Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Freebies, Contests & Giveaways

Free Stuff:
Sample of Paradise Coffee. Via Absurdly Cool Freebie Finder.

Sample of Life's Abundance Pet Food. Via Freebie Fanatics.

Car Care Guide. Via Freebie Fanatics.

Sample of Purina Cat Chow. Via SlickDeals.

Contests & Giveaways:
Movie Projector rental at Design Mom. Ends 10/31.

Pink Dyson at The Domestic Diva. Ends 10/31. Via Don't Try This At Home.

3-month Hyperstrike membership (virtual personal trainer) at Go Workout Mom. Ends 11/6.

Kailani's roundup at An Island Life.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Freebies, Contests & Giveaways

Free Stuff:
25 free prints at Walgreens Photo Online with coupon code TREAT through Nov. 10. Via BebeReviews.

Sample of Bulgari Rose Essentielle fragrance. Via Absurdly Cool Freebie Finder.

Sample of Post-it Flags, Durable Tabs, and Arrows. Via Absurdly Cool Freebie Finder.

Sample of Dunkin' Donuts Coffee. Via Absurdly Cool Freebie Finder.

Sample of Sore No More pain relieving gel. Via Freebie Fanatics.

Juicy Juice product with this printable coupon. Register with Juicy Juice and get a free sippy cup. Via The Bargainist.

Free shipping at Lego.com. I don't normally post promotional codes, but I wanted to share this one because we are huge Lego fans and I've been completely amazed at what Marc and Alex create together (Alex comes up with the idea (garbage truck, forklift, etc.) and Marc executes, quite brilliantly). Via BebeReviews.

Temporary Tattoo. Via Absurdly Cool Freebie Finder.

Contests & Giveaways:
The Fall, Y'all! Bloggy Giveaway at Bloggy Giveaways. This is a huge list of giveaways (200+)!

Door Prize Giveaway at Like Merchant Ships (she's giving away 3 books). Ends 11/3.

The Complete Tightwad Gazette at Sense to Save. Ends 11/3.

Shop & Confess Video Contest. Via Bargain Hunting Moms.

Another Vision Forum Giveaway at Life in a Shoe. Ends 11/2.

Pack of MOO postcards at GeekSugar. Ends 11/2.

A bunch of giveaways at My Two Boys during the month of November.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Free Stuff:
Sample of Shania Starlight fragrance. Via About.com:Freebies.

Giveaways:
Pass It Along Give-Away at Pass It Along Give-Away. Ends 11/5. Via One Money Dummy Getting Smarter.

$25 gift certificate to Sher’s Wares at An Island Life.

Roundup at An Island Review.

Contests:
LG Video Contest. Ends 11/10. Via mod*mom.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Freebies, Contests & Giveaways

Free Stuff:
Sample of Oxyfresh Toothpaste. Via Absurdly Cool Freebie Finder.

Sample of Kenneth Cole Reaction fragrance. Via SlickDeals.

Sample of L'Oreal Vive Pro Nutri Gloss Shampoo and Conditioner at Wal-Mart. Via The Bargainist.


Contests & Giveaways:
CertainTees tote bag at Green LA Girl. Ends 10/28.

Quicken Premier 2008 at Free Money Finance. Ends 10/29.

Vienna Treasures gift certificate at Bloggy Giveaways. Ends 10/30.

Roundup at An Island Review.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Freebies, Contests & Giveaways

Free Stuff:
Sample of Liz Earle Clean & Polish skincare. Via Freebie Fanatics.

Homemade Magazine from Wal-Mart (not sure if it's an issue or a subscription). Via Absurdly Cool Freebie Finder.

Reusable Tote. Via Mod*Mom.


Contests & Giveaways:

Burpee Takee Outee Gift Set at My Mom Shops. Ends tonight.

CertainTees "Octopus: Love" T-shirt at Green LA Girl. Ends 10/26.

