Wednesday, February 16, 2011

connecting with "sassy moms in the city"

i am completely, utterly, 100 percent burnt out.

this winter has totally done me in. illness, restlessness from inactivity, incessant whining and bickering...and don't even get me started on the kids' issues! i am starting to worry that i will never have a break from the endless loads of laundry, the constant need to clean and the never-ending demand for food that keeps me cooking, baking and running to the grocery store.

thank goodness wbbm newsradio 780 and 104.3 jack fm are presenting the sassy moms night out on february 24! if you live in or around chicago and are feeling at all like me, you will definitely not want to miss this event.  this is a fabulous opportunity to leave the kids and hubby at home for a night and enjoy the things that women love most:  red carpet treatment, cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, a custom handbag filled with swag from 1154 lill studio, and complimentary beauty treatments from mario tricocci.  all in all it will be a fashionable evening filled with mini spa services, shopping and fashion demo/book signing by style expert and author, amy tara koch, spotlighting how to transform wardrobe basics into of-the-moment looks.

lest you think that this event is too self-serving (ha!), never fear because part of the proceeds from this event will go to support the american heart association's "go red for women" campaign.  in fact, you may just want to wear your favorite red dress and/or red shoes to the event!  attendees are also encouraged to bring any gently used maternity items to support new moms, inc, a not-for-profit organization in chicago that provides assistance for adolescent parents and their children.

if you need any more convincing (i.e. if you don't have a pulse!), check out the sassy moms in the city facebook fan page to see what other people have to say about this fabulous event.  this is also a great place to go to connect with other sassy moms in chicago. if you are ready to join me in getting primped and pampered, rsvp now, and let me know that i'll be seeing you there!

in exchange for sharing this information with you, i will receive two tickets to the event.  regardless, the thoughts and opinions are purely my own.  it is an honor for me to share about this fun celebration of women for two very good causes.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

wishbone review

article first published as dvd review: wishbone on blogcritics

the other day at the thrift store, i picked out a couple classic books for my daughter's reading pleasure. she was less than pleased with my choices, even though i assured her i had read them myself and thoroughly enjoyed them.

"i hate to say this, mom, but it's hard not to choose a book based on the cover, and these books don't look like they would be interesting."

this is why i appreciate the show, wishbone. if ever anyone could get my kids interested in books that are timeless classics without their "up-to-the-minute" illustrations, it is wishbone the dog.
in the series, wishbone, a spunky jack russell terrier, imagines himself in the leading role of various classic tales. each of his escapades mirrors his experience in "real-life" with his owner, joe, and teaches valuable lessons about relating well to others.

in this dvd, wishbone imagines himself as robin hood as he and his merry men take from the rich to give to the poor in "paw prints of thieves." wishbone, as jules verne's professor liedenbrock, battles scary sea monsters in "hot diggety dawg." he tries to live "the impawssible dream" as don quixote and rescues a fair maiden as the "hunchdog of notre dame."

anything i can use to expose my kids to great literature is valuable to me.  the fact that these shows make the books seem attractive and interesting is a big plus to me. i also appreciate that they are filmed with real people (and a dog) instead of as a cartoon.  i get tired of the "same old, same old" all the time; wishbone offers my kids something completely different than what they usually watch.

the age target for this show is two to five, but i think i would set it even higher. my eight-year-old loves to watch this show, while my three-year-old can't really follow the plotline as well.
overall, i think this provides viewing pleasure for the whole family, kids and (nostalgic) adults alike.

enter a recipe in pillsbury's bake-off contest (w/giveaway)

generally speaking, i don't have enough confidence in my cooking to feel good about inviting people over for supper, let alone coming up with my own recipes. lately, however, bill has been raving about my own version of chicago-style pizza, that i'm considering sharing my recipe with the world...

...or at least with the pillsbury bake-off judging team.

right now, pillsbury is running their annual bake-off competition.  entries must use at least two ingredients from a list of approved products.  entries can be submitted in the following categories:  breakfast and brunches, entertaining appetizers, sweets and treats, or (this is where i would submit my pizza recipe) dinner made easy.  recipes will be judged according to taste, appearance, creativity and consumer appeal.

do you have a recipe you think has a chance of winning the $1 million prize?  maybe you are like me and would just be happy to be honored with one of the other awards... you have from now to april 18, 2011 to enter your prize-winning recipe.  100 finalists will be given round trip prizes to orlando, fl on march 25-27, 2012.

as a little "spark" to get your creative cooking juices flowing, i have an apron and a recipe book to offer to one of you, my faithful readers.  simply leave a comment below telling me which of your recipes you might consider entering into the bake-off.  i will choose a winner on february 22 using (usa residents only).

i received my own prize pack as a thank you for writing this post from pillsbury through my blog spark.  regardless, the thought and opinions expressed here are purely my own.

big g cereals offer healthy whole grains (review and giveaway)

every day my kids pick out 3 or 4 different kinds of cereals they want to have mixed together for breakfast.  every day they have a different combination that they want, but i can always guarantee that they will have cheerios on the bottom.

