Archives for August 2009

My Frustration with Our Government & the CPSIA

Angela Vinez DesignsMost of you know that I run an online design service business. In that business, I also offer some handmade products. According to the CPSIA, I need to stop selling those handmade items that are intended for children, and I will be taking the next few weeks to pull those items off my website. So, if you need something, you’d better grab it now, because soon I won’t be selling things like tutus and custom hairbow bouquets any more.

You may have no idea what I’m talking about or why this bothers me so much, and I totally understand why. It can be quite confusing.

Here’s the definition of the CPSIA, according to this website:
The CPSIA stands for the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act which is a law that was enacted in August of 2008.

The stated purpose of this bill is to “establish consumer product safety standards and other safety requirements for children’s products and to reauthorize and modernize the Consumer Product Safety Commission.”

The CPSIA requires that all products intended for children under 12 are tested and certified as meeting the lead limits as set forth in the law. Phthalate testing is also required for toys intended for children under 12 or “child care articles” for children under three.

Basically, if you’re a working mother, and you produce products for children under the age of 12, you need to have expensive third party testing done to make sure your products meet the required lead levels. The thing is, this isn’t just directed at painted items, this is for all items. Even an item like a tutu that couldn’t possibly contain any lead.

The idea behind this law was good. Remember back when Mattel had all of those toys recalled because of the high lead level content? This law was started to protect our kids from that. The problem is, this law is putting many working mothers out of business. When I stop selling these handmade items, I’m going to hurt my income severely. Most of these items are my biggest sellers, aside from blog designs. But our government views these handmade items as dangerous. And I can’t afford the third party testing for each item, as it’s outrageously priced!

That’s not even the worst part! I found this article the other day that actually gives Mattel a pardon! They don’t have to go through the third party testing. And they’re the reason for the law in the first place! But, apparently, if one has enough money, one can buy off our government. Doesn’t say much for the working mother struggling to put food on the table for her kids now, does it?

In all honestly, I don’t understand everything about the CPSIA, but I know that it’s affecting many working mothers and their income. The businesses that we should be supporting – WAHMs – are the ones being forced out because large companies can pull strings and get pardoned.

Tell me your thoughts about this. Are you a working mother who has been affected by the CPSIA? And I’d love to know what you think about Mattel’s pardon, whether you’re a working mother or not.

Fiber One 50 Cal Prize Pack Winners

Congratulations to the giveaway winners….

141. Jayfr said… The most innocuous guilty pleasure in food is Brown Cow CreamTop Maple yogurt. Mmmm

42. Sonya said… Chips and Cheese Dip is my favorite. Thanks!

65. lilshuga2001 said… I love Celery/peanut Butter/raisens= ANTS ON A LOG! I can eat that ALL DAY!!

Please use the form below to contact me and claim your prize- or email directly to angie[at]5vinezmonkeys[dot]com.

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If the prize is not claimed by noon [ET] on Tuesday, August 31st, a new winner will be picked. (As many as necessary.)

Baby Silk by MD Moms (Review)

Earlier this week, MD Moms sent me an amazing box of goodies from their new Baby Silk line. Before I get to my review of their products, I want to tell you a little bit about MD Moms.

Diane Truong, MD, FAAP and JJ Levenstein, MD, FAAP are board-certified pediatricians and moms. They were inspired by the needs of their patients (and their own children!) to create the first pediatrician-developed personal care line for babies. The line is called Baby Silk, and they carry everything from diaper rash cream to sunscreen towelettes.

My Review of MD Moms
I had the opportunity to test out each of the products in the Baby Silk line, and I was thoroughly impressed! I’ll break down each product and give you my thoughts:

