Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

And as a friendly reminder, can you vote for me today? Puh-puh-puh-lease as my little one would say!

This is me. Begging.

At the end of August, I shared my recipe for Cheese Steak Taquitos with Avocado Cream as part of the Big Hit contest through the Mexican Hass Avocado Importers Association. Then a few weeks ago, amazingly, I found out I was chosen as one of the 8 finalists.

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of papers, photos, anticipation. For me, it's definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity. My recipe is now posted over at The Big Hit along with the only professional picture I've ever had taken.And this is where you come in. I need your votes! The top prize is $5000. Yes, $5000! I don't think I've ever seen that amount all once, and can only imagine how much it could help us out.

Head over to the Big Hit and put in your vote. (My card is yellow: Staci) Pretty, pretty please.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Complete Randomness and Fall

Fridays are chaotic around here. Well, lately, it seems that every day brings a little chaos with it.

The phone rings the second I sit down, the emails pile up, then it's time for soccer, for dinner, for work. It seems that I should have so much extra time with Little Man being at school every day, but 4 o'clock rolls around and I realize I haven't crossed a single thing off my to do list. Which grows and grows every minute it seems.
But, I did take the time this week to notice fall making an appearance. Even though the temperatures are well over 90 today, there are still hints of fall out there. The leaves have started to change. The pumpkins and gourds are growing.
Fortunately though, the tomatoes are still coming on. I picked two huge containers full this week and now have "sun-dried" tomatoes in the freezer for winter.
Peppers are cut up in the freezer too.
And Little Man is on his fall field trip today. I'm trying not to be too annoyed that there were too many volunteers for chaperones and I couldn't enjoy the day with him. (It's not working so well though.) But I'm hoping he had fun and didn't melt in the heat.
Yay for fall! Now if only I could find a few more hours in the day. I might actually feel like I got something done.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mad Science KNOW Magazine for Kids

Between my son and my nephew, I think I hear "why?" a million times each week. These two boys wants to know about everything, and sometimes their questions catch me off guard.

This past weekend alone, we discussed how caterpillars become butterflies, how tsunamis occur, why people used to make clothes from flax, and what alligators eat. Definitely a huge range of topics.

KNOW is the science magazine for curious kids. KNOW helps answer those what, why, where, and how questions all kids ask. KNOW is engaging, fun, and full of ways to satisfy the natural curiosity of children ages 6 to 9. Each issue is packed with news articles, experiments, puzzles, dinosaurs, astronomy, the human body, and more.
Sounds like the perfect magazine for the boys in my life who are always asking why. Plus, what little one doesn't love finding something in the mailbox with their name on it?!

New issues of KNOW are sent out every two months, and each one contains fun facts on a variety of topics, such as the solar system, the four seasons, scientists, and technology.
You can check out a sample issue online or learn more about KNOW as well as YES magazine, which is geared towards kids ages 10 to 15.

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Mad Science and received the products necessary to facilitate my review. In addition, I received a gift certificate to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Totino's Box Tops for Education & Giveaway

***Closed: Congrats to Jen!***

With school and soccer in full swing, I'm always on the look out for quick after school snacks. Even if Little Man isn't starving after school, his daddy is usually ready for a snack at that point in the day.

Totino's Party Pizza and Pizza Roll Snacks are great for the moments when we're in a huge hurry. Both are easy to heat up and are ready in minutes.Currently, Totino's is offering two Box Tops for Eduction on their products. But you have to hurry to take advantage of this offer as it ends today! We keep our Box Tops in an envelope on the fridge and Little Man loves taking a huge pile into school with him during the collection times. He's so excited to be able to help out his school (while eating foods he loves.)
Win It: One lucky reader will win a Totino's prize pack, including coupons for Totino's Party Pizza and Pizza Roll Snacks, a backpack, school supplies, and 25 Bonus Box Tops.

Mandatory entry:
What's your best tip for making back to school time easier?

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Giveaway ends 9/22 at 11:59 pm EST. Winner will be notified via email. Open to US only.

Thanks to MyBlogSpark and General Mills for providing the information and giveaway in this post. All opinions are my own.

Friday, September 10, 2010

End of Summer Smoothies with Dole

While I'm loving the sudden onset of fall weather these past few days, I was far from ready to say goodbye to summer. To celebrate the end of the season, we recently hosted an end of the summer party with smoothies from Dole.

Dole offers a variety of frozen fruits including Blackberries, Blueberries, Dark Sweet Cherries, Mango, Pineapple Chunks, Raspberries, Sliced Peaches, Sliced Strawberries, Sliced Strawberries in Sugar Tub, Whole Strawberries, Wild Blueberries, Wildly Nutritious Mixed Berries, Wildly Nutritious Mixed Fruit, and Wildly Nutritious Tropical Fruit. We picked up a few different varieties so that everyone at our party could design their own smoothie.

