Chocolate Cheerios Review and Giveaway


If Alfie and The Pea had their way, they would have chocolate for breakfast, lunch and dinner. One of these days I'm going to throw caution to the winds and serve chocolate cake for breakfast, but for now we're sticking to cereal. MyBlogSpark and General Mills recently sent us a gift box with their new Cheerios variety, Chocolate Cheerios. It may not be chocolate cake, but it sure left a smile on their faces when they tried it! Read more below to find out more about what we thought of it (and get a chance to win a Chocolate Cheerios gift pack of your own!):

The Basics
Chocolate Cheerios chocolate flavored cereal is made with real cocoa and whole grain corn and oats.

Here's what General Mills has to say about new Chocolate Cheerios:
Chocolate Cheerios is low in fat, heart healthy*, has 100 calories per serving, contains at least 8 grams of whole grain per serving (at least 48 grams recommended daily), and is a good source of calcium and vitamin D. Made with real cocoa, Chocolate Cheerios can help your family start the day off right with a delicious and nutritious breakfast that is sure to make you smile!

*Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. Chocolate Cheerios cereal is low in fat, saturated fat free and naturally cholesterol free.


The Bongga
When The Pea first tasted Chocolate Cheerios, her eyes lit up and she exclaimed, "Wow, this cereal is yummy! I like it!". I have to agree with her; the cereal does taste chocolate-y, but not sinfully chocolate-y. It's sweet enough to taste like a treat but not so sweet that I feel like I'm rotting my kids' teeth by giving it to them (hey, it has less sugar per serving than some of the Special K cereals!). And I have to admit, since it shares the same name as regular Cheerios -- which is generally considered to be such a healthy cereal that even little babies are allowed to eat it -- some of that "good for you vibe" rubs off and I feel like such a good girl when I'm eating it.

The Bottom Line
Who needs chocolate cake for breakfast? With new Chocolate Cheerios, you can your morning chocolate fix without sacrificing whole grain goodness.

Win It!
One lucky Bonggamom Finds reader will win the same Chocolate Cheerios gift pack that was sent to me. If you love all things chocolate, this is the prize for you:

* one box of Chocolate Cheerios
* a chocolate scented spa kit
* a ceramic cereal bowl.



Required Entry
Leave a comment on this post and tell me what you and your family do to start the day with a smile.

Extra Entries
For extra entries, you can do any or all of the following, (you can only do each extra entry once; please leave a separate comment for each extra entry):


1) Become a fan of Bonggamom Finds on Facebook (leave a comment with your FB id).

2) Leave a comment on my Digital Parenting post (leave a comment here saying you commented)

3) Participate in the Momspotter meme on my Digital Parenting post (answer the meme questions on your own blog, then leave a link to your post on my Digital parenting post and this giveaway post).

4) Tweet this giveaway (leave a comment with a link to your tweet). Here is a sample tweet you can copy and paste:

Win a Chocolate Cheerios gift pack from @bonggafinds http://tinyurl.com/yat49za

Maximum of 5 entries per person. This giveaway ends at midnight PST on Feb. 14, 2009; I will draw a winner at random on Feb. 15 and post the winner's name as soon as the winner confirms acceptance. For additional giveaway rules, click here. Good luck!





Disclosure: I did not receive financial compensation for this post. Thanks to MyBlogSpark and General Mills Cereals for providing me with one Chocolate Cheerios gift pack to sample and one to give away. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
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Bonggamom's Friday Finds -- The Bestest Giveaways Around the Blogosphere


Bonggamoms Friday Finds

Bonggamom's Friday Finds is back for 2010! I'm glad so many of you are finding this to be a useful way to get more traffic to your giveaways. And as a person who loves entering giveaways, I have to admit it's a great, easy way to find out where all the best giveaways are.

So feel free to leave links to your giveaways, everyone. And don't forget to get cracking and enter all those giveaways, too!


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Join the Conversation and "Rethink What Matters"



Mineral makeup brand Bare Escentuals has launched a fun new campaign called Rethink What Matters, designed to get women to look beyond the skin deep, redefine beauty and get some honest conversations going on topics like going bare in public and what freedom really is.

Sound interesting? Stop by RethinkWhatMatters.com every Friday for a new discussion topic (today's topic: Rethinking Your Environment), answer a quiz, share with friends and have the chance to win free products. At the end of March, one lucky Grand Prize winner will win a trip of a lifetime to places like Paris, Costa Rica, Italy or Asia!

To complement the discussion over on RethinkWhatMatters.com, Bare Escentuals will also be hosting giveaways on blogs like mine. Bonggamom Finds will be hosting a great Bare Escentuals giveaway in the next couple of weeks, so keep checking back here or sign up for email updates!

So, what are you (re)thinking today?


I did not receive a sample or monetary compensation for this post. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
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Get a Free Picture Gift Bag





You know what they say: it's all in the presentation. That's why people make a big deal about gift wrapping. When you give someone a beautifully-wrapped present it elevates gift giving and receiving to a whole new level, because the recipient begins enjoying their present from the moment they set eyes on it. I recently received a coupon for a FREE personalized Picture Gift Bag that I'm excited to share with everyone because I think the product is so unique.

The Basics
PictureGiftMart is an online site for personalized products -- yes, they have the usual calendars and photo books and mugs, but they also have some really unique items like personalized sweets and gift bags. The Picture Gift Bags allow you to create a one-of-a-kind paper gift bag, with your own text, photo and design.


The Bongga
These picture gift bags are so original! You don't find these in most online photo sites (that applies to the photo cookies as well) so they're really a unique idea. It's the perfect gift bag for grandparents' birthdays, Mother's Day presents, wedding or shower presents. The recipient will value the bag as much as the present! They have a good selection of designs to choose from so you're sure to find a style that fits the occasion. I can't comment on the quality of the finished bag but I found the idea so unique (and the Free Bag offer so good) that it deserved a mention on this blog.

The Blah
I do have several caveats about this site, and all of them have to do with the availability of information. They have no "About Us" section on their website, and their "Help" section is quite threadbare. Second, the design selection process is a bit confusing. It took me a while to figure out that you must first select the design of the gift bag (i.e. the sides and the back of the bag) before selecting the design of the front of the gift bag. A 360-degree preview of the bag would also be nice so that the customer can make sure there are no surprises (other than what's going to be inside the bag!).

