Friday, April 30, 2010

Coupon Confessions

You all know how much I love coupons right? I have a confession; I used to clip coupons that weren’t worth clipping. I was on a coupon train for a while and I would clip every single coupon even for things that I would think others might need. Some of them were for unique items, that only a select few would use. I would also get really excited about triple coupons and dollar doubles it was like my Christmas seriously. I would clip coupons for things I would never get unless it was free, then I would try and donate them if I could. For a while I had a huge collection of deodorants, ketchups BBQ sauce etc. Whatever I could get for free was like a gift to me. My cabinets and drawers became over run with free things I got from those sales. My mom and I used to joke about how many armpits we would need to use all the deodorant we had in our annex. You need to know when a coupon might not be worth clipping.

I try and use coupons whenever I shop if it is possible. I usually look for printables online if it is for a specific store. I also try and find coupon codes if I am shopping online. There are tons of printable coupons and coupon codes out there if you know where to look. I really like shopping at The Children’s Place for clothes for Noah and I am always looking for Children’s Place coupons. I like to get more bang for my buck. It is like a hunt for me. Do you like to shop with coupons? What are some deals that you have gotten that stick out in your memory?

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Drawing with Noah

Noah loves to color and draw. We had been drawing in doodle on Yahoo Messenger. I decided to use paint today since he wanted to draw the night sky and I wasn’t going to sit there and color the whole box myself. So, I found some really cool features on paint. Noah told me what to draw and what to put where. He even helped by pushing the button several times. I really like how our picture turned out so I thought I would share it. I took screenshots of the ones we have drawn in the past and those will probably make appearances on my blog at a later date.
Here is Noah and Mommy’s interpretation of the night sky!
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Thursday, April 29, 2010

I Got Something to Say

The title of this post is a quote by the character Jerri Blank from Strangers With Candy. I feel like I should share with my readers some things. I wrote a post a while back called When Blogging Relationships Go Bad about my horrible experience with a company I worked with on my blog. You can read the post here if you are not familiar with what I am talking about. The long of the short of it is, I was working with a company that promised me a full sponsorship to BlogHer in exchange for advertising, posts and even a Twitter party that ended up being a nightmare. I turned and looked the other way while she bashed other bloggers and even a NASCAR star. I did think it was wrong but I didn’t stick up for my fellow bloggers. I feel bad because I should have been the voice for the masses;I thought that she was being mean and rude. I regret that.

After a while I tried to let it go and not let it bother me. I have received numerous requests and comments asking me to tell who it is. I have remained silent as a professional courtesy but in light of the increase of new bloggers, I have decided to break my vow of silence and share with you all so you don’t get taken as well. It was Bea’s Gift Baskets. There I said it. Like I said there are quite a few new bloggers out there and I want to warn them, I don’t want anyone to be treated like I was. It still hurts; even more so with everyone starting to talk about BlogHer and BlogHer related events like the parties. It also still hurts that I spent all that time working on the posts and twitter party that wasn’t review related. They got free advertising. I got nothing but disappointment. I am sure you are thinking well you got those gift baskets at least that is something right?

I went to the dollar store, it is kind of new and yes, it still had eau du Dollar store smell. I was browsing around by the food and I saw an item that was supposed to be “gourmet” in one of those gift baskets. I was like wow; those are the exact same chocolate covered pretzels that were in one of my gift baskets. I just thought well they could have sprung for the Flips if they wanted to be cheap. The Flips are like 3 dollars a bag versus the dollar store ones. It makes me wonder how many more dollar store items are in those overpriced gift baskets.

There is nothing wrong with the dollar store, I shop there. I love the dollar store, but if you are paying 90 dollars for something you should at least get 50 dollars worth of food, a 20 dollar basket then the company nets 20 bucks or something along those lines. Maybe 40 dollars worth of food but there shouldn’t be items that you can get at the dollar store. I just think that is unethical and deceitful. That of course is my opinion.

I just wanted to share this with my fellow bloggers and readers. Maybe even the weary traveler passing through my blog. I don’t want to see anyone taken by Bea’s Gift Baskets like I was. So, how can we prevent this from happening?

1. Make sure you get everything in writing. Granted I had everything in email and that would have been fine, but when you are dealing with something like this extra forms like contracts are a good way to go. I know she didn’t mention contracts once until after she pulled out and didn’t want to do what I consider the right thing.

2. Don’t turn the other way or put up with others that talk bad about other people. Chances are they are bad mouthing you to someone else. You should work with companies that conduct their selves in a professional manner.

3. If your gut tells you it is too good to be true, it just might be or if the person gives off a weird clingy vibe you should probably walk away. Always trust your gut and your heart.

4. If a person you are working with is lying to others, 99% of the time they are lying to you.

5. Talk to others about their experiences, I know that everyone can make up their own minds about things they want to do, but listen to what others have to say and keep it in mind for when you make your decision.

I hope you find these tips helpful and keep them in mind in the future. Thanks for reading!

