Friday, December 31, 2010

Head to Shopbop for Clothes from Designers like Tori Praver and More ($100 Gift Code Giveaway)

If your New Year’s resolution is to update your wardrobe and dress with more style, then you’ll want to check out the designer clothing at Shopbop.com. They have a HUGE assortment of designer clothes and accessories, like this beautiful Marc Jacobs bag…


…this very cute Parker wrap dress…


…and this gorgeous Michael Kors watch!


And even though the snow is swirling, now’s the time to start thinking about summer wear, especially if you have a cruise scheduled to help chase away the winter blues. At Shopbop, they carry Tori Praver Swimwear, Brette Sandler Swimwear and swimsuits by Zimmerman!

Of course, many of us (myself included!) can’t afford to pay full price for designer duds, so you’ll want to check out the Shopbob sale page! They have some terrific markdowns, like this Elizabeth and James Summer Cohen Stripe Shirt, which is 70% off!


Treat yourself for the new year with some beautiful items from Shopbop for the “new you” you’re destined to be in 2011!

GIVEAWAY

One winner will receive a gift code for $100 to spend at Shopbop.com! To enter, visit www.shopbop.com and look around. Then leave a comment on this post with the specific name or URL of an item that you’d love to get if you won this contest. You must do this to enter the giveaway.

You can earn optional, additional entries if you... (leave a separate comment for each)

- Follow Shopbop (@shopbop) and Susan Heim on Parenting (@ParentingAuthor) on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway. You may tweet three times a day. (Please space them at least an hour apart.) Leave a separate comment with the URL of each tweet. (1 entry per tweet)

- Like Shopbop on Facebook. (1 entry)

- Like Susan Heim on Parenting on Facebook. (1 entry)

- Subscribe to Susan Heim on Parenting via email, RSS and/or Kindle. Leave a comment for each subscription method. (1 entry for each subscription method for up to 3 entries)

- Follow Susan Heim on Parenting through Google Friend Connect. Leave a comment with your GFC name. (1 entry)

- Place a button for Susan Heim on Parenting on your blog 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)

- Post 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 Friday, January 14, 2011, at 11:59 PM ET. Please leave an email address on one of your comments if it’s not available on your Blogger profile. Winner must respond within 72 hours or another winner will be drawn. Contest is open to US residents only.

CONTEST CLOSED. Congratulations to the winner, tattwo!




DISCLOSURE: No products or compensation were exchanged for this post.

Happy New Year!

WISHING EVERYONE A JOYOUS, BLESSED AND SAFE NEW YEAR!

NOOKColor Video Now Working!

If you entered my giveaway for a Barnes & Noble NOOKColor and couldn’t view the video, please try again! I didn’t realize that marking it “Private” on YouTube would also make it private on my blog. I’ve now made it public so you can check it out. And, hint hint, it may be well worth your time if you watch it for the contest…

Just sayin’.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

An Amazing New Year's Giveaway from Barnes and Noble: A New NOOKColor!

A few weeks ago, I hinted that I would be giving away a brand-new Barnes and Noble NOOKColor Reader's Tablet, and now that time has arrived! New year, new eReader -- what could be better than that? I've been blessed with a new NOOKColor myself, and I can't begin to tell you how fantastic it is. Check out some of the fabulous new features on the NOOKColor:
  • slim and compact design: less than a 1/2-inch thick and weighs less than a pound!
  • 7-inch full-color touch screen
  • screen displays in portrait or landscape
  • personalize with your own photos
  • scroll bar shows your 50 most recently read items
  • create customized shelves to help organize your eBooks
  • adjustable font sizes and types
  • adjustable background color
  • easy swipe to turn pages
  • built-in dictionary: just highlight a word and look it up!
  • highlighting for important text
  • magazines are in full color and can be zoomed in and out
  • 12,000 full-color children's books; picture books are narrated or can be read by child
  • shop for 2 million-plus books!
  • 8 GB of memory, which can be expanded
  • lend books to friends with NOOKColor Reader's Tablets
  • Android apps include Pandora (for music) and games
  • password protectable
  • interact with Facebook, Twitter and email
See what I mean? The new NOOKColor is absolutely amazing. I take mine everywhere. I read books on my NOOKColor in bed. I browse through magazines and work on crossword puzzles in the school car line. And I share children's books with my kids.