Book: Negotiation Genius at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity. Ends 10/31.

Mugwaz Bagz kit at Opinion Mom. Ends 11/2.

Win a gift certificate to the Etsy shops of Cleveland-based sellers. Via Indie Fixx.

Gift Basket at Lounge Luxe. Also via Indie Fixx.

Pomegranate, Inc. Apron, Tea Towels, and Tablecloth or Tablerunner at Design Mom. Ends 10/28.

Method Holiday Gift Basket at Mod*Mom. Ends 11/12.

Epson PictureMate Dash Photo Printer, 60 cute family address labels, The Hoax DVD, and LTDchix T Shirts at Parent Product Reviews.

Freelance Octopus art at Freelance Parent. Ends 10/28.

The usual roundups here and here at An Island Review.

2007 Halloween Costume Contest and Poopasnuffas onesie or kids shirt at An Island Life.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Product Review - Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bags

My friend Karen turned me on to these microwave sterilizing bagsfrom Medela. I use them mostly for sterilizing pumping equipment at work, but I've also found myself using them at home - they're great! To use them, you put your pumping equipment in the bag, add water, and microwave on high for 1 1/2 to 5 minutes, depending on the power of your microwave. You pour out the water using the hole on one side, then carefully open the bag. I think this is the easiest way to sterilize the tubing from my breast pump. The bags can also be used to sterilize most bottles, nipples and pacifiers. The best part is, they're reasonably priced - I got a box of 5 bags at Target for about $5, and each bag can be used up to 20 times.

I try not to be overly paranoid about sterilizing, because I know a little exposure to germs is actually good for my kids' long-term health. I also keep in mind that the pediatrician said hot water and soap gets everything clean enough, and I microwave the kitchen sponge on high for two minutes every day to kill any bacteria growing inside. But these bags come in really handy when it's not convenient to run the dishwasher.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Freebies, Contests & Giveaways

Free Stuff:
Sample of Purex Natural Elements from Wal-Mart.

Sample of Garnier Nutriste skincare product from Wal-Mart.

Bag of Halloween candy at Kmart with this printable coupon.

T-shirt from Eight 76 Records. Via Freebie Fanatics.

Contests & Giveaways:
Several prizes, including an i-Tunes giftcard at The Digerati Life (which is one of my favorite blogs, so you should definitely check it out).

The Book of SPAM Caption Contest at Neatorama.

M by Mariah Carey at The Budget Fashionista.

The usual roundup at An Island Review

Monday, October 22, 2007

Review: Fisher-Price Rainforest Peek-A-Boo Leaves Musical Mobile vs. Tiny Love Symphony in Motion Mobile

Before Alex was born, I did my research and registered for the Tiny Love Symphony in Motion mobile, which was highly recommended by Baby Bargains. We received it as a gift from kind friends, and indeed, there was a sticker on the box indicating the mobile had won some kind of award. There was an exciting moment when Alex was a few weeks old when Marc turned to me and said, "He's actually looking at it!"

When it came time to set up a mobile in Tyler's crib, we put the Symphony in Motion mobile up and Marc pushed the button to make sure it worked. He listened to the first five notes of Beethoven, turned it off, and turned to me, ashen.

Me: "What's wrong?"

Marc: "We can't have this!"

Me: "Why not?"

Marc: "It reminds me of when Alex was born."

You see, when Alex was first born, life was miserable for us. I was having such a hard time breastfeeding and trying to cope with postpartum depression. Alex was always hungry, cried all the time, and didn't sleep from 2 a.m. to 7 a.m. on a daily basis (I can still tell you the TV schedule for those hours). Marc did most of the childcare, since I was either pumping or crying, often both. It wasn't until Alex was about six weeks old that I started taking More Milk Special Blend, my milk supply finally met demand, we put Alex on a two-hour feeding schedule, and things started to look up.

All of this flashed through my mind as I watched the color slowly return to Marc's cheeks. "Okay, honey, let's go get a different mobile."

