Saturday, October 4, 2008

First Lego League the Unofficial Guide Book Review

Written for both rookie and experienced teams, FIRST LEGO League: The Unofficial Guide includes in-depth coverage of topics like team formation and organization, robot building and programming, and the basics of getting involved with FLL. Before the authors delve into the specifics of robot and team building, they reveal the fascinating history of the FIRST organization and the sometimes puzzling structure of the FLL competition. Using a combination of real-life stories and candid commentary from actual FLL teams, as well as recollections of their own experiences, they offer an abundance of helpful guidance and dependable building and programming examples.

Kelly and Daudelin are both veteran FLL competitors, FIRST LEGO League: The Unofficial Guide is an all-in-one reference for FLL participants, from rookie coaches trying to organize new teams to veteran teams hoping for their next trophy.

Basically this book tells you everything you need to know to enter the 1st Lego League competitions - how to create a team, how to fund raise, how the competition works, what the judging is based on, how the kits work, what kid would be better for what circumstances. It gives excellent insight to every aspect of the competition.

If you aren't sure what the First Lego League is, it is an international program for kids ages 9 to 14 that combines a hands-on, interactive robotics program and research presentation with a sports-like atmosphere. It's a kind of geek Olympics for about 100,000 kids every year—a sporting event and science fair in one.

If this is something your kids would enjoy, I would highly encourage checking out this book! There are several places to purchase this book including O'Reilly and Amazon.

Mat Chats ~ Let's Talk About It

Do you ever struggle with keeping the lines of communication open with your kids? If you have a tween or teen or even a child in school, chances are at some point you do!

With the technology out today, it is very easy to lose track of conversations. With tv, computers, email, chat, text, cel phones, etc it seems we communicate more then ever, but are we really?

Lisa Brown came up with a great idea with her children called Mat Chats. So, what are Mat Chats? They are placemats that include a discussion topic, inspirational quote, 4 questions to get you talking, dictionary of meaning of discussion topic and a Reminder to always respect each other.

There are currently 8 discussion topics that you can buy. They are $14.95 for a set of 8. Not only do these encourage the family to all sit together and eat, but they also encourage talking. What I really like is, even if you are very open family, the discussion topics may be things you never thought to ask or talk about.

I was sent Friendship, and my girls really enjoyed talking about friends. I got to learn some of the traits my kids look for in a friend. My kids got to learn that they should be looking for certain traits in friends. I think this will help them later in life, when your friends start changing (middle school/high school). This is when you really start deciding what is important in a friend and learning what friends aren't good for you.

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Friday, October 3, 2008

Suck my Udders & other things in the News

I almost fell on the floor laughing when I saw this on tv this morning. This women was sentenced to 30 days in jail after chasing children, urinating on a porch, and blocking traffic... all while wearing a Cow Costume. The reason her mug shot is actually in the cow costume is because she was naked under it. What had me laughing though was that I guess she was screaming "Suck my Udders" while in her jail cell the night she got arrested. Crazy! * Just to clarify, the reason for the laughter was more out of shock that it happened. I saw it on tv & the hosts could barely tell the story through laughing because it is so absurd. She did get sentenced to 30 days in jail & I hope a requirement is AA or something to help this women! *

Good news for Michigan, John McCain's campaign is pulling up stakes in Michigan and moving on, effectively conceding the state and its 17 Electoral College votes to Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. McCain's strategists declaring Michigan "the worst state of all the states that are in play" for the Republican nominee. Read the full article here. On the 12 o'clock news today, local Repuplican Politicians were saying how upset they are over this. They feel that with McCain backing out of Michigan, then they don't have a chance of winning.

The House did approve the 700B Market Bailout bill. The U.S. House of Representatives reversed itself today, approving a landmark $700-billion bailout of credit markets after a week of intense lobbying from businesses and increasing evidence of economic turmoil.

If you are undecided about voting, or even planning on voting watch this PSA ~

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Homemade Halloween Costumes

We’re all feeling the squeeze from the economic downturn but that doesn’t have to mean cutting corners on family fun this Halloween. Craft magazine illustrates how to make fun and funky costumes for your kids with a visit to your recycling bin, sewing box or local craft store – much easier than standing in line at a crowded costume shop and a bit easier on the wallet, as well.

You can quickly and easily whip up these five amazing kiddy costumes using supplies you probably already have on hand, plus a bit of creativity. These custom-made outfits also have more staying power than most flimsy store-bought costumes, and you'll love how cheap and quick they are to make. Follow the links below for full instructions:






We are doing homemade for my 2nd grader this year. She is going to be an angel. I had wings & a halo from a Christmas photo shoot I did a few years ago already. Then she is wearing a cute white top, leotard & a homemade tutu. I'm not fully finished with the total costume, I will post a final picture when I have her try on the entire outfit. Hopefully it comes out cute!

