Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Big Time Rush Coming to Wii and DS November 13th

Big Time Rush WiiBig Time Rush NDS

Are you ready for the ultimate singing and dance party? GameMill Entertainment has released the official launch date and box art for their upcoming Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS videogame, Big Time Rush and I wanted to share it with you! Launching right in time for the holidays, Big Time Rush: Dance Party for Wii and Big Time Rush: Backstage Pass for DS will be available nationwide November 13, 2012!

Based on Nickelodeon’s hit TV show and teen music phenomenon, Big Time Rush, players are given an all-access backstage pass to experience the thrill of on-stage performances as they sing and dance to the beat of the boy band’s hit songs.




Pre-order your copy now from Amazon for only $29.99 on Nintendo Wii or for DS.


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Reflecting on Arabella's First Year of Life, As We Celebrate Her Birthday

 Hospital for Special Surgery


Next Friday our daughter, Arabella will be turning "1"!  I can't believe how time flew by.  I remember when we welcomed Savannah back in 2010, getting to her first birthday seemed like forever.  But, once you add a second child, right after, time seems to go by quicker.  As I prepare for her birthday, I have been reflecting on the past year of her life, which brought along a few bumps.  Like her sister, Savannah, Arabella was born with pyloric stenosis, a stomach condition which needed surgery at 8 weeks old.  The last thing a parent wants to do is watch their child go through surgery at any age, let alone the first few months of life.  The only upside to this surgery, was that Savannah had it the year before at 10 weeks old, and we knew what to look for and expect.  This made the process a little easier, but it was still stressful.  Thankfully, we also found specialized care at the Children's Hospital in Hartford, and knew the doctors had experience in this type of surgery.  

Unlike Savannah, however, they detected a heart murmur, and then did an ultrasound to find that she has a small hole in her heart.  We have gone back a few times for follow up ultrasounds in hopes that it would close on its own as she got bigger, but as of the last cardiology visit, she still has the hole and will need surgery.  If knowing your child has a hole in their heart is not enough, having to wait until they are 3-5 years old to have the surgery is even more stressful.  But, we are hoping and crossing our fingers that these extra years will give Arabella's heart a chance to grow and close the hole on its one -- making surgery not necessary.  Only time will tell.  But, in the meantime, we are doing like the doctors say and treating her like she has no health issues.  There are days that I forget that she has this minor imperfection as we call it. :-)  Then, other days when I hear friends and family whose child is sick and in the hospital, I begin to think about Arabella and what will happen if she needs surgery.  What will we tell her and Savannah?  How will the surgery go, along with the recovery?  After experiencing the pyloric stenosis surgeries and finding great specialized care, makes thinking about what may happen less stressful.  

Does/did your child(ren) have any disabilities/developmental challenges, or need the expertise of quality medical professional for sports rehabilitation, orthopedic care or achieving normal developmental milestones?  If so, how did you handle this, and who did you turn to for care?  Being new parents, we had no idea who to turn to or which hospitals to take the girls to.  Living in a small country setting, our local hospital wasn't equipped to handle pediatric surgery.  So, they directed us to the Children's Hospital in Hartford.  Walking into the hospital for the first time was a little overwhelmed, but we quickly were greeted by warm staff, who provided exceptional care to my daughters and my husband and I.  By the time we left, everyone on the pedi floor knew the girls by name, had come by to bid us farewell, and a few called days later to check in.  Now, how is that for service and care?  We were amazed at the support and professionalism they all showed during our stay and post care.  And, when people are looking for a place to take their children for specialized care and rehabilitation, we don't hesitate to tell them about our experience with the Children's Hospital in Hartford.  

But, for those who don't live in CT, they will have to find other care centers.  I was recently introduced to the Hospital for Special Surgery.  "This hospital is a world leader in orthopedics, rheumatology and rehabilitation. Located in New York City, HSS recently opened the CA Technologies Rehabilitation Center at the Children's Pavilion providing comprehensive, individualized rehabilitation for both inpatients and outpatients from birth to 21 years.  Its multidisciplinary staff includes physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists." 
Check out the new CA Technologies Rehabilitation Center within the Lerner Children's Pavilion:



Now, if I lived in NY, I would definitely be taking my daughters here for care, if the need came about.  If you live in the NY area and have small children, I suggest you check out the  Hospital for Special Surgery website where you can learn about the new CA Technologies Rehabilitation Center within the Lerner Children's Pavilion, as well as other services they offer.  It is better to be educated about proper care facilities than not know what do if you are confronted with a illness or unexpected surgery like we were.

But, in the meantime, we will be enjoying the upcoming week-long birthday celebration we have planned for our soon to be one year daughter, and are thankful for those who helped us during the first few months of her life, with her pyloric stenosis surgery and recovery.  I don't know what I would do as a parent if places like the Children's Hospital in Hartford and Hospital for Special Surgery in NY were not around?  Just knowing that they are there, makes you worry less.


