eK-3zmjBImBHOZjRJYEZVBw4ZWs Shaky Mommy: 2012

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Jaxon at 21 months

I've been a slacker when it comes to my blog over the past 3 months and have only managed to post those reviews & giveaways I had committed to before I lost the time for blogging. Since August, we've had a lot of life changes and to say I've been overwhelmed is an understatement. I'll have to try to update more on that later but for now, I want to talk about my sweet baby boy and document some of his achievements.

At 21 months, Jaxon is talking...a lot. His vocabulary is definitely larger than any of our other kids had at this age. He also speaks very clearly so even strangers can understand him (this can be a good and bad thing!). At this point he says so many words I couldn't begin to list them all. He also has a great memory and rarely needs to be told the correct word for something more than once. He loves Elmo, but doesn't have patience for a whole episode on TV - the theme song is enough for him!

His favorite phrase is "me too!" and he says it often in response to most of the things his siblings say. It's adorable...and a little frustrating sometimes since he can't always be involved in everything they do since they are so much older. He really thinks he is older than he actually is. 

I recently put out our Fisher-Price manger scene for him to play with. I showed him each piece and told him it's name: Jesus, Mary, lamb, shepherd. Later, I heard him singing "Jesus, Jesus" while rocking the baby Jesus in his hands. <sweetness>

I find Jaxon to be a very picky eater, but he loves spaghetti, salad, fruit (especially kiwi and watermelon), eggs and pizza. He's a cheese snob and prefers gourmet varieties from Whole Foods to standard Kraft. He doesn't like meat, and especially seems to turn his nose up at chicken. I think keeping chickens caused him to decide chickens were for chasing, not eating. 

Some other things he can do:

-point to all his body parts as I call him out, including things like his forehead, back and tongue. The only thing he has trouble with are knees- he always points to teeth when I say knees!

-retrieve items from other rooms for me or put things away where they belong.

-understand consequences. 

-makes connections. 

-count to 3

-recognize landmarks and stores. When we pull up to Wal-Mart he says "Mal-Mart" and says "football" when we pass the football field. When we get to the end of the road that leads to our church/his school, he says "Yay!" in anticipation of our arrival (and on days we don't turn in to the church/school, he cries and tells us to turn around!). He also knows which restaurants have his favorite foods and calls them out as we pass by or turn in.

He's a great little singer, as shown by this cute video - he had just watched the older kids sing "Joy, Joy, Joy" in a Christmas program and this was his own little version: 

Jaxon does two things that help remind us he's still a little bit of a baby:

The first is he is still breastfeeding, though typically it's only at night. I'd love to wean him, but I don't know how. He's very uninterested in weaning and I'm having a hard time taking a firm stance against it. 

The second baby like thing he does is wake during the night, often. He is not a good sleeper. At all. On most nights, he has difficulty settling down and when he finally does, I'm lucky if he sleeps for 3 hours before waking. Once he wakes the first time, he's often up every 1-2 hours after that. I keep hoping his sleep patterns will magically change, but so far, no luck on that.  

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Dog Trots Globe Book Review

When I heard about Dog Trots Globe, I thought it was a children's book. The book is written from the point of view as the dog describes her travels through France. I just made an assumption that this was written for kids. I thought my daughter, who adores dogs and is interested in other countries, would find it interesting. However, when it came, it was clearly an adult book, and even contained a little grown up language on the first page. As info, there's only the little bit of language on the first page and one word on the last page. Not a big deal, but it made it unsuitable for a 9 year old. 

The book is written from the point of view of a dog who traveled with her owners for an extended vacation to France. The book is what I would call a coffee table book - light on reading, heavy on pictures. It's a visual tour with narration through Paris and a small village in France. After reading it, you will be ready to hop on a plane and visit the small village of St. Remy de Provence. The pictures of the bakeries, cafes, and open air food shops will have you hungry within minutes! 

Even though this book was not what I expected, I still enjoyed it, especially the beautiful photographs. As a bonus for dog owners, there's a section in the back of the book that gives information on traveling with a pet overseas. There is great general information on flying with pets, as well as specific information on bringing a dog into France.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

How's Your Driving? #TrySnapshot

Last month, I had the opportunity to try out the new Snapshot device by Progressive. Snapshot is a small device that plugs into your vehicle and monitors your driving habits. Using Snapshot is easy. It's quick to plug in (just a minute or two), and then you have a portal where you can check your progress (and hopefully, your savings!) Most drivers save, on average, $150 a year!

