Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ride Makerz Winner

Thank you to everyone who checked out Ride Makerz and left me a comment here. The winner of the $75 gift card is.......

Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2008-12-01 04:14:54 UTC

Amanda said...
Whoever came up with that idea is a genius! My boys would LOVE that. I'm a mean mom and won't take them to Build a Bear because we can't have stuffies in our house due to our allergies.

Congratulations Amanda! Email me your shipping address so I can mail this out to you!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I have an awesome giveaway for you!!!

After church on Sunday, I headed over to Ride Makerz at Woodfield Mall for a blogger event. Jackson and Clayton, along with Joe, had been invited to make cars there. I figured the girls and Austin would just hang out and watch. No big deal. When we got there, the nice folks who put this blogger event together, invited all of us to make cars. I was surprised that all the kids wanted to do it. I really didn't think the girls would be into it. But as Brooklyn told everyone in the store (repeatedly!),"I want a pink car with a 'mote control!" Of course, the princess walked away with, yes, a pink car with a remote control.

Anyway, if you've never heard of Ride Makerz, it's place you can go to build a car. It's kind of like Build a Bear, but geared <---get it? geared? Cars? Gears? I just crack myself up! Ahem, as I was saying, it's geared more toward boys and dads. So we walked in to the shop and my husband started drooling over all the car choices. I'm sure he would rather have had a life-size hotrod, but he made do with the model one. He even took it to work with him on Monday to show off his creation. Seriously, you walk in and see a wall like this...

Here you pick out the body. They've got dozens from which you can choose in every color of the rainbow. Prices range from $12 - $29.

Next, you move onto the section where you can pick out a custom sound for your car (in case you don't like the vroom vroom sound that comes with the car) and wheels & tires (again, you can get the wheels & tires that are included, or for an extra price, you can choose from several different custom treads.)

From there, you go to the station where a Ridez employee will assist you in putting your car together. This is the fun part! It's also where you can switch out the included chassis for a radio control one! It's a $25 option, but it's pretty cool.

Once you've assembled your Ride, you can customize it with pretty much any option you could think of for a real vehicle. You can turn your vehicle into a tow truck or firetruck and get sirens and lights. You can get grills and spoilers, running boards, lights, truck beds, engines, roof racks complete with surf boards, mufflers, and decals. Seriously, I think they've got hundreds of optional add-ons. And the cool thing is, you can build your car with only the included options and bring it back at a later date (like when grandma and grandpa give you a gift card for your birthday) and add on more accessories then. So whether you have $25 to spend or $125, you can make a pretty cool car.

Ride Makerz even offers birthday parties starting at $12 per kid and going to "sky's the limit".

Here are the kids' creations...

Savannah's simple blue Mustang

Austin's um black car, and Lexi's skull-mobile. I can't believe my "pink girly-girl princess" made a car covered in skulls!

Jackson's black car of some sort and Clay's umm red car. He went a little nuts with the stickers. According to Clay, that's the best part of Ride Makerz - applying lots and lots of stickers. There's even a sticker over the windshield. Maybe that's why the driver crashed and the car burst into flames.

Joe's hotrod and Brooklyn's "pink car with a 'mote control"

OK, now here's the coolest part! Ride Makerz is having a Black Friday special! When you go to a store on Friday, November 28, you can get the $25 radio control option for FREE! If you don't have a location near you or you can't stomach the after-Thanksgiving Day crowds, you can get the same deal by ordering online! You can order your car all assembled or order the components you want and have fun putting it together at home.
And, and, AND that's not all! I have a $75 gift card for one lucky winner! Just leave me a comment here and I'll choose a winner on Sunday, November 30!

Free Shipping

Since so many of you commented on the Groovy Girls giveaway, I thought I'd pass this offer on to you. Right now you can get free shipping with a $75 order at Manhattan Toy. Not only that, but you can get a FREE Groovy Girl holiday doll with a $75 order November 26 - December 1 while supplies last. Choose from Anastasia Sparkle or Garnet Glitterbella. Enter code Sparkle for Anastasia Sparkle or code Glitter for Garnet Glitterbella.

You can always go in with a friend or two and place your orders together to get the free shipping.

