Monday, May 31, 2010

Sid the Science Kid Learns About the Importance of Using Sunscreen in “Weather Kid Sid” (Giveaway)

May is Skin Cancer Prevention and Detection Month. This is so timely as we anticipate summer and lots of time spent at the beach, in the pool, and outdoors! If your kids are like mine, they don’t really like to put on sunscreen. It’s hard to get the message through to them that they’re at risk of getting skin cancer when they don’t protect themselves from the sun, but PBS KIDS’ Sid the Science Kid might have better luck in teaching this lesson to your children.

In the new DVD, Weather Kid Sid, Sid learns in the episode “Special Sunny Dad Day” that it’s important to use sunscreen if you’re going to play soccer outside with Dad. When Sid returns to the classroom, he and his friends learn more about the ways in which the sun helps the earth, as well as the need to protect their skin from the sun.

This new DVD also includes other weather-related episodes, including “Sid’s Rainy Play Date,” “Sid’s Holiday Adventure,” and “The Wind Did It.” Go to http://PBSKIDS.org/sid to learn more about Jim Henson’s award-winning series, Sid the Science Kid! And for tips on protecting your family’s skin in the sun, visit The American Academy of Dermatology’s Kids Skin Health Site at http://kidsskinhealth.org.



GIVEAWAY

I have a Weather Kid Sid DVD to give away to one lucky winner! To enter, leave a comment on this post with another way in which you can protect your skin from the sun in addition to using sunscreen. You must do this to enter the giveaway.

You can earn optional, additional entries by:

- Following Susan Heim on Parenting on Twitter (@ParentingAuthor) and tweeting about this giveaway. You may tweet this giveaway twice a day. Leave a separate comment with the URL of each tweet. (It’s easy to tweet this giveaway by using the Bookmark button at the bottom of this post. 1 entry per tweet.)

- Subscribing to Susan Heim on Parenting via email, RSS and/or Kindle (see sign-up options on left sidebar). Leave a comment for each subscription method. (1 entry for each method; up to 3 entries)

- Following Susan Heim on Parenting through Google Friend Connect. Click on the “Follow” button on the left sidebar. Leave a comment. (1 entry)

- Putting a button for Susan Heim on Parenting on your blog (the code is in the upper right-hand column of this site) and/or a text link on your blog roll. Post a comment with your blog’s URL. (1 entry for button; 1 entry for text link)

- Posting this giveaway on your blog with a link to this page. Leave a comment with a direct link to the post. (3 entries; leave a separate comment for each)

One winner will be randomly selected from the qualified comments received by Thursday, June 10, 2010, at midnight ET. Please leave an email address on one of your comments if it’s not available on your Blogger profile. Winners must respond within 72 hours or another winner will be drawn. Contest is open only to US residents.

CONTEST CLOSED. Congratulations to the winner, Jennifer T.!





DISCLOSURE: I was sent one Weather Kid Sid DVD to pass on to one reader of this blog. No compensation was provided.

“Women of Wonder” Wins an Audie Award!

Congratulations to Amy Friedman, whose audio CD, Women of Wonder, just won an Audie Award for Best Original Work! Women of Wonder is the newest in a series of audio CDs called Tell Me a Story, which feature timeless folktales from around the world. I reviewed these enchanting stories in September at http://susanheim.blogspot.com/2009/09/tell-me-story-3-women-of-wonder.html. I hope you’ll check out this award-winning series. They’d be perfect for entertaining the whole family on a road trip this summer! Visit http://mythsandtales.com.






Sunday, May 30, 2010

Please Remember Those Who Have Served

For Memorial Day, I’d like to introduce you to my beautiful friend, Dawn, and her son, Jason.


Jason was a Pararescueman in the Air Force. He died on March 23, 2003, when his helicopter crashed in Afghanistan. He was just a few weeks away from his 22nd birthday.


Every year, scholarships are presented at a beautiful banquet in his name to students at his former high school who excel in swimming and art, his passions besides flying and his family. Jason lives on in the hearts of those who will love him forever.


Today, please take some time to remember those who have served in the armed forces. Their bravery and sacrifice can never be repaid.

We love you, Jason!


P.S. You can read more about Jason and contribute to his scholarship fund at www.jasonplitememorial.com.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

What Is the Latest Kid Craze? Googly Bands!

Just for today, I was “Cool Mom.” That’s because I gave my son something that all of the kids have been clamoring for: Googly® Bands! These shaped rubber bands have been selling out like crazy in stores across the country. So, being able to snag two packs of Googly Bands for my six-year-old son definitely raised my stature in our household today!

