Get social with me

facebook icontwitter iconpinterest iconinstagramgoogle+ iconnewsletter updates

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.

Thanks for stopping by! Check back soon as there's always something new.


Search Grandma's Briefs
Visit the Back Room

Go to Grandma's Back Room for reviews, giveaways, sponsored posts and more!

Share your thoughts
This form does not yet contain any fields.

    Grandma's Briefs, Grilled Grandma and all content unless otherwise noted Copyright © 2009-2015, Lisa Carpenter. All rights reserved.
    Protected by Copyscape Duplicate Content Detection Tool

    Grandma's Back Room


    What's mine is mine: We're talking kidecals

    I have six siblings. I also have three daughters.

    Because of those two facts, I fully understand the importance of labeling one's stuff.

    I have two grandsons. They like to label their stuff. Toys, trikes, fancy-schmancy water bottles they don't want their brother to steal sip out of.

    I recently received labels for my grandsons to try out. They're called kidecals, and they're the kind of label designed for kids to mark their gear for summer camp, school supplies and more.

    My grandsons like to mark what is theirs.

    Now, the boys are actually pretty good at sharing their belongings. They do prefer to know who is the rightful owner of things, though, so the Mini Sets of kidecals I received for free for each one to review, were ideal for marking what belongs to whom.

    Now, because I don't use the real names of my grandsons here on Grandma's Briefs, I can't really show you close-ups of their personalized decals. Instead, I'll share the graphic from the kidecals website for each of the mini-sets I got the boys.

    Bubby received this:


    Mac received this:


    With their real names on them, first and last.

    Once Gramma handed out the appropriately personalized decals, the kids went to town.

    They claimed their bikes...


    Their outdoor toys...


    Their indoor toys...


    Even the shared easel (claiming sides, of course)...


    And their games — which they would technically share, if only Mac were old enough to play...


    My grandsons appreciated the opportunity to say mine! ... mine! ... mine! without getting in trouble by Mom for not sharing with one another.

    The decal sets — an everyday set which included 12 two-inch labels and 24 one-inch labels for Bubby's set and a mini set of 66 one-inch labels for Mac's (there's also a mega set option) — were more than enough for the boys to mark their territory.

    There are many positive points about kidecals, including the fact there is always free shipping to anywhere in the U.S. (though there is state tax, so keep that in mind). The decals are durable and intended to withstand all kinds of washings — they're waterproof and stand up to dishwashers and laundry machines. They also arrived lickety-split.

    Those are some of the positive aspects of my kidecals experience.

    There were a few minor negative aspects, too, such as the letters used for the personalization are not what young kids are used to seeing. That may not really matter all that much unless the recipient is learning to read or write, as Bubby is. Some of the letters are in cursive and/or in fonts that don't look like the fonts early readers used to. The letters E and A, in particular, kind of tripped him up. Of course, the kid does know his name regardless of how it looks on a decal, but it's something manufacturers of kid products should keep in mind.

    Another thing that proved challenging for me was finding a design that complemented my grandsons' personalities because the options for graphics were limited, then the options for personalizing (adding or removing elements) was even more limited.

    Overall, though, the kidecals were a hit with the kids. And in the end, isn't that really all that matters — in addition to knowing what belongs to whom, of course.

    For more information, visit the kidecals website, like them on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter.

    Disclosure: I received this product free for review (though I did pay that sales tax!). Opinions are my own.


    Court Yard Hounds lift spirits, get toes tapping with 'Amelita'

    Emily Robison and Martie Maguire, aka Court Yard Hounds, prove with Amelita, released July 16, that they've moved beyond The Dixie Chicks and are deserving of more than ex-Dixie Chicks descriptions. Amelita is the second strong showing from the sisters — after 2010's self-titled Court Yard Hounds — and will surely lift the spirits and get the toes tapping of even the most jaded listeners.

    A few years away from the Dixie Chicks, Emily Robison couldn't be more clear about the game plan for the Court Yard Hounds, the group she and sister Martie Maguire head up. "We're a band, not a side project. We like our sound, and we're going to continue to do this, and share something new this time around."

    That something new is relatable lyrics — some upbeat, some earnest, all hopeful, attributed to lessons learned and perspectives gained after Robison's divorce — supported by uplifting harmonies and strong instrumentals.

