Posts Tagged ‘Reviews’

Happa What?

Wednesday, July 4th, 2007

I was so excited to finally get a chance to head over to Michael’s and check out the new Martha Stewart line that they are carrying. All of the trademark colors and quality crafts were there. The price was better than some of her other lines, but a bit steep compared to some of the other items that the store offers.

We are combining a Fourth of July family get together with my son’s fifth birthday. It was an easy way to still get together for the holiday and also enjoy a birthday party with our family. I hunted through the birthday goodies at Michael’s and found this beautiful birthday garland and some fun puppet crafts (no glue required!) for my nephew and son to do.

When I brought up our purchases to the cashier, I asked that the coupon be applied to a Martha Stewart rubber stamp set that I wanted to use for my thank you notes & invitations. The girl informed me that the store is not allowed to use the store coupons on the Martha Stewart line. She said that Martha had made a stipulation that she would carry the line on the condition that none of the items go on sale and none of the store coupons could be applied to the purchase. Then, muttered quietly under her breath, “She is SO greedy!” Disappointment set in, as I had many things from the line that I had planned to purchase utilizing the coupon. The quality on these items was there…or so I thought!

This morning, I was bustling around trying to get ready for our big event, I went to put the birthday garland together. The ribbon to the garland was already frayed and falling apart and the garland didn’t even have the right letters in it.

Would a five year old notice that his big banner said, “HAPPA BIRTHDAY” or would he be content with how it looked? Considering the purchase was made to be used more than once, I marched back in there and showed the girl what had happened. She told me that I could replace it and as I was walking away, I heard her say, “This is from the MARTHA line! I guess even she makes mistakes!”

I doubt I will buy anything else from the line, if this is a taste of the quality and craftsmanship that will be going into these pieces.

Regardless, HAPPA BIRTHDAY, Ethan! You are loved more than words and we hope to make your day extra special!
And for the rest of you have a HAPPA FOURTH!

Too Cool for School Momma Tees

Monday, June 25th, 2007

With a tag line like, “Motherhood doesn’t define us. We define it” what is not to love? PeaceLoveMom is a great t-shirt company that offers fun phrases of motherhood on their t-shirts, which have made them a popular choice among the celebrity mommies.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I have a mad obsession for funny t-shirts. Among my favorite in my collection are my Martha is My Homegirl (with Martha Stewart surrounded by pretty spoons), my Drop It Like It’s Hot (with a waitress holding a heavy tray), & my Hip Hop You Don’t Stop (with a bouncing kangaroo) shirt. The funnier the t-shirt, the better.

PeaceLoveMom has great trendy mommy t-shirts that are still tasteful, but show that you have a witty and fun personality. The offer a variety of choices that express motherhood in a fun way.

The company sent two of the cutest shirts to add to my collection. I now have a “Happy Mom” t-shirt, which THE Cindy Crawford has been seen wearing around town & a “Carpool Candy” tank. Their shirts are made out of the softest cotton, making it a quick favorite in your wardrobe, and the sizing is made for women and not teens. That means no post-baby body hanging out the sides of your jeans and we love that!
Not only is the sizing spot on, but the phrases are too. They let people know that you are not just another mom thankyouverymuch, but that you are a super fun and super cool mom so TAKE THAT. You might be driving around in your minivan, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be too cool for school.
PeaceLoveMom has generously offered our customers free shipping utilizing the promo code, “momadvice” on any order that you place.
Thanks so much to PeaceLoveMom for giving us an opportunity to review their products and to add such fun t-shirts to add to my collection!
Want to see your name in lights? Email me at and tell me about your company. We would love to try and review your product for our growing readership!

Product Review: Fruity Cheerios

Thursday, June 14th, 2007

I got the opportunity to try a newer product from General Mills called Fruity Cheerios. Yup, it is the same old favorite that you grew up with as a kid, but now with a fruity kick! I was so excited to try these because one of my favorite cereals is Fruit Loops and I was hoping that these would be a similar (but healthier) version of this.

These are absolutely delicious! They still have the original Cheerios flavor, but have a fruity coating on the outside. I would eat these every day of the week if I could!

The children loved these too, but I hid them away and was stingy with them because as a mom, there are few things in life that are just for me. I now see why my mom was always hiding food around our house for herself because nothing is just for you when you have little ones constantly wanting whatever you are eating.

