Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Resolution Blog Carnival is coming soon!

Medical Transcription Source
The New Year's Resolution Blog Carnival, hosted by Hauling & Trucking, Medical Transcription Source, and Makobi Scribe, is coming on January 3rd!  The giveaway event includes over 100 blogs and runs until January 11th.  There are some awesome prizes involved, so you will want to get hoppin' as soon as the event goes live!  I'm not going to announce my prize yet - I will just surprise you!

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Cook'n Recipe Organizer Version 10 Review


This year has been the year of organization for me – well, a real driven attempt at it anyway. I feel as though I can be proud of what I have achieved. Part of my organizational goal included organizing my recipe books and cards. I made an attempt and it has been working somewhat. However, there has been one looming hole in my organizational success. I am not organized with the recipes that I save online. I subscribe to various food networks, websites, blogs, etc. in order to keep tabs on recipes in which I am a fan or would like to make one day. I then lose track of where I have kept such and such recipe, which can be frustrating.

Cook'n Recipe Organizer Version 10 is a recipe software for the computer helps people manage their recipes and keep track of where they find recipes. “Cook'n features an embedded web browser with advanced recipe search capabilities and, best of all, the ability to capture internet recipes with one click and save them into your personal cookbooks for easy access later”. Cook’n has numerous capabilities! It allows people to organize their recipes into categories, analyze nutritional information, plan weekly menus, create a shopping list, and even create a family cookbook.

This software was easy to download. I read through the instructional manual so I could familiarize myself with it. I am pretty computer savvy, but there are so many components to this software that I wanted to make sure I was using it to its full capacity. In trying out the search tool, I used “Shrimp Scampi” as my recipe of choice. The first page of search results included all the websites that I frequently visit. I clicked on my first choice, which was a Shrimp Scampi recipe from the Food Network. I clicked the “Capture” button and instantly the entire recipe, ingredients and all the background information included, were plugged into the Cook’n Bookshelf page in front of me. It was that easy! One click and all the information is organized perfectly! I loved that I could then draft a menu for the week and create a shopping list all from the information in front of me. I also thought it was amazing that with the click of a button, all of the nutritional information for the recipe appears! Ingenious!

Cook’n is an easy software to use and once you are aware of all its capabilities and educate yourself in how to use it, it will instantly assist you in your organization of the multitude of recipes you collect. I would strongly encourage you to check it out! Cook'n Recipe Organizer Version 10 has only been released recently and has already received a great deal of positive reviews. Once you try it, you will see for yourself how beneficial it is to maintaining your organization in the kitchen.

There is a deal right now where new customers get a free cookbook with purchase (over 130 to choose from!

*Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
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Friday, December 30, 2011

Dell Streak 7 4G/ Wi-Fi Android Tablet Giveaway!

Cyber Connect Social Networking site for all bloggers and businesses worldwide has been launched today.

Cyber Connect is bringing together all bloggers and businesses worldwide  in one spot. Generate more audience and traffic with the help of Cyber Connect social network in your businesses and blogs.

Join now and take advantage of what they got to offer from blogging tips to monetization.

Learn more about them HERE.


Cyber Connect Social Network is giving away an amazing product.. They want you to kick start your new year in a grand style with DELL STREAK 7  4G/Wi-Fi  ANDROID TABLET OR $270 Cash via Paypal.
Just for one lucky person and it could be you!

Dell Streak 7 Android Features:

The Android-based Dell Streak 7 is the ultimate entertainment hub for those craving a rich multimedia and web experience. It features a brilliant 7-inch WVGA multi-touch display made of damage-resistant Gorilla Glass that's ideal for Web browsing, streaming video, watching TV and movies, reading books and magazines, or playing games wherever you roam. And so many other amazing features.

N/B: This giveaway will end on the 21 January 2012. The draw will be made by Cyber Connect team not me. And they are responsible for the shipment of this item if you win.. Goodluck and Happy new year..