  • Baby Silk Gentle All Over Clean – This hair and body wash is wonderful. Parker does not like bath time. At all. So it is wonderful for me that this pump is easily used with one hand. I can hold on to Parker with one hand and get just the right amount of hair and body wash with the other. It glides on, rinses clean, (and quickly!!), and leaves him smelling so fresh. And, it’s tear free, which is great, since bath time seems to bring on the tears anyway. When I’m rinsing him clean, I don’t have to worry about it getting in his eyes and irritating them. When he got out of the tub and his hair dried, I couldn’t believe how silky and clean his hair was! Awesome! Makes me want to avoid the haircut that hubby had me schedule for Parker. I love how soft this makes his hair.
  • Baby Silk Daily Skin Protection – This moisturizing balm goes on silky smooth. It doesn’t have a slimy texture, and it glides on easily. No sticky residue, either, which is a wonderful plus! And the smell is heavenly. All babies should smell as good as Parker does after I rub him down with the daily skin protection. We’ve used it after his bath each night, and it leaves him smelling wonderful and his skin is silky soft.
  • Baby Silk Delicate Skin Comfort – This silky liquid powder is my new “must have” baby product. Because we live in the South, and the weather gets hot, this powder is wonderful for keeping the folds and fat rolls that Parker has silky smooth and chafe free! I love the feel of his skin after applying this. It feels so incredibly soft, and I know that we’re protecting all those precious little parts when he’s wearing it. I let Ashley put this on Parker yesterday, and she fell in love with it, too. She wanted it for herself! I think I’m going to have to hide this bottle from her!
  • Baby Silk Gentle Scalp Rub – This exfoliating cleanser for cradle cap is awesome. I wish I had it back when Parker was first born and we were having so many problems with cradle cap. I’ve actually been using this on Lucy. For some reason, Lucy has developed patches of what look like cradle cap on her scalp. After using this on her head for the last few days, I’ve seen a significant change. Her hair is silky soft, and her scalp is clean and moisturized so much better than it’s been with any other product I have used. I’m putting this on my list for the next newborn in the family.
  • Baby Silk Soothing Bottom Relief – We deal with diaper rash more than I’d even like to admit, and I will tell you that I was skeptical that this diaper rash cream would be different than any of the other diaper rash creams I’ve tried. Boy, did I have to eat my words! Parker had one of those rashes with the awful red bumps that just wouldn’t go away. After one use of this diaper rash cream, I noticed a real change. After a full day of using the cream, the spots were gone! Spots that I have tried for weeks to get rid of, and after 24 hours of this diaper rash cream, were gone. I love that it goes on silky and not greasy like other diaper rash creams. And just a little bit goes a long way!
  • Baby Silk Gentle All Over Clean Towlettes – Ok, so I just admitted that we deal with diaper rash way too much in this house. One of the major problems I have had with all of my kids is finding wipes that won’t cause them pain with each diaper change. It is so hard to find alcohol free wipes! Even the sensitive wipes in the store aren’t alcohol free and they hurt when the kids have diaper rash. However, these wipes don’t hurt! No longer do I have to dirty up a washrag at every diaper changing. These wipes are as gentle as a washcloth and they’re the only wipes that don’t cause Parker and Lucy to scream when they have diaper rash. At less than 17 cents a wipe, these are one investment that I’m going to make to keep my kids smiling.
  • Baby Silk Babysafe Sunscreen Towelettes – These are an absolute must have item for any mom. This is my new favorite product, and one that I want to have on hand all the time! These SPF 30+ uva/uvb protection sunscreen towlettes are the coolest new baby product on the market. As a mom of 5, I am always looking for ways to cover my kids in sunscreen quickly and easily. Any mom knows that just isn’t possible. The spray on cans leave that sticky residue, and my kids are instantly covered with sand the moment they step on the beach. However, these wipes don’t leave a sticky residue! Simply wipe on the exposed areas, and the kids are ready to go! I used them on the boys the other day before they went outside to play. After I wiped Jace down, he asked, “How long do I have to stand here before this dries?” He was pleasantly surprised when we discovered that it was already dry and he could head outside to play! They are quick and ultra convenient. I can throw the pack in my purse or the diaper bag, and I’ve always got them on hand. I’m prepared for any situation that may arise, and I know that my kids are protected from the sun’s harmful rays with a single wipe. Every mom needs to get their hands on these sunscreen towelettes. Especially if you are a busy mom with kids who don’t like to wait.

As you can see, I was really impressed by the entire line of Baby Silk. And because these products were created by pediatricians, I know that they are safe, gentle, and effective. I don’t have to worry about using these products on any of my kids.

Be sure to stop by MD Moms and check out the new Baby Silk line. Also, be sure to follow MD Moms on Twitter.

To Buy:
You can purchase directly through the MD Moms Website, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Discounts:
MD Moms is offering a promotion right now. If you order six or more of an MD Mom Baby Silk product and enter the promo code, LOVEYOU at checkout, you receive 25 percent off your entire order. (Perfect for the Babysafe Sunscreen Towelettes and the Cleansing Towelettes!)

Also, now through the end of August, the MD Moms Travel Set and Sunscreen Towelette Single Three-Pack are available for the first time together for $17.75 (a $35.50 value) through QVC, while supplies last!


Thank you to MD Moms for allowing me to test out these products and share them with my readers.

SlimPerfect Giveaway Winner!

The winner of the $50 SlimPerfect GC is…….

150. Lindsay said… I’m a fan on facebook!

Congratulations!!

Please use the form below to contact me and claim your prize- or email directly to angie[at]5vinezmonkeys[dot]com.

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Details (Prize choice, Color, etc.)
Full Mailing Address (No PO boxes, please)
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(Please note: The form does not work if you are reading this post in an email or reader. You must come to the blog to use the form. Simply reply to the email or send your information to me directly if you are unable to come to the blog.)

If the prize is not claimed by noon [ET] on Monday, August 31st, we will have a LIVE Giveaway!

Win BIG From GE!


I’m sure by now that you’ve noticed the new bridget on the side of my blog (and in this post, for those of you reading this by email). I want to tell you about a very cool opportunity that GE is giving me & one of my readers!

Awhile back, I posted about GE’s Strong As Steel Program. It’s a great way for busy moms to get fit while in the kitchen. (If you haven’t read that post, go check it out. The Strong As Steel Program is awesome!)

Anyway, to thank the bloggers who participated in spreading the word about the Strong As Steel Program – and the readers who listened, GE is giving away an appliance to one lucky reader and one lucky blogger. How cool is that?

You can enter once a day, right here from my blog – there’s no contest page you have to find, and you won’t have to struggle with trying to figure out how to enter. When you stop by to read what’s new over here, you can enter to win. It couldn’t be easier! Just play the video for more details, and click on “Sweepstakes” to enter!

One reader (from all participating blogs combined) will be chosen at random to win a brand new GE kitchen appliance. Who couldn’t use that? Plus, if one of my readers is selected as the winner, I will win my choice of appliance, too! So stop by every day and enter to win. It’s a fantastic opportunity, and one I don’t want you to miss out on! (And I really, really need a new fridge!)

Contest ends November 15th, 2009. You can enter once a day every day from now until then!

