Archives for November 2009

A New Christmas Tradition?

Every Christmas I can remember included a fake Christmas tree. I don’t ever remember having a real Christmas tree in any of the houses I lived in. I’m not sure why we never had a real Christmas tree. I don’t know if it was Mom or Dad who refused to have them, but I’ve only ever experienced Christmas with fake trees – some that you had to put the lights on yourselves and others that came prelit.

When Ashley and I moved from Chicago to Ohio, we purchased our first Christmas tree. It was fake, of course, pre-lit, and it was covered top to bottom with glitter. It was made for our formal living room.

We have used that Christmas tree for the last 9 years and it’s served its purpose. This year, we had to say goodbye to our fancy-schmancy Christmas tree. The only problem was, we couldn’t afford to run out and purchase another pre-lit tree. Sure, on Black Friday, all the stores had some pre-lit trees on sale for $35 – $50. But, they looked like $35 trees. They were ugly. If we get another pre-lit tree, we want to invest in one that will last for years to come and will look decent. We don’t want to have to purchase a new $35 pre-lit tree every year.

So, this year, we opted for a real tree. Before marrying me – and my glitter Christmas tree – my husband had only ever had real trees. They actually went into the woods, cut down the tree, and brought it home. We looked into doing that here, and the cheapest we could find was a tree farm that charged $15 per foot of the tree you cut down. I don’t think all our ornaments would fit on a 2 foot tree.

After a photo shoot on Friday morning, I found a local Boy Scout troop selling Christmas trees. I picked out the one that I wanted, paid for it, and told them my husband would be back in a few hours to get it. The tree I picked out was beautiful. The tree my husband brought home was not the same tree. We got ripped off by the Boy Scouts. Luckily, I wasn’t out of pocket much, so I figured I just donated my money to the Boy Scout troop for the year. Live and learn, and don’t ever walk away without the tree in hand. Next year, hubby and I will find the right tree together.

On Saturday, we ran to Wal-Mart to get some lights for our Charlie Brown Christmas tree, and ended up falling in love with a beautiful tree they had for sale. $25 for a 7 foot live tree. And it was perfect. So much prettier than the pathetic looking one we had at home. We brought it home, set it up, and let it sit for 24 hours. (I had no idea you had to do that with a real tree. I have so much to learn.)

Yesterday afternoon, we trimmed the tree. I didn’t use any of my fancy-shmancy ornaments, just the kids ornaments and some old ornaments my former students gave me. And now, I can’t stop looking at it. It’s perfect. It looks like a family Christmas tree. No glitz, no glamor, but a whole lot of love.

My pictures don’t do it justice, because I’m much better at photographing people than I am Christmas trees, but the tree is gorgeous and it fits just perfectly in front of our window.

Tell me about your Christmas tree. Have you set it up yet? Do you do real trees or fake trees? Anything this real-Christmas-tree virgin should know? I’d love to hear how you decorate for Christmas. And if you put up a post on your blog, leave a link in the comments. I’d love to stop by and see!

MagnaPlay Activity Travel Set Winner

The winner of the MagnaPlay Activity Travel Set is………

93. Owen’s Mom said… Just tweeted! http://twitter.com/notimeMom/status/5431999865

 Congratulations!

I’ll contact you soon and request details. you must respond within 48 hours, or your prize will be forfeited and a new winner will be pulled.

Thanks to everyone who played along!

Coombs Family Farms (Review)

Coombs Family Farms is a small family farm in Vermont that has produced 100% pure maple since 1840. Since 1988, Coombs Family Farms has also produced certified organic maple syrup. Today, Coombs Family Farms is both a producer and packer of delicious pure maple products, and a champion of other small family farms.

Coombs Family Farms sources 100% pure organic certified maple from small, independent farmers who share the Coombs commitment to quality, environmental stewardship, and sustainable forestry management.

Coombs Family Farms provides much needed equipment credit, training and resources to help other independent small farmers maintain their family farms and livelihood. That’s because Coombs Family Farms is not just committed to the future of small family farms, but also to the future of our forests and the environment.

Coombs Family Farms maple has no artificial flavors, preservatives, or dyes, and is 100% certified organic. There are no other additives or sweeteners, just 100% pure maple. Their maple is delicious year round in savory and sweet dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

My Review of Coombs Family Farms

I was sent a wonderful box of goodies from Coombs Family Farms to test out and review. I got a bottle of Grade B Maple Syrup, a Shaker of Maple Sugar, and a Maple Candy Treat. Along with that, they sent a bunch of fabulous recipes for comfort foods, entrees, and entertaining – perfect for the holiday season!

My kids love when we have breakfast for dinner. (And so do I!) So, I figured it would be the perfect way to try out the Coombs Family Farms products. I made up a big batch of pancakes, toast, bacon, and sausage, and we put the Syrup and the Maple Sugar to the test.

I have never in my life had real maple syrup. Ever. I had no idea what I was missing out on. As we all dove into our dinner that night, the only sound you could hear was, “Mmmmmmm!” It was a hit! Never before have I ever tasted anything as sweet or as wonderful as that maple syrup. I even dipped my sausage in it… something I’ve never done before! It was just that good!