Progressive's new Snapshot program measures three things: hard brakes, how quickly you accelerate, and how much you drive. If you score well in these three areas, Progressive might be able to save you money on your car insurance. We ended up scoring well on rate of acceleration and okay on hard brakes, but not enough to overcome the amount of miles we drive.  

I would not have thought we spent a lot of time on the road but we were in a month of transition while we were using Snapshot. My husband started a new job that was 45 minutes from our house, the kids went back to school, and then we had our normal daily driving to the drug store, Wal-Mart, Publix, and various restaurants. Our life has been a flurry of activity over the last 2 months! 

Want to take Snapshot for a trial of your own? Visit progressive.com to find out how you can enjoy a 30 day Snapshot trial -be sure and let me know if you end up saving money!  

Interested in the science behind the program and why Progressive can offer such great savings? Here's more information:

Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Progressive.
I received a 30 day trial and gift card for being a part of the Progressive Snapshot Blogger Program.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Show Your School Spirit With Crayola

Crayola has, once again, come out with some great new products and I'm thrilled to get to share them with you.

We received some fabric markers, perfect for decorating jeans, backpacks, and tshirts. These markers are designed so that the colors really pop when used on dark fabrics. We tried them first on Britain's black backpack. It's plain and we though it could use something to make it personalized and fun. Now I admit, writing on black is obviously iffy, but the box showed the markers working on black fabrics. I went over and over again on the line I was drawing before it (barely) showed up. Britain lost interest and decided he didn't want to decorate his backpack after all. I'm going to try again with some of the girls jeans and see how that does. I would love to also get the girls a pair of cheap, plain shoes from Wal-Mart and let them decorate some shoes. I think they would love that!

I love the new Wild Notes products. The Wild Notes products use a special pen. Instead of writing with a boring black or blue pen, this pen writes a rainbow of colors. I think I was probably supposed to give them to the kids, but I really didn't want to. So instead, I used them to write some notes and place them in the kids backpacks. The fun colors make even mundane tasks, like grocery lists, more enjoyable. 

I also received the Wild Notes Sticky Notes and Wild Notes Index Cards. The index cards and notebook are both spiral bound and the pages/cards are perforated for easy removal. Even Jaxon, at 19 months of age, is able to remove the pages without ripping them! He loves this notebook and pen, by the way and constantly steals it from me. He has a bad habit of writing on himself when he has a pen - I love that this pen does not allow him to do that. 

We also received the Dual-Sided Dry-Erase Board. It's about the size of an iPad, so it travels well. One side is black, the other side is white. The included dry erase crayons write in bright colors, so they work well on both sides of the board. There's a (machine washable) cloth for cleaning the board and a crayon sharpener.  
Finally, we received the Crystal Effects Window Markers and the Window Mega Markers. My kids adore window markers. We just use ours for fun drawing on windows & mirrors, but these would be great for decorating the minivan for a football game! Great way to show your school spirit! For all you homeschoolers out there, my kids have always loved practicing writing and math facts with these markers. Writing practice is more fun when you get to write on the windows! The Crystal Effects markers are very cool - the effect does not transfer well to a picture, but as we drew on the windows, the colors "crystallized" before our eyes. Very neat!

Thanks to the generosity of Crayola, one lucky reader will get a prize pack containing 6 Crayola products!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Packaways -The Best Way To Move, Organize, And Store Your Stuff!

Sometimes I get to review a product that I know I'll be using for many years to come. This is one of those times. Originally, I wasn't sure what to expect when I found out Packaways was sending me their new storage boxes. I had read that the boxes came folded flat. I didn't think they could possibly be very sturdy since they had to be put together. But I was wrong! These boxes are made from durable corrugated plastic and they are truly great. They are super easy to put together - no extra pieces or packing tape required. 

They ship to you flat. When you're ready to use them, just press the opposing corners and the bottom folds into place and locks. Just reverse the process to make them flat (and easy to store) again. 

