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!

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!