Zander loved the Maple Sugar on his toast. In fact, I can’t get him to eat a piece of toast now without the maple sugar on it. It’s his favorite.

And we all loved the maple candy. I really think this is the food that will be served in Heaven, because it was amazing.

While the Coombs Family Farms syrup is a little more costly than the other stuff, it is worth every penny. And it’s really not that much more, plus it makes dinner feel more like a treat.

Another good thing is that you can use the syrup for so much more than just topping your pancakes! You can cook with it! I tried the recipe for Maple Baked Beans last week, and they were a hit in my house. It was so easy to make and it tasted so good!

If you want to treat your family to something special, I highly recommed Coombs Family Farms products. I’ve already checked our local grocery store, and they sell it! You can bet that this will become a regular part of our dinners around here.

Want to try Coombs Family Farms for Yourself?
Check your local grocery store first. If you can’t find it there, or you prefer to do online shopping, you can find Coombs Family Farms products on Amazon.com – just click here to go to the Coombs Family Farms section. You’re gonna love it!

For more information on Coombs Family Farms, check out their website: www.coombsfamilyfarms.com 


Disclaimer: I received the products mentioned in my review above from Coombs Family Farms to try out. I was in no other way compensated for this post, and these thoughts and opinions are strictly my own.

B-Skinz: B-Active, B-You (Review)

B-Skinz brings spandex to a new level.

B-Skinz offers customizable Spandex female sports attire in a wide array of styles, inseam length, colors, and patterns.

Carolyn Sammarro and Stacy Sorrentino, two former stay-at-home moms from northern New Jersey, are gaining traction with B-Skinz, their fast-expanding line of compression/spandex sports apparel styles for girls and women that are sold online at www.bskinz.com and at select sporting goods stores throughout the east coast. The entire line, which includes spandex shorts, capris, and ankle-length pants is completely customizable in terms of color, patterns, and inseam length. b-Skinz has patterns and styles for all ages, from funky neon animal and rainbow tie-dye prints to preppy, conservative patterns in solid colors, stripes, small prints, and even earth-tones.

My Review of B-Skinz
B-Skinz sent me 2 different styles for Ashley to try out for this review. The first was a pair of ankle-length leopoard print spandex in brown tones. The second was a pair of mid-thigh length spandex shorts in a funky hot pink leopard print.

The first thing Ashley said when she saw the items was, “Oh, cool!” Her favorite is the brown leopard-print pants. She wears them all the time under her long brown sweater, and with long t-shirts. The hot-pink shorts she calls her “exercise clothes” and she pairs them with a long t-shirt whenever we turn on the wii Fit.

I love the variety that B-Skinz offers. With different styles, and TONS of patterns and colors, (see the full list here), there’s something that will meet every need.

I wish B-Skinz had been around when I was a kid. Ashley is not athletic inclined – but I was. And finding fun spandex to wear under my coullottes (that’s right, I went to Christian School. We didn’t wear shorts for sports!), just didn’t happen. I would have loved to have a bunch of pairs on hand for different things. Especially for basketball and volleyball!

At prices ranging from $20 – $28, B-Skinz are an excellent value for the money. These can last for years to come and you can definitely get your money’s worth from them.

If your daughter is in sports, or if she just wants a trendy, fun look that only funky spandex can give her, check out B-Skinz!

Want to Try B-Skinz for Yourself?
You can shop anytime on the B-Skinz website. B-Skinz is also offering a 15% discount to my readers. All you have to do is click this link: http://tinyurl.com/bskinzblog-special that will automatically put you into shopping mode on BSkinz.com where you will receive 15%
off.  The 15% discount will automatically be deducted from your purchase at checkout.

Also Available in Select Retail Locations:
New Jersey
Lacrosse Unlimited (Montclair, Ridgewood, Madison)
Chatham Sporting Goods (Chatham)
Thompson Sporting Goods (Summit)
Alfred’s Sport Shop (Madison)
Footie Child (Egg Harbor Township)
The House (Millburn)
Old School Sports (Medford)
The Sports Section (Mendham)
Raritan Athletic Center (Raritan Township)
Powerzone Volleyball (Denville)
HerSport (Haddonfield)
Eski’s Sports (Ramsey)
Universal Lacrosse (Skillman)

New York
Lacrosse Unlimited (Hauppauge, East Meadow, Huntington, Manhasset, Babylon, Syracuse, Mt. Kisco, Rockville Centre, Rochester, Miller Place)
Lax Hut (Freeport, Huntington Station, Massapequa)
Manhasset Sporting Goods (Manhasset)
Paisleys (Garden City)
Sports Just 4 Girls & More (Mt. Sinai)
Golden Goal (Fort Ann)
QuickStix lacrosse (Suffern)

Connecticut
Lacrosse unlimited (Madison, Greenwich, Avon, Danbury)
Darien Sport Shop (Darien)
Wilton Sports (Wilton)
Bob’s Sports (New Canaan)
All-Sports Apparel (Old Greenwich)


Disclaimer: B-Skinz sent me the articles mentioned above in return for my honest and through review. I was in no other way compensated for this post.

