist a story about a tight knit set of orphaned siblings, an abandoned boxcar, a dog, and the mystery surrounding a long lost grandfather?

As I got older, I continued to enjoy mystery and suspense novels but my interests expanded to a variety of genres, including books that explored the intricacies of the human heart: Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio, Elizabeth Berg’s Pull of the Moon, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and so many moreI’ve always admired the way writers could take meaway to different places and times through the written word. I knew I wanted to try my hand at writing but didn’t sit down and seriously begin until after I was married and had my children.  But when I did, I remembered all the stories and books I’ve read through the years, remembered how deftly authors could arrange the words on a page to be suspenseful, heart wrenching, or heart-warming – to evoke all varieties of emotion. My hope is to do the same for my readers.

My Review:
I really enjoyed One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf. This story unfolds in the midst of a big problem. As the story unfolds, you hear from different characters their perspectives and reflections of their own lives. I enjoyed the way this was written. It really involves you in the story and makes each character a little more relatable. This is a must read for this summer.

*Disclaimer: I received this product for review. All opinions are my own.*

"Finding Emma" by Steena Holmes

These are the things that keep mothers up at night. We want to do everything in our power to guide and protect our children. But sometimes....it's just not enough.

The product: Finding Emma by Steena Holmes is a story about a family's tragic loss and subsequent journey. Everyone deals with a loss in a different way, but for this family there is still a little hope since their little girl was kidnapped.

Megan sees her daughter Emma everywhere. She’s the little girl standing in the supermarket, the child waiting for the swings at the playground, the girl with ice cream dripping down her face. But it’s never Emma. 
Because Emma’s been missing for two years. 
Unable to handle the constant heartache of all the false sightings, Megan’s husband threatens to walk away unless Megan can agree to accept Emma is gone. Megan’s life and marriage is crumbling all around her and she realizes she may have to do the thing she dreads most: move on. 
When Megan takes a photo of a little girl with an elderly couple at the town fair, she believes it to be her missing daughter. Unable to let go, she sets in motion a sequence of events that could destroy both families lives.

What I thought: While this book was sad, the sad part is out of the way at the beginning. Most of the book is about the family trying to get back to life as normal after the disappearance of their precious daughter. From feeling fault to still seeing the girl in crowds, each member of the family deals with their feelings differently. But there is always a little feeling of hope in this family.

I really enjoyed this book, mostly because I can relate to the mother a little. Of course I've never been in a terrible circumstance like this, but I can only imagine. Her emotions make sense to me. She never gives up hope in finding her daughter again. Don't let this lead you to believe this book is just sad. It's not. There is some hope, and as the story unravels you'll be drawn right in.

Where to buy: Finding Emma is now available for purchase in stores and online.

How to connect: You can learn more about this book, the characters and the author at http://www.steenaholmes.com/. The story even continues a bit, and you can follow it on this site. You can also hear more from author - Steena Holmes - on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

*Disclaimer: I received this product for review. All opinions are my own.*

Thursday, July 19, 2012

AllerMate - Take Action for Your Child's Allergies #Giveaway

This giveaway is now closed. Congrats to the winner listed below!

We are very fortunate that our son is not allergic to anything he's tried in the first 6 years of his life. I was always really paranoid about him developing allergies. I did everything I could to delay certain foods when he was younger. I have been around plenty of families with children who have severe food allergies. I know what a tough road that it, and I wanted to do anything in my power to help prevent that. Now don't get me wrong, I don't think that what I did kept my child from getting allergies completely. While it may possibly have helped, I also think genetics and pure luck have had a lot to do with it.

The product: AllerMates are an easy way for you to make your child's allergies known. It makes summer play dates and back to school a little easier for them and mom. You can get a bracelet/wristband, dog tags, or lunch box with your child's allergy right on it. It will make more people aware and cautious around your child.

Allergy- Conscious Mom Takes Action 

With AllerMates®

Parents, Camp Counselors, Care-Givers, 
Teachers and Kids Get Comfort and Security
Perfect for Camp and Summer Travel 
Montvale, NJ (May 1, 2012)--- A mother of a child with multiple food allergies was frustrated by the lack of allergy-related kid-friendly products so she took action and created AllerMates®, a new line of bright, fun, whimsical character-driven wristbands, dog tags and lunch boxes that her son would happily embrace. 

