VTech V.Reader Review & Giveaway!

June 25th, 2010 · Posted By: Jenny

I am super, super SUPER excited about this review and giveaway because this toy is AWESOME!  Your kids are gonna love it!  It’s the VTech V.Reader and it’s kind of like a “Kindle for Kids” – but it’s so much more!  When I first heard about it, I thought, “Joshua is going to love this!”  because he is a very good reader but he also loves him some handheld-game action.  And he DOES love it.  I saw that it said it was for kids ages 3-8, but I figured it might be too much for Sophie – however, I was way wrong.  She loves it and she is SO good at navigating it!   I love that this toy is one that both my kids, who are three years apart in age, can play with at their own level.

Sophie enjoying the VTech V.Reader during potty time

Here’s what I like about the V.Reader, which uses cartridges like the VTech MobiGo or a Leapster:

1) Different learning levels – big kids like Joshua can read the story, and then answer questions and play games about comprehension. Little kids like Sophie can have the story read to them, then follow along and play games.

2) Animation – the stories really come to life!

3) Easy to use – I did not have to show either of my kids how to use the V.Reader.  Even my three-year-old figured it out for herself!  The touchscreen and all the buttons are really easy to use, push, and manipulate.

4) Downloadable stories – you don’t JUST have to purchase new cartridges for this system.  You will soon be able to download titles online at VTechKids.com – including some free titles!  So you can get new content whenever!  I love this feature!!

I am really in love with this toy and so are my kiddos.  I plan on purchasing some new cartridges soon because there are some great titles available – including Sophie’s favorite, Olivia.

The VReader is available exclusively at Target right now but will be in many more stores soon.  You can check it out at Target online or at VTechKids.

OR you can WIN ONE!!!! Here’s how to enter:

1) Go to VTech’s site, check out the VReader and leave a comment about what your favorite feature is

2) “Like” VTech Toys on Facebook and leave a separate comment letting me know you did so (and tell them I sent you while you’re there!)

3) Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter and leave me a separate comment letting me know you did so.

This giveaway will close on Friday July 2 at 5 pm. I’ll choose a winner via Random.org.  Good luck!

OH BTW, I was given a V.Reader by VTech for my review. I was allowed to keep the product, but the opinion I am sharing remains my own.

PF Chang’s Home Menu = YUMMO

June 22nd, 2010 · Posted By: Jenny

Ni Hao, readers!  Have I told you that I loooove Chinese food?  I DO!  I big puffy heart it.  And I love PF Chang’s.  I have never met a Chinese restaurant I didn’t like, but I do enjoy the atmosphere at PF Chang’s a bit more than most.  And the food is great too.  So when they introduced their new PF Chang’s Home Menu (frozen meals for two!)  and asked me would I like to try some for freezies, I was all “heck yes” (because I am classy)!  They sent me two coupons so I got a Ginger Chicken and a Beef with Broccoli.   I cooked them up a few days apart from each other and Bobby and I enjoyed them IMMENSELY!  They were super-easy to cook, and the taste was awesome! The meat and veggies were great quality. My only “Complaint” is that they didn’t come with rice, which kind of surprised me. So buy a bag of rice when you’re at the grocery picking one of these babies up.

These make a great special “adult” meal when you can’t get out to the restaurant but still want to eat some yummy PF Chang’s food.  I highly recommend them!  Here’s a $2 off printable coupon – I found them at Kroger and Meijer.

I’ve got one coupon for a FREE PF Chang’s Home Menu frozen meal!  To enter, just visit their website and then leave me a comment telling me which flavor you’d most like to try.  I’ll pick a winner via Random.org on Saturday June 26th. Good luck!

Eliminate Back Fat with Shapeez

June 14th, 2010 · Posted By: Emily

As you may have heard (9 million times), Jenny and I had the opportunity to wine and dine with Tim Gunn from Project Runway last week.

Needless to say, we were fah-reaking out about what to wear. I mean, he is a fashion guru! And I am not! So yeah, I obsessed about it for weeks.

I had no idea what clothes I was going to wear, but I already knew what I was going to wear under my clothes – my new Shapeez bra.

This thing is a-MAZ-ing. Seriously, it is super comfortable, and it eliminates all back fat.

Don’t believe me?

I made Jenny take a picture of my back at the Tim Gunn event. See for yourself.

And it’s not that I don’t have any back fat, take my word for it. In fact, I was buying a new bra the other day, and when I was trying it on, I told the sales person that I thought it highlighted my back fat. She told me it was ok, that all bras did that.

I beg to differ… I went and got another Shapeez instead!

Great New Toy: VTech MobiGo

June 3rd, 2010 · Posted By: Jenny

Since both of my kiddos are little technology lovers, I jump at the chance to review a cool technology-based learning toy.  So when VTech asked me if I wanted to review their new MobiGo, I was all “heck yes!”  For one thing, this toy is geared for kids ages 3-8 years old, and since I have two kids in that age range, I was jazzed.  So, when it arrived last week, we busted it out and got busy playing and learning!

Both kids were really excited and interested in it right away. Joshua is 6 and I thought he might be kind of “over it” but he love, love, LOVES it.  He has a Leapster (the original) and he seems to like the MobiGo a lot better.  Here’s what both me and my kids like about it:

– It has a TOUCH SCREEN! The touch screen is really easy to use, and JUST the right amount of “sensitive” for little fingers. It is also really, really clear – a great picture!  Both my kids had no problem whatsoever jumping in and using it.

– It has a pull-out QWERTY keyboard.  Much like the texting phones of today, the keyboard can easily be pulled out for games that use it and you can slide it right back in when you don’t need it.  It’s a great feature!

– DIfferent levels of games. My 3-year-old and my 6-year-old both have plenty of options for games on the MobiGo.  There are many different games and each has different levels of difficulty, so it’s easy for both kids to find a game that’s right  for their skill levels.  And as my 3-year-old gets better, she can move up to higher levels!

– Learning fun.  The games are educational – math, vocabulary, spelling, logic, art – it’s all there!  It’s good, SMART fun.

I was thrilled to be given a sneak peek of the VTech MobiGo.  In exchange for my honest review, my kiddos get to keep the product, and I am happy because it’s one they love and I can heartily recommend!

The MobiGo is going to be available exclusively at Toys R Us stores and at Toys R Us online starting Monday, June 7th.  You can check it out at Toys R Us here, and at VTech’s site here for more info. You can also fan VTech on facebook.

Let me know what you think when you get a chance to check out the MobiGo!

Workout Clothes for Women

May 13th, 2010 · Posted By: Emily

A couple months ago, I bit the bullet and joined the gym where I work. It’s a fantastic facility, it’s super-cheap, and I can go on my lunch hour. Perfect!

It only took me six years to work up the nerve to join.

Why? Because I was afraid. The gym to which I’m referring is a university recreational center, which means it’s chock full of young and thin girls who are in great shape.

I am none of these three things!

I finally took the plunge and joined, but I seriously second-guessed my decision the first day. Not only was everyone around me younger, thinner and in better shape that me, but no one else was wearing baggy, worn-out, bleach-stained workout clothes.

I couldn’t automatically make myself younger, thinner or in better shape, but I decided I could definitely find some better clothes.

I put out a plea for fantastic workout clothes for women, and over the last several weeks I’ve had the opportunity to test out some really great stuff. Take a look:

Beyond Yoga

I’m not much of a yoga-er, but I might become one if I get to wear these clothes. Here’s a little background on the line:
Beyond Yoga was created by yogini-designer Jodi Guber to fit and flatter everybody and every body. The irresistibly soft, sweat-wicking Supplex and Organic Pima Cotton make Beyond Yoga the must-have active gear for Moms on the go. Whether you’re at a morning yoga session or workout, lunch with friends, carpooling, or afternoon errands, these easy pieces are designed to transition seamlessly and take you all through the day.
I love my Beyond Yoga pants and top! I have been absolutely living in them the last few weeks. They’re so comfortable and soft, and fit so well. I also love that in addition to the comfort, they’re stylish and give me confidence!

Kalyx Sports Bra

There’s really nothing like a mirror smack dab in front of the treadmill to let you know if your sports bra is doing the trick, and let me tell you, mine wasn’t. I always have a hard time finding a sports bra that’s supportive enough, even though after nursing my second kid, there’s not much left to support! I really like the Uplift Max from Kalyx, though. When I first received it, I wasn’t sure I would like it, because the fabric didn’t seem like it was, well, solid enough to do the job. When I put it on and gave it a test, run, though, I was pleasantly surprised. The bra provides a lot of support while still being comfortable – something I hadn’t been sure was possible! Another great thing about this line is that they have sports-specific bras, so you can find exactly what you need whether you’re golfing or running a marathon. Very cool.

BSkinz Activewear

If you’re looking for a way to make a statement when you work out, look no further than BSkinz! BSkinz is a line of spandex/compression shorts, leggings, capris, skirts, skorts, and sports bras in a fun, funky assortment of patterns. They’ve got everything from solid colors to stripes to tie-dye! I love the tie-dye sports bra I have – and while I would never, ever in a million years wear it by itself (hello tummy flab!), I think it’s fun to wear under a tank top! I also like the skort – it’s not something I would have picked out, probably (working out in a skort??), but that’s only because I wouldn’t have thought about it! I actually really like it – it has the functionality of stretch pants (aka no riding up!) without showing off everything you’ve got!

So there you have it – my best finds in workout gear for women. And in case you were wondering, joining the gym has totally been worth it – especially now that I’m not wearing my old sweats!

Lullabelly Prenatal Music Belt

April 9th, 2010 · Posted By: Emily

This review is brought to you by my BFF, Jessica!

When Emily asked me to be a guest blogger on Mommin’ It Up, of course I jumped at the chance. Emily and I have been BFFs since sixth grade and I’ve been an avid Mommin’ It Up reader since the beginning, almost three years ago. At 8 months pregnant, Em asked if I would try and review the Lullabelly. My husband and I are extreme music enthusiasts and I was delighted to try and review this new product.

Earlier in my pregnancy I attempted a ‘do it yourself’ version of the Lullabelly. At work, I hooked up headphones from my laptop and inserted the ear pieces down my lovely maternity pants. They wouldn’t stay in place, it was uncomfortable and I received many strange looks from my co-workers. I had no idea that the Lullabelly even existed!

The Lullabelly is a belt that can be worn against a prego stomach so that you can play music (via MP3 player or iPod) for your infant to hear in the womb. The Lullabelly company claims that letting your baby listen to music in the womb helps reduce stress, assists with fetal development and creates a wonderful bonding experience.

When I received the belt, I was surprised at how comfortable it was to wear. The material was in a cute pink pattern, super soft and easy to Velcro against my ever-expanding waistline. My MP3 player fits into a little zippered pouch that includes a port so that you can listen along with your baby.

The first time I tried the Lullabelly, I was surprised how much the baby kicked when hearing the music. I think she’s already a Bob Marley fan. My husband got really into this too as he found some great hippie dippie tunes to play for our little one. It was a fun family bonding experience for all three of us! I would definitely recommend this product to other expecting moms!

Subway Fresh Fit in 2010!

February 19th, 2010 · Posted By: Emily

Subway is one of two fast food establishments in my small town.  I still remember the day it opened – I was a sophomore in high school and it was quite a big deal.  Anyway, since we have limited options around here, and my cooking sucks, we tend to eat a lot of Subway!  It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s reasonably priced, the kids love it… and with the Fresh Fit options, it’s nutritious.

Subway is committed to helping moms stay fit. They’ve teamed up with The Biggest Loser and created a workout mix for your MP3 player – click here to download it for free! They’ve also given us two $25 Subway gift cards to give away! With the variety of $5 footlong subs available, that can go a long way!

Here’s how to enter:

1) Leave a comment on this post telling us your favorite Subway sub (mine’s the buffalo chicken!)

2) Tweet about this contest or post about it on your Facebook page, and leave a comment telling us you did so.

3)  Become a fan of Subway on Facebook, and leave a comment here telling us you did so.

4)  Follow Subway on Twitter, and leave a comment letting us know you did so.

This contest will end on February 28th and the winners will be chosen using random.org.  Good luck!

Design Your Own Ornaments on CafePress!

December 14th, 2009 · Posted By: Emily

Jenny and I never know what to get our grandma for Christmas… all the cousins typically fight over who gets to make the photo calendar each year, because we know Grandma loves to look at her adorable grandchildren.

This year, when we heard about personalized ornaments from CafePress, we knew we had the perfect gift for Grandma. The software on the site is incredibly easy – just pick from a wide assortment of designs, upload a picture, and voila, a gift Grandma is sure to love.

Because really, who wouldn’t want to show off these adorable grandchildren?

Wait! We’re not ready yet. (And what? We are her adorable grandchildren!)

Ok let’s try this again.

That one would be perfect… if we were the poster children for Blindness Awareness Day.

Hmm… clearly the pictures of Jenny and me together aren’t going to work, so let’s see if we can get the perfect shot of Jenny all by herself.

Jenny! This is serious! Please try to pay attention.

Yeah that is not going to work either. You are not very good at this.

Maybe Grandma is a Twilight fan… how about this one?!?

Ok I am going to have nightmares for months. The woman is 84 years old, I don’t think she can withstand that sight.

Clearly Jenny and I are a lost cause. Perhaps we should turn to the next generation for the perfect ornament. We’ll have Kate go first.

She takes after her mother. And her cousin.

Moving on… maybe Sammy is better at this.

Yes, yes… that is more like it. How about this pretty girl?

That would make any Christmas tree more beautiful. But this…

That smile is brighter than… something really bright. Which is obviously not me.

As you can see, Jenny and I had a lot of fun creating our own ornaments on CafePress, and we think you will too. So if you’re in the market for a last-minute gift for Grandma, a way to commemorate your baby’s first Christmas, or the perfect gift for your Twilight-loving little cousin, make sure to check out CafePress for yourself!

Order by the end of the day tomorrow December 15 to make the deadline for standard shipping, or by December 20 for premium shipping. And if you’re really behind the eight ball, you have until December 21 to order using one-day shipping!

Blue Light Special in Aisle Four!

November 12th, 2009 · Posted By: Emily

Remember that?

I know I do… and now Kmart is bringing back the Blue Light Special! Special offers run every Saturday and Sunday, on everything from electronics, to jewelry, to items for your home – all at Kmart Bluelight Special prices! There are over 40 great Bluelight Specials throughout the weekend in-store AND other great offers online at Kmart.com ONLY on Saturday and Sunday.

To make it even better, Kmart is giving away a $50 gift card every day from 11/12 – 12/23! All you have to do to enter is tweet using #KmartBLS each day.

In addition to daily winners, everyone following @KmartDealsnNews on Twitter (as of 12/23/2009) will be entered for a chance to win a $500 Kmart Shopping spree!

Grand and First prize winners will be chosen at random from eligible followers of the @KmartDealsnNews Twitter account at the end of the sweepstakes. One (1) Grand Prize winner will receive a $500 Kmart gift card, and five (5) First Prize winners will receive a $100 Kmart gift card. Winners will be notified by direct message, and must be following @KmartDealsnNews.

Good luck!

Review and Giveaway: Breville ikon Hemisphere LCD Blender

November 4th, 2009 · Posted By: Emily

***Congratulations to our winner, Trisha!***

I am very excited about this giveaway!

The nice folks at Breville sent me one of these blenders to review, and they are also going to give one to a lucky one of our readers!

Here’s what Breville says about the ikon Hemisphere LCD Blender:
— The blender’s Hemisphere Bowl/Blade system utilizes a large, semicircular shredding blade positioned to hug the uniquely shaped bowl. What does this mean for you? All of the ingredients placed into the blender will be shredded into fine, consistent, and most importantly, no surprising chunks.
— The blender has a special “Smoothie” button which is programmed to pause mid-cycle to achieve naturally aerated results with a velvety consistency. This features cuts out the need to add extra calories and thickening agents, such as yogurt.
— The blender features five speed settings, pulse function and two preset programs for ice crushing and smoothies, so no matter what you are blending, it has the perfect speed.
— The 54-ounce engineering grade borosilicate glass jar is designed to resist scratching, chipping and fogginess for optimal clarity. The baked enamel measurements provide for sharp viewing and accurate measurements.

Here’s what I say about it:
I love this thing. The only other blender I have ever owned was of the $25 variety, purchased off of our wedding registry. I very rarely used it, and when I did I always had a mess on my hands because it leaked like crazy, and it really didn’t even blend up ice very well. Which, in my opinion, is the whole point of a blender. The Breville does a great job on ice – I had to make sure to test it thoroughly, so I whipped up a batch or ten two of my famous low-cal margaritas, and it worked perfectly. It has several different settings that can be used to get the exact consistency you want – it even has a “snow” setting that I haven’t tried out yet but sounds very fun! I have used the “Smoothie” setting several times, and it does a great job blending frozen fruit and yogurt as well. The smoothie setting is cool because it starts, pauses, starts again throughout the one-minute cycle to let the chunky stuff settle to the bottom to make sure everything gets blended uniformly. Very cool!

The blender is heavy and sturdy, and I love the stainless steel look. It is also very easy to clean (a very important feature, in my opinion, because difficult to clean = never going to be used), and the pitcher part is dishwasher-safe.

I really love this blender, and many people who have come through my kitchen in the last couple months have commented on how nice it is… most notably, Jenny’s husband Bobby, who was disappointed that he can’t win this contest! It retails for $199, so it’s definitely a splurge, but for someone who makes daily smoothies or who cooks a lot, I think it would be well worth it.

So do you want to know how you can win one?
You can enter up to five times by doing the following:
1) Leave a comment here and tell us your favorite thing to make in a blender;
2) Tweet about this contest and leave a comment telling us you did so;
3) Follow Breville on Twitter and leave a comment telling us you did so;
4) Post about this contest on your Facebook page and leave a comment telling us you did so;
5) Become a fan of Breville on Facebook and leave a comment telling us you did so;
6) Subscribe to our feed and leave a comment telling us you did so.

The contest will end at 5:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, November 11, and a winner will be chosen using random.org. Good luck, and a big thanks to Breville for this great contest!

And FYI, Kate and I have tested out various milkshake recipes and have found that Paula Deen’s is the best. We do not, however, recommend any milk shake recipes that do not contain ice cream as an ingredient. Consider yourself warned.

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