Archives for May 2010

Eat! Move! Play! A Parent’s Guide for Raising Healthy, Happy Kids (Review)

In this fast-paced world, raising kids who are healthy and happy can be difficult. We live in the era of fast food and video games, so how do we convince our kids to get up, get moving, and eat right?

Weight Watchers recently released a book called Eat! Move! Play! A Parent’s Guide for Raising Healthy, Happy Kids.

Before I get to my review of the book, here’s what you can expect to find in this book:

The commonsense parent’s guide to developing smart, healthy eating habits in their children.

Whether it’s 24/7 snacking, daily fast-food runs, or nonstop video-game marathons, nowadays it’s tougher than ever to get kids to eat right and move more. Yet it is possible to encourage nutritious eating habits and a healthy active lifestyle in your kids—if you have the right tools. Weight Watchers Eat! Move! Play! gives you trusted information on how to develop and maintain the right habits for keeping the whole family happy and healthy.

Designed to help you become a healthier role model for your children, Weight Watchers Eat! Move! Play! demystifies the four vitally important elements for a healthy lifestyle, including developing a positive body image; a taste for wholesome, nutritious foods; smart eating habits; and a love of physical activity.
Weight Watchers Eat! Move! Play! shows that when followed consistently, just a few simple household rules and practices are all it takes to get and keep your family living a healthy, active lifestyle.

My Review of Eat! Move! Play!
I recently received a copy of Weight Watchers Eat! Move! Play! to review with my family. It has officially become my “go-to” book for recipes, tips, and ideas for keeping my kids on a healthy track.

The very first thing that caught my eye when the book arrived was the orange circle on the cover that said: “75+ Recipes Your Kids Will Actually Eat!” I had to stifle a giggle, because these authors don’t know my kids. They won’t eat anything. I couldn’t wait to give it a try and see which one of us was right!

I tried the Turkey and Rice Mice first. My kids scarfed them down and begged for more! They loved them. The next night, we tried the Ham & Turkey Stromboli. Another instant hit, and one that we’ll be making around here a lot more often. Jace’s favorite were the Hummus Heads. We had a ball making funny faces, and the kids enjoyed eating them almost as much as they did making them! While my kids wouldn’t try all of the recipes in the book, they were really excited about many of them, and we’ve got some new “regulars” in our weeknight meals.

Along with tons of really great recipes, there was so much more included in this book. It’s definitely not just another recipe book. The book starts out with 5 rules for keeping you family fit in today’s world. It also offers quizzes to help you discover your parenting style and tips to improve ways of communicating with your children.

Another section that I’m really glad was included was the part that contained the charts for the “Healthy Weight Classes” for kids ages 2 to 20. Parker has always been at the bottom end of the spectrum, but now I can use this chart to keep a closer eye on his weight and see when it becomes an issue that needs to be addressed by his pediatrician. Another great inclusion in this book? The section that tells you how to address the issue of a healthy weight with your child and their doctor.

Overall, this is a great book to have on hand. Chock full of recipes, tips, and tons of really great advice for keeping your kids active all year round, this is certain to become one book you’ll be picking up often. And at a retail price of just $19.95, it’s a small price to pay for a wealth of information.

The book is available for purchase at many local bookstores, from Amazon.com (for just $13.57!) and from Wiley Publishing. Grab your copy today, and get your family on the healthy eating, healthy living track!

Disclaimer: I was contacted by a representative of Krupp Kommunications on behalf of Wiley Publishing. They sent a complimentary copy of the book mentioned above to me to get my honest review. The free product in no way influenced my opinion, and I was in no other way compensated for this post. My opinions are 100% my own. Other users may have different results when using this product. Some links in this post may be Amazon Associate links and may give me a small compensation when the book is purchased through that link.

Healthy Housekeeping with Filtrete

Having a healthy home is on the top of my priority list. Jace and I both suffer from asthma, Jace also has reactive airway disease, and hubby, Jace, and Ashley all suffer from allergies. Can you see why I’m such a stickler for a clean, healthy home?

One of the main ways I keep my home healthy is by using Filtrete filters. I’ve used them for as long as I can remember, because they seem to work the best at keeping the dust mites, dander, and all those other yucky allergens at bay. Jace’s pediatrician actually recommended that I also get the Filtrete Ultra Quiet Small Bedroom Air Purifier because Jace seems to have the most trouble with his health issues at night. We’ve also covered his mattress and pillows, and removed all of the stuffed animals from their room. Eventually, our goal is to remove the carpet, but that will come with time.

Even though I’ve used Filtrete filters for years, I didn’t know they had such a cool website! Head over to www.Filtrete.com and check out the Clean Air Club. You can sign up to get their e-newsletters with money saving offers, tips for getting a healthier home, and you can even set custom reminders for when it’s time to change your filters. (I love that feature! I tend to forget when I last changed the filter, so having an email sent to me is wonderful!) You can also follow Filtrete on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook. They’re always tweeting and posting great healthy home tips and so much more. Definitely take some time to check them out.

