My husband LOVES motorcycles. But anyone who knows my man knows the way he operates a motor vehicle. (Scary!) Since I need to keep him alive till the kids are at least in college, I will not let him own a bike. He claims not to ride the way he drives, but I amNOT going to take his word for it! I mean, this is the same guy I remember barreling down I-95 at over 100mph at 17 years old in a hooptie 1984 Oldsmobile. His driving terrified me back then, and it still terrifies me now. I will give him some credit, though. Since the babies have been born, he has calmed down....a little. Nevertheless, I try and be a good wifey and sit through countless motorcycle themed shows on TV and let him fantasize about the Ducati or Harley Davidson bike he's always dreamed of. Hey, gotta let him dream, right?
That's why I am thrilled to be taking him to the Progressive International Motorcycle Shows in Washington, DC this January. It's the perfect daycation, and he can drool over all the bikes he wants! (As long as he's not drooling over the Triumph Girls, he will survive to tell all his buddies about the cool things he saw.) The Progressive International Motorcycle Shows are happening NOW and will be stopping in several major cities nationwide for the next few months. I will post a detailed schedule at the bottom of this post so you can locate an event near you!
Think the event is all about the guys? You thought wrong! The Progressive International Motorcycle Shows are great for the entire family! The Shows feature numerous engaging and interactive exhibitions including opportunities to become an artist for a day by using a digital paint can to design your own bike and to see a thrilling stunt show featuring the Smage Brothers, made famous by an impressive top 10 finish in a nationwide television talent competition. Additionally, every Sunday, the Progressive International Motorcycle Shows features “Family Day”, in which kids under 12 get in free with a paid family member. Kids 6 and under get in FREE!
Check out this video of the Smage Brothers in action! I cannot WAIT to see what stunts they perform in January!
Okay, so it took me FOREVER to check my list and check it twice (ie: verify entries) but I have a ton of lucky winners to announce! Thanks to everyone who entered and stay on the lookout for more great giveaways. I have some truly amazing ones coming up soon!
Without further ado, here are my winners!
Whew...That was a lot of lucky winners this time around! Ladies, you've all been e-mailed and have 48 hours to respond and claim your prizes! Congrats!
If your kids are anything like mine, they sometimes prefer to play with the box rather than the toy that came in it. When my oldest child was little, he would throw a gift to the side and spend hours happily playing with a cardboard box. He'd make a space shuttle, a fort, a secret hideaway...Whatever his imagination dictated that day. As he's gotten older, he still has a fascination with boxes. When we bought our 46" LCD TV, he kept the box and decorated it, transforming it into a clubhouse. My daughter, who is almost 2, is the same way. She loves crawling into boxes and playing hide and seek, and she's also been known to stick her favorite plush monkey into a box and push him around in it, almost like it were a wagon. Kids' imaginations and cardboard boxes go hand in hand. I think allowing children to engage in pretend play is a wonderful way to encourage creativity. Especially in today's world where so many kids would rather plop down in front of a TV or a computer and do absolutely nothing all day. I am a firm believer that kids should enjoy just being kids, so when we happen to come across large cardboard boxes, we let them have their fun. (As long as they clean up after themselves when the scissors, paints, and glitter comes out!)
But there is another, often overlooked advantage to turning those unwanted cardboard boxes into playthings. It is a way to effectively re-purpose something that is viewed as trash, therefore keeping them out of the landfills. The folks at Cascades Boutique specialize in just that: Taking recycled cardboard and making absolutely unique and beautiful items out of them. They offer children's cardboard furniture, gift baskets, and even cardboard Christmas trees! They even offer products for pets and for the home. This green company has been around since 1964 and has found so many creative and wonderful ways to reuse common packaging materials that would otherwise end up in the trash.They also employ close to 11,000 women and men who work in approximately 100 modern and flexible operating units located in North America and in Europe. How cool is that?!
