Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Subscribe to KIWI Magazine and Get a Free Gift

KIWI is one of my favorite magazines. I am currently a member of their Parent Advisory Board, but even if I wasn't I would proudly say that I am a dedicated reader. I love KIWI!

KIWI is dedicated to helping parents raise their children the healthiest way possible. They introduce families to the latest in natural and organic living and show us how to practice this lifestyle on an everyday basis.

Since I am big on natural parenting I support this magazine 100%. Since I am a blogging Mama I love searching for products that are good for my family and yours and promoting them here. This magazine has everything about parenting naturally and organically. From delicious healthy recipes to how to greenly entertain your guests this holiday season.

Right now KIWI is having a wonderful deal, but only while supplies last!

Take your pick of:
* A Free Beco Mini Doll Carrier for your little one ($29 value) with code BECOMN

or * A Free Organic Chocolate caramel crunch and coffee set from Equal Exchange ($11 value) with code EQLEXC

or * A Free SCI Fidelity music CD, Keller Williams KIDS (music for kids under 10)($13 value) with code SCIFCD

...with your paid subscription or when you pay for a gift subscription for someone else. Note this deal is only for US households and only good while supplies last. Click HERE to participate.

I chose the Beco Mini Doll Carrier for my daughter Teela and her dolls. This promotes babywearing and imaginative pretend play. I hope I got the subscription soon enough to get one because it says that I will not be notified in advance of my order if they run out of supplies. This is going to be a fantastic after Christmas present!

Fan/Like KIWI Magazine on Facebook. Follow KIWI Magazine on Twitter.

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Because I am a member of the Parent Advisory Board for KIWI Magazine and a subscriber I wanted to share this deal I couldn't pass up on. I did not receive any compensation for doing this post.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

BabyCenter Review and Giveaway

BabyCenter.com is my go to source for all things baby. Whether it be preconception, pregnancy, labor, delivery, postpartum or what nutritious things to feed my growing toddler, I have all the answers, advice and guidance right there at my fingertips and if they are not there already I can totally ask in the forums. I turn to this great resource of information because it is usually all there and I can help other moms out by commenting on their posts too which makes it a great network to go to. BabyCenter also provides parenting tools and medical advisory board-approved information for all the stages of your child's development.

My community profile page is...
http://community.babycenter.com/profile/finamoon

I received a prize pack from BabyCenter through MyBlogSpark to test and review for free. It included two new BabyCenter parenting books (BabyCenter Pregnancy and BabyCenter Baby), a package of Seventh Generation diapers, a gift card from BabyCenter partner, Shutterfly, an exclusive code to try the all-new BabyCenter online class and a BabyCenter bib.

BabyCenter has partnered with Diapers.com. The Seventh Generation diapers I received were awesome! Diapers.com carries these to buy online and some other wonderful green eco-friendly products. I love how these diapers are eco-friendly and safe for baby's bottom too. I got size ones to try out on Zari and the pack comes with 44 diapers. These diapers are chlorine, fragrance and latex free. They are hypoallergenic, and fit snuggly and comfortably around the baby's bottom with wonderful absorbency. Chlorine free diapers are a great alternative to cloth while traveling with baby. Seventh Generation products and other products that are chlorine free help reduce the amount of chlorinated toxins released into the environment. Seventh Generation also has eco-friendly wipes and training pants too.

Shutterfly is another BabyCenter partner. I have reviewed for Shutterfly before with their holiday cards. They have a wonderful selection and I am currently working on a photo book for my angel, Tatiana's birthday which is coming up on January 5th.

Besides their great partners and sponsors, BabyCenter continually strives to offer valuable parenting tools. Among the latest and greatest include:

* BabyCenter Parenting Books (BabyCenter® Pregnancy and BabyCenter® Baby)
o These two new practical and reassuring books provide pregnant women and new mothers with all of the information and support they need during this exciting new time in their lives, with a blend of expert advice and true "mom wisdom." Both are great, highly visual, reference books to keep on the nightstand for that nagging question or concern that inevitably pops up in the middle of the night.

* BabyCenter "Preparing for Labor and Birth" Online Class
o The BabyCenter Class is a convenient, at-home option for moms who can´t attend hospital childbirth classes due to hectic work schedules or being put on bed rest. And the price is right, too! For only $39.99, the all-new 2-hour instructional course lets you hear from doctors, ask your questions, and build confidence for your big day. Preparing for Labor and Birth includes: An explanation of the signs and stages of labor; What to expect during labor; Labor and birth stories from new moms; An overview of your pain-management options; A tour of a delivery room; Suggestions for creating your birth plan; A checklist to help you prepare for the big day and more.

* BabyCenter My Pregnancy Today App
o This new, free application for the iPhone and iTouch, guides expectant moms through their pregnancy journey, offering award- winning, medically reviewed health content; advice from obstetricians, midwives, nutritionists, and other experts; daily activities and reminders; and conversation and connection with other moms-to-be in BabyCenter's community.

* Mom Answers
o This new interactive tool gives BabyCenter moms an emotionally supportive environment where they can ask questions and get answers straight from other moms who've had similar life experiences. It´s like having access to 8 million best girlfriends 24/7.

* Milestones
o The new Milestones tool provides BabyCenter moms the ability to quickly and easily record important pregnancy and childhood milestones and share them with friends and family via e-mail, Facebook, and the BabyCenter Community. It's a fun way to create an online "baby book."


WIN IT:
MyblogSpark has generously offered a BabyCenter prize package that includes the two new BabyCenter parenting books (BabyCenter Pregnancy and BabyCenter Baby), a package of Seventh Generation diapers, a gift card from BabyCenter partner, Shutterfly and a BabyCenter bib to giveaway to one of my readers.

Mandatory:
1. Go to the BabyCenter website and tell me by commenting on this post what you love about the website.

Additional entries:
1. Subscribe to my blog by feedburner or by email and let me know which way. (2 extra entries each)

2. Fan/Like me on facebook and write something on my wall. (1 extra entry)

3. Blog about this giveaway on your blog and provide me with the link. Make sure you have the link to this post and BabyCenter in your blog entry or it won't count. (2 extra entries)

4. Grab My Button (see sidebar to the left) AND/OR Put My Blog URL in Your Blogroll - Leave Your Link. (1 extra entry)

5. Technorati my blog and let me know your link. (1 extra entry)

6. Fave me on Momfaves. (2 extra entries)

7. List this giveaway on any giveaway listing website or blog giveaway linky and tell me where you listed it. (2 extra entries)

8. Post this on your Facebook wall, Kirtsy, and/or StumbleUpon. (2 extra entries for each)

9. Comment on my regular (not giveaway) posts. (1 extra entry per post you comment on)

10. Follow me on Twitter. (1 extra entry)

11. Tweet this: @finamoon: @BabyCenter WIN BabyCenter Prize Package #myblogspark #giveaway http://bit.ly/f4bM6B (Daily Extras are Available)

12. Fan/Like BabyCenter on Facebook. (1 extra entry)

13. Follow BabyCenter on Twitter. (1 extra entry)

14. Sign up for the BabyCenter Community AND befriend me. (2 extra entries)

Make sure you leave me your email in all posts so that I can contact you. If you subscribed, blogged about this, listed it, commented on another post, or faved me on Momfaves leave 2 entries saying you did. This contest ends on Friday December 31, 2010 at midnight (GMT-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada). This Giveaway is open to all 18 years and over in the U.S. Only!!

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: The BabyCenter prize pack, information and the prize package for giveaway were all provided free by BabyCenter through MyBlogSpark. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any other compensation for doing this review.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Oran Etkin, Old El Paso, Toile Tales, Woombie, Untangled Living & Method Giveaway Winners


The winner of the Wake Up, Clarinet by Oran Etkin CD is #4 Colleen! She said she learned that this is his first kids CD.

The winner of the Old El Paso "family taco night" prize pack is #10 karenmed409! She said she learned to teach small ones the dangers of a hot stove while making cool Ice Cream Cone Cakes. Have your child list or point out three hot things and three cold things. DO NOT ALLOW CHILDREN TO TOUCH HOT ITEMS

The winner of the $30 for Toile Tales Etsy shop is #39 GabbyLowe! She said she would like to have the Adult Sweetheart (Brown) for her oldest daughter.

The winner of the Deluxe Woombie is #13 Ashley! She said she would choose the Lil'Princess woombie!

The winner of the Untangled Living ANYWare Collection dish set is #17 GabbyLowe! She said she would choose the butterflies!

The winner of the Method “Fight the Flu” kit is #17 GabbyLowe! She said she would like to try the multi surface cleaner.

Wow GabbyLowe, you are having a winning streak! Keep the comments coming people and maybe you can be as lucky!

Congrats again to all the winners! I will contact each winner by email. If you did not have your email posted please post it here so I can email you! Thanks to all those who participated and don't forget to enter in my contests/giveaways that are going on now! I will also be adding more posts and giveaways soon so stay tuned!

*All winners are chosen by my True Random Number Generator.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Black Friday Sale

The 5th Annual Black Friday sale from TOS Magazine is on now! Hundreds of products will be on sale with a savings of up to 70%. Purchase a one-year subscription to The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, and receive a FREE Homeschooling with Heart tote bag, any Schoolhouse Planner of your choice for FREE, and a FREE E-Book: Cranberry Christmas. This Cranberries & Cream holiday subscription bundle is worth over $80, but is only $19.95 from 11/24 through 11/29. Plus, one family is going to win a getaway package to Great Wolf Lodge! Join in the savings and fun--CLICK HERE to get the details!
DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Because I am a support leader for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine and posting about this Black Friday Sale I am getting coupon for my choice of three Curiosity Files and Expo To Go Fall 2010 for free. This information is from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine's email to me. I did not receive any other compensation for doing this post.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Popchips Review

Popchips are a healthier, delicious, all-natural snack chip that aren't ever fried or baked. They are popped. They start with wholesome potatoes then with a little heat and pressure they get that yummy snack that my family and I love right down to the very last morsel. Since they are all-natural they don't have the junk most chips are found with. They are also more than half the fat of fried chips, no trans fats, and no cholesterol with all or more of the flavor.

No fake colors, no fake flavors, no preservatives, no hydrogenated oils, no MSG. Just a flavorful blend of seasonings and a great crunch! Just make sure to get a good chip clip after opening the bag to keep your Popchips fresh. Or you could instead eat them all at once :) My daughter couldn't resist using the bag clip that we got as a stylish hair clip, LOL!

Popchips come in 7 delectable varieties: original potato, barbeque potato, sour cream & onion potato, cheddar potato, sea salt & vinegar potato, salt & pepper potato and Parmesan garlic potato.

We received .8 oz bags of all the flavors to try for free and coupons for larger bags to try later. My favorites were the Parmesan garlic potato and the sour cream & onion potato. My kids and I didn't really care for the salt & pepper potato ones, but my husband loves them all!

BUY IT:
You can purchase Popchips at all sorts of places. Click on the link to find a store near you... http://www.popchips.com/get-popchips/
Thanks to Happy and Healthy Mom and Popchips for providing me with Popchips to test and review for free. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any other compensation for doing this review.

Monday, November 22, 2010

THE CONFIDENT WOMAN DEVOTIONAL: 365 Daily Inspirations by Joyce Meyer FIRST Wild Card Tour Book Review

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


THE CONFIDENT WOMAN DEVOTIONAL: 365 Daily Inspirations

FaithWords (November 22, 2010)

***Special thanks to Sarah Reck, Web Publicist, Hachette Book Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Joyce Meyer is one of the world's leading practical Bible teachers. A #1 New York Times bestselling author, she has written more than eighty inspirational books, including The Secret to True Happiness, 100 Ways to Simplify Your Life, the entire Battlefield of the Mind family of books, her first venture into fiction with The Penny, and many others. She has also released thousands of audio teachings, as well as a complete video library. Joyce’s Enjoying Everyday Life radio and television programs are broadcast around the world, and she travels extensively conducting conferences. Joyce and her husband, Dave, are the parents of four grown children and make their home in St. Louis, Missouri.


Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $15.99
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: FaithWords (November 22, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446568880
ISBN-13: 978-0446568883

Please press the BROWSE INSIDE THIS BOOK button to read the FIRST chapter:



Saturday, November 20, 2010

...Featuring by Norah Jones Review

Norah Jones reminds me of Judy Garland for some reason. Probably her sultry voice and her new look on her newest album called ...Featuring. This album came out on November 16th. It combines the talents of Norah and other artists. This compilation of cameos, duets and collaborations were recorded from the past decade and shows Norah's diversity and musical spectrum. I love the songs with her and legends Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, and Dolly Parton. There are also 21st Century icons from OutKast to the Foo Fighters that she sings with. Ruler of My Heart really shows her best vocals on this album, in my opinion. I am a big fan of Dolly Parton so Creepin' In is one of my favorites from this album. It is so upbeat and fun! From jazz to country, hip-hop to rock this album has it all.
“A lot of the people on this record are people I've worshiped since I was a kid, and some of them are younger and more my contemporaries,” says Norah. “Even though the musicians are so varied, the vibe of the songs makes sense when we put them all together.”
For the latest news, tour dates and more, check out Norah's website, Facebook and YouTube Channel.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Love Me – The Little Willies
02. Virginia Moon – The Foo Fighters featuring Norah Jones
03. Turn Them – Sean Bones featuring Norah Jones
04. Baby It's Cold Outside – Willie Nelson featuring Norah Jones
05. Bull Rider – Norah Jones and Sasha Dobson
06. Ruler Of My Heart – Dirty Dozen Brass Band featuring Norah Jones
07. The Best Part – El Madmo  
08. Take Off Your Cool – OutKast featuring Norah Jones
09. Life Is Better – Q-Tip featuring Norah Jones
10. Soon The New Day – Talib Kweli featuring Norah Jones
11. Little Lou, Prophet Jack, Ugly John – Belle & Sebastian featuring Norah Jones
12. Here We Go Again – Ray Charles featuring Norah Jones
13. Loretta – Norah Jones featuring Gillian Welch and David Rawlings
14. Dear John – Ryan Adams featuring Norah Jones
15. Creepin' In – Norah Jones featuring Dolly Parton
16. Court & Spark – Herbie Hancock featuring Norah Jones
17. More Than This – Charlie Hunter featuring Norah Jones
18. Blue Bayou – Norah Jones featuring M. Ward



BUY IT:
You can purchase this album for $9.99 on Amazon.com.

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Thanks to One2One Network for sending me a free CD to listen to and review and the information to share with my readers. My post is also eligible for a gift card via random drawing by One2One Network. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any other compensation for doing this review.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Under the Overpass by Mike Yankoski FIRST Wild Card Tour Book Review

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


Under the Overpass

Multnomah Books; Later Printing edition (March 31, 2005)

***Special thanks to Staci Carmichael, Marketing and Publicity Coordinator, Doubleday Religion / Waterbrook Multnomah, Divisions of Random House, Inc. for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


MIKE YANKOSKI and his wife, Danae, are both graduate students in theology at Regent College, Vancouver, Canada. Mike is a board member for World Vision, and a frequent speaker for World Vision, Compassion International, Union Gospel Mission, and colleges across North America. The Yankoskis make their home in a community house on Vancouver's east side where they seek to live authentically among people in need.


Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Multnomah Books; Later Printing edition (March 31, 2005)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1590524020
ISBN-13: 978-1590524022

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Foreword
by Francis Chan

I would like to write a few words about Mike Yankoski, and then I’ll give some thoughts about his book. . . I am a very skeptical person, and I struggle with cynicism. Like most people, I have heard so many lies that now I have a hard time trusting. I even struggle when reading a good book, because in the back of my mind I’m wondering if the person who wrote it is for real.

So what is it about Mike that inclines me to trust him? The sacrifices he has made.

Sacrifice promotes believability.

The apostle Paul defended his ministry in 2 Corinthians 11 with a list of hardships he endured. It was his suffering for the sake of the gospel that gave credence to his message. Paul showed that he genuinely believed what he taught. Why else would he suffer as he did? His argument in 1 Corinthians 15 is similar as he explains the foolishness of his lifestyle if the gospel isn’t true.

While there are many who say they live for eternity, Mike and his wife, Danae, are among the few I actually believe. Their actions have shown me that I can trust them. You can too.

Now about the book. . .

I was warned when entering seminary that if I was not careful, a dangerous habit could form: I could learn to read the Bible and do nothing in response. I still remember our seminary president warning us that study to the neglect of action becomes easier and easier with each occurrence. We should be terrified if we have mastered the art of becoming convicted and doing nothing in response. Don’t read Mike’s book if you’re not willing to change your attitude and actions toward the homeless.

As a person who considers himself sensitive to the needs of the rejected in our country, I learned from this book that I still have a ways to go. I look forward to seeing the changes God will bring about in my life because of it.

Mike shows much grace in pointing out weaknesses our churches may have in caring for the poor. It is embarrassing to admit, but I have often struggled with pride when encountering the homeless. I can’t say that I usually see them as having equal worth with me, much less consider them as “better” than myself (Philippians 2:3). Like many, I have found myself at times working to avoid rather than seeking to engage.

Far from condemning, this book actually causes me to look forward to my next encounter with those living on the streets. I believe it will do the same for you. As I followed Mike’s journey and tried to put myself in his shoes, it caused me to love Jesus more. As I thought of what a struggle it would be for me to leave my comforts, it stirred a greater adoration toward my Savior, who emptied Himself to dwell with us.



This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

(1 John 3:16–18)



I pray that the story of Mike and Sam’s five-month journey causes you to eagerly anticipate your next encounter with a homeless man or woman, created in the image of God. —FRANCIS CHAN



Twenty Minutes
Past the World
Real punches aren’t as sharp and clean as Hollywood makes them out to be. They’re much deeper, thicker. If you happen to hear them from close-up, the sound doesn’t give you a rush of adrenaline. It makes your stomach sink.

The punches, screams, cursing, and kicking we witnessed that night in the park were real. The blood was real, too. It was another cold night in San Francisco. . .



Payback

I had walked against the wind over to where Sam was sitting, his back up to the concrete and brick wall that circles the planter at the Haight Street entrance to Golden Gate Park. All I’d had to eat that day was a ninety-nine-cent hamburger, and it sat uncomfortably in my stomach. I groaned, stretched, and sat down next to Sam, rubbing my hands together to try to get some feeling back in my fingers.

“You know you’re cold when your fingers are too stiff to play the guitar,” Sam said.

He had laid his guitar carefully across some dead flowers in the planter behind us. Fog billowed high above us, and every now and then, a cold gust pushed trash and dust into our faces. The air was rank with the stench of alcohol, cigarettes, body odor, and joints. Even with the wind it was sickening.

Nearby, six street people played quarters, a game in which the person throwing a quarter closest to the wall but not touching it took everyone else’s quarters. It was a good way to pass the time and make a little cash.

One of the girls threw a quarter that clanked sharply against the wall. A horrible throw. She let out a string of curses, then ambled over to a heavily tattooed guy leaning against a cast iron fence and smoking a joint. She kissed him, not seeming to notice that she was interrupting his conversation with the man next to him.

“Can I have a quarter, baby?” she pleaded, looking into his eyes.

“Sure,” he growled. He reached into his pocket and pulled out two dirty quarters.

The girl snatched them and ran back to the game, ready for the next round.

“You’ll pay me back later,” he yelled after her.

“You bet I will,” the girl said with a wry smile in his direction.

A fresh gust of wet wind pushed me further into my filthy sweatshirt. San Francisco cold is weird—heavy and penetrating. Two months earlier on the streets of Washington, D.C., Sam and I couldn’t do enough to escape the heat.

Sam was talking. “There is this mountain back home we used to hike up early in the mornings just to watch the sunrise. One time we wanted to play worship music up there, so we carried a guitar all the way to the top. But when we got there, no one could play it because we were all so cold.”

Sam looked deeper into Golden Gate Park, stretching away from us for two miles to the Pacific Ocean. “Man. Seems like such a long time ago.”

“Yep, sure does,” I said, my own thoughts turning back to take comfort in familiar wonderings: My family would probably be sitting down to eat dinner together, while my friends back at school might be heading out to watch a movie.

“It sure does,” I said again.

That’s when the chaos hit.

“Who you think you are? You piece of. . . !” Marco, the undisputed leader of the gang at the mouth of the park, was screaming at a guy in front of him. Then with all eyes on him, Marco slammed both fists into the guy’s chest, forcing all the air out of the man with a sickening whoosh and knocking him down.

Instantly the park erupted with screams and profanity as everyone seemingly rushed to join the fight. The coin tossers next to us ran to join in, too, the last throw spinning unheeded until it clinked to a stop.

Within seconds, about twenty guys were throwing punches, kicking, yelling, cursing, and tearing wildly at each other. Dogs barked and snarled. And thirty or so other park people, many of them drunk and staggering, gathered around to cheer.

In the center of it all, Marco was pulling on one end of his victim while the man’s friends were pulling from the other. Allies of Marco saw their opportunity and set about to pound the defenseless man’s face or plant steel-toed boots in his gut.

When blood started dripping onto the cement, the brawl seemed to get more feverish. “Take him in! Take him in!” someone yelled. They wanted to drag their prey deeper into the park, away from the cops or any passerby who might try to spoil their fun.

By now, Sam and I were standing, looking around for a squad car—for any sign that this wouldn’t end with a dead man in Golden Gate Park. Nothing.

“We probably need to get out of here,” I mumbled. Sam agreed.

As we picked up our stuff and shuffled off, the brawl shifted further into the park. All I could think to do was pray—and wonder again what Sam and I had been thinking when we decided to step out of our comfortable world. . . and into this.



A Flicker of Lightning

The idea had dropped into my brain one Sunday morning while I sat in church. The pastor was delivering a powerful sermon about living the Christian life. The gist of it was, “Be the Christian you say you are.”

Suddenly I was shocked to realize that I had just driven twenty minutes past the world that needed me to be the Christian I say I am, in order to hear a sermon entitled “Be the Christian you say you are.” Soon I would drive back past that same world to the privilege of my comfortable life on campus at a Christian college.

Thinking ahead to my next week, I knew several things would happen. I knew I’d hear more lectures about being a caring Christian or living a godly life. I’d read more books about who God is and about what the world needs now. I’d spend more time late at night down at a coffee shop with my friends kicking around ultimate questions and finely delivered opinions about the world.

Then I’d jump into my warm bed and turn out the light. Another day gone.

But we were created to be and to do, not merely to discuss. The hypocrisy in my life troubled me. No, I wasn’t in the grip of rampant sin, but at the same time, for the life of me I couldn’t find a connecting thread of radical, living obedience between what I said about my world and how I lived in it. Sure, I claimed that Christ was my stronghold, my peace, my sustenance, my joy. But I did all that from the safety of my comfortable upper-middle-class life. I never really had to put my claims to the test.

I sat there in church struggling to remember a time when I’d actually needed to lean fully on Christ rather than on my own abilities. Not much came to mind. What was Paul’s statement in Philippians? “I have learned what it means to be content in all circumstances, whether with everything or with nothing” (Philippians 4:11–12).

With nothing?

The idea came instantly—like the flash of a camera or a flicker of lightning. It left me breathless, and it changed my life. What if I stepped out of my comfortable life with nothing but God and put my faith to the test alongside of those who live with nothing every day?

The picture that came with that question was of me homeless and hungry on the streets of an American city.

Hard on the heels of the idea came the questions: What if I didn’t actually believe the things I argued with so much certainty? What, for example, if I didn’t truly believe that Christ is my identity, my strength, my hope? Or worse, what if I leaped in faith, but God didn’t catch me? My mind reeled.

And then there were the practical questions. Could I survive on the streets? How much did I really want to learn to be content always with nothing? What would my friends think? What would my parents think? My pastors? My professors? Would I be okay? What if I got sick? What if I starved? What if I got beat up? What if I froze?

What if I’m wrong?

Am I crazy?

Will I die?

But already, I had decided. I walked out of church that morning seized by a big idea, assaulted by dozens of questions, and sure that I had heard deep in my heart a still, small voice saying, “Follow Me.”



“Why Would You Want to Do That?”

Of course, what my idea might actually require took a while to sink in. I would have to put the rest of my life on hold, leave school, and sign up for months of risk, rejection, and plain old misery. There aren’t too many brochures for that kind of thing.

I started with my family. When I called to give them my long, excited ramble, I heard only silence on the other end. Then a few expressions of stunned disbelief.

“Why would you want to do that?” my dad asked.

Determined to hear him out, I asked him to explain what he meant.

He did. “Why would you want to leave school, leave your friends, leave your family, leave your life, and do this? Why would you put your mother and me through the stress, confusion, and worry? Why would you jeopardize all that you’ve worked so hard for, all that we’ve paid for, all that you have to look forward to—for this? ”

Each of his questions hit home. I thought for a moment. “Well,” I said finally, “that’s sort of complicated. I believe I must. I don’t know for certain yet that I will do this, I still have a lot of people to talk with. But I believe that it is something I must do.”

I would be heading home for the summer in a couple of months at which time my parents said we could discuss this crazy idea a little more. We agreed to talk about it face-to-face. It would be a hard conversation.

I plunged into researching homelessness on the streets of America. I read firsthand accounts, sociological studies, autobiographies of people who had given their lives to work with the homeless and addicted.

Even at first glance, the scope of homelessness in America was much worse than I’d imagined. According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, in the United States, more than 3.5 million people experience homelessness during any given year. That means that more than one percent of our population this year will be eating out of trash cans and sleeping under bridges.

Soon I was meeting every month with the director of the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission. Then I began volunteering at the mission twice a week to learn more about the men and women who came through its doors.

Over the next year, I probably looked like any other college student—studying hard, playing hard, juggling classes and work. But all the while I kept pushing on my crazy idea. To my surprise, at every turn and with every conversation, the idea was only confirmed. Even people who should have been telling me no encouraged me to press on.



The Counsel of Friends

One day I sat in the office of the president of the Denver Rescue Mission, laying out my thoughts. I figured if anyone would know enough to tell me to turn back, he’d be the one. But after he thought for a while, he looked up at me, puzzled by what he was about to say.

“I can’t believe I’m saying this,” he said, “but I think your idea is a good one. And I have a feeling that it is very important for you to do this. It will be dangerous, of course, and there are no guarantees. But if you plan well, you can succeed. And you certainly won’t come back the same person.”

I walked out of his office convinced for the first time that what I wanted to happen actually would happen. And something else—an invitation to begin my journey by checking in to his facility just like any other transient off the street.

About this time I also became convinced that I needed some kind of advisory group that would give me guidance and hold me accountable. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” I wanted to be wise, and to succeed, and more than that, I wanted to bring glory to the Lord in everything this idea entailed. So I began praying that God would lead me to the right men.

It didn’t take long to develop a list of men who had been, and still were, having a significant impact on my life as a Christian: my campus pastor, my youth pastor, two rescue mission presidents, a close friend from Oregon, and a professor. Each man I talked to responded positively to my proposal and agreed to mentor and advise me.

With their help, I began putting a travel plan together. After considering a lot of alternatives, we settled on six cities: Denver; Washington, D.C.; Portland; San Francisco; Phoenix; and San Diego. These cities seemed representative of the American urban homeless scene as well as being places where I would have a backup personal contact of some kind in case of emergency.

My advisers also helped me fine-tune my overall purpose. We boiled it down to three objectives:



1. To better understand the life of the homeless in America, and to see firsthand how the church is responding to their needs.

2. To encourage others to “live out loud” for Christ in whatever ways God is asking them to.

3. To learn personally what it means to depend on Christ for my daily physical needs, and to experience contentment and confidence in Him.



Enter Sam

Then there was the issue of companionship. Jesus sent His disciples out two-by-two—a model that seemed right for my new undertaking as well. Besides, I wanted a traveling partner. I pictured long, lonely nights huddled in a stairwell. I worried about attacks. Another person would make everything easier.

But a traveling partner turned out to be hard to come by. Some friends I approached didn’t catch the vision. Others couldn’t take time off from school or work. Three months before I was to depart on the streets, it looked as though I would be going alone. And then I met Sam Purvis.

At six-foot-three or so, Sam was big—about the same size as me, which was an added bonus. Two big guys are much less likely to get messed with on the streets. He was easygoing and he needed a haircut. Right away, I saw possibilities.

Sam had gone to the University of Oklahoma for a semester but was taking a semester off. He happened to be on my campus, and heard through the grapevine about my proposed journey. The more we talked, the more interested he became in joining me. I was encouraged by Sam’s excitement about the trip and passion for serving the Lord. Although we only had a few conversations, I felt a real connection and unity in our hearts and vision.

We agreed to take two weeks to think and pray about it, and for Sam to meet with his mentor and pastor back in his Oregon hometown. Two Saturdays later, during a two-hour telephone conversation, Sam and I struck a deal.



Traveling Papers

Sam and I decided we would be gone for five months. We would begin at the rescue mission in Denver, then travel to and live on the streets of Washington, D.C.; Portland; San Francisco; Phoenix; and San Diego.

From the start, Sam and I understood that we would not actually be homeless. We’d only be travelers through this underworld of need—privileged visitors, really, because any time we wished, we could leave the streets and come home. Most people on the streets have no such option.

Yet, as truly as we could, Sam and I wanted to experience homelessness. That meant, among other things, that we’d carry only the bare essentials, taking no cell phones, credit cards, or extra clothes. We would survive as most other men and women on the streets do—panhandling for money, eating at rescue missions or out of garbage cans, and sleeping outside or in shelters.

We would take only what we could carry. Our clothing for the five months would consist of a pair of boxers, a pair of shorts, a pair of jeans, a T-shirt, and a sweatshirt. Add books and journals, and a couple of battered guitars to support our panhandling, and that was it.

We would keep our background and purpose a secret because if a person or an organization knew we were choosing to be homeless, their response to us would be different. As much as possible, we wanted to experience the real thing.

We’d travel by Greyhound Bus, using our panhandling earnings to buy fare between cities. But because we wanted to spend our time homeless in the cities rather than stuck on a bus for two weeks crossing the country, we made two exceptions: we would fly between Denver and Washington, D.C., and between D.C. and Portland.

To stay in contact with our families, our advisers, and those who were praying for us, we’d use e-mail at local libraries plus an occasional phone call. In case one of us got stabbed or needed to make an immediate trip to the hospital, we took enough cash for a one-way cab ride, praying we wouldn’t ever use it (we didn’t).

That left two major purchases for our new life on the streets. A few days before we left, Sam I went down to a local thrift store and bought two sleeping bags (at three dollars apiece) and two backpacks (at four dollars).

Seven dollars each.

We were ready.



Invitation to the Journey

On May 27 we stepped out of our old lives. From then until November 2, Sam and I slept out in the open or in shelters or under bridges. We ate out of trash cans and feeding kitchens. We looked disgusting, smelled disgusting, were disgusting. We were shunned and forgotten and ignored by most people who walked past us—good, acceptable people who looked just like Sam and I used to look, and maybe just like you.

Although our journey took us to many destinations that were challenging, cold, and even brutal—like the night in Golden Gate Park—by God’s grace we did what we set out to do, and learned a lot along the way. For example: that faith is much more than just an “amen” at the end of the sermon on Sunday mornings; that the comfort and security we strive so hard to create for ourselves doesn’t even come close to the “life in the full” that Christ promises; and that God is faithful and good, even when we’re not.

Perhaps you, too, have felt a nudging toward a life on the edge—some place or task in your life where, as Frederick Buechner put it, “God’s great mercy and the world’s great hunger meet.” If you haven’t yet, is your heart open to that moment when it comes?

Either way, I invite you to take this journey with Sam and me through the everyday world of the hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children who make up America’s homeless population. We decided to go past the edge with God. One day soon, I pray you will, too. And when you do, I think you’ll find what we did . . .

A bigger world, and more reason to care for it.

More forgotten, ruined, beautiful people than we ever imagined existed, and more reason to hope in their redemption.

A greater God, and more reason to journey with Him anywhere.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My Baby Clothes Boutique Review and Giveaway

Sponsored by Tomoson.com
My Baby Clothes Boutique has some very cute clothing and accessories for babies and toddlers. They have baby hats, baby headbands, baby clothes, baby gifts, baby tutus, and so much more. Their clothes and accessories are affordably priced. They even have an organic clothing section and a section of last chance sale items.

I picked the Personalized Hot Pink Little Sprout Tab Dress for my youngest daughter, Zari. This little dress is absolutely adorable and It definitely gets other's attention because of the bright hot pink and lime green colors. It is embellished with polka dots, stripes, solid tabbed ribbon hemline and adorable little ribbon flowers on the shoulders. This is from the Little Sprout line from Mud Pie. I love the whole line. I even had a Little Sprout headband from Teela's collection of hair things to match which was a pleasant, happy surprise. This dress reminds me of a fond memory of some dresses my mother made my sisters and I in the 80's that were made of wild patterned and brightly colored fabric. My Baby Clothes Boutique personalized this dress with Zari's name and the font and color they used for the embroidery is perfect! Zari just glows in this whimsical creation.

Here are other items I love on their website: The other Little Sprout items, Cozy Rosie Baby Gown, Cozy Rosie Minky Dot Coverall, Flower Power Swing Top, Watermelon Capri Set, Simple Smocked Daygown, Rose Smocked Dress, etc.

BUY IT:
BLACK FRIDAY 3-DAY SALE! 15% OFF ALL ORDERS OVER $75! Sale expires Sunday at midnight so place your orders today! Enter code BLACKFRIDAY2010 during checkout to receive discount.

WIN IT:
My Baby Clothes Boutique has generously offered a $25 gift card (in the form of a coupon code) for one of my readers to win (good for ANYTHING in their store).

Mandatory:
1. Go to the My Baby Clothes Boutique website and tell me by commenting on this post what you would love to get with the $25.

Additional entries:
1. Subscribe to my blog by feedburner or by email and let me know which way. (2 extra entries each)

2. Fan/Like me on facebook and write something on my wall. (1 extra entry)

3. Blog about this giveaway on your blog and provide me with the link. Make sure you have the link to this post and My Baby Clothes Boutique in your blog entry or it won't count. (2 extra entries)

4. Grab My Button (see sidebar to the left) AND/OR Put My Blog URL in Your Blogroll - Leave Your Link. (1 extra entry)

5. Technorati my blog and let me know your link. (1 extra entry)

6. Fave me on Momfaves. (2 extra entries)

7. List this giveaway on any giveaway listing website or blog giveaway linky and tell me where you listed it. (2 extra entries)

8. Post this on your Facebook wall, Kirtsy, and/or StumbleUpon. (2 extra entries for each)

9. Comment on my regular (not giveaway) posts. (1 extra entry per post you comment on)

10. Follow me on Twitter. (1 extra entry)

11. Tweet this: @finamoon: @MyBabyClothes WIN My Baby Clothes Boutique $25 GC #giveaway http://bit.ly/h87SoX (Daily Extras are Available)

12. Fan/Like My Baby Clothes Boutique on Facebook. (1 extra entry)

13. Follow My Baby Clothes Boutique on Twitter. (1 extra entry)

14. Sign up for the My Baby Clothes Boutique Newsletter. (1 extra entry)

15. Subscribe to the My Baby Clothes Boutique Blog. (1 extra entry)

Make sure you leave me your email in all posts so that I can contact you. If you subscribed, blogged about this, listed it, commented on another post, or faved me on Momfaves leave 2 entries saying you did. This contest ends on Friday December 17, 2010 at midnight (GMT-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada). This Giveaway is open to all 18 years and over in the U.S. Only!!

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Tomoson Product review & giveaway Disclosure.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday Tiny Prints Thanksgiving Greeting Cards FREE

My not so Wordless Wednesday Post:

I just made these fabulous Thanksgiving cards at Tiny Prints. I got 50 shipped to me for free to send to relatives (my cards might be late, but it is the thought that counts.) You can individually send them to your family and friends instead if you wish so that they will get to them on time... all you need to pay for is the stamps.

3 Days Only! FREE Thanksgiving Greeting Card
Offer expires on 11/19/10 11:59 pm (PT) Code: FREETHX



"Enjoy FREE Thanksgiving greeting cards when you enter the code FREETHX at checkout. This offer is not applicable to previously placed orders. Offer is only valid on Tiny Prints greeting cards and is not applicable to Tiny Prints stationery and products, or third party or partner websites. To prevent abuse, Tiny Prints reserves the right to discontinue or modify this offer at any time without notice. They reserve the right to cancel any order at any time. Offer is subject to change and expires at 11:59 pm (PT) on 11/19/10. Don't miss out on this unbeatable offer—create your FREE Thanksgiving greeting cards now, and send your love for less!"

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Shutterfly’s Holiday Cards Review

With Shutterfly you can create some really neat personalized photo creations from the photos that you can store online on Shutterfly. They have Photo Books, Cards & Stationery, Prints, Calendars, Photo Gifts and Home D├ęcor. I think their photo books and photo gifts are my favorite. I would definitely love to make a photo book with my daughter Tatiana in it as a memorial of her someday. There are so many personalized photo creations you can choose from. Shutterfly even has some new holiday cards for 2010. Order your Christmas cards soon so they can be shipped and get to your friends and family on time! You can also get photo Christmas cards which make great keepsakes for years to come. Depending upon the style you choose they can be printed on high quality matte or glossy photo paper or premium cardstock. When Zari was born I was sent free samples of birth announcements in the mail that Shutterfly could create. They were of great quality!

Go to their special offers page to see what you can save on. Right now you can save 30% on holiday cards. Select gift tags and address labels are also 30% off. Don't forget photo ornaments for your tree this year, they are 25% off. There are more sales too, but hurry these sales end December 1st!

Bloggers can get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly! http://bit.ly/sfly2010

My favorite holiday cards from Shutterfly are the Merry Blossoms, We Heart You Holiday Card, Cinnamon Candy Lane, Pretty Poinsettia Print, Kaleidoscope Noir, Our Ornaments Story Christmas Card, Elegant Cranberry Damask, What A Year Christmas Card, How Holly Story folded card, How Holly Story, Cheery Blossoms, Town Of Bethlehem, Confection Dazzle, Christmas Birdie, Merry Mistletoe, Santa's Sleigh, & Nativity Blue. I will be hard to choose which one I will use this year because there are so many great ones to choose from! I love the holidays! I love decorating, remembering the true meaning of Christmas, giving gifts, sending out my yearly happenings newsletter, and personalizing cards to send out to family and friends. This is truly one of my favorite seasons!

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Because I am posting about Shutterfly's Holiday Cards I am getting 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any other compensation for doing this review.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pear Tree Greetings $30 Gift Code Giveaway

It’s almost that time for a delicious turkey dinner and quality time with the family. This is the time of the year you gather around the dinner table and give thanks for the love and support your family and friends have provided and to reflect on the moments that made you happy this year. Veteran's Day was also this month so November is also a great time to remember and be thankful for those who are serving overseas. I love this time of the year and because I am a Pearista I get to host a giveaway in appreciation for you, my readers.

I am so thankful to you all for participating in my giveaways, reading and commenting on my posts and subscribing to my blog. You are helping make this blog what it is.

Don't forget that ‘Tis the season for sending Christmas Cards! Pear Tree Greetings has added new deals to their Pear Tree Promo Code page, including deals on Christmas Cards and Thanksgiving Invitations!

Pear Tree is having the Operation Gratitude project this year. They are sending their color-in Christmas card to teachers around the nation who sign up to have their students color in the snowman and write a message thanking our men and women serving overseas for their dedication and hard work they provide this country. Pear Tree is also giving back this holiday season by partnering with the American Cancer Society. They have designed 6 exclusive Christmas cards and by purchasing one of those cards, 100% of the proceeds go to the American Cancer Society.

Pear Tree Greetings is thankful to have the opportunity to help put a smile on the men and women serving overseas who cannot be with their families this holiday season. They are also thankful to help give back to a great organization, the American Cancer Society.

WIN IT:
Christy from Pear Tree Greetings has generously offered a $30 gift card (in the form of a coupon code) for one of my readers to win (good for ANYTHING in their store).

Mandatory:
1. Go to the Pear Tree Greetings website and tell me by commenting on this post what you would love to get with the $30.

Additional entries:
1. Subscribe to my blog by feedburner or by email and let me know which way. (2 extra entries each)

2. Fan/Like me on facebook and write something on my wall. (1 extra entry)

3. Blog about this giveaway on your blog and provide me with the link. Make sure you have the link to this post and Pear Tree Greetings in your blog entry or it won't count. (2 extra entries)

4. Grab My Button (see sidebar to the left) AND/OR Put My Blog URL in Your Blogroll - Leave Your Link. (1 extra entry)

5. Technorati my blog and let me know your link. (1 extra entry)

6. Fave me on Momfaves. (2 extra entries)

7. List this giveaway on any giveaway listing website or blog giveaway linky and tell me where you listed it. (2 extra entries)

8. Post this on your Facebook wall, Kirtsy, and/or StumbleUpon. (2 extra entries for each)

9. Comment on one of my regular (not giveaway) posts. (1 extra entry per post you comment on)

10. Follow me on Twitter. (1 extra entry)

11. Tweet this: @finamoon: @peartreegrtngs WIN Pear Tree Greetings $30 GC #giveaway http://bit.ly/iaNSKF (Daily Extras are Available)

12. Fan/Like Pear Tree Greetings on Facebook. (1 extra entry)

13. Follow Pear Tree Greetings on Twitter. (1 extra entry)

Make sure you leave me your email in all posts so that I can contact you. If you subscribed, blogged about this, listed it, commented on another post, or faved me on Momfaves leave 2 entries saying you did. This contest ends on Friday December 03, 2010 at midnight (GMT-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada). This Giveaway is open to all 18 years and over in the U.S. Only!!

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Thanks to Pear Tree Greetings for providing me this giveaway free for my readers. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any compensation for posting review or giveaway other than 20% off anything in their store.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Hello World Clothing SmartZip Sleeper Review and Giveaway

The Hello World SmartZip Sleeper helps diaper changes be an easier task. With its zipper that unzips at both ends it is great for dressing baby the conventional way and lets you change your little one without having to unzip the whole sleeper.

Comes in 2 colors currently: Blue Me Away and Made Me Blush. A third color: Olive You More is coming soon.

The sleepers are made from 100% interlock cotton. Since cotton is a natural fabric it breaths better than synthetic fibers and is soft against baby's skin. It is also machine washable and has a tag-less neck label so it doesn't irritate the baby. Made in Macau.

I found the 3 month size (which is supposed to be 0-3 months according to their chart) too big for Zari and pajamas should fit snugly. Maybe I should have requested the newborn size. I love the fact that the zipper has a snap flap so that the baby's chin is protected from the top zipper pull and it also has a fabric cover covering the bottom zipper pull so it won't be messed with by little fingers. I thought the non-skid footed bottoms were a nice touch even though she isn't going to be walking for months. The SmartZip Sleeper comes in sizes from newborn to 12 months. Zari will grow into this great sleeper and when she does it will be even more fabulous! She is so cute in it now :)

BUY IT:
You can purchase the SmartZip Sleeper at $32 at Hello World Clothing Company. You can also purchase their SimpleZip Pant at $30 and their Simply Sweet Bodysuit at $20.

WIN IT:
Hello World Clothing has generously offered a SmartZip Sleeper choice of size and color for one of my readers to win.

Mandatory:
1. Go to the Hello World Clothing Company website and tell me by commenting on this post which color and size of SmartZip Sleeper you would love to get.

Additional entries:
1. Subscribe to my blog by feedburner or by email and let me know which way. (2 extra entries each)

2. Fan/Like me on facebook and write something on my wall. (1 extra entry)

3. Blog about this giveaway on your blog and provide me with the link. Make sure you have the link to this post and Hello World Clothing Company in your blog entry or it won't count. (2 extra entries)

4. Grab My Button (see sidebar to the left) AND/OR Put My Blog URL in Your Blogroll - Leave Your Link. (1 extra entry)

5. Technorati my blog and let me know your link. (1 extra entry)

6. Fave me on Momfaves. (2 extra entries)

7. List this giveaway on any giveaway listing website or blog giveaway linky and tell me where you listed it. (2 extra entries)

8. Post this on your Facebook wall, Kirtsy, and/or StumbleUpon. (2 extra entries for each)

9. Comment on one of my regular (not giveaway) posts. (1 extra entry per post you comment on)

10. Follow me on Twitter. (1 extra entry)

11. Tweet this: @finamoon: @whynotsayhello WIN A Hello World Clothing SmartZip Sleeper #giveaway http://bit.ly/fh1frX (Daily Extras are Available)

12. Fan/Like Hello World Clothing on Facebook. (1 extra entry)

13. Follow Hello World Clothing on Twitter. (1 extra entry)

Make sure you leave me your email in all posts so that I can contact you. If you subscribed, blogged about this, listed it, commented on another post, or faved me on Momfaves leave 2 entries saying you did. This contest ends on Friday December 17, 2010 at midnight (GMT-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada). This Giveaway is open to all 18 years and over in the U.S. Only!!

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Thanks to ChicExecs, a company which was created to promote small business campaigns, I was able to let you know about this product. Hello World Clothing Company provided me with the SmartZip Sleeper for free to try and review. This giveaway is also provided free from Hello World Clothing Company. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any other compensation for doing this review.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

BabyBond Giveaway Winner

The winner of the A BabyBond Original Turquoise size 2 Nursing Sash is #23 Izzatul Iman! She said she'd love to try BabyBond Flex in any colour.

Congrats again to all the winners! I will contact each winner by email. If you did not have your email posted please post it here so I can email you! Thanks to all those who participated and don't forget to enter in my contests/giveaways that are going on now! I will also be adding more posts and giveaways soon so stay tuned!

*All winners are chosen by my True Random Number Generator.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ebeanstalk.com Review

Christmas is just around the corner after Thanksgiving. If you have kids and haven't decided where to shop maybe you should checkout ebeanstalk and you can search for baby toys, kids toys, and more! Their website is specifically designed to make your life easier. You can narrow your search by only looking for toys for 1 year olds or even just toys for 1 year old boys. How much easier can it get?! Check it out for yourself.

Ebeanstalk has child specialists that are their experts at picking the brands, toys and other products they have on their website. They also have a section dedicated to learning development and milestones. They have created play ideas for each toy and have matched them with specific age groups.

I found the website very simple to navigate. I loved all the selection and age appropriate things and you can totally search for specifics. You can also make a wishlist for your kids. I like that they carry some eco-friendly and organic brands some of which are: Keptin Jr, Green Toys, Maxim Enterprise, Hape, Cloud B, Belle Baby, Baby Bjorn just to name a select few. They also have a whole section dedicated to some of their eco-friendly toys. Not only do they carry games and toys, but I also noticed that they carry baby carriers and car seats too. You can even purchase The Grow and Learn Gift Series in which every 3 months a new toy arrives expertly-matched to the stage of the development of the child you choose to send it to.

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Thanks to Ebeanstalk for giving me the opportunity to review their website. In posting this review I am also given the chance later to review a product off their website. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any other compensation for doing this review.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday Baby Zari

If you are participating in Wordless Wednesdays, click on the Mister Linky image, enter your name and URL in the form, and press Enter. Please also leave comments on this post! I love reading them!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Method Antibac Cleaner Review and Giveaway

Method's new Antibac cleaners are powered by CleanWell's core technology which uses thymol (thyme extract) for their disinfectants. This powerful ingredient helps to eradicate germs without using bleach and triclosan! I reviewed Seventh Generation cleaning products a while back and was wondering what the difference between Method's Antibac products and Seventh Generation's disinfectant cleaners and wipes. Both, you see, are powered by CleanWell's core technology...both use thymol as the active botanical ingredient to disinfect. CleanWell's core technology kills 99.99% of germs* botanically (specifically: influenza A, H1N1, rhinovirus, staphylococcus aureus, salmonella enterica, pseudomonas aeruginosa, E. coli) using the active ingredient thymol, a component of thyme oil which is derived from the common herb thyme. *Refer to disinfecting product labels for full details.

I got the answers I wanted from Methods product formulators (Green Chefs). They told me that the key differences between Method Antibac and Seventh Generation's antibacterial products are:

• Fragrance: Method Antibac offers bathroom spray in spearmint and kitchen spray and wipes in lemon verbena. Seventh Generation only has one fragrance for its items, which is lemongrass + thyme.

My thoughts on scent difference: Both Method and Seventh Generation products contain thymol and have the thyme sent. After smelling Seventh Generation's spray cleaners, Method's Antibac products seem to me far less overpowering with the thyme scent because of the lemon verbena and spearmint scents that are added. I can also smell the spearmint and lemon verbena in the Method products a lot more after smelling the Seventh Generation products. I love the spearmint scented one that Method makes for the bathroom because of its calming effect. Spearmint essential oil is known to have some antifungal activity, although less than oregano essential oil which is an ingredient in both cleaners. I also love the lemon verbena scented one for the kitchen that Method makes because lemon scented things are uplifting and one of my favorite scents to clean with.

• Product differentiation: Method's bathroom spray is specially formulated with more cleaning surfactant than the kitchen spray to attack tough bathroom jobs (e.g. soap scum and hard water stains)

My thoughts on how well the products work: I received the all purpose cleaning and disinfecting wipes in lemon verbena, antibacterial bathroom cleaner in spearmint and antibacterial kitchen cleaner in lemon verbena to try out for free from Green and Clean Mom and Method. I love how these products are safe for the environment and for my family. They wipe out unwanted dirt, grime, and germs! These products are great for eradicating flu and other germs without using bleach and triclosan!! I love how clean my kitchen, bathroom, and other surfaces get with these products and with the price so low I am going to definitely buy these again when the products I have run out.

• Sizing difference: Method spray bottles contain 28 oz. and are $3.99 while Seventh Generation spray bottles contain 26 oz. and cost anywhere from $3.74-$6.00. Methods wipes have 35 wet wipes per container and costs $3.99 while Seventh Generation wipes have 35 wet wipes per container and costs anywhere from $3.84-$5.49, although Seventh Generation wipes also have a container containing 70 wet wipes and depending upon where you get it costs anywhere from $5.09-$8.99. Method products are available at national retailers like Target, Lowe’s, Bed Bath & Beyond and Whole Foods as well as at many local grocery and drug stores.

Come to a Twitter Party to ask questions and win prizes:
When: November 17th from 10pm-11pm EST,
Who: facilitated by @thesmartmama
Where: @ Twitter with hashtag #ecowed


WIN IT:
Sommer of Green and Clean Mom has generously offered a Method “Fight the Flu” kit (which includes: Antibac bathroom spray, hand sanitizer, and fun stickers.) for one of my readers to win.

Mandatory:
1. Go to the Method website and tell me by commenting on this post which other product besides the ones I mentioned you would want to try and why.

Additional entries:
1. Subscribe to my blog by feedburner or by email and let me know which way. (2 extra entries each)

2. Fan/Like me on facebook and write something on my wall. (1 extra entry)

3. Blog about this giveaway on your blog and provide me with the link. Make sure you have the link to this post and Method in your blog entry or it won't count. (2 extra entries)

4. Grab My Button (see sidebar to the left) AND/OR Put My Blog URL in Your Blogroll - Leave Your Link. (1 extra entry)

5. Technorati my blog and let me know your link. (1 extra entry)

6. Fave me on Momfaves. (2 extra entries)

7. List this giveaway on any giveaway listing website or blog giveaway linky and tell me where you listed it. (2 extra entries)

8. Post this on your Facebook wall, Kirtsy, and/or StumbleUpon. (2 extra entries for each)

9. Comment on one of my regular (not giveaway) posts. (1 extra entry per post you comment on)

10. Follow me on Twitter. (1 extra entry)

11. Tweet this: @finamoon: @methodtweet WIN A Method “Fight the Flu” kit #giveaway http://bit.ly/bZudu4 (Daily Extras are Available)

12. Fan/Like Method on Facebook. (1 extra entry)

13. Follow Method on Twitter. (1 extra entry)

Make sure you leave me your email in all posts so that I can contact you. If you subscribed, blogged about this, listed it, commented on another post, or faved me on Momfaves leave 2 entries saying you did. This contest ends on Friday November 26, 2010 at midnight (GMT-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada). This Giveaway is open to all 18 years and over in the U.S.!!

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Thanks to Method and Green and Clean Mom for sending me Method Antibac products for free to test and review and for providing the giveaway. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any other compensation for doing this review.

CSN Stores KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker Mixer Attachment Review

Since I am a CSN Preferred Blogger I received a $65 Gift Code free to use at their stores and review the item I got with it. Since I already had a KitchenAid stand mixer I decided to get the KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker Mixer Attachment. I was looking forward to making my own ice cream, frozen yogurt, sorbet and sherbet in the comfort of my own home. This attachment converts any* KitchenAid stand mixer into an ice cream maker. It creates up to 2 quarts in about 25 minutes. The dasher is powered by the KitchenAid and once you freeze the bowl in the freezer for at least 15 hours (18 hours or longer is better for less of a soft serve consistency) it is ready for you to add the mixture, mix it, then freeze it in the freeze bowl some more to get the thickness desired.

Using this attachment and making frozen desserts with it does take quite a bit of preparation too in advance. I have used a Rival motorized ice cream maker before that needed rock salt and ice. The Rival machine actually took less time (20-40 minutes) to make ice cream because you don't have to wait for the freeze bowl to freeze in the freezer. After the first batch is done & eaten and the bowl components are washed it is best to just leave the freeze bowl in the freezer so you are ready to use it again right away. Also, if you like to make more than one batch at a time a second freeze bowl is great to have around so you can alternate between them. If you don't mind the wait of freezing time in between batches and already have a KitchenAid stand mixer then this is an excellent choice for an ice cream maker. I made vanilla ice cream from the recipe in the booklet that came with it and it turned out fantastic. Very simple and easy to use. Just read the instructions in the booklet and follow them.

You will need to hand-wash the freeze bowl so no damage becomes of it, but the dasher, drive assembly, and adapter ring are all dishwasher-safe. It also comes with a 1-year hassle-free replacement warranty.

*US or Canadian mixers only. However if you have a machine from somewhere else you can call KitchenAid to possibly get some extra parts for this to make it work for you...or so I am told.

DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Thanks to CSN Stores for providing me with the $65 Gift Code free to use at their stores so that I could review the item I got with it. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any other compensation for posting this review.