I hope you'll head over to your local Barnes and Noble and try one out for yourself. You can also purchase the NOOKColor at Books-A-Million, Best Buy, selected Walmart stores, and online.

Before we get to the details of the giveaway, there's one other thing I wanted to share about my NOOKColor. Watch this video (and try not to laugh ... it's my very first vlog post!):



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

GIVEAWAY

One very lucky winner will receive his or her own NOOKColor Reader's Tablet from Barnes and Noble (a $249 value)! To enter, leave a comment on this post sharing the features you are most excited about on the new NOOKColor. This is a mandatory entry.

You can earn optional, additional entries if you... (leave a separate comment for each)

- Follow Barnes and Noble (@nookBN) and Susan Heim on Parenting (@ParentingAuthor) on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway. Use the hashtag #nookcolor in your tweet. You may tweet three times a day. (Please space them at least an hour apart.) Leave a separate comment with the URL of each tweet. (1 entry per tweet) You can use this tweet if you want:

RT @ParentingAuthor Amazing New Year's #Giveaway for a Barnes & Noble NOOKColor! http://t.co/19nVM1p Ends 1/9 @nookBN #nookcolor Pls RT!

- Like Barnes and Noble on Facebook. (1 entry)

- Like Susan Heim on Parenting on Facebook. (1 entry)

- Subscribe to Susan Heim on Parenting via email, RSS and/or Kindle. Leave a comment for each subscription method. (1 entry for each subscription method for up to 3 entries)

- Follow Susan Heim on Parenting through Google Friend Connect. Leave a comment with your GFC name. (1 entry)

- Place a button for Susan Heim on Parenting on your blog 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)

- Post 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 Sunday, January 9, 2011, at 11:59 PM ET. Please leave an email address on one of your comments if it’s not available on your Blogger profile. Winner must respond within 72 hours or another winner will be drawn. Contest is open to US residents only.

CONTEST CLOSED. Congratulations to the winner of the NOOKColor Reader's Tablet, Jinxy and Me! And congratulations to the winner of the $20 gift card to Barnes & Noble for suggesting the name "Tabby": Thabal!



DISCLOSURE: Barnes and Noble sent me a complimentary NOOKColor to facilitate this review. They are generously donating an additional NOOKColor for this giveaway! No financial compensation was provided.

Wordless Wednesday ... on Thursday: Eating Veggies!

My son Caleb is about the pickiest eater imaginable. He's so fussy that he won't even eat spaghetti! Pasta is a classic kid-pleaser, even for finicky palates. So, you can imagine my surprise when I actually saw him dipping a piece of broccoli in ranch dressing and eating it. He did the same with cauliflower! I'm not expecting my picky eater to suddenly become a full-fledged veggie eater, but maybe he's ready to explore a few more food items...



Hurray, I’m a Mom Central VIP!

I’ve been working with the wonderful people at Mom Central for a long time. Thanks to them, I’ve been able to bring some fantastic product reviews and giveaways to you! They’ve recently incorporated a new look and plenty of new features on their site, and one of these is a weekly item called Mom Central VIP. According to their description of an MC VIP, these are the “most influential and wonderful mom bloggers” on the web! So, you can imagine my shock and joy when I found out that I was selected as their newest MC VIP! Yippee!