Contest Prize Details:
Your choice of one (1) of the following appliances:

  • GE® Tall Tub Built-In Dishwasher. Model # GLD6760NSS, ARV $649
  • GE® 25.0 Cu. Ft. ENERGY STAR® Side-By-Side Refrigerator with Dispenser, Model # GSH25ISX, ARV $1,499
  • GE® Spacemaker® Over-the-Range Microwave Oven, Model # JVM1850SMSS, ARV $489
  • GE® 30” Free-Standing Electric Range. Model #JB700SN, ARV $1,099
  • GE® 30” Free-Standing Gas Range with Warming Drawer. Model # JGBP88SEMSS ARV $1,449.

OPEN ONLY TO LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE 48 CONTIGUOUS UNITED STATES OR DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, 18 YEARS OLD AS OF TIME OF ENTRY. Contest Ends November 18, 2009.

ENTER EVERYDAY!

Also, if you emailed me to let me know that the widget wasn’t working properly, the problem has been resolved! Please try again and let me know if you have any more problems. Good luck!

Wordless Wednesday: Definitely Time for A Haircut!


If you’re participating in Wordless Wednesday, leave your link here!

Welcome, Wal-Mart!

It’s official! I no longer have to drive 45 minutes to get to Wal-Mart. No more driving through the back roads, over dangerous mountains. Just 15 minutes and 4 turns and we’re there!

Our new Wal-Mart is a proto-type Wal-mart. In my opinion, it looks more like a strip mall on the outside, and a Target on the inside. The shelves are low and open, and the aisles are wide. When I first went to our new Wal-Mart, I had to park forever and a day away, but when I got inside, I was shocked! I could actually get through the aisles without running over 50 people in the process. Another feature that I just love is that they’ve combined the Service Desk, Site-to-Store pickup center, and the Photo Lab all in the front of the store. Easy access, and easy in-and-out on the days when I don’t have a lot of time. One thing I hate, though, is that they took my fabric section away and made my craft section less than one full aisle. 🙁 I guess if I need fabric, I’ll go to the local fabric stores and pay more, or drive 45 minutes to the other Wal-Mart.

The new Wal-Mart is also a little greener. And I mean that in more ways than one. The outside of the Wal-Mart is green and brick. Certainly the fanciest Wal-Mart I’ve ever seen. But on the inside, they’ve made some eco-friendly changes. The press release states:

The store’s skylights harvest daylight and reduce the amount of energy required to light the store by up to 75 percent daily. LED lighting in the store operates 70 percent more efficiently than traditional fluorescent lighting.

The cement used in the concrete flooring is made with recycled materials, and the floor’s finish reduces the need for chemical cleaners. Low-flow toilets and faucets reduce the water used in the bathrooms. The new store also operates a recycling program and will promote sustainable product purchases.

Very cool, Wal-Mart!

People in our area fought against Wal-Mart coming into our area. There were petitions and everything. Their point is that we are a small town and they want to keep the small town feel. People down here do not like change. What they could not dismiss is the fact that the new Wal-Mart would bring in over 250 new jobs, something our area has desperately needed.

Granted, Wal-Mart may end up putting many of the small-chained grocery stores out of business. Right now, our local Bi-Lo has milk on sale for 99 cents, trying to lull customers in and get them to buy more. And it doesn’t help a thing that our Ingles is under contruction right now with plans to open a much larger store sometime next year. I’m confident that Ingles will do well and will thrive once the newness of Wal-Mart wears off. Ingles has loyal customers, and the Wal-Marts down here are not known for keeping their food section stocked or organized well. And, Ingles keeps their prices at about the same price as Wal-Mart anyway, and offers specials, so I know I’ll continue to shop there.

I’m just really glad to have the convenience of a Wal-Mart just a few minutes away again. It’s about time!

Sleepy Bear, The Babywearing Bear (Review)

Lucy has a new best friend, and I can’t wait to introduce you to her! Parent Reviewers recently sent me a Sleepy Bear from Sleepy Wrap to review.

As I’ve already mentioned, Lucy is in love with this bear. “Suzy” now goes everywhere with her. (Suzy is what she named the Mama bear.) And when Suzy isn’t in Lucy’s arms, “Peanut” – the baby bear – is in the sling which is tied around Lucy. You see, Lucy didn’t want just Suzy to have all the fun wearing the baby bear. She wants to wear Peanut around her chest, too. The wrap is so soft, and with a little creativity, we’re able to get it on Lucy so that she can carry Peanut around with her wherever she goes – much like I do with Parker.

There are several things that impress me about the Sleepy Bear:

  • There are NO removable parts that could be potential choking hazards – the eyes, nose, etc. are all stitched on so that curious little hands won’t have anything to pull offThis is a *huge* plus in our household. Now, when Parker gets his hands on the Sleepy Bear, I don’t have to worry about him choking on any small parts.
  • 100% organic – I don’t have to worry about what materials were used to make this product. No lead paint or other health hazards to worry about.
  • The very first stuffed toy to help promote babywearing! – This, I love. Why? Because I am a huge fan of babywearing. In fact, if I didn’t wear Parker through most of my day, I would probably never get anything done. I love that it’s teaching Lucy the positive aspects of babywearing, and I’m even more excited by how much she already seems to love it. This is a toy that’s sending a positive message to little girls about the benefits of babywearing.

