Friday, November 27, 2009 Review and GIVEAWAY! is a site for girls who love to create. On it, they can design clothing from scratch by themselves! As soon as I clicked on it, I knew that my own little girl would be in love. We have spent hours, over several SEVERAL days, creating outfits and fancy pieces of clothes. Little does she know that FashionPlaytes has provided me with 2 $50 gift codes. One for me to use and review, and one for a lucky reader! Just watch my baby girl (she's only FOUR) figure out and navigate the site...

Don't tell her, but she's getting a blue dress with a kitty on it for Christmas! :)

I had wanted to wait to receive the clothing to review the quality before offering the giveaway, but it takes 3 weeks for shipping and I want to make sure this can be received in time for a potential holiday gift!! I'll let you all know what it's like when we get it...

I mentioned to my sister how cute the site was and her 9 year old daughter now has a looooong list of outfits she has earmarked for Christmas, too. Apparently, all ages DO like it!

You can enter a comment for each of the below:

~ Visit and check it out. You're on your honor for this one, but I know I can trust you all, right?

~ Follow me on Twitter (see right sidebar)

~ Subscribe to my blog

~ Tweet this post and link to your tweet.

~ Blog about this post and link to your blog.

Good luck to everyone! We'll pick the winner on Wednesday, December 1!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

$20 in-store credit for!!

When I was first contacted by eShakti's representative, they said "Look through our site and pick out something, anything, that you like and we'll send it to you for a review." I was like a kid in a candy store! ANYthing on a site filled with clothing I swear was made for me? I must admit, I was tempted to splurge and go CRAZY. Ooooooh so tempted by the beautiful dresses, floaty skirts, and romantic cardigans.
But I am not a greedy person and I am WAY MORE PRACTICAL than is sometimes prudent, so I stepped back and said "What do I NEED? What do I really, truly have a use for that would be an asset to my wardrobe?" Knowing myself as I do, and how I honestly only dress up 1-3 times a YEAR, I decided to check out their blouses and shirts for something I could wear with a skirt or jeans, depending upon the occasion. I am SO THRILLED with my choice!!

Isn't that cute?!? It's me. It's SO me, and it looks so nice on! It arrived less than a week after I ordered it and fits like a glove! (or, um, a shirt. Because I can't picture wearing a glove on my torso. Though it may be the next Big Thing! If so, I CLAIM IT. I THOUGHT OF IT FIRST PROJECT RUNWAY!!) I am not one to usually spend money on myself (even when we HAD money with which to be spending!) and wondered at the price of the shirt ($49.95). I asked the expert opinion of my friend who has her degree from design school. I needed to know if this was worth the cost that eShakti was charging. She stroked it and flipped it inside out and oohed and aahed over the seams and stitching and did some other seamstressy things and assured me that, Yes: I had a high-quality garment in my hands.

I was really, REALLY excited to think that a reader could get a gift of credit for eShakti, but ECSTATIC when I realized that not only ONE reader can benefit, but that ALL READERS can use this code!

Ok, folks. Here's the deal. Use this code KJFGRE2 when checking out at anytime from now until Christmas Day, and you will receive $20 off of a purchase of ANY LIMIT. Meaning, you don't have to spend a minimum amount to use this code! If the piece you like is $20, you get it free! (But don't forget the shipping/etc.) EVERYONE can use this! (But only once each)

PLUS PLUS PLUS - From now until Midnight, Nov 26, you will receive 25% off of the ENTIRE SITE!!!

Seriously, Justin and I spent a looooong time picking out the shirt that I chose. And when even a 10 year old BOY agrees that the site has beautiful clothing that would look nice on his own MOM? It's a site worth checking out!

Let me know if you find any treasures! I'd love to see what you all choose!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sucrets ICE Review

A blessing or a curse? All I know is that before the free samples of Sucrets ICE Throat on Fire arrived, all 3 of my kids were healthy. A week later? 2 had sore throats! Coincidence? Hmmm...