Enter Giveaway with Rafflecopter, it takes few seconds to load...


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Thursday, December 29, 2011


Thank you so much to everyone who entered these giveaways!  These winners have each confirmed their win.  Congratulations to all the winners!

Bellfower Books - #31 Sherrie Cruson
Piczzle Puzzle - #2 Heidi
Book Giveaway: An Invisible Thread #12 Brenda Melendez
Lazoo Books – #19 Kris Italiano
Crossword Cubes – #20 Kasee Jones Johnson
Softlips - #13 Michele Boyd

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Lose weight with new Slim Fast shakes and the 3 2 1 Plan!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Slim-Fast for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.


My major battles with weight loss and dieting took place after my two pregnancies.  Despite my two very different pregnancies and the fact that I tried to eat much healthier the second time around, I gained exactly fifty pounds with both babies.  I remember losing the weight pretty quickly the first time and struggling a bit more last year after my son was born.  I did eventually lose the weight using a variety of strategies.  One of the strategies I considered and the products I was eyeing were the Slim-Fast products. 

I have known many people over the years who have used Slim Fast when trying to lose those last few stubborn pounds.  Slim Fast is proud to announce their new line of shakes, which are reported to be the best-tasting shakes ever.  The benefits of the Slim Fast shakes include that they are reported to give people up to four hours of hunger control, contain 10 grams of protein, and five grams of fiber.  Protein and fiber are essential in your diet when you want to lose weight.  I love the idea that they can help in controlling my hunger because I feel hungry all the time, which causes me to snack.

The Slim Fast shakes are part of the Slim Fast has the 3•2•1 Plan, which allows you variety in the foods you eat and flexibility in your schedule.  The plan is based upon the following: 3 snacks per day (which can include 100-calorie snack bars, fruits, nuts, or veggies), 2 Slim Fast shakes or meal bars, and 1 500 calorie meal per day.  The flavors of the shakes include: Creamy Milk Chocolate, French Vanilla, Rich Chocolate Royale, Cappuccino Delight, and Strawberries N’ Cream.  They are found in the pharmacy section or grocery stores and retailers nationwide.

I believe that if I were to purchase these shakes, I would be particularly interested in trying the Creamy Milk Chocolate or the Cappuccino Delight.  I have eyed the snack and meal bars before and I have often thought, “What a convenient way to diet!”

Follow Slim-Fast on Facebook!
Visit Sponsor's Site

Friday, December 23, 2011

Affordable Scarves Review & Giveaway


I’m sure you have heard the expression, “Accessories make the outfit”. I have always been a firm believer in this expression. I think it is important to find the right jewelry, belts, scarves, etc. to coordinate with any outfit in order to complete the whole ensemble. I’m no “fashionista”, but I do love shopping! I often wear knitted scarves as accessories simply because that’s what my mother likes to make for me. My style can vary from funky to classic. I recently learned about a company called Affordable Scarves. Affordable Scarves has an enormous variety of scarves from which to choose of every shade, style, material, and style for both women and men. In particular, I was eyeing the striped scarves and crinkle scarves.

I was very excited to be offered the opportunity to review a scarf from Affordable Scarves. It was not an easy task to choose a scarf to review – there were so many choices. I found scarves I liked simply based on color or by material or by shape. There were so many I liked! I finally decided to go with the particular color that I like. I often wear cream, black, and gray, so I chose a scarf called, “Erica Colorblock Scarf”. As soon as I unwrapped it, I was so pleased with my decision. The Erica Colorblock Scarf is long, soft, and simply beautiful. The quality of the fabric is wonderful. It matches my style perfectly and I have received many compliments!



Prior to visiting the Affordable Scarves website, I had only known a couple of different ways in which to tie a scarf. However, the website contains a video that teaches you 37 different ways in which to tie a scarf! Who knew there were so many different ways?! Not me!

