Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category



Review — Yogi Bear’s All-Star Comedy Christmas Caper DVD


'Yogi Bear's All-Star Comedy Christmas Caper DVD Review

Synopsis:
Yogi Bear and his pal Boo Boo live in Jellystone Park, where they constantly sneak behind the back of Ranger Smith to steal picnic baskets from unsuspecting vacationers. Yogi made his debut in 1958, as part of “The Huckleberry Hound Show.” The character proved so popular, he was given his own show in 1960, also sponsored by Kellogg’s Cereals. In addition to Yogi, the show featured separate cartoons with the new characters Snagglepuss and Yakky Doodle. Through 1962, 70 Yogi Bear cartoons were produced, all of them featuring Daws Butler as the voice of Yogi, and Don Messick as Boo Boo. In this Christmas Special, Yogi escapes from Jellystone and hides out in a department store – posing as the Store’s Santa. Along the way, he helps a little girl to rediscover her faith in Christmas.

My Opinion:
My daughter was excited to receive this DVD because of the new Yogi Bear movie that is now in theaters. This DVD was waiting for us when we returned from our holiday trip and since school started back on Monday, we made a quick transition back to our normal routine and didn’t get a chance to watch the DVD. Even though the holidays are over, we plan to watch this DVD over the weekend.

Learn more about this DVD or purchase it for $9.95. It is also available at Dallas Public Libraries, so check your library for a copy of this DVD if you want to rent it first!

Disclosure: I received a copy of Yogi Bear’s All-Star Comedy Christmas Caper in exchange for posting this information. The synopsis, images and movie clips were provided by Warner Bros.



Review — Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales DVD


'Charlie Brown's Christmas Tales DVD Review

Synopsis:
Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales is a series of Christmas-themed animated stories, in which each of the beloved PEANUTS characters star in his or her own charming animated vignette. Bonus episode: Is This Goodbye, Charlie Brown – New-to-DVD! Linus must break the devastating news that his family is moving. Charlie Brown and the gang make their goodbyes and prepare for Linus and Lucy’s departure.

My Opinion:
This is one of those DVDs that brings back memories from childhood and I enjoyed watching it with my daughter. She is not as familiar with the Peanuts as I was growing up (I regularly read the Sunday comic strip), but she asked to watch it several times over the holidays.

The DVD includes a bonus episode “Is this Goodbye, Charlie Brown?”

Visit the official Peanuts on DVD Website to learn about this and other Peanuts DVDs. The Dallas Public Library carries several copies of this DVD!

Disclosure: I received a copy of Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales DVD to review. The synopsis, images and movie clips were provided by Warner Bros. All opinions are my own.



Review — Flipped DVD


Flipped DVD

Synopsis:
When second-graders Bryce and Juli first meet, Juli knows it’s love. Bryce isn’t so sure. In the days and years ahead, Bryce (Callan McAuliffe) does all he can to keep his wannabe girlfriend at arm’s length — and the smart, independent-minded Juli (Madeline Carroll) continues to give him the benefit of the doubt. This tender coming-of-age romantic comedy from director Rob Reiner takes the pair from grade school to junior high, through triump and disaster, family drama and first love, as they make discoveries that will define who they are — and who they are to each other.

My Opinion
I haven’t read the book, so I do not know how true the movie stays to the original story, but I enjoyed this movie. It is rated PG for thematic material and language. It is the language that keeps me from allowing my six year old to watch this movie.

Available now on Blu-Ray Combo Pack, DVD, On Demand or for download.

I also noticed that the Dallas Public Library has seven copies of this DVD, so check your library if you’d like to watch it for free.

Visit the Official Website to learn more about Flipped.

Disclosure: I received a copy of Flipped to review. The synopsis and images were provided by Warner Bros. All opinions are my own.

Review — Samantha: An American Girl Holiday DVD


Samantha: An American Girl Holiday DVD

I recently received several DVDs from Warner Bros. to review, which I will be posting today. The first is Samantha: An American Girl Holiday.

