Thursday, December 24, 2009

crayola globe winner!

congratulations karin!  your kids will be the recipients of the crayola color explosion glow dome!  i hope they enjoy it!  send me your address as soon as possible and i will get that in the mail to you!

merry christmas, everyone!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

crystal light winner!!

congratulations to mimi for winning the crystal light giveaway!  some delicious crystal light samples will be on their way to you!

for everyone else, let crystal light inspire you to make a healthy change!

Friday, December 18, 2009

get on the coal train railroad!

we have a new favorite cd around here, and it couldn't have come at a better time.  between an arthur story and the jackson 5, i thought that i might just go insane with the repetition.

just in the nick of time for my sanity's sake, we received a copy of coal train railroad to review.  as soon as i put it in the player, tate started nodding his head in time to the music.  it wasn't long before both he and tessa were gettin' groovy, dancing all around and trying to sing along with the songs. 

when it comes to tate, you cannot go wrong with anything railroad and this album has two songs about trains to keep him happy, but all of the songs are favorites for all 5 of us.  i would say this is a great way to introduce your kids to jazz.  the lyrics are catchy--fun for parents and kids both.  i know you hear this on almost every review of a kid's cd but i can honestly say that this is one cd i'm happy to listen to over and over, even when my kids aren't around. 

even as i'm sitting here trying to get this done, tate is begging me to turn on the "railroad songs."  maybe he should become a spokesman for the album!

here's the good news:  coal train railroad ships daily at $10 apiece or 5 cds for $40.  or, if you prefer, this album will go live on itunes on christmas day.

if you want to check it out before ordering, noisetrade has two tracks available; for free if you recommend the album to five other people, or if you'd rather not, for whatever money you would like to contribute.  if that seems too complicated, you can also check out the coal train railroad youtube station here, which shows kids dancing along to the songs from the album.

if you are in the nashville area, you can also take advantage of two free concerts at ugly mugs, saturday, January 2 at 4 pm, or at fairy tales, books and more, saturday, january 23 from 10:30 to 12 noon.

i honestly feel like i can highly recommend this cd to any of you parents or people looking for gifts for parents.  it is definitely an album the whole family can enjoy...

i received a free copy of this cd for review purposes from katy bowser herself. nevertheless, the opinions expressed here are purely my own.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

crayola holiday ideas (and giveaway)

if you are anything like me, you have been putting off your christmas shopping.  i honestly cannot believe that there are only 8 days until christmas (and fewer for me because we are celebrating early this year).   yikes!

if you are looking for ideas for your children or other people's children still, i have some great ideas for you.  i think one can never go wrong giving crayola products.  no matter how many crayons, markers and colored pencils we have, there is nothing like opening up a new box of crayons and taking a deep whiff of that new crayon smell.

crayola has even more than that to offer kids this year, however.  we were all excited to try out three new products from crayola, which worked perfectly because each of my three kids got to try out something new.

for tate, we experimented with the crayola beginnings color me a song.  this is basically a coloring station that has a pressure-sensitive board.  by choosing any combination of drum, trumpet, piano or guitar buttons, kids can color along to the music.  the music picks up tempo when your coloring is faster, and slows down in tempo when the coloring moves slower.  tate really enjoyed pushing the different buttons to get different combinations of music.  he and tessa both enjoyed working on their pictures in time to the music.  the color me a songCrayola Glow Station can create with Light!
margin: 0px ! important;" width="1" /> was named "toy of the year" by familyfun magazine and was an american baby magazine pick for "best toys of the year.  it is recommended for kids 24 months and up and suggested retail price is $24.99.

tessa may have ended up with everybody's favorite:  the  crayola glow station. this is a light-sensitive canvas that comes with a light wand. kids can use the light wand on the canvas to draw freehand or use stencils and textures sheets (included) to draw animals or other designs. there is also a diamond-shaped tip to attach to the pen for making a starburst design. the drawings fade with time so the canvas can be used again and again. this is by far everyone's favorite to play with (even bill wanted to have a turn!). drawing with light is so different; the kids really wanted to spend the most time with this toy. my only caveat is that it needs to be fairly dark to get the most enjoyment out of it (this hasn't been too hard in cloudy chicago!). i've noticed that there is now a day and night glow station that may remedy this issue. the other thing is that it is recommended for ages six and up. both tessa and tate needed a lot of reminders not to scratch the canvas with the diamond-tip so this is something to keep in mind. the crayola glow station retails for $29.99 (but can be found for $14.99 here).

