Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Mother Company

Have you heard of The Mother Company?

I recently received a copy of an episode of their pet project; Ruby's Studio: The Feelings Show. It's a tv show geared towards 3-6 year olds. It centers on discussing emotions and creativity without being too instructional. Corinne and I watched it together the other day and I have to say, it's very well done. "Ruby" is sweet and caring without over-doing it and the children on the show don't make me cringe like I did when watching the purple dinosaur show...

While the show is quite lovely, what I am personally enjoying the most is their site! I love when a parenting site is properly laid out. Truly, I have been known to click off of a site within 15 seconds if the layout didn't make sense to me. (Note to self: Call Cynthia and see if she can re-do blogs...)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Hawk Eye Review and Contest Announcement

I have such a COOL contest to announce!

Want to win $2000 in prizes and a ride in a helicopter?!? Go to the Hawk Eye: Capture Your World Video Contest and upload a video for your chance to win!

My family was given a whole slew of products from Air Hogs to test out and my husband and I have been flying them incognito at night to get the hang of it before Christmas morning. I figured that I would be horrible at it as I am ALWAYS horrible at the flying video games, but I actually kind of figured out how to make the helicopters go up and down without smashing them into anything (now I just need to go side to side. Oy vey...) Patrick, naturally, is a pro at it and recommends them for everyone. He has more patience than I do and can't wait to start video taping with the Air Hog's Hawk Eye, the first indoor helicopter to fly and take videos or photographs at the same time. Pretty cool, eh?

One main feature of the Hawk Eye, the new video-taking helicopter that retails at about $60 (look for great deals online!) that appeals to ME is the docking system that charges the battery while downloading the video. With 3 kids (and a husband) who will all be making movies, I foresee a lot of charging in my future...

To enter the Hawk Eye Capture Your World Contest, either

a) submit a 2 minute max video from your Hawk Eye or

b) if you don’t have a hawk Eye, submit a 2 min max video that imitates the video from a Hawk Eye (they show you how to do this on the contest site)

NO voices/talking (but instrumental music is allowed)and NO showing faces or likeness (to comply with online privacy laws for children)

** Grand prize: a trip for 2 in their very own private helicopter, an awesome flip video camcorder and tons of Air Hogs swag

** Plus runner up prizes worth over $2,000!

If you want to get involved in the contest, visit the Hawk Eye site today for their complete list of rules and recommendations. Enter by Jan 2, 2011 (11:59:59 PST) to be available for your chance to win!

** I am not running this contest and cannot help you enter. I was given a selection of Air Hog product in exchange for posting about their contest. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Free iPod!!

I'll bet that caught your attention, eh?

Yes, it's true! A free iPod shuffle can be yours, thanks to Groupit.com. With a few extra dollars for songs from iTunes, you can make someone very happy this Christmas morning!

Groupit is an online site that helps you organize family and friends who want to contribute to larger gifts or to buy items together. What a great idea! I am totally thinking about this site for Justin's birthday in February as I am D.O.N.E. shopping for Christmas!

If you're interested in an iPod for a lucky loved one, then follow the directions below and Good Luck!

To be entered to win this iPod Shuffle all you need to do is use Groupit www.groupit.com/ to help you organize a group purchase this week. (No purchase necessary) After creating a Groupit, email the link to your Groupit page to - info@groupit.com with the words "Just Another Mommy Blog - Groupit" in the subject line - and you'll be entered to win. Groupit will announce the winners this Saturday 12/18 at 9am PT so be sure to start your Groupit before Saturday! Groupit will ship your iPod Shuffle to you immediately so you receive it in plenty of time in case you want to use it as a Christmas stocking stuffer or gift.

If you have any questions using Groupit, call their friendly customer support team at 1-866-830-5411 and they'll be glad to help! www.groupit.com

Good luck to everyone! This is open to my readers only and is NOT a mass giveaway. Joining Groupit was easy and worth the effort for a chance at an iPod...

Costume Review

Isn't she sweet?!? Shhh. I think I tell her that too much, sometimes.

Corinne is modeling the Heavenly Angel costume from Costume Express that we received last week. I really WAS surprised at the quality of the costume since it retails at $32.99. It is pretty well-made with comfortable material and tight stitching. The wings, dress, belt and halo are all included and absolutely thrilled my daughter.

This is her rendition of "angelic". I think we landed a little closer to "Home Alone" than "Silent Night" but I after 10 pictures that are EXACTLY like this one, she was done with the photo shoot...

Costume Express is having a 25% off sale from now until December 20 if you want to buy any last minute presents or get something cool for a pageant (they have EVERY Christmas costume you can imagine. I was pushing for the boys to get a Buddy the Elf outfit, but I received only dirty looks from them...). So check them out! I am hoping that this costume still fits by Halloween of next year! It'd be nice to have a costume that actually REFLECTS light for once...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Winner of Goodnight, Little Sea Otter

I know I promised a fancy hat drawing for the book, but my camera is temperamental lately. I hope it works for Christmas!! Yikes.

In the meantime, thanks to Random.org, the winner of the children's book, Goodnight Little Sea Otter, is.....

#10 - Kelly Massman

Congrats Kelly! I'll contact you by email. Enjoy the book and thanks to everyone for entering!

I still have lots of empty spaces for the cool giveaway on the Top Trumps card game. It's fun for everyone of all ages and makes a great stocking stuffer!! PLUS, I have 5 games to give out!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Pup Light

My dad's cell phone showed up on my caller id the other night. That's a pretty rare occurrence, so I frantically snatched up my phone to see what was the matter.