So off we went to Target, in search of a mobile that had the option of working without music. We couldn't find that option, but we found the Fisher-Price Rainforest Peek-A-Boo Leaves Musical Mobile, which had a "rainforest sounds" option. We took it home, installed it, and Marc let out a huge sigh of relief when he turned it on and heard leaves rustling and birds chirping instead of tinny, melancholy musical notes.

We had to take the mobile down a few months ago, after Tyler started pulling himself up, but we loved this mobile while we used it. It is easy to install, and has two volume options and three music options in addition to the rainforest sounds (though we rarely used those). The animals rotating around the mobile are cuter than the Symphony in Motion creatures (there was one monkey on Alex's mobile that had what can only be described as lobster claws for arms). It comes with a remote control that we never used, but which did turn the mobile on and off from a distance.

I think that perhaps the Symphony in Motion might be better for visual stimulation, with its bright colors and black and white contrast. The scraping sound of the plastic pieces that slide along the arms was grating to Marc and me, but it didn't seem to bother Alex (though who could tell), and perhaps its rhythm is intended to be soothing for baby.

I can't say that one mobile or the other was loved by the child that used it, although Alex frequently asked us to turn on Tyler's mobile. If I were to do it all over again, I would just start with the Fisher-Price rainforest mobile for the rainforest sounds option. You'll have plenty of toys that play awful music all too soon anyway.

Cross-posted at CFO.

Freebies, Contests & Giveaways

Free Stuff:
Sample of CoverGirl Advanced Radiance. Via Absurdly Cool Freebie Finder.

Contests & Giveaways:
Programmable Crock Pot at YumSugar.

Stride Rite shoes at Classy Mommy.

Craft, Inc. book at Let It Fly. Via Craftzine.

Chick Pea Baby Tee at Mama Speaks.

Swarovski Crystal Dangle Earrings at An Island Life

Another list of giveaways at An Island Review.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Review: Nature Valley Roasted Nut Crunch

I was pretty happy when a PR firm I recently started working with asked me to review a couple of boxes of Nature Valley's new product, Roasted Nut Crunch bars, in peanut and almond varieties. I buy and eat Nature Valley Oats 'n Honey granola barsall the time, but I don't like nuts that much so I wouldn't have bought these without having tried them first but I was definitely curious. Guess what? They're good!

They're definitely on the salty side, so part of me wishes they included chocolate chips or better yet, were dipped in chocolate. But that would obviously have a negative impact on the nutritional information, which is pretty good for a tasty snack. Each peanut bar has 190 calories, 12 grams of fat (1.5 grams saturated, 0.5 grams polyunsaturated, and 10 grams monounsaturated), 180 mg of sodium, 2 grams of fiber, 7 grams of sugar, and 7 grams of protein. The ingredient list is pleasantly short: peanuts, sunflower seeds, sugar, corn syrup, salt, and almond flour. No trans fats in sight - but Marc didn't like the stickiness that I assume is a result of the corn syrup.

If you prefer larger snacks, I would recommend eating an apple or other fruit or having a glass of milk with the bar, since it's not big. But if you take your time eating, which is easy to do since there are large pieces of nuts, I think you'll find that this is a satisfying snack by itself. I particularly like that it's the kind of snack that will keep well in my diaper bag and in the car, so it's great for when I'm out and about. The suggested retail price is $3.39 for a box of six bars, but I'm betting you can find it for less at discount stores like Target.

Cross-posted at CFO.

Free Stuff, Contests & Giveaways

Free Stuff:
Wake-up call from Garth Brooks on Nov. 6. Via SlickDeals.

Blockbuster Movie Rental Coupon for completing a short survey. Via Freebie Fanatics.

What To Expect Guide to a Healthy Home. Via Absurdly Cool Freebie Finder.

Arizona Beverage Keychain. Click on promos on the top nav bar, then click free keychain.

