GLEE Encore arrives on Blu-Ray and DVD April 19


For all you Gleeks (like me!) who can't get enough of Finn, Rachel, Kurt and the rest of the McKinley gang, here's a new DVD coming out that will have you singing along to the best of Glee's musical numbers: GLEE Encore, available on Blu-Ray and DVD starting April 19.

Here's the press release:

The perfect party companion, enjoy the most talked about musical performances when “GLEE” Encore arrives onto Blu-ray and DVD from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. The hit musical television series now has more Billboard Magazine Hot 100 chart entries than any other artist, topping Elvis Presley and James Brown. This full-length DVD features a set list of Season One’s most sensational musical numbers – back to back so the party never has to end! Experience all your favorite hit songs by Lady Gaga, Madonna, Journey, and much more. “GLEE” is produced by Ryan Murphy Television in association with 20th Century Fox Television. Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan are co-creators of the series. Murphy, Falchuk, Brennan and Dante Di Loreto serve as executive producers. About Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, LLC (TCFHE) is a recognized global industry leader and a subsidiary of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, a News Corporation company. Representing 75 years of innovative and award-winning film making from Twentieth Century Fox, TCFHE is the worldwide marketing, sales and distribution company for all Fox film and television programming, acquisitions and original productions on DVD, Blu-ray Disc Digital Copy, Video On Demand andDigital Download. The company also releases all products globally for MGM Home Entertainment. Each year TCFHE introduces hundreds of new and newly enhanced products, which it services to retail outlets from mass merchants and warehouse clubs to specialty stores and e-commerce throughout the world.


Stay tuned, because I'll be giving away a copy of GLEE Encore in the near future!


Disclosure: I did not receive a sample or monetary compensation for this post. Press release is provided by ThinkJam publicity and is indicated in italics. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
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Keeping the family happy




Happiness is finding a pencil.
Sleeping in moon light.
Telling the time.
Happiness is learning to whistle.
Tying your shoe
For the very first time.
Happiness is playing the drum
In your own school band.
And happiness is walking hand in hand.

Happiness is two kinds of ice cream.
Knowing a secret.
Climbing a tree.
Happiness is five different crayons.
Catching a firefly.
Setting him free.
And happiness is being alone every now and then.
And happiness is coming home again.

Happiness is morning and evening,
Daytime and nighttime too.
For happiness is anyone and anything at all
That's loved by you.

Happiness is having a sister.
Sharing a sandwich.
Getting along.
Happiness is singing together
When day is through,
And happiness is those who sing with you.

Happiness is morning and evening,
Daytime and nighttime too.
For happiness is anyone and anything at all
That's loved by you.


I've always loved the Happiness song from You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown. It's easy to find happiness in the simple things, especially if you know where and how to look. We're a generally happy family -- fortunately, I happen to love everyone in my family so it's not too hard to be happy with them. Sure, we have our little spats now and then (or, in the case of The Pea and her brothers, every 5 minutes, or so it seems!) but if you asked any member of my family, I think they'd say they are happy.

Today, Farm Rich and Social Moms are asking the question, How Do You Keep Your Family Happy? Of course, family happiness is not my sole responsibility -- that's a family job -- and there's really no way I can force anyone to be happy, but there are certain things we parents can do to set the stage. Here are some things I try to do to make sure everything runs smoothly and everyone is happy:


1) Stick to a schedule
I've said it once, and I'll say it again, kids do best when there is structure in their lives. They like to know the boundaries of their world, what they can do, what they cannot do, when they can do it.

2) ... But don't overschedule
Having too many activities just makes everyone stressed out!

3) Make sure everyone gets enough sleep
There's nothing like lack of sleep to get us all sniping and snarling at each other.

4) Keep everyone well fed.
Again, it's easier to feel happy on a full stomach :) I try to provide filling, nutritious snacks and meals, not too high in salt and fat (so we don't feel bloated and lethargic) or too high in sugar (so we don't go off on sugar highs, only to come crashing down a couple of hours later).

5) Do things together.
Spending time as a family builds bonds and strengthens ties. Look for something fun to do that everyone can enjoy, like going to a movie or playing mini golf. It doesn't have to cost anything; even a picnic in the park or a Saturday night movie-and-popcorn-fest in the living room will do.

6) When momma ain't happy......
Forgive me, but I just had to get this in. Call me self-centered, but it's true! And I'm not just talking about myself, but about parents in general. If you're not happy as individuals, or as a couple, it affects the kids and the family. So make sure you take care of yourself -- find something you love to do, something that gives you a sense of self-accomplishment as an individual. And try to make time for you and your spouse to connect as a couple. And maybe schedule a pedicure or a girl's night out for yourself once in a while!


What do you do to stay happy as a family?


Disclosure: I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Farm Rich blogging program, for a gift card worth $25. For more information on how you can participate, click here. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
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What makes mommy awesome?



There is no love quite like the love of a child for his mother: it's the strongest, sweetest, purest, most innocent, most unconditional thing in this world.

It can also be one of the funniest.

Mother's Day is on April 3 in the UK (Mothering Sunday, to be exact) and on May 8 in the US, and to celebrate, Tiny Prints has asked me to share with everyone why my kids think I, their mother, am awesome. I have quite a few ideas about that myself (the list would include messing up my girlish figure, enduring stretch marks, scouring the internet for entertaining kid-friendly events, playing bored board games for hours on end, cleaning up their messes, giving up couples weekends in Calistoga and learning to ski) but to be completely objective, I guess I should feature the kids' answers, not mine.

Since The Pea is away on a camping trip, the task fell 3Po and Jammy to explain what makes me so awesome. Here are their top ten answers why:

1) Because she takes care of us.
2) Because she blogs and gets lots of toys for us to play with.
3) Because she's soft and squishy so she's nice to hug.
4) Because she's way better than our sister.
5) Because she can fold good origami cranes.
6) Because she volunteers at the library.
7) Because she came with our class to the symphony.
8) Because she's so cool.
9) Because she's the best mama ever.
10) Because she loves us.


Sigh..... I guess I can endure a few more hours of playing board games if it earns me that kind of love. Being a mother doesn't get any better. Now, if only I could get all of that on a Mother's Day card!*



* Psst, actually you can put 3Po and Jammy's words of wisdom on a greeting card -- just create your own customized greeting card at Tiny Prints. Check out their collection of Mother's Day Cards so you can show your mother how awesome she is!







Disclosure: I will be receiving compensation for this post in the form of a Tiny Prints gift certificate (thanks to Resourceful Mommy Media for the opportunity). Product information is provided by Tiny Prints and is indicated in italics. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
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Win a $20 Gift Certificate to Ollie Olio




Do you ever feel like there are a ton of cute kids' clothes out there that you don't know about? Tons of great bargains that you're missing? Now a website called Ollie Olio has arrived to do all the searching for you! Every week their site features the cutest kids' products that any parent would be drooling over... if we could find them. And thanks to Ollie Olio, now we can. This week's find features adorable shoes from Pedoodles; past Ollie Olio finds include Pluto tees, Bumble baby journals and more. They also have weekly giveaways where you could win an item from their site.