Synopsis:
For years, girls have wished for a movie about their favorite American Girl. Finally that wish comes true in the first-ever, full-length, live action movie starring long-time favorite Samantha Parkington! Samantha: An American girl Holiday brings history boldly to life as it takes girls on journey back to New York in 1904. Samantha’s prim and proper Grandmary is raising her to be a young lady, but her life starts changing the day as she meets Nellie O’Malley, the servant girl next door. Though they come from different worlds, they come from different worlds, they become fast friends, facing happiness and sorrow, adventure and danger together. But nothing can prepare them for the life-altering surprises that await them this holiday season.

My Opinion
My daughter and I loved watching this movie together. It is a charming tale that teaches so many wonderful life lessons about friendship, caring for others, and finding solutions to difficult situations. My daughter had many questions after we watched the DVD. The movie made a big impact on her.

Purchase the DVD: You can purchase this DVD new for $18.95 or less, or used for around $10. Or, I noticed you can get the Felicity and Samantha: An American Girl 2-DVD gift set for $19.59.

I also noticed that the Dallas Public Library’s Bookmarks branch at Northpark Mall has ordered a copy of this DVD. Head to your local library to see if they have a copy and check out the DVD for free to see how you like it before you buy it!

Visit the Official Website to learn more about Samantha: An American Girl Holiday.

Disclosure: I received a copy of Samantha: An American Girl Holiday to review. The overview, images and movie clips were provided by Warner Bros. All opinions are my own.

Review — ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas DVD


'Twas the Night Before Christmas DVD Review

I think most people are familiar with the ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas movie. This movie has played on television every Christmas season since 1974. But what you may not know is it was digitally remastered and re-released in October!

Synopsis:
For some unexplained reason, letters to Santa Claus are being returned to the children of Junctionville. It seems some resident has angered St. Nick, calling Christmas “a fraudulent myth!” Skeptical Albert Mouse has to be brought to his senses “and let up a little on the wonder why.” How Albert is persuaded to change his tune paves the way for Santa’s jolly return to town – and the joyous finale of the animated fable inspired by Clement Moore’s poem and produced by the merrymaking conjurers of Rankin/Bass Studios. The voice talents of Joel Grey, Tammy Grimes, John McGiver and George Gobel make this festive fable even more fun.

My Opinion:
It was fun to watch this movie with my daughter. It brought back memories of my childhood when we would watch this movie whenever it came on television. Now that there are so many television channels available, I can’t keep up with all the holiday programming, so I like having this movie available to pull out each holiday season to watch it when we want.

Buy this DVD
Keep an eye out at stores for this DVD, as you might find it on sale after the holidays. You can also buy Twas the Night Before Christmas at Amazon.com for $13.99.

The Dallas Public Library carries four copies of this DVD and, not surprisingly, all copies are checked out!

Visit the Official Website to learn more about the ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas DVD.

Disclosure: I received a copy of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas to review. The synopsis, images and movie clips were provided by Warner Bros. All opinions are my own.



Review & Giveaway: JUMBiES Stuffed Animals (12/9)


JUMBiES Review & Giveaway

Once upon a time, many baby animals were being born at once — so many that the storks couldn’t keep up as much as they tried. It eventually got to be too much for the storks and they started crashing into each other!

JUMBiES Stork

The result? Twelve jumbled animals that the storks decided to call JUMBiES!

The storks took the JUMBiES to a wonderful island they called JUMBiELAND where these animals could stay until the storks could find new homes for them.

