Post Card Kids - Geography Fun!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Over the past year we have swapped post cards with people all over the U.S., Canada and even Europe. We joined an online Yahoo group called Post Cards for Kids and have collected some really cool cards. We have put up a map and we highlight the cities and states from which we receive cards as we trade. My kids LOVE to get mail; they run down to the curb to collect it when they see the mail man coming! Really, you'd think he was Santa or something.

I love that it's such an interesting way to introduce them to new information. We've gone way beyond geography and discussed history, weather and climates, seasons, famous Americans, transportation, mapping and distances, architecture, and the list goes on. We've discovered places we'd never heard of and lots of places we hope to see some day.
Our collection is ever growing and I've posted an album of some of our cards. We have tons more that I will add...one day, when I find the time to scan them all and upload them.



This has been a great project for us. I think we'll keep collecting as long as we are enjoying it and learning new things. This year I hope to take our project around the globe and add a flat Stanley collection to our project.
Here are some more links to fun geography-related project for kids:
Pen Pal Resources @ A to Z Home's Cool
Pen Pal Notes
Little Passports

Aloha Friday

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Aloha! Happy Friday to you! Thanks for stopping by. Just a few simple questions today...

Do you enter blog giveaways? Do you seek them out? Have you won anything?

I generally enter them as I come across them if they interest me or my kids. I have won a few cool prizes including several kids DVD's, a $50 Amazon gift card, a $50 Photofiddle gift certificate, and a Munchie Mug. I love giveaways/reviews and think they a great way to find about new products and winning is so much fun! What do you think?

A Thousand Words Thursday

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


For more Thousand Words Thursday stop by Cheaper Than Therapy.
Cheaper Than Therapy


Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Can you guess where this is?

Oddly enough, it's located right next to this...


If you are stopping by today, be sure to enter my $30 Skin Free Giveaway and my JumpStart subscription giveaway! I invite you to subscribe to my feed so you don't miss out on the fun and more upcoming giveaways!
Be sure to stop by these fabulous blogs for more Wednesday fun!
5 Minutes for Mom
7 Clown Circus
Ordinary and Awesome
Momdot




Answer: The harbor in Norfolk, VA

What Is Not In The Health Care Bill

You've heard what's in the bill. It's equally surprising what did not make it in. Courtesy of the House Republican Leadership, here is a list of amendments that failed in committee.

- Stop the government-run health plan. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) offered an amendment to improve the legislation by taking out the section of the bill that would create a government-run health plan to compete with private sector health plans. Reps. Phil Roe (R-TN) and John Kline (R-MN) offered similar amendments in the Education & Labor Committee. The amendments were all killed in committee.

- Prevent bureaucrats from making personal medical decisions for patients. Rep. Phil Gingrey, M.D. (R-GA) offered an amendment in the Energy & Commerce Committee to bar federal political appointees and bureaucrats from intervening in patient treatment decisions. The Gingrey amendment would have ensured patients and doctors remain as the sole individuals responsible for making these critical decisions. Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) led Democrats in opposition to the amendment, which was defeated.

- Require all Members of Congress to get their health insurance through the proposed government-run plan. Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV) offered an amendment in the Ways & Means Committee that would have required Members of Congress to enroll immediately in the government-run health plan that would be established under the Democratic bill. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) offered an amendment to put his committee on the record in support of enrolling Members of Congress in the government-run plan as well. While the Wilson amendment was approved by voice vote in the Education & Labor Committee, the Heller amendment was killed in the Ways & Means Committee.

- Establish a $1 trillion deficit cap. During Energy & Commerce Committee consideration of the Democrats' government-run health care plan, Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) offered an amendment to delay "disease prevention" spending for items like municipal jungle gyms and bicycle trails until Washington's budget deficit dips below $1 trillion. Democrats defeated the amendment, paving the way for more unchecked spending.