Don't forget to "like" the Hospital for Special Surgery Facebook page, to stay up-to-date on news and advancements.

 
Disclosure:  I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Hospital for Special Surgery. A small donation to a charity of my choice was made in my name as a thank you for participating. You should consult with your physician or other health care provider before beginning any rehabilitation/therapy, sports training, or exercise program.
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Celebrating National Vegetarian Awareness Month with Veggie Patch Products





If you live on the East coast, were you affected by Hurricane Sandy?  We ended up losing power off and on for the past few days.  Unlike last year's October storm, which left us without power for over a week, I didn't have to throw out a stocked refrigerator.  Instead, I stocked up frozen meals, which could be cooked on the stove top or grilled.  If you looked into our freezer, you would have seen shelves of Veggie Patch products, and thought we are vegetarians.  But, we aren't.  You can say that we are flexitarians --semi-vegetarians who still eat some meat.

Did you know that October is National Vegetarian Awareness Month?  I didn't know until the other day, when I was stocking up on Veggie Patch products, and the lady next to me, who was also filling her cart brought it to my attention.  She, too, wasn't a full-fledged vegetarian like her husband and daughter, but loved the taste of this brand over other vegetarian meals.  With a product offering including vegetable and meatless products, there is something for everyone's taste and preference. "Veggie Patch offers delicious, healthy and convenient vegetarian foods and meatless options ideal for snacks, lunch and dinner. Veggie Patch takes some of America’s favorite foods and makes them better for you by eliminating extra fat, calories and other concerns posed by meat. Products include family-friendly entrees, kid-approved vegetable and cheese bites and other tasty appetizers. All Veggie Patch products are made from real vegetables, and do not contain trans fats, GMO ingredients or MSG."



If you have never had Veggie Patch products, then you are missing out.  When people think of vegetarian foods they think of salads, vegetables and tofu.  I have tried tofu, but didn't care for the feel or bland taste of it.  So, when my husband first picked up Veggie Patch meatless meatballs and brought them home, I was reluctant to try them.  But, after he took a bite and couldn't stop talking about how great it tasted, I had to see for myself.  After one bite, I, too, was hooked.  I have even switched from making homemade meatballs to buying these frozen ones, as they taste much better and don't require over an hour in the kitchen making like homemade ones.  And, unless I tell family and friends they are eating meatless meatballs from Veggie Patch, they wouldn't know.  All they say is how good the meatballs taste. :-)


Veggie Patch offers the following products for the whole family to enjoy:

Vegetable Products

• Falafel Chickpea Balls
• Spinach Nuggets
• Broccoli Bites with Cheese
• Spinach Bites with Cheese
• Mediterranean Patties

Meatless Products

• Meatless Meatballs
• Chick’n Nuggets
• Chick’n Cutlets
• Ultimate Meatless Burger
• Veggie Dogs
• Buffalo Wings
• Mini Corn Dogs


Just check out these nutritional facts about some of the Veggie Patch products above --

"Veggie Patch’s vegetable-based products make it easy to sneak veggies into any diet.

• Veggie Patch Falafel Chickpea Balls contain more than 3/4 of a serving of vegetables per serving
• Veggie Patch Spinach Nuggets and Zucchini Sticks each contain more than 1/2 serving of vegetables per serving
• Veggie Patch Broccoli Bites with Cheese, Spinach Bites with Cheese and Mediterranean Chickpea Patties each contain at least 1/3 serving of vegetables per serving"



Who wouldn't want to make the switch after reading about these nutritional facts?  So, whenever I am looking to incorporate healthy meatless products into my weekly meal plan, I turn to Veggie Patch, as I know my family will enjoy the food I put in front of them, and I will feel good knowing that what they are eating is good for them, and doesn't contain unnecessary added preservatives and additives, or high levels of salt, like other frozen food products. 

In honor of National Vegetarian Awareness Month, why not give Veggie Patch products a try, next time you head to the market?  Who knows you may become a flexitarian like my family. :-) There are many recipe ideas for kids, snacks and meals on the Veggie Patch site, which may inspire you with their product.  Check them out here: http://www.veggiepatch.com/recipes/all/all.


Don't forget to follow Veggie Patch on Facebook and Twitter for news and special offers.

Disclosure:  I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Veggie Patch. I received product coupons and a promotional item to thank me for participating.
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PREP & LANDING: TOTALLY TINSEL COLLECTION on Blu-ray & DVD 11/6!!