Not only was I simply blown away by the sheer variety of scarves available, but I was completely impressed by their prices. They are the epitome of “affordable” and certainly earn the title of “Affordable Scarves”. No one can deny that. In addition to the prices and the insane variety of scarves to choose from for women, I was also impressed by the number of choices of men’s scarves as well.

You can follow Affordable Scarves on their blog, Facebook, and Twitter!

Affordable Scarves has been very kind to offer one Tidbits From A Mom reader with the opportunity to win a scarf of their choice! Please fill out the Rafflecopter form to enter.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Book Review: Humbug – A Christmas Carol

My daughter is very creative. At the beginning of December, she decided that her holiday advent calendar was going to be a Christmas book reading list for her and my son. I thought this was a wonderful idea and we quickly drafted her list on the computer and she has done a wonderful job reading through the list this month. Our latest addition to the list is a book entitled, “Humbug: A Christmas Carol”, written by Lee Baker and illustrated by Kienan Lafferty.

Synopsis of the book:
“Humbug: A Christmas Carol” is about a freezing cold, dark, gloomy town called Winterton, whose citizens are cold, miserable, and never smile. Christmas is not celebrated. A young orphan girl, Mimi, enters the town. She is not like these citizens in that she smiles and is friendly. She is also unique in that she has Humbugs as pets. Humbugs are bugs that hum, which attracts reindeer and ultimately brings Santa. “Humbug” is a story about the girl’s experience in town and her impact on the town collectively.

My thoughts on the book:
Upon taking “Humbug” out of the package, I gasped because I was so impressed by the illustrations. I just stared and stared at the detail of them all. This story is a beautiful story about Christmas. My daughter really enjoyed listening to the story. Although she is eight-years-old, a phenomenal reader, and can read the book, she preferred that I read the book to her because it was a bit more lengthy for her to read in one sitting than what she is used to. We thoroughly enjoyed the fact that the bugs’ humming draws the attention of the reindeer and thought that this was extremely creative for the story. I thought this book was very unique and beautifully written.

About the Author:
Lee Baker is the president of Sandman Studios ( a visual effects and animation company. Lee has taught courses at UCLA Extension, Loyola Marymount University, the University of Utah and the Utah Education Network in the subjects of English, Writing, Educational Technology and Digital Video Editing. Lee earned a degree in English at the University of Utah and currently lives in Utah with his wife and four children.

About the Illustrator:
Kienan Lafferty is talented artist at Sandman Studios and has worked on a variety of projects including Nanovor, The Littlest Pet Shop video game, and many upcoming feature films.

*Disclaimer: I did not receive monetary compensation for this post. I received a free copy of the book for the purpose of this review. The opinions expressed here are my own.
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2011 Holiday Gift Guide: Annoying Orange Products Review


Have you seen the Annoying Orange video clips on YouTube? My daughter has been a huge fan since she discovered them months ago. They are pretty funny, I have to tell you!

“The Annoying Orange has taken the Internet by storm with an impressive 840 million total views and more than 100 episodes at: Created by Dane Boedigheimer, the popular web series features an endearingly annoying Orange that playfully heckles other fruit and vegetables”.

Annoying Orange and the entire Kitchen Crew have an array of cool products out right now, including talking plush, clip-ons, collectible figures, and apparel that make great gifts and stocking stuffers. My daughter and I had the opportunity to review the Annoying Orange and Midget Apple Talking Figures. My daughter was so excited to open the containers and try them out. I have to admit that it was slightly addicting to repeatedly tap the buttons on the bottom of the figures to make them speak. They are pretty entertaining and I think my students would enjoy them as well.



More information about the Talking Figures:
These plastic talking collectibles are textured with detail and include TRY ME feature to hear the classic jokes and puns from each Kitchen Crew member. Each 2.5” figure is packaged in a gift-like window box for added collectability. Collect them all: 4 Orange styles, Pear, Midget Apple, Marshmallow and Passion Fruit. SRP: $9.99 Available at Toys “R” Us and

I know that it is too late to purchase these products online in order to receive them in time for Christmas; however, if you have a Toys R Us store nearby, I highly suggest going and checking them out. They are quite amusing. Please visit the Toys R Us website to view all the Annoying Orange products available!