Follow Friday: Week 19

This week, I’d like to introduce you to Jen of Cheaper Than Therapy. I have had the opportunity to work with Jen on a professional basis, and I’ve formed a great friendship with her because of that. She is an absolute hoot! I’m really hoping that someday, somehow, I finally get to meet Jen in person, because I think we’d get along swimmingly!

First, she loves photography. Her work is beautiful. The first time I happened onto her blog, she had put up a post of vacation photos. The color in them was bright and vivid, and just absolutely breathtaking. I always love stopping by and seeing what new photos she has up.

Cheaper Than TherapyNext, she hosts some absolutely amazing reviews and giveaways on her other blog, The Mom Reviews.

And, she’s a mom of a tween girl, an 8 year old boy, and a toddler. Need I even say more. 🙂

Head over to Cheaper Than Therapy and become a follower. (You should probably head to The Mom Reviews and become a follower there, too, especially if you like to win free stuff!) Then, stop by often to find out what Jen’s up to!

Jen, thanks for your fabulous photos, your witty posts, and your absolutely awesome giveaways. I always love stopping by your blog, and will continue to do so. I hope that someday we do get to meet up! It’d be an honor!

Feel free to put this on your blog if you’d like!


If you’re participating in Follow Fridays, leave a link to your post here:

Happy Thanksgiving!

zwani.com myspace graphic comments
It’s that time again. Thanksgiving is here, and it’s the day we set aside to reflect on everything that has happened in the past year. Usually when the word Thanksgiving is said, the first thing that comes to mind is Turkey. Followed by Football. And then Shopping. Right?

It’s been said that when the Pilgrims came to America, they put kernels of corn on the center of their table. One for each member of the family. Before they would eat their meal, each member would pick up that kernel of corn and say what they were most thankful for. It’s easy to push this little holiday to the side and focus on the food, the football, and the fun (shopping), but I want to take this opportunity to thank my God for all that He has done.

I honestly don’t even know where to begin. God has abundantly blessed my family and I, and brought us through another year. First and foremost, God has saved me. I am alive through Him and He has kept me from ever seeing the pits of Hell.

He has given me a husband who loves God, and puts Him first in his life. A husband who works hard to provide for his family, loves his children, and puts our wants and desires above his own.

God has blessed me with 5 amazing children. Each of them are special in their own ways, and I am so proud to be their Mama. I love each of them for exactly who they are.

God has given me a wonderful family. Living down here in GA, I’ve had the opportunity to get closer to the family that I only ever knew on vacation. They have become my world and I hope each of them know how special they are to me. Since my Daddy can’t be with us this Thanksgiving, I’m so glad to know that my kids can still experience a piece of Daddy by being with his family.

God has given us a church home unlike anything I’ve ever known before. With every service, every sermon, every song, every hug from church members, I know that I am home.

God has given me some pretty incredible friends… both online and in real life. Friends that I can count on through thick and thin. Friends who will lend a shoulder when I need to cry, or lend an ear when I just need to talk.

God has given us a home to live in, clothes to wear, and food on our table. He’s provided a job for my husband and lots of little jobs for me. We’ve never gone hungry.

Yes, God has blessed me, and I am so thankful for all that He has done.

I hope that you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Enjoy the company of your family and friends and take a few moments to reflect on the good things you have in your life. I hope you also have much for which to be thankful!

Graphics provided by Zwani Graphics

Dipstakes – Play & Win from Dean’s Dip

Just like the Jets and the Giants, there are longstanding rivalries in amongst dips as well. Are you a Honey Mustard loyalist, Guacamole diehard or an Onion Dip fanatic? Vote on your favorite dip while predicting the outcomes of the games each week, and you’ll be eligible to win awesome prizes like tailgate party supplies, football memorabilia and sporting gear.

There will also be a big grand prize drawing in January for a home entertainment system.

Like fantasy football, but tastier. Super easy to play as well – it’s all on Facebook: Click here to play along!

You can also get full contest details here.

Wordless Wednesday: What I’m Thankful For

That’s only the beginning, of course. I have so much for which to be thankful!

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

K’Nex – Time to Get Creative! (Review)

Thanks to Team Mom, I recently had the opportunity to test out K’NEX with my kids, but before I get to my review, here’s a little more information about the products I received:

K’NEX 400 Piece Tub

  • Great Value – with 400 pieces, building ideas for 20 different models, and a storage tub, you get a lot of product for little cost.
  • Lots of parts so kids can build and rebuild over and over again. 
  • Includes an instruction book with building idea for 20 different models. Step-by-step instructions can also be found on knex.com.
  • Kids aren’t limited to the ideas in the book. They can use their imaginations to build whatever they are inspired to build.
  • Tons of movement in the models – wheels on cars, propellers on airplanes, ferris wheels and merry-go-rounds spin, so there’s lots of after-building play.
  • The pieces work with other brands, like Lego. So, if you already have Lego sets or other K’NEX sets in the house, you can add this set to them and expand your building system.
  • Storage tub makes clean-up easy. There’s enough room in the tub to not only store the parts from this kit, but also parts from other sets you may own. Or, you can use the tub to store a partially build model if it doesn’t get finished all at once.
  • The storage tub is also portable and easy to carry. you can put everything inside and go to a friends house, grandma’s, etc.
  • Made in the USA.

