Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Keepin' Company Thursdays - Week 4

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Hello and welcome to the fourth edition of Keepin' Company Thursdays.

Hello and welcome to the fourth edition of Keepin' Company Thursdays. If you'd like to participate in this meme hosted by myself and Traci66, please follow these guidelines:

* Create a Keepin' Company Thursday post. Please include the Keepin' Company Button in your post.

* Follow the first two blogs, which are the hostesses: Heck of a Bunch and Traci66.

* Follow any of the other blogs you choose to and let them know you found them via Keepin' Company Thursday.

* If you get a follow via Keepin' Company Thursday please follow them back.

* Add your blog name and the URL to your Keepin' Company Post to the link below. There is no need to add your link twice. You can do so either on my blog or at Traci66. It will show up at both regardless.

* You can also grab the blog hop code to add to your post if you want the thumbnails to appear in your post.

* If you add the Keepin' Company button to your sidebar and leave either of the hosteses, Heck of a Bunch or Traci66, a comment letting us know where to find it we will randomly draw a blog to be in the #3 spot next week. This week's coveted #3 spot goes to Mommy2TwoGirls. She is currently having a 1 Year Blogiversary Celebration with lots of giveaways. I know I'm going to be entering some.

~~~~Heck of a Bunch and Traci66 will follow any of the blogs that follow us. I hope this can be a successful way for blogs to connect.~~~

CEO's, Take Her Lead

Not only did I recently get to attend a workshop event hosted by Build-A-Bear which I recently talked about with my Connecting in the CyBear Century post, but I also met one of the kindest and most generous CEO's of all-time. Maxine Clark, founder of Build-A-Bear, embodies what a company and it's corporate level should be about.


I've always imagined most CEOs to be stuffy and above the level of their workers, but I can say that I have met one that is genuine and down-to-earth. I got the pleasure of having a coveted spot of sitting right next to Maxine during the first day workshop and immediately fed off her positive aura.

For a little background, Maxine founded Build-A-Bear Workshop in 1997 and has received numerous honors for her works. She published her first book in 2006, The Bear Necessities of Business: Building A Company with Heart, which I received a copy of and can't wait to read. Due to her dream and dedication, there are now more than 400 Build-A-Bear Workshop stores worldwide.


Maxine seemed genuinely interested in what other attendees had to say during the workshop and was attentive to what bloggers wanted. For our evening meal Thursday, attendees of the workshop were invited to Maxine's home to eat. Although she has a beautiful home, she did not make it feel stuffy or of an "I'm better than you" level. She even mingled with all the guests and hired a balloon artist and magician to entertain the children. Maxine is one of those people you can connect to instantly and feel true warmth.

If only all of corporate America were like Maxine, I can imagine that the workplace would be less stressful and the teamwork of being in a company more pleasurable.

Build-A-Bear sent me to St. Louis to participate in a 2-day blogger event. They put me up in a hotel and paid for transportation costs to allow me to attend. I also received products from Build-A-Bear as a thank you for attending the event. Although I got to be a part of this awesome event, I can assure you I was not asked or influenced in any way to write this post about Maxine. I like her personality and ethics so much that I had to let others know about her.

Arm & Hammer Whitening Booster - Review & Giveaway


I don't make any bones about it, I hate my teeth. I am the poster child for how they shouldn't look. Until just a few years ago I didn't always take the best care of my teeth. Although I practice good dental hygiene now, a lot of the damage is done.

With that being said, Arm & Hammer's new Whitening Booster Plus with Enamel Strengthening has been a personal care product that has helped me feel a smidgen better about my teeth. There's nothing to replace going to the dentist, but a product that can make me feel like it's working for the better of my teeth is a plus in my book.





Using the Whitening Booster Plus with my regular toothpaste has given my teeth a whiter look. I envy those who have teeth that shine. Although mine don't due to damage that's already done, they do look brighter and whiter. This product contains peroxide, the same ingredient dentists use for whitening. There is a hint of peroxide taste when using it, but it is not overpowering.

The tube itself has a base so it can stand up in a bathroom cupboard or cabinet. It does not goop and glides on easy on top of regular toothpaste when brushing. This product is not an anticavity fluoride container so it is imperative that you do not use it alone. It is to be used in combination with toothpaste. I cannot positively vouch for the results of the enamel strengthening ingredients of the patented ACP technology, but I'm all for using something that will help with giving my teeth what they need to keep from being further damaged.

I'm already a user of other Arm & Hammer products, and have now added the Whitening Booster Plus to my list of their items to use regularly.

Win It!
Ten (10) people will each win Arm & Hammer Whitening Booster plus Enamel Strengthening.

Mandatory Entry:
Leave a comment with one of your favorite Arm & Hammer products.

Extra Entries:
Follow my blog.
Subscribe to my blog via email.
Have my button on your blog.
Have the "Keepin' Company Thursdays" button on your blog.
Blog about this giveaway, leave a link to the post (+3 entries).
Follow me on Twitter, partymix25.
Tweet about this giveaway, leave a link to the tweet (can be done once daily).

Leave a separate comment for each entry and include your email address in the comments. Giveaway is open to residents of the USA. Giveaway ends 7/13/10 at 8 pm CST. Winners will be randomly drawn and will have 48 hrs. to respond to email notification or new winner(s) will be drawn.

I received product for review from Hunter Public Relations. The opinions within this post are of my own and I was not influenced in any way. Please do your own research before purchasing products. Your opinions and results may differ.

Great Blog Giveaways #91

One of the greatest thrills for me is winning a giveaway. If you get as excited as I do when winning, then check out this list of giveaways being hosted by other blogs:

ThinkFun encourages children to realize their full potential by challenging their minds through game play. Three people will win a Zingo! To Go game at My Four Monkeys. Ends 7/5.

VTech is a world leader of age-appropriate learning toys. Enter to win a VTech V.Reader at Koupon Karen. Ends 7/15.

Hapari Swimwear makes modest swimwear and tankinis that are stylish and comfortable for all body types. Enter to win a swimsuit of choice at Slice O' Heaven. Ends 7/14.

Annie's Costumes features costumes and costume accessories for any occasion in all sizes. Enter to win a $50 gift card to Annie's Costumes at MomStart. Ends 7/12.

U*neaks are shoes with side clear panel windows and specially designed socks that allow kids to continuously customize their shoes by simply changing their socks. Enter to win a pair of U*neaks shoes and 2 pairs of socks at My Silly Monkeys. Ends 7/25.

NOVICA offers home decor, jewelry, and gifts by talented artisans worldwide. Enter to win a $50 gift certificate to NOVICA at My Silly Monkeys. Ends 7/2.

All Terrain offers natural remedies and products for active lifestyles and outdoor enthusiasts. Enter to win a product of choice at Outnumbered 3 to 1. Ends 7/7.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Oh Happy Day for these Winners!

Four of my giveaways have ended and I have randomly drawn the winners.

The winner of the Sunglass Warehouse giveaway is #25, Peggy.

The winner of the Bucket Blast game giveaway is #37, Sylvia.

Four winners were drawn for the Kikkerland giveaway. The person who will be receiving the first prize pack is #83, Tylerpants. The winner for the second prize pack is #54, Flufferwuffer. The third prize pack goes to #23, Nebraska Fillemans. Last but not least, the fourth prize pack goes to #39, I♥thesecrazykids.

The winner of the Grand Trunk giveaway is #71, Alexis AKA MOM.

Congrats to the winners! Most have already emailed me back but I have yet to hear from Peggy and will be emailing Alexis shortly. Thanks to everyone who entered and be sure to check out my other giveaways I have currently going on.

Have Fun, Don't Be Dumb, This 4th of July




The 4th of July weekend is upon us and my head is reeling from all of the activities that I will be partaking in. I'm going to be watching fireworks, eating large meals, hanging with family and friends, and listening to a band. What I won't be doing is drinking and driving. That's not to say I won't have a few alcoholic beverages, but my butt is staying planted in one spot. Once I reach the campground, I will not be leaving the festivities and I sure won't be going anywhere having had a few drinks.

If you will be enjoying the 4th of July festivities somewhere and will be drinking, keep in mind that even a couple of beers can impair your vision and judgment. People always say "Oh, that isn't me" but I can assure you it is. In my line of work, I deal with drunk drivers almost everyday. Those same people who thought they could drive home have gotten themselves a DUI or have killed innocent people.

There are four steps you should take to protect your loved ones this 4th of July, or any time of the year:

1.) Designate a sober driver before you leave for your Fourth of July events.

2.) Be ready to take alternate transportation such as a bus or taxi.

3.) Have the phone number of a taxi service stored in your phone before you leave for the party.

4.) Call 9-1-1 if you see an impaired driver on the road.

As an added fifth step, just make prior plans to stay the night somewhere and sober up before going anywhere. There's no reason to put yourself or others in danger, no matter how many alcoholic beverages you've had.

Over the course of 2008, 1,179 people in other vehicles were killed in crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers. And there were a total of 491 motor vehicle traffic fatalities during the Fourth of July Holiday period. Those are some serious statistics. Remember, buzzed driving IS drunk driving.

In exchange for this post, I am entered to win a gift card courtesy of Global Influence. The opinions within this post are of my own and your opinions may differ (although I hope they don't in a matter as serious as this).

Don't Let Acne Affect You in June..Or Any Time of the Year





There's only a couple more days left in June but I wanted to make you aware that National Acne Awareness Month is in June. For those affected with acne, you can vouch that acne isn't particular and will strike you at any time of the year. I always seem to get it during "special" times of the month. Nothing like having your face break out, combined with other symptoms, to announce your visit from Aunt Flo.

I also have two teenage daughters who think its the end of the world when acne appears. I don't understand the overkill of drama but I do understand where they're coming from. It feels like people are staring at your bullseyes called zits.

To help make people aware that acne is a medical condition and to offer advice on how to help your teens with acne, Galderma has created videos and a website. You and your teen son or daughter can learn about what causes acne and how to treat it. There are also resources and information about the different types of acne. The National Acne Awarness Month site gives answers that teens may have about why they look the way they do. My two girls, as well as myself, have found out things about acne that we were not aware of before.








This video is a short clip that gives pointers on what to do for your teenage daughter with acne and it refers you to the National Acne Awareness Month website where you can gather more information on this medical condition.

I received no compensation or product for this post. This is just a general information post for my readers. The opinions are purely mine and I was not influenced in any way. Your opinions and results may differ.

Random Tuesday Thoughts - What Do Meth Heads and Soda Drinkers Have In Common?

randomtuesday

I have a lot of things I'd like to change about my physical appearance. I mean, come on, who doesn't compare themselves to others and think about the traits they'd like to swap! If anybody has some perfectly shiny teeth that are all there and they'd like to help a woman out, I'll raise my hand and volunteer for some new veneers. The dry skin and tubby tummy I can live with, but I'm getting past the point of possibly exuding confidence when my teeth look like that of a badly carved jack-o-lantern. Momma's going to have to hold a mega yard sale soon to get a new set of chompers. By the way kids, it is true; soda will jack your teeth up to look like the twin of a meth head.

I got me a new set of wheels the other day, a 2005 Chevy Trailblazer. I traded in the truck that I've had for many moons to get a vehicle that doesn't require the kids sitting on top of each other. Payments are the same so that's a sweet deal and the new vehicle is definitely cleaner than the virtual trash dump I traded in.