*Disclaimer: I did not receive monetary compensation for this post.  I received free products for the purpose of this review.  The opinions expressed here are my own.
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My Guest Post for Allstate: Strategies for Teaching Your Children the Value of a Dollar

There are many kids who do not understand the value of a dollar, including my own daughter.  She has always had everything she needs and has been given so many things that she wants.  There are numerous ways in which we can teach kids the value of a dollar.  I wrote a guest post for Allstate on this topic. 

Please come read my article here:

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Shutterfly Photo Book Review & Giveaway


I love looking at photos, regardless of whether they’re my own or someone else’s photos. I enjoy sharing the stories and wonderful memories I have for them. I have albums and albums of my daughter’s life and I am currently in the process of creating my son’s album to document his short life so far. I never get sick of them.

Photos tell a story and it is only natural for the photo books you create to tell a story to others. I recently had an opportunity to create a photo book through Shutterfly. I created a book that told the story of my children’s past year, which highlighted our favorite moments. Shutterfly has a Storytelling destination that provides customers with tips on how to best represent your stories and memories within photo books you create. These tips are provided by Shutterfly Chieft Storyteller, Heather Maddan. New content is presented each month. This month’s theme is “family storytelling” and more specifically, tips on sharing your family’s story through holiday photos is discussed.


As I mentioned previously, I was able to create a photo book of my own. I received an 8x8 photo book, which was a wonderful size and does not take up a great deal of room. It is a beautiful hard cover book. I chose the theme design called “Confetti”. The colors are so bright, which make my photos truly pop out. This photo book is perfect for keeping on our coffee table and my kids have been picking it up often to look over. The book was easy to create and I ended up purchasing a book to give to my mother for Christmas as well.   By giving her this photo book, we are able to share such memorable times of her grandchildren's lives!

Shutterfly has been very kind to offer one Tidbits From A Mom reader with the opportunity to win a photo book of their own valued at $35! Please complete the Rafflecopter form below to enter.

Crossword Cubes Game Review & Giveaway!


I really enjoy playing word games. I have apps on my iPad and I often play against friends on the computer. I love the competition against others as well as competing against myself to improve my scores. I find these games relaxing. I can zone out and I have added “word games” to my stress management list.

My family and I had the opportunity to review a new game recently from Marina Games called Crossword Cubes. Essentially, it is a cross between a crossword puzzle and Scrabble. Each player takes turns placing all the cubes in the cup provided, shaking the cup, and then pouring the cubes out. The player arranges the cubes into words in order to build their score. Each of the words needs to be built off of the other as you do when you are completing a crossword puzzle. The player to score 300 points first wins.

This game was a huge hit with both my family as well as my elementary school students! The game moved quickly. Even though we were playing against each other, my daughter and I were helping each other because it was exciting to point out when we saw a word in the cubes. I did need to assist my elementary school students a little bit more because many of them have issues with reading and spelling. However, this did not deter their interest in the game. They appreciated the help and were still challenged to try and beat me!

I think this game is wonderful. I also like the fact that it is in a really small container; therefore, it takes up no space at all. It can be brought on trips to pass the time. I am looking forward to bringing Crossword Cubes on our trip to Florida in the spring!

Marina Games has been very generous to offer one Tidbits From A Mom reader the opportunity to win a Crossword Cubes games of their own! Please complete the Rafflecopter form below to enter.

The Steam Team: Comprehensive Carpet Cleaning Services and More!

