Thursday, February 26, 2009

Asheville Vacation

Dreaming about a getaway but short on cash? Do you love Asheville, North Carolina and all it has to offer? Well, there is a way to possibly make your dreams come true. One of my favorite Hoosier Mommy Bloggers, Bargain Briana, is having a giveaway that could turn your dream into a reality. The giveaway includes a "Go Blue Ridge Card". It is like an admission ticket for multiple venues. For one low price you get to see top attractions like:
* Biltmore Estates
* Whitewater Rafting
* Smoky Mountain Jet Boats
* Grandfather Mountain
* Chimney Rock Park
* Linville Caverns
* Tweetsie Railroad
* Gray Line Trolley Tours of Asheville
* Wine Tasting

The Blue Ridge card also comes with a FREE full color guidebook, VIP savings on shopping & dining. You can purchase 2, 3, or 5 day passes depending on how long you are visiting. To enter to win a Blue Ridge Card and a piece of Appalachian pottery from the Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau go to the website, Explore Asheville and sign up for their newsletter and leave a comment back at Bargain Briana about what you'd like to do most while you are in Asheville. See you in Asheville!

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

See Kai Run

I have always loved the name Kai but since my little peanut is as Irish as the day is long we decided to love the shoe company, See Kai Run. They describe themselves as urban footwear for first steps. They bring hip back to the baby...and the toddler...and the little kid! But not only are they fashion forward they are functional too. Creating a shoe that promotes healthy development for those cute little feet is just as important as how freakin' cute these shoes are. A healthy fit, quality construction, and an urban style are their hallmarks. And you, my dear readers, are in luck because the blog, Blondes, Poop and Mascara is having a giveaway. You could win a pair of shoes from the Smaller line or the See Kai Run line just by checking out See Kai Run's website and the fabulous shoes they offer. After you've wiped the drool off your chin, head back to Blondes, Poop and Mascara, leave a comment (be sure to follow the rules), and that's're done!
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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

We have a Winner!

I have to tell you! I'm feeling lucky. I've won two contests in the past three weeks. Now, I know what you're thinking...luck has nothing to do with it. And you know what? You're right. Yes, you heard me, you are right. It wasn't luck but literacy that brought me two wonderful giveaways. I read. I read fabulous blogs by women who are fabulous writers. Some of these women are introducing me to products, websites, and many other wonderful things that I never knew existed before now. And I love it. And here's the thing...I'm sure the companies, artists, webmasters etc are loving it too because it is a great way to market in a very personal way. Plus it reaches an amazing amount of readers.

So I'm sure you are dying to know what I've won. Even if you aren't, I'm going to tell you, so there! I won $25 from the blog, Jolly Mom. She was reviewing Buzzillions,a customer review site that collects reviews from actual product purchasers. I looked over the website, commented on it back at Jolly Mom and was randomly chosen to win the twenty-five bucks! It was that easy.

The other giveaway I won was from the blog, Three Prince Designs. As some of you know, one of my "past-times" is designing and sewing children's clothes. Miss Monkey Mae has to be outfitted beautifully. Having champagne taste and beer money caused me to reacquaint myself with sewing. Thus I follow blogs that focus on sewing and children's clothing design. Three Prince Designs reviewed the site, You Can Make This. This is a fabulous site if you long to sew but are intimidated by patterns. Well, I won a bundle of E-Patterns just for signing up for their news letter and coming back to Three Prince Designs Blog and commenting about it. Something I would have done anyway. Who says reading doesn't pay off?
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Thursday, February 12, 2009


Covert learning, I find, is always more effective for my reluctant reader than the obvious, "let's sit down and read a book" kind of learning. The effectiveness grows if there is the possibility of winning something...even a virtual "something". PBS KIDS Island offers free reading games and activities for children ages 2-5 years but I have found my 8 year old reluctant reader actively using it along with my 3 year old. New features will soon be added, including a Word of the Day and games for older children (ages 6-8). Until then, my little man seems to be satisfied in "helping" his little sister win lots of tickets. PBS KIDS Island gives children the tools to create an online island carnival one ride at a time by playing reading games with PBS KIDS® characters. There are eight different literacy-building levels:
  • phonological awareness,
  • letter recognition,
  • letter sequencing,
  • phonemic awareness,
  • word families,
  • phonics-decoding,
  • text comprehension
  • vocabulary
It isn’t easy for anyone to make sense of all this new information, parents or kids. But reading doesn’t – and shouldn’t – have to be an frightening process that turns off all but the most gifted students. With PBS KIDS Island, children are introduced to new skills in a playful, silly way, allowing them to learn at their own pace and remain interested. Hey, uh, that's how I like to learn too! Everything from the alphabet to phonemes can be fun. Honest. The 32 games hit on these different skills, each an important piece to reading successfully. As your child plays the games she is learning these skills in order of literacy development. As her skills develop she is given the opportunity to build more rides on the Island while secretly (shhh, don't tell them they're learning) gaining the skills she needs to become a great reader.

