Friday, December 31, 2010

Sponsored Post: That Was Quick

I was reading an article entitled “That Was Quick”, which discussed 2010 flying by quickly and pondering how to prepare for the upcoming new year. As most people are doing today, I am thinking back through all that occurred during 2010 and wondering what the new year will bring me and my family. I believe I wrote a post way earlier this past summer where I gave you my favorite quote – “Life is what happens to you when you’re making other plans”. I wish there was a way I could be better prepared for the upcoming year, but I know I just have to take a deep breath and face it when it comes. One way that I can prepare myself better for the upcoming year is to learn how to shop better – take advantage of deals, such as through the Mozy.com promotion and learn the art of couponing. I follow so many blogs that talk about couponing, it’s time I learn from the masters!

*Disclaimer: I received monetary compensation for this post.

Monday, December 27, 2010

$35 Giveaway from CSN Stores!

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I am so excited to offer this giveaway to you! CSN Stores is offering one of my readers a $35 gift certificate for ANY of their products in ANY of their stores! This is my first time working with CSN Stores – I have entered other bloggers’ giveaways and been to browse many of their online stores, but I have never hosted one of their giveaways before. Until now!

CSN Stores has over 200 stores! You can find absolutely anything you need for every room in your home. I love imagining how I would redecorate my home with their modern furniture.  Their variety is amazing!  I'm not sure which room to work on first.  I have such a long list of things I wish to change.

Now on to the giveaway info!

Win It: CSN Stores is providing my readers with $35 gift certificate towards any purchase in any of their stores. Please leave a comment for each entry. Please also leave your email address with each comment.

Mandatory entry: Please visit CSN Stores and leave me a comment telling me what you think you would like to purchase with your $35.

Bonus Entries:
1. Follow Tidbits From A Mom publicly on Google Friend Connect. (1 entry)
2. Follow my other blog, Dearheart Designs publicly on Google Friend Connect. (1 entry)
3. Leave a comment on any of my reviews on my blog and leave a comment and let me know which review you commented on. (2 entries)
4. Follow me on Facebook (2 entries)
5. Follow me on Twitter (1 entry)
6. Subscribe to Tidbits From A Mom through RSS feed or email (3 entries)
7. Follow me on Networked Blogs (3 entries)

This giveaway ends on January 17, 2011 at 9:00pm EST. The winner will be chosen through Random.org. The winner will be notified through email and will have 48 hours to respond.  This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. *Giveaway does not include shipping costs.

*Disclaimer: I was not provided monetary compensation for this post. The opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Review: Say Mmm

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As most parents out there, my life is extremely hectic. I have two children, work full-time, and own a small business. My dinners, if you can call them that, are really lacking because I don’t have the time to plan. Thankfully, my husband is kind enough to do the shopping, but I am still responsible for creating the shopping list each week. I rack my brain for meal ideas and quickly write down ingredients.

I can’t tell you how ecstatic I was when I was given the opportunity to review Say Mmm! Say Mmm is a site meant to save parents time and money in their meal planning. It has so many features to simplify the whole process, including recipe ideas, the ability to create shopping lists, and it can even keep track of current prices of products!

“The website has several free meal planning, grocery shopping, and recipe organizing features to help people go from Hmm to Mmm:

Meal planning - Easily plan meals by day, week, or month with an online calendar designed to work with your recipes and shopping lists.

Grocery lists - Simplify grocery lists with smart features that help you remember and organize the things you need to get.

Recipes - Save all your recipes and meal ideas in one place, organize them as you like, and just click to use them in meal plans and shopping lists.

Say Mmm Plus - In addition to the many free features, Say Mmm Plus has some additional premium features for $3/month.

I love the fact that I have so many recipes right at my fingertips and I don’t have to scour the internet searching for something new and different. The variety is amazing. My favorite features include the ability to see my whole menu for the week and simply create my shopping list with the click of my mouse!



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Also, because I have a smartphone, I can send my list to my phone and view not only the list, but the recipes as well. How cool is that?? This definitely saves me time, but also my sanity! I am looking forward to using the feature that will allow me to track prices of products and food items. Say Mmm allows you to input store information and thus keep track of how much food costs at those particular stores. Awesome!!



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Please go check out Say Mmm! You will be amazed at the variety of recipes and how this program can help simply your meal planning and purchasing.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Book Review: Mission:Explore

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I was really drawn to "Mission:Explore" because my daughter is such a curious little girl. She loves the outdoors and is always looking for a new adventure. "Mission:Explore" was created by The Geography Collective (based in the UK) and is illustrated by Tom Morgan-Jones. "Mission:Explore" is a collection of over one hundred activities to help children explore their environment. Noel Jenkins Noel Jenkins stated in Geographical Magazine that this journal is "designed to be read, scribbled on, illustrated, smeared, scratched and sniffed, it may just be the most revolutionary geography-related book ever published."