"Hey Trace!"

"Um, Hi, Dad. What's up? Is something wrong?!?"

crackle crackle wind in my ear

"I'm just walking Zoe (dog) and it's so bright out here."

Blink. Blink.

wind in my ear


"Yep. It's really easy to see. Even on this totally dark pathway. No problems seeing at ALL!"




Expectant pause from him.

Confused pause from me.

More wind in my ear.

And then, suddenly, clarity strikes as I realize what the hell he's alluding to:

"OH! Are you using the Pup Light?!?"

"Yep. No problem seeing! Though it's a bit bouncy because she keeps walking..."

Chuckling, I smile.

"So, Dad. Are you giving the Pup Light a good review? Positive feedback with a recommendation that the manufacturers figure out how to have the light be motion controlled?"

"Yep. Sure do. It's really easy to see out here on this dark pathway at NIGHT."

"Thanks, Dad. Have a good walk. Good night!"

"Night, Tata!"*

I was given a Pup Light to review. I don't have a dog, (much to the sorrow of my children) so my parents stepped up and tried this out. For about $19.95, I'd say it's a pretty cool idea for any pet owner or Christmas present for someone who doesn't want to walk in the dark. ;) Check them out!

*Yes. My nickname is synonymous with a crude slang for breasts. This is what happens when your baby sister is cute and can't say 'Tracey' though how she came up with "TaTa" from those consonants is beyond me...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Top Trumps Giveaway

Stocking Stuffer issues?

I have the answer for everyone!

Top Trumps is an easy-to-learn and fun-to-play card game that will snugly fit into any boy or girl's (or husband's!) stocking this Christmas. At about $8 a pack, and with over 20 titles of popular themes and educational topics, they will expand your brain without thinning your wallet. My family played the Dog version at the Chicago Toy and Game Fair. Everyone, from Corinne (age 5) to Patrick (age, um, much older than 5...), was able understand and enjoy the game. My kids don't know it, but they're each getting packets in their own stockings this year...

Here's today's best news! 5 lucky readers will each receive their own packet of Top Trumps! (Either the Horses and Ponies set or the Dogs set). Just follow the directions below and enter away so that you can get your packet before Christmas morning. Even better: If you don't get picked this month, don't be too sad, because I will be hosting several more Top Trumps giveaways over the coming months! Be sure to keep entering for more chances to win!!

Good luck and ENJOY!!

Ways to enter:

~ Comment!

~ Visit Top Trumps' website and tell me which set you think you'd most enjoy.

~ Follow me on Twitter.

~ Tweet this giveaway (2 tweets a day!) please link back.

~ Subscribe to my blog.

~ Post about this on your own blog and link back. (2 entries)

Good luck to everyone! We'll draw the FIVE WINNERS on Wednesday, December 15.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Organically Grown review

I can't always make the greenest choices. After all, "going green" can sometimes require spending a ton of it. So I was pleasantly surprised to review this sweet baby romper by Organically Grown and find that it's only $22. Isn't that sweet? It's super soft and my nephew will look absolutely adorable in it!

Comparable to all other name brands in price, Organically Grown can spout the benefit of only using cotton grown without pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. This makes for a healthier environment for ALL of us. Every purchase of organic food or clothing helps to support the farmers who strive to provide us all with a safer Earth.

Organically Grown has items for the WHOLE family, including men, women and home decor! If you're looking for a Christmas present that has a low impact on Mother Earth, check them out!

You can save 15% off of your purchase if you use the code: ORGANIC WINTER.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Good Night, Little Sea Otter review

Aren't children's books the best? I love the stories behind the sweet characters that come to life when a great author and talented artist truly collaborate well.

Good Night, Little Sea Otter by Janet Halfmann and illustrated by Wish Williams* is a simple and sweet story of a little Otter who drags out the process of going to bed by saying good night to everyone and everything he can think of. It's not a new idea by any means, but the colors and precious faces of the characters make this bedtime story stand out for me. It's a definite recommendation for anyone with a little one. And at only $ 5.95 from Star Bright Books, I FULLY endorse its value!

Edited to add:

I have a book to give away!! Just enter below and I'll pick the winner on December 11. Good luck to everyone!!

Ways to enter:

~ Comment!

~ Follow me on Twitter.

~ Tweet this giveaway (2 tweets a day!) please link back.

~ Subscribe to my blog.

~ Post about this on your own blog and link back. (2 entries)

Good luck to everyone!!

*What a great name! Wouldn't you love to be called "Wish"? I wonder if he ever got called "Wishy-washy" though? Hmm...Naming a kid is HARD.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Legoland Excitement!

You may remember how much we liked Legoland this fall but in case you forgot...

Legoland Discovery Center in Chicago is having a neat contest! You can nominate a name for their landmark entry-way giraffe and, if you are the chosen winner, you will receive '4' year-long passes to Legoland in Chicago! How cool is that? Just go to their Facebook page, be sure to "Like" them and go to the November 22 post.

Even if you don't want to win, how about heading over and mentioning how much you like my personal name of "Francesca?"

What? You don't think Franny is a good name for a giraffe? Fine.

I'd like to see YOU DO BETTER!!