Speaking of trash dumps, my house is starting to look like one. I'm usually on the up and up when it comes to being Suzie Homemaker, but we've been so busy lately that the only thing we have time for when we get home is tossing things around. You know it's bad when your ten year old suggests that maybe it's a good time for us to start cleaning some rooms. Grab yourself a mop and get to it boy! Don't stop by in the summer. For one, we likely won't be around and for two, you won't be able to get in the house if we are.

If you'd like to participate in Random Tuesday Thoughts, link up at The Un Mom.

My Fourth Tuesday Tag-Along

Twee Poppets is host of Tuesday Tag-Along, a way to link up and meet new bloggy friends as well as get new followers.

Thanks for stopping by my blog, whether it be via Tuesday Tag-Along or you're already one of my wonderful followers. I have a few giveaways listed at the top right hand side of my blog that would like to see more entries. I am also going to be publishing a series of posts about my blog event experience with Build-A-Bear.

Tuesday Tag-Along

Here's how it works:

Create a new Tuesday Tag-Along blog post. Include the Tuesday Tag-Along button by copying and pasting the code above. (You are also welcome to copy and paste these instructions in their entirety, or any portion of this Tuesday Tag-Along blog post!)

Add your blog name and the URL of your TTA post to the MckLinky. Follow Twee Poppets, the hostess blog listed in the first slot. Twee Poppets will follow you back! (Note: If you want Twee Poppets to follow you back, you MUST leave her a comment saying that you are a new follower and leave a link to your blog!)

If you can, please follow the blogs in the three slots before you (e.g., if you're number 20, follow numbers 19, 18, and 17). This is not mandatory, but it will help ensure that everyone who signs up gets a few new followers!Follow as many other blogs as you want. The more you follow, the more that will follow you back! Be sure to tell them that you're following from Tuesday Tag-Along! You may also want to leave a link to your blog so they can return your follow more easily.When you get a new follower through Tuesday Tag-Along, be sure to follow them back! It's just common courtesy. :)

The weekly Tuesday Tag-Along MckLinky opens every Monday night at 8:59pm Pacific Standard Time (that's 11:59pm Eastern Standard Time), and the TTA blog post will be posted well in advance of that time. The MckLinky will be open to add your blog until 11:59pm Tuesday night. You then have all week long to visit blogs and return follows!There is a new list every week. The link you enter one week will not carry over to the next week's MckLinky. Please link up again each week to join in the fun!

Connecting in the CyBear Century with Build-A-Bear

I always knew I liked the Build-A-Bear brand, but my overall impression of the company has become much more favorable after attending a workshop called Connecting in the CyBear Century. This was my first official blogging event and I've got to admit I was quite nervous about the whole experience, as well as super excited. I do have to give a shout out to Nicole of SAHM Reviews who was the first and foremost person to make me feel welcome and helped calm my nerves.


The first night was spent just hanging out at the hotel. As you can see, Build-A-Bear made us feel embraced from the get-go with their hospitality. I had the pleasure of eating a fine meal at J. Buck's with a few people from the group. The company I sat with at the meal was entertaining and comfortable to talk to.


On day one of the actual workshop, we were shuttled to Build-A-Bear headquarters where a tour took place. I know work is work, but you can't help but feel instantly playful and cheery at a place like this. Build-A-Bear animals are everywhere and the place makes you feel like a kid again. Dogs are even allowed to come to work with their owners. Pugs and bull mastiffs can be seen sitting next to their owners as they work.







This particular line of bears were made exclusively for the World Cup. Boo hoo, and my boys would have loved to own these.

Food was served to us all day long. I'm almost positive I gained five pounds! After the tour, bloggers were seated together in a meeting room to learn a wealth of information about Build-A-Bear. We also learned about online safety, with guest speaker Mary Hess of @wiredmoms. Other guest speakers gave information on their expertise, with one of them being Zach Bonner with the Little Red Wagon Foundation. I'll tell all about him and his selfless work in another post, as he is deserving of being known in his own right. The same goes for CEO and Chief Exec Bear, Maxine Clark. Roundtable discussions were also part of the event, where bloggers got to give their input on what they expect from companies and products.

I went home with lots of information and a newfound admiration for Build-A-Bear. It is definitely a top-notch company that cares about its consumers and employees.

Build-A-Bear sent me to St. Louis to participate in a 2-day blogger event. They put me up in a hotel and paid for transportation costs to allow me to attend. I also received products from Build-A-Bear as a thank you for attending the event. All opinions are 100% mine.

Monday, June 28, 2010

My Second Meet Me On Monday

Meet Me On Monday is a fairy new meme hosted by Never Growing Old. This is the third edition of this meme. It was started out as a way to get to know bloggers on a more personal level.Every Monday five questions are posted that delve into our personal lives. You answer the questions, then add your post to the linky.






The five questions for this week, with my answers are:

1. Are you a collector of anything?
Does being a collector of dust count for anything?! I have a rather large DVD and book collection. Reading and watching movies is something I enjoy doing during the cold weather, so I tend to buy and collect DVDs and books for those times.

2. Do you have any tattoos or piercings?
I have one tattoo on my right leg. I always knew I wanted to get a tattoo, but wasn't sure exactly what. And I wanted something I was positive I'd be okay with on my sagging skin in future years. A little over a year after my father died, my niece offered to pay half on a tattoo for my birthday if I wanted one. I ended up getting one of a red electric guitar with the word "Dad" cursived above it. It is my personal rememberance of my father. Someday I may get another, but not until I am sure again of what I want it to be.