Other years we have done quick costumes from around the house as well.

One year my daughter was a doll. She took in old Ballet costume, maryjane shoes, put her hair in pigtails & made rosy cheeks out of blush. She looked adorable!

Another time, just for going out to stay warm, she wore leopard print footed pajamas with leopard ears & tail. She stayed warm & looked cute. I think I found the pj's at a thrift store on top of that & if you are really pressed for cash, you can find ears at Dollar Stores.

Fairies are also very easy to do with leotard, tutu, wings & a wand.

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Thursday, October 2, 2008

My Baby Pajamas, Not just for Babies! Review & Giveaway

I'm so excited about the this next Review & Giveaway. When I came across My Baby Pajamas, I instantly fell in love with the selection. My first thought was this will be a cute baby site, but I was so wrong. It isn't just a cute baby site, they have pajamas for the entire family! They even having matching family sets, what a cute idea for Christmas.

When I started looking through the designs, it was so hard to choose. I fell in love with so many for my 7 year old. However, I found the cutest pair for my tween that I just new she'd love. I picked the Claesen's Aqua Stripe Cami and Boxer for her. From Amsterdam, Claesen's is for the active kid. This cami and boxer set is great for sleeping, underwear, or lounging. Both the cami and boxer are made from 95% cotton and 5% lycra.

When I got the cute little package, I was very happy. It was very quick shipping, great customer service & the pajamas are just darling. My daughter absolutely loves them. She has worn at least one part of them since getting them. I have to keep sneaking into her room to get them to wash during the day. She even wore the tank under another shirt to school one day. I'm not quite sure how she slipped past me, I realized what she did when she got home from school, lol. The colors are very vibrant & totally unique (the combo of Aqua/Green).

MyBabyPajamas is pleased to present sleepwear by At Home, Baby Steps, Cherry Pie Baby, Claesen's, Knuckleheads, Skivvydoodles, Papa Bear Loungeabouts, Hatley, New Jammies Fruit and Veggies Organic Pajamas, Monster Proof Pajamas and P.J. Salvage Pajamas. The owner also tests all the brands on her own children, so you know you are getting quality sleepware!

Want it: Linda from My Baby Pajamas is offering my readers 10% off your entire order, just use code Scrappy10 ~ There is also free shipping on orders over $100.

Win it: Good news, you can win your very own pair of My Baby Pajamas. This contest will have lots of ways to enter, and you will have an entire month long to enter!

To get your first entry, please head over to My Baby Pajamas. Browse around at the wonderful selection, come back here & tell me what you would pick if you won. Don't worry, you can change your mind if you win :)

For extra entries (try to leave separate comment for each entry, makes it easier on me) ~

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You can also comment on any of my new posts all month long for an extra entry. That is lots of chances to win this contest! Good luck, contest ends November 2nd at Midnight.

By entering you give me permission to forward the winning email over to My Baby Pajamas to discuss your prize.

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Pak Nak Review & Giveaway

* Giveaway closed, winners announced shortly *

Pak Nak's are decorative accessories to transform plain backpacks, bags and other stuff into personalized, ever-changing, colorful works of art. With 40 plus designs that are interchangeable, weather resistant and quickly and easily adhered to all of your stuff, PakNak makes changing your style as easy as changing your Nak.

Each soft, colorful pak nak is backed with strong Velcro you can stick right onto a backpack, notebook, hat, even headbands! Just Lift it off and the backing remains, so kids can collect them, move them around, trade them (they actually each come with their own trading cards), and generally use them to show off their individuality.

If you still aren't sure about these, there is NO Sewing involved! They stick with velcro, how cool is that! When I first came across the website, I thought they were sticky back. They are so much better though. I also didn't realize that you can interchange them. Knowing my kids, they wouldn't want to lose the cute little design. With it being velcro though, they won't! How cool is that, my girls loved them.

Pak Nak's are good for ages 5+, make a great stocking stuffer!

Want it: You can buy them at the Pak Nak website. Use coupon code PAK10 for 10% off your order. Be sure to download the Pak Nak coloring book for your kids while you are there.

Win it: Thanks to Anne over at Pak Nak, I have 12 Pak Nak's to give away. SIX lucky winners will each receive 2 Pak Nak's of there choice!