You can nominate until Dec 1 and voting begins on Dec 2. The winner will be announced at a special ceremony on Dec 31. Following the ceremony will be several fun activities for the whole family:

· The opportunity to participate in a 12-foot nutcracker group build

· Model Workshops that, in addition to ornaments and picture frames, teach guests how to build snowmen and penguins using LEGO bricks

· A scavenger hunt for hidden LEGO gift boxes inside MINILAND. Guests can enter their scavenger hunt card into a raffle for a 4-pack of annual passes

· Winter-themed creative challenges, with winners receiving special holiday prizes

· Commemorative holiday Factory LEGO bricks

· Discounts on food, drinks and photos

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Holiday bow giveaway!

I recently received some lovely hair accessories for Corinne and they are just adorable! Check out her new headbands from Bad Seeds Boutique:

The "Grace" is her favorite because she likes flowers on the side of her head. My little flamenco dancer...

You can win a new headband for your little girl just in time for the holidays! You will have your choice of either the "Red",Or this lovely red and black headband:

(I do believe these are exact duplicates of what the Etsy designer, Amilie, will be accessorizing her own daughter with this Christmas!)

You can earn entries to win EITHER of these headbands by doing any or all of the following:

~ Comment with which headband you like the best!

~ Visit Bad Seeds Boutique and purchase ANY item there. You will receive a free gift with any purchase when you mention Just Another Review Blog! Comment back and let me know what you bought!

~ Follow me on Twitter.

~ Tweet this giveaway (2 tweets a day!) please link back.

~ Subscribe to my blog.

~ Post about this on your own blog and link back. (2 entries)

~ Follow Bad Seeds Boutique on Facebook (worth 5 entries) and say that you found them through Just Another Review Blog.

We'll pick the winner on Friday, December 3rd. The winner will be notified by email so BE SURE to provide a way to contact you or I'll have to choose a different winner!!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Taste of Chicago Toy and Game Fair

First of all, I want to extend a huge, HUGE thank you to all of the sponsors who worked so hard to provide such a great experience for me and my family at Chitag this weekend. My children are begging to go again next year and my husband and I have a renewed interest in board games and family play-time.

Here is just a TASTE of what my family personally loved. I guarantee that you are seeing a majority of what will be beneath our Christmas Tree this year...The Razor Rip Rider 360 is INCREDIBLE. Evan and Corinne kept returning to this booth for more and more turns at spinning wildly on the big wheel/Razor scooter. It was invented by the 13 year old son of the owner of Razor! We just happened to sit at their table at the TAGIE awards on Friday night and they are a really, really nice family. If you're looking for a product to purchase as the "big present" for your kid on Christmas morning, consider this bike.

Dado has really cool building materials! With all of the cubes, planks and squares that interlock and stack in all sorts of interesting combinations, this booth held Corinne's (and MY) interest for quite some time! I recommend any of the building pieces for children with little siblings as they're not as choke-able (not a word, I know) as some of the itty-bitty blocks may be but you can still build really cool constructions!
And this game is one that I have to buy TODAY to make sure we have it under the tree on Christmas morning. Justin fell in love with the Catan Histories: Settlers of America. We were at the fair from 9 till 4 and he and his best friend spent TWO HOURS playing this game. TWO HOURS!! Combine history and a game and you've got my attention; Make it interesting to my kids and you've got my money!
Did you know that Silly Bandz makes new bracelets that STAND UP?!? They do! They stand up a tiny bit so that you can see the design while it's on!! You have to see it to understand it, but it's awesome and a certain girl in our house is getting a pack for Christmas... Evan wore their sticker on his mouth and for some reason, it's the only picture I have from that booth, but I HAD to mention it for stocking stuffers. Plus, my kid is cute.
Apparently, we are big Star Wars fans...
Really big...
Extremely BIG.

Ahem. I didn't WANT Evan in the picture, but the guys in the suits thought that that was what I was asking for. Once they realized I had wanted a picture of just ME with them, they thought that was pretty damn cool. They kept on raving about how awesome it was that I was the one who was excited about Star Wars. In fact, I do believe a Clone Trooper tried to pick me up...
Patrick worked really hard to get the raffle tickets for the Star Wars drawing and HE WON!!! We are now the proud owners of a collectible light sabre that my kids can't play with.

It's currently on display on top of my entertainment center. Pat has been zapping invisible evil forces all morning and making the sound effects because we don't have the batteries, yet. YET. Once it's juiced up, it will not only light up but also make the zzzzrrr zzzzzrrr noises when he waves it around. The anticipation is palpable.


Maybe I should have discouraged the raffle tickets?
About $20, Munchkin is a card game that Justin has played with his buddies many times. Our library even hosts a monthly Munchkin marathon every month. Needless to say, this is a definite purchase for my eldest this Christmas!
Patrick will NOT be getting this under the Christmas tree... But Daryl Hannah has some really cool games that are out including LIEbrary and Call It.
He WILL, however be getting THIS game! The two of us played Scrabble Flash for about 30 minutes and sufficiently ignored our children in a massive sea of people. It was AWESOME. Even Corinne butted in and got a round with 6 words! Also, any game that I can beat Patrick at is one that I like. Shhhh.... Keep it on the down-low.
Evan so, so wishes this Electrix RC car was going to be under our tree, but it's a bit high for our budget this year (about $120). Maybe a birthday present, though! Or perhaps for my tallest "child" who was also hoping to get a helicopter by the same company...
Cuponk! Ping pong balls and cups. Voila! A game that everyone likes! It's around $10 so it makes a great present for anyone.We already have Citiblocs at home but the exhibit at the fair has THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS of Citiblocs to play with! Just look:Don't know what Citiblocs are? Check 'em out!
I have GOT to find this for Corinne. I do believe my dear daughter monopolized this Strawberry Shortcake remote control car on Saturday. But when we walked in and saw that they now have an entire LINE of the itty-bitty Shortcake dolls, including a HOUSE, I couldn't drag her away. LITERALLY.