Before I close out this post, I want to give you some healthy housekeeping tips from Laura Dellutri, the author of The Overworked Mom’s Stress Free Home Keeping:

Cleaning From Top to Bottom
Tips and Secrets for a Cleaner, Healthier Home

When it comes to the routine of cleaning, homeowners tend to be more concerned with stacks of dirty dishes (66 percent), piles of laundry (58 percent) and dust balls on their carpet (57 percent), according to a survey commissioned by 3M, maker of Filtrete air cleaning filters. But they often forget about other areas of the home – such as bedding, shower doors and even stuffed animals – that can be breeding grounds for bacteria, mildew, dust mites and foul odors.
Healthy Housekeeper Laura Dellutri offers these tips for cleaning your home from top to bottom and making it healthier in the process:
Start at the Top:  Ceiling fans, tall mantles and bookshelves, and the tops of door frames tend to subscribe to the “out of sight, out of mind” motto.  These areas often harbor dust, so it’s important to wipe them down regularly to help remove dust buildup.  Start at the top and work your way down, collecting all of the dust and dirt that falls to the floor while you’re cleaning.
Wipe Down Windows and Walls:  Don’t clean windows the old fashioned way – newspaper can cause ink residue and paper towels leave lint behind.  Your best bet is to use microfiber cleaning cloths and a professional window squeegee to get a streak-free, spotless shine. To prevent streaks on shower doors and walls, apply lemon oil to the door twice a month.  This will help repel soap scum and shampoo, while also adding a nice shine.
Think Horizontally: Dust mites are nearly everywhere.  In fact, the American Lung Association estimates that roughly four out of five homes in the United States have detectable levels of dust mite allergen in at least one bed.  Reduce dust mites by encasing your mattress and pillows, and wash your bedding in hot water about once a week.  Also, since dust mites are microscopic, place strips of duct tape on the mattress case to prevent the dust mites from sneaking through. 
Clean the In-between: While cleaning what you can see, don’t forget to clean what you can’t see – the air you breathe.  Use a high performance air filter in the home, such as the Filtrete 1” Ultimate Allergen Reduction filter from 3M, to help capture particles such as pollen, smoke, dust mite debris and pet dander from the air that passes through the filter.  Be sure to change your filter at the start of every season, or every three months.
Freeze the Fur: Stuffed animals can harbor dust mites so it’s important to pay special attention to them.  Place stuffed animals in a large plastic bag and freeze them for four to five hours.  Remove them from the freezer and plastic bag, and use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to remove any leftover dust particles.
Finish With Floors: To keep floors in tip-top shape, vacuum and clean them weekly.  You can easily make your own floor cleaner by adding a few drops of mild liquid dish detergent to a gallon of water. Hot water can break down floor finishes after time so use water that is barely warm.  Finally, don’t forget to clean the floor under large pieces of furniture, which may require you to temporarily move them elsewhere.  Corners of rooms and the back of closets often are overlooked, so be sure to clean these areas as well.
Kitchen Clean-Up
Certain areas of the home, especially the kitchen, can breed and harbor germs that not only cause odors but can spread to family members.  These low-cost cleaning tasks, when done regularly and properly, can be effective in making the home healthier for your family:
Trashcans: Trashcans should be cleaned monthly using a chlorine bleach and water solution.  Simply combine one cup of non-chlorine bleach for every three gallons of water and pour the solution into the trashcan.  Swish the solution around in the trashcan, and wait about five minutes for the chlorine to kick in and kill the germs.
Refrigerators: Cleaning the refrigerator monthly will improve the safety and quality of your food.  If you are tired of cleaning spills and food particles from your refrigerator, then cover shelves with washable shelf liners.  They will catch most of the food spillage, and will make cleanup quicker and easier.  Once a month, throw them in the dishwasher for a good cleaning, and then place them back in the refrigerator once they are dry. 
Sinks: Since bacteria can accumulate in cracks and crevices, pay extra attention to these areas when disinfecting.  Also, stainless steel sinks can be tough to clean and can look spotty due to water spots and lime build up.  To keep the sink shiny, use a soft buffing wheel to restore the luster.  Then, use a cloth to generously apply mineral oil to the sink.  Water will bead up and roll off the sink, keeping it shiny and helping prevent spots.

I really like the tip on freezing the stuffed animals. I’ve already done it with the stuffed animals that the kids have kept, so that they can’t affect Jace if he plays with them. And I already wash everything in hot water at least once a week, just to help keep those dust mites away. (Along with lots of other tips mentioned above.)

Do you have tips for keeping a healthy home? I’d love to hear them. Post them here, or put up a post of your own and leave me the link to it. I’d love to hear how other moms keep their homes healthy for their families. 

Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Filtrete and received a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.

VBS & a Request for Prayer

I posted earlier this week that Vacation Bible School starts today. I spent all day – and well into the evening yesterday decorating my classroom. (Thanks for the help Ms. Sabrina!) It’s almost done, and it looks fantastic!

Before I headed over to the church to start decorating, I had a doctor’s appointment. It’s never good when you hear: “Wow. That’s horrible. We need to get you into a specialist right away.” Then, you sit and wait as the doctor calls every specialist within a 100 mile radius to see which one can get you in the fastest and takes your insurance.

