Saturday, December 27, 2008

Lego Mindstorms NXT One-Kit Wonders

The creative minds behind The NXT STEP blog are back with a brand-new collection of innovative robots. Whether you're just getting started with LEGO robotics or have been building and programming robots for years, LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT One-Kit Wonders is packed with new and exciting techniques, advice, and robots that guarantee awesome results. And best of all, you'll only need one NXT Retail kit to build all ten of them!

LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT One-Kit Wonders will make it simple for you to construct even the most complex of these ten robots, all while you learn the ins and outs of the NXT kit.
You'll learn to build and program:
PunchBot, a robot that you program using old-fashioned punchcards
M, a robot that sorts your M&M candies by color
NXT Dragster, a super-fast racecar that will take you all the way to the drag strip
BobBot, a versatile skid-steer loader, equipped with a ball grabber or demolition claw
RoboLock, a security system for your robots
The Hand, a robotic replacement hand to protect you from those dangerous cleanup jobs, like picking up your brother's gym socks
SPC, a robotic vehicle that can park itself between two objects using front-wheel drive
The Bike, a two-wheeled robot that can balance and steer

Armed with the knowledge you gain from this book, you'll be inventing your own amazing creations in no time.
About the Author

All nine contributors to this book are dedicated LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT robotics fans who write for the popular blog, The NXT STEP ( The NXT STEP blog is recognized as one of the best sources for news and information about the NXT kit and offers a multitude of tips and tricks for building and programming better robots. Many of the contributors have been involved with LEGO as members of the MINDSTORMS Community Partners program, where they advise LEGO regarding NXT marketing, events, and future developments.

Went to see Wicked Today

I went to see Wicked today with my mom at the Detroit Opera House. I had started reading the book awhile ago & just never got past chapter 1. I know I tried really hard right, lol. Last night, I started it again, made it to chapter 2.

I loved the play though. It was well done, great cast, awesome costumes! My mom enjoyed it as well & had a nice time. It is the first time as adults, we went to a play together. She used to go with her mom and sister a lot. She even took my daughter to something.

We got there ok. It helped that Cami was at Children's last week, I felt familiar with Detroit. The worst was that I had to drop my mom at the front door (she is handicapped) & then find parking & walk by myself. This was the first time going to the Detroit Opera house for me. It is beautiful. I think I've been to all the venues in Detroit now.

My favorite part was the dance. I loved the black & white costumes the students were wearing. I tried finding a picture but without success. I also loved the scene when the witch got the lion away. Loved the dancing the students did. I'm going to try and finish the book now. Maybe after seeing it live, I will get into it a bit more.

Oh, and my mom got me the cutest Wicked top. I wanted the Wicked: The Grimmerie, a Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Hit Broadway Musical. It was really cool, but they wanted 50 bucks for it.

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Pledge Review & Giveaway

With the holidays, I have been so busy cleaning. Now that they are almost over, I am spending even more time cleaning! Through the Family Review Network, I was sent a can of Pledge to test out.

Did you know that the classic yellow can Pledge Natural Beauty removes up to 84% of allergens from dust mites and pet dander that is in dust? I never realized that, and I'm glad to learn that fact. Makes me take dusting often more seriously since I suffer allergies & my girls suffer allergies & asthma.

It also makes your wood shiny, restores and refreshes. It also helps protect against future spills, water stains and every day wear. With the anti-dust formula, Pledge also keeps surfaces looking clean longer.

Pledge has a great line of products, I'm partial to the newer Multi-Surface care that they sell. I love that stuff, it seriously can be used in every room in the house!

Giveaway ~ I have a can of Pledge for one of my readers! To enter, just tell me what chore you hate the most.

Extra Entries ~

  • Tell me your favorite Pledge product
  • Blog this giveaway
  • Subscribe/Follow this blog

This post was written for Family Review Network as part of a program by SC Johnson, who also supplied the product for review & giveaway.