“Total Tinsel Collection”



Two Movie Creates A New Family Holiday Viewing Tradition
On Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and DVD November 6


Prep & Landing:
On Christmas Eve, a high-tech team of elves from an elite unit known as "Prep & Landing" ensures homes around the world are prepared for Santa's visit. But when two hilarious little elves face unexpected challenges and are pushed to their limits, it'll take a great big effort to save the season. Enjoy a heartwarming holiday classic sure to make everyone's Christmas list!

Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice:
The outrageous yuletide adventures of Christmas elves Lanny and Wayne continue in this totally tinsel adventure that reminds us there's room for everyone on the "nice" list. Santa's stealthiest little elves must race to recover classified North Pole technology, which has fallen into the hands of a computer-hacking naughty kid, in an effort to stop Christmas from descending into chaos. Bring the family together for a comical adventure that puts the Ho, Ho, Ho in your Holidays! 



Stay tuned for a review of this upcoming holiday release.
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Just in Time for the Holidays -- TRANSFORMERS PRIME The Game on Nintendo 3DS, DS and Wii



Based on the smash hit, award-winning animated television show produced by Hasbro Studios on The Hub Network, TRANSFORMERS PRIME is now available on Nintendo Wii™, 3DS™and DS™! PRIME lets fans play as their favorite AUTOBOT characters and embark on an action-packed adventure to save the earth from the evil MEGATRON and his new secret weapon.  Along the way, gamers cultivate friendships with Jack, Miko and Raf – the human characters from the show – as TEAM PRIME sets out to protect mankind and eliminate the DECEPTICONS once and for all. 


TRANSFORMERS PRIME will also be available on Wii U beginning November 18, 2012. Rated “E10+” (Everyone 10 and older – Fantasy Violence), PRIME will be a hit in any household as fans make their way through intense multiplayer modes, as one of 11 different TRANSFORMERS characters.


KEY FEATURES:

§  Jump Straight into the Action, TRANSFORMERS style – With the fate of humanity on the brink of survival, players will fight through heroic battles in a huge variety of 3rd person action brawling, shooting, driving and melee combat, all the while wielding the power to change form and power up each AUTOBOT with unique weapons and special abilities.

§  Play as Iconic and Fan-Favorite Characters – Fans will get to play as all their favorite characters from the show including OPTIMUS PRIME, BUMBLEBEE, ARCEE and more to defeat MEGATRON, STARSCREAM, THUNDERWING and the DECEPTICON army.

§  Explore a Brand New Storyline to Continue the Saga – The game centers around an epic campaign with original story set directly within the TRANSFORMERS PRIME universe, allowing players to forge close relationships with the humans Jack, Miko and Raf and embark on a journey to exotic locales such as Greece, South America and even outer space.

§  Challenge Your Friends and Test Your TRANSFORMERS skills – Players can choose from 11 different playable characters across both AUTOBOTS and DECEPTICONS to compete with or against their friends in adrenaline-pumping modes such as Brawl, Battle for Energon and Emblem Match (only on the Wii and 3DS).  Wii fans can play local split-screen multiplayer and 3DS fans can play over Wi-Fi. 


Stay tuned in Novemeber for a review of the Wii version.
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My $30 Shopping Spree Challenge at Frigidaire's Accesories Division Online Store (Review)



I love it when I am given a challenge to spent X amount of money at a store and see what I come up with.  Recently, I was contacted by Frigidaire, and asked to review their Frigidaire’s Accessories division, at http://Frigidaire.Stores.Yahoo.net -- which is a great resource for home appliance accessories and , with a $30.00 credit.  At first, I thought to myself, what will I be able to buy from an appliance shop?  If I wasn't in the market for appliances, what could I buy....appliance replacement pieces, etc.?  How much fun would that be to review?  After checking out Frigidaire’s Accessories division online store, I found a lot of great items.  Yes, I could have spent over $30 and paid the difference, but I really wanted to be creative and see what goodies I could find for $30.00.  I think I did good.  Just look at what I picked up:

Can you believe that all cost under $30?  Well, it did.  The only thing I had to cover out of pocket was the shipping, which was only $6.95 .  As for delivery time, I received my order in under a week.  Since receiving I have had a chance to try out each and every product.  


Turkey Cannon

I was going to wait until Thanksgiving to try out the turkey cannon, but really wanted to see how it worked.  So, I made a roasted chicken the other night and couldn't get over how easy it was to use.  Not only did it cut down the roasting time of a 4 lb. chicken, but it infused the chicken with flavor and left it moist and juicy.  In the past, I would roast a chicken, and by the time we cut into it, the juices had already run out and were dried up in the bottom of the roasting pan.  This would leave us with dried out meat, and the need to use gravy to add moisture to it. When I served the chicken, alongside the gravy, I was surprised to find that we only needed the gravy for the mashed potatoes.  And, everyone kept asking what I did to seal in the flavor and juices.  When I showed my husband the turkey cannon, he thought it was weird looking, but based on the results, he told me to make sure I used this for cooking chicken and turkey from here on it.  And, I agree!  I can't wait to roast our turkey on this for Thanksgiving.