Please click here to read my interview on Mom Central. And I hope you’ll check out the other MC VIPs, as well as the great articles, giveaways and more at Mom Central. I’m proud to be a blogger for Mom Central. You can also connect with them on Twitter and Facebook.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Let ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape Help You at the End of the Year

Although the majority of the holiday festivities are over, there is always post-holiday cleanup, New Year’s celebrations and the always present New Year’s resolution to keep things more organized this year. ScotchBlue™ Painter’s Tape is a helpful tool to have in each situation, and not just for its intended use of ensuring clean, sharp paint lines.

Here are a few quick and helpful reminders of how ScotchBlue can help you:

Post-Holiday

Moving furniture – Mask off your desired layout using ScotchBlue to make sure everything will fit just right after you take down your tree.


Labeling holiday decoration boxes – Make next year’s decorating process easier on yourself; use ScotchBlue to ensure your boxes are neatly labeled.

Storing holiday lights – How frustrating are tangled up holiday lights? Use ScotchBlue tape like you would use rope; a guaranteed way to make sure your lights don’t get tangled in the box before next year’s season.

Holiday designs on cards – ScotchBlue is the guaranteed way to ensure clean lines on your homemade thank you cards, whether you’re using water color, oil paint, markers or crayons.


New Year’s Celebration

Cups at holiday parties – Everyone knows the guest who keeps misplacing their cup! ScotchBlue can be used for quick and easy cup labeling.

Labeling leftovers – New Year’s is a time for feasting, which means a lot of leftovers. Avoid any food confusion by labeling your containers with ScotchBlue tape.


For the Kids

• While you're busy cleaning away, keep the kids busy using ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape! Create an oversized tic-tac-toe board on the living room or kitchen floor while you are cleaning to keep the kids entertained. Or, make a hopscotch board using ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape in the garage or basement that won’t leave a sticky mess behind once removed.



DISCLOSURE: This is a guest post provided by ScotchBlue. No products or financial compensation were provided.

Beautifully Scent Your Home with Scentsy Warmers and Buddies! (GIVEAWAY)

I’ve entered a lot of blog giveaways for Scentsy products because I think they are so cool. A Scentsy is a decorative warmer with wax melted by the heat of a light bulb instead of a traditional wick and flame. That means it is smoke- and flame-free, but smells wonderful. And Scentsy warmers are gorgeous! Check out some of these…




I also love the delicious scents available for the Scentsy warmer, such as Baked Apple Pie, Autumn Sunset, French Kiss, French Lavender, Coconut Lemongrass, and much, much more.

And Scentsy has branched out into other products like the Scentsy Buddy! Look at these adorable critters. Each has a zippered pocket into which you can place a Scentsy Scent Pak! There’s a Newborn Nursery Scent Pak that’s perfect for the Scentsy Buddy.



I still haven’t won my own Scentsy warmer, but thanks to Theo, a Scentsy Independent Consultant, I have the opportunity to offer a $25 e-certificate for you to spend on the wonderful Scentsy products on her website at http://bewickless.scentsy.ca.

[UPDATE: After posting this giveaway, I finally had the opportunity to try Scentsy products for myself. I love them! To read more about my experience, as well as an interview with Theo, a Scentsy independent consultant, please click here.]

GIVEAWAY

To enter, visit http://bewickless.scentsy.ca and check out the gorgeous Scentsy warmers and other products. Then leave a comment on this post sharing what you’d spend your $25 e-certificate on. (Don’t worry, you can change your mind on your selection if you win.) You must do this to enter the giveaway.

You can earn optional, additional entries if you... (leave a separate comment for each)

- Sign up for Theo’s Scentsy newsletter. (3 entries; leave 3 comments with the email address you used to sign up)

- Like Theo’s Scentsy page on Facebook. (1 entry)

- Like Susan Heim on Parenting on Facebook. (1 entry)

- Follow Susan Heim on Parenting (@ParentingAuthor) on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway. You may tweet three times a day. (Please space them at least an hour apart.) Leave a separate comment with the URL of each tweet. (1 entry per tweet)

- Subscribe to Susan Heim on Parenting via email, RSS and/or Kindle. Leave a comment for each subscription method. (1 entry for each subscription method for up to 3 entries)

- Follow Susan Heim on Parenting through Google Friend Connect. Leave a comment with your GFC name. (1 entry)

- Place a button for Susan Heim on Parenting on your blog 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)

- Post 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, January 12, 2011, at 11:59 PM 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 to US and Canadian residents only.

