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Welcome to Grandma's Back Room

Grandma's Back Room is where you'll find all kinds of fun stuff, including GIVEAWAYS, REVIEWS, SPONSORED POSTS and more!

So go ahead: Enter the giveaways, read the reviews, peruse the sponsored posts. And be sure to take a moment to visit the websites of the kind folks who have provided the goodies of which I write about, give away or plug.

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    Win Chicken Soup for the Soul: Parenthood

    As a parent, I always appreciate humorous and heartwarming stories from other parents on their journey along the same road I've taken. Chicken Soup for the Soul books are known for such tales, and they don't disappoint with their latest, Parenthood: 101 Heartwarming and Humorous Stories about the Joys of Raising Children of All Ages.

    As I'm now a grandma and all done with raising little kids (though I do so enjoy my little grandkids), I appreciated that this edition included not only stories on parents of young children, but stories about older kids, tales of moms and dads facing the empty-nest phase, too.

    The back cover of the book says, "Older parents will laugh a lot, tear up a little, and nod their heads in agreement as they recognize shared experiences shaping young lives." I did all of that and more.

    Titles of the chapters pretty much tell readers what's in store, what to brace for, whether tissues should be on hand while reading:

    • Becoming a Family
    • All in a Day's Work
    • Is There a Manual for This?
    • Parenting Faux Pas
    • Stop and Smell the Roses
    • Learning from Each Other
    • Treasured moments
    • From the Mouths of Babes
    • What Goes Around Comes Around
    • Love Conquers All
    • Saying Thank You
    • Giving Them Wings to Fly

    All the stories are well-written but one that immediately touched my heart with the soul-stirring imagery came from the "Giving Them Wings to Fly" chapter. (You surely knew I had to start with that chapter!) It's by Amy Giles and titled Swing with Me. For copyright reasons, I can't share the entire essay here, but this is how it begins:

    "Swing with me." The neglected swing set calls me. Gritty, squeaky, and booby-trapped — the girls don't play here anymore, and the spiders know it. They've claimed the play set's tree house as their own no-girls-allowed zone, planting their flag of gossamer threads across the threshold."

    It only gets better from there.

    In addition to tummy ticklers and tear jerkers from both moms and dads, Parenthood includes 14 cartoons to which all parents can relate, as well as relevant quotes at the beginning of each chapter, such as the one beginning the aforementioned Swing with Me essay: "Childhood is a short season." ~Helen Hayes

    Childhood is indeed a short season. That season can be hard on parents at times. Parenthood: 101 Heartwarming and Humorous Stories about the Joys of Raising Children of All Ages helps us all feel a little less alone in the journey.

    Parenthood: 101 Heartwarming and Humorous Stories about the Joys of Raising Children of All Ages, published March 2013, has a suggested price of $14.95 and can be found nearly any place books are sold, in hardcover and electronic versions.


    The publishers of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series have graciously offered to give two random winners a copy of Parenthood: 101 Heartwarming and Humorous Stories about the Joys of Raising Children of All Ages. Giveaway entries accepted via Rafflecopter (below), through midnight MDT May 14. The two winners will be drawn May 15 and contacted by email for shipping information.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book for review, as well as the offer of two copies for giveaway, to be shipped by the brand.


    P&G "Most Loved" products

    It's hard to beat P&G when it comes to award-winning products. The number of brands and award-winning household, beauty and grooming products under the P&G banner boggles the brain... in a good way.

    P&G recently sent me a few of their "most loved" products to try first hand. My package included some of the best of the best for me (and my husband) to put to the test. Here's what I, er, we received:

    CoverGirl LashBlast Volume Mascara


    Febreze Car Vent Clip Air Freshener


    Gillette Hydrator Hydrating Body Wash for Men


    Swiffer Dusters Kit


    What did we think of these "most loved" products? We loved them. Seriously loved them.

    I'm big on scents, so the febreze car freshener was my favorite of the bunch. The linen & sky scent — which promises to last up to 30 days — not only added the fresh scent, but, just as it says on the package, eliminated the odors that naturally build up when the windows must remain up, due to the cold of late. (Yes, it's spring... but not really here in Colorado yet.)

    While I do love scents, when it comes to dusters, they often have too overpowering of a scent. Not so with the Swiffer dusters. They did the job they were intended to do: pick up dust from my dusty ol' house. I especially like how you can flip the dusters on the handle from one side to the other, to get the most out of each duster included in the package.

    The mascara? Well, I've been looking for a new mascara lately, as my lashes are getting more sparse. I hear my lash problem is typical as we age. The eyelash curler helped in the past, but I had seen ads for the LashBlast and wondered if it would eliminate the need for the dreaded curling device. I'm happy to report it did!

    Last but not least, the product my husband tried: the hydrating body wash. My husband isn't typically one to exclaim how soft a product makes his skin, but he did actually tell me he really liked the way this made his skin feel. It made him smell pretty good, too. (Like I said, I'm big on scents.)

    I love that P&G reached out to me to sample a few of their most-loved products. Their entire line of "Most Loved" brands include: CoverGirl®, Olay®, Pantene®, Venus®, Gillette®, Bounty®, Cascade®, Charmin®, Dawn®, Febreze®, Swiffer® and Tide®.

    Learn more about the P&G "Most Loved" brands on the P&G website:, Facebook, and Twitter @PGeveryday.

    Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/P&G.


    Dioptics Solar Shield Shades: Inexpensive alternative to tinted prescription glasses

    Dioptics Solar ShadesAs I've gotten older, I find I depend more and more on my progressive lens glasses. I once wore them only when working at my desk, but because I regularly use my iPhone — with its itsy, bitsy print — indoors and out, I wear my glasses in the house, outside of the house, in the car and even at the park.

    Indoors, I'm okay. Outdoors, it's far too bright for my eyes, so I need sunglasses. My progressive lens glasses, though, aren't tinted. Which is why I was delighted to have the opportunity to try out Dioptics Solar Shield sunglasses. They promised to be stylish shades that can be worn directly over my progressive lens glasses.

    Now, I've tried wearing sunglasses over regular glasses in the past — and not only looked like an idiot while doing it, but they didn't stay on well and made it more difficult to see, not less.

    Solar Shield ShadesI chose to review the Shades by Solar Shield model from Dioptics Fits Over Sunglass collection. (They also offer clip-on shades.) The Solar Shield shades claims included:

    • Designed to fit over eyeglasses
    • Lightweight nylon frame
    • Polarized lenses reduce glare
    • Lenses block 100% UV rays
    • Sleek, fashionable frame shapes

    My Dioptics Solar Shield sunglasses came just before I left to visit my grandsons. It was perfect timing, considering the amount of time I spent outside with my grandsons.

    While outside with my ever-active grandsons, I took a lot of photos — with a camera that requires me to see the small print on the dials and such. Plus, I needed to be able to read any texts on my iPhone that came from my daughter checking in on us while we were out and about.

    Using my camera and phone in the bright desert sunshine is usually a silly juggling act, swapping shades with progressive lenses and back and forth again and again. This time while visiting my grandsons, though, there was no juggling required, no matter the hundreds of photos I took of them outdoors during my week with them.

    The Shades fit perfectly and comfortably over my progressive lens glasses. There was no funky coloring as I looked through them, unlike some other sunglasses I've worn in the past that make everything orange or green. They provided just the perfect amount of shade that kept me from squinting... yet allowed me to read the dials on my camera, ensure my photos were coming out okay, read texts that came from my daughter, see the little bugs and such my grandsons pointed out on our walks (not to mention, be able to see where to open the darn fruit snacks packages they were treated to now and again while at the park).

    The only thing I found funky about the lenses was the way my iPhone screen appeared when looking at it through the glasses. It's hard to explain, but there was a bit of an iridescence to the screen, surely related to the polarized lenses. Not a big deal, as the funkiness went away if I held my phone in a bit of an awkward position. Time on the phone while outdoors was short, so the polarization was more important than an easily viewed smartphone, for sure.

    One thing I worried about with wearing glasses large enough to fit over prescription glasses was that they'd be unwieldy as well as unfashionable. My daughter — one of the more fashion conscious of our family — let me know right away that the glasses were quite fashionable, in fact, and looked great.

    I always appreciate being fashionable. More important to me, though, is being economical. The Dioptics shades, at around $25, are far less expensive than tinted prescription glasses. They're easy to find, too, available at Walmart, Walgreens, CVS and other major retailers. They also can be purchased online at

    Disclosure: I received a free sample of Dioptics Solar Shield sunglasses via Vibrant Nation's Vibrant Influencer Network. I was compensated for this post; opinions and anecdotes are my own.


    Never too old for dinosaurs: Three new dino discs from BBC


    The fascination with dinosaurs never fades, as evidenced by the recent re-release of the fantastic-yet-fictional Jurassic Park, now in 3D.

    For those seeking equally fantastic yet factual information and more on all things dinosaur, come three new DVDs from BBC Home Entertainment on the amazing creatures, sure to captivate the hearts and minds of dinosaur lovers.

    Extreme DinosaursExtreme Dinosaurs (single disc, 100 minutes, $19.92 MSRP) includes two features that challenge long-held beliefs about Tyrannosaurus rex. The first, Extreme Dinosaurs narrated by Paul Brightwell, provides tremendous information and evidence to show that the six-ton Argentinosuarus just may be a more fierce predator than the T-Rex.The second, T-Rex: Warrior or Wimp? narrated by Jack Fortune, further challenges the idea that the T-Rex was the most fearsome dinosaur of all. Both features include numerous interviews with paleontologists, dinosaur hunters, and experts of all degrees. There's a fair amount of time spent on Pete Larson, who found "Sue", the most complete T-Rex fossil, which was then confiscated by the FBI.

    Predator DinosaursPredator Dinosaurs (single disc, 100 minutes, $19.92 MSRP) was my favorite disc of the trio. In this one, Bill Oddie presents facts on the most brutal dinosaurs of all (think T-Rex, Triceratops, Velociraptor, Anklysaurus) in a fascinating and fun manner, with many humorous asides. Techniques used to provide a more in-depth and interesting look at the dinosaurs include CGI, biomechanics, high-tech scans and more. A fun demonstration in which men reenact a possible tussle between a T-Rex and a Triceratops was one of the highlights for me. Well, that an a lengthy discourse on how an ostrich is seemingly a long-lost relative of the T-Rex.

    Prehistoric ParkPrehistoric Park (2-disc set, 288 minutes, $19.92 MSRP) is the most dramatic of the features, closely resembling Jurassic Park. The gist of it is that Nigel Marven, a zoologist and wildlife expert, travels 65 million years back in time to collect dinosaurs to populate his dinosaur park. It's a race against time, as he needs to nab at least one of each species before dinosaurs are rendered extinct thanks to a meteor hitting earth. Marven seemed much like a dinosaur-hunting version of Steve Irwin's crocodile hunter, and the CGI creatures he'd come across and curate made for a fun safari of sorts.

    What I loved about the trio of features: While Extreme Dinosaurs was jam-packed with interesting tales primarily of those who dig for and research dinosaurs, the CGI, re-enactments, and sometimes cheeky humor (deliberate or not) of the second two made them fun viewing even for folks who may not be diehard dinosaur lovers. As is the case with all things presented by BBC Home Entertainment, the graphics, photography, research and more that go into all three of the features is beyond compare.

    What I didn't love so much: Because dinosaurs hold such appeal for youngsters, I thought the features would be more accessible to young kids. The extensive research and interviewing, though, rendered these DVDs more likely to appeal to kids over, say, the age of 10, I think. That said, the first might be too dry and factual for all but adults.

