Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New Valentine’s Day Products and a Tasty Giveaway from Hershey’s!

I have to admit that I’m a chocolate lover, and it just wouldn’t seem like Valentine’s Day without some of this sweet confection! Of course, HERSHEY'S has always been in a Valentine’s frame of mind with their chocolate KISSES and HUGS, but they’ve gone even further this year with some wonderful new Valentine’s products!

For faraway friends and family:


The HERSHEY’S KISSES Picture Box and the REESE’S Peanut Butter Cup Miniatures Picture Box have a picture frame on top of the box so you can insert a photo for a special treat. Imagine the look on grandparents’ faces when they see their grandchild smiling up at them from their candy box!

For your child’s teacher:


Surprise your child’s teacher with a HERSHEY’S Golden Apple or a TWIZZLERS Strawberry Twists Pencil Can!

For your friends and coworkers:


Many HERSHEY’S products come in a Valentine’s Exchange variety bag, which sports a “To” and “From” section right on the packaging. They double as a Valentine’s card and a yummy treat!

I love the new HERSHEY’S Valentine’s Day products! For more information, visit www.hersheys.com/celebrate/valentines. On their site, you’ll also find great Valentine’s crafts, eCards, recipes, and the history of Valentine’s Day!

GIVEAWAY

HERSHEY'S is generously donating 1 bag of HERSHEY’S KISSES and 1 bag of HERSHEY’S HUGS to one lucky winner! To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below. This contest is open to US residents only and ends at 11:59 PM EST on Tuesday, February 14, 2012.

CONTEST CLOSED. Congratulations to the winner: Krystalynn Hernandez!

Build-a-Bear Fun Packs and Trading Cards Have Arrived Just in Time for Valentine’s Day!

If you’re looking for a cute Valentine’s Day gift idea for your kids -- and want to avoid bringing more candy into the house! -- you’ll want to check out this new product: Build-a-Bear Workshop Fun Pack plus Furry Friend! This cute little package contains one of 12 little furry friends, a shirt, fabric stickers, a friendship heart, 3 trading cards, a collector’s guide with activities, and an online code so kids can play online at bearville.com! The bears are mini-versions of those you’ll find in a Build-a-Bear store. We received a little black teddy bear named Dimples. He’s so cute! Besides bears, they have kitties and bunnies, too!

The Build-a-Bear Workshop Fun Packs are also great for kids to trade with their friends. The suggested retail price is just $5.99, and they’re available at Target, Walmart, Toys R Us and other popular retailers. You can also purchase the Build-a-Bear Workshop Trading Card Fun Packs! Each pack is only $1.99 and contains 2 Trading Cards, a Tattoo Set, a Scratch-Off Activity Card, and a bearville.com online code card. Hand these out for Valentine’s Day or save them for your children’s Easter baskets! We’re going to attach card packs to kids’ birthday gifts.

If your children love Build-a-Bear, then they’ll be delighted with these new little Furry Friends and Trading Cards on Valentine’s Day! Pick up some additional sets for their friends so they can swap them, play with them, and enjoy online games, too.



Eating Light: A New Bookazine from Hearst with Easy Recipes for Meals That Are 400 Calories or Less!

I love the bookazines from Hearst! They’re a combination of a cookbook and a magazine. I told you recently about a wonderful Hearst bookazine that was available for the holidays, and now they’ve released a new one just in time to meet our New Year’s weight-loss goals: Eating Light: 400 Calories or Less! The 118 easy recipes in this volume were developed and tested by the editors of Good Housekeeping, Redbook, and Country Living. The recipes are sorted into sections titled Winter, Spring, Summer, and Autumn.

