Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Giveaway - Check out MasterCard Marketplace and Win a $100 MasterCard Gift Card from BlogHer

This is a sponsored review from BlogHer and MasterCard MarketPlace.

Have you heard of MasterCard MarketPlace?  It is a one-stop place to get up to 50% off on top brands and stores.  Brands you and I trust like Barnes & Noble, Children's Place, Home Depot, Scholastic Store or even upscale stores such as Brookstone, Saks and Sephora. If you're into travel, you can get discounts from  Expedia and Priceline, as well as many cruises and rental cars.

My husband would love to receive some Omaha Steaks.  For me, maybe it's time to get that Shiatsu neck and shoulder massager from Brookstone (hint hint).  With deals like that, you can afford to splurge a little.

For this holiday season until December 24th, MasterCard MarketPlace is offering Holiday Overwhelming Offers that you can register for every day at 1pm EST (excluding holidays). Overwhelming Offers are year round, but this holiday season is a great time to get started.

Signing up is easy, you simply register with your email address and add your MasterCard number. If you've missed the Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals, there are plenty of deep discounts still available at MasterCard MarketPlace.

Check out MasterCard MarketPlace - A smarter way to shop online.  

*** If you'd like win a $100 MasterCard gift card provided by BlogHer, visit MasterCard MarketPlace and leave a comment below with an offer that you'd take advantage of.  Please include your email address in your comment. ***


No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry

a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment
on this post

c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on
this post

d) Read the official rules for alternate form of entry.

Sweepstakes ends 5 PM PST on December 31, 2010.  This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older.  Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail.  You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here. There are 19 other chances to win located on the BlogHer round-up page.

For more offers check out the exclusive offers page.

Note:   Overwhelming Offers (OO) are limited in quantity, reservation only and limited in time. Participating merchants and offers are subject to change. The OO discount is provided as a statement credit. See for restrictions and complete terms and conditions.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Giveaway - Zodiworks Book and Story Bag


Zodiworks publishes early reader books that were designed to meet a need for the Montessori classroom - books with entertaining stories, easily decodable vocabulary, and that looked like books so children would feel like they were really reading. With beautiful artwork by co-founder Jenn Howard, aka Montessori Mama, Zodibooks appeals to children, and their parents.

With Zodibooks, children have more than just books to read, they have books to play with. Each book has a companion story bag of the key objects in the book, so the child can act out each story. Each bag also contains word cards for every word in the book (including punctuation) so children can reproduce any page, match words to objects, create their own sentences, or other activities with the book and objects.

What comes in the Zodiworks Sam Series 1 Box

Check out this video which shows exactly how Zodibooks helps children learn to read through the variety of tools that come with the books.

Co-founder Robin Jettinghoff is a personal friend in real life.  She is also seeking funding through PeerBackers to publish the next set of books.

*** If you'd like win a Zodiworks book and story bag, visit Zodiworks books and leave a comment below with your choice of book.  The accompanying story bags can be seen at the Zodiworks store.  Please include your email address in your comment. ***

For extra entries, promote this contest by tweet, blog post, StumbleUpon or other social media and leave a separate comment for each with the URL or username. Up to five entries per person.

This giveaway ends December 24, 2010 at 11pm EST and is open to US and Canadian residents.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Winners - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Congratulations to Melissa, Klara and Harli who correctly answered the quiz on Asian symbolism in Harry Potter.

Here are the correct answers.  More information on Asian symbolism can be found at this Harry Potter Asia wiki page.
  • The Kappa, a water demon, is native to what East Asian country?
The Kappa is a Japanese water demon. It resembles a scale-covered monkey with webbed hands and a water-filled depression on top of its head. The water in this hollow is the source of the creature's strength. Kappa is native to Japan, though Severus Snape said in a lesson it was native to Mongolia, something Harry and Ron quickly pointed out.
  • The Toyohashi Tengu Quidditch national team represented what Asian country?
The Toyohashi Tengu are a Quidditch team based in Toyohashi, Japan. They are the most successful Japanese team, and narrowly missed a win in 1994 against the Gorodok Gargoyles. Their practice of burning their broomsticks after a defeat was frowned upon by the International Confederation of Wizards' Quidditch Committee as a waste of good wood.
  • The extremely rare plant Mimbulus Mimbletonia has it’s main origins in what Asian region/country?
The Mimbulus Mimbletonia is a small grey cactus in a pot, except that it was covered with what looked like boils rather than spines. Assyria is where Neville's great-uncle Algie found his Mimbulus Mimbletonia.
  • What is the origin of Chomping Cabbage?
China is home to the Chinese Chomping Cabbage.
  • Acromantulas, a species of giant spiders exist within what Southeast Asian island?
The Acromantula are a species of giant spider, native to the rainforests of Southeast Asia, particularly Borneo.
  • The “Phoenix” is not only featured in “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”, but also has it’s origins in the mythologies of which East Asian country?
The Phoenix is a large swan-sized scarlet bird with red and gold plumage, along with a golden beak and talons, black eyes, and a tail as long as a peacock. China is the native range of the Phoenix.
Have you seen the movie yet?  We went yesterday and it was awesome.  Check out my review of the movie on mommy bytes.

Special thanks to IW GROUP, INC. for providing the questions and promotional items for the contest.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Review - V8 V-Fusion + Tea, $100 Giveaway

This is a sponsored review by BlogHer and V8 V-Fusion + Tea.

Me and V8 V-Fusion + Tea

I have been drinking V8 for years and when the V8 V-Fusion juices came along, my family got on board as well. Now, V8 has a new variety of V8 V-Fusion + Tea.  My whole family loves this juice beverage!

Where regular juices have quite a bit of sugar, we usually cut juices with water.  The V8 V-Fusion + Tea gives a better alternative by diluting the juice with the benefits of green tea.  What a great combination!  The taste is light, not too sweet and so very healthy. 

V8 V-Fusion + Tea combines fruit and vegetable juices with green tea, at only 50 calories per 8 ounce serving and only 10 grams of sugar.  Besides delicious fruit juices such as Pomegranate, Raspberry or Pineapple Mango, you also get the vegetable juices from sweet potatoes, purple, yellow or orange carrots and yellow tomatoes, as well as antioxidants from the green tea.  It's a win win win drink all around.

V8 V-Fusion + Tea is available in 46-ounce bottles in stores nationwide.  Twelve ounce bottles and 6-packs of 8-ounce slim cans will be available in early 2011. Try it yourself with this $1 off coupon.

*** If you'd like win a $100 Visa gift card provided by BlogHer, visit V8 V-Fusion + Tea and leave a comment below with your favorite V8 V-Fusion + Tea variety.  Please include your email address in your comment. ***

For extra entries, tweet or blog about this post with a link to it (and put your tweet or blog post URL in a separate comment below).   Read the official rules for alternate forms of entry.  There are 9 other chances to win located on the V8 V-Fusion + Tea round-up page. The promotion ends on December 10, 2010 at 5:00 p.m. PST.

For more offers check out the exclusive offers page.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Giveaway - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows


Are you ready for the final installment of Harry Potter?  In honor of the movie premiere  of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 on November 19, here is a contest for these promotional Harry Potter items: a hat, t-shirt, and a horcrux USB flash drive.

hat t-shirt flashdrive

Harry Potter is full of symbolism from Greco-Roman and Egyption mythology to Biblical symbolism.  But did you know that there is also Asian symbolism embedded within the Harry Potter series?  Here’s a quiz to test your knowledge of the Asian symbolism within Harry Potter.

harry_mirror hermione
motorcycle dark_table

*** To enter the contest, fill out this form with your answers (REQUIRED). *** 

For extra entries, promote this contest by Twitter, StumbleUpon or other social media and leave a comment with your for each with the URL or username (please leave your Blogger or comment name in the form).  Up to 5 entries per person.  Three winners will be selected randomly from the most correct answers.

This giveaway ends on the night of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 movie premiere, November 19, 2010 at 11pm EST and is open to US residents.

Special thanks to IW GROUP, INC. for providing the questions and promotional items for the contest.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Review - Back to Nature Foods

Lately, there has been a push to have simpler foods with natural, wholesome ingredients.  This has been the philosophy of Back to Nature Foods since 1960.  Not only do they make delicious foods, but they also lead the way in greener packaging by using 100% recycled paperboard with at least 55% post-consumer content. That means 55% from paper recycling from you and me. Even the ink is from renewable vegetable sources such as flax, soy and tree nuts.

But if  you're not swayed by buying green, the taste of Back to Nature foods will win you over.  My favorite Back to Nature snacks are their seed and herb crackers: Sunflower Basil, Sesame Tarragon and Poppy Thyme.

I tried the Sunflower Basil crackers and they were seriously the best tasting crackers that I've ever had.  Delicate and savory, I took these to work so I didn't have to share them with my family.  Instead they hoarded the Chocolate Chunk cookies and didn't share any of them with me!

If you're new to Back to Nature Foods, or if you've been an ardent supporter for years, check out their new cookie flavors arriving in stores in January 2011: California Lemon, Madagascar Vanilla Wafers and Triple Ginger cookies.  You can find Back to Nature products at Whole Foods and many other retailers.

Thanks to Back to Nature for providing samples for review.

Review – Isotoner SmarTouch Gloves

If you have a smart phone with a touchscreen, you’ve inevitably run into the problem of trying to operate it in the bitter cold of winter.  I’ve had my iPhone ring and have answered it by rubbing my nose on it.  Those ridiculous antics are over with Isotoner’s SmarTouch gloves.  These gloves have conductive thread on your index fingers and thumbs which allow you to operate your touchscreen device without removing your gloves.  A non-slip palm improves grip as well.

The Isotoner SmarTouch is excellent for basic phone operations such as dialing and answering calls, but don’t expect to have coherent text messages or emails, especially with the iPhone.  Here are my test messages: “$6.49 is a good deal fortunes fm trasittes”, which should have been “$6.49 is a good deal for for the fm transmitters”.  Another attempt got completely garbled, “Dour gne t u can't really re org his ice?”

But if you’re really just interested in answering your phone or working your touchscreen GPS with your gloves on, the Isotoner SmarTouch will fit the bill.  The SmarTouch is available at most department stores and mass merchants nationwide.  Check out this hysterical video of life before and after Isotoner SmarTouch gloves:

Thanks to Isotoner for providing a review pair of gloves.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Review – EarPeace Hearing Protection

Who knew that hearing protection could be so discreet and cool?  EarPeace offers silicone ear plugs that are skin toned so there are nearly invisible.  They are meant to enhance concert-going experiences by reduce volume while maintaining sound fidelity.

In our family we use hearing protection from yardwork, to music jams, to automobile and motorcycle races to airplane trips.  The EarPeace ear plugs do not provide as much sound attenuation as ear muffs and some foam earplugs, but they are meant to enhance your concert going experience while protecting your hearing.  EarPeace gives about 11-17 dB attenuation which is ideal for bringing the sound from nightclubs and concerts down to a hearing damage free level.  They are comfortable, reusable and easy to clean.

For more information on hearing loss and the importance of hearing protection, check out their article here.  You can purchase EarPeace with a carrying case for $14.95 with free shipping at their store.

Special thanks to EarPeace for providing a review sample.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

ABC’s No Ordinary Family – Which Superpower Would You Choose?

This is sponsored content from BlogHer and ABC's No Ordinary Family.

ABC’s No Ordinary Family poses the question, If you could give each of your family members or friends a super power what would it be and why?  Check out the trailer for this new show premiering on Sept 28, 2010.

In a recent episode of This American Life on Superpowers, the first act featured a story where John Hodgman asks the question,”Which superpower would you choose, the power of flight or the power of invisibility?”  How you answer tells a lot about what kind of person you are.

My first thought was invisibility, but then I went back and forth on the flying.  I often have dreams of flying, of traveling through the world either by gliding through the air or just over the ground effortlessly, or by shrinking the earth into the size of a map so I could walk into another country with a single step.  But then the sneaky suspicious side of me would just love to spy on people when I am invisible. 

In the end, how you choose shows whether the gallant person with nothing to hide overcomes the darker, guilty, suspicious person.  They said that men choose flying more often and women choose invisibility.

But the superpower that I would want over anything else would be the ability to be in more than one place at a time.  I could finally be supermom and work full time, take care of the kids full time, and even split my time helping with homework, piano or violin practicing at the same time.  Of course these leads to no down time, but I could choose when and whether or not to split or clone or whatever it takes to be in more than one place at a time. 

Just this past weekend, I wished for this superpower again.  It was a beautiful Saturday morning, and I drove my convertible to my therapeutic massage appointment.  The weather was absolutely perfect, and I put on my music and enjoyed my little getaway from the kids.  My husband Doug took my son to his first soccer game of the season, which is something that I’ve done countless times.  However, this time my son Adam scored three out of the five goals helping his team to its first solid win in ages!  Oh how I wished I could have been there!  But if I were able to be in those two places at the same time, would I have relished my getaway if I weren’t really away?  I’ll worry about those philosophical dilemmas when I get to them.

The power I choose for Doug is the ability to stop time.  In Nicholson Baker’s book, The Fermata, the main character uses this power to do all sorts of kinky sex acts, but there are many more uses for this power.  Doug would love to invoke time stopping when the kids get too loud and crazy.  He could just stop time and everything would be quiet.  He could catch his breath, relax and relish the moment of silence.  Plus with his new job, he can finally get everything done despite our jam-packed family schedule.

My son Adam is pure of heart and would embrace flying without question.  He loves to defy gravity on the swings.  It is completely fitting for him.

My daughter Dova would definitely be the invisible one.  She already loves to sneak up on you and scare you any chance she gets.  Hopefully this won’t lead to a dark life of deception in the future.

So what superpower would you choose?

To see other BlogHer reviewer opinions, check out the special offers page.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Giveaway - Shrek Forever After Collect-A-Bands


Have your kids caught the Silly Bandz fever? Collect-A-Bands have character bands for your favorite characters such as Looney Tunes, Scooby Doo, Star Wars and more.  They come in a 24 pack with 8 different characters, which makes it easy to share (unless you're my 6-year-old daughter).

*** If you'd like 24 pack of Shrek Forever After Collect-A-Bands, leave a comment below.  Please include your email address in your comment. ***

For extra entries, promote this contest by tweet, blog post, StumbleUpon or other social media and leave a separate comment for each with the URL or username. Up to five entries per person.

This giveaway ends September 24, 2010 at 11pm EST and is open to US residents.

Special thanks to Bulls-i-toy for providing samples for the giveaway and review.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Review - Welch's Healthy Start Juices

Juice is juice right? Not when it comes to Welch's. The new Healthy Start line of juices take nutrition and flavor to a new level.
  • Grape
  • White Grape Orange Mango
  • Blueberry Pomegranate Concord Grape

Each of these juices have the unmistakable flavor of high quality Concord grapes. With 260% of Vitamin C DV, and loads of natural anti-oxidants from grapes, you can feel good about giving it to your family.  Even my son with the fruit aversion loves it.

If you'd like to try Welch's Healthy Start, click the coupon image below to visit Welch's Healthy Start and print out a coupon.  Healthy Start will be available nationwide in October and is currently available at Kroger, Safeway, Food Lion and Publix.  It will also be available in mid-September at SuperValu, Bi-Lo and in mid-October at Walmart .

Thanks to Welch's for providing juice samples for review.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Review - Newman's Own Thin & Crispy Pizza, Giveaway - Newman's Own Gift Basket

This is a sponsored review by BlogHer and Newman's Own.

OK, I admit it. We love pizza. Even frozen pizza. When I heard that Newman's Own was offering a new line of thin and crispy pizza, I loved the thought of all natural ingredients in a brand that I trust. We love Newman's Own salad dressings, salsas and fig newtons, I mean Fig Newmans™!  And don't forget that all profits go to charity. Newman’s Own Foundation continues Paul Newman’s commitment to donate all profits to charity. Over $300 million has been given to thousands of charities since 1982.

Newman's Own Thin & Crispy pizza definitely delivers. We tried the uncured pepperoni pizza and in 12 minutes were treated to a delicious meal.  Uncured means no sodium nitrites, something we definitely look for.  The full taste was four thumbs up from our family of four!  The thin crust means 25% less carbs compared to rising crust pizzas, but we did need two pizzas to feed four of us for dinner.

Newman's Own Thin & Crispy pizza can be found at the following stores:
  • East Coast - Shaw’s, Big Y, Price Chopper, Demoula’s Market Basket, Hannaford, Foodmaster, Roche Bros, Stop & Shop, Harris Teeter, Giant (MD), Giant Foods (PA), Giant Eagle, Kroger, Shoprite, Key Food, King Kullen, Food Town, Kings, Grand Union, D’Agostino’s, C-Town, Bravo, Met Food
  • Midwest - Piggly Wiggly, Woodman’s Markets, Copps, Sentry, Byerly’s, Lund’s, Kowalski’s, Kroger, Hy-Vee
  • West & Southwest – Albertson’s, Gelson’s, Lucky/Save-Mart, Raley’s, Fry’s, Bashas, King Soopers, Haggen’s, QFC, Fred Meyer, Kroger, HEB
*** If you'd like win a Newman’s Own Gift Basket valued at $75 (contents may vary), visit Newman's Own and leave a comment below with your favorite pizza variety.  Please include your email address in your comment. ***

For extra entries, promote this contest by tweet or blog about this promotion and leave a separate comment with the URL. Up to three entries per person.  Please see Newman’s Own official rules.

This giveaway ends October 31, 2010 at 5pm PST and is open to US residents.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Giveaway - Tyson Grilled & Ready Chicken

Want an healthier alternative to the ubiquitous chicken nuggets that's just as fast?  Tyson Grilled & Ready Chicken Breast Fillets are 98% fat free, contain no preservatives, and pass discerning kid's taste buds.

We tried the Chicken Breast Strips in a variety of uses, from salad toppings, to ramen noodles to quesadillas.  Here's my simple recipe for quesadillas that takes 5 minutes to prepare.

2 whole wheat tortillas
shredded cheddar and part-skim mozzarella cheese
Tyson Grilled & Ready Chicken Breast Strips
frozen corn
baby spinach
Lay a tortilla on a plate and sprinkle a thin layer of shredded cheese.  Arrange frozen Tyson Grilled & Ready Chicken Breasts Strips over the cheese, leaving some space between strips.  Add frozen corn between the chicken strips.  Top with a layer of baby spinach.  Sprinkle a little more shredded cheese on top of the spinach.  Lay the second tortilla on top.  Microwave for one minute.  Flip the tortilla over (easiest by placing another plate on top and flipping both plates over).  Microwave for another minute.  Flip one more time and microwave for a third minute.  Cut in quarters and serve.  Even my pickiest eater loves this!

*** If you'd like one of two full-value product coupons for Tyson Grilled & Ready Chicken, leave a comment below.  Please include your email address in your comment. ***

For extra entries, promote this contest by tweet, blog post, StumbleUpon or other social media and leave a separate comment for each with the URL or username. Up to five entries per person.

This giveaway ends September 10, 2010 at 11pm EST and is open to US residents.

Special thanks to Tyson for providing coupons for the giveaway and review.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Review - Magellan RoadMate 2010 for iPhone

The Magellan RoadMate App for the iPhone is a full-featured GPS navigation tool. If you're familiar with using a stand-alone GPS navigation system, you will feel right at home with this app.

The main menu is clear and easy to use.

The voice prompts and visual signs are clearly marked and easy to follow.

The ability to play music from your iPhone is an added bonus.