Contest ends January 6th at 11:59pm

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Windows Smart Phone ~ Samsung Omnia

Being a busy mom, I so need a Smart Phone. I am currently using a 2+ year old Sony Ericsson phone. I cannot wait to upgrade! Windows Mobile smartphones make it easier than ever to stay connected and organized while on the go, allowing us to access computer functionality anywhere and make the most out of a few minutes of downtime.

Because Windows Mobile smartphones run on the same Windows system as PC computers, your computer and phone applications sync together easily. Did you know that more than 77% of people who take pictures with their phones never download them onto their computers. I have to admit, I never do. With Windows Mobile, you have the ability to easily e-mail photos from your phone to your PC or post them directly to the works line

The Samsung Omnia is one of the newest phones. It conveniently combines the features of a smartphone and a digital camera into one slim, compact device. From the office holiday party, to dinner with the in-laws, to a visit with Santa, you no longer have to juggle multiple digital devices to capture holiday merriment. Only Windows Mobile lets you shoot pics, crop, post to your blog, and send images to loved ones directly on your smartphone.

The Samsung Omnia is a great all-in-one gift at the reasonable cost of $199. The professional auto-focus camera features panorama capture, cropping capabilities and smile/face recognition. In fact, a National Geographic photographer took the 5.0 megapixel Omnia on photo shoots to Easter Island and Peru and found that his photographs rivaled those taken with a professional camera. For more information on the Omnia, please visit


Smart Solutions for Everyday Moms

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Fill in the Blankie Review

Looking for an amazing baby gift to give someone, I have found the place! It is called Fill in the Blankie. Fill in the Blankie allows you to choose from 32 different blanket styles/colors, 27 fonts, and 12 thread colors which ensure that your baby blanket is as original as the little one who is lucky enough to carry one. Each blanket is made of 100% cotton and trimmed with two inches of the silkiest smooth satin you’ve ever seen.

What makes these gorgeous blankets the best though is that you can customize them with up to 200 characters. These blankets aren't just a name and date, you can put so much information or personal sentiments with 200 characters on all 4 sides!

I was sent a review blanket in the mail. First, I am so impressed with the presentation. The blanket is neatly folded with a pretty ribbon held in place with a big diaper pin. The blanket is super soft, high quality. My review blanket came with the name Maycee Dean Hartmen on it. Cami decided to use it for a doll and found one that would now be named Maycee. Ever since the blanket came, she has taken this doll everywhere, wrapped in the blanket. She loves sleeping next to her doll and blanket with the satin touching her face a bit.

If you are curious, the other sides had birth info, Daddy's Little Girl and birthday. There is just so many possibilities with these blankets. The blankets start at only $39 and go up to $109.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Beethoven's Big Break Movie Review

Just in time for Cami to start feeling better, we got to watch Beethoven's Big Break on dvd.

Bring together one mega-popular pooch, an all-star cast, some of today’s hottest music and a barrel of bouncing baby St. Bernards, and it all adds up to Beethoven’s Big Break! The all-new adventure comes exclusively to DVD on December 26, 2008 from Universal Studios Home Entertainment. This full-length comedy stars Moises Arias (Rico on “Hannah Montana”), Jonathan Silverman (“The Single Guy”), Daytime Emmy ® winner Jennifer Finnigan (“The Bold and the Beautiful”), Rhea Perlman (“Cheers”), Joey Fatone (“Dancing with the Stars,” ‘N Sync), Stephen Tobolowsky (“Heroes”), Oscar Nunez (“The Office”), Eddie Griffin (Undercover Brother) and Cesar Millan (“The Dog Whisperer”) in his feature film debut—and introduces Pete The Lizard! A fresh and funny re-imagination of the hugely popular franchise, Beethoven’s Big Break is jam-packed with more action and laughs than ever before. Featuring an exciting array of bonus materials as well.

Although animal handler Eddie (Silverman) works with lots of creatures, he has a strict NO PETS ALLOWED policy and won’t let his son Billy keep adorable stray dog Beethoven and his family of puppies. But when dog-nappers steal the canine star of the movie Eddie’s working on, the studio big shots must quickly find a replacement and unexpectedly cast the lumbering canine as their next big star. Through his rambunctious antics and larger-than-life personality, Beethoven not only crashes into Hollywood but into Eddie’s heart as well.