The carpets in my home are long overdue for a cleaning. No matter how careful my family is about removing their shoes when they come in the house, the dirt builds up. We have a big black Labrador retriever that I believe is doing the most damage. I have a rug cleaner that I can use to clean myself; however, this never seems to provide the deep cleaning that is necessary.
I would love to be able to afford a rug cleaning service, such as The Steam Team, to come into my home and clean every carpet. The Steam Team provides a variety of cleaning services for both residential and commercial properties. These services include carpet, oriental rug, upholstery, leather, drapery, air-duct, hardwood, and pet odor cleaning services. Additional services include smoke and fire restoration, construction services, marble polishing, and ceramic tile and natural stone cleaning. I am amazed by the sheer variety of services. They are a “do it all” company!

The Steam Team has been Carpet Cleaning Brushy Creek, just one of the numerous areas in TX, for years. If you live in or around this area and are in need of one of their services, it may be well worth looking into them.

If you are interested in hearing more about The Steam Team’s cleaning services and you live in the Austin, TX area, visit

*Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.  However, the opinions expressed here are my own and have not been swayed by sponsorship.

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Saturday, December 17, 2011 A Site Full of Coupons & Deals!

I have numerous different email subscriptions to coupons sites, which email me weekly or even daily with deals for food, clothing, and events in my area.  It is quite time consuming to search through emails to see if they are relevant to me and my family.  I don't have that kind of time.  I was introduced to recently. is a site which provides coupons for over 8,000 online stores as well as Red Plum coupons.  What is different about is that anyone can add a coupon code.  I know many of us like to share the deals we hear about and is another venue where we can do this.

*Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post on behalf of  However, the opinions expressed here are my own and are not influenced by compensation.
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Thursday, December 15, 2011

2011 Holiday Gift Guide: Softlips Review & Giveaway

Not only do I dehydrate easily, but I also blast my heat during the winter months in my car and my office. This leads to dry lips and skin. I have been a fan of Softlips for years and I was very happy to hear about their new winter flavors - Winter Mint, Sugar Cookie, Sugar & Spice, and Sugar Plum Berry! I was sent these flavors to review and they certainly did not disappoint. The Softlips tubes came in a pretty light purple organza gift bag, which would be perfect for a Christmas stocking or a gift for a teacher. I loved all four flavors; however, if I needed to choose the Sugar Cookie is my favorite. One of my favorite features of Softlips besides the flavor and that they keep my lips moist for a great deal of time is the fact they have SPF 20.

Jenn Falik, beauty & style expert, shows how easy it is to be "so thoughtful," and give the gift of beauty this holiday season in the YouTube video below. Some tips are also provided below!

Give a Lip Treat This Holiday Season with Softlips
Be "so thoughtful," and give the gift of beauty this holiday season! Softlips' beauty and style expert, Jenn Falik, offers great beauty gift ideas that you can customize for someone special, whether it's a homemade beauty basket sampler, a glittery holiday stocking filled with pretty presents that pamper or the "little extra" finishing touch of a treat of Softlips lip balm pack tied with a ribbon on a gift! Perfect for sisters, mom, teachers, is the gift that keeps on giving.

Basket of Beauty: So many stores offer gift sets, but the person you’re buying for might not use or like everything in the set and it can come off like you were in a hurry to buy a gift. An easy solution is to buy a basket or small bin and fill it with items that you know they like. Each basket or bin can be customized to the person whether it’s a basket of beauty products including Softlips lip balm or a bin filled with hair products for the hair junkie. Finish the look by covering the gift set with cellophane and tie it with ribbon.

Glamorous Stocking Stuffers: Holiday stockings are an easy way to stash a variety of beauty goodies. You can find a glittery stocking to fill with pretty presents that pamper such as makeup brushes, shimmery jewelry, nail products for a manicure and Softlips lip balm.

