KinderCare Summer Day Camp

I am in semi-denial mode that summer is actually almost here. When it comes to summer vacation, I get emotional on several levels. One, summer means the end of another school year which in turn means my 'babies' are moving up to the next grade....and sigh...I get all sad. Second, home all day...fighting, complaining, teling me how bored they are....I get all stressed. And third, its summer! Ice cream cones, sleeping in, lazy days, vacations, and maybe summer camp!

I am considering sending my five year old to  day camp this summer, which will be a first for both of us! He has so much energy and curiosity right now, I have little doubt that he would love camp! KinderCare is offering a summer camp program which sounds awesome. They have based their 12 week summer camp program on what kids have asked for. Literally. KinderCare took the input of over 3000 kids, and developed unique weekly themes within the summer long  program. Looking at the list, I think the challenge will be in picking which theme to sign my son up for---I know he would want to go to each one!

If you are thinking about summer and your kids, and what to do--I suggest you check out what KinderCare is offering!

 “I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of KinderCare and received a gift certificate to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

Book Review and Giveaway: Three Cups

Three Cups is a beautifully illustrated hard cover book based on one family's true experience in teaching their kids about money. Written by Mark St. Germain, the book retells the story of Tony Townsley and his wife and their endeavor to teach their children that it is  not how much money you have that is important, it's how you use it.

The book itself is tremendously inviting to pick up and read. The illustrations by April Willy are simply beautiful and capture the pure spirit of the story.  Beyond the beautiful appeal of the book, Three Cups is written in such warm tones as the story of how these parents tauht their children the value of money, saving and of giving.

While I do not want to tell everything about Tony and his wife's ingenious methods, I will say that they have come up with an idea so simple yet so impressive, it would be something every parent can  implement with their children.

From Tony himself-

"As new parents, my wife and I wanted to find a way to teach our children about money, so we agreed on using a weekly allowance to accomplish this. We thought it equally important to teach our children good values as related to money (saving, spending and charity) to help them develop positive habits early on that would last them the rest of their lives. This was when we came up with the idea of using three cups. We've tried to teach our children that it is not how much money you have that is important, it's how you use it. The three cups we have given them have led us on many wonderful adventures together and have brought our family a lot of joy. We hope you will experience the same joy, excitement and success using three cups with your children... and will share the Three Cups story with others."
I would highly recommend Three Cups to parents and Grandparents. It is  a book you can read with your kids, and inspire conversation on money, and how it can affect your life. It will also  encourage parents and children to discover their own strategies for saving money, and build a foundation of positive habits and stong values.

Mark Townsley has generously agreed to give two copies of Three Cups to two readers of Happy Healthy Families!

The Giveaway

To enter, leave me a comment telling me if you give, or do not give, an allowance to your kids, and how you made the decision. (Please leave a valid email with your comment.)

Extra Entries

1.Visit the " share your adventure" page on the Three Cups website. Then leave me a comment telling me one thing a parent shared after reading the book. (5 extra entries!)

2. Become a Follower of Happy Healthy Families (widget on my right sidebar)

3. Tweet this giveaway (extra entry for each daily tweet)

4. Follow me on Twitter

5. Become a Fan on Facebook of HHF (button on my left sidebar)

6. Post about this giveaway on your blog (5 extra entries!)

7. Favorite HHF on Technorati.

8. Leave a comment on another post, or enter another giveaway, and tell me where.

9.Subscribe to Happy Healthy Families.

Giveaway will end April 14th. Open to U.S.addresses.
Two winners will be chosen by random .org. 
Winners will be notified by email and on this blog, and wil have 3 days to confirm, or a new winner will be drawn. 

~I was given a copy of this book to read and review. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions expressed are my own, and others may have different opinions.~

Special Mom Screenings This Friday For "How To Train Your Dragon Online!"

Get Tickets to How to Train Your Dragon Online!
Visit the Official How to Train Your Dragon Site
How cute does this new movie from Paramount Studios look? I know my munchkin boys are going to be begging me to go see this one. And Paramount is offering free "mom" screenings in theaters across the country this Friday, March 26th!! Just check your  local movie listings for information about time and location for the screenings.
The synopsis:

From the studio that brought you “Shrek,” “Madagascar” and “Kung Fu Panda” comes “How to Train Your Dragon.” Set in the mythical world of burly Vikings and wild dragons, and based on the book by Cressida Cowell, the action comedy tells the story of Hiccup, a Viking teenager who doesn’t exactly fit in with his tribe’s longstanding tradition of heroic dragon slayers.  Hiccup’s world is turned upside down when he encounters a dragon that challenges him and his fellow Vikings to see the world from an entirely different point of view.

