Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Family Vacation Made Easy! (Plus a Giveaway)



Planning the perfect family vacation can be ghastly. You spend hours trying to find a good location, nearby festivites, accomodations to fit your whole family, and not to even get into the painful details of cost!
With prices through the roof on just about everything these days, taking a vacation can sometimes be more dreaded than exciting.

But there’s a secret out there that many of us don’t know about. It’s something that’s been used for years, except now it has become much more easier. It's as easy as a timeshare rental!

What is a timeshare?: A timeshare is a form of ownership or right to the use of a property, or the term used to describe such properties

Timeshare rentals are a great way to save money. You can save up to 50% versus a cramped hotel room. Plus most of the timeshares come with a kitchen so you can save on meals if your vacationing on a budget. Most of the amenities that come with the resort such as water parks, arcades, children’s play areas, etc., are included in the price.

Now the only problem remains is how to find a timeshare rental. If we go to a search engine and type in timeshare’s in Hawaii it’s going to pull up all kinds of things which could possibly take hours to sort through! And how do we know if they are even legit? But, again I have to tell you about a secret that other’s are finding quite useful.
It’s a website called:

                                 RedWeek!
RedWeek is a do-it-yourself timeshare site where owners can advertise their timeshares for rent and/or resale. Individuals can contact the owners directly to arrange vacation set up, and for further transaction. And since RedWeek doesn’t control the transaction they do NOT charge additional fees or commisions for the transactions.
When you go through an owner of a timeshare you will find you’ll save a significant amount vs. going through a hotel or resort personally. Here's another great feature for RedWeek:
1. Go to the homepage
2. Click on Find a Timeshare
3. On the right hand side of the page you will see a list of Features & Attractions (all inclusive, beaches, kid friendly, pet friendly, casinos, golf, theme parks, etc) Click on the one you want.
4. And it will load a page where you can pick the destination you want to look in, and it will them all up for you.
That simple, easy, and quick. Such a time saver, and planning a family budget friendly vacation should be fun, not cause a headache.

Right now we are in the process of planning a family vacation. We don’t have all the details down pact because we haven’t decided where we want to go yet. We have been thinking along the lines of Orlando, FL. I mean there is just SO much to do there aside from the obvious Universal Studios! With RedWeek I instantly found a resort we could stay in to accommodate all 8 of us for 7 nights for $1,200. Then I went to the resorts website and they wanted $1,724 for 7 nights for the same features and amount of people! With RedWeek we would save roughly about $520! That is a huge amount of savings that we could use for entertainment, souvenirs, etc.

It's great for those who own a timeshare and want to list theirs for rent. If you can't use it yourself why do you have to lose your money to? You can just list it on RedWeek, and get it rented. Your saved!
A RedWeek membership is just $14.99 which allows you to contact timeshare owners directly, read and post reviews, etc. You can try it out for free also by becoming a guest.

RedWeek is so awesome that they are even going to give one of you lucky readers the chance to win a 2 YEAR membership! Enter below in the rafflecopter form to enter. Even if you don't see yourself taking a vacation right away you may change your mind within the next two years.



Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Book Fairy Book Review




Item# 978-0-8059-7839-1
Publisher: Dorrance Publishing
Page Count: 32 pages
Author: Becky Hughes and Her First Graders

Despite the colorful cover of this book the inside pages were devoid of color. They were just black and white drawings. However the story line somewhat made up for that.

The story is about a book fairy who flies around the world with a box of books and delivers them to children who have done good deeds. One night she gets trapped in a terrible winter storm and her wing freezes. She gets trapped in a tree and wonders how she will get out of that mess so she can continue to deliver books.

The story is captivating and seems sort of like a fairy tale brought to life which makes it that much more interesting to children. I liked the idea of the story of a book fairy. It makes books seem even that more magical to young children. While this book isn’t directed at one particular gender I think that girls would have more fun with it. Even though the illustrations aren’t in color they are still good illustrations and they are plentiful. A very interesting fact about this book is it was written by the author and her first grade class. You can definitely tell some of their touches in the story which made it more relatable to other children around the same age group. I think ages 5-8 would better be able to enjoy this book although my son is four and he liked it. A fun and heart-warming fact about this book is it was a thank-you present for Avis Loshbaugh, who runs a bookstore in Meeker and presents and reads a beautifully wrapped book to the author’s class each month.

To Check out my Star Rating for this book on Goodreads you can CLICK HERE
If your interested in learning more about this book or purchasing it you can CLICK HERE

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this book for review as a member of the Dorrance Publishing Book Review Team. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

Winner For Howard B. Wigglebottom & An Update

I sincerely apologize for my absence. I have had a lot going on in my life right now, and it has basically tipped my world upside down. I am still trusting in God though. It's in these times when we always turn to God. And although most of us don't want to admit it, it's always the hard times that bring us on our knees for Him.