Three of these cute JUMBiES arrived at our home recently, to my daughter’s delight. They are:

JUMBiES - Zumbo the Zelephant
Zumbo the Zelephant (Zebra + Elephant)


JUMBiES - Leopold the Leopird
Leopold the Leopird (Leopard + Hornbill Bird)


JUMBiES - Yuri the Moosecow
Yuri the Moosecow (Moose + Cow)

When the package arrived, I noticed the JUMBiE “sand dollars” that were included with the JUMBiES stuffed toys. Each sand dollar features one of the JUMBiES, a value and the JUMBiE’S motto. For example, the one that features Filbert the Blabbit (Blue Bird + Rabbit) is worth fifty sand dollars and has “Don’t keep it a secret, Blabbit!” written on the back. I used the sand dollars to create a fun discovery game for my daughter, which she talks about in this video review:

What I like about JUMBiES:

– They’re cute and unique
– They have a story behind them to make for a fun discussion with your child(ren)
– They will stand/sit up on their own (this was one of the first things my daughter talked about)
– There’s a Website with games and other activities to extend the “JUMBiELAND experience”
– They are easy to surface wash
– They’d make fun stocking stuffers

The JUMBiES that we received are well-made, but they are best suited for children 3+ years old due to the potential choking hazard of some small, hard parts on the toys (JUMBiES’ eyes, Moosecow’s antlers, etc.).

Buy JUMBiES

You can buy JUMBiES online for $7.95 + shipping & handling, or at one of the retailers listed on this PDF. Each JUMBiE comes with a sand dollar and mini storybook.

Win Two JUMBiES!

One lucky reader will win two randomly selected JUMBiES!

Mandatory Entry:

Visit JUMBiELAND.com and tell me which JUMBiE you like best.

Optional Additional Entries:
(There are several extra entry opportunities on this giveaway. Please complete the optional entries after you have completed the mandatory entry and leave one comment for each entry specified below. Example: +2 = 2 comments):

– Like JUMBiES on Facebook (+2)
– Like Craving the Savings on Facebook (+1)
– Post on your Facebook page – “Check out JUMBiES and win 2 at http://tinyurl.com/2dl39zh. They have been compared to the next Beanie Babies!” (+4)
– Follow @JUMBiES on Twitter (+2)
– Follow @CravingSavings and/or @CravingGiveaway (+1 for each)
– Tweet “Check out @JUMBiES and win 2 @CravingSavings – http://tinyurl.com/2dl39zh. Ends 12/9. They have been compared to the next Beanie Babies!” (+2)
– Follow me on Google Friend Connect (right column) (+1)
– Follow me on Networked Blogs (+1)
– Become an email subscriber or RSS subscriber (+1 for each)
– Post this giveaway on a giveaway linky (and leave the URL) (+2)
– Enter any of my other current giveaways (+1 for each giveaway entered – listed at the top right below the Search field)

Rules:
– Ends at 11:59 PM Central on Thursday, December 9, 2010. I will use Random.org to select the winner.
– The winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email or I will select a new winner.
– Giveaway valid only in the US and its territories including APOs.

Disclosure: I received three JUMBiES, two comic books, and several sand dollars in exchange for writing this review and hosting this giveaway. All opinions in this review belong to me and to my daughter.


Review: Norah Jones’ Latest Album …Featuring


Norah Jones....Featuring album

In case you didn’t hear – Norah Jones’ latest album …Featuring was released two weeks ago on November 16.

Whenever Norah Jones’ song “Don’t Know Why” comes on the radio, I turn it up. I love that song! So when One2One Network asked me if I’d like to review a copy of …Featuring, I didn’t have to think too long about whether or not to do it.

This album includes 18 songs where Ms. Jones collaborated with such artists as Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, the Foo Fighters, Ryan Adams, Herbie Hancock and Outkast…. quite a variety! Yet, despite the variety of styles of the artists and songs on this album, I thought it flowed rather nicely.

The 18 songs represent some of the multi-Grammy Award winning singer’s musical collaborations from the past decade.

Little trivia tidbit for DFW readers: Did you know Norah Jones grew up in Grapevine, Texas, attended Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas and the University of North Texas before her career took off?

My favorite songs on this album are:

– Love Me
– Virginia Moon
– Bullrider
– Life is Better
– The Best Part
– Here We Go Again

Want to learn more? Visit these sites:

Official Website – Watch video vignettes of 15 of the collaborations!
Facebook Fan Page
YouTube

Buy …Featuring Norah Jones for only $7.99 on Amazon.com and get a $5.00 promotional code for Amazon Video on Demand (limited time promotion).

