Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Love & War - A book review

I recently joined the Blogging for Books program through WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, and the first book I received for review was "Love and War: Devotional for Couples" by John and Stasi Eldredge. 

First off, I love devotional books, especially devotionals for couples.  My husband and I both love to read, so this gives us a way to strengthen and discuss our faith together while sharing our love for reading.  Over the last year we have read several books together (we usually read a chapter or devotion after Sydney goes to bed).  So, of course, I was excited to be able to review a couples devotional. 

Awhile back, I reveiwed "Wild at Heart" by John Eldredge, and really enjoyed it, so I had high expectations for this devotional.  "Love and War" was written by John & Stasi Eldredge to help couples "Capture the Vision of a Love Worth Fighting For."  The book gives new insightsand practical exercises to help you grow a more vibrant marriage.  The 8-week (5 days a week) devotional was written to accompany the book and help couples go a little deeper into the study.  Their hope is that the devotional will be a daily reminder that marriage is work - every day. 

I enjoyed reading the devotional even though I haven't read the book.  I did find the devotional by itself a little repetitive (though sometimes we need that)!  I'm sure if I had been reading the book along with the devotional, the differences would have been more clear to me.  The devotional focuses mainly on reminding you that marriage is work.  We aren't all princess marrying princes, and if we were it would still be work (remember one of them had to leave their home and usually their country).  The thing to remember is that God is there to help you along the way.  He wants your marriage to work!  Even though the world is telling you that divorce is easy and common and completely ok, God wants to help you try to make it work (obviously, I'm not talking about abusive relationships - those are never ok)!  I plan to read their book, "Love and War" soon, and when I do...I'll let you all know about it! 

**I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.  See full disclaimer for more information**

The American Patriot's Almanac - Book Review

I know you're probably all wondering why I picked this book...after all, it doesn't seem to "fit" with all of the other books I've reviewed (devotionals, kids books, fiction)...and I'll be honest - I didn't pick it for me.  I picked it because I was pretty sure my husband would really like it! 

"The American Patriot's Almanac" by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb is a very interesting book.  It is filled (seriously 546 pages!) with a lot of information about America.  The best part (for me) is that it is set up so that you read short stories every day.  So if you're like me and like history, but can't sit and read it forever, this book is great. It includes many interesting stories and important dates. 

Here are a few of the Chapter titles:
The History of the Stars and Stripes
Flag Etiquette: Guidelines for Displaying and Handling the U.S. Flag
How the Constitution was Written and Ratified
Faith and the Founders
and soo many more!

I was amazed at the amount of information packed into the book.  This book would be great for older homeschoolers and history lovers...and even those who just want to know more about how our country came to be.  It retails for $32.99, but is a beautiful hardcover book suitable for reading and displaying.  I have really enjoyed reading the stories!  So if you ever need a gift for a history (or America) lover, be sure to check this book out!  It would make a great inspirational addition to any collection!

**I received "The American Patriot's Almanac" from Booksneeze in exchange for my review.  See my full disclaimer for more information.  Interested in receiving free books to review?  Be sure to check out Booksneeze.**

Monday, December 13, 2010

Winners, Winners!

Here are the winners for the last 3 giveaways...Thank you all for entering, and be on the lookout for more giveaways coming.  I will be taking a break around Christmas for family time, but don't worry - I will be back with more reviews and giveaways!

Here are the winners - I will be contacting you each by email soon!

Aurora Dreamy Eyes - iTeen247
Rockin' Baby Sling - Ricky H.
CafePress Funtainer - Imomm

Thanks again for reading my blog and entering my giveaways! I wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays, etc. etc.

Go Green Lunchbox

Do you ever get tired of trying to decide how to pack your child's lunch?  Or where to get tiny containers to put their food in?  Well, Go Green Lunch box has the solution!  Instead of wrapping each food seperately or using several plastic containers (many of which will get thrown away or lost), Go Green Lunch boxes gives you a way to pack all food seperately and eliminate some of the wasteful plastic!

I wanted to include this picture so you could see just how useful this lunch box can be!  The lunch box has 5 seperate containers (2 larger, 2 smaller, and 1 for the included water bottle). When the box is closed, you can turn the "switch" on the outside which will help seal the food in the containers.  The lid is attached by retention clips so that it doesn't fall off or get lost, but is easily detached for washing.  The lunch box is top-rack dishwasher safe.  The lunch bag is very easy to wash clean with a damp cloth.  One of my favorite parts of this lunch box is the small dry erase board inside the lunch bag.  It gives you a great space to leave little notes for your child! 

