May 31, 2010

Follow Me Back Tuesday - Week 4!


Time for another Follow Me Back Tuesday!  Welcome to all my new followers.  Feel free to look around and enter my giveaways that are listed over on the right side or comment on my other posts.  Make sure that you follow our esteemed hostesses; Survey Junkie, Little Yaya's, Review Retreat  & Boobies,BabiesAndABlog.

Here is how Follow Me Back Tuesday works:

  • Follow the 4 Hostesses #'s 1 -4 ( leave us a comment so we can follow u back )
  • Add your blog to the list ( only have to add once )
  • Grab our button & the link code to post on your blog
  • Start to follow as many blogs as you would like ( make sure you leave a comment so they can follow you back )
  • And when you receive a comment from a new follower return the favor & follow them back
  • Have fun!

Hope you have a great Tuesday!
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How he did it...

8 years ago today I was asked the most amazing question...will you marry me?  We had been dating for exactly a year when my boyfriend (husband now) asked me to be his wife.  It was a Friday evening and we had reservations to eat at the Melting Pot.  Have you been there?  Oh, it's so good!  It's a fondue restaurant that offers so many different kinds of fondue that you'd have to go everyday for about a month to try all of them out.  I'd be willing to do that, by the way, if I had a Melting Pot close by my current home but, alas, the closest one is almost 3 hours away.

We ended up being way early for our reservation because he was worried about traffic and being late (at least that's what he told me) so we had to figure out something to do to pass the time.  The Melting Pot is right down the street from the Seattle Center so he asked me if I wanted to go up in The Space Needle as he hadn't been up there since he was very young.  I agreed and off we went.

When we got to the top of the Needle we started walking around the observation deck just looking at the beautiful Seattle skyline.  I grew up just outside of the city and always have loved the picturesque nature of the Seattle area.  Mountains in one direction, water in another.  On a sunny day, it can be one of the most beautiful sights to behold.  This afternoon was one of those perfect days.  We walked around the 360 degree observation deck just, well, observing.  When we got to an area where there was no one around, my boyfriend grabbed my hands and said some, if I could remember them I'm sure they were romantic, words then he got down on one knee and asked that amazing question "Will you marry me?"  Now, this wasn't any surprise because we had been talking about marriage for a few months but for some reason it came as a surprise, a wonderful surprise!  I, of course, said yes.  The funny thing was that we had people inside the space needle watching and when we hugged and kissed they started banging on the window and clapping!  It was such an unforgettable moment.

After the proposal we went down to the bottom of the needle where the gift shop was and purchased a little memento of the occasion.  From there we went and shared a glass of wine in a little bar.  I still have the cork from that bottle!  We made our reservation at The Melting Pot and enjoyed a delicious meal.  11 months later, we got married!  The End.

P.S. This is post #200!  What a day to celebrate for a multitude of reasons!
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Memorial Day Winners!


Happy Memorial Day, everyone!  I hope you are all having a fun and safe weekend in beautiful weather while I enjoy (or not) watching the rain fall outside my window.  Is this really the start of summer?  Not in Oregon!

Let's remember to take some time today to think about all of the soldiers that have sacrificed their lives for our safety.  Their job is the hardest of them all and I thank God for those who are willing to take on the responsibility of our country's protection.

I have also chosen my winners for the two giveaways that ended yesterday.

Congratulations to my Ocean Complete Sinus Irrigation System winner!

#15 - LAMusing

Congratulations to my 3 winners of 101 Things I Learned in Culinary School!

#72 - Amanda
#53 - For Their Future
#28 - Kelly

All winners have been emailed and they have 48 hours to respond or I will have to chose another winner.

Thanks for continuing to support my blog!  Enjoy the rest of your long weekend!
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May 28, 2010

Giveaways ending tomorrow! Enter now!

Two of my giveaways are ending tomorrow (May30th) so get those entries in!

and

Good luck and have a great weekend!
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Community Coffee Traditional Blends Father's Day Gift Set {REVIEW & GIVEAWAY}

Coffee is one of my favorite things in this world!  I love the taste, I love the smell, I love the ice cream!  When I was asked to review a Father's Day gift set by Community Coffee, I was excited to try a new brand of coffee.  I was given two gift sets to choose from and I chose the Traditional Blends Father's Day Gift Set.

Here's the description from the Community Coffee web site:

This year, forget the tie and give your father a gift that he'll truly appreciate. This gift set includes the popular 16 oz. Dark Roast ground coffee, a Community Coffee-Fresh Canister, Logo Coffee Scoop and a Community Coffee Premium Tumbler. Everything comes wrapped in a wooden crate for Dad to enjoy!

Community Coffee not only sells gift sets and accessories, but all sorts of coffee products from traditional coffee to instant coffee to coffee podsCommunity Coffee also sells tea!