We just moved, and these boxes were extremely handy. We made multiple trips when moving and I took these boxes back and forth several times. I loaded them up with everything from bedding to toys to picture frames. They worked very well and were extremely easy to use. The carry handles on the ends make them easier to carry than standard moving boxes. They have panels  for labeling, and if you use China Dry Erase Markers, you can wipe the panels clean and relabel them as you change the contents of the boxes. They stack neatly and for those of you who don't unpack quickly (like me), they look a whole lot better sitting in a corner of the room than the cardboard boxes do. They are also not prone to breakdown like cardboard is since they are immune from the effects of moisture and humidity. In fact, the first thing I put in them were our toiletry items. I knew if shampoo or lotion spilled in the bottom I could just wipe it clean once we arrived.

Now that we're getting settled in, I plan to use Packaways to store toys. I don't like for my kids to have access to all of their toys at once- it's much better for them and for me if we rotate some toys in and out of their playroom. It keeps things fresh and it keeps them from having too many things to get out at one time. I love that these boxes will be easy for me to move in and out of the garage or a closet. 

Packaways come in 5 different sizes and 4 colors and are made in the USA. Prices start at 8.75 per box, and bulk pricing is offered for orders over 25 pieces. Visit Packaways.com for more information or like them on Facebook at facebook.com/PackAways

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Publix Running Out? Run In. event and a giveaway!

I've written about my love for Publix several times before. I'm so happy that we have moved (more on that later!) and are now close enough to Publix to do all of our shopping there. 

One of the many great things about Publix are their "Running Out? Run In." events. During these events, you can take advantage of great savings on your favorite General Mills and Procter & Gamble, such as Cheerios, Charmin, and Crest. We are always running out of toilet paper, so I'm sure we'll be picking up some Charmin while we're at Publix this week. 

During this Running Out? Run In event, you will get a free gallon of milk when you purchase any 6 of the participating items like Tide Pods, Yoplait Yogurt Kids, or Trix!

Thanks to the good people at General Mills one of my readers will win a $25 Publix gift card. Enter using the super easy Rafflecopter form below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Disclosure:  The Publix gift card, information, and additional gift pack has been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Hearts For Hearts Girls

We first discovered Hearts For Hearts Girls a little more than a year ago. Alex really wanted a new doll for her birthday, but didn't want the new doll to be her only birthday present. We went looking for some affordable, quality options for "big girl" dolls, and stumbled across the Hearts for Hearts Girls. At $28-$30, the dolls are reasonably priced. When I saw that they donate a portion of proceeds to World Vision, a ministry that we've supported for many years, I was hooked. 
The Hearts for Hearts girls each come with a mini storybook that tells their story. Alex chose Consuelo, who is from Mexico. Her parents run a bakery and Consuelo comes up with the idea for how they can help feed the hungry kids in her neighborhood. We love that the Hearts for Hearts Girls are such great role models and help to inspire girls to change the world around them. 
When Hearts for Hearts girls contacted us about having a party to share our love for these dolls, we were super excited! We were sent a doll for Alex & Emily to enjoy and another doll to give away at our party. The girls quickly fell in love with Nahji, who is from India. We decided to give away Lauryce, who is one of the newest Hearts For Hearts Girls. 
Lauryce, from New Orleans
At our party, we served beignets & Cafe Du Monde coffee (just for the mommies!) in honor of Lauryce's hometown of New Orleans. We also had Indian Mac & Cheese bites. Speaking of the moms, they all loved the message behind the Hearts For Hearts Girls. 
We were sent some "passports" for each girl to decorate and put stickers in. The passports showed how to say hello in each language that the Hearts For Hearts Girls speak. But mostly, the party was filled with lots of playing! The girls all loved the Hearts For Hearts Girls dolls. 

Unlike some other dolls geared towards girls this age, Hearts For Hearts girls come with several accessories and have many small touches to make them unique and fun. For example, Nahji wears a choker and earrings, as well as a pearl headband. She also has strappy sandals, gold bangle bracelets, and a nose piercing. 
Nahji's nose piercing
She even has a henna tattoo on her hand! 
Nahji's henna tattoo
We were sent two bracelets for each girl at the party, so they could each keep one and take the other home to share with a friend. Each girl also received a coupon to get a discount off of the purchase of her very own Hearts For Hearts Girl doll. All of the girls were talking about which doll they wanted!
Dell & Nahji ready to hand out bracelets to our guests
We really love our Hearts For Hearts Girls and highly recommend them.  