and that is fine with me.

we don't have time in the morning to make pancakes and eggs for breakfast, so i like the kids to have as healthy a breakfast as they can, as quickly as they can.  i'm glad for them to enjoy big g cereals like cheerios, kix, chex and oatmeal crunch that have 8 grams or more of whole grains.

did you know that general mills offers over 20 different cereals that provide 16 grams or more of whole grains?  they offer cereals for adults and kids alike that go a long way to making sure the most important meal of the day is a healthy one.

if you are looking to have a healthier new year, try looking for the general mills "big g" cereals that have the white check on them.  this means they are cereals made with whole grains.  also try looking for other foods to purchase with the white check or the whole grain stamp marked on them.  if you look at the ingredients list, look for foods that have whole grains listed first or near the top of the list.

if you want more tips and helpful advice, check out the whole grain nation website.  you'll be surprised what you can learn.

if you want to join me in trying to have a happier and healthier new year, leave a comment below describing one of your (or your kids') favorite big g whole grain cereals.  general mills has a prize pack for a special winner including a digital jump rope, a travel cereal bowl, a lunch bag, water bottle and, best of all,  a vip coupon for a big g cereal.  i will choose a winner from the comments below using on february 22 (usa residents only).

i received the prize pack described above, as well as the information about whole grains, from general mills through my blog spark.  regardless, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are purely my own.

Friday, February 4, 2011

disney on ice delivers!

once we managed to dig our van out of its snow-tomb, we were excited to get out of the house for  disney on ice toy story 3!

i have to admit that i was a little surprised at how low-key the ice looked. our last event (disney on ice: princesses) had a massive castle that throughout the show revolved to represent at least 4 different castles. this time, there was just a sheet hanging over the entrance to the ice. none of us were sure what to expect.

as soon as the show started, however, we were surprised at how well thought-out the entire program was. from skater andy showing us the stuffed dolls he was packing in the box, to the transition to the dolls themselves skating around the ice, our whole family was transfixed through the whole show. eventually the sheet dropped to reveal a stack of toys that provided a great backdrop throughout the whole program.

army guys parachuted in, buzz lightyear came out of the sky, woody rode a kite across the ice and even "the claw" made a couple of appearances. even before the show started, the kids and i were wondering just how they would have the kids come into the daycare room to play with the toys. let's just say, the production crew solved that problem with their usual finesse and cleverness, to our great delight.

we noticed the skaters fell more times than usual, which only seemed to disappoint the adults and zoe. it didn't spoil the show in any way, but it was a surprise, given the quality of skating we have seen in the past.

overall, we loved the show and can't wait to see what disney on ice comes up with for next year!

we received free tickets for the show from the feld family for the purpose of this review. regardless, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are purely my own.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

God gave us the world review

we are longtime fans of lisa tawn bergren's books, God gave us you and God gave us two so we were quite happy to receive God gave us the world.  mama bear does such a good job explaining truths about God and life to little cub. 

just like in God gave us you, mama bear highlights how special and unique little cub is.  in this book, little cub learns about all different kinds of bears that live in all different kinds of places in the world.  while those bears might not eat the same things that little cub does, or live in the snow like little cub, they are part of God's creation, just like he is.

i want to teach my kids to take care of the earth, to have an ecological sensitivity but sometimes i struggle to find books that talk about this in a way that agrees with my own philosophy and theology.  i think this book does a good job talking about the earth as God's creation but also pointing out our responsibility to honor God by honoring his creation.  not only is this a great book to add to your collection, it is a great one to read for earth day.

God gave us the world is available for $10.99 and is appropriate for ages 2-6.

this is a mamabuzz review.  i received this book for free from random house for the purpose of this review.  regardless, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are purely my own.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

the dragon and the turtle go on safari review

one thing my kids love to do is "camp out."  unfortunately, they were born into parents who are better at camping out in theory than in practice.  apart from one sad, hungry outdoor camping experience, our kids have to stick to camping out on the living room floor.

everyone knows that the next best thing to experiencing something for yourself is reading about that experience.  my kids get to experience the thrills of camping out (without the bugs, chills or hard ground) by reading the dragon and the turtle go on safari, by donita k. paul and evangeline denmark.  padraig the dragon and roger the turtle are out on a "safari," toasting marshmallows over a campfire, eating baked bugs from a box, and discussing the next day's hunt for "fierce and fantastic beasts."  thanks to clever illustrations, it soon becomes clear that these "beasts" are actually the kind of animals any of us might see in our backyard.  padraig and roger are actually camping in their own backyard, imagining that the night noises are made by various african animals.

while the plot and writing of this book is not my favorite, my kids have really enjoyed the story.  it has been a great springboard for us to talk about how we can use our imaginations, what to do when we are scared and how to be a good friend.

the dragon and the turtle is available from random house for $11.99 and is appropriate for ages 3-6.

this is a mamabuzz review.  i received a free copy of this book for the purpose of this review from random house.  regardless, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are purely my own.

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