Finally, it is very difficult to find pricing information; I had to spend time to create a gift bag and click on "Add to My Order" because I could figure out that a Medium Picture Gift Bag costs $6.50 per bag. And to find out the shipping costs, I had to enter my shipping address -- which meant I had to create a login account. All this before I've even made the decision to purchase!

The Bottom Line
Despite the difficulties involved, I really like the idea of a photo gift bag -- it's a really unique way to personalize a present and give it that final zing. I just hope they improve the site to make browsing, designing and purchasing a bit easier.


Get a FREE Picture Gift Bag!
To get a free medium-sized gift bag from PictureGiftBag.com, just follow these instructions:
1. Go to www.picturegiftmart.com
2. Log in or create an account
3. Select Picture Gift Bags and choose MEDIUM
4. Follow prompts to create your product
5. Use coupon code FREE11PCGM

This code allows for a maximum of one free medium picture gift bag per person; shipping charges are extra. The coupon expires on July 31, 2010.

I was invited to use the coupon above to try the product out for free (excluding shipping charges) but otherwise did not receive a sample or monetary compensation for this post. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
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The Care and Feeding of your ActiveIon Pro



A couple of weeks ago we noticed a greenish tinge at the bottom of our ActiveIon Pro. I suppose leaving water in the unit's reservoir for 3 weeks while on vacation was not such a great idea. Obviously the tank had to be cleaned (The ActiveIon Pro is supposed to clean things, not spray them with algae) but I didn't know how. Since we use the ActiveIon Pro to clean and disinfect everything from countertops to cherries, the thought of cleaning it incorrectly and damaging it beyond repair, well, unthinkable. If you don't know what the ActiveIon Pro is, read my ActiveIon review here and see why we haven't bought any cleaning products in the seven months that we've been using it.

I could see that Alfie was itching to take the thing apart so we could get a scrubber in there, but I convinced him to wait until I could contact someone from ActiveIon. I tweeted @Active_ion and received the following suggestion:

Put about 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol in the reservoir. Fill 3/4 full with warm water. Slosh the warm water and this small amount of rubbing alcohol in the unit for a bit. Spray the unit on/off for about 15 min. Empty the reservoir and replace with fresh tap water. Spray again to remove the alcohol.

Unfortunately, it didn't work. Maybe the alcohol did kill those little green buggers but the greenish color refused to go away. So I dumped in about a tablespoon full of baking soda and some water, then shook it vigorously. Et voila, the baking soda "scrubbed" the green film away! I ought to write a review of baking soda because it really is a great natural cleaning product. The Active Ion people assured me that the baking soda would not harm the unit, so our ActiveIon Pro is back on its regular kitchen/bathroom/all-purpose cleaning duty.




In conclusion, remember to feed your ActiveIon Pro fresh water daily, don't let water stagnate in the reservoir for longer than a couple of days. Use the ActiveIon! Spray it! Give it some exercise! And give it a cleaning with a little alcohol/water or baking soda/water solution every now and then, and your loyal ActiveIon Pro will continue to serve you for a long time.


I did not receive a sample or monetary compensation for this post. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
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Stay Put Socks Giveaway



Today is laundry day, and I swear I'm still finding odd socks from when the boys were babies. Okay, maybe not infants but size 2 socks are still showing up in closet corners and behind heavy furniture from time to time. The point is, short of chaining your baby's socks to their feet, parents have resigned themselves to buying a gazillion pairs of baby socks and resigning themselves to losing said socks because it's a fact of life that their baby will kick those socks off.

I've got a giveaway today for a product that aims to change all that. Stay Put Socks are clear plastic rings that slip on over your baby's socks and prevent the socks from falling off. One package sells for $23.94 and contains 6 sizes, from newborn to 18 months, so you can move up sizes as your baby grows and the rings will never be too tight around the ankles. Founder Kate Brotherson says that some of her customers even use the rings outside of their babies footed pjs to keep their legs in, as well as putting them over the little mittens that go on babies hands to keep them from scratching their face. I haven't seen this product for myself yet, but Kate is sending me a pair to review and I can't wait to see how they work on my little 3-month old niece.


Win It!
Kate has generously provided a pack of Stay Put Socks to one lucky Bonggamom Finds reader. The winner gets a package with Stay Put Socks rings in their choice of size (check out the size chart) and color (it's a clear plastic ring with a blue dot or a pink dot).



Required Entry
Tweet the following message:

@StayPutSocks if I win your giveaway on @bonggafinds I would love a pack of Stay Put Socks in size __ and color ___! http://tinyurl.com/yea58n4

Fill in the first blank with your choice of size, and the second blank with your choice of blue or pink. Then come back here and leave a comment with the link to your tweet.


Extra Entries
You can do any or all of the following, (you can only do each extra entry once; please leave a separate comment for each extra entry):

1) Follow StayPutSocks on Twitter (leave a comment with your twitter user name)).

2) Become a Fan of StayPutSocks on Facebook (leave a comment with your Facebook id).

3) Subscribe to Bonggamom Finds updates by email (leave a comment with your email address).

4) Become a fan of Bonggamom Finds on Facebook (leave a comment with your FB id).

5) Follow Bonggamom Finds on Blogger(leave a comment with your Blogger profile name).

6) Join any of the other giveaways currently running on Bonggamom Finds (leave a comment here with the name of the other giveaway you joined).

7) Tweet this giveaway (leave a comment with a link to your tweet). Here is a sample tweet you can copy and paste:

Win a pack of Stay Put Socks from @bonggafinds and @StayPutSocks http://tinyurl.com/yea58n4

Maximum of 8 entries per person. This giveaway ends at midnight PST on Feb. 9, 2009; I will draw a winner at random on Feb. 23 and post the winner's name as soon as the winner confirms acceptance. For additional giveaway rules, click here. Good luck!



I will be receiving a product sample for a possible future review post, but no monetary compensation for this or any future posts. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
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Help Zooni Help Haiti




There are so many reasons to buy a hat for your child -- because it's cold in January, because you don't want your kid's ears to fall off, because you want to show those moms at the playground that even though your baby crawled a month later than their little brats, yours has impeccable style and taste.