The Winter recipes include comfort foods that will keep you warm on a cold night, such as Roast Chicken Noodle Soup, Beer-Braised Pork Chops, and Shepherd’s Pie. Spring recipes take advantage of the vegetables and herbs that are popping up in our gardens. Make delicious Grilled Swordfish Kabobs or a Spanish Omelet! Grilling is in for the Summer, with recipes like Shrimp Burgers and Spiced Chicken Skewers. And welcome Autumn with mouth-watering delights like Pork & Gingered Apples, Crab Cakes, and Vegetable Lo Mein.

I love all of the bonus features in Eating Light. They include:

52 Diet Tips for 2012
Diet-Friendly Dining Out
The Drinking-Diet Connection
7 Ways to Blast That Belly
Sweet Stuff (Desserts)

Eating Light: 400 Calories or Less! is ideal for helping you to meet your weight-loss goals without having to dig up intricate recipes or sacrificing taste. Each recipe includes the calorie count and a beautiful full-color photo of what you can expect! This bookazine is a must-have for starting the new year out right. Eating Light is on newsstands now and costs just $9.99! It can also be downloaded on Zinio when you CLICK HERE.



Cook with Your Kids and Enter to Win BIG from Uncle Ben’s! #BensBeginners

I’ve always loved how children get excited about eating and trying new foods when they’re involved in the food preparation process. Of course, it’s not too difficult to get them to eat Christmas cookies after they’ve helped you to bake and decorate them. It’s a little more of an accomplishment to get them to eat hard-boiled eggs after they’ve dyed them for Easter. But what about vegetables? That’s the real challenge! We recently started a garden outside (living in south Florida has its advantages), and we’re always thrilled to see the excitement in our boys’ eyes when they’re able to pick and eat their own food. When my son Austen was eating the cucumbers he’d grown the other day, you’d have thought he’d just been handed a bag of candy! He’s also made his own salads with the lettuce, cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes we’ve grown. He can’t wait to run out to his garden after he gets home from school to see if something has ripened enough to be picked and eaten.

But even if you’re not able to grow a garden, especially during the winter, you can still get your kids involved in preparing food with you in the kitchen. With proper supervision at all times, they can help you gather ingredients, measure them, and mix them together. Cooking rice with children is always fun because they get a big kick out of seeing how those hard little pieces of rice turn into fluffy mounds of “yumminess” just by boiling them on the stove. Show them how they can make hundreds of meal combinations with rice by adding different vegetables, meats or sauces to it.

I’m sure you recognize Uncle Ben’s as the company that helps you serve up all kinds of wonderful rice dishes. My kids love Uncle Ben’s rice mixes. In fact, we have some in our pantry right now! My favorite flavor is their Country Inn Chicken & Wild Rice. It is so easy to make, and our whole family gobbles it up. To celebrate the joy of cooking with kids, Uncle Ben’s is hosting the Ben’s Beginners contest! This fun contest is for parents with children ages 5-12. To enter, you just submit a 2-3 minute video of yourself cooking a rice-based dish with your children. Your video could win $20,000, along with a $50,000 grant toward a cafeteria makeover for your child’s school! You even have a chance to appear on The Rachael Ray Show!

To get more details about the Ben’s Beginners contest and to submit your family’s video, just CLICK HERE to visit their Facebook page. Check out a sample video, tips, and recipes. The last day for submissions is February 26, 2012. Have fun making some delicious rice dishes with your kids. You may be surprised at what they’ll eat when they’ve made it themselves!





DISCLOSURE: I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Uncle Ben’s blogging program for 6,000 My SocialMoms Rewards Points. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Make It Fun for Everyone with “Family Game Night 4: The Game Show” for Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360! #FGN4


Our “family game nights” at home usually involve board games because I just can’t compete with the kids when it comes to most video games! But we recently discovered a video game at which I actually feel competitive! It’s called Family Game Night 4: The Game Show, and it’s available for Wii, PS3, and Xbox 360. We’ve been having a ball with the Wii version. Based on the hit TV show, Family Game Night 4: The Game Show includes the following games:

CONNECT 4 Basketball
YAHTZEE! Bowling
SCRABBLE Flash
SORRY! Sliders
BOP-IT Boptagon

Just like the show, players win MONOPOLY Crazy Cash after each game, and the player with the most cash at the end wins! You can opt to play all five games to compete for the championship or just select individual games that you love. I usually have a chance at beating my boys in SCRABBLE Flash and YAHTZEE! Bowling. But they beat me every time in CONNECT 4 Basketball and BOP-IT Boptagon! We all seem to have a chance at winning in SORRY! Sliders because it’s more of a chance game.