In case you’ve been unaware of all this madness, Googly Bands (and other products that go by similar names) have been gracing the wrists of kids everywhere! These stylish rubber bands come in various shapes and colors, and kids can collect and trade them. You wear a bunch of them at a time so they really make a statement, like this:

My son received Googly Bands shaped like Farm Animals and others shaped like Mobile objects, such as planes, boats, and bicycles. Here he is with his bands (note the happy smile on his face!):

Googly Bands come in a wide variety of other design packs, such as Dinosaurs, Musical Instruments, Sports, Insects, Fantasy, and much more. And new designs are coming out all the time.

Googly Bands is also hosting a very fun contest that allows kids to design their own style of Googly Bands! The winner of the Googly Bands Design Contest will receive a $50 gift card and the chance to design their own Googly Bands! The submission deadline is July 18, 2010. Details are available on their website at www.GooglyBands.com.

Googly Bands are available at Walgreen’s, Walmart, Toys ‘R’ Us, Supervalu, Publix, Rite-Aid, and Christmas Tree Shops. You might want to call the store before you go because Googly Bands sell out fast! Click on the following links to learn more about Googly Bands.

Links

Googly Bands website: www.googlybands.com
Googly Bands on Twitter: www.twitter.com/googlybands
(Tweet and use the hashtag #googlybands)
Googly Bands on Facebook: www.facebook.com/googlybands






DISCLOSURE: I received two complimentary packages of Googly Bands to facilitate this review. No other compensation was provided.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Disney FamilyFun Makes the Evening Meal Fun and Easy with a Special Collector’s Issue: “Dinnertime!”

Disney FamilyFun magazine always has great ideas for creative things that families can do together. In fact, I’ve printed many of their holiday ideas on this blog in the past! Now, Disney FamilyFun has released a very special collector’s issue called Dinnertime! It’s filled with more than 98 easy recipes for meals you can make for (and with) your family. Each chapter solves a common problem in many households, such as:



Picky-Eater Pleasers
Eat More Veggies
Cheap Eats
30-Minute Meals
Break Out of Your Rut

There’s also a chapter with recipes that are easy for you to do with your children (Kids in the Kitchen) and a chapter of meals you can take out for parties, picnics and potlucks (Take It to Go). This special edition is filled with beautiful, full-color photos and a “Handy-Dandy Index.” Bonus pages include a side dish finder, dinner-hour crafts (try some Napkin Origami!), tips for encouraging little helpers, games and coupons for the dinner table, and even conversation starters!

Look at the titles of some of their yummy recipes:

Fab Fish Fingers (with Homemade Tartar Sauce)
Mexican Cheese Fondue
Invent-Your-Own Quiche
Football Turnovers
Peanut Butter Noodles

The editors at Disney FamilyFun really thought of everything to make your dinnertimes easy, enjoyable and worry-free! You can find Dinnertime! at newsstands or online at www.familyfun.com/dinnertime. When you order the print edition online, you get the digital edition for free! This makes it really easy to share these terrific recipes and ideas with family and friends. I think this will become your favorite resource for dinnertime planning!

GIVEAWAY

One lucky reader will receive a complimentary copy of Dinnertime! from Disney FamilyFun. To enter, leave a comment below sharing your favorite tip for making dinnertime stress-free! You must do this to enter the giveaway.

You can earn optional, additional entries by:

- Following Susan Heim on Parenting on Twitter (@ParentingAuthor) and tweeting about this giveaway. You may tweet this giveaway twice a day. Leave a separate comment with the URL of each tweet. (It’s easy to tweet this giveaway by using the Bookmark button at the bottom of this post. 1 entry per tweet.)

- Subscribing to Susan Heim on Parenting via email, RSS and/or Kindle (see sign-up options on left sidebar). Leave a comment for each subscription method. (1 entry for each method; up to 3 entries)

- Following Susan Heim on Parenting through Google Friend Connect. Click on the “Follow” button on the left sidebar. Leave a comment. (1 entry)

- Putting a button for Susan Heim on Parenting on your blog (the code is in the upper right-hand column of this site) and/or a text link on your blog roll. Post a comment with your blog’s URL. (1 entry for button; 1 entry for text link)

- Posting this giveaway on your blog with a link to this page. Leave a comment with a direct link to the post. (3 entries; leave a separate comment for each)

One winner will be randomly selected from the qualified comments received by Wednesday, June 9, 2010, at midnight ET. Please leave an email address on one of your comments if it’s not available on your Blogger profile. Winners must respond within 72 hours or another winner will be drawn. Contest is open only to US residents.

