The Secret World of Arrietty – Released May 22nd, 2012!

If you grew up reading “The Borrowers” book series than you are going to be enchanted by The Secret World Of Arrietty.  This movie is based on the book series that we all know and love.  I have been anxiously awaiting the release of this film to share with my children.  As soon as it arrived this rainy afternoon we popped it into the DVD player, popped some popcorn and had a magical afternoon watching this fantastic film!

In  The Secret World of Arrietty, little people known as ‘borrowers’ live quietly beneath the floorboards.  Arrietty (voice of Bridgit Mendler) is a tiny and tenacious 14 year old who secretly lives with her parents (voices of Will Arnett and Amy Poehler) underneath a suburban garden home.  They go undetected until a twelve year old human boy named Shawn (voice of David Henrie) moves into the house with his Aunt and her housekeeper (voice of Carol Burnett).  Arrietty and Shawn develop a friendship, but if detected, could drive Arrietty’s family out of the home and straight into danger.


The story line is great and captured mine and my children’s attention for the duration of the film.  I loved the beautiful japanese animation and delightful imagery.  My family will definitely be watching this film over and over again.  It’s an instant classic!

The film was directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi and produced by Toshio Suzuki. Gary Rydstrom directed the English-language version of The Secret World of Arrietty from a screenplay written by Karey Kirkpatrick. The producers include Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall. The original Japanese screenplay was written by Hayao Miyazaki and Keiko Niwa.

The Secret World of Arrietty is available on DVD and Blu-ray May 22, 2012. Connect with the film on Facebook.


“A copy of this movie was provided to facilitate my review.  All opinions expressed are my own.”


Get ready for Memorial Day parties at BJ’s

Memorial Day traditionally means picnics, barbecues, and parades.  We’re no exception in our house- we’ve got picnics planned, and I’ll be marching with my Daisy Scouts come Monday morning.  The first place I head for when I have to grab supplies for cookouts is BJ’s- I can get some great deals for my money and have enough to feed everyone!

watermelon at bjs

We love the produce at BJ’s.  I’m so happy to see watermelons coming in, because it means summer is finally HERE!!  We also eat a ton of fruit in my house, so having the chance to buy in bulk helps me save myself multiple trips to the store per week.

These strawberries were purchased Monday morning by me.  It’s Thursday morning- they are gone.  The kids and Mr. Bargains devoured them.  Guess I’m heading back to the store for one more package of these before the weekend!

Sunscreen and bug repelling products are a MUST in our yard!! I’m thinking we may try the clip on products this year.

This party cooler is great! I’d love to have it for my patio (and someday, my pool deck…)

These gazebos are so pretty. I’d love one, to offer some shade, and I feel like you could make a romantic table setting under one of these, with candles lit and some pretty glasses?!








Tons of choices for your BBQ grill cooking- burger meat, hot dogs, ribs, pork chops- and a family favorite, the bacon cheddar chicken burgers (they are delicious!)

I didn’t realize before Monday that there was charcoal available at BJ’s as well. My brother Tony prefers to use a charcoal grill so he’d be glad to see that for sure!








You really can find everything you may need for your cookout- cookbooks, charcoal, propane tanks, even the grill itself!!

Don’t forget about AFTER dinner when you’re at BJ’s! What’s more fun than some S’Mores after the sun goes down- and maybe some glow sticks?  My kids could use glow sticks every single day of the year if we let them.











BJ’s would like to send one of my readers a $25 BJ’s Gift Card to get some supplies for YOUR cookout this holiday weekend!

To enter, simply leave a comment below with your name.  That’s it.  This giveaway will end at 5pm EST TODAY May 24, 2012.  I’ll draw a winner and they’ll have 24 hours to respond or a new winner will be drawn.  Winner to be chosen randomly.

I received a gift card to purchase some groceries at BJ’s to check out their Memorial Day offerings. Opinions are my own.

Happy 60th Anniversary Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head!

Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head have been living happily ever mash-er for 60 years! Can you believe it?  I wish I had one of the original Mr. Potato Head toys.  I love them- my kids love them.  Such a fun, versatile toy.  And look at the adorable  MR. & MRS. POTATO HEAD 60th Anniversary MASHLY IN LOVE Set from Playskool!

mr and mrs potato head mashly in love

Seriously, is this not the cutest set?  If only it had been around last year before my nephew got married.  How cute for a flower girl gift!

mashly in love, mr potato head

I love it.  It’s Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head as we all know and love, but they are dressed to the nines and are holding hands!!  Super cute.  Super fun.  My kids think the potato head toys are hilarious for the tushy storage- hard to blame them, especially with the Toy Story movies featuring them…but oh, do they love stuffing the tushes!

Wow! Years ago, these sweet spuds knew they were a perfect mash for each other and decided to share their lives together. It’s time to celebrate 60 spudtacular years! How time fries when you’re having fun! Today they’re still two spuds in love and want you to join them in their mix and match celebration!

Double your famous potato fun with the MASHLY IN LOVE set! Get 2 spuds and all the funny parts you need to make the perfect potato couple, MR. & MRS. POTATO HEAD! Put MR. POTATO HEAD and MRS. POTATO HEAD together with their funny features and pants. You can have a wedding with MR. POTATO HEAD figure in his top hat and your MRS. POTATO HEAD figure in her headband. Then mix up their parts so you can’t tell which is which! Store their parts in each potato figure’s TATER TUSH™ compartment. With these two lovestruck spuds, the potato-and-parts fun never ends!

MR. POTATO HEAD body comes with arm with wedding band, 2 ears, mouth, pants with feet, top hat, eyes, nose, mustache and bow tie. MRS. POTATO HEAD body comes with 1 pair of arms holding hands, headband, lips with teeth, arm, nose, eyes, hair, 2 ears and pants with feet.

Ages 2 and up.

You, too can live happily ever after with Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head for about $14.99 at most retailers.

I received a sample of this product to facilitate my review.  Opinions are my own.



Star Wars Toys from Hasbro and Playskool (These are a few of his favorite things)

These are a few of my 4 1/2 year old son’s very favorite toys right now.  He’s all about Star Wars, and wants to know everything about anything relating to Star Wars.  Mind you, he’s not seen the movie, nor a television show, nor read a book about them, but he’s full of questions and somehow knows most of the characters anyway.  So, today I’m going to share with you some of his most favorite Star Wars toys!

Up first:  Star Wars Fighter Pods

These little dudes are cool.  They are cute.  They fit in your pocket.   You can “fight” battles with them, using pods to knock over bad guys (or good guys, I won’t judge).  You can combine your pods for more power.  There are little vehicles that you can launch pods from the air with.  All this, and they are affordable.  The Fighter Pods come in a whole array of packages ranging from a few dollars to about $15.  NOT expensive.  Very collectible.  Very cool.  And very cute, but please don’t tell my 4 year old I used that word.  He gets all fired up when I do.  He prefers “cool” or “awesome” but never cute.  (They are cute.  They are like little shrunken little Star Wars guys.  Especially Yoda.  He’s always been my favorite).   Plus, toys that fit in your pocket are just fun.  Trade-able. Swap-able.  Share-able. (As a mom, they are also affordable. Sweet!)

Star Wars Fighter Pods from above



Then there are the Star Wars Jedi Force toys from Playskool.  We have amassed quite the collection of these toys.  I don’t mind.  I love them too.

We’ve had the Millenium Falcon playset, and a Barc Speeder Bike, which Santa left for my son at my sister’s house, and the entire extended family thought was cool (he’s napping or I’d grab a picture of his own set)….and it’s seen many hours of playtime.  We’ve been adding more figures and Starfighters as we go, and I’ve already tucked a Tie Fighter away for his birthday.  The Starfighters add to the fun of the Millenium Falcon- it means friends (or mom) can play along too, and fight the battles, act out scenes…just tons of fun. The Starfighters aren’t just vehicles, though, they also have cool features like being able to launch!

