Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rice Krispie Treat Summer Challenge with 5M4M

Growing up, I loved making (and eating) Rice Krispie Treats. And over the last few years, I've definitely passed that love onto my 5 year old. They are one of his favorite desserts.

5 Minutes for Mom is currently hosting a giveaway with Rice Krispies. All you have to do is share your little one's idea of the ultimate Rice Krispie Treat.

Little Man's ideal treat would be topped with "all different kinds of ice cream, especially lime, sprinkles, and chocolate syrup." (Of course, everything is better when it's topped with sprinkles and chocolate syrup.) It definitely sounds interesting and sugar-filled!This post is part of a contest being held at 5M4M. Drawings courtesy of my little one.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Personal Microderm Review

I've never had any interest in getting "work" done. I do my best to be happy with what I have. But there are some imperfections that I would like to improve.

I recently had the chance to try out the personal microderm system from SkinCareRx.

As the site explains, the hand-held device uses the same aluminum oxide crystals as the ten thousand dollar machines found at your doctor's office. It smooths away dead skin cells, diminishing age spots and other signs of aging. After watching the short DVD included with the system, I felt comfortable using the device. I decided to try it out on my hands, which have some slight color imperfections. The device is easy to use, it's almost like vacuuming your skin, though there are several warnings to heed before starting. (So be sure to watch the DVD!)

After two uses, my hands are feeling smoother. With continued use, I hope to see an improvement in the coloration as well.

The at home microderm system can be used on your face or body, anywhere you have age spots or fine lines and wrinkles.

Buy It: You can purchase the personal microderm system for $179

I was provided product for this review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Breyers Smooth & Dreamy Ice Cream: Giveaway

***Closed: Congrats to Luvdaylilies & Bev***

Summer and ice cream go hand in hand in our house. Many of our afternoons have been spent eating popsicles or ice cream sandwiches as we cool down from our adventures outside.

It seems that each of us have our favorite, go-to flavors and brands, and we rarely try anything new. However, we recently tried the New Smooth & Dreamy Ice Cream Bars and Sandwiches from Breyers. And I have to admit, 2 of the 3 of us just found a new favorite.

We had the Triple Chocolate Chip Bars, which have light chocolate ice cream with a fudge swirl, dark chocolate chips, and a milk chocolate coating. The overall opinion? Amazingly delicious. For people (like Little Man and I) who order chocolate soft serve, with chocolate sprinkles, and a chocolate dip (aka coating) at our favorite ice cream place, this is a perfect treat.Did I mention, it only has 130 calories and 6 grams of fat?

Breyers Smooth & Dreamy
Ice Cream Bars and Sandwiches are also available in:
  • Vanilla Caramel Chip Bars
  • Chocolate Covered Strawberry Bars
  • Vanilla Fudge Brownie Sandwiches
  • Chocolate Caramel Brownie Sandwiches
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Sandwiches
Win It: Two lucky readers will get to try the new Smooth & Dreamy Ice Cream Bars and Sandwiches from Breyers

To enter: Tell me which Smooth & Dreamy Ice Cream Bars or Sandwiches you want to try first!

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Giveaway ends 8/2 at 11:59 pm EST. Winner will be notified via email. Open to US only.
I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Breyers and received products necessary to facilitate my review. In addition, I received a gift certificate to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Mariott "Nickelodeon Your Stay" Blog Tour

My son loves watching Nickelodeon. If he had his choice, it would be on our TV constantly. At the top of his "want-to-watch" list is usually Spongebob (closely followed by Penguins of Madagascar).

Since, I'm sure I'm not alone in my child's slight obsession with Nickelodeon, how fun is it that they have partnered up with Mariott to allow vacationers to "Nickelodeon Your Stay?"
Beginning July 1st, at almost 2000 Mariott locations, young hotel visitors will receive free activities, including a Nickelodeon bracelet with a code to access free online games at, and an activity book with challenging puzzles and mazes. Kids who eat at the hotels' restaurants also receive a placemat featuring favorite Nickelodeon characters, SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer.

At certain Mariott brands, including Courtyard, Fairfield Inn & Suites, SpringHill Suites, Residence Inn and TownePlace Suites locations, guests can upgrade their package for $10. The upgraded package includes all the free items plus a SpongeBob activity bag and splash ball, Nickelodeon sunglasses, and a 3-D build-your-own SpongeBob craft.

At Marriott and JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts the upgraded package costs $20, and kids get all the above items plus a special SpongeBob SquarePants or Dora the Explorer pillowcase and storybook.
(A few of the included items, some had "walked away" before I could get a photo)

We had a chance to see the goodies included in the package, and my five year old was excited to pack his Spongebob bag with the activities and book, to "Nickelodeon" his own room. He's had fun exploring all the Nick products and reading the included book. I can imagine it would be even more entertaining in a hotel suite (where hearing I'm bored is way too common).