Ollie Olio is currently holding a sale until April 4; you can enjoy up to 65% off regular prices so make sure you stop by and check the site out.


Win $20 to Ollie Olio

One lucky Bonggamom Finds winner will receive a $20 gift certificate to Ollie Olio!


Required Entry
Visit the Ollie Olio site, then leave a comment on this post and tell me which featured product(s) you love the most. This entry must be completed before extra entries qualify.


Extra Entries
For extra entries, you can do any or all of the following. Please leave a separate comment for each extra entry with a way to verify the entry (i.e. tweet link, blog post link, Facebook id, Twitter id, etc.).

1) Subscribe to Bonggamom Finds updates (1 entry).

2) Follow Bonggamom Finds on Networked Blogs (1 entry).

3) Follow Bonggamom Finds on Blogger(1 entry).

4) Write this on the Bonggamom Finds Facebook page (1 entry):
I entered the Ollie Olio giveaway! http://ow.ly/4pdKw

5) Write this on the Ollie Olio Facebook page wall (1 entry):
I entered to win a $20 gift certificate to Ollie Olio on Bonggamom Finds! http://ow.ly/4pdKw

6) Follow Ollie Olio on Twitter and tweet this, up to once per day (1 entry per day, leave a comment with the tweet link for each tweet):
Enter to win a $20 gift certificate to @ollieolio on @bonggafinds http://ow.ly/4pdKw #giveaways

7) Vote for Bonggamom Finds in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Product Review Parents



The Rules
This giveaway ends at 11:59PM PST on April 14, 2011; I will draw a winner at random on April 15 and post the winner's name after the winner confirms acceptance. Continental US residents only. For additional giveaway rules, click here. Good luck!



Disclosure: 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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My Favorite Things About Easter


Easter is almost here! This time of the year has always been a special one to me. Growing up in the Philippines, Eastertime holds quite a significance for the largely-Catholic population. Every year as a child, we would vacation in the small town that my father grew up in. We would spend 3 or 4 days lazing around on the beach, and on Good Friday we would always have dinner at our aunt's house. She lived right on the town's Main Street, and every year there would be a Good Friday procession that would go right down the street. We had the best vantage point, right outside my aunt's living room windows, looking right down on the procession. We would see all the floats pass by, depicting Jesus and Mary and the saints, as well as scenes of the events leading to Jesus' crucifixion. It was kind of a gory subject, now that I think of it, but as kids we were transixed with the beautiful floats and statues, and all the pomp and pageantry.

I haven't been to my dad's hometown in decades. As the years passed, the religious aspect of Easter dimmed for me. When I moved to the US, I started associating Easter with springtime and the end of the cold, dark winter rains. When I got together with Alfie, his English Easter traditions -- basically, Cadbury's Chocolate eggs! -- meshed with mine. Then The Pea was born on April 6, Easter took on a whole new meaning for me. I began to associate this time of year with her birthday and celebrating her life and seeing my little girl grow bigger, smarter and more beautiful with each passing year. Then, as she moved from babyhood to toddlerhood and as our family expanded to include 3Po and Jammy, Easter became a blur of parties and egg hunts and candies. The one constant has been the presence of family and friends during Easter time, which makes it one of my favorite times of the year.

Here are some of the things I love best about Easter:
1) The end of all those cold, dark nights.
2) Getting to eat dinner outdoors once again (because of the extra daylight and the weather!)
3) Seeing the sun shine on the beautiful, emerald-green hills that have been watered all winter.
4) Seeing the first flowers push up from the dirt.
5) Getting to wear white again.
6) Getting to dress your little girls in pastel dresses
7) Getting to wear cute, royal-family style hats (even if you never do wear them, at least you know you could!)
8) Planning picnics, hikes, and all kinds of outdoor activities.
9) Putting away the heavy raincoats and galoshes.
10) Planning your family's annual Easter Egg Hunt brunch.
11) Decorating the prettiest Easter Eggs ever.
12) Buying colorful plastic eggs and stuffing them with cute little treats.
13) Hiding the eggs around your garden and imagining the look on your child's face when he finds them.
14) Making up a special Easter basket and stuffing it with little treats and goodies for your child.
15) Stocking up on luscious chocolate Easter bunnies.
16) Stocking up on even more luscious Cadbury's Chocolate Easter Eggs.
17) Peeps, peeps, peeps!
18) Attending all the fun Easter events around the neighborhood, including Easter Egg hunts, storytimes, Easter Bunny visits, Easter Bunny photo opps and more.
19) Reading any book with Easter Eggs or bunnies in them.
20) Celebrating the rebirth of life and hope.
21) Getting together with friends and family.
22) Remembering the good times I had during Easter as a child
23) Sharing those Eastertime memories with my family.
24) Returning to my roots and traditions as a Filipino and a Catholic.
25) Did I mention all the chocolate?


So what does Easter mean to you? What are your favorite parts of Easter?


Disclosure: I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Hop blogging program, for a gift card worth $25. For more information on how you can participate, click here. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
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American Express Membership Rewards -- Connecting People with Experiences


We live in such a world overflowing with material things. With cheap imports sold in every store and knockoffs sold at every street corner, with online auctions and clearance sales and bulk buying, with advertising and supersizing, it's all too easy for people to become fixated with accumulating Stuff. But if there's one thing I've learned, it's that Stuff doesn't make you happy. You only have to look at millionaires who shoplift, or shopaholics who drown in credit card debt, or hoarders who live trapped in their own junk, to realize that. I think Stuff only matters if it can help you create wonderful experiences, or enjoy special moments with family and friends, or help share and relive those moments with the people you love.

With that philosophy in mind, American Express has just launched a campaign to show consumers that Membership Rewards are more than just points, they're a form of "social currency" that connects cardmembers to the people, experiences and things they love. Here's an excerpt from their recent press release that I think says it all:

"At American Express, we have been connecting consumers with memorable experiences since we first introduced the Membership Rewards program more than 20 years ago," said John Hayes, Chief Marketing Officer, American Express. "Now we are bringing that into our increasingly online and connected world by encouraging consumers to think about Membership Rewards points as a form of ‘Social Currency' that facilitates real-life experiences."


For those of you who aren't familiar with the American Express Membership Rewards, it's a card loyalty program that lets you earn 1 point per dollar you spend with your American Express card (and there are bonus earning opportunities). You can redeem those points for almost everything under the sun -- not just for airline tickets and hotel rooms and magazine subscriptions. We're talking concert tickets and electronics and designer watches and baby strollers and a lap around a racetrack and more.