Also loved but not pictured are Mega Bloks' Dragon Universe, Dig It! Games (I am so excited to try out the Roman Town Archaeology game! Evan will love it and I am going to love the history lesson it provides. Muwaaahaaaaahaaaa!! A Homeschooling mother is never off-duty!), and Top Trumps war games (with themes for every child - Corinne and her friend played the Dog themed game while eating lunch).

I'd also like to extend a thank you to the other sponsors at the Blogger Brunch:

Cold Stone Creamery - they have an 8 layer cake available now! EIGHT LAYERS. I tried the toffee one and it was absolutely divine!

Mary Kay - as always, they sell beautiful make-up while providing profitable careers for women. I am personally interested in trying their pressed mineral make-up.

Restaurant.com - An old-time favorite of my household! We used Restaurant.com for many Christmas presents last year! We used so many ourselves at all of our favorite places. You can usually purchase a certificate for around 50% off the value! Seriously, how could you NOT love that?

Playtex Baby - They've gone and updated the Diaper Genie. A foot release to keep hands on the baby, where they belong (Thankfully, no one's wearing diapers in my house!!)

InZone Brands Beverages - Juice on the go bottles with reusable and fun squirty lids. Very cute and very fun. As an endorsement of how tasty they were, all of my kids downed their juices in the fair after jumping on a big old bouncy thing!

The Fair is open RIGHT NOW!! There's still time to have a great time at Navy Pier's CHITAG 2010....

Monday, November 15, 2010

Human Tribe Project

Human Tribe Project Makes Caring a Fashion Statement

How many rubber awareness bracelets do you own? Do you inwardly groan when a cause you support comes out with yet another version? Are you tired of trying to make an orange, a blue and a fuchsia band work with the outfit you’re wearing to work that day? Have we reached the point where awareness bracelets are so prevalent they no longer create any awareness?

It all started back in 2004, when Nike teamed up with the Lance Armstrong Foundation for the Wear Yellow Live Strong campaign. Stamped with the cancer survivor’s LIVESTRONG mantra, the bracelets raised funds for research and touched off a craze among charities of all kinds.

tag photo.JPGWith millions of wristbands in a rainbow of colors to match a multitude of causes, Human Tribe Project, an online website dedicated to providing emotional and financial support to friends and family in crisis, decided to create an accessory that shows support in a more stylish fashion. The results are Tribe Tags -- dog tag–style necklaces and key chains – that are a way for Tribe Members to show visible support while raising money for the Tribe’s beneficiary. Available in both stainless steel and sterling silver, the necklaces include the Human Tribe Logo, as well as the initial of the person being supported.

“There’s something important about having a rallying symbol when people want to show their support,” says Human Tribe Project Founder Jaclyn Foutz. “But, when we created our company, we decided to develop something that would make a timeless fashion statement and would appeal to people of all ages.”

Human Tribe Project, a free website, was founded upon the premise that all people belong to a larger Tribe, and that this Tribe can be a powerful resource when one of its members faces a personal or health-related crisis. Each Tribe develops its own Tribe Page, a personalized webpage designed to help a Beneficiary communicate with and receive support from his or her Tribe during a crisis. Tribe Members also can purchase personalized Tribe Tags, dog tag-style necklaces and key chains, as a visible show of support and to raise money for the Beneficiary. Human Tribe Project functions like a non-profit organization, but chose not to have charitable status so that Beneficiaries will not be taxed on the monetary gifts they receive. Headquartered in Phoenix, Human Tribe Project can be found online at humantribeproject.com or on their Facebook page at Human Tribe Project.

Ribbon pins and rubber band bracelets have been around for ages, but Tribe Tags are personal. They carry the initials of the person the Tribe is rallying around to support. Plus, they’re affordable – the steel version sells for $20, with $15 going to the Tribe beneficiary as a tax-free gift. Sterling silver Tribe Tags sell for $100, $75 of which is given directly to the beneficiary.

The founder of the Human Tribe project developed it in memory of her long time friend from Chicago, who died from a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer.

**I did not write this post but fully believe in it. I hope that this website provides some of you with not only a neat Christmas idea, but also a way to feel good about what you're spending your money on.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Musselman strikes again!

The best part of fall is the delicious food that warms you up when the weather is cooling off. And one of my all-time favorite foods for fall is apple cider. Holy moly, Musselman's apple cider ROCKED our socks off this week! In fact, I am sipping on a hot mug of it right now...

Jealous? Well, you can get your own! And you can add some yummy Musselman Apple Butter to your toast while you're at it. You can find coupons for them here.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Circus is in Town!

We had such fun at Funundrum this week!! Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus never fails to entertain my family.

There's still time to enjoy the show and save money for tickets. Use the code MOM at Ticketmaster to get a 4 pack for $44 during the week or save $4 on weekend tickets (certain dates apply). They'll be in Chicago until November 28 and there are still tons of great seats available.

Our favorite acts this year:

Me: girls who could literally tie themselves into knots. AMAZING.

Corinne: the miniature horses doing amazing tricks.

Evan: Tiger tamer!

Justin: Though disappointed that they didn't have the man in a rocket this year, he liked the finale with the parade and confetti and music.