You can find out more information about the promotion at the "Nickelodeon Your Stay" site. They also offer free, downloadable, Nickelodeon themed travel games under the free goodies section, including a travel journal, travel bingo and coloring sheets.

I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Marriott and received a Nickelodeon gift pack to facilitate my candid review. Mom Central also sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Lazy Baking: Mini Pies

Though I love having fresh, just baked desserts, some days the kitchen is the last place I want to spend my afternoons. (Especially with temperatures up in the 90s lately.) So now and then, I let myself take all the shortcuts. And once in awhile, I end up with delicious results.

Meet the mini pie...I filled a mini muffin pan with refrigerated pie dough, added in a teaspoon of jelly (or soy butter and jelly), and added a lattice top. Then I baked them for 10-12 minutes at 350. Even with them boiling over, it was simple enough.

Some days it's okay to cheat. And you know what? No one cares if I spent 20 minutes or two hours in the kitchen. Just as long as it tastes okay. And according to hubby, these meet his approval.

Come join Love the Pie with TidyMom  sponsored by Whirlpool and enter to win a new Whirlpool Range

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: A Lttle Buggy

It looked so pretty from a distance. I even walked up and touched it, wondering why it hadn't flown away.
Then I realized the butterfly was being eaten by a huge, hairy spider. Ick!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Book Review: Flanimals & The Ocenology Handbook

On our way to 150 books this summer, we've tried to include a little of every topic. But over and over again, we come back to stories that feature animals.

Flanimals Pop-Up
Flanimals Pop-Up by Ricky Gervais is such a fun book. There's no other way to describe it. We've read it four times over the last week. Little Man is in love with the critters that pop-up on each page, and the snarky, yet amusing comments that accompany them.

The first page explains exactly what Flanimals are (well, kind of). They "range from Sprengled Humpdumplers to Oyngless Larbs, from Spuzz Gups to Helm Grindlers. They are all useless and pointless."The pop-ups are wonderfully detailed, and the pages also contain flaps that can be opened to reveal more critters, goofy scenes, or Flanimal attacks, among other things.For ages 5 and up, this one was an instant hit in our house. Both the Little One and I couldn't get enough.

The only downside? While the book is very sturdy, when it arrived, there was one torn pop-up. It was disappointing for Little Man, but the excitement from the other pages quickly distracted him.

The Oceanology Handbook
The Oceanology Handbook by Professor Pierre Aronnax is designed for kids ages 9 and up, but my 5 year old has such a huge fascination with the ocean, I knew this would be a great read for him. And I was definitely right.

Originally, the handbook was prepared for Zoticus de Lesseps, the author of Oceanology: The True Account of the Voyage of the Nautilus, by his tutor, Professor Aronnax, during their around-the-world journey aboard Captain Nemo’s Nautilus.

The original manuscript for The Oceanology Handbook was found washed up among wreckage on a remote Spanish beach in 1963. It than is suspected to have remained in the finder's family for awhile, and later discovered by a marine biology student in a junk shop.

Designed as "a course for underwater explorers," The Oceanology Handbook contains various sections that discuss the history of the oceans, ships, myths, waves, and animals, among many others. Each section contains several drawings, as well as an activity to supplement the reading.The section on life in the ocean captivated my son. He loved reading about the different levels in the ocean and the sea life that resides there. He also learned quite a bit about food webs and coral reefs.

The Myths of the Sea chapter was very interesting as well. Little Man enjoyed learning more about "sea monsters", and the possible explanations behind the myths.

I was impressed at the sheer amount of information presented throughout the book. Each chapter is short (since there are 32), making them easy to read quickly. Since the book used some difficult language, it's a great book for the two of us to sit and read together.

Copies of the books were provided for our review. All opinions are our own.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Flowers

Mighty Machines: Revved Up! DVD Review

Boys, at least those living in or visiting my house, are known for their love of a few things. Dirt seems to be number one. Followed closely behind by bugs and things that go.

Upon seeing the cover of the Mighty Machines: Revved Up! DVD, I knew it would be a hit with my son and nephew. Revved Up! contains three segments: Building an Airplane, Ride the Mountain Rails, and Reach for the Sky. Throughout the DVD, there are fun facts, live footage of the machines, and music.With a run time of 90 minutes, the boys are able to get their fill of machines. They loved seeing how an airplane went together and how the crane works to lift objects.

For the 2-5 year old range, Mighty Machines: Revved Up! was a definite hit.

Buy It:
You can find Mighty Machines: Revved Up! at Amazon, Toys R Us, or NCircle Entertainment for $6.99.

A DVD was provided for our review. All opinions are our own.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Novica Review & $75 Gift Card Giveaway

***Closed: Congrats to Eryn at***

When it comes to buying gifts, I definitely struggle. My problem is, I want to find the perfect thing for the recipient.