Sheila's Beer Battered Onion Rings Recipe

I love onions; they are one of my favorite foods. So, naturally onion rings are on the top list of foods I really enjoy. Now onion rings can come in a couple different ways. There is breaded onion rings that have a thick coating where the onion always seems to fall out. I am not a huge fan of them honestly. I have to be in the mood for that kind, which isn’t often. Beer battered onion rings are the way to go for me. I love to make them at home. I actually bought a deep fryer just to make onion rings. It is the only thing I have ever made in my deep fryer. This is the recipe my mom used when I was younger. I have many memories of her making them and us eating them. I thought I would share with you guys the recipe. It is really easy but it is kind of time consuming but extremely worth it in my opinion.

Here is a list of what you will need:

Deep fryer

Can of shortening

Few big onions

12 ounce bottle of the beer of your choice, I buy whatever is on sale usually Coors Light

1 1/2 cups of flour

Salt

Step 1: in a large bowl combine beer and flour. Let it sit for 3 or 4 hours. Resist the urge to stir it after you have mixed it all together. The batter will turn frothy.

Step 2: Put your shortening in your deep fryer and let it heat to the proper temperature. Please consult your deep fryer manual.

Step 3: Cut onions in rings. I usually do thicker rings because when the onion cooks it gets thinner. Separate the rings.

Step 4: Coat rings in the beer batter thoroughly.

Step 5: carefully place the onions in the deep fryer. I usually use a fork. Watch out for splatter and steam.

Step 6: When the onion rings are starting to cook flip them over with a fork or tongs. I always wear an oven mitt to protect my hands. When they are golden brown they are done.

Step 7: Take out onion rings and place on a cookie sheet covered with newspaper and paper towel. Immediately salt both sides.

Repeat steps 4 through 7 until you have the desired amount of onion rings

You can reheat them in the oven for a few minutes at 350 degrees on a cookie sheet
with paper towel.

If you want to make more batter remember it is equal parts beer and flour.

Enjoy!

I hope you try out this onion ring recipe and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Karma? Is that French?

Tonight while I was making dinner I was listening to The 700 Club and Pat Robertson was talking about Karma. I didn’t really hear everything he was saying because I was doing all kinds of things at the same time and I didn’t turn the TV up. I started thinking about karma. I personally don’t believe in karma as a Christian. I don’t believe that what I do now has anything to do with what I come back as because I don’t believe in reincarnation. People are always asking what you would want to be if you were reincarnated. Some people are like a tiger or a bear etc. Even if I had the possibility to be reincarnated I wouldn’t want to be. I would rather go to heaven than live on this earth all over again after I died. You could not pay me enough to give up my chance to go to Heaven someday when it is my time.

I am aware there is a difference between karma in a religious definition and what pop culture considers “karma”. I am not sure how old I was before I knew about “karma”. I can’t remember. I did know Karma was my local music store that always smelled like incense. In fact I have a Grateful Dead afghan that I had to have from there and it still smelled like incense for many years after I received it. People always say oh “karma” is going to get you or it’s “karma”. I don’t really believe in pop culture “karma” either. I think people believe in “karma” because it gives them some kind of comfort that the person is going to be punished for their wrong doings. It helps people cope and the person’s longing for everything to be made right and whole again. Things happen for a reason but I don’t see it as a way to seek revenge on someone.

I am a strong believer in the whole cliché saying “Everything happens for a reason” We might not know the reason, and we might never know, but there is an absolute reason for everything. I also believe that there are set consequences for choices we make. I don’t really believe it is the universe’s way to get back at someone. It just is what it is.

Have you seen my glasses?

Everyone in my family wears eyeglasses, it seems like. My mom wears glasses. My grandma always wore glasses too. She would always lose her glasses, but they were just reading glasses. Most of my family just needs reading glasses. They usually just buy the kind you get at the drug store. My mom has been known to wear dollar store glasses because my mom is the worst at losing her glasses or breaking them. She has an annex of glasses that she has bought as backups. Even though she buys like 5 pairs at a time within a couple months the glasses are broken or lost. I assume my son has something to do with that. He probably has a secret hiding place for all of the things that go missing in our house that he has picked up from other people’s houses. He has probably broken a couple pairs too. He likes to wear other people’s glasses.

My sister and I both wear prescription glasses. I am pretty sure we are both near sided. It wouldn’t surprise me if my sister wears glasses as a fashion statement. It just seems like something she would do. I have wore glasses since I was in the 5th grade. I remember when I got them. It started out so I could see the board. I hated wearing them. I would just try and squint to see, sit closer, and forget to bring them anything I could do. I didn’t want to be made fun of because of them. I can’t remember if I was or not. It didn’t take me long to lose those glasses. After that I didn’t really wear my new glasses.