As for piercings, I have my ears done but rarely wear earrings. Usually makes my ears itch. I once let my brother pierce my nose with a regular earring gun. Take my word for it, not a good idea! I've also had my tongue pierced, but it became infected two years afterwards. I'd almost do that one again.


3. What is your favorite salad dressing?
Poppyseed

4. What was the last thing that you ate?

I enjoyed some leftovers of cheesy potatoes that a friend cooked. Very delicious, I must say.



5. What was the last movie that you saw?
I believe the last movie rented on DVD and watched was Brothers. I liked it all right; it just left me feeling like some holes needed to be filled.


The Magic Warble - Book Review & Giveaway


Book Synopsis:
Dwarfs, gnomes, fairies, talking animals, and an evil queen – all these and more can be found in The Magic Warble, an enchanting tale of adventure and friendship. Twelve-year-old Kristina Kingsly feels like the most unpopular girl in her school. The kids all tease her, and she never seems to fit in. But when Kristina receives an unusual Christmas gift, she suddenly finds herself magically transported to the land of Bernovem, home of dwarfs, gnomes, fairies, talking animals, and the evil Queen Sentiz. In Bernovem, Kristina not only fits in, she’s honored as “the chosen one” the only one who can release the land from Queen Sentiz’s control. But it’s not as simple as it seems. To save Bernovem, she must place the gift she was given, the famous “Magic Warble” in its final resting place. And she must travel through the deep forest, climb a treacherous mountain, and risk capture by the queen’s “zelbocks” before she reaches her destination. Guided by her new fairy friends, Clover and Looper and by Prince Werrien, a teenage boy, as well as an assortment of other characters, Kristina sets off on a perilous journey that not only tests her strength but her heart.

About the Author:
Victoria, known as Vicki, was born in 1966, in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, to an Austrian immigrant mother, and a Dutch immigrant father. She has one older sister, Jeannette. When Vicki was 7, she moved with her family to British Columbia. In her early twenties Vicki moved to Western Washington and now resides in Marysville WA. She has been married to her husband Russ, for nineteen years and they have three children; Toby, who is fifteen, Kristina, thirteen, and William, eight. She has home schooled her children for the past nine years, and she also teaches elementary school art. Vicki’s other family members are, a Chihuahua, named Pipsy, two cats, Frodo, and Fritz, and two parakeets, Charlie, and Paulie. She did have a pet rat named Raymond when she started writing The Magic Warble, but sad to say, he has since passed away of old age. Vicki enjoys writing, painting watercolors, watching movies, hanging out with her family, and chauffeuring her kids around to their many activities.

My Review:
Four of my six kids read this book, as did I. The two boys enjoyed being led into a magical world and both were engrossed in the book while reading it. My oldest daughter liked the storyline, but had a hard time keeping up with all the names and characters because they were unconventional. I think this book would be a good fit for those in the 10-14 age range. We all hope to see further books by this author, as she did a fine job of leading us into an enchanting and otherworldly realm.

Win It!
One person will win a book copy of The Magic Warble.

Mandatory Entry:
Leave a comment with who you'd like to win this book for.

Extra Entries:
Follow my blog.
Subscribe to my blog via email.
Have my button on your blog.
Have the "Keepin' Company Thursdays" button on your blog.
Follow me on Twitter, partymix25.
Follow Victoria Simcox on Twitter, VictoriaSimcox.
Tweet about this giveaway, leave a link to the tweet (can be done once daily).
Blog about this giveaway, leave a link to the post (+3 entries).
Become a follower of Victoria Simcox's blog.

Leave a separate comment for each entry and include your email address in the comments. Giveaway is open to residents of the USA. Giveaway ends 7/9/10 at 8 pm CST. Winner will be randomly drawn and will have 48 hrs. to respond to email notification or a new winner will be drawn.

I received book for review from Victoria Simcox. The opinions within this post are of my own and I was not influenced in any way. Please do your own research before purchasing products. Your opinions and results may differ.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Ain't Winning Grand!

Five of my giveaways have ended and I have randomly drawn the winners.

The winner of the GoGirl Female Urination Device giveaway is #36, Jenna Wood.

Jenna Wood said... 36
I like GoGirl on Fb Jenna Marie Wood
June 16, 2010 11:56 PM

The winner of the Light-Up Beach Ball giveaway is #62, jakiesmom.

jakiesmom said... 62
i like the cars kickboard
June 13, 2010 1:21 PM

The winner of the Wrap-N-Mat giveaway is #33, Julie.

Julie said... 33
follow blog
June 23, 2010 2:51 PM

The winner of the Aluminum Camping Cot giveaway is #121, Ladytink_534.

Ladytink_534 said... 121
My favorite item is the Mr. Freeze Stainless Steel Portable Ice Maker
June 24, 2010 6:35 AM

The winner of the Hydroponics Lab giveaway is #48, I♥thesecrazykids.

I♥thesecrazykids said... 48
I have the Keepin' Company Thursdays button on my blog
June 19, 2010 12:08 AM

I will be emailing the winners shortly and they will have 48 hrs. to respond or new winner(s) will be drawn. Congrats to the winners and thanks to the sponsors.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Keepin' Company Thursdays - Third Edition

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Welcome to the third edition of Keepin' Company Thursdays. If you'd like to participate in this meme hosted by myself and Traci66, please follow these guidelines:

* Create a Keepin' Company Thursday post. Please include the Keepin' Company Button in your post.

* Follow the first two blogs, which are the hostesses: Heck of a Bunch and Traci66.

* Follow any of the other blogs you choose to and let them know you found them via Keepin' Company Thursday.

* If you get a follow via Keepin' Company Thursday please follow them back.

* Add your blog name and the URL to your Keepin' Company Post to the link below. There is no need to add your link twice. You can do so either on my blog or at Traci66. It will show up at both regardless.

* You can also grab the blog hop code to add to your post if you want the thumbnails to appear in your post.

* If you add the Keepin' Company button to your sidebar and leave either of the hosteses, Heck of a Bunch or Traci66, a comment letting us know where to find it we will randomly draw a blog to be in the #3 spot next week.

