Leavin’ On A Jet Plane

Our flight for England leaves tomorrow morning! We are very excited – it’s going to be a great trip. Our plane leaves from Portland and has a long layover in Amsterdam, so we’ll have time to leave the airport and look around the city before we catch our flight to Manchester! Then it’s on to Birkenhead, where my dad lives, and then to Butlins in Bognor Regis! Thanks again to Fuel My Blog and Butlins Resorts for making this possible.

And although I’m going on vacation, my blog certainly isn’t! The British Invasion Blog party begins tomorrow, and you are going to love all the fabulous giveaways I have up my sleeve! And to help me spread the news about these fantastic giveaways, I have enlisted the help of some wonderful bloggers. These ladies will be getting the word out and making sure everyone knows about these fab contests – so let me introduce my team of “Blog Assistants”:

Joyce of Saving My Cents is a couponer who loves to write about everything frugal. She has some great articles about saving money – in fact, she is also going to be doing some guest posts over at Super Coupon Girl while I’m away, so don’t miss those!


Katie of The Coupon Queens of Laurel Run is a coupon clipper, just like me. She posts coupon matchups and scenarios along with link to the newest coupon offers. She also holds awesome giveaways of her own, so be sure to check those out!

Katie is also one of Contest Corner’s lucky giveaway winners!

Stacie from The Divine Miss Mommy writes charming entries about her family. You should really read her “About Us” post – it’s a far better introduction than I could give her!

Stacie is a giveaway junkie too, and has some fab ones happening on her blog – so don’t miss out!

The Mommy Diaries

Ally of The Mommy Diaries specializes in product reviews and fun giveaways! Her reviews are great and she hosts fab contests to go with them! You can learn more about her by watching her Introduction To V-Logging video. So go say “hi!”

Brandy of No Time Mom is a stay-at-home mommy who offers her thoughts on products along with fun giveaways! She has a contest for Dropps baby laundry detergent running through May 31st, so be sure to drop your name in the hat!

Leavin’ On A Jet Plane

Our flight for England leaves tomorrow morning! We are very excited – it’s going to be a great trip. Our plane leaves from Portland and has a long layover in Amsterdam, so we’ll have time to leave the airport and look around the city before we catch our flight to Manchester! Then it’s on to Birkenhead, where my dad lives, and then to Butlins in Bognor Regis! Thanks again to Fuel My Blog and Butlins Resorts for making this possible.

And although I’m going on vacation, my blog certainly isn’t! The British Invasion Blog party begins tomorrow, and you are going to love all the fabulous giveaways I have up my sleeve! And to help me spread the news about these fantastic giveaways, I have enlisted the help of some wonderful bloggers. These ladies will be getting the word out and making sure everyone knows about these fab contests – so let me introduce my team of “Blog Assistants”:

Joyce of Saving My Cents is a couponer who loves to write about everything frugal. She has some great articles about saving money – in fact, she is also going to be doing some guest posts over at Super Coupon Girl while I’m away, so don’t miss those!


Katie of The Coupon Queens of Laurel Run is a coupon clipper, just like me. She posts coupon matchups and scenarios along with link to the newest coupon offers. She also holds awesome giveaways of her own, so be sure to check those out!

Katie is also one of Contest Corner’s lucky giveaway winners!

Stacie from The Divine Miss Mommy writes charming entries about her family. You should really read her “About Us” post – it’s a far better introduction than I could give her!

Stacie is a giveaway junkie too, and has some fab ones happening on her blog – so don’t miss out!

The Mommy Diaries

Ally of The Mommy Diaries specializes in product reviews and fun giveaways! Her reviews are great and she hosts fab contests to go with them! You can learn more about her by watching her Introduction To V-Logging video. So go say “hi!”

Brandy of No Time Mom is a stay-at-home mommy who offers her thoughts on products along with fun giveaways! She has a contest for Dropps baby laundry detergent running through May 31st, so be sure to drop your name in the hat!

Lots Of Winners To Announce!

I’m up late packing for my trip, so I thought I’d go ahead and pull the winners of my four contests that just ended!

Break Pal giveaway winners:

Winner # 1 was comment number 51, Donna, who said: “I am a follower.”

Winner #2 was comment number 32, Marianna, who said: “I need this because it looks like a good motivation to quit playing on the PC and actually have some activity!”