    All the songs on the album resonate for different reasons, but the one that instantly became an earworm (and mantra) for me was "Aimless Upward." A few lyrics:

    Part of me is a climbing vine
    A ball of nerves like a ball of twine
    Laws of love and gravity
    We are seeds with promises to keep

    My eyes are wide, aimless upward I will climb
    And I’ll be fine to take my time

    Amelita track listing:

    1. Sunshine
    2. Amelita
    3. The World Smiles
    4. Aimless Upward
    5. Guy Like You
    6. Rock All Night
    7. Phoebe
    8. Divided
    9. Gets You Down
    10. Watch Your Step
    11. The Road You Take

    Amelita by Court Yard Hounds can be purchased on Amazon and iTunes.

    Also, be sure to follow Court Yard Hounds on Twitter and Facebook.

     Disclosure: I received a free copy of the album for review for a campaign for One2One Network. This review makes me eligible for incentives. Opinions are honest and my own.


    The Fifth Estate from DreamWorks Pictures

    The movies slated for this fall continue to impress and intrigue me. Here's the latest info from DreamWorks Pictures on The Fifth Estate, a dramatic thriller that opens October 18 and stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Daniel Brühl, Anthony Mackie, and David Thewlis, with Stanley Tucci and Laura Linney:


    Triggering our age of high-stakes secrecy, explosive news leaks and the trafficking of classified information, WikiLeaks forever changed the game. Now, in a dramatic thriller based on real events, The Fifth Estate reveals the quest to expose the deceptions and corruptions of power that turned an Internet upstart into the 21st century’s most fiercely debated organization.


    The story begins as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Brühl) team up to become underground watchdogs of the privileged and powerful.

    On a shoestring, they create a platform that allows whistleblowers to anonymously leak covert data, shining a light on the dark recesses of government secrets and corporate crimes. Soon, they are breaking more hard news than the world’s most legendary media organizations combined.

    But when Assange and Berg gain access to the biggest trove of confidential intelligence documents in U.S. history, they battle each other and a defining question of our time: what are the costs of keeping secrets in a free society—and what are the costs of exposing them?

    Here's the official trailer for The Fifth Estate:

    The Fifth Estate
    is presented by DreamWorks Pictures and Reliance Entertainment in association with Participant Media and is produced by Steve Golin and Michael Sugar, with Bill Condon directing.
    The screenplay is by Josh Singer, based on the book Inside WikiLeaks by Daniel Domscheit-Berg and the Guardian book WikiLeaks by David Leigh and Luke Harding.

    The Fifth Estate (rating TBD) will be released in U.S. theaters on October 18, 2013.

    “Like” The Fifth Estate on Facebook:

    Follow The Fifth Estate on Twitter: @5thestatemovie

    Follow The Fifth Estate on Tumblr:

    Disclosure: This information was provided by Disney, with no obligation or compensation for sharing it with you.


    'Saving Mr. Banks' — Coming soon from Disney Pictures

    Saving Mr. Banks
    Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) shows Disneyland to "Mary Poppins" author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) in Disney's "Saving Mr. Banks," releasing in U.S. theaters limited on December 13, 2013 and wide on December 20, 2013. Photo: François Duhamel©Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

    Many of you know how very much I love movies (and movie trailers). November and December are always the best months of the year, when it comes to movie releases.

    Saving Mr. Banks is one of the movies I most look forward to the end of this year. Inspired by true events, Saving Mr. Banks is the extraordinary, untold story of how Disney’s classic Mary Poppins made it to the screen — and the testy relationship that the legendary Walt Disney had with author P.L. Travers that almost derailed it. The film stars two-time Academy Award®–winner Emma Thompson and fellow double Oscar®-winner Tom Hanks

    I'm delighted to share with you the first official trailer for Saving Mr. Banks:


    Saving Mr. Banks from Disney Pictures, rated PG-13, opens in limited theaters December 13, 2013 and opens wide on December 20, 2013.

    In the meantime, like Saving Mr. Banks on Facebook and follow Disney Pictures on Twitter.

     Disclosure: Assets for this post were provided by Disney Pictures for free, with no obligation or compensation.


    More summer reading for kids: Three unique books with unique twists

    There's still plenty of time for summer reading fun. Not long ago, I shared summer-themed picture books for little ones. Here are three fun ones for older kids, those who have a hankering for something beyond the picture books.