Patrick: The motorcycle ball of death! I was literally on the edge of my seat!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Disney Live Mickey's Magic Show

Looking for something less spooky to do today?

There's still time to catch the last show of the Disney Live Mickey's Magic Show at the Rosemont Theater! My family attended yesterday and, though parts of the show were geared towards a very young crowd, even my 8 and 11 year olds had a good time. The second half included some really detailed magic tricks including cutting and splicing together 2 different women! Very cool.

I'd definitely recommend this show for anyone with kids under 7 or big Disney fans. Hope you all have a happy and safe Halloween!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dragon Art Evolution Review

Kid books are SO fun to review! First on our list is DragonArt Evolution: How to Draw Everything Dragon.

What Fun! There are over 20 different dragons broken into easy diagrams in addition to countless step-by-step instructions on scales, eyes, wings, etc. The construction of each drawing makes so much more sense when you look at their basic shapes. I so wish I had learned to draw this way. I am a decent sketcher/artist but each drawing for me takes forever to complete as I tend to focus on the overall picture instead of the basic shapes within the object.

When I applied the rules for the drawings, I tried to be fast and just go with the descriptions. It was a piece of CAKE. I totally whipped out a dragon's head in about 2 minutes with a pen (I didn't want to let myself erase and erase and perfect it). It is SO cool. Perfect for a kid of about 9 and up who is interested in drawing or mythological creatures. I'd definitely recommend this one for a Christmas or birthday present!

Check back tomorrow for another kid book review!

2 new winners!

Musselman's winner is... #6! Louis H.

Chicago Toy and Game Fair ticket winner is... #2! Matt0701

Congratulations to you both and keep watching the site for more giveaways!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Picture It review

These books have been some of Corinne's favorite things that I've received to review. Picture It books are whole stories that the child illustrates for themselves.

We've done the Alphabet book so far and she's now working on a book all about herself and her life. It's pretty adorable, if I do say so... There are plenty of other stories to choose from, with characters and storylines that are engaging and encourage creativity.
I like them as a supplement for our homeschooling days, but they're obviously a fun activity for any child who enjoys drawing. At about $8 a book, you could pair up a couple of books and some nice drawing supplies for a Christmas or birthday present for a child you know.
Picture It books get a huge thumbs up from this mom and her preschooler!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Giveaway linkup...

Ok, if I loaded this linky correctly, this can be my first giveaway linky! If not, well, I'll keep working on it...

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Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I can practically smell the popcorn and cotton candy from here...

It's that time of the year again...Does anyone else love the circus as much as we do?

I wonder...

I VIVIDLY remember having dreams of that cat tamer guy from the 80's. As a pre-teen, his long blond locks, control over wild animals and strange accent (Russia? Yugoslavia?) made my little heart swoon. In my mind, all Gunther would need would be one glimpse of me in the audience to realize that I was the missing piece of his daring act and that I simply MUST join the circus and be the next star!

I guess the lights were too bright in the arena because he never saw me. That must be the reason I never got to run away to the circus...

Ringling Brothers is coming to Chicago from November 4 - 28 at the Allstate Arena and United Center!

You can purchase a 4 pack of tickets for $44 (valid Monday-Thursday and Friday Matinees, excluding holidays) and save $4 on all weekend shows by logging onto www.ticketmaster.com and entering the coupon code: MOM* (enter code in the MC Productions box on Ticketmaster).

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Musselman review and giveaway!

My ongoing love for Musselman's Applesauces continues with their new flavors;

Totally Fruit Mixed Berry and Healthy Picks Granny Smith.


In fact, SO yum, that the applesauce we were sent to review kind of, um, disappeared before I could photograph us enjoying it!

My bad.

But it was really delicious!! Corinne and I adore apple sauce and the Totally Fruit brand is her favorite. I prefer my apple sauce to be more apple-y so I liked the Granny Smith better but she LOVED the Mixed Fruit. Best part: No High Fructose Corn Syrup!! Just fruit juice for sweeteners. Nice...

Even though I slacked off on my camera usage, 1 reader still gets to win the same package that I reviewed. Thanks, Musselman's!

To win:

~ Visit Musselman's website and tell me which flavor sounds delicious.

~ Follow me on Twitter.

~ Tweet this giveaway and link back.

~ Subscribe to my blog.

~ Blog about this and link back.

~ Use your imagination and post about this on other social media sites. Let me know where you linked me to!

We'll pick the winner on Friday, October 22nd.

Good luck!


Winner of Baby GoGo

Monday, October 4, 2010

Mickey's Magic Show!

I am SO excited about the next show being presented by Feld Entertainment:

Mickey's Magic Show!

The Rosemont Theater (not to be confused with the Allstate Arena!) will be hosting this unique show for 1 weekend only. Have a fabulous Halloween weekend with a lot of Disney Magic!

Tickets just $15:
Friday, Oct. 29th at 6:30PM

Save $5 on tickets:
Saturday, Oct. 30th 11:00AM, 2:00PM & 5:00PM and
Sunday Oct. 31st at 12:00PM

Receive $5 savings by logging onto www.ticketmaster.com and entering the coupon code: MOM*
Enter Code in the “Advance or Promotion Ticket” selection on Ticketmaster.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Chicago Toy and Game Fair giveaway

Have you ever heard of the Chicago Toy & Game Fair? I hadn't before, but this event sounds so interesting that I just have to participate.