- Keep the federal government out of health care decisions. Rep. Wally Herger (R-CA) offered an amendment to prohibit the federal government from conducting so-called comparative effectiveness research, in which the federal government would ultimately help determine which medical treatments are administered to whom in America - otherwise known as government rationing of health care. The Herger amendment was defeated. Days later, in a July 22 prime-time press conference, President Obama told the nation the health care bill "will keep government out of health care decisions," despite the fact that the comparative effectiveness language remains in the bill.

- Protect Americans from "hurry up and wait." Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) offered an amendment that would repeal the government-run health plan if wait times exceed the average wait times in private plans. The Brady amendment was not passed.

- Stop the job-killing employer mandate. Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) offered an amendment in the Committee on Ways & Means to improve the Democratic legislation by taking out the section of the bill that requires American employers to provide health coverage for all of their employees, and Reps. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) offered similar amendments in the Committee on Education & Labor. Independent analysts agree this Democratic mandate on employers is likely to result in the elimination of millions of American jobs, and it could hardly come at a worse moment for the nation's economy. The GOP amendments were killed in committee.

- Suspend the job-killing employer mandate if the national unemployment rate reaches 10 percent. Reps. Wally Herger (R-CA) and Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) offered amendments in their committees that would suspend the job-killing employer mandate in the bill if the national unemployment rate reaches or goes above 10 percent. (It is currently at 9.5 percent.) The Herger and Hoekstra amendments were killed in both the Ways & Means and Education & Labor Committees.

- Waive the employer mandate if it will cause layoffs, worker salary cuts, or reductions in hiring. Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA) offered an amendment that would waive the employer mandate in the Democrats' health care bill for any employer who certifies, under procedures developed by the Secretary of the Treasury, that it would pose a financial hardship resulting in layoffs of existing workers, reductions in salary of existing workers, or the inability to expand via hiring new employees. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) offered a similar amendment in the Education & Labor Committee, and it was adopted by voice vote. However, the Reichert amendment was killed in the Ways & Means Committee.

- Protect employers from unfair taxation. Under the Democratic bill as written, if an employer offers qualifying health care coverage but an employee rejects it for any reason, the employer can still be slapped with an 8 percent tax on the value of that employee's wages as a result of the job-killing employer mandate in the bill. Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY) offered an amendment to fix this problem and protect employers from such unfair penalization. The Davis amendment was killed in committee.

- Protect employers who offer health care coverage to their workers. As written, the Democratic health care bill would gut ERISA (the Employee Retirement Income Security Act), the federal law that makes it possible for millions of American workers to receive quality health care benefits and other benefits through their employers. Rep. John Kline (R-MN) offered an amendment to fix this flaw and shield employers who offer health care coverage to their workers from being caught up in a web of legal liability systems that would vary from state to state. The Kline amendment was killed in committee.

- Create small business health plans. Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-CA) offered an amendment that would modify the bill to allow the creation of small business health plans (also known as Association Health Plans) that allow trade, industry, professional, or other business associations to form and purchase health care coverage at a lower cost. The McKeon amendment was killed in committee.

- Keep unnecessary lawsuits from driving up health costs. Under the Democratic bill, Americans would be required to obtain their health care through a "national health insurance exchange" that is limited to "qualified" providers. In the Ways & Means Committee, Rep. John Linder (R-GA) offered an amendment that would keep the so-called exchange from operating in states that do not have reasonable limits on lawsuits relating to medical care. Unnecessary lawsuits have long been identified as one of the primary factors in rising health costs nationwide. Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) offered a similar amendment in the Education & Labor Committee that would prevent the creation of the so-called "exchange." Both the Linder and Thompson amendments were voted down.

- Prevent taxpayer-funded health benefits from going to illegal immigrants. Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV) offered an amendment that would increase safeguards to ensure taxpayer-funded benefits do not go to individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States. This amendment, too, was killed.

- Prevent taxpayer funding of abortion. Reps. Sam Johnson (R-TX), Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Mark Souder (R-IN) offered amendments to remove language from the legislation that would result in American taxpayers subsidizing abortion-on-demand. A recent Zogby survey determined that more than 70 percent of Americans are opposed to taxpayer funding of abortion. The amendment did not pass.