I’ve been having some health issues since Parker was born. The doctor that delivered him assured me that everything was normal. So, I shrugged it off and figured my body would “bounce back” eventually. Now, it’s been 19 months, and things are getting worse. (It’s a rather gross problem, so I don’t want to post too much on here.) The doctor I saw today said that it absolutely is not normal, and I probably should have had it checked out months ago. Isn’t that a comforting thought?

My appointment with the specialist is on Thursday at 10am. If you’re the praying type, could I ask you to offer up a prayer for me? After my appointment yesterday, I’m pretty scared. I know that I live in the mountains and needing to see a specialist isn’t all that uncommon (due to technology, etc.), but it’s a very scary thought when it’s never happened to you before. I would covet your prayers and appreciate any positive thoughts you can spare.

I’ll keep you all posted as I can. The posts will keep coming. Once Bible school is over, it will pick back up to where it should be, I’m sure.

Follow Friday: New Rules

Follow Worthy BlogDid you notice that I’ve changed up Follow Fridays a bit? Last week, instead of having you leave a link to your Follow Friday picks, I asked you to leave a link that you feel is “follow worthy.” Then, leave a comment on the post and tell me why you think that blog should be deemed that title.

I’ll then take some time to go through those links and one of those blogs will be featured here on 5 Vinez Monkeys! 

It’s a fun, easy way to gain exposure for your blog – or a blog that you love to follow!

Now, leave your link here, and give me some fantastic blogs to check out. Remember to leave a comment and tell me why I should check out that blog.

Sid the Science Kid: Weather Kid Sid (Giveaway – June 13)

Remember the review I did earlier this week for the Sid the Science Kid: Weather Kid Sid DVD? (If not, click here to read the full review: 5 Vinez Monkeys Review Sid the Science Kid: Weather Kid Sid)

To refresh your memory, here’s a brief summary:

This was such a great DVD! I already told you about my favorite episode that’s on the DVD. I loved that the story reflected the important facts about sunscreen that I’ve shared with my kids. (For some reason, to a kid, it’s just better to hear it from a cartoon character than it is from Mom.)

Not only is the Sid’s Special Sunny Dad’s Day episode on the DVD, there are also 3 other episodes: Sid’s Rainy Play Date, Sid’s Cool Holiday, and The Wind Did It Sid. Each of these episodes cover different weather topics and help answer all those questions that kids have. Sid learns where rain comes from and why it’s so important to our earth. He also learns that it was the wind that blew away the pile of leaves he worked so hard to rake up. And he learned that the wind is strong enough to make sand dunes, waves, and even move sail boats! He also learns that even though it’s warm where he is during the winter, it’s not warm all over the world.

Want some really great news? Three.Sixty Marketing & Communication and the Henson Company are sending me an extra DVD to giveaway to one of my readers! How great is that?!

To Enter
Leave a comment here and tell me which
Jim Henson Character is your child’s favorite.
*Mandatory. If this is not done, you cannot win. 

Want Extra Entries?

  • Blog About this Giveaway. Be sure to include a link to 5 Vinez Monkeys and the Henson Company. (5 extra entries)
  • Subscribe to us via email. (2 extra entries. Subscribing to feed in a reader no longer counts.)
  • Vote for my Recipe on Hybrid Mom. (2 extra entries. One vote per person, please. If you’ve already voted, please claim your extra points.)
  • Become a fan of 5 Vinez Monkeys on Facebook. (Leave your Facebook first name and last initial, please.)
  • Add me as a friend on Facebook. (Leave your Facebook first name and last initial, please.)
  • Share this giveaway on Facebook. (Once per DAY – just leave a link, or copy/paste text that you posted.)
  • Write a review of 5 Vinez Monkeys on Alexa. (3 extra entries. Leave your Alexa profile name, please.)
  • Follow 5 Vinez Monkeys and the Henson Company on twitter and tweet about this contest. (Leave your twitter id and a link to your tweet here, please!)
  • Tweet about this contest daily. (1 Tweet Per DAY.)
  • Grab our button and put it on your blog. (Leave us a link to your blog, please!)
  • Add us to your blog roll. (Leave a link to your blog, please!)
  • Follow our blog publicly  – either through Google’s Followers Gadget or through Facebook’s Networked Blogs. (Leave a comment for each one that you do. Anonymous following doesn’t count.)
  • Stumble this post. (Once. Please leave your stumbledupon username.)

Fine Print: Contest is open to US Continental Residents ONLY. 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 June 9th at 11:59pm (EST), and the winner will be selected via random.org. Winner will be notified via email upon selection, and will have 48 hours to claim their prize.  
 
Disclaimer: I was contacted by a member of Three.Sixty Marketing & Communication on behalf of the Henson Company. I was sent a copy of the Sid the Science Kid: Weather Kid Sid DVD to get my honest and thorough review that was posted here. The sponsor is also fulfilling the winner’s prize as stated above.