~~~~Heck of a Bunch and Traci66 will follow any of the blogs that follow us. I hope this can be a successful way for blogs to connect.~~~

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Wordful Wednesday - Swimming & Crafting

If you like to tell stories with your pictures, link up to Wordful Wednesday at Seven Clown Circus.

You didn't think these pics wouldn't be about the campground, did you?! That's where all of our free time is spent and last weekend wasn't any different.



With the weather being a scorcher, we took advantage of the outdoor pool and went swimming. This is my son, Adam, hanging by the pool edge.





My niece, Zoe, wasn't too fond of the water. I don't blame her; It was rather cold. Choice A was sitting outside in the scorching sun and choice B was wading in the chilly waters. We opted for choice B.




My step-daughters, Allyson and Juliann, found some shade under a tree and found it to be some relief from the sun.



Saturday morning the kids at the campground were able to go to different stations and make crafts pertaining to Father's Day. The kids made cushions, refrigerator magnets, decorative hangers, greeting cards, and more.




Craft Day at the campground seems to be popular among the kids. It's a great joy to see how hard they work at making their projects.



My son, Adam, takes up residency in my sister's camper. She bought the camper with Adam in mind, claiming that it is his too. Adam swells with pride everytime he sees "his" camper and feels it is his job to maintain upkeep on it.

Adam doesn't kid around when it comes to his camper. Anytime he stays in it, he makes sure to clean it thoroughly, all the way down to vacuuming it. My sister didn't get to go camping last weekend but she'll be pleasantly surprised when she makes it back to the campground. Adam put his blood, sweat, and tears into staning the deck so it would look much prettier. He did receive from help from his brother and cousin, but he couldn't help giving a few orders to make sure it was done to superior standards. He's excited to see his aunt Sandy's reaction to her newly stained deck.

The Hatley and ThermaCELL Winners Are...

Two of my giveaways have ended and I have randomly drawn the winners.

The winner of the Hatley Kitchen Set giveaway is #79, 409cope.

409cope said... 79
I follow on twitter as 409cope.
June 14, 2010 7:45 AM

The winner of the ThermaCELL patio lantern giveaway is #81, mandala.

mandala said... 81
Entered the June Lantern a Day giveaway and used your referral code (5)
June 14, 2010 3:16 AM

Congrats to the winners and thanks to all who entered. I will be emailing the winners shortly and they will have 48 hrs. to respond to email notification or new winner(s) will be drawn. Be sure to check out my other active giveaways going on right now. The list is at the top right hand side. There's no limit on how many you can enter or how many times you can win.

Mountainsmith's Friends & Family Sale



One of the companies that participated in my Outdoor Adventures blog event was Mountainsmith. They offer high quality outdoor gear based on the principles of value, durability, utility, and sustainability.

During the Outdoor Adventures event, I posted a review on the Tailgater Cube. I still use it every weekend at the camp and it has held up well.



If you are interested in purchasing the Tailgater Cube or any other product that Mountainsmith has to offer, you can receive 50% off their entire stock of products during their Friends & Family Sale. Through July 6th, you will receive this discount by using the code FF50 at checkout. That's quite a savings!


I received no compensation for this post. Just wanted to let my readers know of the discount.

Yoursphere - My Final Words

For a while now, I have been posting about the different areas of Yoursphere, an online social community for tweens and teens. You've read what my kids and myself have thought of it, as well as the different areas that make up the site. I hope this information has been beneficial to you in deciding whether Yoursphere.com is a place you'd like your son or daughter to be a part of.

This may be my last post about Yoursphere, but it won't be the last of my three kids going to the site itself and playing the games, earning credits, meeting new people, or adding their opinions to the discussions.

Logan, Adam, and Juliann have found Yoursphere to be a place that they can connect with others and have fun. I like that it is geared towards tweens and teens and that I can feel rather safe with its online safety policies and procedures.

If you have a tween or teen that would be interested in joining Yoursphere, please use referral code YSMC-0001. This will let Yoursphere know that Heck Of A Bunch sent you.

I wrote this review while participating in the Yoursphere Test Drive program by Mom Central on behalf of Yoursphere. I received a free lifetime Gold membership on Yoursphere.com, Yoursphere t-shirts, and a $50 American Express gift card to facilitate my review. The opinions within this post are of my own. Your opinions and results may differ.

Great Blog Giveaways #90

Check out this list of giveaways being held at other blogs. Somebody's gotta win and it might as well be me! But if it can't be me, it might as well be you. You can't win if you don't enter so head on over and check 'em out.

Uncommonly Cute has hip and cool toddler and baby clothes for the trendy boy or girl in your life. Enter to win a tshirt or onesie of choice at My Silly Monkeys. Ends 6/25.

Arterro offers eco-friendly arts and crafts kits. Enter to win a Garden Art Kit at Sweeps4Bloggers. Ends 6/26.


Tifosi's mission is to provide technically advanced eyeware to enthusiasts of all sports and outdoor activities. Enter to win a pair of Lust Sunglasses at Sweeps4Bloggers. Ends 6/26.

My Baby Clothes Boutique features the most fashionable and tredy baby clothes and accessories available. Enter to win a $25 gift certificate to My Baby Clothes Boutique at Misadventures In Baby Raising. Ends 6/24.

