Monday, December 8, 2008

We Have a Winner

Congrats to Ilina from Dirt and Noise, winner of the Didj and games. I used, btw and so sorry for those that didn't win. Please come back.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Unsolicited and Embarrassing Product Review

I did it, I bought this stuff. As much as it weirded me out, yet titillated me to see pancake batter in a can, I finally looked at the ingredients. I mean, sure, organic doesn't always mean good (just look at organic oreos), but the ingredients are not half bad, there is even cane sugar instead of corn syrup if you can believe that.

I'll admit to being a total pancake snob. Growing up on hearty buckwheat buttermilk pancakes and a french toast recipe which included whole wheat bread and wheat germ, I could never stand plain white flour pancakes. And while you can now find great mixes, I don't even buy those anymore, after my son started calling the ones I make from scratch the "fluffy" ones, and they aren't much harder than a mix. But on weekdays we're all over the frozen waffles and pancakes (gluten-free Trader Joes version are not half bad, and those mini ones are surprisingly sweet and yummy.)

This stuff if fun to squirt out and made pretty good pancakes. They do need to be cooked at pretty low heat, or maybe that's just my sucky stove. On the other hand, if you want to make fresh pancakes and not use this, and don't have time to whip up a batch, I found a Washington Times article that has a mix that can sit overnight and up to three days.

All-weekend buttermilk pancakes
1 teaspoon (about ½ package) active dry yeast
2 tablespoons lukewarm water
2 cups flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons tablespoon honey
Butter, as needed

Dissolve the yeast in the water. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk, eggs, oil and honey. Add the yeast and buttermilk mixtures into the flour mixture and whisk to combine (the batter will not be completely smooth). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Another Giveaway

Hey y'all, I wanted to let you know about a cool giveaway where you get to choose one of four prizes at the 3Rs. Also noticed Mamaspeaks has a gift guide and you can get to it by that there link over there on the left.

I think we're all hoping to reduce the number of gifts we have to buy this season by winning some of the many giveaways around the net.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Win Stuff

Kim's got a light up nerf football to give away over at her new review blog.

I'm so hoping for this Wii and Wii Fit, but g'head and enter yourself if you want.

SoCal Mom is giving away a great basket of gifts plus some for SoCal residents.

And don't forget I'm giving away a didj here. Leave your comment by Dec. 6th.

You can also win one over at Who's the Boss?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Book Review: 32 Third Graders and One Class Bunny

If you want a funny, light and entertaining read, you much check out 32 Third Graders and One Class Bunny: Life Lessons from Teaching. If you want what sounds like an amazing third grade teacher, you'll have to move to Mountain View. I got this book and a sweet email from Phillip Done, the author, and I plowed right through it, enjoying every minute. I even gave it to my husband, which is pretty rare for me as his is highly selective about his reading, sticking mostly to classics like Hemingway and Faulkner (aack!) and soccer books. He is also loving it so far.

Phillip has a way of conveying how much he absolutely loves teaching while keeping it real, and really funny. I love how he is totally straightforward about his pain in the neck kids. Seems you can tell the trouble makers by how close they sit to the teacher. There is a story about a pet snake I can barely believe and will never forget. He conveys his frustration with the testing, which I am seeing even in 1st grade with this severe reduction in field trips. And yet, it never ventures into serious complaints, just frustrations mixed with anecdotes and the emotions of a teacher who loves his students and students who love their teacher.
My kids are still several years away from 3rd grade, but so far my favorite teachers and the ones you you could easily see in a mommy or daddy role, seeing their job was to go beyond educating. As he says in chapter 1 (I promise I read the whole thing):

"I put on Band-Aids and winter coats and school plays"
"I unpeel oranges that are too tight too"
"I leave 'shugar' and 'vilets' misspelled on their valentines"
and the one that made me tear up "I know when a child does not
understand. I know when a child is not telling the truth. I know
when a child was up to late last night. I know when a child needs help
finding a friend."

If you are like me and life is getting a bit too serious, or you are
starting to wonder if there is still hope for our education system, take a few
hours to read this book. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll wonder what
school he's teaching at and whether the lack of pets at your kids' school is
doing irreversible harm.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Win a Didj

A little while back I and many of my fellow mommy bloggers wrote about an awesome event with Leapfrog. They give each of my kids a game system of their own (didj for the older one, Leapster2 for the preschooler), and the kids have been loving it. As Keegan said to his doctor yesterday "they had to switch to times, since I did all the adding and subtracting problems." The kid loves math and may just die over a new Star Wars math game. I'm not worried about my little guys reading, but from what I can see this can only help. Right now he covets the hero's game on the didj and has pretty much had enough of his Leapster2, but really, ya can't blame a company for starting with a tame game and wanting you to buy some more exciting ones. Although they really should include the $10 SD card needed to download the free computer games.

What I like is how you can see the learning paths of your child. Cool, ain't it?

Do you want on of these too? Well, I've got a brand new didj to give away right here. Plus, Leapfrog is throwing in three games: Hannah Montana, Indiana Jones and Nicktoons.

I'm going to keep this contest open for two weeks so you have until December 6th at midnight to:

  1. Leave a comment below and make sure there is a way to reach you by email.
  2. Post this on your blog for an extra entry, or if you don't have a blog let three friends know about the contest (include a comment, I'll trust you)
  3. Tell me one way you get your child, or would if you had one, to love reading.

I'll choose the winner on Sunday by random number generator or a name in a hat, and you should have this by the holidays.

Welcome One and All

Welcome to my new review blog. Here I'll be reviewing the stuff that makes my life worth living. Eh, who am I kidding, I'll review any freebies people want to send my way. Seriously, I won't review just anything (who's got time for that), but it'll probably be a mix of stuff I have and love and stuff I'm compelled to try because the offer sounds so awesome. And there will be some books because if there is one thing I'm addicted to, it's reading.

I love to shell out advice as well, but shy away from giving unsolicited advice since I'm a total wuss at heart, but if you want to know my favorite books (provided I read them in the last week and have not yet forgotten the names), make-up and hair products I swear by (this week) for curly hair and acne-prone skin, or methods of keeping my wild boys in line (scratch that, send me yours) ask away.