Thursday, August 30, 2012

**HOT** Publix Dr.Pepper/Mountain Dew/Pepsi Deal!! Exp 8/31

Do you have a Publix by you? If so, run, don't walk to your local Publix and stock up on soda.

Right now, Publix is running a sale for Pepsi products- buy 2, get 2 free. ($4.99/case)

HOWEVER, on the front of the yellow flier (at the front of the store, usually in a rotating kiosk) there is a coupon for Buy 1 Dr.Pepper or Mountain Dew, Get 1 Free.

If you pick up 1 Mountain Dew, 1 Dr. Pepper, then two other cases of whatever Pepsi product you love, that equals three free cases wyb 1!! Total cost out of pocket- $4.99. There's a limit at my store of three deals (12 cases!) at my store, your store may differ.

Want an even better deal? Some cases of Dr. Pepper have a peelie on it to save $1 when you buy two 12 packs. That is $2.99 cash out of pocket. Good Luck!


Pillsbury Artisan Pizza Crust- Fun for Family Dinner! + Giveaway! Ends 9/8

Our family loves to make homemade pizza for dinner. It's a great time to really bond with the kids, while allowing them to be creative in the kitchen. They pick their toppings and are proud of their finished products!

New Pillsbury Artisan Pizza Crust with Whole Grain is the perfect canvas for a culinary masterpiece, or should we say master-pizza! Just add your favorite ingredients and enjoy a hot, fresh meal in minutes. Whether your family loves pepperoni, veggies, or the works, the possibilities are endless with New Pillsbury Artisan Pizza Crust with Whole Grain.

With 16 grams of whole grain per serving, this is a pizza crust the whole family will love, and the best part is that it's available in the refrigerated section of your local grocery store. That means theirs no mixing, it's straight from the can to your baking sheet, and then into the oven!

Quick, convenient, and completely customizable new Pillsbury Artisan Pizza Crust with Whole Grain will help you add some pizzazz to your homemade pizza along with the health benefits of whole grain! To download a printable coupon for $1.25 off one package of New Pillsbury Artisan Pizza Crust with Whole Grain, visit today!

Be sure to follow Pillsbury on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on new products, grab awesome coupons, and get new ideas for dinner with their delicious recipes. I found an amazingly yummy looking recipe for grilled pizza with mushrooms and pesto, and I really think I may try it for dinner tonight with the whole grain crust!

How would you like a chance to WIN an Artisan Pizza Gift Pack?!? Here's what you can win:

One random winner will receive a gift pack courtesy of Pillsbury through MyBlogSpark.
It includes:
  • VIP coupon for New Pillsbury Artisan Pizza Crust with Whole Grain
  • $10 gift card (for some toppings!)
  • Baking sheet
  • Oven mitt
  • Pizza cutter
Enter by filling out the entry form below- please allow it a moment to load.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: The product, gift pack, information, and additional sample have been provided by Pillsbury through MyBlogSpark. All opinions are strictly that of 4BabyAndMom.


FREE Shipping at See Kai Run

Right now you can score free shipping on your purchase from Save on some of the hottest back to school styles for your little guy or gal.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Bright Starts InGenuity Automatic Bouncer Review

As a mom of three, I need products that help to simplify my life. I have a nine year old on the autism spectrum, a six year old drama queen, and a 15-week old colicky baby with reflux who LOVES to be held- all of the time. I'm not one of those anti-holding moms, but I am busy, and usually being pulled into forty two different directions. I wear my baby as often as I can, but face it, sometimes I need a break.

Recently, we were asked to review the new InGenuity Automatic Bouncer by Bright Starts. I decided to give it a shot, because this bouncer is not a vibrating chair like the other bouncers on the market, and not a jumper-type contraption. This bouncer is supposed to mimic the movements a mom would make when bouncing her baby, say, while trying to get that last piggy out. The InGenuity Automatic Bouncer retails for $49.99, and this particular color/style is available at online and in Target Stores. Be sure to check out Amazon, Babies R Us, and Buy Buy Baby, for the InGenuity Bouncer in other fashions.

Here's my video review of the product:

As you can see, it gently rocks the baby, not side to side, but front to back- in the same motion baby would make should you pat his tushy. I personally wish there was a way to increase the intensity, as sometimes my baby is really fights sleep and that stronger bounce would really help with his colic. If my baby is fighting sleep, ready to go to bed, I will put him in this, and he is usually out cold in just a few minutes. This is especially helpful when the house is busy and full.

He loves to hang out in it, because of the way the seat kind of hugs him with his weight. My baby is pretty small- he's only 11 pounds, 6 ounces- but I could see this product being able to "grow" with him, and still be comfortable the heavier he gets, as well.

Here are some product features:
  • 30 minutes of automatic bouncing that mimics mom's natural motion
  • Seat features cradling side supports and removable headrest
  • 8 melodies and 3 nature sounds
  • Removable, pivoting toy arm with 2 plush toys
  • Batteries last twice as long as traditional bouncers

Weight/Height: Up to 20 lbs
Age: Birth & Up

Battery Requirements:
3 C (Not Included)

They didn't make products like this when my two big kids were little, but if they did, it would have been such a lifesaver. I still have a vibrating bouncing chair, and a swing, but I love the option of having a bouncer. The only thing that would make this better is if it had the option to vibrate, as well.

The InGenuity Automatic Bouncer has two different sound settings. One plays lullabies, and the other is nature sounds. I like the nature sounds, but the big kids like the lullabies, so they can sing along. I think it's cute.

