Holidays and Giveaways at Children’s Place

I had the pleasure of attending a shopping event today at The Children’s Place.  I got to shop for Holiday clothes for the grands.  The “theme” this year throughout the store is sparkles sparkles and more sparkles.

I was mesmerized by choices for the kids.  I walked around the store for a half hour before I finally started texting Marisa to get her approval for each outfit.  And then a final splurge on the awesome-sauce shoes for Madilyn and finally I could breathe again.

I also joined their “frequent shopper” program.  For every $1,000 you spend you receive a $5 coupon.  It may seem like a lot to some of you but when you are buying clothes for 3 kids (even on sale) it can really add up and if you add in all the discounts on their web sites you come out even farther ahead.

When you shop in store this Holiday Season and spend $75 you receive a free stuffed penguin (I would have attached a picture of that but I left the press sheet with the web site for stock [hotos in the bag and gave the bag to Marisa, whoops!).  Trust me in that it is really cute and really soft and will be an adorabe addition to my personal Christmas Stocking.

The Children's Place has offered a Holiday gift to one of you, a $25 gift card!  Fill out the Rafflecopter form below the pictures to enter.  Winner will be announced on December 13.

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Free Oatmeal

To help children start the new school year with great momentum, and stress the importance of children eating a wholesome breakfast every day, participating Southern California McDonald’s® restaurants will offer one free full-size Fruit & Maple Oatmeal to students in kindergarten through eighth grade on Tuesday, Sept. 4, from 6-9 a.m., while supplies last. To take advantage of this one-day offer, students are required to be accompanied by an adult when visiting a participating McDonald’s restaurant in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties.

“It is essential that everyone eat a nutritious breakfast every day, yet often adults get by with a cup of coffee, a piece of toast or nothing at all,” said Bonnie Modugno, MS, RD, consulting for Southern California McDonald’s.  “For children, skipping breakfast will likely impact their learning at school and their performance in after-school activities. To ensure they eat well early in the day, the Fruit & Maple Oatmeal is a great tasting breakfast choice that provides an excellent source of fiber and Vitamin C at only 290 calories.”

The Fruit & Maple Oatmeal is freshly made with 100 percent natural whole grain oats and topped with about a half cup of real fruit, including a sweet and tangy medley of plump raisins, cranberries, and fresh red and green apples.

“McDonald’s is committed to the well-being of children and to offering our customers the best quality, on-the-go food choices to meet their every day nutritional needs,” said Michael Mangione, Jr., McDonald’s owner/operator and president of the McDonald’s Operators’ Association of Southern California (MOASC).  “This back-to-school season we are excited to offer a hearty breakfast choice to children and help propel their academic success this new school year.”

For more information on the Fruit & Maple Oatmeal and McDonald’s “Commitments to Offer Improved Nutrition Choices”, visit www.McDonalds.com/changing.

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Simply Potatoes

Way back in June I was contacted by the PR company for Simply Potatoes asking if I would be willing to try their product, write a review and host a giveaway.  Of course!  They sent me some coupons and I looked on their website to find out where their product could be found in my area.  Ralph’s and Vons were both listed so I figured I would have no problem.

6 trips to Ralphs and 2 to Vons a trip to Walmart and 6 weeks later, the product could not be found.  I was getting frustrated, the PR rep was getting frustrated but we both still wanted to move forward.  She offered to send me the product packed with dry ice and I could try it that way, I agreed but held off because we were leaving for the wedding in Vegas the next week and didn’t want to take a chance of it arriving then.

Now it is August, the package arrived and I put the two bags of potatoes in the fridge.  I eat alone, when I cook it is nothing elaborate, always simple and rarely healthy.

I received two bags, one of shredded hash browns and one of diced potatoes with onion.

 

 

I made the shredded hash browns one morning for breakfast with some link sausage and really enjoyed it.  I simply used as much as I wanted and put the rest in a ziploc bag to save for another time.  For dinner one night I made a hamburger some frozen peas and the diced potatoes with onion.  I liked having the onion flavor without the big chunks.

The potatoes were simple to cook, I put some butter (you can use olive oil or whatever floats your fancy) in a fry pan and just warm and brown.  It is so easy I think even my sister could do it (pick a sister, none of them cook much).

The best part is the PR rep is giving one of you a coupon to try their product for free.  Just enter using the rafflecopter form below.

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Vote for Me and I Will Kiss Your Baby

I have never entered any kind of blogging popularity contest before, but something compelled me this time.

If you can spare a moment to vote for me I would greatly appreciate it.

Ps. YOU CAN VOTE ONCE EVERY 24 HOURS!