Despite my suspicions about this potential link, I will say that the frozen medicine had only great reviews from both Justin and Corinne. The numbing of the oral anesthetic seemed to really help, especially since they both have a hacking cough that is just rubbing their throats dry! And really, any kind of popsicle is a treat for my children. (Please remember this and keep all medicine stored as such! Little ones need to know that it's not the same thing as a regular popsicle!)

Sucrets Ice has paired up with Ice Age:Dawn of the Dinosaurs to offer a unique contest for any kids between ages 6-13. What does your child think can be done to save the polar ice caps? If their drawing is the winner of the contest, they could win all sorts of prizes for themselves and their school! Check it out and good luck!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dipping in the Sauce

SOMEtimes I can be adventurous in the kitchen. Adventurous as in making something I'm not sure my kids will eat. Nowadays? That little experiment with an unknown food is an expense I cannot justify. So when I was asked to "create" something with a sample of Musselman's Apple Sauce for a review, I had a hard time venturing into unknown territories. (Especially when my 4 year old kept on dipping into the jars for snack time!) When it came down to it, I just couldn't fathom using the perfectly good applesauce on something that I couldn't guarantee my children would eat. So what did I use it for?

Apple bread! YUM. My children all love baked goods, especially fruit breads and muffins. Using a little of a whole apple and some extra applesauce for moistness, we whipped up a mighty tasty apple bread that the entire family gobbled down. Just check your cookbooks and if there isn't a recipe for apple bread, simply use the banana or zucchini recipe and substitute apples! In fact, I prefer to use the banana recipe for apple bread. It's moister.

My only gripe with this particular type of Mussellman's was that, unlike the previous applesauces we'd sampled, two of the top 3 ingredients were High fructose corn syrup and corn syrup. I try to stick with the sauces that are not artificially sweetened so that I can count applesauce as a fruit when I dole it out!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Death defying performers and THEY preferred the prancing puppies...

We went to the circus! Ringling Brothers and B&B Circus is in Chicago with a "Magical" theme this year. Let me tell you, MY favorite part was the flaming sticks of death that (magically) didn't disembowel the clown that was forced into the tiny box. (Poor clowns! Why does everyone pick on them? A clown's a person, too, you know!)

The dancing dogs were my kids' favorite part. They were literally squealing with delight. SQUEALING.
Why, yes! That IS a pixie stick she is pouring into her mouth and all over her dress...
They were rocking out so hard to the music that most of the pictures show Justin behind an arm or a head. But this picture proves that he WAS there and he was laughing and smiling the entire time. DESPITE the "dreaded bar" that we had to sit behind... ;) It was soon forgotten when he realized that there wasn't anyone in front of him!

I've always loved the circus. And YES, I have investigated the animal mistreatment rumors revolving around circus performing animals. I am not convinced that the treatment of the circus animals is any less than that of those we eat or make into clothing products. So, please? Don't send me the links. I've watched them. I was not appalled (though I wish people as a society showed more respect to all creatures). I still eat chickens, eggs, and beef; I think I can handle watching elephants perform.

Whew! Off of my high horse, now!

For anyone who feels as I do, remember to enter my giveaway for tickets to the Chicago United Center show next week!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Circus, anyone?

I am so excited to announce a giveaway for Chicagoland readers! 1 family will receive 4 tickets for either Wednesday or Thursday night (Nov 18 or 19) at the United Center to see The Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus! My kids and I will be going tomorrow night at the Allstate Arena and They. Are. Stoked. We all remember the circuses from the past years, and I know that this year will be just as fabulous.

You can purchase tickets to see the circus, visit their site,

To enter for your own tickets:

~ Comment below.
~ Follow me!
~ Follow me on Twitter.
~ Tweet about this giveaway (link please)
~ blog about this giveaway (link please)

Good luck to everyone! We'll pick the winner on Saturday, so enter fast!

I also have some coloring and activity sheets on PDF if anyone is interested (for some reason, I can't get them to post here properly and I really wanted this giveaway posted ASAP. I'm still working on posting them, but I can email them to anyone that's interested!)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Win a JumpStart game for the Wii!

