Monday, December 31, 2012

Apps for Education: Art ABC

The iTunes App Store is filled with apps that are designed to enhance childhood learning, but Art ABC truly shines when compared to its competitors. This new application from Oh Factory offers a delightful synergy between the fine arts and learning the alphabet, and it’s sure to be a new favorite amongst parents and children alike.


Weaving traditional concepts (using one word to demonstrate the use of each letter in writing, reinforcing the common “ABC” order) with new possibilities opened up by touchscreen and iOS technology, Art ABC combines the best of both worlds. Enhancing children’s alphabet studies with fine arts illustrations is the icing on the cake. Each letter is gorgeously demonstrated using an interactive backdrop from paintings by the likes of Rousseau, Degas, and Renoir.


Soothing music, clear narration, and a well-executed, elegantly simple user interface complete the package. Art ABC is, without a doubt, one of the best new educational apps available. It is available for the iPhone and iPad for only $0.99.


Friday, December 28, 2012

Holiday Breakdown, I HATE Winter Vacation

I love my kids. Really, I do. I just hate winter vacation.

So it's officially past that special day that comes once a year. You know, Christmas, the time where the jolly little man on a reindeer driven sleigh gets all the props for making it look like Toys R Us blew up in your living room. Yes, sure, it's the celebration of Jesus' birth -(-not making light of this, really, our kids know that and celebrate that, but I'm talking about winter break, not religion-)- and we love that, but I really hate winter vacation.

So you bust your buttons scrubbing your house from head to toe, because, well, if Santa isn't going to complain about the dust bunnies under the couch, you know damn well that great-aunt Margaret might, and if your family was an eighth as dysfunctional as mine, you would whole-heartedly understand why the heck I HATE winter vacation.

So you invite your dad to come over on Christmas Eve, so your kids can at least pretend the rest of the year they have a grandfather, because since the divorce he's just as rare as a fart in the wind... every now and then you catch a whiff, but then it's gone, just as quickly. Our friends came, and the kids exchanged their gifts to each other, which was great, but that freaking breeze blows by, and there's that stench again. So I put on my plastic smile, shovel food into his face, and send him on his merry way, hours after our friends left, because it's quote-un-quote, "past his bedtime".

I burn off the last few minutes of sanity by sending the kids to bed and guzzling a glass of wine like it was from The Last Supper.

Kids go to bed, the husband and I watch some sort of television program, that I cannot recall for the life of me now, and we begin to shove present after present under our already packed tree. It looks beautiful, the tree, the house, the lights, the kitchen, the floors.. no mess, except the aforementioned Santa Sack Explosion under the tree.

I know I've mentioned this before, but that third kid really sends you right over the edge. I have no idea why the hell I thought that this year would be different. Why or HOW did I forget that the kids weren't spoiled as much as they were this year, yet they broke, lost, or ruined half their shit within the first 9 hours they were unwrapped?!

Well, whatever, either way, I completely forgot about that.

So the morning rolls around, the kids tear into their presents, and the living room and half the dining room look like a Tsunami and Armageddon happened simultaneously. One would think that all that would need to happen is a quick shove-all-of-your-garbage-wrapping-paper-and-bows into a garbage bag moment for it to go back to looking pristine, the way it did the night before. But no.. no it didn't.

I have no idea what kind of a Jenga inspired trick the Night Before Christmas entails, but other than some Christmas magic, there was no way all of those toys were fitting under the tree again. So we decide to stack them up, leaving the babies stuff under the tree, only.

So now it looks like Toys R Us was ransacked and dumped in front of my hall closet, both big kids with a pile of stuff, and the baby still isn't awake. At least the mess is no longer in the dining room, and two bags of wrapping paper, boxes and bows are out in the cans. Round two commences as the baby starts to squeal from his crib, and we begin to video and take pictures. I have no idea what the big kids do during this time period, because after presents are opened, I mentally and physically crash. "Go rest, babe," is the last thing I hear before I go back to sleep.

In all actuality, I should know better. Any time mommy disappears for any amount of time, whether a super rare nap, or a trip to the grocery store, Walgreens for formula, or just anywhere, all hell breaks loose.

So I awake from my slumber, because it's time to get ready for the rest of our day, my mom called and said we should come around 4:30. Great. See you then. None of the kids are dressed, nobody was supposed to open any of the toys until their rooms were done. Their rooms were not done, and the toys were all over my house. Seriously. You couldn't take a friggen step from my bedroom door to the front door without stepping on a piece to something. Why?! Never again, I vow, and threaten the children with garbage bags. They scatter to their rooms, and say they're getting ready.

The husband is ready within moments, the baby is still napping, the six year old starts whining like an old car, because she caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan't fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiind [her] tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiights, the nine year old Aspie is covering his ears, singing loudly, because he's feeling overloaded, and Mommy is wondering if it's too early to dive into the bottle of wine in the fridge.

Catastrophe is adverted, we get into the car at 4:15, and begin the 40 minute trek down to my moms house, and realize we need gas. Pump gas. Stress whether or not the-person-formally-known-as-my-sister (TPFKAMS) is going to actually show up or not. Call mom, tell her {surprise} we're late. She tells me that TPFKAMS showed already, because we're normally there earlier, and that they are going to come later for coffee. TPFKAMS doesn't even drink coffee.. but I digress.

We get to moms, eat a killer meal, enjoy opening presents that my ungrateful, nasty children don't deserve. TPFKAMS texts my mom back FINALLY, and says she's heading to bed. We open the presents TPFKAMS left for the kids, and no surprise when they give my kids the furthest thing from their wishlist. (Read-I'm not about the presents, I'm about the "presence", but if you're not going to be a part of my kids lives, don't pretend to be an amazing aunt and get them a crappy present. At least get them something cool to apologize for acting like an ass to them.)  They run off and play roblox until I'm screaming for the 90th time it's time to leave, and I'm returning all of their presents.