Psalm 46:1
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

I for one have been trying to work on my becoming closer with God ALL the time and not just when things get rough. It's times like these that open my eyes, and show me I must try harder.
I can't go into too many details without exposing the privacy of some family members, but needless to say that if any of you feel like shooting some prayers our way it would be greatly appreciated.
To top off the unmentionable issue we have all been battling a cold, and it has literally moved from one family member to another. We are trying to recouperate from that, but with a mix of the unmentionable, the colds, and the day to day tasks that can't be left undone things are very stressful.
I somehow feel as if my world has been flipped upside down and I don't even feel much like myself. I try my best to hide this feeling from my boys. They are mama's boys and very sensitive to my feelings. I still think they know something is up because they cuddle up to me every chace they get. Still their cheerful smiles and happy laughs bring me a joy that nothing can destroy. I don't know what I would do without my wonderful baby boys, husband, and family. I know that we will get through this even if in the midst of the storm it's hard to believe. I still count my blessings, and am thankful. God is with me, and I miss all my readers and fellow mommy friends. I hope all of you are doing wonderfully, and I will be trying to get back online as much as possible to reconnect with everyone. I still have some great things coming your way that I am going to do my best to be on time with.
And even though it is a bit late, a winner has been picked via Rafflecopter as the Howard B. Wigglebottom giveaway. The winner is:
Rachel Seltzer
You chose this book:

This is one of the Howard B. Wigglebottom books on Sharing. I assume this is the one you referred to, but I will confirm with you on this through email.


I will be in contact with you via email and facebook for further information. Winner has 48 hours to respond before I will have to choose another. Congratulations!


I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Sincerely,
Tori

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Donkey's First Christmas Book Review




  • Paperback: 24 pages
  • Publisher: Tilli Publishing (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1908053011
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908053015

  • We LOVED this story. What a delightful children’s book! I found so much intriguing about this book.
    The story is about a little donkey who is very stubborn and lazy. He doesn’t want to do any work so when people come by to hire a donkey he does everything in his power to make sure they don’t pick him. One day a man comes by that isn’t swayed by the little donkey’s tactics, and asks his owner how much. Being so fed up that the donkey is basically useless the owner laughs and just gives him to the man. To the donkey’s dismay he is taken to start his journey. He sees the load he is suppose to carry is a very pregnant woman, and he tries again to get out of this hard work ahead of him.
    However the woman treats his stubbornness with kindness and offers him a treat. This seems to calm the donkey a bit and he finally acquiesces to the journey. She continues to give the donkey encouragement and praise even when he wants to give up. With every encouragement the woman gives him he pushes himself further and before they know it they reach their destination.

    It’s obvious that the donkey is carrying a very pregnant Mary on their journey. The most important part of this book I think, of course, is Jesus’ birth taking place. But what else really touched me about this book is how if we treat unwillingness with kindness and encouragement it can actually give others motivation to want to try harder. They just need someone to believe in them. This whole book was just wonderful! One of our favorites for sure. My son is four and he can’t get enough of this book. The illustrations are amazing and colorful and just so fun, the text font is really fun as well and almost resembles a young child’s writing what with the large O’s everywhere. I loved that this book rhymes which makes it all that more fun for children. The whole story just flowed so easily and naturally I was impressed. This book is gender neutral so both boys and girls would enjoy this book. It is not only a great read incorporating Jesus and Christian faith, but it’s inspiring for all ages. I definitely recommend this book. I have no gripes whatsoever about this book, and neither does my four year old son. Everything was just amazingly put together. This book definitely makes our list of top ten favorite children’s stories.

    Want to check out my star rating for this book on Goodreads and Amazon?
    TAKE A PEEK INSIDE THIS BOOK
    Would you like to PURCHASE this book?

     
    Disclosure of Material: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookCrash.com book review program, which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR Title 16, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

    Monday, January 23, 2012

    The Big Book of American Trivia Review

    First I’ll start by saying that I love to challenge myself. Because of this I have always been a fan of trivia and such. What I really love about trivia aside from challenging myself is that it becomes such a great learning experience. After all we can never learn too much right? So I was pretty excited to get the chance to review:


    



  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers; 200 Anv Cm edition (December 30, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414364547
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414364544
  • 
    It’s a really fun read that can keep you, family, and friends occupied for hours. Such a great way to spend some down time and test your knowledge. My hubby and I sat down a few nights when the kids were in bed and tested each other on various topics. It was pretty fun. This book has over 3,000 questions on a wide variety of topics from entertainment, history, music, literature, art, memorials, holidays, politics, landmarks, culture, and even some unpredictable miscellaneous things. My two personal favorites were the topic on scandal, and there’s a great chapter that has ten questions about each state. There are also chapters on America Month by Month, as well as, Doing It By The Decade which is pretty intriguing. Because there is such a wide variety of questions added to the fact that they can range from simple to hard this book can be a challenge for even the most well skilled trivia buff. It’s truly a book for everyone.
    The only thing I didn’t like about the book was the fact that answer pages can get a bit chopped up due to the lack of amount on some of the pages. Not always but here and there throughout the book. But I did like that questions are on one page with answers on the other side. It gives you more of a motive to challenge yourself in trying to answer the questions, and it makes the perfect set up for a good trivia game. I would recommend this book for high school students and ages up. Particularly fun for adults. Since this book is in honor of the two-hundredth anniversary of our national anthem it would be really fun to even implement it on Independence Day, and would make a great bring along on road trips. I wouldn’t recommend trying to read this book from cover to cover straight through, it’s more meant to be read randomly and easy to skip around from section to section depending on what your most interested in.