Want to know something really cool? You can actually buy the wrap that the Sleepy Bear is wearing in a full size for yourself! Check out the Organic Khaki wrap at: http://www.sleepywrap.com/organic

Want to purchase the Sleepy Bear for your little one?
The Sleepy Bear is available only at these fine retailers in the US:

Heavenly Hold
510 Briarfield Crossing
Marietta, GA
amber@heavenlyhold.com
www.heavenlyhold.com
404.849.5394

Supermommy’s Superstore
2411 Ring Road, Suite 105
Elizabethtown, KY
info@supermommyssuperstore.com

www.SupermommysSuperstore.com

270.769.6693

Sweet Infant
1007 S. Country Club Rd.
Lovington, NM
support@sweetinfant.com
www.sweetinfant.com
575.441.3005

Oregon Soap Shoppe
91C South Daysville Road
Oregon, IL
glcamling@aol.com
www.OregonSoapShoppe.com
866-411-6614

Nurtured Family
8525 Jackrabbit Rd., Suite B
Houston, TX
support@nurturedfamily.com

www.nurturedfamily.com
832.239.5140

Baby Carriers-n-More
265 W Cimmarron Way
Erda, UT
robyn@babycarriersnmore.com

www.babycarriersnmore.com

801.671.5740

Attached to Baby
Seattle, WA
sara@attachedtobaby.com
www.attachedtobaby.com
800.887.1461


The Sleepy Bear has made a perfect little addition to our home, and Lucy won’t put her down. I love that she loves it so much, and I would recommend this adorable little bear to any mama out there.
Many thanks to Parent Reviewers for sending us a Sleepy Bear to try out.

SpreadHead Toothpaste Heads (Closed)

I’ll hang my head in shame and admit that I had never heard of SpreadHeads. So when I logged onto their website, I was quite intrigued. I stayed a few minutes and watched the video on their homepage. The ladies on the Today Show cracked me up. The SpreadHeads started out by offering fun novelty items to squirt ketchup and mustard out of bottles. I’ll admit it – they’re just gross enough that my husband and my boys would *love* them!

Well, now SpreadHeads has come out with a fantastic new item – toothpaste heads! On their website, they say, “It’s a lot easier to brush your teeth when you’re smiling!” I love that, and it’s so true!

My Review of the ToothPaste Heads
With my kids, I’m always looking for a way to get my kids to brush their teeth without complaining. Toothpaste Heads seemed like just the thing my kids needed to really enjoy brushing. We already do the super hero toothbrushes and we have to do the sparkle toothpaste, but even those can get boring. However, I don’t think that toothpaste that comes out of a dog’s mouth will ever get boring for my kids.

When Pete and Oscar arrived on our doorstep, my kids were all thrilled. They wanted me to put Pete and Oscar on our toothpaste tubes right away! Pete graced the kids’ toothpaste, and we decided that Oscar needed a home on the toothpaste in my bathroom. (I was totally ok with that, since Oscar was my personal favorite!)

It was super easy to put the heads on the toothpaste and get started. Simply snap it on pull the paw out of the character’s mouth, and squeeze! Then, just snap the paw back in the mouth and it’s done. Easy, mess free, and so much fun!

The boys love having Pete on their toothpaste, and even Ashley – the impossible to please tween – thinks it’s cool. And I love how easy it is to get the boys to brush their teeth now.

Watch this video to learn more and see the new Toothpaste Heads in action!

Want to Try These Toothpaste Heads for Yourself?
To Buy: You can always head to the SpreadHeads website and purchase your favorite character toothpaste head. At just $4.99 each, they’re a fantastic value!

To Win: SpreadHeads is offering a set of toothpaste heads to one of my very lucky readers! You’ll get both Pete & Oscar.

To Enter:
Follow the SpreadHeads on Twitter

OR

Become a Fan of SpreadHeads on Facebook.
*Mandatory. One of these must be completed or other entries will be deleted. If you do both, be sure to leave 2 separate comments!

Want Extra Entries?

  1. Blog About this Giveaway. You could easily copy and paste the following (5 extra entries):
    Angie at 5 Vinez Monkeys is having an awesome giveaway sponsored by SpreadHeads Toothpaste Heads. Stop by before 11:59pm ET on September 7th and enter to win a set of super cool toothpaste heads! Pete and Oscar will quickly become your new best friends.

  2. Subscribe to us via email or reader. (Leave a comment for each that you do.)
  3. Use any of the buttons at the bottom of this post, just leave an individual comment for each one that you complete.
  4. Follow 5 Vinez Monkeys on twitter.
  5. Tweet about this contest. (Maximum 1 per day – please leave a comment & a link for each tweet!)
  6. Grab our button and put it in your sidebar. (Leave us a link to your blog, please!)
  7. Follow our blog – either through Google’s Followers Gadget or through Facebook’s Networked Blogs. Leave a comment for each one that you do.

Fine Print:
If you already do any of the above, you qualify. Please leave a comment for each of the extra entries you complete. However, you must first leave the required comment as stated above. The contest will end Monday, September 7th at 11:59pm (EST), and the winner will be selected via random.org. Winner will be announced on Tuesday, September 8th and will have 48 hours to claim their prize, or it will be forfeited.

Oscar Mayer Lunchables: Awesome Just Got Even Better! (Review)

I have been a fan of Lunchables since Oscar Mayer first introduced them. And so have my kids. In fact, every time we are in the grocery store, the first question my kids ask is, “Mom? Can we have a Lunchable?” They love them! I love how convenient they are. A full meal right in a box. What busy mom wouldn’t love that?!

But, when I heard about the new Oscar Mayer Lunchables Lunch Combinations, I was even more excited! Now something so fabulous is also really good for my kids! Now made with whole grains and served with spring water, Lunchables are a meal that I can feel good about giving my kids.

