Review and Giveaway: Pen Pal Notes Educational Lunch Notes

Pen Pal Notes were created by parents looking for fun, educational notes for their children's lunch. Their search led to the inspired creation of "Tej"-- a young panda with an inquisitive mind and a magic carpet that can take him anywhere, anytime!

Through Pen Pal Notes, children can follow Tej on his many adventures, and learn fun interesting facts along the way. And parents can add a special message of their own on the back of PenNotes before tucking one in to their child's lunchbox.

I chose the Dinosaur Days Series of Pen Pal Notes to review because I happen to be the mommy of one fierce dinosaur-loving little boy! There are 40 cards in the set, the size of a postcard. The series follows Tej on his adventure while he learns about Dinosaurs. Each card is colorful, sturdy and has interesting facts, riddles, advice from Tej, and even questions to think about. about resident dinosaur expert loves his cards and the cute dinosaur related stickers that came in the package.


There are seven different sets to choose from currently, all featuring the adorable Tej and his magic blanket, with more sets on the way. My five year old is so excited each day to hear and read more about Tej's adventures in Dinosaur Days!

Visit Pen Pal Notes and check out the different card sets available. Leave me a comment letting me know which set you would like to win.


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Contest will end October 19 @11:59 est.
Winner will have 3 days to claim prize or new winner will be drawn.
Contest open to U.S. and Canada addresses.
Winner will be drawn by and notified by email.

Make a Pledge For Children With Frigidaire and Jennifer Garner

Frigidaire has teamed up with celebrity mom Jennifer Garner to kick off the "Make Time for CHANGE" campaign to support Save the Children's U.S. Programs, dedicated to making a difference for the smallest and most vulnerable Americans - children.

Frigidaire's new line of appliances, the largest launch in the brand's history, is designed with time-saving features for busy moms. Is there a mom out there that could not use more time?? And while it's only September, Frigidaire is asking Moms - and everyone who believes in the power of Moms - to think ahead to November 1st - the day all of us change the clocks and get an extra hour - and pledge to use that time to make CHANGE for children.

Starting today, for everyone who goes to and raises their hand with a pledge to make time for a child, Frigidaire will donate $1 to support the CHANGE program and Save the Children's work to help children in need in the U.S. And everyone who pledges their time will be entered for a chance to win a new Frigidaire Professional double wall oven! Those in the market for top-notch new appliances should also know that, for every new Frigidaire Professional double wall oven sold, Frigidaire will donate $100 to Save the Children's U.S Programs as part of their $250,000 commitment to this worthy cause. How awesome is that?

For me, there is never ever enough time to sit, cuddle and just talk with my kids. Life
is always busy and hectic. I know my kids get caught in the shuffle of everyday life, and I would love to make the pledge to hug and talk with them more. Time is so precious and though in my head I know this, I need to make myself slow down and appreciate right here and now with my family. And to be there to hug a child in need and cuddle them in my would be incredible.

Want to share your pledge with other moms? Go to Mom Central and tell them about your pledge and how you would give back your time to children in need. Mom Central will be picking one lucky winner in a random drawing to win a Frigidaire Professional double wall oven from all entries received! To enter to win, simply go to andWant to share your pledge.

So head on over to the Frigidaire and to Mom Central and make your will make you feel all fuzzy and warm inside, promise!

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

Kaskey Kids Sports Figure Playset Giveaway Winner!

Number 23~

taterbug said...

I am a follower.

Congratulations! Thanks to all who entered!

Sleepy Bear Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to #28:
The Demille's said...

I faved you on Technorati (Rdemille) #4

Thanks to all who entered!

Review: Atkins Penne Pasta and All Purpose Baking Mix

All Purpose Baking MixAtkins Penne PastaA few years ago my hubby and I did a low-carb diet together. It was actually more of a no-carb than low -carb diet, and it was sooo tough. But let me tell you--it worked! I have never been as thin as I was when I did that , and my mother-in-law was so amazed by hubby's weight loss she thought he was sick. If you can cut out carbs or cut way back on them, it is by far the best way I know of to lose weight. But like I said, it is hard. Especially with kids around wanting cookies and pancakes and such.

So when Mom Central asked me to participate in a review of some Atkins new low carb diet products, I was more than ready. I remembered how successful my low-carb diet had been years before, and I so hoped this would be my motivation to get back on that daily diet.

I was sent the Atkins Low-Carb Penne Pasta and their All Purpose Baking Mix. So first up was the pasta. The perfect opportunity presented itself on Labor Day when we had a small get-together with friends and family. I made a simple pasta with garlic, olive oil and chopped tomato to accompany the barbeque chicken. I waited to see if the hubby (he did not know this was a low-carb pasta) would say anything negative about the pasta. And he didn't. In fact, the bowl of pasta was completely devoured and nothing but compliments were voiced. It was delicious, if I say so myself.