Parents of children with allergies can now enjoy the safety and security of knowing their young ones are better protected against unwanted allergens when they wear or use AllerMates products away from home in places like school, daycare, parties, sleep-overs and summer camp.  AllerMates arrive in time for Food Allergy Awareness Week, May 13-19 and for camp and summer travel.

AllerMates products are based on 14 fun, original characters that represent the most common allergies: peanut, nut, gluten/wheat, milk, egg, shellfish, penicillin, insect sting, latex, pollen, fish, soy, sesame and cat. The characters and product line was created by Iris Shamus, Founder and CEO of AllerMates, in part to help kids feel positive about their allergies.  

“No matter how many forms I signed or how many times I spoke to the teacher the inevitable happened” states Iris Shamus,AllerMates Founder.  “My son and another allergic classmate were offered food they weren’t supposed to have.  It didn’t go well. So, I set out to create something more personalized so that a teacher or caregiver would always be aware of his allergies,” continues Shamus.  “AllerMates wristbands gave me a sense of comfort and security I couldn’t have without them. 

Even with posters like nut-free zone or dairy-free zone around a classroom, AllerMates is designed to present a more personalized, visual representation of specific allergies. When a child raises his or hand or carries an AllerMates lunch bag there is that distinctive visually appealing character as a constant reminder to be on alert.

AllerMates products are hypo-allergenic, nickel and latex free and have passed rigorous safety standards and testing.  The wristbands are adjustable and fit most children.  The AllerMates Gang characters are:
P. Nutty (Peanut Allergy)Nutso (Nut Allergy)Professor Wheatley (Gluten / Wheat Allergy)Pint (Milk Allergy)Eggie (Egg Allergy)Crabby (Shellfish Allergy)Super-Cillin (Penicillin Allergy)Bizzy (Insect Sting Allergy)Dr. Strangeglove (Latex Allergy)Drift (Pollen Allergy)Detective Fin (Fish Allergy)Soy Cool (Soy Allergy)Teeni Tahini (Sesame Allergy)Nine (Cat Allergy) The AllerMates website (www.allermates.com) offers both parents and children easy to read and understand tips, facts and general information about allergies as well as lots of fun games and activities based on the line of AllerMatescharacters.  The website also has a fully functional social community allowing its members free and easy interaction and sharing of the latest blogs, news, videos and information within the allergy community. You can meet the AllerMates Gang there and get the back story on each character as well as fun tips (did you know a peanut isn’t actually a nut … it’s a legume).

AllerMates products can be purchased at www.allermates.com, at Amazon.com and at independent retailers throughout the U.S. as well as stores in Canada, United Kingdom, Portugal and South America. Look for AllerMatesproducts at national retailers this summer.P. Nutty

Allergy Facts:Food allergies among children jumped 18 percent from 1997 to 2007. One out of every 25 children, or 5.9 million, has a food allergy, according to a study published last year in "Pediatrics," the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.  Of those children, nearly 40 percent have a history of severe reactions. About 15 percent of all allergic reactions occurred at school. In 2010 researchers found that 8% of children under age 18 in the United States have at least one food allergy.
About AllerMatesAllerMates is a registered DBA of Awearables, LLC, a Montvale, New Jersey company.  The company is privately held and counts Benjamin Shamus (age 8), VP of Incentivizing the CEO, among its employees. For information about AllerMates products call 866.245.1370 or email info@allermates.com.

What we thought:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Winners 7/18/12

I have several giveaways that have closed. Without further ado, here are the winners.

Winner of  Fireman Sam: Rescue on the Water DVD ...

#115 - Terrim

Winner of Recess Monkey "In Tents" CD ...

#4 - Jennifer W

Winner of Mia Mariu Cleanser & lipstick or eye shadow...

#242 - Rachel D

Congrats to all the winners. You have been sent an email with instructions on claiming your prize.

Thanks to everyone who entered. Keep a look out for other giveaways going on.

Wordless Wednesday–Great-Grandma


I love that I still have both of my grandmothers. It’s wonderful that my son and nephew can know both of them.

This is my Grandma Gloria. She is one of the most active people I know. She loves staying busy and being around people. She is a widow, but she embraces life. She adores her great-grandchildren and is so proud of them.

It warms my heart to see these two little boys enjoy their great-grandmother.