I was sent the Camo Lunch Set (seen HERE) for my review.  I like this lunchbox a lot, but it is a little expensive at $32.99.  It does save you a lot of juice boxes, plastic wrap, and containers though.  The bag is very sturdy, and since the whole lunch box is hard, you don't have to worry about foods getting squished.  My 13 year old sister took mine to schoolone day to try it out.  She said it worked well for keeping the food seperate, but it was a tight fit in her locker.  We have also had trouble with the water bottle lid.  It is very hard to get open.  My husband can open it fine, but I have to use my mouth to pull the top open.  I will probably be using mine more for baby food/snacks than anything.  Overall, this is a great (sturdy) lunch set - just make sure you let your child practice with the water bottle before sending them to school with it.

Here is a picture of the lunch box I received:
 **I received a lunch box in exchange for my review.  See full disclaimer for more information.**

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cloth Diaper Giveaway!

As most of you know, I cloth diaper Sydney and plan to cloth diaper baby #2...and I've been trying to convince as many others to do the same as I can because I have loved it so much!

I was VERY VERY excited when I saw this giveaway posted at MommyReview!  The giveaway is for a starter kit from Bummis cloth diapers.  I could really use this, and if you have been thinking about cloth diapering but haven't done so yet - you could use it, too!  So head on over and enter the giveaway!  If you "like" MommyReview on Facebook, let her know I sent you over!  This giveaway ends at 11 pm, but keep an eye on her page because it looks like she has some more coming up!


Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas List 2010 - Rockin' Baby

Have you tried a sling for carrying your baby or toddler?  If not, I highly encourage you to do so!  I asked for a sling for Christmas (before Sydney was born), and she has been a sling rider ever since!  She will be 2 in January and will still ask to get in if she sees me wearing a sling.  Actually, a friend of mine had her young baby in a sling recently and Sydney asked to ride in it.  Unfortunately, a 2 year old and a baby under 1 can't ride together LOL.  I currently own slings from: Peanut Shell, Hotslings, and Seven Slings...and when Rockin' Baby agreed to let me review one of their pouch sling I was thrilled!!

For those of you that haven't heard of or tried a sling, I'm going to give you a little information on them first.  You can also check out Rockin' Slings website HERE for more information on sling wearing.

About Baby Wearing
The main reason I like to wear a sling is that it keeps me hands-free.  This doesn't mean you ignore your child, but it comes in handy when you are trying to shop!  I have worn Sydney (awake and asleep) many times to the grocery store.  It made her happier to be "held" and me happier to have her quiet and content.  Slings are also nice for breastfeeding.  If you have a close fitting sling, you can easily breastfeed your baby in the sling - which helps keep the baby's focus on eating while out in public - and it also gives you more privacy.  Most slings allow you to carry a newborn up to a 40lb toddler, which means you get a lot more use out of it than with most carriers (such as a Snugli - which we also own).  Slings are also more versatile than many carriers.  You have several (usually around 5) different carry positions.  Be sure to read the safety information with any baby products!!  You can read about sling safety with Rockin' Baby slings HERE.

About Rockin' Baby Sling
Rockin' Baby Sling was created in 2002 by 2 moms after having their first kids.  They realized that moms need to have function along with style, so they started making their own slings out of their favorite stylish fabrics.  Rockin' Baby Sling offers a variety of ring slings, pouches, reversible and even adjustable pouches!  Rockin' Baby pays close attention to the quality of their products as well (which is important to me!).  The fabrics are made of natural fibers, breathable and are high-quality. They are all pre-washed in natural salt water to set the colors, prevent shrinkage, and soften the fabric. All edges are overlocked then seamed twice to ensure no tearing or fraying at the edges. They use 40 lb weight thread to increase the strength.  The pouches are adjustable and reversible. The products are cut and sewn in Los Angeles, Ca.  They also offer support for their slings, which is great if you're new to babywearing! Be sure to check out their website for more information on the quality of Rockin' Baby Slings...I was very impressed!

Finally...My Review 
Ok, sorry to make this post a little longer than normal, but there was so much I wanted to include about slings and especially about the quality of Rockin' Baby Slings.  So, thanks for bearing with me!  I received a beautiful reversible/adjustable pouch.  One side is a loveley deep purple design, and the other side is black.  This is perfect for me because my husband and I usually share one.  Since we share, normally the pouch is a little big on me and a little tight on him, but we're close enough in size to make it work.  We didn't have to worry about this with Rockin' Baby Sling.  The pouch is adjustable (by using zippers), so it can fit my husband, myself, and even my 13 year old sister (she really enjoyed carrying Sydney in a sling when she was a smaller baby).  The pouch has a cover for the zippered area, so you don't have to worry about that being uncomfortable.  This pouch is definitely a well made one.  The fabric is heavier than my other slings, but without being bulky or uncomfortable.  I am 5 months pregnant, and just last week I carried Sydney around in my Rockin' Baby Sling!  I never thought I'd say this, but I think it's my new favorite (before my main choice was my microfleece Peanut Shell).  One of these slings/pouches would be a great gift for a mom-to-be!

**Discount**Enter "FS" at checkout to get free shipping on your order!


**I received a pouch in exchange for my honest review.  See my full disclaimer for more information.**

Rockin' Baby Sling is offering one lucky reader their the pouch pictured above. Leave one comment per entry and be sure to leave an email address that you check regularly!
How to enter:
(1 entry) - Visit Rockin' Baby Sling and tell me which something you learned about their products (quality or safety) that you didn't know before
(1 entry) - Follow So Mommy by Google Friend Connect
(1 entry) - "Like" their Facebook page HERE for and check back for current sales/discounts!

*Giveaway will end Sunday December 12th, 2010 at 5 p.m. CST.  Winner will have 24 hours to respond before another winner is chosen.  Winners chosen by random number generator and contacted by email.

Christmas List 2010 - CafePress Review and Giveaway

I'm sure many of you have heard of CafePress, but have you looked recently to see than many (I mean MANY) types of items they have available?  When they agreed to let me review an item, I spent several hours looking at the different items and designs they had available.  I'm pretty positive you can find a gift for anyone here!  The iPhone cases, yoga mats, and Thermoses were definitely among my favorite items.  And once you find the perfect can choose from over a million designs (okay, maybe not a million, but they have a TON)!  If you haven't made your Christmas cards yet, be sure to check out their selection HERE.

Here are some of my favorite items/designs:

 Yoga mat

iPhone Case

Ok, now that I've told you about their HUGE selection, let me tell you about my experience with them.  I picked out an adorable Funtainer Thermos for Sydney - a "Big Sister" one to give her for Christmas.  It was hard to pick just one, but once I picked it, I added it to my cart very easily.  You can customize them as well, but I found the perfect one in their selection.  It arrived very quickly and was as cute in person as I had expected.  Sydney was excited about it.  She has always loved Funtainers.  We bought her a Funtainer from another store when she was younger as her 1st sippy cup.  She did very well with it and still uses it.  These thermoses are easy to clean, and keep cold drinks cold longer than most cups.  CafePress was great to work with, and I will definitely be checking their site for some of my hard-to-buy-for friends and family!

Sydney's "Big Sister" Thermos

CafePress is offering one lucky reader their choice of a Funtainer Thermos (like the one above, but with any design YOU want).  Leave one comment per entry and be sure to leave an email address that you check regularly!

(1 entry) - Visit CafePress and tell me which Funtainer design is your favorite - this may take awhile!
(1 entry) - Follow So Mommy by Google Friend Connect

*Giveaway will end Sunday December 12th, 2010 at 5 p.m. CST.  Winner will have 24 hours to respond before another winner is chosen.  Winners chosen by random number generator and contacted by email.

**I received a thermos from CafePress in exchange for my review.  See full disclaimer for more information.

Pink or Blue?

Pink or Blue?  Friday (at almost 21 weeks), we found out the gender of our precious baby (due in April).  What did we determine? Well, before I get to that I want to go through some Old Wives' Tales and their know, just for fun!  My results will be in parenthesis at the end of each test.

(1) The Mayans determined the sex of the baby by taking the mother's age at conception, and the year of conception. If both are even or both are's a girl. If one is even and one odd it's a boy.  ((BOY))

(2) If you crave salty foods, it's a boy.  Sweet foods, it's a girl.  ((BOTH))

(3)  You have worse morning sickness if it's a girl.  ((GIRL))

(4)  If you carry low, it's a boy.  ((BOY))

(5)  If you have worse acne, it's a girl.  ((GIRL))

(6) Heartrate over 140, it's a girl.  Under 140, it's a boy.  ((GIRL))

(7) If the mother prefers to lay on the left side, it's a boy, if right then it's a girl.  ((GIRL))

(8) Leg hairs grow faster, it's a boy.  ((UNSURE))

(9) Chest growing a lot, it's a girl.  ((GIRL))

(10) Chinese Calendar - Based on my info and THIS chart  ((GIRL))

So based on all of these, it is most likely that I will have a girl.  And we found out that I am having another beautiful girl!  Now we just have to decide on a name!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas List 2010 - Video Games Live Level 2

Have a hard-to-buy-for gamer in your family?  If they also appreciate music, I have a very unique gift idea for you.  Shout! Factory recently released Video Games Live: Level 2 (Click HERE to see the Video Games Live products from Shout! Factory).

What is Video Games Live: Level 2?  It is a concert that features music from some of the greatest video games performed by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, along with a 34-person chorus, several soloists, and even original vocalists from the games.  Level 2 includes music from games such as: Super Mario Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog, Halo, Guitar Hero, and many, many more. The DVD also contains over 3 hours of bonus material including Composer and Game Designer interviews and Behind-the-Scenes Making of Video Games Live.

I know what a lot of you are probably thinking: bor-ring!  Which is exactly what I thought, but I knew my husband and a few other people that would likely enjoy it.  And I was right.  My husband really enjoyed watching it, and has even had several other people watch it with him.  When he finally brought it back home, I watched it with him, and I was actually impressed.  It wasn't boring!  With all of the special effects, it was very entertaining.  The orchestra was great, but my favorite part was the solo artist (which includes a guy that plays the piano blindfolded).  I know this seems like a crazy gift, but for a gamer (even a "still-plays-Sega Genesis" one like my husband) this could make a great, unique gift this year!  It sells for around $20 which seemspretty reasonable if you ask me.

Check out the Video Games Live website HERE for the trailer and more information.

**I received a copy of Video Games Live: Level 2 in exchange for my review.  No other compensation was given.  See full disclaimer for more information.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas List 2010- Aurora Gifts - Dreamy Eyes Review and GIVEAWAY

Most of you probably remember my previous reviews from Aurora Gifts - Milly the Pinkest Kitty (click HERE to see review) and Yoohoo and Friends (click HERE for review), and they have sent me ANOTHER adorable gift to share with you all!
Aurora's Dreamy Eyes™ animals are the perfect gift for any animal loving child!  They are extremely cute with large "dreamy" eyes and soft cuddly bodies.  They retail for around $13 (depending on store), so they won't break the bank.  The suggested age is 3 and up and they have several animals such as: tiger, pony, lion, giraffe, frog, and many more!  Check out all of the Dreamy Eyes animals HERE.

As soon as I opened our box,Sydney grabbed the two animals and hugged them tight.  I think she has decided that they are good huggers!  I thought that they were super cute, and could even pass as stuffed animals for boys (which is good if you have a boy that loves stuffed animals).  Most stuffed animals seemed to be geared towards girls, so I was pleasantly surprised at how cute and gender neutral these were.  They are 10" animals, so they are a good size for snuggling as well!  The age suggested is 3 and up - Sydney is just under 2 years old, and has done fine with them.  The only part to worry about with young ones would be the eyes, but they seem to be on VERY, VERY well so I haven't worried about it at all.  Here are the two animals we received (I have to share because they are so cute!):

One reader will win their very own Dreamy Eyes animal!

How to Enter:
(1 entry) - "Like" Aurora on Facebook HERE
(1 entry) - Tell me which Dreamy Eyes animal is your favoritve (see them all HERE)
(1 entry) - Follow So Mommy by Google Friend Connect (Click Follow to the side of this page)

Giveaway will end December 9th at 5 p.m. CST.  Open to US and Canada only.  Winner will be chosen by a random number generator and contact by email.  If winner hasn't responded in 48 hours, another winner will be chosen. 

**I received Dreamy Eyes animals in exchange for my honest review.  See full disclaimer for more information.**