Monday, December 22, 2008

Let Safeway reward you!

Recently my husband and I were discussing the family budget. I mentioned that (especially this summer when gas prices were crazy) there's less discretionary income this year than last. Just the basics seem to cost more than they did last year.

And shopping for Christmas toys? Does it seem prices increased there too?

Either way we, like alot of other families, are seeking out opportunities were we can get more value for the money. And for those who have Safeway stores in their area? Well you've got an extra opportunity! If you are more inclined to purchase gift cards (like me) you'll be happy to hear that this season, if you buy gift cards, you can double your PowerPump Rewards.

Here's a locator so you can find out if your local Safeway store is participating

Also, earn additional rewards with every $100 you spend on gift cards. And according to their site, more than 300 gift cards count toward earning those PowerPump rewards.

And while you're at Safeway's site take a gander at the recipies, party planning tips, and even holiday activity ideas. (The kids are out of school for the holiday. Let's face it, you need SOMETHING to keep them occupied.) And if you need grocery delivery? They got your back there too!

This post was written on behalf of MomCentral.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winner of Pilsbury giveaway

The winner of the Pilsbury giveaway is Stacy!


Thanks to everyone who has been participating in the giveaways. More are in store for 2009!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Nature's Gate: gateway to healthy beauty products

Every night before I go to bed, I apply lotion to my hands. This ritual began years ago when my son was itty bitty. My hands had gotten so dry and chapped from all of the handwashing I was doing (thanks to all of those dirty diapers I was changing).

I have a ton of products in my nightstand. But the one I've been using alot these days is Nature's Gate Organic Fruit Blend Body Lotion in Pineapple.

For those of you unfamiliar with the brand, Nature's Gate creates natural, (certified) organic personal care products. Their main goal is to keep your skin healthy by using natural ingredients and connect with communities. How cool is that?

The lotion isn't too thick or creamy. It has a nice consistency that is easily rubbed into the skin, drying quickly. A few minutes after application, I can always tell the lotion is still on my skin but it feels somewhat like a thin protective layer. Some people might not like that but I don't mind at all. But the best aspect for me? Is the smell.

Usually when lotions claim to smell like a fruit, they often smell like a hint of fruit with a heaping helping of chemicals. That is definitely not the case here. This stuff smells so much like real pineapple that after I've applied and and I smell my hands? It almost makes me want to bite my hand off. Yeah. That good.

Another cool component is that the company is working with WaterAid to provide Asian and African communities with clean drinking water. Plus, the products are paraben free, Phthalate free, and there's no animal testing.

Go to Nature's Gate website for a full listing of product lines, where to buy and more about the company's vision.

Monday, December 15, 2008

New Monday Giveaway!

Just in time for that big holiday family meal! I've got a Pillsbury gift package featuring:

*Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crusts,
*Two 9-inch glass pie pans
* A pie server,
* Pie-top cut-outs
* A CD-ROM with photos and recipes of Pillsbury pie favorites!

The Pillsbury peeps want to remind you that pies are a classic dessert to any holiday meal. And they don't have to involve alot of time and effort.

Leave a comment with your email address. Anyone can enter. (As in this isn't just open to those in the United States.) Just do so by Saturday Dec. 20 at 6 p.m. The winner will be notified that weekend. Anyone above the age of 18 can enter.

Friday, December 12, 2008

MomCentral's guide to gifts

Some people were born to shop. Some people have this knack of being able to pinpoint the perfect gift for any person. Some people can sniff out a bargain from a mile away.

I don't fall into any of these categories. I'm always struggling for ideas. I usually take the lazy way out and get gift cards for everyone. But this year? I've got MomCentral's gift guide to point me in the right direction.

MomCentrals' gift guide is organized into several categories like "women" "tweens" "toddler" and even "pets". There's even a "giveaway" category.

The site is easy to navigate and pretty responsive. Also, there are ideas for every price range. Wanna spend less than $50 on "him", well they've got you covered. Are you out of gift giving ideas for your teen, but still want to stay within the $100-130 range? MomCentral can offer up some suggestions.

So save yourself some time and mental energy this Christmas season and check out their gift-giving suggestions!

This post was written on behalf of MomCentral.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Positive Spin

There’s a little girl fairy by the name of Eve
She loves to eat candy and play make-believe
Her wings are multicolored. Her smile is bright
Her heart is big, filled with love and light.

I'll spare you any further rhyming on my part. But suffice to say that I recently reviewed three children's books published by Positive Spin Press. All Hallows Eve, Winter's Eve and Christmas Eve all feature a sweet little fairy by the name of Eve who lives in a fairy glen ("as most fairies do"). The books were written by Lisa Sferlazza Johnson and illustrated by Lisa's husband Tucker Johnson. The Johnson's are also the founders of Positive Spin Press.

Now, for a spot of info about each book:

*Hallow's Eve - The little fairy, who loves candy is sad that she can magically make any on her own. Her friend Jack comes up with a solution. They set about the glen, visiting houses, collecting treats on Eve's behalf. When presented with the candy, Eve is thrilled and remembers the toys she's made and gives each fair a shiny new toy.

* Winter's Eve - Eve's little glen appears to be a very diverse community! Eve's friend's observe various winter holidays within their cultures. As her friends travel they send Eve messages, letting her know where they are and a bit about how they are celebrating.

*Christmas Eve - Santa needs some help and asks Eve for some assistance. But Eve is worried. Her talents lie in magically creating small toys. Santa comforts her by letting her know that it is not the size or grandness of the gift but of the spirit intended. He mentions the birth of Jesus and the inspiration behind the Wright Brothers.

The main character Eve is endearing. I think alot of children can identify with her innocence, and
vulnerability. I do like her generous spirit. My son liked Eve because she reminds him of Chloe and Natalie, two little neighbor girls he's good friends with.

The story lines are cute and creative. But there are times where the rhymes felt a bit awkward. (Although the idea to tell the tale in a rhyming style is an interesting one.)

Overall, my little guy enjoyed the stories. His favorite (and mine as well) has been the Halloween story. Although I did like how Winter's Eve ended up giving us the opportunity to discuss the idea of diversity and how important it is to respect other people and their cultures.

If you're looking for more information about the author and the books, visit this site.

This review was written on behalf of ParentBloggers.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Shop till your keyboard drops.

So I'm browsing through, and then it hits me. This is a very dangerous site.

I say that with love, people. As in, they have EVERY-freaking-THING you could think to buy on one site. Different lines of make-up? Check. Electronics? Check. Shoes? Check. is on-line, one-stop shopping site that provides thousands of products from thousands of merchants. This means you can forgo the crowds, lines and screaming children you'd typically have to tolerate were you to leave your warm, cozy house. (Plus, if you're not at the mall, its much easier to avoid the siren call of those cookie, pretzel and ice cream places.)

First I started searching and comparing prices for some of my favorite beauty products. Then I went on to find tons of yoga dvd's and boys' pants. After a bit, I started searching for random items to see if they have them. Input "stapler" and you'll get 1172 matches. Try "pickles" and you'll find all sort of items -- from cookbooks, t-shirts and party invitations to children's books and everything in between. (And different kinds of pickles too.) Oh, if the bird in your life is bored? They sell bird toys. (In fact there were 947 matches for that search.)

They have everything but the kitchen sink. Oh wait, the DO sell kitchen sinks!

But also has a plethora of other features. There are links to weekly deals, holiday music, listings of merchants that offer free shipping, coupons and contests. If you click on "my shop" they can provide shopping ideas, keep track of your purchases and make product recommendations.

The site is well-organized, easy to navigate through and responsive. And I had a fun on-line experience. After awhile I did find ONE thing they didn't seem to have. That would be "prairie dog decor". But I won't hold that against them.

This post was written on behalf of MomCentral.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Word World Giveaway Winner

The winner for the Word World giveaway is... Ashley.

Thanks for leaving a comment everyone. There's more giveaways set up for this month. Stay tuned for those!

Friday, December 5, 2008

"True North" wants to hear your story

The gymnasium of my high school was packed that day in May of 1991. There was a sea of purple gowns with matching hats and gold tassels. Proud parents and grandparents sat on bleachers fanning themselves. The back doors were open to let in air, yet revealed a promising sunny day.

At the podium, our superintendent gave a speech. I still tear up when I think of it today. He said we needed to be true to ourselves. We needed to find our "true north". It really resonated with me and its been that little piece of advice that I've always kept in my heart.

For some people, following their "true north" can result in an amazing journey that can inspire others or leave the world a much brighter place. It doesn't have to be the story of one person, it can involve a number of people.

Have you found your "true north"? Do you have an interesting story to share? True North wants to hear! Visit this site. Tell your story in less than 300 words. And if chosen, your story could be made into a 60 second video to be shared on Oscar night (February 22). Here are the legal terms and the questions most commonly asked.

Good luck!

The post was written on behalf of MomCentral.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Easy way to make saving a Priority

I went Christmas shopping for my son, nephews and niece yesterday.

Is it me or have you experience "sticker shock" at the register too? I paid the bill then checked the receipt in the car. No mistakes. It really WAS that much money. And quite honestly? I didn't get much for the amount I spent.

But it seems this has become the new "normal" -- whether it is in the grocery store, Christmas shopping or paying the doctor or dental bills.

But there's a website that can help lessen the financial load. You can earn and redeem points for travel and hotel stays. And you can do the same when it comes to those holiday gifts and eating out. The program? Priority Club Rewards.

Priority Club has partnered with a number of hotels, airlines, rental car companies and a plethora of major online retailers like Target and Old Navy. The premise is easy. You sign up. And when you spend, you earn points that you can use later.

According the the site, redeeming points is easy and there are many ways to earn extra points without having to spend extra cash. Plus, points don't expire and there aren't any blackout dates. To find out how you can start saving NOW, go to (This could be a very easy way to fund next year's holiday shopping!)

This post was written on behalf of MomCentral.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Word World giveaway! (And review too!)

From the first few minutes of watching Word World, my son was hooked. His eyes grew big. He sat still and watched the entire episode. This was a very big deal. This child isn't one to sit still.

The show became one of his daily favorites. After a few episodes he started pointing out different words when we'd read. I'd ask, "where did you learn that word?" He'd say, "When I was watching Word World." Awesome!

This is why Word World holds a special place in my heart. The characters are lovable, the story lines are cute and the song for the show is snappy. ("Let's Build a Word!") Many of the objects within the story are made out of letters. For instance, see the dog in this photo? His face is the "D" and the rest of his body is the "o" and "g." They do this with the characters and even places where the friends live like "Log" and "Barn". Creative, yes? So when given the opportunity to review a few of their products, I was all, "yeehaw!"

We were sent both the Word World Pull-Apart WordFriend plush cow and pig. (Upon opening the boxes, my son immediately grabbed them and ran to his room.) The fabric of each animal is soft and smooth. The eyes of the characters are securely fastened, the stitching is strong. And magnets, which are sewn in, are strong enough to attract the letters needed. Plus there's a bonus DVD included with each animal.

The animals are meant for kids three and older. At first I wondered why. These are durable little toys. But my guess is that the manufacturers have to exercise caution. But its a cute toy that looks as if it can easily be thrown in the wash when necessary.

We were also sent the Word World Bucket Set for the House. (They also have a barn set.) This has been one of those toys I was holding off on opening. But my son was begging and begging me to open it. Once I got the go-ahead from the pr company (I wasn't quite sure this was for us.), I opened it up. Seth immersed himself into project and started building with nary a request for food, drink, or anything else. (Which is highly uncommon.) I helped him with a few parts and we had a lovely time building the fence and attaching the slide to the
The toys are aimed getting children ages three to five. But even older kids (like my son who's six) get a kick out of the toys. The toys are sold at Target.

Win some Word World Mega Blocks for the budding reader in YOUR life! Just leave a comment (along with your email addy) here between now and Sunday (Dec. 7) at noon. Anyone can enter.