We make it home in one piece, and I walk back into the war zone, send the kids to bed, and crash before I could enjoy that glass of wine. Husband goes to work the next day, and I proceed to pick up pieces of games, toys, and whatever-nots, as I make my way into the kitchen to start the day.

Is it part of the Autism? Is it their age? How do I not raise ungrateful little turds? It's been three days since Christmas, and every time I turn around there's pieces of ANOTHER game all over my floor. I told them to wait on opening the K'nex so my husband could help, and pieces wouldn't be lost. He didn't, and guess what!? It's already missing pieces. So a brand new toy that has never been played with is trash because the damn thing is missing pieces.

I decided today I'm loading the car up with the presents that still exist. Whatever they earn back, they will earn back. Whatever is lost will be thrown away, donated, or given away to random kids on the street.

I'm over it. The two big kids are fighting, the baby's butt is exploding, I'm cleaning the house every three minutes, and my head is going to explode. All day long I hear, I'm huuuuuuuuuungry. All of the checklists, and plans are not working, and frankly, aside from duct taping them to their beds, I'm out of options.

If I go to use the bathroom and have only two more squares on the roll, I will flip my shit. No pun intended. How in God's holy name will I {they/we} survive another week and two days of this, I have no idea!!!!

So, did I mention....? I hate winter vacation.     



Monday, December 24, 2012

Gluten-Free Calamari Pasta + Pomegranate Serrano Margarita Recipes

On Friday's "Home + Family" on Hallmark Channel, Alex Thomopoulos joined mom Cristina Ferrare and Mark Steines in the kitchen to cook up a delicious gluten-free dish.

Thomopoulos explained that she had recurring stomach problems growing up and would complain to her mom about them but Ferrare just chalked it up to a kid trying to get out of going to school. It wasn't until two years ago that Thomopoulos was diagnosed with Celiac disease and the mystery of her stomach ailments was solved.

A private chef, Thomopoulos had to change her way of cooking to avoid gluten. She started her gluten-free food blog featuring tasty gluten-free recipes anyone can enjoy. She also hosts the cooking show "Gluten-Free with Alex T" the Hungry YouTube channel and a new show called "Bites + Booze."

Thomopoulos cooked up a delicious gluten-free Calamari Pasta and Pomegranate Serrano Margarita on the show that got rave reviews from all who tasted it. Below is the full recipe and instructions.

“Home +  Family” is a two-hour weekday lifestyle, ultimate how-to show hosted by Mark Steines and Cristina Ferrare. The program airs MONDAY-FRIDAY (8 a.m. – 10 a.m. ET/PT) on Hallmark Channel.


1 1/2 pounds squid, cleaned, bodies cut into rings.
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
Pinch red pepper flake
4 anchovy filets
 ½ cup clam juice
1 cup white wine
1 (28-ounce) can organic tomato sauce
1/2 cup chopped parsley leaves
1 pound gluten-free linguini or spaghetti (preferably brown rice pasta;brand Tinkyada)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil. Add shallots, garlic and red pepper flake. Saute for 2 minutes, turn the heat down to prevent burning. Add the anchovy and let it dissolve in the oil.

2. Add white wine and clam juice and let it cook down for about 5-6 minutes.

3. Add tomato sauce and all but one tablespoon parsley to the pan.

4. Cook uncovered for 15-20 minutes.

While the sauce is cooking bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a handful of salt to the water. Cook brown rice pasta a few minutes under what the cook time is on the package. When done cooking, strain the noodles and run under cold water to stop the cooking and remove the starch. Set aside. Next, add the calamari to the sauce and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add sauce to the pasta, reserving some for topping the pasta. Mix well. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve.


1/2 cup silver tequila
1 serrano chili, sliced thin
1/4 cup triple sec
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
1/4 cup+2 TBSP agave nectar
2-5 dashes of orange bitters
Garnish: 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

Thinly sliced lime wedges Fresh Mint Leaves Salt and Lime zest to rim the glasses

1. In a small dish, add salt and lime zest. Take a lime wedge and run it along the sides of 4 small cocktail glasses. Dip each glass into the salt mixture. Add ice to each glass.

2. Place all ingredients into a pitcher with ice. Stir to combine. Pour liquid into glasses.
Garnish with fresh pomegranate seeds, lime rounds and mint. Sip and enjoy!


$2 off Jose Ole Mexican Foods + Donation Match!


Become a Facebook fan and make a difference this holiday. Download a $2 Off coupon and we'll match it with a $2 donation to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. Spread the word and help us reach their $100,000 goal. Best part, Jose Ole frozen Mexican Foods make great snacks for your holiday guests- win, win!


Famous Footwear BOGO 1/2 off +20% coupon!

I forgot to get Alex dress shoes for Christmas. I got some shoes for everyone else, but I just tried on my son's shoes, and guess what... They're a size and a half too small! What's a mom to do? As much as I hate to even say it, I'm hopping in the car and heading to the mall to take advantage of this awesome sale and coupon.


Here's the deal.. Buy One, Get One 1/2 Off + Extra 20% Off Your Entire Purchase. Stores are open Christmas Eve, but this coupon deal ENDS 12/25. Turn your printer on, and get your coupon here for that extra 20% off!!


Sunday, December 23, 2012

18x24 Canvas $32.99 +FREE Shipping! Ends SOON!

Still haven't found that perfect gift? Whether you're stuck with what to buy the person who has everything, mom, dad, a grandparent, there's always a special photo they love. Print out something cute to put in a card, and let them know that you've ordered their most prized photo on an 18x24 Canvas!

I have a silhouette style photo of my two big kids standing on the beach by my front door. I cannot tell you how many compliments we get from that photo canvas. Young or old, THIS is the gift that keeps on giving, plus, with free shipping, you're wallet will thank you, too! Click here to order now, but hurry, this offer ends soon!