NOVICA offers home decor, jewelry, and gifts by talented artisans worldwide. Enter to win a $50 gift certificate to NOVICA at KiddiesCorner Deals. Ends 6/26.

Kids Chair World offers high quality, durable, and functional kids' chairs and kids' room furniture at competitive prices. Enter to win a Baby Beach Chair with Umbrella at Barefoot Mommies. Ends 6/28.

Gaddy Nipper Crayons is an Etsy shop that specializes in recycled crayons in fun shapes. Enter to win a Star Wars Crayon Set and a Lego Crayon Set at The B Keeps Us Honest. Ends 6/27.

Frecklebox offers unique, personalized gifts for children at affordable prices. Enter to win a personalized item of choice, under $35, at The B Keeps Us Honest. Ends 6/25.

Sew Cute Creations is an Etsy shop with cute and fun custom personalized items for your little one. Enter to win a custom shirt of choice at Thanks, Mail Carrier. Ends 6/24.

Kidorable transforms everyday, functional kids' accessories into objects that excite and enrich. Enter to win an umbrella of choice at Mom To Bed By 8. Ends 7/1.
You can also enter to win one at My Silly Monkeys. Ends 6/28.

Fantasy Jewelry Box is a leading online retailer of celebrity and designer inspired jewelry. Enter to win piece of jewelry of choice under $35 at Mom To Bed By 8. Ends 7/1.
Another place you can enter to win a piece of jewelry of choice under $35 is at Live, Love, Laugh with Leslie. Ends 7/1.
You can also enter to win a $75 gift certificate to Fantasy Jewelry Box at Look What Mom Found...and Dad Too. Ends 6/25.


Franklin Goose promises to offer you a quality selection of the safest, most organic and natural products available. Enter to win a pair of Me-In-Mind Shoes in style/size of choice at A Mom's Balancing Act. Ends 7/11.

Cheeky Umbrella manufactures rain umbrellas for women and children that are designed to brighten rainy days. Enter to win an umbrella of choice at A Wrestling Addicted Mommy. Ends 6/30.

Hampton Hotels Chain of Friends Sweepstakes


Maybe I'm goofy for thinking so, but sometimes there's something magical about staying in a hotel room. It's been years since we've done it, but my mom used to treat the family to a stay in a hotel. We would visit some of the local attractions, but the main focus was spending time at the hotel just relaxing, eating, or swimming. I've even had a couple of birthday parties for my kids at a hotel. We'd hang out in the room spending quality time together, and swim a lot in the pools. Cupcakes were ate and gifts were opened in the lobby.

Whether you are traveling and need a place to stay or you are simply looking for a relaxing place to go at a decent price, Hampton Hotels has launched a promotion so you can maximize your stay and play. With the Great Getaway Advance Purchase promotion, Hampton Hotels is offering guests 20% off the best available rate at participating hotels when you book at least seven days in advance for stays until July 15, 2010. Visit hampton.com to take advantage of this price-saving offer.

Hampton Hotels is also having a Chain of Friends Sweepstakes where one grand prize winner will winn an entire hotel for a weekend (100 rooms for two nights). One hundred other people will win a free weekend stay for them and three friends. I'm heading over to the site at www.hampton.com/friends to enter and would be beyond excited if I was lucky enough to win. If I won, I'd do as my mother did back then and invite family and friends to get together and have a good time at a Hampton Hotel. It would bring back a lot of fun memories.

I received no compensation for this post. In exchange for this post, I will be entered into a contest to win an overnight stay at a Hampton Hotel. Information for this post was provided courtesy of MomSelect.

Monday, June 21, 2010

I've Received A Prolific Blogger Award



Traci66 has awarded me with a Prolific Blogger Award. I'm honored and proud to have received the award. This award was originally created by Advanced Booking and is meant to be passed on to Prolific Bloggers. A Prolific Blogger is one who is intellectually productive, keeping up an active blog that is filled with enjoyable content.

As with all awards, there are also rules to follow and this award is to be passed along to others.

1. Each Prolific Blogger must link to the blog from which he/she has received the award.

2. Every Prolific Blogger must link back to this post, which explains the origins and motivation for the award.

3. Every Prolific Blogger must visit this post and add his/her name in the Mr. Linky, so that we all can get to know the other winners.

4. Every winner of the Prolific Blogger Award has to pass on this award to seven other deserving prolific bloggers. Spread some love!

The seven blogs I'd like to pass this award on to, in no particular order, are:

1. KiddiesCorner Deals

2. Safe Home Happy Mom

3. MomStart

4. Lattes and Life

5. Enjoy Life, Enjoy Now!!

6. My Life With Rats and More

7. Country Mouse, City Mouse

The Magellan's Winner Is...

My Magellan's giveaway has ended. The winner has been randomly drawn and the person who will be receiving the Luxe Travel Pillow is #3, debbie.

debbie said... 3
I am a gfc follower.
debbie

June 9, 2010 12:31 PM

Congrats to Debbie! I will be emailing her shortly and she will have 48 hrs. to respond to email notification or a new winner will be drawn. Thanks to Magellan's for sponsoring the giveaway.

Kung Zhu Pets - Review & Giveaway



Christmas may long gone, but I remember the craze that came about for Zhu Zhu Pets all too clearly. It seemed that everybody and their dog wanted one, and for good reason. These realistic, interactive, plush hamsters that talk, move, and navigate their way around their own habitat playsets are long-lasting fun for kids of all ages.

I bought a Zhu Zhu Pet for my son a few months ago and he's had lots of playtime with it. However, it seemed like a lot of the accessories were geared more torwards girls; therefore, I did not purchase him any. Imagine our excitement when we found out about Kung Zhu Pets! They are along the same lines of Zhu Zhu Pets, but more appealing to boys.