Here are a few features that set the Membership Rewards program apart from the rest:

1) Membership Rewards points never expire, and there's no limit to how many you can earn.

2) You don't need bazillions of points to start using them. You can purchase e-currency for your favorite online games for as little as 200 points , and you can redeem gift cards to your favorite stores with just 1,000 points.

3) You can use your points on any airline, anytime, without seat restrictions or blackout dates. You can use points to pay for all or part of your trip.

4) You can find great deals at membershiprewards.com/specials, which has rewards offered at reduced points. You can also get bonus Membership Rewards points as you shop online with inSite from American Express – it’s a free online shopping tool that automatically notifies you of special offers when you use your Amex Card.

5) You can link your Membership Rewards account to your Amazon, Zynga and/or Ticketmaster accounts and automatically use your points for purchases when you check out at these sites.

6) Redeeming points is quick and easy: just go to membershiprewards.com, find something you like, check your balance to make sure you have enough points, and click to redeem.


Today I'm excited announce that I've been invited to participate in this campaign to showcase the possibilities of the Membership Rewards program, and show moms how they can redeem their Membership Rewards points for the things and experiences that matter to them. Over the next three weeks I'll be talking about my favorite ways to redeem Membership Rewards points at the 25,000, 50,000 and 75,000 level. I'll also be posting tips on how to earn as many points as you can, and how to get the most out of your points when you redeem them.

Since every person is different, I'm sure you'll have your own opinions about what the best rewards are, so I encourage you to leave comments on my posts with your own suggestions and finds. To make things more interesting, I'll be drawing a winner from all the comments I receive over my next three AmEx posts, and giving him/her a $100 American Express gift card!



Win a $100 American Express Gift Card!
American Express is giving away a $100 American Express Gift Card to one lucky Bonggamom Finds reader! Required Entry Browse the American Express Membership Rewards catalog at http://www.membershiprewards.com/ , then leave a comment on this post telling me which reward(s) you would choose if you had 25,000 Membership Rewards points. This entry must be completed before you can complete any of the extra entries below.

Extra Entries
For extra entries, you can do any or all of the following (maximum of 5 extra entries for this post). Please leave a separate comment for each extra entry with a way to verify the entry (i.e. tweet link, blog post link, Facebook id, Twitter id, etc.).

1) Write this on the Bonggamom Finds Facebook page (1 entry): I entered the American Express giveaway! http://ow.ly/4nSuD

2) Share the link to this post (http://ow.ly/4nSuD) on any giveaway linky or contest website, or on your own blog post (1 entry).

3) Share the link to this post (http://ow.ly/4nSuD) on your Facebook page wall, along with the following text (1 entry): If you had 25,000 American Express Membership Rewards points, what would *you* redeem them for? Share your answer with Bonggamom for a chance to win a $100 Amex gift card!

4) Tweet this (1 entry): What would you do with 25k Amex rewards points? Tell @bonggafinds for a chance to win a $100 Amex gift card! http://ow.ly/4nSuD #giveaways

5) You can gain even more entries to this giveaway by commenting on future AmEx posts; watch out for post #2, coming up next week, and post #3, coming the week after.


The Rules
This giveaway ends at 11:59PM PST on April 14, 2011; I will draw a winner at random on April 15 from all valid entries on my AmEx posts on March 28, April 4 and April 11. Winner will be announced on my April 18 AmEx post. Due to time constraints, winner will have 24 hours to respond to my email, otherwise I will draw an alternate winner. Continental US residents only. For additional giveaway rules, click here. Good luck!


Disclosure: I am being compensated for my participation in American Express' Membership Rewards Program via complimentary Membership Rewards Points. Thanks to American Express for providing the $100 American Express Gift Card giveaway prize. Information about the Membership Rewards Program has been provided by American Express and is indicated in italics. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
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Snacktime Survival Kit Giveaway




Wow, talk about a small world! Last week I blogged about a great deal for the Snacktime Survival Kit over at The Savvy Source, and just yesterday I received an offer to give away the very same item on my blog! This toy/game/tool is just the thing for parents who are tired of the daily food battles with their picky eaters.

Here's what I wrote about the Snacktime Survival Kit:
The Snacktime Survival Kit includes 33 colorful cards featuring delicious, healthy snacks, a wooden clock board with one working clock and three "snacktime" clocks with moveable hands and corresponding snack card hooks. Each morning, mom or dad selects the snack cards for the day and sets the moveable clock hands to the desired snack times. You child chooses his snacks for the day from the available cards and hangs the cards on the hooks corresponding to snack times. Now it's up to your little one to keep an eye on the clocks and hand mom their snack cards! What was once a battle becomes a game, and what was once mindless snacking becomes a healthy choice.

With The SnackTime Survival Kit, you're not only encouraging your child to eat healthier snacks. You're also giving him the power to make his own choices, developing self-control and moderation, even teaching him to tell time! Start your little one on the path to healthy eating with The SnackTime Survival Kit




Win a Snacktime Survival Kit
One lucky Bonggamom Finds reader will receive a Snacktime Survival Kit.


Required Entry
Leave a comment on this post and share a tip to get picky eaters to try new foods. This entry must be completed before extra entries qualify.


Extra Entries
For extra entries, you can do any or all of the following. Please leave a separate comment for each extra entry with a way to verify the entry (i.e. tweet link, blog post link, Facebook id, Twitter id, etc.).

1) Subscribe to Bonggamom Finds updates (1 entry).

2) Follow Bonggamom Finds on Networked Blogs (1 entry).

3) Follow Bonggamom Finds on Blogger(1 entry).

4) Write this on the Bonggamom Finds Facebook page (1 entry):
I entered the Snacktime Survival Kit giveaway! http://ow.ly/4td0l

5) Tweet this, up to once per day (1 entry per day, leave a comment with the tweet link for each tweet):
Enter to win a Snacktime Survival Kit from @bonggafinds http://ow.ly/4td0l #giveaways

6) Vote for Bonggamom Finds in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Product Review Parents



The Rules
This giveaway ends at 11:59PM PST on April 10, 2011; I will draw a winner at random on April 11 and post the winner's name after the winner confirms acceptance. Continental US residents only. For additional giveaway rules, click here. Good luck!





Disclosure: I did not receive a sample or monetary compensation for this post. Thanks to KMR Communications for providing the giveaway prize. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
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Zippies Review and Giveaway



My kids love keychains; they can never have too many of them clipped to their backpacks. Since they started school in September, some of the flimsier ones have broken off and gotten lost, so it was great to receive an invitation to review Zippies, the dangling name tags / keychains that kids can collect and enjoy. We were sent an assortment of Zippies series 1 characters to review. Here's what we thought:


The Basics
Here's the rundown on Zippies:

Zippies, the solution to ending kids’ arguments about what belongs to whom, save parents aggravation and stress. These round, flexible, characters save parents headaches by helping children to identify their things by simply clipping them onto any belonging -- water bottles, lunch boxes, luggage, backpacks, jackets, and even bicycles. Zippies can even help prevent the spread of germs by identifying water bottles and teach children the importance of being responsible for personal belongings.