What did I think?

When the gift set arrived, I was impressed by the way it was packaged.  The red coffee bag, canister, tumbler and scoop looks really nice against the black filler paper and the light wooden box it was all packed inside.  It makes a very striking contrast!  I was also please to find out that the bag of ground coffee fits perfectly inside the canister!  The canister is sealed shut so that the coffee is kept within a container that maintains the freshness of the coffee.  The coffee is described as bold and boy is it!  We are definitely a family that enjoys bold coffee and this one fits the bill.  The flavor is deep and rich without being too strong.  The scoop that came in the gift set is exactly 2 tablespoons which is half the measurement we use to make a full pot.  I love the tumbler!  Since we've moved, I can't seem to find any of my travel tumblers, so this was a welcome addition to our kitchen.  I can enjoy coffee on the go again!

Community Coffee has agreed to offer the same Traditional Blends Father's Day Gift Set to one lucky reader of Giveaways and More!  The winner should receive the gift set prior to Father's Day so if you have a coffee lover in your family, this could be the perfect gift!

Mandatory Entry

Become a public follower of Giveaways and More on Google Friend Connect (or tell me that you already follow me) and visit Community Coffee and tell me another item you would like to have!  (Please make sure that I have an email address to contact you if you are the winner either in the comment itself or on your profile.)

Additional Entries (Make sure you leave separate comments for each entry.  For example, if you post my button on your blog, leave three separate comments letting me know you did.)

3 entries - Grab my button and post it on your blog. Don't forget to include your blog address so I can go see it! (You can find my button in the column on the right)
3 entries - Blog about this giveaway linking back to this post. Leave the link to your blog post in your comment.
1 entry - Become a Giveaways and More email subscriber. Check your email and make to sure verify your address to gain this entry!
1 entry - Subscribe to my RSS feed.
1 entry - "Like" Giveaways and More on Facebook.
1 entry - "Like" Community Coffee on Facebook.
1 entry - "Fav" Giveaways and More on Technorati.
1 entry - Follow me on Twitter.
1 entry - Follow Community Coffee on Twitter.
1 entry - Enter another active giveaway on Giveaways and More (1 entry per giveaway entered).
1 entry (1x daily) - Tweet this giveaway. Make sure to include the link to your tweet in your comment. Feel free to use this tweet:

RT @curlyq776 I want to win a Father's Day Gift Set from @CommunityCoffee! http://bit.ly/dBL3UU Ends 6/12 #giveaway

This giveaway will close on June 11th at 11:59 pm PDT. This giveaway is open to US residents only. The winner will be chosen via random.org, announced on this blog and notified by email. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen and notified.

Thanks to Community Coffee for sponsoring this giveaway!

Disclaimer: I was provided with a free product for review and I was under no obligation to use it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review. All opinions are my own honest opinions.
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May 27, 2010

Friday Follow has returned!


Friday Follow has returned in a new form!  Welcome to the very first NEW Friday Follow hosted by Tami at Hearts Make Families, Harriet at Harriet and Friends, and Ian at The Daily Dose of Reality! We invite you to join us every Friday to get more blog followers and to find many interesting blogs that you like. This is all about sharing and having fun.  They are also going to have different hosts each week so it gives everyone a chance to be front and center!  How cool is that?

A few rules first:
  • Link up your blog name and URL using the McLinky below. Only need to add on one blog to be seen on all the blog hops.
  • Grab the Friday Follow button and include on your Friday Follow blog post.
  • Follow Friday-Follow.com so you can see the current things going on. If you haven’t check out the website yet, please do so.
  • Follow the Friday Follow hostesses listed in the first 3 slots.
  • Follow as many other blogs on the linky as you’d like.
  • Take a moment to comment on the blogs telling them you’re from Friday Follow.
As always, we are trying to improve the Friday Follow so here are a couple of rules to make the experience even better for you:
  • Only one linky per blog. We do have a giveaway tab that you can include your giveaways on.
  • Please try to keep your post current so that people can see your showcased work.
  • Follow someone back if they follow you – this is common courtesy.
  • No xxrated blogs.
  • No spammers.

Have fun and Happy Friday Follow!
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300 Followers!


Thanks so much to all my followers!  I've hit 300!  This makes my day!
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Blog Hop Friday & Friendly Friday! (5/28)

What a great day Friday is!  Don't you agree?  There are two great ways to meet some new bloggers and check out some awesome blogs!  I had such a great time participating in Blog Hop Friday last week and can't wait to see some new bloggers this week!  Blog Hop Friday is hosted by My New Life As Mom, Chubby Cheeks Thinks, Take A Mom's Word For It, Bree Bee's, This Adventure Our Life and Belly Charms!  Make sure you follow all of these ladies' blog first and then have fun getting to know some of the other blogs listed on the linky at any of those sites.  You can add your link at any of the host blogs and it will show up on all of them!  It would also be nice if you added this cute button to your sidebar.  I mean, who doesn't love frogs?  This one is so cute with it's big eyes (and it's not slimy)!