Giveaways & Contests:
Halloween Magnets at Mommy Cooks. Ends 10/24.

Mineral Fusion Fresh Face Starter Kits at mod*mom. Ends 10/29.

HP SD Card Reader at MoneyNing. Ends today.

Purple Petunia Mug at Scribbit. Ends tomorrow.

Mixed Media Fine Art at Sk*rt. Via Design Mom.


Goal Digger: Lessons Learned from the Rich Men I Dated at Blogging Away Debt. Ends 10/22. The book's author is also giving away copies on her own site. Ends 10/26.

dirtBag organic cotton tote at Green LA Girl. Ends 10/21.

Dreamer Bag or Tee at Sk*rt.

Vision Forum Drawing at Life in a Shoe (worth $150). Ends 10/26.

LoopDeLou Stationery at An Island Life. Ends 10/23.

Martha’s Vineyard Fiber Farm Yarn CSA giveaway at Not Martha. Ends 10/24.

Francesca cuff bracelet at Sk*rt.

Wolfie & The Sneak prints at Sk*rt.

Jump Up and Down handbag at Sk*rt.

Mommy Tags at Bloggy Giveaways. Ends 10/23. (I have two of these (one for each of my boys) - they're adorable.)

Roundup of giveaways at An Island Review.

Friday, October 19, 2007

No update today

I'm sorry I didn't have time to post a list of links today. I'll try to get one up for you tomorrow!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Freebies, Giveaways & a Contest

Freebies:
Luggage Tag from Cutter & Buck. Via The Bargainist.

Giveaways:
New Balance Pink Ribbon Vigor Jacket at FitSugar. Ends 10/22.

Jen Lemen original art at sk*rt. Via Design Mom.

First Year of CRAFT books at sk*rt. Via Design Mom.

Pink Polaroid Digital Camera at GeekSugar. Ends 10/25.

Mini Sleepytime Rocker at Mod*Mom. Ends 11/12.

Another long list of contests and giveaways at An Island Review.

Contests:
Apron Contest at Craftzine. Ends 11/12.

Free Toy from Toys R Us - Today & Tomorrow Only

Go to the Toys R Us web site and click on the "Free Toy" banner at the top of the page for a printable coupon (if it's not there, click on the "1" underneath the top banner). You can pick a 24-pack of Crayola crayons or a 4-pack of Playdough. If it's like last week's free toy coupon, then you just pick the item up, and give the cashier the coupon at check out. There's no purchase necessary.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Review: Cascade Complete Gel

I loved my dishwasher even before Alex was born, but ever since he arrived, I have really loved my dishwasher. I use it every day. I have even been known to run it when it's not full. I feel somewhat bad about this, but one reason I use my dishwasher constantly is that the super hot water sterilizes all the baby and toddler-related items. (However, I never use the drying cycle, which saves tremendously on electricity.) Because I have such a strong bond with my dishwasher, I was happy to receive bottles of Cascade Complete Gel and Electrasol Advanced Gel to compare. I really wanted to be able to say that the Cascade worked a zillion times better, since it was their PR firm that sent me the bottles. But I honestly didn't notice that much of a difference at first.

Then I read at An Island Review that Kailani also didn't notice much difference until she put the dishes in without rinsing them off. Cascade got all of the food off, while the other brand left tiny bits. So I gave it a try and noticed the same thing. Cascade gel consistently got dishes with leftover bits on them clean while Electrasol and even Cascade Complete Powder (which is what I normally use) didn't.

Another difference between the detergents is smell. The Cascade gel is a little perfume-y, but the Electrasol is downright unpleasant. It's bad when it's coming from the bottle, but much worse when it hits you as you open the dishwasher.

One important note: All detergents performed best when the cups were only half-full. The directions all say to fill all cups completely, but I have found that with filling them all the way leaves a filmy residue. Filling them halfway works perfectly.

