Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Verizon Ambassador Program with Samsung Galaxy III

I recently embarked on part two of my Ambassadorship with Verizon Wireless and I am very excited about returning for another round with this amazing company. Not only do they have awesome phones but they are truly a great group of people to work with.

Last time I got to review a Droid Razr which I loved and my kids loved it as well. After using it for three months I was very comfortable with the phone and quite honestly I was a little sad that I wouldn't be using it anymore. This round with Verizon I was sent a Samsung Galaxy III and my oh my is this phone sexy.
 A few amazing features this phone offers are:
  • 16/ 32GB User memory AND a microSD slot (up to 64GB)
  • Android 4.0 operating system (the new Ice Cream Sandwich)
  • The main camera features an 8 Mega pixel Auto Focus camera with  flash, zero shutter lag and  BSI (backside illuminated sensor)
  • The front camera features a 1.9 Mega pixel camera, HD recording, zero shutter lag and BSI as well.
  • Lots of Google Apps come standard with the phone such as search, maps, gmail, latitude, google play, google play books, YouTube, google talk, google navigation (which is an AMAZING app) and many more.
  • The ability to set your phone up as a mobile Hot Spot. 
I am very excited to learn all about this phone and share my thoughts and opinions on the Samsung Galaxy III with you all!

Verizon Ambassadors

Monday, August 27, 2012

Cradle of Rome 2 review & giveaway

My two boys love video games. I don't believe they have ever come across a game that they didn't like. With the school year starting we have a strict no video game rule during the week to keep the kids focused on school. So during the summer they may go a little overboard in the playing of video games. Normally I am not a fan of it but I went ahead and let loose this summer and let them play to their hearts content.
One of the games my oldest played was Cradle of Rome 2. The big thing for me is that it requires actual thinking. Not just another game that you have to find the villain but where you actually need to use your brain to accomplish the levels. My son is eight and he had no difficulties with the first few levels but did mention that he had some difficulty getting beyond that. He liked the challenge and didn't give up!
In Cradle of Rome 2 the object of the game is to swap tiles so you have matching tiles of three or more in a row. This is how you build buildings, palaces, cities and empires. The games suggested age range is E for everyone so if you want to steal borrow the game from your kids that's quite acceptable. I may or may not have done this.

Cradle of Rome 2 challenges players to race against time by swapping tiles in an intense match-3 game. With a 100 levels available, players must earn enough gold and materials to return Rome to its former glory and ascend to the position of Caesar. Providing simple, yet addictive, gameplay on both the 3DS and DS platforms, Cradle of Rome 2 lets players use their earnings to build houses and magnificent palaces as they develop their small settlements into flourishing empires.

For my loyal readers you all have the chance to win a copy of Cradle of Rome 2 for your Nintendo 3DS. To keep things simple there are only two ways to enter. In order to do the additional you must complete the mandatory entry first.

Mandatory Entry:
Who do you want to win this for? If you say yourself don't worry it still counts!

Additional Entries:
Tweet about the giveaway and comment with a link to your tweet
Example tweet:
I just entered to #Win Cradle to Rome 2 #Nintendo3DS game from @Shanamama9197 #Giveaway

Giveaway is open to US residents only and ends September 7th at 11:59pm CST. Winner will be drawn randomly and contacted via email. The winner will have 24 hrs to respond before another winner is drawn.
I received a copy of Cradle of Rome 2 to facilitate my review, I received no compensation for this post and all opinions are 100% my own.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sunset Sunday-Paris

Over the summer my husband and I had the chance to take a vacation by ourselves. That hasn't happened since 2002. Yes you read that right, it has been ten years since we had an adult vacation and boy was it needed! In ten years we have gotten married, started a family, moved 12 times, gone from none of us being in school to four of of the five of us in school and many, many more changes. It's been a wonderful adventure but every once in a while some adult alone time is needed.

So on a whim (sort of, there was some planning but it was quick planning) we packed everyone up, dropped the kids off with the Grandparents and off we went. Where did we go? Paris, the city of love.

I am not quite sure how I managed to not take any photos of sunsets with my camera. We were out and about all day long every day we were there and always on the move. But the night before we left I did manage to get a few photos on my phone.

 Walking to the train looking onto Part 1 of the Convention Center
 The dome on the left is part 2 of the Convention Center
 Walking back to our hotel waiting for the Metro to pass by
Another shot on our walk to our hotel

I wish I had remembered to take more sunset photos but I am thankful I do have a few from my phone. Maybe if there is another trip to Paris I will write myself a note to take more sunset photos.

Do you love sunsets? Have tons of photos of them, or maybe even just a few? I would love for you to join us in Sunset Sundays and share a few of your favorites.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Back to School with SuperMe cape backpacks

This is the first year that all three of my kids will be in school. My youngest is in Pre School and while they are required to bring a back pack to school it isn't something that is filled up every day or needed to carry books and lunches in. Keeping that in mind I knew we wouldn't need a full sized backpack.
When we received our SuperMe cape backpack in the mail the very first thing I noticed was how light weight the backpack is. SuperMe cape backpacks are made with a material called EVA. What is EVA? EVA stands for ethylene vinyl acetate aka an expandable rubber. One of the great features to EVA, especially where kids are concerned, it that it's water resistant so if your child spills on it you don't need to fret. Just spot wash or throw in the washing machine and line dry and it will be as good as new.
With each backpack a starter patch and a mask are included. If you choose you can also get individual patches and masks. The entire back of the patch is velcro and attaches nicely to the front of the backpack. If you do end up getting more the one patch there is an extra spot on the back to store your extra patch. They currently offer fifteen patches and five masks in their store. With such a wide variety it's easy to mix and match patches along with masks for your child's ultimate super hero identity.
I chose the Ninja backpack for my son since he is a huge fan of all things Ninja, and to say he was excited when he saw it would be an understatement.  And of course the best part for him is the cape and mask. To be able to have his backpack be something that is fun as well as functional is a huge thing for me because not only does it help with his imagination but in a way it says that school is fun too.

Ninja SuperME cape backpack. The straps go across the front of the child & snap so you don't have to worry about it falling off.
When opening the front flap there is a storage spot for the mask & above that is the zipper for the main opening of the cape backpack.
Best part about the space for the buttons so it wont fall out!

The SuperMe cape backpacks retail for $45.00. Now my initial reaction was that's a little pricey but then I remembered that most backpacks, quality backpacks go for around the same price. But the thing that makes this backpack stand out amongst the others is the story behind it and the what it can do for a childs imagination.
If you're interested in keeping up to date on SuperMe you can follow them on their Facebook page or their Twitter account.

I just received word that during Labor Day weekend (Friday Aug 31 - Monday Sept 3) SuperMe will be offering 20% off of EVERYTHING in their store with the promo code LABORDAY!

*I received a cape backpack from SuperMe to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed therein are my own.*

Thursday, August 16, 2012

California Teachers Union Putting Our Kids at Risk

California Teachers Union Putting Our Kids at Risk
-Guest Post by Christine Young

As a mom of seven, and a parent of four children in public school here in California, I’m disgusted with how special interest groups like the teachers’ union always put our children last, behind their bloated paychecks and pension benefits.

But, now they’ve gone too far.  Earlier this year, the California Teachers Association killed a bill in the legislature that would have made it easier to fire teachers who are known child molesters! 
It’s almost too hard to believe, right? Well, read for yourself what one Los Angeles area teacher did to his blindfolded students - Associated Press story and how the teachers union conspired to keep perverts like him in the classroom - LA Weekly article.

California isn’t alone in having a teachers union that protects sexual deviants – New York is battling a similar problem.

This is why we need reform like Prop 32, which is on the November ballot in California.  We have to stop the special interest money that keeps these groups powerful and detached from doing what’s best for our children.

Of course the opponents of the measure are spreading lies about how cops, firemen, teachers, et al are against 32, but keep in mind it’s only the union leadership that is against 32.  I know plenty of teachers who don’t like what their union does and certainly don’t want sexual predators in our classrooms!

See for yourself what California Prop 32 will do, it’s very strait forward.
And join our Facebook Group “California Parents for Reform” where we discuss this and other issues facing our schools and families.

Christine Young is the mother and blogger behind, where she shares about life with lots of kids and how to make it fun.

*I am not typically one to talk about politics on here, heck I rarely talk about them online at all or in person with someone because there are so many differing views that sometimes it can seem like an endless circle of debating. But there are exceptions to my rule when it involves children. More specifically the safety of our children. When my family and I made the decision to leave our long time home of California the school system was one of our top reasons for leaving. When Christine mentioned the bill that was shut down by the California Teachers Association I couldn't believe what I was reading so to help raise awareness on this issue I quickly jumped at her offer to guest post regarding this issue. If you live in California and have school aged children PLEASE read the links above, be informed and be involved!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wordless Wednesday-Food while traveling

I haven't had a chance to go through all of our photos from our trip last week so I am pulling some pictures from my phone for this weeks Wordless Wednesday post. And seeing as I am a food lover and I was blown away by our food on our flight I figured I'd start the picture sharing with some good eats.

 Of course I had to get wine. My husband even drank some which was funny since it was his first time. After three full glasses each we looked at each other and giggled that we could already feel the alcohol.
 First course: Smoked salmon with some mayonnaise sauce and a celery, bell pepper and radish slaw, tomato bisque and a roll.
 Second course: Salad
Main course: Chicken dish. Cold chicken breast with this amazing dressing that I have no idea what it was but it had mangos in it, lobster salad, onions, deviled egg and there's an artichoke heart hiding there somewhere. 
 My husband got the Cod with green beans and risotto. All I kept thinking about with his dish was the movie Airplane. And the best part, my husband and I were laughing about it together since we both thought of the same thing.
 Fourth course: Dessert. I went for the cheese and fruit platter so I've cut back on my sweets intake.
 Breakfast: French toast, eggs, turkey sausage, fruit, coffee and orange juice.

All that food was just on one flight. It just kept coming, and all of it was amazingly good.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Salad

I love salads. I don't think I have ever come across a salad that I haven't liked. There are a few that I thought for sure they would be horrible but I was proven wrong. Typically I don't like to be proven wrong but when it comes to new foods I am good with it because my belly is nice and full with delicious food. Mmm mmm good.

A go to salad in my house is a Buffalo Chicken Salad. I don't make mine like a typical salad. Actually a lot of times buffalo chicken salads can be a tad boring. So I add my own person touch to them with a bit more variety. Here is my simple yet very tasty recipe for Buffalo Chicken Salad.

Buffalo Chicken Salad
Pickled Beets
Hearts of Palm
Kidney Beans
Green Onions
 Orange Bell Peppers 
Mixed baby greens
Romaine lettuce
Previously cooked chicken, diced and cooked in Franks Hot Sauce
Crumbled Gorgonzola Cheese
Yogurt Blue Cheese Dressing

Diced hearts of palm, pickled beets, tomatoes, kidney beans, green onions and orange bell peppers

Thinly sliced (because I like small bites) mixed baby greens

Throw in diced veggies

Add some sliced romaine

Top with your precooked chicken, some crumbled Gorgonzola and yogurt blue cheese dressing

Toss is all together and enjoy!

By precooking the chicken you save some time so you can just dice up what you need and throw it all together. Right after I go shopping I typically take about three to four chicken breasts and cook them up specifically for salads for that week. It helps cut back on prep time which is always a help with three kids.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

PSA for the new school year [Guest Post]

As the new school year winds up, I always like to share video as a reminder. Education is the key.

Heather spends her days in the world of finance and many nights juggling the demands of  a wife, mother, and writer. Her blog, Cool and Hip, I Am Not, is widely read by at least six people.  She loves long walks on the beach, appropriately placed apostrophes, and ice-cold Diet Cokes.  Her first novel is in the works. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sunset Sunday-Vacation time

While I am on vacation for a little bit I had planned to ask some friends if they may want to share any sunset photos and wouldn't you know out of the blue I received an email from Erin of A Parenting Production with a photo she took while she was on vacation offering to let me post it on a Sunset Sunday post. Talk about timing, and once I saw the photo I knew I had to post it.

Erin took this gorgeous photo at Lake Waukewan in New Hampshire. I don't know about you but this photo just screams peaceful to me. What a gorgeous view to watch a sunset from, and there is not a single edit done to this photo. Beauty at it's best that's for sure. Thank you so much Erin for sharing your gorgeous photo!

Do you love sunsets? Have tons of photos of them, or maybe even just a few? I would love for you to join us in Sunset Sundays and share a few of your favorites.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wordless Wednesday-Flowers in the sky

For some reason I have Lucy in the sky with diamonds in my head right now hence the odd name for this post. While we were at Kennywood and I was watching two of my babies get soaked on the boat ride there were these beautiful flowers that I couldn't resist taking a picture of. One quick shot and then we were off, on our way to another ride.

Somehow, someway I managed to capture a shot that is kind of beautiful. It's peaceful and yet vibrant and it speaks volumes to me. How can one photo say so many different things?