DreamWorks Animation's “How to Train Your Dragon” was produced by Bonnie Arnold and directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois. Rated PG.
I so want to see this with my boys! Cannot wait!
*This is not a review of any kind. Just my own opinion and news that Twitter Moms has shared with me and that I would like to share with other moms*

Hippity Hoppity Here Comes Peter Cottontail: GIVEAWAY!

Easter is almost here and I have a fun DVD for little ones to enjoy- "Hippity Hoppity...Here Comes Peter Cottontail!"

This is a really cute movie that my three year old especially enjoyed watching. The story line is simple enough for little ones to understand and get excited about least my munchkin boy did...he was definitely absorbed watching the plot unfold--

"Peter Cottontail wants to be the #1 Chief Easter Bunny and everyone in April Valley agrees…except for his archrival, evil Irontail. Hop along with Peter and his friends as they race through time celebrating all of your favorite holidays to deliver the most eggs…and save Easter for children everywhere!"

You can buy this DVD where ever DVDs are sold for about $9.93. It is also available on iTunes for $7.99.



Tell me, in a comment, what your favorite part of Easter and/or Springtime is. That's it! But please leave a valid email with your comment. (mandatory entry requirement.)

Extra Entries

1. Subscribe to Happy Healthy Families

2. Become a Follower of Happy Healthy Families (widget on my right sidebar)

3. Tweet this giveaway (extra entry for each daily tweet)

4. Follow me on Twitter

5. Become a Fan on Facebook of HHF (button on my left sidebar)

6. Post about this giveaway on your blog (5 extra entries!)

7. Favorite HHF on Technorati.

8. Leave a comment on another post, or enter another giveaway, and tell me where.

Please leave a separate comment for each entry (and URLs where needed)

Giveaway will end Wed. March 31st @11:59 pm EST. Winner will be notified by email and will have 3 days to confirm. Open to US  and Canada!

All opinions expressed are mine (and my 3 year old!) Other people may have different experiences with the product. Happy Healthy Families received a DVD to review. The Company is handling prize fulfillment. Images from Classic Media. This review made possible because of the Family Review Network and Classic Media.

So Are You A Marshmellow Peep Or a Malted Chocolate Egg (Or maybe a Jelly Bean?)

Of course I'm talking Easter Candy here. How many, besides me, raid your kids' Easter Baskets when they're not looking because you are concerned about cavities, sugar-overload, and their health in general and want to do your part to get a sugar rush protect them from too much candy?

Show of hands, please.

So interestingly enough (oh yea, you can put your hands down now), the type of Easter candy you pig out on enjoy might just say a lot about your personality. And I am not making this up. Sheesh. I am sharing this profound information I read in a magazine because I am nice. And looking for blog fodder. (But mostly the nice part.)

According to neurologist Alan Hirsch, M.D., studies show each candy's appearance can be as revealing as its flavor when it comes to guaging personality. Seriously.

So what do the candies have to say? I know you need to know, if only so you can pick the correct candy come Easter Day and look as good as you can, personality-wise of course.

Okay. So if you have a hankering for those cute pink and yellow marshmallow peeps, guess what? It isn't about the marshmallow. Nope, you are intrigued by the cute baby chick silhouette. In other words, you are a visual thinker with a sense of whimsy, not a lover of all things marshmallow necessarily. You are supposedly a lot of fun to be around.

If you are more about the solid chocolate bunnies in the Easter Basket, you are probably a long-term planner. You do not like surprises. The reason you prefer that chocolate bunny over the squishy cute peep? Because you are drawn by its uniform texture. You are loyal, stand by your principles and are the solid one in your family  (kind of like that chocolate bunny in the middle of the Easter

Malted Chocolate Eggs. Yum. You are a seeker of all things interesting and curious. You are also smart, ready for a challenge, and love to experiment. You are also determined to be happy, and will find your path no matter what. You believe life is to be experienced with all your senses.

Do you like chocolate bunnies, but the hollow kind? Then you are a thrill-seeker. You are so not the long-term planner that solid chocolate lovers are. Adventure and spontaneity are your trademarks. You are also impatient-thus the hollow bunny choice. After all, eating the solid chocolate bunny takes too long and gets too boring for someone daring like yourself!