Cascade Complete Gel is $5.34 for a 75-ounce bottle at my local Target. I use about 2.5 ounces per load, so that's 30 loads per bottle, which works out to 17.8 cents per load.

Cascade Complete Powder is also $5.34 for a 75-ounce box, and I use about 1.5 ounces per load, which gives me 50 loads per box. That works out to 10.7 cents per load.

Electrasol Advanced Gel is $2.99 for a 75-ounce bottle at Target. I use about 2.5 ounces per load, so that's 30 loads per bottle, which works out to 10 cents per load.

As you can see, the Electrasol is cheapest. So I think my new strategy will be to use Cascade Powder when I rinse all of the dishes and don't have any dried food bits (I frequently have 25-cent Cascade coupons and I will pay a little extra to avoid the Electrasol smell). But I now plan on keeping Cascade Complete Gel on hand for those times when I don't thoroughly rinse all of my dishes.

Cross-posted at CFO.

Freebies, Contests & Giveaways

Free Stuff:
Tape Measure from Indochino. Via SlickDeals.

Sample of Nina Ricci Fragrance. Via SlickDeals.

The Limited printable coupon good for $15 off any purchase (or $30 off $100). I'll have to stop by and see what I can find that's under $15. Expires 11/11. Via Freebie Fanatics.

Sample of DDF Mesojection Healthy Cell Serum. Via Absurdly Cool Freebie Finder.


Giveaways:
MamaGoToMarket Bag at Sk*rt. Via Design Mom.

The Quiet Millionaire book at The Happy Rock. Ends 10/21.

A whole bunch of contests and giveaways listed at An Island Review.

Princess Katie and Racer Steve's "Songs for the Coolest Kids" CD at My Mom Shops. Ends 11:59 p.m. today.

Print by artist Leonie Allen. Via Design Mom.

It's not that easy getting your $10 Amazon certificate from Coinstar

Boston Gal posted today that she had some trouble getting her $10 Amazon certificate from Coinstar. Hopefully her experience is an isolated incident, and I sure hope things work out and she gets that certificate anyway.

That reminds me, the next time I go to the bank, I need to get some rolls of coins so that I can get in on this deal, too.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Freebies, Contests & Giveaways

Freebies:
Sample of Cottonelle Moist Wipes. Via Absurdly Cool Freebie Finder.

Sample of Celestial Seasonings Tea. Via Absurdly Cool Freebie Finder.

Download a free South Park episodefrom Amazon. Via SlickDeals.

Subscription to Games for Windows magazine. Via Freebie Fanatics.


Contests & Giveaways:
Johnny Kapahala: Back on Board DVD at MomReviews. Ends 10/31.

Sumo Lounge Omni Chair at Consumerism Commentary.

All Financial Matters is giving away copies of Larry Swedroe's Wise Investing Made Simpleto celebrate its third blogoversary. On Friday, the book will be accompanied by a $100 Amazon certificate. Every day through 10/19.

Get Rich Slowly is giving away a Nintendo Wii. Enter by sharing your personal finance success story. Ends 10/19.

Eames-style Modernica Arm Shell Rocker at Design*Sponge. Ends 10/19. Via Mod*Mom.

Stained Glass Stars at Sk*rt. Via Design Mom.

Introducing PRIZEY

Jeremiah of Z Recommends has teamed up with some other bloggers to bring you PRIZEY, a new blog tracking blog contests and giveaways. Not unlike what I do here, but we have different focuses. PRIZEY has made things extra easy with an integrated calendar for deadlines, so be sure to check it out and add it to your feed reader.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Freebies & Giveaways

Freebies:
Sample of Bain de Terre mud masque. Via The Bargainist.

Sample of Old El Paso Taco Seasoning, plus recipe booklet. Via Absurdly Cool Freebie Finder.


Giveaways:
Toy a Day giveaway at GoodyBlog, tomorrow through Nov. 14.

Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld at An Island Review. Ends 10/19.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Contests, Giveaways & Free Stuff

Contests & Giveaways:
Baby Plus Prenatal Education System at Classy Mommy

Pop-Tarts Splitz Crazy Good Writing Contest. Via Stylish Moms.

Personalized Children's Book from Custom Made for Kids at An Island Review.


Samples:
Skin Wear Hand Sanitizer. via Absurdly Cool Freebie Finder.

Jergens Moisturizing Collection. Via Freebie Fanatics.

Mary Kay Fragrance. Via Freebie Fanatics.

Hugo Fragrance. Via Freebie Fanatics.

Free Stuff, Contests & Giveaways

Freebies:
Sample of Pantene Color Expressions

Sample of Calgon. Via SlickDeals.

I Heart Music CD Sampler. Via SlickDeals.

Contests & Giveaways:
Fresh Fall Memories Sweepstakes at Shutterfly

Nikki McClure Print at CasaSugar

Cake Beauty Products at Tangled and True

Klean Bath & Body Products at An Island Review

$1,000 Shopping Spree from TAB at FitSugar

Review: Snack N' Play Travel Tray

When the folks over at Family Travel Gear asked me to review the Snack N' Play Travel Tray, I was delighted because I'd been looking for a product like this for Alex ever since we turned his car seat forward-facing. The concept is simple: a tray that can hold your child's books, toys and snacks to keep him from driving you nuts - er, I mean entertained - during car and stroller rides.

The Snack N' Play Travel Tray is basically a rimmed tray made out of heavy fabric with a buckle that goes around your child to keep it in place. I found that it made the car seat straps a little difficult to tighten since I had to strap the tray on first. (This wasn't an issue with a three-point harness stroller.) It's nice to have a buckle on each side of the tray so that it doesn't matter which side of the car the car seat is on. It appears the tray can be used with just about any car seat or stroller. A friend who tried the tray at my request said that her son didn't like having the strap around him so she used it without the strap at times, but I haven't had this problem with Alex, who sometimes asks for the tray even on short car trips.

My friend and I both found that toys tended to slide backwards toward our sons and end up on the seat next to them. I also discovered that Alex (at age two) can't maneuver a cup out of the side storage pocket. However, that might not be an issue with an older child. Because the tray is made of fabric, it can be folded for storage and actually comes in a fairly compact zipper bag (similar to the kind that comforters come in).

My biggest concern with this tray was safety, so I asked for more details about the claim that the tray had been "crash tested by a federally recognized laboratory" and "No concerns [were] noted." I was informed that the laboratory receives federal funding to conduct safety tests and can't be identified for contractual reasons, but that the test was conducted with a new car seat and a dummy. Additionally, the tray's inventor told me that the tray complies with ASTM safety standards and that several car seat technicians examined the tray and had no safety concerns. My personal, unprofessional conclusion is that the tray itself probably doesn't add any significant threat, but as the police officer who installed my first car seat pointed out, any object in the car can become a projectile in an accident and pose a serious danger. Therefore, I should remove all loose hard objects from my car, particularly those in the backseat. But I just can't bring myself to refuse Alex his diggers, forklifts, and garbage trucks.

The bottom line: The Snack N' Play Travel Tray is nice to have but by no means necessary. It probably would be most useful during extended car trips, when the need for entertainment is greatest.

Family Travel Gear sells the Snack N' Play Travel Tray for $19.99 (shipping costs vary by location).

Originally posted May 2007 at Chief Family Officer.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Free Toy from Toys R Us

Update #2: Click here, then on the free toy banner. Thanks to Freebie Fanatics.

Update: It appears the coupon is now unavailable. I'm guessing they ran out of supplies!

Even before Alex was born, I heard that Babies R Us was thriving while Toys R Us was dying. TRU certainly seems to be having trouble getting people through their doors. They are now giving away a free Littlest Pet Shop Animal or Hot Wheels Basic Car with this printable coupon.