- Ensure states are not forced to provide abortion benefits. In the Energy & Commerce Committee, Rep. Nathan Deal (R-GA) offered an amendment to ensure that states are not required to provide coverage for abortion - or even procedures such as Botox injections and hair plugs. Under the Democrats' legislation, the federal government could deny the states funding if such services are not provided. Rep. Deal's amendment was rejected in a party-line vote.

- Prevent health care providers from being forced into a government-run plan. Rep. Charles Boustany, M.D. (R-LA), a physician, offered an amendment to prevent American health care providers from being forced into the government-run plan established under the Democratic bill. The Boustany amendment was killed in committee.

- Require the government-run plan to operate under the same rules as private health plans. Rep. Boustany offered an amendment to improve the Democratic legislation by requiring that the government-run plan established in the bill maintain reserves and other margins in amounts consistent with the standards that apply to private plans. Reserves would have to come from premiums, not federal subsidies. This amendment was not passed.

- Specify that Congress should read the health care bill before voting on it. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) offered an amendment expressing the sense of Congress that Members of Congress should read the health care bill before they vote on it. More than 80 House Republicans have signed a pledge vowing they will not vote to enact a health care bill they have not read and which has not been posted online publicly for at least 72 hours. The Brady amendment was defeated in committee.

- Keep President Obama's tax pledge not to raise taxes. Last year, in his campaign for the presidency, President Obama pledged he would not raise taxes on anyone making less than $200,000 ($250,000 for those filing jointly), but the health care legislation written by House Democrats would violate this pledge. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) offered an amendment that would keep the new taxes proposed in the Democratic legislation from applying to those with incomes under $200,000 ($250,000 for those filing jointly). The Ryan amendment was killed in committee. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) offered a similar amendment in the Education & Labor Committee. It was not even allowed to come to a vote.

- Keep President Obama's pledge that health care reform will not add to the deficit. Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) offered an amendment to prohibit the government-controlled health care system from taking effect unless the legislation is and remains "deficit neutral." The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the nonpartisan "scorekeeper" for Congress, has determined that the bill as drafted will add hundreds of billions of dollars to the deficit. The McClintock amendment was killed in committee.

- Ensure that workers who like their current health plan can keep it. Reps. Judy Biggert (R-IL) and Tom Price (R-GA) offered an amendment to ensure that Americans who like their current employer-provided coverage can keep it by shielding such coverage from the costly and complex new mandates in the Democratic health care bill. Under the amendment, employer -based health plans that comply with ERISA (the Employee Retirement Income Security Act), the federal law that makes it possible for millions of American workers to receive quality health care benefits and other benefits through their employers, would be considered as having met all of the mandates specified in the bill. The Biggert-Price amendment was killed in committee.

- Stop seniors from being stripped of their health care choices. Rep. Brown-Waite offered an amendment that would remove portions of the health care bill that would cut the Medicare Advantage program. Such cuts would impact millions of seniors nationwide, taking away their choices and forcing them into a government-run health care plan with fewer options. The Brown-Waite amendment was killed in committee.

- Prohibit unfair advantages for government-run health plan. The Democratic health care bill would create a government-run health care plan to "compete" with private sector plans that currently provide health coverage for millions of Americans. House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-IN) has warned that a government-run health care plan will compete with private sector health plans "the way an alligator competes with a duck," and the legislation written by Democrats would allow the government-run health plan to have distinct advantages at the expense of taxpayers and private plan enrollees. Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) offered an amendment that would prohibit the Secretary of Health & Human Services from basing payment rates for the government-run health plan established under the Democratic bill on Medicare rates, and instead would require that they pay an average of what private plans in the market pay. The Roskam amendment was killed in committee.

- Keep the federal government from choosing "favored" physicians. Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), a physician, offered an amendment to keep eliminate the flawed "tiered" payment structure in the health care bill, which would give preference to physicians who participate in the government-run health care plan. This provision would allow the government to reward physicians who play by its rules while financially harming those who do not. The Price amendment was defeated.