Fresno Farm Tour

I was treated to a tour of local farms in the Fresno, CA. area this past weekend and learned so much.  Did you know that blueberries are one of only three fruits that are native to the United States?  Can you name the other two?  The Berry Lady can.  She gave us a brief history lesson on blueberries and on how they are harvested packaged and shared her new strains with us as well.  Take a look at the Larry Berry it can grown up to the size of a nickel!

The Larry Berry from Berry Lady Farms

From there we ventured on to the Friesen Family Farms where we watched peaches and plums get packaged and shipped off to Costco’s all over the county.  If you see a case of peaches or plums at your local Costco and the number on the side of the box is 1945 you know it came handpicked from Friesen and will undoubtedly be amazing.  If the proof is in the drippings that were on the faces of all those eating them (I have previously tasted peaches and plums and don’t care for either) then you will be pleased as well, just check out the bright colors!

Nectarines and Plums at Friesen Family Farms

Our next stop was the Hudson Family Farm where Liz Hudson had a fresh homemade peach cobbler waiting for us.  She also introduced many of us to the Water Peach.  They were named as such because they are so juicy they are watery. Liz told us her mother referred to them as “sink peaches” because you had to stand over the sink to eat them so they didn’t drip everywhere!

Hudson Family Farm Peach Cobbler

The last stop on this amazing tour was to the Enzo Olive Oil packaging plant.  Unfortunately this is not olive season so we were simply given a walk through of the facility but the walk through was accompanied by a highly informative tutorial on the making of olive oil (video coming soon!). We were then treated to a yummy tasting and a take home prize bottle of our own and one for a lucky reader!

Amazing Olives being readied for processing
Photo Credit Gordon Smith

What’s the one thing all these different farms have in common?  They all need water to grow their crops.  Whether it be berry or stone fruit the outcome may be different but the intake is always water. Although we don’t feel drought down here in urban Southern California, the farming areas of Central California are being rationed with their water.  We saw the canals that allow the alotted amount of water a farm can use during a specific period of time.  Remember the days of the oil shortage (yes I am aging myself) and odd/even license plates had to get gas on certain days?  It is kind of like that.  Think about that next time you leave the water running while you go off and do something else, or aimlessly hose down your sidewalks and driveways simply because.  Water is not an endless supply, it is an amazing resource.

Now for the giveaway!  Follow the directions in the Rafflecopter form below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 I was not compensated for this post.  Overnight accommodations, meals and travel between farms was provided by the California Farm Water Coalition and the Fresno County Farm Bureau.

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Pinterest For Dummies

And by Dummies, they mean ME!

I admit it, although I am on Pinterest and have pinned a few things, I was ignorant of it’s many uses and even questioned it’s necessity to some of my more dedicated colleagues.

Then my friend Kelby Carr (aka TypeAMom) took on the task of writing this book and I jumped at the chance to do a review and a giveaway (that’s right stick around to the end of this post and you could win a copy of the book!)

My main usage for Pinterest has been as a sharing device for my colleagues posts (and my own) and as a big ol’ cookbook.

It’s true 90% of my pins have to do with food, not necessarily foods I have made or will make, but foods that look like things others would like.

I am only 3 chapters in and I have a learned a bunch of things already, some good some not so good.  I don’t like the feature that others can add you as a contributor to a board without your consent, that is like being added to groups in face book.  But it is easy enough to leave a board if you like.

Do I think Pinterest is the new end all be all? No.  But do I think it is another useful tool not only for bloggers but for everyone? Absolutely!  The uses are endless, and I didn’t realize that until I read this book.  I can see it being used to plan parties, events of all sizes, wardrobes, trips.  Gift wishlists for grandparents will be a fabulous use!

Thank you Kelby for a great resource and thank you Pinterest for a new time suck tool.

I did mention a giveaway earlier and here it is:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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Cuddly Monkey

When I was first asked to review this product I assumed it would be a stuffed animal.  Not so!  It is a huge amazing tote bag!

The bag I received is the Chica.  It is red and bright and huge and awesome.  LOL

From their website:

The beach is your catwalk.

Practical and rugged, yet stylish and streamlined, The Chica is our modern twist on the classic beach tote. A “secret” zippered compartment provides convenient access to your keys or sunglasses, while our “x-ray” lining acts as a visual checklist for your beach day necessities.

22″W x 16″H x 6″D

In case you can’t tell by the dimensions above it is a huge bag.  I tried to get a picture of one of the grand twins sitting in it, but no one would sit still long enough so you have to settle for a stock photo.