Now I wear my glasses all the time because I want to be able to see. I have really pretty eyes and you can’t see them if I am squinting all the time. It is also really hard to watch TV or navigate my way through a store. I am so used to wearing my glasses I feel weird when I am not wearing them. I personally think I look better without my glasses but seeing is more important than what I look like. It’s funny how our opinions change when we get older. I have pretty good luck with my glasses. They have only been replaced 2 or 3 times in the last 10 years. I know I need to go and get eye exams every year I think it is. I don’t have vision insurance and I hate getting my eyes checked. I really can’t stand when they shoot the puff of air in your eye or trying on glasses. I am one of those no fuss no muss types of women. I usually grab something and try it on and if I like it I get it.

Remember my prescription eyeglasses, I lost in 5th grade? I found them like 10 years later. I lost them at my grandma’s house. Come to find out my grandma was wearing them all those years. It was weird to see them again after all that time. I am sure my grandma thought they were hers, I probably left them behind and since she wasn’t wearing her glasses she thought; oh these must be mine. I am not sure how she saw with them. I remember being little and trying on her glasses and not being able to see a thing. My glasses were not that strong because I can still see without them but, she wore reading glasses. I miss my grandma so much. I would gladly give her my glasses if I could just see her again. It is funny how something as simple as glasses could have such a great story to go along with them. Make sure you get your eyes checked. The world is a much more beautiful place when you can see properly.

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Uno's Chicago Grill Limited Time Menu Review

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As you all know, I love to eat. I also love going out to restaurants and trying new foods. Now, that I am a mom I go and pick up food more than I go out to eat. It is just easier with Noah. Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to try out the New limited time Jazzfest menu from Uno Chicago Grill.

I spent the week looking at the menu online and trying to figure out what I was going to get in anticipation of my meal. I had never been to the Uno I was going to and I was excited to go check it out. I brought my mom and Noah with me to eat. We arrived and the restaurant was really nice. The hosts were really friendly and they made sure Noah had crayons and a coloring sheet. The server was very prompt and made sure we had plenty of beverages. I also had the opportunity to meet the store manager he was really nice as well. He asked me about my blog and made sure everything was going well throughout the meal.

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I ordered the Voodoo Bones with Bourbon BBQ Sauce Slow-roasted New Orleans seasoned ribs served with our sweet and smoky Maker's Mark bourbon BBQ sauce. Served with choice of two sides. I chose broccoli and fries as my sides. The ribs were delicious. They were spicy but not too much spice where it was overboard. The BBQ sauce was really flavorful. The ribs were really tender and easy to eat. They have a dry rub on them so you don’t have the need for a bunch of wet wipes or napkins. I enjoyed the broccoli and fries too. Well what I was able to eat. Noah kept stealing MY fries. I really enjoyed my meal. This is a must eat if you are a rib lover like I am.
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My mom ordered the Ragin' Pasta. Chicken, shrimp and andouille sausage tossed with plum tomatoes, a zesty tomato sauce and fettuccine. It looked really colorful and even came with a breadstick. You get a lot of food when you order the Ragin’ Pasta. It seemed like it was an endless bowl because it kept going. My mom really enjoyed the Ragin’ Pasta. She kept talking about how delicious it was. She had her left overs for dinner.

Noah ordered cheese pizza and fries and apple juice off the kid’s menu. Noah also had his first real experience with drinking apple juice out of a glass with a straw and soda lid. He did really well. I was afraid that he was going to end up with apple juice all over his clothes but he didn’t spill a drop. He really liked the pizza and fries. He was really well behaved but we ended up taking the pizza home with us because he was too involved with eating his fries. Each time he ate a fry he would say mmm Yummy. He told me I couldn’t quote him on that but I am his mommy and I am the boss! We enjoyed the pizza at home for dinner and Noah kept asking for more pizza please.

We had a wonderful time at Uno's Chicago Grill. It was such a fun and delicious experience. We would love to be invited back. I hope you guys will check out the new Jazzfest menu that is available for a limited time.

For more information check out their website HERE
Not sure if there is an Uno Chicago Grill near you check out the restaurant locator

Thank you to Uno’s for inviting my family in to try out the special menu at no cost to us. These opinions are my own.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Bisquick Pancake Breakfast Review and LIVE Giveaway.

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Nothing says breakfast like a hot stack of pancakes. Our favorite brand of pancake mix is Bisquick. That was the brand my mom used when I was growing up and the brand my grandma used, so naturally now as an adult I use Bisquick to make my son pancakes. We like them plain, but we have also have been known to throw in some chocolate chips or berries in the batter. Pancakes are little clouds of goodness. Noah loves all kinds of breakfast foods. He lovingly calls pancakes, cancakes.

Bisquick Pancake Nation is a national effort to inspire pancake lovers to unite through pancake breakfasts. Join the Bisquick Pancake Nation to find everything you need to know about planning and hosting a pancake breakfast fundraiser. From now through May 31st, you can apply for a $250.00 grant* for your qualified non-profit organization so that you can host your own pancake breakfast fundraiser in your local community.