I love that the play bar is removable, and fully adjustable. I can flip it all the way back when I'm taking baby in or out of it, and pull it right back to the perfect position for him to bat at the toys. The big kids keep trying to clip extra toys to it, but the width of the bar won't really allow that.

All in all, if you are in the market for baby gear, put this one on the list. Follow KidsII on Twitter, so you can stay up to date on Bright Starts products, InGenuity products, new designs, or upcoming news.

This review was made possible by Double Duty Divas and Kids II, Inc. I was provided the featured product free of charge to facilitate my review. All opinions expressed above are strictly mine, your experience may differ.


Monday, August 27, 2012

End of Month Coupons- Print now to SAVE!

These fabulous coupons won't be available to print after 8/31, so be sure to print them out NOW! Save big on breakfast foods, snacks, and vitamins-- perfect timing for back to school!!


Saturday, August 25, 2012


Ugh. We've barely recouperated from Tropical Storm Debby, and now they're predicting that sometime between Sunday and Monday, this beast of a storm (which will likely be a hurricane by the time it comes close to where we live) is going to affect our area.

Click on the image to see it bigger.
I'm not thrilled because our ground is over saturated as it is- we've had a ton of really bad thunderstorms and rain storms over the last two weeks, steadily. With oversaturated grounds, the likely-hood we'll flood again is pretty high. Some of the neighborhoods in my town that got hit really hard, only RECENTLY just got all of the water out of their homes. Do me a favor, and just cross your fingers that this storm dies down.

My advice to anyone in Florida, or that might be near the projected cone- Stay Safe. Stay smart. Pay attention, and get out, if you need to. GO AWAY, ISAAC!


I think it's time for some changes-

No- I'm NOT pregnant again. But, we do have some announcements!!

We're moving- well, not us, but the blog.. sort of. Although, we've had a pretty decent relationship with Blogger over the last few years, we're growing up, so I've decided we're switching to WordPress.

What does that mean?

Right now, not a lot, for you guys. I've contacted a blog transfer service that will help make the transition smooth for you- and me- and we won't be making any major changes until the end of September, if all goes well. I'm excited!!

Also, this semester, Marissa is going to be an intern! No- not in the White House, but in a local school. She's very excited, but will be very busy, so we're taking on another contributor. Cyndy is one of the most fabulous cooks I've ever known, and the queen at whipping something up out of nothing. She's going to help us in expanding our recipe section, as well as contributing in a variety of means. She's excellent at organizing, space saving, and SO creative- she's got tons of talent hiding up her sleeves. I can't wait until she officially joins our 4BabyAndMom family.

I'm really excited, as there are new things on the horizon for 4BabyAndMom. We still have several giveaways open, so be sure to enter, and tell your friends.

Don't forget, our Hyped 4 The Holidays blog party is just around the corner. Do you have suggestions for a company YOU want to see featured? Comment below! Do you know a small business owner that might want to be featured? We love the little guys- tell them about us, or send us their info!


Monday, August 20, 2012

$150 CASH (Paypal) Giveaway! Ends 9/5

Has anyone else noticed that each year the "school supplies" list seems to get longer and longer. While you might be able to get some good deals if you watch the ads starting in June and work on it all summer - wouldn't it be nice to just get a chunk of change to help you pay for it all?

The Back-to-School Bonanza - hosted by OutnumberedMama and Baby Feva - is your chance to get just that - plus a little extra for you too!  

One lucky Winner will receive $150 - via PayPal - CASH! And three other winners will each receive a Gutzy Gear Prize Pack (one set of strap covers and some patches) to help your kid rock their backpacks. 

This giveaway is a result of the collaboration of these blogs. Please visit them all for exciting info, great tips and tons of fun!

 Baby Feva   

My Little House of Treasures   

Disney Contests and Sweepstakes  


Featured Product Reviews  

Smart Spending Spot   

A Day in Our Shoes  

bassgiraffe's Thoughts   

Please use the RAFFLECOPTER below to enter this giveaway. Grand Prize of $150 is open internationally - as long as you have a VALID PayPal address, you are eligible to win. Secondary Prizes (Gutzy Gear Prize Packs) are open to US Residents ONLY.

Giveaway ends at 11:59PM on SEPTEMBER 5, 2012

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: The prize money was provided by the blogs listed above.


We survived our first day of school!

Most parents don't see what a big deal the title of this post is, but I can assure you that this is a HUGE deal. I can genuinely say that for the first time since my son started preschool, I actually looked forward to school starting this year. As a mom with a son on the Autism Spectrum, (diagnosed only a year ago), that is such a milestone- there are no true words for it.

We've come a long way.

In 4 years we went to five different schools, searching for the proper placement for my son. He has a very high IQ and was deemed gifted in Kindergarten. When he was younger, he far exceeded his peers, and had a desire to do so, but was not in the right placement, and he got stuck. Instead of working with him, recognizing that there was something different and taking action from there, he was ignored, embarrassed, and belittled. He was poisoned to believe that school was a horrible thing to have to suffer through. The idea of him being on the spectrum was thrown at us, almost as a dirty word or a disgrace, but that was in Kindergarten- after they had secluded him, excluded him, and written him off. Never again did it come back up, even after I asked year after year if he could be. If he might be.

If he was.

