Monday, January 31, 2011

Musical Monday

I promise not to do this very often, but today's song totally goes with the post I wrote over on my other site. If you're interested on further thoughts about why I picked today's song, stop over to Alise...Write! and see what I had to say there.

Regardless, this is a great, great song. I absolutely love everything about it. Lyrics, music, dynamics -- it's got it all. Enjoy Shine by Anna Nalick.

Oh the night makes you a star

And it holds you cold in it’s arms
You’re the one to whom nobody verses I love you
Unless you say it first
So you lie there holding your breath
And its strange how soon you forget
That you’re like stars
They only show up when it’s dark
Cause they don’t know their worth

And I think you need to stop following misery’s lead

Shine away shine away shine away
Isn’t it time you got over how fragile you are
We’re all waiting
Waiting on your supernova
Cause that’s who you are
And you’ve only begun to shine

There are times when the poets and porn stars align and

You won’t know who to believe in
Well that’s a good time to be leavin’
And the past knocks on your door
And throws stones at your window at 4 in the morning
Well maybe he thinks it’s romantic
He’s crazy but you knew that before

And I think you need to stop following misery’s lead

Shine away Shine away Shine away
Isn’t it time you got over how fragile you are
We’re all waiting
Waiting on your supernova
Cause that’s who you are
And you’ve only begun to shine

Yeah you’ve only begun to shine

Won’t you shine shine shine shine over shadow
Shine shine shine shine over shadow
Shine shine shine shine over

And I think you need to stop following misery’s lead

Shine away Shine away Shine away
Isn’t it time you got over how fragile you are
We’re all waiting
Waiting on your supernova
Cause that’s who you are
And you’ve only begun to shine
Yeah you’ve only begun to shine – 3x




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Eversave Deal of the Day (1/31)

A couple of fun deals here for you! You can get $55 of Wallhogs decals for just $25 and save half off of some delicious looking truffles, just in time for Valentine's day.

Thanks for checking these out!



Today's Save: Tempting Truffle

Today's Save:Give the gift of gourmet goodies with $30 of premium chocolates from TemptingTruffle.com

Expires 11:59 PM - Feb 02, 2011


Bonus Save: Wallhogs

Today's Save:Stick em up! Get $55 worth of custom wall graphics from Wallhogs.com

Expires 11:59 PM - Feb 01, 2011

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunny Sunday Giveaway Link-Up! (1/30)

Welcome to the Sunny Sunday Giveaway Link-Up! Grab the button and share with your friends!

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Feel free to list your giveaway here using the following format: Giveaway name - end date - US/Can/WW

Thanks for stopping by!



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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sappy Saturday



With several snow days this past week, the kids have played on the Wii a bit.

Okay, a lot.

Anyway, my bookend children have (re)discovered my favorite game -- The Legend of Zelda. I became a dyed in the wool Zelda fan after Ocarina of Time. Everything about that game just made me happy. I loved the land, I loved the game play, I loved the music, all of it. It's just one of my most favorite video games of all time.

Twilight Princess is the game the kids have been playing and again, I just marvel at the game play. I'm obviously not a graphics person because there's nothing very striking about that, but I do love the world the developers have created in Hyrule. As I'm watching the kids play, I remember again how much I enjoy this game. Even as a simple observer, it's a lot of fun.

Which is why I'm hoping against hope that Nintendo does in fact come out with a new Zelda game this year. I've been hearing rumblings about it for quite some time now and I am despairing of them actually ever making it happen. It's quite disheartening, to be honest.

At the beginning of the month I tweeted that my primary goal for this year was to get Nintendo to release Donkey Kong 64 to the Wii store for download, but I may have to amend that to seeing that Skyward Sword is actually released in 2011. Because that would be pretty sweet.

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Review & Giveaway: Glee Gum Make Your Own Chocolate Kit

We had a snow day yesterday. I am not nearly as organized as my sister, so a lot of the time, I don't have any activities for the kids to do. Sometimes they manage to entertain themselves (like with the Iganadon report last week), and sometimes they just bicker. But this time, thanks to Glee Gum, we actually had something to do on this snowy day!



I received the Make Your Own Chocolate kit from Glee Gum to review and I've got to tell you, this is a fantastic product. It comes with all of the products necessary to make your own chocolate. What I loved about this particular kit was that it gives you all of the various components of chocolate. The kit comes with cocoa butter, cocoa powder, confectioner's sugar, starter crystals, cocoa beans, a thermometer, papers and step by step instructions on how to make the chocolate. It also includes a story about the history of chocolate and lots of great information about the process of creating chocolate now and how it helps those in impoverished areas have a better life.

The kids liked smelling and tasting the chocolate in its different forms. We all laughed at the disparity between the smell and taste of cocoa butter (which smells like chocolate and tastes like wax) and the difference of how the chocolate tasted before we added any sugar to it. It was also really neat to be able to see a cocoa bean and taste it right from the source.