CONTEST CLOSED. Congratulations to the winner, Nan!



DISCLOSURE: No products or financial compensation were provided in exchange for posting this giveaway.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Book Review: Brain Snacks for Teens on the Go! By Alex Southmayd

“Brain Snacks are effective ideas and strategies with detailed tactics to help teens turbocharge their lives. They’re delicious and nutritious ‘snacks’ of information that can help teens become happier, healthier, and more successful in their lives and, ultimately, make the world a better place.” (From the Introduction to Brain Snacks for Teens on the Go!)

Teenagers often feel powerless to make a difference. Perhaps they lack motivation or confidence or the techniques they need to accomplish their goals and have an impact on the world. But teenager Alex Southmayd shows teens in Brain Snacks for Teens on the Go! 50 Smart Ideas to Turbo-Charge Your Life that just by “doing certain things day in and day out,” teens can “become happier, healthier, and more successful in their lives and, ultimately, make the world a better place.”

Brain Snacks for Teens on the Go! is divided into four parts: Your Brain (improving your cognitive abilities), Your Body (improving your physical health), Your Life (building character, setting goals, finding your passion, gaining confidence, etc.), and Your World (making a difference in the world). Within each part are various “snacks” for a total of 50 ways in which teenagers can become more successful and happier.

I like how this book gives very specific steps for accomplishing each goal, often through a “three-step action plan.” For example, Southmayd provides three-step action plans for creating better study habits, saving the rainforest, training your brain, and finding your passion. Tips cover a huge range of issues affecting teens, from acne to reducing your carbon imprint. It’s a wide-ranging book that manages to be very specific at the same time.

Written by a teenager, Brain Snacks for Teens on the Go! is a very helpful guidebook for teens who want to improve themselves and their world. Learn more about this book through the links below.


Website: www.brainsnacksforteens.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/brainsnackers
Facebook: www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001392906126



DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary book to facilitate this review. No financial compensation was provided. As an Amazon affiliate, I receive a small commission on sales made through the Amazon links in this post.

MeBands: The Hot New Collectible Jewelry for Kids and Teens (GIVEAWAY, 2 winners)

Kids and teens often use jewelry or apparel to make a statement, and MeBands are the perfect way to “speak with style”! MeBands are rubber band bracelets with words and phrases on them. They say things like “popular,” “addicted to texting,” “nerd,” “rockstar,” and “JK!” (My boys had to tell me that JK! stands for “Just Kidding!”) Check out some of the many phrases and colors in the picture below.


You can wear them alone or stack them to make multiple statements. They’re great for wearing, collecting, and trading. And, of course, for speaking your mind! MeBands are available at Walgreens, Walmart, and Boscov’s. Check them out through the links below.

LINKS

Website: www.mebands.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/mebands
Facebook: www.facebook.com/mebands
Blog: http://mebands.wordpress.com/

GIVEAWAY

Two winners will each receive 5 randomly selected MeBands! To enter, leave a comment on this post sharing what word or phrase you would like to see on a MeBand! You must do this to enter the giveaway.

You can earn optional, additional entries if you... (leave a separate comment for each)

- Follow MeBands (@MeBands) and Susan Heim on Parenting (@ParentingAuthor) on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway. You may tweet three times a day. (Please space them at least an hour apart.) Leave a separate comment with the URL of each tweet. (1 entry per tweet)

- Like MeBands on Facebook. (1 entry)

- Like Susan Heim on Parenting on Facebook. (1 entry)

- Subscribe to Susan Heim on Parenting via email, RSS and/or Kindle. Leave a comment for each subscription method. (1 entry for each subscription method for up to 3 entries)

- Follow Susan Heim on Parenting through Google Friend Connect. Leave a comment with your GFC name. (1 entry)

- Place a button for Susan Heim on Parenting on your blog 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)

- Post 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)

Two winners will be randomly selected from the qualified comments received by Tuesday, January 11, 2011, at 11:59 PM 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 to US residents only.