Over the Moon: The Broadway Lullaby Project Book & CD

Bedtime is a special time for parents and children. Moms and Dads are ready to tuck their little kids into bed for a peaceful night sleep...and let's admit it: we enjoy the peace & quiet. Our bedtime routine has been crucial for getting our little guy to sleep since he was a baby. It involves a bath/shower, lots of hugs and cuddles, reading a book, prayers and then listening to music as he doses off. He has always liked falling asleep to music after reading a book.

The product: About Over the Moon, a book and CD set:

On May 8, 2012, Over The Moon: The Broadway Lullaby Project will release a collection of 26 original lullabies, written and performed by some of Broadway’s biggest stars, and a 48-page children’s book and ebook illustrated by America’s best-loved artists. The project benefits breast cancer research, support, and education.

Here’s Nikki M. James, a Tony-award winning star of the smash musical The Book of Mormon, singing “All New,” (music by Marisa Michaelson, lyrics by Joshua H. Cohen). This original lullaby features Fred Hersch on piano and Dave Eggar on cello.

Here’s the video, for your viewing pleasure: 

Over the Moon: The Broadway Lullaby Project is both a timeless benefit effort and a uniquely compelling multimedia experience. The ambitious project—which incorporates a 2-CD, 26-song set; a lavishly illustrated hardcover book of 17 songs from the album; a corresponding e-book encompassing the entire collection; and a documentary film and web series —gathers many of contemporary musical theatre's greatest composers and vocalists, as well as illustrators, all of whom have donated their talent to deliver an emotionally affecting set of new lullabies, many written specifically for this project.

Over the Moon: The Broadway Lullaby Project's roster of world-class vocalists features some of Broadway's most respected and popular performers and friends, including Anastasia Barzee, Stephanie BastMichael CerverisWalter Charles,Victoria ClarkJed Cohen, Janet DacalKate DawsonRaul EsparzaSutton FosterBrian d'Arcy JamesKelli O'HaraMarva HicksDana IveyNikki M. JamesLuke Kolbe MannikusMarc KudischJudy KuhnRebecca LukerAudra McDonaldDonna MurphyChristiane NollLaura Osnes, Anika Noni Rose, Caesar SamayoaWill Swenson, and Vanessa Williams.

Meanwhile, the project's book component also features a distinctive cover illustration by fabled cartoonist/playwright Jules Feiffer, along with a foreword written by stage and screen legend Julie Andrews and her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton. Among the award-winning illustrators lending their talents are Selina Alko, Lynne Avril, Paulette Bogan, Beowulf Boritt, Lauren Castillo, R. Gregory Christie, Seymour Chwast, Jane Dyer, Richard Egielski, Daniel Glucksman, Julia Gran, Ying-Hwa Hu, Genevieve LeRoy-Walton, Betsy Lewin, Anna Louizos, Victor Mays, Emily Arnold McCully, Wendell Minor, Barry Moser, Jon J Muth, Sean Qualls, Peter H. Reynolds, Marc Simont, Javaka Steptoe, Melissa Sweet, Cornelius Van Wright, Neil Waldman, Nancy Elizabeth Wallace, Tony Walton, Gary Zamchick, and Paul O. Zelinsky. 
The project has been documented in the form of a short film and web series that tells the story of The Broadway Lullaby Project from conception to completion. Through interviews and rare behind-the-scenes footage, Peabody and Emmy Award-winning documentarian Barbara Rick and Out of The Blue Films, Inc. chronicle the inspiration, rehearsals, recording sessions, and artistic processes of many of Broadway’s brightest stars, world-renowned jazz musicians, and our most-loved illustrators—all united to combat breast cancer through the comfort and beauty of music and art.

What we thought:

Friday, July 13, 2012

Creating Your Own 'Fika' (Swedish Coffee Break) with Gevalia Kaffe

Scandinavian trends are all the rage, from IKEA to Scandinavian sweater prints set to hit stores this fall, to the success of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, we’re beginning to see this trend trickle from design, to fashion and even food.

Another Swedish trend coming to the U.S… Fika, a Swedish social institution that allows Swedes to take true coffee breaks throughout the day (not just grabbing a coffee to go and drinking it at their desk). Swedes actually slow down, sit and savor a rich cup of coffee, a sweet snack and the company of friends, twice a day, every day.  Gevalia Kaffe, a Swedish heritage coffee new to U.S. retail stores, is the preferred brand in Sweden and an official coffee of the Swedish Royal Court (see more info below).