We'll be going on November 20 to check out the latest toys and games from companies like Hasbro, Out of the Box, Fundex, Top Trumps and more while listening to Radio Disney and munching on a Star Wars breakfast. There will be chess tournaments and the latest Eurogames from the world's largest toy fair in Essen, Germany plus much, much more!

They would love to offer one reader a Family Fun Prize Pack, including admission for two adults and two kids for both days of the fair -- a $60 value!

All you have to do is comment below and we'll pick the winner on Friday, October 22.

Good luck!

First comment - Freebie!


~ Follow me on Twitter

~ Tweet about this and link back. (Twice a day!)

~ Subscribe to my blog.

~ Blog about this and link back.

~ Let me know what other social media sites you post this on and link back.


According to Random.org, the winner for the Jolly Llama's drawing is: #1 Wigget

The winner for the Baby GoGo drawing is: #19 Ashlower

Congratulations to you both and thanks to everyone for entering. Don't forget about the designer shoe giveaway that ends on October 15 and keep coming back for some more giveaways that will be up this week!!

Plea for help: How do I put the Random.org picture on my post to verify the number? If I link back to the site, it just kicks back an empty number generator! This? This is why I like to draw from a hat!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Beautiful words to every woman's ears: FREE SHOES!

Ok, remember the shoes I was talking about? No?

So cute, right? There are TONS on HotterUSA to choose from and TWO lucky readers will get to spend $110 EACH on any shoes from their website!! People, this is AWESOME! They have shoes for women and men! So if you aren't looking for something for yourself like these or these, then you could still find something cool for a man in your life.

If you are really generous like that.

(Which I, apparently, am not as my choice was all about ME! Don't judge me. They fit me really well and look adorable. Also, my husband is a shoe freak and didn't need a new pair! STOP JUDGING ME!)


If your choices exceed the $110 mark, you can use the prize $ to apply toward a larger purchase. Or, if you aren't one of the lucky 2 winners, you can still shop through HotterUSA and save 10% on your purchase price without ANY shipping and handling charges! Excellent.

Use this code: USABGA when checking out in the box that says "apply offer code" to receive your discounts.

In the meantime, enter below to be one of two people wearing some fancy new shoes this fall:

Enter by doing any or all of the following, just let me know in separate comments, please!

~ stop by HotterUSA and tell me which shoes you like.

~ Subscribe to my blog.

~ Follow me on Twitter.

~ Tweet this giveaway and link back (can do it once a day, until giveaway's over)

~Post about this on your own blog and link back (worth 5 entries)

~ Post about this giveaway on any other social media site and link back.

My minions and I will pick the winners on October 15, so get your fingers busy!

Don't forget about the other cool giveaways I have available! Low entries on each with lots of chances to win neat stuff!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Baby GoGo review and Giveaway!

Baby GoGo is a company dedicated to staying gender neutral so that all children can experience playing parents without the stereotypical pink ruffles or blue collars that signify a toy as "boyish" or "girly." Even at a young age, little kids understand that the pink aisles are "for girls" and the action hero aisles are "for boys." It's nice when a toy isn't specific and allows boys to feel comfortable being just as nurturing as little girls. And an added bonus: it's packaged in recycled materials! Nice...

Corinne instantly loved her new doll and diaper bag that Baby GoGo sent us to review. It's a very sweet, cuddly doll that also closes its eyes (a definite bonus for my preschooler!).

If you'd like your little one to receive a Baby GoGo doll of their own, just enter the giveaway below! We'll pick the winner on October 8! Good luck!

~ Like Baby GoGo on Facebook and let them know you found them through Just Another Review Blog!

~ Subscribe to my blog.

~ Follow me on Twitter.

~ Tweet this giveaway and link back (can do it once a day, until giveaway's over)

~Post about this on your own blog and link back (worth 5 entries)

~ Post about this giveaway on any other social media site and link back.

Simply Bags review

What girl doesn't love pretty bags? I may not be a huge purse connoisseur, but I do love me some bags!
I was sent a personalized Beach Bag from Simply Bags to try out and review. I wasn't so sure about the ropey handles at first. I mean, I carry A LOT of stuff and it can get quite heavy. However, after a few uses going to the pool, carting dripping wet towels and random goggles, I can attest that the bag is not only comfortable, but really sturdy!

As the pool weather has officially passed in Illinois (yay! I love Fall!) this bag is now my Wednesday bag. As a homeschooling mom, I need to transport all manner of educational paraphernalia, several days a week. On Wednesdays Corinne has ballet which means I put all of the boys' schoolwork into the bag for the day and they can pick and choose what they want to do while she's flitting around in class. It works PERFECTLY, especially since it has a zipper up top, just in case it rains...

Check Simply Bags out! They plan on adding laptop bags very soon for anyone who is cooler than I am and owns a laptop...

Jolly Llama review and Giveaway!

If you're looking for a new and healthy treat for your family, I am happy to say that there is a great option to try!

Jolly Llama Sorbet Squeezeups are a frozen treat that focus on maintaining the healthy properties of the fresh fruit that they incorporate into their recipes. Quite delicious and very smooth, my kids and I truly enjoyed them. We tried the Strawberry and the Acai Berry. While we thought highly of both flavors, my children don't like seeds so their favorite was the Strawberry. I would LOVE to try the Mango, too! I know we'd all devour it! (That's Justin's "Oh my Gosh. I cannot believe these are healthy for me. I am so surprised." Look. Quite convincing, eh?)