CONTEST CLOSED. Congratulations to the winners,  3 Giggly Monsters and Raggedy Baby!



DISCLOSURE: I received product samples for review, which I am giving away in this contest. No financial compensation was provided.

Thank Goodness Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees (And Other Truths Our Kids Should Know)

Earn It, Learn It: Teach Your Child the Value of Money, Work, and Time Well Spent
Guest Post by Alisa T. Weinstein


Sure, it seems that life would be easier -- nay, better -- if all our financial woes were solved with some magic money seeds and a pile of fertilized dirt.

But where’s the fun in that?

Of course I’d love to not stress every time another major appliance breaks (2010 was a banner year). But it’s important to remember that earning a living delivers so much more than a paycheck. Wrapped up in those numbers is a sense of accomplishment. Pride for a job well done. And the feeling that you are important, needed and appreciated.

At least, that’s what I want my kids to believe. I want them to grow up and find a career that fulfills them. Excites them. And makes them OK with the fact that money trees live in the same universe as Santa and the Tooth Fairy.

That’s why I developed the Earn My Keep Allowance Program (www.earnmykeep.com, http://blog.earnmykeep.com). Described in the book Earn It, Learn It, Earn My Keep is the first and only allowance program that teaches kids more than fiscal responsibility. It teaches them the true value of money. The richness that’s found when one exerts real effort for a job well done.

And how exactly does one allowance program do all that? By giving kids “real” jobs as “real” professionals. Parents and kids pick a task from one of 50 career profiles, set a deadline for work to be completed, and then pay up on Payday. It’s simple, engaging, authentic (each profile was built with guidance from a real-life Expert), educational (though kids don’t notice that part), and, best of all, fun!

Here’s a taste of a few careers and tasks:

Outdoor Adventure Guide
Go on an adventure in the rain (yes, outside). Pretend you’re leading a group (Mom? Dad? Big Bro?) deep into the Amazonian rainforest. Make sure everyone has appropriate gear (rain hats/coats? umbrellas? old sneakers or rain boots?). And while hiking, keep morale up -- point out the beauty of the “jungle” as you enjoy a shower from Mother Nature.

Archaeologist
Draw a picture of your bedroom, as is, messy and all (you’ll need to be in your room to draw an accurate picture). Then draw a second picture, showing where you think everything should be. Lastly, clean your room according to your picture. Archaeologists look at where items were left by past people (your first picture) to infer how they used to live their lives (your second picture).

Costume Designer
Determine the cost to create a favorite character’s outfit, using a picture of your character in costume for reference. List every piece you see, including accessories. Then visit a department store or online stores to match a price with each item.
     Up It! Re-create the same outfit, cutting your original costs in half. Look for coupons, sales, or clearance items that may not be an exact match, but look awfully close.
     Up It! Re-create the same outfit, suggesting existing items that could be repurposed (such as using an old hoop earring as a bracelet). This is great for a small costuming budget and the environment.

Do I still sometimes stare wistfully into our back yard, wishing a money tree would pop up? No doubt. But when it comes to planting the seed of fiscal responsibility, Earn My Keep has been more than a welcome alternative. Maybe even a magic one.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Veggie Patch Cooks Up a Contest with Sneaky Chef Missy Chase Lapine to Sneak More Vegetables into Family Meals

In our family, trying to come up with meals that everyone will eat is a major problem. The biggest challenge for us is vegetables. I have to admit that I’m not a huge veggie lover, and a couple of my children are the same way. So, we’re always open to ideas for adding veggies to our meals without the ick factor, if you know what I mean. With that in mind, I’m going to be checking out the entries in a great new contest hosted by Veggie Patch, makers of better-for-you vegetarian foods and meatless snack options.

