Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Happiness Runs...

That Baby CD and That Baby DVD came into our home via the Parent Bloggers Network. We are big music fans in this household, so I had high expectations. Luckily for me, these products lived up to my expectations.

I am a mother guilty of buying CD after CD for my kids in hopes of finding one that they love and I don't hate. I've found a few here and there that are ok, but most of them are still kids music through and through. The great thing about That Baby CD is that if you change the album art, it's a cover CD of great folk music any adult would buy. All of the music on the disc is right up my alley, and the performers, mostly by Stephanie Schneiderman and her sisters, are fantastic. She has a lovely voice, and the harmonies sent chills up my spine! I'm a little biased (I Will was our wedding song), but I think the song selection is awesome, too.

On to the That Baby DVD! In the past, Sam hasn't shown much interest in DVDs that simply have scenes set to music, but this one he really seemed to enjoy. Maybe it was all the kids featured in the video. While I find it a little creepy to watch kids lip syncing to Brass In Pocket by the Pretenders (a song I've always found bizarrely sexual) Sam L-O-V-E-D to watch it. And while I feel a little guilty admitting this, Lucy (my three month old) was quite content when I placed her in the bouncy seat in front of That Baby DVD while I made Sam dinner. The only small complaint I might have about That Baby DVD is that it has three less songs than the That Baby CD. Those three songs just happened to my favorites from the CD.

Overall I would give the That Baby CD and That Baby DVD a big thumbs up. I would buy the CD for just about anyone, kids or no! The DVD is fun, too, even though we don't watch much TV 'round these parts. And as an added bonus, moms and dads won't get annoyed when the songs get stuck in their heads!

Oh, and I almost forgot! Enter PBN for 20% off! at your checkout and receive 20% off your purchase price! Yay for coupons!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Beauty Confidential: Ten Reasons Why Everyone Everywhere Should Own This Book

Beauty Confidential by Nadine Haobsh is hands down the best beauty book I have ever read. I could kiss the ladies over at the Parent Bloggers Network for bringing it into my life. Also, I want to find Ms. Haobsh and make her be friends with me. Not just because she wrote this awesome book but also because we have the same favorite band and TV show. As soon I read, "I don't enjoy Pearl Jam casually. They are my favorite band in the history of the world and I am besotted by them and they will be the soundtrack of my life until the day I die," I knew I would follow this woman's advice on just about anything.

Therefore, I present to you my list of ten reasons everyone everywhere should own this book.

10. Can you say funny? There is a reason only certain bloggers get asked to write books, and that is because they write well. This book is as entertaining as it is useful.

9. Men, you need this book. It has a million and one gift ideas in it. I guarantee that you'll find something that your wife/girlfriend/mother/great aunt Tessie will adore. The section of fragrances alone will keep you in steady supply of gift ideas for years.

8. Anniversary? Night out with the girls? Even if only once a year, every woman should know how to execute the perfect smoky eye. Chapter 4 gives you all the know-how for this essential look.

7. What I didn't know about skincare could fill a book. Well, at least a chapter of a book. Which is why chapter 5 was so great!

6. So far I've tried three of the twelve things on her 'Must List.' And? They've all been fantastic. More than fantastic. My eyelashes have never looked better, thanks to definicils. The other nine? They're on my Christmas/birthday wish list.

5. The product/pricing guides at the end of each chapter make shopping a snap!

4. I never knew how much to tip the shampoo girl at the hair salon. Now I do! Is it rude to read a magazine while getting a hair cut? Find out on page 43. Best way to change your look without any major hair commitments? Page 48 has all of your answers. Oh, and I finally figured out how to make my ponytail look chic!

3. I am of Hungarian and Slavic descent, therefore I turn a burn-y shade of red after three minutes in the sun. But self tanner has always been perplexing to me. With Haobsh's step-by-step instructions and product suggestions, I might just get it right the next time!

2. The detailed description of what to expect during a bikini wax made me wish I could go back in time and give myself this book circa 2001. Owwwwwww!

1. Because, finally, it's always nice to feel pretty. On those days when I'm feeling bad about my post-partum belly flab or my lack luster social life, a good blow-out or sexy scent can make my day. This book is full of tips and tricks, and it reads like your best friend is the one administering the advice.

As if this list wasn't enough evidence of how much I loved this book, I'm also buying it for at least three people for Christmas! So if you're interested, click over to PBN to read all the other reviews, or head over to the Beauty Confidential home page.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Daring Book for Girls

When I received The Daring Book for Girls by Andrea J. Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz (compliments of the Parent Bloggers Network), my initial thought was that it reminded me of a hip throwback to the Encyclopedia Britannica. The textbook size, sparkly cover design and illustrations are so fun and retro! I think it's been well established that I am a geek. As a child, I was gleeful on the days we were trotted down to the library to write book reports using the old encyclopedias. Well, this book contains a wealth of entertaining and useful information worthy of any encyclopedia set!

The essential gear list alone is something that should be required reading. Beyond those first pages, the book delves into topics ranging from the rules of basketball to making your own paper to math tricks. In between the book is peppered with lots of female-centered history. I was delighted to finally figure out how to tie my hair up with a pencil, and to be reminded of the rules of TV tag. Also, the section on women inventors and scientists is a great list to have handy if your little lady wants to join the Science Olympiad Team and is looking for a role model. Not that I would know anything about that.

While the book is called The Daring Book for Girls, there is a ton of pertinent information in there for women. From negotiating a salary to what to have in your toolbox, many a topic in there is useful for us grownups. Honestly, this book would also be useful for boys! Everyone, regardless of gender, should know how to build a fort or change a tire. Which reminds me that need to re-read that tire chapter.

Overall, I enjoyed having this book around for those random moments when I found myself with some free time. Plan to read for five minutes, and you could easily find yourself in the same position an hour later. It would make a fun gift, too, for either a young lady or perhaps the mother of a new baby girl.

Want more info? The Daring Book for Girls is available on amazon, or head over to the Parent Bloggers Network to read all the other reviews.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Deceptively Delicious Lives Up To The Hype

Never mind my kids, my husband won't touch vegetables. At all. Ever. Well, occasionally I can get him to eat a small salad, but it's usually drenched in some yummy-yet-fat-laden dressing. When we order Chinese food, he makes me request it 'without vegetables.' As if it wasn't bad enough already! So when the Parent Bloggers Network offered me a copy of Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld (yes, Jerry's wife), I enthusiastically offered to do some experimenting. The idea of getting him to eat some roughage in the form of trickery was very appealing to me

First things first, I read the book. I wanted to know what I was getting into. Mrs. Seinfeld talks about her motivation for writing the book, and introduces the cast of characters, including Joy Bauer, nutritionist extraordinaire. She also gives a good rundown on kitchen equipment and pantry staples that are helpful to have on hand. It doesn't hurt that these sections are well written and easy to read. Plus, the book itself is delightful to look at. The photos are scrumptious looking and the illustrations are colorful and adorable!

The key to the book is the purees. By adding pureed vegetables and fruits to everyday meals, you can boost nutritional value. I know there has been some debate about the effectiveness of this technique, but I think that you have to pick you battles. Both the author and the nutritionist recommend serving visable veggies along with the invisible ones, and I agree. And that's all I'm going to say about that.

Some people might be scared off by the thought that pureeing all those veggies is going to be a pain. Honestly, it's pretty simple, and once you get the hang of things it's pretty quick work. I had some practice when I made baby food, and if you've ever done that, well, it's basically the same idea. Steam or roast the food, then puree. Clean-up is pretty simple as well. One pot and a blender. Mrs. Seinfeld recommends making purees once a week, which helped me with meal planning as well.

On to the recipes!

The first few dishes I made were all things that we usually eat around here, and instead of following the recipes to the letter, I simply made them our regular way and then added veggies. My first experiment was pasta with bolognese sauce, which gets a nurtition boost from sweet potatoes. Since we usually use a little sugar to cut the acidity of our bolognese sauce, no one noticed the sweet potatoes, and the dish was a hit.

Next I tried adding some butternut squash puree to our mac n' cheese. I served this to some guests and everyone cleaned their plates. Including Sam and SOB.

As a final test, I decided to serve a few dishes from the book at a party. I decided to keep it simple and make chocolate chip cookies, salsa dip and deviled eggs.

The cookies have chickpeas in them! In the past I had read other recipes that added chickpeas to cookies, and they always recommended pureeing them whereas Mrs. Seinfeld suggests adding them whole, like the chips. I decided to go the puree route, however, and I'm kind of glad I did. I've read a few other reviews of this recipe that said the whole chickpeas didn't go over so well. Either way, the cookies came out great, especially if you like your cookies on the cake-y side.

Both the deviled eggs and salsa dip contained carrot puree. And by the end of the night all three dishes had been devoured. A true testament, indeed.

Even more surprising to me was that the next day, SOB asked for more cookies, even though he knew what was in them!


Interested in hearing more about Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld? Click over to the Parent Bloggers Network to read all the other reviews!