Wednesday, October 29, 2014

10/29/14: Win a PomTree Craft Kit

We love doing crafts!  They are a great way for kids to let out their creative side and have fun making something.  My biggest issue with most crafts is that they are messy!  There is glue involved or glitter and you know that it ends up more on the table and floor than on the craft.  When I found PomTree I was in love as everything has a sticky back so there is no mess!!!  Here are some great craft kids, plus I am giving you a chance to win one of the kits in this post.  Read on to win!
 We received several sets.  I am going to start with the Pom Pals: Mommy and Baby Owl kit.  All the pieces are self sticking so it is easy to use.
 Lauren was having fun with the big eyes.
 Basically you pull the sticky backing off the pieces and put them right on to the big fluffy ball.  I can say is she's so fluffy!!!!
 Evan was getting in to it too and checking out the craft.
We did find on some of the pieces I had a hard time peeling the backing paper off without pulling off the sticky part.  This especially happened on the wings and the feet.  Be extra careful that the backing paper doesn't pull of the sticky piece.  On many pieces I had to help my daughter with this.
It makes the Mommy and Baby.  The baby's beak is very small so make sure you don't lose it.
Here it is as packaged.  At $13 it is an affordable super cute project to do with kids.  All kits can be purchased at Consumer Crafts.
We also received a super cute Felt Pillow Puff Kit: Felt Puppy and Bone Pillow Puff.  This set makes it look like the doggy is stitched together but it is all self stick!  Here is what it comes with.
You start by sticking the white stuffing in to the dog body and putting the ears and tail on.  Then you just stick it together and add the rest of the pieces.  This set we didn't have as many problems with removing the backing paper.
 Here is the finished product.  Again a super cute and mess-free project.
Here it is as packaged and retails for $13.
 Evan decided the Owl and Puppy had to hang out.
Last but not least is a Pom Jewelry Kit.  This set leaves everything to your child's imagination and they can make many different types of jewelry including rings, key chains, bracelets and more.
 It comes with over 400 pieces including pony beads, foam charms, felt shapes, pom pom beads and satin cord.
 Lauren was having fun making all kinds of things.
 She particularly liked her bracelet.
 Now she is making a key chain.
 She really likes her creations.
Here it is as packaged and retails for $10.
 This kit contains hours of fun as there are infinite possibilities as to what you can make.
 Want to win one of these kits?  You can pick any one from this post  or the PomTree Mommy and Baby Bird Pom Pals Kit, or the PomTree Felt Kitty and Mouse Pillow Puff Kit.  Enter below.
Disclosure:  I received these craft sets for review purposes.  No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.
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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

10/28/14: Win Tickets to Annie in Boston

Annie was the first Broadway show I saw in Boston when I was a child.  I actually attended it when I was 4 and now I can't wait to take my kids to see it.  I still have this doll I got at the show in 1977!  Now I am giving you a chance to win 4 tickets to see it at the Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre in Boston on November 5th at 7pm.
I also have a code for 20% of tickets for select performances!
Type in Code: MOMS
Here is a video preview of the show:
More about the show:
The Citi Performing Arts Center and MSG Entertainment are pleased to announce that the new U.S. National Tour of ANNIE will play November 5 – 16, 2014 at the Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre in Boston. Directed by original lyricist and director Martin Charnin for the 18th time, this production of ANNIE will be a brand new physical incarnation of the iconic Tony Award®-winning original. ANNIE features a book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin. All three authors received 1977 Tony Awards® for their work. Choreography is by Liza Gennaro, who will incorporate selections from her father Peter Gennaro’s 1977 Tony Award®-winning choreography. The original production of ANNIE opened April 21, 1977 at the Alvin Theatre and went on to win the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, seven Drama Desk Awards including Best Musical, the Grammy for Best Cast Show Album and seven Tony Awards®, including Best Musical, Best Book (Thomas Meehan) and Best Score (Charles Strouse, Martin Charnin). 
 The show remains one of the biggest Broadway musical hits ever. It ran for 2,377 performances after it first opened, and has been performed in 28 languages and has been running somewhere around the world for 37 years. The beloved score for ANNIE includes “Maybe,” “It’s the Hard Knock Life,” “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile,” “Easy Street,” “I Don’t Need Anything But You” and the eternal anthem of optimism, “Tomorrow.” The celebrated design team includes scenic design by Tony Award® winner Beowulf Boritt (Act One, The Scottsboro Boys, Rock of Ages), costume design by Costume Designer’s Guild Award winner Suzy Benzinger (Blue Jasmine, Movin’ Out, Miss Saigon), lighting design by Tony Award® winner Ken Billington (Chicago, Annie, White Christmas) and sound design by Tony Award® nominee Peter Hylenksi (Rocky, Bullets Over Broadway, Motown). The lovable mutt “Sandy” will once again be trained by Tony Award® Honoree William Berloni (Annie, A Christmas Story, Legally Blonde). Musical supervision and additional orchestrations are by Keith Levenson (Annie, She Loves Me, Dreamgirls). Casting is by Joy Dewing CSA and Holly Buczek CSA, Joy Dewing Casting (Soul Doctor, Wonderland, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat). The tour is produced by Troika Entertainment, LLC. 
ANNIE plays at the Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre Wednesday, November 5 – Sunday, November 16, 2014, for 16 performances: Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 7:00 pm; matinees on Thursday, November 6 at 11:00 am, Tuesday, November 11 at 2:00 pm, and Saturdays at 2:00 pm; and Sundays at 1:00 pm and 6:00 pm. Tickets are priced at $35.00 - $125.00; all prices include a $3.75 facility fee per ticket. Tickets are now on sale at the Citi Center box office, through www.citicenter.org or by calling 800-982-ARTS (2787), or through Ticketmaster. 
Tomorrow, Tomorrow, make sure you get tickets or win tickets.  Ok, I had to, I love that song!

Disclosure:  I received 4 tickets to attend this performance of Annie and 4 tickets for giveaway.  No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, October 26, 2014

10/26/14: Disney Princess Palace Pets

Our family loves our pet dog Fred.  He is part of our family so why shouldn't Disney Princesses have pets in their family?  Disney Consumer Products in collaboration with licensee, Blip Toys created Disney Princess Palace Pets.  They are another hot holiday toy and next up in my Holiday Gift Guide.
We received three of them.  There is Aurora's Furry Tail Friend Fox Nuzzles, Snow White's Furry Tail Friend Bunny Berry and Ariel's Walking and Wiggling Kitty Treasure.
They are super cute with great detail, glitter and a fuzzy tail to brush.
Lauren was having fun brushing them.
Here is another cute one.
They also come with storybooks that Lauren was having fun reading.  Any toy that encourages her to read more is a great toy to me.
Lauren was having fun with them all interacting and making up little situations they were in.
They are a great toy to take in the car and let kids have them interact.   There is also a Disney Princess Palace Pets app.  The app shares the story of how the Palace Pets met the Disney Princess characters and includes activities such as an interactive royal salon where children can wash, brush, groom, accessorize and treat the pets to snacks. 
 This one is super cute as it wiggles as it walks.  You pull back on her and she wiggles her tail as she moves forward.
Here they are as packaged.  These are great as a stocking stuffer, or a school gift swap toy as they are inexpensive.
These are definitely one of the Hot Toys this Holiday Season.  
Disclosure:  I received these three Disney Princess Place Pets for review purposes.  No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

10/23/14: Sports Safety for Kids and Aflac Ultimate College Football Experience Sweepstakes

My son loves sports.  He has played soccer, basketball, and baseball.  Kids get involved in sports at such a young age.  My son started playing soccer at 3 years old.  Now he plays on a travel team and it is his favorite sport.  Aflac is here with a cool sweepstakes and some sports safety tips to help.
There is no secret that sports can be dangerous.  We are no strangers to accidents that can happen.  On the last basketball practice of the season he crashed in to another child while playing a game.  You wouldn't think basketball would be a full contact sport, but this day it was.  After a quick trip to the ER we realized he had broken his collar bone.
 He was devastated that he would miss his last game of the season.  We followed the directions of the doctor and he was back to his normal self in about 2 months of wearing a sling.
Make sure you are covered with supplemental insurance for accidents and unexpected illness.  Without health insurance, the average cost to treat a broken leg, for example, is over $10,0001 now just imagine a serious back injury! 
That’s where Aflac comes in ... if someone with an Aflac supplemental insurance plan experiences a serious illness or injury, Aflac helps ease the financial stress and provides cash benefits to help pay for out-of-pocket expenses. Supplemental insurance could help cover these and other expenses that may not be fully covered by your major medical insurance: Broken teeth, Concussions, Ambulance, ground and air, Emergency room visits, Lacerations For more information, visit http://www.aflac.com/individuals/default.aspx.
Football is obviously one of the sports with the most injuries.  I want to share some tips from Aflac on how to keep things as safe as possible on the football field: 
 1) Football = lots of gear! Some equipment may look “optional,” but it is important to wear all necessary pads and safety gear each time you play. If you show up for a practice or game without it, alert your coach immediately. 
 2) Follow the rules While physical prowess is central to football, you must obey the rules. In the heat of the moment it’s easy to forget, but there is a reason why things like tripping, clipping, blocking below the knees and helmet-to-helmet contact are illegal in football: they can be very dangerous to both you and your opponents. 
 3) Listen to your body If at any point you feel pain or discomfort while playing, notify your coach and get out of the game. While sitting on the sidelines is one of the most difficult situations a player can face, pushing through injuries increases the severity and keeps you out of action longer. 
4) Take the doctor’s orders After experiencing a sports injury, the first question a player often asks is, "When can I play again?" The answer depends on the injury. Always listen to your doctor. Even if you can't return right away, a doctor or physical therapist might have suggestions and advice on what you can do to stay fit and rehab the injury. It is important to always check with a doctor before attempting any activity following an injury. 
 5) Make sure you’re covered Accidents happen. When unexpected injuries happen on the football field, make sure you’re prepared with supplemental insurance to help cover out-of-pocket expenses. According to the 2014 Aflac WorkForces Report, 66 percent of U.S. workers could not afford the costs associated with a serious illness or injury. That’s why voluntary insurance plans are so important. In the event of a serious injury, they help provide peace of mind and cash benefits to help you get back in the game fast. 
Aflac has a new partnership with the Heisman Trophy and is hosting the Ultimate College Football Experience Sweepstakes.  Three prize packages will win a trip for two, a pair of tickets to one of three college football games in November, a chance to meet Desmond Howard and more.  Winners will be announced Oct. 28, Nov. 4 and Nov. 11.  Here are the Official Rules. Official Rules.  
Find Aflac On-Line:  www.aflac.com
Twitter: @AflacDuck

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

10/19/14: Roger Williams Park Zoo Jack-O-Lanterns A to Z

Last night we went to the Roger Williams Park Zoo Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular Jack-O-Lanterns from A to Z.  This is a truly amazing display of carved pumpkins.  Every year I am in amazement of these Jack-O-Lanterns and can't imagine the amount of work that goes in to them. 
 The kids absolutely love this event and so do I.
I wanted to share some tips from our years of attending this wonderful display.
1.  Go on a WEEKDAY!  Attendance is much lighter during the week and the quality is the same as daily they are fixing any pumpkins that need fixing.  When we left last night on a Saturday at 7:15 the line was enormous.  It had to be at least a 2 plus hour wait and was outside the Zoo.
2.  Go toward the end of the month, the attendance is also lighter then.
3.  If you do chose to go on a weekend make sure to get there early to get in line.
4.  A better plan if you do go on a weekend is to go to the Harvest Buffet as we did.  You go in at 5 pm and get the VIP entry to the Spectacular.  You can find more information here on the Harvest Buffet.  It runs on Friday-Sundays through October 31st.

The great thing about the Harvest Buffet is you get to eat there, plus get VIP entrance to the Pumpkin Trail.  They lead you past the line of people entering the Pumpkin Trail and let you right in.There is turkey, cranberry sauce, squash, vegetables, and mashed potatoes.  Plus hot dogs, hamburgers and pulled pork.  The food was really good.  Plus there is brownies, apple crisp, soda, water, coffee, hot chocolate, and hot cider.

After we left the Harvest Buffet we headed on to the trail.
They started with some famous Horror Movies.
 Look at the detail on this!  This one is one of my favorites.
There is always a theme.  This year the pumpkins were displayed with themes in alphabetical order, with highlights from history and popular culture, and another section will honor inspirational figures.  It started with Alice in Wonderland for A.

B for Butterfly and Birds.
C for Christmas time.  Complete with snow fashioned out of bubbles coming from above.
 Santa!
D for Dinosaurs.
 
 Absolutely amazing.
Chickens in the coop.
 Beautiful animal pumpkins.
 
 M for Mythology.  Love the Medusa one.
 
 U for unbelievable had Larry Bird!  This was my husband's favorite.
 Tom Brady, another one of my favorites.
 V for Vampires.
They also always have a tribute to those who have passed in the last year.  Here you can see Robin Williams.
 The Laughing Tree is the most amazing sight and is so hard to capture with pictures.  I have some video at the end of the post also.
I do have some video as I love listening to the music and looking around at this tree.
 The intricate carvings are amazing, and the sheer volume of how many pumpkins there are is amazing.
 Absolutely beautiful.
 I tried to take a picture at a distance to show how high the pumpkins go.
Here are some more details:
The Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular is open 6pm - 11pm, with the last admission at 10pm.
On Saturdays, admission will be extended an hour, with the last admission at 11pm, and the trail closing at 12am.
Pricing: 
Monday - Thursday are $12 adults, $10 seniors and $9 for children ages 3 – 12, with children under three admitted for free.
Admission prices on Friday - Sunday are $16 adults, $14 seniors and $13 children ages 3 – 12; children two and under are admitted for free.
This is an absolute must see!
  Here is some video of the Laughing Tree:

 It continues till November 2nd!
 Check them out on Facebook: 
Disclosure: I was provided tickets to the Harvest Buffet for my family and I in exchange for promotional review.  No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.