The Ultimate Sneak-Away Contest, hosted on Facebook with best-selling author and culinary expert, Missy Chase Lapine -- known as The Sneaky Chef -- invites moms to share their favorite tip, trick or recipe designed to sneak veggies into a meal, snack or dessert. One lucky “Sneak of the Week” submission will win The Ultimate Sneak-Away grand prize, including an exclusive, in-person culinary consultation with Missy Chase Lapine, who will share cooking tips and provide custom nutritional advice. In addition, Missy will prepare a delicious dinner for the family while mom sneaks out of the kitchen to enjoy a relaxing spa treatment.

The contest starts today, December 27, 2010, and runs for five weeks. (Submissions close on January 30, 2011.) Three recipes will be selected each week by Veggie Patch and Missy Chase Lapine as the featured “Sneak of the Week.” At the end of the contest, the 15 finalists, dubbed “Undercover Mothers,” will receive prize packages, including a year’s worth of Veggie Patch products and a Flip Video™ UltraHD™ Camcorder to film themselves in the kitchen whipping up their recipe and providing step-by-step cooking instruction to help others re-create the dish in their own home. All videos will be uploaded to the contest Facebook page, and voting for the Undercover Mothers will be held from February 15-22, 2011. Consumers, fans, friends and family can vote online for their favorite Undercover Mother video and recipe to win The Ultimate Sneak-Away grand prize!

If you’ve discovered a great way to sneak those much-needed vegetables into your family’s meals, I hope you’ll enter The Ultimate Sneak-Away Contest on Facebook! The grand prize winner will be announced on Veggie Patch’s Facebook page on February 23, 2011.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. (Luke 2:1-20 NIV)

MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Celebrate Your Nutty Family with Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Matters (GIVEAWAY)

It’s the holidays, which means it’s time for warm and loving moments with our families. Right? Well, sometimes… It’s also the time when we experience moments straight out of the movie, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Aunt Rhoda’s orange Jell-O with the mystery lumps. Cousin Pearl’s latest boyfriend who’s a bigger loser than the last one. And the relative who smells like moth balls and stale cigars. Yes, it’s the time of year when we’re forced to spend our time in the company of the people we’ve been avoiding the other 364 days of the year! But the best way to get through this crazy time is with a sense of humor and the ability to laugh at our family foibles.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Matters is filled with stories of the highs and lows of family togetherness. Embarrassing moments, unconventional weddings and funerals, marital mishaps, road trips gone wrong and much more are featured in these tales. Chances are, you’ll recognize a few relatives of your own while reading this book. And you’ll laugh out loud when you realize how ridiculous our family feuds really are. As actor and athlete Bruce Jenner notes in the foreword to this book, “These stories are so funny, so outrageous, and so real… They certainly rival the ones I live every day!”

I loved editing the stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Matters. It was one laugh after another! I hope you’ll pick up a copy or, better yet, hand out copies at your next family gathering!

GIVEAWAY

Three winners will receive a copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Matters! To enter, visit www.chickensoup.com and check out the newest Chicken Soup for the Soul books! Leave a comment on this post with the name of another book that catches your eye. You must do this to enter the giveaway.

You can earn optional, additional entries if you... (leave a separate comment for each)

- Follow Chicken Soup for the Soul (@ChickenSoupSoul) and Susan Heim on Parenting (@ParentingAuthor) on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway. You may tweet three times a day. (Please space them at least an hour apart.) Leave a separate comment with the URL of each tweet. (1 entry per tweet)

- Like Chicken Soup for the Soul on Facebook. (1 entry)

- Like Susan Heim on Parenting on Facebook. (1 entry)

- Subscribe to Susan Heim on Parenting via email, RSS and/or Kindle. Leave a comment for each subscription method. (1 entry for each subscription method for up to 3 entries)

- Follow Susan Heim on Parenting through Google Friend Connect. Leave a comment with your GFC name. (1 entry)

- Place a button for Susan Heim on Parenting on your blog 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)

- Post 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 Wednesday, January 5, 2011, at 11:59 PM 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 to US and Canadian residents only.