And if you buy a Zooni hat this month, you'll do more than keep your baby warm and stylish -- you'll be helping save lives in Haiti. Zooni will donate 50% of their profits for the month of January to the Haiti earthquake relief fund through Save the Children.


I did not receive a sample or monetary compensation for this post. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
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Skin MD Valentine Giveaway




Here's a great giveaway featuring SkinMD, a product I've enjoyed and reviewed on this blog. It's a Valentine' themed prize basket valued at $100 , containing the following:

- Bottle of Skin MD Natural shielding lotion
- Bottle of Skin MD Natural + SPF 15 shielding lotion
- One pound of See's dark assorted chocolates
- Pack of Starbucks VIA Ready brew coffee pouches
- Kiss Me coffee mug
- A Cuddly teddy bear
- Lollipop Bouquet

The giveaway ends on Feb. 8, which gives them enough time to ship the prize to you in time for Valentine's Day (so if your hubby forgets to give you a nice present, you know you'll still be getting something for yourself). Enter at http://www.skinmdnatural.com/forms/valentines-giveaway.php


I did not receive a sample or monetary compensation for this post. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
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Bonggamom's Friday Finds -- The Bestest Giveaways Around the Blogosphere


Bonggamoms Friday Finds

Bonggamom's Friday Finds is back for 2010! I'm glad so many of you are finding this to be a useful way to get more traffic to your giveaways. And as a person who loves entering giveaways, I have to admit it's a great, easy way to find out where all the best giveaways are.

So feel free to leave links to your giveaways, everyone. And don't forget to get cracking and enter all those giveaways, too!


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It's Not Too Late for your Flu Shots




National Influenza Vaccination Week has just ended, but the fight to prevent the flu -- and the Be A Flu Free Family campaign, a project of Families Fighting Flu (FFF) -- has just begun. The campaign's goal is to educate people about the seriousness of influenza and the importance of getting the flu vaccine, especially for children, babies, pregnant women, and caregivers of infants under six months. If you have a child who's less than enthusiastic about the prospect of getting a flu shot, you can download FFF's new coloring book, Be A Flu Free Family. It provides a young boy's perspective on the flu season, and it's a great way to talk about the flu and share the importance of the flu vaccine with your children.

Fortunately, none of my kids have a problem with injections; this year, the problem is yours truly. As you know from yesterday's post, I foolishly procrastinated on my family's flu shots until our doctors' supply of seasonal flu vaccine ran short. Until I read FFF's media advisory, I thought it was too late to bother -- but now that I know the CDC says it's not too late to get the seasonal flu vaccine, I intend to check the flu vaccine supply update on my doctors' website every week. Once new flu vaccine supplies come in, we're there!



Don't get the flu.  Don't spread the flu.  Get Vaccinated. www.cdc.gov/flu




I did not receive a sample or monetary compensation for this post. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
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Win a Triaminic Prize Pack


Colds and flu are no fun, so I'll do anything I can to prevent them from taking over my household. Except, it seems, for getting flu shots. When my kids' pediatrician's office held their annual flu shot clinic last October, the lines were so long and we were late for a soccer game, so I decided to schedule a separate appointment with a nurse for all 3 kids to get their shots. Only I never got around to scheduling it. Flu preparedness, procrastination (and the occasional soccer game) is thine enemy! By the time I called, they were all out of regular flu shots.

Bad mommy! I was filled with remorse and quickly made sure we got our H1N1 shots, but that doesn't really help against regular seasonal flu, so this winter I have to be more vigilant to make up for my initial lapse. After all, bad mommies do get a second chance, right?

Fortunately there are tools for bad mommies like me. I recently received an invitation to check out the Tips and Tools section of children's cough, cold and flu medicine manufacturer Triaminic. They've got tips for preventing the spread of colds and cough, guidelines for key symptoms that tell you when you should keep your child home from school, even a Flu Tracker that lets you keep tabs on the cities where colds and flu are most widespread. It's a great resource that helps parents make sound decisions about their children's health!


Save!
Here's a coupon you can print out to get $1.50 off any Triaminic product. Just click on the logo below to get to a printable version.


Win It!
Three lucky Bonggamom Finds reader will receive a Triaminic prize pack, which includes 4 boxes of Triaminic Thin Strips with 14 thin strips in each box. I'm scheduled to receive one of these packs to review, and I couldn't be happier. We usually have a box of the Daytime Cold and Cough Thin Strips around the house because they make figuring out the dosage so easy, and the kids think that melting the strips in their mouth is lots of fun.

Required Entry
To enter, head over to the Cold and Flu Symptom Tracker and find out the level of cold/flu activity in the city nearest you. Then come back to this post and leave a comment with your city and the level of cold/flu activity.

Extra Entries
For extra entries, you can do any or all of the following, (you can only do each entra entry once; please leave a separate comment for each extra entry):

1) Grab my blog button and post it up on your blog (leave a comment with your blog URL).

2) Become a fan of Bonggamom Finds on Facebook (leave a comment with your FB id).

3) Follow Bonggamom Finds on Blogger(leave a comment with your Blogger profile name).

4) Tweet this giveaway (leave a comment with a link to your tweet). Here is a sample tweet you can copy and paste:

Enter the Triaminic Thin Strips Giveaway from @bonggafinds (3 winners!) http://tinyurl.com/yef29ae

Maximum of 5 entries per person. This giveaway ends at midnight PST on Jan 28, 2009; I will draw 3 winners at random on Jan 29 and post their names as soon as the winners confirm acceptance. For additional giveaway rules, click here. Good luck!



Disclosure: I will be receiving a sample for future review purposes, but no monetary compensation. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
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Qlubb.com's Busy Moms 2010 Resolution Contest (and a Giveaway!)




Is one of your 2010 Resolutions as a parent: "Be more efficient with my time"? Or "Volunteer at the Kids' School More"? Or "Be more like our Super-Type-A-Mom PTA President"? My advice to you is, Don't do it alone -- get help. Even Super-Type-A-Mom PTA Presidents need help: they' get things done because they know the right tools to help them get organizeed.