I was selected to be a MommyParties host as part of a promotional program with MomSelect. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Oliver's Labels {Review}

I like labeling things, especially things that might get lost. I quickly found that Sharpies may be permanent on clothing, but will quickly fade on a sippy cup or bottle. 

Oliver's Labels are the most unique labels I have found! I love their bright and fun designs for kids. They offer photo labels that you can customize with your child's picture. They also offer allergy labels, something I wish I had found several years ago when my daughter had multiple severe food allergies. They even offer designs that are perfect for labeling items that belong to teenagers and adults. 

We received a sample pack of labels in the Sea Life design that included original labels, mini labels, Stick-eez clothing labels, and shoe labels. I love the vibrant colors and adorable little sea creatures. These labels are microwave and dishwasher safe and look great even after repeated washings. The colors are just as vibrant as the day we first received them. 

I didn't think we would use the shoe labels. I had seen shoe labels before and wondered what kinds of kids needed labels in their shoes to keep from losing them. Apparently, kids like Jaxon! 

He is awful about taking his shoes off -he is especially prone to removing (and losing) the right shoe! I'm glad to know that if he loses one at church, someone will know who it belongs to and will return it to us. The labels are cute, and he loves them! He points at them and says "neem" (name).

The clothing labels are neat in that you don't have to iron or sew them on. They stick securely to the tag of the garment. Perfect for daycare or school. The great thing is when you're done and ready to pass on or sell the item, you can just remove the label. For someone like me who likes to consign clothing, that's a great feature!

Oliver's Labels also offer a very unique (and free) service called "Found It." If you choose, they will add a found it code to each of your labels. If an item is found by someone else, they can visit Oliver's Labels website and enter the code on the labels. 

Oliver's Labels will then notify you that the item has been found and will even act as an intermediary between you and the person who found the item so you do not have to share your personal information. I didn't add this to our labels, since I'm using the labels for things like sippy cups, but this would be a nice addition to things that older kids lose often at school that are not as easily replaced. 

The only thing I didn't like about these labels is that they are difficult to peel away from the paper backing. They are extremely thin, which makes them look very nice on your possessions and less "sticker like", but that makes them harder (at least compared to other labels I have used) to peel. Keep in mind that I am Shaky Mommy, lol, and fine motor skills are not something I excel at, so you may not have this same issue. 

Right now Oliver's Labels is offering free shipping on orders over $30! 

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Creativity for Kids Craft Kits Review & Giveaway

My kids love doing crafts. Me, not so much. I am not creative and have trouble coming up with creative crafts that we actually have the supplies for. So I was  very excited to receive the Creativity for Kids craft kits. We received the Tile Art Necklaces, Deluxe Glitter Art, and Mossy Meadows Gnome Garden.

The first thing I loved about these kits was that everything you need is in the box. Creativity for Kids has made sure that everything you need is in the box, including detailed directions. The Tile Art Necklaces even included a pair of scissors for trimming the ribbon. We don't often have time to do crafts without Jaxon getting into everything. So when he naps, we need to use that time to actually create, not gather supplies from different rooms of the house. 
This kit is labeled ages 8-98. However, the girls (ages 9 & almost 8) needed lots of help from me to make these. It was pretty involved. 
For slightly older girls, this would be a great party activity since the kit includes enough supplies to make 8 necklaces. Just make sure you let the necklaces dry overnight before wearing them. The girls really wanted to wear their necklaces just a few hours after we made them and the clasp came apart from the tile because the glue was not fully dry.  
While they worked on their necklaces, I put Britain to work on the Mossy Meadows Gnome Garden (he said that glitter art and necklace making was too girly). He started by painting the base that the grass would grow in.  
Then, he painted the rocks and little house and once he was done painting, we had to let everything dry. The next day, we came back and added the soil, planted the grass seed, and set up the little Gnome Garden, complete with tiny ladybugs. 
It's been 14 days and now look what we have! How cool is that? We have loved watching the garden grow. I'd buy another one of these -the kids have really enjoyed watching the grass grow and playing with the little gnomes. I know they'd love to each plant their own garden next time. 

