"Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.” author Spencer Johnson

Monday, January 31, 2011

Lovable Labels Review & Giveaway

untitled Do you find labeling a necessity? With two boys who have a lot of the same things, Lovable Labels comes in handy dandy!! As soon as we got our labels we went straight for the Nintendo DS’s.

Just to let you know, I’ve colored out my boys names so I can do my part in keeping their identities private. The photo below represents the pack Buddy got!FRIENDSHIP-PACK-MAJESTIC2

The boys have matching one, cause why would they want ones that don’t look the same? We’ve had issues with mix ups in the past. Now with the boy names on the back there won’t be any mistaking whose is whose.IMG_5070I also have a couple of containers for work that I put a label from each of my boys on: coffee cup and a water bottle. Everyone from our store received the same water bottle and I don’t care to have mine mixed up with anyone else’s.IMG_5068Next my boys have a number of PS2 games that they share, but some of them were given to them as individuals. I can’t keep track of who has which game so we are able to go thru them and I can label them for each boy. Thank goodness. I also like the boys having these labels on them for when they visit cousins or neighbors. With their names smack dab in the middle of them there’s no denying whose they are.IMG_5071You know what’s really cute? I was given 9 little labels that say “I ♥ Blogging”. How cute is that? Guess I’ll have to stick one of those in the middle of the computer screen, although I think the boys know the computer is mine, all mine. *grin*

Now, here’s some info about Lovable Labels: They launched in 2003 and have continued to develop inventive and useful products. Their labels are waterproof, dishwasher and microwave safe, washer and dryer safe, sun safe, bleach safe, sunscreen safe, and temperature safe.page

My oldest daughter is planning on going to Uganda on a mission trip this summer and because she has medicine allergies she’ll have to wear an ID band. Thank goodness Lovable Labels has Medical wristbands so we can tuck her info inside it and it will stay safe!

Here’s your opportunity to win a Friendship Pack + Friendship Sampler Pack! Ahhhh I know, so exciting! Here’s whatcha gotta do.

Required: Visit Lovable Labels and tell me which set you like.

Giveaway open to Canadian and US residents only 18 yrs or older. Please leave your email in the required entry or have it available in your profile. No email/contact = No entry. Giveaway ends 2/8/11 at 11:59 PST. Winner has 48 hours to respond.

Extra Entries:

I’d like to thank Lovable Labels for sending a Friendship Sticker Pack and Buddy pack for my boys. They will also be providing the products for giveaway. The opinions expressed are my own and never influenced by the company.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

International Spy Museum: Washington D.C. Review

Spy Museum Every time we go to Virginia to be with my family at Christmas, we make a day trip up to Washington D.C. It’s fun to go by the White House and go through as many Smithsonian Museums as possible.

We hadn’t really gone with Doodle before because he had always been too young to do all that walking around. I mean, we walk a LOT, for hours. It’s always my brother, my girls and Buddy. This year I knew I had a plan and Doodle was going to go with us.

For years I’ve wanted to take the boys to the International Spy Museum but really felt they were too young for it. I also knew that if we did the Spy Museum, we wouldn’t be doing the other Smithsonian Museums. I was ready for something new and thought my boys were going to love this.

I contacted the Spy Museum and they agree to partner with my blog and let us check them out!International Spy Museum

My brother, myself and the boys decided to check it out the day after Christmas! I was concerned they’d be pretty busy, but I think a lot of people were nervous to drive into D.C. with the “storm” that was supposed to come. Eh, I’m from Minnesota, I wasn’t worried about it!

At the beginning of the Museum you take on a new identity. That was something I thought was really exciting. Who knew I’d be so taken in by the Spy Museum! I took my new identity very seriously! Well, at least my own. I kept forgetting to call the guys by their new names! LOLBerlin-GuestsThere was so much I didn’t know about spying. The history of it, people who started up organizations for United States spying, etc. It was all so fascinating. You’re able to walk through the evolution of spying technology.