My daughters loved this movie. I had a feeling they would since Rico from Hannah Montana was in it :) When I pulled the dvd out today, they starting jumping up & down. I guess one of the channels they watch has been showing commercials for it. They couldn't believe we already had it.

The girls started laughing within the first few minutes, and they continued all the way through the end. Cami absolutely loved it. She can't wait to watch it again tomorrow! It really cheered her up since she is still housebound per doctors orders.

I highly recommend this fun family movie. You can pre-order it right now for $19.99 ~ Beethoven's Big Break

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Winter Solstice

Had to head out today to do some returns & buy the correct presents. It is a whopping 5 degrees, feels like -16 according to It felt colder to me!

Today is the first day of Winter! Winter solstice was overlaid with Christmas, and the observance of Christmas spread throughout the globe. Along the way, we lost some of the deep connection of our celebrations to a fundamental seasonal, hemispheric event. Many people--of many beliefs--are looking to regain that connection now.

If you are looking for ways to celebrate the Solstice with your family, check out this site.

We do the majority of our Winter Solstice celebrations on the 24th & 25th

Happy Solstice :)

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2008 Books Read

1. Black Friday by James Patterson ~ Jan 08
2. Mistletoe Murders
3. Ice Cold Grave by Charlaine Harris ~ Jan 08
4. Along Came a Spider by James Patterson ~ Jan 08
5. Plum Lucky {Stephanie Plum in between} ~ Jan 19, 08
6. Amber Spyglass ~ Jan 31, 2008
7. Dead Witch Walking
8. T is for Trespass
9. Kiss the Girls
10. Midnight Club Feb 08
11. Jack & Jill - currently reading
12. Cat & Mouse by James Patterson
13. The Good, the Bad, and the Undead by Kim Harrison
14. Every which way but dead by Kim Harrison
15. Pop Goes the Weasel by James Patterson
16. Roses are Red by James Patterson
17. A Fist full of Charms by Kim Harrison
18. Nightshade by Susan Wittig Albert
19. A Few Demons More by Kim Harrison
20. Carpe Demon by Julie Kenner
21. Violets are Blue by James Patterson
22. The Outlaw Demon Wails (Rachel Morgan, Book 6)
23. London Bridges by James Patterson
24. Andi
25. Mary Mary by James Patterson
26. Crime Seen by Victoria Laurie 06/08
27. Cross by James Patterson 06/08
28. Magic Kingdom for Sale Sold by Terry Brooks 06/08 ~ reread
29. Fearless Fourteen by Janet E 06/08
30. Twilight by Stephanie M 06/08
31. Double Cross by James Patterson
32. Quicksand by Iris Johansen
33. Portrait in Death by JD Robb
34. CopyCat by Erica Spindler
35. New Moon by Stephanie M
36. The Outlaw Demon Wails by Kim Harrison
37. Murder can kill your social life
38. (kids detective book)
39. Mums the Word
40. Imitation in Death by JD Robb
41. Front by Patricia Cornwell
42. Demons are a Ghouls best friend by Victoria Laurie (the 2nd book in the MJ series)
43. Undead and Unworthy by Mary Janice Davidson
44. Slay it with Flowers
45. Zoey Geek Girl - kids book, forgot actual title will update :)
46. Eclipse by Stephanie M
47. Faerie Tale by Raymond E. Feist
48. Fairy Chronicles - first book
49. Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
50. Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer
51. Fairy Chronicles ~ second book
52. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
53. Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr
54. Hex Marks the Spot ???
55. Bones to Ashes by Kathy Reichs

Dates from Hell by Kim Harrison
Holidays are Hell by Kim Harrison
Death Swatch by Laura Childs
Jolly Good Fellow
Dark Summer by Iris Johansen

Reading ~

Olphelia & Abby book

Want to read ~
50 Ways to Hex

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...