P&G Family Movie Night: Game Of Your Life (Friday, December 2 on NBC at 8pm ET/7)pm CT

P&G has another film in their Family Movie Night Series called Game of Your Life. Game of Your Life premieres on Friday, December 2 on NBC at 8pm ET/7pm CT. Lea Thompson is a favorite actress of mine so I had a feeling I’d enjoy this movie a little bit more with her in it, and while that’s true, I found the movie enjoyable overall.

When industrious high school gamer Zach Taylor lands a prized scholarship to the prestigious Digital Institute of Game Design (DIGD), his future breaks wide open. The opportunity to study under gaming legend Marcus Bentton and alongside the country’s most creative minds will certainly propel him into a successful career as a video game designer. That is, if he can pass the infamous freshman project that eliminates more than half of the class within the first three months.

Paired with brilliant yet socially awkward teammates Phillip and Donald, the trio persuades Sara Ramirez – a determined and striking team leader with whom Zach has a history (and possibly a future) – to join their team. Working off-campus in the teched-out Lincoln Alley loft, the four set out to involve the entire campus in a quirky new social interactive game. But as the group becomes entrenched in the project, Zach learns that his father Billy, a widower, is facing growing financial woes at home. To help out, Zach accepts an opportunity to work directly with Marcus Bentton on a secretive side project that seems too good to be true. The effort requires nearly all of Zach’s time and energy, which he should be devoting to the project. Struggling to keep it together, Zach is torn between his responsibility to his team, his admiration for Bentton and a chance to help his father.

Everything comes to a breaking point when Zach’s team threatens to remove him from the group and the deceptive truth behind Bentton’s project comes to light. With the guidance of Professor Abbie Lambert, Zach must make a decision that not only affects his future, but the lives and livelihoods of the people around him as well. It’s a revealing story that recognizes the magnitude behind the choices we make and the importance loyalty plays in making good decisions. [click to continue…]

Walmart’s Baby Steps & $100 Walmart Gift Card #Giveaway

Walmart.com’s Baby Steps offers a one stop shop for expectant and new parents.  Baby Steps doesn’t just offer a place to buy baby items and gear, although they definitely have a huge range of baby products, but they also have tips and techniques for many ages and stages of baby- both written and in some really entertaining videos!

Baby Steps has 2 main categories for tips and techniques, Changing and Feeding.  Once you select either of those options, you are asked to give the baby’s age (including expectant) and weight.  I was curious to see what the feeding recommendations would be for starting solids and very pleased to see that recommendations are given for developmental readiness and not just a date, which is not a one-size-fits-all response.  Once you click on a “sub” category you are shown several blocks with more information- clicking on that brings a short video up (and it is neither here nor there but all of the adults seem to be moving in s-l-o-w motion in the videos!?) and at the end the tips and techniques are shared.  The folks designing Baby Steps took a lot of time and put a lot of thought into this section of the Walmart site, and I have to applaud that.   [click to continue…]

Preserving non digital memories #preservingmemories #cbias

Remember when your grandparents (um, I am getting older. Maybe your great grandparents?) used to go on vacations, and they’d come home and get all of these great slides made up to show everyone their trip memories?  Or the old home movies from Uncle Bob that you have no way to watch anymore, but can’t bear to part with?  The photos from eons ago…the VHS tapes from the 1980s home movie recorders…they are obsolete, right?  I mean, it isn’t like you can DO anything with them, but hold onto them for sentimental reasons unless you happen upon an antique shop that sells, well antiquated electronics…

Or ARE they obsolete?  Sure, the devices are long gone, replaced by new technologies….none of these can be uploaded to Facebook instantly.  But thanks to the folks at iMemories, these memories can be preserved.  Preserved online, or preserved onto DVD and kept safely in your home.

I’m heartbroken that my grandparents’ slides from their world travels are gone, forever- no one had the foresight to hold onto them.  Old family photos- gone.  We didn’t have home movies made growing up so those aren’t missing since they never happend.  BUT…some of my and my sister C’s  home movies? SAVED!!  My friend Jen’s old ballet recitals and other life events?  SAVED! [click to continue…]

Carapelli Olive Oil Taste Testing with the Four S’s (and a coupon!)

This post brought to you by Carapelli. All opinions are 100% mine.

I have long used olive oil in my cooking, and have frequently enjoyed putting some spice blends into olive oil and put them into dipping bowls to enjoy with homemade bread.  It never occurred to me that you could- and should!- taste olive oils like you can wines.  I tried it last night, and you should too.  It was an eye opener, and I feel like I have a better appreciation now.  Perhaps it will help me to use olive oil to enhance my cooking to combine flavors and textures. We’ll see.

Similar to tasting wine, there are a few quick steps to having the true olive oil tasting experience. [click to continue…]

Taking a moment to reflect and be thankful #crystalrollon #cbias

With the holidays here, I think it is important to take a moment and reflect upon what we’re thankful for- not just on Thanksgiving, but always.  For me, I am beyond thankful for my family, my friends, my health and theirs, and so much more.  We have been working hard with our children to focus on the blessings we HAVE and the many things we have to be thankful for, because these are the things that matter to us most.  I want my children to be able to look at the world and see it through the lens of what they do have, and not what others have and they do not.  It’s a tough concept but at some point, I understood it, as did my husband, so we have hope that our children will too.

I’m also thankful for my blog, my readers especially, and also the opportunities that this site has provided for my family that we may not otherwise have had.  I’m not simply talking about review products but, for example, without my site I’m not sure I”d have known that Walmart sellsCrystal Roll On Deoderant- nor that I’d have the opportunity to not only try some, but to know it exists.  The product is with the regular deoderant products, but on the top shelf, which is above my eye line and likely not to have been noticed by me.  I’ve also tried a few other natural deoderants and found they didn’t work for me in the past.  But I’m very thankful that my site has opened new doors and new paths in my life, especially when they allow me (and my family) to use more natural, safer products for our bodies, both internally and externally. (Hint: Check the Crystal site for a $1.00 coupon!) [click to continue…]

Step2 Extreme Coaster


step2 extreme ride on roller coasterI love playing outside with the kids.  Being outside just puts us all in a good mood, the fresh air is great for us, and moving around getting energy out is a wonderful thing.  I like to keep options for kids to stay happily busy outside- safe options in particular.  Step2 sent us their Extreme Coaster for outdoor fun and let me tell you, this thing R-O-C-K-S.  We love it.

The assembly took me about an hour, hour and 15 minutes, which probably would have taken far less but I had 2 helpers who are 2 and 4 and one of them kept walking off with my tools to “fix” his tractor.  As I was putting this together I kept thinking, ok, this wouldn’t even be bad to disassemble to store for the wintertime….which, as anyone who has to store things for a season or 2 knows, is kind of important.

The top of the coaster has sides and a back for safety- we still opt for any kids who ride our coaster to wear a helmet.  Safety first, that’s a Bargains family motto.  Once your head is protected, you are welcome to use the coaster, and then again, again and again some more.  I’ve not had anyone just go down the coaster one time.  My kids have it at the top of a small “hill” in the yard (ok, ok, I put it there) to maximize distance- they get pretty far and the squeals and giggles almost every time from the kids just make my heart so happy.  I would try it myself except that the  way the cart is made, I’m not sure physically how an adult could sit in it.  (Which is probably intentional). [click to continue…]

Candlewarmers.com (Giveaway)

I love scented candles.  What I’m not a fan of is having to remember to extinguish flames, nor of the residue left on my walls and in the air from burning candles.  I love having fun scents to fit my mood, the season, or the holiday, and I love when I walk into a room and can smell a candle.  The thing is, I’m not so great at remembering to blow OUT candles.  It used to make Mr. Bargains crazy, not to mention that its a fire hazard.  So, for a long time, I sadly wasn’t having any sort of scented goodness in my house, because I didn’t know about products like the Wax Warmers from Candlewarmers.com.  No flame.  No fire.  No risk.  This Mama gets her smelly candles and Mr. Bargains doesn’t have to follow around blowing candles out.

Candlewarmers.com sent us two different warmers- a Santa and a Snowman.   The Santa sits on my kitchen counter and has for weeks- I’m more than ready for the holiday season, scents and all!!  The Snowman warmer plugs into the wall and that lives in the living room right next to the fire place area- safe from exploring toddler fingers since it’s enclosed behind the fireplace gate.  The entire downstairs has a delightful but not too strong holiday fragrance, and the warmers themselves add a splash of holiday decor (don’t worry, friends.  I have warmers that are ok for year round use as well. I’m a big scented wax fan I guess!)  Why I like this product: its so simple to use, SAFE to use, and easy to change the fragrance or the warmer depending on your decor, your mood, the season or the holiday.  They are fairly affordable for gifts and really do make a wonderful gift for just about anyone!!  They do also have wicked candles and accessories for those of you who are better at remembering to extinguish flames, or just prefer to burn your candles.  [click to continue…]

Beanbag Boss makes for a LOT of cozy fun! (Exclusive $10 coupon inside)

When Beanbag Boss approached me to review their enormous bean bags, I jumped at the chance- I have  many fond memories of hanging out with friends and family in bean bags, and they are just plain fun to have around.  When my Sherpa bean bag arrived, the kids could not believe their eyes.  This thing was HUGE!! I’d originally intended for this to be in the basement, where we have “movie nights” quite frequently, as a warm place to snuggle together…but my kids quickly decided that this should go into my son’s room, under his Batman bed, although I realize as I’m writing this that I neglected to get any photos of this UNDER his bed!!

I had visions not only of snuggling during family movies, but sitting on this comfy bean bag while playing games together as the kids get older, kids playing video games (or I’ll admit, me playing Mario Kart…), kids playing on it…sleepovers…so many things. That’s what’s so fun about bean bag chairs and cushions- they are so versatile!! Plus you can meld them into any position– we’ve had this sitting up almost like a couch in my son’s room, and flat like a floor pillow- all three of my kids and I can hang on it comfortably reading stories before bed, it makes a great desert for action figure playtime…you can sit and play Barbies on it…wrestle…jump… [click to continue…]

Ben 10 Tech Blaster and Ultimate Ultimatrix Review

Ben 10 is a popular character around our house.  The first show my son watches every morning is Ben 10.  So, When the Ben 10 Tech Blaster and Ben 10 Ultimate Ultimatrix arrived I knew they would be big hits.

With the Ben 10 Tech Blaster you can wield the most powerful weapon in the universe. State of the art battle gear is at your fingertips with this multi-function piece of alien tech. Kids can convert the high-tech case into 5 different toys, each with different play patterns:

  • Deluxe Blaster
  • Mini Blaster
  • Super Decoder
  • X-Ray Scanner
  • Multi Scope
  • Sounds/lights/voices delivered through universal “Power Core.” [click to continue…]

Dremel Multi-Max MM20

dremel mm20I would be remiss if I had a gift guide and didn’t include something for the handy folks in our lives. I’d say the “guys” but that might not be the case everywhere. Dremel has a few new tools out and I have to tell you that the new Dremel Multi-Max MM20 is something that most homeowners find will come in very handy- maybe not now, but down the road for sure!  This would make a really nice gift for under the tree next month!!

This is an oscillating tool, which comes in a handy (and protective) storage case, along with 8 accessories. It’s a lot of bang for your buck. It’s also a lot of functions for your buck.

The Dremel Multi-Max MM20’s 2.3 amp motor is more powerful than the Dremel brand’s current oscillating tool, enhancing tool performance and allowing for faster, more precise cuts in a wide variety of materials. With a variable speed range of 10,000 – 21,000 oscillations per minute, the MM20 allows DIYers to power through their to-do lists with detail, precision and optimal performance.

The tool also features strategic vent locations and an improved fan design, enabling the MM20 to run cooler and more smoothly than other oscillating tools for increased comfort when handling over an extended period of time. An extended length 7-foot rubber cord allow users to handle the tool with ease while cutting, sanding, scraping, grinding and removing grout in their homes or workspaces. The MM20 also boasts a new line of cutting accessories with expanded cutting width and depth that enables users to cut through more material in a shorter amount of time. These enhanced blades make precise cuts through tough materials such as hard woods, framing lumber and 2x4s, and continue to utilize the brand’s Quick Fit™ accessory interface, making accessory changes twice as fast as similar oscillating tool systems. [click to continue…]