    Want to check out my star rating of this book on Goodreads? CLICK HERE
    Take a peek inside this book HERE


    Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of the book for review purposes from Tyndale House. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

    Friday, January 20, 2012

    TheraBreath Review/Giveaway

    As embarrassing as it is to admit I have always suffered from bad breath. I never quite understood this as I brush my teeth three times a day (plus I even scrape my tongue), and yet an hour or so after brushing it’s back to the normal yuckiness. Needless to say it has caused some confidence issues my entire life.
    I have always kept mints and mint gum with me to help aid in my trials, but they are only a temporary fix to my problem. Frankly they just do not work. I hate the fact that I have to constantly chew gum or eat mints so my bad breath goes undetected. Unbeknownst to me I just found out that I was actually making my bad breath worse by using mints and gums because the sugar in the breath mints and gum feeds the bacteria found in bad breath! So it’s actually quite ridiculous to use candy to fight oral/medical conditions. I didn’t really ever even think to use non-sugar gum or mints which is actually the way to go if your trying to help bad breath. I have tried so many toothpastes and mouthwash products that I had basically given up my search. Until now…


     
    Thankfully I’ve discovered TheraBreath and I can honestly attest that my life has officially changed!
     
    TheraBreath is a premium oral care system that was created by Dr. Harold Katz at the California Breath Clinics. He wanted to help his teenage daughter who suffered from bad breath, and with his background in Bacteriology he found Anaerobic Sulfur-Producing Bacteria which breed WITHIN the tongue's surface and throat causing bad breath.
    The original formula went on the market in 1994 and has been used by over 1,000,000 people world wide to solve their bad breath problems. Over the years they have refined the original formula and it is now the most complete and effective solution to the embarrassing problem of halitosis.The TheraBreath system not only treates bad breath and dry mouth, but a myriad of other things we suffer from on a regular basis: Canker Sores, Tonsil Stones (which you may not even realize you have), Halitosis, etc.

    I LOVE this product. For one thing it actually works! I can’t tell you how ecstatic I am to find a product that ACTUALLY WORKS! I don’t feel like I need to chew gum to kiss my hubby or try to put my hand nonchalantly by my mouth when I’m talking closely to someone in case they smell my breath. Not only has TheraBreath taken care of my bad breath (and tonsil stones), but it has boosted my confidence dramatically!
    I got to test out three of their products: Toothpaste, Mouthwash, and Lozenges.

    There is no overpowering minty taste at all! It is such a mild flavor that anyone could be comfortable using it. Plus I liked that the mouthwash really doesn’t have a taste at all! It didn’t burn my mouth or throat, and the toothpaste didn’t make me foam at the mouth or anything like other toothpastes. At first I was skeptical about this because I kept thinking “If I can‘t taste it how‘s it going to work?” and “If it isn‘t foaming how is it cleaning?” but oh does it ever! I actually even found out that the foaming ingredient is called: sodium lauryl sulfate, which is basically SOAP! It is even used in things such as shampoos! It only creates the illusion that the toothpaste is doing it’s job, but in reality it can be so harsh to your mouth that it can even damage the tissue inside your mouth in addition to drying out your mouth. Plus the toothpaste even helps fight cavaties.



    The Lozenges are a great agent in helping with dry mouth. I only have to carry around a few a day with me and if I find myself getting dry mouth (which happens often since I chase around two little boys), it wets my mouth and stops the return of bad breath in it’s tracks. They are not overpowering like other mints I have tasted. My eyes don’t water, and my mouth doesn’t burn from them. Even my husband who is allergic to high levels of mint can take them with ease. Other mints he will continually sneeze and cough, but not with the TheraBreath Lozenges.



     All three of these products have truly become a staple in our household, and I would recommend them for almost anyone. Here are some of their high points: safe for diabetics, pure natural ingredients, certified Kosher, NOT tested on animals, Vegan Approved, and Whitens Teeth!
     If your interested in trying out some of the TheraBreath product line you can purchase their products on their website OR at a number of local retailers near you!
    You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.

    The good news doesn’t stop there. One lucky reader of Mommy’s Musings will receive the chance to win their very own tube of Therabreath Toothpaste PLUS a bottle of the TheraBreath Oral Rinse! Simply fill out the raffle copter form below to enter.
    *If you have already won a TheraBreath prize, please refrain from entering so as to allow others a chance to try out the products.



    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

    Heart of Ice by Lis Wiehl- Book Review



    Page Count: 336
    ISBN: 1401685048
    ISBN-13: 9781401685041

    Back of the book:

    Elizabeth Avery could easily be the girl next door. But what she has planned will make your blood run cold.
    At first glance, the crimes appear random. Arson. Theft. Fraud. Murder. But these are more than random crimes. They’re moves in an increasingly deadly game. And the one element they have in common: a woman who is gorgeous, clever . . . and lethal.
    Elizabeth Avery has a winsome smile and flawless figure, but underneath is a heart of ice. She’s a master manipulator, convincing strangers to do the unthinkable. And she orchestrates it all without getting too close. Until now.
    When Elizabeth ruthlessly disposes of an inquisitive young reporter, her crime catches the attention of Federal Prosecutor Allison Pierce, FBI Special Agent Nicole Hedges, and crime reporter Cassidy Shaw. They know they’re dealing with a cold-blooded murderer who could strike at any time. What they don’t know is that they’re already on a first-name basis with the killer.
    And one of them may be next on her list.
     