Monday, December 17, 2012

DIY Sparkle Glitter Hair Clips

Abbie really wants sparkly hair clips. The thing is, they're like $6 a piece, and she breaks them in a day or two. There needs to be an easier way, a more affordable way, to keep my 6 and a half year old trendy without breaking the budget on sparkly things.

I decided to look and see what I could find in our craft box. Sure enough, there was a few jars of sparkles left over from a get together we had over the summer. WOO!

I went to dollar tree and I got a three pack of hair clips. I had some sandpaper in the box as well, so I used that to rough up the clip, just enough. You just need to rough it up a little, enough for glue to stick to it.

I tried using a little bit of spray adhesive on one (not pictured), but I think the can was dead. I couldn't get it to look right, and work, so it went straight to the trash. I used a bottle of school glue, and a popsicle stick.

For the one with the stripes, I used the popsicle stick to create diagonal lines one at a time, and sprinkled the sparkles on. Do not over apply the glue, or it will glop off, and will not dry pretty at all. It was a little tedious, but very easy. The second one I tried doing the horizontal lines one color at a time, and was horribly unsuccessful. I was able to take a warm washcloth and wipe away the sparkles and glue easily, and start again. The other container of sparkles I had was a multi color jar. I decided just to smear it on, and make it multi-color. It came out great.

To dry, leave the clips OPEN on a washable surface, or on parchment paper/foil/or the like. After they've dried (it took about 24 hours for us), turn clips upside down and tap gently to let any loose glitter fall from the clip. Spray with a clear coat of acrylic shellac, and allow to dry.

Since I first made these, I've tried adding other glitter accents on hair clips and hair ties. Stay tuned for more ideas soon! 


Gift for Dad? ShaveTech $39.99 + FLY FREE WYB 2!

Do you or your significant other travel often? Want to travel more? Your companion can fly for free with this awesome holiday deal! Plus, you'll knock the socks of off that special man, with this techy, yet practical gift. It charges off of a USB port- GENIUS, I tell you!

ShaveTech is offering an incredible promotion for the holidays. Until the end of THIS WEEK- December 21st, 2012 – Buy 2 ShaveTech Travel Shavers at and receive a Companion Travel Ticket!! Rules and Restrictions do apply…. Feel free to read them under the picture, below.

What is ShaveTech? Handy for ANY man, this innovative travel electric razor will revolutionize your shaving experience! Its sleek, fashion forward design is no larger than a smart phone, making it the must-have grooming accessory for every tech savvy man on-the-go. The ShaveTech is available in both lustrous black and fresh white, both of which are trimmed in brushed silver, and retail at only $39.99!

The ShaveTech uses USB powered state-of-the-art technology, so that you can charge it anywhere! Just by plugging the ShaveTech into any standard USB port, you can charge your electric razor with ease, free of the frustration of finding an unoccupied electrical outlet and packing any bulky adaptors.

When not charging, the ShaveTech USB port flips up directly into the razor itself, making it easy to grip for a close shave. With its sleek, lightweight design and compact body, you can take the ShaveTech with you wherever you go, whether it be to the gym, to work, or on a flight without weighing you down. ShaveTech is much more than just an electric razor, it is everything that the newest grooming device should be: powerful, compact, stylish and most of all, flexible. The ShaveTech comes with a soft pouch for protection and a cleaning brush to keep the ShaveTech operating at its peak cutting capability.

And for legal purposes we need to share with you the promotion "Fine Print". Just cause we love you, we'll post them in {almost} regular size print.

1) This promotion is only available with purchase through 

2) All purchases made through using promo code FLY FREE are final, non-returnable and non-refundable. 

3) This promotion may not be combined with and/or applied to any other promotions or special offers. 

4) The recipient of this travel award is entitled to purchase one adult round-trip fare from API, and qualify for the complimentary companion fare, when the minimum available published coach class round-trip fare is not less than $399.00. Fares lower than $399.00 do not qualify for this offer. This offer is valid between most major airports within the continental 48 United Sates. Under the terms of this offer all tickets must be purchased through API. 

5) The companion ticket is subject to taxes and fees, which are the sole responsibility of the passengers, and include: Ticketing Fee $20.00, September 11th Security Fee of $2.50 per enplanement (up to a maximum $5 one-way or $10 round-trip), a U.S. domestic segment tax of $3.80 per flight segment (defined as one takeoff and one landing) and passenger facility charges of up to $18 round-trip. At the time of booking these taxes and fees (and their amounts) may differ. Passengers are responsible for paying airline imposed baggage fees of up to $35 per bag for the first and/or second checked bag and other airline fees for optional products or services. Fees previously cited are applicable at the time of this certificate’s printing; however, all fees are subject to change. The exact amount of the taxes and fees will be determined at the time of booking. 

6) To be eligible for this travel award one of the travelers must be 21 years of age or older. Both travelers must have either a valid Driver’s License or a government issued picture identification to be presented at check-in. 

7) Reservations require a minimum fourteen (14) day advance purchase and a Saturday night stay at your destination. API the issuer of the free companion fare will determine the routing from the airport closest to your gateway city. API cannot honor requests for specific routings. API will use scheduled jet and commuter service. Maximum stay is thirty (30) days. Open tickets, open returns, open jaws and circle trips are not permitted. Stopovers are not allowed. Reservations generally accepted within six (6) months of travel. 

8) Both tickets must reflect identical itineraries. 

9) Complimentary fares apply to the base fare only: All taxes and fees for airline tickets are the sole responsibility of the passengers. Examples of taxes and fees not included (but not limited to): U.S. domestic transportation tax, airport passenger facility charges, security and fuel surcharges and the airline ticketing fee. 

10) Once you have paid in full, due to the special cooperative participation of our host airlines, this entire program is 100% non-refundable, non-endorsable, and non-transferable for any reason, medical or otherwise. Name changes are not permitted. Travel Insurance is highly recommended. 