The six new varieties include: a Turkey and Cheddar Sub Sandwich, a Ham and American Cheese Sub Sandwich, Turkey and Cheddar Cheese Cracker Combos (my favorite!), Ham and American Cheese Cracker Combos, Deep Dish Cheese Pizza, and Deep Dish Pepperoni Pizza. Don’t they all sound yummy?

Both the Turkey and Cheddar Cheese Sub Sandwich and the Deep Dish Cheese Pizza meet the Kraft Foods Sensible Solution criteria for nutritional value, which is fantastic!

The new Oscar Mayer Lunchables Lunch Combinations also offer the following enhancements:

  • First-ever sub sandwich
  • Turkey made with 100% turkey breast: a good source of protein
  • Bread made with whole grain
  • Kraft 2% cheddar: an excellent source of calcium
  • Applesauce
  • Dessert like Chewy Chips Ahoy! Cookies and Mini Nilla Wafers

I love that the new Lunchables come with Spring water (that can be mixed with a Kool-Aid Singles Packet, if desired) and applesauce. It’s a fun, easy way to get my kids eating healthier.

Even though I purchase Lunchables all the time, Mom Central sent me a coupon to try one of the new combinations for free. I picked the Turkey and Cheddar Cracker Combination for myself. But, I couldn’t just get one for myself! I also purchased the Ham and American Cracker Combination for Ashley, the Turkey and Cheddar Sub Sandwich for Jace and Zander, and the Deep Dish Cheese Pizza for Lucy. (Parker will have to grow into his Lunchables. It won’t be long, I’m sure!)

The new varieties were a hit with my entire crew – just like I knew they would be. My kids loved the new “sides” and they thought getting Kool-Aid with their lunchable was just the coolest thing ever. And who doesn’t love cookies? Every one gets filled up and when I serve Lunchables, I never hear a complaint! That’s a very welcome change around here.

Even though we homeschool, and I don’t have to worry about packing lunches for my kids, I still like to keep Lunchables on hand. Because of where we live, we often have to drive long distances to get anywhere. Lunchables are the perfect on-the-go meal time solution, and they are a much better alternative to the local drive thrus.

Thank you, Oscar Mayer, for the new Lunchables Lunch Combinations. My kids and I love them! And thanks to Mom Central for allowing me to try one of the new Lunchables.

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central on behalf of Oscar Mayer Lunchables and received a sample to facilitate my candid review. In addition, Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.

5 Vinez Monkeys Birthday Bash

Because my kids’ birthdays run from July to October with absolutely no break, we would go broke if we tried to do something special for each one of them every year. We decided that this year we would do something totally different: We’d pick a date right in the smack middle of all their birthdays and have one big bash. We invited friends and family, and we’d – of course – go with a monkey theme. We rented out the pavilion at the local beach months in advance.

I had invitations printed up, made the kids matching t-shirts, and started planning a birthday bash on a budget. It wasn’t easy, but I think we did a really great job.

The party was from 10am – 2pm on Saturday. It didn’t last that long, but it was certainly full of action. Just ask anyone who was in attendance.

At one point, I even thought I would die of embarrassment. No joke.

We got everything all set up, and people started arriving around 10:15 or so. The kids played on the playground right next to the pavilion, and the grown-ups chatted away. We started eating around 11 – hamburgers, hot dogs, and all the fixin’s.

A little after 11:30, some people show up with Sponge Bob decorations and tons of gifts. I started to panic, but I was glad I’d brought our reservation sheet with us. We had the pavilion from 9am – 2:30pm. I had a signature to prove it.

I went over to the lady that seemed to be in charge, and had my paper in my hand to show her that we had rented out the pavilion. I was not mean or condescending, just kind of “Hey, what’s up?” She freaks out. Refuses to produce her reservation paper, and someone in her party starts swearing. As I walk back to my party, refusing to start combat in front of half my church, I turn around and say, “Ok, the language can stop.”

2 minutes later, the lady in charge comes over to where I’m sitting and starts freaking out. She gets in my face and starts screaming. There I was, surrounded by family and church members. All I wanted to do was slug this woman. It took every ounce of strength in my body to keep from doing so. I bit my tongue and said nothing because I knew that I could destroy my testimony with just a few choice words.

I told the woman that I didn’t care if we shared the pavilion. We were only using half of it any way. But, the language needed to stop. That was all I said. That was all I could say, being the good Christian woman that I am. They went on with their party, and we went on with ours. Her kids kept crashing our party, and I kept sending them back to their side of the pavilion. At one point her son, the Birthday Boy, hit Ashley because she told him to stop taking our water balloons. I got so angry, I could have spit fire.

But, aside from all that hullabaloo, I think everyone at the party had a good time. I’m still so embarrassed by the scene that woman caused, but I handled it the best I could…. with half my church behind me.

We had a pinata, and the kids loved that. No one was injured or lost during the party, so I’ll take that as another plus sign. The food was plentiful and plenty good.

And I am vowing to never do this again………. at least for another year or so.

Here are some pictures of the decorations:


Monkey Pinata


Monkey Cupcakes


Closeup of a Monkey Cupcake


Table Decorated


Happy Birthday Monkey Sign

As you can tell, all of the decorations were handmade – except the palm trees, which came from Dollar Tree. We used our own stuffed monkeys as centerpieces on all of the tables, and that was really all we did for decorations. I was really happy with the way everything turned out, and I was able to keep costs low and plan the party on a budget.

It was fun, but, boy, was I exhausted when it was all over!