- Allow states to opt out. Bipartisan opposition to the Democratic health care bill has been expressed by governors and state legislators throughout the country. Rep. Price offered an amendment to permit states that have crafted their own health plans to apply for waivers from the Democratic legislation's requirements. The Price amendment was killed in committee.

- Preserve Americans' health care freedom and choice. Many Americans favor Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), which give individual Americans more direct control over their health care spending, but the Democratic bill as written would wreak havoc on HSAs and similar tools that empower individuals and consumers. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) offered an amendment to improve the Democratic bill by ensuring that HSAs would not be shut down or gutted by federal mandates. Specifically, the Cantor amendment stated that HSAs tied to high deductible health plans are deemed to meet the "minimum benefit level requirements" under the Democratic bill, and struck changes to the bill's "definition of allowable medical expenses" for HSAs and similar accounts. The Cantor amendment was defeated in committee. Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) offered an amendment to provide greater portability and individual control over health care by allowing employers to contribute to "defined contribution" health care plans, which workers could use to purchase the coverage and services of their choice. The Price amendment was defeated in the Education & Labor.

- Allow Americans to continue to enroll in private individual market health plans. Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA) offered an amendment to repeal the bill's prohibition on new enrollees in private individual market plans. This amendment was killed.

- Slow Medicare's march toward bankruptcy. Concerned about the coming fiscal tsunami that will result from out-of-control spending on entitlement programs, the GOP-led Congress earlier this decade passed legislation specifying that if 45 percent or more of the Medicare program's funding came from general tax revenues for two consecutive years, the President had to submit to Congress legislation that would slow spending and make the program financially stable. Democrats gutted this rule as part of their rules package for the current Congress. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) offered an amendment to restore it. The amendment was killed in committee.

- Prohibit new taxes until Medicare fraud rate is reduced to below 1 percent. Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) offered an amendment to improve the bill by specifying that the new taxes that would be imposed on Americans under the bill could not take effect unless the fraud rate in Medicare is reduced to below 1 percent of the amount of taxpayer money spent on the program. The Camp amendment was killed in committee.

http://www.cwfa.org/articles/17454/CWA/freedom/index.htm

Usborne Giveaway Winners


The contest has been closed and the winners have been selected. Congratulations to #5 Shana and #25 Jamie Leigh! You will each receive a copy of Usborne's Big Book of Things To Spot. You have 48 hours to claim your prizes. I hope you enjoy the books!

If you are stopping by today, be sure to enter my $30 Skin Free Giveaway and my JumpStart subscription giveaway! I invite you to subscribe to my feed so you don't miss out on the fun and more upcoming giveaways!

Jumpstart Review and Giveaway!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Wow, was I excited when I was contacted by Knowledge Adventure to review the new JumpStart 3D online world. I knew my kids would get a kick out of creating their own characters and exploring the online adventures, and I couldn't wait to see what they'd be learning in the process. If you aren't familiar with JumpStart, here's a little background from their website:

"JumpStart®, an award-winning brand from Knowledge Adventure®, has set the standard in kid’s educational software for over 15 years. Today, the JumpStart experience is more engaging, interactive and fun than ever! In 2009, we introduced JumpStart.com, an online adventure where 3-10 year old kids master the skills needed to succeed in school and in life through exploration, discovery and learning. By blending interactive adventures and award-winning learning games into a safe, customizable online world, JumpStart inspires minds and JumpStarts self-confidence… the fun way."
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My daughter, 4, love creating her Jumpee character. She spent almost as much time changing clothes and looks as she did playing the games, lol. What can I say? She's like her mama. She did also enjoy exploring Storyland, which is geared toward 3-5 year olds and features songs, short movies and interactive games on topics including the alphabet, science, days of the week, numbers and more. She loved that she could decorate a house, take pictures, color, and even adopt a cute pet! I loved that the characters talk and give directions that help kids navigate their way around. The only complaint she had was that sometimes the graphics were slow to load when moving into a new area. That didn't stop her from playing though! And, occasionally my older son would get drawn into the on screen action and they'd play together .
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Aiden, 7, explored Adventureland, as well. The activities in this area are geared toward kids 4-10 years old. Bryn played with it a bit, but seemed to get frustrated at times. She was happier in Storyland. Aiden had lots of fun here. There is an interactive dance game that he was hooked on. He also loved the buggy racer and arcade. He had such a great time, he didn't realize he was honing his math and reading and critical thinking skills along the way. I was happy to see him so engaged in learning, which, after all, should be fun, right?!

