Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday Hops!

The Things We Find Inside

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Saturday Hops!

The Blog Entourage

Check out Happy Nappers for kids!

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Have you seen these adorable kids’ play pillows yet?  They are called Happy Nappers!  These cute stuffed animals convert to a pillow for naptime and back to a stuffed animal for playtime.  There’s a dragon, cow, penguin, ladybug, dog, and unicorn.  They’re so cute! 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Winner of the Five Little Bunnies Book & CD!

The winner for the Five Little Bunnies Book & CD is....#28

Amberpebs!

I have emailed the winner and they have 48 hours to confirm my email before I choose another winner.  Thanks so much to everyone who entered this giveaway!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Book Review: The Story of Stuff

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The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard is singlehandedly the most informative book I think I have ever read.  This book teaches us about the overconsumption that has occurred on our planet and how the effects and damage are irreversible.  There are five chapters that discuss the manners in which this overconsumption has happened, including "Extraction","Production", "Distribution", "Consumption", and "Disposal".  These chapters are so full of information, it will make your head spin.

I took a class during college called "Environmental Conservation", during which we discussed how the resources on our planet have utilized and wasted.  That was 15 years ago.  It is so much worse now.  The Story of Stuff should be the textbook for that same course nowadays!  Honestly, I found myself a little anxious at times after reading certain facts because they were simply devastating and it doesn't appear that things are going to change any time soon.  Although I also felt a sense of hopelessness at times, I realized that there are many things I have already been doing in order to "do my part".  However, there are so many other things I can do, such as using more nontoxic products.  I can't wait to share what I have learned with my family and friends and hopefully, we can do more by spreading more knowledge.

It took me a while to read this book because I wanted the facts to sink in.  The book is extremely well-written and it is quite obvious that Annie Leonard is an expert in her field.

More about Annie Leonard:
Annie Leonard is the creator of the Internet film The Story of Stuff and is currently the Director of The Story of Stuff Project.  "Annie has spent nearly two decades investigating and organizing on environmental health and justice issues. She has traveled to 40 countries, visiting literally hundreds of factories where our stuff is made and dumps where our stuff is dumped. Witnessing first hand the horrendous impacts of both over- and under- consumption around the world, Annie is fiercely dedicated to reclaiming and transforming our industrial and economic systems so they serve, rather than undermine, ecological sustainability and social equity".

You can read more about Annie Leonard and The Story of Stuff Poject HERE!

Thank you very much to Free Press Blog Tours for allowing me the opportunity to review this book.

*Disclaimer: I was not provided monetary compensation for this post.  I was provided with a free copy of this book to keep for the purposes of the review.  The opinions expressed here are soley my own.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Book Review - Empty Chairs

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I’ve read several books about intense abuse over the years, but none have affected me so deeply. I have found myself thinking about this book often in the past week since I finished it. Empty Chairs is the true-life story of Stacy Danson. Her story begins with her earliest memories of severe abuse. She chronicles her struggles, her perseverance, and her bravery in the face of unbelievable pain and uncertainty. As I read Empty Chairs, I remembered my own childhood, what my family was like, my friends, experiences in school, etc. and then tried to imagine myself living the horror that was Stacy Danson’s childhood and I feel a tightness in my chest. I can’t imagine it. As I finished the book, I felt an intense wish to hear more about her life. I don’t believe that I can truly express how much I admire Stacy Danson. Thank you so much to Stacy for finding the courage to share her story.

You can purchase the Kindle Edition of Empty Chairs on Amazon.com HERE.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Book Review: The Touch of the Master’s Hand