Jolly Llama would like to sponsor a giveaway so that one of you can try out this delicious treat!

One winner will receive 3 boxes of any 3 flavors they want to try out! How cool is that?

To enter:

~ Visit Jolly Lllama's site and comment with what flavors you'd like to try. (required entry!)

~ Follow Jolly Lllama on Facebook and comment on their site that you found them through Just Another Review Blog.

~ Subscribe to my blog.

~ Follow me on Twitter.

~ Tweet this giveaway and link back (can do it once a day, until giveaway's over)

~Post about this on your own blog and link back (worth 5 entries)

~ Post about this giveaway on any other social media site and link back.

We'll pick the winner on Friday, October 8th!

Good luck and Happy Commenting!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Yellow Man is coming to the Windy City!!

Gustafer Yellowgold is coming back to Chicago!! YAYYYY!!!

Corinne and I have been fans of their sweet and off-the-wall music since we first heard the songs about 2 years ago. After watching them at Schuba's Tavern last year, she and I were THRILLED to accept an invitation to attend another performance on this coming October 3rd! They'll be promoting the new album titled "Gustafer Yellowgold's Infinity Sock." I know, I know. It sounds a little... strange. But trust me. This is children's music that you won't mind listening to. In fact, you will actually LIKE it. It reminds me of The Beatles without all the politics and drugs.

Any Chicagoans want to meet up with us? Please let me know and we'll exchange digits...

For all of you who aren't in the Chicago area on October 3rd (or for those who are but who would like to own your own copy), Gustafer Yellowgold would still like to extend a gift for you. One reader will win a DVD/CD set of Gustafer Yellowgold's Mellow Fever. We have it and it rocks. Listen to Corinne on this clip from last year's show:

If you'd like to win, here's the details on a bunch of ways to enter:

~ Follow me on this blog on Google Friend Connect! Not REQUIRED, but man, it's a nice courtesy... (wink, wink)

~ Like Gustafer Yellowgold on Facebook and comment that you found them through Just Another Review Blog.

~ Tweet this giveaway. (Do it as often as you like, but only twice a day and please link me to each tweet.)

~ Follow me on Twitter.

~ Post about this on your own blog and link back (worth 5 entries). Please do 5 comments in case we do Random.org instead of picking out of a bowl...

~ Anything else you can think of to promote this giveaway and/or Gustafer Yellowgold? Do it and tell me. You'll get credit on whatever social media site you use.

Have fun! Link away! ENTER ENTER ENTER! It's really awesome music and I loved the comments that "Gustafer" left for me on the last review. They're good people and love to make children happy.

We'll pick a winner on Thursday, September 16.

Good luck!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010


I love, love LOVE my new shoes!!

Hotter is a name brand of shoes that has been popular in Great Britain and is now branching into the USA. I have to say, it took me QUITE a while to decide upon just one pair to wear.

I mean, my brain just wouldn't stop; Should I go with a new trend and try a bright color? How about a funky suede boot to fit in with everyone else? Something sporty or something practical?

Anyone that knows me knows I went with....


I can't help it! I am NOT a shoe diva. I find a pair that I like and that is what you will see me in for 90% of that season. And the next year. And the next year, too.

Sigh... Maybe this experience will prompt me into trying new accessories?

Either way, I am totally, completely satisfied with my choice. The Starshine in brown will be seen on my feet throughout the fall of 2010 and well into the winter, as well. They are SO comfortable, and look quite expensive!
Aren't they cute?!? You can look through their huge selection of shoes at www.hotterusa.com.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Kranich's Jewelers

When Patrick and I got married, I knew exactly what I wanted on my hand. Something simple and easy to wear with an evening gown AND a pair of dirty jeans. I got exactly what I wanted and couldn't be happier with our choice. Still, there are days when I see lovely rings that take my breath away that I wonder if maybe, just maybe, I might have been ok with a fancy schmancy ring....

Kranich's Jewelers has been in business sine 1903 in Pennsylvania has some truly unique pieces. Some of my favorites are within their Verragio Engagement ring collection...

Yeah. I think I could have managed having that on my hand... ;)

Some of their more whimsical jewelry would be their Hershey's Kisses collection. I know Hershey's is pretty big in PA, but this diamond studded necklace astounds me! You chocolate fans are SERIOUS about this stuff!

Disclaimer: I was sent a lovely piece of jewelry to review in return for linking to their site. However, if the jewelry hadn't been so lovely, I would have sent it back and not given a good review. Also, I'd love to show you what I chose but it's a surprise for a certain someone and I can't spoil it! These opinions are MINE and mine alone.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Cleveland Vacation Giveaway!!!

I am SO excited to bring the biggest giveaway I've ever had together for all of you! After visiting Cleveland for the promotional tour of its best attractions and accommodations, I contacted some of my favorite venues to see if they would like to recreate the vacation for one of your families to enjoy. After a lot of emails and phone calls, it has finally come together! Everything you see below is valid for 1 year so that your family will be able to visit and enjoy Cleveland when the time fits your schedule.

The winner of the giveaway will receive:

4 tickets to:

Rock n Roll Hall of Fame

Cleveland Botanical Garden

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and Rainforest

Great Lakes Science Center

A Christmas Story House

$10 gift certificate for:

Sweetie's Candy Company

$20 gift certificate for:

Grumpy's Cafe

Accommodations for 2 nights for a family of 4 at:

Crowne Plaza Cleveland City Centre

Are you as excited as I am?!?