We also received the JumpStart 3D Virtual World 1st and 2nd Grade CD Rom which is loaded with games which engage over 50 math, reading and critical thinking skills including: spelling, phonics, logic, time, fractions, sequencing, problem solving, following directions and more! This really is a high quality fun educational product that I highly recommend trying with your kids.

There a so many cool 3D worlds to explore that your kids will never get bored here. These award winning games encourage and cheer them on to more learning fun. Visit jumpstart.com to register and play for free! You should also check out their blog featuring loads of ideas for fun educational activities like making invisible ink! A paid membership has the added benefits of unlocking even more adventures and 1000s of learning activities. They also have a discussion board for parents, and a newsletter. If you haven't visited before, check out all that JumpStart.com has to offer today!

The folks at Knowledge Adventure have generously donated a three month membership to one of my readers! Here's how to enter to win:
To enter: Visit JumpStart.com and leave a comment telling me one thing you like about the program. Must include a valid email address (US and Canada only - sorry). Contest ends at midnight EST on 8.7.09.

Extra entries:
Add me to your blogroll
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MckLinky Blog Hop - Favorite Kid Photos

This week's blog hop topic is one near and dear to mom's heart...favorite kid pics! It's hard for any mom to pick one favorite photo, or even twelve. I've selected a few from the thousands that I have. I hope you enjoy them and happy blog hopping!







MckLinky Blog Hop


Early Childhood Treasures

I have recently heard (and seen) all the buzz about back to school preparations and have read blog posts of many friends who are preparing to homeschool this year. One question that comes up often on homeschool lists is, "How do you homeschool with toddlers and preschoolers at home too?" I came across this article with some wonderful tips on the subject and thought it would be a timely thing to share. Here are some additional resources on learning through the early years.

I also love this poem by Mrs. Roy L. Peifer. It is a great reminder of what young ones really need from us.

I Took His Hand and Followed
Mrs. Roy L. Peifer

My dishes went unwashed today,
I didn't make the bed,
I took his hand and followed
Where his eager footsteps led.
Oh yes, we went adventuring,
My little son and I...
Exploring all the great outdoors
Beneath the summer sky
We waded in a crystal stream,
We wandered through a wood...
My kitchen wasn't swept today
But life was gay and good.
We found a cool, sun-dappled glade
And now my small son knows
How Mother Bunny hides her nest,
Where jack-in-the-pulpit grows.
We watched a robin feed her young,
We climbed a sunlit hill...
Saw cloud-sheep scamper through the sky,
We plucked a daffodil.
That my house was neglected,
That I didn't brush the stairs,
In twenty years, no one on earth
Will know, or even care.
But that I've helped my little boy
To noble manhood grow,
In twenty years, the whole wide world
May look and see and know.


Quotable Sunday

Sunday, July 26, 2009



Greetings friends! For today's Quotable Sunday I have chosen a random selection of quotes that struck my fancy. I hope you enjoy them:

"All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and the afterwards it all belongs to you; the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse, and sorrow, the people and places and how the weather was."
-Ernest Hemingway

"The first panacea for a misguided nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists."
-Ernest Hemingway

"Whenever a separation is made between liberty and justice, neither, in my opinion, is safe."
-Edmund Burke

"It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed ... The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. All history will convince you of this, and that wisdom and penetration are the fruit of experience, not the lessons of retirement and leisure. Great necessities call out great virtues."
-Abigail Adams, letter to her son John Quincy Adams