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The Touch of the Master’s Hand was a poem written by Myra Brooks Welch back in 1921.  This is a beautiful poem.  I had never read it before.  The poem is about the fact that regardless of how we feel about ourselves or how others view us, we are still loved and worthy in the eyes of God.  This poem really hit home for me and I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to review it.  Greg Newbold, the illustrator for this book, is amazing.  The pictures are beautiful.  This hardcover book is definitely going to be a favorite in my bookcase. 
I read the book to my daughter, who did not understand it at first, but did once I explained the message.  I am not able to read it to my students, although I know there are many that could benefit from it, because it’s related to God and we are not allowed to read books related to religion in my Guidance program. 
More about Greg Newbold:
ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR: Greg Newbold has always loved to draw and paint and feels fortunate to be able to create art for a living. Making the world a more beautiful place through his paintings is one of Greg’s ideals, because “life needs art.” His finely detailed, nostalgic and sometimes whimsical artwork can be enjoyed in several picture books including The Barnyard Night Before Christmas written by Beth Terrill (Random House; 2007) and Winter Lullaby by Barbara Seuling (Gulliver Books-Harcourt; 1998). Greg’s paintings for The Touch of the Master’s Hand earned Awards of Merit from both The Society of Illustrators and Communication Arts.
Thank you very much to MediaGuests.net for allowing me the opportunity to review this wonderful, inspiring book. 

Guest Post: Three Movies The Entire Family Will Enjoy

As parents it is always tough to find time to watch a kids movie that really isn’t made with adults in mind at all because they are so incredibly dull. Some of most successful movies are not catered for kids or adults but are there for the entire family to enjoy and have fun parts for the kids and in-jokes for adults to snigger at. With this in mind here are some of the top movies that the entire family can enjoy.

All Disney Movies/Tangled

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqteIutz-fw

It is safe to say that sitting down as a family and watching any Disney movie is going to result in a fantastic time and everyone in the family taking great enjoyment in what they are watching. The great thing about Disney is that they have such a range of movies to pick from.
I was lucky enough to find some time to go and see the 50th Disney Animated movie this week, Tangled, with my girlfriend and we both thoroughly enjoyed it. Before the film started I took the time to take a look round the cinema and noted that pretty much everyone there was part of a family and it is then you realise that Disney has still got it.

Back To The Future

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NMph943tsw

Now this one might not sound like something that too many families sit down and watch but it is a movie (along with its two sequels) that really does keep everyone entertained for the entire duration of the film. When the movie was re-released in 2010 to celebrate the anniversary and Blu-Ray release I went to go and see it at the cinema (wasn’t around the first time) and as we got up to leave the cinema the kids behind us told their parents how much they loved the movie. I was somewhat considering it is a late 80s movie but relieved as one of my favourite movies of all time remains timeless.

The Wizard Of Oz

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOKK8mAkiUI

I could be slaughtered for this but it is arguably the best big-screen musical of all time showing just how children manage to get through and take on their fears. The reason I have included this movie in the list is because despite it being nearly 75 years old when you put kids that have never seen the film in front of the screen they are still impressed by it and still sit back and enjoy it. You can sit down with your family once a year to enjoy this movie as a family too which is why it is so appealing. On top of this it is recognised as one of the best movies of all time and not to show this to everyone in the family would be a crime!

Ryan is a film fanatic working for a company dealing with baby friendly holidays and you can follow him on Twitter @ryanogs

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Goodnight Sweetheart - Couples Edition Review & Giveaway!

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I know that many people can identify with me when I say that making quality time with your spouse or significant other is difficult when you have a family. Balancing kids, taking care of the house, and work can often be draining and overwhelming. My husband and I are so exhausted at the end of the day. We often text throughout the day, but that just cannot replace a personal conversation. Evon, the founder of Goodnight Sweetheart LLC, recently allowed me the opportunity to review the game Goodnight Sweetheart – Couples Edition. The purpose of this game is to help couples communicate through simple questions about themselves and their life and share positive comments about each other. There is a long and short version. The long version takes about 20 minutes and includes Action, Wild and Sweetheart cards in addition to the sharing cards. These allow for you to show a little affection! The short version only takes a couple of minutes and includes any of the cards.

I received the game quickly and I loved the packaging!  The game comes in a beautiful box with a red satin ribbon.  The cards are made with thick quality paper.  I loved the fact that the box comes with a tag attached that can be used a bookmark so you can keep your place in the game!
My husband and I had to use the short version due to our ridiculous schedules. My husband found it silly at first, but then had a good time answering the questions. We found ourselves laughing and sharing stories, but also having a meaningful conversation. It was nice not to do this through the phone! After being with him for fifteen years, I know all about the in’s and out’s of his life, but it was nice to discuss it all. Evon generously gave me a set of the “Night Cap Notes” as well, which say, “Just a reminder, I love you because…” I really love leaving these for my husband. I am definitely a person that is contemplating my “To-Do” List, thinking about my students at work, busy taking care of my children, and not appreciating him enough. So, it’s nice to remind him that I love him and I do notice everything he does for me.