Fed Ex Out of Office – Great Ideas to Get Creative! (Review)

I love working with my hands, and my kids are all the same way. I am always scouring the web, trying to find something for them to create. Doing art projects together is always a blast, and they’re great to give as gifts or keep and enjoy any time.

Thanks to Mom Central, I was recently introduced to the FedEx Out of Office Blog. WOW! What a cool blog! There are so many great ideas for projects, and they’re all in one place. Their templates and tools make the projects fun and easy to complete, and my kids have had a ball.

And the great craft projects are just the tip of the iceberg. The Out of Office Blog also gives you tips on organization, marketing, fundraising, and so much more! This site has quickly become a valuable resource for my kids and my small businesses.

I recently received  the resources needed to make the Bookmark Project from the Got a Good Book? Mark it! blog post. My kids love reading, and we’re  We got 2 sheets of card stock with the template printed on them, a box of crayons, stickers, and some ribbon.

I cut out the bookmarks and let the kids decorate them however they wanted. Zander got totally creative, and I’m pretty sure he didn’t leave a blank spot on his template. All the kids participated – even Parker loved putting stickers all over his bookmark. (And my kitchen table!)

Once they were done, I punched a hole in the top and added some ribbon. (Couldn’t do it to Zander’s though, because it would have punched through part of his drawing.) The ribbon totally completed the look, and the kids couldn’t wait to pick out the perfect book for their new bookmarks.

If we lived a little closer to a FedEx Office store, I would have had the bookmarks laminated. It wouldn’t cost much, I’m sure, and the bookmarks would last even longer. Here’s a picture of our completed bookmarks:

If you’re looking for ways to keep the kids occupied this summer, make the FedEx Out of Office Blog your first stop. Their ideas will keep your kids creating and having fun all summer long. Maybe you have a baby shower to plan, and you need help personalizing the event? They can help with that, too!

And don’t forget – Father’s Day is just around the corner! There’s bound to be something fabulous to make for Dad.

The FedEx Out of Office Blog gets 2 very big thumbs up from all of us here at 5 Vinez Monkeys, and we’re giving them our seal of approval. For the latest happenings from the Out of Office blog, be sure to subscribe and follow them on twitter.

Disclaimer: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of FedEx Office and received the items necessary to facilitate my review. In addition, Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Udder Covers (Giveaway – June 9th)

Breastfeeding is best for baby. But what if you struggle with breastfeeding in public? I had such a hard time with it. I would always head to the van and nurse the baby in complete privacy. That way, if he or she pulled the blanket off, no one was around for the peep show.

But, by the time Parker came around, things were different. I now had 5 kids to manage, and Parker absolutely refused the bottle. I had no choice but to nurse him wherever and whenever he needed to eat. And since hubby was working so much, if I went out with the kids, I couldn’t drag all of us back to the truck just because it was Parker’s feeding time.

But, I still had to be discreet. I hated using blankets, because they could be pulled off so easily, and there’s no good way to make eye contact with a baby using a blanket. I needed something that would stay put, keep me covered, and allow me to peek in on baby when I wanted.

I discovered Udder Covers and ordered a bunch of cover-ups during one of their sales. They come in so many fabulous colors and patterns. I loved the way they fit. They were long enough to cover everything, and the neckline bent so that I could keep an eye on Parker.

Here’s some information about Udder Covers, as taken from their website:

We at Udder Covers® are committed to making the most dependable nursing cover on the market. It’s simple. We want you to have a product that will cover you where you need it and yet still allow you to have eye contact with your baby – all while wearing something chic and stylish.

Each of our nursing covers is marked with our signature Udder Covers™ logo.

Our rigid neckline gives you direct eye contact with baby.
Our fabrics are made of 100% breathable cotton.
Stainless steel d-rings allow fully adjustable neckline.
Machine washable.

Our covers allow mothers everywhere to breastfeed their babies in comfort, style and confidence… anytime – anyplace!

Want to Try Udder Covers for Yourself? 
To Buy: You can head to the Udder Covers website and order your favorite cover. These covers are so popular, though, that they’re back-ordered until June 30th! (They’re totally worth the wait, though!)

You Can WIN! Don’t want to wait until June 30th? I’ve got a Brand New Udder Cover in the Carson Pattern (pictured on the right) to give to one lucky winner. The winner will also get a bonus gift – a red Milk Bands Nursing Bracelet.

To Enter
Visit the Udder Covers website and tell me which cover design is your favorite.
*Mandatory. If this is not done, you cannot win. 

Want Extra Entries?