The Starfighters (and Tie Fighter) each come with 2 figures.  The Millenium Falcon set comes with 2 figures. I am always glad when toys come ready to be played with and not requiring extra purchasing to make them fun.  Sure, it’s fun to have the whole set, but it’s also nice to have smaller, less expensive options that can be played with fully as-is.

Star Wars Jedi Force Toys range in price from about $6.99 to $39.99 (for the Millenium Falcon).  They are well made and stand up to play quite well.

Of course, I have a mad love for these cute little action figures, so we have just about all of the little “guys” here at the house now.  I can’t help it.  They are small and easy for littler hands to manipulate.  And they are little kid versions of the big kid toys so I can feel like my little guy is indeed still my little guy for a little while longer!


Do you have a Star Wars fan in your life?  Do they have any of these toys? 


Some items were received to facilitate my review.  Some were already ours.  Opinions are my own!



Liberty Sport Protective Eyewear


 With spring in full gear my kids are more active than ever.  My 6 year old is particularly active with sports and various outdoor adventures.  I have been looking for some sporty eye protection for a while and recently discovered Liberty Sport.  They offer a great line of eyewear, but I was particularly interested in their protective eyewear.  They were generous enough to send me a sample of their F8 glasses.  They have a ton of great features:


•Unisex Shape.
•Meets or exceeds ASTM F803 impact resistance for several sports.
•Patent Pending Rimless F803 concept.
•6-base design allows for a wide range of prescription lens powers.
•Open endpiece provides venting to help minimize fogging.
•Sizing allows for teen to adults fitting.
•New dramatic look and treatment.
•Bridge comes with soft padding.
•Comes with semi-rigid case, cleaning cloth and adjustable strap.

These glasses are suitable for Basketball, Handball, Paddleball, Racquetball, Soccer, Squash, Tennis.

Sized for Teens/Adults

I tried these glasses out on my 6 year old son (he has an especially large head).  They fit great and he LOVES them!  In fact, I can’t get him to take them off.  He wears them to T-Ball, Basketball, while working on his “inventions” and while playing outside.  He particularly likes that “nobody can poke him in the eye”.  Apparently this is a big problem with the 6 year old crowd.  Who knew?  Anyway, we love the durability and comfortable fit of these glasses, and as far as protective eyewear goes, it doesn’t get funkier than this!  They look super cool on my guy and they come in a really nice zippered protective case along with a cleaning cloth.  I expect that these glasses will last him many years.  And because bad eyesight runs in my family, I am excited that these glasses can be later glazed for a prescription.  All the components of these glasses are extremely durable and should withstand any beating we can deliver to them!  I highly recommend these glasses for any teen/adult or large headed 6 year old looking for eye protection this summer!


“A sample of this product was provided to facilitate my review.  All opinions expressed are my own.”

Charm It! Fashion Bracelets #Giveaway & Free Shipping Code

Charm bracelets are all the rage right now.  Kids are not immune to trends, especially not when it comes to jewelry and accessories.  When I discovered CHARM IT! fashion bracelets, I knew I wanted to check them out for myself.  Or rather, for my girls.

Strong, durable materials make up these delightful bracelets for your little girl. The bracelets are small enough to feel dainty, but substantial enough that they won’t break easily, which we all know has to be taken into consideration for kids’ jewelry.  Kids aren’t delicate.  They are rough and tumble.  They live.  They play.  CHARM IT! bracelets will stand up to the play and then some.

kids charm bracelet

“Under the Sea” gift set with additional Ariel Charm

CHARM IT! isn’t just bracelets- they have necklaces and they come in all kinds of colors, styles and designs.  You can get rainbow chains, cookies, safety pins…and more so that your little girl can express herself and her style any way she chooses.  The charms range from beloved character friends to funky nail polishes…and everything in between.