And the revered Jelly Bean (is this not the trademark candy of Easter?) You are a perfectionist. You apparently like to be in control. You are a natural-born leader and love to grab some jelly beans so you can take control and pick the flavor you want.

And last, but necessarily least, those creme-filled eggs. These candies, say Hirsch (not me!), are linked to thoughts of fertility (again, not me saying this, I am just the messenger), and the vanilla in the creme-filled eggs inspire feelings of security and contentment. You are sincere, understanding and good-natured. You are serene and savor life everyday while looking forward to good things ahead.

But what about me someone who eats every candy in the basket without a care and as fast as  I she can before I she is caught, candy-handed by my her children??

Winners of Jiffy Lube Gift Certificates!!

Here are the three winning numbers for the Jiffy Lube Giveaway:

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2010-03-22 16:51:38 UTC 
Congrats #'s 23, 12 and 113! Please watch for your confirmation emails!

Thanks to all who entered!

General Hospital: Are You Watching?

Port Charles has been amazingly tense, sad, brutal and as always, filled with conflict these past couple of weeks! If you have not been able to keep up with all things GH, but are a fan of the soap, fear not...I am your GH Ambassador ready to bring you the latest happenings.

Tension continued increasing between Dante, Sonny, Jason and Michael. Dante believes Michael witnessed Sonny kill Carly, and thinks Sonny should allow Michael to testify in Sonny's trial. Jason is adamantly opposed to Michael testifying against his father. Jason and Sam take Michael to Sonny's hideaway Island (just where is that place??). Michael manages to slip away and take off. Will he go back to Port Charles and confess that he actually killed Claudia?

Jax and Carly. What can I say here. Jax and Carly. Games. Who can make who jealous. Jax hates Sonny. Carly will always love Sonny in some sense of the word. Jax thinks Carly should handle Michael differently. Jax and Carly.

Ethan has a fast-expiring VISA. What to do? Luke says go back to Australia; Let tensions between Ethan and Johnny die down, get a new VISA and return to Port Charles. Ethan is not a happy camper. He continues to play with fire (aka, Johnny.) Tracy offers to divorce Luke, and marry Ethan to keep him in the country. Luke finally has to 'fess up to how he really feels about Tracy to stop her from going through with her plan. Ethan becomes much more of an unhappy camper when Kristina interferes with his love life. He not-so-gently- rebukes Kristina and argues with her in front of customers at the Haunted Star. Not good.

Lucky, Elizabeth and Nicholas. Nicholas wants Elizabeth and her baby. Lucky continues to insist he does not want, nor loves, Elizabeth and her unborn baby. Elizabeth continues to tell Nicholas she does not want to be with him --even if he turns out to be the baby's father. And she certainly does not want his money. All three meet with Elizabeth's psychiatrist at Shady Brooke to try and help Elizabeth figure out why she had an affair with Nicholas to begin with.

Kristina cancels a date with Keifer. Kristina goes to see Ethan (whom Kristina has also managed to cancel a date he had with another woman...Johnny's secretary!). Ethan is angry with Kristina and escorts her (albeit roughly) from the Haunted Star. An upset Kristina heads to the Port Charles Hotel and tries to order a Cosmopolitan (yum.) Sam sees her and changes the order to a Shirley Temple.

Meanwhile, an extremely angry Keifer is pounding on Alexa's door, calling out for Kristina to answer. Later, Sam brings Kristina home, they talk a while, Sam is upset that Kristina has bruiseson her arm from Ethan escorting her out of the Haunted Star. After a while, Sam leaves.

Kristina hears a knock, opens the door, and is confronted by an angry (that is putting it mildly) Keifer with hands fisted. He has over heard the conversation between Kristina and Sam about Kristina's feelings for Ethan.

Kristina is brutally beaten. Ethan finds her and takes her to General Hospital. When Kristina resumes consciousness, she tells everyone that Ethan beat her up. Sigh. But we all know it was Keifer. Sigh.

Elizabeth's paternity test results are in: Nicholas is the father. But is he really?  Helena is shown busily making preparations at Windemere for a baby nursery.

Ethan is in big trouble. He hopes DNA testing will prove he did not attack Kristina (but doesn't he remember grabbing her arm roughly at the Haunted Star??) Alexis begs for Sonny to not kill Etan. Luke wants Ethan in jail for his own safety. Kristina talks with Keifer who visits her in the hospital and thanks her for saving his life (from Sonny's men), and says they can move past this.

Lucky is suspicious of Keifer. Jason is confused by discrepancies in Kristina's story.

Now you are caught up with everything Port Charles. What will be Friday's cliffhanger? Any guesses?