Unfortunately, Doodle wasn’t so fascinated by it as I was. Buddy thought it was interesting enough. My brother and I wanted to take our time going through the Museum. We were able to distract Doodle with a few interactive parts, but not long into it he started wondering how long we were going to be there.

Let me just say, for the record, that I think if you have a young child the same age as my Doodle, 7, and they’re really into spying, then I think this would be a great experience. Personally, I think I wanted my boys to be excited about being there as I thought they’d be. Oh well, I tried. I also think that if we would’ve done some spy research before we went to D.C. the boys would’ve been more connected with it. I wanted to surprise them. Ah well.School-For-Spies-GuestsMy brother and I really like the experience. I learned so much walking through the museum, sometimes at my bored 7yo’s pace, so there’s more I’d love to go back and learn.

One thing I thought would’ve been cool as we were walking through this elaborate museum would’ve been to interact with people pretending to be spies and see if they could get information from us. You know, come up to us and ask us our name, where we were from, etc. How cool would that have been?

We met up with the girls, along with my brother’s girlfriend, who had all gone to the Holocaust Museum. Here was their interpretation of what they thought we did at the International Spy Museum.IMG_4758If I do have the opportunity to go back, I’m going to do some of the grown-up activities!! I would love to do the:

Spy In The City ~ You get a GPS to follow throughout the city. The museum sends you information to follow and complete a mission! This would actually be fun for the whole family.

Operation Spy ~ A one-hour spy adventure to find a trigger for a missing nuclear trigger.

Spy At Night ~ You do Operation Spy, there’s trivia, a Cipher Wheel, special guests on specified nights, and at the end of the night is food and drinks.

Spy City Tour ~ You prepare for an interactive mission and take part in an undercover operation! You’ll also learn about disguises from CIA Chiefs of Disguise!

You can follow the International Spy Museum on:



If you’re going to be in D.C. during Valentine’s Day, check out the Love A Spy opportunity?

  • Dinner for two at Zola plus champagne toast
  • Admission to Spy at Night (clandestine cocktails and conversation)
  • Admission to the Spy Museum’s permanent exhibit

I’d like to thank the International Spy Museum for the 2 free tickets we received for a tour. The opinions expressed are my own and never influenced by the company.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Toggle Bandz: Handmade With Love Blog Hop Introduction

How much do you love little girls in headbands? I know when my girlies were little I loved playing with their hair. Of couse waaaay back then there weren’t creative ideas like Toggle Bandz.

Here’s what Amanda says about her product:

“Toggle Bandz were created by myself (stay at home military wife) having had found frustrations in market headbands and hair accessories. My 5 yr old daughter has thin fine hair and they would slip or roll right off her head. So I developed Toggle Bandz adjustable headbands. I make them all sizes,widths,colors and themes, Custom orders are always welcome.”



Toggle Bandz: http://www.togglebandz.weebly.com

*New Toggle Bandz added frequently so remember to check back!! Referral Perks. Spread the word about Toggle Bandz for every 10 people you get to order you get a free Toggle Bandz of your choice*

I’m so excited to share about these headbands because I thought they were such a great idea! Of couse, my girls are grown up and I can only ask my boys to do so much. =)

So, off I headed to church to see if one of my friend’s daughter’s would be willing to wear it for me and then they would be able to keep it. Thankfully we have some great parents who bear with me and my blogging. tee hee hee

Little H was so cute after we got the headband on her. You could tell she knew adorable she was. It was really easy to slide the toggle up to the right point so that it fit her head. I got my photos and off she went happy as a clam with her adorable new headband!

So here’s how adorable the Toggle Bandz are:

Toggle Bandz I want to thank Amanda for sending me the Toggle Bandz for review and for being able to pass it on to this adorable little girl. The opinions expressed are my own and never influenced by the company.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Giggling E: Handmade With Love Blog Hop Introduction

the new giggling e logo Business Name: The Giggling E, handcrafted items for you and your little one!