CONTEST CLOSED. Congratulations to the winner: Julie!





DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary issue of Dinnertime! to facilitate this review. No other compensation was provided.

Get Kids to Help Out Around the House with the Help of Les Mess Cards!

One great way to motivate your kids to clean up is to make a game out of it! Have you ever set a timer and promised your children that they could have a treat when the timer goes off if their room has been cleaned? Often, a little friendly competition -- or the promise of a tasty snack -- is all it takes to get our kids to tackle the mess.

Another way to do this is through the use of Les Mess cards! Kids (or grown-ups) just shuffle the cards, and then each child picks one. They must do whatever it says on the card within a set amount of time in order to win a prize.

For example, one card says: Change your bed sheets and bring all of your dirty clothes to the laundry room. (15 minutes) Another card says: With your parents’ help, organize and clean your closet. (1-2 hours) Some are more fun: Your TV is broken today! What fun activities can you do? And others are extremely popular with kids: You are the Queen/King for the day. Your mother and father have to clean your room. (Oops, somehow we lost that card in our house! LOL)

There are also cards that list suggested rewards, such as staying up an extra hour on a weekend, going to a play or movie, or taking a trip to a favorite spot. Of course, you are free to come up with your own rewards depending on what you know will best motivate your children.

Les Mess Card Game is recommended for ages 5-12 and is available at www.lesmess.com.





DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary Les Mess Card Game to facilitate this review. No other compensation was provided.

Get 20% Off on Your Next Monster from CurlyQ Cuties!

I’ve written about CurlyQ Cuties before because they’re so cute, they’re of excellent quality and, most of all, kids love them! I just wanted to let you know that they’re having a sale right now! Through this Monday, May 31st, they're offering a 20% discount on everything except gift certificate purchases!

Wouldn’t your child love a “monster” like this?

Or how about this one?

Or this?

These are the cutest monsters I’ve ever seen! Best of all, you and/or your child get to design your own. You pick the color, the eyes, the nose, and more to create your own unique CurlyQ Cutie! Each one is hand-made to your specifications. They’re cute and cuddly!

To take advantage of this 20% discount offer, enter "MEMORIAL" into the "Promotional Claim Code" field during checkout. Hurry as this offer only runs through May 31st! Click on the picture below to get your own CurlyQ Cuties!

CurlyQ Cuties



Thursday, May 27, 2010

Book Review: The Heart Mender, by Andy Andrews

Imagine that you are a newlywed, deeply in love with your husband. It is wartime, and your husband is a military pilot. He heads over to Europe soon after your wedding to train allied pilots, where he is shot down and killed by enemy fire. Somehow, you manage to struggle on, but you are filled with rage and hatred for those who killed your husband. One day, you are walking on the beach, and you find a man facedown in the sand by the shore. You lean down to see if he’s alive and find a bullet wound in his shoulder. Slowly, you manage to roll him over onto his back… and recoil in horror. He is wearing the uniform of the enemy, the same country that is responsible for your beloved husband’s death. What do you do? Leave him on the beach where he’ll probably die? Finish him off yourself? Call the authorities to deal with him? Or take him home, in spite of your hatred for him, and nurse him back to health?

This is a true story. Author Andy Andrews writes about it in The Heart Mender: A Story of Second Chances after he finds a bag with photographs (one of which includes Hitler) and German military artifacts buried in the sand near his house on the Gulf Coast. Why were these items buried on the beach? And why German items? There weren’t any Nazis on the Gulf Coast during World War II as far as he knew. Or were there? As Andrews digs deeper into the mystery he uncovered in his yard, he finds answers that shock him and compel him to find out more. Were German U-boats hovering around the US coastline? Who was supplying them, and why wasn’t this in the news? Could Nazis have actually come ashore? And what was the story behind the items in the sand?

The Heart Mender will keep you glued to its pages from beginning to end as the answers to these questions are revealed. Not only is it a fascinating story, but it brings up all kinds of questions about war, hatred, family, and forgiveness. Is it really possible for people to overcome anger and hate? How could the world be changed if we all learned the power of forgiveness? And how do anger and forgiveness affect us on a more personal level?

Follow the story of Helen and Josef in The Heart Mender as they confront these issues during a period of history when forgiveness seemed impossible and peace a distant hope. It’s a story that will stick with you long after you’ve finished it. A Reader’s Guide at the end makes The Heart Mender an excellent choice for book clubs and classroom discussions.