The next recipe I tried out was the chocolate chip cookie recipe I found on the Atkins website. I cannot resist warm chocolate chip cookies. When I buy or make cookies for my kids, I never have the will power to not eat any. Sigh. It is torture to look at chocolate chip cookies and not touch...kwim?? So I could not wait to try out the Atkins recipe using their All-Purpose Baking Mix. I am in heaven. They were so good I found it hard to believe that they were "diet" cookies, so to speak. Eating them warm out of the oven is the best.

I am delighted with the Atkins low-carb products we tested. Even though I will probably not get into a strict diet anytime soon, it is wonderful to have products available that I can incorporate into daily meals and desserts that are low carb.

To celebrate the launch of these new products, Atkins has announced an online recipe contest where you can share your own recipe featuring the All Purpose Baking Mix or Penne Pasta and win great prizes. Submit your recipe to by September 30, 2009

I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Atkins and received samples to facilitate my candid review. In addition, Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate

Helping The Fight Against Ovarian Cancer!

I love Kelly Ripa...I really do. And I love that she is helping bring awareness to the battle against Ovarian Cancer. This month, Electrolux and Kelly Ripa have joined together to promote “Text-a-Thon for a Cause” to support the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF). This is an excellent and easy way for everone to join in the fight! You can donate $5 to the cause by texting “KELLY” to 85944 from their mobile phones (standard text messaging rates apply) – or by logging on to Also, each day you log on to the Web site, you are entered for a chance to win a luxury frontload washer and dryer from Electrolux in Turquoise Sky, the color of ovarian cancer awareness. And you can also visit Mom Central for another chance at winning the Electrolux washer and dryer in Turquoise Sky!

During September, visitors to Kelly Confidential can also help spread awareness for this important cause by sending a virtual T-shirt to a friend. For every virtual T-shirt sent, Electrolux will donate $1 to the OCRF. You can also purchase a limited edition T-shirt designed by Ripa; 100% of the proceeds from the sale of the T-shirts will go to OCRF.

Such an important cause, and if we all join together, maybe we can make a difference in this fight. There is nothing like the power of women, right?

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

Giveaway and Review : Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions of Aerosmith

"Rockabye Baby! transforms timeless rock songs into beautiful instrumental lullabies. Guitars and drums are traded for soothing mellotrons, vibraphones and bells, and the volume is turned down from an eleven to a two. Rockabye Baby! is the perfect way to share the music you love with the littlest rocker in your life."

Oh my! I have a new favorite album, and it is the awesome Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions of Aerosmith!

Brilliant. That is how I would describe Rockabye Baby's beautiful interpretation of Aerosmith's music. The instruments that are used are amazingly melodic and soulful. And the album features liner notes by Steven Tyler himself ! I could easily sit and listen to this music all by myself (I know it is intended to help soothe babies to sleep...I'm just saying....), except for the fact that while listening to this CD, I could not just sit. No way. I had (I mean seriously..had) to get up and dance around.

My two year old danced with me right away, and soon my five year old did as well. After a bit, we sat back down on the couch to continue listening ( the hubby had joined us by this time as well....after all, who can resist Aerosmith??). I can honestly report that my two year old went to sleep right there on the couch as we continued listening, totally enraptured. To me that was all I needed to agree that this lullabye collection is indeed unique, brilliant, soothing, and wonderful. The instrumental quality of the album touches your soul and brightens your spirit as soon as the music starts. Any new mom and dad will be thrilled with this CD.

There are more fabulous collections from Rockabye Baby, such as their Rockabye Baby: lullaby renditions of Queen...which I intend to get next. I listened to the Bohemian Rhapsody rendition, and decided on the spot my kids and I need this album too. I also want the Rockabye Baby: Cold Play lullabye renditions. I'm telling you, being on the Rockabye Baby website is something akin to being a kid in a candy store! There is a Beatles version, Pixies, U2, Pink Floyd, AC/DC, The Beach Boys, Bob Marley and more! You really need to check out the website and listen to some of these truly beautiful collections!

A little more About Rockabye Baby! from their website :

" Rockabye Baby! is staffed by music lovers from all corners of the world. Headquartered in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Silver Lake, the label was born of the need to make children's music cool--not only for babies but for their parents too. We turned to our record collections for inspiration: punk, metal, classic rock. The resulting albums are revolutionary yet reverential. In other words, the perfect gift for a newborn, new parents, or yourself."