Disclosure: I received a copy of …Featuring from One2One Network in exchange for this review and I am entered to win one of five $50 gift cards. All opinions of the album are mine. Your opinion may differ, so please listen to the sample songs on Amazon.com before purchasing the album!

Review & Giveaway: PretonSaver Ink Saver Software – 4 winners (12/9)


PretonSaver Printer Ink Saver Software

I am embarrassed by how long it has taken me to write this review and post the giveaway, but on the positive side, I have had a lot of time to try out the software!

PretonSaver is a ink saver software program that allows you to not only save money on printer ink but also help the environment because it promotes “green printing“.

If you use your printer regularly like I do to print coupons, rebates, and other documents, PretonSaver will help you save money on ink while you print to save money on other items!

My Experience
In October, I participated in a Just Between Friends (JBF) consignment sale and had to print around fifty pages of tags on card stock. My black ink cartridge had been low for about a month, but I didn’t change it because I wasn’t printing too often.

I waited until the last minute to print my tags and had no replacement ink in the house. I used this opportunity to see if PrestonSaver could help me get all the tags printed so they were still legible enough to be scanned/read at the sale.

I’m happy to report I was able to successfully print all 50 pages of tags, and I continued to use the black printer ink cartridge for another month before having to change it. While the quality wasn’t great, it was decent – especially knowing the ink cartridge was almost out of ink. I felt like I really stretched the life out of that cartridge.

Once I changed the ink cartridge, I tried the PretonSaver program again and could not tell a difference in the print quality unless I changed the savings percentage to the maximum 70% savings.

I have a bag full of ink cartridges that I need to take somewhere to recycle. I am hopeful I will no longer have such a full bag of cartridges now that I am using PretonSaver whenever I print.

The only minor annoyance I found was that each time I printed something, the box (shown above) would pop up and ask me to select a quality percentage before I could print. I thought it would be nice if I could click a ‘do not show this’ box and keep all printing at default of 35%. I just realized this option does exist, but you have to right-click on the Preton icon in the lower right corner of your browser and unclick the “Prompt before Printing” option. I would love to see this on the pop-up itself, but I understand why it is not there.

Some highlights:

– Have a document with images and text, but only want the text? Click “Print text only” to remove the images during printing.
– The default setting of 35% will generally give you the best savings/quality.
– You can adjust the slider with each document you print. The slider provides a recommended scale so you know where to set it for photos, text, email, etc. for maximum savings and quality.
Since starting to use the software in September, PretonSaver estimates that I have saved $67.51 in ink costs by using the program, with an annual savings prediction of more than $270.
– Each time I print, I see a summary in the bottom right of my screen that looks like this:

PretonSaver Printer Ink Saver Software

The features and system requirements listed on the PretonSaver Website include:

Features:

– Reduces consumable spending by up to 50%
– Easy to install and manage – start saving with just a few clicks
– Comprehensive reporting on cost and usage
– Supports Inkjet and LaserJet printers
– Color and mono, local and network printers
– Supports Windows, Win XP SP2 and up, Win Vista and Win 7

System Requirements:

– Windows® XP SP2 and up, Vista or Windows® 7
– 32 and 64 bit Operating Systems
– .NET 2 SP1 and up (relevant for Win XP)
– At least 20MB of available hard drive space
– Internet Connection

Download a free, 30-day trial (Black Friday through Cyber Sunday sale so this would only be valid on 11/28) or get a free, two week trial any other time, and test it out for yourself!

Buy It

You can buy a one year license to PretonSaver Home for $19.95 or a lifetime subscription for $34.95. They also have subscriptions for multiple computers and for office environments.

Win It

Preton gave me four, one year PretonSaver Home licenses to give away to four lucky readers!

Mandatory Entry

– Leave a comment letting me know why you want to win one of the licenses.