There are dozens of styles of charms, and one of my favorite parts about products like this is that you can continue adding to them.  That makes for a really nice gift – and one that is so personal!!  I know that my kids love to buy special gifts for one another, and  these are a really inexpensive way for them to buy something special for their big sister…my son chose a little cupcake charm for his big sister because it’s for her birthday.  She’ll have it to love and remember for years!

We’re actually ordering a bracelet and a few charms for my daughter’s friend for her birthday in a few weeks, and I’ve already ordered a necklace with a few charms for my oldest for her birthday in July.

kids charm bracelet, pandora bracelet

“Whoopsy Daisy” Gift Set with Hello Kitty Charm

The boxes are even adorable, don’t you think? I love them.  I want to be a kid and have my own CHARM IT! accessories!  They are fun, fashionable and affordable- bracelets are about $8-10 and charms are $6 each.

You can get FREE Shipping from 5/22 to 6/4 with the code MLBFREE

One reader will win a CHARM IT! Gift Set of their choice! 


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I received a sample of this product to facilitate my review.  Opinions are my own. 

Hoodiepet™ Review and Giveaway

hoodie pet, kids hoodie
has a new way for kids to express their style. They are fleece sweatshirts, hooded jackets and stuffed animal friends all in one.  They fit well, with room for layers, they are snuggly soft, and cute as can be.

Thumb holes keep hands warmer.  This is a new trend I’m seeing with a lot of children’s outerwear and sweatshirts and I LOVE it.  Kids who won’t keep gloves or mittens on can at least be a little bit warmer when their coats go down a bit more over their hands.

Super soft fleece.  Snuggly soft.  Cozy warm.  Kids won’t resist wearing their Hoodiepet™ because it’s so comfortable to wear!

Changeable Hoodie Pet friends.  This is the fun part of the product line.  Little puppet friends who attach with velcro, are machine washable (look, my kids are busy.  They explore.  They are always getting dirty.  They get everything dirty. I like to know things are machine washable) and offer a great way to keep your kids entertained no matter where they are!! They are little animal friends who can help put on a show or just keep you company.











I like that there are just a handful of color options for Hoodiepet™ — 7 total, with 2 prints.  For the littlest kids, there’s just 2 colors to choose from. I find sometimes that too many choices can be worse than no choice.  The fun of this product is with the animal friends, so I like that they’ve stuck to the basics with the colors and I think it helps the animal friends to stick out and grab people’s attention anyway.  (That’s what people have noticed about our Hoodiepet™ so far, anyway!)

Generous cut- room for layers.  Great fall or spring coat, or playing outside on a cool summer night.

The HoodiePets can be bought as a “kit” for $29.99 or separately at $24.99 for the hoodie and $7.00 for each pet.   Buying more pets means more savings- you can get 2 for $12 or 3 for $15.   Your child can make a wishlist on the website for more pals for their hoodiepet if they want, too!

One reader will win a HoodiePet and a Pet of their choice (based on availability)!


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I received a sample of this product to facilitate my review.  Opinions are my own.


Funky Barn 3D Review #UbiChamps

Funky Barn 3D is not your average video game.  The animals are wacky, the contraptions funky. You’ll shear sheep, and you’ll milk cows, but not like you see in the movies.  MY favorite part of the game is shearing the sheep  in the Shearing Machine!  The kids think the entire game is funny- which I’d guessed they would simply by the title, but when I heard my kids laughing within 5 minutes of playing the game, I knew it was a hit.  It’s silly and it’s fun and…well, funky!  Combine all these features with 3D options and you have a crazy fun game that’s fun for all ages!  I may love the Shearing Machine but the pig just makes me giggle.  Just look at him.  The eyes on the characters in this game are awesome.  So expressive.

Fun for all ages- that’s for sure.  This is definitely a great game to keep around for some silly fun-and the secret?  You still learn about how to work on a farm, albeit in a silly way, but you are learning about caring for the animals and livestock while having silly fun.  I like that!  The kids really REALLY like this game.  They giggle and giggle even if they are just watching each other play, or watching me.  Good clean fun is what I like and Funky Barn 3D has that.