Kung Zhu hamsters are split into two battling groups called Special Forces and Ninja Warriors. The hamsters look and sound like regular Zhu Zhu Pets but are transformed into ninjas and warriors once they are sent into their main training grounds with the smart chip technology. Yama, Azer, Drayko, and Thorn make up the Ninja Warriors while Stonewall, Sargeant Serge, Rivet, and Rock'O make up the Special Forces.



I had the privilege of hosting a Kung Zhu Pets party. Equipped with the hamsters, playset, and accessories, the children I invited happily explored all aspects of these new toys.

As for the playset itself, different pieces are sold separately. They can be linked together to make one large set for the kids to play with. My husband did the set-up. It took a little over an hour and a half and a lot of space for him to get it all together. There are instructions included for each piece and he said it was easy enough to put together. He just wished that there was a diagram or instructions of some sort that shows where each individual piece should be linked up when putting the whole set together.


It was pouring rain the day of the party and I was worried it would dampen the children's moods but they were all more focused on their Kung Zhu Pets. Seven boys and three girls were attendees of the party. I had a mix of the two so I could get varied opinions. The boys were definitely more interested in the whole battling aspect of it all, but even the girls got into watching their hamsters move about and make sounds.


The large playset was a major hit. Kids crowded around it to see the different things their hamsters could do on it. The Wheel of Fire was the majority's favorite. That's where the hamsters got onto a wheel and ran around and around. The Battle Arena seemed like a crowd favorite as well.


In addition to the Kung Zhu Special Forces/Ninja Warriors Playsets, there are also Hamster Tanks and Battle Armor that are sold separately. We did a special drawing where each child received either a Hamster Tank or Battle Armor. The tanks require no batteries. They are powered by placing the Kung Zhu hamster underneath it and letting it go. As the tanks move forward, they do separate things. One tank has grabbing pincers, while another has missles that fire. There are four tanks in all. Battle Armor is also set on each hamster, giving them a special boost when battling.


The Kung Zhu Pets party was a blast. The kids' ages ranged from 2 years old to 11 years old. Each child walked away with their own Kung Zhu Pet and battle armor or tank. I've heard from more than one of the kids that additional Kung Zhu Pets and accessories are now on their birthday list. Parents of the children have come up to me saying that their children are still playing with their hamsters, having lots of amusement with them.



Kung Zhu Battle Hamsters are now available online and in stores. I'm almost positive that these will be as big of an instant hit as Zhu Zhu Pets were.



Win It!
One person will win a Seargent Serge Kung Zhu Pet and a Battle Armor.

Mandatory Entry:
Leave a comment with the name of your favorite Kung Zhu Pet.

Extra Entries:
Follow my blog.
Subscribe to my blog via email.
Have my button on your blog.
Have the "Keepin' Company Thursdays" button on your blog.
Blog about this giveaway, leave a link to the post (+3 entries).
Follow me on Twitter, partymix25.
Follow Zhu Zhu Pets on Twitter, zhuniverse.
Tweet about this giveaway, leave a link to the post (can be done once daily).

Leave a separate comment for each entry and include your email address in the comments. Giveaway is open to residents of the USA. Giveaway ends 7/2/10 at 8 pm CST. Winner will be randomly drawn and will have 48 hrs. to respond to email notification or a new winner will be drawn.

I received products for review, courtesy of MomSelect. The opinions within this post are of my own and I was not influenced in any way. Please do your own research before purchasing products. Your opinions and results may differ.

My First Meet Me On Monday



Meet Me On Monday is a fairy new meme hosted by Never Growing Old. This is the second edition of this meme. It was started out as a way to get to know bloggers on a more personal level.

Every Monday five questions are posted that delve into our personal lives. You answer the questions, then add your post to the linky.

The five questions for this week, with my answers are:

1. How many brother and sisters do you have?

I have two brothers, one just almost two years younger than me and another who passed away when I was quite young. I have no memory of him. I also have three older sisters, two of whom I'm quite close to. As for the third one, it's touch and go. I didn't grow up with my sisters because they're at least ten years older than me, so it was me and my brother in the household for many years. He and I were partners in crime. Now that I'm older, I'm quite close to two of the sisters.

2. What is your favorite thing to do?

From April to November it's all about camping. I love going to the campground and socializing and spending time with family/friends. We are up there so much that I almost forgot what my actual home looks like!

3. What countries have you visited?

I've never been outside the USA.

4. Are you a morning or a night person?

Me and the morning are not friends. I'm a total night owl. A lot of that is due to the fact that I work late shift.

5. What is your favorite cereal?

Honeycombs is my favorite, but I'm not real picky with cereal. I enjoy eating it for a snack.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Slow the Growth Spurt Anytime Now

My two boys are 13 months apart. For over seven years now I've relied on only buying one wardrobe for them. They've been the same exact height and weight for the longest time. To the point that people question if they're twins. It's been nice just having one closet, and the boys picking out their outfits from there.

Until now....

My son, Adam, was trying on clothes recently and complaining that very few of them fit. I was a little shell shocked because I knew that Logan had been wearing them just fine.

I found out the other day what the problem was. Adam has taken on a growth spurt. He took his shirt off in front of me and my jaw dropped to the floor. No longer the skin and bones he once was, he now has a little pudge. I'm betting he's put on almost fifteen pounds in the last few months. He's not big by any means, but he's no longer the same size as Logan.

The issue isn't that he's gained weight. He's still healthy for his size. The issue is that I now have to separate the boys' clothes, and can no longer rely on one lump wardrobe.