10" Food Loops- Set of 6


 

15" Food Loops- Magenta (Set of 6)The next item I tried out was the food loop, which was a set of six silicone trussing tools.  I ended up stuffing Cornish hens and using these ties to keep the stuffing in the cavity.  Now, in the past, I would have a hard time first locating the string to tie of the birds, and once found, tying them up.  Halfway through cooking, I would check on birds to baste them, only to see the stuffing starting to fall out of the cavity.  But, this time around, these trussing tools were easy to use and kept the stuffing in place.  Best of all -- I simply had to wash, so that I could reuse down the road.  In addition to tying off the legs  of birds, you can use these silicone trussing tools to keep fish together after slicing and stuffing, bunching up veggies to cook in a stove pot and even keep together steak roll ups, etc.  My husband loves using them to keep his sandwich wraps together on the plate when serving.  At only $7.95 for 6, this is a must have for any kitchen, with its many uses.  You never know when you need to keep things together, and these reusable silicone trussing tools with come in handy.

ecosential by Smart Choice&#0153 Kitchen Surfaces and Oven Cleaner

Next up to try out was an 18 oz. Ecosential kitchen surface and oven cleaner by smart choice.  With our house childproofed, we have all the cabinets locked up.  When I am cleaning up the kitchen, I find myself unlatched the cleaner cabinet time and time again, as I forget to grab the oven degreaser or countertop sprays.  With this unscented cleaner, I can now clean multiple kitchen surfaces, and not have to worry about cracking the windows to get rid of the chemical smell other cleaners leave behind.  How does this cleaner stack up against others that I have come to trust?  This eco-friendly cleaner really got the job done, in cleaning spills on the stovetop and in the oven.  I love how I don't have to use elbow grease to scrub down spills and splatters in the microwave.  One spray of this powerful cleaner, along with a wet sponge, and the microwave is clean and sparkling. 


Zyliss Soft Skin Peeler Pair (2 pc.)


The two other products I picked up to round out my order were a soft skin peeler and julienne slicer, both by Zyliss.  I had fun with these kitchen gadget, peeling skin off of peaches and tomatoes, and julienning carrots and cucumbers for salads. I will definitely be using the julienne slicer come Thanksgiving to dress up the salad.

Who would have thought I would have been able to spend $30 at the Frigidaire’s Accessories division's online store, and get products that I could actually use and enjoy.  I am so glad I challenged myself to see what fun and unique products I would find, and love everything I received.  So, why not give the Frigidaire’s online store a try?  Even if you are not looking for appliance or accessory replacements, you will be surprised at what they offer for your home.  If you take the $30 challenge, let me know what you chose. :-)  Happy shopping!


And, if you like recipes, make sure you check out their recipe section, that cooking and baking bloggers share their recipes to. I have printed out a few recipes I want to try for the holidays. 


Disclosure: I was sent a $30 gift code to use in purchasing products for review from the vendor. The views above are mine and mine alone.
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Book Blog Tour -- A Merry Little Christmas by Anita Higman (Review and Giveaway)





About A Merry Little Christmas: 


"Fall in love with this cozy story about two people from different worlds.
Franny Martin is an Oklahoma farm girl who's preparing to spend the holidays alone...again. Then Charlie Landau shows up one day, all wealth and polish, and offers to buy Franny's farm. Franny has no money to speak of, but she is clever and spirited, and she's more than happy to sell the farm and move to the city.

As Sinatra croons from the radio and Christmas descends upon her charming farm, Franny teaches Charlie the curious and sometimes comical ways of country life. In the process, they unearth some discoveries of the heart-that sometimes love comes when you're least ready for it. Will the holidays bring their most impossible dreams within reach?"


My Thoughts:

One of my favorite things about the holidays is reading books that center around Christmas.  So, when I heard about Anita Higman's new book, A Merry Little Christmas, I couldn't wait to read it.  Also, I have not had a chance to read any of her other books, but have read some wonderful reviews, which made me eager to see what I have been missing.

I was surprised at how quick of a read this book was.  I found myself not wanting to put the book down, and finished it in under two hours.  The author did an amazing job in creating the main characters, and made the reader feel like they could relate to them, or that you could see yourself friends with Franny.  Even though I have read other books about finding love when you aren't looking for it, or finding your love from the opposite sides of the tracks, Anita Higman's book really pulled me in and left me wanting to read more.  When you think the book is going in one direction, she pulls you in another.  And, the characters start off with a set dream, but in the end realize that as times change, so do their dreams.  Will Franny and Charlie live out their dream and live happily ever after? You will have to pick up a copy of this book to find out. :-)

I will definitely be picking up more books from Anita Higman, to read during the upcoming winter months here in New England.  Nothing like ready a good book to warm your soul. :-)

Don't forget to check out the other stops on this book blog tour. You can find the complete list here: http://litfusegroup.com/author/AHigman.

PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY NOW --  http://ow.ly/eyLJH   

---WIN A COPY OF THIS BOOK---

 
Author Anita Higman invites readers to kick off the season with a spirited holiday tale. Anita is spreading the Christmas cheer by giving away FIFTEEN COPIES of the book. To enter to win A Merry Little Christmas, just head over to THE CONTEST PAGE at Anita's website and fill out the short form. Be sure to put BLOG CONTEST in the Subject Line. That's it. Winners will be announced on the Litfuse blog (and notified by email) on 11/9.

 About the Author:


Best-selling and award-winning author, Anita Higman, has over thirty books published (several coauthored) for adults and children. She's been a Barnes & Noble "Author of the Month" for Houston and has a BA degree, combining speech communication, psychology, and art. Anita loves good movies, exotic teas, and brunch with her friends.

Find out more about Anita at http://www.anitahigman.com.

Disclosure:  I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher in order to write up an honest review.  The views above are mine and mine alone.
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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Arriving on Blu-Ray, November 6th -- The Muppet Christmas Carol



This holiday season, Disney is bringing the Muppets classic, The Muppet Christmas Carol, to Blu-ray for the first time. The 2-disc set will feature a slew of special features, old and new.



Synopsis:

"Greetings, holiday movie fans and culture lovers, I am the Great Gonzo... or as I am better known to fans of this classic motion picture - literary legend Charles Dickens. Ready to laugh, cry, sing, frolic, cavort and enjoy yourself beyond belief!? Well, you're in luck, because this Great Gonzo's 'From Chickens to Dickens" 20th Anniversary Edition of The Muppet Christmas Carol is guaranteed to put you in a holiday spirit that will stay with you forever - or at least until your Aunt Edna starts complaining that nobody is eating the fruitcake she brought... again!

Available for the first time ever on Blu-Ray™ with high-definition sound and picture, so you can enjoy even more of my blue-ness, not to mention the incredible spectacle of Kermit the Frog as Bob Crachit, Miss Piggy as Emily Crachit, Academy Award®-winner Michael Caine as Scrooge, wonderful song by Academy Award®-winner Paul Williams, and, of course, my pal Rizzo the Rat as... well, Rizzo the Rat.

A heartwarming and hilarious holiday classic, told as never before by yours truly! Yule love it! Happy Holidays! GONZO"

Grab your copy of The Muppet Christmas Carol November 6th.

Special Features:
  • Muppet Audio Commentary: All new Audio Commentary from the Muppets themselves.
  • Audio Commentary from Brian Henson
  • Disney Intermission: Press "Pause" and see what happens when the Muppets Show up at your door to sing your Christmas Carols - Muppet Style!
  • Muppet Holiday Sing-Along
  • Blooper Reel
  • Frogs, Pigs, and Humbug: A Behind the Scenes Look
  • Christmas Around the World with Gonzo and Rizzo
  • Pepe's Profiles Presents: Gonzo, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Weirdo
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Now Available on CD for the Holidays -- Chipmunks Christmas (Review)



"Bagdasarian Productions' six-time Grammy®-winning blockbuster franchise, Alvin and The Chipmunks, will make the yuletide season bright with a festive, 18-track CD and digital collection of their most-loved holiday classics, Chipmunks Christmas.Released on October 9th by Capitol/EMI, Chipmunks Christmas includes the perennial holiday hit, first released in 1958, "The Chipmunk Song" by Ross Bagdasarian Sr, as well as "Here Comes Santa Claus," "Jingle Bells," "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town," "Frosty The Snowman," "Deck The Halls," and other holiday favorites.

Chipmunks Christmas continues Alvin and The Chipmunks' long tradition of making spirits bright for the holidays. The collection features brand new art and two festive songs from Bagdasarian Productions which were not included on The Chipmunks' timeless multi-Platinum-certified holiday album, Christmas With The Chipmunks: "Here Comes Christmas" and "Ho Ho Ho" by Janice Karman
One of the top-selling music acts of all time, The Chipmunks have enjoyed more than half a century of loyal adoration by three generations of fans around the world, with each new generation embracing the delightfully mischievous trio."


