Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Contest!

You know that this totally cracks me up. Here we are in the middle of the BlogHer Swag-gate and I've got some really cool swag to give away. I know! I see the humor in this, honestly I do. But regardless, here we go.

Thanks to the generous folks at Bed, Bath and Beyond, I have a wonderful all-matchy matchy dorm room for a young lady about to start college. If you have a daughter entering her freshman year and she's looking for an adorable way to decorate her room in pink and brown, do I have the gift for her. This Abbey 11-Piece Complete Dorm Room Ensemble.

Get prepared for your new surroundings with this 11-piece dorm room ensemble. Abbey combines the fashion-forward colors of warm chocolate and fierce magenta with contemporary design. Comforter has a 100% cotton shell with 100% polyester fill. Sheets and towels are 100% cotton. Fleece throw is 100% polyester. Bed pillow is 80% polyester/20% cotton with 100% polyester fill. Hamper is 100% nylon. Sheets have 200 thread count. Twin/Twin extra long set includes 63" x 92" comforter, standard sham, standard pillowcase, fitted sheet and flat sheet, standard bed pillow, two pink 25" x 44" bath towels, dry-erase board with marker and large pink hamper that measures 13 1/2" H x 13 1/2" W x 22 1/2" D. (Fitted sheet is 4" longer than a standard twin sheet and has a seam that provides a perfect fit on both twin and twin extra long bed sizes.) Full and Queen sets include all of the above plus an extra pillowcase and sham. Machine wash except hamper. Imported.

To enter, write a comment telling me what you're going to miss most and least about your daughter leaving home.

Winner will be announced on Sunday, August 9th. Good Luck!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Prizes all summer long from Mom Central

Celebrate the arrival of summer with the Mom Central Summer Giveaway Bonanza! Each week, Mom Central will post new giveaways just for Moms and their families on MomCentral.com. We'll have tons of great prizes throughout the summer for you and all members of your family. Some of our giveaways include:

Hoover Cyclonic Bagless Upright Vacuum: This new vacuum from Hoover removes more dirt than other cyclonic bagless vacuums due to its patented wind tunnel technology and embedded dirt finder. With power controls on the handle, it reduces bending to get to those hard-to-reach places and easily moves from hard floor to carpet.
Crayola Play Sand: Transform an ordinary sandbox with a splash of color or design colorful art projects with a 20 lb. bag of Crayola Play Sand. The sand doesn't stain hands and features an easy-to-carry handle to make transporting easy on Moms.

Jeep Tandem Stroller: Built to accommodate your growing family, the Tandem Traveler Stroller features sun canopies, reclining seat backs, car-seat adaptors, and cup holders that will leave you feeling like the coolest mommy on the block.
Razor Jr. Electric Wagon: Put a modern spin on the classic wagon with the Razor Jr. Electric Wagon. Traveling safely at 2-3 miles per hour, parents have assistance while cruising the block.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Pixar scores big with UP

Today my son and I went to see UP. We both loved the movie. I'll say right up front that this was a near flawless film and it was one of the few animated films that kept me captivated every single second of the film. Pixar movies just keep getting better and better. I didn't think they could top Wall-E, but I think they did with UP.

A few comments. I do not think that this is a great film for very young kids. There were plenty of the two-year old set at our matinee and a lot of serious crying at the scary parts. And there are a couple of REALLY scary parts.

If you have a child that is unsure or unfamiliar with dogs, you're going to have a lot of explaining to do. This film does not portray dogs in the best light, especially pit bull-type dogs. They were scary and threatening and I know that my children would have been scared within an inch of their lives had them been younger than 5 or 6.

Adults should bring a hankie with them. This is a very poignant film with some pretty adult themes, like infertility, and it's a real tearjerker. The love story you've heard about is lovely, but death is going to be hard for young kids to handle.

Otherwise, loved everything about it. There were a lot of good laughs, especially around the young scout who reminded me so much of my own son. Ed Asner did a magnificent job of combining his curmudgeon side and his very loveable side. He's always been one of my favorite character actors anyhow, but now my love for him is even stronger.

Doug the dog. Hilarious. So sweet and so misunderstood. He was the only nice dog in the entire lot of dogs, and I like that they made him a golden retriever rather than a doberman, rottweiller, or pit bull like the other dogs. It made him easily distinguishable for younger kids.

The house. It flew by balloons. Incredulous, but hey, it's a movie.

The bad guy was really really bad and he brought the tension up every time he appeared on screen. And the fact that he was living in an airship from the 40's kinda bothered me. Just how did he keep the zeppelin inflated? And what was he feeding those dogs and how did he get that food all the way up atop paradise falls? Hmmmm.

I highly recommend this film and give it my 5 popcorns stamp of approval!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A sight you've never seen before

And will probably never see again.

This is Route 128, aka Rt 95 which makes an inner loop around the city of Boston.

This is at 2:30 pm on a Friday.

There are no cars in front of us.

There are no cars behind us.

There are state troopers blocking off every single entrance between Newton and Sharon disallowing anyone to get on the highway.

Not one single car.

Except a very long funeral procession.

The cleared the highway just for us.

This wasn't a famous person. He wasn't a government official. He was just a guy, an engineer, a dad, a husband, a boy scout leader. Nobody you've ever heard of.

But for some reason, which nobody seems to know why, they closed the entire highway for his funeral.

The procession went 35 miles a hour down the empty highway. It was decidedly weird.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Save a life, blow up a dummy

Mom Central asked me to review a kit called Family & Friends, CPR Anytime, that teaches adults and older kids how to perform CPR. The kit contains a video, and a funny and slightly scary blow up dummy. Both of our cats were petrified of the dummy. This kit was sent out for review in honor of CPR and AED Awareness Week sponsored by the American Heart Association.

We watched the video which was informative and went through each of the steps for saving a life in a manner that older kids could understand easily. It was well done, and not quite as panicky as it might have been, so I give the manufacturer, Learning Technology by Laerdal big kudos for that.

The dummy... well, it has kind of a creepy face. I mean it wasn't a smiling clown or a porn doll with a huge mouth or anything, it was what they call a learning manikin named "mini Anne". Only Anne wasn't so mini, and she looked just like a man. Or a very bald rubber woman with a face, a padded but flat chest, and that's about it. No arms or legs are needed for CPR so poor Anne didn't get any! She is, however, Latex Free, something mentioned several times in the packaging and directions.

With Anne and the video comes a Adult CPR and AED reminder card, a Choking and child CPR reminder card, manikin wipes (which cracked me up no end as there really wasn't anything TO wipe except her mouth), and printed directions. Everything is in English and Spanish.

We watched the DVD along with Anne, and practiced on her. It was a lot of fun, oddly enough, and the kids ended up on the floor laughing their butts off. You wouldn't think CPR would be so enjoyable but Anne was just so weird that it turned out to be not only a good learning tool, but a lot of laughter as well.

I then passed off Anne and the kit off to a friend with two teens as well, and her husband and kids took Anne through her paces. They had just as much fun as we did. I know it sounds odd, but teenagers are hilarious when they are confronted with a dummy. Who knew?

I think the kit was well done, and that it would be a valuable addition to any home where CPR isn't yet part of your family's learning. I would recommend it, even with creepy Mini Anne.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Mold and Mildew no more!

You know, my house is over 100 years old. During that time, not much work has been done on it. It's as the designers and real estate agents say, "of the period." Of course that means that my landlady collects top dollar for rent and does absolutely no upkeep.

When you live in a very old house and you have a landlady that does no upkeep, eventually problems occur with mold and mildew. Our bathrooms aren't the problem, although a nice spray of the X-14 Mold & Mildew Stain Remover that Mom Central asked me to revew solved the beginning of a mildew issue on the tub caulk.

Our problem is the kitchen sink. When I had to have it replaced, because God Forbid my landlady would pay for it to be replaced, I had the plumber put in a stainless steel model that wasn't an undercounter mount. So the sink fits over the counter fresh from 1955 complete with the lovely aluminum trim around the edges. And when you have a sink installed that fits over the counter and you don't want it to leak, you caulk it with a clear caulk that makes the sink edge watertight. Sounds easy, but when you have the plumber's teenage son installing your sink and leaving a full inch of clear caulk around the entire rim, well, you're gonna get some really gross mold and mildew.

Mold and mildew on that particular set of circumstances has been difficult to remove until I gave the X-14 a try. Now, there are two caveats I have about this product. One, it leaked in the shipping box so my house smelled like a 55 gallon drum of bleach had been shipped rather than a very small bottle, and two, my children both abhor the smell of bleach. Me, I like the smell. It smells like fresh laundry and clean clean clean to me, but my daughter gags if she smells it.

Thus I had to wait to try the product until the kids were out of the house for a long while, as the odor is very strong. Very strong.

But X-14 works! I mean it really really works. It ate right under the caulk and the hideous black mold spots disappeared like magic. And boy, was my sink shiny clean.

I think that this is a product that is great to have around, but it's not something I'd use on a weekly basis. When you need to get rid of mold or mildew, this is your go-to products. Great for cleaning outdoor furniture, bathrooms, and stuff in your basement. But if you just have a bit of mildew, I think I'd go with Comet with bleach. X-14 really works, but I'm guessing that it's overkill for small projects. For something big or super moldy, I'd go with X-14 any day.