How do you master the art of creating your own fika stateside? Here are some tips:
·         Silence the cell phone, set the timer for 15 minutes and take a break with a friend
·         Choose the right brew, like a delicious cup of Gevalia Kaffe (see more below), a Swedish heritage coffee now available in retail stores nationwide
·         Do what the Swedes do and bake a simple decadent dessert like Kanelbullar (Swedish Cinnamon Buns) or even something as simple as a Pepparakakor (Swedish Ginger Snaps) – if you’re not up to baking, any sweet treat will do!
·         If you want to go all out, decorate your space with a nice place setting, use Swedish-designed mugs and label the desserts in Swedish making it feel authentic and festive

The product: A new speciality coffee has arrived from Kraft Foods - Genalia. Hve you tried it yet? They have many varieties for your enjoyment. It will make having a cup of coffee a little more enjoyable. Here's a little more about it:

What sets Gevalia apart from other premium coffees? 
·         For more than 150 years, the Swedes have been perfecting Gevalia coffee.  Gevalia roasts its beans with care and the result is an exceptional taste, cup after cup.
·         In Sweden, where the citizens drink more coffee than almost anywhere else in the world, Gevalia is their preferred brand.
·         Previously available online only, Gevalia is available for the first time in select stores in 10 premium varieties:
o   Traditional Roast, Traditional Roast Whole Bean, House Blend, House Blend Decaf, French Roast, French Roast Whole Bean, Colombia, Espresso Roast, Vanilla and Chocolate Mocha.

What we thought:

Scala Women's Sewn Ribbon Crusher With Self Band (Style LC511)

I was hanging on & trying not to let the waves knock me over!

Sun protection for a great price. That's really what it's about for me. I love the sun in the summer, but the older I get the more easily I burn. I especially had to watch my face. It doesn't take much time in the warm, summer sun for my cheeks, nose and forehead to start turning pink. And if I don't notice, they will go from pink to red.

I have gotten better about making sure that I have something on my face to prevent sunburn from even happening. I now know that I burn easier, and it's always those first few times in the warm sun at the beginning of the season that get me. I now have an arsenal of sunblock, hats, and anything else that might help before I get burned.

The product: From Dorfman Pacific comes the Scala Collezione. I received the LC511 Style. This is a great sunhat made with sewn ribbon. There are no holes in this sunhat for you to get a sunburn through. The idea is that it will completely cover your head to protect it and your face from the sun this summer.

The Scala Sewn Ribbon Crusher is made with 100% polyester, which makes it easy to wipe clean and lightweight. It also has a wide brim to help keep the sun off your face.

What I thought:

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Another Tooth Gone

I have had a crazy few weeks. I'm trying to keep up and catch up. But I couldn't help sharing this picture of my son. Zachariah lost his 2nd tooth today! He's thrilled. I just hope the tooth fairy remembers to "stop" tonight.

2nd tooth lost

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Luden's Throat Drops

It's summertime, and we're all enjoying the outdoors. That doesn't mean that you can't get sick or feel under the weather. Don't worry, because if you do Luden's is always on the shelf for you. Even those pesky summer colds won't seem as bad with soothing Luden's Throat Drops.

The product: Luden's has been around for over 130 years. They help people every year with irritated and sore throats with their soothing throat drops. With a wide variety of flavors, you'll find something that you like. And they are safe for children ages 3 and up.

You can enjoy flavors like Wild Cherry, Honey Lemon, Honey Licorice, Wild Berry Assorted Flavors, Wild Honey and Cool Menthol. There is also a Sugar Free Wild Cherry and now the newest - Orange. The Orange variety has 100% daily value of vitamin C. A great flavor and little something extra to boost your immunity. You can get these in 25-30 count bags and some in smaller 14 count boxes too.

Luden's just hosted a fun jingle contest. The finalist should be posted by next week, then you can help. You can to go vote for your favorite "LaLa Luden's Jingle" by going to their website from July 23 - August 17.

What I thought:

"The Line Between Here and Gone" by Andrea Kane

Imagine for a minute that you lost of significant other in a freak accident. The police never find his body, but the evidence all shows foul play. Then to make matters tougher, you find out right after this that you are pregnant with his child. Trying to mourn a loss, being pregnant, then some complications occur when the baby is born. It's almost too much to handle.  But it seems like there is more to the story. This is only part of the story that unfolds in The Line Between Here and Gone by Andrea Kane.