Winner #3 was comment number 44, 07Violet, who said: “this looks like an easy way to get in some exercise while at the computer which is great”

Winner #4 was comment number 17, msrodeobrat, who said: “i could use this product because i spend a lot of time in front of a computer and am trying to lose weight. im a firm believer that every little thing helps and this sounds like a great way to supplement my workouts during the day while working”

Winner #5 was comment number 39, Betty C, who said: “I would love to have this membership because I am at a desk for 8 hours a day with only scheduled breaks and lunch as an opportunity to move around. If I can learn these at home I can use them at work also. I like that you can choose to start with easy stretching exercises and move up to more demanding ones.”

Congrats! You guys will love it. And feel free to add me as a workout buddy!

Next up, we have the winners of the “What’s For Dinner?” gift baskets:

Winner #1 was comment number 182, Linda, who said: “My biggest struggle is finding new recipes that are quick and easy to make that everyone will like.”

Winner #2 was comment number 215, Diana D, who said: “My biggest struggle is deciding on something. Then once I’ve made a decision I find I’m missing a ingredient. Thanks for having the wonderful giveaway.”

Winner #3 was comment number 103, YZgirl4, who said: “My biggest struggle is coming up with quick meals to make so that I can finish making dinner and care for my kids” Guess what? YZGirl is so lucky this week, she actually just won this prize on another blog! So she told me to choose another lucky winner -drumroll please:

Winner #3 is comment number 43, Celeste, who said: “Deciding what to make is the hardest part! LOL”

Congratulations on your delicious prize! It was fun reading what everyone listed as their biggest dinnertime struggle – I agree with all of you!

Next up, we have the winners in the Finish Dishwashing giveaway:

Winner #1 was comment number 80, KateandLucy, who said: “I need the Finish Powerball Tabs. One Step for Busy Lady!”

Winner # 2 was comment number 31, dolls123, who said: “Blog follower”

Congrats! You will love your sparkly dishes!

And finally, we have the winners of the Hannah Montana CD giveaway:

Winner #1 was comment number 64, Frugal RI Mama Karen, who said: “I am following you!” She says her daughter is a huge fan, so she is sure to love this!
Update: As it turns out, Karen was just invited to review a copy of this CD, so she told me to draw another winner!

Winner #1 is comment number 50, dctm, who said: “I would love to win this for my daughter..she loves Hannah Montana” Very cool, I’m sure she will be thrilled!

Winner #2 was comment number 18, TJ and Amy, who said: “I follow.” She says that “I actually really love hannah montana myself. pathetic I know.” That’s not pathetic! You ought to see my MP3 playlist. (*cough* Jonas Brothers *cough*)

Winner #3 was comment number 69, Dina, who said: “Follow you on blogger.” Wow, all three won because they followed! She says that her kids will enjoy this.

That’s a lot of lucky winners! Thanks so much to everyone who entered – enjoy your awesome prizes!

Win Manta "Front-Of-The-Line" Passes At RideManta.com

Remember when I was talking about the Manta rollercoaster at Seaworld last month? Well, SeaWorld is hosting another fun giveaway to tie in with this new attraction – you could win a “Front-of-the-line” pass to the Manta at SeaWorld Orlando by following six steps. First, click here to visit RideManta.com, and click on the “Participate & Win” button. Then complete the following tasks:

1. Register for an account with RideTheFlyingRay.com.
2. Log in to your Twitter account (or sign up for one)
3. Follow @RealShamu
4. Find answers for the Manta quiz throughout RideTheFlyingRay.com
5. Correctly answer 5 Manta questions in the quiz – you will get three chances to answer correctly.
6. Once completed, you will receive an email from RideTheFlyingRay.com.

Once you complete two out of the six Manta site activities, you will earn one free electronic photograph from your Manta ride experience at SeaWorld Orlando. If you complete all six of the activities, you’ll go straight to the front of the line by earning a Manta “Front-of-the-line” pass at SeaWorld Orlando. This would be worth doing if you’re planning a trip to SeaWorld anyway – it’s nice to bypass those lines. And who doesn’t want to follow Shamu on Twitter?

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The Golden Ribby Awards

WonderWorld Entertainment LLC, creator of the award-winning children’s television series “Ribert & Robert’s WonderWorld,” has announced a call for nominees for the first worldwide talent contest for kids – The Golden Ribby Awards.

The Golden Ribby Awards are a quarterly opportunity for talented kids across the country to showcase their gifts in music, comedy, dance, art, science, sports and more. With help from their parents, kids are invited to make a video or take a digital picture highlighting their talents and upload it at WonderWorld TV.com.

Finalists are eligible to receive prizes from 11 categories to win a Golden Ribby Mini and a $100 gift card, a Silver Ribby Mini and a $50 gift card or a Bronze Ribby Mini and a $25 gift card. Winners from each quarter will advance on to the voting of the annual grand prize. The grand prize will be awarded late in 2009 and the recipient will receive $10,000.

“I started our company with the mission of inspiring children and encouraging their talents and creativity. The Golden Ribby Awards are an opportunity for children to showcase their unique talents,” said Mike DeVitto, Founder of WonderWorld Entertainment. “We’re excited to begin our search for the most talented kids on the planet!”

For contest rules and more information on the 2009 Golden Ribby Awards, check out WonderWorldTV.com.

Interview With Stephen Gass of eebee


eebee is a series of DVDs for babies, aiming to “transform everyday play into learning that lasts”. Starring the adorable puppet “eebee”, shows eebee in playing and learning in everyday situations – because, as their motto goes, every baby learns by doing.

Stephen Gass, the creator of eebee, recently took a moment to chat with Contest Corner about eebee’s adventures.

Contest Corner: What inspired you to create eebee?

Stephen Gass: With my background as a developmental psychologist and educator, and having spent much of my career with organizations including Sesame Street, Scholastic and Nickelodeon creating educational media, toys, books and games, I was fascinated by the emergence of “baby media” that exploded onto the market a few years back. I was also intrigued to find that little of what I saw reflected the way real babies learn… through active, hands-on exploration and social play.

Informed by the latest research on memory, attention, imitation, language, social and motor skill development, we set out to create a new approach to the genre, an approach that would go beyond showing decontextualized objects on a screen or attempting to “teach” academic letter and number skills. We wanted to not only engage babies, but inspire parents as well. Our goal was to be a catalyst for real-world play, to focus on the foundational skills babies can only build through experience, and to celebrate the natural everyday interactions with parents that are essential for learning.

The exciting and satisfying result of this baby- and play-centered approach has been the countless reports from families who describe how they are not only playing and interacting with their babies during an “adventure,” but before and after as well. Hearing those stories, folks sharing baby pictures with us, and knowing that we are a playful addition to a parent’s arsenal of learning tools is what truly inspires me.

Contest Corner: There seems to be quite a debate these days as to whether or not
babies should be exposed to TV. What’s your take on this?

Stephen Gass: Back in 1999, the American Academy of Pediatricians issued a statement recommending no TV for children under the age of 2. Their concern was based on the lack of research about babies and TV and a fear that TV viewing would take away from critical real-world social and physical interactions. This was followed by some studies that attempted to draw connections between early TV viewing and later learning problems. These studies have been refuted. The most recent research indicates what parents already know: CONTENT MATTERS. The real issues are ones of moderation–making sure that you limit the amount of screen time; content–looking for programming that a baby is capable of not only attending to but understanding; and context–using TV like any other developmental experience for your child…talk about it, describe it, play along and use it as a scaffold for interaction. Damning the medium itself does not help us to understand how, when and why it might be an effective tool. We live in a highly media and screen-centric world. Our goal is to better understand the effective and responsible role of media in all of our lives…and we know now that what’s on the screen and how it’s presented can and does make a difference. That’s what we need to focus on.

Contest Corner: You designed Eebee to fit with your philosophy that “Every baby learns by doing”. Can you tell me a little more about this concept and how this is expressed in the DVDs?

Stephen Gass: Unlike so many baby DVDs that simply display collections of images or are akin to video flash cards, our “adventures” feature eebee, the baby’s baby, along with real babies and real grown-ups engaged in real-world, hands-on play. Rather than an “adventure” being about the “seasons,” or “animals,” each adventure is based on a play curriculum and centers around a particular play pattern or material. They are social. And babies are social learners. For example, eebee and friends play with water, paper and boxes, light and shadow, rolling and sliding, making music, building and un-building, or filling and dumping. Rather than showing a picture of a ball to introduce either the word “ball” or the concept of “rolling,” an adventure will show ball play and exploration in a real-world context with eebee and babies playing and exploring with balls and grown-ups scaffolding, assisting, and describing…just like in the real-world and just like the developmental research and experts suggest. We know that watching is no substitute for actual experience, but observing and modeling are often the first step to doing.

Contest Corner: What do you hope to achieve with Eebee?

Stephen Gass: Big picture: I’d like to change the world one baby at a time. Maybe the “adventures” will help to achieve this goal. On a more modest level, our goal is to engage babies with new ideas through play and grown-ups with new ideas about play and development and, simply stated, to put a smile back into developmental play.