The Deluxe Glitter Art Kit is full of everything you need to decorate trinket boxes, gift tags, greeting cards, and envelopes. There's glitter glue, glitter stickers, glitter paper, and more. If you like sparkly things, this is the kit for you! This kit has a lot in it and there's plenty for more than one crafting session. You'll have the chance to win this kit below!
 Connect with Creativity for Kids on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

One lucky reader will win two craft kits: the Deluxe Glitter Art Kit and the Beach Buddies Shells Craft Kit. Enter using the easy Rafflecopter form below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received free products to test as part of a promotional program with MomSelect and Faber-Castell. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Bees, Teeth, and Mommy Instincts

I've always known I'd do anything to help my kids, without hesitation, even if it meant putting myself in harm's way. That's just part of being a mom, right? I've never really had a chance to put it to the test, though, until this past Sunday.

Britain and Emily were playing outside in the backyard. I was in the kitchen and heard Britain start screaming hysterically. He and Emily were running around and appeared to be playing tag or chasing each other. But, as Britain turned, I saw a look of sheer terror on his face. I immediately ran outside to help him, thinking he had stepped in an ant bed. But as I got closer to him, I saw he was being attacked by bees! Emily was 30-40 feet away and appeared to be fine. I immediately began grabbing the bees off of Britain and crushing them between my fingers and hands. There were so many that swatting them away wasn't helping at all - they were just coming right back. Killing them was the only way to stop them from stinging. Jason had also come outside to see what was going on and he was getting attacked as well. Britain and Jason are both very allergic to bees, so I was terrified for them.

We began to try to get back to the house. Jason went inside and got the Benadryl out. The bees were all in Britain's clothes, so I was trying to get his clothes off of him while shepherding him to the back door. I managed to get his shirt off and kill a few more bees, but then Britain started to fall. I caught him, and managed to keep him from falling, but the momentum I used to keep him up caused me to fall. I fell flat on my face, hitting the sidewalk. I heard my tooth crack as I hit the sidewalk.

It all happened so fast, and yet, it felt like it took forever to get inside. Alex helped me get Benadryl into Britain (who was still hysterical). Emily had been stung twice so I gave her Benadryl as well. I put Britain in the shower to make sure all the bees were off of him, then went back to the kitchen. We had come in the sliding door and we let a lot of bees in with us. I killed at least 40 bees within minutes of being inside. I went to check on Jason. He had run back to the bedroom, since he had already been stung dozens of times and couldn't risk being stung anymore. When I opened the door, Jason yelled that I was letting bees in. They were all over me. I had been so busy killing them on the counter, in the air, and on the windows that I never even noticed they were all in my hair and inside my clothes. Jason rescued Jaxon (who had been sleeping) from the room and I began killing more bees. I have never seen so many bees before. I killed another 30 bees and finally got them out of my hair and clothes.  

Britain was still hysterical, and so after getting him out of the shower, I examined him to see if he needed to go to the emergency room. A quick check revealed only 4 stings, which was nothing short of a miracle considering how many bees were all over him when I reached him. I still don't know how he managed to avoid being stung more than that. A quick call to the doctor confirmed that Benadryl was enough for him & Emily. They were both okay the next morning. Jason has large red welts where he received multiple stings close together in some areas. 

It wasn't until later that we realized these were yellowjackets. Apparently, Jason and Britain are not allergic to yellowjackets like they are to honeybees. This is what saved Jason, since the number of stings he received would have landed him in the hospital had they been honeybees.

Reflecting back on this, I've realized how my mommy instincts kicked in for this situation. I don't like to go outside without shoes on. We have chickens in the backyard who poop everywhere. But I flew out the door without even thinking about putting on shoes. I don't like to kill bugs. I usually call Jason to handle that. I definitely don't kill bugs with my hands! Ever. But I killed scores of yellowjackets with my bare hands, not even thinking that they might sting me. I was just in the mode of "Must Save Britain" and completely unfocused on saving myself (as evidenced by the fact that I was still being stung even after everyone else was safe and dosed with Benadryl). 