Lands' End Sale

I like working with Lands' End on giveaways because they keep me in the know about upcoming promotions and sales. Right now, Lands' End is running its Daily St. Nick's Pick at LANDSEND.COM. They're posting new discounts every day so check it out often to see what's on sale.
Shhh, I'll let you in on a secret. Tomorrow's deal is going to be $50 cashmere items that normally sell for $89! You guys are among the first to know about this one. Have fun shopping!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

PhotoFiddle Winner

Here is the winner of the $50 gift certificate from Photo Fiddle!

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:12

Shellie said... Oh, I want one! That is so cool. I love the picture of your girls, it's sweet.November 17, 2008 1:42 PM

Congratulations Shellie and thank you to everyone to who left a comment. Remember you can still get 15% off your order from right now! Just enter the code mom15 on the shopping cart page in the promotion code box and click apply.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Groovy Girls Winners!

I love doing giveaways for my readers, but I hate having to choose a winner (or in this case - 3) because I really wish I could give them to everyone! This is why I don't choose winners based on comments. I wouldn't know where to start! I use a random number generator. So here are the random winners who will each receive a set of 13 Groovy Girls and pets:


These comments came from:

Juliana said...
Oh my girls would love these!

Kristi-Anna said...
We have two little girls aged 8 and 4. I have one son, aged 5.5. I'm sure he'd play with the pets! :D My husband also lost his job last week, so Christmas will be lean this year. Through the generosity of companies who are willing to donate products through genuine folks like you, Christmas could be a little brighter in our home this year!Thanks for all you do Dawn!

KKsMom said...
I know of a lil girl in my town who would just love these.She is 4 and just lost her dad...We are doing a toy drive for a few families this year and hers in one of them....

Congratulations to the winners and thank you to everyone who takes the time to read my blogs and leave me comments!!! You really make my day with your wonderful words!

Adventures by Disney

Last week I was invited to a presentation for Adventures by Disney. I'd never heard of it and was interested to learn what it was all about, especially since we'd recently gone to Disney World.

Adventures by Disney started back in 2005 with 2 itineraries offered. For 2009, they'll offer 23 destinations on 6 continents, including Italy & Switzerland; Boston, Newport & New York; central Italy; Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands; Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, and San Francisco; Glacier National Park & Banff National Park; South Africa; and Alaska. Adventures by Disney gives families a way to not only see the world, but they "bring these locations to life" for your family. For each trip, 2 experienced Disney guides will accompany your group. Your group will meet up with local experts in each city you visit as well.

I had the chance to meet 2 of the tour guides at the event last week. Let me just tell you, I wanted to bring them home to entertain my kids while I work! You could just tell that the guides are great with children and would do a terrific job of occupying them on these adventures.

Not only will you enjoy 4 star+ accomodations on your Adventures by Disney vacation, but you won't have to worry about booking a thing. All transportation between cities you visit is taken care of. Excursions and sightseeing is arranged. Disney has done all the leg work and found the best family-friendly sites and activities in each location. They've already scouted out the best places to eat and shop and stay so you don't have to. They've also added downtime into each itinerary so your family can explore, get spa treatments, shop, swim, or go out to eat on your own as well.

Now I've never actually gone an Adventures by Disney vacation so I'm not speaking from experience, but given Disney's attention to detail, I imagine all bases are covered and you wouldn't have to worry about a thing during your vacation. I have a feeling the trip would be "magical".

With that said, these trips aren't for everyone. First, you have to be 4 years old to participate so my family couldn't even go on an Adventures by Disney vacation for one more year (when Brooklyn turns 4). Also, these are not affordable for the average family, in my opinion. If you're the type of family who loves to travel and you take big vacations often, then check this out. I think it would be a great way to see the world. Especially in countries where you don't speak the language, I think it would be terrific to have everything planned out and guides to help you every step of the way.

However, if you're an average family, like us, who goes camping and has to save up for 10 years to be able to go to Florida for a week, then you'll have a heart attack when you see the prices of these vacations. For example, their 8 night Viva Italy trip which tours Rome, Tuscany and Venice, would cost a family of 4 about $13,000 (early booking price) and that price doesn't include airfare to and from Italy. And you'll be on your own for 3 lunches and 4 dinners as well. So I guess you have to decide if the pricetag is worth the experience and memories for you and your family. You can check it out HERE.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Isn't this picture great? I took this picture of Savannah and Lexi a few years ago at my sister's wedding. I've always liked it and have thought of getting it blown up and framed. Of course, like most of my picture and decorating plans, it's been on the back burner for years.