I received an ebook copy of this book, which was a little disappointing because my daughter really wanted to keep the journal. I wrote down the instructions on a separate piece of paper and she was then able to keep her own notes. My daughter attempted several of the activities so far, including "Follow A Friend", "Spend A Day Without Turning Anything On", "Find A Red Stone", and "Let A Dog Take You For A Walk". My daughter had a wonderful time doing these activities, giggling throughout. She was not that successful on the first two activities. "Follow A Friend" requires you to follow someone around while you hold a newspaper with two eyes cut out and see how long you can go without being noticed. She lasted all of about five seconds because of her giggling. "Spend a Day Without Turning Something On" didn't go so well either because it was a dark day and she kept turning on the bathroom and hallway lights. However, she was successful with the last two activities, particularly "Let Your Dog Take You For A Walk". We do not let her hold the leash often because our dog will sometimes bolt and take our daughter down! I held my breath and allowed her to take the leash for this activity though and I was relieved to see the dog didn't act up! My daughter had a blindfold on and was led around the backyard. She was required to take in information about her environment using her other senses. She loves these types of activities! She is such a little scientist! She is definitely excited to try more of them. It was also nice to have ideas of activities for her to do outside because she has been bored with her usual routine.

More about the book:
"Mission:Explore is a brilliant way to stimulate children's and young people's interest in their social and physical environment, their curiosity and their sense of the absurd. The case for risk as a necessary and exciting part of life, that needs handling intelligently, is acknowledged well. This is geography, and fieldwork, at its most creative, and has the potential to inspire a new generation of thoughtful, ethical and courageous geographers." Susan Buckingham, Professor of Geography

“It is very important for children to experience adventurous play and risk so they can learn to manage risk and keep themselves safe. Mission:Explore helps to do this in a fun and exciting way.” The Child Safety Education Coalition

"Should be compulsory reading for all university geography students" Professor Danny Dorling

This book is wonderful and I would highly recommend it to parents who want to get their children outside!

How can you get a copy? You can visit HERE to purchase a copy for $10.39!

You can also visit the website to read about hundreds of other missions. Although the website has missions for the city of London, they also have missions that can be done anywhere.

Read more about the Love Outdoor Play Campaign here!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Book Review: Simple Times - Crafts for Poor People by Amy Sedaris

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I was excited initially about being given the opportunity to review "Simple Times - Crafts for Poor People" by Amy Sedaris, actress and comedien.  I love doing crafts and I am all about saving money.  I was told it was funny, which was definitely a bonus to me.  I am sad to say that I was really disappointed with this book.  Yes, there were some parts that made me smile, such as when she talks about using a glue gun.  However, there were more sections of the book that would be considered inappropriate and that bothered me a bit.  It is definitely a book that I won't be able to keep laying around or even in my house with a young daughter that is into everything.  Let's just say, it wouldn't be a good thing if her little eyes came across it.

As for the actual crafts that are in the book, there isn't a craft that I would actually make.  Some of them were amusing, but I wouldn't keep them in my home.  There are probably other people out there who would actually want to try them. 

The book is a large, sturdy book that was obviously a huge project.  A lot of effort went into making the book.  However, it just was not for me.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

InvitesNow Review

InvitesNow has “paper and gifts for the {IN} crowd”, including Stationery, Invitations, Announcements, and Cards.   InvitesNow has a beautiful website, I was instantly impressed.  It is easy to navigate and I was impressed with how you can easily access the information you are looking for without having to read a ton of information. 
About {IN}:
“Be in a part of the {IN} crowd and “Get your Invites NOW!”
At Invites NOW, service, quality and timeliness are our obsession.
“INVITES” stands for the diverse design selection of paper and gift products that we offer to the {IN} crowd.  We love the idea that our paper goods and gift items find their way into your most personal celebrations, and we don’t take the honor lightly. We’re constantly looking for creative and unexpected ways to bring great design into the world of paper and gifts.
“NOW” represents the importance of getting your order to you without further ado!  We pride ourselves on the digital printing method we use to print your order on-demand and the quality we deliver to your doorstep. We stand behind our products with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Because we believe that on-line stores should make your life easier, we also offer a collection of add-on items, including gift stickers, address labels, bag tags, business cards, note cards and more.  Your shopping experience is now complete!”
Rosanne from InvitesNow was kind enough to let me review both address labels and gift stickers.  I often receive the free address labels in the mail from various charities.  However, I have always wanted prettier, classier labels, but have never followed through with buying them.  I was so impressed with the vast number of choices.  I chose the label below because the pink/chocolate brown combination is one of my favorites.   They are a little larger than the average label I use, but they are absolutely perfect for sending packages in the mail.  I tend to send many packages, particularly for my small jewelry business.  I am thinking I need to go order some for my business!
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I have never seen personalized gift stickers before!  Where have I been?!  I LOVE them! It makes gift wrapping easier and saves time by not having to write on the stickers.  I used to wrap gifts for Shreve, Crump, & Low in Boston for years.  I take great pride in my wrapping and making presents look beautiful.  I think these gift stickers definitely make the present look better overall.  I chose an ornament design and personalized them with all of our names for the Christmas presents for our family and friends.  They look wonderful and I look forward to take on all the wrapping!