“I am a participant in a Mom Central campaign for ABC Daytime and will receive a tote bag or other General Hospital branded items to facilitate my review.”

Wordless Wednesday

Our sweet dog Thelma absolutely adores stuffed animals... they become her babies to her. She scopes the munchkin boys bedroom out from time to time, just to see if there are any unattended "babies" laying around...and as you can see in the picture...she scored the other day when she found this lonely little Wonder Pet -  totally neglected and forlorn on the floor of the boys' room. So what is a kind hearted loving dog to do in such a sad situation?
Obviously, this little guy needed to be adopted immediately. What a good mommy Thelma is.

Springtime Vacation

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Hiltons of Branson. All opinions are 100% mine.

Having a spring vacation in Branson would be like the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus got together to bring me the perfect gift, LOL. Can you imagine "closing up shop" and heading to the wonderful Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing this spring? No laptops, no business calls, no cooking(!), and no cleaning(!)--just shopping, swimming, strolling and eating in one delicious restaurant after the other. And since the Hilton Branson Convention Center and the Hilton promenade are both within easy driving distance of Branson’s championship golf courses, lakes, museums, theme parks and 49 live entertainment theaters, there would be fun for everyone. And Branson also has ongoing events like the 14th annual Branson Tri-Lakes Building and Home Show, NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball Tournament, Branson’s Best Boat and Recreation Show, Silver Dollar City’s Family Spring Break Day and the memorable Young Christian’s Weekend; not to mention a series of amazing concerts on the Branson Landing including shows from 65 South, Colgate Country Showdown with KHOZ 102.9, EXILE, The Nashvegas All Stars, and David Letterman Stupid Human & Pet Trick Auditions.
What would there not be to love about a spring vacation in Branson?

Visit my sponsor: Have it all this spring in Branson, Missouri!

OK Ladies... This is Especially For You!

I did not realize that more women die from lung cancer each year than any other type of cancer! Actually, women are twice as likely to develop this disease than men, thanks to our smaller lungs. Reading this info really surprised me. As woeful as this news is, there is good news coming too-- there are ways to cut our risk by 67%, according to researchers. Take note, ladies--these are simple everyday things we can do to help protect our health (and our kids deserve that from us, right? )

Grab some Pistachios and start munching. Everyday. Pistachios are uniquely rich in gamma-tocopherol (I know...I had not a clue either...) a form of Vitamin E that helps protect and speed healing of lung tissue. Research has shown that eating 2 oz. of these particular nuts daily could cut your lung cancer risk as much as 50%. That is big! Plus, the extra benefit here is that these pistachios contain appetite-dampening essential fatty acids and minerals. Meaning, you will not have to worry about gaining weigh from eating these nuts everyday; Study participants didn't gain a pound!

Remember Moms telling kids to eat an apple everyday...something about keeping the doctor away?? So guess what? Moms were right ( aren't we usually, though?). Turns out that eating an apple everyday actually help decrease the damaging inflammation in lung tissue, which can reduce your lung cancer risk as much as 60%, acording to researchers. So do you eat an apple a day? More likely it is once a week, right? So here is an alternative for you: Sip an 8 oz. glass of cider every day. Not Apple Juice. Apple Cider.

~Apple Cider is made using the skin of apples, and that's where the lung-protecting flavanoids are found, according to researchers at New York City's Centers For Interactive and Complementary Medicine.~

Eat Some Salsa! Salsa is a great source of lycopene, which is an antioxidant that soaks into lung tissue and protects it from airborne pollutants, lowering your risk by 28%, according to Yale Researchers. Want more lycopene? Try spaghetti sauce, tomato juice, and other cooked tomato products. Also good to have on hand are red grapefruit and watermelon.

Taking four regular-strength aspirins weekly can decrease your risk of the most common type of lung cancer by 41%--- even if you smoke, a University of Washington study shows. Aspirin slows blood flow to abnormal cells, starving them of the oxygen and nutrients they need to grow--and speeding the demise of even full-blown tumor cells, says researchers at New Jersey's Princetown Longevity Center.

**But Please. always check with your doctor first, aspirin therapy is definitely not for everyone and can be dangerous for some. Always get your doctor's advice when it comes to your health!**

source: March 22 Woman's World.

These Boys Are Feeling Hurt, and What is Pretty and Shiny and Going To Be My Next Giveaway??