I was recently introduced to Novica, a shopping site, in association with National Geographic, that offers a huge array of unique gifts. I'm not exaggerating when I say they have a huge selection. When picking out an item to review, I literally spent hours trying to decide.At Novica, they "want to give artists and artisans around the world a global platform to express their true artistic talents and to spur their creativity," and they "want to provide you with access to unique, hard-to-find items at great values that only the Internet infrastructure can allow."

One thing I love about the site is the gift finder feature. You can browse by recipient, occasion, or through various sections, like corporate gifts or green gifts. I seemed to have gotten lost browsing through their jewelery and apparel section. There are so many beautiful items.

After much debate, I choose the Modal skirt. To be honest, I have very few skirts in my closet, though I've been wearing them more often in the heat this summer. The versatility of the Modal skirt drew me in. It can be worn as a long skirt, folded over as a shorter skirt, or as a dress.
I thought this was too much to ask from any one piece of clothing, but after wearing the skirt, I can say, it's true. It works well long or short, and can be dressed up or down. Plus, I was impressed at the quality of the skirt. It's a perfect addition to my closet.

The skirt was designed by Janet Molloy and made of Modal, a natural fiber, that makes the skirt basically wrinkle free. The skirt arrived, beautifully wrapped, with a card about the artist, and a small post card featuring a Balinese dancer.Win It: One lucky reader will win a $75 gift certificate to Novica

To enter: Visit Novica and tell me what you would buy if you win! (You can change your mind later.)

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Giveaway ends 7/12 at 11:59 pm EST. Winner will be notified via email. Open to US only.

Product was provided for review. All opinions are my own.

***Due to a Blogger glitch, many comments are not appearing. They are however being emailed to me, so all entries are being recorded. Hopefully Blogger will have the issue fixed shortly, but please don't stress if you don't see your comments.***

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Book Review: Animalympics

Little Man is so excited to have almost reached his summer goal for reading. At the beginning of June, he pledged to read 150 books before school started again, and at the end of last week, we passed #100.

One way to keep him reading has been to find new, fun stories. He's always excited to find new books. And if it's an animal story, he's even more thrilled.

Needless to say, he couldn't wait to dive into the Animalympics stories. Animalympics is a set of five stories, bundled together in a slip case, that follows five different animals as they set out on athletic adventures.
The books include:
Jifu's Twist of Luck by Mio Debnam
Geoff and the Ride of his Life by Louise Renwick
Chiru's Lucky Seven by Karmel Schreyer
Esmelda Goes for Gold by Susan Sprengeler
Panda Goes to the Olympics by Judith Simanovszky

All the stories are illustrated by Adeline Ko, and contain bright, eye-catching drawings.

Little Man loved all five of the stories, though Panda Goes to the Olympics was his favorite. The story follows baby panda as she trains for the games. Through her struggles, she learns there's more than one way to reach a goal and that she should never give up.

Each story contains a positive message. They teach little one's to persevere, try your best, and remember the importance of friends and family.

At the end of each book, there are facts about the animal featured in the story, as well as facts about the Olympics.

We both enjoyed reading the stories together, and I'm sure we will be revisiting them over and over again before the summer ends.

A copy of the books were provided for review. All opinions are our own.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


This is the sight I've seen most weekends this summer. Hay. Lots and lots of hay.
I don't mind the work. Its tiring, but I always sleep well when I'm done. I usually sweat a few pounds off too. No heat compares to that of a hay lot. It has to be 100 plus up there, with dust and gunk flying through the air.
What I do mind are the critters we run into. A bale came flying off the chute yesterday, and as I grabbed it to load onto the wagon, my mom started screaming at me to drop it. Not having a clue why she was screaming, I stood there with it. Just staring at her.

After I finally dropped it, and she kicked it off the wagon, I caught glimpse of a snake (well, half a snake) wiggling out the bottom. Just thinking about it makes me sick to my stomach.

Lesson of the day for my 5 year old: Snakes continue to move even without half their body.

And just don't I don't leave you on that note...A little randomness from our day:

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Farm Rich Review

We do our best to eat healthy, most of the time. But every now and then, I just want to indulge. While hubby often indulges in desserts, I would much rather have something before my meal.

Farm Rich offers a variety of appetizers and snacks, which are great for the occasional indulgence or as party treats. We had the chance to try the Farm Rich Cheese Sticks. Filled with 100% real mozzarella cheese, than breaded and seasoned, they are delicious. Both my hubby and I enjoyed snacking on them while waiting for our dinner to cook earlier this week.
Farm Rich products include:
Cheese Sticks
Mozzarella Bites
Mini Philly Cheese Steak
Pizza Slices
Sandwich Melts
Battered Mushrooms
Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers
Pizzeria Bites
French Toast Sticks
Marinara Stuffed Mozzarella Sticks

The Cheese Sticks we tried were simple to prepare and ready in minutes. We will definitely be keeping Farm Rich products in mind for our next party.

Buy It:
You can find Farm Rich products in your grocer's freezer.

Print a 75 cent off coupon now!

We were provided product for review. All opinions are our own.