More about Goodnight Sweetheart LLC:

“Goodnight Sweetheart LLC provides do-able, easy, and FUN ways for you to better connect with the people who matter most – your “family”. As Goodnight Sweetheart founder, Evon Creger, explains, “Having those wonderful moments - heartfelt connections - with your significant other and your kids – THAT’S what makes for a satisfying life. At the end of the day, when you feel CONNECTED to those who matter most to you, you… feel… happy.”

In addition to the Goodnight Sweetheart – Couples Edition, there is a Child Edition as well. Tween, Teen, and “Cool Stuff” versions are coming out soon! I could definitely see my daughter loving to play the Child version!

In checking out their website further, I was so pleased to see that Goodnight Sweetheart also donates 5% of the proceeds of each sale to a local domestic violence shelter for women. This is a cause near and dear to my heart and I thought this was really nice.

Evon from Goodnight Sweetheart has generously offered to sponsor a giveaway for me as well! One of my readers will receive a free Goodnight Sweetheart – Couples Edition game!

Here are the details of the giveaway!

Win It: One winner will receive a free Goodnight Sweetheart – Couples Edition game. Please leave a comment for each entry. Please also leave your email address with each comment.

Mandatory entry: Please leave me a comment and tell me which other version of Goodnight Sweetheart you would like to own.

Bonus Entries:
1.Follow Goodnight Sweetheart on Twitter or Facebook. (1 entry each)
2. Follow Tidbits From A Mom publicly on Google Friend Connect. (1 entry)
3. Follow my other blog, Dearheart Designs publicly on Google Friend Connect. (1 entry)
4. 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)
5. Follow me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter (1 entry each)
6. Tweet the following (allowed 1 time per day for 1 entry each):
RT #Win Goodnight Sweetheart-Couples Edition Game! Ends 2/26! @tidbitsfromamom #giveaway http://tinyurl.com/68fbalh
7. Subscribe to Tidbits From A Mom through RSS feed or email (3 entries)
8. Enter another one of my giveaways (1 entry each)
This giveaway ends on February 26, 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.

*Disclaimer: I was not provided monetary compensation for this post. The opinions expressed here are solely my own.  I was provided a copy of this product to keep for the purposes of the review.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Pixie Chicago Stationary Cards Review

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My work environment is essentially all women, with the exception of two men.  My colleagues and I love stationary and cards.  We give them to each other for a variety of reasons, including “just because”.  I was recently given the opportunity to review “Text” cards from Pixie Chicago.  Pixie Chicago is a Chicago –based company that specializes in stationary, cards, invitations, and announcements. 
More about Pixie Chicago:
“In today's world, where everything is done on the web, it is important to remember how intimate and wonderful a thoughtful card or note can be. Our goal is to bring back the personalized touch of a simple piece of mail, whether it is a handwritten thank you or an exquisitely crafted special occasion invitation.”
As I mentioned, I reviewed a set of four “Text” cards.  They are unique and adorable!  They included “LOL”, “BTW”, “OMG”, and “WTF”.  The cards and envelopes came in beautiful shades of red, green, yellow, and orange.  They were subdued tones, very calming colors.  I know my friends will they are just as cute as I do.  



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People love to know they are thought of.  Giving a card with even a short, sweet sentiment can lift someone up.  A card such as the one of the “Text” cards I reviewed will make someone smile, which is really important to me.  When I want to share my thoughts and feelings with someone in a card, I look to find the right way to present it.  I definitely feel that Pixie Chicago has the products I need to make people smile. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Five Little Bunnies Book & CD Review & Giveaway

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My son is just starting to explore books. He likes looking at the pictures and his big sister is loving the fact that she can read to him now. We had the pleasure of reviewing “Five Little Bunnies” this week. What an adorable book! It is a cute rhyming story that is perfect for children ages 0-6. My daughter is seven and thought it was very cute. In addition to the sweet rhymes and pictures, the book comes with a CD that not only contains the read-along story and 19 songs, but it also contains a Lyrics PDF file. I love that it contains the read-along and music because I can bring it in the car with me while my son and I are driving back and forth to his daycare!