Got Free E-Cards Winner

The winner of the $15 Amazon Gift Card, courtesy of Got Free E-Cards is…

42. Bunny B said… 5. Blogged: http://bunnymoney9.blogspot.com/2009/08/sweet-sunday.html

Congratulations! You’ll be hearing from me soon.

Do you love Jewelry?

EarringsI love jewelry. It’s no secret that it’s a weakness of mine, and if I had the money, I would splurge like crazy and drape myself in diamonds.

Ok, so maybe I wouldn’t take it quite that far, but I do love jewelry.

And because I can’t splurge like I want to, I’m always trying to find fun, easy ways to WIN jewelry. When I found out about the jewelry giveaway by LuShae Jewelry, I was totally intrigued.

It’s super easy to enter, and you can win a $200 US jewelry gift certificate from Lushae Jewelry.

I know what you’re thinking: It’s really difficult to enter, and I’ve got all these rules and fine print I’ve got to follow. Right? Wrong!

All you have to do is display one of their funky jewelry badges on your blog, website or social profile page, then submit a link to your blog or webpage so that they can make sure it’s really on there.

They draw the prizes monthly, so keeping the badge will automatically re-enter you each month!

Plus, when you enter, you will also receive a 15% discount off the entire LuShae Jewelry range. (Have you seen their stuff? It’s gorgeous!!)

Totally easy, right? I thought so. For your chance to win a $200 gift certificate to LuShae Jewelry, head to their website and enter today!

Good luck!

Costumes by Princess Time Toys (Review)

It’s that time again! Time to start thinking about what the kids will be for Halloween. If you’re like me, though, you start obsessing about this the day after Halloween is over. I love Halloween. It’s one of my favorite holidays, the costumes, the candy, it’s all fantastic! Picking out costumes is one of my highlights each year.

So, when Princess Time Toys asked me if I would do a review on one of their Halloween Costumes for girls, how could I say no?!

Before I get to my review, here’s a little about the costume selection at Princess Time Toys directly from their website:

Adorable and affordable beautiful princess dress-up clothes and costumes for princesses from ages 1 through 9. Soft and pretty and ready for tea time or that special trip to Disneyland or Disney World to visit your favorite Princess. We feature the full-line of Little Adventures dress-ups as well as Disney Princess Costumes for special events.

Little Adventure dress-ups are high-quality, affordable, washable, and comfortable dress-up costumes that are meant for play. No itchy underskirts and rolled and finished seams for the ultimate in garment-quality play clothes. They are best sellers at Princess Time Toys and your little girl is sure to love them!

Great accessories are available to encourage imaginative play.

Based around the “Princess” themes, their costumes are sure to please even the pickiest princess. Also be sure to check out the Princess Time Toys Blog for the latest news, reviews, and more.

My Review of the Costumes by Princess Time Toys
Princess Time Toys asked that I review the Simply Spooky Green “Tinkerbell” Fairy Costume & Wings. (They allowed me to pick my 3 favorites, and this was the one that they selected.) Princess Time Toys told me that “Simply Spooky is the new line by Little Adventures released just in time for Halloween. Washable and comfortable, this is their costume-quality line.”
We *love* Tinkerbell around here, so I was thrilled with their selection. I knew Lucy would be thrilled, and I couldn’t wait for the package to arrive.

When the package arrived, I was blown away! First, I was shocked to see that the costume arrived with wings. I can’t tell you how many costumes I’ve purchased in the past that I needed to buy all the additional accessories just to complete the outfit. Not this one! The gorgeous white wings, sized just right for any little girl, were included. The top was made of crushed velvet and was super stretchy. It was embellished with a little sparkle at the top, and cute little accents at the sleeves. The skirt was full and simply fabulous. Layer after layer of the green satin material made it poof out just perfectly. The waist was a tiny bit big, but Lucy is super small, and it really wasn’t too bad. With a pair of tights or shorts underneath, no one would even be able to tell that it was just a smidgen too big for her little waist.

I put the costume on Lucy, added the wings, pulled her hair up into a bun, (Just like Tinkerbell, Mommy!), and tied a long white ribbon around the bun. In just minutes, Lucy was dressed and ready to hit the town for trick or treating. I couldn’t believe how quick and easy it was to put the complete costume on. And another plus? The costume is 2 pieces and is quickly and easily removed for potty-time emergencies! That makes this mom very happy.

Overall, I am super impressed with Princess Time Toys‘ costume selection and will keep them in mind for all of my kids’ costumes! They offer high quality products at very reasonable prices. You couldn’t ask for more.

Want to know what Lucy thought of the costume and Princess Time Toys? I think this photo says it all:
Many thanks to Princess Time Toys for sending me the Tinkerbell Costume to review.

Goodbye, Hunter.

My heart is broken. As I type this, I still have tears flowing, and it’s been over an hour since we came home and found Hunter dead.

We had a lot of running around to do today, as we’re gearing up for our big Birthday Bash on Saturday. As I pulled up to our driveway, I slowed down to get the mail. And there, at the top of the driveway, was Hunter. She wasn’t moving, and her tongue was sticking out of her mouth. There was a puddle of blood surrounding her head.

I don’t know how long she had been lying there. All I know is that someone hit her and left. Where she was lying, though, it looked like they had intentionally swerved into our driveway just to hit her. I don’t know that for sure, and I’ll never know.

Gene was in the house sleeping. I had Ashley run down the driveway and wake him up. He came up, and told me he’d take care of everything. He went next door and borrowed my Uncle’s shovel. We sent the kids in the house, and we dug a hole and buried her.