11) Airline participation varies from market to market and selection of the airline for the complimentary companion fare is at the sole discretion of API and is based on API allotment availability and airline capacity controls. Code share flights do not apply. 

12) Lower fares may be available in certain markets. Please consult with our agents to determine the most economical fare for your itinerary. 

1) This travel award may not be combined with or applied to other certificates, promotions or special offers, including, but not limited to; upgrades, government fares, tour/travel packages, group, convention/company meetings fares, bereavement, companion fares, senior citizen discounts, corporate agreements, student fares, child fares, travel industry discounts, internet fares, frequent flyer programs or any unpublished programs. 

2) Frequent flyer mileage accrual may not be applicable. 

3) Schedules, terms, points of service and fares are subject to change without notice. 

4) Travel awards are non-transferable and void if altered. Travel awards are non-refundable and will not be replaced if expired, lost, stolen or destroyed. 

5) Blackout Dates: Seasonal/Holiday blackouts apply. Availability may be limited during certain peak times to certain destinations. Please call to check availability. 

6) Please reconfirm your itinerary at least 24 hours prior to departure to verify flight numbers and flight times. 

1) API and their agents, assignees and designees, act only as agents for the airlines and the preceding parties do not, and will not, assume any liability or responsibility for damage, expense, inconvenience, loss, injury, accident, death or damage to any persons or property whatsoever on any aircraft or in transit to and from said aircraft, or for any cause whatsoever due to delays, cancellations, nature, mechanical breakdown, strikes, war, acts of God, arising from or in conjunction with services provided. 
2) This travel award in its entirety may not be modified unless authorized in writing by a corporate officer of API. API is the final authority on the interpretation of these rules. 
3) By submitting payment, the traveler consents to be bound by all the terms and conditions as stated in this brochure. 
4) This travel award may be distributed, free of charge, only by authorized businesses as a promotional device. It may not be sold or resold without the written authorization of a corporate officer of API; any such sale will invalidate any redemption rights hereunder. This certificate cannot be exchanged for cash or other consideration. No refunds shall be provided for any unused portion of this offer. This certificate has no cash value. 
5) THIS TRAVEL AWARD IS NOT VALID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. All federal, state, and local laws apply. API assumes no responsibility for any verbal or written representation made in conjunction with this offer by any distributor and/or their agents other than those included in this offer. 
 6) All travel must be completed by your expiration date. CST 2056143-40 Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Portable North Pole~ I believe!

My big kids are at that age..You know the age.. "Mommy, do YOU believe in Santa?"

They haven't come out and flat asked if there was such a thing as Santa, but I can tell you, I answered, "I believe in the spirit of Santa and the magic of Christmas".

We struggle with this at my house because my husband has always maintained his awful counter part, "The Anti-Claus". He's posted numerous things on his Facebook wall {every.December} and causes an uproar in my family like nobody's business.

I've never flat out lied to my kids. They know there's Santa's helpers... I plan on explaining it to them the way my friend Kat did to her oldest. I'm one of Santa's helpers.

Anyway.. I digress.. if you have a little one who whole-heartedly believes in the big man in the suit that lives at the North Pole, you're going to want to check out Portable North Pole.

Inserting your child's name, pictures, etc, this program can get even a suspicious child back on the track of behaving well, and believing again. You can personalize it to include what your child has been asked to do (control his temper, no arguing with siblings, etc) and your child will never forget their Portable North Pole experience.

For those of you who want to go above and beyond, be sure to check out all of the additional items that you can purchase, including an Official Nice List Certificate, a phone call from Santa, and more! You've got to see it to believe it! Check out for more details, or to create your own Christmas memories, now.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Personalized Gifts Kids- PersonalCreation Puzzle StepStool Review

What do you get a 7 month old kid? Something that grows with him, or something that he's going to forget, never knew existed, or he grows out of in just a few weeks.

The big kids are done, but finding something for Zachary this year has been quite the feat. The two big kids were a little older for Christmas, walking or close to it. Zachary already has all of the "big stuff"- you know, walker, exersaucer, play mat, ball rolly thingy. He's got a swing, and a bouncer, and a bunch of toys he doesn't play with already. Then a catalog for PersonalCreation came in the mail, and I fell in love with half of the items in it! With a variety of holiday themed products (ornaments, stockings, and SO much more!), as well as everyday items, I made a wishlist a mile long. I found personalized gifts for boys and girls, (adults, too!) and then I saw it... I knew exactly what I wanted to get him!

There, on the corner of page 65, a personalized puzzle step stool!! Ok, I know what you're on earth is this a practical gift for a 7 month old?! I know he won't technically be able to use it for awhile, but it's got chunky pieces, made of WOOD, and it's made in the USA! (Everyone knows how much MORE that makes me love a product!)

Because of the nature of the product, it took about a month from when we ordered it, until we received it in the mail. In the description, it mentioned that it takes 3-4 weeks for delivery.

When I got it, I was FLOORED! It was so much nicer in person than it was in the picture, and in the picture it looked pretty darn cute. Zachary's name fit on it, very well, it wasn't smushed, or chinsy, or cheap looking- it looked exactly the way it should have- PERFECT!

It's wrapped up for Christmas, so no pictures for now, but I promise, early January I will post a picture with my little man for you all to see.

Check out their huge assortment of personalized products for that special someone,  the person that has everything, or a special little one this holiday season.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Add These Family Friendly DVDs to Your List!

Our family is always looking for a family-friendly (a.k.a. appropriate) movie to watch together. The holiday season is the best time, because we overdose on movies all over cable. This year, if you're bored of the same ol', same ol' be sure to check out these new releases from Anchor Bay Entertainment.

These three DVD's are packed with the talent of many actors and actresses you recognize from other popular movies and programs- both new and old!