Optional Additional Entries:
(Completed these after the Mandatory Entry has been completed – leave one comment for each entry. Example: (+2) = 2 comments):


– Take the Preton Green Printing Quiz and let me know what your score was (+1)
– Like Preton on Facebook (+1)
– Like Craving the Savings on Facebook (+1)
Follow @SaveToner on Twitter (+1)
– Follow @CravingSavings and/or @CravingGiveaway (+1 for each)
– Follow me on Google Friend Connect (right column) (+1)
– Follow me on Networked Blogs (+1)
– Become an email subscriber or RSS subscriber (+1 for each)
– Post this giveaway on a giveaway linky (and leave the URL) (+2)
– Enter any of my other current giveaways (+1 for each giveaway entered – listed at the top right below the Search field)

Rules:
– Ends at 11:59 PM Central on Thursday, December 9, 2010. I will use Random.org to select the winner.
– The winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email or I will select a new winner.
– Open to residents worldwide.

Disclosure: I received a one year PretonSaver Home license and four to give away. All opinions are my own. The features and system requirements lists come directly from PretonSaver.com.


Review & Giveaway: HoMedics Shiatsu Massage Pillow (12/6)


HoMedics Shiatsu Massaging Pillow Review & Giveaway

Before starting on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, I spent as little time as possible in the kitchen. Now I spend at least an hour each day, but sometimes six or seven hours, prepping, cooking and cleaning up afterward. My back often aches after standing for so long. So when HoMedics contacted me about hosting a review and giveaway for their Ultra Plush Shiatsu Massage Pillow, I quickly said yes!

HoMedics provided me with a code to use to order the product on their site. I found the HoMedics.com order and checkout process to be very easy. You can get a shipping cost estimate before you enter all your personal information, which I love! Billing, shipping, payment and review information are all presented on one page so no need to click through multiple pages to place your order. The checkout process is very quick and easy-to-follow.

I received my pillow within days of ordering it and I was eager to put it to use on my achy back. I used it the night I received it after spending multiple hours prepping food. I think I was too eager because I didn’t bother to read the instructions and I used it for nearly an hour!

It felt so good on my back that I didn’t want to stop, so when it would automatically shut off, I immediately started it back up again. That was a big mistake as I had a few areas of sharp pain in my back the next day. I decided that I should probably take a look at the instructions. They clearly state not to use the product for more than 15 minutes at a time. Oops…

Now that I have read the product instructions and I am using the pillow properly, I love it. When I want a deeper massage, I turn on the heat and lift the flap. When I want a softer massage, I put the flap down. For an even softer massage, the instruction manual suggests putting a towel between your back and the pillow.

The product is meant for use on the the neck, shoulders and back. I have been using it primarily for my lower back – where the majority of back pain and tightness settles.

The product is portable, but it is corded, so it needs to be used near an electrical outlet. It is not meant for use in the car, and should not be used by children without supervision (my daughter is drawn to this pillow so we have had a few discussions about how it is not a toy).

Check out the Shiatsu Massage Pillow or other massage products from HoMedics.

Buy It

You can buy the pillow for $39.99 on the HoMedics Website or look for a retailer near you that carries the pillow by entering the product model number – SP-20H – and your zip code in the search form.

Win It

One lucky reader will win a HoMedics Ultra Plush Shiatsu Massage Pillow!

Mandatory Entry:

Visit the HoMedics Shiatsu Massage Pillow page and tell me what feature you like best

Optional Additional Entries:
(Completed these after the Mandatory Entry has been completed – leave one comment for each entry. Example: (+2) = 2 comments):

– Like HoMedics on Facebook (+1)
– Like Craving the Savings on Facebook (+1)
– Follow @HoMedics on Twitter (+1)
– Follow @CravingSavings and/or @CravingGiveaway (+1 for each)
– Follow me on Google Friend Connect (right column) (+1)
– Follow me on Networked Blogs (+1)
– Become an email subscriber or RSS subscriber (+1 for each)
– Post this giveaway on a giveaway linky (and leave the URL) (+2)
– Enter any of my other current giveaways (+1 for each giveaway entered – listed at the top right below the Search field)

Rules:
– Ends at 11:59 PM Central on Monday, December 6, 2010. I will use Random.org to select the winner.
– The winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email or I will select a new winner.
– Open to residents of the US

Disclosure: I received a HoMedics Ultra Plush Shiatsu Massage Pillow to review and one to give away. All opinions are mine.