The games are fun in-and-of themselves, but a ticket and prize reward system is included to encourage kids to achieve even more. Kids earn tickets by completing games (multiple tickets for the first completion and one for each completion of the same game thereafter) and can trade in their tickets for prizes like virtual toys and coloring pages you can print. The prizes live in each kid's customizable treehouse, another feature to help children feel like their PBS KIDS Island is theirs.

But the best part is that parents can be a part of the child’s learning process, since all child accounts are in the adult's account. The site requires an email account and multiple kids can play under one email address. As the account holder, I can track my kids progress and do reading activities with them related to what they are learning on the Island. Oh, and did I mention that it’s free? Yeah, now that's my kind of bargain. And I don't even have to leave my house to buy some expensive reading program to help my kids learn to read; just the click of the mouse and I get one more notch on my super mommy belt.

Now, I'd like to hear from you! How do you make reading fun for your kids? What online resources do you use, if any? If you’ve used PBS KIDS Island, what did you – and your kids – think? Happy Reading!
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Saturday, February 7, 2009

What does you Love Bottle say?

One of my favorite product review blogs, Frugal Mommy of 2 Girls, is hosting a giveaway that is eco-friendly plus full of style and creativity. The company, Love Bottle, has a fantastic water bottle that you can personalize in so many ways! How do I count the ways...
  • Write directly on your bottle and express yourself!
  • Place silicon bands around the bottle to add color and words, and to improve grip.
  • You can choose stickers with a preprinted design or blank stickers that you can design yourself!
  • Start with a blank bottle, or a bottle with a printed design and design your own.
Putting style aside, these fantastic bottles are great for the environment and for your health. Avoiding using throwaway water bottles is one way of many we can contribute to taking care of our Mother Earth. Drinking water from a glass bottle ensures there are no harmful chemicals entering your body as you refuel yourself. The plus is you look fantastically hip while taking care of yourself!

So click now! Check out Love Bottle's website and become a hip healthy tree huggin' water drinker!
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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Do you Cadoo?

My little guy recently celebrated his eighth birthday. He received lots of wonderful presents but one we've been addicted to is a great family game, Cranium's Cadoo. We've discovered that game playing is a great way to get an eight year old reluctant reader reading! Cadoo encourages reading in a fun filled way. Using their deluxe decoder goggles players get to read hidden answers which only they can read. Thus our reluctant reader has to sound out words on his own and refuses help! Who knew it would be Hasbro that would get our son interested in reading! It was the best use of our money yet!

Not only is it helping his reading but this game actively uses both the left and right hemispheres of the brain. This encourages kids of all ages (parents included) to develop not only analytical skills but creative skills as well, helping to create well rounded individuals. My son, the perfectionist, is usually not willing to try new things unless he can master it right away. However, with this game he was willing to take the chance in sculpting an object with clay just to win. So what we've discovered as parents is that Cranium games use competition in a positive way. My son's desire to win the game trumped his need to be perfect. This gave him the opportunity to try new things and discover hidden talents, all in a twenty minute game (and as parents we all know that's an ENORMOUS bonus!). Thanks Cranium!!

We'll definitely be investing in more Cranium games. The value it brings to our children is worth the cost plus we have a great time as a family. I'd love to hear what games you have found to be of value to your children. I'm always on the lookout for creative ways to encourage our children's abilities.
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It All Started When...

I have always been curious, creative and entrepreneurial from an early age. My curiosity about how things worked and finding creative uses for them came from my father who could fix about anything and was very thrifty to boot. Fast forward to the 21st century and you have a woman who is willing to think outside the box to create the home and life she desires on a limited budget. I am a married to a renaissance man and we have two wonderful kids, an eight year old boy with the energy of about three boys and a three year old girl with an amazing imagination that seems vaguely familiar. If you want to see how we live our lives in a little southern town, check out our family blog, I'll Tell You Later Betty.

In writing my personal blog I discovered a community of mothers who do amazing work using their talents in the blogosphere. Having moved to our little house in the little town I had become a SAHM with untapped time and a lot of creativity. I decided it was time to try my hand at product review to see what it could turn into.

So welcome to my product review blog. I expect you'll be able to observe my learning curve as this blog grows. Just think, you'll be able to say, "I knew her when..."!
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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Terms of Service & Privacy Policy

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