First, I have to speak up on behalf of 'my boys.'  No, not my munchkin boys, not today anyway. But my "Human Nature" boys. Yes, their feelings are getting hurt. Why? Because they are wiling to sign a fantastic CD that you will love to sing along with and dance to like you were 17 again...and yet, when their giveaway is reminiscent of a ghost town. Come on now, go check out this awesome CD giveaway, and make these boys smile (they are so cute. Pity they are feeling unloved.)

So now that I have unabashedly promoted my giveaway, guess what? I have a shiny pretty wonderful little goody coming soon to giveaway!  This will be a perfect Mother's Day present for yourself or for you to give to a special mom in your life. You. Will. Love. It. 
  And...a great hardback book is coming too. This week, soon. Get will look so cute on your coffee table-- and will help you out with money and your kids and all that kind of good stuff. The pictures are awesome.

You can take a sneak peek here at this book! Giveaway will be up this week!

I am looking for a new mommy bag. Mine is looking tired and beat up. Kind of like me, now that I think about it. If you have any suggestions for me , I'd appreciate it. My new mommy bag needs to be big. Big enough for miscellaneous cars, diapers, sunscreen, toy motorcycles, half-eaten food, baby wipes, and the kitchen sink. Okay. I exaggerate. Not the sink. Just saying. My bag tends to over-flow with 'stuff' as you can see. Oh yea. I am done with black. I want a happy mommy bag this time. Something that says, "I am deliriously happy because I am listening to this great CD today by these gorgeous guys!" OK, sorry. I had to squeeze in one more shameless plug. I am done now. Pinky Promise.
Oh, and no pockets inside the bag. They  don't work for me. I prefer to just toss everything in and then fumble around when I need to pull something out. I hate pockets. They remind me that I should be organized.

I am going to post the winners for Jiffy Lube this afternoon. I like to make people suffer. No, not really. I am just behind with stuff, but I will get to this today. I promise.

See. Unorganized. That's me. The No-Pockets lady.

Winners Coming...Busy Saturday and Did You Read That NYTimes Article??

I will be posting winners soon (I promise!) for the Jiffy Lube giveaway (have you entered my Human Nature giveaway yet, btw??)...just need to get a park playdate in, and a shopping for new tennis shoes in for the munchkin boys today first.

It is the hubby's birthday today. I should do something about that too, I suppose. Will unabashedly accept suggestions. Seriously.

A busy Saturday here. I am greatful though. It has been a sad week following Layla Grace. (Have you read the amazing tribute to this beautiful little girl written by Cheryl? If you haven't yet, you should.) So I am remembering to hug my kiddos more often and tighter, to appreciate snails and moments in time with nature and my kids, to smile instead of pulling hair out when I hear them arguing over the last chocolate chip cookie, and to whisper Thanks many times during the day to God--whom I desperately hope understands that I even as I whisper my Thanks, I am also so sad, angry and basically pissed off with at right now too.

Last rambling thought here before I head out to the packed SUV....did you get a chance to read that New York Times article? If so, what do you think about it? And if not, you might want to read that too. Had some controversy among the blogosphere these last couple of days...check out Twitter and you'll see what I am talking about-

Ok...I am off and running.
Happy Saturday to all!

Wordless Wednesday: My Baby

My sweet baby boy! I love every bit of this little guy sooo much--and he loves his baby sooo much too! It cracks me up to see him loving his baby. If you look closely, you'll see him with a baby bottle in his hand. He is in the playroom, getting ready to 'feed' his baby with the milk he just finished 'warming' up in the play kitchen. He plays with his baby and toys so well while his brother is in Kindergarten. He is a sweetheart!

Human Nature: Review and Giveaway!

I love getting a new CD and listening to fabulous music. But when it comes to being a music guru, few can compare with the hubby. He is all about music, especially Motown classics, which he nostalgically remembers listening to when he first arrived here from Cuba at age eleven.  Our family room bookshelf literally has three shelves dedicated to music, the majority consisting of some of the best music from Motown.

So when I opened up Human Nature's latest CD, Reach Out,  this past weekend, you would have thought I was opening an envelope with a thousand dollars in to review, my hubby was so excited. As luck would have it, we had just gotten into our car to run errands when I started opening the voila...there we were, a rainy Saturday and a new CD to listen to as we drove around town doing this and that.

In one word, I can say the hubby and I Loved it! (I know, two words). To be very honest, neither myself or my husband had really heard of Human Nature before this review CD -- but I am so thrilled to know of this awesome band now.