I would highly recommend this cereal to anyone who is a Cheerios lover, or a Fruit Loops lover. They are sweet, but not too sweet. They are still healthy, but a bit more sugary then their original version.

Your kids will love these, so be sure to hide a box for yourself!

As a side note: Modern Mom is currently running a Fruity Cheerios photo contest and they have picked their ten finalists. The winner is chosen based on the number of votes, so please head over there and help to pick the winning picture.

Many thanks to General Mills for this product review opportunity!

Sound Off: What was your favorite cereal growing up? Are you currently hiding anything in your cupboards or fridge? Shhhhh…we won’t tell!

A Saving Grace for a Family Vacation: School Zone Products

Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

I feel very blessed to get the opportunity to review so many great products, and the School Zone company had contacted me in May to see if I would be interested in reviewing some of their products for them. I replied that I would welcome the opportunity and hid the box away for our upcoming vacation day. I wanted to have something new for them to do while we were on the train, and these fun activities seemed like just the ticket.

School Zone sent us a variety of products, tailored to fit the ages of our children- 4 & 1 years of age. For our daughter (our one year old), they sent the Happy Faces Infant Cards, the Peek a Boo Bunny Guess Who? cards, and the Fuzzy Animal Discovery cards.

The cards are educational cards that provide texture and bright colors for your little one. They are intended to build cognitive development by providing sensory-rich experiences for baby. Emily really enjoyed the Happy Faces cards, which had a mirror on it and then fit the animals around the cards. Each time she would look at the animal, she could see her face and I was able to share rhymes and activities with her using the cards. Their Fuzzy Animal Discovery cards, had an animal on each side and incorporated foil and tuggable fabrics for baby to interact with. Emily’s favorite cards were the Peek a Boo Bunny cards, which had a plush bunny that had magnets built into its hands, to cover the eyes for a game of peekaboo. Each of the cards had a flap and had a hidden animal behind it. She sleeps with her two little bunnies, so the bunny activity proved to be the most fun for her.

For Ethan, he received a 3D Preschool Magnetic Tin. This was, by far, the highlight for both of our children. This tin included 76 number, letter, and shape magnets. It also include 3D animal magnets. The tin created a magnetic surface for the children to stick their magnets on and several worksheets that could create a playing and learning surface for them. Emily could also play with these, while being closely supervised, and the kids both wanted to play with this set more than anything else. It is a great set for traveling or for quiet times at church service. We will be taking these a lot of places with us. He also received some really great flash cards and a peg puzzle book! The book is being stored away for a rainy day, but he did enjoy the flash cards. The winner with him though was most definitely the magnetic tin!

School Zone offers so many great products and we aren’t the only ones who think so. They won a record of nine iParenting Media Awards for their efforts. Jonathan Hoffman, CEO of School Zone Publishing Company, said, “We are thrilled with our record win of nine iParenting Media Awards for Excellent Products of 2007. From our president to the designers, engineers, sales staff, and more, School Zone is passionate about developing great educational products for children. Many times, we only have the sales numbers to validate our creative efforts. It is affirming to learn that our products shined when reviewed by experts!”

Please visit School Zone for more information on their educational products. We thank the company wholeheartedly for giving us the opportunity to share these products with our children, and for making our trip much more bearable!

Sound Off: Do your children have any favorite toys that incorporate learning activities into them? What is your favorite “quiet” activity for your children to do?

Check it Out: Women & Money

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

I just finished reading the book, “Women & Money” by Suze Orman. Reading it is really an understatement…I actually devoured it in one sitting.

I don’t know why I have never been that keen on Suze Orman. I seem to be more drawn to Mary Hunt & Dave Ramsey’s writings, but I saw this book and figured it might be worth my time to read it.

It was definitely worth my time, as we have been contemplating writing a will for some time, but just have not had the financial means to tackle this. I would really like to have all of this in place, in the event that something should happen to us, but paying a lawyer is just not in the equation for us right now.

Suze Orman recognizes that many people can’t afford to have this paperwork in order and offers her own will planning software, available on her website for a mere $13.50! The software (according to her website) includes:

  • An easy-to-answer questionnaire that will automatically
    select the correct must-have documents for you
  • Audio and visual explanations taking you paragraph by
    paragraph through the four must-have documents
  • 10 electronic guidebooks, that cover all aspects of your financial life
  • Free automatic updates, so your documents will always be current (Internet access required)

It’s like having your own financial planner and personal trust attorney at your fingertips!