    Each of the following three books — which I recently received free for review — have a unique twist kids (and adults) will appreciate. Take a look:

    The Big Bad Wolf Goes on Vacation by Delphine Perret (ages 4 and up, Sterling Publishing, $12.95 hardcover). First up is the perfect story for summer time, especially for kids who get a kick out of comic-style books. Louis and his grandpa enjoy annual vacations at the sea, just the two of them. This year, though, Bernard — a cookie-munching and kooky wolf made famous in Perret's 2006 The Big Bad Wolf and Me — wants to join his pal Louis on the adventure. Silliness ensues as the road trip takes the trio on a memorable trek to the beach. The humorous text and drawings will keep not only the kids giggling at Bernard's antics, but any adults who share the story with their favorite kids, too.

    The Remarkable Ronald Reagan: Cowboy and Commander in Chief by Susan Allen, illustrated by Leslie Harrington (for guided reading level P — third and fourth grades, Regnery Publishing, $16.95 hardcover). When my girls were young, I had a set of books called Value Tales, which told the stories of famous folks and enlightened kids of all ages on the values that led the subjects to success and celebrity. This book feels much like those old books (which I so wish I had kept), only with much more heart, soul and solid information. Our 40th president is the subject here, and Allen — who once met "Dutch" in person — shares the story of Ronald Reagan's life, from his humble beginnings as a lifeguard and sportscaster, on up to his years as an actor, then governor, then revered president of the United States. Highlights of the book include the colorful illustrations and solid story line, plus the extensive information (important dates and quotes and more) shared in the back pages. Beyond kiddos, this is a book any history/presidential/Reagan buff will want to add to his or her library.

    Bedtime Math: A Fun Excuse To Stay Up Late by Laura Overdeck, illustrated by Jim Paillot (ages 3-8, Feiwel and Friends — an imprint of Macmillan, $14.99). I used the word unique in the intro above, and this book is truly the most unique of all. So much so, in fact, that in order to do it justice, this book with a mission to make math a fun part of kids' every day life (including bedtime), I'd like to share with you the trailer for the book instead of trying to explain it in mere words:

    One point I'd like to make is that although the age range for Bedtime Math, per the publisher, begins at 3, I believe — as the grandmother to a two-year-old and a five-year-old — that the math problems noted for "wee ones" may be too challenging for wee ones of 3; age 4 or 5 might be a better place to start. That said, though, the ability to tailor the book to a child's age is one of the great things about it. Another is the opportunity to attend Pajama Party events featuring Bedtime Math at various libraries and bookstores across the country. Check the Bedtime Math website to see if there's a pajama party near you.

    Disclosure: I received the above books free for review. Opinions are my own.


    Better together: Summer fashion plus P&G products from Target

    Disclosure: This sponsored post is part of a DailyBuzz Moms Tastemaker program with P&G. Opinions (and outfit) are my own.

    When it comes to summer fashion, I like to pair the practical with the pretty. It's a given that grandmas must wear something practical, considering the job description and the hours spent hanging out with kids, doing all the fun things kids do.

    That doesn't mean, though, that grandmas must forego the pretty. No dowdy frocks for today's grandmas, as practical plus pretty can be pretty simple — and makes for a pretty darn good pairing, too, if I say so myself.

    An example? Take a look:

    My practical piece...

    cropped denim 

    plus my pretty piece...

    floral top

    equals Grandma, ready for the day, ready to play with her grandsons...

    summery grandma 

    Practical plus pretty fashion pieces are but one example of what goes better together for summer. Another example? Those better together pieces of mine — the cropped denim and floral top — stay looking better longer thanks to a few P&G products from Target, products that work better together in keeping clothes up to 50 percent newer longer than stand-alone value detergents.

    I'm talking specifically about these P&G products from Target:



    plus Downy®...


    plus Bounce®...


    equals a better together combination for keeping summer clothes looking newer longer — for everyone from grandmas on down to the newest of grandbabies.

    Based on my personal experience with the P&G products from Target, the combination keeps summer clothes smelling great, too. And looking newer longer plus smelling great always equals a plus in this grandma's book.

    The formula is simple: Just as it is with grandmas plus grandchildren, summer fashion plus P&G products from Target equals better together!

    This post is sponsored by P&G. With Tide®, Downy® and Bounce®, you can keep your summer fashions looking new up to 50% longer.* Text CLEAN to TARGET (827438) for mobile coupons.

    *vs. leading value detergent alone

    P&G Better Together