The Easiest Way To Brush And Whiten Your Teeth

Like many brides, I wanted whiter teeth for my wedding. But I chipped my front teeth when I was a little girl and they've been bonded for years. That material doesn't whiten along with the teeth during most whitening procedures, but my dentist assured me that a Sonicare toothbrush would lighten both my teeth and the bonding a few shades. He was right!

Of course, he really recommended the toothbrush for the "C-minus" that he gave the condition of my teeth and gums. I started with the Sonicare Advance toothbrush and later switched to the newer Sonicare Elite for many years now and have actually gotten consistently good grades from my dentist during that time. The only times he hasn't been thrilled with the condition of my teeth and gums has been when I haven't been able to use my Sonicare due to morning sickness (nothing will make you throw up faster than brushing your teeth when you're nauseous - and that's a problem with the Sonicare since it sprays everywhere if you take it out of your mouth while it's still on).

Sonicare toothbrushes have a built-in timer, so it's easy to brush each quadrant of your mouth for 30 seconds. A full charge lasts two weeks, so traveling with a Sonicare is easy.

One warning - Sonicare toothbrushes are not for everyone. I know someone who got massive headaches from using one, and another person who found the Sonicare wore down his enamel (he switched to a Crest Spinbrushwith good results). Even my dentist can't use one, but his wife does.

Freebies & Giveaways

Freebies:
Free Hypoallergenic Pillowcase. Via Freebie Fanatics.

Free Clip Art. Via How About Orange.

Giveaways:
"Hannah Montana-Life's What You Make It" DVD at MomReviews. Ends 10/30.

Free Stuff, Contests & Giveaways: Formula, 3D glasses and more

Free Stuff:
Sample of Parent's Choice Milk Infant Formula Sample - via Absurdly Cool Freebie Finder.

3D glasses at your neighborhood Walgreens Photo Counter (You can also get a free pair of glasses by mail by sending a self addressed stamped envelope to:
Live's 3D Halloween Special
Ansonia Station
P.O. Box 237164
New York, NY 10023
Via SlickDeals.

Sample of Nivea Energizing Hydrogel. Via Absurdly Cool Freebie Finder.

Sample of Carmex Lip Balm. Via SlickDeals.


Contests & Giveaways:
P&G's $50,000 College Education Sweepstakes. Via FILAM Personal Finance.

Island Baby Boutique items at So a Blonde Walks Into a Review. Via An Island Review.

Hair Accessories by Oopsie Dazie at An Island Review.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Surprisingly Toddler-Friendly: The Getty Center and the Getty Villa

I don't know about your toddler, but mine is happy to have a new place to explore. That means lots of space and lots of walking. Challenging climbs? Even better. What my toddler doesn't care about is kids' activities - crafts and such hold his attention for about two seconds.

So we recently headed out to the Getty Center thinking that Alex would enjoy the gardens and stairs, and we were right. Even on a Saturday afternoon, with a packed parking lot, there was plenty of room for him to explore. He enjoyed the ride up to the museum in the unmanned tram, the expansive city views from the top of the mountain, and the zig zag garden with its winding paths. He happily wore himself out going up and down different sets of stairs. He even made faces at me through the distortion lenses in the Family Room, though he breezed past the art coves where kids can create their own masterpieces.

Since the Getty Center was such a huge hit, we headed out to the Getty Villa in Malibu (just north of where Sunset meets PCH). Again, there were plenty of stairs and a huge area to explore. Alex actually whined whenever we entered an exhibition, but was perfectly happy when we were outside. The Family Forum contains a couple of kids' activities but none that held Alex's interest for long (you can decorate some vases with erasable ink and put on a shadow play). I loved the herb gardens, with their edible plants and fruit trees - I even saw a gardener walk past holding two radishes he'd just plucked out of the earth. Alex's favorite part was climbing the seats in the open-air amphitheater.