First off, I had to check these bad boys out on their CD cover. I am human after all.  And these guys didn't disappoint. All decked out in sweet 50-ish style ....they were looking GOOD. Yea. I can be shamelessly shallow and all. I'll own it. I need to imagine a band  singing just to me in concert as I listen to a CD, kwim?

Then we popped in the CD, and proceeded to get our groove on. From the first errand to our last, we were both singing, snapping fingers, clapping and bouncing around in our seats . The play list includes amazing Motown hits, such as "Baby, I Need Your Loving," "I Heard it Through The Grapevine" "Get Ready" with Smokey Robinson,  and my personal favorite, "You Are Everything."

"Smokey Robinson Presents Human Nature" is selling out shows in Las Vegas and thrilling Motown fans nightly. After listening (several times over!) to my new CD, I can see why. These guys really are wonderful. You should do yourself a favor and listen for a few minutes to their songs, whether or not you buy the CD or enter the giveaway--seriously. They will make you smile.

A bit about more about Human Nature--

Since they signed with Sony in 1994, Human Nature have earned 23 Platinum Awards in their native Australia and have toured throughout the world. Their largest audience was at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000 where they performed before 4 billion viewers worldwide. The band has had 17 Top 40 Hits and Five Top Ten Hits since 1996, has opened tours of Asia and Europe for both Michael Jackson and Celine Dion, and have won several Arias (Australia's version of the Grammy's) and virtually every other major entertainment award that country has to offer. Their last four releases in Australia have reached #1 on the charts there! 

I am thrilled with my CD, and am keeping close tabs on it ( the hubbs wanted to take it in his car to work today. Uh...I don't think so! These boys were staying with momma today!)

You can buy Human Nature's "Reach Out" at Barnes and Noble and Amazon, Or Win A Signed Copy Here!!


To Enter:

Mandatory first entry: Visit Human Nature and listen to the song tracks OR  Watch one of their videos. Then come back here and leave me a comment telling me which song or video is your favorite. Please make sure to have a valid email or blogger profile listed in your comment.

Extra Entries:

1. Become a fan of Human Nature on Facebook. 3 Extra Entries
2, Follow Human Nature on Twitter3 Extra Entries
3. Become a fan of Happy Healthy Families on Facebook. 3 Extra Entries
4. Follow Happy Healthy Families (widget on left sidebar) 3 Extra Entries
4. Tweet this giveaway, and Follow me on Twitter. Get an extra entry for each day you tweet.
5. Favorite HHF on technorati.
6. Blog about this giveaway, linking to this post.
7. Subscribe to HHF by email or reader (top left sidebar)
8. Leave me a comment on another post.

Bits and Pieces
Please leave a separate comment for each entry.
Open to US addresses.
Entries must have a valid email address, or a blogger profile w/ valid email.
Giveaway will end March 22nd, 2010 at 11:59 EST.
Winner will be drawn by and notified by email. Winner will have 3 days to confirm or new winner will be drawn.

I was provided a copy of this CD for an honest, unbiased review. All opinions expressed here are my own (and the hubbs.)

Winner of Pillsbury Orange Roll/Photo Album Gift Pack!

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2010-03-09 01:02:17 UTC

Congratulations Amber, who wrote:

... Sunday mornings I love having a big brunch with my family, with french toast, scrambled eggs, sausage and fresh fruit!
Thank you for the giveaway :)

Amber, please watch for your confirmation email!

Thanks to all who entered!

Winner of The Curious George Soundtrack!

Random Integer Generator

 Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2010-03-09 00:48:22 UTC
Congrats to Christine! Watch for your confirmation email!
And thanks to all who entered!

Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers: This Mom's Yummy Choice!

I have previously confessed here on my blog that I do in fact rely quite a bit on frozen foods. So there, if you missed my post with said confession earlier, now you know. But, I am not just any frozen food junkie connoisseur. And I am picky. While I love the convenience and ease of frozen meals, they must also taste yummy and have nutrition (the more the better on both counts of course!).

Healthy Choice frozen meals have always been one of my choices simply because they offer nutrition and flavor (and having my meal portion-controlled is an extra bonus too. Because I am weak in that particular area. Very weak.) And last month, Healthy Choice introduced 11 new entrées to its Café Steamers, All Natural Entrées, and Select Entrées product lines. All Nutrient-rich and preservative-free. As a matter of fact, ere's a nugget I'll share with you--- Healthy Choice is the only major brand in its category FDA-approved to call its products "healthy." This means each meal must have low fat, low saturated fat, controlled sodium and 10% of the daily value of three beneficial nutrients.