The cat drove me crazy. She was an indoor/outdoor cat, and she would always be right under your feet. She’d love on you all day long if you’d let her. And now she’s gone. I’m so glad her kittens are old enough to be on their own now, but my heart is heavy thinking that the same thing could happen to one of them.

The kids don’t get it. The boys think Hunter was hurt, but don’t realize that she won’t be waking up. Lucy was asleep when we got home, so she doesn’t know what happened at all. It’s probably better this way. We still haven’t really talked about the fact that Killer is gone too. SIGH. I just got over that and now this. Not what I wanted to come home today.

Goodbye, Hunter. I am going to miss you so much. You were the best cat, and I just adored you. Thank you for the smiles, the kisses, and for all the leg rubs. You will be missed. I promise to take good care of your babies.

The Daily Doodle (Review)

I was on Gather.com a couple of weeks ago, and I saw an author looking for someone with a 4 – 7 year old to review her new book, The Daily Doodle. Since I have 2 kids in that age range, and my kids love all things art related, I thought I’d volunteer. I was a little nervous. I thought that the boys would fight over the book, and I was going to have a hard time getting them to share. Luckily, Janet Lee, PhD, the author of the book, was one step ahead of me. She sent me 2 books so that both Zander and Jace could try them out.

When I opened the package, the boys were with me. They barely gave me a chance to get the books out of the envelope before grabbing them! Zander can read, so he dove right in. Jace looked through each page, a huge smile planted on his face, and he’d ask Zander over and over, “What do I do on this page?” The both went through about 15 pages before I told them they had to stop. They didn’t understand the concept of daily. They were just having so much fun with the journal that they would have gone through the entire thing in one sitting.

There are several things that impress me about The Daily Doodle. First, I love that it inspires creativity. Jace is just learning how to draw recognizable objects, and you can actually see his little mind just working away while he’s using this book. Next. I *love* that I can keep a record of their artwork and how their little minds think all in one place. Sure, we’ll still have loose papers, but this is a great way to keep my favorites without all of the clutter. It’s already in the book, and the book doesn’t take up much room! And I love watching their progress over time. To see how much they’ll advance, how much better their artwork will get. I can track their progress easily by going through the book.

I took a video of the boys using the books and wanted to share it with you:

Some of the things that the boys put in the book were hysterical. For example, on one of the pages, it says, “If I had 3 wishes, I would want…”

Jace responded by drawing a large building, a small person, and a bike. When I asked him what it was that he wanted, he replied, “A new Power Ranger toy, a bike, and to buy Walmart.” LOL! He doesn’t want much, does he?

On another page, it says, “My favorite things to do with my family are…”

Zander drew us at a table and then us in front of the tv. When I asked him what his favorite things to do were, he responded with, “Eat chicken and play the wii!” Eat chicken? Really? 🙂

These are the memories I want to keep forever. These are the moments I will treasure, and heck – I can even pull these books out years down the road and embarrass them if I need to. 🙂

I would absolutely recommend The Daily Doodle to anyone with kids in the 4 – 7 age range. And I would recommend buying new books often. Your kids will love them, and it’s a great, clutter-free way of keeping their talents all in one place.

If you’d like to purchase your own copy of The Daily Doodle, it’s available on Amazon for the very reasonable price of $14.95.

Thank you to Dr. Janet Lee for allowing me the opportunity to test out her new book on my kids. It’s definitely a hit here!

Wordless Wednesday: What Was He Thinking?!


All I can say is that he must be his Father’s child. LOL! I left him with a sitter, and when I came back an hour later, this was how I found him. The pink thing is a cape. He had to make due with what was available.

If you’re participating in Wordless Wednesday, sign in here!

Perseverance: True Voices of Cancer Survivors (Review)

When she was 14, Carolyn Rubenstein spent a summer volunteering at Camp Sunshine, which provides a fun getaway for children with cancer. Profoundly affected by the kids she met there, she created a non-profit organization called Carolyn‘s Compassionate Children (CCC) that connected children with cancer to “regular” kids as pen pals. As Carolyn grew up-along with her friends with cancer-CCC’s mission evolved as well. Today, the organization awards scholarships to children with cancer to help them pay for college.

Now age 24, Carolyn presents the new book “Perseverance: True Voices of Cancer Survivors“(Forge Books; September 2009; Hardcover), a collection of experiences from 20 college students who have survived the challenges of childhood cancer. The lessons their stories contain-about accentuating the positive in life, educating yourself about obstacles you come across, and “paying it forward,” just to name a few, are incredibly inspirational and moving.

Among the individuals highlighted in Perseverance:

  • Zac York, who, after 17 surgeries for brain cancer, used modified crutches to climb Mount Whitney, the highest mountain in the contiguous United States
  • Henry Choi, who had to visit three hospitals in his native Korea before being properly diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Katie Zawadzki, most of whose friends drifted away from her when she underwent treatment for ovarian cancer at age 19
  • Dana Smith, whose participation in the basketball program Hoop Dreams eradicated the depression caused by her brain cancer diagnosis and treatment

Over the past five years, Carolyn‘s charity has awarded 80 college scholarships to childhood cancer survivors. As an undergraduate at Duke University, she majored in psychology and conducted research that examined the quality of life for adolescent survivors of childhood cancer. A Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude graduate, Carolyn began a doctoral program in clinical psychology at Harvard University in the fall of 2008.

My Review of Perseverance
I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of Perseverance to review. What a great book. I cried, I laughed, and every story was filled with hope.