My kids also love the funny antics of the game’s host, Mr. Potato Head! If you’re looking for a fun video game that “kids” of all ages can play together, you’ll definitely want to check out Family Game Night 4: The Game Show from Electronic Arts. It’s easy to learn and so much fun to play together!

Connect with Electronic Arts on…
Facebook: www.facebook.com/eaplay
Twitter: www.twitter.com/eaplay
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/eaplay





DISCLOSURE: Thanks to Electronic Arts for providing a complimentary copy of this game for my honest review.


FarmMatch: A Fun and Free iPhone App for the Whole Family!

I may have told you before, but my daughter is a car sleeper. It can be the seven minutes it takes to get to her grandparents or the twenty-minute drive it takes to get to town... It doesn’t matter ... she falls asleep! I have a really hard time keeping her awake. I have tried music, DVDs, talking, singing, rolling down the windows ... nothing seems to work when she is “in the zone.” It makes for hard times when she falls asleep late in the day and it results in a delayed bedtime and a cranky start the next morning.

So, I was very excited to try out the Farm Match iPhone App with Sadie. I was hoping that if it really required her attention to play, it would help get us from point A to point B with her awake! Since turning 4, she has become more interested in computer games and hand-held devices, along with all the other technology around her on a daily basis.

We played the game together at home first, and she loved it right away. (I thought it was fun, too!) I loved that it wasn’t just a game but that she was also learning to match and to think with her memory. It has helped a lot in the car as it keeps her attention and interest, and it’s simple enough that she can do it by herself in the back seat. It has even been great as an activity for her and my 18-month-old niece to play. At different ages, they can still enjoy the same game in different ways. We all love it! I hope you’ll check out this free app on iTunes!




DISCLOSURE: This is my honest opinion of this product. Blogtricity also provided me with a discount code to Growing Tree Toys as a thank-you for taking the time to review this product.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

In the Spotlight: LaVonne of Long Wait for Isabella

Welcome to the new series on Susan Heim on Parenting called “In the Spotlight”! Each Sunday I’ll be posting an interview with a blogger so you can get to know her or him better. LaVonne from “Long Wait for Isabella” is this week’s featured blogger! If you’d like to be included in this feature, please email me at smhparent [at] hotmail [dot] com with your name, blog name, and URL. Put “In the Spotlight” in the subject line. Now, here’s LaVonne from Long Wait for Isabella!


What are the best and worst things about being a parent?
The best thing about being a parent to me is the immense and immediate love you feel for your child when they are born (even before, of course). It has enabled me to get just a small glimpse of how much God must love me. The worst thing about being a parent is realizing your own inadequacies. (Maybe that is a good thing though, right?) I pray for patience and love every day!

What would be your idea of a dream vacation?
For Christmas of 2010, we went to Oahu and had a great time. It was busy, though. We planned a lot of fun activities. But I realized the most fun we had was when we simply played on the beach in the sand and ocean. So my new dream vacation is to go back to Hawaii and visit the island of Kauai and just relax on the beach the entire time.

What talent do you wish you had and why?
I really wish I could be more crafty. I know it just takes practice, but it also takes time. I wish I just had the talent already, without all the practice. (That sounds lazy, doesn’t it?) What I really want is to know how to sew well. I dream of things I could sew.

What are your favorite pizza toppings?
I am a simple woman. Give me cheese and olives, and I am happy.