Featured Products: Diva Diaper Bags, doll diaper bags, quilted doll quilts, one-of-kind embroidery designs, aprons, knitted items, custom/personalized orders and soon to come boutique custom children clothing!

Giggle E 1
Etsy Shop: www.thegigglinge.etsy.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/gigglinge
Twitter: The Giggling E
Giggling E 2
I began the Giggling E by joining together the two things I loved the most – my children and my passion to create.  With the birth of my son, Ellison, I discovered an abundance of items that could be purchase from a store for my little one.  However, I quickly concluded that there is so much more I can make with my own two hands that will make life with children much more enjoyable and, at the same time, teach my children the gratification from the act of making.  Also, knowing many other new moms, I found that there was a shared desire to have products for our children with a special personal touch.
Giggling E 3
With the encouragement of those wonderful mom friends, I began making products and selling them through Etsy.  The company name is a tribute to our son’s vivacious character – our ever-giggling Ellison. The fun has multiplied with our daughter, Madison, who also inspires me to keep dreaming of new things. My giggling bundles of joy have continually inspired my creations and I am delighted to share them through my shop.

I have not received any compensation or products from The Giggling E. This is an informational post for the upcoming Handmade With Love Blog Hop.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Hip Hip Hurray Giveaway Linky

Hip Hip Hurray Giveaway Linky Can’t believe I was pretty much without a computer last week! I had my 10yr old computer hooked up, but it was a lot like using a dial-up computer. I was able to get thru more pages and look thru emails faster on my Droid2 than with the computer. Sigh…I’m back on track now and ready for some Linky Lovin’!

Here are 2 of my giveaways. I have a few more coming up now that I have computer back. Oh I love having it back.

Dora Talking Digital Camera 1/27

Gorton's Seafood Giveaway 5 Winners 1/31

To add your giveaway linky you must link to your giveaway not to your homepage! It will be deleted if it doesn’t. Spam will go as well. If you believe I’ve deleted your linky by accident, please let me know.

Family Traveling In the US

My kids and I love to travel by car…well minivan to be more specific. We have driven from WA to MN where our new home was to be. After we moved here, we did a LOT more traveling.
We have done huge road trips with extended family to Florida twice. We all loaded up in various vehicles and drove straight thru from Chicago to Orlando. All the adults would just rotate driving and sleeping.
Wondering how we managed to stay awake for 24 hours of non-stop driving? Books on CD! Oh, and coffee, lots of coffee. We did stop for necessities, but we had movies galore for the kids to watch and cousins to play with. Yes, we swapped the cousins as well. One time Grandma and Grandpa drove down to Florida, too, so they had a motorhome for the kids to stretch in on the way home.DSC03633
My boys even got to travel to Canada this past Summer with their cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents! I’m tellin’ ya, we are a traveling family. The above photo is a photo Buddy snapped on their way up in the awesome full size traveling van that is loaded! Hello, that’s the way to go! *grin*
As a family we’ve also driven to VA from MN about 5 times. It’s always an adventurous drive. My oldest daughter and I drove, with my boys and dog tagging along this past December and absolutely loved the trip! Whenever we visit my family we take a drive up to Washington D.C. and go to as many of the Smithsonian Museums as possible. We try to add something new every year. This year we did the Spy Museum! I thought it rocked.IMG_4754
Now, if I could create the ideal traveling getaway, I would take the summer and drive from one end of the US and back. I would start in June and finish in August. I’d want to visit places like Gettysburg, the Kentucky Derby, the Alamo, the Grand Canyon, Old Faithful, the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic, and so on.
I’ve been to most states, except I’ve never been to New England. I’d probably want to go there as it got closer to the end of August. Can you imagine how beautiful it would be?
My 19 yo daughter has probably visited more states than most of the kids in Minnesota because they just don’t do a lot of traveling here like we do by car. She can boast having driven in: Michigan, Illinois, South Dakota, Wyoming, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Indiana. Of course we can’t forget MN where we currently live.
I’d have to say we love driving as a family. There are always such amazing sites to see, but usually our driving consists of getting somehwere so we don’t get to take it all in like a tourist. That’s what I’d like to do on a summer long getaway. Take our time, soak in our beautiful country, and learn more about the history around us.
If you could take a trip driving around the US, where would you want to go and why?
“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Alamo blogging program, for a gift card worth $50. For more information on how you can participate, click here .”