As a stay at home mom, I've had the ability to be around to fight for my son. And that I did. I fought the school district, I fought administration, I fought with teachers. I did not stand for anyone disrespecting my son because he was different. They kept mislabeling him, misdiagnosing him, and made our lives hell. I kept asking for a placement where he could be engaged, actively learn at and above his grade level, yet be sensitive to his social/emotional needs.

No such place existed, I was told.

I kept fighting- because that's what any good mother would do. We fought through embarrassment after embarrassment, teasing & bullying (from staff and peers); we fought through the tears from not being invited to anyones birthday party, through him celebrating his "weirdness". We fought even against family who still are confused, naive, or unaware of his diagnosis. My own sister told me how appalled she was because my son doesn't have any social skills.

With only a handful of friends as a support system, we kept fighting.

The end of last year, we switched him to school five, as a last effort before we enrolled him into virtual school and I homeschooled him. The placement was in a self contained ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) classroom, but one which was for grades 3-5, and the children were higher functioning. In fact, in this classroom kids are kept to the regular basic ed standards. They do work to integrate the kids back into general population, but I was told that it might take awhile. There were only 8 kids in the class last year, and I was so 'done' that I went with it, just because of the size of the classroom.

It was the biggest break in our fight with the school system.

His teacher was sweet, young, and soft spoken. I thought for sure he would eat her alive, but to my surprise, he adored her. She was patient, kind, yet firm. He pushed his limits and gave her a run for her money, but not once did she speak derogatorily towards me or my son. Not once did she make us- me- seem like I was uneducated, expecting the impossible, or out in left field somewhere. Every concern, every hope, every fear, every experience she took in during our first meeting, saddened that we had to endure as much as we had.

She was the first -and only- district staff member who recognized and appreciated how I fought for my son, and meant it.

In fact, she told me that she wished more parents would stick up for their kids the way I did. I couldn't help but think that if they put us through this, how many other families did they give the same run-around to? How many kids of single parents or working parents fell in the cracks because they didn't have the ability to be at the school four days a week?!

We finished the end of the school year, without many problems, (which I was thankful for). We discussed everything with our son and asked him if he wanted to return in August, before we filled out the paperwork for fourth grade.

He said he'd "really enjoy going back" to this class.

Every August, I would get sick to my stomach in anticipation of a new class, a new teacher, new classmates for my son to have to endure. Not only would I start feeling anxious, the closer it got, the more agitated my son got. He didn't want to go. He didn't want to face a new classroom of bullies, or a teacher who just didn't "get" him. I wouldn't be able to sleep, and I'd stay awake wondering how long it would be before his new teacher would give up, throw in the towel, and tell us they couldn't do it anymore. I dreaded the look of failure in my son's eyes every time we picked him up from the office, or pulled him from a classroom or school. I would cry because it broke my heart- shattered it completely.
A new favorite tee, my son can't
wait to wear to school!

This year was different.

I could concentrate on getting school supplies. My son wanted fun tee- shirts that showed off what he likes, and what he thought was funny, or cool.. without stressing over how his peers would view him. He started to get really excited to see his teacher, and to see if any of his classmates from last year would be there again. I realized I am starting to get my son back.. my smiley, happy son, who loved school, was eager to learn, and had a thirst for knowledge that couldn't be quenched.

I am eager to see where this year takes us.

When he came home today he told me that he's going to be taking science classes in the teacher's class next door. He was very excited, because he worked with her a little bit towards the end of the year last year. He can still have his breaks, and it's close enough to his class that he feels safe- if he's got any issues or problems, he can go right through the pod back to his classroom, his teacher, his environment.

My son was excited!

For the first time in five years, my son was excited about school. And that made my heart leap for joy.

Please, share this post. I can't tell you how many times I just wanted to give up. I thought I was too emotionally, mentally or physically exhausted. There were times that the school and district staff made me feel that I was fighting a losing battle. But I was not. I was fighting for my son.. and that is NEVER a losing battle.

I can only pray that other parents with kids like mine read this post, and their energy gets renewed to continue fighting for the needs of their child. For their future, for their everyday- no matter what the issues are at hand. Never give up on your child- they need you. If they don't have you fighting for them, who is?


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Walgreens Photo Deal- 75 Prints for $9.99

Walgreens is offering a super sale on prints- 75 4x6 prints for only $9.99! This sale ends on Saturday, August 25th, so hurry. Use the coupon code SEVENTYFIVE at checkout to receive the discount.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Polly Pocket Hangout House + Stick-N-Play Review

With two girls in the house, we are always in search of fun toys that can keep both girls engaged. Both of them love to pretend with dolls and Polly Pocket is one of their favorites.

We received the new Polly Pocket Hangout House Playset and Polly Pocket Stick N Play "Kitchen" play set to review a few weeks ago. Both of the girls were saving their points (their allowance) for some Polly Pocket toys over the summer, so they were super excited to get their hands on these!

Just like the regular play sets, Polly Pocket comes with a bright, miniature spin-off of a real life location. The Hangout House is pretty nifty. According to the girls, it's like a house and "super-cool clubhouse" all in one. But one thing that makes this playset different is that the girls in the playset come with these suction cup shoes that allow them to "hang out" where ever you want to place them... giving a whole new meaning to "hanging out".

(Even Alex liked that play on words!)

How cool is that?! The girls loves sticking them upside down, and tried to stick them everywhere. Even on the sliding glass door, which had them in a fit of giggles!!

The one thing that I used to find annoying was the teeeeeeeeny tiny size of Polly Pocket, and all of her accessories. The good news is that they've all gotten a little bigger.

Don't get me wrong, they're still small, the girls barely noticed, but I saw that they were able to play with some of the accessories, get Polly and her friends suction shoes on all by themselves, and organize their house without asking for help a trillion times.

We're already in love with Polly Pocket, and are really excited to see what new, fun, Stick-n-play accessories are going to become available this holiday season. Know that you're going to be seeing these play sets as one of the holidays hottest toys for girls.

For more information on these playsets, or on other Polly Pocket products, please visit
“I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Mattel Polly Pocket. I received a product samples and a promotional item as a thank-you for participating.”


Hoover TwinTank Steam Mop Review

I love having a clean house, but face it- I hate to mop. We have no carpeting in the house, and although the laminate hides a lot of the foot prints our tile does not, I feel like I have to mop multiple times a day. I also have a bad back, so mopping is often a pain- literally- because of the bending, lifting, wringing, etc.

I've resigned to using disposable or reusable stick mops to help take care of pesky areas (like the entrance, kitchen and bathrooms- all tile), and a weekly mop across the laminate. I sweep 42 times a day. I don't think that's much of an exaggeration.

When I was asked if I would be interested in reviewing the Hoover Twin Tank Steam Mop, I jumped at the chance. I used to have a steam mop, but it died a year ago. I missed it dearly, so needless to say, I was excited about this one. The information I got online said that it was safe for all kinds of hard floors, including wood and laminate.

When we got the mop in the mail, I couldn't wait, I had to put it together. It came in two pieces, the body of the mop, and the handle. The handle clicks into the body super quickly and easily.. in fact, my six year old asked if she could do it- and did.

Once those two pieces are together, you can fill the twin tanks, and start mopping. Easy.

There are two compartments to this mop- hence, TwinTank. The front, larger compartment is for water only. To remove it, you just gently tug it upward. Then, untwist the cap, and fill it up. This mop contains a filter, so you can use tap water. The filter should be replaced approximately once a year, unless you have really hard water. The back tank is for the cleaning solution. The TwinTank Steam mop comes with an 8 ounce container of SteamPlus concentrated cleaning solution. The solution is non toxic, 100% biodegradable, so you can feel good about cleaning your floors because you're not using harmful chemicals.You can add this straight to the solution tank in the back for optimal cleaning results, or mix it with equal parts cleaning solution and warm water.

Once your two tanks are filled, you're ready to steam! Push the bottom power button, and as soon as the ready light comes on (about 30 seconds!) you can begin.

There are 4 settings- General Clean, Spot Clean, Tough Stains, and Steam Only. Depending on the mess, you can easily switch between each setting by the turn of a dial. I cleaned my Kitchen with the Tough Stains setting, because- face it- I had no idea what some of the spots by the fridge was. Kool-aid, milk, yogurt, and an unidentified spill came up with just one sweep.

The directions say that to truly steam the area, and kill the germs, you need to do a few passes. While it takes not much longer than a traditional mop, I feel better about using it, because I know it's leaving my floors clean and with a lot less germs. In fact, Hoover claims that it kills up to 99.9% of harmful germs and bacteria- including MRSA, Staph and Salmonella. This will be especially helpful once our little man starts crawling.. which will happen before we know it.

We did shoot a quick video just to show the Hoover TwinTank Steam Mop in action. On this particular day, I just wanted to do a quick mop before a friend came. I love the fact that it's got a triangular head to get into all of those hard to reach spots. I apologize in advance for the quality of this video, I couldn't get the higher quality video to upload correctly. Follow us on YouTube, and you can see a more in-depth review video there later this week.

As you can see, the  head of the mop was able to get inbetween our entrance way table and the vase we have before our hall closet. It lifted the foot prints up right away, and dried very quickly.

It does leave a little "wetness" behind. For the tiles, I don't mind so much, I just let it dry. For the laminate, I use one of the multi-surface pads to go over it to lift some of the excess water, just because I'm afraid it will get too wet. That being said, I've used this mop multiple times already, and I have to say, the more I use it, the more I love it.

As I mentioned earlier, I did have another brand steam mop that died after many years of good use. It was louder than this one, and hotter. I love that with this mop I can just step on the curved extention of the pad, and place the head of the Hoover TwinTank Steam Mop on a new pad, and continue- if the floors are really bad- or pass it over for a quicker dry.

What about the pads? This steam mop comes with three pads- two multi-surface microfiber pads and one hard floor microfiber pad. The hard floor microfiber pad is made only for sealed hard floor surfaces. The others can be used on carpet (with the included Carpet Slider accessory). This mop stands on its own, so if you need to stop for a few moments, you can. It also comes with a cooling rack to prevent any damage from heat or moisture, to your floors.

The cons? I sweep before I mop, for obvious reasons. That being said, this mop gets everywhere, and sometimes it loosens other junk from my floor. Instead of picking up the mop and wringing it out like a classic mop, I have to push it to the side, and either pick it up, or save it for a sweep. Is this an end-all con? Absolutely not. Some people might be inconvenienced by it, but knowing it's making my home healthier and safer far outweigh that minor con.

I do also wish the tanks were a little larger. Because I have to mop in smaller sections, it's not a terrible inconvenience. People with better backs, or larger homes, might want to keep this in mind. One of my girlfriends has the same mop, and she keeps a water bottle with her, so if she's outside of her kitchen she can just refill the tanks without wasting time running to and from a sink.

All in all, if you are looking for a great way to disinfect your floors with a steam mop, get a deeper clean, check out this mop. It's reasonably priced, on for approximately $99, which makes it attainable for almost every budget, and that much more attractive.

I received a sample of this product to facilitate my review, but my opinions are entirely my own.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Haircut Coupon-a-thon! Back to School Savings for your Family!

This post brought to you by Regis Family of Brands. All opinions are 100% mine.
School starts for us next week. We just got the kids hair cut, but I know quite a few moms who haven't done it yet. If you're in that category, we can help you BIG TIME this year during the Haircut Coupon-a-thon.

Here's how: Customers can get these great deals for back-to-school: $7.99 or $9.99 haircut coupons ($9.99 in select markets) to help pinch those pennies this year. The coupon will be valid through 9/30/12. Fifteen salon brands in over 4500 locations across the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico are participating, so finding a salon near you might be easier than you thought.
These brands are participating: Best Cuts,  BoRics, Cool Cuts 4 Kids (participating salons only), Famous Hair,  Fiesta Salons.  First Choice Haircutters (U.S. participating salons only),  Head Start Salons, HairMasters,  Holiday Hair,  Island Haircutting Co.,  MasterCuts.  Saturday's,  SmartStyle (located inside Walmart Supercenters),  Style America, and TGF Hair Salon.

All of these salons are full-service salons offering additional services like highlights, color, perms, waxing and more. Plus these salons all carry a wide range of professional haircare products from all your favorite brands: Biolage, Redken, Paul Michell as well as their own private label lines. These salon brands can help you (or families) get back-to-school-ready in no time....back-to-school starts here....and with a no-appointments-needed policy, customers can just walk-in.

And don't forget: these services aren't just for kids! The offers are available for adults, too. Why not take the kids out for a day, get them a fresh cut while you pamper yourself with a new `do too!
Want a coupon? All you need to do is select your preferred salon brand closest to you from the widget and click print. It’s that easy! On a mobile device? To redeem your coupon: Touch and hold to save coupon image. Show coupon to your stylist.

Trouble printing coupon? Email with the salon brand you’d like to visit and they’ll send you a coupon.
Visit Sponsor's Site


Kranich's Website Review+Jewelry Giveaway! Ends 8/29

My Actual Engagement Ring
My engagement ring was stolen back in 2004. It's a long story and a whole other post that I will write one day.. but not today. Anyway- I loved my rock.. er.. ring. It was a 1.17 carat solitaire on a platinum band, with a medium/high setting. It wasn't ginormous, but the way it sparkled made it look bigger than it was. It was perfect for me. I miss it terribly, and every now and then, I browse the internet in search of my future replacement ring.

I've found a few that have caught my eye, but none like the gorgeous Verragio rings at Kranich's. I tend to like simple and stunning pieces, and that these rings are. Stunning. The detail is just equisite. Hidden scrolls, diamonds and details on the gallery and down the sides of the ring, offers just a perfect touch to make Verragio jewelry the treasure that it is. There are two styles that I completely fell in love with. My only problem now is how to convince the hubby that next year (for our tenth anniversary) he should get me one.

Kranich's offers jewelry for anyone in the family. From pearls to precious stones, gold to silver, men's or ladies designs, Kranich's has it all. While I was there looking at rings for me, I found a really handsome watch for my husband that actually made me drool a little.

They even have bracelets- perfect for accessorizing all year long. Whether you have a daughter who is turning Sweet 16 this year, heading to college, getting married, or watching her own kids go back to school, think about getting her a bracelet just to say 'I love you'.

September's birthstone is Sapphire. You could always pick up one of these beautiful 7.5 inch sterling silver sapphire and diamond bracelets for that special someone. Or, you could just enter to win one.

One lucky reader will win a beautiful Kranich's silver bracelet in their choice of stones: Sapphire, Blue Topaz, Citrine, Peridot, Ruby, or  Amethyst. Click the sapphire link above for a more detailed description of the bracelet. This bracelet retails for $149.

Here's How to Enter:
Go take a peek at the Verragio line, and come back and tell me which ring is YOUR dream ring.

After you've left a comment, click on our RaffleCopter widget below. This giveaway is open to US only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Back to school blues-

This time of the year is always bittersweet. Our babies are growing up..

A little old lady in an elevator told me when I was pregnant with Alex to enjoy every moment, because in a blink they start to walk, in a blink they graduate high school, and in a blink they have families of their own. As we left the elevator, I thanked her, and thought to myself how easy that would be, he was my baby.

Having a child with special needs- especially one who wasn't diagnosed for so long- is hard, I'm not going to lie. Having a child who's smart is hard, too. One way or another you're looked at weird. Your child is different. As a mom, we encourage our children to be different, but when they're born different, most try to shelter or hide that. Why is it?

I love my kids. All three of them are so unique and so special.. They all have different strengths and weaknesses, they all have different features and different voices. Different attitudes, and different skills. I can't wait to see how the baby grows up and the little person he becomes.

But I can.

It seems that it was just a few months ago, when I held Abbie to me as an infant. She's now going into first grade. She's got a brand-new-to-teaching new teacher. She seems very sweet. I'm not bothered by the fact that she was only hired a week ago. She's still young enough, and new enough to have that passion for teaching, to not be burnt out like so many teachers we've crossed paths with, and is still excited about teaching. That excites me.

Alex has the same teacher he had during the last semester last year. This is our first full year in a self-contained ASD class. I'm excited for him, but nervous. He adores his teacher, and actually seems excited that he's going back there. I think he's more excited that his buddy Jonathan is back in his class.

This is the first year that I'm not up, literally making myself sick over worry because of his placement, since he started school.

None of my family and friends understand it. Heck, I don't even think my husband understands it. For the first time since the first day of Kindergarten, I'm excited for back to school.

But then I step back, and watch the both of them get ready. They get their shoes on, make their hair perfect, eat some breakfast, and kiss me good bye as they climb on the bus. And I stop. I remember them little, holding my hand while they drank their bottles, promising them I'd love them forever, and treasure every moment always.

Sometimes it's hard, but I think that's truly being a mom.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Ganz Amazing World Online Virtual World for Kids Review + Zing Giveaway

As Marissa mentioned in a post or two ago, it seems like kids are just fluent in any kind of technology now-a-days. From handheld devices, to portable gaming systems, to the internet, apps and more, it seems that they're getting involved younger and younger.

Slashdot reports that. "a study sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation found that online gaming and social networking are beneficial to children, teaching them basic technical skills and how to communicate in the Information Age." And even USA Today wrote an article in which they proclaimed, “Parents, don't put away those video games just yet — today's gamer may be tomorrow's top surgeon”.

As a mom, I felt it was important to give our children the skills they needed to operate a computer at an early age. Alex was proficient on the computer by 18 months. It took Abbie a little longer, but by the time she was 2, she was able to do everything on her own. Do not read this wrong- we supervised our kids, but they were fully able to log in to their own account, click on the icons of the games they wanted to play, and continue from there.  My kids love any game that they can control, personalize, and interact with. Finding one that's age appropriate and engaging is sometimes hard, but I've been very fortunate to find some great ones.

Amazing World is the newest virtual world from Ganz Studios, a colorful 3D world where players discover, create, and make new friends in a controlled environment- you’ve never seen a world like this before! Like their cousins, the Webkinz, Zings come with their own special codes that you enter online to personalize, and play with your new friend. Check out the video below, introducing you to them:

Registration is easy, it only takes a few moments at Children can care for their Zings, chat with friends (within a controlled environment), complete special missions, collect prizes and customize virtual homes and their Zings. Okay, what exactly is a Zing? Zings are the energetic and lovable Amazing World inhabitants- some call them creatures, some call them animals, your Zing can be anything you want it to be. Registering your Zing, (an Amazing World plush toy or figure) will bring your favorite characters to life within the game, and they come complete with exclusive prizes- just for them!

With a free account, players have access to many of the sites features, including customization, but you can unlock more options with a subscription. A free account never expires, so you don't need to worry about losing all of your child's creativity. There are a few downfalls to the free account: it caps you at level 20, you can't "buy" certain items from the World Shop, you're only allowed 4 friends, and you only have access to 4 Amazing World hosts.

Some of the perks from having a subscription include: unlimited friends list, players have access to all items in the World Shop, can play until level 50, and can travel to all of the hosts and stories, as well as receive special quests.

Subscriptions are available for three months ($23.80), six months ($39.90) and one year ($60). The one year subscription averages out to be about $5 a month- that's less than an expensive cup 'o joe or fast food meal.

Sign up for the free account now and start enjoying AMAZING WORLD with your child. To get you off to a good start, we are giving away two Amazing World Zings!

Here's How:
“Tell the world about Amazing World!” Open to residents of the US only. Enter on the RaffleCopter Widget here:

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A New Adventure-Little Tikes TikeStix Review + Giveaway

Keeping the kids busy over the summer-without killing each other- was quite the challenge for us this year. Finding something that kept the both of them engaged and entertained was.. difficult, to say the least.

The kids love to play pretend, and usually play together nicely, but since the baby came around, I feel like they are constantly arguing. When I found the Little Tikes TIKESTIX Clubhouse, I knew I had to give this new product a whirl. Not only did it appeal to my son's desire to build, but it also looked easy enough for my daughter to use without her big brother's help.

From Little Tikes:
Grab your hard hats and work boots and prepare to use your imagination in a BIG! way as Little Tikes proudly introduces TikeStix™, an all-new dynamic line of indoor and outdoor construction toys built for kids that promotes innovative ways of toy building play. From forts and racecars, to aliens and petting zoos, Little Tikes TikeStix™ is designed to encourage a child’s imagination and creativity, while teaching motor and project-building skills. (Age grade: 4+) 
The Playhouse and Clubhouse each come with 50 interlocking pieces, 1 piece of fabric and eight clips so kids can create and build a fort, playhouse, and more that they can actually fit in!
Upon receiving the box, the kids delighted in the fact that it had a handle, and they could "bring it to grandma's to make a fort!" So that we did.

Within minutes, they had the box open, and decided that they were going to create the fort in the picture. My son- the logistic one- opened up the directions to read about how to put it all together. My daughter decided sorting the pieces would be much more efficient, plus every different color and every different shape made her more and more excited to play with them.

They finally agreed that pulling out the pieces would be the easiest, so when they needed a piece they could just grab it from that pile. (Although, that step is not necessary, that's what worked for my kids.)

They quickly went into action, snapping pieces onto each other, making corners, and walls- until the creation actually started to look like something distinguishable. They worked together, with minimal disagreements, and even had to do some problem solving when it came to the peak of the roof of the fort. They kept trying to get the grey connecter to fit, but they just couldn't do it... and then they turned it, and it went together in a snap!