Stylish Gift Wrapping: No matter what the gift is, with just a few simple steps you can transform an ordinary gift to an extraordinary gift. Add a touch of glam or beauty to your gift by attaching a pair of shimmery earrings or bangle bracelets to the ribbon or look for beauty products with peg holes in the card, like Softlips lip balm, and attach it to the ribbon on the gift bag or present.
For the latest information, news, consumer offers, and Softlips. So You. videos, connect with Softlips at:

More about Softlips availability:
Softlips availability: Now throughout the holiday/winter season, there will be select dual-packs (Winter Mint/Vanilla, Sugar Cookie/Raspberry, and Sugar Cookie/Cherry) available at stores such as Walmart, Target, and Rite Aid for $3.99. There is also a Winter 5-Pack that’s available exclusively in the Softlips online store, that offers all four winter flavors and a bonus flavor of Mint with a Hint of Vanilla. This set is packaged in a festive, blue sachet for $9.99.
Great news! I have the same four-pack of winter flavors to give away to one Tidbits From A Mom reader! Please complete the Rafflecopter form below to enter!

“My Grocery List” Game Review


I love that my son is finally getting to the age that he can play games with my daughter, husband, and I. He is discovering so many new things each and every day and so excited about what he is learning. This is not to say that playing games always goes smoothly. He does grab many game pieces and he does wreck the board sometimes. We just try and be patient with him – he is only 20 months!

My Grocery List is a new game by Marina Games that my family recently reviewed. My Grocery List is a matching game where you are given a grocery list with pictures of food items. You then take turns in turning over small square game pieces to attempt to find a food item on your list. It is similar to memory/concentration. If you find a match, you place it in your grocery basket, which is another card with the picture of a grocery basket.

Although my son is a little young for this game, he did enjoy looking at the game pieces and was extremely proud of himself for being able to say the words for the foods listed on his card. My daughter had a great time with this game and took such pride in beating me swiftly! The suggested age range of the game is 3 – 7, although I can see that my son will probably be able to play this game more easily next year when he is two.


I was impressed with the game box – it is a thick, quality cardboard box. The same can be said of the game pieces. They are made of quality cardboard and I liked that the pieces are so colorful and bright. I encourage everyone to check it out. Overall, I think it is an adorable game!

*Disclaimer: I did not receive monetary compensation for this post. I received a free product for the purpose of this review. The opinions expressed here are my own.
post signature - Affordable Address Plaques For Your Home

We have a very plain mailbox by our driveway. It’s your typical black metal mailbox with stickers placed on it to identify our house number and street. Our mailbox is attached to a very nice granite post, which makes me feel like there should be a nicer mailbox attached to it. I have seen that other people have residential address plaques outside and I think they look very classy. sells personalized address plaques for residential and commercial properties. There is a vast variety of styles of plaques from which to choose, including wall, lawn, and hanging plaques. The plaques are made from rust-free recycled aluminum, so your address plaque is sure to withstand the weather and “test of time”. has a wide variety of prices that will accommodate everyone’s budget for custom address plaques. Why travel from store to store searching for the right address plaque when you have one site that has a wide selection laid out for you?

*Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.  However, the opinions expressed here are my own and are not influenced by sponsorship.
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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

2011 Holiday Gift Guide: Book Review & Giveaway – An Invisible Thread


An Invisible Thread, written by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski, is the true story of how a chance meeting between an 11-year-old panhandler and a business executive changes the lives of both individuals for the rest of their lives. Laura Schroff, a New York advertising executive, passes Maurice on the street as he is asking for money. She decides to turn around and she asks to take the boy to McDonald’s for lunch. This lunch then leads to weekly lunches and ultimately a lifelong friendship. Maurice is a young boy who comes from a drug-addicted family and is essentially taking care of himself. This book tells their story and how two people from completely different worlds are able to build a strong relationship and learn from each other.

An excerpt from the book:

“Excuse me lady, do you have any spare change? I am hungry.”

When I heard him, I didn’t really hear him. His words were part of the clatter, like a car horn or someone yelling for a cab. They were, you could say, just noise—the kind of nuisance New Yorkers learn to tune out. So I walked right by him, as if he wasn’t there.

But then, just a few yards past him, I stopped.

And then—and I’m still not sure why I did this—I came back.”