Suggested Price: $20.99
Age Range: 7+
Available at Target, Walmart, and Toys “R” Us

Sesame Street Neighborhood Collection Building Sets

  • Children can build their own Sesame Street neighborhood and then play with their favorite Sesame Street friends including Elmo, Cookie Monster, and Ernie.
  • Four individual sets that are designed to coordinate (so you can build the neighborhood) or each is fine being used alone.
    • Ice Cream Truck Building Set – works with the 123 Brownstone Building Set
    • Police Car Building Set – works with the Police Station Building Set
    • 123 Brownstone Building Set
    • Police Station Building Set
  • Both the Ice Cream Truck and the Police Car building sets come with a buildable Elmo dressed as an ice cream truch man or a police officer. the sets include wheels so the vehicles can easily be pushed around and played with.
  • Parts are bug and chunky so little hands can easily play.
  • Additional building ideas are included in each of the sets, or they can use their imaginations to build anything they dream up. There’s no wrong way to build!
  • Each set comes with a Play & Learn activity sheet which features educational and fun activities designed specifically for preschoolers and their parents. The included activities teach children fun facts related to the theme of the building set and/or use the parts in the set to sort, make patterns, etc. These include classic activities designed to help preschoolers learn to count, recognize colors, and identify shapes.

Suggested Retail:

  • Police Car Building Set – $9.99
  • Ice Cream Truck Building Set – $9.99
  • Police Station Building Set – $19.99
  • 1-2-3 Brownstone Building Set – $19.99

For ages 2 – 5.
Available at: Target, Wal-Mart, and Toys “R” Us

    My Review of K’NEX
    My kids love to work with their hands, and K’Nex are a fabulous tool for getting their creative juices flowing. When the box arrived, the kids couldn’t wait to get their hands on the kits and get to work.

    I let Ashley and Zander test out the 400 piece tub. Ashley opened up the instruction booklet and get to working making a ferris wheel. Zander didn’t want to take the time to look at the book, he just wanted to build. The kids sat there for hours, working and creating, and having a ball. Each time Zander would attach another piece, he’d say, “Ash, look what I did! Watch how it moves!” He loved it! Ashley made the ferris wheel and beamed with pride. She loves to make things with her hands, so this came naturally for her. I was so impressed, I didn’t want her to tear it down, but she wanted to get back to work on making something else. I really think they would have sat there all day playing with these, if we hadn’t needed to get dinner started!

    Jace and Lucy played together with the Sesame Street Neighborhood Collection kit that we got. We received the Police Car Building Set that came with a buildable Elmo figurine. Jace helped Lucy put the pieces together, and they rolled the police car all over a “town” they had set up with Barbies, Little People, and Legos. I loved watching them play together, and I loved that they were so excited about playing together! By the way, did you notice in the picture above that Lucy is holding Elmo’s hand? I love that!

    There are several things I love about the K’NEX sets: 1. Building with the K’NEX sets stimulates their creativity. There’s no limit to what their little minds can build! 2. The pieces are great for building and strengthening fine motor skills and enhancing hand-eye coordination. 3. The developmental benefits are endless. From the social/emotional development with imaginative play, to the language development with talking abotu what they built and created, and even their cognitive skills where sorting and making patterns encourages thinking and problem-solving skills.

    These toys aren’t just another toy your kid wants. These are a toy you will want your kid to have!

    Want to Try K’Nex for Yourself?
    Head to your local Target, Wal-Mart, or Toys “R” Us and check out all the fantastic K’NEX sets they offer. Or, check out knex.com and purchase directly from there. You can also purchase K’NEX sets on Amazon.com.

    “Make a K’NEXion” Video Contest!

    Now you have the chance to win $1,000 worth of K’NEX building Sets and be featured on the KNEX.com website!

    How? All you have to do is make a video that showcases your child’s K’NEX building skills and features your child building with select K’NEX products. Be creative, use your imagination, construct your own story – as long as the video features building with K’NEX, the possibilities are endless!

    The ten best videos will be featured on KNEX.com and one winning video will receive $1,000 worth of K’NEX Toys.

    Contest Dates: November 4 – December 7, 2009.

    For full contest details, log onto the K’NEX website and get the scoop.


    Disclaimer: Team Mom sent me the products listed above to get my honest and thorough review. Please note the recommended ages for the products before purchasing them, and also note that you may have a different experience with the products than I did.

    New Featured Sponsor: Tiny Prints

    This year with your Christmas Cards, experience the Tiny Prints difference.

    Tiny Prints is so dedicated to the highest standards for all of our products that they offer a 100% quality satisfaction guarantee for every order. If you aren’t happy with your cards (whether they’re Christmas Cards, Birth Announcements or birthday invitations), they’ll reprint them with no questions asked. Read on to find out more about their exceptional designs, high quality products and superior customer service.

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     This year, go one step above and order your cards from Tiny Prints. Oh, and if you’re a photographer, like me, check out the Tiny Prints Professional Photographer Collection.