When someone from PhotoFiddle contacted me and asked me to try out their site, I took a look at it. Now you have to sign up before you can check out all the features. I know, I know, it's a pain to sign up, but you'll be glad you did. You can take an ordinary photo and PhotoFiddle will change it into an oil painting or a charcoal sketch or a watercolor painting or any of dozens of other possibilities. You can play around on the site and see what your picture would look like as a black and white print or an impasto painting. When you've chosen your favorite, PhotoFiddle will print it on canvas and it'll look just like a beautiful piece of art!

I chose to have to above photo made into an impasto oil painting on stretched canvas.

a close-up view

a little farther away

from across the room

In addition to all the creative ways you can change your photo, the art team can adjust colors, remove objects, restore photos and more. This is a terrific Christmas idea for those hard-to-buy-for people on your list. You can give grandma and grandpa a family portrait in "oil" or a "watercolor" of the grandkids. And right now, PhotoFiddle is offering my readers a 15% discount on orders! Just enter the code mom15 on the shopping cart page in the promotion code box and click apply.

*****Edited to add: Leave me a comment here for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate! I'll choose a random winner on Friday, November 21.*****

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Feelin' Groovy

The girls and I were given the chance to check out Groovy Girls RSVP. If you aren't familiar with them, the Groovy Girls RSVP line are plush dolls that come with a code to access online activities at

The dolls are totally cute! Lexi squealed with excitement when she opened the box of 8 dolls and 5 pets. Brooklyn immediately took over, pushing Lex out of the way, to grab up the dolls for herself. Savannah, my 12 year old, even thought the dolls were cute. My sons weren't impressed because the dolls don't shoot arrows or ooze blood or have removable intestines. Even if they had liked the dolls, they wouldn't have been able to admit it because they're boys and way too cool for anything like that.

Lex and Brooklyn have had fun playing with the dolls and pets. They pretend the dolls are having a slumber party or shopping, or going to school. They also like to carry the dolls along when we go to church or to the store or to friends' houses.

But the fun doesn't end there. By entering the code included with your Groovy Girl RSVP doll, you unlock an online clubhouse where girls can play. They can customize their room - "mod pod", play games and chat with other girls in a safe and positive environment.

According to Lexi, the Groovy Girls website isn't as good as Webkinz. "There aren't lots of games and you can't buy stuff for your room. You can just like change the colors of the carpet and bed and stuff," said my 7 year old expert. I did have some issues getting some of the games to work when I used AOL. It wasn't a problem when I switched browsers, however. I agree there isn't as much to do on the Groovy Girls website, but I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing. I don't have to drag Lexi off the computer because she doesn't want to play for hours on end. She can decorate her virtual room, dress her virtual Groovy Girl and play games. There's even a section for parents with advice on raising a "whole girl".

Groovy Girls RSVP strives to promote Respect, Self-expression, Values, and Play. And girls can earn points by participating in online activities to help provide dolls to children in need. Manhattan Toy is donating toys to the Marine Toys For Tots Foundation (retail value up to $250,000 pending results of the Groovify Yourself viral activity and Groovy Girls RSVP online point system). What a great way to help out others while having fun yourself.

Just in time for Christmas, I have THREE sets of Groovy Girls RSVP dolls and pets (8 dolls and 5 pets per set) to give away to 3 lucky readers! Just leave me a comment here and check back on Wednesday, November 19 when I'll pick 3 random comments to win. Good luck and in the meantime, check out and Groovy Girls RSVP.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Strolling Down Linden Street

BlogHerAds and JCPenney gave a few bloggers a $500 gift card to use for items in their Linden Street line. I was one of those lucky bloggers. $500 to use on things for my bedroom? Woo Hoo! I haven't updated my room in, well ever. I immediately went online and checked out JCPenney’s Linden Street line and was thrilled to find a lot of cool items. I decided that I wanted a whole new furniture set along with bedding and window treatments. Then I got realistic and figured that $500 would probably only buy a sheet set and a comforter.