It's official: My little Xander is basically a toddler. I still feed him jarred foods, but he has become increasingly interested in "people food" and often tries to steal some morsels off of the plates of any unsuspecting victim he can distract with his cuteness. He actually was able to charm some chips and French Onion Dip out of his Great Grandma Janet! So naturally, I am starting to make the transition to regular food. One concern I have as a mother is that a lot of grown up foods may not provide the proper nutrition for a toddler. Let's face it: Many "adult" prepared foods are laden with tons of sodium, preservatives, and other junk that we may not want our babies eating. Even traditional, seemingly innocent foods like mashed potatoes may not be the best choice for baby. Okay, maybe that's just if I am making them. I add sinful goodies like a ton of real butter, heavy cream, and tons of gooey cheese. I suppose that's not really good for anyone, let alone the babies! (But trust me...They are SO darn good!)
So one of the many food choices I am happy to let my budding toddler experiment with are the Gerber Graduates Lil' Entrees. These convenient, toddler sized meals offer a perfect transition to table food as toddlers begin to self-feed. Made with a combination of tasty, wholesome ingredients, Lil’ Entreés selections are as delicious as they are nutritious, and are carefully cooked for the right taste and texture. Lil’ Entreés selections are nutritious mealtime combinations in a convenient, ready-to-serve tray for toddlers. And the best part? Each Lil’ Entreés selection contains ¼ cup of vegetables toward the recommended ¾ cup per day for toddlers, without preservatives or artificial flavors.
I received a generous sampling of Lil' Entrees from the nice folks over at Gerber. Craig, their marketing rep, is an absolute pleasure to work with, too! (Had to throw that in there, since I greatly appreciate PR reps who are friendly and helpful!) Some of the wonderful varieties I received include: Pasta Stars in Meat Sauce with Green Beans, Chicken and Pasta Wheel Pick-Ups in Sauce with Peas, and Mashed Potatoes & Gravy with Roasted Chicken and Carrots. (Among others!) For the purpose of reviewing accurately, I tasted these myself as well as tested them on my toddlers. I was very surprised by the flavor of the Lil' Entrees varieties! They were actually quite good! They are not heavily seasoned, but the natural flavors of the ingredients really shine through. I actually appreciate the fact that the Lil' Entrees aren't overly salty. They don't taste artificial. For a mom who usually, but not exclusively, buys organic foods, I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that my babies were still getting good nutrition without all of the added gunk.
Take a look at Xander enjoying his lunch. He was eating (and wearing) Gerber Graduates Lil' Entrees Rice & Turkey in Gravy with Green Beans and Carrots. For a self-feeding novice, he did a great job using his fork and keeping (most) of his food in the tray!
This Holiday season, one thing that is definitely on Santa's list is video games. Am I surprised? Not at all. I have 2 "kids" that enjoy playing them. I say 2 because while I have an 11 year old son, I also have a 34 year old husband who is very much a child when it comes to his leisure activities. He loves video games, cartoons, and even slurps his chocolate milk and eats mass quantities of cookies. Okay, so maybe it's a guy thing. Anyway, when I got the opportunity to review the new Cartoon Network Punch Time Explosion XL for the Wii, I don't know who was more excited, my son or the man-child who shares my bed. They were both absolutely ecstatic and couldn't wait to play! You see, they often watch Cartoon Network together, and this game has a colorful and quite diverse cast of characters taken from the Cartoon Network line-up! Where else would you see Johnny Bravo, Ben 10, the Powerpuff Girls, and Samurai Jack battling it out in one place?
The folks at Crave Games and Cartoon Network really went above and beyond when creating this game, and there are a lot of fun and truly unexpected twists to be found! You can play the in-depth story line mode, but also there are other ways to get your brawl on. There are numerous battle modes that can support up to 4 players! There are tons of battle arenas, each as quirky and cool as the characters depicted in this revamped brawler. An in-game store will give fans an opportunity to unlock new characters and arenas, unique costumes, and memorable cartoon clips from their favorite TV shows.
In addition to all of the fantastic, animated fun, there is a new addition to the Punch Time Explosion XL game, the 2 player synergy attack. These attacks are not only very cool to watch, they're also sure to elicit plenty of giggles from the men and boys in your life. One includes a "fart cloud". (Yes, really!) This absolutely delighted my husband and my son. Again, some things must just be a guy thing!
Check out some screen shots of Punch Time Explosion XL!