    My Review:
    Even though this is book three in the Triple Threat Novels it is a great stand alone book. I personally have not read the previous two, but I didn’t feel lost at all. This book does a great job at covering all the major details you have missed in the first two so you aren‘t left wondering how things got to this point. At the same time it covers anything missed , it leaves you drooling to find more out about these women‘s back-story. The triple threat club is made up of three successful women in the same field. Allison a Federal Prosecutor, Nicole an FBI Agent, and Cassidy a crime reporter, these women combined together prove to be a lethal force that can bring down crime in it’s tracks. What makes this story seem more real is the detail in which the author paints the scenes. You are taken along a thrilling, bone chilling, adventure word by word. Even the women’s personal lives hold curiosity and intrigue. Not just strictly about murder each you see each woman’s vulnerable side and get a good look into their personal lives.
    When I first read the summary of the book I didn’t think there would be much thrill since it clearly states who the sociopath killer is, but it still intrigued me. I was immediately proven wrong within the first few pages, as I could not put it down! It is chock full of mystery and thrilling suspense. The killer, Elizabeth, is your typical neighbor next door. She could be your bank teller, or a helpful nurse in a doctor’s office. A seemingly independent beautiful woman who seems to have everything imaginable going for her. Someone that would never in a million years be suspected of murder or manipulation. But Elizabeth is a master of disguise, she can transform herself into anything you want her to be. She reels you in until she has you right where she wants you. The crimes appear random at first, but when one of her crimes catches the attention of the three women she decides she needs to cover her tracks and quick. She manipulates everyone in her path spinning a web of lies to everyone she comes across. She is a master at “The Game” and has went undetected for so many years she doesn’t believe there is any way that someone could ever figure her out. But then she is never dealt with the triple threat women before. I couldn’t help but wonder throughout the whole story would she be able to fool them too?

    If you love a suspenseful page turning thriller then I highly recommend this book. I can’t wait to go back and read the previous two as I am now hooked. Leaving me at the edge of the seat until the very end, and even then it left me wanting more! My kind of book! Read the first few pages.

    Want to check out my star rating of this book?: CLICK HERE TO VISIT MY GOODREADS REVIEW
    Interested in this book?: CLICK HERE FOR PRICING & MORE INFORMATION

     
    DISCLAIMER: I was provided this book for free through Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for my unbiased review. Opinions expressed are mine alone.

    Landmark Movie Tickets Giveaway Winner

    Congratulations Hannah H. on winning the 2 Landmark Movie Theater Tickets!

    Sunday, January 15, 2012

    20 Questions with Howard Binkow- Author Interview

    First I want to give thanks to Howard Binkow, author of the fantastic children's series Howard B. Wigglebottom, for allowing me this interview.



    1. How did you come up with the character Howard B. Wigglebottom?
    Howard: Our illustrator came up with the name Harold B. Wigglebottom. My family insisted the first name be changed to Howard.


    2. How long did it take to get this series published?

    Howard: Because we decided to self-publish, we were able to publish quickly.

    3. Do you have any children of your own? If so do they enjoy the Howard B. Wigglebottom series?
    Howard: I have four children and ten grandchildren. Every once in a while I receive a not so subtle suggestion to re-read Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Listen.

    4. How many Howard B. Wigglebottom books are there in the series?

    Howard: There are ten published books in the series.

    5. Are these books available for eReader's?

    Howard: Howard B. Wigglebottom 1,2,3 and 4 animated books can be purchased now as Apps on ITunes/Pad/Phone. All ten books should be available on EBooks on ITunes/Pad/Phone early this year and on Amazon and Book Nook as ebooks soon.

    6. In your own words give a little synopsis of your site.
    Howardhttp://www.wedolisten.org <http://www.wedolisten.org/>  offers free animated versions of our books, songs, posters, lessons, non-violent games and a place for children to write their own books.

    7. How can children benefit from the lessons your series provides?

    Howard: The intention of our books is to enable children to be better listeners, learn important life lessons and feel good about themselves.

    8. What would you say the age target is for this series?
    Howard: 4-8


    9. What prompted you to want to write children’s books?
    Howard: I first learned how to be a good listener at the age of 60. I wanted to share what I learned about listening with young children.

    10. Will more books be added to the Howard B. Wigglebottom series?

    Howard: Yes. A book about fear and courage is done and we are starting a book about God.


    11. How do you come up with book ideas?
    Howard: From parents and teachers.

    12. What is your personal favorite Howard B. Wigglebottom book and why?

    Howard: Each one has a special place in my heart.

    13. Are you currently involved in public library visits to promote your series? If not would it be something you would consider?

    Howard: I visit with schools and may be interested in public library visits.

    14. How long did it take to compile your team? (illustrators, authors, publishers, etc)

    Howard: We began publishing in 2005. We continue to add members to our team.

    15. Are the Howard B. books available at public libraries?

    Howard: yes

    16. Have you considered Howard B. shirts, toys, or DVD cartoons?

    Howard: yes. They are on our wish list.

    17. When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?
    Howard: Not a clue. I wasn’t thinking that far ahead.

    18. Has any of the books in this series won an award or have been up for an award?
    Howard:  Books in the series have received several rewards. 

    19. I noticed your website offers free songs to listen to and download, have you considered making a Howard B. CD?
    Howard: We plan on having a DVD which includes everything on our website, http://www.wedolisten.org <http://www.wedolisten.org/> .

    20. Are you self published or do you go through a publishing agency?

    Howard: We do not use an agency for sales in the US and Canada. We do have an agency representing us in the foreign market.

