MobiStories + Free eBook “Mommy’s High Heel Shoes”

Child expert Wendy Toone offers fun ways to expand your child’s mind during the dog days of summer.

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We may be in knee deep in those lazy, hazy days of summer, but that doesn’t mean we still can’t keep our kids active with challenging games and activities that will keep their minds buzzing. In fact, here are some great rainy day and car ride activities that will challenge your kids to think on their feet!

1. Mind games can keep boredom away as well as physical activity. Even small children can follow an adjusted version of “I Spy.” Just be sure that the clues are age appropriate and not too tricky. Look for easy to spot shapes, bright colors, or unique characteristics (animals, common objects such as pencils, etc.). Remember to let them give you the clues, too, to really work their brains. Finding an object is different than coming up with a clue for an object.

2. Once your child is a little older, around 4 years or so, theme games can be played. A favorite (still) of my kids is the animal game. “I Spy”-like clues can be given, but your child must rely on their memory and knowledge of animals instead of looking for pictures or representations of them. These types of games are great for long car rides, and you can make them more challenging, as your children get older. Go in order through the alphabet…”I have a long nose and tongue” = Aardvark (or anteater, both will work in this case); “I’m totally white and live in the cold” = Beluga whale. Get it?

3. READ, READ, READ. Reading to your child, no matter how young, increases their vocabulary, imagination, and overall cognitive abilities. Hearing language creates synapses – the connection of brain cells. Most of us parents think that reading at bedtime is sufficient. And while bedtime stories create a wonderful bonding time between parent and child, so can reading a story with your child snuggled on your lap in a waiting room. Granted, you can’t be expected to tote a small library around with you at all times. But if you know your day will include a little waiting time, why not pop your child’s favorite book in the day bag. Or maybe a story you haven’t yet read to them? Or take advantage of digital children’s books that can be downloaded to your cell phone or iPod? These digital books can do double duty, as oftentimes they are books that are enhanced with narration (sometimes even music and sound effects are added), so your little one can hear the book as they see the words on your phone or iPod screen.

So the next time you find yourself exasperated trying to tame the savage beast that is a toddler with nothing to do, try a few of these tips. Not all of them will work at all times or in every situation. But hopefully if nothing else, it will spark your creativity to engage your child and use your waiting time as teaching time. For there is no better teacher for a child than his or her own parent. Good luck!!!

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Wendy Toone is a child expert having owned and operated a leading franchise children’s fitness center and now producing MobiStories, Digital Books for KidsTM, as well as being a mom to her two children. To experience the world of digital children’s picture books, visit www.mobistories.com.

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To download a free copy of Mommy’s High Heel Shoes for your PC or Mac, visit MobiStories.com and enter the promo code: MHHS0710. The offer expires 8/22.Mommy’s High Heel Shoes is also available for download as an app via the iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad in the iTunes store where you can check out more great story apps from MobiStories: To order a hard cover copy of Kristie Finnan’s book, Mommy’s High Heeled shoes, visit her at KristieFinnan.com.

*This advertorial post is sponsored by the Role Mommy Writers Network.

Play-Doh {Spoil Your Family Review + Giveaway #33}

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Welcome to the Spoil Your Family Summer Giveaway Event being hosted by Annette from Annette Funnyjello and myself. Our second sponsor of the day is Play-Doh. Be sure to visit Annette’s blog for another chance to win a Play-Doh prize.

If you’re unaware, Play-Doh is a sister company of our first sponsor today, Hasbro. I have played with Play-Doh since I was three years old and now several years later, my fiancé and I are able to play with this fantastic product with our little boy.

We received the Poppin’ Movie Snacks Play-Doh pack. My son is actually kind of young for Play-Doh so he doesn’t quite “get it” yet. He mostly tries to eat it. Needless to say, this is his first Play-Doh product, the first of many I am sure. I know what a huge hit it was when I was younger. The feel of it in between your fingers, the cool colors…even more vibrant colors are around these days.

Get your fill of movie theater fun with this awesome PLAY-DOH creativity set! Use the accessories and your imagination to pop pretend popcorn, make pretend candy, scoop yummy-looking ice cream and even make fake fries! No matter what treats you make, you’ll definitely be cooking up lots of fun for hours. Set includes five cans of PLAY-DOH compound and accessories.

Ben and I have made Leland a few cups of popcorn, which apparently did look good enough to eat because that is what he tried to do. I would definitely suggest waiting until the suggested age of three before letting your child play with Play-Doh products unattended. Leland is turning two very soon and he just can’t play with Play-Doh alone yet, even though it is non-toxic.

Giveaway: One lucky reader will win their own Play-Doh Poppin’ Movie Snacks toy (ARV $12.99)

Required Entry: Tell me another item you would like to own from the Play-Doh portion of theHasbro website.

For extra entries you can do any or ALL of the following:

* Follow my blog through Google Friend Connect (sidebar).

* Subscribe to my feed via e-mail or RSS.

* Follow @lelandsmama on Twitter.

* Follow @familygamenight on Twitter.

* Tweet about this giveaway using the retweet button at the top of this post (or if you’re feeling creative, use your own tweet). This can be done once daily.

* Grab my button and place it on your sidebar or blog roll. Leave me a link to the location of the button in the comments section of this post.

* Grab the Spoil Your Family Summer Event button and place it on your sidebar or blog roll. Leave me a link to the location of the button in the comments section of this post. (Remember it’s 5 entries, which means 5 comments if you had the button before July 1st!)

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* Leave a comment on a non-giveaway post and leave a comment below telling me where you commented. This can be any post written in the past month and can be done as many times on separate posts as you would like for extra entries. Make sure the comment you leave is legitimate, at least 3 words.

* Blog about this giveaway = 5 Entries (Please leave 5 comments). Link back to this post and Hasbro. (Make sure you leave me a link to your blog entry. Blog post must be at least 100 words and NOT be copied and pasted from my blog.)

* Enter the Play-Doh giveaway at Annette Funnyjello. She is giving away the Spin ‘N Store Factory.

* “Like” Mama Makes Money on Facebook.

* “Like” Play-Doh on Facebook.

* Follow Mama Makes Money on Networked Blogs.

* Add this giveaway to a Mister Linky, Contest Site, Forum, Facebook, Myspace, Stumble, Digg, etc. (unlimited entries).

This giveaway will end on Saturday August 7, 2010 at 11:59 PM CST and is open to residents of the USA and Canada. I will choose the winner via random.org and announce and e-mail the winner some time on August 8, 2010.

Disclosure: Hasbro/Play-Doh provided me with product(s) to review for this post. They are also providing the prize to the winner of this giveaway. All opinions expressed about the company are 100% mine.

Sirius Radio – FREE 30 Day Trial!

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Sirius Radio is currently offering a FREE 30 day trial. You can claim your trial by clicking on THIS link or you can click the Sirius banner above.

Quizno’s $2.99 Meal Limited Time Offer!

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Get any small sub, chips and a regular fountain drink for only $2.99 by printing out THIS coupon NOW! Hurry, supplies will not last long at all! Coupon will expire on July 26, 2010.

Gift Card Mall…

If you were coming over to enter the Gift Card Mall giveaway, come back in a day or two. For reasons beyond our control we had to pull it, but it will be back. If you already entered, no worries! Your entries have been saved along with the post. Sorry for the inconvenience.

VTech MobiGo Winner!

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I just chose the VTech MobiGo giveaway winner via random.org. Commenter number 119 was chosen…which means our winner is Amanda. I have e-mailed her and am awaiting response. Enjoy your prize, Amanda!

If prize(s) are not claimed within 72 hours, new winner(s) will be chosen.

T.J. Maxx “Carried” Me Away

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Some of you may not know this about me, but I’m a pretty big Sex and the City fan. Is it bad that I’ve been watching it since I was ten years old? In my opinion, I was just a smart kid taking fashion tips from a character who eleven years years later is still a style icon, Miss Carrie Bradshaw.

So, I was super excited when I was approached by Rocket XL for this T.J. Maxx review. They gave me what one might call a challenge. My “challenge” was to find my favorite Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha or Miranda look at a T.J. Maxx or Marshall’s store to show all of you that even if you don’t make money like the girls from the city or have Mr. Big’s wallet, you can still afford to look just as fashionable as Miss Bradshaw herself.

I decided to check out T.J. Maxx since I found some great clothes there last Summer. I browsed the clothing racks in every department that suited me. My favorite thing about this store is that the clothes are organized by size so I don’t waste my time “ooh”-ing and “aah”-ing over clothes they don’t have in my size.

I tried on about 10 items and settled on the two dresses photographed below. The dress on the left reminded me of the Carrie Bradshaw look in the photo above and it was on clearance. Guess how much it cost? Five freakin’ dollars! Can you believe that? The dress on the right was $16.99 and it hugged my curves in all the right places. It seemed like a dress that Charlotte would most likely wear.

My favorite purchase from this shopping trip is most definitely the Guess pumps I found for only $39.99. These shoes are usually at least $75 elsewhere. These pumps look stunning with both dresses (but especially the striped one). Photo credit on the shoes below goes to a seller on eBay because mine are packed away on account of the move to our new home yesterday, but these are the exact ones I bought.

Those shoes alone made me feel like I met this Sex and the City challenge. Thank you to Rocket XL on behalf of T.J Maxx and Marshall’s for this review opportunity. Don’t forget to check out Sex and the City 2 in theaters tomorrow.

Disclosure: I was provided with a gift card by the PR company in order to conduct the review. The gift card covered most of the cost of these items, the rest came out of my pocket. The gift card in no way swayed my views on the company. My opinions are 100% mine.

My Money Saving Zenni Optical Experience

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

A few weeks ago, I heard about a new site (new to me anyway) where you can purchase your prescription eye glasses online. I had heard of similar sites, but I was very skeptical of the outcome. My thought process being, “What if the glasses look horrible on me? I can’t try them on via internet.” and “What if my prescription comes out wonky and it’s a waste of my time and money?”

Well, I gave it a shot and it was the complete opposite. I received my new glasses from Zenni Optical a few days ago, just a couple weeks after purchasing glasses from my eye doctor. Not only are my Zenni Optical glasses MUCH cheaper (They were only $8, compared to the $150 I paid on my other two pairs of glasses) but they also came with one thing those glasses did not, a cleaning cloth. I’m easy to impress. That cleaning cloth is rocking my world. My glasses also came with a case for safe-keeping. These glasses look amazing on me, if I do say so myself and I can see clearly with them which is really the most important thing.

Ordering from the site was SUPER EASY! It only took approximately 4 minutes. You can view the ordering process for yourself in my video below (Please excuse the shoddy camera skills. In my defense, its really difficult to type and record simultaneously). Waiting for the glasses to arrive, however, was a different story. It did take about two weeks and in that aspect, I wish there were a faster shipping option…but because I already had two pairs of glasses it wasn’t an issue for me.

A couple of other suggestions for Zenni Optical would be to implement an option on the site that allows you to upload a picture of yourself so you can see what the glasses look like on you before purchasing them. I was lucky that my glasses look gorgeous, but other people may not be so lucky. The color of my glasses was also a bit off from the web site’s picture. My glasses look closer to red in person where as the site depicts it as pink…but I am still super happy with them! I actually prefer this shade, but again others may not.

I would definitely order from Zenni Optical again in the future and actually plan to as soon as Ben receives his eye glasses prescription from his doctor. Below are some picture of me in my new glasses (Leland decided he wanted to be a part of my photo shoot. lol.)

Visit my sponsor: Ordering Online is Easy Peasy

Linens ‘N Things (Coupon Code Included)

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Linens ‘N Things. All opinions are 100% mine.

I don’t know about you guys but I am a huge fan of Linens ‘N Things. I was completely devastated when the one in my city closed down last year. Thankfully, I can still shop on their web site. I have made many Linens ‘N Things purchases in the past including mostly items for my kitchen. Some of my favorite purchases have been the James Dean piece of art (photographed below) which is hanging in my bedroom diagonal to Audrey Hepburn, my Crosley record player and a liquor dispenser that resembles a gas pump.

LNT.com offers a wide variety of products from bedding to kitchenware, to outdoor items and home decor. I am so excited to announce that Linens ‘N Things is offering readers of my blog FREE shipping on purchases that total $26 or more. The code for this promotion is: MOMBLOG. This coupon code is good until June 1st, 2010. This coupon is exclusively for bloggers and their readers. Don’t you feel special? I know I do.

Do you plan on purchasing anything for Linens ‘N Things in the near future? If so, what do you plan on buying? What items do you dream of purchasing but probably never will?

Visit my sponsor: Linens 'N Things

If you were thinking of buying Adobe Photoshop…

Now would be a good time to do so. Amazon is a having a one-day sale (on both Mac and PC versions, TODAY ONLY!!, HURRY!!) making Adobe Photoshop Elements 8 $54.99 and then you get a $20 mail-in rebate which brings it down to $34.99. I just bought it and I had a $5 Swagbucks gift card lying around, so I am actually only paying $29.99 when all is said and done! I’m so excited that I’ll finally own Photoshop. I’ve been wanting to purchase this for like a year!

Disclaimer: Referral and Affiliate links were used in this post. Using these links for purchasing from and joining sites mentioned in post are a great way of supporting the blog you are visiting.

Thank you!