Of course, we also loved the opportunity to try the chocolate once it was all made! It was really delicious and we just had a great time together making the chocolate and learning about its history.

I love that Glee Gum is so conscious about the environment (the products are all organic and the packaging is all recycled/recyclable) and making socially responsible products. I also love that they encourage learning with the information included in the package and the website. They also include lesson plans for each of the Make Your Own Candy kits so you could include a lot more learning beyond the project itself. Fun, responsible, educational, delicious -- that's all kinds of win from where this mom is standing!


Buy It: You can buy a Make Your Own Candy kit from Glee Gum for just $13/kit.

Win It: The awesome folks over at Glee Gum have been kind enough to offer a Make Your Own Candy Kit to one of my readers! You will be able to choose which one you'd like to try (Make Your Own Chocolate, Gum or Gummies). This contest is open to residents of the continental United States only.

Mandatory Entry:

  • Head over to the Glee Gum website and tell me what other product you might like to try (or what you like best about their mission, which really and truly is why I love this company!).
Extra Entries:
  • Follow Glee Gum on Twitter.
  • Like Glee Gum on Facebook.
  • Follow my blog publicly on Google Friend Connect.
  • Follow my blog on Networked blogs.
  • Subscribe to my site by RSS or email.
  • Follow me on Twitter.
  • Like Big Mama's Blog on Facebook.
  • Tweet this contest using the following: Win a Make Your Own Candy Kit by @GleeGuy from @BigMama247! http://bit.ly/gRKsEv #giveaway (2x per day at least an hour apart)
  • Post my button on your blog (leave a link where I can find it).
  • Vote for me on the Fence (see button on the right -- just click! Can do this once a day!).
Please make sure that I have a way to contact you (if you leave an email in your Disqus comment, I'll have it even though it's not visible to everyone). If I can't contact you, I'll make a different selection. This contest will be open until 11:59 PM, February 6. I will choose a winner using the Random.org random number generator. I will send an email to the winner who will have 48 hours to respond. If I don't hear from you by then, I'll select another comment. 

Thanks and good luck!


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Eversave Deal of the Day (1/28)

Today's deal from Shoebuy.com is a one day only thing, so get 50% off of your voucher for today only! Thanks for checking these out!




Today's Save: Shoebuy.com

Today's Save:Marc Jacobs, Steve Madden, BCBG - oh my! Just $15 for a $30 gift card and free shipping on footwear at Shoebuy.com

Expires 11:59 PM - Jan 28, 2011




Bonus Save: Fit in Clouds

Today's Save:$10 for $20 worth of stylish foldable flats from FitinClouds.com

Expires 11:59 PM - Jan 28, 2011




Bonus Save: Shabby Apple

Today's Save:Look red delicious in vintage-inspired dresses from ShabbyApple.com

Expires 11:59 PM - Jan 29, 2011


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Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Cool Mom

Yesterday I ushered my daughter into the realm of awesome by giving her a first taste of the exciting world of hair color alteration.

I decided that I wanted to blue my hair a little bit. So the other day when I was at the drugstore, I picked up a bleach & blue kit. It's been a few years since I've been a really off-the-wall color, so I thought a little blue streak might be something good to perk me up in the middle of these grey, depressing, winter days. At the very least, it would give other people something to giggle about.

Anyway, after seeing me walk in with the kit and talking to some friends at church, Deborah decided that she wanted to join me in the world of hair color. Since the kids ended up having an early dismissal due to snow yesterday, we spent the afternoon coloring our hair together. What. A. Hoot!

First we had to do the bleach. Her totally unprocessed hair bleached out super nice and evenly. It wasn't quite as blonde as it could have been, but when the blue washes out, she's still going to look pretty awesome. Then we did the blue. It's a much darker blue than I anticipated, but it looks crazy good on her.

We had a great time laughing over the coloring and reciting lines from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World to each other. It was all kinds of geeky mother-daughter fun.

Here's a pic I touched up with Deborah's results. I do love this kid. She makes me all kinds of happy!


Do you remember the first time you dyed your hair? 

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Eversave Deal of the Day (1/27)

Today is the last day to purchase $35 of educational toys for $15. And today's save has some really adorable vintage-style dresses. I particularly like the aprons they have there -- fantastic!

Also, Eversave is looking for ideas on what kind of vouchers to offer for Valentine's day. You can stop by here and fill out the survey to have your voice heard!