So which smoothie creations turned into favorites?

First of all, the Dark Sweet Cherry Smoothie was a hit. We combined vanilla yogurt, Dole's Dark Sweet Cherries, cherry juice, and a little ice in the blender to create a smoothie that was a mix of sweet and tart.
The second favorite was the Strawberry Blueberry Smoothie. We used Dole's Blueberries and Whole Strawberries, plain yogurt, and apple juice. Everyone agreed that it was a delicious combo.

Another smoothie that was quickly devoured was the Wildly Nutritious Mixed Fruit Smoothie. Using Dole's Wildly Nutritious Mixed Fruit as the base, we added yogurt, and pineapple juice. The Wildly Nutritious Mixed Fruit includes pineapple, strawberries, peaches, honeydew, and mangoes. Yum!Saying goodbye to summer is tough, but celebrating definitely made the end of summer a little better.

Dole's frozen fruits are easy to use and good for you. I love that I can easily store a few bags of Dole's frozen fruit in my freezer and have custom smoothies any time throughout the year. Plus, I bet the fruit would taste amazing on top of ice cream sundaes!

Product was provided for us to host a Dole Smoothie party. All opinions are our own. We really do love our smoothie creations!

Comics for Kids: KiZoic Review

I love fostering a love for learning in my little one. Over the last few years, I've learned that one of the best ways to keep him reading and learning is to show him how fun it can be, and that reading doesn't always have to involve a book. We read the Sunday comic strips, cereal boxes, billboards, anything we see.

But I realized, I've never found a comic book I wanted to share with him. Many are too grown up, too violent, etc.

I was recently introduced to KiZoic, who offers comic books designed just for kids. Some available titles include Little Green Men: Go Big or Go Home and Shrek. They also have produced Scratch9, Mecha-Nation, and The Penguins of Madagascar comics.
We have loved every Shrek movie that's come out, so it was a given for us to thoroughly enjoy the comic too. The artwork is entertaining and the characters' personalities shine through the words. The characters from film really do seem to come back to life in the comic.Out of all the comics, Little Green Men: Go Big or Go Home was my son's favorite. He has begged to read it every single night since we received it. The comic follows three odd little aliens on their mission to conquer Earth. When things never go as planned, they have to survive obstacle after obstacle in their attempts to take over the world.I would say it's meant for kids a little older than my own. At six, some of the conversations are a little harsh for me to read to him. But skipping a word or two here and there (things like "crap" or "sissy-pants" that I don't want repeated at school), I'm able to read it to him. There's also a little adult humor in the book, like an alien drunk on cow's milk, but it goes right over his head.
Overall, the KiZoic comics have been a fun way to get my son even more excited to read. He loves seeing what the characters have to say and what will happen next on their adventures.

KiZoic and Ape Entertainment have plans to expand their comic line for kids next month. So keep an eye out for what's to come from them!
Buy It:
You can purchase KiZoic comics in their online store for $6 to $9.

Samples were provided for our review. All opinions are our own.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Random Reads

It seems to be a good week for books in our house. Usually we consume a ton of books each week, but rarely do we find books that we want to read over and over.

At the public library last week, we borrowed a copy of Seven Silly Eaters. We have read it no less than 13 times in a week (sometimes finishing it, just to start over again.) Maybe it's because my son is such a picky eater, or maybe it's the sing-songy style of the book, but he is in love. (And I'm not looking forward to the day it has to be returned. I see a meltdown in his future that day.)The second favorite of the week: Uno's Garden. Little Man discovered this book at his school library, and barely got inside the front door before we were reading it together. The book is not only beautifully illustrated, but also teaches math skills and the impact of people on the environment. The first time through, the book almost brought tears to my little one's eyes. He is an animal lover and was heart broken to see people destroying their homes. But, by the third reading, he was noticing little hints in the final illustrations of the book that made him feel a little better about the ending.

And finally, after two weeks, we have finished reading Horns & Wrinkles. This book can easily be described as amazing.I found the book on a thrift store shelf-59 cents. Something about the cover caught my eye, and even though it is close to 400 pages, I knew I wanted to read it with Little Man. It didn't surprise me when he asked to go up to bed early to find out what the trolls were up to or to see what happened next to the main characters, Claire and Duke.

The "rivery" (or mystical) things that went on during the book kept him entertained, and I loved the message of the book: the importance of showing genuine kindness to others. I can't say enough about this book. We absolutely loved it!