My thoughts on the book:

I have included this book in my 2011 Holiday Gift Guide because it is hands down one of the best books I have read this year. I was glued to the book. My heart tore for Maurice’s living conditions and the manner in which he needed to care for himself. I was in awe of Laura Schroff’s caring and nurturing heart and the fact that she integrated Maurice into her family. This book reminded me very much of the movie “The Blind Side”. It is simply an amazing story and I am strongly encouraging people to read it. I know you will love it as much as I do.

More about the authors:

Laura Schroff is a former advertising executive who has worked with several major media companies, including Time Inc. and Conde Nast. Born and raised on Long Island, Laura was part of the advertising team that made USA Today a successful national newspaper. Before helping launch three of the most successful start-ups in Time Inc. history—InStyle, Teen People, and People StyleWatch—she was also the New York Division Manager at People magazine. Laura has also been the New York Ad Manager at Ms. magazine and Associate Publisher at Brides. Laura loves spending time at her condo on Long Island and visiting with her family in New York and Florida. She lives in New York City with her feisty poodle Coco.

Alex Tresniowski is a writer living and working in New York City. He has been a senior writer for People Magazine since 1998, writing numerous cover stories and focusing on human interest, crime, and sports. He is also the author of six books, including 2005’s The Vendetta, a true crime story that was purchased by Universal Pictures and used as a basis for the 2009 Johnny Depp movie Public Enemies.

I am so pleased to announce that I have one copy of An Invisible Thread to give away to one Tidbits From A Mom reader! Please complete the Rafflecopter form below to enter!

2011 Holiday Gift Guide: Piczzle Review & Giveaway!

Sponsored by

I recently commented in a post about my family’s love of puzzles. It is a great activity to do by yourself as well as together as a family. I have seem photo puzzles advertised on certain websites; however, I have never ordered one or been given one as a gift. I was recently introduced to Piczzle, which is a company that allows you to upload your own photo to create a photo puzzle. The puzzles are fully customizable – you can choose the size, the shape, as well as how many pieces you would like.


“Our success is based on adding value for our customers. We offer you an easy, convenient and fun way to:
- preserve your memories for family, friends as well as yourselves;
- share your sentiments with friends and family through a thoughtful, personal and fun photo-based experience;
- achieve joyful self-expression through creativity and the telling of your stories with a combination of photos and words.”

My family and I were given the opportunity to review a Piczzle personalized jigsaw puzzle recently. I chose the photo of my children that is on our holiday photo card. I think it is my favorite photo for the year! I was able to easily upload the photo to Piczzle’s website and choose my preferences for puzzle size, shape, and how many pieces we would like. I liked the fact that a message could be included with the puzzle image. I chose, “We Love You Daddy!” because my kids will be giving the puzzle to my husband. I received my puzzle in mail the following week.

I loved that the puzzle came in a quality cardboard box with my kids’ photo on the top. When I opened the box, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the puzzle pieces were of a quality, thick cardboard and we within a zipped bag for storage. My kids and I had a great time completing the puzzle and my kids got a real kick out of seeing their own faces smiling back at them!

I have written numerous times about my love of personalized products and gifts. Piczzle puzzles are certainly a unique product that could be created for anyone on your list. 

Follow Piczzle on Facebook!

Piczzle has kindly offered to sponsor a giveaway for one Tidbits From A Mom reader to receive a free puzzle!  Please complete the Rafflecopter entry form below to enter.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Children's Book Review: What Are You Thinking?


Our minds are extremely powerful. Our thoughts control our emotions, which then drive our actions. This is sometimes a hard concept for people to grasp. So much of what occurs in counseling involves helping people think differently about their situations and/or problems. If this is difficult for adults, it is certainly difficult for children to understand.

What Are You Thinking?, written by Valerie Ackley, is a children's book that teaches children about the power of their thoughts. This book teaches children that their thoughts, both negative and positive, will influence the feelings they have, and ultimately affect the decisions they make. Creative and fun illustrations are used to help children in understanding that they can completely alter their thought processes and change what occurs during their day.