To enter, please visit Pak Nak, come back here and tell me which two you would choose. Don't worry, you can change your mind if you win! Contest will end Midnight 10/10/08

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Please make sure that I have a way to contact you, either via blog or email. By entering, you giving me permission to send over your email to Pak Nak.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Review ~ K'NEX Sesame Street Building Sets

Can you tell me how to get, how to get to ...

Sesame Street?

When I was little, my favorite show was Sesame Street. One time, I think I was 4, possibly 3, I missed the show. I guess when I realized it, I freaked out. My dad had to go hide in the other room, call me and pretend he was Bert & Ernie.

Both my daughters ended up liking Sesame Street as well. My oldest was more of Barney & Teletubbies fan, but she did enjoy a good episode of Sesame Street. My youngest was a huge fan though, especially of Elmo's World. She watched that over & over. If it comes on while she is flipping channels, she will still watch it. Right now she really likes Abby Cadabby and Zoey (especially the ballet dvd).

This month, K'NEX introduced a new line of Sesame Street themed building sets for kids ages 2 - 5 years. Each Sesame Street building set is filled with colorful, chunky kid K'NEX rods, connectors and blocks. They also include engaging and interactive educational content such as tips for parents and fun activity cards for kids.

K'NEX is such a great product for kids, with them partnering up with Sesame Street Workshop, kids as young as age 2 can now start playing with this great toy! The Chunky pieces are very easy to put together. They fit perfectly in little toddler & pre-schooler hands. You don't have to just build the character either, your child can get very creative with these kits.

I was sent the Bert & Ernie building kit. The pictures show some of the fun things that can be put together with just this kit alone.
This creative building set includes three educational "Play & Learn" activity cards filled with collaborative fun for parents and children. One side of the card features alternate building ideas; the other side includes build & learn activities about colors. When playtime is over, store the parts in the handy, portable storage container.

Includes 46 pieces to build Bert & Ernie, a bee, a balloon, a flower and anything else your child can imagine! My daughter is 7, so she is just a bit out of age range. She easily put the figures together. She had a ton of fun trying different combination. She quickly wanted all of the other sets as well. I have to admit, I'm having a hard time saying no, they are SO cute!

There are several different price ranges on the sets. They come in $10.99, $14.99, $21.99 and $31.99 with most of the popular characters. Something for everyone! Right now, you can also get free shipping on orders over $75.00

These sets would make a great Christmas present :)

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Review ~ Faerie Tale by Raymond E. Feist

I read Faerie Tale by Raymond E. Feist as one of my RIP III Challenge books. This will be a book that I will never forget. I've always loved books on Faerie/Fey, etc. I have never read one quite like this book though.
The book is about the Hastings family. They are native Californians with money. Phil the father is a successful screenwriter/book author and his wife Gloria is a retired actress. Phil has a college aged daughter, together they have twin boys - Sean & Patrick. For a change of pace, they move to upstate New York into a ramshackle, old house called Old Kessler Place or Earl King Hill on the outskirts of an enchanted woods. The entire family quickly become involved in ancient, Celtic magic and occult horror when they are lured into the world of some luminous elfin beings.
This book is considered Fantasy, many call it a horror. I do have to agree with that statement. Feist brings you to a terrifying faerie world that you will never forget. Besides a few corny lines, lover, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Even though a few times I almost put it down because it seemed a bit perverted. This one was harder then most books I read because so much of the terror involved little 8 year old boys. It was a good look at the various Celtic & Irish myths. My mothers side came from Ireland with my mom coming over from England. I know how terrified my Grandmother was of Leprechauns when she got very sick.
Bargain books under $2

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Movie Review ~ The Women 2008

Thanks to Dove and the Family Review Network, I was able to go and see the movie The Women. You may remember me mentioning this movie a few weeks ago. I was originally planning on going with my mom. However, my daughter put her cat in the closet and now she is not speaking to me :) Instead I got to enjoy a good movie by myself. I have never done that before. Pre-kids, I would have never stepped foot into a theater by myself, lol. Now that I have kids, I really enjoyed the freedom!

This film is for women, about women, directed by a woman. The cast is even comprised entirely of women. The Women is a remake of the 1939 classic film of the same name and stars Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett Smith, Cloris Leachman, Bette Midler, and Candice Bergen.

The story centers on a group of gossipy, high-society women who spend their days at the beauty salon and haunting fashion shows. The sweet, happily-wedded Mary Haines finds her marriage in trouble when shop girl Crystal Allen gets her hooks into Mary's man. Naturally, this situation becomes the hot talk amongst Mary's catty friends, especially the scandalmonger Sylvia Fowler, who has little room to talk - she finds herself on a train to Reno and headed for divorce right after Mary.

