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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Choosing Store Brand Infant Formulas Over Name Brand

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of PBM Products. All opinions are 100% mine.

Why choose store brand formulas over name brand?  Because it is cheaper that's why. My  seven-month old niece, Monica, is being fed store brand infant formula and so have all her three older sisters before her. My sister who has four daughters has long ago learned that store brand formula are the nutritional equivalent to name brand. There are no better formulas, only more expensive ones. 
The thing is, name brand infant formulas are heavily advertised than their store brand counterpart. This type of publicity includes giving away free samples to hospitals and doctor's offices. On top of that, these name brands are almost always on television and magazines. These type of publicity adds to their overhead cost, and thus requires the company to jack up the price of their products.
As per the infant formula act, all infant formulas are subject to the same regulations governing manufacturing and ingredients. Store brands meet the same exacting FDA nutritional requirements as all the major brands.
Recently, consumer's confidence in name brands hit a low when Abbot voluntarily recalled certain Similac infant formula due to the presence of small bugs that may be hazardous to health. Though FDA declared that this incident poses no immediate health risk, some infants may suffer from gastrointestinal discomfort.
With the advent of the recent recession scare, it would be wise for consumers to be well-informed. It pays to be intelligent buyers.
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San Francisco Peak, Flagstaff Arizona

Yesterday, while driving to Flagstaff, I saw this view -beautiful scenery. I thought I'd quickly take a photo to share with you guys. The snow-capped mountain of San Francisco Peak is pretty all year round. On Spring, it boasts of green feet and snow-cap. During summer it is beautiful with every shade of green. Come fall, when the first signs of snow comes, it begins to look as if salt and pepper has been sprinkled on it. Now, winter, it looks like a scoop of  ice cream! :)

Throwing Around Christmas Cookie Ideas

Guest post written by Amanda Lerner

I'm not sure how this happened, but I have to bake Christmas cookies for both of my kids this year. For my youngest it will be for his third-grade holiday party and then for my daughter it will be for a Christmas party that her Girl Scout troop is having in about a week. I'm also in the planning stages of our annual Christmas party, so I'm knee deep in cookie recipes that I've been throwing around for quite a while.

I was online a few days ago trying to find some more cookie recipes to consider using and when I was doing that I actually came across adirect tv internet online offer that I signed us up for. Our internet service at home had been really bad for a while anyway, so that was a nice surprise to find.

Out of all the Christmas cookie ideas that I'm thinking of making though, I might just stick with the classic sugar cookie ones for my kids' Christmas parties because those will be really easy to make and I can easily make a lot of them, which I need to do.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Fright Fest @ Six Flags, San Antonio

Am posting this a tad late, we all got a bit busy around here. Doods and I took the girls to Six Flags the day before Halloween. Six Flags has Freight Fest the whole month of October. The park was transformed into a huge Halloween Park. Ghouls and Goblins prowled freely around the park. Yikes! The girls loved it. There were several shows including Monster Mash, a concert featuring Gothic-looking performers swinging to some popular rock songs.

Doods and the scary walking doll

Therese goofing at the bars while we wait for our turn at the bump car

Finally, Bugs arrives!

Therese, Cate and Yam gets a chance to pose with Bugs

and Silvester too

Gearing up to watch Monster Mash

We did not get front seats, but we were in the second row -yay!

Monster Mash rocks!

Wicked Fresh All Day Everyday

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Toms of Maine. All opinions are 100% mine.
click hereThe nature of my work requires that I stay fresh all day everyday. I'm a Kindergarten teacher and hygiene is something I discuss with  my students on a daily basis. Five-year olds are impressionists. They remember almost everything that is said to them. They are malleable and can easily be molded, so getting them to learn a routine is easy. But undoing a bad habit can be difficult. That is why It is important to jump start them with a good routine.

In our classroom we have a big check list of things to do before going to school. Every morning, we go over the check list and the kids excitedly regale me and the class  with what they had for breakfast, and this talk always leads us to the discussion of brushing our teeth every morning. Hence as a role model to these malleable students, it is fitting and proper that I show good example by coming to school properly groomed and appropriately attired. Hair combed and teeth properly brushed.

Young children notice almost everything and they are very vocal about their observation. It is so funny how they would notice anyone of their classmates that have yellow teeth or one with a bad breath. They will not hesitate to tell their teacher -me. Likewise, I am sure they will tell me right away if they detect me with a bad breath -hahaha.  That is why, I don't just brush my teeth in the morning, I also keep a Tom's Of Maine  mouthwash in my classroom.

Besides, it is not just the students that I encounter every day, their parents and guardians pick them up from school everyday and most often than not, the parents inquire about their children and they love listening to me discuss their children's antics in school. Because of this, I have made it a habit to wash my mouth before dismissal time in time to face the parents of my students. A dose of mouthwash always makes me feel like am wearing freshly laundered clothes, so refreshing!  My mouthwash makes me feel wicked fresh all day everyday.

Share your Wicked Fresh moments for a chance to win Wicked Fresh Prize at Check out the That's Wicked Fresh contest page

Feel free to join Tom's Maine on Facebook and/or follow on Twitter @TomsofMaine

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Monument Valley, Utah/ Arizona

Its been over a month since I last wrote a long post. It got very busy here, what with my three adorable nieces around. But something worth blogging came up, and I would not want to pass up on the chance to log it here in my treasure chest of memories (blog). I  want to write about it for posterity's sake. Besides, even though a picture is worth a thousand words, it doesn't tell a complete story (teehee).

During Thanksgiving break I met with one of my Salitype sisters and long-time blogging buddy, Betchai, of The Joys of Simple Life. Most of you in the blogospehere know her because of her well-written travel blogs and post-card-perfect outdoor photos. She and husband, Khai, invited my husband and I to go photo-hiking with them to Utah and Arizona. It was an idea that we warmly welcomed since Doods and I did not have much planned for the week-long Thanksgiving break. We just decided to drive to Arizona to visit my sister and spend the week with the family. The thing is, there is so much to see in Arizona, so despite the fact that Doods and I have been spending a lot of time there, there are still a lot of beautiful spots we haven't explored yet.

Initially, Beth planned for us to meet at Moab, Utah to explore the arches at Arches National Park, and then explore Bryce Canyon the next day. Sadly, the weather did not cooperate. The forecast for Moab on the days we were suppose to go hiking there were in the 50s, but it dropped to 40s, and much later, 30s. The road where we were suppose to drive to get to Moab had snow. As per Beth's advice, we did not risk driving in the snow. Instead, we made plans to meet them the next day at Monument Valley National Park. About an hour and a half from my sister's house -shorter and safer drive. It was fortunate that the two were very flexible and Beth was quick in creating another itinerary.

We met Tuesday. We explored Monument Valley National Park. It is interesting that Monument Valley National Park is in the state line of Arizona and Utah. Part of Monument Valley is in Arizona and another part is in Utah.

Sunset at Monument Valley
Monument Valley

 Beth and I at the rooftop of The View Hotel, overlooking Monument Valley

The Mitten (notice the thumb?)

We met at Carl Hayden Visitor Center. Beth advised us to pass by a visitor center and speak to a ranger for much needed information about the park and to get some tips on famous spots where you can take a good picture.

  The next day, all four of us explored part of Glen Canyon and Lake Powell.

We had a marvelous time with Beth and Khai. 
Thank you guys for inviting us to join you in exploring Utah and Arizona. Can't wait for our next photo exploration

In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. ~Albert Schweitze

Pier 1 Is A Part of Our Family Tradition

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Pier 1 Imports. All opinions are 100% mine.

This is the first time my younger sister, Ima, will host Christmas dinner in their home here in Arizona. Last year, they  joined us in Houston, Texas for their first Christmas here in America. This year, because of her recent surgery, they will not be able to do the long drive to Houston, it would be too tedious. Instead, my husband, I and our three nieces drove to Arizona from Texas to join them for a family get-together.
The thing is, though she is able to plan thoroughly for the Christmas dinner, she won't be able to completely  execute the plan because her recent surgery renders her incapable of walking long distance and lifting heavy objects. Hence the appointed second in command -me! Am not the expert but I do have ideas to share since I have been doing this for a long while now. I'm familiar with how and what to prepare, and where to get things.

As per my experience since I hosted my first Christmas dinner in 2003, some investments go a long way. Thus, it is important to make a list of the "must haves." I remember purchasing a starter set that consists of a dozen red wine glasses and red plates from Pier 1. I did not buy a lot since we only had less than ten guests on our very first Christmas dinner here in America. But since those wine glasses were a hit, I was very much encouraged to purchase some more the next year. It was well worth my investment. It was such a hit that my husband and I made it our Christmas gift to some of our friends. It was so heartwarming that because our friends noted how much I love my Pier 1 red wine glasses, for holiday gifts some of them purchased some other dinner ware items from the same store, that would best complement my red wine glasses. The gifts ranges from dainty napkins and durable napkin rings, to table runners and soup bowls. I now have a lovely collection of beautiful Pier 1 items that has become a wonderful part of our traditional Christmas dinner.

Likewise, my sister is starting a life here in America, I would love her to have wonderful things that will be part of their family tradition.

By the way, during the months of November and December, you can support Toys for Tots by dropping off an unwrapped toy and/or making a cash donation at the Pier 1's register.
Guys, please continue to spread holiday cheer by liking Pier 1 Imports on Facebook. For every new fan they get, they will donate $1 to Toys for Tots.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Doods Got a Ticket!

Geez, two days ago, on our drive here to Arizona from Houston, we were speeding up along I-10 (by Sonora, Texas) some minutes before 8PM when out of the blue, intermittent flashing of red, white and blue lights glowed from a dark corner followed by the loud siren of a state trooper's car. Yikes! Doods knew that those flashing lights were meant for us because we were the only ones traversing along that quiet interstate! Yes, we were pulled over for over-speeding! The thing is, Doods and I fell in conversation and he did not notice our speed. We were running at 83 mph at 65mph limit.  Fine: $188.00-huhuhu. With Defensive driving, it might be reduced to $108. This is his second over-speeding ticket since we moved here in the US some seven years ago. I hope the last one! :(  By the way, this is also where he got his first over-speeding ticket in 2003, on our way back from California to Houston, Texas. What's with that spot anyway?! I wonder!

Sell Online!

Ever heard of ebay? Who hasn't! Most of us were able to buy hard-to-find  items, if not sell some in ebay. Actually, am a regular ebayer. I have won several practical and not-so-practical items through the auctions there. I also patronize several ebay stores. Likewise, I was able to sell a lot of items in ebay. I have even marketed some of my scrapbook pages in ebay.

I like doing business online because it allows me flexibility. Selling online is a good sideline. There is a huge market because everybody goes online  nowadays. Also, I have control over my time. I am not pressed for deadlines and such. The only thing that's holding me back are the items I sell. When I had plenty of time -before my nieces moved in with us- I had time to make scrapbook pages or personalized wooded plaques to sell, but now, hardly. My friend, and co-teacher, Mike, mentioned about his brother's ebay store. His brother buys his wholesale products from wholesalers that are also found online. Amazing how flexible these wholesale suppliers are. Short of saying, you can sell almost anything you like and still get it with at wholesale price.

Methinks, given much attention, selling online can be a a very good sideline. Who knows, you might even give up your career and do this full time!

Candy Overload

Last Thursday was our class Christmas party. It was held in the classroom, and we had the traditional potluck. Here is what I have observed. I do not know whats with the parents of pre-schoolers, but unlike kids from  higher grade levels, the parents of  pre-k and kindergarten kids make their kids bring so much food. Each one of my five-year old students came with an arm load of food -pizza, cakes, cupcakes, chicken wings, spaghetti, tamales, donnuts, and more. Yes, we had a feast!

We  played several games like musical chair, tail the donkey and one of the kids brought a small pinata. I played some dance music and the kids had a blast dancing. Now, the phrase 'shower of candies' is an understatement! Geez, almost half of the class brought a goody-bag to share with everyone. Do you know what that means? Yes, candy overload! Yikes! I had to remind the kids not to consume all those candies at once. Everybody had a present to open, and a bagful of candies to take home. I had a blast looking at the children's happy faces. Their delight at simple things is contagious.  Occasions like these teaches children about generosity. As young as they are, children learn that Christmas is a season for giving and sharing.

"Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas time.  ~Laura Ingalls Wilderff

A Peaceful Feeling

Author: Isiah Williams

It's early morning and we wake up to that amazing sight, the first snowfall of winter. How beautiful it looks, as it softly falls on the trees and lawns. My husband and I sit in the kitchen with a hot cup of coffee and watch as it begins to gather in the driveway. As pretty as it is, we both know, it will soon be time to get out that shovel and clean off that pavement. Today is Saturday and having nothing better to do, we take a walk in the freshly fallen snow. The crisp, cool air is invigorating after a long, hot summer. We stop and talk to a few neighbors, who are already sweeping off their stairs and bushes. Arriving back home, we decide tomorrow is another day and we will leave this picture of natures beauty until we really have to disturb it. Tonight, we will enjoy the snow, an evening of DirectStarTV and worry about the chore of digging out tomorrow. As we get ready to turn in for the night, a peaceful feeling comes over us, as we watch the snow twinkling so brightly, like little stars within the trees.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Monica's First Christmas Dress

Christmas shopping is one of those inevitable things that we just succumb to! This year though, there's been some changes. There's an addition to our shopping list, my six-month old niece, Monica! It will be her first Christmas. The whole family is excited to buy her her first Christmas dress. Doods, I and my three other nieces went to several stores to check out some baby clothes. We were blown away by the cute and dainty little people's clothes! We had a hard time deliberating which one of those countless lovely dresses we'll buy. In the end, we settled for a white, flowy, organza that has intricate laces. It has soft velvet top, and a flowy organza skirt attached to it. The dress is fit for a little princess.

Can't wait to drive to Arizona to see baby Monica and find out how the lovely dress will look on her. Her three older sisters are excited to dress her up. She looks like a doll! So cute!

Kia Is Dependable

Some years ago when Kia was beginning to make headlines, it was selling a tad cheaper than most cars. It was not that popular then. After all  it was younger than most of its counterparts. It is a good thing though because the Car Dealer was giving a good deal. My brother was looking around to buy his first car. He checked out a Kia Dealer did not hesitate to take his chances with a Kia. There was something about the make of this particular Kia that really appealed to my brother. And he loved the color on sight! He did not have to think twice, he took a risk and plunged. His decision paid off. He had a really good deal on his Kia Rio and despite being a baby in the industry, Kia really proved its worth.

The service was also to boast. He had his first Kia Oil Change and was pleased with the service. I guess Kia's service is evident in how well my brother's car is running even after all these years -smooth!

After that initial experience with Kia, the family became an instant fan. When my brother-in-law was canvasing for a bigger vehicle for his growing family, he did not hesitate to check out the Different Kia Models. He found a style that will  best fit their lifestyle. They bought a Kia Ceres, and just like my brother, they were not disappointed with Kia's performance. Kia is Dependable!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Off To See Santa

Guest post from: Steve Delaney

It is Christmas time again and that means SANTA! Christmas is a magic time of year for kids and when you are packing your cars and getting in lines at the malls, stores make sure that you take safety precautions. One of the easiest things you can do is setting your home security systems on the way out of the door. Christmas is also an easy time for thieves to make this a memorable event for all of the wrong reasons.

This year we will be packing up our kids to head to the mall and to the local downtown Christmas displays, as we do not want to miss any opportunity to see the big guy. The kids have lists three miles long and are looking for every opportunity to make sure they show Santa how they have been good this year. There is nothing as wonderful as seeing your kids light up and enjoy their holiday season.

The holidays are filled with magic and fun. Please be safe this year and make it the best holiday ever.

Skiing Season is Here!

Winter is here, and my favorite thing to do in the snow is ski with my husband! I always feel a rush when we pack our bags, set our home security alarm from securitychoice, and take off for a weekend away at Stevens Pass or Snoqualmie Pass! My husband has been skiing on Mount Spokane since he was about four years old, and when we started dating one of the first things he taught me was how to ski! He is an awesome skier, and can even do jumps and flips. I'll never be that good, but over the years I have gotten better and better, to the point of at least keeping up with him! Now we try to enjoy four or five weekends on the slopes of Stevens Pass and Snoqualmie Pass each winter. Both ski areas have several chair lifts and ski runs at easy to moderate to advanced levels, so learning to ski is easier. The resorts also have nice, cozy lodges with fireplaces and comfortable chairs to relax in when the weather is a little too cold, or our bodies are just sore from a day of skiing. Next year we plan to try out a few of the ski areas up in Columbia, Canada!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Pedestal Mailboxes

Arizona unlike Texas always enjoys a white Christmas. On our long drive to my sisters home from Houston to Arizona, we were regaled by beautiful Christmas decors. It was a lovely sight to see snow covered roofs and snowed pine trees that looks as if they have icing on.

We also saw an amco pedestal mailbox that was prettily decorated with green garlands and red poinsettias. Lovely! Actually, any one of these beautiful amco mailboxes would be a beautiful decor in every lawn, especially those amco victorian mailboxes. How lovely and romantic they look amidst green grass, or even when surrounded with snow. Pedestal mailboxes are my favorites. They posses a distinct elegance. These elegant mailboxes are not just decorative, they are also sturdy and safe. They have good locking device and a lot of the styles can also be personalized.

Tomorrow, we will drive around the neighborhood again. I will take photos of the beautiful mailboxes and the Christmas decors and pick up some decorating styles that I can combine with what I already have.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Picnic in New York

It would be too early to talk about picnic and outings, but because it has been a bit too cold here in Arizona, my sister and I can't help but talk about summer destinations. Her church group here in Arizona has been planning to drive to Colorado and go on a quick detour to visit Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, but my husband, Doods, and I have visited those places already. This summer, I want to visit New York because of the beautiful location shoot-outs I've seen in the movies. Like the quaint store "Serendipity" from the movie of the same name and that lovely bridge where Tom Hanks met Meg Ryan in You've Got Mail. You've guessed it, I'm a hopeless romantic!

Some of our friends in New York has been inviting us to see them for a long time now. They said there are a lot of lovely places in NY where people frequently visit. With my nieces tagging along, they said would be a good idea to go on a picnic. Children always love to run around outdoors. My friends mentioned picnic catering ny, the people who do the catering service for their company picnics. They are not just limited to NY, they also have picnic catering nj. I am excited to explore New York this summer. I might even meet with some blogging buddies who are NY based. Yay!

Avatar Without 3D Is Still Awesome

This guest post from Lewis Beck

It will go down as one of the best movies of all time. I'm speaking of Avatar. While going the 3D route was original and incredible, was it really a great decision? I saw Avatar in 3D in the movie theater and it was amazing. But the 3D added to the movie - watching it without 3D did not take away from the movie. I guess what I'm trying to say is that if Avatar never came out in 3D and was just a regular movie, it would still be known as an incredible movie. I watched it the other night on BestChoiceTV and enjoyed it immensely. I even gave one of those happy cries toward the end when the good guys (and nature) began to fight back. The love story was also powerful. Let me tell you - I don't like love stories. I find them incredibly boring. But this one really worked. I think it was because every time some romance sprung up, it was in the middle of a conflict. Now that's the way you pull off a love story, especially if you want to hook the male viewers. If anyone knows how to hook viewers, it's James Cameron. This guy will take his time to make sure everything is perfect before going to screen. Come to think of it, I think I'm going to look up every James Cameron movie and watch them all.

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