From the Press Release: 
A sleigh full of all-new seasonal titles from Anchor Bay Entertainment will brighten spirits young and old, just in time to stuff the stockings and trim the tree! From a new superhero named “Elf-Man” to lovable canine characters, Zeus and Chilly, each heartwarming DVD would be a terrific addition to any family’s holiday movie collection!

Chilly Christmas - Produced by Steven Paul, Chilly Christmas follows 11-year-old Bobby Cole, his detective dad (C. Thomas Howell, E.T., The Extra Terrestrial, The Outsiders), and their lovable-but-destructive pooch, Chilly, who live together in Sunshine Beach, California. When Bobby’s father is offered a job promotion in New York City, Bobby is thrilled for him – but his excitement quickly turns to heartbreak when he realizes he may have to say goodbye to Chilly, who is too rambunctious to live in a tiny city apartment! Desperate not to leave Chilly behind, Bobby and his friends try to acclimate him to city living (including using the toilet and a treadmill!). But, while the Coles prepare Chilly for the Big Apple, trouble begins brewing in their own backyard when a dog-napper (Tom Arnold, True Lies, “Roseanne,” A Christmas Wedding Tail) and his crew suddenly show up in Sunshine Beach, hot on Chilly’s tail! It’s up to Detective Cole, Bobby and Chilly to stop the thieves in their tracks and keep their family together for the holiday season – and for good!

Elf-Man The non-stop action begins on Christmas Eve at the Harper house, where Ryan and Kasey Harper’s dad, Eric (Mackenzie Astin) is hard at work on his newest invention. The Harpers are all set to have a merry Christmas – until Eric is kidnapped by a gang of thieves, who seek to steal his newest creation. When Santa arrives that night to find the Harpers in trouble, he fulfills the wish that Kasey makes on a magical elf doll by leaving behind one of his elves (“Wee Man”) to help save her dad. As the robbers scheme to break into the house, the Harpers help their new friend discover his true powers as superhero “Elf-Man”! With time running out and the Harpers counting on him, Elf-Man takes on the kidnappers in a heroic attempt to save the family’s Christmas.

The Dog Who Saved The Holidays The fur-flying fun begins when the Bannister family, George (Gary Valentine, “King of Queens”), Belinda (Elisa Donovan, Clueless, “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch”) and their kids, Kara (Caitlin Carmichael, “iCarly,” “Dexter”) and Ben (Wyatt Griswold), jet off with their dog Zeus (voiced by Joey Lawrence, ABC Family’s “Melissa + Joey”) to celebrate the holidays at Aunt Barbara’s (Shelley Long, “Cheers”) stunning Malibu mansion. Aunt Barbara surprises them with a new puppy named Eve (voiced by Peyton List, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Something Borrowed) and the whole family is smitten except Zeus, who quickly learns the new pooch is not as innocent as she seems. Zeus decides to run away, but when he spots two familiar thieves, Ted (Dean Cain, “Lois + Clark” and The Dog Who Saved Christmas) and Stewey (Joey “CoCo” Diaz, The Longest Yard), breaking into the house, he knows it’s up to him and Eve to beat the bumbling burglars and save Christmas once and for all!

What's not to love about these movies- or the face that Joey Lawrence, Shelly Long and Dean Cain are all in one movie?! All three movies were winners in my kids eyes, as they sat glued to the couch, laughing and on the edge of their seats to see what was going to happen next. Search for these titles and more at Amazon, or any where DVD's are sold. 


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Pinypon Is Perfect for your Little Lady

Are you looking for something for your daughter, or a special little girl this holiday season? Be sure to check out Pinypon!

This new product line is sure to have your little lady (ages 4-7) excited and eager to play with on Christmas morning! With fun and funky characters that your child can personalize and play with, their experiences are never ending. We had 8 girls come over and have a playdate with Pinypon. Here's most of their reviews!!

"I love that you can take out their hair clips and pop different ones in." -A.M. age 7

"I like all the fun stuff that they are wearing, and all the colors make them more fun!" -M.H. age 6

"The bus is super cool, I like how everything pops out. I also like that their faces switch." J.S. age 6

"Their hair is really pretty." H.B. age 5

"I like them, a lot. Can I play with the car again?" A.B. age 5

"Some of the pieces are really small, so I'd have to keep them away from my baby brother, but I can still play with them ok. I'd also have to take really good care of them." A.H. age 6

"They're pretty." S.C. age 4

Most of the kids agreed that they were fun, easy to play with, easy to change the look of, and brightly colored meant they were even cooler. They all loved the caravan, and the fact that everything was easy to use. The caravan has a fake shower, and for some reason, that was one of the most popular parts of the vehicle. Some of the kids called it a "bus" some a car, but all in all, they left asking their parents for some more Pinypons! Each child got to take a few toys home with them, and they all loved the coloring sheets they received. 

As a mom, here's my review. I love the fact that Pinypon allows kids to be unique and customize their dolls. They can interchange just about everything, even the hair and faces. That's awesome, but it also means there's a lot of little pieces. If your child is not great about keeping little pieces together, I would wait until she's a little bigger. It was a little rough for the 4 year old that was there to work with the little pieces, but she loved playing with the dolls themselves. They were chunky enough for her to grab them and manipulate them, without the bigger girls thinking they were too babyish. There's a TON of accessories and add-ons available, making this toy something that could grow with your child for years to come. The fact that there's oodles of little pieces also ensures the brand loyalty, because your daughter will eventually want more accessories for her Pinypon person.

Abbie has a few other dolls with teeny tiny pieces, and while this one has small parts, it's not the worst I've seen. As long as your daughter is good with keeping it all together, you should have no problems.

Now that our party was a few weeks ago, I can honestly say that this is a product I've seen my daughter playing with consistently. You do need a few little Pinypon people, because of their size, although, they have made friends with a young lady named Polly...