The product:

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Andrea Kane Knows That Disappearances Can Be Deceiving


July 1, 2012 The man she loved is gone forever. The child she lives for could be next.  A special investigations team battles local corruption and government interference in the lastest nerve-racking thriller by New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Andrea Kane, THE LINE BETWEEN HERE AND GONE (Harlequin MIRA; July 1, 2012; $24.95 U.S./$27.95 CAN.).  It’s a race against the clock to locate a man everyone presumed dead — all before the infant son he doesn’t know he has dies. Amanda Gleason was distraught when authorities declared her boyfriend, Southampton real estate developer Paul Everett, a no-body homicide. They discovered signs of a struggle around his abandoned, blood-spattered car but were unable to find a body after days of searching and dredging.  Amanda was even more crushed when she realized that she was pregnant with a child that Paul didn’t live to see. When she discovers that their newborn son, Justin, has Severe Combined Immunodeficiency and desperately requires a stem cell transplant, Amanda laments the fact that the best chance for Justin’s survival would’ve been Paul, if only he’d been alive. So when a friend emails her a photo of a man who looks identical to Paul, Amanda is stunned.  Angry and confused, she realizes that if Paul is somehow alive, he is Justin’s best hope. That’s when she turns to Forensic Instincts—a specialized team with a reputation for solving cases no one else can.  
Comprised of a behaviorist, a techno-wizard, an intuitive, a former navy SEAL, a retired FBI agent and a human-scent-evidence dog, the FI team tackles the case on two fronts—the murder/disappearance of Paul Everett and his apparent resurfacing in Washington, D.C. However, powerful foes are aligned to make certain Paul Everett stays buried, and they’re willing to do whatever it takes to make sure the FI members come up empty-handed. When the FI team members find themselves up against civic, underworld, political and government forces, they realize that not only must they be on the right track but that there is a whole lot more to Paul Everett than anyone could have suspected. FI always gets its man, but will they find him in time to save his infant son? THE LINE BETWEEN HERE AND GONEBy Andrea KaneMIRA; July 1, 2012400 pages; $24.95 U.S./$27.95 CAN.ISBN-13: 978-0-7783-1337-3  


Andrea Kane’s psychological thriller The Girl Who Disappeared Twice became an instant New York Times bestseller, the latest in a long string of smash hits.  It introduced Forensic Instincts, an eclectic team of maverick investigators, each with different personalities and talents, all with one common bond: a blatant disregard for authority.  The Line Between Here and Gone is the next exhilarating installment in the Forensic Instincts series.  Armed with skills and talents honed by years in the FBI and Special Forces, and training in behavioral and forensic psychology, the team solves seemingly impossible cases while walking a fine line between assisting and enraging law enforcement. With a worldwide following and novels published in more than twenty languages, Kane is also the author of eight romantic thrillers and fourteen historical romances.  She lives in New Jersey with her family, where she is plotting new ways for Forensic Instincts to challenge the status quo. For more information, please check out Andrea’s website at AndreaKane.com.


1.      Q: Are any characters in the book based on people you know or have met in your personal life?
A: I am constantly inspired by people (and animals) I meet while researching my novels:  FBI agents, cops, other law enforcement personnel, doctors, nurses, vets, dogs, as well as people I meet in my everyday life.  I think my characters embody the best and worst traits of all of them.  Working closely with the FBI has given me the opportunity to see integrity, dedication, intelligence, and insightfulness up close and personal.

2.      Q: Which part of THE LINE BETWEEN HERE AND GONE was the most enjoyable to write?
A: The best part of writing THE LINE, for me, was bringing back the whole FI team. They've become so real to me, I love "spending" more time with them!

3.      Q: Which part was the least enjoyable?
A: My readers know how I feel about children and animals. And, as a mother, it was so hard for me to write from Amanda's perspective as she watched her critically ill baby struggle for his life.

4.      Q: How did you come up with the character, Amanda Gleason?
A: It’s really hard to be a young woman in today’s world.  Meeting the right person, pursuing a career, starting a family.  Amanda embodies the hopes and fears of all women as they struggle against life’s seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

5.      Q: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in the book?
A: Not right now. But I'm my own worst critic, so as time goes on, I'm sure I'll find things that bother me. Of course hindsight is always 20/20.

What I thought: