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    Tuesday
    Sep252012

    3-2-1 Penguins! Win Season One

    When I was a kid, Saturday mornings meant hours in front of the TV watching animated (and live action) characters such as H.R. Pufnstuf, Archie and Josey and the gang, Bugs Bunny, Pixie & Dixie, and that always infuriating Woody Woodpecker.

    When my daughters were kids, Saturday mornings featured Pound Puppies, Muppet Babies, Smurfs and Alvin and the Chipmunks.

    Saturday mornings for my grandsons? Well, I'm not so sure Saturday-morning television holds as much charm for them as they did for my daughters and me.

    Perhaps that's partially because they've yet to discover 3-2-1 Penguins. As I'm no longer in charge of what kids, mine or otherwise, watch on Saturday mornings, I hadn't heard of the flightless space birds. That is, until I received the 3-2-1 Penguins! Complete Season One DVD free for review. Seems Zidgel, Fidgel, Midgel and Kevin are apparently quite popular and must-see TV for many youngsters on Saturday mornings.

    Do the kids in your family know about 3-2-1 Penguins? Do you? Here's a taste of the fun I had the privilege of sampling:

    What I loved most about 3-2-1 Penguins! Complete Season One: The silly space pals are entertaining, but I especially liked that the Grandma to the two human characters—Michelle and Jason—has a fairly prominent spot in their lives and in the show. I also appreciated that common sense (and a good dose of faith) made the difference in solving the crisis of each episode.

    What I didn't love so much: That grandma mentioned above? Well, she's the stereotypical grandma—gray hair up in a bun, chubby, clothed in a dress and apron. Plus, you never see her face. Just a pet peeve of this grandma who wishes the media wouldn't support the out-dated stereotype of grandmas.

    3-2-1 Penguins! Complete Season One features 13 episodes—nearly 5 hours running time—plus bonus features such as a recipe for Midgel's Cool Blue Space Fuel and directions on how to draw Midgel. 3-2-1 Penguins: Complete Season One is from Big Idea Entertainment, the makers of VeggieTales, and can be purchased for $14.99 on the VeggieTales website.

    Enter to win 3-2-1 Penguins! Complete Season One! Enter via Rafflecopter below and you just might be the winner, selected by random Oct. 3, of five hours of animated space penguin fun.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway  

    Disclosure: I received a free DVD for review and the offer of one for giveaway, to be shipped to the winner by the sponsor. Opinions and anecdotes are my own.

    Saturday
    Sep222012

    Veggie Tales' Little Ones Can Do Big Things Too: A review and giveaway

    I have two grandsons, ages four and one. They're brothers. Which means the youngest is forever wanting to get involved in what the oldest is doing. It can be frustrating for both boys at times, and the idea that little ones can do big things, too, is the underlying theme of many conversations in their household.

    That's also the theme of the most recent VeggieTales release, titled appropriately, Little Ones Can Do Big Things Too. The DVD is a collection of stories—so far easier for little ones to follow than one full-length movie—about the big things performed by little ones. Most of the stories are biblical retellings, VeggieTale style, but the collection also includes a lesson in listening to your parents that's based on Pinocchio, only instead of Pinocchio and Gepetto, Pistachio and Gelatto are the stars. (See? VeggieTale style!)

    Here's a peek at the fun—and important messages—featured in VeggieTales' Little Ones Can Do Big Things Too:

     

    What I loved most about Little Ones Can Do Big Things Too: VeggieTales stories never fail to make me chuckle, thanks to the sprinkle of irreverency and subtle humor meant for adults in the midst of the fun and messages directed at children. I was happy to see the pea characters having a larger role than usual in each story (they are indeed such sweet peas), often reminding me of the chorus in Greek tragedies and tales.

    My favorite part of every VeggieTales DVD is the interviews with the Veggie Kids, as I love their nasally, rambling musings on important matters. This DVD took that feature one step further, courtesy a Behind the Scenes extra that shows the real kids as they answer the questions that were then made part of the animated feature. So cute. I always wondered if they were real kids, and that they are.

    VeggieTales' Little Ones Can Do Big Things Too is available for $12.99 from the VeggieTales website as well as other retailers, online and off.

    But wait...you can win your very own DVD of VeggieTales' Little Ones Can Do Big Things Too. Here are the details:

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Disclosure: I received a free copy of this DVD for review, as well as an offer of one as a giveaway prize. All opinions are my own.

    Thursday
    Sep202012

    Need a little time away? Enter to win the AARP Healthy Living Sweepstakes

    The band Chicago long ago waxed melodically that everybody needs a little time away. That we all do. And why not use that time away to learn how to live longer and healthier? Better yet, why not learn the ins and outs of healthy living while staying at an award-winning retreat and spa. With a guest. For free.

    It can happen, courtesy of AARP.

    As a non-profit organization with more than 37 million members, the AARP advocates a healthy lifestyle as part of its overall mission to support independence, choice and control in the lives of Americans 50 years old and older. In light of that mission and in celebration of healthy living, AARP presents the AARP Healthy Living Sweepstakes.

    The grand prize winner of the AARP Healthy Living Sweepstakes (one lucky winner) will be awarded a trip for two to the Red Mountain Resort, a wellness retreat and spa in Utah. The prize includes 3 nights' accommodations, air and ground transportation to and from, plus daily guided hikes, fitness and healthy life classes, cooking demos, wellness center events and spa treatments.

    There are also daily instant win prizes available, with one winner per day. The daily prize is winner's choice of either a $20 Visa gift card (great for purchasing healthy groceries!) or a radio/pedometer in one.

    The AARP Healthy Living Sweepstakes is open to registrants 45 and older, and everyone who registers is entered to win. Extra sweepstakes entries can be earned by testing your healthy living knowledge through a series trivia questions. Official rules and prizing info can be found here.

    The very most important official rule to be aware of right now: The sweepstakes is open only through next Tuesday, September 25, with the grand prize winner being drawn September 26. So head on over today to the AARP Healthy Living Sweepstakes.

    What better way to celebrate healthy living—and to get that well-deserved time away, too. For free.

    Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. Opinions and anecdotes are my own.

    Tuesday
    Sep112012

    Exergen TemporalScanner takes the fear out of fevers - Review and giveaway [CLOSED]

    When my girls were babies, one of the scariest things I faced was having to take their temperature when they seemed to have a fever of any degree. I was scared to death my wriggly and unhappy little babe would surely bust of a thermometer I'd placed in her bum rendering her far worse off than she'd have been if I'd been a bad mom and ignored her feverish cries.

    Shew. I'm so glad those days are over. If only I'd had an Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer back then. I recently received free for review an Exergen TemporalScanner, and the high-tech temperature taker is surely a must-have for any mother. Including grandmothers, as they will undoubtedly come in handy any time a visiting—or resident—child seems to have a fever of even the slightest degree.

    The Exergen TemporalScanner allows a parent or grandparent (or any adult, for that matter) to simply stroke a child's forehead with the gadget to accurately gauge a body temperature within literally seconds. Two seconds. Without having to stick anything of any sort in any orifice. Not in a bum, not in a mouth, not even in an ear.

    The Exergen TemporalScanner is the home version of those used in hospitals and doctors' offices. It gauges body temperature by capturing the heat emitted from skin over the temporal artery, which runs across the forehead and is directly connected to the heart via the carotid artery.

    Not only is the Exergen safe, quick, easy, and non-invasive, it's accurate. Plus, the Exergen TemporalScanner will identify a rapidly changing temperature far sooner than a rectal thermometer, which can be vital, especially considering the lag time for a rectal reading could be 60-90 minutes on infants and children up to age 12, and up to several hours on an adult.

    Not that I want my grandsons to be ill any time they visit my house, but next time they seem feverish or out of sorts while here, I'll be happy to take their temperature with the Exergen TemporalScanner. And they will surely be happy to never have to undergo a thermometer up the bum, at grandma's or at home.

    The Exergen TemporalScanner—named one of the smartest products of the decade by Inc. Magazine—is a great gadget for grandparents and every household to have on hand, as it works not only on children, but adults, too. It's also a super gift idea. The scanner retails for $99 and is available at Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Costco, Babies R Us, Toys R Us and Sam's Clubs nationwide. For more information, visit www.exergen.com.

    Thanks to a generous offer from the Exergen folks, I'm giving away to one lucky reader an Exergen TemporalScanner ($99 value) to keep for themselves or to give to a loved one as a gift. Simply follow the Rafflecopter instructions below to be entered. Entries accepted through 12:01 a.m. EST, Sept. 19. One winner will be drawn Sept. 19 and immediately notified by email for shipping information as prize will be mailed directly from an Exergen representative.

    Disclosure: I received the featured product free for review, as well as the offer of one free product for giveaway. Opinions are my own.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

     

    Tuesday
    Sep112012

    "If I had as many grandchildren as you...": A review plus Sweet Memories

    Grandparents are the memory makers in a child's life, according to author Lori Stewart. They provide curiosity-quenching moments of fun and adventure. If, that is, they know where to find such fun, such adventure.

    Stewart recently published a book filled with ideas on where grandparents can find "adventuresome fun" to share with their grandchildren. In If I had as many grandchildren as you... —which I received free for review—a wise old lion named Grand Paws (who "speaks for the young") offers advice on what he would do if he, yep, had as many grandchildren as you. That means, "like seven or nine or eleventy two."

    I don't have seven or nine or eleventy two grandchildren, only two. And I shared Stewart's photo-filled book with the oldest of the two, Bubby, who is four. The story on all the things a grandparent (or lion) might do with grandkids is told in verse and features kids of all ages doing crafts, making costumes, visiting unusual places, fixing things, wishing upon stars, witnessing a flash mob, and so much more.

    What we loved about the book: More so than the words, Bubby was intrigued by the numerous stock photos of people, places, and things of interest to the target age group, ages three and up. His favorite was the extravagant sand castles, which led to a lengthy discussion about his first visit to the beach, just this past July.

    What we didn't love so much: There is a lot of text. So much so that I found myself skipping large chunks of the story once I realized Bubby had become bored with it and wanted only to get to the end. Seems the rhyming verse, though charming, could have been cut in half to make it perfectly fit the amount of time a child might spend on each page looking at the photos accompanying the text.

    If I had as many grandchildren as you... by Lori Stewart (hardcover, MSRP $19.95) can be found in libraries, at bookstores, and online at www.ifihadasmanygrandchildrenasyou.com. The book is filled with fun ideas for spending time with grandchildren, no matter how many one may have.

    For additional ideas and musings on the importance of grandparents in a child's life, here is another offering from author Lori Stewart:

    Sweet Memories Are Made Of These
    By Lori Stewart

    If you are a grandparent today, chances are you play a large and important role in your young grandchildren’s lives. You spoil them, teach them about family history, babysit, and contribute financially to their education, health care and even some everyday expenses. You tell them silly jokes and talk to them about serious subjects - morals and values, sex, drugs and rock and roll. You know to boo the Snatcher and cheer Galahad because you’ve spent quiet times watching their videos with them. And you’re embarrassed to admit you’ve actually learned a bit about fine art and classical music from the Little Einsteins. You’re up on the latest in baby gear, nutrition, medical care and child rearing advice, and you’ve kept up with new technologies - joining Facebook, Skype and Face Time - just to stay connected. You know better than to comment on hair or clothing or music preferences, and you know when to give advice and when to hold your tongue.

    You’re doing a great job as a grandparent. So let me ask you this. How would you like your grandchildren to remember you?  They’ll grow up someday, and have grandchildren of their own, and they’ll tell stories about you. Do you ever wonder what they’ll say?
     
    I’ll tell you what I remember about my grandmother. She taught us how to knit and to play bridge, how to make her famous ‘grandma’s chicken’. I remember the smell and taste of her freshly baked sourdough bread that went straight from the oven into our greedy little hands.  And I remember the lemonade cocktails she made for us, layered with orange juice and cherry juice to match the setting sun. She always put a $ bill and pack of gum on our pillows when we’d arrive for a visit, and she’d give us “mad money” when we went on dates – not a great source of income!  We’d spend summers at the beach with her and work on projects – building sand castle cities, a makeshift sailboat, sewing doll clothes, learning dance routines, wandering through tidal pools, lazing about on her ‘lanai’ doing our summer reading. Grandma would rub our sunburned backs with lotion, and brush and braid our straggly hair. She would tell us stories about our grandfather, who had died early on, keeping his memory alive. Grandma was full of surprises. When the ‘grunion were running’ she would awaken us in the middle of the night and tell us to grab our pails, and we’d race to the beach and catch the silvery fish flopping around on the sand with our bare hands. She was always with us during the holidays.  She’d organize craft projects over Thanksgiving and we’d make gifts to give and keep forever; wreaths from nuts, and cones and seedpods gathered during the evening walk, sparkling sequined tree ornaments, and walnut shell dioramas. Every year as we hang the wreaths over the mantle and the keepsake ornaments on our tree…she is with us once again. We’d dress up – hats, coats, white gloves and patent leather shoes - and go ‘the City’ for a day of shopping and a prime rib lunch at a grand hotel. She gave us nightgowns and silver spoons for Christmas, but the ‘big gift’ was always for our mother - a beautiful outfit, a necklace - something to make her feel special. She’d take us to the wharf to feed the sea lions, and to the stables so we could ride horses through the artichoke fields and down along the beach. And because we loved horses, she would take us to races at the county fair, where she would put up the money for a $2 bet and let us pick the winners! She’d take us on trips to Disneyland, Canada, Mexico, Hawaii…and “back east” to meet more relatives. I don’t remember her being beautiful, but she was funny and fun and everyone loved her. She drove a lemon yellow Oldsmobile with wire wheels and would dance up a storm whenever the occasion presented itself. I don’t remember her babysitting us, or coming to tennis matches or music recitals or Halloween parades, and I don’t remember having important conversations with her - at least none that turned out well.  
     