The Pinypon's themselves make great stocking stuffers, so if this is a product you might be interested in for the holidays, keep that in mind.

All in all, I think it's a great product for kids 5-7, maybe even a young 8, for the personalization/fashion aspect of it. Be sure to follow Pinypon on Facebook to stay up to date on all of the new products being released, any contests, and for special offers, too!

Special thanks to our friends at MomSelect for allowing us to review these products, and host this fabulous party through MommyParties.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

RSV Season is in Full Swing-Educate Yourself

A few years ago we fostered a preemie baby. She was the smallest, most beautiful baby girl. She was born just 2 pounds and change.. and when she was released from the hospital, and into our home, she was only a little over four pounds. Before we took her home, we had to watch a video on RSV, signs, symptoms, and how we could help protect her.

Although most babies that contract RSV are born premature, full term babies get RSV, too. Be wary of crowds, especially if your child has a weakened immune system. Try to keep him or her from people who smoke or are sick. Some kids catch this virus from exposure in daycare. The virus spreads through tiny droplets that go into the air when a sick person blows their nose, coughs, or sneezes.

You can catch RSV if:

  • A person with RSV sneezes, coughs, or blows their nose near you
  • You touch, kiss, or shake hands with someone who is infected by the virus
  • You touch your nose, eyes, or mouth after you have touched something contamined by the virus, such as a toy or doorknob.
RSV often spreads very rapidly in crowded households and day care centers. The virus can live for a half an hour or more on hands. The virus can also live for up to 5 hours on counter tops and for several hours on used tissues.

With each year's first chill in the air, parents rush to stock up on cold medicine, tissues, and vitamin supplements. While most Moms are very familiar with colds and the flu, few of them are aware of another common and potentially life-threatening seasonal virus, RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), which is the leading cause of infant hospitalization in the U.S. According to the CDC, "RSV season" typically runs from November to March in most of the U.S., but can vary based on where you live.

While nearly every child before the age of two contracts RSV, it often comes and goes with symptoms similar to the common cold and many parents don't know the difference. In certain babies, however, it can lead to a serious respiratory infection. Premature infants are especially at risk of serious complications, or even death, from RSV disease because they have underdeveloped lungs and immature immune systems.

One in eight babies is born premature in the U.S.-over half a million every year. Parents of these fragile infants need to be educated on the challenges of raising a preemie, including the risk of RSV disease. November 17 was World Prematurity Day, an important day designed to help raise public awareness about the problem of global prematurity, which affects more than 13 million babies worldwide.

Know and understand, that this virus looks and sounds like any other virus. If you think your child might be having problems breathing, has a cough that is difficult to stop, wheezing, or fever, contact your pediatrician. To learn more about RSV, visit

"I wrote this review while participating in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of MedImmune and I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation."


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Some Thoughts on Sandy

I know it seems like I've been neglecting the blog on what most review bloggers will tell you is the busiest time of the year. It's almost like we're little elves in the midst of pre holiday preparations.

The truth is, most of my family is back home, on Long Island, New York.

That sounds familiar, because that is one of the major areas that were affected by Hurricane Sandy. My home town was under water, the barrier island breeched. Neighborhoods that don't typically flood were severely flooded, and areas that never thought they would be affected by anything other than wind, were ravished by flood water, high tide, and down power lines.

Did you know that there are still 15,000 homes on Long Island that are without power?? I don't know about you, but after 10 minutes during a storm, I start getting antsy. I can't imagine 10 days or more!

A view of Sandy from Space- Courtesy of NASA
On top of that, the area also got hit by a nor'easter. Thankfully, it wasn't too bad, but the fact of the matter is, it got cold enough to snow, several inches, yet there were homes with no heat.

Living  1500 miles away, it was obviously difficult to help my friends, family and neighbors in need. One of my friends posted some information on donation locations for residents of Breezy Point.

Breezy Point was this beautiful beach town, that was more than just a town. This community was close knit, each block throwing open-house style parties, the coolest and funniest mardi-gras parade, and always there for one another. I remember heading there to our extended family's house to have a ton of summer fun. I remember this one time that my cousin and I went, and the sand was so hot, it burned her feet. The ems workers that lived on the road came by and gave us cream to put on her feet. We were kids, but we learned that sand does get that hot from that crazy day! 

Anyway, when I read the message about the donation spot, I decided to spread the word the best I could. I even sent a small care package up. I've read since then that they are doing well with the clothing donations, but are still in dire need of food.

There's still homes all over New York and New Jersey that don't have electric. No electric means no hot water to bathe in. No television, computer, internet, possibly even phone. 

My heart is with them all during their time of need. My prayers are with their families.

I cannot stress to you, my readers, to be thankful for what you've got this holiday season. Things can change in the blink of an eye. For my friends and family affected by Sandy, they know now that things can be replaced, you need to cherish what's most important- your family.

Remember that as you bite into your bird next week. In the meantime, get ready for some Black Friday ads, special savings offers, and our Gift Giving Guide. Try something for the last 15 days of November. Every morning when you get into the car, say out loud one thing you're super grateful for.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Target Black Friday Ad Sneak Peek

 As I mentioned in a previous post, Target will be opening on Thanksgiving night. With 33 pages packed full of door busters and extraordinary savings, it's going to be hard to map out your Black Friday {er, Turkey Thursday?} route. To find your Target Black Friday Ad, visit and type in your zip code. The good news is that if you don't want to venture out, many deals will be offered online, as well.


Toys R Us Black Friday Sneak Peek

Add Toys R Us to the list of stores opening Thanksgiving night. The ad is a 32-pager and has 16 pages full of amazing doorbusters, with most products at 50% - 60% off. They also have another section dedicated to 2-day sale only items.

