Fabulous Reviews and Giveaways Coming Up in April

On April 13, 2011, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
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We have an exciting list of reviews and giveaways in the works as we approach Mother’s Day!  We’re going to test some products from some of our favorite sponsors and add some new sponsors to our “family”.  Be watching for our posts about testing: Boves Garlic Pasta Sauce (Did you know April is National Garlic […]

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We have an exciting list of reviews and giveaways in the works as we approach Mother’s Day!  We’re going to test some products from some of our favorite sponsors and add some new sponsors to our “family”.  Be watching for our posts about testing:

  1. Boves Garlic Pasta Sauce (Did you know April is National Garlic month?)
  2. Bodycology Pampering Spa Basket of Sweet Petals fragranced products
  3. King Arthur Flour Pizza Party package that includes a baking stone! 
  4. Mastermind Board Game from Pressman Toys 
  5. Mastermind Towers from Pressman Toys (so your younger kids can get in on the fun.)

    Mastermind Animal Towers Board Game

  6. Purex Complete with Zout Stain Remover (2 winners will receive a coupon for a full-sized bottle.) 

The great news?  Each of these companies is also sponsoring a giveaway!!!  Busy-at-Home readers will all have a chance to win these products for their own family!  Check back often or subscribe to our email updates, so you won’t miss any of these great giveaways!

Jump Start Virtual World: A Review & Giveaway

On February 9, 2011, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
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I’m a pretty tech savvy person and I enjoy learning opportunities that can incorporate computer use into our homeschool activities.  I also like when the time spent at the computer, can have some educational value.  The past couple of weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to explore and use Jump Start’s new online Virtual World with […]

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I’m a pretty tech savvy person and I enjoy learning opportunities that can incorporate computer use into our homeschool activities.  I also like when the time spent at the computer, can have some educational value.  The past couple of weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to explore and use Jump Start’s new online Virtual World with my nine-year-old and two granddaughters, ages 3 & 4.

My first confession has to be that as tech savvy as I may be, virtual world video games are usually not my cup of tea.  Before sharing this fun site with my favorite small people, I logged on and browsed around by myself.  I quickly learned that I needed a guide. – lol – After a cursory circle of the game map, I honestly had convinced myself that maybe this wasn’t going to be as great as I had first anticipated.   For me personally, there was so much going on that I was overwhelmed.  Having already created characters for each of the girls, I decided to go ahead and call my nine-year-old to see what she thought.  She slid into the chair beside me and within minutes, had taken over my laptop.  She was screaming through the virtual world, visiting ant farms and answering science trivia questions.

The hatchery where kids can care for their dragon egg until it hatches.

She adopted an “egg”,  which she promptly painted pink and purple and later hatched into a dragon (I think), in a place called “The Enchanted Sanctuary”.  :)  She absolutely adores JumpStart.com and finds something new to do each time she visits.

Once hatched, the dragon provides children with several interactive play opportunities.

Main Street is the starting point for all the adventures.  Exploring there will take you to gateways and doors leading to a variety of fun and educational experiences.

An overhead view of Main Street. Each building is a new place/game adventure to explore.

At first glance, I was afraid this was just another video game, but as I spent time watching our daughter roam through the various points of interest in the game, I realized there is a great deal of educational value packed into all the fun.  JumpStart.com definitely helps to fine tune small motor skills, as well as eye-hand coordination.  Every activity requires patience, strategy and even some analytical thinking to complete the puzzles or quests.  I was simply amazed at the speed with which the girls’ minds adapted to each new challenge and they began whirring through the game.  It was impressive because I know with great certainty, that this middle-aged brain, in concert with my less than nimble fingers, could never wrap around some of the motor skills they handled with ease.

A view of the Ancient World in Future Land. Students can also visit Industrial Land for other challenges in Future Land.

I say “they” because I also turned my four-year-old granddaughter loose in “Storyland”.  She has had the opportunity to “visit” there several times, now and becomes so engrossed in the activities that even after an hour or more of play, cries when it is time to log off.  She has the opportunity to practice letter and number recognition and practice other educational skills, all while playing her way through the fun virtual world.  As with my daughter, she finds something new to do with each visit and can’t wait until the next time she can play.

This is the Pet Playground in Storyland.

The Paint Program in Story Land.

Identifying the pictures that match the number 9 in Story Land.

JumpStart.com continues to grow and add new areas, too.  Currently, there are tons of Valentine themed options: rides like a heart-themed skateboard, hippity hop bounce ball or a magic carpet or the new swan ride in the Love-ly Swan Ride Fun Zone.  Your puzzle lovers will like the challenge of the new Box of Chocolates Maze.  There is no doubt in my mind that the site will continue to grow and add even more challenges, over time.  Seasonal options continue to pop up and as one is about to “close”, so the new one  can open, the Jump Start blog makes the announcement, as well as there being notices posted in the game world.  (The blog is a great place for parents to learn more about JumpStart.com and get any updates about new activities, plus tips on learning and using technology to support education.)

Valentine themed magic carpet ride.

Kids can take a swan ride in the new Love-ly Swan Ride Fun Zone.

As with any online, virtual world, parents will want to participate and know how their children are interacting with the game.  Get involved and watch your child learn in exciting new ways.  It’s an amazing and wonderful thing, but they still need you to be a part of it.  They have the opportunity to interact with other kids in this game.  That option has to be set up, in order to use it, and of course, you will want to know who they are learning with.  Kids collect coins and stars as rewards for completing challenges and puzzle levels.    We haven’t personally done too much with them, yet, but I understand they can be “spent” in the various shops scattered throughout Jump Start’s virtual world.  Your students can also win ribbons and trophies for their achievements in the game.  You can also connect JumpStart.com with your Facebook account to be automatically updated about what your kids are doing and achieving in their virtual world fun.

Screen shot of part of the Achievements section of a child's profile.

Two players racing in Ship Wreck Lagoon.

I have watched both girls learn various skills and information in the subjects of math, reading, language arts and grammar skills, science and history while being so engrossed in a game that they hardly realized they were learning.  They learn computer skills, art and critical thinking.  I witnessed the use of fine motor skills and strengthening of eye-hand coordination.  I also got to watch them have tremendous fun while doing it.  As with the Jump Start software and programs that our family has been pleased to use, previously, Jump Start’s new virtual world has educational AND entertainment value.  For kids who are so in tune with the technological advances of our modern day, it’s a most logical way to learn.  JumpStart.com will definitely be put to regular use in our household.

Screen shot of the Quizinator. This one is for science and students can select the "level" that is age-appropriate for the difficulty of questions they will receive. Younger children can answer things as simple as matching games, while older children are challenged with harder questions.

You can go, right now, and join JumpStart.com, so your family can start enjoying the great learning fun.  When you do, you will set things up in the Parent’s Area.  You have your own password to enter there.  It’s where you will add kids to your account and create individual passwords for them.  It’s also where you will decide whether or not to allow them to interact with other kids in the virtual world and if so, to create their “buddy list”, the only people they will be able to interact with.  When you sign up for a membership, it includes access to JumpStart.com, Learning Adventure’s other virtual world, MathBlaster.com AND four downloadable games to play right on your own computer.  You can try it out and explore JumpStart.com for free, but to use all the areas, levels and other worlds, you’ll need a membership.  The membership is good for up to six kids and you can decide if you want to take part month-to-month (only $7.99/mo), annually ($74.99/yr) or the best value, a lifetime membership ($149.99).

One Busy-at-Home reader is going to receive THREE FREE MONTHS for their own family, due to the generosity of the great folks at Knowledge Adventure!

Giveaway Rules:

You must be 18 or older and a resident of the U.S. to win.  Mandatory Entry must be completed for any other entries to count.  Winner will be selected at random from all verified entries, using random.org.  Deadline to enter is midnight (CST), Sunday, February 27, 2011.

Mandatory Entry:

Visit JumpStart.com and then leave me a comment  telling me something you really liked or something new that you learned about the site.


Additional Optional Entries:

  1. Follow JumpStart.com on Twitter and leave a comment, below, letting me know you did, as well as your Twitter handle.
  2. Like JumpStart.com on Facebook and leave a comment, below, letting me know you did, as well as your Facebook Name.
  3. Follow Busy-at-Home on Twitter.  Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  4. Like Busy-at-Home on Facebook. Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  5. Follow Busy-at-Home on Google Friends Connect.  Use the “Join” button in the right-hand sidebar.  Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  6. Subscribe to the Busy-at-Home Newsletter with this link (or in the right-hand sidebar).  You will receive an email confirmation with a link that must be clicked to confirm your subscription.  Once you click the email link to confirm your subscription, leave me a comment to let me know you’ve done it.
  7. Post this giveaway on your Facebook pageEnter to win THREE FREE MONTHS for your kids at JumpStart.com!  Learning is extraordinary fun there!  Enter the giveaway at Busy-at-Home. http://busy-at-home.com/blog/jump-start-virtual-world-a-review-giveaway/ Leave a comment below with a link to your post.
  8. Tweet this giveaway (1x daily) : Enter to win 3 FREE MONTHS at JumpStart.com! Learning is extraordinary fun there! @busyathome @JumpStart_Erin #giveaway http://ow.ly/3UmyP Leave a comment below with a link to your tweet.


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Disclosure: I was provided with a JumpStart membership at no cost by Knowledge Adventure in order to test the products’ abilities and give my own personal opinions on it. The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but were not influenced by the company or the free product provided.

My Laundry Smells Like Summer! Purex Complete Crystals Fabric Softener Review & Giveaway

On February 1, 2011, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
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This Giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to the three winners! : #63, Scott’s Gal; #96, Erin G and #11, Nan Check your emails and reply within 48 hours, to claim your prize! You remember summer, right?  Today, it’s cold and snowy and blustery and icy and dreary and gray.  It’s winter.  I usually navigate the […]

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This Giveaway is now closed.

Congratulations to the three winners! : #63, Scott’s Gal; #96, Erin G and #11, Nan

Check your emails and reply within 48 hours, to claim your prize!

You remember summer, right?  Today, it’s cold and snowy and blustery and icy and dreary and gray.  It’s winter.  I usually navigate the first thirty days, or so, of winter with a reasonable amount of maturity and patience.  After that, all bets are off and I’m ready to move on to something a little more temperate.  But, since I have yet to patent an amazing weather control machine, I have no choice but to allow winter to run its course.  Oy!

Lots of baking and candles and warm, crackling fires in the fireplace help to lift my mood and take some of the sting out of Nebraska winters.  I enjoy the heat and welcome, homey appearance they generate, but even more than that, I love the smells.  Aroma can do so much to lift our spirits or take us back to a wonderful memory.  It can make us feel warm and welcome and content.  I am so intrigued by the power scent has on the brain and delighted at its effects.

The Purex Crystals family of fragrances: Lavender Blossom, Fresh Spring Waters and Tropical Splash

About two weeks ago, I was selected as a Purex Insider, which means as new products are introduced by Purex, Busy-at-Home readers will be some of the first people to hear about them.  I’m excited to share Purex’s new Complete Crystals  Fabric Softener with you and let you in on my favorite thing about them — the fragrances.  For two weeks, my laundry room has given me hope for the end of bleak and frosty, and the beginning of the freshness of spring along with the delightful fragrance of summer blossoms.  I have had the opportunity to try two different scents of Purex Complete Crystals –  Fresh Spring Waters and Lavender Blossom.   They are both wonderful!  The fragrance fills the laundry room as the clothes are washing, but even more importantly, our clothes are infused with the fresh scents, even after drying.

Purex Complete Crystals are unique in comparison to other fabric softeners you may have tried.   They are not fabric sheets, nor are they liquid.  They are deeply fragrant, crystalline “pellets” that you add as you are loading your washing machine.  Simply add detergent as you normally would, then measure the appropriate amount of Purex Crystals for your load and sprinkle them over the top of the clothes.  Run your washer as usual and enjoy the fabulous scent as the clothes are washing, as you move them from the washer to the dryer and as you put away the clean, dry clothes.  The fragrance remains in the fabric, plus the clothes are wonderfully static-free and soft.

How does this unique product work?  Over time, traditional oil-based softeners coat fibers causing harmful oily residue to accumulate.  Purex Complete Crystals Softeners penetrate fabrics to reduce fiber entanglement and smooth frayed fibers providing a naturally soft feel.  They are safe for all laundry and will not harm, wear down or discolor your fabrics like oil-based softeners.  Purex shared that this great new fabric softener will:

  • Preserve the flame retardant benefits of your children’s clothes
  • Retain your athletic wear’s wicking ability which draws sweat away from your body
  • Maintain your towels’ built-in ability to absorb water
  • Keep your white clothing from yellowing and graying vs. using traditional softeners

Another thing that I love is how simple it is to use, even for my youngest and oldest (translated “messiest”) helpers in the laundry room.  Measuring is simple with the included cup AND there is no sticky liquid dripping down the side of the bottle the next time I pick it up.  I also don’t have the spent dryer sheets lying on the floor or sticking in my flannel jammies.  Yay!  Purex Complete Crystal Fabric Softener delivers on every expectation I have for fabric softener and gives me hope for spring, to boot.  You can’t ask much more than that from laundry.  :)

The best news of all is that Purex is going to provide three Busy-at-Home readers with their own visions for spring!  Yup, three of you will receive coupons for FREE full-sized bottles of Purex Complete Crystal Fabric Softener!  How great is that!

Giveaway Rules:

You must be at least 18 and a resident of the U.S. to enter.  Mandatory entry must be completed before any additional entries will be counted.  Winners will be selected by random drawing using random.org.  Deadline for entry is midnight (CST), Sunday February 13, 2011.

Mandatory Entry:

Leave a comment telling me which fragrance of Purex Complete Crystals Fabric Softener you would like to try — Fresh Spring Waters, Lavender Blossom or Tropical Splash.


Additional Optional Entries:

  1. Follow Purex on Twitter and leave a comment, below, letting me know you did, as well as your Twitter handle.
  2. Like Purex on Facebook and leave a comment, below, letting me know you did, as well as your Facebook Name.
  3. Follow Busy-at-Home on Twitter.  Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  4. Like Busy-at-Home on Facebook. Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  5. Follow Busy-at-Home on Google Friends Connect.  Use the “Join” button in the right-hand sidebar.  Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  6. Subscribe to the Busy-at-Home Newsletter with this link (or in the right-hand sidebar).  You will receive an email confirmation with a link that must be clicked to confirm your subscription.  Once you click the email link to confirm your subscription, leave me a comment to let me know you’ve done it.
  7. Post this giveaway on your Facebook pageEnter to win a FREE full-sized bottle of new Purex Complete Crystals Fabric Softener from Purex Busy-at-Home. http://busy-at-home.com/blog/my-laundry-smells-like-summer-purex-fabric-softener-crystals-review-giveaway/ Leave a comment below with a link to your post.
  8. Tweet this giveaway (1x daily) : Win a FREE full-sized bottle @Purex Complete Crystals Fabric Softener @busyathome #review #giveaway http://busy-at-home.com/blog/my-laundry-smells-like-summer-purex-fabric-softener-crystals-review-giveaway/ Leave a comment below with a link to your tweet.

As a Purex Insider, I received product information, a sample bottle of Fresh Spring Waters and a full-sized bottle of Lavender Blossom in order to conduct this review.  No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required.  Views and opinions expressed are wholly my own. Purex will provide coupons for three full-sized bottles for the giveaway and will ship them directly to each winner.

There’s A SHELF in the Front Hall Closet??!!??

On January 22, 2011, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
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“Mom!  Where’s my shoes, dance bag, mittens, lunch box…?”  (You fill in the blank, because I know you know just what I mean.) “It’s on the shelf in the front hall closet.” “There’s a SHELF in the front hall closet??!!!??” Houston, we have a problem.  :)  I love our new home and am so happy […]

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“Mom!  Where’s my shoes, dance bag, mittens, lunch box…?”  (You fill in the blank, because I know you know just what I mean.)

“It’s on the shelf in the front hall closet.”

“There’s a SHELF in the front hall closet??!!!??”

Houston, we have a problem.  :)  I love our new home and am so happy to be settled, but like most houses it has a few little quirks.  The depths of the deep, dark abyss that is our front hall closet is one of them.  It’s actually quite lovely, if you could see it.  An expedition with a flashlight will reveal two full-width upper shelves above an ample coat bar and to the right, four more shelves built into the side-wall.  It really is fairly spacious and abounds with storage space, if we could only see it.  But alas, as with many homes of its generation, the builder did not think to install a light.  The closet is near the front door, but situated at an angle where no natural light is received for the wonderful two-and-a half-foot deep storage shelves along the side wall. That means that some of us are not aware that we could be storing things on the closet shelves and SOME of us can’t find the things we already tossed into that place where all lost mittens and mismatched shoes go to retire.

Wireless Ceiling Light

Mr. Beams Anywhere Ceiling Light

Imagine my delight when I received an opportunity through Mom Spark Media, to review a Mr. Beams Anywhere Ceiling Light.  It is completely wireless, running on four C batteries.  It emits a brilliant, white LED light that is motion activated.  I love that!  It pops on the minute I open the closet door and shuts itself off after 30 seconds with no movement.  That’s better than a light switch!  It also has a photocell that prevents the light from turning on if there is sufficient daylight without it, so it is designed to really protect your batteries.  Never having to replace the lightbulb is another amazing feature.  The light even came with it’s own mounting plate and screws.  It was an easy install and if I was willing to give it up (I definitely am not!), it would be easy to take down and move into some of the other ill-lit spots in our home.  Best of all, I can’t believe how much light comes from that small fixture!  I’m so pleased.

wireless ceiling light diagram

Mr. Beams Anywhere Ceiling Light Features

Mr. Beams Anywhere Lights are weatherproof, so they can be installed indoors or out.  Use them to light up a shower stall, decks, porches, entry ways, closets, stairs, garages, attics or crawl spaces.  The possibilities actually seem limitless, too me.  As a matter of fact, we will likely add one or two more to our collection of no-light closets.  The great thing is that Mr. Beams has provided Busy-at-Home readers with a 20% discount off your orders by using our exclusive coupon code, MRBEAMS36. Now, you can save money and try out these fabulous lights for yourself!

pantry shower

Use suggestions. Photos supplied by Mr. Beams.

Plus, Mr. Beams has generously offered to sponsor a giveaway of one of these fabulous lights for a Busy-at-Home reader!

Giveaway Rules:

You must be 18 or older to enter and reside in the U.S.  The mandatory entry MUST be completed for any optional entries to be counted.  Winner will be selected by random drawing using random.org.  Deadline to enter is midnight (CST), Sunday, January 30, 2011.

Mandatory Entry:

In  a comment below, tell me where a Mr. Beams Anywhere Ceiling Light would be perfect to light up the dark in your house.

Additional Optional Entries:

  1. Follow Mr. Beams on Twitter and leave a comment, below, letting me know you did, as well as your Twitter handle.
  2. Like Mr. Beams on Facebook and leave a comment, below, letting me know you did, as well as your Facebook Name.
  3. Follow Busy-at-Home on Twitter.  Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  4. Like Busy-at-Home on Facebook. Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  5. Follow Busy-at-Home on Google Friends Connect.  Use the “Join” button in the right-hand sidebar.  Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  6. Subscribe to the Busy-at-Home Newsletter with this link (or in the right-hand sidebar).  You will receive an email confirmation with a link that must be clicked to confirm your subscription.  Once you click the email link to confirm your subscription, leave me a comment to let me know you’ve done it.
  7. Post this giveaway on your Facebook pageEnter to win a Mr. Beams Wireless Anywhere Light at Busy-at-Home! http://busy-at-home.com/blog/theres-a-shelf-in-the-front-hall-closet/Leave a comment below with a link to your post.
  8. Tweet this giveaway (1x daily) : Enter to win a Mr. Beams Wireless Anywhere Light at Busy-at-Home! @busyathome @MrBeamsLED  #review #giveaway http://ow.ly/3IgeR Leave a comment below with a link to your tweet.

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.I was provided a Mr. Beams Anywhere Ceiling Light, through Mom Spark Media, in order to test the product and conduct this review.  A second light will be provided for the giveaway prize and shipped directly to the winner.  No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required.  The views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.

Progresso Soup and a SOUPer New You! Review & Giveaway

On January 18, 2011, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
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I don’t buy many canned soups.  I’m more of a scratch-cooking kind of girl, but I do keep some on hand for those hectic nights when I need something warm and quick for a family supper.  When our kids were small, the skinny noodles with an occasional cube of “chicken” would cut it, but my […]

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I don’t buy many canned soups.  I’m more of a scratch-cooking kind of girl, but I do keep some on hand for those hectic nights when I need something warm and quick for a family supper.  When our kids were small, the skinny noodles with an occasional cube of “chicken” would cut it, but my hearty-eaters definitely need something a little more substantial, nowadays.  Progresso soups have chunks of vegetables and meat, they’re well seasoned and they taste good.  They are a better option for our family, at this stage of life.

Progresso wants to help us meet our "shaping up" goals for 2011.