When you visit the Bisquick Nation website you can find :

The Pancake Finder—locate a nearby pancake fundraiser

Pancake Mix—customize a future Bisquick Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser with some fun tips on what to serve with pancakes

Calculator—plan shopping for just the right amount of ingredients for expected guests

Placemats—download and print so guests can share trivia and play games while they eat

We really enjoyed our pancake breakfast and using our new cast iron griddle pan, Cast Iron skillets make me think of my grandma because she always cooked with one. It has now been passed on to my aunt Peggy. When we go and visit them in California my aunt Peggy will sometimes use her cast iron skillet along with her dishes and we will remember my grandma Rose. The great thing about cast iron is it lasts for forever.

We enjoyed the hot delicious pancakes too. Who doesn’t love pancakes? It is in my opinion the traditional American breakfast. They are so easy to make with Bisquick. Not sure when they are ready to be flipped? Just look for the bubbles and when they pop you are good to flip them. I really like the mixing bowl with the spout too. I am notorious for spilling things in the kitchen. Every time I am spooning something out I always get some on the counter. I didn’t with the mixing bowl.

For more information: Please visit HERE
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I have a LIVE giveaway for you:

You will win:
A box of pancake mix
A mixing bowl with a spout
A spatula
A Cast Iron griddle skillet

You must do the mandatory entry, after that you can comment as much as you want.

Mandatory entry: Tell me a story about a time you ate pancakes
Be Sure you leave a way to contact you.

Comment number 204 will win
This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

Since I am a member of MyBlogSpark I had the opportunity to share this with you. The product, prize pack, and giveaway have been provided by Bisquick through MyBlogSpark. These opinions are my own.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

E! Investigates Bullying.


I love to watch E! Investigates. It is a great show where they feature everything from The Curse of the Lottery to Women Who Kill. I think that it is a very interesting show. Each show has a different subject and the show is an hour long and it is something I am always interested in. I actually will look online at my local cable company’s website to see when it is on. I have seen some of the same episodes more than once and I don’t mind watching them again. I am really interested in the ones about murder and mayhem. I wanted to share with you about the newest episode that will air on Wednesday April 21 at 10 pm ET/PT on E! It is about bullying.

Every day, thousands of kids across the country are afraid to go to school thanks to an epidemic of vicious behavior among American teenagers. It is estimated that 20% of children are victims of bullying. These attacks come in the form of physical and verbal abuse, as well as by newer methods of harassment using cell phones and the internet. Once thought to be just harmless teasing, the real-life effects of bullying can include prolonged depression and even suicide. Recently, according to police, a 15-year-old girl in Massachusetts hung herself after being taunted by a group of girls who posted mocking messages on their Facebook pages. This one-hour episode sheds light on several recent stories and the tragic effects that can result from this all-too-common behavior.

By all accounts, Dylan Theno was a happy, well-adjusted boy in a small Kansas community. But when he entered 7th grade, a few of Dylan’s fellow students began making fun of him. For years the cruel taunts and name-calling continued. The Thenos claim they spoke with school officials on numerous occasions to no avail and they ultimately had to make the tough decision to pull Dylan from the classroom. Also in this episode, E! Investigates interviews students, parents and faculty in Calabasas, CA, to learn what really happened when red-haired kids were suddenly singled out and attacked on the infamous “Kick A Ginger Day.” E! Investigates: Bullying explores theories of what may be causing the increasingly cruel nature of these attacks, explains how the advent of hand-held technology has given bullies powerful new weapons, and shows what schools are and aren’t doing to prevent bullying. Finally, warning signs are identified that parents should look for if they suspect their child has become a bullying victim.

I can’t wait to watch it. Bullying is a serious subject that many children have to deal with growing up. No child deserves to be a victim of bullying in person or on the computer. It is such a difficult thing to go through. Sadly sometimes bullying leads to suicide or murder depending on the severity of the case. I was watching another show on E! about the most horrific crimes committed by children and one of them has stuck out since I watched it. This girl named Shanda was being bullied by a few girls in school for some ridiculous reason and the bullies recruited a couple other high school kids to trick her in to going out with them to a concert to meet another “friend”. They ended up torturing her for hours and she ended up ultimately dying after being beaten over and over with a tire iron, being locked in the trunk for hours and the autopsy revealed that the cause of death was inhaling fumes as she was being burned alive. Other children could lash out and seek revenge on their bullies, and hurt many others in the process.

Bullying is not funny; it is not something that is just kids being kids. It is a crime in my opinion. As parents we need to all stand together and talk to our children and make sure we are aware with what is going on with our kids. We need to make sure our kids are not being bullied or bullying someone else. I hope you will all tune on Wednesday April 21, 2010 and watch E! Investigates Bullying at 10 pm ET/PT on E!

NOVICA Review

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When I went to San Diego with my friend for a wedding, we went to the beach. At the beach there was a bar on the beach with some hammock chairs. We sat that for like an hour enjoying the warm weather and the scenery. I immediately fell in love with the hammock chair and from that point on I wanted one for my own. I didn’t really want to leave the hammock chair. I was on a hunt for one when I got back. Every hammock chair I saw was very expensive so I hadn’t got one. So, when I heard about NOVICA which is an online store in association with National Geographic I was intrigued. I also like to help support other countries by purchasing from their local artists; I know I have more than some of them. NOVICA sells all kinds of items from local artists in other countries. Everything is handcrafted. There are some really cool and beautiful items. They even have corporate gifts that would be great for any office to give out for a holiday gift or even as a thank you to a client.

