Monday, December 24, 2012

Educational Apps: Fun with Fine Arts, Alphabet

From Oh Factory comes a fresh new educational app that’s aimed at teaching children the alphabet while igniting their interest in the fine arts at the same time.

Art ABC is a sophisticated take on a simple concept: learn the ABC’s in order, making connections between the named letters and the sounds they represent, and use simple words to demonstrate the presence of those letters in reading and writing.

What makes Art ABC special is combining these lessons with gorgeous illustrations drawn from master painters such as Vincent Van Gogh, Renoir, Edgar Degas, and many others. Each interactive frame gives little ones a chance to explore these enriching pieces while encouraging their learning. Each “page” playfully demonstrates the world used to represent the letter in phonics and writing in a new way. Grayed-out images spring to life with vivid color as the narration demonstrates pronunciation. Parents and kids alike will adore this app.



Friday, December 14, 2012


Looking to serve your family and guests something unique this year?
With options like Cheesy Brussels Sprouts with Bacon or
 Italian Sweet Potato Gratin the hard part will be deciding which one to make!
Then of course there is the eternal question, "What can I make with all
 these leftovers?" Progresso Recipe Starters sauces have the answer with
 recipes like Baked Turkey Hoagie and Turkey Leftover Dinner Casserole that
will transform your leftovers into delicious new food ideas. Available in
 five flavorful varieties, Progresso Recipe Starters can help you surprise and
 delight your family and guests at the main meal and after it!
And let's not forget about the weeknight night! In between those big
holiday meals, busy families are still looking for a little help getting dinner
 on the table. For inspiration, Progresso created 100 recipes utilizing this new
line of cooking sauces that can be found on

Additionally, all the recipes on the site include a Rate and Review feature, so
we encourage you to leave a rating and review of your own. Look for Progresso
 Recipe Starters in the soup aisle!
Inspired by the five "Mother" Sauces that form the basis of classical
French cooking, including Béchamel, Velouté, Tomato, Espagnole and
Hollandaise, Recipe Starters use a variety of ingredients and the best
techniques to make sure you have delicious options
to take on the school days dinner dilemma. The five varieties are:  

Creamy Parmesan Basil: This creamy, full-bodied and indulgent sauce that
was inspired by alfredo and creamy pesto sauces can be used to make dishes such
as Crispy Garlic-Parmesan Chicken, Creamy Chicken Alfredo,  Basil Chicken
Ravioli Carbonara and Basil Chicken Thai Noodle  

Creamy Roasted Garlic with Chicken Stock: With caramelized,  roasted chicken
 broth, garlic and a touch of cream, this stock is perfect for dishes such as Creamy Lemon Chicken, Chicken Pot Pie and Chicken Enchiladas  

Fire Roasted Tomato: A medium-thick tomato sauce, accompanied by flavors
of roasted, caramelized tomatoes, oregano and bell peppers, which can be used as
a great way to begin creating Pulled Chicken Sandwiches, Easy Weeknight Chicken Parmesan, Cheese-stuffed Mini Meat Loaves and Mole Tacos  

Creamy Portabella Mushroom: Creamy and highly indulgent, this smooth 
sauce is rich with sautéed Portabella mushrooms, giving you any easy way to 
start delicious dishes like Easy Weeknight Beef Stroganoff, Steak and Mushroom
Sandwich and Tetrazzini  

Creamy Three Cheese: Rich and creamy with a blend of yellow and white
cheeses, and a savory background of chicken stock, onion, garlic and cracked
 pepper, this is a great way to satisfy cheese lovers with Easy Weeknight
Bacon Mac & Cheese, Twice-Baked Potato Pizza and Cheesy Egg
 Breakfast Tacos

We love the creamy three cheeseIt helps make an excellent mac and cheese
 dinner. Our second favorite is the Fire Roasted Tomato which helps make an
excellent pulled chicken sandwich.

Check out the recipe starters you won't be disappointed!

“Disclosure:  The information, products and Progresso™ Recipe Starters™ gift packs were provided by Progresso through MyBlogSpark.”

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

HGG 2012 Progressive International Kitchen tools Giveaway

My absolute favorite tools to use in the kitchen are from Progressive International. I have had the opportunity to review many of their tools and have ALWAYS been impressed with them.

 I was also recently gifted their Chrome Wire Fruit Bowl which sits on my dining room table. It is sturdy and large and is perfect for Shane to grab a piece of fruit from for a snack.

 Two of the newest tools I have been given to review are the Jumbo potato cutter and the 6- piece grater set.

 I have to start with the Jumbo potato cutter which I absolutely love.

 In fact I would say its my favorite tool so far. The Jumbo potato cutter cuts large whole potatoes in one motion. Also great for carrots, zucchini and yams. Features 2 blades for small and large sticks and an extra strong suction base to eliminate slipping.

 It makes excellent sweet potato fries and the other day it was a huge time saver when I was making potato soup and needed 6 cups of cubed potatoes. I just made the potatoes into fries using the Jumbo potato cutter and then quickly cubed them with a knife. I am seriously in love with this tool.
 You can purchase it for $21.95 on Amazon.

 I also really love the 6- piece grater set.

 It prevents the huge mess my old grater used to make when I graded cheese. It includes 4 inserts, frame and 3 cup measuring container. Grater inserts shred, slice, grate and zest. The inserts fit into the measuring container for compact storage. Non skid feet keep the container from moving while grating. Dishwasher safe. It also has a protective piece that you put between your hand and the cheese to prevent you from cutting your fingers while grating.

It is so nice to have the cheese fall into the measuring container where it is measured easily and contained vs a traditional grater which is very messy.

You can purchase the 6- piece grater set for $16.65 on Amazon

Any tool from progressive would make an excellent gift for anyone who enjoys to cook on your list.

Progressive International has offered one of my readers a 6- piece grater set and a Jumbo potato cutter. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

HGG 2012 VTech InnoTab 2S

One of the Hottest Toys out this holiday season is the VTech InnoTab 2S.

Shane was so so so excited to have the InnoTab 2S.

It has some really nice features for him including a rotatable camera and video recorder so he can take pictures like mom :) He loves the mp3 player, video player and art studio. He spends a lot of time listening to music and watching videos on his InnoTab2s.

The InnoTab 2S comes with a 2GB onboard memory and expandable SD card slot available to accommodate SD cards up to 32GB. Plenty of room for music, pictures and videos. 

 A new feature only available on the 2s is a secure Wi-Fi connection to VTech’s Learning Lodge Navigator for easy and secure downloading of games, e-books, music and more. Shane can e-mail me a list of the games and e-books he wants.  VTech has thought of everything. They even designed the 2S to automatically turn off the WIFI when not in use.

 Once I have downloaded a new app from the Learning Lodge Navigator, I can sync the program to his InnoTab 2S wirelessly . It can even be done without a cord when he is in a Wi-Fi hotspot location.

Some other features include
 -a 5” touch screen
 -Ability to create a user name and avatar, a voice greeting, typed greeting and photo wallpaper
 -the ability to download more than 200 additional apps, including games, e-books and much more that teach kids reading, logic and creativity through the VTech Learning Lodge Navigator™ at 

As a Certified Teacher I have to say my favorite feature from VTech is the VTech University

VTech University features:

• An Engaging Curriculum: VTech University is designed to focus on the fundamental areas
of reading, math and science – three subjects that children in the U.S. continue to fall
behind in.
○ Is Expert Approved – Upon enrollment, the first assignment is to watch an
entertaining video lesson from Dr. Eric Klopfer, Professor and VTech Advisory
Board Member, telling his new “students” what to expect from the program, and
how fun it can be to learn something new.
○ Track Your Child’s Progress – Free curriculum can be downloaded to a child’s
registered VTech product on the Learning Lodge Navigator. Once connected, the
devices will track completed courses on the VTech University website so kids
can pick up where they left off in the curriculum each day and parents can check
in on their progress.
○ Advanced Learning Through Honors Curriculum – VTech University also
offers an Honors Curriculum with three alternative games that can be purchased
at a discounted rate of just $6.99.
• A Head Start to College: Graduates of the program will not only receive a diploma at
such an early age, but will have the chance to win a $25,000 college bond upon
completion of their curriculum.
○ Children enrolled in VTech University will have through May 31, 2013 to
complete the curriculum.
For more information on how to enroll in VTech University today, visit university.

I just love that I can track Shane's progress. It is so neat to see what he has learned and how far he has gone in the curriculum. 

Over all I would highly recommend the VTech InnoTab 2S

It provides so many options to keep kids entertained and learning. A camera, video camera, Mp3 player, video player, game player and book reader all in one.

The only thing I don't like is the prices of the downloads and software.  It can cost quite a bit of money to get a nice variety of games/books etc.

 “I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for VTech and received a VTech InnoTab 2S to facilitate my review."

Monday, December 3, 2012

HGG 2012 Conair Giveaway

Conair is my go to brand for all things hair. My hairdryer, straightener, curling iron, brushes ad hair accessories are Conair brand.

Conair hair products make excellent gifts.

They are always releasing new must have products and the Conair® Quick Gems is no exception. 

Glam up your hairstyle with the Conair Quick Gems! This versatile tool bejewels hair automatically; it’s the perfect gift for girly-girls! It can be used to accent almost any hairstyle and can create different looks whether you want to have a single full strand of jewels on one strip of hair from root to tip or scatter the jewels throughout the hair to give a sparkling look all over. 

The gem cartridge holds up to 18 jewels and rotates automatically to easily attach gems to hair in seconds! The jeweler comes with 24 reusable, easy on-easy off jewels in two sizes and four shapes –it really is the gift that keeps on giving. Tell your girls to get their sparkle on this season with the Conair Quick Gems!
Conair Quick Gems are available nationwide at mass market and drugstore retailers, as well as at, for an average retail price of $28.99. 

The Quick gems will make an excellent gift for tweens and teens this holiday season. 
and to add to the fun check out their Impressions Cushion Brush and Topsy Tail both excellent stocking stuffers. I own both of these and love them. 

Their cushion brush is soft and doesn't pull on my hair when I brush it and the Topsy Tail is great for creating the perfect style for the holidays or special event. 

Conair has been kind enough to offer one of my readers all 3 products 
(The Quick gems, Cushion Brush and Topsy Tail)

a Rafflecopter giveaway