  • Blog About this Giveaway. Be sure to include a link to 5 Vinez Monkeys and Udder Covers. (5 extra entries)
  • Subscribe to us via email. (2 extra entries. Subscribing to feed in a reader no longer counts.)
  • Vote for my Recipe on Hybrid Mom. (2 extra entries. One vote per person, please. If you’ve already voted, please claim your extra points.)
  • Become a fan of 5 Vinez Monkeys on Facebook. (Leave your Facebook first name and last initial, please.)
  • Add me as a friend on Facebook. (Leave your Facebook first name and last initial, please.)
  • Share this giveaway on Facebook. (Once per DAY – just leave a link, or copy/paste text that you posted.)
  • Write a review of 5 Vinez Monkeys on Alexa. (3 extra entries. Leave your Alexa profile name, please.)
  • Follow 5 Vinez Monkeys on twitter and tweet about this contest. (Leave your twitter id and a link to your tweet here, please!)
  • Tweet about this contest daily. (1 Tweet Per DAY.)
  • Grab our button and put it on your blog. (Leave us a link to your blog, please!)
  • Add us to your blog roll. (Leave a link to your blog, please!)
  • Follow our blog publicly  – either through Google’s Followers Gadget or through Facebook’s Networked Blogs. (Leave a comment for each one that you do. Anonymous following doesn’t count.)
  • Stumble this post. (Once. Please leave your stumbledupon username.)

Fine Print: Contest is open to US Continental Residents ONLY. 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 June 9th at 11:59pm (EST), and the winner will be selected via random.org. Winner will be notified via email upon selection, and will have 48 hours to claim their prize. 
Disclaimer: This giveaway is sponsored by me, Angela Vinez. It is not sponsored by Udder Covers in any way. The winner will receive a new-in-the-package Udder Cover in the Carson Pattern and a red Milk Bands Nursing Bracelet. I was in no way compensated for this post, and hope my readers enjoy the prize!

Digital Photo Keychain Winner Announced

It’s time to announce the winner of the Digital Photo Keychain giveaway.

Here’s the number that Random.org pulled:

That means our winner is…..

Congratulations! I’ve sent an email your way. Please respond by Friday at noon or a new winner will be pulled.

Thanks to everyone that participated and to WholesaleKeychain.com for the opportunity to host this giveaway.

Wordless Wednesday: The Living Dolls

They're all dolls to me!

Parker’s almost the exact same size as these dolls. He just needs a little more hair!

If you’re participating in wordless wednesday, sign in here:

Care Bears: Share-A-Lot in Care-A-Lot DVD (Review)

When I was a little girl, I loved the Care Bears. My favorite was Tenderheart Bear, and I still remember carrying a stuffed version of him around everywhere until he fell apart. I never went anywhere without that bear!

Now, I get to share my love of the Care Bears with my kids. Lucy, my 3 year old, has taken quite a liking to them, and insists that every pink and/or purple bear is her favorite. She’s got several stuffed Care Bears, (two of which were mine as a kid, and one that was her big sister’s), and she is always playing with them.

On May 4th of this year, Care bears: Share-A-Lot in Care-A-Lot the DVD was released. I was sent a copy to review with my kids. Lucy and I spent some quality snuggle time on the couch watching 8 fantastic episodes of the Care Bears. We popped the DVD into the player, and after 2 quick previews and an explanation on how to get to the special features, the first episode started playing automatically. That’s great for those times when you can’t find the remote! (Which seems to be quite often around our house.)

Lucy didn’t move the entire 88 minutes the DVD was playing. We talked about the bad guy, and how it was so much better to be nice, and about other values that the Care Bears instill through their stories. We both loved the new friend the Care Bears made, McKenna.

Here’s quick overview of the 8 episodes available on the disk:

  • Re-Booted – Grizzle is stuck in Care-A-Lot after being kicked out of his lair by his new robot. The Care Bears welcome him with open arms, but will he still be up to his nasty old tricks even after he learns to care?
  • Tempus Fugits – Bumpity and Tweazle (two clouds) don’t want to work. They want to play! So, they try to “speed up” time to make the Care Bears work faster. The Care Bears show them that there’s a time to work and a time for play!
  • Share and Share Alike – Share’s been waiting a whole year to make her famous rootbeer floats. (These special floats make Care Bears float!) But, Harmony invites some extra bears without asking first, and Share is left with no rootbeer for herself.
  • Here Comes McKenna – McKenna is a new friend in Care-A-Lot who is learning how to share and identify with others. Wait until you see what happens when Grizzle shows up and steals all of the Care Bears’ belly badges!
  • Night Shift – Bedtime Bear wants to give his friends an inside look into his nightly duties. With a tricky pudding pile threatening Care-A-Lot, will some of the other Care Bears be able to “walk a mile in his ooze”?
  • All Give and No Take – McKenna is learning about giving, so Grizzle tries to her and the Care Bears at a “giving party.” When McKenna’s gift to Mr. Beaks throws Grizzle for a loop, he accidentally gives them a gift they’ll never forget!
  • Bumpity and Tweazle – These two clouds are lost from their cloud school and are having trouble navigating through Care-A-Lot. The Care Bears teach them to turn the unknown into something fun, and later return the favor. 
  • Surprise Day – Harmony Bear doesn’t like surprises, so she’s making sure that she staying in her house all day long this Surprise Day. Share shows her that conquering your fears is the best surprise of all!

If you loved Care Bears as a kid, this DVD is a great way to spread the love to your kids. Lucy and I both give it a very big thumbs up, and can’t wait to watch it again, and again, and again,…

You can purchase Care Bears: Share-A-Lot in Care-A-Lot on DVD on Amazon.com for just $12.49 (eligible for free super-saver shipping), on Walmart.com for $13.32 (plus 97 cent shipping to home), or at your local Target for just $9.99 (details & find a store here).