Review & Giveaway: Udderly Smooth Lotion (12/9)


Udderly Smooth Review & Giveaway

I have very dry elbows — so dry that my dermatologist prescribed a special cream because no lotion has helped. The same day she prescribed the cream, I received three Udderly Smooth products in the mail to review:

– Udderly Smooth Shea Butter Foot Cream
– Udderly Smooth Udder Cream
– Udderly Smooth Moisturizing Lotion with Vitamin E

I thought I would do an experiment by applying the Udderly Smooth Moisturizing Lotion to my right elbow and the prescription cream to my left elbow.

I have tried so many lotions from the very cheap to very expensive, but none have worked other than to provide temporary relief. If I forgot to re-apply them daily or even several times a day, my skin felt dry again. Because of my past experiences, I didn’t have high expectations for the Udderly Smooth lotion.

But guess what? I was pleasantly surprised by the Udderly Smooth lotion, and it has worked faster than the prescription cream. I could tell a difference in my skin’s appearance within the first few uses of the Udderly Smooth lotion.

This lotion makes me want to continue to use it — not just because it has left my elbow skin the softest it has been in a long time, but also because of the texture and scent. And I don’t feel the need to re-apply it many times a day like I do with some lotions.

Udderly Smooth was created more than 30 years ago by a pharmacist. It can be used from head to toe – yes, even as a facial moisturizer! I am glad I learned about this product before the winter months start because my hands get severely cracked with colder temperatures to the point where they bleed. If this lotion works as well on my hands as it has on my elbows, I expect quick relief or no cracking at all this winter.

What I like most about the Udderly Smooth products:

– Absorbs quickly
– Creamy texture that does not leave my skin feeling greasy
– Very light, pleasant scent. I am very sensitive to product fragrance to the point where I get a sore throat, runny eyes, etc. I try to avoid fragrance whenever possible. I experienced no sensitivity problems while using the Udderly Smooth products.
– Works quickly to moisturize my overly dry skin.
– Made in the USA
– Not tested on animals – other than the cows’ udders that it was originally formulated for!
– Affordable — products start at $2.99 and go to $8.75

The prices really surprised me. I was expecting them to be much higher!

There is nothing that I don’t like about the products I tried.

Buy Udderly Smooth Products

You can buy Udderly Smooth products on their Website or at many major retailers, including the 99 cent store!

Win Three Udderly Smooth Products

The folks at Redex Industries (makers of Udderly Smooth products) will send one lucky reader an assortment of their products (though likely not all of the products in the photo above). These would make great stocking stuffers or keep them for yourself!

Mandatory Entry:

– Leave one comment letting me know why you want to win these products.

Optional Additional Entries:
(Completed these after the Mandatory Entry has been completed – leave one comment for each entry. Example: (+2) = 2 comments):

– Like Udderly Smooth on Facebook (+1)
– Like Craving the Savings on Facebook (+1)
– Follow @UdderlySmooth on Twitter (+1)
– Follow @CravingSavings and/or @CravingGiveaway (+1 for each)
– Follow me on Google Friend Connect (right column) (+1)
– Follow me on Networked Blogs (+1)
– Become an email subscriber or RSS subscriber (+1 for each)
– Post this giveaway on a giveaway linky (and leave the URL) (+2)
– Enter any of my other current giveaways (+1 for each giveaway entered – listed at the top right below the Search field)

Rules:
– Ends at 11:59 PM Central on Thursday, December 9, 2010. I will use Random.org to select the winner.
– The winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email or I will select a new winner.
– Open to residents of the US and Canada

Disclosure: I received the three Udderly Smooth products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. 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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