I had the opportunity to try out something from NOVICA. It was really hard to choose. I must have spent an hour trying to figure out what I wanted the most. NOVICA has beautiful jewelry, paintings, apparel, home décor and so much more . There are so many things I would love to receive as gifts. Then there it was a hammock chair. The hammock chair is made in Mexico. I got really excited. I had found one after all this time. It reminded me of San Diego and the memories I had made there. I immediately pictured myself sitting in it in my backyard looking out at the pond enjoying the sounds of the ducks and the fountain. I imagined myself relaxing and just taking in my surroundings. I told Noah about the hammock chair and that we were going to get one. He thought it sounded really cool but he had no idea. I anxiously awaited the arrival of my hammock chair. The day it arrived I was amazed at how gorgeous it was. It is really well made. It was soft and really easy to hang.

When I sat in it for the first time, I was so relaxed. I could feel my stress melt away. It is crazy how just a little relaxing can make all the difference in the world. I have been sitting in it whenever the weather has permitted it. I see myself sitting in it in the summer and drinking a frozen drink. Noah enjoys sitting in it too. He thinks it is his own personal swing. I am always right next to him when he is in it in case he would fall out, but I don’t see that happening because the hammock chair is big and strong.

I hope when you are looking for a great gift you will check out NOVICA and help support local artists in other countries. For more information and to order this hammock chair and other items please visit HERE.

Thank you to NOVICA for sending me a hammock chair to try for my review.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Last Minute Tax Tips from Dunkin' Donuts

Dunkin’ Donuts Retail Coffee

Tax Day Survival Tips

With the tax-filing deadline approaching, don’t panic if you haven’t completed your return. Here are some Tax Day Survival tips to help you avoid stress and enjoy a “delicious” return.

1. Set aside some quality tax time. Brew a cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee at home, find the materials you need to prepare your taxes, and retire to a quiet spot to get started. You can complete your return manually on paper, with Free File, or commercial software. If you use a tax professional, make sure to gather all your materials before sitting down with him or her.


2. Consider an extension. If, for any reason, you can’t file your income tax return on time, simply request a filing extension by April 15th. This gives you six more months to complete your return and avoid late filing penalties. Use Form 4868, which you can get at IRS.gov. But you still must pay now what tax you’ll owe to avoid late payment penalties.

3. Check out new tax breaks for certain 2009 purchases. If you bought a home, you may qualify for a tax credit. If you bought a new car, you may be able to deduct the sales tax. Find details about these new breaks at IRS.gov.

4. File electronically. To get your tax refund as quickly as possible, file your income tax return electronically and request that the refund be deposited directly in your account. You can have the deposit split among two or three accounts, including bank accounts, IRAs, health savings accounts, Coverdell education savings accounts, and a TreasuryDirect® account for I bond purchases.

5. Adjust your tax withholding or estimated taxes. Is it bad to be owed a tax refund? It’s nice to have the extra cash now, but getting a refund means you’ve really made an interest-free loan to Uncle Sam. A better strategy is to adjust your tax withholding or estimated taxes for this year so you pay an amount that is closer to the amount of tax owed; this gives you the use of your own money throughout the year.

6. Contribute to your retirement fund. The tax year is over but it’s not too late to put money in a regular or Roth IRA for 2009. Assuming you’re eligible, a contribution to a traditional IRA made by April 15th is deductible on your 2009 return. If you opt for a Roth IRA contribution, you can’t deduct it but will build up tax-free income for retirement.

7. Reap eco-credits. If you added insulation, energy-efficient windows, or solar panels to your home, you not only reduced energy costs but also may now qualify for a tax credit. The credit limit for installing solar panels and other alternative energy additions is 30% of cost; for other improvements, there’s a $1,500 cap. The tax credit reduces your tax bill dollar for dollar.

8. The standard deduction isn’t standard anymore. If you don’t itemize, you may be able to bulk up your standard deduction by adding amounts for being a senior, paying property taxes on your home or sales tax on a car purchase, or for suffering a loss in a federal disaster. But you’ll have to complete a new form, Schedule L, to total up your standard deduction.

Barbara Weltman is an attorney, prolific author with such titles as J.K. Lasser’s Small Business Taxes, J.K. Lasser’s 1001 Deductions and Tax Breaks, and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Starting a Home-Based Business, and trusted professional advocate for small businesses and entrepreneurs. She is also the publisher of Idea of the Day® and monthly e-newsletter Big Ideas for Small Business® at www.barbaraweltman.com and host of Build Your Business radio. Follow her on Twitter at BarbaraWeltman.

Sign up for a free sample of Dunkin' Donuts newest flavor Dunkin’ Turbo HERE
I just signed up for mine and I hope you will too!