If someone offered you $1,000 to eat an earthworm, would you do it?
This is such a funny question because we recently visited the Insectarium in New Orleans, where they served bugs to eat. My husband tried the Chocolate Chip with Crickets Cookies, but I wouldn’t. He asked if I would try it for $100. I emphatically told him no. He laughed and said, “You’d better!” So would I eat an earthworm for $1,000? No way! And my husband, I am sure, would not be happy with that answer.

What has been the most memorable day of your life so far?
I know I should say my wedding. That was a very memorable day. But it went by in a blur and was kind of stressful. The day I gave birth was amazing! Truly. I gave birth naturally at a Birth Center with a midwife, and it was an awesome experience. Growing that baby in my belly and then seeing her for the first time -- unbelievable!

What book has influenced you the most?
The Bible has influenced me the most. When I turned 20 and was thinking about marrying my boyfriend (my now husband), I realized that for our relationship to work, I need God to be a part of it. The Bible has radically changed my life from that point on. My husband and I are going to celebrate our 13th anniversary this year, and he is now an ordained minister.

What food would you find difficult to give up if you were stranded on a desert island?
Chocolate -- do I have to say anything else?

What movies have made you cry?
The Notebook -- I saw this one three times in the theater and bawled like a baby every time.
Toy Story 3 -- It always makes me cry, even though I know what happens, and it is just a silly kids’ movie.

Long Wait for Isabella

About LaVonne:
LaVonne Long is the author of Long Wait for Isabella. Traveling on the road eight months out of the year for her husband’s job is never dull. You will find many posts on her blog about parenting a preschooler and traveling. She works part-time as her husband’s secretary, loves blogging, social media, organic, natural and frugal living. You can find LaVonne at:

Blog: www.longwaitforisabella.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/LongWaitForIsabella
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/longwait4bella
Google+: https://plus.google.com/118431882705805224283/posts

A Special Valentine’s Offer from LittleMissMatched!

LittleMissMatched is a great place to shop for Valentine’s Day! I love all of the heart merchandise they carry, like the following…

Heart to Heart 4-Piece Toddler Bedding Set

Change Purse, Large Hearts

Hearts Flannel Pajama Set

Hearts Slide Slippers

Heart to Heart Paper Wall Decals

And for the next week, you can enjoy this special free shipping offer from LittleMissMatched!

SPECIAL OFFER: Enjoy free shipping on $50+ at LittleMissMatched with the code ONEMOMFS. Offer expires on 2/6/12 at 9 PM EST. This offer can only be used for online orders. Sorry, this offer can't be applied to previous purchases and can't be combined with other promotions, discounts or promotional codes.

CLICK HERE to head over to LittleMissMatched to do your Valentine’s Day shopping and enjoy free shipping with your $50 purchase!



Saturday, January 28, 2012

Free Gourmet Cinnamon and Baking eBook at The Prepared Pantry!

For a limited time, The Prepared Pantry is offering 4 ounces (about one cup) of free Korintje Cassia Cinnamon -- just pay shipping of $2.99. This excellent quality cinnamon usually sells for $6.49, plus shipping. At just $2.99, this is cheaper than most grocery store brands, and the quality is so much better.

To get the free cinnamon, CLICK HERE and put it in your shopping cart, and then enter FreeCinn125 at the checkout.

And while you’re there, get a free e-book, How to Bake: The Art and Science of Baking. This is the most comprehensive downloadable home baking guide you have ever seen! They will email you a chapter a week for eight weeks. Just click on the banner below. Happy baking!





Winners for the Week of January 22, 2012

A big high-five to this week’s winners! Be sure to check the right sidebar for more great giveaways. I’ve also added new “follow me” buttons to the upper left sidebar so it’s easy to subscribe and never miss another contest!

CHINESE NEW YEAR HOP - SPY KIDS: ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD (4-DISC COMBO PACK)


Congratulations to the winner: Lily K.!