So I packed up all the kids and headed to JCPenney. Yes, you read that right. I packed up all the kids. You know, because I’m insane like that. I think I spent more time chasing the kids than looking at the Linden Street items. Thankfully you don't have to repeat my mistake. You can shop online for the Linden Street items!

The linens were really nice and I was impressed with the quality and the price. Linden Street is a fairly small line of products, in my opinion. There are only 4 different styles of comforters, for example. However all the items coordinate with each other. You can match blankets to sheets to comforters to rugs to pillows to curtains and blinds, furniture, lamps and bathroom towels.

With my $500 gift card, I purchased a bedding set including the comforter, dust ruffle, and 2 pillow shams, a 300 thread count sheet set, a blanket, a decorative pillow, a table lamp, 4 curtain panels, and a rug for my bathroom. And I fell in love with the Linden Street Cherry Road bedroom furniture and may have to go back and get it at some point in the future.

Watch my video to see the before and after difference in my bedroom!

Lands' End Fleece Winner

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:406

The winner of the Lands' End Women's ThermaCheck® 100 Half-zip Pullover with comment #406 is

Blessed Mama said...
Please enter me! Thanks!
November 9, 2008 6:29 PM

Congratulations! And thank you to all of you who take the time to read my reviews and leave comments!!!!!!!!!

And last call for Teresa who said...
I would love to give this to my kids for Christmas! I hope I win. Thanks Dawn for giving everyone a chance to win!November 4, 2008 10:51 AM

Please email me at and give me your shipping address so I can get your items shipped out.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Let's Talk Turkey

I laughed out loud and this commercial. OK, I laughed out loud and snorted.
Now, I've never actually had a turkey slip from my hands and go flying out the window, but still, if there's an easier way to cook a turkey, then I'm all for it! The thought of putting my hand up a chicken's butt to grab out that little bag o' guts just grosses me out, so when the folks at Jennie-O asked me to try out their Oven Ready turkey, I jumped at the chance.

Jennie-O has both whole turkeys (homestyle or butter, garlic, herb seasoned), and also turkey breasts that come in a Fool Proof cooking bag. All you need to do is plop it in your oven. Seriously, you take this turkey from your freezer (no thawing required), plop it into a roasting pan, cut a couple slits in the Fool Proof bag and walk away. You don't have to season it because Jennie-O has already done that. You don't have to rinse and clean it - taken care of. You don't need to pull out that little bag of giblets and such because there isn't one. You don't have to guess when the turkey is ready either because they all come with a pop-up timer; when it pops up, it's done. And clean up is a breeze because the turkey cooks in the bag! These are idiot-proof.

I make turkey several times a year. I'm not just a Thanksgiving kinda gal. Turkey is perfect for a large family and their whole turkeys come in 2 size ranges: either 11-13 pounds or 17-19 pounds. Sometimes I throw a turkey breast in my crock pot. You can put the Jennie-O boneless, skinless turkey breast (still in its bag) in your crock pot. Other times, I cook a whole turkey in the oven. It feeds our family and gives me leftovers so I can make turkey sandwiches, turkey tetrazzini, and soup. There are some really yummy sounding recipes for leftovers on their website HERE.

Not only is this Jennie-O Oven Ready "turkey-in-a-bag" easy to cook, but it tastes great! Because it cooks in this bag, the juices stay in. The turkey is tasty and moist. And you can use the juices to make your own gravy or stuffing, or you can use the included gravy packet to make a flavorful gravy. Now for those of you sticking to Feingold or other natural diets, you should know that this does contain artificial ingredients in the seasoning and gravy packet.

I'm not having Thanksgiving at my house this year, but the next time I cook a turkey, I'm definitely getting the Jennie-O Oven Ready turkey.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Kidijamz Winner!