    Also, if you’re on a budget, be sure to check outTiny Prints Studio Basics Holiday Cards – Starting from just $.69 each!

    Thanksgiving Bluelight Specials

    This weekend, the Bluelight specials start early!

    This week, they run from Thursday to Sunday instead of just Saturday and Sunday:
     
    Bluelight Specials for 11/26-11/29 THURSDAY to SUNDAY from 1PM-6PM!
    • Kids Route 66 Graphic Tees $3.99 (Reg. $7.99)
    • Essential Home 7.5′ x 9.5′ Rug in a Bag $34.99 (Reg. $69.99) 
    • All Multi-Roll Wrap 50% Off (Reg. $7.99)
    And don’t forget to follow @KmartDealsnNews and use the #KmartBLS hashtag for a chance to win every day!  For more info & rules: http://tr.im/KmartBLS 
    Good luck!

    New Featured Sponsor: SuperMama & The Teething Pain Relief Necklace

    Teething Pain Relief Necklace SuperMama Amber Teething Pain Relief Necklace is a natural teething pain remedy for babies and children ages two months to two years.

    Amber, the fossilized resin from prehistoric trees that date as far back as 50 million years, has been worn for centuries as a natural remedy to relieve pain, promote fast healing and boost the body’s own immune system. Worn against a baby’s skin, the Baltic amber necklace releases natural oils with proven analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects that soothe teething pain and reduce inflammation as well as drooling.

    While most other teething pain treatments involve applying gels, taking tablets or chewing biscuits, amber is different. The oils released from amber contain succinic acid, which recent scientific research has proven to have a beneficial effect on the human body. Benefits include stimulating the thyroid glands to help reduce drooling and soothe red, inflamed cheeks, in addition to other calmative and anti-fever functions. Simply put the necklace on baby’s neck, and it will work by itself (the necklace is not intended to be chewed, but simply worn).

    The Baltic amber teething necklace has been around for decades in Europe, and is even sold in pharmacies in Germany and Switzerland, and is recommended by European Pediatricians.

    Also, you can read my full review of this fantastic product by clicking here.

    Human Body Detectives (Review)

    Human Body Detectives is a series of educational adventure stories where two young “Human Body Detectives,” Merrin and Pearl, magically enter different systems in the body to solve a health mystery. Through action-packed fiction stories, listeners learn how the various systems work and what foods best fuel each system.

    The audio book series is authored by Dr. Heather Manley, a naturopathic doctor based in Hawaii who noticed a void of children’s books that focused on the different systems of the body in a fun, interactive and engaging way. Her first book in the series titled The Lucky Escape came about when she realized kids would be more inclined to make healthier food choices if they understood how the food they ate affects their body. The main characters of the book are based on author her daughters of the same name, Merrin and Pearl.

    Our Review of Human Body Detectives

    As a homeschooling mom, I am always looking for ways to supplement extra science into their school day. While our curriculum offers a fairly decent science program, there’s always the potential to learn more. Ashley is learning all about the human body in science right now, and the Human Body Detectives has been a great tool for helping her learn better and understand more about the digestive system and how it works.

    I popped in the CD and all the kids sat down and listened. The story was really entertaining. The kids loved listening as Merrin and Pearl traveled through their little brother Robbie’s digestive system and narrowly avoided ending up in his poopy diaper. I will tell you, though, that I was horrified that the word fart was used. I hate that word. My kids aren’t allowed to say that word. And as soon as that word was said – twice – the kids eyes got as big as saucers. That word is a bad word in this house, and they waited to see what my reaction would be. I do understand that is what most kids today call passing gas. I get that. And it was pretty appropriate for the pretty disgusting attributes of the digestive tract. But, it doesn’t mean that I have to like hearing it in the story.

    Anyway, once we got past that word being in the story, the story was very informative. The kids really enjoyed it. And, over the next couple of weeks, along with her regular science work, Ashley worked on the activity workbook that came with the CD. She did really well with it, and she seemed to actually retain the knowledge. In fact, she took a test in science (her regular curriculum) this week on the digestive system, and she scored a 100%! I’m certain that the Human Body Detectives and the activities in the workbook helped her acheive that score.


    Want to Try Human Body Detectives for Yourself?

    You can head to the Human Body Detectives Store (website) and purchase your copy. There are several titles to choose from, and each title includes a 24 page workbook, and audio CD, and 2 full pages of stickers. At just $19.95 each, they’re a great value!


    And don’t forget to Become a Fan of Human Body Detectives on Facebook!

    Disclaimer: Human Body Detectives sent me a copy of the Human Body Detectives: The Lucky Escape for my honest and thorough review. The free products in no way influenced my opinion, and I have not been compensated in any other way for this post.

    Motor Oil Matters (Closed)

    In the United States, the average age of cars and light trucks on the roads today has reached a record high of 9.4 years, making it more important than ever for consumers to take proper care of their vehicles. 
    With the new MotorOilMatters.org web site – www.MotorOilMatters.org (created by industry-leading brands Pennzoil, Quaker State and Shell Rotella), you can easily locate key information that will help prolong your engine’s life and improve overall efficiency, as well as help answer any questions you may have about motor oil. In addition, the site offers a fun, educational game for you to play called “M.O.M. Knows Best” where you can put your motor mind to the test with an interactive quiz.