I ended up with dozens of stings. I have stings on the ends of almost all of my fingers, all over my hands, my chest, my hips, back, and legs. I broke my tooth and busted my chin, lip, and knee when I fell. I look like I've been in a fight...and lost. My tooth...well, my tooth is bad. 
All banged up
I saw the dentist today and he said my tooth had been crushed to the bone. It will have to be removed later this week. I'll get a temporary tooth, and later, a permanent fake tooth as a replacement. For now, the dentist was able to remove the nerve so I'm not in pain anymore. He also fashioned a temporary fix to make my tooth look more normal until I can get to the oral surgeon for the extraction. 

I'm not looking forward to this process :(

Mrs. Tuesday's Departure Book Blast - $100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Mrs. Tuesday's Departure Book Blast - $100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway 

Meet Author Suzanne Anderson

I was born in Fort Lauderdale, attended the University of Michigan on an athletic scholarship for swimming and then worked on Wall Street. I left the bright lights of the big city fifteen years ago and traveled the world. I now live in the mountains of Colorado, where I pursue my dream of writing novels.

Website: http://www.suzanneanderson.net/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Suzanne-Anderson-Author-Page/201662786512944
Twitter: https://twitter.com/seakiev

Mrs. Tuesday's Departure
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for…
Hungary's fragile alliance with Germany kept Natalie, a renowned children’s book author, and her family out of harm's way for most of the war. Now as the F├╝hrer's desperation grows during the waning years of the conflict, so does its threat. Natalie's younger sister, Ilona, married a Jewish man, putting both her and her young daughter, Mila, in peril; Natalie's twin sister, Anna, is losing her already tenuous hold on reality. As the streets of Budapest thrum with the pounding boots of Nazi soldiers, danger creeps to the doorstep where Natalie shields them all.
Ilona and her husband take the last two tickets to safety for themselves, abandoning Natalie to protect Anna and Mila from the encroaching danger. Anna's paranoid explosion at a university where she was once a professor, sparked by delusions over an imagined love triangle, threatens their only other chance for escape. Ultimately, Natalie is presented with a choice no one should ever have to make; which of her family will she save?
An inspirational story of faith and family, strength and weakness, and the ultimate triumph of love over hate. Mrs. Tuesday’s Departure demonstrates the power of faith to light even the most harrowing darkness.
... faith is the evidence of things not seen.
I love reading historical fiction set during World War II, so I'm really looking forward to reading Mrs. Tuesday's Departure. Does this look like a book you'd be interested in? Enter to win the $100 Amazon code below and you'll be able to purchase this book and many more! 

Giveaway Details:
$100 Amazon Gift Code
Ends 8/21/12

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Monday, August 13, 2012

AstroBrights Back to School Crafts + Sweepstakes

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Astrobrights Papers by Neenah Paper for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

It's back to school time! I love shopping for school supplies and have been having so much fun this year picking out the things our kids need. While it is not on the official school supply list, one thing that is on my personal school supply list is AstroBrights Paper! Why AstroBrights Paper? It comes in 23 brilliant colors so anything you create with it is sure to stand out and get noticed. In fact, I was at Office Max today and the AstroBrights Paper display grabbed my attention immediately! This paper is perfect for all sorts of things, from sending a note to the teacher (the bright yellow is sure to grab her attention) to birthday party invitations to flyers to announcements. The bold colors also make it easy to organize forms, schedules, and reports.

To help personalize school supplies, let your kids pick their favorite color AstroBright Paper and decorate it with stickers and markers (be sure and add their name somewhere).  Then, simply slide the paper under the front clear cover of their three-ring binder. In a couple of months, when they are ready for a design change, they can easily change the paper to another color! AstroBrights Papers can be found at Staples, Amazon, Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart, Office Depot, and Office Max. 

You can help support your local elementary school by entering the AstroBrights "Give a Brighter Year" sweepstakes. The winner will receive a cash prize and school supplies valued at $30,000 for the elementary school of their choice. 

You can also check out the family friendly "Make Something AstroBright" design challenges by visiting Astrobrights on Facebook. Share your projects with video and pictures for the chance to win Astrobrights paper and other prizes.