Mushroomland Dolls Review

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Fairytales come alive with Mushroomland Dolls. Mushroomland sells cute dolls and characters from the stories by Natasha Guruleva. Natasha writes and illustrates fairy-tales and fables where many characters are mushrooms. Together with their human friend, they explore different realms of nature – Flower Kingdom, Butterfly Empire, Underground Maze, Big Pond and so on. For the illustrations she uses photography placing the characters that she makes herself into the natural environment– in the forest, ponds and meadows of Long Island. The basic thread of her stories holds together beads-ideas about recognizing and appreciating life around us, life under our feet, treating everybody as equal and seeing ourselves as a part of the unity.

She also single-handedly created a feature film, based on her first story “Adventures of Little Herbert in Mushroom Land.” It’s made in an old-fashioned style of stop-frame animation. She built over 50 characters out of fabrics and wires and designed the sets in the woods (Forest Town, Mushroom House). She photographed every movement of those characters, then “photoshopped” each frame to get rid of supporting wires and make the mouths move. She also edited (digitally) the entire movie. Now it’s airing at the various local TV networks as a series of episodes, and the next animated adventure “On the Wings of Butterflies” is in a process of creation. She not only wanted to write the fairytales she wanted to bring them to life through her dolls. The dolls are unique. They are kind of like stuffed animals, I love that they are characters and go on adventures in the fairytales, now you can take those same characters on new adventures wherever you go.

I like the way mushrooms look and I used to collect mushroom items. So, when I had the opportunity to review a Mushroomland Doll I was really excited. We received the Russell character. I thought it was really cute. Russell is a fun and magical guy. The Mushroomland dolls are homemade and I think that gives them all extra character and no Mushroomland doll is exactly the same. You can tell that a lot of love went in them. The company is really nice as well. Natasha’s nephew decided that Noah would like a bigger one, so we received a larger size of the Russell doll. I thought it was really sweet and warmed my heart. Mushroomland dolls would have been great for my Grandma Diana, because she collected and made dolls. I thought when I opened the box that it looked like something she would make. So, Mushroomland Dolls are great for anyone not just children.

For more information please visit Mushroomland’s website HERE

Thank you to Mushroomland for sending me a Russell Doll to try out.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Let's talk about Sexual Harassment.

I want to talk to you about sexual harassment and how it not acceptable in any situation. It can happen to anyone anywhere. I thought I would share my story where I was sexually harassed by a car salesman. I was out with my old best friend one day like any other day, on this day we decided to go look at cars because she wanted to get a new one. I can’t remember the reason why now. We walked in to the local Acura car dealership and was greeted by a man named Bob. He was older and was in his late sixties. We found a car that she liked and we decided to take it out for a test drive. No big deal right? My old best friend ended up falling in love with the car and buying it.

Shortly after, I am talking a couple days after the phone calls started from Bob. The first call was about how she liked the car which we thought was normal. Then he would call everyday and he kept talking about taking us out to lunch. We didn’t think anything of it. We thought he was just trying to be nice after he obviously got a hefty commission from her new car. He would say things like I wanna take you girls out and show you a good time. We grew up in a very safe community together; the worst thing that had happened that we knew of was a triple murder when we were in sixth grade and at that time nothing like that had happened again. I guess we were naive and sheltered safe behind the city limits of where we grew up.

My old best friend decided she wanted to get a spoiler on her car. At the time she had started to develop really bad migraines. We went to the local Acura dealership again to get the spoiler put on and there was Bob. We tried to avoid him since he had been harassing us calling us on a frequent basis. I was living with her at the time so I knew when and how often he would call. The calls got weirder and weirder and it got to the point that the calls were sent to voicemail. I can still hear his creepy voice in my head almost 5 years later.

Well, he ended up being in the service area when we arrived. We were polite to him of course. He asked us how we were doing. I said I was fine or good or something along those lines. My old best friend mentioned her migraines to him because they were really bad. He responded by telling his about his problems with his male part in detail like we were his doctor or a good friend. It was and still is disturbing.

I really don’t want to know about some strangers penile problems. The other people that worked at Acura that overheard it didn’t say anything like that is inappropriate. Normal people don’t sit there and talk about their privates with a complete stranger or a customer. The calls continued until we got in to the car accident and the car was totaled. Every time I see the Acura dealership I think of Bob and get the chills. I wonder how many others are victims of Bob’s Sexual Harassment and obsessive phone calls.

Sexual harassment is not acceptable at all. You have the right to be out in public without someone making lewd comments or gestures at you. Some people think they have the right to say or do whatever they want without thinking about how it will affect others. Have you ever been a victim? We need to make a stand and use our voices and speak out against Sexual Harassment.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Some Gifts I Would Love to Receive for Mother's Day

I can’t believe Mother’s Day is next month. Time is just flying by. I thought I would share with you a few gifts I would like to receive for Mother’s Day and maybe give you some ideas for you to give to your mother. I like flowers but I would rather have something that is useful and when I use the gift I can think of Noah and remember him at that age.