    *end of interview

    If you haven't yet checked out the Howard B. Wigglebottom book series I urge you to check it out. Your children will love it! PLUS one lucky reader of Mommy's Musings will have the chance to WIN your very own Howard B. Wigglebottom of your choosing for your kid/s! How exciting is that? You can ENTER HERE TO WIN
    Don't forget to check out The We Do Listen Foundation's amazing website, there is tons of fun stuff to do all FREE. We have surely been enjoying it.
    You can also connect with Howard B. Wigglebottom on TWITTER and/or FACEBOOK!

    Here's a list of the Howard B. Wigglebottom books:
    Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Listen (about how to be a better listener)
    Howard B. Wigglebottom Listens to His Heart (lesson: be yourself)
    Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns About Bullies (how to deal with bullies)
    Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns About Mud and Rainbows (about when parent's fight)
    Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns It's OK to Back Away (dealing with anger issues)
    Howard B. Wigglebottom and the Monkey on His Back (a tale about telling the truth)
    Howard B. Wigglebottom and the Power of Giving: A Christmas Story (the importance of sharing)
    Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns Too Much of a Good Thing is Bad (the importance of moderation)
    Howard B. Wigglebottom Blends in Like Chameleons (a fable about belonging)
    Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns About Sportsmanship (lesson: winning isn't everything)


    About the website:
    The We Do Listen Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) Non Profit Corporation.
    With their inspiring character Howard B. Wigglebottom the bunny, it helps children learn how to listen, learn important life lessons, and feel good about themselves in the process. Each child is unique and special, and all can relate to Howard B. Wigglebottom in one way or another.
    More than just books, The We Do Listen Foundation offers entertaining videos, games, songs, printable posters, printable lessons, etc., for free on their website: http://wedolisten.org/
    The We Do Listen Foundation is a group of writers, artists, designers, educators, therapists, parents, and teachers. Many volunteer their time.

    Friday, January 13, 2012

    Howard B. Wigglebottom Review/Giveaway

    We received the wonderful opportunity to review one of the books in the delightful children’s series: Howard B Wigglebottom.

    Howard B. Wigglebottom is a furry bunny in a series created by the We Do Listen Foundation. Among their book series there are songs, videos, games, coloring pages, and even animated books you can read for FREE online. There are games for age groups 4-8, and my son was able to do all of them with my assistance on the computer. This is a site dedicated to helping children learn important lessons about listening, bullying, anger management, moderation, truth, divorce, peer pressure, belonging, generosity, sportsmanship, attention, etc. There are printable posters that go along with each book which can be a helpful reminder to pin up on the wall to keep children motivated in their lessons. The books also have a feature online where you can review the lesson of the book and reflect. This would make a great tool for home schooling parents, and I plan on implementing it into our household.

    We chose Howard B. Wigglebottom Blends in Like Chameleons: A fable about belonging


    Joey is a kid who just can’t seem to sit still, follow directions, share or listen. Others get mad at Joey, and since he doesn’t feel like he fits in he does silly things that he knows he isn’t suppose to do. Howard comes to the rescue when Joey loses his two pet chameleons in school and gets in trouble. With help of a great friend Joey learns nothing is really wrong with him, and Howard helps him learn how to listen.

    My son is four years old, and he loved this book. One thing he was just tickled about was the book was signed! He tells everyone that Howard the bunny signed his book. He can identify with Joey in many ways when it comes to sharing, and having trouble following directions. He has been getting so much better at this, and it made him feel really good to read about Joey who can be so much like himself. This is a wonderful story about fitting in and letting others help you succeed in the process. It was very heart warming, and most children can identify easily with this book. Not only is it full of compassionate lessons children can learn easily from, there is a fun feature that makes this book uniquely interactive. On all the pages where the chameleons are hiding you can help spot them. This keeps children absorbed in the book, and teaches great focusing skills. We also really loved the the illustrations are plentiful, colorful, and very well detailed. We lingered over each page with my son pointing out all the different features.

    All the Howard B. Wigglebottom books are entertaining, and educational. They focus on helping young children learn how to listen while teaching them important life lessons and help them feel good about themselves all at once. Every child is different and with Howard B. Wigglebottom there is something for each unique child. I urge you to check out the website: http://wedolisten.org/
    It is a great tool for parents and children, and it is completely FREE. There is no registration process to play the games (plus they are non-violent), or read the animated books, so no sign in process is required. If your interested in purchasing a Howard B. Wigglebottom book you can CLICK HERE. For those who prefer hardcover books, they offer them on their site at a 50-66% publisher direct discount.

    And thanks to author of the Howard B. Wigglebottom, Howard Binkow, you can WIN your very own signed hardcover book! You can pick whichever book you would like from the series. My giveaways are always simple and I like to keep my requirements low. I have enlisted the help of rafflecopter to simplify things so now without further ado I will let you get to it! And don’t forget to check out the website: http://wedolisten.org/ You can also find Howard B. Wigglebottom on both FACEBOOK and TWITTER
    Your kids will absolutely love it! And stay tuned because I have an interview with Howard Binkow from The We Do Listen Foundation coming up this weekend!