When I was a kid, I remember going to my Grandma's house for the weekend. At the time, she had a very small house so my brother and I would sleep in her living room. One of us would sleep on the sofa bed, and the other would camp out in a sleeping bag on the floor. My Grandma got me a cute Barbie sleeping bag for just these occasions, and I remember loving it! I think every child deserves to have their own special sleeping bag to take with them for sleepovers, to preschool, or even just a trip to Grandma's house. There's something special about having that sleeping bag of their own.
Well, the folks over at OC Daisy understand just how important having that special travel blanket is, and they have taken sleeping bags to a whole new level with their luxurious, plush Napbags! Napbags are not your ordinary sleeping bag. These unique are fun, trendy, and oh so soft! Featuring a built-in sleeve and removable pillow, a handy inside pocket and super-soft double-sided minky fabric, this all inclusive sleeping kit will insure your little one sleeps in comfort and style wherever they go. The Napbag is available in 16 gorgeous styles for girls and boys alike.
Now what good would a Holiday Gift Guide be if I didn't include gifts for ALL of the members of the family? That's right! A very important part of my family is our Jack-A-Bee, Chloe. She is actually Kyle, my 11 year old's dog, and he lovingly refers to her as his "daughter." He even jokes and say's I'm her "Grandma" at the ripe old age of 30! Chloe is his constant companion. She greets him when he gets home, tail wagging and eager to play. She curls up next to him while he does his homework. She even sleeps snuggled up with him in his bed every night.
Not only is Chloe a wonderful friend to my preteen, she is also incredibly gentle and kind to my babies. She follows them around, licks them on the face, and she takes a LOT of abuse....No, the kids don't really abuse her, but babies aren't exactly known for their gentleness. This is a skill that is learned. Poor Chloe has been climbed on, sat on, and she has had little fingers poke and tug her ears, tail, and even her mouth! Amazingly, she has never even growled at the babies. Not once. She is a kind and gentle pup, and it's almost as if she senses that the babies are defenseless and just don't know any better. I couldn't ask for more in a pet. Therefore, Chloe the Jack-A-Bee is an important part of our family.
Chloe was also a rescue dog of sorts. She was once a hunting dog and was found by a local family, lost, beaten, and starving in the woods. She had very obvious signs of physical abuse, and was somehow lucky enough to wander away from her owner during hunting season last year. We were looking for a new dog, as our beloved and sorely missed Shih-Tzu, Mojo, had passed away after an accidental poisoning. (This broke my heart in particular, because Mojo was MY dog.) After some time had passed and Kyle expressed an interest in having a dog of his own, we found Chloe. When we heard her story and saw her picture, we suspected she would be the perfect fit for our family. When we met her for the first time, we knew this was the case and took her home with us. She and Kyle have been inseparable ever since.
When I first moved out on my own, one thing I always wanted to have in my lifetime was a set of high quality, Egyptian Cotton sheets. (That and dishes that all matched!) I was tired of the standard, scratchy 180-thread count cotton sheets I was used to. They weren't very comfortable, and seemed awfully flimsy. With lower quality sheets, you have to replace them far more often, as they're just not very well made. I had always longed for luxurious, soft sheets like those found in 5 Star hotels and at resorts.
Well, a few years ago, I finally got my wish. Or so I thought....I bought a set of 350-thread count Egyptian Cotton sheets, and I immediately noticed a huge difference not only in quality, but in the feel of the sheets as well. Sure, this was a major step up for us in the world of bedding. But then I heard about much higher thread counts, and I started longing for something more. Hey, if my 350-tc sheets were comfy, what would 1000-thread count sheets feel like? Or 1200? Or 1500? Yeah. The sheet envy had set in all over again.
That's why I was thrilled when I discovered Luxor Linens. Luxor Linens a leading provider of luxury linens to the finest hotels and homes worldwide. This specialty boutique exhibits an exclusive collection of world-class luxury linens such as Egyptian cotton sheets, Egyptian cotton towels, custom linens as well as home accessories for the bed, bath, and table. Richness you can see and feel. Exquisite detailing and expert finishing. Quality is always in the details, and every Luxor Linens product sets the standard for quality in materials and craftsmanship. They even have bamboo bedding for those eco-friendly folks out there!