"Every time you wake up and ask yourself, "What good things am I going to do today?", remember that when the sun goes down at sunset, it will take a part of your life with it."
-Proverb, "Indian Proverb"

"Among the numerous luxuries of the table...coffee may be considered as one of the most valuable. It excites cheerfulness without intoxication; and the pleasing flow of spirits which it occasions...is never followed by sadness, languor or debility."
-Benjamin Franklin

"The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself."
-Benjamin Franklin

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

-Benjamin Franklin, in the Penn. Assembly - Reply To Governor

"You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it come true. You may have to work for it, however."
-Richard Bach

"Every problem has a gift for you in its hands. We seek problems because we need their gifts."
-Richard Bach

And lastly, a recent quote from my 7 year old:
After receiving some money as a birthday gift I went out shopping, kids in tow. We browsed around and they kept picking things up and bargaining with me to purchase them. I relented and allowed them each to choose a small toy. Heading toward the checkout I realized the cost of our loot was more than I was willing to part with. I began putting some of my things back. When I got to the last item I had selected I muttered, "Hey wait a minute, why am I spending all of my money on you again, as usual?" He patted me on the back and replied, "It's just your daily spanks mom, just your daily spanks."



BE SURE TO ENTER MY GIVEAWAYS HERE AND HERE!

Friday Photo Flashback

Friday, July 24, 2009


For today's flashback I decided to throw sentiment out the window and usher in some humor. This is me being attacked by Godzilla. That's my friend and co-worker Patti coming to my aid. This was in my pre-marital days as a young advertising production manager. This was an after work function and there may or may not have been some alcohol involved.
Please note: No lizards or inebriated young women were harmed in this photo shoot.
Friday Photo Flashback

Skin Free Review and Giveaway worth $30

Thursday, July 23, 2009


A few weeks ago I was introduced to the SkinFree skin care product line. I had not heard of the company before and was surprised to learn that their products have received a Toxicity Rating of "0" from the Environmental Working Group. If you are into green living and eco-friendly products for your family, then you know that this is a big deal. Shopping for safe, chemical-free products can be confusing, to say the least. Many so called "green" products are full of chemicals, preservatives, fragrances and other irritants. Labels and logos can be very misleading.

Because I have sensitive skin and eczema, I have trouble finding products that don't irritate my skin or cause breakouts and dryness. My kids have also had bouts of eczema, so I try to be careful about the products I buy for them as well. That's why I was excited to learn that SkinFree products were specifically formulated by a pharmacist to be used by people with extremely sensitive skin, allergies, or diseases which effect the skin. All SkinFree products contain all natural ingredients, NO harmful chemicals or preservatives, no fragrance, no petroleum, no colorants and no steroids. They are also not tested on animals, which is important to me.

I tried the SkinFree Extra Moisturizing Soap & Shampoo Bar, the Green Clay mask for Blemish Prone Skin, and the Lite Moisture Cream for Daily Use.

Now I have never been a fan of bar soap. I don't buy it and won't use it. Maybe it's the horrid flashbacks of Dial in my teeth as a sassy-mouthed child, or the slimy goo it leaves on a counter by the sink, or just the waxy residue it leaves on the skin. Whatever the reasons, I'm just not buying it. So I did not ask to sample the SkinFree soap. When it arrived in my box, however, I felt obligated to use it. The literature I received did say it was awarded the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance, so that made me feel a little better about trying it on my face. If you've never had eczema, let me tell you that the dry, cracked skin can be painful, itchy, irritating and down right ugly! Anyway, I actually like the soap. Really. It cleans my skin without drying and leaves no residue. I have been using it in the shower for a couple of weeks and I have been pleasantly surprised by this bar. Plus, there's no goop. I'm not sure how they did that, but the bar doesn't seem to melt and ooze like other wet soaps.

I also tried the green mask. This one takes me back to my adolescence when I wore Queen Helene's Mint Julep mask religiously every night. My friends had a grand old time making fun at sleep overs, but I wore it anyway. I was convinced it kept breakouts at bay and I did not waiver in my loyalty to the product for many years. I did finally give it up as it became more difficult to find in stores...does anyone know what I'm talking about? Do they still make that stuff?

Well I must say, SkinFree's mask made from French green clay with healing organic niaouli essential oil is far superior to Queen Helene's. I used it once a week and my skin felt clean and refreshed. My pores were smaller and it didn't dry my face out. I also used it as a spot treatment for blemishes and it helped clear them up and reduce the redness. I give it two big thumbs up. Though oddly my kids seemed very disturbed by my green face. They were seriously yelling at me to take it off. I'm thinking, wait a minute here, you're dad can jump out of helicopters, but I can't wear a green face for a few minutes without this terrible haranguing?! Jeesh! You'd think I'd pierced my lip or something.

The Lite Moisture Cream was simply grand. It contains a light blend of soothing, anti-inflammatory organic extra virgin olive oil and hypoallergenic macadamia nut oil. It feels light and clean on. Not oily at all. It blends in quickly and moisturizes well without a greasy feel. I love this stuff and use it morning and night. It's great under make-up for smoothing skin and keeping it hydrated but not oily. Good stuff!

Overall I had a wonderful experience with these products and I absolutely recommend them to my family and all of my bloggy friends. The SkinFree line includes many more products than I have listed here and is available in select CVS pharmacy stores, in Walgreen stores and through these websites:

www.skinfree.net (currently offering free shipping on orders of $25 or more)
www.cvs.com
www.walgreens.com
www.drugstore.com

WIN IT - $30 in products from SkinFree!
To enter: Leave a comment telling me which Skin Free product you'd like to try. Must include a valid email address (US and Canada only - sorry). Contest ends at midnight EST on 7.31.09.

Extra entries:
Comment on this post and let me know you did. One entry per comment - unlimited entries :D
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Aloha Friday

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Aloha! And happy Friday to you. Is is my imagination or did this week fly by? Maybe it's because I'm a year older now and time is passing me by, sigh. Anyway, on to the fun :D

My question this week is simple: If you could have someone come to your home do one weekly chore for you what would it be? (Assume this is paid for my some generous benefactor) My choice is a toss up between cleaning the bathrooms or the kitchen...either way I'd love for someone to clean the floor while I sit out in the sun sipping a margarita...

Ok, now back to my regularly scheduled chores. But hey, it is Friday. I'm seeing an icy sweet margarita in my future :D
Don't forget to enter my giveaways here and here!



A Thousand Words Thursday

Before you leave, be sure to enter my giveaway for Usborne books!


For more Thousand Words Thursday stop by Cheaper Than Therapy.
Cheaper Than Therapy


Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Whatcha lookin' at?

Oh! Nice lips.


Be sure to stop by these fabulous blogs for more Wednesday fun!
5 Minutes for Mom
7 Clown Circus
Ordinary and Awesome
Momdot

ENTER MY GIVEAWAY HERE!

Firefly Science Project for Kids


Be a firefly scientist and join us for some firefly fun!! Check out Ready, Set, Glow! and get your kids involved in a fun summer science project. The National Children's Museum's Ready, Set, Glow! project is a unique collaboration between the National Children's Museum (NCM) and the Museum of Science, Boston (MOS), designed to help children become "citizen scientists" through studying fireflies in their own backyards and inputting data online. The goal of the project is to engage kids in inquiry-based learning and stewardship of the environment, and above all, to have fun! Here's more from the website:

What states have fireflies?

Fireflies that glow are found in the eastern United States, east of the Mississippi River all the way from Maine to Florida. If you live in the West, in states like California, Oregon and Washington, you probably won't see fireflies. Fireflies like warm, moist climates and scientists think it may be too dry in these states.
When can I start watching fireflies?

Fireflies can be seen starting in late spring or early summer. Watch for them starting in June until mid to late August or even September, depending upon where you live.

Counting fireflies is easy and fun!
Just follow these simple steps:

Pick a location (like your own backyard!) and register your location on the Museum of Science Boston website.

Spend 10-15 minutes once a week observing fireflies and answer some easy questions like:

Citizen Scientist
* How many fireflies did you see?
* How many different firefly colors did you see?
* How many flashing patterns did you see?
* Where were the fireflies that you watched?

Record the answers on the MOS data sheet and upload your observations to the website. Use the online tools to have fun helping scientists map where fireflies are found and interacting with fellow Citizen Scientists.

Use the MOS web site to have fun helping scientists map where fireflies are found and interacting with fellow Citizen Scientists.

To learn more about fireflies and to join the Museum of Science, Boston (“MOS”) Firefly Watch Project go to www.mos.org/fireflywatch/.

MckLinky Blog Hop - Toffee Cookies Recipe

These are super easy and super yummy. Always a favorite around here. In fact, it's wise to double the recipe ;P

1 cup butter (the real stuff...no skimping);
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 8 oz package milk chocolate toffee bits

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Reduce speed to low; add flour, baking soda and salt. Beat until well mixed. Stir in toffee bits by hand.
Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets (I use non stick). Bake 10 to 12 minutes (check at 9 minutes for non stick) or until lightly browned at edges. Cool 1 minute, remove from cookie sheets.

MckLinky Blog Hop


Usborne Book Giveaway

Monday, July 20, 2009

~CONTEST CLOSED~

Hey there! I am so glad you've stopped by today! And to show my appreciation, I've got a giveaway for you :D One lucky visitor will win this Usborne book packed with fun puzzles for kids.

This book features seek and find puzzles galore - over 100 pages in fact. My kids love these puzzles and I bet yours will too. This is a great book to pack for a trip or long car ride. Usborne publishes several versions of the Things To Spot books and I like to keep one in the car to pull out whenever we're stuck somewhere...traffic, the doctor's office, soccer practice...with over 4000 pictures to find, it's provides hours of fun and entertainment. Aside from just plain fun, these puzzles also help develop pre-reading and number skills and feature rain forest animals, a town markets, castles, farms and more.

UPDATE: Great news! Amanda at Hollywood PhotographyMoving Forward, Beautiful Blog Designs, Classical Conversations in Ballentine and Usborne Today has generously offered to donate the Usborne book for my giveaway! Amanda is a busy lady...mom of 4, homeschooler, Usborne Supervisor and blogger too. She has some great info on her sites for all things educational, and blogging. I don't know how she does it all!! I subscribe to her blogs and really enjoy her updates. I know you will too! Be sure to stop by and say hello.
And this means I have two books to giveaway so get your entries in now!
Plus, you can enter to win Usborne's monthly drawing for $50 in books here!

To enter: Leave a comment telling me another Usborne book you'd like to read. Must include a valid email address (US and Canada only - sorry).

Extra entries:
Comment on this post and let me know you did. One entry per comment - unlimited entries :D
Fave me on technorati
Subscribe to my feed or email updates.
Follow publicly in blogger
Follow me on twitter and tweet this giveaway Follow on facebook
All LINKS FOR FOLLOWS ARE IN LEFT SIDE BAR)

More entries: Visit one of Amanda's blogs and leave her a comment, then let me know where you did. You'll get three extra entries for each comment you leave her!

That's it! Leave a separate comment for each entry please. I'll draw a winner by random number selection after midnight on Monday, July 27, 2009. Winner will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to claim prize. Good luck!

Quotable Sunday

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Good morning! And happy Quotable Sunday. I just love great quotes, don't you? For this week's edition, I've chosen quotes on humor. A good sense of it can get you through quite a bit of struggle with much less pain. Hope you enjoy these and have a joyful Sunday :D


Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.
William James

A well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life.
William A. Ward

A sense of humor... is needed armor. Joy in one's heart and some laughter on one's lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life.
Hugh Sidey

Humor distorts nothing, and only false gods are laughed off their earthly pedestals.
Agnes Repplier

Humor is merely tragedy standing on its head with its pants torn.

Irvin S. Cobb

Humor is the affectionate communication of insight.
Leo Rosten

Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is.
Francis Bacon
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