TABER IS BEAUTIFUL, BY SAMANTHA DEGRASSE


Congratulations to the winner: exotic1!

$25 GIFT PACK OF GRAB A SCAB FABRIC PATCHES


Congratulations to the winner: Sylvia!

$30 GIFT CARD TO BOBIAM ARTISTIC STREETWEAR


Congratulations to the winner: Valerie Taylor Mabrey!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Super Saturday Giveaway Linky (January 28, 2012)

Happy weekend to everyone! I hope you have some special plans. If you’re featuring any great giveaways on your blog or website, please list them in the linky below. And if you love to win prizes, be sure to click through on those listed here. You’ll also want to check out the fantastic giveaways I have listed on my right sidebar. Have a great weekend!





Thursday, January 26, 2012

Happy Valentine’s Day from Winchell Mountain Coffee and Sandra Boynton! (GIVEAWAY)

I recently discovered Winchell Mountain Coffee, and it is SO good! They’re very selective about which beans they use in their coffees, and their products are vacuum-packed into one-way goglio valve bags for premium freshness! I can really taste the difference when I drink Winchell Mountain Coffee. Most other coffees seem “blah” in comparison. My husband and I have especially enjoyed their Wide Awake Coffee in the mornings. The package describes it as “a bold and zesty premium blend,” and that is right on target! It has a very rich and robust flavor that really helps us get started in the morning.

If you like your coffee a little milder, Winchell Mountain Coffee has something for you, too. Their Beach Blend Coffee is “a mellow moca java” that still tastes amazing but isn’t quite as bold as the Wide Awake. Or you may want to try their Country Morning Coffee, described as a “leisurely breakfast blend.” We like to have that one on the weekends when we have more time to enjoy our morning coffee.

You can easily recognize Winchell Mountain Coffee because many of their packages are decorated by one of my all-time favorite cartoonists, Sandra Boynton. I adore her animal drawings, like the bikini-clad pig on the Beach Blend package or the coffee-drinking cow on the Country Morning Coffee. Waking up with Sandra Boynton’s humor and Winchell Mountain Coffee is the perfect combination!

Now, just in time for Valentine’s Day, Winchell Mountain Coffee has come out with a special limited edition flavor of coffee called “Valentine’s Day: An Affectionate Blend”! What an awesome gift idea for the coffee lover in your life! The bright red package, Sandra Boynton’s art, and the delicious coffee inside are sure to put a smile on anyone’s face.

I hope you’ll visit Winchell Mountain Coffee online and check out all of their wonderful varieties of coffee. And, yes, if you prefer your coffee decaffeinated, they have some coffees for you, too! Their coffees are available as whole beans or ground. If you like really great-tasting coffees, I think you’re going to love Winchell Mountain Coffee.

GIVEAWAY

Winchell Mountain Coffee is generously offering this Valentine’s Day giveaway! One lucky winner will receive:

What a fantastic prize! Thanks so much to Winchell Mountain Coffee. To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below. (US residents only; ends February 9, 2012 at 11:59 PM EST)

CONTEST CLOSED. Congratulations to the winner: Terra H.!

See’s Candies Is the Ultimate Valentine’s Day Destination for the Chocolate Lover

I was first introduced to See’s Candies by relatives who live on the West Coast. Their chocolate candies are fabulous! And, of course, See’s Candies make perfect gifts for Valentine’s Day! Check out some of the delicious items I found on their website:


They have a wonderful selection of goodies for Valentine’s Day. And if you or your recipient aren’t chocolate fans, they have plenty to offer you, too, such as Peanut Brittle and Sour Hearts!

Check their website to see if there’s a See’s Candies store near you. I didn’t think we had a store here in south Florida, but I found out that See’s has a temporary store set up in early February at my local mall so I can pick up some of their yummy candy for Valentine’s Day! I hope you’ll check them out, too!