Disclaimer: I was contacted by a representative of bender/helper impact on behalf of Lionsgate Home Entertainment. I received a copy of the DVD mentioned above to facilitate my honest review. The free product in no way influenced my opinion, and all opinions expressed are 100% my own. I was in no other way compensated for this post. Please note that other users may have different results when using this product.

Sid the Science Kid: Weather Kid Sid (Review)

Summer is just about here. Around here, that means lots of time playing outside. While being outside is wonderful, and it’s a great way to get the Vitamin D our bodies need, there are harmful rays that we must be aware of.

I don’t know about your kids, but when I pull out the sunblock, I get a round of groans and complaints. “Come on, Mom.” “Why do I have to wear that again?” “It takes too long to put it on.” “I’ll stay in the shade.” “We’re not going to be outside for that long.” And while I tell them, (over and over again), how important it is to put sunscreen on every time you go outside, it doesn’t matter. Now, thanks to Sid the Science Kid and the Sid’s Special Sunny Dad’s Day episode, they understand the ways sunscreen works to protect their bodies. They also learned about the many different and awesome ways the sun helps our earth.

Earlier this month, the Sid the Science Kid: Weather Kid Sid DVD was released. Thanks to the Henson Company, we had the opportunity to review this new DVD for ourselves.

Our Review of Weather Kid Sid
This was such a great DVD! I already told you about my favorite episode that’s on the DVD. I loved that the story reflected the important facts about sunscreen that I’ve shared with my kids. (For some reason, to a kid, it’s just better to hear it from a cartoon character than it is from Mom.)

Not only is the Sid’s Special Sunny Dad’s Day episode on the DVD, there are also 3 other episodes: Sid’s Rainy Play Date, Sid’s Cool Holiday, and The Wind Did It Sid. Each of these episodes cover different weather topics and help answer all those questions that kids have. Sid learns where rain comes from and why it’s so important to our earth. He also learns that it was the wind that blew away the pile of leaves he worked so hard to rake up. And he learned that the wind is strong enough to make sand dunes, waves, and even move sail boats! He also learns that even though it’s warm where he is during the winter, it’s not warm all over the world.

The Sid the Science Kid: Weather Kid Sid DVD is such a fantastic way to get kids excited about learning. Weather is an important part of our world, and this DVD shows kids just how important it is. We all give the DVD 2 very big thumbs up and would recommend it to anyone that’s a fan of Sid the Science Kid or of learning.

You can purchase the Sid the Science Kid: Weather Kid Sid DVD at your favorite store, or online at Amazon.com or in the brand new Official Store of The Jim Henson Company. At just $12.99, it’s a great deal!

Disclaimer: I was contacted by a member of Three.Sixty Marketing & Communication on behalf of the Henson Company. I was sent a copy of the Sid the Science Kid: Weather Kid Sid DVD to get my honest and thorough review. The free product in no way influenced my opinion, and the opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own. Other users may have different results when using this product.

Dinosaur Train is All New This Week!

I’ve posted before how much my kids just love Dinosaur Train, and how excited we were when the new series started.

We have faithfully watched Dinosaur Train this season, and we love it. Lucy even has a few of the episodes memorized now. She can even sing the entire theme song, and usually does – several times a day. It’s very cute, and I love that she loves the show so much.

This week, May 24th – 27th, four all-new episodes will air this week on PBS Kids. (Be sure to check your local listings for times.) Thanks to the Jim Henson Company, my kids and I got a sneak peek at these new episodes. Here’s a quick synopses to get you as excited about the new episodes as we are:

  • Pteranodon Family World Tour; Gilbert the Junior Conductor – The entire Pteranodon family embarks on a roaring, exploring, World Tour Adventure! Then, the fun continues with Gilbert, the Conductor’s nephew, the tour guide as they spend the entire day with him.
  • Confusciusornis Says; Tiny’s Tiny Doll – The next stop on the Dinosaur Train World Tour is at Conuciousornis Gardens. There, they meet a very old, very wise dinosaur. During a stop on the tour, Tiny accidentally leaves her favorite doll behind. It takes several new dinosaurs to return it to her from the Velociraptor Valley.
  • Iggy Iguanodon; Shiny Can’t Sleep – Continuing their world tour in this episode, the Pteranodon family meets Iggy Iguanodon. He’s a great big 4-legged chap who shows them his unique style of walking. During the world tour, Shiny gets homesick and has a hard time falling asleep on the train. Mrs. Conductor and Dad help her discover all the wonderful nighttime surprises on the Dinosaur Train.
  •  Kenny Kentrosaurus; Don and the Troodons – The World Tour continues, and the Pteranodon family travels to Africa where they meet a Stegosaur named Kenny Kentrosaurus. Then, the family oversleeps and has to hurry to make another guided walk on their tour.

Don’t miss the fun this week on Dinosaur Train! We’ve got the DVR set, because the episodes air while we’re homeschooling, so the kids are all looking forward to seeing the brand new episodes of Dinosaur Train! Check your local listings, and find out when these fantastic new episodes are airing in your area.