Here's what you have to do to enter:

Mandatory Entry: Visit one of the above links and tell me something, ANYthing, about it!
Extra entries:

~ Follow me on twitter.

~ Tweet this giveaway and link back. You can do this 5 times! (please use separate comments for each entry)

~ Subscribe to my blog.

~ Post about this giveaway on your blog and link back. This is worth 5 entries! (please use separate comments for each entry)

~ Write about this on Facebook and link back.

~ Stumble or Hoot this giveaway (or whatever social media thingy-bob you use) and link back. Again, 5 times for 5 entries! (please use separate comments for each entry)

I will draw the lucky winner on the morning of Sunday, August 29th, using the same old-school method of drawing from a hat. (If you don't like that method, then don't enter.)

First Disclaimer: I have to have your email available! If I do not hear back from the winner within 48 hours of notification, I will have to choose another person. This is not an exact science, folks so MAKE SURE I can find you on your home page or by putting your email in the comments. By entering below you are signing off any rights to whine or complain that you didn't get my email or that you were out of town or that your internet wasn't working or that a meteor hit your house and you didn't have a chance to check your emails.

Second Disclaimer: Be sure to check all of the venues for schedules and black-out dates. Most will be open year-round, but it sure would stink to arrive and find out that your trip falls on the one week that something is closed for renovations!

Third Disclaimer: (Geesh! Enough with the disclaimers, lady!) Once the package leaves my home (via priority mail), I cannot control it. Should there be a natural disaster of cataclysmic proportions or should the postal service make a boo-boo and the package gets lost, I cannot replace it.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the giveaway! Your help was wonderful and I couldn't have arranged this without you all!

Good luck to everyone!
Now get commenting!!!

Winner of 4 Cedar Point Tickets!

Stay tuned for another big Cleveland giveaway....

Friday, August 13, 2010

Disney on Ice: Princess Classics

I am so thrilled to be a member of the new Feld Family Activator team! Feld Entertainment organizes many exciting shows in the Chicago area, including Disney on Ice Princess Classics in September!!! Corinne is almost 5 and my little nieces are 4 and 5; Which little girls are going to be loving their Mommy and Auntie this fall?

I can't wait to surprise them all! I'll update with photos after we watch the show on September 8. Hope to see you there!!

Feld Entertainment would like to extend a discount code so that everyone can enjoy the show for a little less money. The details are below:

Purchase a 4-pack of tickets for only $44
(Valid Monday-Thursday and Friday Matinees, excluding holidays)
and save $4 on all weekend shows by logging onto www.ticketmaster.com
and entering the coupon code:
Enter Code in the “MC Promotions Box” on Ticketmaster.

United Center in Chicago, IL
September 8 – 12, 2010

Wed. Sept. 8
– 7:00 PM

Thurs. Sept. 9
– 7:00 PM

Fri. Sept. 10
– 7:00 PM

Sat. Sept. 11
– 11:30AM, 3:30PM & 7:00PM

Sun. Sept. 12
– 11:30AM, 3:30PM & 7:00PM+

+Spanish Language Shows.

*Use promotional code MOM when purchasing tickets at the United Center Box Office, www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000. Enter Code in the “MC Promotions Box” on Ticketmaster. Minimum purchase of 4 tickets required. Not valid on Front Row or VIP seats. No double discounts. Service charges and handling fees may apply.

Winner of the Veggie Tales Sweetpea Beauty!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cedar Point Giveaway!

If you've been reading my blogs, you know that I recently went to Cleveland and its surrounding area for a fabulous promotional tour. While in Ohio, we spent the day at the Cedar Point Amusement Park and my mind was literally blown by the rides they have available. (Literally. It was quite messy as I have a large brain...)*The Top Thrill Dragster. Psychotically fun and unlike anything you've ever experienced. You'll regret not trying it, believe me!
The scariest ride of them all... the Ferris Wheel!!! FYI, I did NOT go on this. The Ferris Wheel and I have an understanding: I don't ride it and it doesn't kill me. It's a sweet deal.Honestly, I wish I could go back RIGHT NOW, it was that much fun. Dozens and dozens of rides and the layout was just so much easier to navigate. PLUS, the beach is right outside of the park if you want to have a picnic lunch and relax in the waves. Might I also suggest looking into their hotels and other accommodations that are available on-site (with gorgeous views of the lake and beach) to save on driving time and to get a little special treatment!

Cedar Point has generously offered a package of 4 passes for 1 reader to win! I am so excited to be able to offer this to you all!! The tickets are good every day until Labor Day and then on the weekends until October 31. Check their schedule for off days as they close down for decorating the park for the Halloweekends event. (I was assured that the Halloween theme is spooky without being gory so you can still bring the little ones!)

If you'd like to win these tickets, please follow the directions below. We'll pick a winner on Saturday the 14th so that there will still be time to plan your trip.

~ Go to Cedar Point's website and tell me about one ride that looks cool. Mandatory!

After doing the above, you can then get extra entries by:

~ Follow me on Twitter.

~ Tweet this giveaway and link back. (can do 5 times, but please label each one!)

~ Follow my blog.

~ Post about this giveaway on your blog and link back. (worth 5 entries, but please label each one!)

~ Share on Facebook and link back.

Edited to add: BE SURE TO INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS! If I can't contact you within 48 hours, I will have to choose a new winner!!

Good luck!!

* Disclaimer: My brain may or may not actually be large. But I do have a big head and have a hard time finding hats to fit, so it's a natural assumption...