I recently received the opportunity to review some Progresso Soup flavors that we hadn’t tried before.  I had no idea that they actually sell 40 different varieties, so it was a treat to try them.  The soups I received were “light”, meaning they had fewer than 100 calories per serving.  They are being promoted as part of Progresso’s Souper You™ Debut” contest!  From January 3rd through March 16th, you can visit Progresso on Facebook to enter for the chance to win a full makeover in New York City.  I could definitely use that kind of pampering and an all new look.

The soup flavors we tried were: Light Chicken Noodle, Light New England Clam Chowder, Light Vegetable Noodle, Light Santa Fe Chicken and Light Beef Pot Roast.  My husband is the only person in our household that eats Clam Chowder and it MUST be the New England variety.  He is picky about his chowder and he gave this one two-thumbs up, so I was very impressed.  He told me that being light, it was not as thick as the clam chowder he is used to, but the flavor was spot on.  The other  flavors were polished off in no time, for lunches, over a few days when I wasn’t feeling well and not doing much cooking.  There’s no question these soups aren’t homemade, but there is also no question that  Progresso soups far exceed the average canned soup fare.  We were well-satisfied.

Great Progresso Prize pack. (Note that one can of soup is included in the prize, though two are pictured.)

To help motivate you for a “Souper New You” and to help you with your goals for shaping up in 2011, Busy-at-Home readers can PRINT A $1.00 off 4 cans coupon for Progresso Soup, plus thanks to My Blog Spark and Progresso, one lucky reader is going to win a prize pack, to help them shape up in 2011, containing:

  • a VIP coupon for a free can of Progresso soup
  • a yoga mat with zippered, mesh case
  • water bottle
  • set of aerobic bands
  • sport headband
  • two sport wristbands

Giveaway Rules:

Entrants must be 18 or older and a resident of the United States.  Mandatory entry must be completed before optional entries will be counted.  Winner will be selected in a random drawing using random.org.  Deadline for entry is midnight, Sunday January 30, 2011.

Mandatory Entry:

Visit Progresso online and in a comment below, tell me which of their many soup flavors you would like to try.

Optional Additional Entries:

  1. Like Progresso on Facebook. Leave a comment below letting me know you did.  Be sure to include your Facebook name, so I can find you in their fans list.
  2. Follow Busy-at-Home on Twitter.  Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  3. Like Busy-at-Home on Facebook. Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  4. Follow Busy-at-Home publicly on Google Friends Connect.  Use the “Join” button in the right-hand sidebar.  Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  5. Subscribe to the Busy-at-Home Newsletter with this link (or in the right-hand sidebar).  You will receive an email confirmation with a link that must be clicked to confirm your subscription.  Once you click the email link to confirm your subscription, leave me a comment to let me know you’ve done it.
  6. Post this giveaway on your Facebook page. I want to win Progresso Soup and a shape-up kit with a yoga mat, water bottle, set of aerobic bands, sport headband and wristbands!  Thanks Busy-at-Home, Progresso and My Blog Spark!
    Leave a comment below with a link to your post.
  7. Tweet this giveaway (1x daily) : Win Progresso Soup & a shape-up kit with a yoga mat, water bottle, set of aerobic bands, & more @busyathome! http://ow.ly/3FwIc #giveaway Leave a comment below with a link to your tweet.

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I received 5 cans of Progresso Soup and the shape-up kit described, above, from My Blog Spark and Progresso, in order to conduct this review.  No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required.  Views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.

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Skin MD Natural Shielding Lotion Review and Giveaway

On January 11, 2011, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
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Before the holidays, I was approached to review Skin MD Natural Shielding Lotion.  After visiting their website and reading about the product, I gladly accepted the opportunity.  My husband has suffered with eczema on the knuckles of his hands for the last several years.  They often get to the point of cracking and bleeding.  The […]

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Skin MD

The Skin MD Natural Shielding Lotion we reviewed.

Before the holidays, I was approached to review Skin MD Natural Shielding Lotion.  After visiting their website and reading about the product, I gladly accepted the opportunity.  My husband has suffered with eczema on the knuckles of his hands for the last several years.  They often get to the point of cracking and bleeding.  The patchy, scaly skin is itchy and can make him so miserable, at times.  After seeing the pictures and testimonials at the Skin MD website, I was anxious for him to try the Shielding Lotion.

I never even got a chance to take a “before” picture of his hands.  When the package arrived, he was so anxious, he opened and tried it before I was aware we had received it.  He started experiencing relief from the itching with the first application and within a day, his knuckles were less inflamed.  After using it for several weeks, now, he is a die-hard fan.  His eczema has not gone away completely, but it is barely noticeable, only one small patch on one knuckle, and he has not experienced any of the discomfort or severe dryness and cracking that was a part of his every-day life, before.

I’m neither a doctor, nor a scientist, but I do know when something works.  The explanation of just how is thoroughly detailed on the Skin MD website.  Their explanation of what our modern environment does to our skin is magnified in my mind when I think of the machinery and stresses my husband’s hands are exposed to in his work.  He has remarked several times that Skin MD was not greasy, but that it seems to form some sort of barrier over his hands, protecting them from the damage of the elements.  This makes sense with the website’s explanation of how Skin MD Shielding lotion actually bonds with the skin to increase the skins ability to form a protective layer, which we are constantly stripping away with soaps and cleansers.  However it works, Skin MD Shielding Lotion is exactly what we’ve been looking for to relieve the discomforts of my husband’s eczema.  We realize it can’t be “cured”, however we are content with the comfort and relief of symptoms that no other product has provided.  We can highly recommend this product for others seeking that same relief.  So, whether you have a more serious skin condition or just need to rescue your skin from the dry winter air, check out their website and see the benefits for you and your family.

You can purchase your own wonderful Skin MD Shielding Lotion by visiting the store on their website or using the store locator on the same site to find a local retailer or pharmacy where you can pick up a bottle.  Plus, Skin MD has generously offered to award a full-sized bottle of Skin MD Natural Shielding Lotion to a lucky Busy-at-Home reader!  Enter the giveaway, below.

Giveaway Rules:

You must be 18 or older and a resident of the US to enter.  The mandatory entry must be completed for any other entries to count.  The winner will be selected by random drawing using random.org.  Deadline for entry is midnight (CST), Sunday, January 30, 2011.

Mandatory Entry:

Visit the Skin MD Natural website and leave a comment below describing one new thing you learned about the product or company.

Optional Additional Entries:

  1. Like Skin MD on Facebook.  Leave a comment below to let me know you’ve done it.
  2. Follow Skin MD on Twitter. Leave a comment to let me know you’ve done it.
  3. Follow Busy-at-Home on Twitter.  Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  4. Like Busy-at-Home on Facebook. Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  5. Follow Busy-at-Home on Google Friends Connect.  Use the “Join” button in the right-hand sidebar.  Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  6. Subscribe to the Busy-at-Home Newsletter with this link (or in the right-hand sidebar).  You will receive an email confirmation with a link that must be clicked to confirm your subscription.  Once you click the email link to confirm your subscription, leave me a comment to let me know you’ve done it.
  7. Post this giveaway on your Facebook pageEnter to win Skin MD Natural Shielding Lotion! http://busy-at-home.com/blog/skin-naturals-md-review-and-giveaway/
    Leave a comment below with a link to your post.
  8. Tweet this giveaway (1x daily) : Enter to win Skin MD Natural Shielding Lotion @busyathome @Skin MD Natural! http://busy-at-home.com/blog/skin-naturals-md-review-and-giveaway/  #review #giveaway Leave a comment below with a link to your tweet.

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I received a full-sized bottle of Skin MD Natural Shielding Lotion in order to conduct this review.  No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required.  The views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.


Make It Fun, Frugal & Fabulous AND an Anniversary Announcement

On August 25, 2010, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
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It’s been a while since I shared new projects for you to make easily at home.  I have two, today that I’m just going to tease you with, until I can get the full “how-to” tutorials posted and one that is so simple you won’t need a tutorial. This adorable apron I made for our […]

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It’s been a while since I shared new projects for you to make easily at home.  I have two, today that I’m just going to tease you with, until I can get the full “how-to” tutorials posted and one that is so simple you won’t need a tutorial.

Concentration and diligence! That's my girl!

  1. This adorable apron I made for our cutie-patootie eight-year-old.  She is an aspiring baker and making her dad’s favorite chocolate mint cookies in this picture.  She loves wearing this apron and it was so easy with some odds and ends remnants from my sewing room.  I spent a lot of time online searching for vintage apron patterns (I just love the look of vintage aprons!) and I found these three on Ebay.  I also made two smaller aprons for our granddaughters, at the same time.  They use them at home in their play kitchen.  They also make good “bibs” to cover pretty church dresses or nice clothes at family gatherings.  Luckily, I have tracked down some great online versions to share with all of you, later.  Who do you know with a birthday coming and who on your Christmas list would LOVE a beautiful vintage apron?  Plan ahead, be frugal and make something fabulous that will be a treasure and be useful for years to come.  I can’t wait to show you the online patterns I’ve found and we can make them together in a step-by-step tutorial!

    A happy baker in her handmade apron.

  2. Projects made with my Cricut.  These are a handful of items I made as I received it just before Christmas, last year.  I literally pulled it out of the box and made these gifts, first thing.  You guys are seriously going to be able to have the best Christmas gifts, for less money, when we are done with the new series that’s coming.  (Ooops!  What new series?)  :)  These sweet little handbag money holders were so much more fun than just putting money in a card at Christmas time.  For our older daughters, last Christmas, their gift was money for a shopping day out with just mom and the girls.  I wanted to do something more than just throw money in a card.  The handbags turned out adorable and we hung them right on the Christmas tree.  I also used the Cricut to cut adhesive vinyl, attached the vinyl to glassware and then used glass etching gel to personalize some other fun Christmas gifts.  Can’t wait to show you how simple it is!

    Handbag Money Holders for Christmas

    Sometimes we all need a Happy Place like this.

    Pie Plate I etched using my Cricut.

    Cake pan Cricut etching project.

    I etched a salad bowl for my niece.

    Bottom of the bowl pictured above.

  3. For her eighth birthday, last year, our daughter had two friends over and their activity was to decorate pillowcases.  This was at our daughter’s request and at first all I could think of was “mess”, when she asked.  But, as I wandered through the fabric and craft department I came across these wonderful fabric markers.  I am in heaven!  And so is she.  Without the mess and without a lot of “let me help you” or “let me do that for you”, the girls were able to complete sweet little personalized pillowcases that went home as their party favors.  Our daughter has made several since which she has given as gifts and she is so proud to be able to do something on her own to give to people she loves.  We did sneak a little “puff” paint onto the clouds and such, with a little help from Mom, but it really wasn’t difficult or messy.  This is a great project to do with kids and you could use t-shirts, bibs, aprons, banners — let your imagination go crazy!

    Pillowcase made at the birthday party.

    Beginning a new pillowcase project for a gift.

    Close-up of the handiwork in progress. See the markers? (Right-click your mouse on any picture and select VIEW IMAGE to see it full-sized.

Hope you’re getting inspired for some great holiday projects, because I have some exciting news to share!  October 19 will be Busy-at-Home’s one-year anniversary.  I’ll be kicking off a brand new series called A Homemade Holiday.  We’ll be making Thanksgiving and Christmas projects to decorate your home and holiday tables, gifts you can make simply and frugally that will be received with excitement and accolades, delicious recipes to make your meals, celebrations and entertaining a smashing success and so many more fabulous things.  I’m working on finding some great sponsors who may be able to offer products to help us out with a few giveaways and discounts, so stay tuned to see what I come up with.  A Homemade Holiday will run from October 19 through the end of 2010.  You won’t want to miss a single, money-saving project; so be sure to save the date for our big anniversary kick-off!

Blogmania Bonus Entry Update! Do You Have all 20? Enter to win $1500+ in Prizes!

On August 5, 2010, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
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Have you filled out all the bonus entries available to you, so far, in our Blogmania 2010 giveaway event?  On September 15 & 16 you will have the opportunity to participate in giveaways totaling nearly $40,000, and now have over $1500, (with a couple more on the way),  in sponsored giveaway prizes being offered, right […]

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Have you filled out all the bonus entries available to you, so far, in our Blogmania 2010 giveaway event?  On September 15 & 16 you will have the opportunity to participate in giveaways totaling nearly $40,000, and now have over $1500, (with a couple more on the way),  in sponsored giveaway prizes being offered, right here at Busy-at-Home! Our theme is “Christmas at Home: A Celebration!” and you can’t believe the prizes we have lined up for you!

If you’ve missed the scoop, so far, you are going to be so excited!  On the 15th of September, my Blogmania Event page will go live!  It will host the links to the over 150 other blogs participating, so you can enter all their fabulous giveaways, too.  It will alos host the form that lets you enter to win over $1500 in prizes, right here at Busy-at-Home.  You will only fill out one entry form and be entered in EVERY giveaway we have listed!!!  So simple and easy, so you can move right on to the next blog and their giveaways.

But because you are the world’s best readers & supporters; and I want you to have every opportunity to win our extraordinary Christmas at Home: A Celebration Giveaways, I am offering opportunities for you to accumulate bonus entries, before the main event.  You can enter each of them one time and multiply your chances to be a Busy-at-Home, Blogmania event, giveaway winner!

You will only be allowed one entry on the 15th and one on the 16th.  Check this list that offers you twenty extra entries, so far, and make sure you have registered for all of them.  I can’t wait to give away all these fabulous prizes that will make your Christmas at Home an Amazing Celebration!!!

You must be 18 or older and a US resident to enter.  Bonus entry deadline is midnight Sept. 14.  Bonus Entries will not be available during the two-day Blogmania event, Sept. 15 & 16.  Drawings will be held and winners notified on September 17, 2010.  So, hurry!  Click through, now and add up your entries for a tremendous win in September!

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Well-Dressed Men Wear Argyle! A Lollipop Patch Kids Review & Giveaway, Plus a Blogmania Bonus for Readers!

On August 3, 2010, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
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Ready and waiting for lunch. I’m probably one of the most blessed women I know.  Seriously!  I have an awesome husband, five kids, ages 8, 14, 17, 24 & 26.  I have a son-in-law and soon-to-be son-in-law who are every mom’s dream for their daughters, and ice that whole cake with 3 adorable grandbabies!  God […]

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Ready and waiting for lunch.

I’m probably one of the most blessed women I know.  Seriously!  I have an awesome husband, five kids, ages 8, 14, 17, 24 & 26.  I have a son-in-law and soon-to-be son-in-law who are every mom’s dream for their daughters, and ice that whole cake with 3 adorable grandbabies!  God is good!  My favorite part of the week is when they are all “home”, gathered around the table for a visit and a meal.  Usually on Sundays, we can round up the largest part of the gang; and when it’s a birthday or a holiday they ALL gather around to celebrate and share the fun.

Last Sunday, we got a chance to include a review of these adorable Shirt-Saver Bibs, from Lollipop Patch Kids, in our family get-together.  Our grandson, just turned one in July and he was my perfect tester for these thick, durable custom bibs!

CLEARLY, she said lunch was READY, but this tray is still empty!    (At least I LOOK good in my cool Lollipop Patch Kids bib.) :)

His church clothes were perfectly protected under his fashionable, argyle-print bib.  As a matter of fact, his biggest concern was that Grandma needed to get lunch on the table faster!

Generously, Lollipop Patch Kids sent two bibs for our review – a his & hers set.  I didn’t break out the pretty purple flowered print for the granddaughter’s yet, but you can see it is absolutely precious.  The bibs have a thick terry-cloth lining making them incredibly soft and absorbent.  The fronts are customized in fashionable prints and the closure is with a snap.  I was SO excited to see that!  Velcro is too easy for the baby to open on their own.  The snap closure held the bib

I know! It’s crazy! She keep’s saying “food”. Do YOU see any food?

comfortably in place, even with a little bit of baby tugging at the end of the meal.

You really need to check out the Lollipop Patch Kids shop on Etsy.  The bibs come in so many different designs, plus you’ll find burp cloths, sweet fabric growth charts and more.  Bookmark the shop because you’ll want to go back again and again.  I know I definitely need more of these bibs!  (I’m expecting a lot more grandkids!) ;)

Lollipop Patch Kids is providing two Shirt-Saver bibs for a lucky reader in our Blogmania “Christmas at Home: A Celebration!” giveaway.  If I’m not mistaken, I believe they are even being done in Christmas prints — a perfectly fashionable way to keep little ones and their holiday clothes, looking their best!

In honor of this fun review, I have an extra Blogmania BONUS ENTRY for you!

Purple Flower-Print Bib
  1. Click over to Lollipop Patch Kids.  Pick out your favorite item and then go to the Lollipop Patch Kids Facebook Wall and “like” them. Copy and paste this message on their wall:

    I’m here from Busy-at-Home http://busy-at-home.com/blog/well-dressed-men-wear-argyle-a-lollipop-patch-kids-review-giveaway-plus-a-blogmania-bonus-for-readers/.  I love <—–insert your favorite item here—–> from your Etsy shop!  I can’t wait for Blogmania!

BONUS ENTRIES HAVE NOW EXPIRED.  Don’t miss the main event!  Enter now at our main Blogmania entry page!

    I received two bibs in order to complete this review. The views and opinions expressed are wholly my own and no payment was received to write the review.

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    My Toddler Fashionista! Poppin’ Dots Boutique Review & Giveaway and a Blogmania Bonus for Readers

    On August 3, 2010, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
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    Busy-at-Home seriously has some of the best sponsors on the web for Blogmania 2010.  I love every one of them and get more excited each time I get to write one of these reviews! Shy, but adorable! (Right-click on any image, select View Image, to see a larger picture.) Poppin’ Dots Boutique is a woman, […]

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    Busy-at-Home seriously has some of the best sponsors on the web for Blogmania 2010.  I love every one of them and get more excited each time I get to write one of these reviews!

    Shy, but adorable! (Right-click on any image, select View Image, to see a larger picture.)

    Poppin’ Dots Boutique is a woman, just like you and me, who took a talent and turned it into a way to make extra income.  She adds income to her budget and creates fabulous items for nieces, nephews (and you and me!)  I’m so glad she does!  You’re going to love everything in her cute baby/toddler/child boutique, but before I detail her shop, I have to show you the adorable pillowcase dress we are reviewing.  One of you will be lucky enough to win one during our Blogmania “Christmas at Home: A Celebration!” event, Sept. 15 & 16.

    The beautiful model is my granddaughter!  I have to tell you that as soon as we put the dress on her, she started twirling like a princess.  She started out shy about the pictures, but she was in that dress to STAY.  -lol-  She refused to take it off.  I wanted to get her to move, maybe jump, and after a little coaxing, she finally did.  Too bad Grandma isn’t good enough with the camera to capture it well.  I wanted to show that she is comfortable in the dress and moved easily to play and romp.

    Little hands a flappin’, but no jump, yet! :)

    I love everything about this sweet dress, the simplicity of adjusting the gathers to the fit that is right for your toddler, the vibrant color and sturdy fabric and the smile it brought to my granddaughter’s face.  Two small things I would probably do would be to make two or three tack stitches in the center of the casing once the ribbon is threaded through, to prevent it from being pulled out each time the child dresses or undresses and to zigzag or finish the ribbon ends to prevent fraying.  (Update:  In a note from Brittany, I learned that those two minor items have already been addressed.  Every pillowcase dress coming out of her shop now, includes the tack stitches and heat sealing on the ribbon ends.  That makes these precious dresses absolutely perfect!)  The construction on this little dress is over-the-top.  There was not a raw seam anywhere to be found.  Every seam  and facing had been doubled under and hemmed to prevent fraying.  The stitching was strong and durable and, of course, the results are spectacular.

    Jump, jump, jump!

    You can purchase one of these little dresses directly from Poppin’ Dots Boutique for only $9.  You’ll definitely want to spend some time looking around the shop, because Brittany has dozens of cute items for your favorite little people — pillowcase dresses, boo boo bags, necktie onesies and more!  She is gearing up for fall and  Christmas, so be watching the shop to see new items she will introduce.

    Brittany has generously made a pillowcase dress of the winner’s choice available for our Blogmania 2010 giveaway.  Be sure to visit us here at Busy-at-Home on Sept 15 & 16 to enter the drawings and also, make sure you take advantage of every opportunity to stack up your bonus entries.  Remember that each time you enter the “Christmas at Home: A Celebration” giveaway, you are entering to win EVERY giveaway prize we will draw for on Sept 16.  If you manage to submit 30 bonus entries, you’ll be entered in every drawing, for every prize, 30 times!

    And this — well this is just a gratuitous Grandma picture, because I love those “baby toes”! :) Although, it’s a fine shot of the crisp, durable construction of the hem and the quality fabric on this pretty dress.
    1. Here’s a Bonus Entry to get things going, today. Click over to Poppin’ Dots Boutique.  Pick out your favorite item and then go to the Poppin’ Dots Facebook Wall and “like” them. Copy and paste this message on her wall:

      I’m here from Busy-at-Home.  I love <—–insert your favorite item here—–> from your boutique!  I can’t wait for Blogmania!

    2. BONUS ENTRIES HAVE NOW EXPIRED.  Don’t miss the main event!  Enter now at our main Blogmania entry page!

    I received a pillowcase dress in order to complete this review. The views and opinions expressed are wholly my own and no payment was received to write the review.

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