    Did you know?

    • According to a study by the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association, nearly 9 out of 10 female motorists are involved in their household’s vehicle maintenance and repair
    • According to a national survey that polled 522 women, 46 percent incorrectly assumed simply switching from conventional engine oil to synthetic oil enables the number of miles between oil changes to be safely extended*
    • Using a quality motor oil in the right grade can help maximize fuel economy, and help save money by preventing costly engine damage
    • Off-brand, no-name or discount oils that do not meet industry standards or the vehicle manufacturer’s requirements could cost consumers in the long run by potentially damaging the vehicle’s engine or possibly voiding the manufacturer’s warrant
    * Jiffy Lube Survey Conducted by Opinion Research Corporation, 2006

    My Review of Motor Oil Matters & Jiffy Lube
    MyBlogspark recently sent me a $35 Jiffy Lube Gift Card and told me about the Motor Oil Matters website. I spent some time on the website, and I made sure I took the M.O.M. Knows Best Game. My score on the game was a 100%! The only reason I scored so high is because my husband is constantly griping about how I drive. I knew the answers to the questions simply because I’ve heard my husband say them over and over. (Except for one or two, those were just very lucky guesses!)

    The Motor Oil Matters website is full of information that everyone who gets behind the wheel of a car should know. While my husband typically takes care of the vehicles we have, he still makes sure I understand the importance of getting my oil changed regularly, and why we shouldn’t skimp on the motor oil. When I told him about the Motor Oil Matters website, he was quite impressed with how easy it was to get information from the site, and how easy it was to follow. 
    When I was a single mom, I had no idea how to take care of my car or why motor oil mattered. I was absolutely clueless. I was always careful, though, to make sure I had my oil changed every 3 – 5,000 miles, only because my Daddy told me never to drive any farther than that between oil changes. Now I understand why!

    I had our oil changed right before our vacation to Ohio, but after so many miles and so much severe driving, hubby and I both agreed that it definitely wouldn’t hurt to get the oil changed again. I found our nearest Jiffy Lube by searching on their website, and headed there for an oil change.

    The oil change was quick and easy, and the guys at Jiffy Lube were great to explain everything they did during the oil change. They asked if I had any questions, and they sent me on my way with a printout of everything that they’d done. It couldn’t have been easier!

    I also wanted to let you know that to make a trip to get your oil changed even more rewarding, Pennzoil® has partnered with the VH1 Save The Music Foundation through its “Play The Music. Save The Music” Campaign, and now through December 6, 2009 anyone can receive up to 46 FREE music downloads and up to a $15 service certificate back by mail, when they get their oil changed at Jiffy Lube and other Pennzoil® participating installers. See www.pennzoil.com for details and to find your local participating installer locations.


    Want to Try Motor Oil Matters & Jiffy Lube for Yourself?

    You can check out the Motor Oil Matters website anytime. There’s tons of information, and I promise you’ll learn something new while you’re there. PLUS, I’ve got a $35 Jiffy Lube Gift card, courtesy of MyBlogSpark to give away to one of my readers.

    To Enter:
    Check out the Motor Oil Matters website, and tell me one fact that you learned during your visit to the site.
    *Mandatory. If this is not done, you cannot win.

    Want Extra Entries?

    • Play the M.O.M. Knows Best Game then come back here and tell me what your score was.
    • Did you have a motor oil misconception that was put to rest through the site’s info? Tell me about it here!
    • Blog About this Giveaway by copying and pasting the following (5 extra entries) :

      Time for an oil change? Good thing Angie at 5 Vinez Monkeys is giving away a  $35 Jiffy Lube Gift Card. You won’t want to miss this giveaway! Stop by before 11:59pm ET on December 10th and enter to win!

    • Subscribe to us via email or reader. (Leave a comment for each that you do.)
    • Follow us on twitter. (Leave your twitter handle here, please!)
    • Tweet about this contest. (Unlimited – just leave a comment for each tweet!)
    • Grab our button and put it in your sidebar. (Leave us a link to your blog, please!)
    • 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:
    Contest is open to residents of the US. 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. Giveaway will end on Thursday, December 10th at 11:59pm (EST), and the winner will be selected via random.org. Winners will be announced by Friday, December 11th and will have 48 hours to claim their prize, or it will be forfeited and a new winner will be pulled.

    Disclaimer: Shell Lubricants and MotorOilMatters.org provided me with a $35 gift card to Jiffy Lube and also provided other information used in this blog post through MyBlogSpark.

    The Ultimate Cloth (Review)

    The Ultimate Cloth is an eco-friendly solution for homes as well as a money and time saver. The Ultimate Cloth is a brand new technology – in fact, it is the only cloth to receive a new patent in the last 25 years.  The Ultimate Cloth is a simple, green and effective one-step cleaning process.  The Ultimate Cloth cleans any hard surface – glass, wood, granite, stainless steel and many more – with just water!  No longer do you have to use harsh chemicals in your home, nor do you need spend hundreds of dollars per year buying them.  The Ultimate Cloth has been lab tested to remove 96% of bacteria, without the use of chemicals.  And, can cut 50% off your cleaning time.  The Ultimate Cloth is truly the ultimate in green cleaning.