Run your own 3D funky and frenzied farm!

Ready to make some wool? Pop your sheep into The Shearing Machine and he will hilariously cannonball out, surprised but shorn. Ready to harvest your crops? Hook up the Flying FruitBox-Haybale-Copter that flies around crazily picking up boxes of fruit and grain. With tons of wacky contraptions and goofy animals, Funky Barn 3D, the first farm simulation game for Nintendo 3DS, is not your average farm game.

You can find Funky Barn 3D at Amazon, ToysRUs and other online retailers for about $29.99.


Thank you to Ubisoft for sponsoring this blog post. Please click here to learn more about Ubisoft. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions are my own. #UbiChamps

I Took The White Sock Test With The Bissell Lift Off Deep Cleaner!

When Bissell invited me to participate in their White Sock Challenge I was all for it!! For years now I have gotten away with a yearly carpet cleaner rental. However, I have found that as my children get older, they get dirtier. It was inevitable, but the time has finally come to own my own carpet cleaner. Those once a year cleanings just aren’t cutting it anymore. I knew my carpets were dirty, but this White Sock Challenge proved it! The very generous folks at Bissell were nice enough to send me their Bissell Lift Off Deep Cleaner, which works as a carpet cleaner AND a spot cleaner. Let me tell you, when that thing came in the mail it was like Christmas! I was ready to clean every surface in my house!!!! Now it was time to try the White Sock Challenge. This involves walking around my carpet in slightly damp white socks before and after cleaning with the Bissell Lift Off Deep Cleaner. Wow, was I astounded by the results!! Take a look:     A little bit about the Bissell Lift-Off Deep Cleaner: Lift-Off® Deep Cleaning System ($259.99)

2 machines in 1! Gives your carpet a deep-down clean plus has removable spot cleaner

  • Portable spot cleaner cleans stairs, car interiors and more
  • Surround Suction® for edge-to-edge cleaning
  • Built-in hot water heater for maximum cleaning
  • Includes stain tool for hard-to-reach areas
  • 12 cleaning rows on 2X DirtLifter® Powerbrushes
  • Sprays, scrubs and suction cleans carpet
The benefits of a removable spot cleaner “The Lift-Off® Deep Cleaning System features a portable spot cleaner that easily lifts off from the deep cleaner and can be carried away for cleaning hard-to-reach areas. Much like the BISSELL Little Green® or SpotBot® portable deep cleaners, this machine is perfect for deep cleaning stairs and upholstery. It is also convenient to have on hand for unexpected messes, like spills and pet accidents, and for cleaning auto interiors.”

My Experience: The shipping box was large, as expected (and works great as a clubhouse for my 6 year old). However, the machine was fairly simple to assemble. It really only came with a couple of major parts to assemble and took my husband about 15 to completely put together. Once assembled, the machine is larger than a vacuum cleaner (by about 25%), so not terribly big. It fits in a large closet. The best part of this machine is it’s dual abilities. Not only is it a carpet cleaner, but also a spot remover. The allows me to clean those smaller spots and my stairs and car without a hassle. I tried this machine out on a large stain on the rug underneath my kitchen table. This was a tough stain that had been sitting there for a couple of months. In fact, I was almost ready to throw the rug out and get a new one. After reading the instructions (which were simple to follow), I proceeded to clean the area as directed. The machine was noisy, like any cleaner, but not outrageous. I found that the water heated up nicely and the scrubbing and suction functions worked fantastic. The spot started to lift almost immediately. In a matter of a few minutes, my rug looked like new!!! Not only did this machine work BETTER than those rental units, but I have the convenience of having it at my house to use whenever I need it. For $259.99 this is a great deal and pays for itself in less than a year. Now I’m on a mission to clean ALL of my carpets and spots! Looking for a chance to win a $15,000 home makeover? I thought so! All you have to do is visit BISSELL’s White Sock Test contest page on Facebook

Upload photos of your white socks test results to enter. You can visit the page daily through June 10th for a chance to instantly win a BISSELL cleaning product or a $25 Visa gift card.