Unlike when it opened several years ago, the Getty Center no longer requires any reservations. But you'll have to reserve tickets ahead of time for the Getty Villa. Parking at each facility is $8. Both facilities are completely handicap accessible, which means there are ramps everywhere for strollers. However, we've found that it's easier if Marc wears a backpack and I pop Tyler into a mei tai so that we can all go up and down the stairs together.

Samples, Giveaways & Contests

Free Sampes from Wal-Mart:
NutraSweet Swirl
Basis Sensitive Skin Soap
Jergens Moisturizer
Sunsilk Threesome
NIVEA Smooth Indulgence Hand Cream
Curél Ultra Healing intensive moisture lotion

Giveaways:
"Angelina Ballerina The Silver Locket Special Edition" DVD at Classy Mommy. Ends 10/13.
Limited edition Table Fun set of your choice at My Mom Shops. Ends 10/11.
sarah jane {mini} GIVEAWAY! at Tangled and True. Ends 10/10.
Custom Marketing Package from IttyBiz. Ends 10/12.

Contests:
Share your favorite costume story and win a copy of Cranium WOW or another prize from the folks at Cranium.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Contests & Giveaways: Books, Bags & More

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Review: Nature Valley Roasted Nut Crunch

Cross-posted at CFO.

I was pretty happy when a PR firm I just started working with asked me to review a couple of boxes of Nature Valley's new product, Roasted Nut Crunch bars, in peanut and almond varieties. I buy and eat Nature Valley Oats 'n Honey granola barsall the time, but I don't like nuts that much so I wouldn't have bought these without having tried them first but I was definitely curious. Guess what? They're good!

They're definitely on the salty side, so part of me wishes they included chocolate chips or better yet, were dipped in chocolate. But that would obviously have a negative impact on the nutritional information, which is pretty good for a tasty snack. Each peanut bar has 190 calories, 12 grams of fat (1.5 grams saturated, 0.5 grams polyunsaturated, and 10 grams monounsaturated), 180 mg of sodium, 2 grams of fiber, 7 grams of sugar, and 7 grams of protein. The ingredient list is pleasantly short: peanuts, sunflower seeds, sugar, corn syrup, salt, and almond flour. No trans fats in sight - but Marc didn't like the stickiness that I assume is a result of the corn syrup.

If you prefer larger snacks, I would recommend eating an apple or other fruit or having a glass of milk with the bar, since it's not big. But if you take your time eating, which is easy to do since there are large pieces of nuts, I think you'll find that this is a satisfying snack by itself. I particularly like that it's the kind of snack that will keep well in my diaper bag and in the car, so it's great for when I'm out and about. The suggested retail price is $3.39 for a box of six bars, but I'm betting you can find it for less at discount stores like Target.

Free Sample: St. Joseph's Aspirin

Free tablet of St. Joseph 81mg Aspirin and a coupon. (This is the "low-dose" variety for clot-prevention. I actually took one throughout both pregnancies as a precautionary measure (one of several) to prevent another miscarriage.)

Get a $10 Amazon GC from Coinstar

According to an enclosure in an Amazon package I just got, Coinstar will give you a $10 Amazon gift certificate:

  1. Bring $30 of coins to the Coinstar center.
  2. Cash it in for an Amazon gift certificate and get free coin counting.
  3. Complete the printed receipt and mail it in to receive your $10 Amazon.com gift certificate.
The fine print says that the offer ends 11/4/07 or while supplies last (the offer started on Oct. 1). Visit www.coinstar.com for complete terms and conditions.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

A few links while I’m still recovering

Freebies & Samples:

Contests:Finally, ProBlogger is celebrating its birthday with a HUGE Birthday Bash giveaway, including two 20-inch FlatronWide L206WU USB-based monitors and five iPod variations. Most of the prizes will be given away this coming weekend so there's plenty of time to win.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Post, interrupted

Despite my flu shot, I've come down with it so posting will be sparse until I've recovered!