Watch the trailer below for this life-changing book, and then click on the link beneath it to order The Heart Mender. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in a long time, and I believe it will become an addition to your own personal bestseller list.



[Email subscribers, please click on the title of this post to view this video online.]

Author Andy Andrews’ Website: www.andyandrews.com






DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of this book to facilitate this review. No other compensation was provided.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

SUBWAY Now Serves Breakfast! (Giveaway)

Did you know that SUBWAY now offers breakfast? I really love breakfast food, so I was very excited to get this news because we have a lot of great SUBWAY restaurants in our area. Breakfast will be available nationwide in 20,000 SUBWAY locations from 7:00-11:00 A.M. each day!

There are some wonderful selections on their menu, such as Black Forest Ham, Egg & Cheese, the Double Bacon, Egg & Cheese, the Steak, Egg & Cheese, and the Western Egg & Cheese. And, just like their regular sandwiches, you can personalize each breakfast selection the way you want it. You have three choices of bread -- a light wheat English muffin, flatbread, or a sub roll (6- or 12-inch), and a choice of eggs or egg whites. You can also add sauces, veggies (like tomato, spinach, onion or green peppers), and cheese and meat toppings. Seattle’s Best Coffee, low-fat and regular milk, and orange juice are also offered, along with apple slices and Dannon Light & Fit Yogurt as side dishes.

My husband and I recently tasted SUBWAY breakfast sandwiches, and they were delicious! I had the Double Bacon on flatbread with Swiss cheese. Yum! Hubby had the Black Forest Ham on a light wheat English muffin with provolone cheese. We were both very happy with our choices. (See our tasty selections to the right.)

Click here for SUBWAY’s breakfast menu and to find a location near you!

Links 

SUBWAY website: www.subwayfreshbuzz.com
SUBWAY on Facebook: www.facebook.com/subway
SUBWAY on Twitter: www.twitter.com/subwayfreshbuzz

GIVEAWAY

SUBWAY has generously donated some gift cards so that three lucky winners can enjoy complimentary SUBWAY breakfasts! Each winner will receive $10 in gift cards. To enter, go to www.subwayfreshbuzz.com/menu/breakfast/, check out the new breakfast menu, and leave a comment here sharing what you will order if you win! You must do this to enter the giveaway.

You can earn optional additional entries by:

- Following SUBWAY (@subwayfreshbuzz) and Susan Heim on Parenting (@ParentingAuthor) on Twitter and tweeting about this giveaway. You may tweet this giveaway up to twice a day. Leave a separate comment with the URL of each tweet. (It’s easy to tweet this giveaway by using the Bookmark button at the bottom of this post. 1 entry per tweet.)

- Becoming a fan of SUBWAY on Facebook. (1 entry)

- Subscribing to Susan Heim on Parenting via email and/or RSS feed (see sign-up options on left sidebar). Leave a comment for each subscription method. (1 entry for email; 1 entry for RSS feed)

- Following Susan Heim on Parenting through Google Friend Connect. Click on the “Follow” button on the left sidebar. Leave a comment. (1 entry)

- Putting a button for Susan Heim on Parenting on your blog (the code is in the upper right-hand column of this site) and/or a text link on your blog roll. Post a comment with your blog’s URL. (1 entry for button; 1 entry for text link)

- Posting this giveaway on your blog with a link to this page. Leave a comment with a direct link to the post. (3 entries; leave a separate comment for each)

Three winners will be randomly selected from the qualified comments received by Tuesday, June 8, 2010, at midnight ET. Please leave an email address on one of your comments if it’s not available on your Blogger profile. Winners must respond within 72 hours or another winner will be drawn. US addresses only.


CONTEST CLOSED. Congratulations to the winners: barbara.montyj, Cynthya, and janetfaye.






DISCLOSURE: I received some SUBWAY gift cards so I could sample their breakfast for this review. No other compensation was provided.

Support Teachers Through the Bing Teacher Appreciation Website

My husband and I just got home from our twin boys’ kindergarten award ceremonies this morning, and it really hit home to me how much our teachers care about the children and do their best for them. Both of my boys have blossomed so much this year! They’ve started reading and writing well, and their social skills have improved greatly. I am so grateful to their teachers for all that they do! Have you thanked your child’s teacher recently? I read about a series of interviews with teachers in which they were asked about the most meaningful moments they’ve had in their careers. Almost all of them expressed that “feeling appreciated” meant more to them than any other gift they’ve ever received. It’s amazing how much you can motivate a teacher to keep coming back year after year when you recognize his or her hard work and say thanks.