Everyone knows how much I love to cook so of course I am always adding stuff to my kitchen. Some of the things I would like to receive are a blender. Yes my blender is ancient and I really need a new one. I think the Ninja Master Prep looks awesome. I have heard great things about it. I also need new pot holders. My pot holders are really old and they are starting to get little holes in them. I don’t know how many times I have burnt myself. I would like the glove type of pot holders. The oven mitts are hard to maneuver when you a grabbing something out of the oven. I burnt myself with boiling water the other day when I was pouring the pasta in the colander so I think I would wear them to pour things out too. One last thing I would like to receive would be one of those Giant Cupcake pans like you see on TV. I love cupcakes and a giant one would not only amaze Noah but it would be a fun treat for us to share together.

I hope you liked my list of a few items I would like to receive. Remember Mother’s Day is next month so be sure to check out Taylor Gifts.

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Skinny Cow Review

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I love ice cream, but I don’t love all the fat it can have. If only there was great line of ice cream products that were good for you but didn’t taste like it. Luckily for me, there is. It is called Skinny Cow. Skinny Cow is delicious ice cream treats that are not only delicious but good for you too. All of the Skinny Cow products are between 100 to 150 calories which is significantly less than non Skinny Cow products. All of the Skinny Cow treats are trans fat free!

The Skinny Cow Website is full of fun ideas how to lose weight and live a Skinny lifestyle. I can’t forget to mention how cool Skinny is. Skinny is the mascot of Skinny Cow, she is a lipstick wearing fun and flirty cow who loves to wear green eye shadow and lose weight. I had the opportunity to try the Mint Ice Cream Sandwiches, Chocolate with Fudge Ice Cream Cones and the Chocolate Truffle bars.

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The Mint Ice Cream Sandwiches were the best mint ice cream sandwiches I have ever had. I used to buy the store brand because I love mint and that was the only kind I could find before. They were good but they were full of fat and calories. I had to enjoy them in strict moderation. Skinny Cow Mint Ice Cream Sandwiches on the other hand are better. They are so full of mint flavor and the chocolate cookies are the perfect mixture of softness and chocolate. The chocolate cookies hold up well and don’t make a huge mess like some ice cream sandwiches can. They are only 140 calories too!

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The Chocolate with Fudge Ice Cream cones were mostly eaten by my son Noah. You know how kids are with their cones. I managed to try a couple after he was in bed. I am not a huge cone person but these were good. Noah thought so too. I liked how they weren’t a huge mess when he was done. We spent our afternoons eating icy creamy ice cream as he would call it. He loves ice cream. Not that he understands calories or fat but I knew I was giving him something that was better for him than some of those other ice cream treats that are in shapes of cartoon characters that have way more than 100 calories like these do.

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Last but not least the Chocolate Truffle Bars. These were so rich and creamy and tasted like I was eating a box of frozen truffles. I shared a couple with my mom who loves to eat truffles and chocolate and she loved them as well. They are such a classy ice cream treat. Move over Bon-Bons there is a new decadent ice cream treat in town. Chocolate Truffle Bars are only 100 calories too.

Noah and I enjoyed eating the ice cream treats we picked out at the store. They went fast. Noah’s favorite was the Chocolate with Fudge Ice Cream cones. I specifically picked those out for him because I thought he would enjoy them. I also liked them. My favorite if I had to pick one was the Mint Ice Cream Sandwiches. I have always enjoyed ice cream sandwiches for as long as I can remember and you all know I am a mint girl. Both of the other treats were a stiff competition though. They were all so creamy and if I hadn’t picked them out, I wouldn’t have any idea that they are actually good for you. Honestly some of those other healthy ice cream and ice cream treats are not very good. Skinny Cow was a hit in our house.

The people at Skinny Cow wanted me to share a photo with you all. This would be a great idea for an alternate dessert at a baby shower. It was created by someone at the Skinny Cow office and it looks so good. I love the colors and the presentation is just gorgeous. It would definitely impress the party guests and please the mother to be.

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Look for Skinny Cow Products in your Grocery store freezer section. Check out the Flavor Finder to find products at stores near you HERE. You can also download a form to request other flavors from your store's manager.

For more information on Skinny Cow and to read some of Skinny’s humorous Skinnyisms and to send your friends Skinny Cards to help spread the love for Skinny Cow Please visit the Skinny Cow Website.

Thank you to Skinny Cow for providing me with some coupons to try out a few Skinny Cow Products for my review.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Carrabba's Italian Grill Passport Offer and Gift Card Giveaway!

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I love Italian food. I wanted to share with you about a great deal you can get at Carrabba’s. It is their passport book. Carrabba’s Italian Grill is pleased to announce Viaggi del Gusto, a passport for Italian food lovers to experience the wide variety of cooking styles and tastes native to Italy! The Passport/Special Offer includes:
- Limoncello Bread Pudding and a quartino of wine hailing from Tuscany
- Bruschette or Calamari representing Sardinia
- 20% discount on carry-out (in case you want to enjoy Italy right at home!)