I didn't make it to Friendly Friday last week, but I'd like to join the party this week!  This blog hop is hosted by Christi at Frugal Novice, Charla at Healthy Home Blog , and Xenia at Thanks, Mail Carrier.  Make sure you follow all three hostesses and then make your way through the other blogs.  Leave a comment letting them know you found them on Friendly Follow and try to follow those bloggers who follow you.  I love this button, too!  The colors match up very nicely with my blog, don'tcha think?

Happy Friday and have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!


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Want to review Neutrogena's UltraSheer Liquid Daily Sunblock?

I was chosen to review Neutrogena's new sunblock product and am loving how light it is.  I can't feel it on my skin at all!  Do you want to try some?  If so, click here and apply to be a product reviewer!  Good luck!


P.S. I don't have 200 Facebook followers so don't let that deter you.  Apply and see what happens!

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It's a Social Parade Friday Follower Blog Hop (5/28)!

I'm all for starting Friday a little bit early!  Here's a great blog hop to join over at Smart and Trendy Moms called Social Parade Follower Friday Blog-Hop.  There are a few rules:

1.  Follow Smart and Trendy Moms first and foremost.  they deserve some follow-love!
2.  Write a blog post about Social Parade and link to that post on the linky.
3.  Add the button to your post (don't need to add it to your sidebar).
4.  Start having fun and following new blogs.  Make sure to leave a comment so that they know you are following from It's a Social Parade and they can follow you in return.

Have fun and a great Memorial Day weekend!
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Still the One Winners Announced!

Congratulations to the 5 winners of a copy of Still the One by Robin Wells!

#40 - lina
#4 - Jenilee
#50 - Rebecca O
#27 - katsrus
#18 - buki family

I've sent an email to the winners!  Please respond to my email within 48 hours or I'll have to choose another winner.  Thanks for entering my giveaways and look for some really good ones coming up soon!
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May 26, 2010

Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook Revised & Updated {REVIEW & GIVEAWAY}

Cooking is a personal passion of mine but I can't make gourmet food every night, nor would I want to.  When I got married and both myself and my husband were working full time outside of our home, I learned to rely upon a slow cooker for weeknight meals because it was so nice to walk into the house and know that dinner was ready for us.  I could spend about 10-15 minutes in the morning preparing the meal and then flip the switch and cook dinner all day while working, too!  To me, the slow cooker is the best thing since sliced bread.

This is why, when I was given the opportunity to review Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook Revised & Updated by Phyllis Pellman Good, I jumped at the chance!  After all, this cookbook has 700 slow cooker recipes including appetizers, snacks and spreads, breakfast foods, breads (who knew you could make bread in a slow cooker?), soups, stews and chilis, main dishes (includes beef, pork, pasta, chicken and turkey, bean, seafood and meatless), vegetables, desserts and beverages.  Not only are there recipes in this cookbook, there are also tips for using your slow cooker, information for substituting ingredients and equivalent measurements as well as a few other things that will help you when using your slow cooker.  I actually learned a few things about substitutions that I will use in my kitchen.

With all 700 recipes, I had a hard time choosing which one I wanted to try first.  I went out and bought some stew meat so that I could make Beef Burgundy which is found on page 100 of the cookbook.  The hardest thing about this recipe was slicing up the onions!  The rest of the recipe was dump into the pot.  Now that's my kind of recipe!  Here's what my beef burgundy looked like:

Oh, I should mention that I love to use those slow cooker liners because it really makes clean-up easy!  The beef was so tender that you could cut it with a fork!  Phyllis Pellman Good recommends that you serve this over cooked noodles, but I didn't have any so we just ate it by itself.  I think this would be great over egg noodles or even rice.  This is one cookbook that I will use many, many times.  There are a few other dinner meals that I plan to make in the near future and I'd love to try out some of the breakfast and bread recipes in here.

I'm so excited to tell you that one lucky reader of Giveaways and More will win a copy of Fix-It and Forget-It by Phyllis Pellman Good!

Mandatory Entry

Become a public follower of Giveaways and More on Google Friend Connect (or tell me that you already follow me) and tell me what your favorite slow cooker meal is to make!  If you've never used a slow cooker, tell me what you would like to make! (Please make sure that I have an email address to contact you if you are the winner either in the comment itself or on your profile.)

Additional Entries (Make sure you leave separate comments for each entry.  For example, if you post my button on your blog, leave three separate comments letting me know you did.)

3 entries - Grab my button and post it on your blog. Don't forget to include your blog address so I can go see it! (You can find my button in the column on the right)
3 entries - Blog about this giveaway linking back to this post. Leave the link to your blog post in your comment.
1 entry - Become a Giveaways and More email subscriber. Check your email and make to sure verify your address to gain this entry!
1 entry - Subscribe to my RSS feed.
1 entry - "Like" Giveaways and More on Facebook.
1 entry - Fav Giveaways and More on Technorati.
1 entry - Follow me on Twitter.
1 entry - Enter another active giveaway on Giveaways and More (1 entry per giveaway entered).
1 entry (1x daily) - Tweet this giveaway. Make sure to include the link to your tweet in your comment. Feel free to use this tweet:

RT @curlyq776 I love to cook with my slow cooker and want to win a copy of Fix-It and Forget-It! http://bit.ly/aQroJU Ends 6/10 #giveaway

This giveaway will close on June 10th at 11:59 pm PDT. This giveaway is open to US residents only. The winner will be chosen via random.org, announced on this blog and notified by email. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen and notified.

Thanks to FSB Media for sponsoring this giveaway!

Disclaimer: I was provided with a free product for review and I was under no obligation to use it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review. All opinions are my own honest opinions.
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Welcome Wednesday (5/26)!


Here's a fun new blog hop to try, Welcome Wednesday!  It's hosted by Take It From Me and is a great way to meet other bloggers and gain some new followers.  Enjoy and have fun!


If you want to be a part of Welcome Wednesday, 
just follow these 5 simple steps:
 

1. Follow the Welcome Wednesday Host (Take It From Me) as well as the 2 Spotlighted Blogs of the Week. (These will make up the top three slots on the Linky)
2. Link up your blog name and URL with our Linky. (You only need to add your info once for it to be seen on all the blog hops)
3. Grab our Welcome Wednesday button and include it in a post about the event on your blog.
4. Go to as many blogs on the MckLinky as you want and Follow them. Be sure to tell them you are from Welcome Wednesday!
5. Be sure to follow back any followers you have gained from our Welcome Wednesday event!

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May 25, 2010

Last day for Still the One by Robin Wells!

Don't forget to enter my giveaway for a copy of Still the One by Robin Wells that ends on Wednesday, May 26th!  It's a great book and I will be choosing 5 winners out of 44 comments on the post.  The chances are high for winning!  Good luck!
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Las Vegas Keychain & Keyring - Crystal Dice {REVIEW & GIVEAWAY}

I am always looking for a good keychain, aren't you?  Most of the keychains I run into are either too heavy or too large.  So when I was sent this key chain from WholesaleKeychain.com I was pleasantly surprised!  It came packaged in a cute silver box with a ribbon wrapped around the box.  It would make a lovely gift for your dad on Father's Day.  The dice is the same size as a regulation dice used in any casino and it is made out of crystal with beveled edges.  It has a good weight, not too heavy and not too light.  The construction of the keychain is undeniably better than your average keychain.  I would be proud to give this as a gift, especially at $4.99!

You can purchase one of these keychains or another keychain at WholesaleKeychain.com.  Most of the products have been reviewed so you can read accounts from people who own them!  WholesaleKeychain.com has offered to give one of my readers this exact keychain that I received!


Mandatory Entry

Go to the WholesaleKeychain.com website and leave me a comment telling me what other keychain you would love to have! (Please make sure that I have an email address to contact you if you are the winner either in the comment itself or on your profile.)

Additional Entries (Make sure you leave separate comments for each entry.  For example, if you post my button, leave three separate comments letting me know you did.)

3 entries - Grab my button and post it on your blog. Don't forget to include your blog address so I can go see it! (You can find my button in the column on the right)
3 entries - Blog about this giveaway linking back to this post and WholesaleKeychain.com. Leave the link to your blog post in your comment.
1 entry - Become a Giveaways and More email subscriber. Check your email and make to sure verify your address to gain this entry!
1 entry - Subscribe to my RSS feed.
1 entry - "Like" Giveaways and More on Facebook.
1 entry - Fav Giveaways and More on Technorati.
1 entry - Follow me on Twitter.
1 entry - Enter another active giveaway on Giveaways and More (1 entry per giveaway entered).
1 entry (1x daily) - Tweet this giveaway. Make sure to include the link to your tweet in your comment. Feel free to use this tweet:

RT @curlyq776 Win a Las Vegas keychain and keyring from WholesaleKeychain.com! http://bit.ly/cKDpu2 Ends 6/8 #giveaway

This giveaway will close on June 8th at 11:59 pm PDT. This giveaway is open to US residents. The winner will be chosen via random.org, announced on this blog and notified by email. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen and notified.

Thanks to WholesaleKeychain.com for sponsoring this giveaway!

Disclaimer: I was provided with a free product for review and I was under no obligation to use it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review.
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All 10 winners of tickets to Babies!

Hope all of you enjoy this movie!  Remember the tickets expire on June 30th.  Congratulations!

#55 - Judy
#30 - allisonrocks
#20 - Andrea
#14 - Melissa
#60 - halljanene
#43 - Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog
#32 - I heart Book Gossip
#90- Lina
#68 - Julie
#82 - Amanda

Please respond to my email within 48 hours or I will have to choose someone else.  If you didn't get an email and your name is on the above list, please contact me through email or leave a comment on this post with your email address so I can get your mailing address.  Thanks for entering!
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5 Must-have Fashionable Pieces to Pack for Every Weekend Trip

I love to travel!  One of my favorite things to do is to take a little weekend getaway with my husband to get away from everyday life and explore a new place or revisit an old favorite.  In fact, I just got back from a weekend visiting my family in Seattle.  I had a blast and was able to help my mom celebrate her birthday!  TwitterMoms and Gap Outlet are celebrating Memorial Day weekend and the coming summer months by giving away $20 gift certificates for blogging.  Click here to get involved and talk about your 5 must-have fashionable pieces to pack for weekend trips!

Here are mine:

  1. Cute, comfortable shoes.  I love to walk around new cities and always make sure to pack a pair of comfortable shoes and socks for by-foot sightseeing.
  2. Warm outerwear.  I am always cold, so having a jacket that can match the outfits that I have with me is a must!
  3. Golf clubs & attire.  My husband and I love to play golf so we always make sure to have our clubs with us in case we want to try out a new course.
  4. Hair mousse.  I can't look great without my mousse to keep my hair in place!
  5. Colorful stainless steel water bottle.  Hotel water is terrible so I always have my stainless steel bottle of filtered water with me so that I can stay hydrated while shopping and sightseeing.
What are some of your most fashionable pieces to pack?



Gap Twitter DiscountExclusive Gap Outlet and Banana Republic Factory Store Savings


Disclaimer: I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Gap Outlet blogging program to be eligible to win a $20 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.
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Follow Me Back Tuesday! (May 25th)

 
Happy Tuesday! It's That Time Again!
 Follow Me Back Tuesday is hosted by Survey Junkie, Little Yaya's

It's a great way to start off your week & meet more bloggers!!
 
 How it Works
  • Follow ALL  4 Hostesses #'s 1 -4 ( leave us a comment so we can follow u back ) 
  • Add your blog to the list ( only have to add once )
  • Grab our button & the link code to post on your blog
  •  Start to follow as many blogs as you would like ( make sure you leave a comment so they can follow you back )
  • And when you receive a comment from a new follower  return the favor & follow them back

(Every Tuesday at 12:00 am EST. you can get the new link code from any of the 4 host blogs)
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May 24, 2010

Babies giveaway ends tonight!

Don't forget to enter my giveaway for 2 tickets to see Babies that ends this evening!  There are 10, that's right 10, pairs of tickets being given away!  I got to go see it this weekend with my mom and her best friend and it was very cute.  We were all amazed at the fact that babies develop pretty much at th same pace regardless of their surroundings.  It makes me marvel at the powerful effect of nature!

Thanks to Johnson's for sponsoring the giveaway and sending me the tickets for the movie!
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May 22, 2010

Got diaper rash or chafing?

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Boudreaux's Butt Paste. All opinions are 100% mine.

Diaper rash is the pits, or so I've heard.  For a baby to be in that kind of needless pain is heartbreaking.  What's a mom to do?  Boudreaux's Butt Paste!  I know the name is funny but this stuff really works.  I don't have kids yet, but my husband has used this stuff (on the advice of his mother) to help heal chafed skin so it's not just for babies.  It helps heal the red and chafed skin by acting as a protective barrier and sealing out all the moisture. This paste comes in multiple sizes including a convenient 1 oz. tube that you can throw in your diaper bag or purse for changes on the go!  This stuff doesn't have a strong scent, either.  My husband couldn't even smell the paste so I know it wasn't too scented.  Click here to learn how you can get a free sample of Boudreaux's Butt Paste.

So many women have used this product and love it!  I've been reading a lot of blogs about moms who are dealing with babies with diaper rash who swear by Boudreaux's Butt Paste.  They say it's real helpful with keeping the rash contained and the wetness away from the irritation.  Try it and let me know what you think!

You can find Boudreaux's Butt Paste at most retailers including drug, discount and grocery stores.  This product has been featured on The Oprah Show, The Tonight Show, The Today Show, People Magazine, ESPN and TLC's While You Were Out.  Go get a free sample and get that baby's butt back to smooth!

Visit my sponsor: Boudreaux's Butt Paste

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Get Fit for Motherhood

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of CryoCell International. All opinions are 100% mine.

Was it hard for you to get fit after having a baby?  With all of the demands on a new mother, thinking about your body and trying to get it back into shape through exercise after putting it through through the rigors of nine months of pregnancy is the last thing that most new mothers worry about.  Who can think that exercise when there is the questions of breast or bottle feeding, disposable or cloth diapers, co-sleeping or not, etc?  CryoCell International wants to help new moms get fit by offering a special gift for those pregnant women who enroll in their service, a brand new jogging stroller, the Baby Jogger City Mini plus $120 in savings!  Here's the catch, this offer ends on May 31st, 2010.  You'll have to make a quick decision regarding signing up for the service but the decision you make could end up being helpful to you and your family in the future.

Pushing a stroller is a great way to burn off that baby fat while getting you out of the house with baby!  What better way to introduce your baby to the world but in this amazing new stroller after you've banked the cord blood.  I've heard such wonderful things about cord blood banking and it's something that I will seriously consider when my time comes to be a mom.  CryoCell International is the largest family cord blood bank and storage service which tells me that they know what they are doing.  If you are pregnant or know someone who is, check out CryoCell International before May 31!

Visit my sponsor: Get Fit for Motherhood

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May 20, 2010

Blog Hop Friday!


This is my first Blog Hop Friday and I'm so happy to be a part of this blog hop!  I look forward to meeting lots of bloggers.  Take a look around and enter some of my giveaways!

Welcome to a special edition of Blog Hop Friday, hosted by My New Life As Mom, Chubby Cheeks Thinks, Take A Mom's Word For It, Bree Bee's, This Adventure Our Life and Belly Charms! This week we would like to add a special cause to Blog Hop Friday. As many of you know, Mission Monkey is spreading like wildfire. She's a 16 month old baby girl who has cancer. She needs every single prayer, special thought, special wish, etc, that we can gather up. She will sit in our top spot, so please make sure to link up to her, as well. We continue to invite you and your friends to link up every Friday and join us for a wonderful blog hopping adventure! We're all about making friends and having fun so come join us! Here's how you can join in on the fun;

  • Link up to your blog, using our inlinkz link list here.
  • Follow the host/hostesses located in the first lucky 7 slots.
  • Follow any other blogs that you feel appropriate! :)
  • Add the Blog Hop Friday button to your sidebar.
  • When following a new blog, please remember to leave a little personal comment love.
  • If you get a new follower, please feel free to reciprocate the love!
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TuneUp Utilities 2010 {REVIEW & GIVEAWAY}

Does your computer run too slow?  Would you like to free your PC now?  Are you a gamer?  My netbook has been running slower than I would like so when I was given the opportunity to try TuneUp Utilities 2010, I jumped at the chance to see if software like this actually worked.  TuneUp Utilities 2010 has all the amazing features of past versions with a few new additions like Turbo Mode and Live Optimization.  Turbo Mode helps increase your computer's performance by temporarily turning off programs that you identify as unnecessary and concentrating all your computer's performance on the programs that you want which is especially important for all you gamers out there!  Live Optimization is an incredible feature that increases the response time of your programs by optimizing the usage of background programs.  Don't fret if you run on Windows Vista because TuneUp Utilities will run under Vista and Windows 7!

TuneUp Utilities also offer 1-Click or Automatic Maintenance!  I've always found it to be such a pain to maintain my computers.  TuneUp Utilities offers an Automatic Maintenance feature for people just like me.  If you want a little more control over the maintenance of your PC, you can turn off the auto maintenance and do 1-Click Maintenance.  Either way, no need to worry anymore!  There is also a defragmentation feature where you can choose fast or thorough defragmentation based on what your PC needs.  I'm not that tech-savvy so go check out the TuneUp Utilities website for more technical explanation and the other features.

What did I think?

I'm very happy with TuneUp Utilities 2010!  It has helped my netbook run noticeably faster.  It has also found a few things with my netbook settings that could be changed to increase performance like the theme.  Who knew that the Windows theme with the squared off edges uses less memory than the Windows XP theme with the rounded edges?  Certainly not me until I installed TuneUp Utilities!  This is a program that has been helpful for me and my PC.  Also keep in mind that you can run one license on 3 different computers!  Get them all cleaned up!

Where can you buy it?

TuneUp Utilities is available at their website where you can get a free 30 day trial.  Check it out!  You can also purchase it at Frys.com, NewEgg.com, Micro Center, Target and Office Max.  You can also win one right here!  TuneUp Utilities is offering one license to a lucky Giveaways and More reader!

Mandatory Entry

Go to the TuneUp Utilities website and leave me a comment telling me one feature that you are most excited about! (Please make sure that I have an email address to contact you if you are the winner either in the comment itself or on your profile.)

Additional Entries (Make sure you leave separate comments for each entry.  For example, if you post my button, leave three comments letting me know you did.)

3 entries - Grab my button and post it on your blog. Don't forget to include your blog address so I can go see it! (You can find my button in the column on the right)
3 entries - Blog about this giveaway linking back to this post. Leave the link to your blog post in your comment.
1 entry - Become a Giveaways and More email subscriber. Check your email and make to sure verify your address to gain this entry!
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1 entry - "Like" Giveaways and More on Facebook.
1 entry - Fav Giveaways and More on Technorati.
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1 entry - Enter another active giveaway on Giveaways and More (1 entry per giveaway entered).
1 entry (1x daily) - Tweet this giveaway. Make sure to include the link to your tweet in your comment. Feel free to use this tweet:

I want to free my PC with TuneUp Utilities 2010 with a free license! @curlyq776 http://bit.ly/9lzT9E Ends 6/3 #giveaway

This giveaway will close on June 3rd at 11:59 pm PDT. This giveaway is open to US & Canadian residents. The winner will be chosen via random.org, announced on this blog and notified by email. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen and notified.

Thanks to Danielle for sponsoring this giveaway!

Disclaimer: I was provided with a license code for software and I was under no obligation to use it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review.

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5 Tips for Using Your Slow Cooker: A Friendly Year-Round Appliance

Look for my review and giveaway of Phyllis's cookbook early next week!  Until then, enjoy reading Phyllis's tips for using your slow cooker. 

5 Tips for Using Your Slow Cooker: A Friendly Year-Round Appliance
by Phyllis Pellman Good,
Author of Fix-it and Forget-it Cookbook: Revised & Updated: 700 Great Slow Cooker Recipes

1. What to buy
  • A good standard size for a household of four is a 4-quart slow cooker. If you often cook for more, or you like to prepare sizable roasts, turkey breasts, or chicken legs and thighs, you'll want a 6-quart cooker.

    For parties or buffets a 1½ to 2-quart size works well for dips and snacks.
  • Cookers which allow you to program "On," the length of the cooking time, and "Off," are convenient. If your model doesn't include that feature, you might want to get a digital appliance timer, which gives you that option. Make sure the timer is adequate for the electrical flow that your cooker demands.
  • A baking insert, a cooking rack, a temperature probe, and an insulated carrying tote are all useful additions offered with some models. Or you can buy some of them separately by going to the manufacturers' websites.
2. Learn to know your slow cooker 
  • Some newer slow cookers cook at a very high temperature. You can check the temperature of your slow cooker this way:
    1. Place 2 quarts of water in your slow cooker.
    2. Cover. Heat on Low 8 hours.
    3. Lift the lid. Immediately check the water temp with an accurate thermometer.
    4. The temperature of the water should be 185°F. If the temperature is higher, foods may overcook and you should reduce the overall cooking time. If the temperature is lower, your foods will probably not reach a safe temperature quickly enough, and the cooker should be discarded.
3. Maximizing what a slow cooker does best 
  • Slow cookers tend to work best when they're ⅔ full. You many need to increase the cooking time if you've exceeded that amount, or reduce it if you've put in less than that.
  • Cut the hard veggies going into your cooker into chunks of about equal size. In other words, make your potato and carrot pieces about the same size. Then they'll be done cooking at nearly the same time. Softer veggies, like bell peppers and zucchini, cook faster, so they don't need to be cut as small. But again, keep them similar in size to each other so they finish together.
  • Because raw vegetables are notoriously tough customers in a slow cooker, layer them over the bottom and around the sides of the cooker, as much as possible. That puts them in more direct contact with the heat.
  • There are consequences to lifting the lid on your slow cooker while it's cooking. To compensate for the lost heat, you should plan to add 15-20 minutes of cooking time for each time the lid was lifted off.
  • On the other hand, moisture gathers in a slow cooker as it works. To allow that to cook off, or to thicken the cooking juices, take the lid off during the last half hour of cooking time.
  • Use only the amount of liquid called for in a recipe. In contrast to an oven or a stovetop, a slow cooker tends to draw juices out of food and then harbor it.
  • Of course, if you sense that the food in your cooker is drying out, or browning excessively before it finishes cooking, you may want to add ½ cup of warm liquid to the cooker.
  • Important variables to remember that don't show up in recipes:
    • The fuller your slow cooker, the longer it will take its contents to cook.
    • The more densely packed the cooker's contents are, the longer they will take to cook.
    • The larger the chunks of meat or vegetables, the more time they will need to cook.
4. Debunking the myths
  • Slow cookers are a handy year-round appliance. They don't heat up a kitchen in warm weather. They allow you to escape to the pool or lake or lawn or gardens -- so why not let them work for you when it's hot outdoors. A slow cooker fixes dinner while you're at your child's soccer game, too.
  • So don't limit its usefulness. Remember the dozens of recipes-beyond-beef-stew in this collection! One more thing -- a slow cooker provides a wonderful alternative if your oven is full -- no matter the season.
  • You can overdo food in a slow cooker. If you're tempted to stretch a recipe's 6-hour stated cooking time to 8 or 10 hours, you may be disappointed in your dinner. Yes, these cookers work their magic using slow, moist heat. Yes, many dishes cook a long time. But these outfits have their limits.
  • For example, chicken can overcook in a slow cooker. Especially boneless, skinless breasts. But legs and thighs aren't immune either. Once they go past the falling-off-the-bone stage, they are prone to move on to deeply dry. Cooked pasta and sour cream do best if added late in the cooking process, ideally 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time if the cooker is on high; 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time if it's on low.
5. Safety 
  • A working slow cooker gets hot on the outside -- and I mean the outer electrical unit as well as the inner vessel. Make sure that curious and unsuspecting children or adults don't grab hold of either part. Use oven mitts when lifting any part of a hot cooker.
  • To prevent a slow cooker from bubbling over, either when its sitting still on a counter, or when its traveling to a carry-in dinner, fill the cooker only ⅔ full.
  • If you're going to exceed that limit, pull out your second slow cooker (what -- you have only one?!) and divide the contents between them.
The above is an excerpt from the book Fix-it and Forget-it Cookbook: Revised & Updated: 700 Great Slow Cooker Recipes by Phyllis Pellman Good. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.
Reprinted from Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook. © by Good Books (www.GoodBooks.com). Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2010 Phyllis Pellman Good, author of Fix-it and Forget-it Cookbook: Revised & Updated: 700 Great Slow Cooker Recipes

Author Bio
 
Phyllis Pellman Good is a New York Times bestselling author whose books have sold nearly 10 million copies.

Good's cookbooks have also appeared on the USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. She is the author of Fix-It and Forget-It Lightly: Healthy, Low-Fat Recipes for Your Slow CookerFix-It and Forget-It 5-Ingredient Favorites: Comforting Slow- Cooker RecipesFix-It and Forget-It Recipes for Entertaining: Slow-Cooker Favorites for all the Year Round, and Fix-It and Forget-It Diabetic Cookbook: Slow-Cooker Favorites to Include Everyone (with the American Diabetes Association), all in the series.

She and her husband, Merle, live in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

For more information about Phyllis Pellman Good, visit www.Fix-ItandForget-It.com and www.facebook.com/fixitandforgetit.
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Tropical Traditions Winner!

Congratulations to #11 - Jennifer!

I've sent the winner an email and she has 48 hours to respond or I will have to choose another winner.  Thanks for visiting my blog and entering my giveaways!
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May 19, 2010

Hormel is 75 Years Old!

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Hormel Foods. All opinions are 100% mine.

Have you heard of hormel?  You probably have because they are pretty big, but did you know that Hormel Foods is celebrating 75 years of existence?  Over those 75 years, Hormel has had quite a few advertising campaigns.  I don't remember most of them, but here are a few to jog your memory (unless you're like me and can't remember!).

These are pretty cute, don't you think?  I love the  one on the right with the thumb print!  I didn't even realize that Dinty Moore was a hormel product, did you?  The ad on the left looks like it could be from the 40's to me.  The colors and the simplicity of the design make me think it was an early ad.  It's interesting to me that the Dinty Moore name has changed so much.  Notice the difference between these two ads?  The "o"s don't overlap in the ad on the right like they do on the left.
 


Here are some of the Hormel chili ads, since Hormel is most known for their chili.

I like the ad on the left with all the ladies grocery shopping!  They look so dressed up for being in the grocery store.  It makes me wonder if they really dressed that way to go shopping.  I also like the fresh ingredients that are shown in the ad on the right.  It makes me feel like Hormel was trying to tell their customers that they used the freshest ingredients even though it was canned.  What year do you think these ads were run?  I think it was in the 50's and 60's.  Just the interpretation of the women's clothing and the style of the chili can lead me to that conclusion.  Do you think I'm right?

What is one of your favorite things to make with Hormel chili?  My family loves to make chili dip with cream cheese, Hormel Chili (whichever one I pick up works), cheddar cheese and Frito's.  You just put a brick of cream cheese in a microwaveable dish, pour the chili on top of the cream cheese and sprinkle some cheddar on top of that.  It gets all melty and delicious!  Then, you use the chips to scoop it up!  It is so good and works for a meal, if you so choose (and my husband absolutely does!).  Don't have a recipe of your own but you'd like to try one?  Visit http://www.hormelrecipes.com/ and pick one out to try tonight!  Most are quick and easy to prepare.  Make your family happy!
Visit my sponsor: Hormel Chili
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