I was instantly drawn to this book because I have not seen any children's book like it. I spend so much time of my work day discussing this very concept with children. I repeat "You can change your day around" over and over. I currently have students whose depressing or anxious thoughts completely drive their day. They have extreme difficultly with changing their thoughts. I love the fact that What Are You Thinking? has such amazing, fun, and creative illustrations to help teach the concepts. The illustrator, Lori Nawyn, provides fabulous pictures that capture children's attention. They make the context more meaningful, which ultimately will help children retain the information. I look forward to reading this book with my students!

More about the author:
Valerie Ackley lives in a beautiful valley at the base of the Wasatch Mountains in Utah. She is married to Jeff Ackley and together they are raising five sons.

She graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Business Management and worked eight years in the telecommunications industry before becoming a full-time homemaker.

*Disclaimer: I did not receive monetary compensation for this post. I received a free book for the purpose of this review. The opinions expressed here are my own.
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Monday, December 12, 2011

2011 Holiday Gift Guide: Lazoo Children's Products: Review & Giveaway


I really enjoy finding unique clothing and books for my children that cannot be found in any local shop or the mall.  Lazoo is a company that sells unique products, including clothing and accessories for boys and girls and activity books.  Apps will be available soon as well.  Lazoo places an emphasis on the child's imagination - "In this world, kids are encouraged to think independently; "coloring outside the lines" is celebrated and all types of creative self–expression are honored".


My daughter was sent two Lazoo books to review recently.  They are two new titles - "Holes" and "Squiggles"!  Both books are such unique and fun activity books that truly foster a child's imagination that I definitely needed to include them in my 2011 Holiday Gift Guide!  My daughter loves art and spends a great deal of time coloring the images from her mind. 


Both "Holes" and "Squiggles" are like no other coloring book I have ever seen.  In "Holes", children are encouraged to color within the holes of a page and when the page is turned, the color that was inside the hole has become a detail for the picture on the next page.  Very cool!  In "Squiggles", children are asked to draw squiggles, which ultimately become other objects or details for the picture, such as the details of a dress, a decoration for a cake, or clouds.  Both of these coloring books instantly bring a child's imagination to life. 



I am very happy to announce that Lazoo has kindly offered to sponsor a giveaway for one Tidbits From A Mom reader to win copies of both "Holes" and "Squiggles"!  Please fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hartstrings Review


My husband and I have often referred to our daughter as a “little Punky Brewster”, in that she has a style all her own. She loves to make a statement and stand out in the crowd. Her style typically incorporates bright colors and items that do not always match. I have to admit that when she was a little younger, I wanted to control what she wore. I quickly learned to appreciate her style and her individuality and refrained from controlling her clothing choices (within reason!).

Regardless of her wild style, my daughter can certainly appreciate a beautiful outfit. She loves dressing up for special events, holidays, and when we are having company. The outfits she chooses for these occasions are much more subdued and traditional.

Hartstrings is a company that has beautiful clothing for babies, girls, and boys. Whether you are searching for outfits for school or a special event, you will find numerous choices that are simply adorable. My daughter was given the opportunity to review the Multi-Stripe Sweater Dress from Hartstrings recently. While unwrapping the sweater dress from its packaging, my daughter and I whispered “Wow!” at the same time! I was amazed at the quality of the dress - it is made with a thick, soft yarn. Modeling the dress for me, my daughter instantly fell in love with this dress and declared it her “Christmas Eve outfit”.


In perusing their website, I was “oohing” and “aahing” over so many of the outfits, particularly the holiday outfits. I also felt that many of the prices were reasonable and comparable to some of my local stores. There are several items for both my daughter and my son that caught my eye. Here are some of items in which I was most interested!


Thank you very much to Hartstrings for allowing us the opportunity to review one of your products!
*Disclaimer: I did not receive monetary compensation for this post. I received a free product for the purpose of this review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

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