See the lining? Here is a better pic

It is a cute little reminder of everything you need to throw in your bag for an impromptu trip to the beach.  I however used the bag for pullups wipes toys food and all the little necessities for taking the twins to the park (somewhere in there was my sanity I still haven’t found that).

The best part about this bag?  The reps from Cuddly Monkey are going to give one of you the same bag! All you have to do is enter on the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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Sunny and Fair

In exchange for suffering through such a frigid winter (shut up, it is California the temperature was below my age many times this year and that is indeed frigid!), we are having a beautiful spring time.

I decided to pull out the old patio furniture and hose it down in anticipation of spending some nice mornings outside while I am babysitting the grand twins.

Let me tell you this right now, three year olds are not as helpful at cleaning patio furniture as they would like to think they are.

After we were outside for a while I realized just how blonde these babies are and thought I should slather them down with something before they started to actually cook.

Thankfully I just received some new sunscreen from Beyond Coastal.  I grabbed a hold of a slippery kid and started rubbing them up with the lotion.  Now, part of this review is supposed to tell you how the kids felt about it.  They are three, they HATED it.  Duh.  I was interrupting their play time, making them stand still and rubbing my hands all over them.  Yep Hated it pretty much covers it.

Being the mean old grandma that I am I didn’t care how they felt and just kept one hand free of lotion so I could keep a firm grip of a limb with the other.

Afterwards we finished our cleaning (and by cleaning I mean I sprayed down the furniture and the grand twins ran back and forth between loving the hose spray and fearing it).  Then they played in their kiddie pool for almost an hour.  Not only did they not burn, they don’t even look sun kissed!

Info from the Beyond Coastal Website:

One of 209 mineral beach and sport sunscreens to be ranked in the top 11% by the Environmental Working Group

Our healthy, 100% natural sunscreen provides shelter from UVA rays with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. SPF 30+ effectively blocks 97% of UVB rays, which cause sunburn. This ultimate skin care for the whole family is moisturizing and water resistant.

The Natural Kids SPF 30+ is perfect for young ones, with an all-natural mineral block protecting your kids from the sun’s damaging UV rays without harmful chemicals.

Our inactive ingredients aren’t just empty filler. Beyond Coastal’s Natural sunscreens nourish, repair, and hydrate your skin with aloe vera, shea butter, and vitamin C.

I don’t know if I would actually purchase this product because it is out of my price range.  But luckily one of you will be receiving a gift pack filled with amazing Beyond Coastal products!  Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below!

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Avengers GIVEAWAY!

One of the most anticipated movies of the year is coming out finally next week.  Marvel’s The Avengers has been on the tip of tongues and the interwebs for over a year especially after the huge display by stars and Stan lee at D23 last summer.

The press release states:

Marvel Studios presents “Marvel’s The Avengers”—the Super Hero team up of a lifetime, featuring iconic Marvel Super Heroes Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow. When an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, Director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. Spanning the globe, a daring recruitment effort begins.

Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Tom Hiddleston, with Stellan Skarsgård and Samuel L. Jackson, and written and directed by Joss Whedon, “Marvel’s The Avengers” is based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series “The Avengers,” first published in 1963 and a comics institution ever since.

I have had no less than half a dozen “friends” ask if they can be my plus one if I get invited to a screening, LOL.  While that invite hasn’t arrived in my inbox yet, I am authorized to offer you an amazing giveaway of Avengers merchandise!

You can win:

- MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS t-shirt in adult  sizes of S, M, L, XL

- MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS set of 6 buttons

- MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS one pair of limited edition 3D glasses

Just follow the Rafflecopter directions below!

 

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Jake and The Neverland Pirates: Peter Pan Returns

 Peter Pan is back––but his shadow is missing! When Peter loses his shadow while playing a game of Catch-Me-If-You-Can, he returns to Never Land to seek help from his kid pirate friend Jake.

Embarking on one of his most daring and exciting adventures ever, Jake and his kid pirate pals, Izzy and Cubby, along with lookout parrot Skully, must use teamwork to find Peter’s shadow and return it to its rightful owner.

However, their mission is nearly thwarted by the fiendish Captain Hook, and his bumbling first mate Mr. Smee.

But bravery and justice win the day and Jake and his Never Land pirate crew once again reveal what it takes to become heroes.

The twins were resistant at first, only because it was slated to be our nap time movie.  Needless to say (don’t you hate that phrase? Is something is needless to say then why am I saying it?), they were so enthralled by the story their nap didn’t happen til it was over.here are 6 episodes in total on the DVD (but don’t tell the twins that!).

Check out the buttons below for lots of Pirate Easter fun for you and the kids.

Download Printable Activities!

Download Printable Activities!

 

One lucky winner will receive their own copy to watch with their family, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

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