Menu for week of 8/30 - 9/5

Ki is so happy, she's been in the mood for "fall weather foods" and while I'm not quite ready to break out the pumpkin, we have been able to use the oven a lot more.  Here's what's on our menu for the week-  naturally it is subject to change at any time.

Baked chicken, baked beans, deviled eggs, nectarines - they are seriously as sweet as a dessert-  almost too sweet for me, but the girls love them.

Slow cooker corned beef with potatoes, carrots and onions, hot fresh bread or rolls

Easy cheesy enchiladas, homemade spanish style rice, homemade chunky guacamole, sliced chilled melon

Homemade reuben sandwiches made with the leftover corned beef, dill pickles, baked chips

Lasagna made with our awesome all day (meatless) sauce and tons of cheese-  Kroger had a sale on the fresh mozzarella and ricotta

Breakfast for dinner-  probably pancakes or waffles, yogurt and fruit parfaits with homemade granola

Italian sausage and pepper hoagies, pineapple salad

What's on your menu this week?


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What's new in the bloggy world of giveaways? Rant - opinions wanted

You knew I'd get to it when I could, right?  The new trends and ridiculousness cropping up in the blog world.  Especially in terms of reviews and giveaways.  Hehe-  yeah, I know doing these posts are why we're so (NOT) popular.  We're cool with that, we'd rather be known as the divas with integrity who tell it like it is than the ass kissers who are in it for the swag.

Paranoid much-  yes, we had to switch to using the stupid Captcha codes due to idiots spamming all to heck and back, I forgive us and hope you do too.  But seriously what the heck is up with having not only a word verification but then having to manually approve each comment as well.  Get real, peeps, one or the other is fine.

Lazy much-  okay, yeah, we're guilty of this (laziness), esp when I am low blood and iron, but for crying out loud, now bloggers are wanting you to put your email address in each comment.  Yes, we all want to shout from the rooftops, spam the hell out of me  I don't have anything better to do than read your idiotic emails wanting me to enlarge my nonexistent penis, launder your money in my bank account because your foreign leaders are morons and you want to avoid paying taxes so I should send you my account info, my non existent Blizzard/WOW account has been compromised, my ship has come in and my long lost shady relative left me a bundle, etc....  Oh wait, no we do NOT want this.

Why-  sorry, but esp with blogger accounts, or in WP where I sign in with an email-  why oh why do I have to include it in my posts.  Seriously, I can see no reason other than laziness.  And yes, I did read your defense that it is almost a full  time job doing the giveaways and to that I say-  honey, you made a choice, and if it is too much for you-  well, figure it out.  The 5 seconds to click on the profile and get the email link (assuming author made it public) is no longer than cutting and pasting from the comment form, especially if they did it in a not easy to harvest way such as discriminating_diva at yahoo dot com where you have to go in and change the @ and the . so really-  what the heck is that all about? 

Don't say I don't get it, that's why we choose not to do more giveaways than we do, because we know and admit we're busy and / or lazy.

I don't know what annoys me more-  sponsors who only look at stats, bloggers who are out for what they can get, mindless idiots who agree with anyone who is popular no matter how nasty, stupid or clueless they are or everyone, including myself.

There are some extremely popular bloggers (who I have no beef with, personally, honestly, good for you for being able to make a living at this and get tons of perks) that seem to get sponsored for many many things -  I'm sure they are great at schmoozing-  who have no basic concept of grammar and would not be able to pass a middle school English class. 

Here's just one example that I see ALL the time...  Instead of ... Company X has kindly offered one of our readers they say ... the fab folks at Company X is going to ....  are people, are is how you word it as folks = plural.  There are so very very many extremely basic examples.  And I don't claim to be perfect, but it's annoying to see in EVERY single giveaway.  Spell check and grammar check are your friends. 

(Disclaimer-  yes, the grammar nazi does come in to make sure we get it right-  usually-  and we miss typos etc all the time-  again, mistakes are human, constant misuse is annoying.  Unless it is deliberate like our making up our own words.  Then, it's adorable. ;) )

Or you will only post positive reviews.  Sure, great, but-  we don't really believe what you say.  Nobody likes everything and if they say they do-  we think they are lying.  Your blog is not the one I'm running to to look up reviews when I am spending my hard earned money on something I want or need.

Or the reviews are-  We received Product Q and my family really liked it-  here's what the sponsor has to say about it:  and the whole rest of the review is taken from the site.  Why did you like it-  what were your favorite features?  What could be improved?  etc...  I don't want the sponsors opinion, I want someone who actually used it and can tell me in their own words why I should... or shouldn't...  get it.

I'll enter your giveaways, but I won't read your posts that have nothing in them for me, and I won't think much of your sponsors.  Others I've talked to feel the same.   The sad thing is, you have the followers so get the bigger sponsors and trips and contacts and prizes to give away, but honestly, who the hell cares we just want what's in it for us-  and for the really great prizes, that are things we want and / or need,  we'll go the extra mile and vote for you etc...  but we don't mean it.  Vicious cycle.

When you don't make it clear if you have a product to give away or more than one blog has one product and the combined entries from all of them are put in a pool and the winner chosen from them.  Some things are worth my time for all the effort for the max number of entries and some are not.  It's sneaky, in my not so humble opinion to have one prize but numerous entry points if you aren't going to be up front about it.  Sure, you may get more entries that way, but again, it's an integrity thing.

When you want me to blog about the giveaway for an extra entry.  Well- I have no problem with that per se, sure you and the sponsor want as much publicity and as many links as you can get, but when you put in that I need to do a separate post and can't use your words and have to have it sooooooooooooo long...  well, I'm doing your dang job and I should be getting a sample product and one to give to my readers if I'm doing dang near as much work as you are.

When you want me to jump through all kinds of hoops for those entries-  I appreciate the chance to get the extra entries on the things I really want, and usually offer them myself, but when you use WP and have to wait a minute between each comment and every single thing I do you want me to leave 10 separate comments-  I mean simple basic things like each tweet or following you or whatever-  sure I can see getting more entries for say adding a button to your valuable real estate than following or subbing to a reader, but some are really out of hand and while they look good to sponsors -  the blogger can honestly say I get thousands and thousands of entries-  a lot of times I and many others will pass them by and I wish sponsors would realize they are artificially inflated stats.

You review every product offered-  sorry, but really when you have no children, aren't pregnant and have no way to form an intelligent opinion, you review maternity clothes why?   Crunchy green hippy wannabes, you're reviewing snacks full of preservatives and tremendous amounts of packaging why?  We're supposed to care why?   See what I mean?  There are so many companies and products out there-  if you are not a coffee drinker, let the java junkies do the reviews and giveaways-  it'll mean more to those of us reading and we'll be able to make an informed opinion if someone who actually uses the stuff shares what they like and don't about it. 

Sponsors and PR reps-  could you please look at a dang blog before you ask them to host the reviews and giveaways and put your products on the appropriate ones?  I can say this with some authority because we get pitches all the time on things that are not only not appropriate for the loonyverse, but things that we are actively against.  I know your job is to get the word out about your product but be a little selective.

You pretend to be an authority / expert and they pretend to believe you.   Gawd you have a child or two under 5 and you are an expert on parenting - and you call yourself that not only on your own blog, but you bill yourself that way on other sites as well-  I think not.  Please.  Raise your kid(s) and you will realize -  no two children are alike, no one is a damn expert, no one has all the answers, no one answer is right in all situations, you are very very very fortunate if your kids turn out to be healthy, happy productive members of society.  And that's just the very very very tip of the iceberg. 

I could go on and on, but I won't as I actually have a life away from the computer, but I really hope you'll weigh in on what you think about these issues, as well as others I haven't brought up.  If we don't voice our thoughts and opinions, things won't change.

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3 Flamingos Frozen Yogurt




Here at the Loonyverse, we've realized that there aren't really any good guides to Central Arkansas (unless you're interested in the historic sites and/or fishin', huntin', and muddin'--and that's just not Diva Compatible). So we've decided to start our own fun and budget-friendly list. First up is the fantastic 3 Flamingos frozen yogurt shop. 

There are locations in Searcy and Conway, with shops in Little Rock and Hot Springs soon to come. The Conway location opened up two short weeks ago, and so we decided to give it a shot.

The first thing that struck us when we walked in was the atmosphere that just radiated FUN. Lots of bold, beach-y colors, and FLAMINGOS EVERYWHERE!  So much fun that we *had* to text mom and say mom, mom, we found YOUR STORE.

When we asked the manager, Mrs. Connie Tipton, she said that it was named for the owners' three daughters, who love beach-y things (I have a feeling we'd get along quite well).

If you are an in a hurry eat and run kind of yogurt (or sorbet) stop by during the day because at night things pick up- especially on Wednesday evenings after church when apparently the customers are likely to burst into song with no provocation whatsoever.  Hmmmm remind you of anyone?

After that was the variety. There are fourteen individual flavors (from cappuccino to vanilla to energizing pomegranate), and you can twist, mix, and combine them for infinite unique flavors. They also have over sixty different toppings, and they switch them out frequently (if it's not selling, it's out and something better is in). If it's cost-effective, they'll gladly honor any suggestions for new toppings (for example, cinnamon and honey were requested by customers). A few of the toppings include gourmet Ghirardelli syrups, three kinds of cookie dough (chocolate chip, peanut butter, and sugar), pineapple, Fruity Pebbles, and Andes Mints.

It's priced by weight, whether you get all yogurt or a cup full of candy. Geeky Mommy and I made use of that, using the yogurt as a vessel for our (jillion) toppings--by the time we were done with the whipped cream, you couldn't tell there was any yogurt inside. We both started out with small cups, but had to drop them into larges by the end of it so that it wouldn't all spill out! There's just so much to sample, it's hard to stop after one little cup.


Finally, the most important thing: The frozen yogurt is absolutely amazing, probably the best any of us have had. We each concocted our own special flavor combinations, which you'll find after this paragraph. Paired with the complete friendliness of all the staff members, we really couldn't have had a better experience. I know that it's going to be at the top of my hangout spots from now on!

Our special flavor combinations:
GeekyMommy's Pomegranate Pick-Me-Up:
Pomegranate yogurt (has the same amount of taurine as a Red Bull!)
Vanilla yogurt
Sunflower seeds
Mandarin oranges
Strawberries
About a gallon of whipped cream
And a cherry on top

GeekyMommy's Birthday Explosion
Birthday Cake yogurt
Dark Chocolate yogurt
Cookies and Cream yogurt
All 3 types of cookie dough
Reese's Pieces
Sprinkles
Chocolate, white chocolate, and caramel sauces
Another gallon of whipped cream
And another cherry

DDDiva's Sunset Sorbet
Watermelon Sorbet
Valencia Orange Sorbet
Pink Lemondade Sorbet
Energizing Pomegranate yogurt

Geekazoid's CappuCheesecake Collision
Cappuccino yogurt
Cheesecake yogurt
Crushed graham cracker
Crushed butterfinger
Reese's cups
Chocolate covered raisins (trust me here!)
All 3 cookie doughs
M&Ms
Chocolate, white chocolate, and caramel sauces
Cap'n Crunch
Yet another gallon of whipped cream
And three cherries :D



Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!  Check out their facebook page here and be sure to say hi from the divas.
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Banquet Fruit Pies Blog Tour


MomCentral recently gave us the chance to try and review the new Banquet Fruit Pies. I was worried at first, thinking the store I went to didn't have them. I looked all up and down the frozen pie aisle, not seeing a thing from Banquet. I was disappointed to say the least. Then, luck struck-- they were by the pot pies! How cute, too, little personable pie! I was shocked at the price, 70 cents a piece! How awesome is that! I've spent more on those crummy rectangle ones you can get... you know what I'm talking about. Pretty awful.

They have three flavors, Apple, Peach and Cherry-Berry. I was saddened at the lack of pumpkin, but what can you do? They have microwave directions, but we went with oven for crispiness. They took 30 minutes, not too bad for a fresh-baked pie taste.

My personal fave- peach.  Gamer girlie's- apple.  Mom's-  Cherry-Berry.  Suffice it to say, something for every taste.  And surprisingly enough-  we all liked them all.  

Onto the flavor- tasty! Very tasty! Flaky crust and well seasoned fruit made for a very happy mouth! It was better than I was expecting for a cheapy frozen pie, I was pleasantly surprised. I do plan on buying more for when I'm on my own and my sweet tooth is going a bit crazy, and Ian loves anything "me-sized"!


“I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Banquet and received free coupons to facilitate my candid review. Mom Central also sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.”
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Wubbzy Goes To School DVD Giveaway

Wow Wow Wubbzy! We here at the Loonyverse are HUGE Wubbzy fans-- that fun yellow critter being about the only thing with an energy level to match Ian's, so of course when we got the chance to review the newest Wubbzy movie, we were ecstatic! It is a wonderful school special, to make kids feel better about their big day!

When we showed him the box, Ian's eyes got HUGE! He bounced around as though he had a bendy-tail of his own.   Unfortunately, we already had all of the episodes on DVR, but they are good ones! It is great to have a compilation geared to school-readiness. 

The episodes have lessons to teach that school is a fun place to learn, you should be nice to new people and be their friends, and keep trying even when things don't work the first time-don't give up! They also place importance on art and music- two important subjects that sadly seem to be losing focus as time goes on.

THE GIVEAWAY: One lucky reader will win their own Wubbzy Goes To School DVD.  US only 18+ ends 9/5 11:59pm CST.

Main Entry: Tell me what you love about Wubbzy - or who you want to win this for.

Optional entries- see side or bottom navigation bars for the necessary links if they aren't right in this post.

Follow my blog with Google Friend Connect- 1 entry

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Tweet the giveaway. Can be done 3x daily with at least one hour between tweets. Leave link in comments. You can use the sample tweet below if you like.

#Win a Wow Wow Wubbzy Back to School DVD from Our Loonyverse @dddiva  http://tiny.cc/p8too
Become a Facebook Fan. (Like) 1 entry

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Subscribe via rss feed.

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Add our CURRENT button- 3 entries- leave link where we can find it- (leave a separate comment for each)

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Blog about this giveaway- 5 entries- leave link where we can find it (leave a separate comment for each)

Promote us on any social networking site- stumble, kirsty, digg, tech fave, etc and leave your user name. (See the share button at the end of this post.)

Add your own giveaways or ones you come across (if they aren't already listed) to our perma-link and leave a comment then come back here and let us know- 1 entry each

Comment on any other post and leave a comment letting us know where- 1 entry each

Enter any other active giveaway we are hosting and leave a comment letting us know which one(s) - 1 entry each.

Boost the giveaway up on Prizey
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Finally caught up with winners, family stuff

All winners have finally been emailed- sorry guys-  most of the week in the hospital and then heavy duty drugs and you have-  a whole  lot of not got it in me to do even the basics.   Meh.  It is what it is and hopefully everyone understands. 

So here's what has been going on-  nothing -  lol -  told ja!

Seriously- 

Dev's started her Jr year-  looks to be quite interesting for her and busy (natch).  Her fave is photography.  Now to get her a great camera (hopefully will win one since everything else is pretty screwy) and she can't borrow Ki's forever.


Casey is in Cali again for Derek's job (one of them anyways).  After they get back they will be heading to OK for another.  Yes, we're all jealous as our itchy feet are kicking in.  Somehow, the hospital just doesn't have the same effect on me as a vacation.

Kyra is working and working and looking for another job and being a fabulous mama and helping out with the chauffer services when I can't do it.  That kid rocks.  Except when I am witching at her in which case-  dude c'mon already!  we're too dang much alike and butting heads.

Dawn is staying busy trying to get and/or stay healthy and pretty much planning for when she goes with Dan which is now looking like Austria due to the whole job thingie.  Another of those we'll see what we see when we see it.

Ian is a pistol!  He's a 3 year old redhead-  'nuff said.

Ken is on permanent disability which sucks-  not only the $ thing-  fun times since he can't or won't do the SS thing and is leaving it up to me -  yeah, cuz I have nothing better to do!  NOT!  (remember I couldn't even choose the winners-  really, believe it or not they don't wait til your ass is better to send you home from the hospital, they kick you out the second they can).  He's also here ALL THE TIME.  He's not driving til he's steadier (if ever) so I NEVER EVER EVER EVER get away from him.  The TV is ALWAYS blasting when he's awake.  He's a good guy, really he is but I don't like to be with anyone 24/7 including myself.  Oh and we're sharing a computer since his died and with him not working replacing is just not an option right now.  These are some fun times peeps.  NOT!!!!!  So, if you pray, pray for me.  I need all the help I can get.  LOL

That's about it-  have some giveaways to get listed, promise we'll do those this weekend. 

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Menu for week of 8/23 - 8/29

Sorry we've not been posting- going to try to get to that this week. Spent most of last week in the hospital with a fabulous menu taken mostly by IV- A- blood, morphine, phenergan, potassium and antibiotics. The rest of the family had to fend for themselves. *g*

This week should be somewhat more palatable:

Beef fajitas with all the fixings

Pasta salad with basil pesto, mozzarella, prosciutto and grape tomatoes

Breakfast for dinner: scrambled eggs, blueberry muffins, fruit

Slow cooker corned beef with potatoes, carrots and pearl onions, hot crusty bread or rolls with butter

Oriental chicken wings, stir fry veggies served over brown rice

Reuben sandwiches, baked Ruffles, fruit salad

Lentil soup, bread or rolls

How are things going with y'all? Glad to have the summer winding down or missing it already? Anything fabulous cooking at your house?


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Oriental Chicken Wings

3 pounds chicken wings
2 tablespoons sesame oil (can use olive or veg)
1/2 cup soy sauce (can use low sodium)
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 cup honey
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh grated or tiny chopped crystallized ginger (we like a lot- your tastes may vary)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Place chicken in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Mix together the oil, soy sauce, ketchup, honey, garlic, salt and pepper and ginger. Pour over the chicken.
Bake in preheated oven for one hour, or until sauce is caramelized.

Here's how we changed things this time -  we added a drained can of crushed pineapple.

Next time we will cook them on racks on baking sheets so they aren't actually sitting in liquid and basting.


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Pumpkin pancakes


I love when the weather turns cooler and we can enjoy some fall weather treats-  topping the list around here are pumpkin flavored goodies.  While we enjoy breakfast foods mostly for dinner, they are delicious any time of day.

Pumpkin Pancakes

Ingredients
  • 2 cups All purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp Brown sugar
  • 2 tsp Baking powder
  • 2 tsp Baking soda
  • 2-3 tsp Pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 1/2 cups Milk
  • 1 cup Pumpkin puree
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Tbsp Vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp Vinegar (white)
Cooking Directions
  1. In a bowl, mix together the milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar.
  2. In a different bowl combine dry ingredients.
  3. Add dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture stirring just enough to combine.
  4. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat.
  5. Ladle batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake.
  6. Brown on both sides and serve hot. (Make sure the first side is done before trying to flip- bubbles will form and pop.)
  7. Top with whipped cream or your choice of syrups or toppings.
Enjoy.

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Alternatives to Trick-Or-Treating

Halloween automatically brings to mind thoughts of little ghosts and witches running door-to-door shouting "Trick or treat!"

After that come the treasured memories of trading candy with friends and siblings, then eating so much Fun Dip and chocolate that you want to puke.

But there are other options for spending your Halloween, for both kids and adults, that still involve dress-up and candy. Why do the same thing every year when you can switch it up some?

Haunted houses are on obvious option. There are less-scary child-appropriate "boo"-type houses, plus scare-your-pants-off alternatives for the older set.
Zoos often do something for Halloween--ours does "Boo at the Zoo"--as do libraries. You may be able to find things like hayrides, carnivals, and the like in your area. For adults, many bars have costume parties, so it's not just kids who can indulge in the Halloween dress-up fun.

Grocery stores sometimes have fun parties mostly geared toward younger children--our local one has a cake walk, turkey bowling, costume contest etc. where kids can win lots of candy. That's not to mention the free or cheap food and drink they have to offer.

Last but not least, don't forget this classic choice: The Halloween party. Find one to go to or hold one yourself--it's really easy to get creative and have fun decorating your house. My friends and I have one each year and go all-out, even though only a few of us attend. Half the fun is decking the house out with dollar-store decorations and decorating fun treats--check out this blog all this month for fun Halloween ideas.

Check your local newspapers and ask around to find what's going on around the spookiest day of the year. You never know what you might find to do.

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Ayala's Herbal Water Review & Giveaway

We received a bottle of each flavor of Ayala's Herbal Water to review, and most of them can be summed up in one word: mmmmm.

They're light and refreshing. Y'know how some "water beverages" taste like watered-down juice? Well, these actually taste like water. But with yummy twists. And the organic, all-natural, zero-calories thing is a definite plus.

There are six flavors in all, and we were instructed to try them in a certain order. I don't really get why... they seemed to get progressively stronger (not by too much), but I'm pretty sure they'd have been just as good in any order, or (of course) alone.

The flavors are lemongrass mint vanilla, lavender mint, lemon verbena geranium, cloves cardamom cinnamon, cinnamon orange peel, and ginger lemon peel.

Our very favorite was cloves-cardamom-cinnamon. MMM. It tasted like a lighter, colder version of chai tea (a big hit in this house!) and while Mom isn't nuts about chai because it's too strong and fragrant, she loves this. We also really liked lemongrass mint vanilla and ginger lemon peel.

Weren't madly in love with lavender mint, but that's a personal thing. We're not lavender people.
However... there is ONE flavor none of us could stand. If you happen to have an elderly relative who smells like the cheap-perfume section of the drug store, that's exactly what lemon verbena geranium tastes like to us. Cheap-perfume-old-lady-smell.

Most of them, though, were very good, and definitely something we'll purchase in the future. They're also reasonably priced--$24 for a 12-pack of 16oz bottles. Much healthier than the sodas and sports drinks I often take to work!

Just for signing up for the newsletter here you will receive $5 off Herbal Water.

THE GIVEAWAY: One lucky reader will win an herbal water 6 pack and an organic canvas bag. Open to US residents 18+ ends 8/24 at 11:59 pm.

Main Entry: Head on over to Ayala's Herbal Water and let me know why you'd like to try this or something you learned.

Optional entries- see side or bottom navigation bars for the necessary links if they aren't right in this post.

Follow my blog with Google Friend Connect- 1 entry
Follow Ayala's Herbal Water blog- 1 entry

Follow me on twitter dddiva - 1 entry


Follow Ayala's Herbal Water on Twitter - 1 entry

Tweet the giveaway. Can be done 3x daily with at least one hour between tweets. Leave link in comments. You can use the sample tweet below if you like.

#Win an Ayala's Herbal Water prize pack from @dddiva @herbalwater at Our Loonyverse. http://bit.ly/aNQCNJ   #Summerbash

Become a Facebook Fan. (Like) 1 entry


Like Ayala's Herbal water on Facebook - Let them know we sent you if you have a moment, I'm sure they'd love to hear your comments. 1 entry for liking, 1 for commenting

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Add our SUMMER BASH button for 5 extra entries- leave a link where we can find it (leave a separate comment for each)

Add our link to your blog roll - 3 entries- leave link where we can find it (leave a separate comment for each)

Blog about this giveaway- 5 entries- leave link where we can find it (leave a separate comment for each)

Promote us on any social networking site- stumble, kirsty, digg, tech fave, etc and leave your user name. (See the share button at the end of this post.)

Add your own giveaways or ones you come across (if they aren't already listed) to our perma-link and leave a comment then come back here and let us know- 1 entry each

Comment on any other post and leave a comment letting us know where- 1 entry each

Enter any other active giveaway we are hosting and leave a comment letting us know which one(s) - 1 entry each.

*NEW* Boost the giveaway up on Prizey
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Nature Made SAM-e blog tour

I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in the Nature Made SAM-e blog tour.


Although I really like to put things in my own words for reviews, for this part I am taking from the site so I don't mess it up.  I'll give you my evaluation at the end.


SAM-e is a naturally occurring compound that is found in all living things. It’s distributed throughout the human body and it contributes to maintaining mood levels.
SAM-e levels tend to decline as people get older and certain groups of people, including those with low mood, tend to have lower levels of SAM-e in their bodies.

When the body doesn’t make enough SAM-e on its own, taking a SAM-e supplement can support many important functions. SAM-e Complete is a daily over-the counter dietary supplement available from retailers everywhere, as well as online.
SAM-e is best known for restoring a healthy mood by promoting a balance of brain cell functions.


You guys are gonna love this:


There is a very cool campaign Nature Made SAM-e Complete recently launched called “Give a Smile,” http://www.sam-e.com/give-a-smile. They are working with Dream Factory, the second largest children’s wish-granting organization in the U.S., to grant the wishes of three children suffering from a critical or chronic illness. Through this campaign SAM-e will donate to a child’s wish for every social action you or your readers complete (like uploading an image to their mosaic). The more actions, the more SAM-e will donate. You can find out more about the program using the link above and learn how your actions lead to SAM-e donations!
  
So what do I think after taking this for a while-  it's still too dang hot and I am still having to deal with tons of crap (much more than usual, Ken's barely worked all summer, can't drive and it looks like this will be our lives for the forseeable future until/unless the drs can get him back on track.  And all things considered, I think I'm doing really really well (I NEED my alone time, and having a husband with me 24/7 makes me crazy on a long weekend).  I won't say it doesn't bother me, I will say that I am not freaking out about things that would usually be making me crazy.

My family MIGHT not totally agree, but compared to how I've taken bad news in the past and how I'm rolling with this, SAM-e might just do what it says.

I have not been taking it long enough to say without a doubt that this is why I'm coping the way I am - about two weeks, but I will say there are no side effects that I've noticed and I am definitely going to finish up the supply and see how things go.

 THE GIVEAWAY:  One lucky reader will win a 3 month supply of Nature Made SAM-e along with a journal and water bottle.  Open to US residents 18+ ends 11:16 at 11:59 pm.

Main Entry:   Head on over to the official Nature Made SAM-e site and let me know why you'd like to try this or something you learned.  

Optional entries-  see side or bottom navigation bars for the necessary links if they aren't right in this post.

Follow my blog with Google Friend Connect- 1 entry

Follow me on twitter  dddiva - 1  entry

Tweet the giveaway.  Can be done 3x daily with at least one hour between tweets.  Leave link in comments.  You can use the sample tweet below if you like.

#Win a 3 month supply of Nature Made SAM-e from @dddiva http://bit.ly/aQZfhE

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I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Nature Made and received products necessary to facilitate my candid review. 
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Krazy Kars Marble Racers Review and Giveaway


A couple of weeks ago we got a box of fun little toys, Krazy Kars Marble Racers. These sturdy plastic cars are clear with light-up marbles in the middle that flash when shaken.

Also in the package are decal stickers that you and you child can decorate the cars with. These come in 6 designs and are easy to adjust if you don't get them centered the first, second or thrid times ^^(between my lack of skills and Ian helping it took us a few tries but it was fun).  They take just a few moments to do and Ian had a lot of fun helping me with them. 

One thing I don't get is that the top sticker prevents the marble from rolling leaving the car just on its wheels.  We left the top off on some of them so it could still roll on the marble as well as the wheels. 

We've had a lot of fun playing with the cars and they have withstood the beatings that a three-year-old can give them. All in all, I'd say it's a good, fun toy, The top sticker makes the lights activate a little easier, but they roll better with out it, so its up to you--whichever you prefer.

Gamer Girlie Out

THE GIVEAWAY:  Skullduggery has generously offered one of our readers their very own set of 6 light up marble race cars, a $48 value.  Open to US residents 18+ ends 8/24 at 11:59 pm CST.

Main Entry:   Head on over to Marble Racers and let me know which is your fave or something about them you think you'd like.  

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#Win 6 Light Up Marble Race Cars @dddiva at Our Loonyverse http://bit.ly/aNKd6n

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Menu for week of 8/9 - 8/15

Dragon food* (Gortons beer battered fish portions and extra crispy fish sticks- not from minced, the BEST fish sticks & pieces ever according to the little divas), breaded jumbo shrimp, hush puppies, tater tots (all baked), sweet corn on the cob, grapes - I will toss something together for myself- either a stir fry or salad most likely as I don't eat seafood - or dragon food for that matter.

*Ian LOVES fish ever since we saw How to Train Your Dragon - definitely one we will rent on ppv the second it is available and be in line buying it for the midnight release. It is still our fave movie- in case you forgot, I, Ian's gigi (dddiva) was dubbed idiot teen boy Hiccup and Ian is Toothless, my baby dragon- we are STILL playing that more than any other game, real or pretend, around here.

Sesame chicken strips with honey mustard dipping sauce, angel hair pasta with stir fried veggies

Omelets with choice of fillings- I am having cream cheese and roasted red peppers, 9 grain or rye toast

Stuffed peppers, mashed potatoes (a repeat from last week- the red peppers were on sale for 69cents each this week and since the stuffed peppers were sooooooo good we couldn't get enough, even with the leftovers from a triple batch, we'll have them again. Ki even had plenty to share with co-workers and we are all agreed- more!), salad

Green chili & cheese quesadillas with toppings of choice (sour cream, guacamole, salsa, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, onions), tomato bisque soup, cutie oranges

Brats with caramelized onions on buns, baked beans, deviled eggs - yes, tonight is the totally healthy choice. Probably go for full fat ice cream or brownies or white chocolate macademia cookies for dessert, just to stick with the totally good for you theme. Maybe all of the above- smothered in hot fudge and whipped cream. With a diet soda to negate the calories. ;-)

Pork loin filet marinated in sun dried tomato dressing, roasted potatoes, green beans, coleslaw or salad

What are you serving this week?


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5 under $5 Cheap things to do to stave off the boredom and keep kids moving

Pull Bouy Skinny No-Kink Hoops One Dozen, 30-Inch (One Dozen)Gazillion Bubbles 4 fl. oz with Blower Stick



I've been reading a lot (and some of us have been experiencing) the lack of cash to go somewhere this summer-  let's face it even local amusement and water parks can be pricey especially if there are more than one or two of you.

Fortunately, you don't have to head farther than your discount store to have a ton of fun-  and I'll bet most of you played these games when you were little yourselves and just forgot.

The great thing about them is that they are good for ALL ages-  seriously, we get right on in and play with Ian because it's fun for us, not cuz he's pestering the living daylights out of us. ;)

Okay, here goes:

Jump rope-  this can be done alone or in a group or even if there are two you can tie one end to a tree or rail and take turns.  For the fairly coordinated, double dutch is a blast.  If you forget the old rhymes, they're easy enough to look up.  I recommend SwagBucks so you can earn Amazon GC's or other prizes, but Google or any other search engine will work as well.
 Hehe you can also play ponies like the little divas did when they were little and one would have the rope around the waist and another hold behind her and run-  don't ask, but they spent hours playing this. ;-)

Bubbles-  if you have kids and/or pets (cats or dogs, at least) there is little more entertaining than blowing bubbles for them (with if the kids are old enough) and watching them chase them-  our dogs, especially, go crazy and Ian and his best friend Dude have a blast trying to pop them before the other can.

Hula hoop*-  although the exact origin is unknown the modern hula hoop has been around since the 1950's and while the popularity rises and falls, they don't fade into obscurity like so many toys for the simple reason that they are fun.  They are also extremely versatile.

Where else can you get so much fun packed into a powerful workout?  Back in the day (yes, I'm old enough to say that and mean it) we would all bring out our colorful hoops and challenge each other to all kinds of contests- everything from the traditional how long can you keep it spinning on your waist to limbs, necks, taking turns keeping all of the hoops spinning, ring toss (yes, using a person as the target, it's not too bad if you get whapped upside the head) and more.

Those games are still fun for kids of all ages, as well as others such as musical hula hooping (like freeze-  one person starts then stops the music and stop in the middle- if your hoop falls you are out) and if you are my kids, the hula hoop makes a great harness when paired with a jump rope to play ponies with.

Sidewalk chalk-  Another fun, cheap activity is playing with sidewalk chalk.  Just drawing pictures is great, especially if you can draw like Bert from Mary Poppins, but one of our favorite things to do is draw a hopscotch board and challenge each other.  Aside from the traditional, you can do a search and find a ton of elaborate boards and rules.

Water balloons-  when the temperatures are rising and (at least around here) tempers are flaring, it's a great time to break out the water balloons.  We have had so much fun over the years with water balloons, and still do.  Separately or in teams we love to have water balloon fights, when we make up teams it is hysterical to listen to the kids strategize.

Another super duper fun thing to do is play balloon toss (like they do at company picnics) where you take turns tossing the full balloon to each other til it pops.  Great, clean wet fun.  And I have to say that although all of us like to win  (we REALLY, REALLY LIKE TO WIN) this is one game we don't mind losing as the loser gets wet.

One caveat-  when you are playing with water balloons this is not the time to wear your polka dotted bra under your thin white shirt.  Just sayin' is all.  *grin*

*Hula hoops can easily be found for just a couple few dollars, but if you are planning to use them for an adult workout you would want to invest in a better quality one-  either go more expensive or wait til you find them on clearance.
Melissa & Doug 10 Jumbo Triangular Chalk Sticks

I know there is nothing new here, but they are so simple we tend to forget about them when we're listening to the kids whine that there is nothing to do.  What I love about them is that they are so inexpensive (and a good many of us already have them in our homes) and they are things we can have the kids do on their own or we can join in and everyone has a great time.

What are some of the things you like to play with your kids (especially if they are inexpensive)?  Are they games from your childhood or do you go for the new?  We'd love to know.

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Menu for week if 8/2 - 8/8

Fajitas- beef, using flat iron steak, sauteed mushrooms, tri colored peppers and onions, guacamole, sour cream, cheese, shredded lettuce and salsa served on wheat tortillas

Stuffed peppers (yellow, orange and red- organic were on sale) with mashed potatoes

Breakfast for dinner- fried egg and cheese sandwiches or Ian's fave dippy (poached) eggs and toast, fruit

Pork roast in the slow cooker with new potatoes, baby carrots and pearl onions, creamy cucumbers

Angel hair pasta with sauteed grape tomatoes and garlic in olive oil, baby spinach salads with dried cranberries, walnuts and some type of vinaigrette

Stir fry veggies over brown rice, tossed salad

Cheese and onion enchiladas, cucumber, tomato and onion vinegar salad

What's on your menu this week?


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