    I don’t know if she was really all fun and warm and good, but that’s what I remember. Maybe we only keep the good memories and discard the bad. Perhaps, memories are made up of lingering impressions and simple events that stand out from our day to day lives. When I remember my grandmother, I think of those special times, and I remember her funny laugh, her sweet fragrance, her artistry, spontaneity, generous spirit and sense of fun, and that warm wonderful way she had of making us feel very special.
     
    So what do you remember about your grandparents? How would you like your grandchildren to remember you?

    Lori Stewart is the author of If I had as many grandchildren as you...  (http://www.ifihadasmanygrandchildrenasyou.com/) released by Palmar Press. She lives in California and spends her time writing and running AFTA Associates, an organization she started that supports wildlife conservation through community enterprise.

    Disclosure: I received the featured book free for review. Opinions are my own.

    Thursday
    Sep062012

    Healthy cooking simple with "TurboCharged Recipes"

    I'm not one to go on diets. I look at maintaining one's weight and health as a life-long habit, not something you focus on for a few months then you're done.

    I am one to cook healthy foods, though—if it's simple and inexpensive. TurboCharged Recipes: Delicious Fuel for Your Fabulous Fat Burning Machine, a cookbook I recently received free for review, offers up a bounty of recipes that are exactly that: healthy, simple, inexpensive.

    The book by Dian Griesel, Ph.D., with Tom Griesel (her brother) is a companion book to their rapid fat-loss and health book, TurboCharged: Accelerate Your Fat Burning Metabolism, Get Lean Fast and leave Diet and Exercise Rules in the Dust. The TurboCharged method focuses on building diets around natural, fresh-as-possible foods. There are many benefits to such a diet, and as the info on such can (and does) fill books, I won't go into that here. You can read more on becoming a "TurboCharger" at www.turbocharged.us.com.

    While I don't have the first TurboCharged book to which my free review cookbook serves as a companion, that's okay. I don't need that first one to know there are plenty of recipes I'd be happy to try in the one I have in hand.

    The more than 400 recipes in TurboCharged Recipes are divided into chapters including beverages, dressings & dips, salads, vegetarian, eggs, meats and more. Most recipes can be made in 30 minutes or less, and there are quite a few I have on the mealtime agenda. Those topping my list of most-tempting so far are Elisa's Soup (made with broccoli, garlic, onions, celery and chicken stalk); Chicken in Red Wine (savory goodness baked in dry red wine); and Cheesy Pizza Dip (an appetizer featuring cream cheese, Italian seasonings and more).

    What I liked about the book: In addition to healthy recipes that seem pretty easy yet delicious, I appreciate the copious amounts of food info throughout, such as the list of foods that you should purchase as organic, the ones you shouldn't spend the extra money on, and the reasoning behind both lists. I also learned a thing or two from the tips on cooking vegetarian.

    What I didn't love so much: If you've read any of my previous reviews on cookbooks, you know I am a huge proponent of pictures in cookbooks. This book has not a one. Another thing that left a bad taste was the many typos and grammatical errors in the book.

    TurboCharged Recipes (softcover) can be purchased on Amazon.com for $17.96. For more information about the book and authors Dian and Tom Griesel, visit www.turbocharged.us.com.

    Disclosure: I received a copy of the book free for review. Opinions are mine. This post contains no affiliate links.