Contest Corner: Do you have any upcoming Eebee projects you’d like to share with us?

Stephen Gass: Like every baby, it seems like every day there’s something new to be excited about with eebee:

-eebee will soon be available in Spanish on DVD and TV;

- In addition to Comcast, Cox and Bresnan, eebee will also soon be available via MagRack, a VIDEO ON DEMAND service, on AT&T,

Advanced Cable,Bend Broadband, Braintree BELD, Cincinnati Bell, Guadalupe Valley, INS Des Moines, IA, Insight, Knology, Mediacom, Suddenlink, Verizon and Cablevision;

-We will be introducing 2 new board books this summer at Barnes & Noble: eebee’s MAKE IT HAPPEN adventures (the eebee twist on a baby book of opposites) and eebee’s HERE TO THERE adventure (the “action” adventure for every toddler on the move);

- eebee’s MIX & MASH adventures in the kitchen for babies and grown-ups, a book and DVD combination is slated for release later this year!

Contest Corner: Thanks for chatting with us today, Stephen!

If you’d like to learn more about eebee’s adventures, you can find out more on their official webite, eebee.com. Readers can recive a 10% discount at the store by simply typing the word: eebee
I will be reviewing the eebee series once I return from England, so check back to see my thoughts on the DVD collection!

Kajeet Phones – The Lowdown


Kajeet is a cell phone service specifically designed for kids. A pay-as-you go option that aims to please both tweens and parents alike, Kajeet mixes fun features like texting, ringtones and games with the peace of mind of parental control.

About Kajeet:

From Kajeet.com -

“kajeet may be based in Bethesda, Maryland, but kids are the center of our universe. That’s why we made the only pay-as-you-go cell phone service that puts kids first.

Our story began with three dads figuring out how technology, kids and parents work best (“kajeet” is an anagram of the first letters of the names of the company’s founders’ children). Thinking of our own kids, we designed a service to provide them with everything they need to safely explore the exciting new world of mobile tech.

We believe kids are smart. At kajeet our entire philosophy springs from this simple core idea. We want kids to be agile with technology. We want kids to have fun. We want them to be empowered and safe, and we want to help them respond with confidence to what’s happening in their world.

Not incidentally, we want their parents and guardians to be involved too. Because having a cell phone is not just fun, it’s a responsibility – a shared responsibility. (We’ve put “use it for good” in our logo for a reason.) So we’ve designed kajeet to incorporate a full suite of tools (we call it the kajeet Configurator) to help families customize and manage every aspect of their kajeet experience.

Unique among pay-as-you-go services, the kajeet Configurator offers numerous ways for tweens and their families to tailor the service to meet their unique needs. Here’s a taste:

• TimeManager
Kids (and parents) decide when the kajeet phone can and can’t be used – – schedule
kajeet to be active only before and after class or to go off at lights out!
• WalletManager
Each kajeet phone offers virtual wallets for parents and kids that allow families to
determine who pays for what – - whether it’s talk time or text messages. Calls to
family? Bet parents will pay for those. Calls and texts to the cute boy or girl in science class? Kids can pick up that tab! And, customers can check balances, set up refills, and review detailed account activity through the Web at any time. Money can also be transferred from the parent’s wallet to the kid’s wallet – - put that allowance earned for chores or reward money made for good grades to good use.
• ContactManager
Via the Web, kajeet lets customers determine who can or can’t call or text the kajeet
phone. Calls to mom and dad or your best friend? The kajeet phone can be set up to
always allow those — but calls or texts from that bully in the hall can be blocked!
• FeatureManager
Families decide what features (such as IM or content downloads) to turn on and off—and this can be changed via the Web at any time.

Just 35 cents a day gives customers unlimited use of the kajeet Configurator, free browsing of the kajeet Navigator (providing access to an array of kid-centric ringtones, wallpapers, and games – including free kajeet content), personalized voicemail, Google Maps for Mobile, and kid-friendly Customer Care.”

So how does Kajeet stack up? I am testing out a Kajeet phone to see for myself, so check back for my review coming soon to Contest Corner!

Sneak Peek – GOSSIP GIRL: Real NYC Stories Revealed

Dove go fresh has partnered with The CW to create a video series inspired by Gossip Girl, the number one show for 20-something women, to create a video series called “GOSSIP GIRL: Real NYC Stories Revealed.”

