29 November, 2012

MyFairytaleBooks Review

     When I was a kid I wanted to be a Paleontologist.  I also wanted to be a writer, singer, artist, and ballerina.  I may have also wanted to be a chef, an architect, a dentist, a hairdresser, and even an actress at some point for a brief moment.  When you are a kid, you have all kinds of fantasies about what you might be or do when you are older.  Or maybe that was just me?  I still don't know what I want to be, but I'm kind of doing a bit of all of these as a mom ;)
     Right now, my kids want to do gymnastics and ballet.  The Big One has mentioned being a teacher (which she would rock at) and being a doctor.  The Punk wants to be a dentist.  I'm sure their minds will change, but for now, they can be whatever they want to be through play and pretend.  I like to encourage their pretend play by getting them props and outfits when I can.  Streaker has a mail bag and mailbox, Punk has ninja swords and a face mask, The Big One has her artsy smock and supplies and Baby Bee, well... she's picky with her dress up.  Now we are starting to expand beyond the costumes and reach into the world of literature.  And what better place to start with than MyFairyTaleBooks?
     The site is chock full of all kinds of different fantasies for boys and girls.  Through MyFairyTaleBooks, kids can read about all about their adventures as a Mermaid, a football star, a fisherman or a bystander in a Batman escapade!  The child can read about their imaginary trip to the circus or the fire station, among many other exciting places and events.  One of the ones I was most interested in was this one:
     It's called My Book of Prayers and it is completely personalized just like the book we received.  This book teaches your child how to pray to God and give him thanks for all that they have in their lives.  It also helps teach them how to ask for guidance when needed.
     I love that these books can be personalized with names of not only the child themselves, but in a lot of cases friends and loved ones too.  The books don't try too hard with bad personalized cartoons that try to look like your child.  In fact, in a lot of these stories, they are actually creatures.
     In the book that The Punk got, The Ballerina Princess, she is a tall beautiful blonde ballerina.  She will love to see how she looks and to pick which friend belongs to which ballerina in the book.  It just so happens that there are ballerinas of every hair color, so it will be easy for her to place her blonde, red-headed, and brunette friends into the book.
     The book is great quality.  It arrived quickly and in a nice envelope which protected it well.  The book has excellent coloring and the cover is beautiful.  It has a nice feel to it that isn't quite smooth or textured, I would classify it as a matte type finish, which I personally adore.
     I think MyFairyTaleBooks is a great resource for parents who want to encourage creative play in their kids.  It's also great for grandparents who aren't sure what to get their grandchildren, but know that little Tommy loves fire trucks or that Ericka can't wait to see Santa.  I hope MyFairyTaleBooks comes out with lots more selections for years to come.  But even if they didn't, there is something for everyone.
     What did you want to be when you were growing up?

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Except for the product(s) given to me for the purpose of reviewing, I received no compensation for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.
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28 November, 2012

Petite Feet Review and Giveaway!

     When I was a kid, I wanted to do ballet so very badly.  I probably didn't have the body for it, but even to this day, I would love to get me a pair of Pointe shoes and learn to use them.  Now, I don't dance, never really have.  I can keep a rhythm and I LOVE music and singing, but dancing just never was something I had the nerve to learn or do.  But that's what's so great about ballet.  It has so much technicality to it, that it's easier to learn and to feel comfortable doing around people.  And though I refuse to dance in front of anyone EVER, it never occurred to me that I wouldn't want to do ballet.
     Skip forward 15 years.  My best friend's mother, who I looked up to dearly even if she was very long winded with her lectures and advice, was at my house for a party.  I had one child at this point and she told me very stern like, "You make sure that you give your little girl everything you wanted when you were a child and never got to have.... and don't you ever cut her hair!"  I assured her I would and I would not ever cut it short.  Well... kids cut their own hair and sometimes things happen :(  The Big One prefers it short and she did say to give my child everything I always wanted.  A haircut I loved was one of those things.  So was ballet and I was bound and determined that my kids would get it.
     But years came and went and one kid turned into two and two into four.  Ballet just wasn't in the cards anymore and I felt terrible about it.  I made my girls tutus and leggings.  I got them leotards too so that they could pretend.  The older two even got to go to a ballet class for The Punk's best friend's birthday party.  Turns out you can be too shy for ballet cause they didn't dance.  I knew they wanted to , The Punk still tells me that she wants to dance.  The Big One was teaching Baby Bee Ballet just last night on my bed.   And The Streaker loves dressing up in tutus and being the Prima Ballerina around the house.  It's the shyness that gets them.
     So when I stumbled across this DVD, Petite Feet Ballet Adventures With Liz, I was very interested in it.  I have used similar teaching techniques to teach my kids yoga and sign language with GREAT success.  I checked out the trailer and it sure is cute:
     The disc is just long enough to teach the kids a lot, but short enough so that they stay tuned in til it is done.  The kids are led from story to story, learning different movements, positions, and terms as they go.  They start with stretches and go into adventures :)  The character Waldo reminds me of something you would see on the Wiggles which is great for Streaker and Baby Bee.   It would probably engage the older two, but they wouldn't be interested in Waldo so much, just the dancing.
     Petite Feet Ballet Adventures with Liz is a really fun way to introduce your little ones to ballet at home.  Whether your child is shy, your budget is tight, or you just want something at home to help them remember their positions between lessons... this DVD makes a great resource at home.
     Liz has been nice enough to offer up a DVD to one of my readers, isn't that nice?  You know the drill, just use this Rafflecopter and you are good to go!  Good luck!  Contest ends in 2 weeks, JUST in time for it to come for Christmas :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Except for the product(s) given to me for the purpose of reviewing, I received no compensation for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.
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Klutz Books Review

     Klutz knows kids.  I'm just putting that out there.
     Last year for Christmas, I had won a giveaway for Klutz from another blogger, it was a book of silly inventions.  My daughter got it as a *ahem* Red gift and she LOVED looking through it.  It is one of her favorite books by far.  We all loved her Klutz book, so when I approached them about allowing me to review one of their books for Christmas, I was THRILLED when they accepted.  I had no idea what I was getting, just that it would be appropriate to my kids' gender and ages.  But I was absolutely delighted when I opened the package and saw it's contents.  Oh.  My.  Gosh.  My kids are going to FREAK when they see them!
     The first book is called Fashion Forms.  It actually comes with plastic forms to help budding seamstresses build paper dresses to hang on little plastic hangers.  How neat is that!?  I would have loved this book as a kid.  The Big one happens to love designing clothes, so she will be thrilled to see all that comes with this:
     It comes with 3 dress stands, 5 hangers, 20 sheets of double-sided patterned paper, tissue paper, pattern pieces, stencils, ribbon, clear cording, sequins, glue.  And of course the book was in there.  The book shows you how to make certain parts of the clothing out of paper, like the bodice or the skirt.  It also shows you how to make ruffles from the tissue paper.
     I think this is one of the most awesome things I have seen in a long time as far as child entertainment.  I would have loved this when I was a kid and I'm not even into fashion!  I know The Big One will have a blast with it.
     The second book we were sent is way more Streaker's speed.  She is obsessed with Cinderella right now.  She dressed for her as Halloween and every time she sees her somewhere, she says "Look, it's me!" and the other girls will also point her out and get Streaker's attention.  So I was psyched to see this:
     Another crafty paper book!  Woot!  It's called "Make Your Own Disney Princess Paper Purses", but I'll just call it Paper Purses, not to be confused with Klutz and Chicken Socks' original Paper Purses Book of a much similar idea.  Streaker is gonna die for this.  Cinderella AND "Mermaid Two"!  Punk loves Belle, but I don't think Streaker will share.  The book comes with three cardstock purses inside that you can decorate with all those gems and pretties.   The actual contents of the book are 3 sturdy cardstock purses, Disney Princess cameo stickers, jewels, sequins, pom-poms, satin cord, glue, 2 sheets of cut-out accessories.  The accessories are things like a pocket mirror, jewelry, and such.
     The book shows how to assemble each purse by putting in the handles and the like, and it gives you some photo inspiration as well along with giving you ideas on how to make purses without the book.
    I think it's a GREAT book for any little girl that loves doing fashion shows or playing dress-up.  The Streaker will love it, and even the older girls are a little jealous that she is getting it.  Just two more wins for Klutz.  Three for three, not a book so far we didn't love from them.  And just cause I have all girls doesn't mean that they don't have great books for boys, check these two out:
     I know my nephews would eat those up.  Gosh, that's the second time in less than 24 hours that I have seen a book with a shrunken head on the cover.  A fad, perhaps?  Did I miss something?  I dunno, but I DO know that I DEFINITELY recommend Klutz books for any gift-giving time of year.  In fact, it may need to become part of our Ripley's/Guiness tradition I told you all about last night :)
     Please stop by their site and check them out, you won't be disappointed.

Except for the product(s) given to me for the purpose of reviewing, I received no compensation for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.
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How Embarassing *blush*

     It seems that two of the programs we use to keep this blog running smoothly have hiccuped in the night, unless I was really that tired.  No, no.... I wasn't, so hiccups it is.  Rafflecopter, whom we absolutely adore for fast and easy contest entry returned one of my contests to it's original state which was a mere duplicate of a contest for another company.  Our apologies to Young People's Press for the mishap, it was fixed immediately after it was spotted before any entries were made.  It seems Rafflecopter also managed to cut the ending off many of my Trivia Questions for the Ripley's giveaway, but left some of them nice and long.  My apologies if the shortened questions are a touch confusing now, I  have tried my best to fix them.
     Also, it would appear that not all of my posts are being automatically posted to Facebook as they should be via RSS Social.  I will look into a new program to ensure all posts are brought to Facebook and until then, I will ensure that they are posted in a timely manner.
     Thank you so much for your cooperation and patience with these malfunctions.  Enjoy the giveaways!  There are more to come later :)
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Cleaning House by Kay Wills Wyma Book Review


      Let me just say here that we all have our stumbling blocks.  Some of us are terrible cooks, some can't draw a recognizable stick figure and some couldn't write a proper sentence if their life depended on it.  We ALL have a Cryptonite, something that just sucks the life force right out of you and you can not get past it.  A month or so ago, mine was cleaning house.  I could do it and I could do it darn well, but keep it clean?  That's another story.  My kids would go right behind me and mess it right back up and no amount of yelling, threatening, throwing of toys into the dumpster or time outs would stop it from happening.  I really thought I was bound to forever live in a messy house.
      Every few months I would get inspired (usually through Pinterest or the latest organization blog I came across) and I would go out and buy bins and labels and things.  I'd go to town and thing would look great!  The next day or so, bins were taken out, broken and all emptied and contents were strewn about.  "Give them time, they are just kids" I would hear from family members who I suppose were trying to make me feel better.  But it didn't.  What I heard is "Have fun cleaning after them until they're in middle school!"  It depressed me, I wanted even less to put effort into it.  But I did, and slowly I started getting resources.
     I borrowed a book from the church library and it was lost despite my best efforts.  I read blog after blog, spending days at the computer screen soaking in ideas only to find reasons for every one of them to fail in my home.  It was exhausting and even more depressing.  Then I found another book (which I fully admit is lost at the moment)... it is called Cleaning House: A Mom's 12 Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement by Kay Wills Wyma.
     It is a really smart guide on ways to organize your home and get the kids to actually chip in without pulling your hair out.  And although her kids are older and more mature than mine, I got lots of ideas on how to do things and how to handle the laziness and entitlement.
     Now hopefully it isn't because Christmas is around the corner and I have threatened kids with loss of ALL presents in trade for disrespect towards the home... but *crosses fingers* I have had a bin of gifts sitting on the kitchen counter for a month UNWRAPPED and only one gift was purposely gotten into by the 4 year old.  All other gifts are in the bin and in their bags or boxes.  They know the packages are gifts and they know who they are for, yet they respect that it is not to be messed with.
     Also, they are actually chipping in.  I may have to argue for an hour (which admittedly stinks) but then they DO it!  They actually do it and sometimes they go way above and beyond.  Would I be embarrassed if someone came over unexpectedly?  Sure I would.  But would I be worried that they would be half tempted to haul my kids away to live in a cleaner home.  NOPE!  I can walk on empty floors and if I collected all the laundry in the main house, it would be less that one hamper full.  Now THAT is progress.
     Is this a miracle book?  Of course not, but it is inspiring and fun, it lifts you up and makes you want to be more proactive and helps you deal with kids who aren't.  I definitely recommend the book if you have problems getting your kids to help or are fed up with your kids acting entitled or spoiled.  Thanks Kay Wills Wyma :)
Except for the product(s) given to me for the purpose of reviewing, I received no compensation for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.
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Title: “12 Days of Christmas Giveaways: 40 Giveaway Event!”

Welcome to the “12 Days of Christmas Giveaways 2012”!

12 Days of Christmas Giveaways 2012” is hosted by A Spicy Boy, A Cat, and My Fat Ass, and co-hosted with Megomania and Swanksavings. This is the third year that this event is running, and with each passing year it just gets bigger and bigger! This is a fun holiday event with over 40 giveaways, new ones added daily via A Spicy Boy, A Cat, and My Fat Ass.

This event runs from December 1st to the 20th. All giveaways get listed between the 1st to the 12th, so there's fun giveaways every day being launched. The greater value items and gift certificates get listed closer to the end of the 12 days, with each day getting better. Sounds like fun doesn't it? A nice spin off of the famous 12 Day's of Christmas book.

Kaleidoscope To You Necklace Review

   Did you have a kaleidoscope when you were a kid? I did.  I remember looking through them and just twisting those things over and over and watching the colors change. They are also a fun craft to do with the kids. All those colors capture the imagination like nothing else.  You don't even have to imagine that the beautiful design you see is the pattern on your fashionable new gown or the jewels in your princess crown or the wallpaper to your mansion.  It's fun without imagining anything, but it sure does stir up some nice imagery in tiny young minds and old minds alike :)
     So when I saw that you could capture the fun in a necklace, I was super intrigued.  That is exactly what Kaleidoscopes To You did. They have a huge variety of beautiful necklaces with wonderful colors hidden inside each one. We are not talking about cardboard tubes and beads either, these are great quality and gorgeous!  They are the prettiest kaleidoscopes I have ever seen.  I really wish you could see this in person:
   The necklace above is the 'Silver Butterfly Necklace with Blue Genuine Swarovski Crystals' in the site's kaleidoscope jewelry collection. It is more stunning in person. These pictures just don't do it justice. It really shines and sparkles. The chain is quite long. If you are ordering this for a child, you may want to consider getting a shorter chain. This one measures 27". I must say though that the chain is quite unique compared to most common necklace chains and I personally LOVE it.   It adds even more sparkles.
      What I love best besides the shine and color is the size.  It is small and not gaudy or heavy.  It is very delicate and feminine.  The tubular part itself is 1 1/2 inches and just 1/2 inch in diameter.  They also have a pink and lime butterfly design.  They have  a cross design and a swirl design among many, many others.
     Kaleidoscopes To You doesn't only sell necklaces, they also sell engraved, custom, toy kaleidoscopes and more.  I personally love this item.  Though it is either discontinued or sold out at the moment, it certainly shows you that there is more to Kaleidoscopes To You than merely Kaleidoscopes... though Kaleidoscopes ARE pretty cool.
     But I am also really loving this:
     It's a kaleidoscope that turns whatever you look at into a unique and wonderful design!  Check out this video to see what I mean:
   There is still plenty of time to order a special kaleidoscope gift for Christmas. They ship right away and are beautifully presented so you can wrap and give with no fuss. They have a great Candy Kaleidoscope Kit with a Christmas candy exterior right now for $10.00. Your child can make the kaleidoscope, enjoy it, eat the sugary scenes and add some more or maybe beads instead.  And if you are interested in the necklace I got, it's $43 and it's still available.  They have teleidoscopes as low as $4.95 right now, they would make great stocking stuffers.
     I definitely recommend going to Kaleidoscopes to You and checking them out when you are doing your online shopping. 