If you'd rather stay at the comfort of your home and shop online, {I don't blame you!}, they are also advertising free shipping on all orders made at and Doors will open at 8:00 pm on Thanksgiving Day, so make sure you don't miss out on all these great toy deals! To view the whole ad, click here.


Kohl's Black Friday Sneak Peek!

This time of the year I turn into a site stalker... at I wait patiently until the ads are posted and scope out the sales to decide whether or not I'm going to trek out into the craziness known as Black Friday.

This year, I'm a little frustrated. Target, Kmart and Walmart have all decided to open their doors on Thanksgiving night. First off, I think it's horrible that a corporation would do that to their employees. Everyone is hurting financially, some are starting to bounce back, and Black Friday gives those people a chance to do that. Yes, I know the people who work retail get paid holiday, most of the time, but the fact of the matter is they should be home celebrating with their family, sleeping off their turkey induced coma, and getting ready for Black Friday. NOT venturing in Thursday evening. {sigh} Rant over.

On a positive note... Kohl's Black Friday Ad has finally been posted!! {insert happy dance} I know you can't see me, but I'm dancing right now. The 64 page mega sale book was just released, and it's PACKED with amazing sales.  It's so big that they entitled it: OPERATION: BLACK FRIDAY. I love Kohl's.

This year find hot deals on toys, clothing, jewelry, and so much more. PLUS, get $15 in Kohl's cash for every $50 you spend! I'm super excited about this one!! For those of you who are used to the regular 50% off on all toys sale they usually do, you may want to peek in the flyer- not all toys are on sale, some are on better deals, some.. well, not so much. Happy Shopping!



Monday, November 12, 2012

Amazon Lightning Deals- LEGOS

Run, don't walk, to Amazon because Lego Lightning Deals are going on right now! Choose from popular building sets from Pirates of the Carribean, Star Wars, Lego City, and MORE! What are you waiting for?!


Friday, November 9, 2012

Neighborhood #ToyStore Day - November 10th

I grew up in a small town. In that small town, there was a small, independently owned toy store. I remember shopping there when I was little.. about preschool age. I know that sometime in the years between preschool and elementary school that the store closed down. I really am striving to give that "old school" feeling to my kids, and trying to support more local shops, than big box stores.

This Saturday is the third annual "Neighborhood Toy Store Day" brought to you by The American Specialty Toy and Retailing Association (ASTRA). Here's some information from their press release:

Families and independent retailers across the country are celebrating the joy and wonder of shopping at a neighborhood toy store, thanks to the third annual “Neighborhood Toy Store Day” on Saturday, November 10, 2012.

The American Specialty Toy and Retailing Association (ASTRA) established Neighborhood Toy Store Day to introduce families to the fun of shopping at local toy stores and to celebrate each retailer’s commitment to the community. Participating stores will host local in-store events for families, such as face painting, craft projects, live performances or special discounts. “Neighborhood Toy Store Day provides families with an enjoyable and exciting way to support their local toy store,” said Kathleen McHugh, President of ASTRA.

“Local toy stores add charm and character to neighborhoods across the country and provide children with a wide variety of unique and quality toy options typically unavailable at big box stores. Retailers look forward to this special day as a way to celebrate with the community and the customers they value.”

“We are excited to participate in the third annual Neighborhood Toy Store Day,” said Linda Hays, owner of Hopscotch Toys in McMinnville, Oregon. “Local toy stores take pride in providing knowledgeable staff and maintaining a carefully curated selection of toys that are just right for the community they support. This year, Hopscotch Toys will celebrate Neighborhood Toy Store Day with face painting, game demos and a Christmas letter station, complete with elves to help children compose their perfect letters to Santa.”

In addition to fostering a sense of community, shopping locally provides a number of economic benefits to a neighborhood. According to the 3/50 Project, for every $100 spent in local, independently-owned stores, $68 returns to the community in the form of taxes, salaries, charitable contributions and more— in contrast with only $43 when consumers spend their money at a national chain.

“On November 10, we hope that more families will discover the special touches and unique value often found only at local toy stores,” added McHugh. “Shopping locally is a win-win for families – they can find unique toys and receive top notch customer services while supporting the community in which they live.”

About ASTRA Founded in 1992, the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) is a non-profit organization that provides leadership and resources to grow the specialty toy industry. As the largest association serving the specialty toy industry, ASTRA members include independent toy and children’s product retailers, specialty toy manufacturers and industry affiliates. For more information on ASTRA, please visit

I really encourage you all to visit your local toy store and check out the vast selection of toys available, from tots to teens.  To thank us for sharing this information with you, we received these toys to review and share with you. Be sure to check our Holiday Gift Guide (which will be released very soon!) for more great gift ideas!

Playmobil Future Planet E-Rangers` Headquarters with a detachable roof and changeable transparencies in the command canter. The balance Racer can be turned into a propeller or a jet-car racer. Kids will love the LED spotlight / KO - Flash Cannon (which really works, but requires batteries), functional solar cell with fan,  This playset is geared for kids from 7-12. Watch the Future Planet movie here, and see how the E-Rangers battle the Dark Force. Kids will enjoy reenacting the scenes, or coming up with their own story lines. It retails for about $129.

Mine Shift is a two player game that encourages players to strategically maneuver through the mine to gain access to the gems. How can you forge ahead through the jeweled walls of the mine shaft? Shift them! Rotate a game tile a quarter turn to move the mine wall and allow your gemstone access. Or rotate tiles to prevent your opponent from moving. There are walls everywhere, but strategic miners can successfully make their way through to the other side. With 27 game board tiles, the set-ups are unlimited for a brand new game every time you play. This product is geared for players 8 and up, and retails between $20-25.
This nanoblock Electric Guitar is one of MANY intricately designed pieces from the latest and greatest mini building block company around. Nanoblock products are made from teeny-tiny building blocks that when put together, produces an extremely detailed figure. Choose from their "Mini Series", the "Sites to See", Deluxe, Instruments, and Holiday series to find that perfect gift for the person on your list that has everything, loves puzzles, or loves to build. Whether you're looking for a kid about 8, or an adult who's 78 and loves to build things with little pieces, nanoblock might have the perfect product to build. Rated on a scale of 1-5 (1 being the easiest to build), each piece is uniquely challenging and fun. The electric guitar is priced at about $12, and is recommended for kids about 10-12. My little man is only 9, and while he loved the Eiffel Tower he built last year, as soon as he took it apart, he lost most of the pieces. A bigger (more mature?) kid might keep the pieces together. My advice, glue them together, or buy for an older kid who can take care of it, or for an adult who LOVES puzzles. (My husband and I LOVED the Eiffel Tower.)