Fortunately the internet has opened up a whole new array of possibilities when it comes to communication, collaboration, organizing and delegating, and that extends to managing groups like PTA's, playgroups, scouting groups, quilting clubs and other small groups that need help managing members and resources to tasks and events. One such online tool is Qlubb.com, and they're starting the new year with a bang -- a contest to help parents get organized!

The Basics
Qlubb is an online site that helps parent-led groups organize activities, events, volunteer tasks and membership. Here's how Qlubb describes themselves:

Whether it is a playgroup, classroom parent group, sports team, family, club or hobby group, Qlubb helps parents communicate and organize activities, events and volunteers. Over 36,000 members use Qlubb each day to organize and coordinate their children’s groups ranging from PTAs to scout troops to classroom parent groups to playgroups. With integrated coordination and communication tools, Qlubb gives parent-led groups a single place to coordinate and communicate events, activities and responsibilities.

I got a chance to log onto a demo Qlubb group to check out how an organization might use Qlubb day-to-day. Here's what I thought:

The Bongga
I like how Qlubb is so simple to get up and running: it only takes 2 clicks to create a Qlubb and 1 click to join an existing Qlubb. And once you log onto your Qlubb, everything of importance is right there on your group's homepage: a list of upcoming events, list of tasks that need volunteers (just click on the links to sign up, no more paper signup sheets or multiple emails!), sorted by the tasks that need to be done first. The social networking tools (posting photos, writing on a group wall) is limited, which to me is actually a good thing. If I want to socialize, I go to Facebook, and I like the fact that Qlubb gets straight to the business of getting things done.

The Blah
Simplicity is great, of course, but as I went through the Qlubb website I was disappointed not to find the following functionality:

* search function for the Members section (imagine trying to find Martha Crouch or whoever if your list is 660 members long!)
* search function for the Files section (ditto on my example above)
* ability to import photos from Flickr or Picassa or some other photo sharing service (because the last thing you need is yet another site to upload your photos to)


The Bottom Line
Qlubb acts just like a Super-Type-A-Mom PTA President, handling all the individual reminders, all the group emails, all the signup sheets, acting as the point of contact for all members, files and signup sheets. It makes group organization and communication so much easier!



Join the Busy Moms' 2010 Resolution Contest
To help busy parents get organized this new year, Qlubb is hosting the Busy Moms' 2010 Resolution Contest. Each time an individual uses Qlubb to organize their groups or shares Qlubb via social media, that person earns an entry in the drawing for the grand prize of a $200 Oriental Trading Gift Card plus a premium Qlubb service. Both new and current users are eligible to win. Ten qlubbs with next highest entries will win their choice of a premium Qlubb service. Hurry and join, the contest ends on February 28, 2010!



Win It
Qlubb.com has generously donated a $10 Oriental Trading gift card, and one lucky Bonggamom Finds reader is going to win it!

Required entry
Tweet one New Year's Resolution to @qlubb and @bonggafinds (i.e. "@qlubb @bonggafinds My New Years Resolution this year is to exercise more!") -- Make sure you include @qlubb and @bonggafinds in your tweet. Then leave a comment on this post with a link to your tweet.

Extra entries
To gain extra entries, you can do any or all of the following, (you can only do each entra entry once; please leave a separate comment for each extra entry):


1) Become a fan of Bonggamom Finds on Facebook (leave a comment with your FB id).

2) Follow Qlubb on twitter (leave a comment with your twitter id).

3) Tweet this giveaway (leave a comment with a link to your tweet). Here is a sample tweet you can copy and paste:

Win a $10 Oriental Trading giftcard from @bonggafinds and @qlubb http://tinyurl.com/y9mlll2/

Maximum of 4 entries per person. This giveaway ends at midnight PST on February 3, 2009; I will draw a winner at random on February 4 and post the winner's name as soon as the winner confirms acceptance. For additional giveaway rules, click here. Good luck!


I did not receive a sample, free services or monetary compensation for this post. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
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Help Paper Culture Help Haiti





Valentine's Day is just around the corner; like you haven't noticed, what with all the flowers and candy and cards on display at your local drugstore, supermarket, stationery store and superstore. If you're planning to buy Valentine cards, here's a way to warm the hearts of more than just the person you send it to: Paper Culture is donating 100% of the proceeds from the sale of their 2010 Valentines Day Cards to Haiti Relief. I've reviewed Paper Culture on this blog before, and I have nothing but good things to say about their stylish, high quality, eco-friendly cards. Here's another nice thing I have to say about them: they sure do have a heart.



I did not receive a sample or monetary compensation for this post.The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
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Help provide clean drinking water, Win a PUR water pitcher



A few days ago I posted about the celebrity climb to Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise awareness of the need for clean drinking water around the globe. The good new is, they're reached the top! The bad news is, the need is greater than ever, what with catastrophes like the Haiti earthquake cutting access to clean drinking water for thousands of people. My previous post listed 3 ways you can help:

* Donate to the CSDW - just a dollar donation gives a child clean water for 50 days.
* Donate to the Summit on the Summit effort.
* Buy a PUR drinking system. For every PUR system purchase, one week of clean drinking water is provided to a child.


Here's a fourth way to help: simply become a fan of PUR Water on Facebook. For each new Facebook fan they get, PUR will donate 10 cents to the CSDW program, enough to provide 10 liters of clean drinking water!

It's so easy, and the need is so great, I encourage everyone to sign up!


Win It!
One lucky Bonggamom Finds reader will receive a PUR water filter pitcher.

Required entry
Head over to PUR Water and tell me which filtration product you would like to own.

For extra entries, you can do any or all of the following, (you can only do each entra entry once; please leave a separate comment for each extra entry):

1) Become a Fan of PUR Water on Facebook (leave a comment with your FB id).

2) Become a fan of Bonggamom Finds on Facebook (leave a comment with your FB id).

3) Follow Bonggamom Finds on Blogger(leave a comment with your Blogger profile name).

4) Tweet this giveaway (leave a comment with a link to your tweet). Here is a sample tweet you can copy and paste:

Win a PUR water pitcher from @bonggafinds http://tinyurl.com/y88qx7c

Maximum of 5 entries per person. This giveaway ends at midnight PST on January 30, 2009; I will draw a winner at random on January 31 and post the winner's name as soon as the winner confirms acceptance. For additional giveaway rules, click here. Good luck!


I did not receive a sample or monetary compensation for this post. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
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WiggleTime.com Review and Giveaway


Now that my kids are older, Alfie and I are beginning to allow them more freedom to play on online sites for kids. I do have to approve the site, of course, but once I give the okay, I no longer sit with them while they're online; they're free to play on the site for the allotted screen time they're given for the day. It gives me more freedom as a parent, but the unfortunate consequence is that I'm less informed about what they're doing on that site. For a control freak like me, it can be hard to let go.

Fortunately, a few children's sites are actually parent friendly as well as kid friendly -- that is, they give parents a greater degree of control over what and how much their kids are doing online than just setting an egg timer in front of the monitor! One such site is WiggleTime.com, the first interactive online venture of the popular Australian kids' show, The Wiggles. I recently reviewed the site with 3Po and Jammy; here's what I thought:

The Basics
WiggleTime.com is The Wiggles' new online interactive world, filled with games and activites featuring Anthony, Jeff, Dorothy the Dinosaur, Captain Feathersword and other beloved characters. Young Wiggles fans and their parents can register for and enjoy WiggleTime.com for free, but in order to fully access the site with all its benefits (i.e. all games, videos and activites, access to parental tools, forums, pre-sale notifications to Wiggles concerts), you will have to upgrade to a premium subscription account. Each Wiggle Time subscription account ($5.95 per month, or $60 if you purchase an annual subscription) allows up to 4 children to be added.

Here is what the makers of WiggleTime.com have to say about the site:
WiggleTime.com is designed to be a virtual world that provides young children with a safe online environment to learn and play. It creates the opportunity for today’s parent to introduce their child to the Internet without the risk of them communicating with strangers and is also completely free of advertisements.

The Bongga
Young Wiggles fans will love this site: they can visit all of the Wiggles' favorite hangouts, like Wigglehouse, Dorothy’s House, Wag’s Kennel, Captain Feathersword’s SS Feathersword, or Henry’s Underwater World. The games are fun and age-appropriate for preschoolers, and the site provides little incentives to keep them coming back for more, like the ability to earn virtual toys and increasingly challenging game levels. My kids' favorite feature was definitely the video section, where they get to watch video clips, so they never have to wait to get their Wiggles fix.

The site is also parent friendly, with a separate parent log-on for managing kids' accounts. I like the "Take a Break" feature, which encourages kids to get up after 20 minutes of online play and do some wiggling -- real, not virtual. What a great idea! And as I mentioned at the top of this post, I love their Wiggle Time Child Reports, which are emailed monthly to subscribers. The report lists each game your child has played and the total time he/she spent playing it that month. They even tell you what kinds of skills (cognitive, physical, and socioemotional) that game helps develop, so you can rest assured your child is doing more than just entertaining herself.


The Blah
The site seems to take an eternity to load! They seem to have anticipated this, because while you are waiting you are supposed to be able to click on the colored lines that show up on the screen, which makes cute little notes appear. It's more entertaining than watching those stupid hourglasses or progress bars, but I'd rather have the engineers devote more time to speeding up the site and decreasing the number of times I see that "loading" screen (which is a lot!). Also, having to pay a subscription fee sucks, especially since there are so many free sites around.

The Bottom Line
WiggleTime.com is a site that kids and parents will feel good about logging on to. It's a must for any Wiggles fans, and I'm sure the really serious Wiggles fans will be happy to pay the subscription fee.


Win It!
Three lucky Bonggamom Finds readers will win a free one-month subscription to WiggleTime.com.

Required Entry:
Leave a comment on this post and tell me your favorite Wiggles character.

Extra Entries:
(note: you can only do each extra entry once; please leave a separate comment for each extra entry):

1) Become a fan of Bonggamom Finds on Facebook (leave a comment with your FB id).

2) Tweet this giveaway (leave a comment with a link to your tweet). Here is a sample tweet you can copy and paste:

Win a month's subscription to WiggleTime.com from @bonggafinds: http://tinyurl.com/yajal5c

Maximum of 3 entries per person. This giveaway ends at midnight PST on January 31, 2010; I will draw 3 winners at random on Feb. 1 and post their names as soon as the winners confirm acceptance. For additional giveaway rules, click here. Good luck!





I received a media access to the premium WiggleTime.com features in order to review the site, but no monetary compensation. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
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POM Wonderful



One classic New Year's Resolution that people make is to eat healthier, but unfortunately it's the kind of resolution that's all too easy to break. One great superfood that can help you stick to your resolution is the pomegranate. I recently received several bottles of POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice to try out, which was great since Alfie and I already know and love this drink. After all the rich, oily food we stuffed ourselves with over the holidays, this juice makes a healthy, refreshing change!

The Basics
POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate juice contains no added sugars, preservatives, colors or filler juices; it's all juice, squeezed from "Wonderful" variety pomegranates, grown in San Joaquin, CA.

The Bongga
If you've never tried pomegranate juice before, you're in for a treat: it's delicious! It's sweet-tart, with a deep and complex flavor that makes you want to sip it and enjoy it slowly, like a square of dark chocolate. That's probably not a coincidence, given that dark chocolate and pomegranates are rich in antioxidants. Speaking of which, I really can't overstate the health benefits: pomegranate juice contains more antioxidants than apple juice, cranberry juice, blueberry juice, and even red wine or acai juice!

BTW, my kids weren't thinking about health or cancer when they were slurping down this POM-blue shake made with blueberries, yogurt, milk and POM juice. They were just enjoying their yummy snack! (You can find the recipe for this smoothie and other pomegranate recipes on POM's website)


The Blah
As with most fruit juices, you need to be careful about the high sugar content: one serving of this juice (a teeny 8 oz.) contains 80 calories and 34 grams of sugar, so I wouldn't recommend guzzling tumblerfuls of POM to quench your thirst. If you want to incorporate pomegranates into your daily diet, I would consider eating POM Wonderful Fresh Pomegranates so you get the fiber as well. Another surprising (and unfortunate) side effect: drinking this juice every single day gives Alfie the runs! So figure out how much your digestive system can handle :)

The Bottom Line
POM Wonderful 100% pomegranate juice is a delicious way to get all the health benefits of antioxidants. Forget apples: a POM a day keeps the doctor away.