    Here's a list of the Howard B. Wigglebottom books:
    Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Listen (about how to be a better listener)
    Howard B. Wigglebottom Listens to His Heart (lesson: be yourself)
    Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns About Bullies (how to deal with bullies)
    Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns About Mud and Rainbows (about when parent's fight)
    Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns It's OK to Back Away (dealing with anger issues)
    Howard B. Wigglebottom and the Monkey on His Back (a tale about telling the truth)
    Howard B. Wigglebottom and the Power of Giving: A Christmas Story (the importance of sharing)
    Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns Too Much of a Good Thing is Bad (the importance of moderation)
    Howard B. Wigglebottom Blends in Like Chameleons (a fable about belonging)
    Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns About Sportsmanship (lesson: winning isn't everything)


    Thursday, January 12, 2012

    Technology and Distractions

    Technology has come so far in today's world. I love that it has come a far way, and in particular I am grateful for cell phones. Particularly as a mom it has made things a breeze. No more waiting around the house when you are expecting a very important call. You don't have to delay your errands, or reschedule any appointments. Just carry your phone along with you. Now I don't talk while driving, or text while driving. No matter how important the call, or how tempting it may be it is not more important than the lives of your children, yourself, or any ride along passengers. Pull over to take the call, or wait until you are parked. But as a mom that always seems to be on the go, it is a great insurance to me to have a phone. My husband works an hour away from where we live and many of times a cell phone has saved us in some rough spots. We have been able to get a hold of each other when one of our cars has broken down, I can call the pediatrician anytime I have a concern no matter where I am, it's easy to stay in contact with family and friends, etc. I mean look at the image below and see how far cell phones have come along over the years:


    
    Amazing!
    
    But one thing I can't stand about cell phones as much as I am grateful for their inventions is this: It is so easy to get absorbed in them! I have noticed over the years at family gatherings, friend get togethers, etc,. how often people will look at their phones! They will sit and text or surf the net when it's suppose to be a get together. As I think back over the years and remember when none of us had cell phones and we just had to sit and converse with each other. No cell phones to text or surf the web. Just face to face conversations. Instead of focusing on the people who are sitting right there with us it can be so easy to focus on the texts and such. But we just have to remind ourselves that in person time is important. Make eye contact, have conversation, and have fun. When we get together with a group whether it be friends, family, etc,. I often wonder how much more we can find to talk about or do if we shut off our cell phones, or place them in a basket out of hands reach. Would it make a difference on how we interact with each other face to face?


    I have no qualms about most technology. I am impressed with how far we have come along. Even where eReaders are concerned I was particularly skeptical and bias about them. I told myself I would NEVER own one. I love the good old book in my hands any day. While that is still true I do now see the advantage of an eReader. On vacation you have less to pack, it opens up more room in your suitcase, etc. I still love good old fashioned books over anything, I will never give them up. But there are times when an eReader comes in handy. Sometimes it's just a good idea to unplug from technology and enjoy what is with us right then and there, and enjoy life while we have it. Because if you haven't noticed yet, one day it will just hit you, time just flies right on by!

    So enjoy today because tomorrow it will be gone.



    
    Sincerely,

    Tori

    Monday, January 9, 2012

    Stay with your firm

    This guest post from Edgardo Rosa
    Whoever thinks that being self-employed is for everyone is absolutely, positively WRONG. I own a company that does private head-hunting, and please let me be the one to inform you if nobody else does that it is extremely tough to start up a business from scratch. I worked for a private head-hunting firm for a while, and decided that I had enough talent and connections that I could go out on my own and strike it rich for myself. This, of course, was before the economy took a nose dive. Now, it’s so hard to find work- it’s like being in an ocean full of sharks ready to pounce! I have all of the essentials that you need to be successful- including an impressive office above my garage that is filled with computers, wireless internet that I got from ClearWirelessInternet.com, printers, copiers—the works! Now all I need are some of my clients that have been stolen back from me, and I’ll have myself a business! A word from the possibly not-so-wise—stick with your private firms!

    Sunday, January 8, 2012

    New Year's Resolutions

    I know I'm wayyy late on my first 2012 post. I have been slacking. I have all kinds of excuses that actually are legitimate, but I'm hoping I'm back on track now.
    Things have been a bit rocky for the start of 2012 in our family. I'm hoping that it all gets better, and I have faith that it will.


    I, like most other people, make a New Year's Resolution's list every year. The problem is that I always forget about my resolutions around April-ish. This year I have simplified things for myself. My Resolution's list is simple:

    1. Lose the Baby Weight that I've never lost
    2. Study the Bible more
    3. Be more active with personal blog posts
    4. Plan more family get together's
    5. Take a vacation! (we never go anywhere!)

    I didn't want to set myself up for failure with a long list. I have a 101 in 1001 list for that so no need to pile up my resolutions list.

    Over the holidays we had family stay with us from out of town. It was nice to visit, but it has thrown us all off our schedules a bit. In particular the boys bedtime schedules. They were on a consistent bedtime schedule and me and hubby lagged on enforcing it what with other family here. A huge parenting no no I'm sure. I justified it by saying it was a holiday treat for them to stay up a little later, and since they hardly get to see the family members that visited we were making up for lost time. Every night it seemed they stayed up a little later and slept in a little later. Now we are ALL paying the price. Their bedtime habits have gotten even worse and the last few nights bedtime has been a struggle to say the least. It's always been a bit of a struggle, my 4 year old cannot stand bedtime. But this lately has taken the cake! Last night we didn't get to bed until 1:30am! So now we're working on getting everyone back on schedule.