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Here is more information about the product details:

  • Five Little Bunnies Die-Cut Board Book & CD Set
  • ISBN: 9781599226293
  • Description: The simple rhymes and delightful illustrations in this board book teach young children numbers 1 to 5. The Music CD includes the recorded story plus 19 new and classic children’s songs.
 CD Details
  • Run Time 32:20
  • 20 Songs (Five Little Bunnies Read Along + 19 Additional Songs)
  •  MSRP: $9.99
You can check out Five Little Bunnies on the Twin Sisters Productions site HERE!

More information about Twin Sisters Productions:
For over 23 years, Twin Sisters Productions has been dedicated to producing quality educational and inspirational music resources for children, families, and educators. Founded by fraternal twins, Karen Mitzo Hilderbrand, and Kim Mitzo Thompson, Twin Sisters Productions has continued to expand its product line to include CDs, read and sing-along books, floor puzzles and educational workbooks, all with the purpose of learning through music. These products have received over 160 awards for educational excellence and creativity as well as classroom and family fun, thus reflecting Twin Sisters Productions’ commitment to producing educational audio of the highest quality and value. These awards include nine RIAA (Record Industry Association of America) certified Gold albums and one Platinum album. With thousands of songs that teach and over 26 million albums sold, Twin Sisters Productions positions itself as the leader in children’s educational music.

Twin Sisters Productions is kindly offering you all 30% off their website! Simply use the promo code: FIVEBUNNY. This promo code is valid through March 31, 2011.

Twin Sisters Productions is also generously offered to sponsor a giveaway to one of my readers! You will receive a copy of Five Little Bunnies, which includes the awesome CD!

Here are the details for the giveaway!
Win It: One winner will receive a free copy of the Five Little Bunnies Book and CD.  Please leave a comment for each entry. Please also leave your email address with each comment.

Mandatory entry: Please visit Twin Sisters Productions and then come back here and tell me what other Board Book you would like own.

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 or follow me on Twitter (1 entry each)
5. Tweet the following (you can tweet once daily for 2 entries)

RT #Win a free copy of Five Little Bunnies Book & CD Ends 2/22! @tidbitsfromamom #giveaway http://tinyurl.com/4nhjkdo

6. Subscribe to Tidbits From A Mom through RSS feed or email (3 entries)
7. Enter another one of my giveaways (1 entry each)

This giveaway ends on February 22, 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.

*Disclaimer: I was not provided monetary compensation for this post. The opinions expressed here are solely my own.  I was provided a copy of this product to keep for the purposes of the review.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Book Review - The First-Timer's Cookbook

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I feel so badly about the fact that I am not a good cook. I can bake desserts and treats, but I just have not learned properly how to cook a good meal. It is embarrassing for me and I feel bad for my family. There are some basic dishes that I learned from my mother and sister, but I am not knowledgeable about the art of cooking. I have even hinted to my husband that a great gift idea for me would be cooking classes!

I recently had the opportunity to review The First-Timer's Cookbook by Chef Shawn Bucher. This book is perfect for people who want to learn the basics from the beginning. Not only are the steps broken down nicely, but there are pictures for everything! This was wonderful for me because I am definitely a visual learner. Chef Bucher discusses the process of meal planning, setting the table, gathering the necessary materials, how to properly prepare vegetables, and teaches readers about cooking meat, chicken, and fish. I have always been a horrible cook in this last area because I get nervous that I will undercook the meat and fish. However, this book has taught me about the correct internal temperatures and how to make sure they are cooked properly.

This book is a great book for teaching the basics. I could have used this book years ago when I first moved away from home!

The First-Timers Cookbook can be purchased from Amazon here!

Thank you to MediaGuests for allowing me the opportunity to review The First-Timers Cookbook.

*Disclaimer: I was not provided monetary compensation for this post.  The opinions expressed here are my own.  I was provided with a free copy of this book for the purposes of this review.