My kids love to create things and lately, using paper seems to be their favorite way to create. Lately, they have been creating a lot of doll clothes using paper (perhaps I should introduce them to paper dolls?) They typically color white paper and then cut it to the shape they want it to be. I know they could come up with some unique and festive clothes for their dolls using the AstroBrights papers. What would your kids create using AstroBrights Paper?

Visit Sponsor's Site

Friday, August 10, 2012

Dyson DC24 Vacuum Giveaway

Mom Powered Media proudly presents the 

Dyson DC24 Giveaway

Dyson "The Ball" DC24 Vacuum
Impress yourself with your beautiful floors when you use the Dyson DC24 All-Floors Lightweight Upright Vacuum. Ultra lightweight and compact makes vacuuming with this machine effortless. The Dyson "Ball" technology turns the vacuum on a dime with no loss of suction, combined with the patented Root Cyclone technology makes this one extreme powerhouse of clean.

Dyson "The Ball" DC24 All-Floors Lightweight Upright Vacuum Includes:
  • Bristle brush
  • Product manual
Product Features:
  • Clear hygienic dust collection bin - empty the bin with a push of a button
  • Lifetime washable HEPA filter - requires no maintenance and lasts for the life of the vacuum
  • Fingertip brush control - turn brushbar on and off at the touch of a button
  • Motorized brushbar - powerful bristles remove dirt and pet hair from carpets
  • On-board tool storage - brush, stair and crevice tools store right on your vacuum so they're always on hand
  • Reversible wand - for dual usage
  • On-board tool storage - brush, stair and crevice tools store right on your vacuum so they're always on hand
  • Certified Asthma and Allergy Friendly by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America

Many vacuums use filters to trap dirt, which can cause clogs and suction problems. But Dyson, maker of the world's first cyclonic bagless vacuum, features technology that uses centrifugal force to separate dirt out of the airflow, so the vacuum doesn't clog. Dyson proves no loss of suction using the IEC 60312 Cl 2.9 test standard. As the only vacuum to be certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America and featuring Clean Exhaust Air, it's easy to see why Dyson is an excellent choice for all your floor surfaces. Dyson vacuum cleaners are amazing! I own the Dyson DC-25 Vacuum and it's very similar to the DC-24 and works wonderfully for my floors!

One lucky winner will receive a Dyson DC24 All-Floors Lightweight Upright Vacuum

Giveaway ends August 31st at 11:59pm, open to US and Canadian residents, ages 18+. To enter please use the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!
Thank you to Mom Powered Media owners: Mom to Bed by 8, Powered By Mom and Real Mom Reviews for organizing this event.
Make sure to visit our fantastic co-hosting blogs This Mama Knows, To Sew With Love and Life With Levi.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

NEW! Fiber One Nutty Clusters & Almonds Cereal Review & Giveaway!

I’m a big fan of Fiber One products. I enjoy their bars and I like the Fiber One brownies for a sweet treat I don't have to feel guilty eating. The kids (especially Jaxon) like the Fiber One Chewy bars, which we reviewed a few months ago. So I was excited to try their cereal, even though I’m not much of a cereal eater.

I love breakfast – it’s definitely my favorite meal of the day. But breakfast for me is usually anything but cereal. There’s a couple of reasons for this: I don’t like milk, and I am picky about cereal. I don’t like super sugary artificially colored cereals, but I don’t like boring flakes that lack flavor and get soggy either. I recently tried almond milk and love it. I found it to be a great milk replacement for me, but I had yet to find a cereal I really liked.  

But then Fiber One sent me their new Nutty Clusters & Almonds cereal to try. I love almonds, so I was intrigued. The flakes were promising, with lots of texture. They also tasted good dry – this is a cereal that would be good to munch on straight from the box. Each 1 cup serving is 180 calories and contains 11 g of fiber! That’s almost half of your daily fiber needs. It contains both whole grain wheat and whole grain oats, so it’s very filling.

After I added almond milk, I let the cereal sit for a few minutes first, to taste the flakes ability to hold up to the milk. They were not soggy at all and retained their crunchiness. In addition to the textured flakes, the cereal has oat and nut clusters to give it extra crunch. There are also almond slices in the cereal, which is awesome!