I received a sample in order to review this product, but no monetary compensation. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
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Help Vanessa De Lacy Help Haiti



Artist Vanessa De Lacy is donating 50% of the proceeds from the sale of art in her Etsy store towards relief efforts in Haiti.




I did not receive a sample or monetary compensation for this post.
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Help Baby Star Help Haiti


With all the devastation and suffering going on in Haiti right now, I am heartened to see so many individuals and companies rallying around them and trying to help. I've decided to feature on my blog any business donating a portion of their sales to relief efforts, or any organization dedicated to relief efforts. By doing so, I hope to recognize them for their humanitarianism, spread awareness of Haiti's plight, and induce people to help. Here is one such business:



If you know of any other businesses donating to Haiti relief efforts, please email me at bonggamom@yahoo.com and I will be happy to post about them.

I did not receive a sample or monetary compensation for this post.
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Bonggamom's Friday Finds -- The Bestest Giveaways Around the Blogosphere


Bonggamoms Friday Finds

Bonggamom's Friday Finds is back for 2010! I'm glad so many of you are finding this to be a useful way to get more traffic to your giveaways. And as a person who loves entering giveaways, I have to admit it's a great, easy way to find out where all the best giveaways are.

So feel free to leave links to your giveaways, everyone. And don't forget to get cracking and enter all those giveaways, too!


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Label Out Loud! with Mabel's Labels


It's 2010, and Mabel's Labels has started the year in a burst of color! They sent me samples of their newest product -- their LOL Sticky Labels -- and it was like Christmas had come all over again.

The Basics
Mabel's Labels' new LOL, or Label Out Loud, sticky labels are just like their popular Classic Sticky Labels: same size, same durability (they're microwave-safe, dishwasher-safe, and UV resistant), same quality: Only this time, they come in full color. You can personalize these labels with up to 20 characters, and choose from several kid-pleasing designs.


The Bongga
LOL? How about WOW! These labels are cute! The multicolored design motifs really take it one step further, transforming plain old labels into decorative stickers. My kids received labels with butterfly, soccer ball and skull designs, and they are so happy with them. Customizing your labels is really easy, and the colors you see are pretty darn close to what you'll get on your printed label. Last but definitely not least, I'm so happy that Mabel's Labels is not gouging the customer by charging ridiculous price premiums for full-color: LOL Sticky Labels cost only a fraction more than the regular Classic Sticky Labels ($21 for a pack of 45 LOL labels versus $18.50 for 45 Classic Labels).


The Blah
If you like pastel colors or Martha Stewart neutrals, these ultrabright labels aren't for you.

The Bottom Line
Mabel's Labels new Label Out Loud Sticky Labels' fun, eye-catching designs will leave no doubt in anyone's mind who your kid's stuff belongs to!



I received a sample in order to review this product, but no monetary compensation. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
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One More Day to win $100




I just wanted to remind everyone that my Tom's of Maine $100 Visa giftcard giveaway ends tomorrow, January 15th. There have been so many giveaways posted since then that the original post has long been pushed off my blog homepage; even though I've got a link to it on the sidebar, it's such a great prize that I wanted to make sure it gets the attention it deserves!

Click here to get to the Tom's of Maine Review and Giveaway Post, and enter for a chance to win a $100 Visa Giftcard.
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Raising Awareness for Clean Drinking Water


The photo below shows one of the many rivers we passed during our travels around the Philippine countryside. It's tranquil and lush... just don't drink the water. The sad truth of the matter is that much of the "drinking" water in developing countries like the Philippines is unsafe, and every day 4,000 children in these countries die from illness and disease related to unsafe drinking water.

That's why I'm happy to use this post to applaud the efforts of companies like PUR, whose water filtration pitchers and systems are so popular in the developed world, is also using its technologies and expertise to help the less fortunate. Along along with its not-for-profit partner, the Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program (CSDW), PUR helps provide clean drinking water to those in need with products like the PUR Packet, a tiny packet of powder that can transform potentially deadly water into clean, drinkable water within 30 minutes.

Amazing that such a small thing can have such a huge impact on people's lives. Believe it or not, families here in the US can also do small things to help:

* You can donate to the CSDW - just a dollar donation gives a child clean water for 50 days.




* You can support Jessica Biel, Emile Hirsch and other celebrities and experts in Summit on the Summit -- a trek to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise awareness for clean drinking water. They started in early January and they've already reached the top, but you can still donate to sponsor a foot of their journey.

* You can buy a PUR drinking system. For every PUR system purchase, one week of clean drinking water is provided to a child in the developing world through CSDW. To-date, CSDW has already provided 1.8 billion liters of clean water to children and their families around the world!


I did not receive a sample or monetary compensation for this post.
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The cheapest ice cream ever


Happy January, everyone! I've been away on vacation so I haven't posted in a few days, but rest assured I've got lots of reviews, deals and giveaways lined up for 2010. For now, here's a fun photo of one of the best deals I found in 2009:


Unfortunately you'll have to travel to Kalibo, a small town in the Philippines, to enjoy it. We found an ice cream stand selling soft-serve ice cream for as little as 7 Philippine pesos (15 US cents) ! The ice cream is as delicious as anything you'll find here, and even though we splurged on the Choco Sundae (PHP18), we fed our whole family of five for less than $3!


I did not receive a sample or monetary compensation for this post.