  • Personalize – Fill in the questionnaire, and the program will automatically select and populate all the essential documents to fit your unique situation.
  • Print – Listen to or read a step-by-step explanation of what you need to know. Then print out the relevant documents.
  • Protect – To complete the process, follow the instructions that print out with your documents. (In some cases, forms will need to be witnessed and notarized.) Then store them in a safe place.

I am planning to try out this software for our family and get these documents taken care of. There is nothing more frightening than knowing that our financial documents are not in order and this could jeopardize the financial future for our children.

We are in our late twenties and pray that nothing ever happens to us. Unfortunately, life is uncertain and it is important to do this for our children and for our own peace of mind.

Other than that, much of the advice given was to teach women how to understand money and all of the financial terminology and accounts that should go with it. She encourages women to start taking action and has a five month plan to get your finances back in order. Some of it I skimmed over, as it related more to a woman who is in the work force, but a lot of it applied to me.

Her encouragement to save money was taken a step further because she partnered with Ameritrade to get women to open an account and start a nest egg for their future. You will need to actually purchase the book to get the code needed to activate this offer, but with the book cost being under twenty dollars, it would be worth it to make the investment.

If you set up an account between now and 03/31/2008 and automatically deposit a minimum of $50 each month into the account, after twelve months the Ameritrade company will deposit a $100 into the account to reward you for your saving.

I have yet to establish a nest egg for myself, another worrying factor for me. I am not working so I do not have the benefit of a 401K or a paycheck coming to me. I am not sure how long I will be staying home, but I would like to be proactive about my finances and get something established for myself sooner rather than later.

I am wondering how many of you have a nest egg for yourself? How many of you have a will in place for your family? Are these financial matters taken care of or are you sitting around worrying about them too?

I hope you will check out this book. It is a great read for all women and has a great plan for getting your financial life back in order!

The HP TouchSmart Computer: The Best Family Organizer Ever

Friday, May 18th, 2007

I have been in absolute heaven this past week, literally floating on air, since we received the HP TouchSmart PC to review. It is the ultimate mommy organizer and has everything that a mom could ever want included on it. I am not technical and I have a hard time figuring out things like this, but this computer was the easiest gadget I have ever used, as everything is clearly labeled and easy to use.

Here are some features that I would like to highlight:

Touchable Screen- The computer comes with a remote, a stylus pen, & a mouse (all wireless) that you can use to make your selections, but the ultimate tool is using just your finger to select anything on the screen. This makes it user-friendly for the little ones in the house, who aren’t able to master a mouse yet, but want to feel like a big kid using the computer themselves. They can use their finger to draw pictures or pick the music that they would like to listen to. This makes it a great selling feature for families of small children.

Family Calendar- The family calendar is very user-friendly and you can organize the calendar for the entire family or by each family member. On your calendar, there is a feature where you can leave post-it notes to each other, which can be written using your finger, the pen, or typed into the computer. The kids can draw a picture for daddy or you can just leave your hubby a sweet note like, “Put the trash out TODAY or else!” You can record notes to each other, as well, which can be a great feature when you don’t have time to write out a note.

Music Library-
The music library was the biggest selling point for me. Our family has a huge music collection and you can find discs scattered and scratched up all over our house. When I thought I had money, I was buying music for myself all of the time so we have over three hundred discs missing their cases, tossed in the car, or stuck in random players all over the house. I can never find the music I am looking for and I can’t remember the names of the any of the songs. The TouchSmart Computer allows you to quickly copy the disc onto the drive and then stores it in a library for you. You can scroll through the covers of all of your discs and pick the one you would like to listen to. You can cue the disc to go along with family photos or utilize the visualization feature on the computer. You can make playlists for entertaining or make fabulous dinner music. The screen is beautiful to watch and makes it a great feature for having the best parties in town. It is flat screen and high definition, what could be better than that?

Don’t like your music collection? The PC comes with the wires needed to listen to the radio too. The sound is clear and tuning is easy.

Television/DVD Player-
We did not want to pay for another satellite box or for cable in our kitchen, but an HDTV antennae (for approximately $30) is a great way to utilize this feature and be able to enjoy watching live television. It has built in DVR, so you can tape and watch all of your favorite shows just like your DVR or TiVo box. You can play all of your movies through it, although I wouldn’t recommend doing this at the dinner table, which can be fun for a mom who likes to watch chick flicks by herself while she is making the family dinner.

