Tuesday, May 31, 2011

And the winners are...

And the winning comments for the Camelbak water bottles are:

Tamara D.,  May 2, 2011 1:41 PM
I follow you on Twitter already! and
Jolee May 10, 2011 6:44 PM
geocaching would be my adventure...w/ the kiddos! :-) joleehamlin [at] comcast [dot] net
I'm emailing you both right now!  Congrats!


Friday, May 27, 2011

How to See Movies for Free - a fantastic guest post!

The cost of movie tickets seems to be rising as fast as the cost of gas. The cost of an adult ticket can now cost $10-$15 dollars, depending on where you live, and tickets for children or a matinee don't cost much less. For a family of four, the cost of a single movie can be as much as $50 -- and that doesn't even count the cost of popcorn and drinks, which can add up to as much or more. Going out to see a movie in the theater can be a luxury that many families can't consider.

Fortunately, there are many ways to obtain movie tickets for free, which can cut the cost of these outings by half or more. Here are some of the best ways to obtain free movie tickets, often to see movies before they have even been released to the general public:

GoFoBo - This site offers free passes to movie screenings at various times. Simply sign up for a free account with the site and select your movie preferences. Like to see family movies? Comedies? You'll get priority for offers to these movies. GoFoBo notifies you when there is a movie that matches your preferences screening in your city, and you can choose to accept two free passes. You won't have a choice of times, and if you don't act quickly, you could miss out on the offer. Screenings are sporadic, and you won't be offered passes to every showing in your area. But you can expect to receive as many as a few offers per month.

Film Metro - Simply sign up for a free account and get notified when free movie screenings are available in your area. You don't need to choose preferences for genres, as you will be granted access to any screenings that become available. However, you may be targeted according to your demographic information (age, sex, and race). Screenings are for movies that have not yet been released. Securing a ticket does not necessarily guarantee your entrance to the screening, as the site routinely overbooks screenings. Plan to show up early to ensure a seat.

Volition - Sign up for the e-mail list or bookmark the site and check back regularly to learn about current movie promotions. Complimentary movie tickets are available in several U.S. cities, and movie prize packs are awarded through regular competitions for those cities for which free screenings are not available.

Nielsen MovieView - Here's another great service for being invited to free movie screenings in your area. Simply sign up for a free account, as with the others, and be notified when a screening is available. When you register, you will be required to provide extensive information, including your phone number, age, sex, race, level of education, and household income.

Other fantastic ways to secure free movie tickets include browsing your local newspaper for giveaways and special promotions. Often, promoters often patrol local theaters to sign people up as screeners. If someone with a clipboard approaches you outside a theater, don't just shrug them off -- they might be offering you free tickets!

About the author...
Tracy Sitchen is a veteran coupon clipper, stay at home Mom, and aspiring writer. While she loves shopping, she loves the chase of the deal even more! She’s recently been writing about Loon Mountain coupons along with Nicoderm coupons over at her blog where she shares deals and discounts to help every day people save money.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cars 2: Back Into Cars is Coming! You Ready?

My kids are beyond excited for Cars 2 : Back Into Cars.  I wanted to share this fun featurette from Disney.  My boys loved watching it over and over and over again!


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Star Tours Returns!

We're excited... Are you?


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Now you can see that monster fish coming!

For Mother's day we ventured out to go fishing.  Yes, you read that right.  I hadn't gone fishing since I was a kid.  Oh man, please don't make me remember those days (I know a few of you are doubling over laughing because you know and/or remember for yourself why that is so funny but I'll save that for another blog post... maybe...). 

I've been very fortunate to have two amazing little boys and knew that one day I'd have to take them fishing.   The boys had been asking for months about going fishing and when the super cool Fish Eyes fishing rod arrived at our doorstep, I knew the boys would be thrilled.  Ok, I was excited too.  I love my boys and sharing new experiences with them is my favorite thing in the world, so I thought it would be the perfect Mother's Day.

The boys have been watching River Monsters (with Jeremy Wade) and of course their biggest excitement and concern was what they were going to do if we caught one of the monster fish from the show.  They had elaborate plans of lassoing the fish or wrangling it to the shore.  It was hilarious.
Once we got there, we set up chairs and got right to fishing.  As you can see from the video, the kids had a super easy time using the Fish Eyes fishing rod (they literally spent the entire afternoon casting and watching the fish through the cool screen).  What makes the fish eyes so amazing is that there is a camera attached to the end (instead of a hook) and a screen in the handle of the rod.  It works really well and the boys were mesmerized looking for the loch ness monster (which thank god they didn't find!).

It's a fantastic way to engage the kids in an afternoon of fishing, because it is something they can easily do and they are on the hunt for the big one!  We're already making plans to head back out to track down some monster fish. (ok... so hopefully not really monster fish...)

You can find the Fish Eyes at Amazon, Dick's  Sporting Goods and Toys R Us.

Some of the fun features are:
  • Underwater video camera transmits live footage to your LCD screen
  • Full-color, full motion LCD screen with removable sun shade 
  • Allows you to catch the fish you see  
  • Included bait basket attracts fish to the viewing area 
  • Video camera with built in LED light for all underwater conditions
Technical Details
  • Requires 4 AA batteries- not included
  • For users ages 8 & up
  • Adult assembly required
  • Hooks and lures not included
*Note that I was given a Fish Eyes fishing rod to facilitate the  writing of this post.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Easy Ways to Improve Your Immune System and Digestion

I think there are very few of us these days that can say we are 100% happy with our daily diet.  I know I try, but have a long way to go to eat the way I want to eat.  I'm constantly looking for ways to easily make modifications to my eating routine that don't take a lot of time or thought - basically because I just don't have time to do it any other way. 

As moms, we frequently put ourselves last... I know I'm not the only mom who does this!  I've found that from time to time I forget to keep my multi-vitamin in my routine (like when I run out and keep forgetting to pick more up... funny how I never let the kids vitamins run out...), then my nails and skin start to show signs of neglect and it's a reminder to get back on my vitamins.  I know that nails and skin are just a reflection of what is really going on inside and those signs are so important to pay attention to!  Fiber is super important for your digestive health as well as your immune system and it is so easy to forget that.

I've always struggled to get enough fiber in, but hadn't ever picked up a fiber supplement.  I really don't have a good excuse, but I have to admit the fear of a yucky taste played a HUGE part in that.  Recently I was approached by FiberChoice® and they offered to send me a couple samples.  I knew it was the perfect way to break my habit of pretending I didn't need more fiber in my diet!  I tried the FiberChoice® plus Antioxidants and the FiberChoice® plus Calcium,  I must say they are super yummy (chewier than I expected, which was nice).  The flavors are delicious and an absolutely fantastic way to get more fiber in to you diet!

FiberChoice® is also encouraging ‘Choices for Better Health’ with a 28-day campaign inviting consumers to share a small choice that they make every day to defend their health for a chance to win a giveaway to help maintain their healthy lifestyle.

Here’s how it works:
·         Follow @FiberChoice to enter
·         Share the small choice you make every day to defend you or your family’s health
·         Use the hashtag #MYCHOICE to enter your choice on Twitter 
·         FiberChoice® will select one winner per day and contact you via Twitter about your prize
·         Each participant will be entered into a grand prize drawing to be conducted at the conclusion of the 28 days

*Note that I was given free product to facilitate the writing of this post.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A secret location in Disneyland

A secret spot in Disneyland. We've wondered about it for years and finally got the chance. Do you know where we are? Apparently... all you have to do is ask!


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Making Healthy Choices

Making healthier choices is something our family has been working on. Our lives are so hectic that it can be really hard to make good choices when it comes to meals and lifestyle in general. Watch for a number of upcoming posts about adding healthier choices in to your daily life. Our family has committed to taking family walks (the kids ride their Razors) at least 4 times a week. Both my husband and I are behind computers all day long so getting out for exercise in the evenings is super important. I've also been trying to sprinkle in going for runs a couple times a week. I love running but with the craziness that is life lately, I've let that slip and it drives me nuts!

Making healthier choices is tough. But when you are really paying attention (and thanks to restaurants and any place selling food or drinks) is now being required to post calorie content... I have been shocked to realize some of my favorite "splurges" are far more of a splurge than I realized (I always knew it was a splurge, but didn't realize how much I could save by switching to the vanilla latte!). I now opt for a non fat vanilla latte instead of a non fat mocha, saving the mochas for the weekends. It saves almost 200 calories for the size drink I get and translates to getting an extra small walk in each day.

I work full time and am frequently trying to find something to eat for lunch that is filling, yummy, healthy, fast and doesn't take a lot of planning. As I've mentioned before, I get up WAY before the sun rises each day so I can get a full work day in before picking the kids up from school. Grabbing something to have handy for lunch at 4:30 in the morning is honestly the last thing on my mind. Each week, I've been making a point of grabbing my meals for the week at the store and I LOVE grabbing the Healthy Choice Fresh Mixers. They are super easy, affordable and the perfect portion size... all this in addition to being a Healthy Choice (yes, the name fits it perfectly). There are so many fantastic selections it's hard to choose which ones I want for the week. The Sweet & Sour Chicken and Creamy Tomato Basil Penne are two of my favorites and unlike some of the canned soups or other instant lunches - they aren't loaded with sodium! I love having a stack of them in the pantry that I can just grab one and throw it in to my purse - knowing lunch is covered for the day!

Unfortunately I wasn't really shocked to find out that recently the Center for Disease Control (CDC) announced two thirds of American adults are overweight or obese, which puts them at increased risk disease, diabetes and the metabolic syndrome. A recent study done showed that when participants substituted one meal a day (approximately 10 meals a week) with with a portion-controlled Healthy Choice meal, as part of a reduced calorie diet, can lead to improved quality of life and dietary quality.

The study, conducted during 2009 and 2010, followed more than 60 participants for 30 days with one group primarily eating Healthy Choice meals for lunch and the other group mainly for dinner every day. (Participants were also instructed to add 2-3 food items to their diet, such as fruits and vegetables, according to their caloric/gender needs.)

The lunch and dinner substitution worked equally well with participants losing an average of six pounds and trimming their waistlines by about one inch. Additionally participants significantly improved the quality of their overall diets by increasing dietary fiber, reducing saturated fat intake by 50 percent and consuming 30 percent less cholesterol and sodium.

To me this sounds like a super easy step to start trimming weight off my waistline without having to put much thought or effort in.

What Healthy Choices are you making?

(Note: This is part of a compensated campaign through The Motherhood and Healthy Choice, but I only agreed to the campaign because I loved the products previously!)


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Take the Pinky Pledge

Cancer has touched every one's family.  As you may know if you've been a reader for awhile, I lost my mother to lung cancer over a decade ago.  She was my best friend and my world.  Losing her shattered my life and has left an unavoidable void in my life.  (Sorry, I get a pretty emotional about it at this time of year because her birthday is always very close to mother's day - it's like a double whammy).  Being a mother and being able to shower my children with the love has been more healing than anything else to me.  I was basically a child when I lost her (not really an adult yet, but lucky enough to have had my childhood with her) and I can't stress enough how important it is to take a few minutes to be sure you will be around to meet your grandchildren just as I wish my mother had.

Early diagnosis for Breast Cancer has proven to make for the best case scenario.  If you wait... it can be too late.

Take a few minutes to take the Pinky Pledge if you haven't already to get your annual mammogram through Mission Hospital.  They are making them easy and fast for all women to do.  Is thirty minutes worth an extra decade with your children?  There is very little I wouldn't give for an extra decade with my mother...

If you're in the San Clemente area this weekend, you can stop by Max Berg Park (1101 Calle Puente, San Clemente) between 11:30-3:30 pm to take the Pinky Pledge at San Clemente's 21st Annual Cinco De Mayo Festival.   At their booth you'll be able to pick up a customized pink Pinky ring to celebrate your pact to get your annual mammogram.  You'll also be able to enter to win an Apple iPad, LA Angels tickets and t-shirts.

More information about the Pinky Pledge can be found on Facebook or Twitter.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sand Castles at the Beach - Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday...  Sand Castles at the Beach...


Monday, May 2, 2011

Mom's Nite Out is Right Here at The Shops at Mission Viejo

Being a Mom is arguably the toughest job in the world, but the most rewarding.  With Mother's Day fast approaching, what would be more appropriate than a Mom's Nite Out at your local Mall?  You may have heard about the National Mom's Nite out events that occur once a year, but did you know that right here in South Orange County, The Shops at Mission Viejo have tons and tons of fantastic deals and other goodies for Moms?  This Thursday May 5th, many of your favorite stores at The Shops of Mission Viejo will be offering 20-50% of for Moms as well as other goodies (including free Strawberry Sundaes at Farrells, mini shoulder and neck massages at Aveeda... the list is WAY too long to list here!). 

Be sure to check in at center court between 5 pm and 7 pm for a current list of participating stores.  For more information on what other malls in your area are participating you can go here (note the Westminster Mall, Brea Mall and Laguna Hills Mall are also participating here in Orange County).

Treat yourself ... being a Mom is a tough job!


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Miracle Birdies - Pledge to Donate to Children's Miracle Network

Children's Miracle Network has just partnered with U.S. professional golfer Jim Furyk in a neat program titled Miracle Birdies.  People can log in and pledge to donate as little .10 cents for each Birdie Jim makes during his tournament play in 2011.  It's a fantastic way to get involved with an amazing charity.   Your donation will go to the Children's Miracle Hospital closest to the zip you use when you register your pledge. 

Children's Miracle Network has raised more than $4 billion dollars since it's beginnings in 1983 and much of it has been done one dollar at a time, so every singe donation makes a difference!  Donations have gone to support research and training, purchase equipment, and pay for uncompensated care, all in support of our mission to save and improve the lives of as many children as possible.  As a parents I think we can all identify with how very very important charities like the Children's Miracle Network are.

Take a couple minutes to pop over to the website here and make the pledge to donate even just a little for every birdie Jim Furyk makes this year.

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