    Extreme Dinosaurs, Predator Dinosaurs, and Prehistoric Park were released by BBC Home Entertainment March 12, 2013, and available for purchase on the BBC website.

    Disclosure: I received copies of the DVDs free for review. All opinions are my own.


    Blogglebeans: Get your code for free grandchild connections

    Not long ago, I shared with you all about, a place where kids and their grandparents can play and share online. Feel free to refresh your memory — or learn about Blogglebeans for the very first time — by reading my Stay connected with Blogglebeans post.

    Blogglebeans is now offering Grandma's Briefs readers unlimited FREE grandchild connections* until May 4, 2013, using the exclusive code UKIDSGB.

    The free membership includes:

    • One grandparent account
    • One free grandchild connection  
    • Access to a variety of gifts, games and activities to share
    • A calendar system parents can use to keep you updated on your grandchild’s activities
    • One-to-one messaging

    Now, you can use this discount to add additional grandchild connections for free (a $9.99 value). Offer good only until May 4, 2013.

    Once you join, enter offer code UKIDSGB at the checkout to receive your free child connections. This offer is good for multiple uses – but, again, only until May 4, 2013!

    Plus, Blogglebeans users can now connect on-the-go with Blogglebeans' new App. Members can download the Blogglebeans app for free from the App StoreSM and access Blogglebeans via iPhone®, iPad® and iPod touch® – making it easy for grandparents and grandchildren to play and share anytime, anywhere.

    *Membership is free and comes with 1 child connection. Grandma’s Briefs offer includes 100 percent off additional grandchild fees in the Blogglebeans experience. Not valid with any other offer. No cash value. Offer ends 5/4/13.

    Disclosure: I received no compensation for this post. I am publishing this information merely as a service to my readers.


    How to introduce your partner to your grandchildren

    —This is a sponsored post, with content provided by 

    Who says romance is just a young person’s game? Discovering love later in life is a wonderful and exciting experience, whether you met through or through a hobby — but how will your relatives respond?

    Introducing a new partner to your children and grandchildren requires tact, sensitivity and patience. But at the end of the day, remember that the people closest to you should be supportive of your newfound happiness.

    So, if you’re planning on bringing your partner home to meet the grandkids, here are some tips on how to make the process as smooth and comfortable as possible.

    Be sensitive
    It’s important to realise that your grandchildren may be upset or confused to know that you have a new partner. This is especially common for younger children, or for those who remember the presence of a previous partner.

    For adult children it’s important to realise that a lot of their reluctance will stem from feeling protective. They may perceive a new partner as competition for your time, or worry the new person is trying to assume the role of their much-loved former grandparent.

    These are all common concerns — so be sensitive and give the process plenty of time.

    Make it fun

    First impressions do count, so make sure your first introduction is a memorable one, for all the right reasons.

    Try and think of a fun and enjoyable activity that provides plenty of opportunity for your grandkids to interact with your partner. Try and plan a day out where they can get to know each other and experience the best bits of each other’s personalities.

    Is it serious?

    Bringing a new partner home can be a confusing and potentially disruptive experience for your grandchildren. For this reason it’s important that you make sure your new relationship is serious and committed before introducing them. For older grandchildren this will help to avoid any confusion and upset, while for younger children it will prevent any feelings of detachment and later loss. - anissat

    Are they the right person?

    New romance is exciting and that heart-racing sensation can make you feel like a real teenager again. But just because a new partner is working wonders for your self-esteem, it doesn’t mean they are a right for your grandkids.

    It’s important to make sure your partner is the kind of person you want to introduce into your grandchildren’s lives. Do they have any bad habits? Are they a good influence or role model to have around?

    If you can’t confidently answer these questions, then perhaps they aren’t truly the right person for you. Remember that just because you’re searching for love later in life, it doesn’t mean you should settle for second best.

    Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All content was provided, and I was compensated for publishing it.