Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wahl Massage Review and Mom Relief Intiative Contest

Keeping up with little man is hard work.  When I put peanut down a night, I sigh a little relief. Unfortunately, it is only then that I remember the twenty other things I've put off during the day that I need to get done now that he's sleeping.  The dishes, the lawn, the laundry... it never ends.
I am really looking forward to mother's day this year.  I've been promised a relaxing chore free day.

Since not everyday can have the Mother's Day perks, I have never been happier to be offered such an awesome product to review! A few weeks ago, we received a Wahl Deep Tissue Massager.  After an extra long day of lifting little man from trouble and toting laundry baskets, its so wonderful to just take a few moments to relax my back muscles.  My husband also gives this product his vote of confidence.  He's always had a notoriously bad back, which driving his 90 minute one way commute in a compact car only exacerbates.  He's marveled that we've never tried such a product before--where has this Deep Tissue Massager been our whole lives.
The massage is percussive. I love that the speed is fully adjustable, up to an amazing 3350 pulses per minute! The speed adjust with a dial--not just a 3 speed setting, so you can find just the right massage for you.
There are four different interchangeable attachments to get the custom massage you want.   I think my favorite is the rounded deep muscle attachment, which does great for an all around massage.  There's also an accupoint attachment, so you can concentrate on those trouble spots.  The four fingered attachment is meant to simulate the human touch of a conventional massage. The raised bumps attachment is also great all for an all over massage. The attachments screw on and are very easy to change.
I love how customizable this product is.  I love that it is perfect for both men and women. But most of all, I love how relaxing just a few minutes can be.  So even if every day isn't Mother's day, I can still take just a few moments to let go of all the daily stress.

Do you know a mom, grandma, wife or daughter who deserves to win fabulous Wahl Home Products for Mother's Day? Wahl Home is giving away 50 therapeutic massagers to 50 well deserving moms through their Mom Relief Initiative.

To enter, you must first like Wahl Home on Facebook.
Next post a comment on why the mom on your list could use some much needed relief. Entries will be judged based on their uniqueness and sincerity.
The contest runs from through May 13.

 For more on the health benefits of massage and the full line of Wahl therapeutic massagers, make sure to visit

This is a MamaBuzz Media review. The product was provided by Wahl Home.  I was provided this product free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion.  I received no additional compensation for the content of this review. All opinions are 100% my own. StumbleUpon

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Book Review: Socialpunk

As a high school librarian, I try to be well versed in the world of YA literature.  That's why I leaped at a chance to preview Monica Leonelle's latest offering --Socialpunk, the first installment of her Socialpunk Trilogy.
Monica Leonelle is a digital media strategist. She is also the author of Silver Smoke and Tin Soldier from the Seven Halo's Series.  She blogs at Prose on Fire ( and shares her writing and social media knowledge with other bloggers and authors through her Free Writer Toolkit (
Her latest offering features Ima, the teen victim of an abusive father.  Ima longs to be free from her father and from the Dome-- a futuristic Chicago with barriers because of the wasteland that surrounds it from the "Scorched Years.  While partying with her crush, she is tricked in to following a hooded man who rescues her from the exploding party.  She follows the stranger to a new future world, learns to thrive in the new world, and must decide if she wants to fight to save the old world.


After playing God for six years with the world he created, he couldn’t control any of his subjects, none at all. Over the years, he had watched them evolve and become the sum of their own choices rather than the sum of his; and for that, he regretted ever giving them life.
A small, blinking red light from just inside his eyelid reminded him of the news they sent him earlier that morning. The company had cancelled his funding and would shut down his project within three months. According to them, the project cost too much and took up too much space, and the inconclusive results couldn’t be published reputably, now or in the future.
Six years of his work, tens of thousands of lives at stake—and he could do nothing to save any of it. He bowed his head, letting his chin rest on the rim of his breakfast smoothie. The smoothie reeked of powder—crushed pills—but he supposed he had better get used to it. He wouldn’t be able to afford the luxury of real food after they canned him.
He closed his eyes and called up the camera view of one of his favorites, number 3281. She fascinated him; he couldn’t deny it. When he had designed her, her pre-teen rebelliousness lit fire in her eyes. A survivor, he’d thought. He’d meant for her to have it all—to grow up, to get married to the love of her life, and to have a beautiful family of her own someday.
But he had only given her sadness so far. Instead of creating a strict father, he had given her an abusive one. Instead of creating a loving boyfriend, he had given her a friend who could never love her. And instead of creating a strong, proud mother, he had given her a meek one, who watched the whole thing unfold and did nothing about it.
He looked at his last and final creation sitting in the chair across from him—his own son, not awakened yet. The law forbade him to have any children of his own, so this boy would substitute.
But he had done the unthinkable with this creation—he had bestowed on it his own thoughts, emotions, and decision-making processes. He’d given the boy his own mind, his own physical characteristics, his own wants and desires.
He had never done so with any of the others because of the dangers of investing too heavily in any one of his subjects. But who could he kid? He had not stayed objective thus far, watching some of his subjects more closely than others, wishing for the happiness of some at the expense of others. He had become an abomination, a monster of his own doing, who had created subjects only to watch them suffer.
He couldn’t forgive himself; not now, not ever. His eyes lingered on the vial that sat next to his breakfast smoothie, that he’d stowed away for the day when they destroyed all his work, his entire world. He would save it, tuck it away for now, for as long as he could protect them. When things spun out of his control, he would drink it and end himself the way he had ended them.
In the ancient stories, gods frequently gave their sons as gifts. Now, he would give his son as a gift to her, number 3281. So she could be happy in her last months on earth, before they destroyed her with the rest of them.
On the one hand, I was very inspired by Monica's writing.  Coupled with reading Socialpunk, I was asked to also critique a student's magna opus--a superhero/fantasy YA the student wrote in her spare time.  That's right, a student found the time to put 244 pages of  story into the written word, which is more than most anyone I have ever known has composed on a single topic.  Alas, the student's writing isn't quite publisher ready.  I think my biggest critique for the student's story was her penchant for "telling"  instead of showing the reader.  I liked that I could point to Leonelle's work as a comparison for my student--it was very hard to put into words the difference in showing the reader verses telling the reader.  So for this reason, I am in debt to Leonelle's more mature storytelling style.
That said, I think I am on futuristic YA distopia burn out.  I've never been that crazy about futuristic/sci-fi novels but they seem to be this YA season's version of the vampire craze.  I found Socialpunk's lead character a little to reminiscent of a Meyer's Bella.  The multiple love triangles seem like they've been featured in every popular YA book my students' recommend. The story was a mix of the matrix and predictable YA cliches.  While Leonelle attempts to create an original world, all of the "surprises" even up to the last lines of this novel, are easy for an astute reader to guess in advance. While I think my students will like this novel, it really was disappointingly not my cup of tea.
If you'd love to give Socialpunk a fair shake on your own, you can purchase your own copy here
Barnes and Noble:

Many thanks to Monica Leonelle for providing a copy of her book for my review in exchange for a fair and honest review.  I received no additional compensation for my review.  All opinions are 100% my own.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Get Earth Day Friendly with Roaring Spring Paper Products from #Shopletreviews

Although I could sing the praises of all of these items, I ‘ve been asked to limit my comments to my three favorites. 
I first tried the Wide Landscape format writing pad.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a landscape format notebook, let alone actually used one until now.  Yet, I managed to find a perfect use for it.  I am studying for a major test to become licensed as a school librarian.  This weekend, I took a few practice tests.  The landscape format was perfect for this task, as I could number columns 1-25, which really helped me pace my progress and not feel overwhelmed.    I liked that I had plenty of room to get all columns on a single page, without flipping.  For certain organizational tasks, like multiple lists and note taking efforts, I could definitely see how the landscape design would be useful. 
The paper is super smooth and in my experience, did not show bleed through, even with my preferred felt-tip pens.  The pages are perforated at the top, which is both incredibly durable, yet also allows for clean and easy paper removal.
Working in education, I’ve often got my eyes on “a better mousetrap.”  I really like the Roaring Spring Wirebound three subject notebook.  The  front cover is a sturdy colorful vinyl, while the back cardboard cover is extra heavy/thick and durable.  The inside paper comes from 30% post-consumer recycled paper.  Although sometimes I’m not crazy about recycled papers—the can look dingy, feel gritty, or tear easily when an eraser is applied, none of these objections are a fault I find with this paper.  I love the three bright cheerful colors of each section that help divide the notebook.  I remember from my teaching days that there are students who do better with colored paper than white. If you could find less-traditional thinking teachers, the color coding would be a great way to help keep notes from different classes separate.
For my final review, I really need to say something about the Elephant PooPoo Paper.  Yes, you read that right, its paper made from Elephant dung.  Changing multiple cloth diapers on a daily basis quickly makes one an expert in PooPoo, and believe me, I was convinced there was nothing likable or cute about PooPoo, no matter what kind of cute name you give it.  Or so I thought, until I met this notebook.  Seriously, this notebook is made from post-elephant consumption fibers. If you’ve ever been to a zoo, you have no doubt that elephants are sufficiently equipped to produce tons of fiber-rich waste, perfect for paper making.   Bragging that they” take the oo out of poo,”  I’m actually very impressed with how ingenious this little notebook is.
First, let me clear any misconceptions that no, the notebook doesn’t stink.  It doesn’t even have a mild fragrance.  I love the cute little size.  I love the blank pages inside which seem to invite me to write something heartfelt and creative.  I love the handmade feeling texture of the paper.  The notebook is just too cute.  The whimsical flying elephant on the cover makes me smile. The novelty of its creation only adds to its overall charm.
Thank you once again to Shoplet for providing another amazing collection of products for review. If you'd love to give any of the products a whirl, shop online notebooks here!  
All products were provided in exchange for my fair and honest reviews.  I received no additional compensation than the products listed above. All opinions expressed herein are 100% my own.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

MMM.... Butter

It's official. Peanut is his grandmother's grandson.  His Paternal grandmother is a certified butter addict.  At dinner, the woman can go through multiple packs of butter on a single dinner roll.  Butter on steak, extra butter on the mashed potatoes... you get the idea.  In all fairness, my own family members are strong proponents of the creamy light yellow pats of heavenly delight as well. 
Little Man recently found two ways to express his fondness for this cholesterol inducing miracle food. Last week Jack learned to move and climb chairs.  While I was out of the kitchen, he moved the chair, climbed to the table and acquired a spatula from the counter top.  He proceeded to turn and attack the butter dish left on the table, which here to fore, had been beyond his grasp.  Next thing I know, I return to the kitchen to find Jack licking butter by the spatula full.
Last night Jack and I visited my parents where we partook in some of the first sweet corn of the season, which was surprisingly delightful for being so early in the year.   Anyway, Peanut doesn't do hot foods--so Grandpa gave him a half eaten half cob, that had previously been buttered and salted, while I pulled a hot cob to begin cooling.  Little Man is absolutely mad about his corn--on the cob any way.  He smashes in to the corn.  I'm not sure exactly how much he actually gets in his mouth, but he has the best time using all of his amazing teeth.  Anyway, when the second unflavored cob was cool, I offered it to Jack.  After just a few bites, he handed it back to me--a very odd occurrence, given how much the kid loves his corn.  Apparently his love of corn, is now second only to his love of butter, which he instantly began pointing at.  Once I'd slathered a light coating over the cob, he ferociously attacked his cob with the zest of a true victor.
 Unfortunately, not even butter will make him love broccoli.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Getting on the Move with Duck Tape Brand from Shoplet #shopletreviews

 For regular readers, you’ve probably noticed I’ve been a little absent lately.  We’ve just had so much going on—more on that in another post.  One of the million things happening is my parent’s recent selling of their own house and purchase of a new house.  My parents have lived in this house since before I was born and they have tons of treasures which need to be boxed up and moved. 
Even with the many moves we made from apartment to apartment in Savannah, I noticed how much “stuff” gathers in a short amount of time—and how much we typically weeded from our “stuff” collection with each move.  My parents have 32 years of treasures subtracting zero moves.  That means a whole whole lot of boxes.
You have no idea how elated I was to be approached by to review duck brand duct  tapes!  Seriously, their timing could not have been better. Shoplet is an amazing online store that carries everything you could want for your office supply needs.

This weekend, I help my mother pack up the spare closets.  We broke out some book boxes from job and I assembled them with the  Duck EZ Start Premium Packaging Tape.  The package I received contains 2 larger sized rolls with dispensers (60 yards) and an extra bonus roll (30 yards).  In truth, in all my moves, we never used “Duck Tape Brand” duct tape. We always just bought some super cheap generic brand.  I could instantly tell the difference.  Duck brand is so much thicker and durable than the generic stuff.  I used only one or two strips and really have no fear of the boxes opening. 
 The dispenser was super easy to use too.  With the generic stuff, you don’t usually get a dispenser—which means keeping track of a pair of scissors too.  If you do get a dispenser, it doesn’t usually work, or you spend so much time restarting the tape after each use.  Not so with the   Duck EZ Start Premium Packaging Tape dispensers.  They have this unique feature that keeps your tape in place every time. What a time saver.  The cut feature worked great too, and the tape didn’t peel apart or tear.  I genuinely love this product.

Next I tried out the Duck EZ Start Premium Packaging Tape w/ Dispenser.  Measuring in at 55 yards, and with a much smaller core I was afraid I wouldn’t find nearly as many uses for this roll.  Of course, I soon discovered how wrong I could be.  I loved that the smaller size made it easier for me to keep track of—in my large pockets sometimes.  It was also faster to use and I could handle it with just one hand.  The tape still maintained a high quality and the built in dispenser worked well.  While I was afraid to use it on the big boxes, it was a perfect fit for the smaller ones.  I also used small pieces to tape the edges of board games together and to bind bundles of miscellaneous junk.

The most exciting addition to the Duck Tape bundle I received was definitely the 10 yards of Zebra printed  Duck Tape.  I aspire to be a crafty genius, but sometimes lack the time.  Never the less, I still marvel at all of the creative and crafty things I see my students do.  My students love to top their pens with duct tape flowers, accessorize their crutches in cool duct tape wrappings, and even make wallets completely from the stuff (not like my dad who used to prolong the life of a faded wallet with duct tape repairs).  Although I’ve never seen a duck tape dress personally, I know there’s a contest out there for designing your prom ensemble from the stuff.   I love that duck tape comes in so many colors and patterns, that this no longer sounds as hopelessly ridiculous as I once thought.  I love that the duct tape is extra durable, water resistant, and so easy to use.   I look forward to getting fun and crafty.  

Many, many thanks to for providing the awesome products for this review.
I received the products mentioned above in exchange for my fair and honest review of the products.  I received no additional compensation. All opinions are 100% my own. StumbleUpon

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Getting Ready for Day Care with Sticky Monkey Labels

Talk about perfect timing.  Before Christmas, the possibility of needing childcare was so far from my thoughts.  After Christmas, things moved pretty quickly and Rich landed an awesome sports writing job.  I'm still working, which means we've had to find child. So far we love where he's at.  It's on the same campus I work on, which makes me a little more comfortable knowing he's right there if he needs me. His teachers seem super nice, and he's adjusting to their schedule pretty well.

For a first time day care participant, the amount of extra effort to get your child ready can some times be a little daunting.  There was this huge packet of information we had to fill out, with tons of forms.  There was also a long list of items we needed to pack.  For example, several blankets, bippers, box of wipes, diapers (cloth in our case--which is super cool), wet bag, 2 shirts, pants, onsies, outdoor clothing (coats mittens....) you get the point.  Lots of stuff, and it all needed to be labelled.

I am eternally grateful to have had the opportunity to review Sticky Monkey's Personalized labels.  They really were a lifesaver as we were preparing peanut to leave our nest each day.  The labels come in a good variety of designs for boys and girls of all ages.  They'd be great for sending kids off to summer camp, or getting ready for school in the fall too.  They even offer allergy and medical alert labels, which I think is neat and probably super helpful.

We picked the Monster Design and have been super happy with the amazing bright colors.  The labels come in a great assortment of sizes.  There are some small enough to fit on his pacifier, while other large labels stand out on his wipes box.  The labels are waterproof, dishwasher and microwave safe, so we've added a few to his sippy cups with no problem.  We've even tried  a few clothing labels on his blankets and stuffed puppy for day care, and they hold up great in the laundry.

I think the labels I like the most are his shoe labels.  You place the self-adhesive label on the inside of the shoe, then a clear coat label that is slightly larger over and around the edge of the personalized label.  They hold up great and have been amazingly helpful since little man is the sort who is constantly taking his shoes off!

In short, Sticky Monkey Labels are a great time-saver, they are amazingly cute and they alleviate some of the getting ready for daycare stress.  I'll be adding more to our collection as little man grows.
If you'd like to get your hands on a few Sticky Monkey Labels of your own you can shop their website:


Friday, January 27, 2012

Adventures in Day Care

Oh goodness. People do this all the time. I keep telling myself that he will be perfectly fine. Thousands of kids go to daycare everyday. Thousands of mothers trust thousands of professionally trained, well-qualified people to watch their children everyday. It's still a big step for us. My husband has been blessed with finding a great job. While this means finally attaining financial stability, I can't help but feel a little guilty that we'll be leaving little man in the hands of strangers. Okay, they aren't complete strangers; I mean we did shop around for a child care we were comfortable with. The first place we saw was near home. It seemed okay at first, but upon visiting places closer to work, it the first looked dingy, dirty and definately not as friendly. The second place we visited was closer to my job. All and all, it was an okay daycare, and we probably could have been very happy there. The big down side: age restrictions. Due to corporate regulations, little man would have been placed in the infant room. We looked at those other infants in the infant room. Some were barely sitting up. Then there's little man, the bull in the china shop, curiously running from station to station. He was much more suited to the toddler room, but wouldn't be permitted there until he was 18 months to the day.This obviously wasn't an ideal fit. Final stop, a religiously sponsored day care on the campus of my school. All the parents and children we saw were so happy. Even though it was the end of a long day, the teachers still seemed very positive and upbeat. Sure we asked the obligatory questions, but more than anything, it felt very homelike. Peanut seemed to really fit in. So I know he'll be safe. I know he will have tons of fun playing with the other kids. And I'm hoping that he'll be glad to see me right after work. I don't understand why I then feel so anxious about his first day. I think I hope the teachers see him for the very brilliant little guy he is, and not the very super active mister doesn't-sit-still that someone who doesn't love him like we do might see. I hope he doesn't break anything, or hurt anyone. I hope he doesn't become too clingy or miss us too much. People do this everyday. He'll be fine. I'll be fine. It will all be okay. Wish us luck! StumbleUpon

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Safe Driving this Winter #Esurance

It’s been a challenge getting around to writing lately.  We’ve been on the road quite a bit.  First it was holiday travel; we did Christmas with my family at my sister’s—two and half hours south of here.  Then we did Christmas with my husband’s family, an hour and a half north of here.  Then, because we hadn’t had a chance to spend time in my husband’s home town, we ventured 4 ½ hours north over the three day weekend.   It didn’t help that it was the Friday of a three day weekend when we headed North, or that this was the first real snow they had gotten there this season, or that every snowmobiler in a 300 mile radius was headed that way too.
With all of our running, we’ve learned to observe several tips for staying safe while driving in winter conditions.
Slow Down.--  You aren’t really in that big of a hurry anyway.  And you’d rather arrive safely.
Vehichle Upkeep.-- Before hitting the road on one of our adventures, we always make sure our tires are filled, oil is changed and all fluids (especially the windshield wiper fluids are full.  In our case, we use windshield fluid with antifreeze included.  In the winter, it makes a huge difference.  On winter trip back from college in Tennessee, I learned the value of antifreeze in the wiper fluid.  Salt and road grime gathered on my windshield because the regular stuff froze in the lines, yuck!  Nothing can be worse than breaking down and having to change a tire in a blizzard.
Keep your eyes on the road—You will see much better if you plan to travel in daylight.  I recommend a pair of sunglasses for that snow glare.  Besides, you really don’t want to get stuck in a snow bank, with the kids in the car in the dark. Bring plenty of snacks and toys for the kids, so they can stay entertained and you can keep your eyes where they should be. 
Safe distance—Keep some distance between you and the car in front of you.  It’s easy to slip and slide in icy conditions, so give yourself plenty of space to slow down and stop.
Seatbelt—Always buckle up.   Always make sure your kids are securely and properly buckled it.
Cell phone.—Have it on you and have it well charged in case of an emergency
Emergency kit—Things happen, so be prepared.  Have blankets, water and food in your car.  Don’t forget a simple first aide kit.  When I first learned to drive, my father always had 50 lbs. bags of kitty litter or  road salt over the rear axle.  This helped keep the rear axle from fish tailing, but could also be used to help gain traction if I got stuck.
Take the time to warm and clear your car.  Warming up your vehicle will both help your engine run smoother and will help keep you windows clear for better visibility.
  All and all, we have been pretty blessed with a mild winter this year and I hope it lasts.  I wish you all safe driving, where ever your adventures take you.  If you have more suggestions for safe winter driving, be sure to share them on the esurance facebook page.

{I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Esurance blogging program for 8,000 My SocialMoms Rewards Points. For more information on how you can participate, click here.}