CONTEST CLOSED. Congratulations to the winners, robynl, Teegan Briggs, and psnyder.



DISCLOSURE: I am a co-author on this book. As an Amazon affiliate, I receive a small commission on sales made through the Amazon links on this post.

Tips for a Healthier 2011 from Clorox, or The Art of Air Kissing!

Clorox knows that the next two weeks are bound to be busy -- full of friends, family, holiday cheer and germs! That’s right, germs that come into your home with all those family and friends!

By now, you may know it’s important to get your flu shot and disinfect hard surfaces. And while those prevention tips continue to be very important, there is one new tip you can add to the list to start off a healthier new year -- one that many of the women in Europe and Beverly Hills have been doing for years --

The Art of Air Kissing.

As you go from party to party, consider losing the handshake (where germs are easily transferred) for an air kiss.

And don’t worry, kissing your honey at midnight is still allowed!

Tips for a Healthier 2011

Trade in the Handshake for an Air Kiss: Party hopping? Greet your friends in “Hollywood style” by giving them an air kiss instead of swapping germs with a handshake.

It’s Not Too Late: Remember, if you still have not gotten your flu vaccine, make it a New Year’s resolution to get one. The flu can last as long as May, and getting the flu vaccine is the best way to help prevent the flu in 2011.

Playing with Your New Toys and Gadgets? Germs can build up on hard surfaces too, so remember to disinfect these germ hot spots with disinfectant wipes to help prevent the spread of the flu.

Go All Out. If you are adding air kissing into the mix, why not go all out? Cough into your elbow instead of your hand to help prevent the spread of germs.

Carol All Year Round: Embrace your inner song and wash your hands for 20 seconds to the tune of Jingle Bells, often. No one will judge!

Thanks to Clorox for these great tips!

Children's Book Review and Giveaway: Sandra Boynton’s Amazing Cows!

My boys LOVE books that make them laugh, and Sandra Boynton’s Amazing Cows induces plenty of chuckles. With “two cow stories, three cow poems, eleven or so cow jokes, one cow myth, one cow comic book, find the hidden cows, [and] way too many unexplained chickens,” this book has it all when it comes to what’s funny about cows (just about everything!).

Check out these pages from Amazing Cows:




[Excerpted from AMAZING COWS by Sandra Boynton. Copyright 2010 by Sandra Boynton. Used by permission of Workman Publishing Co., Inc. New York, All Rights Reserved.]

Our family has enjoyed Sandra Boynton’s books for a long time, and she just keeps getting more and more clever. I hope you’ll pick up a copy of Amazing Cows. Kids and parents alike will laugh out loud at its “udder absurdity”! Visit the author’s website at www.sandraboynton.com.



GIVEAWAY

One lucky winner will win a copy of Amazing Cows by Sandra Boynton! To enter, leave a comment on this post with your idea for a topic for Sandra Boynton’s next book! Maybe you’d like her to write about Incredible Iguanas or Blushing Buffaloes or Fantastic Ferrets. What do you think? This comment is mandatory to enter.

You can earn optional, additional entries if you... (leave a separate comment for each)

- Follow Susan Heim on Parenting (@ParentingAuthor) on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway. You may tweet three times a day. (Please space them at least an hour apart.) Leave a separate comment with the URL of each tweet. (1 entry per tweet)

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- Post 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 Tuesday, January 4, 2011, at 11:59 PM 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 to US residents only.

CONTEST CLOSED. Congratulations to the winner, ScrewLucy!




DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of this book to facilitate my review. No financial compensation was provided. As an Amazon affiliate, I receive a small commission on sales made through the Amazon links on this post.