Alvin and The Chipmunks: Chipmunks Christmas [CD, digital]
  1. Here Comes Santa Claus
  2. The Chipmunk Song
  3. Jingle Bells
  4. It's Beginning To Look Like Christmas
  5. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
  6. Up On The House-Top
  7. Wonderful Day [digital release debut]
  8. Over The River and Through The Woods
  9. All I Want For Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth)
  10. White Christmas
  11. The Twelve Days of Christmas
  12. Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town
  13. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
  14. Deck The Halls
  15. Frosty The Snowman
  16. Here Comes Christmas [digital release debut]
  17. Ho Ho Ho
  18. We Wish You A Merry Christmas
----------

My Thoughts:

Who doesn't love the Chipmunks?  ALLLLVVVIIIIINNNNN!!!!! :-)  I grew up watching and listening to Chipmunks, and now can share this lovable bunch with my daughters, starting with the new Chipmunks Christmas CD.  Some may think that their squeaky voices are annoying, but when they start singing holiday tunes like Jingle Bells and White Christmas, you can't help but smile and want to sing along.  

Savannah couldn't get enough of Frost the Snowman and Ho Ho Ho, and would dance around the house when these songs would come on.  I can't believe the Chipmunks were first introduced in 1958!  They have come a long way with hit movies, television shows and CD's, and continue to show that people love these furry little guys, and can't get enough of them.  It is not Christmas in house without listening to my collection of Chipmunks CD's, or watching them on television.  If you love the Chipmunks as much as I do, and are looking to add to your collection or just get into the holiday spirit, why not pick up a copy of Chipmunks Christmas today on CD or digital download?  You will find yourself singing along with Alvin, Simon and Theodore as you string the lights on the tree, prepare your holiday meal and wrap all those gifts.  Each and every song on this 18-track CD will become a family favorite, and will warm your heart as you gear up for the holiday season ahead.  And, this CD would also make for a great stocking stuffer for children (and adults) of all ages. :-)  Like I said, who can resist the Chipmunks?  Adults will love listening to this CD and reminiscing about their favorite Chipmunks memories, and how their holidays were not complete without hearing at least one Chipmunks song on the radio. :-)

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this CD from the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  The views above are mine and mine alone.
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Just in Time for the Holidays -- Arthur's Perfect Christmas on DVD from PBS Kids (Review)

 

Synopsis:

"In Arthur's Perfect Christmas, plans are underway in Elwood City for the best holidays ever! Arthur, D.W., their friends and family make preparations for perfect gifts, perfect parties, and perfect family traditions for Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanza. But, just as in real life, perfection cannot last and things begin to fall apart. Arthur learns that the joy of Christmas isn't found in an artificial vision of the perfect holiday season, but in the wonderfully messy, imperfect world he lives in."

My Thoughts:

Even though this is not a new release -- it was originally released on on VHS in 2000, it is now available to own on DVD.  I have caught this holiday special a few times over the years, and recently saw it on Amazon Prime, when Savannah stumbled upon it looking for something to watch.  Then, the next day, I received the DVD in the mail -- which included printable coloring pages and activities as a bonus feature.

If you are fans of PBS Kids and Arthur, and have never seen this 1-hour holiday special, you really have to check it out.  What I like best about this special is that it includes Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, in addition to Christmas, making this a holiday treat everyone can enjoy watching together, no matter your religious practice.  Follow along as Arthur and his friends gear up for the holiday season.  Will there be snow?  Will D.W. get the hot toy she been asking for?  and will Buster's mom make this a memorable Christmas?  These answers and more will be answered in under an hour, in this fun family classic, that will have you wishing for snow and to be together with family and friends for the holidays.

Savannah is a fan of Arthur, and loved Arthur's Perfect Christmas.  This hour long special went by fast and kept her engaged from start to finish.  Children will walk away from this movie learning about what really matters when it comes to the holidays -- and, that is being together with family and friends.  Even though Arthur had this perfect picture of the holidays in mind and strives to achieve them, in the end being with family and friends is what mattered most of all.

So, if you are looking to add to your holiday film collection, why not pick up a copy of Arthur's Perfect Christmas today, and toy Arthur and the gang as they celebrate the holidays in Elmwood City.  This film will definitely become a staple in our must watch holiday film lineup year after year.  I grew up watching  Arthur, and now enjoy watching it with my girls, and seeing how much they love Arthur and his friends.
Disclosure:  I was sent a copy of the DVD from the vendor in order to write up an honest review. The views above are mine and mine alone.
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Introducing the New Purex plus Oxi -- Review, Giveaway and Sweepstakes


With two children ages 2 and under in my house, you can only imagine the number of loads of laundry I do on a daily/weekly basis.  If it weren't for needing to wash stained clothes immediately, I would be back to doing laundry 1-2 times a week tops.  But, my girls are rebelling and don't want to wear their bibs when dining.  This in turn, leads to stains and spills that need immediate attention -- either with soaking or spray treating and then into the laundry. 