Tiny Bubbles: Handmade With Love Blog Hop Introduction


I met Heather from Tiny Bubbles when she stopped by my mom’s house during Christmas with her little boys. 6 degrees of separation here. Her brother lived with my parents for a couple years and he’s my brother’s best friend. I’m getting ready for this Handmade With Love blog hop and here’s Heather with a gift for my mom from her Etsy shop!! AHHHH

She brought my mom a neck wrap that she had made. It was so soft and beautifully made! I knew as soon as I held it I was going to:

1) Buy one for my aunt for Christmas

2) Ask her to be part of the blog hop

I put in my special order last week (computer issues and all) and the neck wrap I ordered for my aunt is on it’s way!! So, here’s a little bit about her neck wraps and back wraps:

“Each neck wrap measures approximately 6 inches by 20 inches and has two chambers which contain a mixture of rice and organic flax seed. Each back wrap measures approximately 9 inches by 17 inches and has three chambers. One side of this wrap features your fabric of choice, the other side is a soft fleece.

Microwave this wrap for 1 - 2 minutes to desired temperature to create a wonderfully relaxing moist heat. Or store in your freezer to use as an ice pack.”Aunts neck wrap

This one above & below is my aunts!!Aunts neck wrap 2

neck wraps

Heather also makes Binder Bags (hello couponers!)

“This trendy bag is actually a convenient way to cover and carry your binder in style. Made with study cotton fabrics, these bags are great for class, coupons, photo albums, wedding planners and more!

Each bag features a transparent pencil bag sewn-in for easy access, as well as a pocket big enough to hold standard sized paper. (Pencil bag color may vary from picture).

Sides have velcro closures and cover should easily fit either a 1 1/2 inch or 2 inch binder. (Please indicate in comments if a larger size is needed).

coupon folder Inside Binder

Hooded Bath Towels With Hand Mitts

bunny towel ducky towel

towelTiny Toes Shoes, Burp Cloth and Skirt Set

“Dress your little girl in this elegant skirt and shoe set made from Pottery Barn's Penelope Collection fabric and she'll receive endless compliments!

This skirt features an elastic waistband along with a ribbon tie which can be worn either to the side or in back. Fits about 3 months up to 18 months.

Shoes pictured are size 6-12 month, but custom sizing is available upon request. (Custom shoes will vary slightly from shoes pictured due to design in fabric. Please allow 1-2 weeks for custom orders).

Burp cloth is made with a Gerber prefold diaper, and is trimmed using pink ribbon with tiny white polka dots.
Skirt, burp cloth and shoes are machine washable on delicate cycle. Air dry or tumble dry low.”

il_570xN_139193488Tiny Toes Shoes

 baseball shoes dot shoes


Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/people/TinyBubbles

I have not received any compensation or product from this review. I purchased the product mentioned above. The opinions expressed are my own and never influenced by the company or person I work with.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hip Hip Hurray Giveaway Linky

Hurray...a few of my current giveaways:

Bob Evans Fit From the Farm Meal 1/21

Dora Talking Digital Camera 1/27

Gorton's Seafood Giveaway 5 Winners 1/31

To add your giveaway linky you must link to your giveaway not to your homepage! It will be deleted if it doesn’t. Spam will go as well. If you believe I’ve deleted your linky by accident, please let me know.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Gorton’s Seafood Contest AND Giveaway 5 Winners

Back again to talk about Gorton’s again. The boys and I had the Potato Crunch Fillets last week. Buddy ate two, Doodle ate one and I had the one they left me. =) It was a yummy mix of potato and fish. Here are a few Gorton’s packages we currently have in the freezer that I personally purchased in the last couple weeks.IMG_4976Gorton's Seafood January Grilled Facebook Giveaway!4GB Bundle GroupShot
One thousand (1000) FREE grilled product coupons will be given out in four (4) Drawings of two-hundred fifty coupons (250) on: January 10, 2011; January 17, 2011; January 24, 2011; January 31, 2011. One (1) Grand Prize: Xbox 360 Console with Kinect (Retail Value $300.00) to be drawn on January 31, 2011.