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Imagia and the Magic Pearls



Disney's The Princess and The Frog opened in theaters earlier this month, and everyone is lauding Disney for featuring their very first African American princess and bringing African American culture to the forefront. Over in the literary field, author Monroe S. Tarver is also breaking new ground: his new children's book, Imagia and the Magic Pearls, features an African-American elf princess. The folks over at Wizarding World Press were kind enough to send me an advance copy of his book, as well as some collector’s item trading cards. Here's what I thought of it:

The Basics
Imagia and the Magic Pearls is the story of the elf princess, Imagia, who sneaks out of her palace and finds adventure, danger and friends. Here's what the publishers have to say about this book:

Dear Listener, Let me tell you a tale of a world with three suns...of a gleaming pearl palace...and the elf-princess, Imagia, who dreams of playing with friends, like any other child. But she can t be like other kids she s a princess. Imagia s time is filled with the lessons that will allow her to rule one day. She isn t allowed to leave the palace, where her only contact is with grownups. So, she is left to imagine what it might be like if she could be like other elf kids. That imagination is the princess s best gift (although she is also rather fond of a certain bag of magic pearls). Imagia s imagination is very strong, and she uses it to understand the world around her. She really does try to be good, and she respects her parents. But, when yet another birthday comes along, and she is again stuck inside the palace, Imagia is frustrated. She gives in to temptation when she stumbles upon a way to sneak out of the palace and meet some friends. Imagia does find friends in the forest, but finds scary stuff too. She learns that both friendship and danger can come in strange forms, as her seemingly innocent excursion takes unexpected twists and turns. The princess journeys to the Green Towers along with her new friend, Flutterwalk. Together, they must outwit the evil witch-queen, Baddora, and her winged pet. During her adventures, Imagia makes many discoveries the most important being the true power of imagination. Come inside and grab a comfy chair while I tell you the story. Would you care to join me for a sweet potato? Signed, M.T., Mapmaker and Storyteller



The Bongga
The best thing about this book is that Tarver is unafraid to challenge the fantasy literature industry's preference for pale-skinned Caucasian heroines. I love that his elf princess is also an ethnic princess, complete with braided hair and caramel colored skin. I know what it's like growing up reading about blond, blue-eyed princesses, then looking down at my own skin. It builds an inferiority complex that's so subtle you hardly know it's there. As a parent, I want to show my children that even heroes and heroines come in all shapes and colors, and this story is a great way to do that. I can only imagine how heartening books like this must be to parents who want to read stories to their children that have characters they can relate to!

The Blah
The Pea seemed engrossed in the book, but I found the storyline rather complicated and convoluted, with too many characters to keep track of. I received an advance publisher's manuscript, not the actual book, so I'm hoping that the numerous typos I encountered have been fixed. Also, I can't comment about the quality of the the binding or the cover or the pages, but the illustrations seem a bit rough and childish. And what's with Imagia's blue eyes? I thought Tarver wanted to create a character that girls of color could identify with? And speaking of identifying, I think most girls will have a problem figuring out how to pronounce Imagia (even though Tarver has a nice, witty little pronounciation guide at the beginning), and even if they do, they may not relate to the name, which seems a bit forced (Get it? Imagia, as in imagination?).


The Bottom Line
There's a sad lack of women of color in fantasy literature, and Imagia and the Magic Pearls helps fill this gap where it matters the most -- with young children. Despite its faults, I think young girls of color will enjoy this book simply because the heroine is someone they can relate to and aspire to be like.


I received a sample in order to review this product, but no monetary compensation. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
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On the twelfth day of Christmas, Bonggamom gives to thee... a Yo! Gabba Gabba cd



My, the holiday season has just flown by -- and that includes our 12 Days of Christmas Giveaways event. Our final giveaway is for the younger set: a Yo! Gabba Gabba cd! Music Is Awesome is their first cd release and a must for fans of the tv series. When I reviewed this cd in October of last year, I was happy to see it contained all of my kids' favorites, like Get the Sillies Out, I Like to Dance, and of course, Party in My Tummy. It's a must-have for fans of the tv series, and today I'm giving away a copy of Music Is Awesome to one lucky Bonggamom Finds reader.

Required entry:
Leave a comment on this post and tell me your favorite Yo! Gabba Gabba character.

Extra entries:
(note: you can only do each extra entry once; please leave a separate comment for each extra entry):

1) Grab my 12 Days of Christmas button and post it up on your blog (leave a comment with your blog URL).

2) Subscribe to Bonggamom Finds updates by email (leave a comment with your email address).

3) Become a fan of Bonggamom Finds on Facebook (leave a comment with your FB id).

4) Tweet this giveaway (leave a comment with a link to your tweet). Here is a sample tweet you can copy and paste:

Day 12 of 12 Days of Christmas Giveaways from @bonggafinds: win a Yo! Gabba Gabba cd http://www.bonggafinds.com/

Maximum of 5 entries per person. This giveaway ends at midnight PST on January 17, 2010; I will draw a winner at random on January 18 and post the winner's name as soon as the winner confirms acceptance. For additional giveaway rules, click here. Good luck!


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On the eleventh day of Christmas, Bonggamom gives to thee... a Petz Nursery game for Nintendo DS



Awwwwww...... I'm not an animal person, but even I can't resist the baby animals that players take care of in Ubisoft's Petz Nursery game. Kids get to feed, clean and play with the cutest newborn animals ever. They use the stylus to stir milk in a saucepan or tip a bottle of milk into a hungry baby puppy's mouth (getting him to suck and drink properly is harder than it sounds -- just like feeding a real baby puppy!). The more you play with your baby animal, the bigger he grows, and as players progress they can unlock more exotic animals like baby pandas or tigers. Then players can make their baby animals playing together (although a baby tiger playing with a baby puppy is probably something you won't ever see in real life!).

I like that this game is easy enough for the youngest Nintendo DS players. Very few written instructions show up on the screen, so if your child doesn't quite know how to read yet, the big, self-explanatory icons and arrows will give him ample cues on what to do next. The instructions tell me that baby pets in the Petz Nursery game can be sent wirelessly to other Petz games -- Dogz Talent Show and Hamsterz Superstarz -- but as far as I can tell, you'll need a second Nintendo DSi to do that, which is a bummer. If only the baby petz information could be saved in the Nintendo DSi itself, so that a kid could remove the Petz Nursery game cartridge, pop in the Dogz Talent Show and have his Nursery puppy show up in the Dogz Talent Show!

Today one lucky Bonggamom Finds reader will win a copy of Petz Nursery for Nintendo DS!

Required entry:
Leave a comment on this post and tell me the name of your pet. If you don't have a pet, tell me what kind of animal you'd want to have as a pet.