    My Review of the Ultimate Cloth
    At first I was skeptical when I was contacted by The Ultimate Cloth and asked to do a review. It simply couldn’t be that good.

    Boy, am I eating my words now! The Ultimate Cloth is my new best friend. I use it all the time! My husband has even tried to steal it. I caught him wiping down his motorcycle with it and oohhhing and aaahhhhing over the streak-free shine it left.

    I use the Ultimate Cloth in every room in the house. It gets the sink fixtures sparkling, the shower door gleaming, and the mirrors absolutely spotless. Plus, it’s great for removing grime from my stove top!

    The Ultimate Cloth is super easy to care for. Just hand wash with dish soap or machine wash with detergent, ring it dry, and you’re good to go!

    A fabulous tip that they sent me was to replace the costly pads on my Swiffer with the Ultimate Cloth to save money. It worked GREAT and I’ll never purchase another Swiffer pad again.

    While I am not the greenest mom out there, I do love the idea of saving money, and the Ultimate Cloth really does that. My paper towel purchases have been cut in half since I started using the Ultimate Cloth.

    The best part is, they offer a 5 year guarantee on the Ultimate Cloth. 5 years! That’s amazing. And I love that the company is family owned and operated by some very friendly people.

    Want to try the Ultimate Cloth for Yourself?
    It’s not available in stores. Just head to the Ultimate Cloth website and place your order. It’s as easy as that! They offer 2 different sizes as well as a micro magicmop, all at very reasonable prices! (2 regular sized Ultimate Cloths for just $10 or 5 for $20!)

    Disclaimer: The makers of the Ultimate Cloth sent me a regular sized Ultimate Cloth to test out and get my honest and thorough review. I was in no other way compensated for this post.

    Formula Coupons & Giveaway (Closed)

    We all know that breast is best for baby. But what if you’re a mom who can’t breastfeed? I’ve been there. Jace was severely allergic to my breastmilk, and it caused him to choke to the point that he would stop breathing. Obviously, breastfeeding wasn’t an option for me.

    There are other situations when moms can’t breastfeed. Maybe they don’t produce enough milk. Maybe mom is on medication that can be passed through the breastmilk. Maybe mom can’t pump at work, needs to supplement with formula, has multiples… The list of reasons why go on and on.

    When this happens, it’s important for moms to get the best value for their dollar, while also safeguarding baby’s health. According to the 10th edition of the Consumer Reports Best Baby Products, store-brand infant formula is as nutritious for babies as nationally advertised brands. Moms can save significantly – up to 50%! – by buying store brand infant formula vs. nationally advertised brands.

    Why is this so important?
    As of October, a new Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program initiative designed to promote breastfeeding reduces infant-formula subsidies by up to 26%. That means moms who previously had most of their formula paid for by WIC may now have to purchase formula on their own.


    What Can Moms Do?
    Check out this link: Formula Discount Coupons and sign up to get coupons for store brand formula.

    We want you to WIN!
    Team Mom is offering a copy of the 368 page Consumer Reports Best Baby Products, a $16.95 value, to one of my readers.

    To Enter:
    Leave a comment and tell me one of your must-have baby products.
    *Mandatory. If this is not done, you cannot win.

    Want Extra Entries?

    • Blog About this Giveaway by copying and pasting the following (5 extra entries) :

      Giveaway Alert! Angie at 5 Vinez Monkeys is giving away a copy of Consumer Reports Best Baby Products. You won’t want to miss this giveaway! Stop by before 11:59pm ET on December 8th and enter to win!

    • Subscribe to us via email or reader. (Leave a comment for each that you do.)
    • Follow us on twitter. (Leave your twitter handle here, please!)
    • Tweet about this contest. (Unlimited – just leave a comment for each tweet!)
    • Grab our button and put it in your sidebar. (Leave us a link to your blog, please!)
    • 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:
    Contest is open to residents of the US. 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. Giveaway will end on Tuesday, December 8th at 11:59pm (EST), and the winner will be selected via random.org. Winners will be announced by Friday, December 11th and will have 48 hours to claim their prize, or it will be forfeited and a new winner will be pulled.

    Disclaimer: Team Mom asked me to put up a post informing my readers of the Store Brand Formula Coupons and the Consumer Reports Best Baby Products Giveaway. I was in no way compensated for this post.

      El Tacodor – Family Taco Night Game Winner

      My sincerest apologies!! I completely forgot to pull the El Tacodor Family Taco Night winner!

      The winner is…

      114. karenmed409 said… tweet http://twitter.com/karenmed409/status/5379125417

      Congratulations! You’ve got until Tuesday at midnight to send an email my way with your information.

      Thanks to all who participated!

      Jingles the Elf Winner!

      Thanks to all for participating!

      The winner of the Jingles the Elf Giveaway is……….

      99. pixie13 said… She has five children

      Congratulations!!

      I’ve sent an email your way to get your information. You MUST reply by 11:59pm on Sunday, or a new winner will be pulled.