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Lastly, I just wanted to share this with you!  I LOVE this! 
"We believe IN:
We believe in laughter, hand written notes, fresh flowers and good 
manners
We believe in recycling, capturing precious moments on film and 
sharing good news
We believe that just because something looks and feels expensive, 
doesn't mean it has to be
We believe in showing appreciation, baking sweet treats and 100%  
satisfied customers
We believe in Emily Post, but sometimes you have to follow your own
personal style"

Thank you so much to Rosanne for the opportunity to review InvitesNow products.  I wish I had known about InvitesNow when my son was born.  I love the Baby Announcements!


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chunky Bling Swarovski Crystal or Pearl Ring Giveaway!

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Chunky Bling has a great assortment of chunky beaded jewelry, including Swarovski Rings and Beaded Necklaces, Bracelets, and Watches. Please visit ChunkyBling.com to view the vast array of choices. These are perfect holiday gifts and stocking stuffers!

Chunky Blink also provides the opportunity for people to host an online jewelry party. No need to have to clean your house and worry about entertaining people! Simply host a party online and receive store credit based upon your total sales!

Chunky Bling is also sponsoring a giveaway for one reader to win their choice of a Swarovski Ring! These rings feature Swarovski Crystals or Pearls, rhinestone-crusted rondelles, and sterling silver findings. All of the rings are one size fits all! They are made with a stretchy cord; therefore, there is no need to worry about finger measurement.




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More information about Swarovski Crystals and Pearls:
Swarovski crystals are considered by many to be the highest quality crystal beads worldwide. The Swarovski company uses a special compound in its glass which creates maximum surface luster (i.e. sparkle) and allows for a delicate palette of crystal colors. The Swarovski Crystal Pearls are made using a crystal core and have been finished with layers of highly luminous pearlescent coating. These pearls are more durable than natural pearls. The benefits of these pearls include the fact that they are resistant to scratching and abrasions and will not be ruined by washing and dry cleaning.

Now on to the giveaway info!

Buy It: Chunky Bling is providing my readers with a coupon code for 15% OFF any jewelry on their website! The coupon code is KIMBE801 and will be good through December 21, 2010.

Win It: One reader will win their choice of a Swarovski Crystal or Pearl Ring. Please leave a comment for each entry. Please also leave your email address with each comment.

Mandatory entry: Please visit Chunky Bling’s Build Your Own Watch page and then come back here and comment on your favorite watch band and face combination.

Bonus Entries:
1. Like Chunky Bling on Facebook. (1 entry)
2. Participate in Chunky Bling’s Name That Bling contest. (1 entry)
3. Follow Tidbits From A Mom publicly on Google Friend Connect.
4. Follow my other blog, Dearheart Designs publicly on Google Friend Connect
5. Leave a comment on any of my reviews on my blog and leave a comment and let me know which review you commented on. (2 entries)
6. Follow me on Facebook (2 entries)
7. Follow me on Twitter (2 entries)
8. Subscribe to Tidbits From A Mom through RSS feed or email (3 entries)
9. Follow me on Networked Blogs (3 entries)

This giveaway ends on December 14, 2010 at 9:00pm EST. The winner will be chosen through Random.org. The winner will be notified through email and will have 48 hours to respond.  This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada. 

Disclaimer: I did not receive any monetary compensation for this giveaway. The opinions expressed here are completely my own.



Thursday, November 25, 2010

General Mills Big G Cereals "Family Flick Night" GIVEAWAY!

 
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I just wanted to share the awesome deal going on from General Mills.  Right now, you can receive a free movie ticket when you purchase two specially marked packages of Big G cereals including Honey Nut Cheerios® (17 oz.), Cinnamon Toast Crunch® (17 oz.), Lucky Charms® (16 oz.), Trix® (14.8 oz) and Reese´s Puffs® cereal (18 oz.).



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After you purchase two participating cereals, visit generalmills.com/moviecash to enter the unique code found inside each box of cereal and print your free Movie Cash certificate (good for one admission of up to a $12 value at participating theatres). To find a participating theater in your area, log onto http://emoviecash.com/dis_locator/.

General Mills was kind enough to send my family and I two boxes of cereal – Lucky Charms and Cinnamon Toast Crunch!  My daughter’s favorite is Lucky Charms, while my favorite is Cinnamon Toast Crunch.  They also sent us four movie passes, which I will use to spend some quality time with my daughter.  She is very excited to go see Disney’s “Tangled” and I have to admit, so am I! It opened today so I am hoping that maybe we can go this weekend.
General Mills has also been kind enough to offer one of my readers a “Family Flick” Gift Pack like the picture above!
Win It: One winner will receive a “Family Flick Night" gift pack which will include two boxes of the participating Big G cereals and four Movie Cash certificates.
To enter: Please leave a separate comment with each entry.  Please also leave your email address so I can contact you. 
Mandatory:  Please leave me a comment telling me which cereals are you looking forward to purchasing to earn e-movie cash.
Bonus entries:
1. Follow Tidbits From A Mom publicly on Google Friend Connect.
2. Follow my other blog, Dearheart Designs publicly on Google Friend Connect
3. Leave a comment on any of my reviews on my blog and leave a comment and let me know which review you commented on. (2 entries)
4. Follow me on Facebook (2 entries)
5. Follow me on Twitter (2 entries)
6. Subscribe to Tidbits From A Mom through RSS feed or email (3 entries)
7. Follow me on Networked Blogs (3 entries)

**Giveaway ends December 4, 2010 at 9:00pm EST.  The winner will be chosed by Random.org.  The winner will be notified through email and will have 48 hours to respond. 

Disclosure: I did not receive monetary compensation for this post.  I did receive two free boxes of cereal and four movie passes through MyBlogSpark.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Book Review: "Your Baby Is Speaking to You" by Dr. Kevin Nugent


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I was excited to review "Your Baby Is Speaking to You: A Visual Guide to the Amazing Behaviors of Your Newborn and Growing Baby, written by Kevin Nugent, because I wanted to make sure that I was doing everything in my power to understand my son. He was six months and although I felt pretty confident, there was a tiny voice in the back of my mind saying, "What if you're wrong about you think he's telling you"?

"Your Baby Is Speaking to You" discusses the meanings behind the actions of a newborn, including the meanings of the different types of cries and smiles. It also discusses the major milestones of baby development, such as crawling and taking their first steps.

First off, this book has beautiful photos. I love black and white photos! Each chapter has a corresponding black and white photo of a baby that matches the context of the chapter.

I loved the fact that this book was an easy read. The chapters were nice and brief. I love the fact that Dr. Nugent did not use jargon-filled text that was dry. As I read this book, I imagined my son throughout! As I read the chapter on crawling, I watched as my own son was learning to crawl! I have read many baby books, but I still learned some new facts from Dr. Nugent's book. For example, I couldn't understand why my son fusses when my daughter is trying to play with him on the floor. I realized after reading this book that he's fussing because he's overstimulated. My daughter tends to place numerous toys in front of him and he must be fussing because he doesn't like it. Since I read this, I have been quick to intervene and remind my daughter about this. I then give him one toy and remove the others.

About the author:

 Dr. J. Kevin Nugent is the Founder and Director of the Brazelton Institute at Children's Hospital in Boston and is on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School in the Department of Pediatrics. He is also Professor of Child and Family Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

I loved reading this book and loved viewing the photos! I would definitely recommend this book to new parents.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wednesday Hops


I am LOVING Shutterfly!

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I have used Shutterfly for years in designing beautiful holiday cards as well as personalized gifts for our family members. I keep copies of each card every year because I love to look at them and see how our family has changed over the years. First, it was just my husband and I, then we added our pets, then of course, our daughter came along. This year I am so excited to add our new son to the photo. These cards reflect how our family has grown and every time I look at them I smile!

I have loved taking different photos, arranging them in various ways, and customizing them with the numerous designs that Shutterfly offers. It has been hard to choose the design each year because there are so many! I don't expect it to be any easier this year! Do I choose more of a refine/conservative look or more fun with lots of different color? Do I choose a Christmas themed card or a more general Holiday card? One other card option that I am toying with is the Holiday Story Card. You can highlight milestones that your children achieved or important events that occurred during the year in addition to your photos.

Regardless of my choice, I do know that once I make make my decision and design and customize my card, I will have a beautiful photo to share with our family and friends.  I created a card today that has my favorite photo of the year - the first time my daughter held my son.  I cried when her face lit up as she held him in her arms and told him she loved him.  I will never forget this moment and this card allows me to share it with everyone else. 





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Check out Shutterfly today and see what you can create with your photos!

*Disclaimer: I did not receive monetary compensation for this post.  The opinions expressed here are solely my own.  I be receiving 50 free holiday cards in return for this post. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

WINNER!

The winner of the autographed copy of "Reflections of Light for Daily Living: A Book of Affirmations for the Ambitious" and Smartphone App is..

Patricia Alner!

Thank you so much for entering! Patricia has been notified through email!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Cahootie - Review & Giveaway

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When I was little girl, my friends and I loved trying to tell each others' fortunes by using a "Cootie Catcher". Typically, we would imagine who we were marrying, how many children we would have, what kind of car we were going to drive, etc. 25 years later, I still hear from my students that they're using them as well.

Cahootie is a twenty-first century version of the once entertaining paper fortune teller.  Not only is Cahootie more entertaining, but it is more colorful and contains so many more thought-provoking questions.  There are approximately thirteen themes that vary from subject to subject, including music, sports, family, and hopes and dreams for the future to name a few. 

About Cahootie:
"Cahootie's mission is to build a leading tween brand that promotes esteem-building conversation and positive self expression through social interaction.  Through our award-winning folded paper products, we aim to deliver an experience of fun, learning and connection among Tweens and their families and friends.  Through ClubCahootie.com, we aim to deliver a dynamic online social playspace that allows tweens to interact with real world friends in a safe and secure environment."

I was given the opportunity to review two Cahooties.  My daughter and I were practically stalking the mailman each day in anticipation for our Cahooties to arrive.  We received the "My Fab Future" and "My Fab Family" Cahooties. 



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Included with both Cahooties were a large amount of reusable stickers.  I read the directions to my daughter, which included for us to choose the initial set of stickers to place on the inside of each Cahooties.  The stickers that came with the "My Fab Family" Cahootie were color coded according to the appropriate section on the toy itself.  The stickers for the "My Fab Future" were all the same color and it didn't matter where you placed them.  My daughter had an easy time applying the stickers to both Cahooties. 

After reviewing the directions once again, we started playing.  My daughter is a strong reader and was able to read all the questions on her own.  If she weren't a strong reader, I could easily have read the questions or comments and it would have been just as fun!  We took turns telling each others' futures and answering the questions inside each Cahootie.  When my daughter wanted to answer new questions, she simply peeled off the sticker (with a little assistance from me), placed them back on the sticker sheet, and then applied a new one.  We had the best time!  I think it was the most quality mother-daughter time I have spent with her in a long time!  I had expected some of the answers she provided to certain questions such as, "If you could have any pet, what would you have?"  She replied, "A horse of course!"  I definitely expected that.  I did not expect that she would reply "California" when asked where the family should go for our next dream vacation.  I would have pegged Disneyworld as her destination of choice hands down. 

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I love the colors, designs, and details of the Cahooties.  I love that it is an interactive activity that allows us to get to know others, laugh, and use our imaginations.  I definitely would have loved these when I was a little girl!

I have been given the opportunity to host a giveaway here on Tidbits From A Mom for one reader to receive a Cahootie of their choice!!

To enter: Please leave your email address with each comment.

Mandatory Entry: Please visit Cahootie and then come back here and tell me which Cahootie you would choose if you won ths giveaway.  This is required in order for the Bonus Entries to count.

Extra Entries:
1. Follow Cahootie on Facebook.
2. Follow Tidbits From A Mom on Google Friend Connect.
3. Leave a comment on any other review on my blog and leave a comment and let me know which review you commented on. (2 entries)
4. Follow me on Facebook (2 entries)
5. Follow me on Twitter (2 entries)
6. Subscribe to Tidbits From A Mom through email (3 entries)
7. Enter any of my other giveaways (2 entries each)
8. Vote for my son Joey in the Gerber contest HERE(5 entries)

This giveaway will close on November 16th at 11:59pm EST. I will use random.org to choose a winner. The winner will be notified through email and will have 48 hours to confirm.

Disclaimer: I was not provided monetary compensation for this review. I did receive two free products for me to keep in order to complete this review. All the opinions expressed here are my own.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Book Review: Chilling Tales From The Porcelain Seat

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I heard about this book and I just had to see what it's all about. "Chilling Tales From The Portcelain Seat" is a bathroom reader written by Roto-Rooter plumbers with commentary by Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson from the SciFi channel's "Ghost Hunters".  This book not only has funny stories, but it also has practical tips for maintaining your plumbing!  I learned new facts that I could teach my husband :)
It was amazing to read about the kinds of things that people have lost down a drain - a glass eye, false teeth, money, etc.  Throughout the book, not only are these funny stories presented, but there are really practical tips for people!  It is stated in the book that Thanksgiving is the single busiest day of the year for plumbers.  I never that, but it makes sense! 

"Most Americans take part in Thanksgiving celebrations with eleven or more people.  Big holiday meals require a busy kitchen, meaning lots of grease and food go down the kitchen drain into the garbage disposal.  Holiday guests require extra shwoers, eash cycles, and toilet flushes".

The book also discusses "Self-Help, Maintenance, Going Green, & Saving Green".  I found this section particularly helpful!  I can't stand when my sink starts to get an odor - and I don't even have a garbage disposal!  Here's a helpful tip:  "To eliminate these dors, place ice cubes and lemon peels in the disposal and run for about 30 seconds,, then rinse with cold water".

This book is full of stories that will make you and your houseguests giggle!  Please check it out!  If not for the amusing stories, check it out for the practical tips.  It will be worth it!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Reflections of Light for Daily Living: A Book of Affirmations for the Ambitious by Dr. Tiffany Brown - Blog Tour, Book Review, & GIVEAWAY!

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Dr. Brown has an extensive resume.  It is quite impressive to say the least.  If you would like to read more about Dr. Brown's background you can visit her website here.
 I definitely consider myself an ambitious person. However, life can be tough and circumstances can affect my motivation and/or get in the way of me achieving what I want. I like thinking positively, but sometimes, that's just plain difficult. I was instantly drawn to reading "The Reflections Of Light For Daily Living" because I need that positive support whether it's from people or from reading materials.  I have also been attending religious classes and learning a ton, so the connections that Dr. Browns makes between the concepts and the church is very interesting to me. 

I absolutely love that each day is about something different.  For example, Day 8: Motivation - "Today is about motivation".  I think it is definitely easier for me to focus on one thing each day instead of EVERYTHING, which is just simply overwhelming.  With each day, Dr. Brown provides a personal story to help the reader understand the concept/affirmation better and share some information about herself.  As I've mentioned in previous posts, I have been feeling the pressure of my birthday coming and I am doing ALOT of reflection about my life and considering options for my future.  I love that this book gives me a structure to help me on my way!  I would strongly suggest reading this book if you are in search of inspiration and motivation in your life!

Dr. Brown answered a few questions for us:
What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?

The three things are business strategy, marketing and publicity. Each are incredibly important when you building yourself as a brand. I don’t think I really understood this component when I was younger.

Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?

One do is to be to be strategic about selling your books. Hiring your own publicist may be a good idea to ensure you get your desired response. Don’t assume you’re a major priority just because you have book deal.

One don’t is similar to the do. Do not wait on the publicity department for your publisher . Do not rely on your publisher for everything. You can miss out many additional revenue streams by waiting on your publisher to act.

What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?

That it is not as easy as it looks and it is a emotional experience. You are really putting yourself out there; good and bad. You are allow yourself to be complete transparent and it can be scary experience.

I love how you have included your life stories onto the pages and you are so relatable; what has been one of your biggest challenges in life and how did you overcome it?

My biggest challenge was bouncing back from my failed mayoral bid that was a disappointment on a professional and emotional level. It was completely humiliating because I was marginalized and misunderstood throughout the campaign. I felt like people didn’t get me; they just stereotyped me.
There were many people that I had supported in the past that didn’t return the favor added to the humiliation. I was very disappointed in people that I had respected and loved in every facet of my life. It definitely changed the way I see the world.

“The Reflections of Light for Daily Living: A Book of Affirmations for the Ambitious” that has will be released on October 23, 2010. (ISBN number 978-1-4512-3143-4 Publish America) http://www.publishamerica.net/product119240.html  The E-Book will be offered for the low price for $9.95.  The books are also available through Ingram book distributor.

Win It: Dr. Brown is offering one of my readers a free, autographed copy of “The Reflections of Light for Daily Living” as well as a Smart Phone App !

To enter: Please leave your email address with each comment.

Mandatory Entry: You must follow me publicly through Google Friend Connect. This is required in order for the Bonus Entries to count.

Extra Entries:
1. Follow Dr. Brown on Twitter
2. Leave a comment on my review.
3. Leave a comment on any other review on my blog and leave a comment and let me know which review you commented on. (2 entries)
4. Follow me on Facebook (2 entries)
5. Follow me on Twitter (2 entries)
6. Subscribe to Tidbits From A Mom through email (3 entries)

This giveaway will close on November 3rd at 11:59pm EST. I will use random.org to choose a winner. The winner will be notified through email and will have 48 hours to confirm.

Disclaimer: I was not provided monetary compensation for this review. I did receive a free copy of Dr. Brown’s book for the purpose of review. All the opinions expressed here are my own.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Book Review: Find A Way – Three Words That Changed My Life

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Title: Find A Way – Three Words That Changed My Life
Author: Merril Hoge with Brent Cole

About the Book: Find A Way is an inspirational personal account of Merril Hoge’s struggles and accomplishments in life, including his career as a professional football player in the NFL. The book discusses how the lessons learned from his struggles and accomplishments lead to his ability to overcome Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

About the Author: Merril Hoge was a small town boy from Idaho who dreamed of playing in the NFL. Working long hours and saving money, Merril was still able to find time to play football in high school. After college, Merril was drafted by the Pittsbugh Steelers in 1987. Merril played eight seasons in the NFL. Diagnosed with cancer in 1995, Merril was faced with the biggest battle of his life. Living by the motto “Find A Way”, Merril won his battle and is now able to encourage others through teaching this same motto.

My Review: I will admit off the bat that I did not know who Merril Hoge was when I requested to review his book, “Find A Way”. I am not a big football fan because I was never taught about the game. However, I was drawn into the book because of his message of “finding a way”. Merril states, “Finding a way is tapping into those core spiritual motives inside you and taking fierce, resourceful, and consistent action until victory is yours”. Basically, you can get through the tough times if you can find what motivates you. I was immediately impressed by Merril Hoge’s inner strength and perseverance through the challenges he faced early on in life. Although I didn’t understand the football terms used in the book, I couldn’t help but empathize with him when he discusses the toll that football took on his body. Also, the way he discussed his cancer was reminiscent of my own family’s experiences. I wish I had know his motto earlier in life, it could have proven useful. Now that I’ve learned it, I will certainly try to apply it in the future!

*I did not receive monetary compensation for this review. I did receive a copy of this book to keep in order to review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Friday Blog Hops





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Skin MD Review

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As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been paying more attention to taking care of my skin lately due to my impending 35th birthday this November. I have developed my first two sunspots which is freaking me out! I had the opportunity to review the Skin MD Natural Lotion and Skin MD Natural + SPF 15 Shielding Lotion. I used them for approximately two weeks and was really impressed!

I used the lotions on my hands, face, and body and was struck by how soft it made my skin. The lotions are light, not at all greasy, have almost no scent, and are made with all natural ingredients. I used the Skin MD Natural more on my hands, arms, and elbows. I was amazed that after two hours, my elbows still felt soft! I used the Skin MD Natural + SPF 15 Shielding Lotion on my face most often because I've pretty much had the rest of my body covered up (it's been really cool in NH lately). I love feeling how soft it makes my skin, but I love the added SPF even more!

Skin MD has a wonderful website. I learned so much, particularly about the difference between shielding lotions and conventional lotions. According to Skin MD, "Skin MD Natural Shielding Lotion becomes part of the outer layer of skin working to strengthen the skin barrier, keeping the good stuff in and the bad stuff out. Conventional lotions don't utilize the skin's own natural moisturizing oils; instead they cover skin with a greasy layer of artificial moisture. This greasy, artificial moisture can send the wrong message that skin is hydrated and doesn't need to produce it's own natural oils that protect and moisturize. After extended use of a conventional lotion skin can form a dependency causing it to become more dry and damaged if use is stopped. With prolonged use Skin MD Natural helps restore the skin's own natural moisture-production cycle that becomes damaged by the use of other, more conventional lotions."  I never knew this!  This explains why I have been having to reapply other lotions every half hour on my hands! 

Visit Skin MD today and learn more about your skin and how to properly care for it!