    Financially we are playing catch up right now. Things always tend to get a bit rough in the winter. Hubby's job profession always has lay offs and slow time during the winter. Luckily he hasn't been laid off so far, but there has been a lot of slow time which has resulted in him only working a few days a week. While we've loved having him home it has thrown us a bit off on our bills. Not to mention our little car has chosen this time to start having mechanical issues. The most recent in the list being that our muffler broke apart from the Cadillac converter (hubby's words, not mine. I know nothing about cars) and you can probably hear us coming a few miles away. Still I am grateful that we even still have a running car. I give much thanks for that since it is our only running car at the moment. We will get caught up though, and hopefully soon. We are just taking it as it all comes, and trying not to get too stressed over it. No sense in stressing out over something we have no control over.

    I have an exciting announcement though. This Friday I will be announcing a new feature that I'll be adding to the blog! It will be a weekly feature. I am so excited about this, and to give you all a little hint: it has to do with crafts. I LOVE doing crafts. I have always been a very crafty person for as long as I can remember. I just feel so content to keep busy, and I find working with my hands very relaxing. You can follow along with my crafts, or leave a comment with a link to some of your own if you'd like.

    Anyway, from here on out I will be more consistent with personal blog posts. We are all getting back to our old schedules (or trying to), and things are getting back to normal again, I think (and hope). LOL

    I do have some more great giveaways coming up this week, and if you haven't yet entered I'm still running the MOVIE TICKET GIVEAWAY compliments of Mark Cuban. And if your a new visitor I like to keep my giveaway's simple. There is never any jumping through hoops to enter in to win. While there are a few prerequisites for entries I keep it as basic as I can. I always get deterred by giveaways where I have to accomplish fifty million things before I even can get one entry in. So you won't find that here. Hope you head on over and enter, the giveaway ends 01/16/2012.

    Now I must reluctantly excuse myself and get back to my housework. There is so much to get accomplished yet, but I am more than ready. I feel oddly energized today despite my late bedtime last night.

    Sincerely,
    Tori

    Wednesday, January 4, 2012

    Kroger Private Selection Frozen Foods Review

    I had the delightful opportunity for me and my family to try out a few things from Kroger’s Private Selection Frozen Foods.
    We tried:
    Appetizers: Southwestern Style Chicken Trumpets
    Pizza: Margherita Napolitana Frozen Pizza
    Dessert: Miniature Vanilla Cream Puffs

    The Southwestern Style Chicken Trumpets were my favorite. I didn’t expect much from them to be honest, particularly when I took them out of the box. For one thing there weren’t very many of them, probably only enough for a few people to enjoy as appetizers. However as a family of say four it is sort of a perfect appetizer. The second thing was they didn’t look like they would be much of taste. So then I cooked them up, and all I can say is WOW! They explode with taste! You can taste the southwestern flavors, and it just tingles your taste buds! These were amazing. Next time I host a get together I’m going to buy a couple boxes of these to serve as appetizers. They were a big hit in my house, and I am a huge fan of them. I served these with a little bit of ranch to dip them in and it only enhanced the flavor. The crusts turn out golden and flaky, the insides have chicken, blend of cheeses, green and red peppers, etc,. Even though you don’t get very much in the way of amount, the taste more than makes up for it. And with a little added ranch as the condiment they are just delectable.




    Next, we tried the Margherita Napolitana Frozen Pizza. The picture on the box looked so tasty, but when I pulled it out of the box I was immediately disappointed. This is a great pizza for one or two people, but don’t expect to get more out of it than that. The size is definitely on the small side. There were plenty of toppings, but the only thing that actually stood out in taste was the cheese. You could definitely tell that there was a lot of cheese, and that it was high quality. The tomatoes were a great touch and they were plentiful, however the taste was sort of bland for this ingredient. I would be interested in trying other Private Selection Frozen Pizza’s in the future, but I doubt I would try this one again.


    For Dessert we ended our night with the Miniature Vanilla Cream Puffs. This is a simple dessert to serve. It’s kept frozen, and you just leave it in the fridge until they thaw out. I was surprised that they tasted as if they were just freshly prepared despite the fact that they are kept frozen. The disappointing factor about this dessert was they lacked taste. The crust was good and flaky, but the vanilla was just way to bland. It sort of tasted like mildly flavored pudding, and I couldn’t even taste much vanilla. It is a clean simple dessert though if your looking for something quick and simple, and it is a good dessert for children. My son was quite fond of them so it could always be something to compliment a school gathering or something.


    All in all I have to say that I was quite impressed with the Private Selection brand. I know I will be getting the chicken trumpets again, and there’s a Private Selection dessert I have my eye on that I didn’t get to try. They were completely out of these at my local Kroger, and those were the chocolate lava cakes. How about you, do you like to try out store brands? Here's a bit more about the private selection brand if your interested:




    Disclaimer: As a BzzAgent I have been provided with a complimentary product mentioned above for review purposes. All opinions expressed are HONEST and are solely mine alone.