      If you didn’t win, but would still like to get a Jingles Keepsake Kit for yourself, use the code SAVEFIVE at checkout and get $5 off your order! You can order the product here. This is such a wonderful product, and would make the perfect new tradition for your family.

      PreHistin: The World’s First Pre-Histamine


      Do you suffer from allergies? I know my family does. And it seems like since we moved to the mountains, our allergies have gotten worse.

      I was recently introduced to PreHistin by Robin Leedy & Associates. PreHistin is safe for long term use, supports immune function, and is clinically shown to maintain healthy IgE Levels and increase serum Vitamin B12.

      PreHistin works by regulating and normalizing the release of histamines, which trigger the onset of allergy symptoms. By preventing or reducing the over-production of histamines before they are released, the need to rely on anti-histamines is eliminated (no more drowsiness!). Safe for adults and children 12 years and older, you can begin taking PreHistin cherry lozenges at any time, but it takes several weeks to see optimal results since it works by rebalancing the immune system to maintain a normal response to allergens. PreHistin is effective for both indoor and outdoor allergies, and is safe for long-term use year-round. There are no known adverse side effects, it is totally non-drowsy, and it is completely safe. PreHistin does not affect any medications you may be taking.

      My (Husband’s) Review of PreHistin
      The very first question I asked before accepting this item for review was “Is this safe for breastfeeding moms?” Because Parker is still nursing – a lot – there was no way I was going to try anything that could potentially harm him.

      Here’s what I was told: The good news is that PreHistin is safe for breastfeeding moms. Interestingly, a developing fetus can deplete B12 levels, and many post-partum moms are actually B12 deficient, PreHistin is made with cyanocobalamin, which is a pharmaceutical grade analogue of B12.

      Of course, I still contacted both my doctor and my pediatrician and asked their thoughts about taking PreHistin while breastfeeding. Both told me to use my discretion, but they didn’t see anything harmful in the ingredients.

      After talking it over (a LOT!) with my husband, we decided that he would be the guinea pig for this review. While I’m certain that it’s safe for breastfeeding moms, I just didn’t want to take any chances. Because my husband also suffers from horrible allergies, he had no problem taking anything that could help him.

      For a month, my husband faithfully took PreHistin. After about 2 weeks, he started to notice a slight difference, and after 3 full weeks, he noticed that he wasn’t suffering from allergies like he had been. He felt better overall, and didn’t feel as run down as usual either.

      I also noticed that fewer tissues were getting used in our house, and that’s always a good thing.

      Want to Try PreHistin for Yourself?
      PreHistin is available now for $19.95 as an introductory offer for a 30-day supply, with a free additional 1-month supply added as part of the offer (suggested retail price is usually $29.99 for a 30-day supply, so this BOGO offer is a great deal). Three, six and 12 month multi-packs are also available. Products are purchased online at www.prehistin.com or by calling 1-877-4POLLEN.

      Now, to get a little technical: Histamines are responsible for creating the chemical reactions in the body, which trigger sneezing, nasal congestion and runny nose. Most products on the market are “anti-histamine” drugs, which means they attack the histamines after they are released, but often have irritating side effects, such as drowsiness. However, PreHistin is a pre-histamine, which means it regulates the release of histamine. By regulating the histamine release, the body may not overreact to foreign substances. PreHistin was clinically shown to effectively maintain healthy IgE levels, which have been linked to allergy symptoms, such as sneezing, nasal congestion and runny nose. PreHistin is made with a safe, all natural formula that contains a proprietary, patented cyanocobalamin (a pharmaceutical grade analogue of B12). For adults and children 12 years and over. More information about the product is available at www.prehistin.com.


      Disclaimer: Robin Leedy & Associates sent me 2 boxes of PreHistin to get my thorough and honest review. Please note that the product may work differently than described for you. I was in no other way compensated for this post.

      Follow Friday: Week 18

      This week, I want to introduce you to Kelly of There’s No Place Like Home. My friend, Danielle, first introduced me to There’s No Place Like Home way back when. I still love stopping by and seeing what new things Kelly has to share.

      If you are looking for a tasty recipe, a new craft idea, or just some gorgeous pictures, you need to stop by There’s No Place Like Home and check it out. Then, you need to add her to her blogroll, and you need to stop by often. Especially right now, since the holidays are <gasp> just around the corner!

      With Thanksgiving coming up way too fast, you may be short on time (and cash!) to get all crazy with decorating. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t do a little something. Check out her Thanksgiving Cornucopia, the gorgeous Glittery Acorns, and the beautiful Autumn Candle Tray. And if you need recipe ideas, why not try the Apple Butter Spice Cake, Peanut Butter Marbled Brownies. Just be warned: You may gain 10 pounds just by visiting this blog. 🙂

      Everything is beautifully organized and easy to find on her blog. Take your time and check out everything she has to offer. It’s definitely worth your time!

      Kelly, thank you for all the recipes, the craft ideas, and all that you share with your readers! Your talents are amazing! Please feel free to take this badge if you feel so inclined.


      If you’re participating in Follow Fridays, leave a link to your post here: