November 27, 2010

Bryan - The Flavor of the South! {giveaway}

Does your family love Bryan brand smoked sausage? Bryan isn't called "the flavor of the South" for nothing. It's the most preferred brand for smoked sausage for one simple reason: it's the tastiest!

Want to wow your family and friends at your next big get-together? Bryan Foods, the Flavor of the South, is excited to introduce its newest product: Bryan Premium Smoked Sausage, available in two mouth-watering flavors – Original and Hot & Spicy.

Made with high quality pork and beef, and perfect for barbeques, tailgates, or even Sunday brunch, Bryan Premium Smoked Sausage is sure to be a hit with your friends and family!

Bryan Premium Smoked Sausage adds a flavorful punch to big-dish recipes, like Bryan Premium Smoked Sausage-n-Dirty Rice, goes well with Southern-style breakfast dishes, and is perfect for grilling with its thin diameter.

I've got some Bryan Foods coupons to share with two lucky readers of Shady Lady! Two winners will each received five coupons for free Bryan smoked sausage products. How's that for helping you prepare great holiday meals for your family!

First I want to share this great recipe for "dirty rice" with you, courtesy of Bryan. I made this at home myself and let me tell you it is some kinda gooooood!!
You'll be able to try this recipe at home if you are one of the two winners of 5 free Bryan Foods product coupons!

Note: Bryan Foods smoked sausage is only available in select areas in the South. You probably already know if the Bryan brand is available in your area or not. If it is not, please allow others the opportunity to enter and win. I want these coupons to go to two Shady Lady readers who will be able to use them! Fair enough? Good!

That said, entering is easy! The only requirement is that you follow my blog with Google Friend Connect. (see sidebar) If you are already a follower, terrific! Just leave a comment below. If you aren't yet a follower, it's not too late! Just click the button on the sidebar to follow me with Google Friend Connect.

You do not have to have a blog to use Google Friend Connect. Anyone can use it to follow favorite blogs. So don't let that deter you! Just click the "follow" button and everything will be explained to you. It's easy!

Once you are a follower, please leave a comment below to be entered to win 5 Bryan product coupons. There will be 2 winners, chosen by Random.org, and I will notify you by email to get your mailing address. Then Bryan Foods will mail your coupons to you.

Let's make this a quick giveaway, since I want you to be able to use these coupons for your holiday meals. Deadline to enter is midnight CST one week from now, Saturday December 4th. I will draw the winners Sunday, then contact you for your mailing address, and then notify Bryan Foods. You can expect your coupons shortly thereafter in the mail.

Easy! So what are you waiting for? If you're already a follower, just leave a comment below. If you're not yet a follower, just click the "follow" button on the Google Friend Connect widget on the sidebar and follow the instructions. Then leave your comment below to be entered.

Again, if Bryan Foods aren't available in your area, please allow others the chance to win and get some use from these coupons. If you win and aren't able to use the coupons, then they aren't doing anyone any good, are they? I knew you'd agree. :)

Good luck! Entry deadline is midnight Saturday December 4th.

Disclaimer: I received coupons for Bryan products in exchange for hosting this giveaway. No other monetary consideration was involved and my opinions are my own.


Getting children involved in volunteer work {review}

We all want our children to grow up to be compassionate adults who want to help others. That's why we're always on the lookout for good ways to encourage character and development. Primrose Schools, the leader in educational childcare, recommends that parents make an effort to introduce volunteerism at a young age.

That's why Dr. Mary Zurn, Vice President of Education for Primrose, is offering parents the four easy steps outlined below to start their children on a path to meaningful volunteerism.

4 Steps to getting your family interested in volunteering:

Step 1: Clarify your personal goals and motives for wanting to include your child in volunteer activities. Volunteering is a wonderful way to a share your values with your child. Pick a cause that is meaningful to you and your family rather than one that is simply convenient.

Step 2: Explain the importance of volunteerism and the contribution volunteers can make. A child's favorite question is "why?" Keep your answers simple and concrete. For example, if you are going to volunteer at the food bank, tell your child that "The food bank has lots of food for people who need it, and it will be our job to sort the food so that people are able to find what they need."

Step 3: Choose volunteer activities to do with your children that are age-appropriate. Children as young as three can begin volunteering. At this age they begin to enjoy participation in group activities and are better able to follow directions. Remember that a preschooler's concept of the world is not very large and is usually limited primarily to their home, neighborhood and school; therefore, it is important to keep the activity within the realm of what they can imagine. A few examples:
* Participate in "clean the park" activities. Be sure to have your child wear gloves.
* Take recyclables to recycling collection centers.
* Act as a companion to the elderly in retirement or assisted living homes. Simply listening to their stories and relieving their loneliness provides multiple benefits for the senior citizen and your child.
* Participate in local races and walks that raise money for a charitable cause that you think is important; most races have a shorter race for children.
* Sort food at a food bank. Be sure to confirm that children are welcome to volunteer and that it will be a safe environment.

Step 4: Find a child-friendly not-for-profit. Ask the following questions to help you select the volunteer opportunity that is right for your family:
* Does the organization have experience with and a history of successfully working with children and families? Will the organization provide me with a reference from another family who has volunteered with them?
* Will the organization staff welcome my child's participation?
* Is there a specific job that my child can do successfully? Who will show my children what to do?
* Are there special clothes or supplies needed for my child to volunteer with this organization?
* Does the organization conduct appropriate background screenings on its staff? Does the organization have insurance if there is an accident while your family is volunteering?
* Can the organization provide a concrete example that will help your child understand how his or her efforts benefit others?

To find these and other great tips for parents, check out Dr. Zurn's blog at DrZandme.com. For more information on Primrose Schools, visit www.primroseschools.com. You can also check them out on Facebook and Twitter!

Disclosure: I was entered for a chance to win a gift card in exchange for this post. No monetary exchange took place.

It's time to GiveBack to your favorite charity {review}

Thanksgiving is the time to think about the wonderful blessings in your life. But what about those who aren't as fortunate?

The holidays make us feel more generous. That's a good thing. I wish I could give a gift to everyone I know...and everyone I don't know.

Now I can do both. GiveBack is a program that allows you to set up your own "foundation" (which simply means that you create an account and you decide where your donations go).

You can donate money to your own foundation and get an immediate tax deduction. You can also fund your account by shopping at any of GiveBack's hundreds of retailers through your GiveBack link and a percentage of your purchase (up to 15%) will go directly into your GiveBack account.

Then, you get the satisfaction of donating your GiveBack funds to any charity registered in the U.S., be it a large national charity or a local organization in your community.

Just by signing up for an account, $5.00 is automatically added to your donate-able funds. GiveBack is totally free to use and 100% of the donated funds go to the charities; none is kept for "administrative purposes".

That means a lot to me.

There is a local charity in my area that I want to support, so I did a simple search to see if it is listed and... it is! So I added Exchange Club-Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse to the list of charities in my foundation.

In my opinion, child abuse is an abomination for civilized society and should be completely wiped out. Child abuse is not only inherently wrong, but it leaves indelible marks on a child's psyche that never heal.

Carl Perkins was not only a musical legend but also a compassionate human being. His heart was moved by the plight of abused children to establish the Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse in Jackson, Tennessee. Carl is no longer with us, but the Exchange Club is helping to carry on the center's work to prevent child abuse.

Won't you help too?

It's easy. Just go to GiveBack.org and sign up for your free account. Then you can add funds to your personal "foundation" and it is all totally tax-deductible instantly. By shopping with the participating retailers, you can get up to 15% of your purchases added to your foundation funds as well.

Then when you are ready, you simply click a button to donate to your favorite charity. Just like I did for the Exchange Club-Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse.

And since we are in the middle of holiday shopping season, I'm going to check out the list of participating retailers and whenever possible I'll use them for my shopping, because I know that a portion will be put into my foundation fund...which means even more money for the Carl Perkins Center.

Do you have a favorite national or local charity? Do a search and see if your charity is listed. (If it isn't, it's easy to let them know, and they will look into getting any legally recognized charity listed on GiveBack.org)

Need more information? Visit the GiveBack.org website or spend a moment watching this video --


I know you'll agree with me that GiveBack is a great idea and you'll set up your own foundation, with $5.00 instantly added to your funds account just for signing up. And if you don't already have a favorite charity, I hope you will consider sending your donations to the Exchange Club-Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse.

Even if all you do is sign up and send the $5.00 to the Carl Perkins Center, at least that's more than they had.

And hopefully we can stop child abuse forever. That's my holiday (and year-round) wish for the world we live in. Won't you join me in helping to make that wish come true?

Looking for a new business idea? Then consider Supercuts {review}

Recession got you down? Lost (or losing) your job through no fault of your own? Thinking about trying something different? Want to be your own boss for a change?

Supercuts may be the answer for you.

Supercuts, one of the largest and most iconic salon brands in the country, has been ranked the number one hair-care franchise in the U.S. and the fifth best franchise opportunity overall in Entrepreneur magazine's annual "Franchise 500" issue.

The Regis Corporation, parent company of Supercuts, is the authority on franchise business ownership in the hair care industry and offers a time-tested business model for anyone looking to start building a business of their own - no prior business or hair-care experience necessary.

Supercuts will train you to run the business, and how to hire the right professional stylists to perform the actual services. If you are a professional considering business ownership, inquire about opening a hair care franchise with Supercuts!

Why Choose the Hair Care Industry?

The success of any franchise is dependent on the nature of the business. Unlike food service franchises with perishable inventory, round the clock hours, and unskilled labor, hair care is an industry worthy of consideration because it:

* Is fundamental service in any community and any economic climate.
* Most people choose not to "do it themselves"
* Resists technological obsolescence
* Is staffed by professionals – employees are educated, certified and trained
* Has low, non-perishable inventory requirements.
* Cannot be outsourced
* Is about making people look and feel good about themselves.

Hair care is a high-demand, high-repeat cash business that serves a fragmented and local market. Supercuts can take the guess work out of setting up a successful operation of your own; one where successful national advertising creates brand recognition and value for each salon.

Have questions about opening a Supercuts franchise or want to learn tips from current business owners? Visit http://www.RegisFranchise.com or contact Melissa Aquino at melissa@stjacques.com for more info about becoming a franchisee or the Regis Corporation.

New Facebook app "A Better World" is worth a look {review}

Seems like everybody loves games! Especially Facebook games. I wonder why... Is it because you can interact with other players? How many times have you opened your Facebook page to see requests from friends to help them out with something in a game they are playing?

What if... you were to get a "positive post" message from someone instead of a request for gold or to water plants or give some missing piece of equipment or whatever. Wouldn't that "positive post" brighten your day?

That's the idea behind the newest Facebook app called "A Better World". It officially launches in December in full game mode, but right now you can get a sneak peek at it by going to http://on.fb.me/abw_app_page.

There's enough violence and greed in our world and in our games. How refreshing to find a game that focuses on positive thoughts and deeds! Create your avatar however you like --
Then this avatar can visit two places in the sneak peek - Gratitude Grotto and Positive Post.

At the Gratitude Grotto, you can see what others are grateful for and even vote yes/no on how well those thoughts express real gratitude in the spirit of the game. Every time you vote you earn "do good gold" which can be used when the full game launches to buy things in the town for yourself, your family, your home, etc.

At the Gratitude Grotto you can also add your own grateful thoughts and others will vote on them, also adding to your "gold" supply. (From what I understand, the "gold" accumulated in the sneak peek will also carry over to the full game when it launches!)
The other place you can visit in the "A Better World" sneak peek is the Positive Post, which acts like a post office and you can send personal messages to friends on Facebook. These messages can also be posted to your own Facebook wall if you like. The recipient is notified that they have a message waiting, and it's easy to read pending messages and send new ones.
I have to be honest with you... when I first heard about this concept, I thought it would be... well... kinda cheesy. Boy was I wrong! It is a very refreshing and very welcome addition to the wealth of Facebook apps available. What a great way to express positive thoughts! And have a little fun in the process.

I can't wait to see what the full-blown app looks like. And I've got $200 in "do good gold" already just from participating in the two available activities. So if you're looking for something that is totally different from the run of the mill Facebook games and apps, give "A Better World" a try. I think you'll be as pleasantly surprised as I was.

And be sure to send me a Positive Post. :)

November 26, 2010

Fantabulous GameStop giveaway!!

Mama’s Holiday Wish List Meme

TodaysMama and GameStop are giving away a sleighful of gifts this holiday season and to enter I’m sharing this meme with you.

1. What is your holiday wish for your family?

For my mom, a new robe! For my sister, a trip to Australia! For my brother, a new home!

2. What is your Christmas morning tradition?

Breakfast with the family. It's the one thing I really look forward to more than anything else. Excitement is in the air, and we can take a few moments to enjoy good food and good company.

3. If you could ask Santa for one, completely decadent wish for yourself, what would it be?

Keanu Reeves. :)

4. How do you make the holidays special without spending any money?

Playing games and decorating with homemade handmade things.

5. What games did you play with your family growing up?

We grew up with Monopoly, Life, Mr. Potato Head, and Cootie!

6. What holiday tradition have you carried on from your own childhood?

Staying up past midnight on Christmas Eve, watching for Santa. :)

7. Where would you go for a Christmas-away-from-home trip?

London! I think it would be Dickens-y magical!

8. Check out GameStop and tell us, what are the three top items on your GameStop Wish List this year?

Xbox 360 Kinect
Playstation 3
Games for each - mostly RPGs

November 8, 2010

Giveaways Around the Blogosphere -Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker $100 CSN

Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker: Just in time for the Holidays: $100 Giveaway from CSN!!!

Looking for a new cookware set or even bathroom
furniture
? Check out Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker for an awesome $100 giveaway to CSN Stores.

November 7, 2010

Pillsbury Grands Mini Biscuits and $15 Visa Gift Card {giveaway}

A few days ago I was offered the opportunity through MyBlogSpark.com to do a review and giveaway for new Pillsbury Grands Mini Biscuits. I readily agreed and was sent a nice package with a bread basket, butter dish, spreader, a coupon for a free package of Pillsbury Grands Mini Biscuits, and a $15 Visa gift card to facilitate my review.
Unfortunately, in the rural area where I live I have not been able to find the Pillsbury Grands Mini Biscuits. :(

I guess I could have purchased regular Pillsbury Grands frozen biscuits, but that wasn't the purpose of this promotion. I love trying new products, but sometimes it takes forever for those new products to trickle down to the country area where I live.

So I thought I wouldn't be able to do this review/giveaway at all, which was a little depressing, let me tell you. MyBlogSpark is one of the better promotion companies to work with and I just knew this would be a "black mark" on my record with them.

Oh well. That's life.

Imagine my surprise - and shock! - when I received a next-day delivery box of two packages of frozen Pillsbury Grands Mini Biscuits packed on dry ice!! Yes!! MyBlogSpark came through for me!!

I'm telling you this because it's my way of thanking Chris for going out of the way to facilitate my review and giveaway. Thank you Chris!! You deserve a raise... and you can tell them Shady Lady said so! :)

I couldn't wait to heat up the oven and try the Pillsbury Grands Mini Biscuits. They are tiny when frozen - they are not much bigger than, say, a poker chip. And quite flat. Huh. "Mini" they certainly were, but how in the world would they live up to the name "Grands"??
Boy, was I surprised when I took them out of the oven! They had nearly tripled in height (not circumference - they were still about the size of a poker chip around) and were baked to golden brown perfection.
They were cooked perfectly, and I have to say they tasted nothing like "canned biscuits". I daresay these minis can rival even homemade! Just a little crispy on the outside and tender and flaky on the inside. I spread some butter on a couple and couldn't resist tasting them. Delicious!
They were even more delicious when I spread some of my sister's homemade blackberry preserves on them!

I'm very pleased with Pillsbury Grands Mini Biscuits and will definitely be buying more. If you are a single or 2-person household, you will see the savings of buying the minis in the resealable frozen package. They are small, yes, but just the perfect size for one or two people. And the perfect size for tiny hands, too!

One other thing I like about them? They are small enough that I can still enjoy a biscuit every now and then and not blow my whole carbohydrate allowance for the day! Yay!! If you're on a low-carb diet and crave a biscuit once in a while, these are perfect for you! There's still a place in this world for the "regular" size biscuits, of course, but these Minis definitely fill a need that... well, maybe that we didn't even know we had. :)
I'm going to try them as dumplings in stew later this week. I figure I can halve or quarter the Minis and drop them into bubbling stew for instant dumplings. And there are oodles more recipes that you can find here.

~~GIVEAWAY~~
One lucky Shady Lady reader will win the same Pillsbury Grands Mini Biscuits package I received, including a $15 Visa gift card! Lucky you!! This giveaway is open to US residents only please.

Entering is easy. Please do the mandatory first step before doing the extra entries. Winner will be determined by using Random.org. Entries will be verified before winner is contacted, so please make sure you use the same username, name, and/or email address for each entry, or tell me how to identify you. And PLEASE leave an email address in your comment if it is not publicly visible on your blog! Thank you for adhering to these giveaway rules.

~~Mandatory~~
You must follow my blog with Google Friend Connect. That's it! Just leave a comment below saying that you follow. Not a follower yet? It's not too late! See the gadget on the sidebar? Just click "Follow" and you can be entered into this giveaway too! Easy! This step is required before extra entries will count.

Extra entries - please leave separate comments for each:
*One extra entry if you follow me on Twitter @tnshadylady Leave your Twitter id. Current followers qualify also.

*One extra entry if you friend me on Facebook. Current fans/friends/followers qualify also. Get a bonus extra entry if you share this giveaway on your Facebook page.

*DAILY ENTRY - Tweet this giveaway and leave a link to your tweet. Feel free to copy and paste:
#Giveaway at Shady Lady: #Win Pillsbury Grands Mini Biscuits gift pack incl $15 Visa GC! @tnshadylady http://bit.ly/dADRW0 ends 11/14 PL RT!

*One extra entry if you follow with Networked Blogs. (see sidebar) Current followers qualify also.

*One extra entry each if you are a subscriber to my email updates and/or rss feed. (see sidebar) Tell me what email address and/or reader you use. Current subscribers qualify also.

*One extra entry if you visit the Pillsbury recipe website and tell me a recipe you found there that these Minis would be perfect in.

*FIVE ENTRIES - Help me spread the word! Post this giveaway on your own blog or giveaway site or linky. Leave me a link so I can verify. Be sure to leave five separate comments.

*FIVE ENTRIES - Post my button on your blog. It must be on your main page. Leave a link so I can verify. Be sure to leave five separate comments.

Giveaway closes midnight CST Sunday November 14, 2010. Giveaway open to US residents only please. Winner will be chosen by Random.org and notified by email. Winner will have 48 hours to respond, or another winner will be chosen.

Remember to leave separate comments for each method of entry! This is the only way to be sure that you get all your entries. And if you are already a subscriber or follower, you still get those entries! So be sure to get all the entries you are entitled to.

Disclosure: I received a Pillsbury® Grands!® Mini Biscuits prize pack which included a VIP coupon good for a free package of biscuits, a $15 gift card to purchase recipe creation/experimentation needs, a biscuit basket, a butter dish, and spreader. The prize pack and information were all given to me from Pillsbury through MyBlogSpark. My opinions are my own.

Warmly Yours has a treat for your feet! {giveaway}

Are your feet cold in the wintertime? Do your toes feel like icicles have formed on them? Do you typically wear warm socks in cool weather just to keep your feet from freezing?

Then you're like me. Unfortunately.

My feet absolutely freeze in the wintertime. It doesn't even have to be bone-chilling cold, either; just below normal temperatures make my feet feel like ice cubes.

It's even worse now because in my tiny apartment all I have for heat is baseboard heaters - one in the living room and one in the bedroom. That's it. My computer desk is in the living room on the wall furthest away from the baseboard heater. And guess what? My feet freeze in the winter, even wearing heavy socks, while I'm sitting at the computer.

But all that changed the day I opened the package from Warmly Yours and found an under desk heater inside!
Oh my goodness. That's all I can say. Oh. My. Goodness!!

This little jewel is just what my tootsies have been craving! And so simple to use. Just lay it on the floor right under your desk (or wherever your feet are) and plug it in. In minutes you'll begin to feel the warm radiant heat coming from it. My feet haven't felt this toasty since I walked barefoot in the August sand at Destin a few years ago!

But the best part? It's energy-efficient. Yep. It puts out as much heat directly to your feet as a space heater would, but at a fraction of the kilowatt cost. And safer too! A typical convection space heater can consume up to 1500 watts per hour, while the Warmly Yours Under Desk Heater uses less than 120 watts. And you don't have to worry about potential fire hazards. The under desk heater delivers warmth right to your feet gently through the plush layer.

Warmly Yours under desk heater, where have you been all my life?!?!

This is the perfect gift for someone who complains of cold feet all the time, and especially someone who sits at a computer desk (or sewing machine, or any other activity where you want your feet to be warm). Doesn't have to be just for winter, either. How about that cold basement when you want to craft even in the summer? How about at the office, when the office polar bear has set the air conditioning thermostat down to "shiver"? Wherever, whenever your feet are cold, this is the perfect solution. I can't imagine a more thoughtful gift, and one that will most definitely be used with much gratitude!

You can buy the Warmly Yours under desk heater in two sizes: $89.00 Small - 18" x 24" and $139.00 Large - 24" x 36" It has a safety plug and an on/off toggle switch and comes in a lovely merlot (wine) color.

Doesn't someone you love deserve a Warmly Yours under desk heater? Hey, don't you deserve one? Give yourself something you really want and need this Christmas. Treat your feet to the Warmly Yours under desk heater!
Warmly Yours has other wonderful products as well, like bathroom towel warmers (now that's luxury!) and snow melting systems. Winters won't seem so daunting now!

~~GIVEAWAY~~
One lucky Shady Lady reader will win a Warmly Yours under desk heater! Lucky you!! This giveaway is open to US residents only please.

Entering is easy. Please do the mandatory first step before doing the extra entries. Winner will be determined by using Random.org. Entries will be verified before winner is contacted, so please make sure you use the same username, name, and/or email address for each entry, or tell me how to identify you. And PLEASE leave an email address in your comment if it is not publicly visible on your blog! Thank you for adhering to these giveaway rules.

~~Mandatory~~
Visit the Warmly Yours website and tell me another product they offer that you'd like and why. This step is required before extra entries will count. Please don't copy from someone else's post.

Extra entries - please leave separate comments for each:
*One extra entry if you follow my blog through Blogger or Google Friend Connect. (see sidebar) Current followers qualify also.

*One extra entry if you follow me on Twitter @tnshadylady Leave your Twitter id. Current followers qualify also.

*One extra entry if you friend me on Facebook. Current fans/friends/followers qualify also. Get a bonus extra entry if you share this giveaway on your Facebook page.

*DAILY ENTRY - Tweet this giveaway and leave a link to your tweet. Feel free to copy and paste:
#Giveaway at Shady Lady: #Win @WarmlyYours under desk heater! Your feet will thank you! @tnshadylady http://bit.ly/dDw5z0 ends 11/27 PL RT!

*One extra entry if you follow with Networked Blogs. (see sidebar) Current followers qualify also.

*One extra entry if you follow Warmly Yours on Twitter.

*One extra entry if you like Warmly Yours on Facebook. Get a bonus extra entry if you leave a comment that you entered to win at Shady Lady (http://tnshadylady.blogspot.com)

*One extra entry each if you are a subscriber to my email updates and/or rss feed. (see sidebar) Tell me what email address and/or reader you use. Current subscribers qualify also.

*One extra entry if you tell me someone you know who would really love and use the under desk heater.

*FIVE ENTRIES - Help me spread the word! Post this giveaway on your own blog or giveaway site or linky. Leave me a link so I can verify. Be sure to leave five separate comments.

*FIVE ENTRIES - Post my button on your blog. It must be on your main page. Leave a link so I can verify. Be sure to leave five separate comments.

Giveaway closes midnight CST Saturday November 27, 2010. Giveaway open to US residents only please. Winner will be chosen by Random.org and notified by email. Winner will have 48 hours to respond, or another winner will be chosen.

Remember to leave separate comments for each method of entry! This is the only way to be sure that you get all your entries. And if you are already a subscriber or follower, you still get those entries! So be sure to get all the entries you are entitled to.

Disclaimer: I was provided a sample under desk heater from Warmly Yours to facilitate my unbiased review of the product. (Thanks Molly!) No other monetary consideration was involved, and my review was not influenced in any way.

Del Monte "Teacher Monday: Cash for Classrooms" campaign {giveaway}

Time is running out for this fantastic promotion but you still have time to get involved if you do it now!

What is the Del Monte Teacher Monday: Cash for Classrooms campaign? Glad you asked. :)

It is a program to help support kindergarten thru 12th grade public school teachers across North and Central America with cash to purchase school supplies and fresh fruit. One hundred prizes totaling $1,000 each will be awarded to teachers who get the most votes in the "Teacher Monday: Cash for Classrooms" online contest at www.fruits.com.

Every Monday, for five consecutive weeks begining October 18th, ten teachers in the U.S. and Canada will win $1,000 each ($750 in cash and $250 in fresh fruit gift certificates) in the "Teacher Monday: Cash for Classrooms" online contest. The cash is to help teachers purchase much needed school supplies. The fruit is for classroom snacks and to encourage educational activities about fruit and healthy eating choices.

In an effort to support schools in less developed countries where many Del Monte products are grown, and where classrooms are also experiencing economic disadvantages, the "Teacher Monday: Cash for Classrooms" program will link winning U.S. classrooms with a school in Guatemala or Costa Rica. The 50 selected Central American schools will also receive $1,000 each for school supplies.

To enter, teachers must register online and submit a short essay on how the funds will be spent. Winning teachers will be selected solely on the number of votes they receive online – so rally parents and students, friends and family to get online and vote!

Become a fan of "Teacher Monday: Cash for Classrooms" on Facebook and Twitter to stay informed about contest news.

Is there a school near you that could use your vote? Check here to see.

~ GIVEAWAY ~
Win a booklet of coupons worth $25 for Del Monte fruit! Just leave a comment below. The only requirement is that you follow my blog with Google Friend Connect (see sidebar). That's it! Leave as many comments as you like, just say you want to win, talk about this great campaign, tell us about a school near you that could use a vote or two, etc. Be sure and leave an email address so I can contact you if you win! I will also verify that the winner is following me with Google Friend Connect before notifying.

Giveaway ends midnight CST Thursday November 11. Winner will be chosen by using Random.org and notified by email. You must respond to the email with your name and mailing address within 48 hours or another winner will be chosen. The booklet worth $25 for Del Monte fruit will be mailed to you. Good luck!

Disclosure: I was provided with a $25 booklet for Del Monte fruit for posting about this campaign. No other monetary consideration was involved.

Join the Frigidaire "Set a Place at the Kids' Table" campaign

At any family gathering, it's easy to predict where the loudest laughs and silliest squeals will be coming from - the kids' table! Just like turkey and all the trimmings, the kids' table is a holiday tradition where good times rule. This year, Frigidaire and Jennifer Garner are asking everyone to set a place at their "virtual kids' table" for a child in need.
This great new campaign supports Save the Children's efforts and ensures that kids have access to healthy foods this holiday season and all year long. Starting today, at MakeTimeforChange.com, when you set a place at the virtual kids' table, Frigidaire will donate $1 to support Save the Children's work to help children in need in the U.S., as part of their $500,000 commitment to this worthy cause.
This is a great way to help out a worthy cause and maybe win something for yourself too! And it couldn't be easier! Simply go to the MakeTimeForChange.com website and "set a place". Pick a plate for your virtual children's table setting, enter your email address, and you're all set! Plus, every day that you do this, Frigidaire will donate $1 to Save the Children for every time you set a place and register between 10/5/10 and 1/15/11 with a minimum of $40,000 and a maximum of $45,000.
Disclosure: For sharing this information, I have been entered for a chance to win a gift as part of the Frigidaire program.

November 6, 2010

Amber Love - Inspired by Finn! {giveaway}

Amber has always held a fascination for me. I don't know if it's just the warm colors or the "imperfections" or the sheer antiquity of it. Whatever it is, amber has been high on my jewelry list for years.

Inspired by Finn has some of the most beautiful amber jewelry I've ever seen. And the prices are so affordable! I'm sure you've seen some stunning amber jewelry, but the prices were also stunning. Literally. Amber isn't really a gemstone - it's neither a gem nor a stone. Actually it's fossilized tree resin. But you'd think it was a precious jewel from some of the prices you see for amber jewelry.

But Inspired by Finn has made amber affordable for everyone.

Take a look at this stunning necklace of maple Baltic amber chips that I received for this review -


Lovely, isn't it? I just love the warmth of the amber colors and the slight translucency of the beads. Another thing I absolutely love is that the necklace string is knotted after each bead, so even if you happen to break it (gasp!!) beads won't go flying everywhere. This is a feature found only in the best beaded jewelry (like pearls).

I also love how it connects at the back, with a screw-like piece instead of the usual hard to handle claw clasp. I don't know if you can see it in this photo or not, but you simply put the screw piece into the receiving end and screw it in. Nothing could be easier! No more fumbling with lobster-claw clasps or requiring help putting it on.


This is such a pretty necklace and I've really enjoyed wearing it!

Inspired by Finn has a lot of great information on Baltic amber (which is the amber they use for their jewelry). Here's just a little bit from their website --

Historically, Baltic Amber has been used in Europe as a natural and traditional remedy and curative for many ailments for centuries. Long ago it was considered one of the leading ‘medicines’ of its time. Baltic Amber is the most esteemed amber in the world, and the healing qualities of Baltic Amber make it unlike any other type of amber found in the world.

Wait, what? Healing qualities? Yes. Amber releases a certain oil when warmed by the body and some believe that this oil helps fight many different ailments and conditions, such as analgesic properties (pain relief), restoring oxygen and energy to depleted cells, and helping to boost the body's immune system.

And it's aesthetically appealing too. What more could you want?

I have worn my Inspired by Finn Baltic amber necklace for several days, even sleeping in it (but taking it off for bathing) and to be honest I haven't been able to tell any dramatic difference in how I feel. Maybe I haven't worn it long enough yet. Maybe its effects are more subtle and I'm the type who looks for dramatic results right away. Whatever the case, I cannot tell you that Baltic amber will help cure what ails you. Maybe it will. Maybe it won't.

But it can't hurt to try, can it? And have the pleasure of wearing something so beautiful!


You can get your own beautiful Baltic amber piece at Inspired by Finn. And if you're interested in the potential health benefits of hazelwood, they also offer lots of products with that as well. Yeah, I know...we haven't even discussed hazelwood yet! It is yet another natural substance with alleged healing properties.

But perhaps we'll save that discussion for a future review. :)

Are you intrigued yet? Do you know someone who might love some Baltic amber as a gift? Well, you're in luck! I've got a special discount code just in time for gift shopping!

If you "like" Inspired by Finn on Facebook, you can get 20% off your next order! Just click the "like" button on their Facebook page here, then enter this discount code when you check out your order: FBG20 The discount is applied to website prices.

20% not good enough? Then how about 25%? Wow! 25% off your Inspired by Finn order if you "like" them on Facebook and suggest that your Facebook friends like them too! Doing that is super easy... after you've clicked "like" to like them, just look on the upper left hand side and click where it says "suggest to friends". Simple as that! And you get 25% off your next order by using this discount code on checkout: FBG25

And shipping in the US is only $1.95! This is one sweet deal. Grab it now before it's gone.

Want to try some Baltic amber before buying it as gifts? Then check this out! Inspired by Finn is sponsoring a giveaway!


~~GIVEAWAY~~
One lucky Shady Lady reader will win their choice of any amber necklace in stock that is 16" or less! Lucky you!! This giveaway is open to US residents only please.

Entering is easy. Please do the mandatory first step before doing the extra entries. Winner will be determined by using Random.org. Entries will be verified before winner is contacted, so please make sure you use the same username, name, and/or email address for each entry, or tell me how to identify you. And PLEASE leave an email address in your comment if it is not publicly visible on your blog! Thank you for adhering to these giveaway rules.

~~Mandatory~~
Visit the Inspired by Finn website and pick out which necklace you would like to win (16" or less and in stock only, please). This step is required before extra entries will count. Please don't copy from someone else's post.

Extra entries - please leave separate comments for each:
*One extra entry if you follow my blog through Blogger or Google Friend Connect. (see sidebar) Current followers qualify also.

*One extra entry if you follow me on Twitter @tnshadylady Leave your Twitter id. Current followers qualify also.

*One extra entry if you friend me on Facebook. Current fans/friends/followers qualify also. Get a bonus extra entry if you share this giveaway on your Facebook page.

*DAILY ENTRY - Tweet this giveaway and leave a link to your tweet. Feel free to copy and paste:

#Giveaway #Win beautiful Baltic Amber necklace from Inspired by Finn! @tnshadylady http://bit.ly/9WD5QD ends 11/15

*One extra entry if you follow with Networked Blogs. (see sidebar) Current followers qualify also.

*One extra entry if you like Inspired by Finn on Facebook. Get a bonus extra entry if you leave a comment that you entered to win at Shady Lady (http://tnshadylady.blogspot.com)

*One entry each if you are a subscriber to my email updates and/or rss feed. (see sidebar) Tell me what email address and/or reader you use. Current subscribers qualify also.

*One extra entry if you tell me something you learned about Baltic amber from the Inspired by Finn website, other than what I already mentioned. (please don't copy from someone else's post)

*FIVE ENTRIES - Help me spread the word! Post this giveaway on your own blog or giveaway site or linky. Leave me a link so I can verify. Be sure to leave five separate comments.

*FIVE ENTRIES - Post my button on your blog. It must be on your main page. Leave a link so I can verify. Be sure to leave five separate comments.

Giveaway closes midnight CST Monday November 15, 2010. Giveaway open to US residents only please. Winner will be chosen by Random.org and notified by email. Winner will have 48 hours to respond, or another winner will be chosen.

Remember to leave separate comments for each method of entry! This is the only way to be sure that you get all your entries. And if you are already a subscriber or follower, you still get those entries! So be sure to get all the entries you are entitled to.

Disclaimer: I was provided a sample necklace from Inspired by Finn gratis in exchange for providing an unbiased review of the product. (Thanks Rachel!) No other monetary consideration was involved, and my review was not influenced in any way.

I don't do mornings...so bite me! {review}

I'm an absolute slug in the mornings. Until I've had my coffee, don't even talk to me. I won't respond. Or if I do respond, you might not like what I have to say.

Can't help it. Been that way all my life.

Don't like it? Bite me.

I might even tell you that too. But now I don't have to actually say it. I can give you a graphic illustration.

No, not that, silly! I mean this:


That's a piece of toast, in case you can't tell from the picture. And it has "Bite Me" burned right into it.

Perfect.

Now I don't have to actually talk in the mornings until I'm good and ready (which may be a while, so pack a lunch).

PopArtToasterStore.com has this fabulous thing called the
Morning Bytes Gift Set that would make the perfect gift for someone you know who doesn't do mornings either.

Vintage toaster with 7 heat settings, 3 toasting functions, and a slide-out crumb tray comes with 2 stencil art plates: Bite Me and Ugh.. Also included is a 2-compartment melamine breakfast tray and a USB cup warmer that plugs into your computer. Price only $44.99

PopArtToasterStore.com sent me this amazing toaster set to review and I have to tell you, I haven't had this much fun in the morning in a long time!


Love the soothing retro color and look. And so easy to use. It's a regular toaster, only better.


The secret to the design is interchangable metal plates like the one I'm holding below.


These plates simply slide down into the toaster in metal slots and the rest is automatic. Nothing could be easier!


When you engage the toaster (just like a regular toaster, by pushing down the lever on the end) the bread slices are toasted like normal on one side, but the side next to the center of the toaster - next to the special plates - comes out with the fabulous design on them.


Yep, that's me in the morning!

The toaster comes with two design plates, "Bite Me" and the "Ugh.." un-smiley face. You can also easily remove the plates in case your in-laws are coming for breakfast. Or not. Your call. Just don't come crying to me when you serve your mother-in-law toast that says "Bite Me".

The toaster also has seven heat settings, but the recommended setting is between 3 and 4, which is what I used for the above pieces of toast. You can adjust to your preference, of course. I happen to like mine almost burnt, really crispy. This toaster does a wonderful job. Don't let the design and special plates fool you, this is still a toaster and it works beautifully.

It also has this really handy slide-out crumb tray that makes cleanup a breeze. You know how some toasters have a little door/latch on the underside that you swing open to release the crumbs and hope you're holding it over the sink or garbage can when you do? Forget that. This tray does the job so much better.


Another thing I love about this Morning Bytes Gift Set is the cup warmer that is powered through a USB cable. Yep! No more hunting for an electrical outlet to plug in your cup warmer. Just plug the cable into your computer USB port and keep your coffee warm while at the computer. Love it!


All in all, this is one fantastic package for that special person on your gift list who can relate to the "bite me" and "ugh.." sentiments.

Like me.

As a consumer reviewer, I love showing you products like this, but I am also aware of my responsibility. There is one small design problem that I want to make you aware of with this toaster.


This is the back of the same toast. See the triangle-shaped indents? The way the toaster gets the graphic impression on your bread is by pressing a spring-loaded metal bar (triangular, just like the shapes above) against the bread slice to hold it firmly against the graphic plate. This bar only engages when you engage the toaster by pushing down on the lever on the end.

Problem is, we all know that bread slices often are not perfectly square or perfectly flat. So the first batch I toasted almost burned up because the bread slice got hung on the bar because it was not perfectly flat. I had a slight moment of panic as I saw smoke rising and didn't know what to do to stop it. (now that will wake you up in the morning!!)


But all I had to do was push the "cancel" button on the end and the process stopped, cutting off the heating elements and releasing the bar off the bread slice so that I was able to easily remove it. (love this feature! wish all toasters had a "cancel" button instead of having to manually raise the lever)

Okay, so maybe "problem" is not the correct word to use here. Let's just say I want you to be aware of this and not leave the toaster unattended, or watch your little ones when they use it, because the bar will continue to hold the bread against the heated plate as long as the toaster is engaged... and if the bread slice is "warped" and preventing the toast from popping up when done, well... you can see my concern.

But overall that's a small thing when you look at the benefit of this wonderful toaster. Wouldn't it be great to put a smile on the face of that grumpy non-morning person in your life?

And just so you know, there are interchangable plates if "bite me" and "ugh.." aren't quite your cup of tea. There are lots of different ones and each is only $3.25!

PopArtToasterStore.com has much more fun in store for you! Go take a look at all the great things they offer. I'm sure you'll find something perfect for yourself or for a gift.

Disclaimer: I was provided a sample Morning Bytes Gift Set gratis in exchange for providing an unbiased review of the product. (Thanks Dana!) No other monetary consideration was involved, and my review was not influenced in any way.