I recently received a copy of JumpStart's new Wii game, Escape from Adventure Island. Loyal readers will know how much Corinne and I enjoy the online JumpStart games and their first Wii game, Pet Rescue, as well. This second game continues my satisfaction with JumpStart and their products. Designed for ages 5-9 and revolving around familiar characters, the new game encourages all of the math, reading and "critical thinking skills" that JumpStart believes so strongly in. Though some of the levels are still a bit difficult for Corinne, (she only just turned 4, after all!) I know that Evan (age 7) would enjoy it (if only he'd unplug from his Nintendo DS for a bit!!). We'll be leaving the game for my almost 5 year old niece to enjoy though, as they are the ones with the working Wii right now!

JumpStart has made it possible for many of you to win a copy of this new Wii game, too! Go to their site, and enter to win any of the following:

  • 1 copy of JumpStart Escape from Adventure Island (rated E by the ESRB)
  • 1 Nintendo Wii console – to escape boredom
  • $250 in SpaFinder® gift certificates – to escape stress
  • 1 Flip™ Mino HD video camera – to record your adventures
  • 3 lifetime JumpStart memberships – 1 for you, 2 to share with friends
  • 500 virtual coins – to keep your kids’ online adventure exciting
  • JumpStart gear – to dress for adventure
Check out their rules and regulations and enter today! The contest ends November 16 and you can bet that I'll be entering, too! If I win another copy of this game, I'll simply pass it along to one of you!! (But I'm secretly hoping for a new console or gift certificate... )

Good luck and enjoy!

PujBaby tub

A quick note for all new mommies!

If you want to test out a new and interesting baby bath tub (folds flat, fits into bathroom sinks, soft foam...) go to this site and register to be a product tester.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Winners of 2 giveaways! at

I have the winners for the BeiBambini baby clothes and for the Bonefish Grill giveaways!

Please excuse my son's videography antics. I realized after we watched it that I couldn't go back and edit it since there were WINNERS and everything, so, well. You get to watch Evan's craziness and me yelling at him. It's so REAL it's SCARY.

Congrats to everyone!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

LifePics Review

Some of you might remember my whole escapades with making a personalized calendar 2 years ago... Oy. I swore I would never venture down that road again! So when I was contacted by LifePics to try out their photo site, I was a little leery. But hey, it was a free trial, and I don't have a calendar for 2010 yet, so I figured it couldn't hurt to try!

I am so glad I did! Either LifePics is really easy or the photo sites have all greatly improved since my last attempt at making a sweet family photo calendar, because it was a snap! The choices were ENDLESS (which did make it a bit harder for me to decide, since I like to explore every single option) and the applications were extremely simple to figure out. I loved that the layouts were up to ME. I can't stand it when the sites tell you where you can put your pics and how many, etc. I could have put 20 on one page, if the mood had struck to do so.

Here's a couple of my pages (excuse the photo quality on my end. The calendar itself is very clear and is a great quality of paper).
As with most sites, LifePics does way more than calendars. You can do all of your photo developing, including holiday cards, photo books and more, all from the same account. LifePics has generously offered a discounted rate for their products for any reader to use until December 31, 2009! If you enter the code LifePics05 for your promo code at your checkout, you will receive $5 off of any order over $15. Seeing as how the calendar is normally $20, you can get a calendar for 2010 for only $15! (See how good I am at math? Can you tell I homeschool?) (Each customer may use the code one time only!)

They also offer the options of either picking up your products at a nearby grocery/superstore (ours was at Jewel) or having it delivered straight to your home.

Be sure to keep them in mind for your next photo need!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Little Skink's Tail Review

What a sweet little book! This 2009 Teachers' Choice Award book is the tale of a tail that is lost to the little Skink when she tries to avoid a crow's sharp beak. Sadly, the crow gets a taste but at least little Skink survives since she can regenerate tails!

This book has lovely pictures and a sweet plot as we watch her "try on" other tails until her own grows back. Thankfully, she realizes the beauty of her own tail and is lucky that hers DOES grow back!

One of the best features of this book, and the others in the series, is at its end. Different questions and activities which help you and your child to review what you've read will help to reinforce reading comprehension.

I urge you to check out Sylvan Dell Publishing's web site. See if the tale of Little Skink's Tail appeals to your child, or if another story would suit a young one you love!