Each collectible Zippies ID tag features a different character on one side with a place for contact information on the other. This allows parents to rest assured that emergency contact information (last name and parent’s phone number) is with their child at all times.
Available in 10 different characters, Zippies sell for $4.98 each or $39.99 for the entire limited-edition first series. They can be ordered online at www.zippiesfun.com and found at select retailers.


The Bongga
Zippies are cutest things ever! My kids love them primarily as keychains to decorate their backpacks and add to their ever-growing keychain collection; I, on the other hand, being parent who's sick of kids losing their stuff, really appreciate them as name tags. You can write your child's name or your cell phone number with a permanent marker to make sure all his stuff comes home. Also, they are so bright and colorful and unique (with 10 distinct characters in Zippies' Series 1 and with more series to come), you're pretty much guaranteed that no other kid is going to mistake your child's lunchbox -- or backpack or water bottle or dance bag or bike -- for his.



My kids love that each Zippie has a name and a personality; they actually refer to Tazmo and Wally and Ranger by name.


At $5 each, Zippies are comparable in price to keychains -- they make great stocking stuffers, gifts, birthday party favors and prizes!


The Blah
I have my doubts about the sturdiness of the carabiner clip (it doesn't always seem to align properly), but we haven't lost any so far, so maybe I'm being paranoid. Time will tell....


The Bottom Line
They're colorful, collectible, clever and cute.... with Zippies, keeping track of stuff has never been so much fun.



Win a pack of Zippies
One lucky Bonggamom Finds reader will receive a pack of five assorted Zippies!Required Entry
Leave a comment on this post and tell me your favorite Zippies character, and where you would attach him. This entry must be completed before extra entries qualify.


Extra Entries
For extra entries, you can do any or all of the following. Please leave a separate comment for each extra entry with a way to verify the entry (i.e. tweet link, blog post link, Facebook id, Twitter id, etc.).

1) Subscribe to Bonggamom Finds updates (1 entry).

2) Follow Bonggamom Finds on Networked Blogs (1 entry).

3) Follow Bonggamom Finds on Blogger(1 entry).

4) Write this on the Bonggamom Finds Facebook page (1 entry):
I entered the Zippies giveaway! http://ow.ly/4tcWC

5) Write this on the Zippies Facebook page (1 entry):
I entered the Zippies giveaway on Bonggamom Finds! http://ow.ly/4tcWC


6) Follow Zippies on Twitter and tweet this, up to once per day (1 entry per day, leave a comment with the tweet link for each tweet):
They're keychains/tags/collectibles/lots of fun! Win a pack of 5 Zippies from @zippiesfun & @bonggafinds http://ow.ly/4tcWC

7) Join any of the open giveaways on Bonggamom Finds (1 entry for every giveaway you've joined).

8) Vote for Bonggamom Finds in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Product Review Parents

The Rules
This giveaway ends at 11:59PM PST on April 16, 2011; I will draw a winner at random on April 17 and post the winner's name after the winner confirms acceptance. Continental US residents only. For additional giveaway rules, click here. Good luck!

Disclosure: I received a product sample to facilitate my review, but have not been paid to review the product or give my opinions. Product information is provided by Zippies and is indicated in italics. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
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Bonggamom's Friday Finds -- List your Giveaways Here


Bonggamoms Friday Finds

Welcome to Bonggamom's Friday Finds! 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.

While I'm here, I wanted to give a shout-out to a great giveaway that I started yesterday. It's for a Le Coeur dress from Shabby Apple, and you can enter from now until April 21. Shabby Apple also gave me a Le Coeur dress to review, and let me tell you, this is one dress you want to win!


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Shabby Apple Review and Giveaway



Question: Why am I jumping around like a little girl in these photos?


Answer:
1) Spring is here.
2) Shabby Apple, one of my favorite womens' wear labels, has given me their Le Coeur dress to review.
3) The dress makes me want to sing like Maria from West Side Story: "I feel pretty".
4) Shabby Apple is also giving a Le Coeur dress to one of my readers.



The Basics
Shabby Apple sells dresses for women, girls and babies. As owners Emily and CK put it, Shabby Apple dresses are:

A return to what dresses were always meant to be — a one-piece outfit. No need to add anything...no tank tops, no cardigans, nothing (except accessories, of course!).


The Bongga
Once again, Shabby Apple has hit the spot! This dress is absolutely perfect for the spring. I love the combination of mango and pomegranate colors (what a delicious way to describe them!), and the silky stretch top makes it so comfortable. Like all Shabby Apple dresses, it's ultra-feminine and sexy without being revealing, and it has that hint of irresistible vintage glamour.

With such va-va-voom style, you'd think you'd be paying hundreds of dollars, but other than their bridesmaid dress collection and a handful of silk dresses, most of Shabby Apple's dresses cost less than $100. Not only that, most of them can be washed in cold water (goodbye, high dry cleaning bills).


The Blah
Notes for this dress state that it is cut generously. I disagree; I think it fits true to size. Also, I'm not sure why the zipper at the back has to be silver. Couldn't they find one in the same pomegranate color as the top? Or is it part of the design? Finally, I'm not looking forward to ironing that skirt!


The Bottom Line
Shabby Apple dresses are fun and flirty, flattering and feminine. Check out their latest fashions, you're sure to find a dress you love.

Win a Shabby Apple Le Coeur dress
One lucky Bonggamom Finds reader will receive the Le Coeur dress from Shabby Apple!

Required Entry
Leave a comment on this post and tell me which Shabby Apple dress is your favorite. This entry must be completed before extra entries qualify.


Extra Entries
For extra entries, you can do any or all of the following. Please leave a separate comment for each extra entry with a way to verify the entry (i.e. tweet link, blog post link, Facebook id, Twitter id, etc.).

1) Subscribe to Bonggamom Finds updates (1 entry).

2) Follow Bonggamom Finds on Networked Blogs (1 entry).

3) Follow Bonggamom Finds on Blogger(1 entry).

4) Write this on the Bonggamom Finds Facebook page (1 entry):
I entered the Shabby Apple giveaway! http://ow.ly/4lNxn

5) Write this on the Shabby Apple Facebook page (1 entry):
I entered to win a Shabby Apple Le Coeur dress on Bonggamom Finds! You can enter too at http://ow.ly/4lNxn (ends 4/11)

5) Follow Bonggamom Finds on Twitter and tweet this, up to once per day (1 entry per day, leave a comment with the tweet link for each tweet):
You could win the Le Coeur dress from @shabbyapple ! Enter at @bonggafinds by 4/21/11 http://ow.ly/4lNxn #giveaways

6) Join any of the open giveaways on Bonggamom Finds (1 entry for every giveaway you've joined).

7) Vote for Bonggamom Finds in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Product Review Parents

The Rules
This giveaway ends at 11:59PM PST on April 21, 2011; I will draw a winner at random on April 22 and post the winner's name after the winner confirms acceptance. Continental US residents only. For additional giveaway rules, click here. Good luck!



Disclosure: I received a product sample to facilitate my review, but have not been paid to review the product or give my opinions. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
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Family Getaways at the Hampton Inn and Suites




Traveling as a family can sometimes present unique challenges. You want a location that's easy to get to while hauling your whole family with you. You want comfort and cleanliness and maybe even a bit of luxury, but you also want an atmosphere that's informal enough to feel comfortable having children around. You want a few entertainment options for the kids. You want cribs and highchairs and microwave ovens to warm up formula. And being family of five, we have an extra requirement: space. Or at least enough beds for all of us!

I was recently invited to stay over at the Hampton property of our choice so I could share my experiences with our readers. The timing could not have been better, because we were planning a ski trip anyway, so I chose the Hampton Inn at Truckee/Tahoe. I always prefer staying in suites when we travel, since we can't fit into a standard room, and booking 2 adjoining rooms can be really expensive. I also love places that offer free hot breakfast! I've heard good things about this place, so I was looking forward to our stay. Did the Hampton at Truckee/Tahoe live up to its reputation? Keep reading to find out how it went .....


The Basics
About Hampton:
With over 1,700 hotels in the United States, Canada, Ecuador, Mexico and the United Kingdom, you're sure to find a Hampton hotel convenient for you. Whether visiting for business or pleasure, in a single room or suite, you'll enjoy all of the extras our hotels have to offer. They're part of what makes staying at a Hampton a very special value.

About Hampton Inn & Suites at Truckee/Tahoe:
From the majestic mountain peaks at Squaw Valley to the sparkling blue waters of Lake Tahoe, you'll be near it all when you visit the Hampton Inn & Suites® Tahoe/Truckee hotel. Staring at the stars as you breathe in fresh mountain air is a sure-fire way to leave your cares behind. At our comfortable Tahoe area hotel, you'll have easy access to a host of activities from swimming to snow skiing, hiking to horseback riding, and so much more.




The Bongga
I can't say enough great things about this place! Here are some of the things I like best about the Hampton Truckee/Tahoe:

The location
You can't beat the location! It's just off I80 so it's easy to get to, and it's near several great ski resorts, including Northstar, Squaw Valley, Boreal, Soda Springs and more. Downtown Truckee, with all its quaint little shops and restaurants, is just a five-minute drive away.

The property
This place is beautiful inside and out. It's in such a lovely location, nestled among the trees and the snow. Inside, you feel like you're in a cozy lodge, with a roaring fireplace, beamed ceilings and stone floors. I was delighted to find that all furnishings and fixtures were in the Mission Arts and Crafts style, which happens to be my favorite; I was sorely tempted to steal the gorgeous mica-shade lamps scattered about the hallways and in our room.

They have board games and books, a fitness center and a year-round hot tub (which we didn't try because it was snowing heavily, but we're determined to take a dip the next time we visit!) to relax during those apres-ski moments. Coffee and hot tea (Alfie says their Earl Grey is the best he's tried) are always available, and a plate of cookies makes an appearance every evening. Kid-friendly features are everywhere, from high chairs in the breakfast area to books and games to cribs for the asking (and did I mention cookies?).

All in all, the atmosphere was upscale, yet relaxed, and not so splendid that we felt like we had to dress up in suits and insist our kids behave like Little Lord Fauntleroy.

The room
We loved our one-bedroom suite! We had 2 queen beds and a sofabed, plenty of room for our family of five. Like the rest of the property, everything was beautifully furnished, nicely equipped (2 TVs, DVD player, lots of closet space, great shower) with tons of amenities (fridge, microwave, coffee maker, tea, coffee, popcorn, luxury toiletries).

They have the Goldilocks of beds -- not too hard, not too soft, just right. Honestly, I can't think of a more comfortable hotel bed I've slept in; it was just the perfect place to lay my tired, weary body on at the end of a long ski day. Even the sofabed was nice, not lumpy at all!


The internet
What else does a blogger do when her kids go to bed? Get online, of course! Internet access is a must, and free internet access is definitely a perk that would keep me loyal to particular hotel chain (or get me to switch). We had fast, free internet access in our room via ethernet cable, and wireless internet access in the lobby, so getting online was never a problem.


The service
The staff I met at the front desk were super-helpful and friendly. They gave us lots of good advice on alternate routes when a snowstorm shut most of the highways down, and they kept us updated on weather reports and traffic conditions while we were hanging out in the lobby. They even lent us snow shovels and ice scrapers to dig our car out of the snow.


The breakfast
This was probably my kids' favorite part of the day: choosing from all the yummy breakfast options. They serve cold items like cereal, fruit, yogurt, pastries; they also have hot items like toast, make-your-own waffles (the kids loved this!), instant oatmeal, and a hot dish that changes from day to day.


The hot Bagel Toppers they served (bagel halves topped with melted cheese, eggs and ham) were delicious!
Having a hot breakfast included is such a huge convenience bonus. It's great not to have to deal with the whole restaurant/cafe ritual (ordering/waiting/paying) when you're in a hurry to go out and hit the slopes.



The Blah
The room rate ($384 for a 1-bedroom suite with 2 queen beds and a sofabed) seemed a bit pricey to me, but that seems to be the upper limit. I actually found a rate of $279 for exactly the same room, on a different weekend. I even found a standard room for $184, which is downright reasonable. Also, that $384 rate was for a Saturday night stay; mid-week rates seem to be $40-$50 cheaper. Besides, you get what you pay for, and we really did have a wonderful experience.

No, the only real beef I have with this place is their 72-hour cancellation policy, which seems really restricting to me. We actually had a nightmare driving to and from Tahoe because it happened to be snowing heavily that weekend. Okay, actually it was near-blizzard conditions; several highways were closed due to poor visibility, accidents and avalanches. The drive normally takes us 3.5 hours, but it took us 7 hours to get there, and 14.5 hours to drive back!

I'm not blaming Hampton for the weather, of course. However, we all knew the storm was coming and had it not been for the cancellation policy, I would have postponed our trip for another weekend. As it was, I felt trapped (or booked), and the knowledge that we could have avoided that nightmare drive really soured my attitude towards the chain -- the one dark spot in an otherwise amazing experience. A 24 or 48 hour cancellation period would garner so much more customer good will!


The Bottom Line
Staying at the Hampton Inn Truckee/Tahoe was one of the highlights of our recent ski weekend, and I would highly recommend it to any other travelers (single, couples, families, big groups) looking for a place to stay in the area! For our family, it was the perfect home away from home.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary 2-night stay at the Hampton property of my choice to facilitate my review. Product information is provided by the featured company/product and is indicated in italics. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
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Cars 2 is zooming into theatres June 24


Auto racing bores me. I don't care that Formula 1 racing is one of the most popular sports in the world, with an audience of over 500 million last year. The sight of cars racing around a closed circuit just doesn't do it for me.

I will make one exception, however: I am dying to watch the World Grand Prix on June 24, when the Disney-Pixar movie, Cars 2, makes its way into theatres! I loved the first Cars movie (I still tear up when I watch it) and after seeing the Cars 2 trailer at the Mars Needs Moms premiere, I have a feeling the second one is going to be at least as good. If it were crappy, Disney would just release it straight to DVD, so the fact that it's going out into theatres is a good sign.

Here's the movie synopsis:
Star racecar Lightning McQueen and the incomparable tow truck Mater take their friendship to exciting new places in Cars 2 when they head overseas to compete in the first-ever World Grand Prix to determine the world’s fastest car. But the road to the championship is filled with plenty of potholes, detours and hilarious surprises when Mater gets caught up in an intriguing adventure of his own: international espionage.

Torn between assisting Lightning McQueen in the high-profile race and towing the line in a top-secret spy mission, Mater's action-packed journey leads him on an explosive chase through the streets of Japan and Europe, trailed by his friends and watched by the whole world. Adding to the fast-paced fun is a colorful new all-car cast that includes secret agents, menacing villains and international racing competitors.


I'm really going to miss Doc Hudson (voiced by Paul Newman in the original Cars movie; Paul died of cancer in 2008) but I'm going to enjoy the introduction of Michael Caine as Finn McMissile, the British Secret Agent. The thought of Mater as a global secret agent is downright hilarious!

And here are 4 Cars 2 Grand Prix posters for you to download and enjoy! Just click on any of the photos to get to the hi-res version, then right-click your mouse button to save on your computer.














Disclosure: 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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Lucky Puppy Organic Onesies




I love companies that put philanthropy a part of their business model and put their money where their mouth is when they talk about supporting a worthy cause. One such company is Lucky Puppy clothing; they donate 15% of their online sales to Animal Haven, a nonprofit organization that finds homes for abandoned cats and dogs throughout the Tri-State area. And their new line of organic onesies and beanies go one step further by looking out for Mother Nature as well as our four-legged friends. I was recently invited to review the Lucky Puppy organic line; keep reading below to see what I think:

The Basics
When long time friends Sandi Hochman and Jonathan Cathey joined forces to create products for fellow dog enthusiasts, an innovative lifestyle brand with a focus on children’s fashion was founded. Sandi’s adoration for all things dog related merged with Jonathan’s creativity is the basis behind Lucky Puppy. Admittedly so adorable, the only tagline deemed appropriate was “Nothing But Cute”. While Lucky Puppy is cute and adorable, the real heart of the brand is what makes it irresistible. Created with the idea of giving back, each online purchase of Lucky Puppy helps to rescue a homeless dog. Lucky Puppy is dedicated to matching strays with loving families and they succeed by partnering with various animal foundations on a local and national level.




The Bongga
These onesies are adorable! For starters, the puppy logo on the shirt is almost as cute as the baby you're going to put the shirt on; other designs feature a pawprint or two puppies flying through the air in a dog dish. The one I received to review was made of nice, soft cotton, and I was happy to note that it didn't have that acrid, nose-wrinkling smell that too often accompanies new clothes with screen printed designs. I love the bold, deep purple colorI also love that Lucky Puppy goes beyond the traditional pink-and-blue; the organic onesies are available in sophisticated colors like teal, black, persimmon, heather, putty and asphalt.

The Blah
Cute as they are, I was disappointed to see the remnants of a shirt tag that had been cut off the neckline, and I noticed several whitish spots around the front and back of the onesie. They may yet wash off, but no one wants to see that on a new garment.



The Bottom Line
With both Earth Month and Prevention of Animal Cruelty Month coming up in April, an organic onesie from Lucky Puppy is the perfect way to dress your baby in cute clothing and show how much you care about the earth and our animal friends!




Disclosure: I received a product sample to facilitate my review, but have not been paid to review the product or give my opinions. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
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American Girl Free Shipping till April 10



Hurray, it's free shipping time again at American Girl! Just enter the code

A312422

in the box marked "key code" in your shopping bag or at checkout at the American Girl online store. You'll get free standard shipping with a $50 minimum purchase*. Hurry, the free shipping offer ends 11:59 CST on 4/10/11!



* Offer excludes doll hospital services, ear piercing, magazine subscription, gift cards, American Girl Place packages, gift wrapping, sales tax, international shipping surcharges

Disclosure: I did not receive a sample or monetary compensation for this post. Free shipping code may have limited uses; I am not responsible for the validity of this code, so use at your own risk. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
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Win a prize pack from the Qubo Channel



When I was a kid, the choices for kids' television were pretty limited. Sesame Street and The Electric Company were the gold standard for educational shows, and there were cartoons like Tom & Jerry, Mighty Mouse, Scooby Doo, Looney Tunes, Superfriends, and a handful of Japanese cartoons. My parents knew and approved of all the shows we watched; even though they didn't watch each and every episode, they were familiar enough with the shows that they knew which ones were appropriate and which ones weren't.

The list of kids' shows was long enough to provide hours of entertainment, but it was nothing like the choices available to kids today. It's practically impossible for parents to be familiar with each and every kids' show that comes crawling out of the woodwork, so many parents rely on specific channels to provide good quality shows for kids.

Here's one channel that has great kids programs like "The Magic Schoolbus" and "Babar" that's actually free on basic cable -- the Qubo Channel. Here's more information about Qubo:


Qubo believes that quality entertainment—good fun—can help motivate kids to become better friends, family members and teammates and improve their view of the world. Qubo’s children's programming showcases characters that are positive role models and features teachable moments, such as learning the difference between right and wrong, the importance of non-judgment, how to form lasting friendships and how to be respectful and kind. With such favorite, classic programs as “The Magic School Bus,” “Babar,” “Shelldon.” “Turbo Dogs,” “Willa's Wildlife,” “Pearlie,” and “Jane & the Dragon,” Qubo offers a fun, safe place for children to learn and for families to enjoy watching TV together.

And speaking of the classic TV shows that many of us grew up watching, Qubo also offers programming through “Night Owl” - late night programs that include retro cartoons such as “He-Man,” “She-Ra,” and “BraveStarr”. Qubo truly is a channel that everyone – little kids and the “big kids” in all of us – can enjoy!


Check your local cable listing to see if Qubo is available in your area -- it's free on basic cable!