If you follow my blog, then you know that I am a fan of Purex products and have been for years.  I was excited to become a Purex Insider last year, with the perks of trying out new products and offering fun giveaways for my readers.  So, when I heard recently that Purex was coming out with a new laundry detergent, Purex plus Oxi, I knew  would be getting a sample in the mail to try out,  And, just last week the Fed Ex man delivered my sample.  The delivery couldn't come at a better time, as I was running run on my Purex Free and Clean detergent, and my husband had decided to give the girls frozen blueberries and raspberries with their breakfast.  Imagine their shirts with purple spots everywhere.


Purex's new product is designed to help fight food and drink stains.  So, I was going to be putting it to the test in helping me remove these stains.  The detergent was easy to use -- simply pour a little Purex plus oil onto the stain, rub the fabric together, then let stand for five minutes.  That's it?  Yes, simple, huh?  After the five minutes is up, through into the wash and wash like you normally would.  I do all my laundry on the cold cycle, and put these stained clothes in with the girls' other laundry from the day before.  Once the wash cycle was done, I couldn't wait to see if the blueberry and raspberry stains came out.  And, they did.  I couldn't believe it.  Before I would have had to soak the clothes overnight or spent over an hour scrubbing and spraying with stain remover products.  But, thanks to Purex, in only five minutes, I can pre-treat stained clothes and wash normally. 

Since receiving my sample, I have continued to use this new laundry detergent to remove juice, Popsicle and other impossible stains with ease.  I am definitely recommending this new detergent to family and friends with young children, as well as those who have children in sports and deal with grass and dirt stains.  You will be amazed at how well Puex plus Oxi does in removing stubborn stains.  No more throwing out your favorite clothes because you can't remove those tough stains.  Let Purex plus Oxi bring your clothes back to life in one wash cycle.
---GIVEAWAY---
One lucky reader will win (3) free coupons for Purex plus Oxi, thanks to Purex. To enter, please complete the entries on the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Do your little ghosts and goblins come home with tough and spooky stains? Don't let them haunt your Halloween! Use NEW Purex Plus Oxi. It's so powerful it scares away over 101 different stains!

Enter for a chance to win $1,000 and a year’s supply of this spooktacular stain fighting detergent. Click here -- http://insiders.purex.com/purexplusoxi?id=826 -- to learn more and enter today -- Act fast as this sweepstakes ends on November 30th!

Disclosure:  As a Purex Insider, I was sent a sample from the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  The views above are mine and mine alone.
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THE CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT CHRISTMAS -- This One-Hour Special Will Air November 21st on PBS Kids (Review)



"You may be thinking about Halloween costumes, but PBS is already starting to gear up for the holidays and we have the perfect NEW special from everyone’s favorite Cat.  THE CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT THAT! is bringing THE CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT CHRISTMAS to families across the country this holiday season.



This November, PBS KIDS rings in the season with a one-hour special – The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About CHRISTMAS!  This adventure finds the Cat in the Hat, Nick and Sally on a journey around the world to help a lost reindeer find his way home to Freezeyourknees Snowland in time for Christmas.  On the way, the Thingamajigger breaks down and they depend on a variety of animals – from African bush elephants to bottlenose dolphins to red crabs – and their remarkable abilities to help them make an amazing journey home.

The special premieres on Wednesday, November 21st (the day before Thanksgiving), on PBS KIDS, with encore presentations throughout Thanksgiving weekend and in December. It is also available for pre-order and will be released on DVD later this month on 10/31."


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My Thoughts:

Mark your calendars for November 21st and tune in to watch this holiday special.  I was sent a screener copy of this one-hour special and have watched it half a dozen times with the girls so far. Even though we tune in daily to watch Nick and Sally travel to far off places with funny names with the Cat in the Hat, she has taken to this holiday-themed episode and continues to ask to watch it.  And, when she sees all the animals appear on the screen, she gets excited pointing them out to Arabella and I, as she attempts to say their names. 

Will the lost reindeer find its way home, or will the Thingamajigger be stranded forever? You will have to tune in to find out.  :-)   Cat in the Hat fans will enjoy this holiday-themed adventure, that will have you singing along to the "Go Go Go" song, and hoping for the reindeer's safe return home, so that Santa has all his reindeer for his magical flight on Christmas Eve.  I am always amazed at the adventures the Cat takes Nick and Sally on, and the friends they are meet along the way.  This one-hour special is jam packed with fun and adventure, that will keep young children engaged and entertained from start to finish. 

I can't wait to tune in again when this one-hour special airs on November 21st, and throughout the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  Now, I don't have to worry about entertaining the girls while I put together the final fixings for our holiday dinner.  Instead, Nick, Sally and the Cat in the Hat will entertain them with their Christmas adventure. :-)


Disclosure: I was sent a screener DVD in order to write up an honest review.  The views above are mine and mine alone.
 