The two of them continued to build the fort, and when they got to the next peak, they knew exactly what to do. I did have a video of this, but it keeps distorting when I upload it to YouTube. Basically, Abbie was pretending she was a princess, and her castle was in need of repair. She was hysterical- thanking her brother for being her knight in shining armor. Where does she even get these things?!
They finally got the clubhouse assembled, and carefully attached the green fabric roof. That's when the fun began! They raced cars in and out of it, had a pretend picnic with plastic food and imaginary tea. Abbie told Grandma she wanted to read her stories under there that evening.

Then they flipped the box closed, and saw that they could make other things besides a clubhouse and the creativity exploded!

They took apart their "fort" in no time, and began to create other projects, and even made a "boat", singing as they rowed. They packed their extra pieces in the hull of their ship, and rowed it to safety from the alligator (the green fabric), an angry square fish- the instructions, and random creatures on the soft sea.. aka, the carpet. I cannot remember the last time they sang and played together that nicely.

Not only did they play, laugh, and giggle, they remembered how much fun they had with it, and have played with it many times since then, recalling what they made, and brainstorming to see if they can come up with something better this time.

Every time they play with their TikeStix, it's a new adventure! Tike Stix are geared for kids 4 and up. Our family loves this product so much, we named it one of our 4BabyAndMom Must Haves! Since kids learn often through play, our friends at Little Tikes have offered a Clubhouse playset to one lucky 4BabyAndMom reader.

Here's how:
Tell me one thing your child likes to pretend they are- ..A dinosaur? A princess?- in the comments below. Then, click on the RaffleCopter widget below.

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MyMemories Digital Scrapbooking Review + Giveaway

When Alex was born, I started scrapbooking. I loved being able to keep track of all of his milestones, and watch his album grow- just like him. I joined a scrapbooking club, and went to 'scraps' (get togethers at local scrapping stores) to finish projects, and meet other ladies just like me. It was a ton of fun. When we moved from NY to Florida, I looked around to try to find scrapbooking stores, and outside of big box or large chain-type stores, there were none in my area. My hobby slowly dwindled, and my supplies moved to the garage.

We eventually sold most of them at a yard sale, for mere pennies. It broke my heart, but I didn't have the time to do it in my home anymore, with two young kids who wanted to touch EVERYTHING- it just didn't work. I looked into digital scrapbooking, but it had just come out, and I wasn't comfortable trying to learn something new.. and again, I thought I didn't have the time.

My two big kids are  now 9 & 6, so I have some time... while the baby sleeps, and while they're at school, primarily, to do what I need or want to do. I recently discovered a website called MyMemories offers a full Digital Scrapbooking software and kits for every theme you could imagine, to make scrapbook pages and albums for all of lifes events.

I decided to give it a try, and while I'm a new learner (discovering new things every time I use it!), I can definitely say I love it. It's really easy to learn, although I wish there was a tutorial available that teaches you how to mount the photos you add onto a paper, without changing the background paper. For all I know there might be, I just haven't found it yet.

I love that I can find information, contests, and tips on the MyMemories blog and Facebook fan page. They recently hit 18,000 fans and gave away kits, papers, embellishments & word art, up the wazoo! It was very exciting to participate.

This is the first page I made, celebrating the birth of our new baby. It took me a little longer- it was the first time I used the program- because I played around with a lot of the papers, frame, embellishments, and color palettes. I was able to rotate the pictures, crop them, take out red-eye, all WITHOUT photoshop. Yep, you read that right. No photoshop.
Plus, every Friday, they have a Freebie Friday, and you can download something new and exciting. I also love the fact that it's a direct download. MyMemories also offers a ginormous selection of downloadable add-ons. Super adorable kits, embellishments, word art, and so much more. You can make scrapbook layouts, photo books, cards, videos, you name it! They even have quick pages available to download, so all you have to do is add the pictures to the premade layout.

Right now, you can save $10 using the coupon code STMMMS2557 on your purchase of the MyMemories Suite Digital Scrapbooking software.

Our friends at My Memories have offered one lucky winner their chance to WIN a free download of the MyMemories Suite Digital Scrapbooking Software. The software is the FULL version which means there's no trial period and no limitations.

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Special thanks to our friends at My Memories for sharing a copy of this software with us, for the intent of a review, and for supplying our winner with a code, as well.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Colorforms Revolution Review + iPad App Giveaway!

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly kids pick up on using new technology. When I bought my iPhone, I swear it took me a month to figure it out and I still haven't used half of it's capabilities a year in. My kids were very excited and pestered me relentlessly to use it. They wanted to play and I refused on the grounds of it being A) too expensive and B) too difficult.

My son, however, exceedingly enjoys the fact that he has since gone above and beyond proving me wrong, as has my daughter. First came the tablet; I still don't understand that thing at all (it is an android and I am not at all used to it's OS at all!) About a month ago he got an iPod touch (a gift from an amazing friend who no longer used it!) and has been a pro since day two. He has already shown me a few tricks on my phone. He gave his tablet to my daughter when he got his iPod--and she uses it like it is the simplest thing in the world. It pains me to no extent to tell her to ask her brother when she needs help, but I know from experience that I can't do much other than turn it off and on (aside from parental settings--those seem to be the same in most devices. Thank goodness!)

So with kids getting more and more tech savvy, it makes since that there are more and more apps being marketed towards children and families of all ages. With so many in the market--it is hard to choose which ones are appropriate and worth the effort and money to download. Is it simple to use? Glitch free? Age appropriate (which is one of  my biggest questions!)? Is it fun? Lucky for you, we have one that comes with our stamp of approval.