Win an Qubo Prize Pack
Qubo wants to get the conversation started about quality children's programming, so they have offered a Qubo Gift Pack to one lucky Bonggamom Finds Reader! This gift pack will include a Qubo-branded t-shirt, cinch pack, beach towel of characters, silly bands of characters, notebook, jump rope, and character game/puzzle.






Required Entry
Leave a comment on this post and answer the following 2 questions:

* What is your favorite childhood TV show?
* What current TV show do you think offers the best content for children?

This entry must be completed before extra entries qualify.



Extra Entries
For extra entries, you can do any or all of the following. Please leave a separate comment for each extra entry with a way to verify the entry (i.e. tweet link, blog post link, Facebook id, Twitter id, etc.).

1) Subscribe to Bonggamom Finds updates (1 entry).

2) Follow Bonggamom Finds on Networked Blogs (1 entry).

3) Follow Bonggamom Finds on Blogger(1 entry).

4) Write this on the Bonggamom Finds Facebook page (1 entry):
I entered the Qubo giveaway! http://ow.ly/4kpCs

5) Tweet this, up to once per day (1 entry per day, leave a comment with the tweet link for each tweet):
Win a Qubo gift pack from @bonggafinds http://ow.ly/4kpCs #giveaways

6) Join any of the open giveaways on Bonggamom Finds (1 entry for every giveaway you've joined).

7) Vote for Bonggamom Finds in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Product Review Parents

The Rules
This giveaway ends at 11:59PM PST on April 8, 2011; I will draw a winner at random on April 9 and post the winner's name after the winner confirms acceptance. Continental US residents only. For additional giveaway rules, click here. Good luck!



Disclosure: As a thank-you for posting this information, I will be receiving a prize pack similar to the one being given away. Thank you to Qubo for providing these prize packs to myself and the 2 winners of this giveaway. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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Celebrate Earth Day with Procter & Gamble and Target




Next month is Earth Month, and Procter &Gamble is making it easier than ever to go green. They are partnering with Target during Earth Month to highlight these “future friendly” products:

Tide Coldwater
This detergent offers up to 80% energy savings in every load. *

PUR
By switching from bottled water to PUR faucet filtered water, you can save up to $600 a year** and make over a thousand bottles disappear***.

Pampers Cruisers
Made with Dry Max, these disposable diapers contain 10% less average material weight****. Moms using Pampers Swaddlers and Cruisers today have generated 15 million fewer pounds of waste than in 2007*****


*By switching from warm/cold to cold/cold for all loads in a standard top loader machine with an electric water heater set at 140F. **Comparing the annual capacity and average price of PUR pitcher system and 3 refills to the corresponding number of average price of 16 oz. water bottles. ***Based on average consumption of 3 bottles of water per household per day. **** Cruisers with Dry Max versus Cruisers 2007. *****Based on 2010 sales volume for Swaddlers/Cruisers.


To celebrate Earth Month, P&G is offering valuable brandSAVER coupons and Target will offer guests a mobile coupon for $1.00 off Tide Coldwater. You can sign up for for this mobile coupon (as well as others in the future) by texting COUPON to TARGET (827438).

What a great way to celebrate Earth Month -- saving the earth and saving money at the same time!






Win an Earth-Friendly Prize Pack from P&G and Target
Two lucky Bonggamom Finds reader will each receive a sample package of Pampers Cruisers and tide laundry detergent, as well as coupons for PUR and Tide compacted powder laundry detergent (total value of coupons: $7) in a Target reusable shopping bag

Required Entry
Leave a comment on this post and share your favorite tip for reducing your carbon footprint. This entry must be completed before extra entries qualify.


Extra Entries
For extra entries, you can do any or all of the following. Please leave a separate comment for each extra entry with a way to verify the entry (i.e. tweet link, blog post link, Facebook id, Twitter id, etc.).

1) Subscribe to Bonggamom Finds updates (1 entry).

2) Follow Bonggamom Finds on Networked Blogs (1 entry).

3) Follow Bonggamom Finds on Blogger(1 entry).

4) Write this on the Bonggamom Finds Facebook page (1 entry):
I entered the Target/P&G Earth Day giveaway! http://ow.ly/4koHT

5) Tweet this, up to once per day (1 entry per day, leave a comment with the tweet link for each tweet):
2 Winners will receive an Earth Day prize pack w/ samples & coupons fr P&G and Target! Enter at @bonggafinds http://ow.ly/4koHT #giveaways

6) Join any of the open giveaways on Bonggamom Finds (1 entry for every giveaway you've joined).

7) Vote for Bonggamom Finds in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Product Review Parents


The Rules
This giveaway ends at 11:59PM PST on April 8, 2011; I will draw a winner at random on April 9 and post the winner's name after the winner confirms acceptance. Continental US residents only. For additional giveaway rules, click here. Good luck!



Disclosure: As a thank-you for posting this information, I will be receiving a prize pack similar to the ones being given away. Thank you to Procter & Gamble for providing these prize packs to myself and the 2 winners of this giveaway. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
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"Beautiful Skin Revealed" book giveaway



Today's giveaway is a must-enter for anyone whose bathroom cabinets are overflowing with creams, lotions, wipes and miracle gels! I've been given the opportunity to give away dermatologist Paul Friedman's book, "Beautiful Skin Revealed: The Guide to Better Skin".

Here's a description of the book:
The marketing and sale of cleansers, moisturizers, cosmeceuticals, and cosmetics is a multibillion-dollar industry. How do you navigate through the maze of products and promises? Which combination of treatment options, potions and lotions is the real deal?

In an effort to separate fact from fiction, Board-Certified Dermatologist Dr. Paul Friedman, has co-authored the book “Beautiful Skin Revealed: The Ultimate Guide to Better Skin.” This comprehensive book offers an expert’s insider view on common skin conditions and treatments that really work, in addition to offering tips on how to maximize the time with your dermatologist. According to Dr. Friedman, “The book is grounded in science and explains why conditions occur. Using before and after photos and real patient testimonials, “Beautiful Skin Revealed” shows readers the incredible results made possible through the latest treatment options.”

Beautiful Skin Revealed is available for purchase at www.amazon.com.



Required Entry
Leave a comment on this post and tell me how you navigate through the maze of beauty products on the market and choose the products that are right for you. This entry must be completed before extra entries qualify.


Extra Entries
For extra entries, you can do any or all of the following. Please leave a separate comment for each extra entry with a way to verify the entry (i.e. tweet link, blog post link, Facebook id, Twitter id, etc.).

1) Subscribe to Bonggamom Finds updates (1 entry).

2) Follow Bonggamom Finds on Networked Blogs (1 entry).

3) Follow Bonggamom Finds on Blogger(1 entry).