The cereal was sweet, but not syrupy sweet. I was concerned about where the sweetness was coming from, and was pleased when I checked the ingredients list and find out that sugar, honey, molasses, corn syrup, and brown sugar syrup used instead of something artificial. There are 12 g of sugars per serving. That sounded like a lot to me, so I compared it to other cereal boxes that we had on hand and found that most of our cereals contained between 9-11 g of sugar, while one contained 19g (yikes!). I’d love to see Fiber One bring the sugar content down just a little bit. 

Jaxon loves it! 

I really like it, too! I love that it is filling and tastes great!  

Want to try some yourself? You can print a coupon for $1.25 off of one box by clicking here. One lucky reader will win a Fiber One Nutty Clusters & Almonds gift package containing 2 boxes of cereal, spoon, and a Fiber One wooden bowl. Enter using the super easy Rafflecopter form below!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Costume Discounters Offers Great Halloween Costumes for Boys!

I know it's still hot outside so it's really hard to think about Halloween, but it's right around the corner. Last year, we ended up looking for Halloween costumes for a couple of weeks before Halloween. We had the hardest time finding costumes the kids would like. Though we found quite a few options, none of them were cute, all of them were expensive, and most were cheaply made. This year, we're going to be better prepared, thanks to Costume Discounters.  

We were sent a zombie ninja costume for Britain to review. He was thrilled when it arrived and immediately went to put it on, even though the air conditioning was not working that day and it was like 90 degrees inside our house. 

As you can see the costume is pretty detailed. It includes several pieces: pants, a tunic, an "apron" that goes over the tunic and has an attached hood, a belt tie, and a mask with attached bloody ninja star. My kids love details on their costumes and most of the costumes at Costume Discounters have those extra little touches that make the costume special and fun.

It does not include the socks or the sword seen in the next picture. However, the kid who was modeling it online had a sword and was wearing black socks so Britain insisted on duplicating the look! 

If you're looking for discounted costumes for boys this year, Costume Discounters is the place to go. They have a huge selection! Whether your son wants to be a pirate or a cowboy or Spiderman, they have you covered. They also offer the lowest prices guaranteed - if you find the costume priced better somewhere else, they'll match the price and take off an additional 20%. They also offer free exchanges! Right now, their current promotion is 20% off of costumes priced $20 or more. With the wide selection of costumes, you're sure to find something that your child will love.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Little One Books Review & Giveaway

Little One Books is a online retailer of children's books, music, and videos. They are not your typical retailer of children's products - you won't find every book that has ever been written for a child on this site. Instead, each book, DVD, or audio CD is carefully reviewed before being chosen. As you shop the site, you'll find a detailed synopsis of why the product was selected along with what child reviewers thought of that product. It makes it so easy to choose something that your child will love. They also make age recommendations for each product on their site. As a parent, I appreciated this feature, but I also think this is a wonderful site to recommend to grandparents or other relatives who may have trouble shopping for children's books and media. Little One Books has made it easy to choose a gift that the child in your life is sure to enjoy!

We were sent the Baby Genius Favorite Sing-A-Longs video. This video contains both original songs as well as classics like Old McDonald's Farm and the Itsy Bitsy Spider. Jaxon doesn't watch much television yet, but lately he has begun liking things like the theme song to Elmo or Dora the Explorer. I thought that a video that contained nothing but music and cartoon animals would be perfect for him. The video was recommended for ages 2+, but I thought Jaxon could grow into it, if necessary. 

The video starts with songs about the characters that illustrate the video. Jaxon was not interested in that part at all. However, he enjoyed several of the other songs on the video, like "No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed" and "Old McDonald Had a Farm". I think that as he gets a little bit older, he'll be more interested. For now, we just skip ahead to his favorite songs. I really liked that the DVD also came with an audio CD containing each of the songs. It makes it easy to enjoy Jaxon's favorite songs in the car. 

Currently, when you place an order of $35 or more from Little One Books, you will receive a free tote bag and free shipping!  

Little One Books has generously offered to give one of my readers a Baby Genius Favorite Children's Songs DVD! Enter using the easy Rafflecopter form below.

Connect with Little One Books on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest to stay updated on current promotions and great gift ideas! 

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I was provided a DVD for review. All opinions are my own.