You can pick one up at your local Carrabba’s restaurant for free! There are limitations and the offer is good in some states. The passport is valid until April 15, 2010

To find the nearest Carrabba’s near you please check out the Restaurant locator.

You can also enter to win a trip to Italy HERE.

Also say tuned for my review of Carrabba’s coming soon.

Thank you to Carrabba’s for providing the gift card for the giveaway.

I have a giveaway for you.

I am giving away a $25 gift card to Carrabba’s to one lucky reader.

Mandatory Entry: Please tell me what you would like to try from the Carrabba’s menu by visiting the website HERE

You must do the mandatory entry for the bonus entries to count.

Bonus entries:

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Follow @Sheilacakes7 on twitter and tweet about this giveaway including the link. This can be done once a day.

Tell me about your favorite Italian food

Grab my button and put it on your sidebar and please include a link so I can find the button easily.

This giveaway is open to US Residents only
This giveaway will end on 11:59 pm on April 10, 2010

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Check Out This Amazing Blogger and Friend

Everybody is always asking me and other bloggers who their blogging idol is or who they look up to the most? Normally I don’t like to single people out because feelings get hurt and egos get bruised. Most people say it is some really well known blogger but for me it is Mommy Niri. I had the pleasure of getting to know Niri from a PBS Sprout Band of Bloggers telephone conference. She is an amazing person and she is so intelligent. She has a really cool accent too. She was full of great ideas and I knew during that phone call that I wanted to get to know her. I immediately started following her on Twitter and I started tweeting back and forth with her. I really enjoy talking to her.

The world according to Mommy Niri.

She is such a kind person. She is doing all these things to help others and she is such an inspiration to me. She is such a great blogger and an even better person. She is one of those bloggers that truly want to make a difference like I do. I hope I have the opportunity to meet her someday soon. I can’t say enough good things about Niri. She is the blogger I strive to be like; she has such a big heart like I do. I bet we could do a lot of good in this world together. Everyone should check out Mommy Niri’s blog because she is such an awesome blogger and friend.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

John Deere Earth Mover Action DVD Review and Giveaway!!

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Noah is really interested in construction vehicles. He loves to look at them and talk about them we are in the car or on a walk. He names them with their proper names each time he talks about them. When he builds something he doesn’t say I am building something, he says “I am doing construction.” He is fascinated with backhoes, bull dozers, steam rollers and cranes. I think cranes are his favorite. He likes to build cranes out of other toys and strings that he finds. So, when we had the opportunity to review John Deere Earth Mover Action DVD, I was really excited because I knew how much Noah would love it.

Not only are excavators, dozers, graders, etc. irresistible to kids, but grown-ups love to watch, too. So it is to this background that TM Books & Video releases the all-new John Deere Earth Mover Action rumbling onto DVD April 13, 2010. This 40-minute tribute to big-machines – excavators, front-end loaders, graders, scrapers, and backhoes, includes a fascinating look at John Deere’s newest – the fast, powerful, four-track 764 Dozer.

TM Books & Video’s crews scoured the country to find John Deere big machines working hard in interesting places – watch a grader plowing snow in the Rockies, excavators digging dirt and loading big articulated dump trucks, dozers climbing hills and pushing dirt, front-end loaders moving big rocks in a quarry – powerful, big-time earth-mover action that will thrill and delight young and old alike. Learn interesting facts about these mighty vehicles and play the “Let’s Pretend” game where young viewers imagine being the operator of an earth-moving machine. Stop-action segments feature die-cast toys and articulated super heroes mining candy at the Big Rock Candy Mountain Quarry. Sing-along to all-new toe tapping tunes by award-winning singer/songwriter James Coffey. Kids will learn, laugh, and want more.

When the DVD arrived we watched it immediately. Noah was so excited when it started. He sat on the couch and named everything in sight. He watched in anticipation to see what was coming up next. We really enjoyed watching John Deere Earth Mover Action and we have watched it many times already. It is a great go to DVD when there is nothing on TV or when there is a show on that I don’t really want Noah watching.

This DVD is perfect for your little boy. They recommend this DVD for ages 3 and up.
John Deere Earth Movers will be on DVD on April 13, 2010, for a suggested retail price of $14.95. To order, call toll free 1-800-892-2822 or visit TM Books and Video.

Thank you to TM Books and Video for sending us a review copy and providing the DVD for the giveaway.

One lucky winner will receive their very own copy of John Deere Earth Mover Action DVD.

Mandatory Entry: Tell me what your child’s favorite construction or farm equipment is and who you want to give this DVD to.

You must do the mandatory entry for the extra entries to count.

Extra Entries:

Subscribe to my blog via email. You must verify your subscription

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Add my button to your side bar and include a link so I can find it easily.

Follow @sheilacakes7 and tweet about this giveaway including the link to this post. This can be done daily.

Please remember to include your email address in your comments or make it accessible on your blog.

This giveaway is open to US Residents Only.

This giveaway will end on April 17, 2010 at 11:59 pm ET.