Rockabye Baby: Lullaby Renditions of Aerosmith will be available starting September 15th here ($16.98)


One lucky reader can win their own copy of Rockabye Baby: Lullaby Renditions of Aerosmith!

To Enter: (mandatory entry requirement)

Visit rockabyebaby and listen to the songs from the Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions of Aerosmith CD. Then come back and leave me a comment letting me know what is your favorite song. Mine is "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)."

(Please leave a valid email address with your comment if you are not an active blogger)

Extra Entries:

1. Visit the Rockabye Baby Website and listen to another CD collection (other than Aerosmith). Leave me a comment telling me your favorite CD (other than Aerosmith), and a song from it. Three extra entries.

2. Follow me on Twitter.

3. Tweet this giveaway and leave me a comment with url. Get an extra entry for each daily tweet.

4. Favor Happy Healthy Families on Technorati. Three extra entries.

5. Blog about this giveaway and link to Rockabye Baby and this post. Three extra entries.

6. Add Happy Healthy Families to Your Blog roll or paste a Happy Healthy Button on your sidebar.

7. Follow this blog. (Right sidebar)

8. Become a subscriber of my blog.

Contest will end October 5th. Winner will be drawn randomly and notified by email. Winner will have 36 hours to confirm or new winner will be drawn. Open to U.S. addresses only.

Review- Oscar Mayer New Lunchables

Recently we were asked to review the new Oscar Mayer Lunchables and with two children in school this year, I was more than happy to oblige, LOL. I decided to have my daughter be the food critic for this review, as she already loves Oscar Mayer lunchables and asks me to buy them for her lunches all the time.

She chose the deep dish cheese pizza (she is also vegetarian, so she usually will pick the pizza lunchables) and could not wait to try it out. When we were at the market checking out the new Oscar Mayer Lunchables I have to that the submarine sandwich lunchables looked soooo yummy.

The Deep Dish Cheese Pizza is made with Kraft 2% Mozzarella and 2% Cheddar cheese, deep dish whole grain for the crust and Tombstone Pizza Sauce. The lunchable also comes with Tree Top® Applesauce, Mini Nilla Wafers, spring water and Tropical Punch Kool-Aid Singles.

My daughter's verdict:

Cheesy and good!

Mom's opinion:

I appreciate the lowfat cheese and the whole grain ingredients. Also, I am thrilled that the water was added as a drink option, not just a sugary drink.

So all in all, I think Kraft is doing a good thing by making their convenient lunchables a littke more healthy. I know these appeal to kids, especially for school lunches, and I know as a mom that anytime we can let our kids have what they want without worrying about it being unhealthy, we are happier as well.

In addition to the Deep Dish Cheese Pizza, the new lunchables offered by Kraft are: Deep Dish Pepperoni, Ham and American Sub, Ham and American Cracker Combo, Turkey and Cheddar Cracker Combo, and Turkey and Cheddar Sub.

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central on behalf of Oscar Mayer Lunchables and received a sample to facilitate my candid review. In addition, Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Giveaway Winners

Winner of the "Family Photograph" CD: #2-- Amanda (congrats!)

Winner of Teddy Wolf: # 9-- Lori

Winner of iTunes Giveaway: #1--Sno-White!

Congratulations and thanks to everyone who entered!

P.S. If you entered the Teddy Wolf giveaway....I will be having a second Teddy Wolf Giveaway very soon, so check back for another chance to win this cute guy!

Review: Rand McNally Boredom Busters

Rand McNally recently introduced a series of innovative games and activities to keep kids entertained and families connected in the car. The Boredom Breakers™ products are designed to bring families together, encouraging conversation, laughter and fun. Rand McNally developed the five games based on extensive parent research. Moms across the country were clear about what they like - creative activities that make kids laugh and allow family members to learn more about one another - and what they don’t like - games with a lot of little pieces (Amen!).

We received the
Magnet Message Makers, activity to try out and review, thanks to Rand McNally and Role Mommy. The Magnet Message Makers includes two reusable and removable magnets that will not harm your vehicle and five sheets of removable stickers for decorating the magnets. While these would be perfect for long car trips, the stickers were something my boys could not resist playing with right away. The very best part of this activity set are the two magnetic boards that come in the set. My boys could sit for long periods of time ( an uncommon event in our home!) placing stickers on their boards and changing them around. The stickers all came in themed sets such as cars, nature, beach day, and signs. This made it even more fun for my boys to create scenes on their magnet boards, remove the stickers and make new scenes. I was very impressed with this activity set and very happy to see my two munchkin boys happily involved in an activity side by side that kept them content for more than a few minutes!