The app is called Colorforms Revolution and it is beyond cool! It is very simple so everyone will be able to use it--very young children as well as grandma! It allows you to use basic shapes and colors as well as backgrounds to create pictures. It's like a coloring book but you get to design it yourself and personalize the pages. You can even add your own pictures as backgrounds! Kids will have a ball creating pictures with their family members or pets in them.

In addition to shapes, there are also pre-loaded themes with stickers and backgrounds to choose from. These are super cute and fun for the kiddos as well as for anyone else using the app. There are other features as well such as puzzle animators and animated shapes that are sure to please and keep the kids occupied. Here is a look at the app in action:

From the press release:
It’s a bright new day for Colorforms…! The iconic 60-year-old brand from University Games that has changed the way generations of children have played is making its digital debut with the very first Colorforms app, Colorforms® Revolution™. The new app extends the traditional Colorforms experience, giving players fresh and fun ways to play with sound, motion and animation. Colorforms Revolution is now making a colorful splash on the App Store for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.

The revolution is finally here with COLORFORMS® REVOLUTION™ HD, the new iPad (and iPhone) app celebrates the nostalgia of the stand-out original and allows the family to experience Colorforms® like never before! Combine shapes, colors, patterns and backgrounds in endless combinations to create an infinite number of exciting designs. Or choose a Play Set with themed stickers and backgrounds, put them in a scene and a story is born. Play a Puzzle Board to build a picture and see it animate. Or go wild with the crazy circle, surprise square, kaleido-triangle and radical rectangle. With simple controls you’ll figure out as you go, Colorforms® is good wholesome fun for everyone. Just pick it up, start playing and join the revolution!

A pop culture favorite, Colorforms was invented in 1951 and more than 1 billion of the vibrant vinyl playsets have been sold to date, with imaginative new styles continuing to captivate families worldwide. Recently, the Toy Industry Association recognized Colorforms as one of the Top 100 Toys of the Century and TIME magazine named it among its “All-TIME 100 Greatest Toys.”

There is a free version of this app for download at the Apple app market, but we want to offer one reader their chance to get the Colorforms Revolution HD iPad App for free!

Here's how to enter:
Do you remember Colorforms? Did you play with them when you were young? Do you like it when your kids can enjoy the toys you grew up with? Why do you want to win? Leave your comments on this blog post, then enter on the RaffleCopter Widget below.

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Back to School Savings with Kmart

Save big on back to school this year with Kmart. Use coupon code KMARTBTS2 to save 10% on orders of $59 or more, and 20% off of orders of $79 or more- AND take advantage of free shipping. Back to school shopping from the comfort of your own home! If you prefer to shop in store, you can get 5% off of layaway purchases.. it might be a good idea to think about setting up your holiday layaway now. Visit to see their sales and local flyer for special deals.


Monday, August 13, 2012

SUSPEND! Review and Giveaway Ends 8/22

We love having family together time. Whether it's watching a movie, playing a game, or doing something outside, our family enjoys being together. Every night we eat dinner together- it's the one constant in our home. We make memories. So does Marissa's family.. (did you read this post about her hysterical dinner conversation?)

Back to school often means back to the hustle and bustle of a jam-packed schedule. Making family time is just as important during the school year, and summer- at least for our family.
When we received an opportunity from GummyLump to review the Melissa & Doug game, Suspend, we jumped at the chance.

Of all the games we love to play, puzzle and strategy games are our favorites. We have a popular wooden block game, and this game I would say, is like a modern day, more exciting version. It's also a little bit first.

They claim that if you try this hanging balance game,you'll be hooked- and it's true! SUSPEND is a family game of tricky hangs and steady hands. It comes with 24 notched, rubber-tipped wire pieces to hang from a tabletop stand.

Sound easy? Try adding another piece! Each time a bar is added, the balance shifts, the difficulty changes and the incredible midair sculpture transforms. This tricky game for 1-4 players is a test of steady nerves and steady hands. It's geared for ages 8 and up.

That being said, the first time we took it out my 9 year old, 6 year old and I set up the game, couldn't get any of the bars to balance, and put it away frustrated. We did not read the instructions, we figured we'd wing it- it couldn't be that difficult... oh, but it was!

Later, my friends came over for ladies night, and I brought out the game. The four of us sat around the table, reading the directions, and started playing. It was HYSTERICAL! We've played it multiple times now, and it's always a great time.

I took what I learned and taught the kids the next day. Since then, they've played it almost every other day! Now that we know how to play it, and have done so successfully, we think it's easy.. but we love laughing everytime we make the bars fall.

It's so interesting seeing the way their minds work; Alex is logistical, and structurally sound in his placement, Abbie is more artistic and whimsical. They both prefer to play the "Intermediate" version, by rolling the dice to see which color to hang next.

Every game is "new", and it doesn't lose its appeal very easily, at all. If you like brain games, puzzles, strategy games, or just challenging games, definitely give this one a chance.

This game, as well as other Melissa & Doug toys can be found online at, and is currently priced at $13.59. There are several sales and special promotions there, as well, including a "Buy Three, Get the Fourth Free" on Melissa & Doug wooden play food, Free UPS shipping on orders over $60, and the Biggest Sale Ever- with savings up to 50%!

Our friends at GummyLump have offered one of our readers their chance to win a SUSPEND game for their family!

Enter to Win using the RaffleCopter Widget below: Please allow it a few moments to load properly. If you are still having issues, please click on the title of this post to refresh it correctly.

Please note that this giveaway is open to all residents of the Continental US only.

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