Friday, December 3, 2010

Awesome giveaway ending soon!

Just wanted to share this really awesome giveaway for all of you with train loving kiddos like mine! But hurry, ends TONIGHT!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Torture or Relaxation?

As a busy mom to 3 wild and crazy kiddos, I am always looking for ways to destress and relax and let go of the chaos of my days. For the past 6 months ive been practicing yoga which has helped me a lot with calming down and clearing my mind, but sometimes I need more.
This is where the Lotus Healing Mat comes in! Now, at first glance the lotus mat looks like the LAST thing you would use for relaxation, its covered in thousands of tiny spikes that you are supposed to lay down on with a bare back!
Trust me, I was thinking the same thing you are probably thinking when I first heard of the mat... No way could I lay on that and feel relaxed, ouch!
Well, let me tell really works and I really feel relaxed after using it! I am truly amazed at how great I sleep when I use the mat before bed, its fantastic!
I want to urge you to not be afraid of the appearance of the Lotus Healing Mat, just try it and get ready to experience all the great benefits!
The first time you use the mat it will be slightly painful, not unbearable, but it takes about 5 - 10 minutes before you start to really relax and enjoy the sensation and if it helps you could lay a thin sheet over the mat...but even with scars on my back from a past car accident I could lay on the mat bare quickly get over the ouch factor!
There are so many issuea that canbe helped by laying on the mat... Stress, insomnia, anxiety and more... And you wont know if the Lotus healing mat can help heal you unless you get it and use it and experience it like so many others already have.

You can learn more about the Lotus Healing Mat by visiting their official website at And you can find them on Facebook as well!/lotushealingmat

Monday, October 18, 2010

Dont make me beg people!

So, ive entered myself in this awesome blog contest and so far ive got a grand total of 1 vote! I really enjoy blogging and would especially love to blog about health and wellness... Ive even considered changing the focus of this blog to one of wellness with an emphasis on my daily yoga practice.
Anyways, if you could take like 2 seconds out of your day to vote for me id be forever grateful!!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

YogaMama (Weightloss - a - palooza)

I haven't posted about my weight loss journey in a while and thought id give you all an update on how things are going for me.
I started my journey around the end of June/beginning of July of this summer and I started by going to the gym and doing a couple of highly intense cardio classes like cardio kickbox, bootcamp, and full body toning (OUCH). I did see results from these classes and from doing cardio on the treadmill and stationary bikes but let me tell you about my most favorite fitness practice...YOGA!
I have wanted to do yoga for years & years and always put it off because I felt bad about spending the money on myself to take the classes or to buy a nice mat, or I was busy with my babies, or busy moving around and focusing on other things than myself, hence why I managed to gain 75lbs :(
So when I joined the gym and noticed they had yoga classes that were included in the membership, I was so super excited to try it out!
I fell in love from day one! I love the way it makes my body feel long, lean, and strong! I love the way it helps me to connect to myself and to relax and let go of the stress that my body seems to want to always hold on to. I love the way it makes me feel confident in myself and proud of myself when I am able to execute a pose that I thought was too hard or that I wasn't flexible enough for...I just love it in SO many ways!
Since starting my yoga classes I have stopped going to those killer cardio classes altogether. The only other fitness classes I attend are Pilates (which I also love and I feel yoga & pilates compliment each other very nicely!).
To anyone who says you cant get fit and cant loose weight with just yoga alone...they are lying to you! I am living proof that you CAN get fit and you CAN loose weight with doing yoga! I have lost over 20lbs! and I'm still steadily loosing. I feel great, I look great and I attribute it to taking care of myself, and one of my favorite ways to do that is practicing yoga.
I even aspire to teach yoga to others one day! Ill be 30 next summer and I think I've FINALLY figured out what I want to be when I grow up...a yoga teacher!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Juno Baby!

If you have never heard of Juno Baby (like myself not too long ago) and you have a baby and/or young child that loves music, if you believe in the benefits of exposing your child to good quality classical music, and good quality  programming...not to mention quality books and music CD's! Then you must check out this fantastic company founded by a composer and mother who was seeking products of the highest quality for her own more about here below!

Belinda Takahashi

Ph.D., Co founder

An Emmy award-winning composer, Belinda has been immersed in music since her childhood. The daughter of a ballerina and a painter, she began playing the piano at age 8. By age 10, she was entertaining crowds as a concert pianist. She went on to study under renowned professors from the Julliard School and the Curtis Institute of Music, later enrolling and graduating from Oberlin Conservatory with a bachelor’s degree in Music. Additionally, Belinda was awarded the sole spot for a full graduate fellowship at the Eastman School of Music where she received her Masters and Ph.D. in Music Composition. As a university professor, she has taught at various universities including the Eastman School of Music, Rochester University, Drake University and Montclair University.

Belinda is now putting her professional skills and creative instincts to good use as the co founder of The Juno Company. Juno Baby and Juno Jr. represent the culmination of her lifelong devotion to music, experiences as a mother and love of children. When Belinda isn't working, she loves traveling the world, testing her inner resolve by staving off carbohydrates, and enjoys playing with her daughter's three hamsters, Max, Buddy and Spots.

* My two sons ages 23 months & 4 1/2 really enjoy the Juno Baby DVDs! They were both captivated by the music and story line. Its pretty hard to hold my 4 year olds attention but Juno Baby was able to do so! I HIGHLY recommend these products to parents of young children. I believe that music is integral to the developing mind and that children deserve to be exposed to all sorts of quality music during the important early childhood years! *

You can sign up for the Juno Baby Newsletter so that you can be kept up to date on product information & other news. Sign up HERE  (please be sure to tell them Liz Garland referred you...thanks!)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Pear Tree Greetings ~ September Giveaway!!!

For the month of September Pear Tree greetings will be giving one of my lucky readers a super cute & festive set of Personalized Halloween Stickers! These can be used in several ways...use them on invitations to your Halloween party, put them on goodie bags to send to your child's school, put them on your treats you give out to the neighborhood kids, put them on greeting cards to send to your friends & family...the list goes on and on! SO many ways to use these, use your imagination!

To enter to win I'm keeping it simple! Just visit Pear Tree Greetings and browse the site, tell me what item you would choose to order if you could get ANYTHING on the site! That's it! and be sure to leave your email address because if you don't I wont be able to contact you if you WIN! Good luck!

Giveaway ends October 5th.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Giveaway @ Booger Bear Creations!

The homemade, handmade toys over at Booger Bear Creations are TO DIE FOR!!!!
In celebration of her Birthday, Wedding Anniversary, and Anniversary of her company Booger Bear Creations, the owner Carri is hosting a giveaway for one of her awesome creations, the Dexterous Dino!

The giveaway is ending soon so be sure to visit the Booger Bear Creations blog for your chance to win!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Online Fundraiser In Support Of Bubba's Belly Run 2010!

As a military spouse, it is important to me to do what I can and to give what I can to support charities and events that support military families. Bubba's Belly Run 2010 is an event that is near & dear to my heart! You can read the story of Nicki Bunting and her dear sweet husband "Bubba" who was tragically killed in Action in Afghanistan inspiring Nicki to establish the run to support other military families who have suffered the ultimate loss.
Please take a minute of your time to visit the site and maybe purchase a flag for 5.00 that will represent a fallen soldier killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, the goal of the run organizers is to have a flag representing all of our fallen troops lining the roadway leading to the race location the morning of the event...they are off to a slow start this year and still have about 4900 flags to sell before race day.

I am also hosting an online Barefoot Books fundraiser in which 50% of all sales will be donated to the run to help with costs associated with the event. Please be sure to browse my marketplace and make a generous order, half of it will be going towards this extremely worthy cause!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

E ~ Mealz!

I am a frugal person...or at least I try hard to be! and sticking with a budget is challenging for me, even with all my new found frugal habits. Ive found sticking to a grocery budget to be the hardest of all...I'm always running out to the store because I don't have an ingredient for a meal I plan to make, or I forgot to get something we really needed, or we have run out of milk or bread AGAIN, its a never ending battle trying to make sure I stay within an allotted shopping budget for food.

I have been told over and over by several different people that meal planning is the way to go, and ive attempted it in the past but I just don't have the time to sit down and plan out an entire weeks worth of meals and then take the time to do my regular coupon clipping and deal searching, its just all very time consuming and I have 3 wildly energetic kids to keep up with and care for so my time is definitely precious!

This all leads me to my enthusiastic praise for a super awesome program ive recently started using called E - Mealz!! I had seen a few bloggers talk about it and how much they liked it and I had heard about it through the "grape vine" from several folks in "real" offline life :) SO, I finally decided to check it out for myself, to see what all the hype was about and to hopefully reap its benefits of saving me time & money!
and I have got to say... I am very very happy that I finally decided to take the plunge and join! I have indeed saved both time & money by using the e-mealz program!

How does e-mealz work you might be asking yourself, so let me explain!

E-Mealz will provide you with a full 7 days worth of dinner recipes and also a detailed shopping list of everything you need to make these meals. They give you choices based on the store you would like to shop at, stores they offer meals from include... Wal-Mart, Kroger, Publix,Aldi and more as well as an any store option. E-Mealz also offers meals based on nutritional options including low fat, low carb, gluten free & vegetarian.

Its so simple to use...once you sign up and get your subscription (which is very reasonably priced at 15.00 for 3 months worth of dinners!!!) all you do is go to the site and hit the print button for your weeks meals, it prints off the recipes and shopping list.
No more digging through cook books or searching the web for dinner ideas, no more time consuming list making, no more guess work!!!!!

Seriously, you need to try it if you are anything like I used to be with having a hard time sticking to budget or coming up with meal ideas, this will be a lifesaver for you!  

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Pear Tree Greetings ~ August Discount

One of my favorite perks of being a blogger is being a Pearista :) Im able to bring you product discounts and giveaways EVERY month from Pear Tree Greetings and I much as I <3 the company and products, I am so thrilled to be able to share them with all of you!

Throughout the month of August, enjoy 15% off anything and everything BABY! Birth Announcements, Baby Shower Invitations, Baptism Invitations and more!

Use code PEARAUG10.  & Shop Pear Tree Greetings' Baby Collection

Monday, August 2, 2010

Im still around!

Man, I've been on a blogging hiatus, no new posts in a while...but I'm still here! Ive got a few exciting reviews & giveaways coming VERY soon, later this week! Hopefully you all haven't given up on me and will check back soon for my new posts!

If you haven't already and you live in the MD/DC/VA area, please go enter my Yo Gabba Gabba giveaway! It is ending soon and has low entries so your odds of winning are pretty good :)
Just click the link at the top of the homepage that says current reviews & giveaways!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Social Parade ~ Follow On Fridays 7/16

This is my 1st week participating in the Social Parade Follow On Fridays blog hop, but I'm excited about it and plan to participate EVERY Friday :)

What is this all about you ask?

Social Parade Follow on Friday Blog-Hop is a weekly link-up hosted by

To participate.

* Follow the blog in the first spot(That is this one!). I will follow all on the linky as time allows! All blogs participating must post about Social Parade every week.

* Link-up your blog post for "It's a Social Parade" that you made on your blog. See the F.A.Q and Updates for help

* Follow as many as you like commenting on their POST as you do so they can follow back!

* If you do not make a post and link that up, it is unlikely that someone will search around for a post to comment on.

The Rules!

*Absolutely no links to other blog hops or hops like this!

*No Porn!

*No Giveaways!

*No other crap!

*These rules ensure a little bit of fun!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Win 2 Tickets To Yo Gabba Gabba Live! @ Jiffy Lube Live 8/28

I am SO thrilled to be able to bring this giveaway to my readers!!!! If your kids love DJ Lance and the rest of the Yo Gabba Gabba gang like mine do, then this is the giveaway of the year for you! Read below for info on the tour and how you can WIN 2 tickets to the show on August, 28th at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Va.
Jiffy Lube Live is a very central venue location to anyone in the Maryland, Washington D.C., and Northern Virginia areas.

Bristow, VA @ Jiffy Lube Live

2 Shows on Saturday, August 28 @ 2:00 PM & 6:00 PM

The state-of-the-art production features music, singing, dancing and animation. The show is an interactive experience that offers audience members of all ages the opportunity to witness their favorite characters come to life. Joining the characters on stage will be hip-hop legend Biz Markie to teach kids how to beat box with “Biz’s Beat of the Day”. Special guests will join the party on stage for the Super Music Friends Show and Dancey Dance segments.

Released in October, 2009, YO GABBA GABBA!: MUSIC IS AWESOME Volume 1 topped kids and overall music charts at iTunes (#1 kids album), Amazon (top 5 kids album) and Target sales, which reached more than 40,000 copies in only 6 months since its release. YO GABBA GABBA!: MUSIC IS AWESOME was picked as one of 2009’s top holiday gifts for toddlers by both PARENTS magazine and the popular Mom web destination YO GABBA GABBA!: MUSIC IS AWESOME Volume 2 will be released on iTunes and will hit shelves nationwide this September.

About Yo Gabba Gabba!

Yo Gabba Gabba! premiered in the U.S. on Nickelodeon in August, 2007 and currently ranks as one of the most popular children series on television. Yo Gabba Gabba!, was voted as one of the best new shows on television by TIME magazine, won a BAFTA Award in 2008, was awarded the “Outstanding Achievement in Children’s Television” Award by the Television Critics Association, and is a two-time Emmy nominee. The series airs three times a day, seven days a week on Nick Jr. and in several major international territories, including Australia, Canada, Israel, Latin America, New Zealand, South Africa and the U.K.

For more information about the Yo Gabba Gabba Live tour visit

For venue information visit:


Now, for your chance to WIN 2 tickets to see Yo Gabba Gabba Live! on Aug. 28th @ 6pm @ Jiffy Lube Live (and please do not enter if you live too far away and will not be able to attend the show, Jiffy Lube Live is in Bristow, Va. and these tickets can not be used for any other showing at any other venue)

Ways To Enter

 ~ Like the Yo Gabba Gabba facebook fan page

~ Follow Yo Gabba Gabba via twitter
~ Tell me who your child's (or yours!) favorite Yo Gabba Gabba character is!
~ Share this giveaway via twitter and leave me a link to your tweet (1 tweet per day)
~ Post this giveaway to your facebook and leave me a link (1 status per day)
~ Follow my blog via Google Friend Connect
~ Follow me via twitter

Each method is worth 1 entry. PLEASE be sure to leave a valid email address so that I can contact you if you are the winner...GOOD LUCK!!!!!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Pear Tree Greetings July GIVEAWAY!

Have you ever received a hand-written note from someone that you saved, because it meant so much to you? That you pull out every now and again, because it brings a smile to your face. Or, is there someone you feel that could really use a note from you right now? A friend that’s going through a rough time in a relationship, letting her know you’re there for her. Your mom, just an out of the blue card telling her how much she means to you. Your husband, thanking him for supporting you, loving you, and being the husband that he is. A blogger friend that you’ve maybe never met in person but just want to tell them how much their friendship means to you. There is a special power of a hand-written, personalized note card. Not only does it mean so much to the recipient, it’s an amazing feeling when you drop that card in the mail.

In honor of these special moments, Pear Tree Greetings is giving one of you a free set of personalized note cards (up to 16 cards) from their new collection.

Who is Pear Tree Greetings? Pear Tree Greetings is a fun, fresh and affordable personalized stationery company that offers Birth Announcements, Moving Announcements, Photo Cards,

Baby Shower Thank You Cards and more, all on 100 lb matte card stock and truly affordable prices!

* Giveaway will run until Saturday, July 31st. I winner will be chosen by

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ How To Enter~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
* Mandatory entry ~ Visit Pear Tree Greetings and check out the new collection of Thank You cards & personalized note cards and tell me which is your favorite design. This must be completed first before any other entry will count!

* Follow Pear Tree Greetings via Twitter

* Like Pear Tree Greetings Facebook Fan Page

* Publicly follow my blog via Google Friend Connect

* Follow me via Twitter (just click the cute blue bird in my sidebar!)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Weightloss~a~palooza Update (and a few pics)

Oy Vey! Boy did I get busy with the holiday weekend & 4th of July! and just life in general, things got really busy all at once it seems and thus I haven't updated this weight loss journey of mine.
I promised  everyone before & after pictures and ill be honest, every camera in my house is a piece of junk :(
The best one we have is my hubby's cell phone camera and we seem to have issues with getting pictures off of it and onto our computer. Hint hint to any companies out there looking for a review of a digital camera...I'm your gal ;)
SO, I'm posting the best pics I can find that will illustrate my weight to you all (as embarrassing as it is). I think its important for me to put some unflattering pictures of myself here on the blog to remind me of what I'm striving not look like that forever! To better myself in regards to my health, my weight, my strenght and my inner self!
Without further adieu, here are some pictures of little (or big rather) ole me!

Yes, all these pics are very old but I'm about the same size (probably larger) now as I am in these pictures.

After my 1st workout at the gym in nearly 10 years, I weighed myself and was at 216...a few days later I went back for another workout and had lost exactly 1 pound! Its a small victory but a victory none the less!
I haven't weighed myself since then, but I have since officially joined the gym and gone to do a pilates mat class (my 1st pilates experience) and more cardio kickboxing and I'm going tomorrow for my 1st yoga class!
I will weigh myself at the gym tomorrow and hopefully there is more progress to report...but if not, I'm proud of myself either way for sticking with this longer than I have in the past and for still being motivated to change myself and my lifestyle for the better. I'm eating better, and I'm feeling better and that is a good thing no matter what the numbers on the scale say!

Stay tuned for more updates and I promise more recent updated pics as well...we need a new camera anyways and now is as good a time as any and as good of an excuse as any to get a new one!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

1st Barefoot Books GIVEAWAY!!!

I am so excited to be running my 1st monthly Barefoot Books giveaway! As an ambassador for Barefoot Books I am a huge fan of the books and products that BFB has to offer, but not only as an ambassador for the company, but as a mother, a homeschooling parent and someone who loves & appreciates a well written, well illustrated children's book that is outside the box and not so commercialized like many children's books & toys are these days. I honestly feel Barefoot Books is offering something different and something unique to children and families and I'm very proud to sell them!!!

This is the 1st of a giveaway series I plan to continue monthly...I decided to wait until my facebook fan page reached 100 fans before I would run this contest and as of this morning I now have 101 people who have liked my page! I cant tell you all how thrilled I am about that, it makes me so happy to know that anytime I share about BFB products that I am reaching 101 people and their families through them (and hopefully their friends as well!)

The prize this month (July) is going to be winners choice of product(s) up to a 19.99 value!!! and at this price point there is a LOT available, plus sale items will help the winner maximize and get more for the money!

                                                         How To Enter...
Mandatory Entry ~ Please visit my marketplace and browse the books & products available and tell me which 1 item you would most like to have if you were to be the winner.

                                                          Additional Entries...
* Like my facebook fan page, Creative Corner ~ Barefoot Books By Liz
* Follow my blog via Google Friend Connect
* Follow me via twitter (just click the cute little blue bird in my side bar)

Contest will run until midnight on July, 15th when 1 winner will be chosen at random by

Monday, June 28, 2010


I am overweight. There is no sugar coating it, no getting around it, I am big. For the sake of being fully upfront and honest, ill even tell you exactly how much I weigh... 216.4lbs  For me, that is a LOT.
Ive gone a long time trying to trick myself into thinking that I'm happy with myself just the way I am, no matter how much I weigh...but this is not the truth everyone, ill tell you all right now, I am NOT happy being nearly 220lbs. this does not bring me happiness.
Now, I'm not one to be obsessed with a number, I'm not one to freak out and have a conniption fit over the number on the scale but I recognize that I am an unhealthy weight and to try and deny it any longer would be ignorant of me. I also feel every bit of extra weight I'm carrying around on a daily basis. I feel the fatigue, the lack of energy and the windedness (I think I just made that word up) I feel from simply walking up my steps, I just feel very run down and much older than I actually am. Sure, the kids have something to do with that, but I cant use my kids as an excuse forever! My baby is now 18 months, my oldest is 8...its time momma starts loosing all this baby weight and taking care of herself.
I'm posting this as a run in to what will be a weekly weigh in and chronicle of my journey to better health and a more healthy weight. I will be taking a "before" picture tomorrow and ill be bearing all my lovely lady lumps for all to see, so stay tuned for that lovely treat.
In addition to posting weekly about my journey, I hope someone else out there reading will decide to take their OWN journey! Listen folks, its taken me a long time to get to this point. Ive put off going to the gym and getting in shape for nearly TEN years, so I know how hard it is to take that first step and just do it, but that is exactly what you have to do, just don't even think about it too much and just do it. I did an hour long cardio kickbox class on Sunday! and I didn't die! and it was the first time id been to the gym in many many years. If I can do it, I promise you to goodness, so can you.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

StaphAseptic Review & Giveaway

If you all have kids anything like mine, then you are constantly having to patch up skinned knees, deal with scrapes & cuts, and kissing boo~boos to make it all feel better! I swear my kids are the most clumsy kids on earth, my daughter alone has busted her lip over 10 times and she is only 8, she bloodied them twice before she was a year old!

Because of the nature of my kids, I have to always make sure I have plenty of band-aids and a stock of first aid when I was given the opportunity to review StaphAseptic first aid antiseptic/pain relieving gel, I was happy to be reviewing a product that I KNEW was going to get used....a LOT.
So far I've used StaphAseptic in place of Neosporin, I've put it on bug bites to take the pain and itch away, and it has worked wonderfully for that! Ive also put it on a couple skinned knees, a cut open finger, a scraped cheek and on a minor burn I got on my hand while cooking.

One thing I'm always worried about is my children getting hurt and then developing a nasty infection like MRSA (antibiotic resistant staph) which can be very very serious for those who contract it, since it is resistant to antibiotics it can be terribly hard to get rid I want to be as preventative as possible to ensure this is something my kids never have to deal with, so it made me feel very good to know that StaphAseptic kills 99.9% of MRSA!  StaphASeptic is NOT a cure for MRSA but it can be a wonderful way to try and prevent it, which is another reason I really love the is yet another tool in my arsenal along side good ole soap and water, to help keep my kids infection free when they get hurt! and speaking of infection prevention, I want to share with you all some prevention tips in regards to staph...

Staph Prevention Program ~

*Treat and cover wounds

*Don't share personal items (like towels)

*Shower after physical activity

*Properly clean gear and equipment

*Keep hands clean

*Consult your physician for all active wounds

I cant say enough good things about this product! It took the itch out of the bug bites, it took the sting and pain out of my burn and it really helped those cuts and scrapes and it gave me the peace of mind that it was helping prevent infections for myself and my family!

For you my readers, I have a coupon to offer you if you are interested in purchasing StaphAseptic for your own medicine cabinet...and I think every medicine cabinet should have a tube (or two!). This product can be found in the first aid aisle of most drug stores like CVS, Rite Aid & Walgreens.

I was also sent an extra full sized tube of StaphAseptic to giveaway to one of my lucky readers!
To enter to win I'm going to make this super simple, just leave a comment below and be sure to leave your email address so that I have a way to contact you if you should happen to WIN!
Giveaway will run for 1 week and a winner will be announced on July, 5th.

Disclosure ~ I was sent a tube of StaphAseptic to try and a tube for giveaway to a reader, I was not monetarily compensated in any way to write this review, all expressed opinions are mine and mine alone!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

(these beautiful pictures of my family are courtesy of a friend of mine who happens to be an amazing photographer, her name is Mui and her website is )

Current Barefoot Books Promotions!

Just wanted to let all of you know of a couple of promotions going on right NOW on my marketplace!

Starting today and running through Sun. June 27th you can receive FREE shipping on all orders $35.00 and over! and on top of that you can use this code for 10% off your order ~ SCSHTE 
code can only be used once per customer and it can be used WITH the free shipping promotion so this is a wonderful time to stock up on some quality reading materials for your children....also think birthday gifts! We always have so many parties to go to over the summer and Barefoot Books has a lot to offer in the way of gift options for kids of all ages and stages!

~Happy Shopping~

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Busy Bee

I feel SOOO busy these days, not that I'm not ALWAYS busy, but lately I'm really feeling it!
I'm trying to keep up with my blog here and keep fresh content coming whether it be a personal
blog post or a product review & giveaway, I want to always keep fresh things coming for you, my readers!

I've also decided to start my own home based business as an ambassador with Barefoot Books! I've
completely fallen in love with the company and am so excited to be an ambassador so that I can bring
you, my readers, and my local community population the wonderful books & products that Barefoot
has to offer for children of a variety of ages & stages! This also means that I will be keeping you all in
the loop in regards to the awesome products offered by Barefoot, our sales and promotional events,
AND a monthly book GIVEAWAY! Who doesn't love something for free?

I hope you all will stick with me through this busy time, I may not have new posts up every day, but I
promise you I have lots of great things to come! Ive got about 4 product reviews coming soon and giveaways! Lots of Barefoot Books info! and the ramblings of my everyday life will be thrown in there
as well :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

CSN Stores Product Review

I have seen a lot of bloggers doing reviews and offering giveaways and discounts to CSN stores lately and I was so very stoked to get the opportunity to do a review of a product from CSN myself!! I was given a 40.00 credit to use to purchase any item from the MANY stores in the CSN family of online stores and let me tell you all, it was NO easy task trying to decide what I wanted to get, there was so so so very much to choose from...when I tell you that you can find everything and the kitchen sink at CSN, I am not kidding around! So it took me a while to finally decide what product I would like to try but I finally came to a decision...I got a set of Le Creuset stoneware baking dishes! The set consisted of 2 dishes, a 10 1/2 x 7" and a 7x5" baking dish and they are a beautiful cobalt blue which compliments the red that most of my kitchen items are.

  ! Made yummy baked apples !

One thing that stood out for me when ordering from CSN is that the shipping was extremely quick, I got my items with in a few short days, I was really shocked they came so fast because I've ordered from other online stores before and have experienced very S L O W shipping. Placing my order was also very easy, the website is a breeze to navigate which I appreciate as I've become very frustrated with other sites I've shopped and have even left a site and taken  my business elsewhere when I haven't been able to find my way around and the ordering process is difficult or confusing.

I can not recommend CSN enough! I am very glad that I got a chance to work with them and look forward to working with them again in the future to bring you, my readers, GIVEAWAYS, sponsored by CSN so you all can have the same wonderful shopping experience that I had :)   So stay tuned in the future for hopefully more great reviews & giveaways from our friends at CSN!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Barefoot Books

As a homeschooling mom and a parent I really appreciate great books for my kids...books with beautiful and unique illustrations, interesting stories, educational content, culturally diverse subject matter and my list could go on and on! Recently I discovered a children's book company that gives me all of the above and SO much more, Barefoot Books, just browsing the catalog is an experience unlike I've had with any other children's book company...its beautifully illustrated and is just bright and cheery, makes me WANT to buy the books!

While looking for wahms/companies/products  to feature here at Menagerie I met a wonderfully sweet mama online by the name of Bonnie Jacobs who is an ambassador with Barefoot Books and she offered to send me a book for each of my children so that I could see for myself just how great the books really are. I was so floored that she was willing to send me a book, but a book for each of my 3 kiddos, that goes above and beyond (THANK YOU BONNIE!). I am so glad that I was able to connect with Bonnie and find out about Barefoot Books because I've become so excited about this company and all it has to offer my children. I want to share with you all the core values of the company, a major reason why I've fallen in love with them!

*Our Core Values


We offer books that are an authentic alternative to the commercialization of childhood. We encourage children to make time for make-believe, let their imaginations run wild and free, while never forgetting that childhood is a time for fun.


We help children explore other cultures, our planet, and themselves, providing them with ways to follow their imaginations on extraordinary journeys, both inner and outer.


We believe that books with beautiful art and meaningful stories respect the innate wisdom of children and have the power to nourish the creative spark in everyone.


We are committed to using story to create deep and lasting connections—whether it’s a child and parent connecting over a book; a child connecting to the universal wisdom of other cultures; or a broad network of people connecting through shared values and the desire to help children become happy, engaged members of a global community.

Give Back

We support organizations that share our goals of global understanding, empowering children through art and story, and protecting and preserving the earth for future generations

Also here is some information on the lovely Bonnie, please if you are interested in making a purchase from Barefoot Books, do it from this generous lady!

I'm a mom of 2 boys. I work at a library part-time during the week and work in a church nursery a few times a month. I've been doing Barefoot Books since Dec 2008. I love the fact that they are flexible in the business. Free to join and no monthly quotas. The best part is they combine my love of literacy and children. That's why I do Barefoot Books. My website is

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Mission Organization

How could I best describe myself in as few words as possible? An unorganized frenzy. This is how I feel most days of my life! You would think that by now, since I realize that I am indeed unorganized, that I would have fixed my "problem" and get myself together and organized, but this is ME we are talking about here. I am the queen of procrastination, if its stressful or requires a lot of effort then you can bet I'm going to find some way to put it off. I don't do this because I enjoy my life being crazy, chaotic, out of control and be honest, I'm not too sure why I do it, its just my way, it always has been and I guess I've not learned my lesson well enough over the years. But I'm trying! Baby steps folks, baby steps!

The very first thing I need to do is to reign in the mess that is my computer desk and surrounding area...because the mess on the desk is so large and in charge that it rents out real estate on the floor underneath the desk, beside the desk and all over the book shelf that is beside the desk. It is out of control. Sometimes I think maybe I just need a new desk because this one spontaneously generates papers and junk. I clean the thing off all the time it seems and yet it is ALWAYS messy. What are some ways you organize your desk area to stay nice and neat and clutter free? I need would be nice! Show me your nice and tidy desks, make me feel like a filthy slob and maybe ill become motivated enough to finally gain control over Mt. Messuvius.

Another of my problems is my inability to keep a calender/planner. I know that I'm "capable" of keeping one but for some reason, I never remember to write things down, I seem to always trust myself to remember things when I know good and well that ill most likely loose track and forget. I always buy a cute little calendar planner book thingy for my purse thinking ill actually use this one this year and then when I clean out my purse months down the road there it will be with maybe 5 things penciled in from months ago. Why do I do this to myself? I long to be more "together", I even buy the tools to help me get there, but then I always fizzle in the end :(

What is your method of keeping track of important info and dates etc? Do you use the traditional paper planner book or are you all digital and key it in your blackberry or Iphone? (Oh Iphone, how I want you so badly, but that's another post!) Maybe telling me what works for you will inspire something that works for me, or at least I sure hope so!

So help a sister out! Cause I need all the help I can get.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Balloonatiks : The Collector's Set Review & GIVEAWAY!

Recently I was sent a DVD copy of Balloonatiks : The Collector's Set to review so when it came in the mail I gathered up all the kids and we set out on our mission! My youngest (18 months) thought it was hysterical for some reason, loved all the colors and action, kept pointing to the screen and laughing, it was super cute!
As for my oldest two (8 yrs & 4 yrs) they really enjoyed it too! It was able to hold their attention the entire time which is an accomplishment because they often become bored or uninterested with a lot of movies and leave to go play before its half way done, but not this time! They actually didn't make a peep (except when laughing) and really seemed to be entertained by the Balloonatiks and all their antics and adventures! The episodes are exciting and pretty fast paced so that helps to keep the kiddos focused.

Please take a moment to visit the website and check out the Balloonatiks for yourself @  Introduce your kids to the Balloonatiks characters : Floater, Squeeker, Airbrain, Sparky, Bouncer and Leaky, 5 teens mysteriously transformed into rubbery shape stretching (think BALLOONS!) super heroes that take on the villains that threaten Hot Air City!

Some tidbits of info that I personally found interesting (on the grown up side of the fence!) is that actor Mark Hamill & Debi Derryberry (the voice of Jimmy Neutron), and Billy West (best known for several characters from Futurama) worked on the collectors set DVD. Also the Balloonatiks theme song is performed by Ray Parker Jr., who is most known for writing the Ghostbusters theme song (man I used to love those movies when I was younger!).

Balloonatiks : The Collector's Set will be available for purchase on, and and is set to release on July, 15th and so far has a suggested retail price of 14.95.

Until can enter for a chance to WIN your very own copy!!!

                                                       Do one or all of the following to enter...

1. Become a follower of my blog via Google friend connect and leave a comment telling me you did, if you already follow me that's OK too, just let me know you do!

2. Follow me via twitter (just follow the twitter button in my sidebar) and comment to let me know you did

3. Tweet this contest and leave me a link to your tweet, 1 tweet per day!

4. Post about this giveaway on your facebook page or blog and leave me a link! This is worth 5 extra entries!!!!!

****YOU MUST LEAVE ME YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS ON ALL YOUR ENTRIES SO THAT I HAVE A MEANS TO CONTACT YOU IF YOU WIN, IF YOU DO NOT DO THIS YOU ENTRIES WILL BE VOID**** (Don't mean to "yell" just want to be sure this is nice and visible to everyone!)

Giveaway will run for 1 week, 1 winner will be chosen randomly on Sat. June 19th @ 10pm EST. Winner will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen.

I was not offered, nor did I accept any type of monetary payment for this review. A copy of the DVD was supplied to me to facilitate my honest review. All opinions expressed are solely my own (or my children's).

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Feature ~ Dilly Dally And Flitter Blog

I have become rather addicted to reading other blogs and finding those diamonds in the rough that are so fun to read and full of great content that I think everyone should subscribe to and/or follow and today I came across a fantastic blog that I am LOVING! DillyDally And Flitter is the perfect blog to check out if you are a crafty type person, you like reusing and repurposing things into cute and super useful new items, of if you aspire to be crafty and just need fresh new ideas (this is me!) this is definitely the blog for you!
Some of my favorite projects featured on this blog are...this really cool use for your used water bottles
and how she changed these every day household containers into cute and fashionable storage containers, you cant even tell what they once were!
Also while you are visiting Dilly Dally And Flitter be sure to take a look at these extremely useful and fashionable Dangle Bangles that the blog owner sells in her shop...they are so pretty, I want a few to coordinate with different outfits :)
So lets all show this blog some love, stop by and check out all her wonderful craft projects and ideas and if you like it as much as I do, be sure to become a follower!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Another Year Older

Today is my 29th birthday, the last year of my 20's. I am actually excited to be on the downward slope towards 30! The older I get the closer I am to the point in my life where I will be able to enjoy more freedom, more time to spend with my hubby and doing things that I've not been able to do my entire 20's because I've been having & raising my kids.
I had my 1st child pretty young, I met my hubby at 19 years old, got married at 20 and had our first child at 21. She was our "honeymoon" (if you can call an evening at the San Antonio HoJo a honeymoon) baby, and it definitely wasn't planned that way but sometimes things happen no matter what we may do to prevent them!
I went on to have my 2nd child at 25 years old and I was 27 when I had my 3rd (and FINAL!) baby who is now 18 months old. SO, I've been pretty busy my entire 20's being pregnant, having babies, and doing the "mommy" thing. Now, I love my kiddos SO very much! They are my world and as much as they may aggravated me and drive me up the walls at times, id not trade them for anything. I have sacrificed a lot for my children and I do it willingly because I love them so very very much! But I cant lie...I really do look forward to when they are a bit older and my husband and I can go out more, enjoy evenings not filled with diaper changes, wet beds, nightmares and tummy aches. It will be a bit nice when they are more self sufficient and don't need me for every little thing from pouring drinks to wiping behinds.

I say these things now huh? But I'm sure when they are older I will look back on these days with such fondness and such sadness that they are over. I will look back on the times that made me feel completely crazy and laugh at them, the times that made me angry and be happy for the experience and the lessons I learned and person I've become.

Well, here is to 29 great years! They haven't always been sunshine & roses, I've had good times & bad but all in all, I've had a pretty darn good life, I've been blessed more than I deserve,  and I look forward to many, many, MANY more happy years with my family and friends!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Coming Soon ~ CSN Product Review!

I am beyond thrilled to be working with CSN to do a product review of one of their many wonderful products. Have you ever heard of CSN or visited any of their sites? If not, you are truly missing out!
They have everything you can think of, seriously. If you are doing any home renovations this summer,
especially bathroom renovations (which usually gain you great returns on your investment when you sell
your home!) be sure to check out these amazing bathroom vanities , my personal favorite if I were redoing
one of my baths would be this one, would be perfect in my guest bath.
There will be more information to come soon on my CSN review so be sure to visit the blog often so you don't miss out!

Adding Tabs & Other Changes!

If my blog looks wonky or functions wonky for the rest of this month, its because I'm going to be making lots of changes to the way Menagerie looks and feels! I'm excited about it, and just wanted you all to know that its a work in progress so please excuse the "mess" as I work out all the kinks and hopefully bring you all a much better, new & improved Menagerie experience! I will be adding page tabs, but they probably wont be functioning for a bit so you will still need to scroll down the page to read other posts, a pain I know, that's why I'm trying to get specific pages set up so there is less scrolling. I may even change my page theme and layout, who knows!

And I want to send out a HUGE thank you to all my followers & readers! Menagerie has only been "open for business" so to speak since the middle of May and I now have over 100 google friend connect followers! I'm new to the world of blogging and still learning as I go and I'm just so thrilled that anyone would even want to read the ramblings of little ole me :)  I appreciate you all and hope you will continue to stick around during these growing stages, for there are great things to come!

I look forward to bringing you lots more product reviews and giveaways as well so be sure to check back often, I will still be reviewing and hosting giveaways while improving the site, so be sure not to miss out!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Evaluating Our Choice To Homeschool

I have been homeschooling my oldest daughter B since Christmas break of this current school year and looking back, I have come to a few conclusions about our choice to homeschool and what direction we are going to go in the future.

A few pros

I really loved the freedom that homeschooling afforded us all. We could make our own schedule and work our schooling around our life. If we had a doctors appointment or some other place we needed to be in the morning, then we just did most of our schooling in the evening, and vice versa.

Portability~ B could read in the car, do worksheets in the car or in the waiting room of the dentist. Despite all the running around I feel I'm always doing, B never really has to miss out on much, she can either take work along with her or we do it later on that day.

Flexability ~ Not only did we have flexability with our schedule but also with our curriculum's and methods of teaching and learning. I was able to recognize the way my daughter learns best and then use that as a tool to help her learn better. I was able to see what worked and what didn't work and then change things accordingly. I wasn't tied down to strict rules and timelines.

Freedom (my favorite!) ~ I have been able to use so many different avenues and tools to teach my daughter. I have been able to learn what subjects she enjoys the most, how she learns it the best and then have the freedom to teach her in ANY way that I see fit! If I think letting her watch Myth Busters on Discovery Channel is the best way to teach her a certain concept, then we sit down and we watch! If I think going out in our back yard exploring nature is the best way to teach her a science lesson, then we adventure outside. Ive had the freedom to choose from so many different curriculum's and methods that it has been hard to choose just one, and actually, I haven't...Ive picked and pulled from several and find that works best for us.

Now, on to a few cons...

Full Plate ~ I have 3 kids, in addition to B, I have a 4 1/2 year old boy and an 18 month old boy, both are very active, both are mischievous, and the baby is a tad on the clingy side (I'm also still nursing)...this makes for a constant struggle on my part trying to find the time to actually sit down with B and make sure I am fully explaining new concepts to her and making sure she is staying on task when we are at home and she is supposed to be having school time.

Attitude ~ B is full of it! and we butt heads, a lot. Maybe this is just a phase but when B gets frustrated about something she doesn't exactly get, she gets moody, lashes out with back talk and attitude and eventually dissolves into tears. Its hard to deal with sometimes because I get snippy and frustrated with her and it ends up a vicious cycle...she upsets me, I upset her, so on and so forth.

Self Doubt ~ Although I know B is super bright, truly a smart smart girl, sometimes I wonder if I'm doing right by her with my teaching. Sometimes I feel I'm not creative enough, not challenging her enough, not being strict enough, not being lenient enough. I guess its human nature to doubt yourself from time to time, but this is a big deal, this is my child's education and I would hate to think I'm responsible for hindering her learning in ANY way. We will be testing soon so hopefully that will ease my fears and show me that all my doubting was unnecessary...we shall see!

Over all, I have enjoyed our experience most of the time, and have had moments where I'm ready to send her straight back into the public school system. When contemplating that choice I try to ask myself, "What exactly is it that I'm trying to keep B away from by homeschooling her". Ive asked myself this question many times and I can now say, I know exactly what it is. The kids. Now, I have no problem with my child playing and socializing with all sorts of children from diverse backgrounds. I want my kids to have friends of all colors and creeds...BUT, I want to have some control over how and when my children interact with other kids. When you send your child off to school, you are sending them into a building filled with kids of all with manners who have been taught well how to behave and how to properly interact with others and kids who have not been taught manners, who have no respect for themselves or others and who have no idea how to properly interact with others. You have no control over how many of each type of child your child is exposed to, how they are exposed to each other and how these interactions play out, you have to hope and pray every day that all goes well for your child and please God don't let MY child be the one that has the unfortunate run in with the playground bully today.

I like being able to get to know the kids B will be interacting with, getting to know their parents, getting to actually see them interact with each other, being able to participate in the activities with the children, being able to TEACH them and watch them learn! I like knowing that when B participates in a homeschool group or activity, that all the parents are of mostly the same mind, we have the same goals and generally believe the same things when it comes to our children's education. It is refreshing to be in the company of other homeschoolers, folks who "get it" and understand the choice to keep your kid at home and teach them yourself! I enjoy it and would miss it if we decided not to homeschool going into this next school year.

Oh, the choices to be made. At first they seem so easy....but nothing for me is every truly easy. Wish me luck! I just want to do whats best for my child. In my heart I believe I know whats best...but it has to work for everyone, I have to consider myself, my other kids and my husband. Nothing is ever, "easy".

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Pear Tree Greetings Address Label Giveaway

What else could you do with an address label? Think outside the box, what are other ways to use these fabulously stylish stickers? Add your comments for a chance to win five sets of address labels (up to 120 labels!) from Pear Tree Greetings!

One lucky winner will be selected at random!

See Pear Tree Greetings' entire collection of Labels
Pear Tree Greetings is a fun, fresh and affordable personalized stationery company that offers

Baby-Announcements,Birth-Announcements,Birthday-Invitations,Stationery,Personalized-Note-Cards and more! 

For the month of June you can enjoy

10% off all orders over $19!

Use Code PEARJUN10


1. MANDATORY ENTRY ~ Visit the Pear Tree Greetings site and tell me your favorite design of address labels.

                                                                       BONUS ENTRIES

2. Follow me on twitter (see button on sidebar) and tweet this giveaway being sure to link to my blog and leave me a comment with a link to your tweet (1 tweet per day, leave comment for each tweet)

3.Follow my blog via google friend connect and comment letting me know you did so.

4.Enter my Invisibelt giveaway and leave a comment letting me know you did so.

Blaze 'n' Crochet: Strider PREBike Review and GIVEAWAY!!!

Blaze 'n' Crochet: Strider PREBike Review and GIVEAWAY!!!

Go Visit Blaze n Crochet for your chance to win a strider prebike,
such an awesome and versatile little bike! I know my 2 boys would
LOVE one! My 8 year old girl would probably want to ride around on
it too :) Don't know if it could hold all of my "loveliness" :) but im sure
the kids would make me try!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Invisibelt Review & Giveaway!

Have you ever come across a product and you wonder to yourself how on earth you have never heard of it because its so great and you think EVERYONE should have one? That is exactly how I felt when I came across the Invisibelt! Today's fashions contain lots of low rise pants and fitted shirts and sometimes those pants don't fit us quite right in the waist, sometimes they are just a taaaaaad bit too large. We don't want to spend our hard earned money or our time (just as valuable as our money!) going to a tailor to get every pair of pants that doesn't fit us just right taken in, and we certainly don't want to throw those pants in our closet and go buy a new pair, I don't know anyone who likes throwing money away like that! And who wants their bulky belt buckle to show through their cute fitted top? Who needs (or wants) that extra bulk?
This is where the Invisibelt comes in and saves the day! It is a very thin, virtually undetectable, plastic belt that when worn under fitted tops wont show off any belt buckle bulge (because there isn't any!) and it keeps those pants that don't fit just perfect perfectly in place! Eliminate that frustration of having to pull and tug your pants up all day because they just wont stay in place, and eliminate the bulk and bulge of traditional belts and their buckles...because goodness knows *I* don't need any extra bulk around MY middle :)

Pictures of *ME* in my very own Invisibelt coming soon! I'm having camera difficulties :(

The maker of the Invisibelt,Kathy Kramer also has a belt that is perfect for use during pregnancy, the Invisibump by Invisibelt for Liz Lange. I don't know any pregnant woman who wants to add any extra bulk to her middle during those beginning stages when she is not quite ready for the maternity sizes but her regular pants might be getting a bit snug, those larger sizes might still be a bit big so a belt is needed and the Invisibump is PERFECT! And just because you are pregnant doesn't mean you want to give up your style and wear large, baggy, frumpy tops, you want to still wear your cute fitted tops and I'm sure you don't want the bulk and bulge of your traditional belt buckle showing through! The Invisibump is also great for that stage after pregnancy when you are between sizes...truly, the invisibump is the ONLY belt a pregnant woman will need from the time she learns of her upcoming bundle of joy and on through the post partum period. The invisibump is different from the invisibelt in that it has a bit of stretch making it super comfy and versatile for every stage of change during the pregnancy and post partum time.

If you are now saying to yourself, "Man, I really NEED an Invisibelt!" Well, you are in luck! because the maker of the Invisibelt, Kathy Kramer has graciously sent me TWO Invisibelts to giveaway to two of my blog readers, 1 Naked (clear) and 1Noir (black)

                                                        !!!!!!!GIVEAWAY TIME!!!!!!!
1.First things first, I need you to visit the Invisibelt website 
and under the GIRL tab at the top, tell me which of the kids collection invisibelts is your favorite.
*This must be done before any other entries, if not, all your entries will be deleted*

                                                         !!!!!!!EXTRA ENTRIES!!!!!!!

2. "Like" the Invisibelt facebook fan page and leave me a comment telling me you did so

3.Follow my blog publicly via google friend connect and leave me a comment telling me you did, if you already follow just let me know!

4.Follow me via twitter (see button on my sidebar) and tweet about this giveaway and leave me a link to your tweet. (You can gain 1 extra entry PER DAY by tweeting this contest and coming back here to post a link to your tweet)

5.Blog about this review & giveaway on your blog making sure to link back to MY blog and come leave me a link to your blog posting (4 extra entries for this!)

So that gives you *8* total entries(more if you tweet it out everyday!) for your chance to win 1 of 2 Invisibelts!
This giveaway will end at 12 noon on June, 11th. 2 winners will be chosen at random and will have 48 hours to respond before new winners are chosen. I will email the winners so PLEASE make sure to put your email address in ALL your entries so I have a way to contact you! Open to U.S. residents ONLY.

Disclaimer ~ The above opinions expressed are mine alone. I was not paid for my review but was sent an Invisibelt to try to facilitate my review, no other monetary compensation was offered or accepted.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Summer Fun ~ Camping!

My daughter is getting ready to go on her very 1st overnight camping trip with the girl scouts and she is so super excited! This will actually be her 1st camping experience ever, so I'm hoping that she has a wonderful time BECAUSE, I plan for us to camp as a family at some point this summer!

Its been a very long time since I've gone camping, actually, I was in the Army last time I slept outside in a tent and I don't guess you could really call that a camping trip :) More like camping hell...I had to set up my own shelter half...which is NOTHING like your standard family sized tents you buy at Target or Wal Mart! Its a tiny piece of fabric and a few poles and its just big enough for you and if necessary, 1 other person. Belanna should just be glad that they have cabins at the campground the girl scouts will be using!

I do look forward to camping as a family though, I think it brings families closer together and provides for opportunities that staying in a hotel would not afford, Like, building a campfire and roasting marshmallows and making s'mores together! Or, telling ghost stories in the dark...going on nature walks, just enjoying the great outdoors, which is something so many don't do these days with the all inclusive resort being the #1 choice of most summer time travelers. I want to actually spend time with my kids without the distraction of a television set or a video game system, I want us to TALK (imagine that concept) and enjoy each others company , instead of worrying about the length of the lines at the amusement park I want us to get excited about the strength of the rapids in the river!

So here is to hoping my kiddo has a great time on her 1st camping trip and that she will become excited at the idea of us camping as a family this summer! I'm already excited about it just from writing this post!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Sole Plus

I want to share with you all a WONDERFUL organization that is doing great things with and for many young people across the country. Sole Plus  (founded by a guy I went to high school with!) is a footwear design competition with the goal of promoting social activism & awareness among our youth....actually, ill let the folks at Sole Plus explain the exact mission of the organization and contest!


Sole Plus is a high school footwear design competition that was founded on the quote by Pablo Picasso, “Art washes away from the [sole] the dust of everyday life.” The SOLES of our shoes collect dust and dirt from places traveled in the same way that our SOULS collect dust through life’s trials. The Sole Plus design competition metaphorically washes the dust and dirt from the SOULS of our young artists by providing them with an avenue of expression. Sole Plus literally washes away the dust and dirt from the SOLES of our shoe recipients by providing a needed pair of shoes to replace old ones.

The Sole Plus shoe design contest is more that art creation. It is a competition whose aim is to create a unique fusion of artistic expression and social activism for young artists and designers. It is a unique and focused program that gives today’s youth a boisterous voice to bring awareness to the artist’s chosen cause. The contest provides young designers with the opportunity to use their artistic abilities for something other than art for art’s sake. It in affect allows the artist to creatively leave his or her own footprint. Sole Plus offers a real world application of their skills as well as the opportunity to directly connect with individuals in need.

The goal of Sole Plus is twofold. The first focus is to encourage students to present their own message for social change. Students are challenged to create their message thoughtfully as well as artistically using Converse All Stars as their canvas.

The pilot for the initiative started in October, 2009. The first level of competition included individual students who competed within their classes to design a shoe that depicts a social message of their choice.

Students were free to be creative and were encouraged to think outside of the box. The only rules were:

1) The design must have a social message

2) The shoe must be wearable.

During the pilot design contest, student winners were chosen based on their message, aesthetics and presentation. On average, each class had two winners whose design was placed in the organization wide competition and two winners whose shoes were donated to youth from a local shelter within their community.

Sole Plus has created partnerships with women and children shelters throughout the United States. We work very closely with the staff to identify students who have excelled academically, made strides to achieve their personal goals and who are exemplary residents. Through our collaboration, Student designers are able to personally deliver their handmade shoes to these recipients. In addition to tapping into artistic talents, students receive the gratification of using those same skills and talents to help a child in need


I get excited thinking about the possibilities Sole Plus is opening up for so many young people! Inspiring them to be creative for a cause, for something bigger than themselves! I hope you will join me in supporting Sole Plus!
PLEASE visit the Sole Plus Facebook page and show them some love! Please "like" and post an encouraging comment telling them you think what they are doing is a great thing for our young people! Because it IS!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Inspired By Finn Hazelwood Necklace Review & GIVEAWAY!

I am very excited to bring this review and giveaway to my readers! I hope you enjoy reading about my experience with Inspired By Finn's hazelwood jewelery.

On Monday of this week I received my hazelwood necklace from and immediately put it on and started experiencing its healing effects! I suffer from chronic heartburn/acid reflux and am always on the lookout for ways to relieve the painful burning and discomfort associated with it. What exactly is a hazelwood necklace and how exactly does it work is what you are probably asking yourself right now, right?

Hazelwood is an ancient remedy first used by aboriginal people -- It has the medicinal property of neutralizing the body's acidity.

It relieves or prevents ailments such as ulcers, acid reflux, heartburn, skin problems (psoriasis, eczema, acne), arthritis, constipation, migraines, sensitive & bleeding gums, helps reduce dental cavities and more. These necklaces are a great remedy for heartburn and nausea during pregnancy!

Hazelwood necklaces are made from the branches of a hazelwood tree alternated with glass and/or gemstone beads for ornamentation. They are handmade - from the gathering of the wood to the stringing of the beads.

In order to receive a therapeutic benefit the necklace must be worn as much as possible - for adults, we recommend wearing the necklace over night as well as during the day. It is also recommended to wear the necklace while bathing. Keeping the hazelwood moist aids the body in absorbing the beneficial properties of the Hazelwood.

The life span of the necklace will depend on the level of acidity of the body. In general, a necklace will maintain its medicinal benefits for 6 –12 months. Higher acidity may mean a shorter lifespan of the necklace. A necklace is losing effectiveness when the ends of the wood beads darken and/or symptoms return.


There you go! as explained by the good folks at Inspired By Finn! And let me tell you ladies, the necklace has REALLY helped me! I have used products from Inspired By Finn before, I used an Amber teething necklace on my youngest son when he was cutting teeth and the healing effects were nearly instant for him, I saw a reduction in drooling and fussiness within hours of putting the amber necklace on learn more about Amber teething necklaces read here

 Back to my hazelwood experience... I put the necklace on immediately because I could feel heartburn creeping up on me from what I had to eat for lunch, so I figured id head it off and hope to avoid a full fledged attack....and IT WORKED!!! In fact, I haven't had bad heartburn all week and I can honestly say it has to be from wearing the hazelwood necklace. Hazelwood isn't a miracle cure all, you still have to watch what you eat and take care of yourself or you will still experience heartburn and acid reflux symptoms, but it definitely helps and combined with wise eating choices it has been a great heartburn reliever for me this past week and I look forward to using my hazelwood necklace for the next 6 to 12 months (this is the average life span of the necklaces effectiveness, depends on the level of acidity in your body).

Would YOU like to try hazelwood or Baltic amber jewelery yourself? Because I have a fantastic giveaway and a discount code for you to use when shopping at Inspired By Finn.

                                                            DISCOUNT CODE :
                               BLOG101 FOR 20% OFF ANYTHING ON THE SITE


*** 1 lucky reader will be chosen at random to win any in stock item 16 inches or SMALLER from Inspired By Finn*** 

                                                            WAYS TO ENTER:

MANDATORY ENTRY ~ Please visit and tell me what your favorite item on the site is.

                                                       ADDITIONAL ENTRIES:

1. Follow my blog publicly via google friend connect and leave a comment saying you did, if you already follow leave a comment telling me so.

2.Follow me via twitter and leave me a comment telling me you did and please leave your twitter ID so I can verify.

3.Follow Inspired By Finn via Facebook and leave me a comment telling me you did.

4.Blog about this giveaway linking back to my blog and leave me a comment with a link to your blog

All in all you have 5 chances to win!!!! This giveaway will run until Friday June, 4th and 1 winner will be chosen at random.

I was not offered any monetary compensation for this review, all opinions expressed are solely my own.
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