Now I get to giveaway 2 coupons each to 5 winners! So worth the win! Yes, I can say this from lots of personal experience.1640-1041 PopcornShrimpTacos ka7

Required: Visit Gortons and tell me which variety you’d like to try the most!

Giveaway open to US Residents 18 yrs or older. Please leave your email in the required entry or have it available in your profile. No email/contact = No entry. Giveaway ends 1/31/11 at 11:59 PST. Winner has 48 hours to respond.

Extra Entries:

I’d like to thank Gorton’s for sending coupons for me to purchase more Seafood and for providing the giveaway coupons. The opinions expressed are my own and never influenced by the company.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Dora the Explorer Digital Camera & Giveaway

Basic CMYK I was sent a really cute Dora the Explorer Talking Digital Camera and I allowed Doodle to try it out! He’s a pretty big shutter bug and didn’t have a problem with the fact it’s a Dora camera.

I was surprised at how light weight it was. Not sure why I always expect cameras to be heavy. Probably because I’m comparing it to my full sized camera.

How does the Dora Camera work? Well, I thought this had a lot of features for the little crowd. Here are the options you can flip through:

  • Continuous Shot Mode

  • 3 Shot Mode

  • Delete All

  • Delete Last Photo

  • Photo Resolution

  • Compression

  • Frequency

Now if you look through that list you realize this is definitely a hands on parent activity. I can’t think of any 4yr olds who will choose from that list on their own and know what they’re doing with the camera.

I found it easy to set it on Continuous Shot Mode and leave it there. With the way Doodle was running around with the Dora Camera there should’ve been an “active” mode!

Next comes the fun Digital Software that comes with the Dora Digital Camera.Dora Software The software has photo editing options and games for the kids to play. You can also email photos, print them or watch a slide show.

Now, I have to admit, many of Doodles photos are blurry because he takes his photos while running around. And I don’t mean that in a random way, I mean he’s actually running in most of the photos he took! But I was able to snap one of him. =)010


Now for details on the giveaway:

*Sakar isn’t providing a camera for giveaway, which is fine, so I’ll be giving away our review camera. It was only used once by myself and my son and all photos have been deleted. I cut the packaging on the side and you can’t tell it’s been open other than the slice. If no one is interested, I will take away the giveaway offer, no problem. =)

Required: If you win this camera, who would be the shutterbug using it?

Giveaway open to US Residents 18 yrs or older. Please leave your email in the required entry or have it available in your profile. No email/contact = No entry. Giveaway ends 1/27/11 at 11:59 PST. Winner has 48 hours to respond.

Extra Entries:

I’d like to thank Sakar for sending this review item. The opinions expressed are my own and never influenced by the company.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hip Hip Hurray Giveaway Linky

Hip Hip Hurray Giveaway LinkyHere are a couple of my current giveaways:

Purex Free Softener 3 Winners 1/17

Bob Evans Fit From the Farm Meal 1/21

To add your giveaway linky you must link to your giveaway not to your homepage! It will be deleted if it doesn’t. Spam will go as well. If you believe I’ve deleted your linky by accident, please let me know.

Friday, January 7, 2011

CoverGirl 50th Anniversary & Opportunities

CoverGirl is celebrating their 50th Anniversary and want you to join in the fun!

Celebrating 50 beautiful years

The next generation of COVERGIRL… is you! Visit the MyCOVERGIRL tab to celebrate and let friends and this iconic beauty brand know just what it is that makes you an easy, breezy, beautiful COVERGIRL. As part of the fun, they’ll be offering samples, fun quizzes, sweet rewards, monthly and quarterly prizes and amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Go ahead, invite your friends to the party and rock your COVERGIRL all year long!

I joined, even though I’m not a huge make-up wearer. They are currently giving away their LashBlast Volume Mascara to the first 1000 CoverGirls. After you join, you have to go back and watch the “commercial” they create with your information. For me it cracked me up as I’d never be selected as a CoverGirl! LOL

I am BzzAgent and participating in this campaign.

Bob Evans Review & Giveaway

bob_evans_rest_thumbnail Living in Minnesota I don’t always get to visit yummy restaurants such as Bob Evans. The only time we get to go is when we drive out of state and visit my mom in Virginia.

IMG_4775I was sent a great kit from Bob Evans to learn more about their Fit from the Farm meals. I’ll fess up, my favorite item at Bob Evans is their Smiley Face Potatoes from the kids menu. Guilty pleasure.

I suggested to my folks while we were visiting them if we could go out to dinner at Bob Evans. They were more than happy to go because they like Bob Evans. We got there around 7:30pm with 7 of us in tow.

The waitress seemed a bit frazzled. Maybe it was because we’d just gotten done with the holiday weekend, I don’t know. I ordered the Grilled Chicken Breast from the Fit from the Farm ® menu. The rest of the family decided to go with their usual choices.Chicken BreastOh my goodness, this was a de-lish meal! I ate every single morsel. The chicken had a wonderful seasoning on it so I didn’t feel like I was missing anything without a gravy or sauce to go with it. I had a huge serving of broccoli that I scarfed and I ate the entire potato, skin and all. My plate was clean when I finished. I would absolutely order that meal again.IMG_4783Doodle unfortunately didn’t get exactly what he ordered. He got the pancakes with chocolate chips but they just piled the chips on top and then flipped them to burn them to the pancake. Kind of a bummer so I sent them back.

My brother M asked for an omelet (can’t remember which one) but it didn’t come at all like it was described. He was embarrassed by the attention being focused on him so he just kept asking us to leave it alone.IMG_4782Dessert came and M wanted to get something so my boys chimed in. Unfortunately, the waitress came back with desserts only for my boys and not my brother.

On to our drive home. I decided that instead of actually eating at the restaurant, we’d use their Carry Out option. So, I used my Droid2 to look up a location about an hour ahead of our drive. I called when we were about 10 minutes from the restaurant.

I have to tell you, Tommy was such a kind and helpful guy. I had no idea where I was going and he got us to his restaurant without issue.

This time I decided to order the Chicken, Spinach and Tomato Pasta. I love all three of those items and combined together sounded delicious!chicken spinach tomato pastaAll of our food came up at different times so by the time I left some of the food was cold. My pasta came without the chicken. They said they had given me catsup and syrup (for my kids) but that wasn’t in the bags. Thankfully I know better than to drive away without checking so I had to run back inside a couple of times to get the needed items.

That being said, the service at this restaurant was phenomenal and the food, at least mine, was scrumptious and again I ate every single bite.

No photo because we were on the road and I didn’t know where my camera was. Sorry.

Here’s your opportunity to win a FREE Fit From the Farm Meal Of Your Choice.

Required: Visit Bob Evans and tell me which Fit From the Farm menu item sounds yummy. (you can also look under the Lunch & Dinner links on the left side for more options)

Giveaway open to US Residents 18 yrs or older. Please leave your email in the required entry or have it available in your profile. No email/contact = No entry. Giveaway ends 1/21/11 at 11:59 PST. Winner has 48 hours to respond.

Extra Entries:

I’d like to thank Blog Friendly PR for connecting me with Bob Evans. I was provided 3 free meals, one of which I am passing on to you. It expires on 2/28/11 so be sure to use it ASAP! The opinion expressed is mine and never influenced by the company.

Blog Friendly PR