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Now Avaiable on CD -- Elizabeth Mitchell's 'Blue Clouds' - Classic Rock and Traditional Folk (Review)





Smithsonian Folkways Releases Elizabeth Mitchell's 
Blue Clouds

 Traditional Folk and Classic Rock... for Kids

"When Storey was three years old, there was a bedtime story that Daniel used to tell her called “The Land of Blue Clouds.” Many magical things happened in this land where the sky was gold and the clouds were blue. storey and daniel would weave the tales together, imagining adventures with fairies, elephants, oceans, rainbows, jaybirds, and beyond.
 
During this time, we were on our first cross-country tour with Storey, often spending every night in a different town. Returning to this “land of blue clouds” each night gave Storey a sense of home, whether we were in Tucson or Louisville, Eugene or Chicago. On our journey, Storey saw her first rainbow in Texas, her first cactus in the desert of Arizona, rode on her first pony (named Pickles!) in California, drove through her first tornado in Kansas, picked her first peach in Colorado, and made her first mural (a Christmas tree and a snake!) with her godmother Tara Jane in Oregon. Halfway through the tour, we were in northern California visiting my sister Caroline and her family. While we were there, Daniel picked up a ukulele, and the song “Blue Clouds” was born. Now we had a lullaby to carry us home, and we still sing it today, many years later.


Anything could happen in the land of blue clouds, and it still can. A frog can propose to a mouse and they can share buttercups and dewdrop tea, a bunny may go off on an adventure and gather chestnuts for her friends. When times get tough, we can throw the homework in the fire and take the car downtown. Everyone can sing along, hop up, and ask the moon to stay just a little longer, because you never know, two octopuses might marry, have a baby, and dance every day arm in arm in arm in arm in arm in arm in arm in arm…just one more story, one more song, while the silver moon is on the rise…."


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My Thoughts:

"In the land of Blue Clouds, anything can happen"  I wish I could travel here with my daughters and let them experience all the wonders that Elizabeth Mitchell's daughter, Storey dreamed about after listening to her father tell her this bedtime story.  But, thankfully, Elizabeth Mitchell put together a wonderful album that celebrates family, imagination and love, for families to enjoy.

Released on October 23rd, I was sent an advance copy to review, and couldn't wait to listen to it with the girls.  After hearing that she covered songs by David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, Bill Withers, Ella Jenkins, Van Morrison, The Allman Brothers and The Good Ms Padgett, I couldn't wait to see how they sounded.  Who would have thought a Jimi Hendrix song could be turned into a Jodi Mitchell type song?  Well, leave it to Elizabeth Mitchell to do just that. 

Her other CD, "Little Seed" became an instant hit in our house, and so did this new release.  The girls love listening to this CD in the car, and always seem to drift off to sleep peacefully.  I think they are just eager to get to the "Land of Blue Clouds."  Even though all the tracks on this album are great, we especially love to listen to "Arm and Arm" and "May This Be Love."  Savannah's personal favorite is the Allman Brother's cover of "Blue Sky."

This album is definitely one worth checking out.  If you have other Elizabeth Mitchell albums, then you know how great her music and voice is?  And, she outdoes herself again with "Blue Clouds."  Parents and children will enjoy listening to this album together, and will be wishing like we are to travel to the "Land of Blue Clouds." 



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Selected family concerts with
Elizabeth Mitchell and You Are My Flower

November 3 - Town Hall, Seattle
November 4 - Village Ballroom, Portland, OR
November 11 - Eddie's Attic, Decatur, GA
December 8 - One Longfellow Square, Portland, ME
December 15 - Symphony Space, NYC
Get updates at www.youaremyflower.org


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this CD from the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  The views above are mine and mine alone.
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Win Tickets to Opening Night of The Nutcracker, Playing the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, MA November 23-25th (Giveaway)



The Nutcracker

"Generously sponsored by Commerce Bank, jump start the holiday season with Worcester's family tradition of THE NUTCRACKER presented by the Youth Ballet of Worcester Company November 23-25, 2012. This magical production is the collaborative artistic effort of the Youth Ballet of Worcester Company  joining with the live music of the Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra."


---BUY TICKETS NOW---

Full price tickets are $24, $30, $36, depending on seating location, and can be purchased online -- http://www.thehanovertheatre.org/shows/showDetail.php?showID=179, or at the Hanover Theatre Box Office. 


---SAVE NOW---

There is a $3 discount available for members, groups of 15 or more, corporate partners, AAA members, kids, students, and WOO card holders.    Commerce Bank customers are eligible for a 10% discount, while Commerce Bank employees will receive 15% off their ticket purchase..

Please call the box office at 877.571.SHOW (7469) for more information.

---GIVEAWAY---

One lucky reader will win a family four pack to the opening night show, on November 23rd at 7PM.  To enter, please complete the entries on the Rafflecopter form below.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was given a family four pack of tickets to the opening night show in order to write up an honest review of the show, from the vendor.  The views above and those I will share in my upcoming review are mine and mine alone.
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