Today's Save: Shabby Apple

Today's Save:Look Red Delicious in Vintage-Inspired Dresses for 55% off from ShabbyApple.com

Expires 11:59 PM - Jan 29, 2011


Bonus Save: Brighter Beginnings Toys

Last Chance: $15 for $35 worth of Melissa and Doug, Klutz, and more toys and games from BrighterBeginningsToys.com

Expires 11:59 PM - Jan 27, 2011


Bonus Save: Fit in Clouds

Today's Save:$10 for $20 worth of stylish foldable flats from FitinClouds.com

Expires 11:59 PM - Jan 28, 2011
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Monday, January 24, 2011

Musical Monday: Review & Giveaway Lohio - Family Tree

I'm always so happy to find new music. There's nothing quite so fun to me as discovering new artists, especially musicians in my own backyard.

So I really delighted to be directed to Pittsburgh band Lohio.

Lohio just released an EP titled Family Tree in September. I had the opportunity to give it a listen and I've got to tell you, it's really fun.

I really love the instrumentation on this EP. It has a really wonderful acoustic sound. They have a very "earthy" tone to them. In a world of heavily processed vocals and electronic music, it's great to find a band that has a a far more natural sound.

I found that their music has a very unique blend of simplicity and intricacy, which I like. Instrumentally they use some really unique blends of instruments all of which set the tone of each song perfectly. Vocally, they manage to really pull out some really big choral sounds and then contrast them with more quiet vocals of the primary songwriter Greg Dutton and vocalist Liz Adams. As someone who appreciates contrasts in dynamics, Lohio does this really well.

My personal favorite song on the 5-track EP is Adelai. I love the chorus riff and during the bridge it almost has a Phillip Glass kind of feel to it.

To promote the new EP, Lohio is kicking off a tour in February. You can check out the dates below. But I want to extend a special invite to my local friends and mention that they'll be here in Morgantown on February 4 at 123 Pleasant Street. And for my wider range of friends in PA, they'll be playing in Pittsburgh on February 19 at Thunderbird Cafe. I'm planning to go to the Morgantown show, so if you want to go, be sure to shoot me a message and we'll hook up!

  • Feb 3 – 136 Loft – Buffalo, NY
  • Feb 4 – 123 Pleasant St. – Morgantown, WV
  • Feb 5 – Davis Elkins College – Elkins, WV
  • Feb 7 – Union Hall – New York, NY
  • Feb 8 – Lit Lounge – New York, NY
  • Feb 10 – The Fat Frogg – New York, NY
  • Feb 12 – The Cave – Chapel Hill, NC
  • Feb 14 – Cosmic Charlie’s – Lexington, KY
  • Feb 15 – The Bishop – Bloomington, IN
  • Feb 16 – Rudyard Kipling – Louisville, KY
  • Feb 17 – Vollrath – Indianapolis, IN
  • Feb 18 – KOBO – Columbus, OH
  • Feb 19 – Thunderbird – Pittsburgh, PA
If you're looking for a unique, interesting indie-band, I definitely recommend checking out Lohio.

Buy It: You can purchase Lohio's EP Family Tree here.

Win It: The band has graciously offered a copy of their EP to one lucky reader! Contest open to residents of the US who are 18 and older.

Mandatory Entry
  • Who is your favorite band right now? 
Extra Entries
  • Follow Lohio on Twitter.
  • Like Lohio on Facebook.
  • Follow my blog publicly on Google Friend Connect.
  • Follow my blog on Networked blogs.
  • Subscribe to my site by RSS or email.
  • Follow me on Twitter.
  • Like Big Mama's Blog on Facebook.
  • Tweet this contest using the following: Win a copy of @Lohiomusic's new EP Family Tree from @BigMama247! http://bit.ly/hY2NEV #win #giveaway (2x per day at least an hour apart)
  • Post my button on your blog (leave a link where I can find it).
  • Vote for me on the Fence (see button on the right -- just click! Can do this once a day!).
Please make sure that I have a way to contact you (if you leave an email in your Disqus comment, I'll have it even though it's not visible to everyone). If I can't contact you, I'll make a different selection. This contest will be open until 11:59 PM, January 31. I will choose a winner using the Random.org random number generator. I will send an email to the winner who will have 48 hours to respond. If I don't hear from you by then, I'll select another comment. 

Thanks and good luck!


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Eversave Deal of the Day (1/24)



Today's Save: iSkin

Today's Save:$18 for $40 worth of at-home Microdermabrasion and pore cleansing systems from iSkin.com

Expires 11:59 PM - Jan 26, 2011


Bonus Save: DLM Entertainment

Today's Save:$15 for $35 worth of movie, TV and Broadway posters and poster frames at DLMEntertainment.com

Expires 11:59 PM - Jan 24, 2011


Bonus Save: Saving Dinner

Today's Save:$15 for $30 towards menu planning services from SavingDinnerShop.com

Expires 11:59 PM - Jan 24, 2011


Bonus Save: Pearl Image Teeth Whitnening

Today's Save$38.99 for one at-home teeth whitening kit from Pearl Image Teeth Whitening ($129.99 value)

Expires 11:59 PM - Jan 25, 2011

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunny Sunday Giveaway Link-Up! (1/23)

Welcome to the Sunny Sunday Giveaway Link-Up! Grab the button and share with your friends!