Some of the stories really touched me. 10 years ago, I watched my Daddy go through cancer. But the people in this book – they are the same age that I was when my Daddy was sick. Only instead of watching someone else they loved go through it, they are the ones fighting the battle. Yet, none of them ever gave up. They dealt with the cancer and went on with their lives. One went on to climb Mt. Whitney, on crutches, after battling brain cancer. Another fought brain cancer and the effects of it such as short term memory loss, but didn’t let that stop him from obtaining a college diploma and entering graduate school.

And every story was the same way. They never gave up, never gave in. They fought through the hair loss, the callous boyfriends, everything. It made them stronger, and their stories are ones that can spread hope to anyone that reads them.

This was such a fantastic book. It was one that I couldn’t put down. Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop. One night, I was reading in bed and fell asleep. Not because the book was boring, but because I had been reading for hours so late at night. It’s just that good.

Perseverance is available on Amazon for the amazingly low price of $16.49 right now. (Retail is $24.99.) If you are looking for a good book to read that will encourage you, uplift you, and make you cry all at the same time, this is the book for you!
Thank you to Phenix & Phenix for sending me a copy of the book to review.

Celebrate Your Next Event with MyPunchBowl (CLOSED)

Is it just me, or has this summer just flown by? And what’s with all the retail and department stores gearing up for fall starting in early August? Is there no such thing as the “dog days of summer” anymore?

Well, I’m declaring right here and now that it’s time to reclaim summer! That’s right – grab on and hold it tight! There is still plenty of time to round up the family and friends and host a sizzling Backyard BBQ, succulent New England Clambake, a splashing Pool Party.

Think you can’t this all planned by Labor Day?

Don’t sweat it! (That’s a little nod to summer, get it?) MyPunchbowl.com, the leader in start to finish party planning, handles everything for you– including online invitations & save the dates, managing RSVP’s & potluck lists, planning tips, party favors, even after-party online video and photo sharing (unless you want to hide the evidence)! And, with MyPunchbowl.com, you will be able to infuse your own unique personality into your party!

And, guess what?

A membership to MyPunchbowl.com is FREE!!

My Review of MyPunchbowl.com
I recently had the opportunity to not only test out MyPunchbowl.com, but to test out a premium membership as well!

Here’s what you get with a premium membership:

  • Premium designs
  • More fonts, papers, and ribbons
  • Advertising free invitations and eCards
  • Priority tech support
  • Exclusive partner offers

I started using MyPunchbowl.com back in May. I was planning a big Kindergarten graduation party for Zander, slated in mid-July. I was able to add in all my contacts, and sent them all a request to help pick a date. Once we selected the date, I was able to set everything up: Who would bring what potluck sidedish, the times, and everything was getting set in motion. I was organized and ready to go.

Then the inevitable happened: Our church planned a dinner for the exact same time and date as Zander’s graduation party. I was crushed. But, I was easily able to contact everyone in my address book and let them know the party was off.

The whole process, from beginning to end was so easy. I was able to keep track of which of my contacts had opened the invitations. I could easily contact everyone on the invite list all at once, and I could remove those who weren’t going to be able to make it. The service was fantastic and would be great for any kind of get-together I’m planning whether it’s a backyard barbeque or an ultra formal gala or anything in between. I would highly recommend MyPunchbowl.com to anyone who loves organized party planning!

Want to Try MyPunchbowl.com for Yourself?
Membership to MyPunchbowl.com is always free. You can join today and not pay a penny!

Want to Upgrade to the Premium Membership?
I get to give away a Premium Membership to MyPunchbowl.com to 2 of my readers!

To Enter:
Visit MyPunchbowl.com and create your free account. Then, come back here and let me know that you did!
*Mandatory. This must be completed or other entries will be deleted.

Want Extra Entries?

  1. Follow MyPunchbowl.com on Twitter.
  2. Become a fan of MyPunchbowl.com on Facebook.
  3. Tell me what kind of party you would plan using MyPunchbowl.
  4. Blog About this Giveaway. You could easily copy and paste the following (5 extra entries):
    Angie at 5 Vinez Monkeys is having an awesome giveaway sponsored by MyPunchbowl.com. Stop by before 11:59pm ET on August 26th and enter to win a Premium Membership!

  5. Subscribe to us via email or reader. (Leave a comment for each that you do.)
  6. Use any of the buttons at the bottom of this post, just leave an individual comment for each one that you complete.
  7. Follow 5 Vinez Monkeys on twitter.
  8. Tweet about this contest. (Unlimited – please leave a comment & a link for each tweet!)
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Fine Print:
If you already do any of the above, you qualify. Please leave a comment for each of the extra entries you complete. However, you must first leave the required comment as stated above. The contest will end Wednesday, September 2nd at 11:59pm (EST), and the winner will be selected via random.org. Winner will be announced on Thursday, September 3rd and will have 48 hours to claim their prize, or it will be forfeited.

There’s is still time to create 2009 summer memories – so grab a lemonade or ice tea and try MyPunchbowl.com today!

Want to win a Kindle?

I am in the process of writing up a review for a book called Perseverance. It’s an excellent book and I can’t wait to share it all with you! (My review will actually be going live tomorrow!)

The company that asked me to do the review on the book sent me an email today to let me know that Carolyn Rubenstein, the author of PERSEVERANCE (Tor/Forge), (which releases today), is doing a cool Twitter promotion to celebrate the publication date with readers.

Starting today, she’s giving away a Kindle a day for the rest of the week (through Friday), to a lucky person (drawn at random) who tweets #perseverance.

Complete contest rules and details can be found here!

You can bet this is one hashtag party I’m sure to get in on, and I hope to see you participate as well!