The new video series introduces four real girls from Manhattan’s Upper East Side who grew up in the same NYC hotbed as characters of Gossip Girl. These real girls have followed their passions to define their own successes in life. Their real stories are being shared to encourage all 20-something girls to live life with a fresh perspective and inspire others to pursue their dreams as they juggle common life pressures such as careers, relationships, beauty, finances, family and friends. The four real girls are:

* Chrissie Miller: fashion designer and founder of the Sophomore apparel brand
* Faythallegra Coleman: emerging Brooklyn-based filmmaker and writer
* Dani Stahl: style director for Nylon magazine, jewelry designer and “IT” girl
* Lara Meiland-Shaw: co-founder of a Lara Hélène Bridal Atelier and philanthropist

“GOSSIP GIRL: Real NYC Stories Revealed” will introduce each story in a 90-second broadcast TV spot airing nationwide during the last commercial break of Gossip Girl episodes on The CW, beginning April 27 (8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT). Gossip Girl fans will then be able to catch the finale of each girl’s story by visiting the CWTV website on their PC or mobile devices. Additional information will also be available online at both CWTV.com and DoveGoFresh.com, including behind-the-scenes footage of the making of the series, exclusive interviews with Gossip Girl star Jessica Szohr and the Dove real girls, along with Dove go fresh product information.

Check back soon for a special Dove Go Fresh feature here on Contest Corner!

Review & Giveaway: ASSETS Shapewear By Sara Blakely

****This giveaway is now closed.*****


You’ve probably heard of Spanx, the shapewear line that celebrities like Oprah and Jessica Alba swear by. But you don’t have to be rich and famous to own these kind of undergarments – Spanx creator Sara Blakely has just introduced a new, budget-friendly line of shapewear called ASSETS. And one lucky Contest Corner reader will win her choice of slimming shapewear from ASSETS!

About ASSETS:

ASSETS offers a full line of shapewear, from slimming pantyhose to firming tank tops, priced from $12 to $30. “ASSETS shapers are an easy and inexpensive way for women to make the most of their figure’s best assets in their favorite fashions,” says creator Sara Blakely.

My Take:

When I was deciding which piece from the ASSETS collection to review, the choice was pretty obvious. I’m self-conscious about my tummy – all my weight goes right to my middle – so I really liked the coverage that the Fantastic Firmers High Waist Girl Short (pictured on the left) offered.

I’ve shied away from shaping undergarments in the past, because I hate wearing anything tight or restrictive. But although I wondered if ASSETS was going to leave me gasping for air, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to try.

Surprisingly, I didn’t feel like a stuffed sausage. The garment holds firmly, but I found it to be no less comfortable than wearing a bra. I could see a visible smoothing effect after I put it on – I’m glad to have this on hand, because it will help give me a confidence boost when I’m having “One of those days”!

Plus, there is an unadvertised benefit: the shorts I ordered were flesh colored, and they work better under sheer clothes than any slip I have ever owned. For example: I have a beautiful white dress that I found on sale at Ross ages ago. When I got it home, I realized that it was more see-through than I had originally thought. I bought a few different slips and undergarments, but nothing worked – you could still see right through the dress. So after I tried the girl shorts on, I had the bright idea to see how that dress would look over it. Because the Fantastic Firmers have a lot of coverage and are designed to fit invisibly with no “panty lines”, it worked like a charm – and I can finally wear the dress that has sat in my closet for three years!!

Me wearing a dress with ASSETS underneath.–>


I enjoyed testing out the ASSETS line, and I look forward to trying more of their shapewear in the future!

Win it!

One reader will win one piece of shapewear from ASSETS in her choice of style! Here’s how to enter:

1. For your first entry, check out the ASSETS store and tell me which piece of shapewear you would choose if you won!

This step is required to qualify for the drawing. Be sure to leave an email address with your comment, so that I may notify you in the event that you are the lucky winner!

Want extra entries? Do any of the following, and leave a separate comment for each one:

2. Write a post on your blog linking to this giveaway and ASSETS. Then come back here and leave me the link!
3. Write about this on Twitter, then come back and leave me the link to your tweet!
4. Subscribe to my blog updates by entering your email into the “Subscribe” box in the sidebar. Then come back and leave me the email you subscribed with!
5. Become a follower of my blog by clicking the “Follow” button in my sidebar! Then come back here and let me know in a separate comment!
6. Post my button on your website – just copy and paste the following code, and let me know where you put it:


Rules, regulations, and other important stuff:
Giveaway ends on May 17th at 11:59 PM, PST. Winner will be chosen the following day via Random.org. Winner has 48 hours to respond to my notification email, or a new winner will be chosen in their place.
Giveaway is open to residents of the continental US.