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Feel free to list your giveaway here using the following format: Giveaway name - end date - US/Can/WW

Thanks for stopping by!



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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sappy Saturday

January 4, 2010photo © 2010 John Pederson | more info (via: Wylio)
I have cold feet.

No, I'm not nervous about anything (well, not right this second anyway), I just literally have chilly feet almost all the time.

As a result, one of my favorite things is a nice pair of fuzzy socks. I love knitting socks (though I'm still not very good at it). I love knitting slippers (I'm way better at those). And I adore thick, soft, fluffy socks.

I love sliding my feet into a pair fresh out of the dryer, all toasty and warm.

I love the bright colors that I might not normally wear out and about but that look just right for kicking around the house.

I love how they slide across my kitchen floor (is there anyone, child or adult, who doesn't like to sock-skate on a slick floor?) while I'm loading the dishwasher, making me feel a bit more whimsical than a woman in her mid-30's has a right to feel.

And I love that my feet are at least a little bit warmer when I have them on.

Do you have a favorite pair of socks? What do they look like? And do you have any other tips for keeping feet warm?

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Review: Smiley Valentine's Day Cookies


One of my favorite memories from high school was during my senior year. Because I was a total slacker, I opted not to take math my senior year and ended up with a study hall first period. I had other friends who apparently were also slackers and so we would, altogether too often, skip out of class and drive to the local Eat 'N Park for breakfast. And when we were done, we would always grab a dozen Smiley Cookies to take back to the secretaries at the school, hoping that if we were there in time, we could maybe bribe them into not paying attention to the roll sheets and marking us as present for the full day. (Yes, I was a terrible person. I know.) These cookies must have done the trick though, because I managed to graduate without too much of a blemish on my record.


It's been a long time since I've had a Smiley Cookie, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review a dozen of their heart shaped cookies. They were just as great as I remember. A delicious, soft sugar cookie with fantastic tasting icing. Their cookies are all hand-iced and are made with all of the same great ingredients that they were made with back when I was just a youngster, skipping school. I was kind and shared them with my family and everyone just loved them.

You can purchase a dozen of these Valentine's Day Cookies for $13.99/dozen. Mine arrived in a delightful smiley box and were well packaged so they were fresh and unbroken. And if you're wanting something for a party (say, a Steelers Super Bowl party?), you can create your own cookie starting at $12.99/dozen.

If you're looking for something a little different to give as a gift this Valentine's day, I highly recommend checking out SmileyCookie.com. This is a wonderful and unique gift. Especially for high school secretaries.


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

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Snow Day

Iguanodon  photo © 2009 Angela Marie | more info (via: Wylio)

We have another snow day here in Marion County, WV. I love having the kids around, but wow. Sometimes these unplanned days off can deteriorate into screaming matches between the kids. And sadly, despite being the grown-up, I all-too-often join in.

Today is a bit different though.

The kids, completely of their own volition, have been working together to help the youngest write a report on the iguanodon.

This report is not something that is due for class. It's not for extra credit. It's not FOR anything.

Christopher got some of those foam things in a capsule that you stick in water and they turn into a shape. He got a dinosaur pack and one of them was an iguanodon. That's it. They have been upstairs scouring the internets for information about what this animal ate, how it hunted, what it looks like, when it lived, everything.

I love it.

I love that they want to learn simply for the sake of learning. I love that they want to expand their knowledge not because someone is forcing them to, but because they think it's cool to know new things. I love that they let something simple like a 2 inch piece of foam launch them into a world of discovery. And I love that they are working together, complimenting one another as they use their skills together.

They still need to keep it down because Jason is trying to sleep, but I much prefer asking them to laugh quietly than to fight quietly.

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Eversave Deal of the Day (1/21)



Today's Save: Saving Dinner

Today's Save:$15 for $30 towards menu planning services from SavingDinnerShop.com

Expires 11:59 PM - Jan 24, 2011


Bonus Save: Frecklebox

Today's Save:$15 for $30 worth of perfectly personalized children's presents from Frecklebox.com

Expires 11:59 PM - Jan 21, 2011


Bonus Save: Snapily

Today's Save: $12 for $25 worth of personalized 3D or animated flip pictures from Snapily.com

Expires 11:59 PM - Jan 22, 2011

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I'm a wife to an amazing man, and mom to four incredible kids. I'm a Christian woman who sometimes struggles with doubt. I'm a musician and a writer who is sometimes afraid to play and write. I'm trying to be more authentic every day.
 
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