Bing has another way in which you can say “thank you” to a teacher. They’ve committed to giving up to $500,000 through DonorsChoose.org to teachers through their new campaign. How can you help? Go to the Bing Teacher Appreciation Website to post a comment or tell a short story about a teacher who made a huge difference in the life of your child or even your own life. When you do this, Bing will give you a $5 donation to DonorsChoose.org, which can be used for the classroom project of your choice. You can leave up to 5 comments, resulting in a total donation of up to $25! At the end of June, Bing will gather the comments and share them with teachers through a congratulatory letter.

If you’ve never been on the DonorsChoose.org site, it’s pretty amazing. Teachers can go on the site and post a need for classroom materials. For example, they might want copies of a particular book for their classroom or art supplies or musical instruments. They describe the project in detail, including exactly what donations will be used for, and post it on the site. Potential donors can then search through the requests and make a donation of any size to a project that touches their heart. Mom Central and Bing were kind enough to provide me with a gift code to make a donation on DonorsChoose.org, and I chose to help an impoverished school near New Orleans buy a new saxophone for their band program. Musical instruments are very expensive, which can prohibit many children from participating in music programs. By helping schools to acquire instruments, more kids can become musicians!

Click here to go to the Bing Teacher Appreciation Website to thank a teacher and get a donation to DonorsChoose.org! Share this information with your friends and tweet about it on Twitter using the hashtag #BingTeacher. Thank a teacher today!





DISCLOSURE: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Bing and a $100 DonorsChoose.org giving code to facilitate my review. Mom Central also sent me a thank-you gift certificate.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Drink Delicious Crystal Light Pure Fitness and Join the Crystal Light Twitter Party for Great Prizes!

I’ve written before that I’m not normally a plain water fan. I just prefer more flavor in what I’m drinking. But that’s tough to find without getting a lot of calories. Fortunately, I recently discovered a new product that meets my criteria for a flavorful, low-calorie drink: Crystal Light Pure Fitness! It contains no artificial flavors, preservatives or sweeteners. Instead, it’s sweetened with evaporated cane juice and Truvia (an all-natural, calorie-free sweetener made from the stevia plant), and it’s flavored and colored with natural ingredients. Best of all, there are only 15 calories in a serving, which is much lower than my favorite soft drink (170 calories!). But the thing I like best about Crystal Light Pure Fitness is that it doesn’t taste like a diet drink. I don’t drink diet sodas because I hate the icky aftertaste, and that wasn’t an issue at all for me with the Crystal Light Pure Fitness.

So, why does this product have the word “fitness” in its name? It also contains electrolytes to help keep you hydrated during light physical activity. And it’s extremely portable, so you can take it with you to the gym or your fitness class. It comes in a little packet that you just empty into a 16.9-ounce bottle of water. Super easy! And it comes in three delicious flavors: lemon lime, strawberry kiwi, and grape. All three of them are very tasty. If you’re not a plain-water fan like me, I suggest you check out Crystal Light Pure Fitness!

TWITTER PARTY WITH GREAT PRIZES!

Crystal Light is having a Twitter party this Thursday, May 27 at 12:00 PM EST. They’ll be giving away free Crystal Light and other terrific prizes, including a $100 gift card! Follow @CrystalLight and @ConsumerQueen, and use the hashtag #PureFitness to join the party. Click here to RSVP!

Connect with Crystal Light through the following links. You can also find coupons for Crystal Light on their Facebook page!

Crystal Light website: www.CrystalLight.com
Crystal Light on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CrystalLight
Crystal Light on Facebook: www.facebook.com/CrystalLight





DISCLOSURE: Kraft Foods sent me samples of Crystal Light Pure Fitness to facilitate this review. No other compensation was provided.

10 Ways to Help Your Preteen Son Open Up and Talk

If you have a preteen or teenage son, you’ve probably noticed that your communication with him has changed quite a bit! The little boy who used to talk your ear off has suddenly given way to a young man who won’t open his mouth -- except to shovel in food! TweenParent.com just published an article I wrote called, “10 Ways to Help Your Preteen Son Open Up and Talk.” I hope you’ll check it out and share it with anyone who has a son in his tween or teen years.

And I highly recommend TweenParent.com whether you’re raising a boy or a girl. They have some really helpful articles and advice about raising tweens.