If you like chick flicks, I recommend this movie. It has a great cast, plus the movie touches on many issues women face in a fun way including children, career, marriage, betrayal, and friendship.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Review ~ Glow Mama Drink + Discount Code!

Finally a drink just for us moms. Glow Mama knows how busy being a mom can be, whether you are pregnant or already a mom.

"Glow Mama is flush with the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients you need during this special time of life, whether you're eating and drinking for two, breastfeeding your newborn, or trying to keep up with a newly mobile toddler. It's a healthy complement to your daily prenatal vitamin."

From the site ~ Glow Mama was conceived shortly after my son. After skipping my caffeine, surrendering my cocktails and sacrificing my artificial additives, I was struggling to find a way to keep hydrated and healthy. It wasn’t until I was eating a lot of kiwis for their vitamin C and fiber that the “you’re glowing” compliments starting rolling in. I put the two together – “don’t all moms-to-be have special needs and need to feel special?” and Glow Mama was born.

We’ve spent a lot of time making Glow Mama crisp and refreshing, making the vitamins, minerals and fiber invisible, and the taste unique. I hope you enjoy it as much as my friends and I do.
Each 12 oz. bottle contains:
  • 4 grams fiber
  • 25% folic acid
  • 50% vitamin C
  • 25% vitamins B3, B6, B12
  • 15% calcium
  • 4% iron
  • 0% fat
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • Only 70 calories
I have to say the drink is very refreshing. It has a light taste, it is not strong or overpowering. Very easy to drink, unlike pop that goes down harsh at times. It is best super cold in my opinion. I'm really surprised at how good at is. There is also no after taste. I wish this was around during my pregnancy because I had a hard time finding things to drink. I'm very funny about my drinks, I only drink Coke, Sweat Tea & Green Tea. I definitely will be drinking this though, and I love that I don't have to feel guilty drinking it! You have to check out the Mocktails as well, yummy!

It is also ok for Men & Children to drink it. I did let my oldest try because she loves Vitamin water. She really liked it a lot!

You can purchase Glow Mama at the website. Use the code momof2dancers to receive 15% off your order! It comes in a 7 day sampler, 12 pack, Trimester pack (3 month supply), gift pack & they also sell a blanket made of recycled bottles! You can also purchase Glow Mama in 24 packs at Amazon.


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Bed Bugs No More

Both my girls have Asthma, so I have to be diligent in keeping there sheets, blankets & mattress clean. I guess this works out two fold because we do not have a bed bug problem. I always found that crazy, the saying "Don't let the bed bugs bite" was said because you can actually have bed bugs.

What are bed bugs you may ask? This is pretty gross, they are little bugs that are nocturnal and feed off human blood. They usually live inside of mattresses because then they have a food source (yes, YOU!). They crawl out just before dawn and bite you, sucking out blood for about five minutes. You don't feel anything until after the bed bug is already safely back in its home.

If you find out you have them, you need to get a mattress encasement. We actually use these for Asthma, even though I just read an article yesterday that said they don't make a difference when you have Asthma. Anyway, these are cool, they actually zip all they around your mattress. A pain to put on, but once they are on you are good to go. This keeps the bugs inside, they can't get out. If you do have bed bugs inside the mattress, they will eventually die off. I think this was the theory of the covers for Asthma as well with the dust mites.

If you think you may have bed bugs or just want to find out about them, then check out the bed bugs mattress guide for tons of info.

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Review ~ Kids Lunch Box Cards

KidsLunchBoxCards are a super-fun alternative to the humdrum lunch-time napkin note. They revolutionize communication between moms and kids at that vulnerable time during a long school day. A special note that says... I'm thinking of you!

I was sent a full set of Lunch box cards right before school started. I thought these were just adorable. You get 5 cards per set, so that is entire week of fun per package! There are currently 5 sets available.

The cards are 4 x 6 in size, the back is like a postcard. They cost $4.95 per pack with $2.99 shipping. Special offer if you buy 4 or more packs, you get FREE shipping!

My daughters favorite of course is the Mystical Little People. I snuck a card in her backpack the first day of school. She was thrilled with it, all she could talk about when she got home. She also said all her friends wanted to see it & thought it was very cool!

These just aren't for lunch boxes either, you can drop them in backpacks, overnight bags, coat pockets, even under a pillow. With the blank back, you can write a personal note or even a reminder. Have a favorite little kid long distance? Write a note, stick a stamp on it & stick in the mail. Fun little surprise for your favorite kid!


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TV Store Online Halloween Costume Giveaway

I didn't realize that the sold a huge line of Halloween costumes until recently. They are the place to go if yo...