SOMBands Review & Giveaway

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I believe strongly in the power of the mind.  I spend a great deal of time talking to my students about how their thoughts are connected to their feelings which affect their behavior.  It's a quite a cycle!  I recently discovered SOMbands, which stands for "State of Mind" bands.  I have to tell you I was instantly intrigued!  I loved the quotes I read on their website:

"We can overcome life's most challenging obstacles by changing our state of mind"

"It's time to get out of your head and start living"

Lauren Jones, the creator of SOMbands, has designed wristbands and t-shirts that when worn, encourage a positive mood.  The wristbands and t-shirts come in four different colors, each representing a different feeling or focus for the person wearing them.  The colors (Red, Green, Yellow, & Blue)  were chosen based upon research conducted in the past on how certain colors illicit certain feelings in people. 

Here are the meanings for the four colors:
  • RED gave the most universal associations of strength, vitality and activity. RED= passion, most attention, strength, energetic
  • GREEN is a cool color that symbolizes nature and the natural world. It also represents tranquility, good luck, health, and jealousy. Green is often used in decorating for its calming effect.
  • BLUE calls to mind feelings of calmness or serenity. It is often described as peaceful, tranquil, secure, and orderly. It can also lower the pulse rate and body temperature.
  • YELLOW has a dramatic effect of energizing you with 'happiness' vibes. Yellow= optimism, joy imagination, friendship, hope sunshine, summer

The wristbands ($5.99) and the t-shirts ($28.00) address PAIN, FEAR, HAPPINESS, & AGE. 
They are based on the colors above. 


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Pain is just a state of mind
Fear is just a state of mind
Happiness is just a state of mind
Age is just a state of mind

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I was very lucky to have the opportunity to review the Happiness is just a state of mind bracelet.  I've worn it every day for the past week and it has been such a conversation starter with my students!  Co-workers have asked about it and have loved the concept as well.  It is really easy, as I'm sure most of you can agree, to get bogged down in the stress and chaos of family, work, maintaining the household, etc.  I love wearing the reminder for me to "Get out of my head and start living".  LOVE IT!!

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SOMbands has offered to sponsor a giveaway!
SOMbands is offering for one of my followers to win a Happiness is just a state of mind wristband!

If you would like to enter the giveaway, ENTER HERE!


This giveaway is open to US residents aged 18 and up and will end on October 26, 2010 at 11:59pm EST. I will use Random.org to choose the winner. Once the winner is notified through email, they will have 48 hours to respond.

Disclaimer: I was not provided with monetary compensation for this review. However, I was provided with a free product to keep. The opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Book Review - "Flightless Goose"

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As the school counselor in my elementary school, it’s my responsibility to work with the students on the issue of bullying, tolerance, friendship, and self-esteem. They are certainly topics that we discuss throughout the entire school year, but I devote about four consecutive lessons per grade level on each theme. I’ve collected materials over the past ten years that I’ve been working there and developed my own curriculum to use; however, each year I try to find new resources that will be interesting and exciting to the kids to help support our discussions and activities.

I was given the opportunity to review “Flightless Goose” this past week. "Flightless Goose" was written by Eric D. Goodman and was illustrated by his wife, Nataliya Goodman.  Flightless Goose is about a goose named Gilbert.  Gilbert was just like all the other geese - happy and loved playing with his friends.  However, one day, Gilbert is unexpectedly struck by a car and sadly, is no longer able to fly.  Over time, the other geese began to pick on Gilbert and make fun of the fact that he was no longer able to fly.  Gilbert finds friendship in a little boy named Johnny who is wheelchair bound.  Without revealing the entire story, Gilbert finds himself racing to save his friends from strangers.  At the end of the story, Gilbert's peers recognize that although he can't fly, he certainly has strengths. 

As I opened the package, I immediately thought, "What a beautiful book!"  The Writer's Lair Books sent me not only this wonderful, hardcover book, but they also sent me an audio CD to go with it!  I used this book to support my lessons in grades one and two. I also read the book to my daughter, who is almost seven, of course.  My students loved Gilbert. Canada geese are so prominent in New Hampshire, so they really felt a connection to him.  I wanted to see if the kids' opinions of the book were different based on whether I read the book or played the audio CD.  Either way, the students loved the story.  While I read the story, the students were able to ask questions, make comments, and we were able have a discussion.  While I played the audio CD, I simply asked students to hold their questions until the end.  It was a wonderful story that really brought home the message of tolerance and friendship.  This lesson was a huge success!

I also read the book to my daughter, who will be turning seven shortly.  Not surprisingly, she loved "Flightless Goose" as well.  We then visited http://www.flightlessgoose.com/ and she was able to print out a few pictures of scenes from the book to color, which completely made her day.

I highly recommend this book!  It shares such an important message!

"Flightless Goose" can be purchased for $15.95 at http://www.flightlessgoose.com/.  You will also receive a FREE audio CD when you purchase the book on the parent's page on the website!
 

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