So I was instantly delighted when asked to review two of Healthy Choice's new selections. We received their Cafe Steamers Grilled Vegetables Mediterranean and their Cafe Steamer Balsmic Garlic Chicken. I enjoyed the Vegetables Mediterranean immensely (aside from mushrooms. I just do not get along with mushrooms. But they were easy to remove, and the rest was wonderful!), and since I am vegetarian, I had a friend of mine try out the Balsmic Garlic Chicken. Since both of us meet the standards of crazy-hectic moms of several kiddos, it was kind of fun for us to sit with our glasses of red wine and indulge for a moment with our dinner. No kids. No husbands. Just us, our yummy meals, and our girl talk. The funny thing is, my friend was a bit hesitant to be my taste-test partner, as she is not such a frozen meal type. At all. But she loved, really loved, her meal. In fact, she told me that she would not have a problem buying Healthy Choice again. We both agreed these meals far surpassed fast food in taste and nutrition, and

It was a fun half hour, a delicious meal, and best part of clean-up. Knowing that we ate healthy as well was a great feeling.

“I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Healthy Choice and received a sample to facilitate my candid review. Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

General Hospital :Are You Watching?

So I mentioned in a previous post that I was selected by Mom Central to be one of their General Hospital Ambassadors! Yay! This past week was a pretty  exciting one for fans of everything Port Charles--and I am here to recap for all you GH gurus like me that may have missed some of the GH happenings this past week.

Here we go-

Jason and Sam continued in their efforts to protect Michael, but Michael proves to be an uncooperative participant in their plans.

Carly missed Jax, and Jax played games with Claudia, while knowing she still has feelings for him. But the seduction games came to a sudden end when, as always, they got into a heated battle over-who else-Sonny.

Carly looks through the proofs of Josselyn's christening, and is stunned when she sees Franco in one of the pictures. She rushes off to tell, who else-Jason!

Lucky hopes Elizabeth's baby is not his. Nicholas hopes the baby is his. Elizabeth has a paternity test to find who is the daddy. But Helena may "decide" for everyone when she sneaks into the lab.

Ethan tries to let Kristina down gently; Keifer is not so gentle with Kristina (again. sigh..)

An FBI agent visits Jason. She wants Sonny. And maybe Jason.

Dante wants his father, Sonny, in jail.

Sonny wants to tell Dante the truth about Michael killing Claudia. Will he??

Jason worries Sonny will.

Kristina and Spinelli meet up at Jakes. Relationships 101 in session.

Will you be watching next week? I will!

My Kindergartner is Growing Up Too Fast

I had an "oh oh" moment this morning as I was getting my 5 year old ready for Kindergarten, and it was not a warm fuzzy "oh oh."

I realized that as difficult, emotional, proud, nervous and oh-so sad as I was when my little guy started Kindergarten, it is going to be nothing now as we get ready for him to "graduate" from Kindergarten! I mean, I adapted, even became secure and comfortable with him going every morning from my arms to his "K" teacher's snug embrace. I proudly displayed his paintings, class work, and beamed when I got to enjoy a positive parent-teacher conference.

Oh and the changes I am seeing in my little man are coming so quickly since those first days of school. I am usually so busy with everyday life, that I don't sit and give much pause to how he is growing up and changing right before my watery mommy eyes (I am sure this is more a denial mechanism more than I am 'too busy'), but this morning, I was floored by the realizations and could no longer deny them.

Yes, it hit me. We are nearing the finish line of Kindergarten. Another chapter closing, and another milestone my baby has met, and another leap he will soon be taking as he enters the first grade. FIRST GRADE! All day school. Less 'mommy-needy' and more "I can do it myself!" times ahead. Less running to me after school ready to be hugged and kissed, even in front of the other kids. He will be sad to leave his "K" teacher, I am sure of it. But he will get over it much quicker than will I. I am sure of that too.

Bittersweet mommy moments. Do we ever get used to them? Packing the Sponge Bob backpack with snack and homework and wiping tears away. Motherhood is never going to get easier. Yet, nothing can ever compare to it either.

Yep. Sending my baby off to Kindergarten was tough. Leaving Kindergarten just may be worse. Oh my.

A Healthier Me?

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of All opinions are 100% mine.

I started out this year with the goal of really losing some pounds (like maybe 20??,) getting more exercise and just all around getting myself healthier.

That was in January.

Somehow March has stealthily crept up, and guess what? I think I may have lost a couple of pounds. I did start doing Yoga. 1x. Hey-it counts, doesn't it? And I have walked with the hubby a few times around the local school track.