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:

Timestamp: 2008-11-09 03:51:57 UTC

Comment number 302 came from:

Teresa said...
I would love to give this to my kids for Christmas! I hope I win. Thanks Dawn for giving everyone a chance to win!
November 4, 2008 10:51 AM

Congratulations!!! Thank you to everyone who read my blog and left a comment! :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Jawbone in Blue and Pink

You might remember a review I did a while back on the Jawbone bluetooth headset. You can read it HERE. Well, Jawbone now comes in both blue and pink! I love pink! It's my favorite color so I pretty much like anything that comes in pink. As always, it has the patented NoiseAssassin Technology: Jawbone literally feels your speech with its Voice Activity Sensor (VAS) to distinguish the sound of your voice and cancel out background noise. It's easy to use, comfortable and doesn't make you look like a telemarketer. And now it comes in PINK!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Baby it's Cold Outside

OK, well it's not really cold outside here. We've had a bit of a heatwave this week. But it will be cold. In fact, I believe they're calling for snow this weekend. Without a doubt, you need a good winter coat when you live in Chicago. I have a problem finding the perfect winter coat, however. If I find a nice, toasty jacket that keeps me warm while I'm shoveling outside, or when picking my kids up from school, or while running errands, it will undoubtedly make me melt when I get inside the school, or church, or store. And who wants to carry a big, bulky coat around with them especially when they're already juggling kids and packages?

I recently had the opportunity to try out Lands' End Women's Weatherly Jacket. When I first saw it I was amazed at how thin it was. We're so used to thinking that we have to look like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man in order to be warm. Well, with this coat, you do not need to add 5 feet of fluff to your middle in order to keep warm. The Weatherly Jacket has this exclusive PolarThin™ insulation that keeps you really warm without the bulk. And really, who wants a big puffy coat that makes you look 2 sizes larger than you really are? I love it because it's cute, yet casual and that's my style.

It has all these cool features too. Water beads up and rolls off the outside of the jacket instead of soaking in. It has a fleece collar, an MP3 player pocket inside, and handwarmer pockets. It even has adjustable cuffs for a snug fit that keeps snow out and adjustable back waist tab for a better fit. You'll be amazed at how warm you stay in a jacket that's so lightweight and thin! It has a temperature rating of -10°/-5°. If you're wearing layers, the jacket will keep you warm in -10° weather; if you're only wearing one light layer, in -5° weather.

And it comes in like 20 billion colors! OK, maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but it does come in 13 delicious colors, and both regular and plus sizes. Right now it's on sale for $49.50 which is not a bad price for a Lands' End winter jacket. Because it's from Lands' End, you know you're getting a quality item that will last and last. And, of course, you're getting Lands' End customer service and backing.

If the Women's Weatherly Jacket is not your style, or perhaps you're looking for a dressier coat, never fear because Lands' End has a ton of other stylish coats for the whole family! If you live someplace that never drops below 70°, I'm green with jealousy then I guess you'll just have to miss out on these prettiful coats. Poor you. ;)

Right now, Lands' End is giving away a Women's ThermaCheck® 100 Half-zip Pullover to one of my readers. This fleece pullover comes in more than a dozen colors, and regular, petite, and plus sizes. Leave me a comment here and I'll pick a random winner for the snuggly, warm pullover on Monday, November 10.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


I recently had the chance to try out VTech's Kidijamz Studio. My kids loved it! I mean, all of my kids loved it. Austin and Savannah might not admit it, but they even liked playing with the Kidijamz Studio! It's got a million buttons, bells and whistles and kids just love to push buttons. Especially when those buttons elicit a variety of noises. If you haven't yet mastered the fine art of tuning the kids out and noisy toys drive you bonkers, fear not. This comes with a headset so the kids can play to their heart's content and you don't have to hear a thing. Not that I don't love listening to my kids banging on a piano or anything...

Another cool thing about this toy is the fact that it comes with a removable music player. You can record your music on it, then take it out and listen to it like an MP3 player. Kids can take the music player and headphones with them and listen in the house or the car or whatever. It's great if you have more than one kid because one can play with the Kidijamz Studio while another child listens to the removable player.

VTech sums it up on their site: "Kidijamz is an interactive music station that lets kids record their own songs and music and play it back on a detachable music player. Music mixing is a snap with 20-kid friendly tunes. To find their own beat, kids can choose from 10 different musical instrument sounds, five musical stylings, and three rhythm buttons. Adding to the fun, kids can sing til their hearts content with the included microphone and digital voice effects. A musical scratching disc and light-up keyboard round out the fun."

Leave me a comment here to win your very own Kidijamz Studio! And then head on over HERE or to your favorite store and pick one up for your kids. Only 54 more shopping days until Christmas! Leave me a comment and I'll pick a winner on Friday, November 7th!