zoe is very creative and loves new opportunities to express herself so she was quite excited to experiment with the  crayola color explosion glow dome.  this toy comes with two coloring surfaces:  a flat one for inside the dome to color a more detailed picture on.  then kids can color coordinating shapes and images on the dome itself.  when finished, turn off the lights, and flip the switch to watch your drawings glow and move.  kids can control the spinning of the dome for slow, medium or "warp" speed.  the dome comes with two tracing pictures, an underwater scene and a spaceship scene.  fish and bubbles or stars and planets can rotate around a diver with a treasure chest or a spaceship.  personally, i thought this one sounded more exciting than it turned out to be, but zoe really enjoyed creating new scenes with it and did not seem at all disillusioned or disappointed.  the crayola color explosion glow dome is also recommended for ages 6 and up and it retails for $29.99 (but currently costs a lot more than that here).

the really fun news is that i have one crayola color explosion glow dome to giveaway to one of you who are willing to tell me what you most want from santa this year. for a second entry, you can check out crayola's give the gift of creativity sweepstakes. fill out a wish list for your child to enter and then come back here to tell me what you chose from the wish list to think about giving to your child. this giveaway is for u.s. residents only. i will draw a winner on christmas eve.

we were thankful to receive one of each of these three products to try out at home for this review.  i have received no other compensation for this review.  thank you to crayola and myblogspark for the opportunity to give these products to my children and to write this review.  the opinions expressed here are purely my own.  also, if you use my links to amazon to purchase one of these products, they may give me a small token of gratitude as well.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

crystal light: make a delicious change (giveaway)

if there is one thing i have found to be true when i am pregnant, it is that things just don't taste as good as they do when i'm not pregnant.  even water, which supposedly has no taste, tastes so terrible to me that it is hard for me to drink it.  this is all the worse because, of course, pregnant people are supposed to drink more water than everyone else.  sometimes i realize i am incredibly thirsty but when i try to drink i can't stand the taste of the water.

crystal light wants to help people like me do better about drinking as much water as they should.  on their website, they have a water way challenge for you to take.  you can take an assessment to see if you drink enough water each day (i already knew i did not!).  when you commit to drinking enough water each day, you can participate in crystal light's commitment to help provide enough water globally.  not only do they help water taste better, they have changed their packaging to use 250 tons less packaging to deliver the same great taste.

here's something i bet you didn't know: crystal light comes in over 30 sugar-free flavors including their new skin essentials drink mixes which help nourish skin with lutein and zeaxanthin from a natural plant extract, in addition to vitamins a, c and e.

check out the website and take the water way challenge.  come back here and tell me how many answers you got right.  your comment will be your entry to win a variety pack of crystal light ($15 value!).  next wednesday i will announce a winner.

although i look forward to receiving a variety pack from crystal light in january, i have in no other way been compensated for this review.  the opinions expressed here are purely my own.

we have a winner!!

congratulations thea!!  i'm sure your new baby will be glad to get
the teddy bear and the delicious new gerber products!  

Monday, December 7, 2009

gerber food products (and giveaway)

whenever i go grocery shopping, i feel like i am on a "mission: impossible" as i try to pick the healthiest options for my family while trying to stick to our budget. who knew that high fructose corn syrup could lurk in whole wheat bread? how on earth can i find a tasty snack food that provides a good source of whole grains? and don't even get me started on trying to load them up with DHA when they don't like fish (and i'm not particularly fond of it myself).

once again, gerber has anticipated my needs, at least the needs i will have after this baby comes. they have two new offerings they want you to know about that can assist you in meeting some of these health needs that we are growing more and more aware of these days.

gerber now offers an "8 grains and yogurt cereal." would you believe this cereal is made with 8 grains, some of which my kids  have never tried? wheat, barley, rye, corn, sorghum, rice, millet and oat. as if that weren't amazing enough, it also helps introduce your baby to the flavor of yogurt. the cereal is made with real yogurt and contains live and active cultures. what could be better for your baby's digestive system? this cereal is also a great source of iron for healthy mental development.