The Boredom Breakers Line offers 5
activities which are sold separately at and From the Rand McNally website:

"Story Starters: Packed with 72 minutes of funny stories, mysteries and games, this interactive CD will be an instant road trip hit. Story Starters combines the best of classic radio-style drama and audio effects to get families telling stories together. Hearing is truly believing!

Car Karaoke: Mom can sing lead and kids are back-up vocals. Just pop in the CD with 12 classic rock, pop, and kid favorite songs. Includes everything needed to be a rockstar: an inflatable microphone, rating cards, and three lyric books. Choose from favorites like “Build Me Up Buttercup” or “Twist and Shout,” to see who’s got the pipes in the family. Earplugs not included!

Car Game Countdown: Car games are fun, but they are even more outrageous when you’re trying to beat the clock. Car Game Countdown includes a car-shaped digital timer with electronic sound and laminated dual-sided game cards featuring 18 games on a clip ring.

Travel Card Games: Travel Card Games features three great games to pass time and start conversations. Includes a slim storage box to easily stow in the backseat pocket.

Magnet Message Makers: Magnet Message Makers is a mess-free way to get the kids and the car ready for the road . It includes two reusable and removable magnets that will not harm your vehicle and five sheets of removable stickers for decorating the magnets."

If you are planning a long car trip (or are just looking for fun activities for your family to enjoy together at home), the Rand McNally Boredom Breakers are something worth checking out!

Thanks to Role Mommy and Rand McNally who provided the product for review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Back To School Giveaways

Just wanted to pass on the great Back To School Giveaways going on at Mom Central this week! I know we have all done our fair share (and then some!) of shopping with the kiddos, but Mom Central has some goodies that maybe didn't make the list:

1. Lexmark Printer: Print out your student's book reports, history essays, and science labs with this top of the line Lexmark printer. Turn in those assignments in top form. Mom and Dad might also appreciate this giveaway as well!

2. Gymboree Gift Card: Keep your little one looking stylish this school year with a gift card to Gymboree. Gymboree carries adorable clothing from newborn sizes all the way up to age 12. As for one of my favorite holidays, their Halloween shop does not disappoint with some of the cutest costumes around!

3. Shred Sled: A great way for your kids to enjoy the autumn weather, the Shred Sled combines the movements of skateboarding and snowboarding together for a unique, fun, and healthy activity for the young—and the young at heart! With four inline wheels and a concave foot deck, the rider also has much more control than a traditional skateboard.

I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central. Mom Central entered my name in a random drawing to win a gift to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Texas Instruments TI-Nspire Review

This is the Texas Instruments TI-Nspire....does it not look awesome?! I was seriously excited to be able to review this product because my daughter has just started Junior High School this year, and math is not one of her best subjects. I can relate. Math and I never got along either. And Texas Instruments must understand the reluctance some of us have when it comes to math and science subjects, because they also included a "TI-Nspire For Dummies" Book!

I admit it was a little daunting to start learning how to use the TI-Nspire, but oh my goodness, what a wonderful thing this instrument is. I know my daughter is going to be using this for her Junior High, High School and College years.

Here is an idea of what you can do with TI-Nspire with TI-84 Plus Keyboard:

  • View multiple representations of a problem on a single screen
  • Grab a graphed function and move it to see the effect
  • "Link" representations: Manipulate the properties of one and observe instant updates to others without switching screens
  • Create, save and review work in electronic documents, like a computer
  • Activate the handheld's Press-to-Test feature to block access to certain geometry features not allowed on state exams
  • Experience identical functions on the handheld and TI-Nspire Computer Software (Windows© or Mac©). Your students can use the software independently or in tandem with the handheld for work in and out of class
  • Project a full interactive handheld alongside a large handheld screen to demonstrate concepts to your class usingTI-Nspire Computer Software - Teacher Edition.
The TI-Nspire is perfect for Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1 & 2, Geometry, Trigonometry, Statistics, College Math, Pre-Calculus, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Business, and Finance. Impressive.

And even though the SAT/ACT's are still a bit away for my daughter, guess what? The TI-Nspire is actually APPROVED for using with those exams. Thank-you Texas Instruments!

From their website:

"TI-Nspire and TI-Nspire CAS technology was developed hand-in-hand with educators worldwide and built on proven graphing technology which research* shows has a positive impact on student achievement. This exciting learning technology offers both handhelds and computer software for the flexibility to meet different classroom needs.

Permitted on SAT, ACT, AP, PSAT/NSMQT, IB and Praxis exams, as well as many state tests."

I am so looking forward to watching my daughter use this new calculator and getting the added support she needs to succeed in her education. Thank-you Texas Instruments. Seriously.

This post was written as part of a program for Family Review Network and Texas Instruments, who supplied the product for review.