Extra entries:
(note: you can only do each extra entry once; please leave a separate comment for each extra entry):

1) Grab my 12 Days of Christmas button and post it up on your blog (leave a comment with your blog URL).

2) Subscribe to Bonggamom Finds updates by email (leave a comment with your email address).

3) Become a fan of Bonggamom Finds on Facebook (leave a comment with your FB id).

4) Tweet this giveaway (leave a comment with a link to your tweet). Here is a sample tweet you can copy and paste:

Day 11 of 12 Days of Christmas Giveaways from @bonggafinds: win a Petz Nursery game for Nintendo DS http://www.bonggafinds.com/

Maximum of 5 entries per person. This giveaway ends at midnight PST on January 16, 2010; I will draw a winner at random on January 17 and post the winner's name as soon as the winner confirms acceptance. For additional giveaway rules, click here. Good luck!


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On the tenth day of Christmas, Bonggamom gives to thee... a Century of Flavor cookbook




A couple of months ago I held a giveway for A Century of Flavor, a wonderful cookbook by the Nielsen-Massey vanilla company. The recipes in the book all have vanilla or some other Nielsen-Massey extract in it, even appetizers! If you didn't win (or didn't get around to entering: shame on you!), now's your chance: Nielsen-Massey has generously provided 3 more copies of this cookbook to give away to 3 lucky Bonggamom Finds readers.

Required entry:
Leave a comment on this post and tell me your favorite dish with vanilla in it.

Extra entries:
(note: you can only do each extra entry once; please leave a separate comment for each extra entry):

1) Grab my 12 Days of Christmas button and post it up on your blog (leave a comment with your blog URL).

2) Subscribe to Bonggamom Finds updates by email (leave a comment with your email address).

3) Become a fan of Bonggamom Finds on Facebook (leave a comment with your FB id).

4) Tweet this giveaway (leave a comment with a link to your tweet). Here is a sample tweet you can copy and paste:

Day 10 of 12 Days of Christmas Giveaways from @bonggafinds: win a "Century of Flavor" cookbook (3 winner!) http://www.bonggafinds.com/

Maximum of 5 entries per person. This giveaway ends at midnight PST on January 15, 2010; I will draw 3 winners at random on January 16 and post their names as soon as they confirm acceptance. For additional giveaway rules, click here. Good luck!


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On the ninth day of Christmas, Bonggamom gives to thee... a Battle of Giants Dinosaurs game for Nintendo DS



I've been giving away quite a few girly games for the Nintendo DS lately, so for those parents of rough-and-tumble boys, this giveaway is for you. Day 9 of my 12 Days of Christmas Giveaways event features Ubisoft's Battle of Giants: Dinosaurs game for Nintendo DS. I reviewed this game a couple of months ago and found it to be an entertaining battle game for boys. I loved that the violence in this game was contained to animals (as opposed to people shooting other people with machine guns), which kept it much more appropriate for younger boys (that said, players need to know how to read in order to get the most out of this game). Want to join the prehistoric battle? One lucky Bonggamom Finds reader will win a copy of Battle of Giants: Dinosaurs game for Nintendo DS!


Required entry:
Leave a comment on this post and tell me your favorite (or your child's favorite) dinosaur.

Extra entries:
(note: you can only do each extra entry once; please leave a separate comment for each extra entry):

1) Grab my 12 Days of Christmas button and post it up on your blog (leave a comment with your blog URL).

2) Subscribe to Bonggamom Finds updates by email (leave a comment with your email address).

3) Become a fan of Bonggamom Finds on Facebook (leave a comment with your FB id).

4) Tweet this giveaway (leave a comment with a link to your tweet). Here is a sample tweet you can copy and paste:

Day 9 of 12 Days of Christmas Giveaways from @bonggafinds: win a Battle of Giants: Dinosaurs game for Nintendo DS http://www.bonggafinds.com/

Maximum of 5 entries per person. This giveaway ends at midnight PST on January 14, 2010; I will draw a winner at random on January 15 and post the winner's name as soon as the winner confirms acceptance. For additional giveaway rules, click here. Good luck!


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On the eighth day of Christmas, Bonggamom gives to thee... a Scrapblog calendar or photobook



Happy New Year! It's the beginning of a new year (and a new decade!), and at this point in time, it's always nice to look back on the year that's passed, as well as look forward to the year ahead. What better way to do that than with a photo book or calendar from Scrapblog!

Scrapblog is an online site that lets ordinary users create beautiful multimedia scrapbooks. The drag-and-drop functionality makes it so easy, as I found out when I reviewed Scrapblog and created my own calendar. And one lucky Bonggamom Finds reader is going to find out for his/her self how easy it can be to get crafty, because Scrapblog has generously provided one photobook or calendar to give away today!


Required entry:
Follow @scrapblog on Twitter, then come back here and leave a comment with your Twitter username.

Extra entries:
(note: you can only do each extra entry once; please leave a separate comment for each extra entry):

1) Grab my 12 Days of Christmas button and post it up on your blog (leave a comment with your blog URL).

2) Subscribe to Bonggamom Finds updates by email (leave a comment with your email address).

3) Become a fan of Bonggamom Finds on Facebook (leave a comment with your FB id).

4) Tweet this giveaway (leave a comment with a link to your tweet). Here is a sample tweet you can copy and paste:

Day 8 of 12 Days of Christmas Giveaways from @bonggafinds and @scrapblog: Win a Scrapblog photobook http://www.bonggafinds.com/

Maximum of 5 entries per person. Winner will be sent a gift code for one free calendar or photo book from Scrapblog (winner must create a Scrapblog account and create their calendar or photo book on Scrapblog to redeem this prize). This giveaway ends at midnight PST on January 13, 2010; I will draw a winner at random on January 14 and post the winner's name as soon as the winner confirms acceptance. For additional giveaway rules, click here. Good luck!


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Bonggamom's Friday Finds -- the Bestest Giveaways around the blogosphere


Bonggamoms Friday Finds

Happy 2010, all! It's a new year, new decade, and that means lots of new giveaways, so feel free to leave links to all of yours. If you don't have any giveaways to post, no worries: use the links below to find lots of great giveaways to enter!


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