4) Write this on the Bonggamom Finds Facebook page (1 entry):
I entered the Beautiful Skin Revealed book giveaway! http://ow.ly/4koah

6) Tweet this, up to once per day (1 entry per day, leave a comment with the tweet link for each tweet):
Win a copy of the book "Beautiful Skin Revealed: The Ultimate Guide to Better Skin" on @bonggafinds http://ow.ly/4koah #giveaways

7) Join any of the other open giveaways on Bonggamom Finds (1 entry for each giveaway joined).




The Rules
This giveaway ends at 11:59PM PST on April 5, 2011; I will draw a winner at random on April 6 and post the winner's name after the winner confirms acceptance. Continental US residents only. For additional giveaway rules, click here. Good luck!

Disclosure: I did not receive a sample or monetary compensation for this post. Thanks to KMR Communications for providing the giveaway prize. Product information is provided by KMR and is indicated in italics. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
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Truvia Sweetener Review and Giveaway





For a couple of years now I've been hearing about this new plant called stevia and how it's like the sugar of the 21st century. That's actually laughable, since stevia has been around for hundreds of years; it's an herb from South America whose leaves can be 30 times sweeter than sugar, and doesn't adversely affect blood glucose levels. But it's only recently that companies have been producing and mass-marketing them in the US as a sugar substitute, and now that I know about it, it certainly seems like a miracle sweetener for people watching their calories, glucose levels and carbs!

I was recently given some samples of Truvia, a stevia-based sweetener, and I can tell you, Truvia tastes as sweet as it sounds. Keep reading to find out more (and enter to win some Truvia samples for yourself!)...

The Basics
Truvia is a natural, zero calorie sweetener made with rebiana, which is derived from the stevia leaf. It's used to sweeten some of my favorite low-cal products including Crystal Light, Coke, Sprite and Breyers YoCrunch, and now it's available in packet form and in bulk (so you can spoon it into your dishes/drinks or use it in baking).

Here's how Truvia describes their product:
Truvia™ (pronounced Tru-VEE-a) natural sweetener is a great-tasting, natural, zero-calorie sweetener made with rebiana, the best-tasting part of the stevia leaf. Truvia™ natural sweetener provides consumers with a new, natural sweetener choice to reduce the number of calories in their diets. Truvia™ natural sweetener sprinkles just like sugar, and is great in coffee and tea, or on your morning grapefruit or cereal. Not only can be it be used to sweeten coffee/tea and cereal/fruit, but you can also cook with it. Check out www.truvia.com for several great recipes, including tasty dishes from Celebrity Chefs Sam Talbot and Marisa Churchill!

The Bongga
Who needs sugar when you can get less calories and less carbs using Truvia? It's such an easy way to lower the sugar content in your favorite recipes!

Check out Truvia's online recipe collection; they have tons of great low-sugar recipes for everything from breakfast to breads to desserts to appetizers. We tried their recipe for Classic Cheesecake and it was a huge success! Here's the recipe:

Classic Cheesecake (from Truvia's online recipe collection)

Crust
1 ½ cup graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup butter or margarine, melted
½ tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp + 1 1/2 tsp Truvia™ natural sweetener spoonable*
* or 5 packets Truvia™ natural sweetener

Filling:
1 lb (2 cups) cream cheese
8 oz (1 cup) Neufchatel cheese
4 whole eggs or egg substitute
1 Tbsp fresh lemon zest
4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 Cup + 1 1/2 tsp Truvia™ natural sweetener spoonable*
* or 20 packets Truvia™ natural sweetener

Note: For best results use room temperature lemons, cream cheese and Neufchatel.


Directions
1. Assemble all ingredients.
2. Place graham cracker crumbs and Truvia™ into mixing bowl; mix well.
3. Pour melted butter and vanilla over crumb mixture; blend until mixture is moist.
4. Press crumb mixture into 10" ungreased spring form pan, covering bottom and sides; refrigerate for 10 minutes.
5. Place Truvia™ natural sweetener, cream cheese, Neufchatel and salt into mixing bowl.
6. Blend at low speed for 1 minute; scrape sides of bowl and mixing paddle.
7. Mixing at low speed, add one egg at a time over 5 minutes.
8. Scrape sides of bowl and paddles.
9. Mix at medium speed for 2 minutes while adding lemon zest and juice; scrape bowl and mixing paddle.
10. Pour batter into graham cracker crust; bake at 325°F in oven for 55-60 minutes.
11. Remove from oven; cool on wire rack for 1 hour; cut into 12 pieces using a water dipped serrated knife and serve or refrigerate.




The cheesecake was delicious! It was sweet enough on its own, but we served it with sliced strawberries on the side. We also swirled in some strawberry glaze for a strawberry flavor and a pretty finish. Everyone in the family loved it, and no-one realized it was made with a sugar substitute.


The Blah
Truvia is definitely sweet, but don't expect it to taste exactly like sugar. It has a faint maple-sugar taste, which I personally don't care for (I hate maple syrup and anything maple flavored!) but I doubt if anyone would really taste it unless you eat this by the spoonful. If you use it to sweeten your lemonade, coffee, tea, cereal, baked goods, etc... you won't notice it.


The Bottom Line
A natural, zero-calorie sweetener that doesn't raise blood glucose levels? Truvia is as close to a miracle sugar substitute you can get!



Win a box of Truvia sweetener
One lucky Bonggamom Finds reader will receive a box of Truvia!

Required Entry
Leave a comment on this post and tell me what you would use Truvia to sweeten instead of sugar. This entry must be completed before extra entries qualify.


Extra Entries
For extra entries, you can do any or all of the following. Please leave a separate comment for each extra entry with a way to verify the entry (i.e. tweet link, blog post link, Facebook id, Twitter id, etc.).

1) Subscribe to Bonggamom Finds updates (1 entry).

2) Follow Bonggamom Finds on Networked Blogs (1 entry).

3) Follow Bonggamom Finds on Blogger(1 entry).

4) Write this on the Bonggamom Finds Facebook page (1 entry):
I entered the Truvia giveaway! http://ow.ly/4knWb

5) Write this on the Truvia Facebook page wall (1 entry):
I entered the Truvia giveaway on Bonggamom Finds! http://ow.ly/4knWb

6) Follow Truvia on Twitter and tweet this, up to once per day (1 entry per day, leave a comment with the tweet link for each tweet):
Win a box of @truvia sweetener from @bonggafinds http://ow.ly/4knWb #giveaways

7) Join any of the other open giveaways on Bonggamom Finds (1 entry for each giveaway joined).

8) Vote for Bonggamom Finds in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Product Review Parents

The Rules
This giveaway ends at 11:59PM PST on April 5, 2011; I will draw a winner at random on April 6 and post the winner's name after the winner confirms acceptance. Continental US residents only. For additional giveaway rules, click here. Good luck!




Disclosure: I received a product sample to facilitate my review, but have not been paid to review the product or give my opinions. Product information is provided by the featured company/product and is indicated in italics. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
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