Okay, so I know everyone has a techie on their Holiday gift list. Mine? My husband. He goes gonzo for anything electronic. He HAS to have all of the latest tech toys. When we bought a new HDTV a few years ago, he insisted we also had to get a fancy-shmancy Blu-Ray player as well because it would "optimize the HD experience." Whenever he sees a new idea in electronics, he jumps right on the bandwagon. I think it must be a guy thing.
However, when my husband told me about the Boogie Board from Improv Electronics, I have to admit, I was more than a little bit curious. The Boogie Board is an LCD writing tablet that can be taken anywhere you'd normally take notepads, sticky notes, etc. The really cool thing? You can use the Boogie Board over and over again. This awesome 8.5" tablet is super thin and comes equipped with a special pen to write on it with. You can write yourself reminders, shopping lists, or doodle away to your heart's content. When you're through, the Boogie Board can be reset with the simple push of a button. This eliminates the need to go through tons and tons of paper during your everyday activities, which also eliminates a lot of waste. Think of it as an environmentally friendly alternative to paper products! How cool is that?! I know I've never seen anything quite like this before!
I was thrilled to receive a Boogie Board to try out for myself. I was shocked at how very slim and portable this tablet is. It is literally thinner than many standard notepads. It is also incredibly lightweight. This writing tablet would fit well into most purses, briefcases, or bags. The Boogie Board comes with a great little stylus that clips to the top of the tablet, as well as a sleek, protective neoprene case and a cleaning cloth. The case even has a sewn in stylus holder, should you want to store it there. Another thing that I love is that the stylus holder can slide to cover the erase button. This way, curious little fingers won't push it and erase important notes. But you don't HAVE to use the stylus to write on the Boogie Board. As a matter of fact, you don't need any special writing instrument at all! Your finger will do just fine! You can even use magnets to secure the Boogie Board to the fridge, a locker, or any other magnetic surface for quick and easy access.
The LCD screen is a decent size as well, and can easily hold lists, notes, or whatever else you may need to jot down. Both the LCD screen and the case are made of shatter resistant, highly durable non-toxic plastic. So if you drop the Boogie Board, chances are it will not break. This is one tough little tablet! When writing on the Boogie Board, the letters almost glow, making your writing stand out very well against the black LCD screen. It is definitely not hard to read, especially for those who may not have the greatest vision. (Like my hubby!) Take a look!
With the Holidays rapidly approaching, parents are overwhelmed by all of the choices for their children's gifts. There are electronic gifts, plush animals, art supplies, books, and so many other products just begging to get onto a child's wish list. It is enough to make a mother's head spin! With a preteen, an infant, and a toddler in the house,I have a lot I need to keep up with regarding the Holidays. My oldest child has informed me very matter-of-factly that he is "too old for toys and wants gold, diamonds, and rare treasures." Sorry, bud...I don't see that happening this year unless I hit a lottery jackpot! For my baby and my toddler, gift giving is a bit easier. One thing I love, especially for younger kids, are more classic, educational toys. Especially wooden toys! I love toys that are interactive and hands on while still being simple enough in nature to stimulate my babies' minds with shapes and colors rather than flashing lights and noise. Sometimes simple really IS better!
That's why I am thrilled to announce my first sponsor for my Holiday Gift Guide event, CP Toys! CP Toys is a division of Constructive Playthings. US Toy/Constructive Playthings is a family owned business serving loyal customers since 1953! They strive to inspire learning, creativity, and fun by offering a unique mix of high quality products with unparalleled play value for children. They also commit to never, ever selling any violent toys. This is something I appreciate as a parent very much. Yep, I am one of those "strict moms" who doesn't allow gun play, violent video games, movies, or television shows.(Not even violent cartoons!) You won't find any bloodied action figures in my home wielding gamma ray laser guns, and the most "violent" video games I will allow my kids to play are Mario and Pokemon. (And in Pokemon games, the defeated creatures "faint" rather than die.) I truly believe that kids should be allowed to be KIDS....without all of the violence and ugliness found in so many programs and toys geared towards children nowadays. So naturally, I love companies that believe in preserving the innocence and wonder that is naturally present in our children.
PR Friendly Mama!
I'm Brandy, a happily married, proud Mom of 3 amazing kids. If you're interested in building a working relationship, please feel free to e-mail me at: NewlyCrunchyMamaOf3@gmail.com
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