Pitiful. I know.

So I was eager to check out a new health and fitness site, a new, online community that collects the latest news, healthy living blogs, expert opinions, easy, nutritious recipes and videos on a variety of topics including weight loss, healthy eating, exercise and mental well-being. Maybe this will be the tool I need to get myself on the right track, so to speak. It has some healthy recipes that sound delicious, but my weakness is in exercising. I just don't do it, not regularly at least. So I need tips, suggestions, motivation...and I am finding it on this site!

There is a real sense of community that I enjoy, and so many tips, ideas and suggestions to keep me motivated and interested in getting healthier. Right now they are running a contest too-- just join, then sign up and enter the Twitter contest for a chance to win a prize package which include coupons for a year-long supply of Jennie-O Turkey Store product and a one-year gym membership, valued at $1,250. I so want to win that gym membership! An easy tweet could be something along the lines of: “Enter to win $ towards a gym membership & JENNIE-O turkey products. Just follow @wellness_daily & RT this!"

Visit my sponsor: Attention health enthusiasts!

Wordless Wednesday: Look What I am Doing Today!

Spring Cleaning. Joy. I really don't mind spring cleaning once I get started with it, but getting myself motivated to start is the problem. I have bought new supplies which I hope will make this a bit more 'fun' if that is possible, and I plan to go room by room, patiently and slowly. Very slowly. Um, I'm figuring I should be all done with my spring cleaning by summer. At the latest, of course. I'll try to post updates. Just to keep you in the loop and all.

Having an Oscar Party?

I love the Academy Awards...from the red carpet arrivals, the speeches, the actors and of course, the fashion! We always make a fun night out of it, inviting some friends over and having some wine with potluck as we all make our guesses on the winners.

Hyundai has a really fun recipe widget (check my right sidebar for it,) that offers some clever and mouthwatering desserts of this year's nominated films including "Up in the Eclair" and "Inglorious Custards." Are those cute or what? So in between the debating, the oohing and aahing, everyone can be sure to get their sweet tooth on! You can visit Hyundai on Facebook to play some fun games, and check out their party guide, all in anticipation of a great Oscar night!

And if your favorites don't win an Oscar, you can always drown your dissapointment in a scrumptious eclair, right?

This post was brought to you by Media Needle.  

How Weird is This??

So yesterday I was complaining mentioning my case of the Monday Blues and discussing ways I have read about to get my state of being a little more, optimistic, shall we say?  So today I find this little gem of information on just that same topic--getting rid of the doldrums. This is weird, and I have never made this correlation before, but this is exactly what I read:

Scratching yourself is good for your mood.

Told you it was weird.

Scientists have apparently done a study recently where volunteers were periodically scratched on the lower leg by a brush as scientists examined images of their brains. The results showed that each time they were scratched, activity in the brain that registers unpleasant memories decreased-while activity in the brain's pleasure center increased.

So scratch yourself into a better mood in 20 seconds or less. Seriously. That's what this article said.

I don't believe it. I mean, I am scratching myself as I sit here typing ( I am talented that way,) and yea, my mood is still the same as it was 10 minutes ago. Before I scratched. Maybe I am scratching wrong.

( I would personally like to meet the official "scratchers" of this study. If per chance someone like, oh say, Fabio was scratching my leg, I would feel better too. Instantly.)

Monday Blues?

I think I have a case of the Monday blues. I know why actually...just too much family stuff going on that is kind of bringing me down today. You know, the kind of stuff you have little control over, and that usually needs time to resolve itself. I could sit and feel sorry for myself (actually, I kind of do. sigh.), but I read an article in magazine that is sticking in my head about how being cranky (a lot!) and pessimistic is harmful to your health.

Apparently optimistic people live more than seven years longer, on the average than  pessimistic type people. They also have lower rates of diabetes, cancer, stroke and other illnesses, according to Yale University scientists.

And so what do these experts suggest pessimistic souls do to counteract the blues?

Every night, try drinking winethinking about good things that happened that day (come on, even if you have to reach.....say, the hubby lowered the toilet seat all by himself. See? There would be a good thing!)

Another suggestion- when you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts, such as, "I'll never get this done!" ask yourself, "what's the flip side?"--maybe turn the thought around to "I'm going to make a lot of progress" in this work!"

Lastly, take 10 deep breaths. The surge of oxygen will send nutrient-rich blood to your brain, firing up production of serotonin, the "happy" hormone!

Or. Drink wine. Lots of wine.