Oh, and there's the issue of my boys growing up way too fast. Or any of the kids for that matter.

Outdoor Adventures Giveaway - Eton Corporation



I'm sure that at one time or another we've all been in bad weather. Whether it be tornadoes, hurricanes, or storms it is essential that we be prepared. Even these last few weeks at the camper have been touch and go with us. It seems like there's been at least one bad storm every weekend we've been staying there.

Eton Corporation specializes in Red Cross emergency preparedness and outdoor products. They are an eco-friendly company that makes radios for you to enjoy, anytime and anywhere. In 2002, Eton developed an innovative line of self-powered radios perfect for use in case of a natural disaster or other emergency situation. They joined with the American Red Cross to create a line of emergency radios for every household to have as part of their basic preparedness supplies. Having an emergency radio on hand at the camper has brought some comfort when bad weather arrives.



The American Red Cross Microlink FR160 emergency radio is equipped to help in times of emergency. It plays regular radio with AM/FM frequencies which the kids like to turn on and listen to when hanging out at the campground. For times that are needed to get information on the weather, there is a NOAA weatherband with seven channels. Once in a while, we've been able to get updates on weather situations by using the weatherband. There is a built-in LED light source to find your way around and a USB cell phone charger to plug your cell phone into. This helps ensure that your cell phone is not dead. The phone charger does not fit my particular cell phone, but does allow for my husband's phone to be fully charged.

This emergency radio is charged in one of two ways. One way is by setting it out in the sun for solar power and charging it. Another is by manually turning the crank. I usually put the kids to work and let them take turns cranking it. They are in awe of how it works by doing that. The emergency radio itself is rather small, but it carries a lot of features to help get through whatever malicious weather that Mother Nature throws our way.



Win It!
Two people will win an American Red Cross FR160 Microlink Emergency Radio.

Mandatory Entry:
Leave a comment with another product you like from the Eton Webstore.

Extra Entries:
Follow my blog.
Subscribe to my blog via email.
Have my button on your blog.
Have the "Outdoor Adventures" button on your blog (+3 entries).
Follow me on Twitter, partymix25.
Follow Eton Corporation on Twitter, EtonCorporation.
Tweet about this giveaway, leave a link to the tweet (can be done once daily).
Blog about this giveaway, leave a link to the post (+3 entries).

Leave a separate comment for each entry and include your email address in the comments. Giveaway is open to residents of the USA. Giveaway ends 7/1/10 at 8 pm CST. Winner will be randomly drawn and will have 48 hrs. to respond to email notification or a new winner will be drawn.

I received product for review from Eton Corporation. The opinions within this post are of my own and I was not influenced in any way. Please do your own research before purchasing products. Your opinions and results may differ.

Outdoor Adventures Giveaway - High Sierra Sport Company



When the campground is open, we spend every weekend there. It seems like I am forever packing and unpacking. The fact that we don't have a lot of extra room in our camper means that I have to pack as much as I can in as little as I can.


The 30-Inch Wheeled Cargo Duffel I received from High Sierra has been a relief from angst when packing. Roomy doesn't even begin to describe it. Although the duffel itself is somewhat large, it packs so much that I don't need to take a lot of other luggage with me. I am able to put my belongings in it, as well as my husband's and two sons. That's four people's worth of stuff packed into one bag.

My teenage daughter has been staying in college dorms over the summer and taking week-long classes. During the week, she uses this duffel and packs all of her personal property in it. Once she comes home with it, she empties it out and I immediately put it to use for our weekend camping trips. I tried to get by on handing down our older luggage to her, but she insists that this bag holds much more of her stuff and she likes how easily she is able to carry it.

There are quite a few compartments inside the bag to hold little items. I didn't notice it until just the other day but there's also a lining that can be rolled out to separate the duffel into two main components. There are three ways that this duffel can be carried. One is by the handles and carrying it like a bag. Another is by lifting up the aluminum handle and rolling it on the ground. And yet another way is backpack style. There is a place on the bag that you unzip and there are backpack straps to lug it on your back. The majority of the time I carry it by the aluminum handle and let it roll on wheels.


As you can see, the duffel carries a lot of things. This picture was on a light load day. Usually our bag is stuffed full on both sides. It is made of Duraweave and Metallic Mini-Weave fabric for superior durability.


High Sierra has been in business for over thirty years. They are committed to producing thoughtfully innovative bags and luggage that appeal to the intelligence and esteem of the active lifestyle and outdoor consumer. They are the official supplier of bags to the U.S. Ski and Snowboarding teams.

Win It!
One person will win a bag from High Sierra Sport Company. The bag the winner will receive will be chosen by the company/sponsor.

Mandatory Entry:
Leave a comment with your favorite item from High Sierra.

Extra Entries:
Leave a comment with another favorite item from High Sierra.

"Like" High Sierra Sport Company on Facebook.
Follow High Sierra Sport Company on Twitter, HighSierraSport.
Follow me on Twitter, partymix25.
Tweet about this giveaway, leave a link to the tweet (can be done once daily).
Have my button on your blog.
Have the "Keepin' Company Thursdays" button on your blog (+2 entries).
Have the "Outdoor Adventures" button on your blog (+3 entries).
Blog about this giveaway, leave a link to the post (+2 entries).
Subscribe to my blog via email.
Follow my blog.

Leave a separate comment for each entry and include your email address in the comments. Giveaway is open to residents of the USA. Giveaway ends 7/1/10 at 8pm CST. Winner will be randomly drawn and will have 48 hrs. to respond to email notification or a new winner will be drawn.

I received product for review from High Sierra Sport Company. The opinions within this post are of my own and I was not influenced in any way. Please do your own research before purchasing products. Your opinions and results may differ.