You can purchase the Bissell Lift Off Deep Cleaning System at This item ships for FREE and check out their site for $20 off!! “A sample of this product was provided to facilitate my review. All opinions expressed are my own.”

UbiSoft’s Horses game for Nintendo 3DS #UbiChamps

We have hit the horse stage with my almost 7 year old.  You know the one.  It goes something like this.

Mom?  Mommy? Can I have a horse?

I’ll take care of it.

I promise.

I’ll feed it. Walk it.  Ride it.  Make its hair pretty. Do you think we can get sparkly ribbons to put in its hair mom?  I can get some to match. It would be so fun mommy.

No, mom, our yard is not too small.

I have a lot of money in my bank. I can pay for it by myself.

Can I have one?

How about now?

What about a pony?

But moooooooooooooooom.  (deep breath)EmmaKatieSiennaEmilyZoeMarionNoraJillJennaLillyLillianandeveryoneelseinschool get to ride horses.

(lather, rinse, repeat.)

We’ve found a (temporary) solution to this age-old dilemma.  UbiSoft’s Horses for the Nintendo 3DS system.  This game is GREAT for her- she can play with horses, love on them, ride them, train with them, care for them, and make new horse loving friends, right here in the comfort of our own home.  Sure, it’s not quite the same, but it’s a happy compromise for now and also a wholesome game that hasn’t got violence (which is important to me as a mom), attainable goals and levels of play, and also important, ways to grow and continue to experience the game in new ways.  We haven’t even started using the StreetPass sharing features, although I’m sure we will in time.  She’s just having so much fun caring for and training her beloved horses that she’s not even asked about the rest of the game!

The graphics in this game are great, with and without the 3D effects turned on.  It’s definitely a cool feature, although I do like the option to have it turned off, as does my girl.  The characters are fun to “meet” (even in French, because somehow she got our game set up in French, and that took me a while to figure out how to put it into English- but even in French she could play quite easily… I just had to translate things every 25 seconds.  Madame Pickard, thank you for French class in high school!) and the horses are beautiful.  The training activities are challenging but do-able for both my almost 7 year old and for me, and even my husband was impressed with the graphics.   This is a great game for any horse lover, animal lover, or someone who enjoys adventure games without any kind of violence.  The game is really fun without the 3D, but that feature definitely kicks things up a notch!

The first authentic 3D horse game! Care for more than 15 realistic horses, ride them and train them for world-class performance.

The first authentic horse game for the Nintendo 3DS™ system, Horses 3D invites players to care for more than 15 realistic horses, ride them and train them for world-class performance. Horses 3D fully leverages the Nintendo 3DS features with the most realistic visuals for a horse game yet, including 3D horses, textures and beautiful environments, as well as StreetPass™ sharing and more.


• Experience the thrill of being a horse stable manager and rider, all in stunning 3D.

• Build unique relationships with 16 realistic horses:
-Nurture your horses by grooming them, feeding them and cleaning off their hooves.
-Give your horses plenty of love while they train to perform their best.
-Teach your horses to be well-behaved and gentle with riders.
• Personalize your unique riding experience with accessories for your horse and avatar.
• Train your horses through four equestrian disciplines; then compete in races and go on fun rides.
-Train your horses with a variety of riding sessions.
-Compete in disciplines as varied as stunt riding, to jumping and even dressage.
-Ride your horses and embark on fantastic rides, treasure hunts, animal tracking or race with friends.
• Unlock exclusive content through interconnectivity with the Imagine Town™ virtual world.
• Share with friends via the wireless StreetPass feature: Swap collectible cards to gain access to new competitions, or unlock a new horse and take it for a ride.


Horses 3D is available at ToysRUs,  Amazon, Target, Walmart and Sears online.  It retails about $27.00 US.

Thank you to Ubisoft for sponsoring this blog post. Please click here to learn more about Ubisoft. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions are my own. #UbiChamps