Here are some pros and cons that I encountered with the app:
  • The app size for the USA version is 1.3 GB.  The size is required for the map data.  My 16GB iPhone was completely full so I had to remove music and apps to accommodate the Magellan RoadMate.  However, the app would not install until I had about 3 GB of free space.  After it was installed, I was able to add back the apps and music up to the full capacity.
  • The sound from the iPhone speaker is not loud enough to hear while driving on the highway.  I used an FM transmitter/charger to broadcast the iPhone over the radio.  The voice prompts were very clear using this accessory.  This worked very well with the built in Music Player as well. 
  • If you have a car with a built-in iPod/iPhone interface, the voice prompts through the sound system work well, but the cable is usually not long enough to view the iPhone screen.
  • If you don't have a car kit to mount the iPhone to your windshield or dash, the GPS signal may not be strong enough if the iPhone is placed at the bottom of your console.
  • If you don't charge the iPhone while using this app, your battery will run down after about an hour, as the GPS is energy-intensive. 
If you have an FM Transmitter/charger and have used a GPS before, I would recommend the Magellan RoadMate App for the iPhone. Magellan offers a Car Kit with a charger for an additional $99.99, however it does not include the FM transmitter, which I feel is necessary.

The Magellan RoadMate 2010 is available at the iTunes store for $49.99 for USA, $34,99 for Canada, and $59.99 for USA and Canada.

Thanks to Magellan for providing the RoadMate app for review.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Giveaway – Ice Box Bakery Cookie Dough

Ice Box Bakery Cookie Dough

If there’s one thing I love to bake for my family, it’s cookies.  But working full-time outside the house doesn’t afford me much time to indulge in making homemade cookies.  Store bought cookie dough is usually full of trans fats, artificial ingredients and preservatives.  Fortunately, Jen of Ice Box Bakery has an answer to this problem. 

Ice Box Bakery offers a line of cookie with all natural ingredients including butter.  We all know that only butter cookies taste homemade.  The cookie dough is offered in easy to use slice-and-bake chubs.

Cutting the cookie dough

But the proof is in the tasting.

Thumbs up

Thumbs up from both my kids!  Ice Box Bakery is available in finer grocery and natural food stores across the country.  Check their store locator for a store near you.

*** If you'd like one of three chubs of Ice Box Bakery cookie dough, visit Ice Box Bakery and leave a comment below with your choice of cookie dough flavor.  Please include your email address in your comment. ***

For extra entries, promote this contest by tweet, blog post, StumbleUpon or other social media and leave an separate comment for each with the URL or username. Up to five entries per person.
This giveaway ends July 23, 2010 at 11pm EST and is open to US residents.

Special thanks to Ice Box Bakery for providing cookie dough samples for the giveaway and review.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Review - Tiger Tags

Did you get some cool electronics this holiday season?  How would you feel if they accidentally got lost forever?  TigerTag offers a FREE global lost and found network.  For a mere $1.99 to cover shipping and handling, you can receive a set of TigerTags, which is a small, permanent sticker, each having a unique serial number.  Stick these tags on your cell phone, laptop, gaming device, register them online, and they have a good chance find their way back to you if you lose them.

"75% of lost items which carry a TigerTag ID sticker are returned by Good Samaritans.  Our mission at TigerTag is to provide a reliable way to safeguard valuables by harnessing the power of goodwill," said Eric Lagier, CEO and founder of TigerTag.

After the holidays, I spent some (surprisingly fun) time tagging all my family's gadgets including cameras, cell phones, and my daughter's new Nintendo DS.  It's quick and easy to register devices. The peace of mind knowing that your device will probably not be lost forever? Priceless.

Special thanks to Tiger Tags for sending me a set of Tiger Tags.

Review - Banglz Bands

Want to get more exercise out of every day tasks?  Banglz are comfy half pound weighted bands wrapped in different stylish interchangeable sleeves. One pound Banglz ankle bands that fit comfortably under your pants are also available.

I tried a set of wrist Banglz for several days and received many compliments on the new accessory.  After a few hours, they felt fairly comfortable and I could definitely feel the extra workout in everyday tasks.  I wore them to an aerobics class and boy did they make a huge difference!  At times they can get in the way, for instance when typing on the computer or washing your hands.  I would probably opt for the ankle bands for every day use.

Banglz are available at at $24.95 for wrist bands and $27.95 for ankle bands.

Special thanks to Banglz for loaning a set of Banglz wrist bands.