Oh, and one more thing! There are 2 new games being featured on the PBS KIDS website. Right now, you can try out Dinosaur Tracks – a great game that teaches kids all about patterns. Buddy and his friends make tracks in the mud, and your kids help them figure out which footprint comes next. Also launching this month is the All Aboard Game. This is the game that we’re most excited about. It will give kids the opportunity to control the Dinosaur Train by being a “junior conductor.” They’ll seat different types of dinosaurs as the train moves from station to station.

As a parent, there’s nothing more important than knowing my kids are learning all the time. Dinosaur Train is such a fantastic way for my kids to have fun and learn all about dinosaurs. Get your kids excited about learning by tuning into the all-new episodes of Dinosaur Train this week on PBS KIDS!

Disclaimer: I was contacted by a member of the Jim Henson Company about the new episodes of Dinosaur Train. I was sent a press DVD to preview the new episodes in my home. The DVD in no way influenced my opinion, and was merely used to get our honest review. I was in no other way compensated for this post.

More Giveaways are Coming Soon!

I’m sure you have noticed my lack of giveaways around here, and I truly apologize. I’ve got a few that I need to get posted, but I have just been so overwhelmed lately, that I’m lucky to get anything posted on a given day.

Vacation Bible School starts in one week. One week! I am so not ready for it. I’ve got so much left to do. Just getting our room decorated has become a nightmare. Somehow, I’ve allowed VBS to become about the decorating and being better than everyone else. Yesterday was a knock upside the head. I spent most of the day wandering (aimlessly, I might add) through Home Depot, trying to figure out how to make a giant shark’s mouth to cover the doorway. As I was adding up the cost of the materials, it passed the $100 mark. I don’t have an extra $100 to put into a project that’s going to be up for 5 days and then thrown away. What was I thinking?

I burst into tears in the middle of Home Depot and called my husband. I’ve let VBS become about so much more than what it’s supposed to be about. I have this horrible desire to be better than everyone else. To have the best decorated room so that people ooooohhhh and aaaaaaahhhhhhh over what I have done. Wow. When did I let VBS become about me, and not about Jesus? Yes, I want my room to look great. And, yes, I want the kids to come back every night during the week. But, why? Do I want them to come back to see what I’ve done? It shouldn’t matter what I’ve done. What matters is what Jesus has done for these kids, and what He wants to do for them. That’s the point of VBS, isn’t it? Shame on me for making it about more than Him. There’s nothing more than Him.

So, there will be no giant shark head to greet the children in my classroom. I may not have the best decorated room in the church this year, but I’m ok with that. As long as I keep my focus where it should be, that’s all that will matter in eternity.

But, I still have much to do to prepare for VBS. I’ll need to come up with another idea to decorate the door, and I’ve got a week’s worth of lessons to prepare, *plus* homeschooling on top of it. It’s all seeming pretty overwhelming, but if I keep my priorities right, it will all be just fine in the end.

Please stay tuned. I will have lots of fun giveaways coming up very soon. I’m even working with a fabulous blogger, Angela from Fab Find Foodie, on a fun giveaway event for next month that you won’t want to miss. More details on that are coming soon. I just need to get things under control around here, first.

I appreciate you all bearing with me for the next week. I promise to make it up to you!

Ring Pop Winners Announced

I get to pick 2 lucky winners for the Sugar-Free Ring Pops Giveaway, so let’s get to it!

Here are the numbers that Random.org gave me:

 And here are the winners……

Congratulations! I’ve already sent an email your way. Please respond by Monday at noon, or your prize will be forfeited and a new winner selected.

Thanks to everyone who participated and to American Pop Digital for the opportunity to give these away to my readers.

Follow Friday: Week 28

I love finding new websites that have a real purpose. This week, I want to introduce you to FeatureMe.net. It’s a fabulous new blog where you can….. get this: be featured.

Here’s the description you can find on FeatureMe.net:

Feature Me is a site dedicated to showcasing women’s blogs, etsy stores and websites. Display your site for free and you may be chosen to be one of the featured sites!

Sounds simple enough, right? On Mondays, stop by and list your blog. It’s easy to do, just head to leave a link to your blog and a short description of it in the comments section on that day’s post. On Wednesday, leave a link to your etsy shop. On Friday, leave a link to your website. So easy, and you might just end up being the featured site on Tuesday or Thursday!

Head on over to FeatureMe.net and become a follower. Then, head back there often to leave your links or check out the featured sites.

And to the author of FeatureMe.net, You’re always so kind to give awards to others, that I wanted to give you an award. I’d be honored if you’d put this on your blog:

Is there a blog that you think deserves to be followed? Leave a link here, and I’ll consider featuring it in a future segment of Follow Friday. (Be sure to leave a comment and tell me why you think it’s “Follow Worthy.”)

Need a Smile?

If you need a smile today, watch this video:

Thanks, Brittney! 🙂

Vistaprint 12 x 12 Photo Book Winner Announced

Time to announce the winner of the Vistaprint 12 x 12 Photo Book Giveaway.