Family Photos-
Your family photos can be quickly organized, edited, and printed all in one place. The touch screen feature makes it feel like you are at a kiosk at your grocery store and you can do this all from your home. Unfortunately, the printer is not included with the PC, but needs to be purchased separately.

My only complaint about the product is that the touch screen can be difficult to maneuver, as you need your finger is just the perfect spot in order for it to do what you need it to do. At times, using the mouse or stylus pen is easier than utilizing the touch feature.

The design is sleek, and the keyboard fits neatly underneath the monitor in a little stowaway spot. The printer, can be set in the back where it is not even visible, making this very streamlined and elegant looking. It looks more like a television than a computer, but you have all the function of a computer.

I can’t rave about this product enough! The price tag is $1,849.99, so it is not the most affordable option for most families. If you needed a new television, a new computer, a DVD player, and a stereo, this would be a good bang for your buck and keep the clutter in your home under control. No more stacks of discs, no need to have fourteen appliances, and no more missing your appointments.

The best price listed online is currently through Amazon.

We thank HP for giving us the opportunity to share about their product and allowing us to express our opinions on it. It is a fabulous piece of equipment that would make a wonderful addition in any home!

Adobe Photoshop & Premiere Elements

Tuesday, May 15th, 2007

I got the opportunity to try out the Adobe Photoshop & Premiere Elements software package that Adobe offers. Since I am a mom and I love to take pictures and video footage of my children, they knew that they had the right person to send it to.

These award winning photo and video-editing products are great for any mom who is looking to get there photos edited and organized in a way that you can actually find the picture you are looking for. Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements are very user-friendly and help organize, edit and share your most valued pictures and home movies. Not only that, but you can also use their software to create photo albums, scrapbooks, flash online photo galleries, making invitations and DVDs.

I haven’t gotten to toy around with this software as much as I would like. The user manuals for each of these products is over two hundred pages long, which tells me that the software offers a lot that I have yet to figure out.

I did some photo editing with the software and was impressed with all that you can do to edit the photos. The options are numerous and the process can be as complex or as simple as you would like to make it. For someone who enjoys editing her own photos, it is a fabulous software package to use.
In my opinion, one of the best features is that you can remove red eye with one click of the button. No need to zoom in on each eye or make sure your mouse is in the right place, just one simple click.

This product has received stellar reviews, and is definitely worth checking out! Learning the programs is time consuming, but worth the effort if you are interested in taking professional looking photos and capturing your memories in a fun way.

Sneak Peek- HP Touchsmart PC

Thursday, May 10th, 2007
Guess what I am going to be reviewing? An HP Touchsmart PC! I can hardly believe it!

The HP company contacted us to see if we would be willing to give it a test drive in our house, and of course we said yes! You can imagine how much my husband (the computer guy) is geeking out about this right now. He keeps trying to explain how awesome it is going to be for me, but I am anxious to try it to see for myself.

If you would like to try this out and are in the Las Vegas area, the HP Touchsmart is currently on display at the 2007 Kitchen/Bath Industry Show. Please visit the link for more information about this show!

Here is some of the information about the product, courtesy of HP…

The Internet Home Alliance Research Council (IHARC), which includes Hewlett-Packard (HP), recently conducted a survey to determine what new products/services homeowners would like to add to their future kitchens. Study results were used to create a prototype of an ideal digital kitchen, which is currently on display at the 2007 Kitchen/Bath Industry Show in Las Vegas. Conveniently installed in the kitchen is the HP TouchSmart PC – this placement supports findings for consumer interest in a digital calendar and access to weather updates in the kitchen. Why the kitchen? Well, as you’re probably aware, it’s one of the busiest and most social rooms in the house.

The HP TouchSmart PC helps simplify family life by providing one-touch access to entertainment, communication and information. It also comes equipped with programs that allow busy families to keep track of schedules/appointments, view real-time weather updates, watch live/recorded TV and/or leave digital post-it notes or voice recordings for family members — all possible by the PC’s unique touch-enabled screen

We are looking forward to sharing our product experience with you all! Stay tuned for an in-depth look at what the HP Touchsmart system offers!