Monday, November 5, 2012

Breaking Dawn Part 2 Sweepstakes! OVER $500 Value!

Enter to win a Breaking Dawn Part 2 Prize Package that includes dinner and a movie for four and exciting Twilight merchandise! Refer your friends for more chances to win - for every friend you refer, you will receive an additional entry in the sweepstakes.

Dates: November 5 - November 14

Four (4) movie tickets to Breaking Dawn Part 2
$400 for dinner for four (4) Twilight
Prize Package: Breaking Dawn Part 2 Soundtrack $9.99 (Releases Nov 13)
Breaking Dawn Part 2 Movie Poster $6.99
Twilight Saga Four Pack DVD Set $39.99
The Twilight Saga Book Collection $53.30
Breaking Dawn Part 2 T-shirt $22.50

What are you waiting for?! Enter now!! Good Luck!


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Toys R Us + Babies R Us $10 GC w/Any $75 Purchase

Right now both Babies and Toys R Us is offering a $10 Gift Card with any purchase of $75 or more until November 10th!

Print out this coupon and bring it with you:


Mega Coupon Day!

I woke up to these spectacular coupons in my inbox this morning. With two out of the five of us feeling under the weather, I'll be able to catch up on some blog work today, but I figured these coupons needed to be shared! Redeem at Walmart, or wherever you do the most of your shopping. 


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Carter's $8 Doorbuster Sale!

 Carter's is having an amazing sale this weekend only, both in-store and online. All bodysuit pant sets are on sale for only $8!! There are both boy sets and girl sets available. Head over to your local store, or shop online now.  


Friday, November 2, 2012

Thanksgiving Printable Coupons

No matter who's coming for dinner, these coupons are sure to save you some extra dough. Near the bottom of the list, print out the bath/body coupons to stock up for guests. Hurry and print these quickly, because these coupons won't last long!


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Amazon Holiday Toy List 2012!

The Amazon Holiday Toy List 2012 and super amazing "Lightning Deals" are now available. Lightning deals are posted daily, and are unbeatable deals that everyone needs to check out. Quantities are limited, so be sure to check back daily!!

What's on your child's Holiday Toy List, this year??


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Just a Halloween Reminder:

Our Pumpkins ~ Halloween 2012
I did not write this, but it needs to be shared, so I figured I would:

Tonight a lot of creatures will visit your door. Be open minded.

The child who is grabbing more than one piece of candy might have poor fine motor skills.

The child who takes forever to pick out one piece of candy might have motor planning issues.

The child who does not say “trick or treat” or “thank you” might be painfully shy, non-verbal, or selectively mute.

If you cannot understand their words, they may struggle with developmental speech.

The child who looks disappointed when he sees your bowl might have an allergy.

The child who isn’t wearing a costume at all or criticizes your decorations might have sensory processing disorder or autism.

Be kind, be patient, smile, pretend you understand. It’s everyone’s Halloween.

And if you live in an area that might have been affected by Sandy..

Please remember that Children do not understand the devastation that Sandy has created. Remember that today is still Halloween for them. If a child should come trick-or-treating at your door, please put your own frustrations aside. They are children and still innocent, embrace them. They might be looking for something fun to get their minds off of all of the horrible events that Sandy brought with her.

Most importantly, be safe!
Happy Halloween everybody!


Moshi Monsters: Moshlings Theme Park

The much-anticipated all-new Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo DS videogame from Mind Candy and Activision, is now available at major retailers nationwide – just in time for the holidays!

The game comes hot on the heels of the record breaking debut game, Moshi Monsters: Moshling Zoo. Based on the worldwide phenomenon Moshi Monsters, and building on the ever-growing popularity of the Moshlings characters, Moshi Monsters: Moshlings Theme Park takes fans on an exciting journey into a new Moshi universe.

The game invites players to explore wondrous locations as they work to rebuild the legendary Moshlings Theme Park. Fans can uncover secret codes online at, which will unlock special areas and content on both Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo DS systems.

By achieving high scores in the DS game kids can also unlock exclusive content online at Users of the Nintendo 3DS can interact with other Nintendo 3DS players via the StreetPass feature and play cool games to bring the Moshlings to life in a whole new dimension.

Moshi Monsters: Moshlings Theme Park marks the first time fans can interact with beloved characters via 3D technology. Jam-packed with exclusive content, Moshi Monsters: Moshlings Theme Park also introduces fans, for the very first time, to “Furnando”, a brand-new Moshling character. He is just one of 60 Moshling characters that take part in this thrilling journey to get the theme park back on track!

 In addition, every new Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS game comes with a free week-long membership to and a redeemable code so users also can interact with their new Moshling on the Moshi website. Moshi Monsters is an interactive social online world for kids aged 6-12 years, combining adoptable virtual pet monsters with online gameplay.

With engaging puzzles, stories, and exciting missions, the Moshi Monsters world is an ever-growing success story with books, magazines and toys to name just a few of the available monster offerings. Moshi Monsters: Moshlings Theme Park is now available at retailers across the country, including Toys ‘R’ Us, Best Buy, Target, Walmart and Gamespot (approx. $29.99). For further information about the game you can visit



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