Here’s the number that random.org gave me:

That means our lucky winner is……

Congratulations! I’ve sent an email your way. Please respond by noon EST on Saturday, or a new winner will be selected.

Thanks to everyone who participated, and thanks especially to Team Mom and Vistaprint for giving me the opportunity to host this giveaway for my readers.

Don’t Fret the Sweat by Unilever (Review)

There is nothing more awkward than those “transition” years. You know what I’m talking about. The years when your child goes from being a little kid to a teenager. With my tween, it seemed to happen all at once. One day she was this sweet little girl, and the next day she sprouted up and was almost as tall as me. How did that happen?

But, how do you tell your emotional, hormonal “tween” that it’s time to start using deodorant without hurting their feelings or causing an outburst. I first noticed just how much Ashley was changing one day when she hugged me. GASP! Thank heavens it was me that she hugged, and not one of her friends she exposed to the scent. That evening, when hubby got home, I left him with the other kids and took Ash out to the store. We stopped in the deodorant aisle, and I told Ash that she was big enough that she could start wearing deodorant. She picked out the one that was the most appealing to her. The conversation about being old enough to wear deodorant led into a much longer discussion about the importance of showering every day, when to start shaving her legs, and even – gasp! – when she could start wearing makeup.

Unilever recently released the Tween Confidence Index. It suggests that tween confidence is hard to come by and doesn’t seem to last long. But, by keeping the communication lines between parents and tweens open, we can help keep their confidence safely in tact. If you head to www.DontFretTheSweat.com, Unilever offers tons of resources and valuable informality to show parents that they can talk to their tweens about topics like how the right deodorant can keep them free from odor, discomfort, and embarrassment.

Our Review of Unilever & Dove Deodorant & Body Mist
Over the past few months, we’ve tried quite a few different deodorants for Ashley. Some just aren’t strong enough. Others cake on and leave horrible white stains on her clothes. She was reluctant to try Dove, just because it’s what I use and prefer. After all, tweens can’t like what their mom likes.

Mom Central and Unilver sent us a Dove Ultimate Anti-Perspiration Deodorant as well as the matching Body Mist. Both were in the Pomegranate and Lemon Verbena Scent. I figured this would be a great time to get Ashley to try Dove deodorant. Maybe if someone else sent it to her and asked her opinion, she would be more likely to use it. I told her the products were for her, and she was supposed to use them and give me her opinion after a few days.

After putting on the deodorant, she couldn’t stop talking about how much she loved it. It smelled great, and it went on clear. She couldn’t get over the fact that there were no white clumps, or horrible stains left on her clothes. I suppressed my desire to say, “See? I told you so” and told her that I was glad to hear that she liked it. Looks like we’ve finally found a winner. She also really liked the Body Mist that came with it. It’s a great way to keep her smelling fresh no matter how active she’s been. The scent isn’t overly powerful, and it’s great to use before heading out of the house, after showering, after an activity, or anytime she wants to feel fresh.

Thank you, Unilever, for helping my daughter feel cool, comfortable, and confident during these crazy tween-aged years. And thanks for all the great advice on the Don’t Fret the Sweat site. I’m sure it will come in handy for many years to come around here!

Head to www.DontFretTheSweat.com and get all the information you need to help your own tween feel comfortable and confident. And, be sure to print off some coupons while you’re there.


Disclaimer: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Unilever and received the items necessary to facilitate my review. In addition, Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Wow! Imports Name Necklace (Review)

I have always wanted a name necklace. Something to show the world exactly who I am. To the people most important to me, I am “Mom.” I am so proud of my kids, and want everyone who meets me to know that being “Mom” comes first.

So, when the opportunity to review the name necklaces from WOW! Imports came to me, there was no doubt in my mind what name I was going to have put on the necklace. Yep. I asked if they would put “Mom” on it for me.

Picking out the name was easy. What was difficult was deciding which style of name necklace I wanted! They had so many gorgeous options. Each one was unique and stunning. After spending lots of time on their website, and much debate over which style of silver name necklace to choose, I decided to go with the Morgan name necklace style.

The necklace arrived beautifully packaged in a little gold box. My six year old told me that only special people get presents in gold boxes, so I must be special. (I have no idea where he got that idea, but thought it was sweet.)


The necklace itself is gorgeous. It came on an 18 inch box chain that is just the right length and sparkles when the light hits it. This is my new favorite necklace to wear, simply because it goes with everything. It looks fabulous paired with a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, and it looks beautiful when I’m all dressed up.

If you’re in the market for a name necklace, or if you want to make someone in your life feel special, I’d highly recommend WOW! Imports. Their prices, quality, and products are sure to impress.

Disclaimer: I wrote this post while participating in a blog tour with Parent Reviewers. I received a free necklace from WOW! Imports to get my honest and thorough review. The free product in no way influenced my opinion, and all opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own. Other users may have different results when using this product.

Wordless Wednesday: Cheeeeeeeeese!

When you ask Parker to smile for the camera, this is what you get:

Cheeeeeeeeese!

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