    Tuesday, January 3, 2012

    A Cold Creek Secret by Raeanne Thayne Book Review



    This is the kind of romance novel that makes you sigh in wonderment. One of the best romance novels I have had the pleasure of reading. I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next, and there are plenty of cliffhangers that will leave you salivating.
    Here’s a bit about the novel:
    Mimi Van Hoyt desperately needs to talk with her ex-step mother. However the timing couldn’t be more inconvenient since she finds herself caught in the midst of an Idaho snow storm. She crashes her car into a creek where she is basically knocked unconscious. Lucky for her Major Brant Western is home on leave and sees the accident. What he thought would be a relaxing week off from duty turns out to be a rescue mission. He pulls Mimi from the wreckage and as the snow keeps falling they are forced to take shelter with each other in Brant’s ranch home.
    The last thing famous socialite Mimi wants is for her identity to be revealed, especially under the circumstances she is in. She takes on the identity of Maura Howard hoping that nobody will recognize her. The last thing she wants to be known for is the silly socialite the tabloids portray her to be. With plenty of careless antics she has found herself caught in over the years she can’t help but to be thrilled at being someone other than herself if even for a short time.
    Major Brant Western knows all about her real identity, but goes along with her fibs to placate her. What does he care if she wants to be someone else? Their time will be limited, and the story of spending time with none other than Mimi Van Hoyt will make a great story for his army buddies.
    However forced to live under the same roof they begin to develop feelings for each other. Brant soon realizes that there is more to Mimi than meets the eye. Each person is too stubborn to admit feelings for each other, and there are plenty of obstacles in their way which doesn’t seem to help matters.
    Will they ever be able to come together, or are their two worlds just too far apart to bring this unlikely couple together?
    The story plot is excitingly unexpected. Not your normal romance read considering the two characters being thrust together is an army Major and a socialite celebrity. It was pleasantly surprising, as were the characters. Just when I thought I had figured out the characters personalities something happened to surprise me. For me it was a quick read, mainly because I just could not put it down. I couldn’t wait to see what would unfold next in the plot, and what the characters would do next.
    The writing style was comfortable and flowed very easily. Everything was easy to imagine, and felt so real. I fell in love with all the characters depicted, and I highly recommend this novel to any fellow romance reader looking for a great read.

    Check out my star rating for this book on Goodreads
     
    Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher. However, all opinions expressed are solely my own.

    Sunday, January 1, 2012

    Interview Time With Billionaire Mark Cuban! Plus a Giveaway!

    I have some very exciting news for all the reader's of Mommy's Musings today. I received the opportunity to do an interview with none other than Mark Cuban! For those of you that may not know he is the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, he also owns Landmark Theatres, and Magnolia Pictures. He is a part time "shark" on the hit television series Shark Tank. Did I mention he is an incredible business mogul and investor? He is a great example of how a humble beginning can lead to prosperous future. As an entrepreneur himself he has some great tips for all the mom-preneurs out there. If your a mom-preneur and your kick starting your own business, or if your own business is just a dream of yours I urge you to look into Mark's book.
    Today we are not only lucky enough to get an interview with him, but Mark wants to give one lucky reader of Mommy's Musings the chance at winning two Landmark movie tickets! Very exciting stuff indeed, and if you ask me this is the perfect way to kick-off the new year! Mark also just happens to be chairman of the HDTV cable network HDNet, a part of that is HDNet Movies Kid Scene which is perfect for all you movie lovers at heart. Great movies are meant to be shared with the family, and kidScene has all the best movies keeping in mind what we hold most important to our hearts...our kiddos. From animation to adventure there is a little bit of everything! You can catch it each morning at 6:00am ET COMMERCIAL FREE, or Friday nights at 7:00pm ET.


    
    http://amzn.to/HowtoWinatSportofBusiness
    
    One part in your book I loved and my heart sank at is when your fiance lost your $7500 ring. What's your advice for those moms out there who are distracted by a relationship? How do you balance a real life with your dreams?
    I never was able to balance. Each person has to make their own decisions. But remember, your competitors aren’t sitting by idly waiting for you to have a nice dinner with your significant other. They are trying to kick your ass. So choose wisely.


    Mark, you mentioned that you were approached countless times to write a memoir but instead chose to ePublish.  Why?
    The time obligations of a traditional release were more than I was willing to undertake. I couldn’t ask for advances and then not want to do a book tour. Plus, the editorial deadlines were much more forgiving. I made changes hours before the final release.


    You have three kids. What life lessons do you give them so that they don't go through all the heartache that you've gone through?
    That is a life-long process . My oldest daughter is just 8, so we are still dealing with the basics.  But I try to do some things in my businesses that are great for my kids. For instance, we changed the programming on HDNet Movies so that every morning we run commercial-free, kid and family-friendly movies. I was mad that my kids always were so excited about commercials they saw in their favorite shows that I wanted to give them a commercial-free environment.


    One of my favorite parts of your book, How to Win at the Sport of Business, that completely broke my heart was when your ex-secretary robbed your first company of over $83,000, leaving you only $2000 after a year of work.  If there are moms out there that have lost everything, what advice do you have for them to pick themselves back up?
    Keep working. Don’t feel sorry for yourself because it won’t do any good.


    There are many young moms who are just beginning their lives and can relate to
    you when you said you were sharing a small apartment with 6 people and
    sleeping on the floor.  How can someone keep their eye on the prize when they’re
    living on Ramen noodles?

    Who cares how you are living today? I loved every minute of living in that dump. The low rent and utilities and eating Mac n’ Cheese all the time allowed me to afford the startup of my business. Instead of paying myself much, I could put it in to my business


    Where can we get a copy of your eBook, How to Win at the Sport of Business?
    Anywhere eBooks are sold: Amazon, BN.com, and sites that support independent bookstores too.


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