For the Mom Who Has Everything: Exclusive iPod Gift Set

Saturday, May 5th, 2007

What could be better than a brand spanking new iPod? How about an iPod and some chocolates to go with it? Best Buy is offering an exclusive gift set for Mother’s Day that will be available starting May 6th and will only be available for a limited time with limited quantities available.

The gift set includes the following:
- A pink or silver 4GB Apple iPod nano, slim enough to fit in mom’s pocket, purse or palm

- A variety of pink-foiled milk chocolate meltaways

- It is packaged in a mod polka-dot-patterned box inspired by the prism of iPod nano colors and this spring’s hottest accessory: dots!

I got the opportunity to review this lovely gift set and all I can say is that if your sweetheart gets you this gift, he will be the man of the year! The iPod makes such a fabulous present and the chocolates are a great bonus to satisfy any mom’s sweet tooth.

This iPod has 4GB versus the 2GB that were previously available in the first generation of iPods. The battery is twice the size of the original and Apple boasts that it can go play twenty-four hours of music or five hours of photo slideshows before needing a charge. It has an aluminum exterior, which makes it resistant to scratches, and comes in a fun hot pink color or a striking silver shade.

I have never owned an iPod before so this is my first experience with the Apple Company. Since I have never had one of these, I really had no expectations going into it. I was really surprised though how much I love this gadget, as the sound on it is absolutely incredible and is far superior to other mp3 players out on the market.

The iPod also includes lots of other fun little gadgets like games, a calendar, a stopwatch, and a small screen to view your pictures.

The difference between the iPod & other mp3 players is that iPods do not have a radio available on it and all of the music needs to be converted into iTunes before it is playable in this player. Fortunately, iTunes is easy to install and the process is not tedious, but just an extra step towards having a player with incredible sound. The radio feature can be added by purchasing additional accessories, but it is not a necessary item for most people who would just like to listen to the music of their own choice.

The retail cost for this gift set is $214.99 and is available at your local Best Buy store. Feel free to point your husband and children towards this review to really give them a hint of what you want this year! I am wishing you all whatever you are dreaming of for your special day and hope you all have a fabulous Mother’s Day!

Many thanks to the Best Buy company for giving me the opportunity to review this product!

While I am on the subject of iPods & mp3 players, here is my question for today…Who is currently on your playlist? I am sure we can all use some ideas for new artists and give me some of your good old favorites. I am always looking for a little creative inspiration!

On Amy’s Playlist:

Norah Jones
Jack Johnson
Amy Winehouse
Paolo Nutini
Regina Spektor
The Killers
The Fray
The Shins
Matt Kearney
Justin Timberlake (no comments please!)

Check It Out: The Dangerous Book for Boys

Friday, May 4th, 2007

A cross between a Boy Scout’s trusty guide and a throwback to the old days of really cool encyclopedias, “The Dangerous Book for Boys” by Conn & Hal Iggulden is a wonderful book for any boy in your life. The book is meant to be a handbook for boys, guiding them on all the cool things every boy should know about. With sections devoted towards making paper airplanes, how to skip stones, how to tie knots, and answers on questions about the world, this book offers a wealth of knowledge for every little boy.

My favorite part about this guide to a boy’s life is just the feeling of nostalgia that one gets from reading it. The pictures and design of the book give it such timeless beauty and the photographs and diagrams for making things create a great reference book for little boys.
There was a time where fathers taught their sons how to do many of the things listed in this book, but it seems the digital world and the fast pace times have changed things a lot. It is now considered dangerous to give our sons a pocket knife, in these troubled times, and the Dangerous Book for Boys brings you back to the days where your father went fishing & hunting with you, taught you all about the world around you, and bonded with their child in that good old-fashioned way.
The book contains a guide book on the different types of trees and bugs, with a picture guide that explains about each of these living things. There are great guides on building things too on things such as tree houses, batteries, & periscopes.
Upon your son completing each stage in the book, he can pick up his free printable badges at their website.
You can also read an interview with the author and read more about the idea for the book here.
I wonder what good old-fashioned things your husbands do with your sons. Do they camp together? Fish? Hunt for critters? Share what fun father & son activities go around in your home!
Once again, many thanks to Harper Collins for giving us the opportunity to review such a great book! It is a wonderful addition to our son’s book collection and one that I think he will enjoy for years and years to come!