once you and your baby have mastered cereal, of course it is time to start thinking about fruits and vegetables.  once again, gerber has thought of a way for you to pack as much nutrition into a single serving as possible.  gerber's dha and antioxidant purees are now available.  they are made with 100% natural fruits and vegetables and come in six varieties:  banana mango, apple blackberry, apples with summer peaches, banana pineapple orange medley, farmer's market vegetable blend and butternut squash and harvest apples.  these flavors sound so tasty and are so packed with vitamins, i might just have to start eating them myself!  the purees have 18mg of dha per serving to help support brain and eye development.  they are also a good source of vitamin a or vitamin c.

here's some good news:  gerber is giving away a prize pack that includes samples of these two products, a gerber teddy bear and a recipe tin.  if this is something you might be interested in, either for yourself or someone else, leave a comment below telling me your biggest challenge in trying to feed your kids healthy food.  i will pick a winner (from the united states only) next monday, december 14.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

"visions of sugarplums: a collection of christmas cookery" review

i don't know what christmas traditions you have at your house, but it seems like a lot of our traditions around here get tied in with food.  we have to have hot chocolate when we watch rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer and when we decorate the tree.  we have to make cookies with frosting every year, whether they are sugar cookies or gingerbread cookies.  we have to make gift boxes with a variety of our favorite christmas treats.  we can't wait to sample mimi's cranberry-apple crumble at our tennessee christmas and grandma's egg casserole in michigan.

if food is an integral part of your christmas celebration, you might enjoy the christmas recipes found in the e-book, visions of sugarplums: a collection of christmas cookery.  i don't have much confidence in my cooking abilities but i am always happy to explore new recipes and try to find something that is not only simple to make but also has enough "wow" factor to be taken to the various parties and get-togethers that seem to go along with christmas.

if you download visions of sugarplums: a collection of christmas cookery from a dusty frame ($7), you will receive 64 pages of recipes that are both old and beloved ("puppy chow" is called "donkey chow" in this book) and new and tempting (there is a cranberry dip that has mustard in it that has me very, very curious!).my kids are very excited to sample the gingerbread waffles and i would like to add mediterranean meatballs to our meal rotation.  many of the recipes are ones that we have made in the past but it is nice now to have all our christmas favorites collected in one place, instead of trying to flip through all my various cookbooks trying to find which cookbook has the right recipe.

a few things i appreciate about this cookbook is that, for the most part, the recipes call for ingredients that i already have on hand or are not hard to find in grocery stores.  a big turn-off for me when i look at a cookbook is when i know i will have to search high and low throughout the grocery store for a particular ingredient and even then may come up empty-handed.  this is definitely not the case with the majority of the recipes in this cookbook.

another positive factor is the christmas quotes and activity ideas that lizzie has included throughout the pages of recipes and in a special section at the end of the book.  reading the quotes and thinking about ways to integrate traditions from around the world with my kids does as much to put me in a christmas frame of mind as mentally tasting the food in the recipes.

one caveat is that i think $7 is more money than i would like to spend for an e-book.  i am much more in favor of a book that i can carry right into the kitchen with me and keep on my cookbook shelf.  of course, the nice thing about an e-book is that if the kids spill vanilla all over my printed pages, i can very easily go print another copy!

if you are looking for something to add to your family's christmas celebration and some new traditions to introduce to your kids, visions of sugarplums: a collection of christmas cookery might be something for you to explore this holiday season.

this is a mamabuzz review.  i received a free copy of this e-book to download from a dusty frame.  i have in no other way been compensated for this review and the opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

simply fabulous blogger templates

every time i've changed my blog template, i have used a simply fabulous blogger template by lena toews. i have looked other places on the internet, but hers are the ones i always gravitate toward. there are so many fabulous choices; i usually have a hard time picking one.

if you are looking for a fun, new template for your blog, i highly recommend you head over here and take a look. many of her choices are free for the taking. but you might want to think of another way to give this holiday season.  she also provides tutorials to make sure that you don't get stuck as you try to switch over your template.

after many struggles with infertility, lena has decided to use her artistic gifts to help her family raise money toward adoption. to that end, she has made many premade templates available for a $5 donation. this money goes toward her family's mission to add a third child to their family.

head over here and take a look at what you find. you'll be glad you did!

you can also find me here

some other groups i've joined


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