Except for the product(s) given to me for the purpose of reviewing, I received no compensation for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.
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27 November, 2012

Ripley's Believe It or Not!, Download The Weird book review

     We all have rules that we had to abide by while growing up. We've all heard them... "Don't put your finger in your nose, it's gross!" or "Don't play with your food!". Well these rules obviously didn't apply to some of the people in Ripley's newest book (the 9th annual) Download The Weird. This book is packed full of interesting oddities or things that will just plain gross you out like a man that can stick his finger THROUGH his nose or an official game where a headless goat carcass is the object of play!

     I have always loved Ripley's and have always found it's contents to be fascinating. This book does not disappoint. It is not one that is half the fluff and half the good stuff. Every page has something new and interesting to offer and you are bound to learn something new with every turn. The colors are mesmerizing as well. Any child (or adult really) is sure to be sucked right in through the visuals and then held captive with the info.  From the awesome, to the beautiful to the just plain disgusting, it's all there.  like this for instance:
     What possesses a person to save toenail clippings and make sculptures out of them I'm really not sure.  Though I can't deny the fact that this person may have a talent when it comes to making art.... I just don't get it... yet still it has caught my interest, even if it is purely out of disgust. What do you think?
     Here is a sculpture I like a lot better. This person made a beautiful eagle out of music cds. If you click on the picture below, you should be able to see the scratches on the cd pieces. How cool is that?! 
     There was lots to see in the book, like this one person who stood on a slim ledge on the side of a cliff face... the picture almost makes you queasy just looking at it.  I don't even know how you would get such a picture!  And the men who can make their eye balls pop out of their sockets, creepy. *shudder*  Then there is this lady.  I'm sure she is absolutely lovely, but she did make the Streaker hide behind me in fear when she saw her on the computer:
     Check out some details about the book from Ripleybooks.com:
The all-new 9th title in the successful Ripley’s Believe It or Not! annual series. As well as jaw-dropping images and strange facts, we present interviews, informative “Ripley’s Research” boxes, fascinating black and white photos from the Ripley archive, numerous lists, submissions from Ripley fans around the world–and a brand new Ripley’s Weird Records feature.
  • Award winner in the Young Adult Non-fiction category of the The USA “Best Books 2012″ Awards, sponsored by USA Book News!
  • Award winner in the Best Cover Design category of the The USA “Best Books 2012″ Awards, sponsored by USA Book News!
      Binding: Hardcover with lenticular, engraved foil and special ink
      Format: 9×11¾
      Pages: 256
      ISBN-13: 978-1-60991-032-7

     When I was young, it seemed my brothers were always getting Ripley's or Guiness for Christmas, and out of sentimentality and tradition's sake, I like to do the same for my girls.  So maybe I am biased, but I think this would make a GREAT Christmas gift. It's definitely a little large to fit in the stocking but I bet you that this book gets passed around at your holiday gathering *smiles*  I expect it to go over better than most of the toys!
     You can buy Ripley's Believe It or Not! Download The Weird on Amazon.  For your convenience you can click below.

     Or if you would like to wait two weeks and see if you can win one for free, try your hand at some Ripleybooks.com site trivia.  The more answers you get right, the more entries you get :)  Good luck!  Contest ends in 2 weeks.

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Except for the product(s) given to me for the purpose of reviewing, I received no compensation for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.
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