Archive for the ‘Thursday: Reviews’ Category

Elfishki and The Giant Cake Review

Thursday, May 10, 2012 @ 08:05 AM
posted by mrscaz

By now you all know me and the addiction I have to iPhone apps… Well, the addiction has spread to iPad apps. I know it’s similar, but there are some apps that are only meant for the iPad. This is one of those apps, but boy is it super cute. The best part about this app is that it’s for the kids so it doesn’t draw me in and steal my time from the world of kids belts.

This is one of a series of 7 interactive books from Elka Palka Productions. This is an adorable little story about the Elfishki. They are little fairy tale creatures who live on the beautiful Rainbow Island in the middle of the Sparkling Sea. They can fly like butterflies or swim like mermaids.

The illustrations are beautiful and really vivid. The animations are great for the kiddos. They get the benefit of reading, but the bonus of the interactive screens. Each page not only has animation when you touch it, but  each of the fairy tales contains comprehension questions and a game to boost your child’s creativity and imagination.

Don’t fear, if your little one is too young to read, you can choose the “listen” feature and it will read the story to your little one!

Bug and Super Dude really enjoyed the game that comes with this app. This game lets your kids build the most giant unique cake ever with ingredients like peppers, candy, seafood, icing, snails, cookies, bats and candles. When they finish decorating the cake, they can take a picture of their design for safe keeping and then start over! Super Dude likes topping his with all of the creepy crawly ingredients while Bug likes to mix it up.

If you don’t have an iPad, your kids can also enjoy all of the stories online! Here is a great video to show you a little more about Elfishki!

Hope your family enjoys it as much as mine does!


Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor



I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.


Pirate P-arrrrr-ty

Thursday, April 12, 2012 @ 11:04 PM
posted by mrscaz

Everybody loves Ray… oops… Pirates! It seems like there are pirates everywhere! There are kid pirates (Jake & the Neverland Pirates), adult pirates (Pirates of the Caribbean) and even “Talk Like a Pirate” day (Sept 19th). (What do I have to do to get an official “Keep Your Pants Up” day, sponsored by Dapper Snappers Kids Belts? Wait… we may just have something like that in the near future… Maybe a month of “No Mooning”…) I do like pirates, and I have a son who loves pirates.

Anyway, with the popularity of Pirates, I was thrilled to get the opportunity to review Pirate Party Games by Python Printable Games.

These printable games are super cute and can be used over and over again. There are games for kids and adults. I have listed what the pack includes below. There are a few others included in the pack (13 total), but I’m just listing the ones that are geared for the little ones. I really like that there are not only pirate games included, but also crafts. It’s so hard to plan games while sticking to a theme, but the folks over at Python Printable Games have done it for us! The best part? You don’t have to wait for them to be shipped to you, you get to download them!

The pack includes:

  • Balloon Pirate Craft For Kids
  • Facebook Pirate Language Game
  • Pirate Mad Libs
  • Pirate Placemat for Kids
  • Pirate Poster for Kids
  • Pirate Party Icebreaker
  • Printable Treasure Map Template Pirate Craft For Kids
  • Pirate Nature Scavenger Hunt for Kids
  • Pin the Parrot on the Pirate game for Kids

I think I may even let Super Dude invite some friends over for a Pirate Pizza Party just so we don’t have to wait for his birthday next year!


Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor




This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.


Couponing Made Easy

Thursday, April 5, 2012 @ 11:04 AM
posted by mrscaz

I am definitely one for being frugal. I love a deal, I mean, who doesn’t. I even got into couponing a few years ago to help save money and fill my need for getting the best deal possible. However, then the kids belts business and family time caught up with me and the couponing fell by the wayside.

Now that I have gotten a better handle on my time management (and, quite frankly, because gas prices have gotten so high, I have to save somewhere), I am getting back into couponing. I know what you are thinking, “it’s takes too much time”, “my coupons expire before I use them”, “I never save that much money, so it’s not worth it.” I use to think those same things, but then I found Florida Coupon Savers.

This site is great because they take the sale flyer, they find the coupons and then they match them all up so you can save the most money possible at the store! I live in Central Florida, so the best part is that they cater to this area. We don’t always get the same coupons or even the same value coupons as some of the bigger metropolitan areas, so when I would go to those sites, I would notice more match-ups, but I could never find the coupons. I would get so frustrated. They cover our major stores; Publix, Winn Dixie, Walgreens, CVS, Target, etc.

Know what’s even better than all of that? It’s a FREE site! They don’t charge for any of it. I have seen coupon sites actually charge a monthly fee for “sharing” their match-ups. I spoke to one of the owners of Florida Coupon Savers, and she said “We don’t feel like you should have to spend money to learn how to SAVE money.” With that being said, they even offer FREE couponing classes in and around Central Florida.

My favorite section is the “Post Your Trips” page. Here they show you their actual shopping trips and how they saved money.

Retail Value $109.10 ONLY Paid $31.98!

How cool is that? I love this site and think that is a great resource. They even post deals on clothing, gifts, shoes, accessories and restaurants!

Are you ready to coupon with me?


Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor


Run My Blog Campaign Review

Thursday, March 29, 2012 @ 08:03 AM
posted by mrscaz

In my search for ways to increase SEO and brand awareness using keywords, I have found that one of the best (inexpensive) ways to do this is though a Blog Review Campaign. I have blogged about it before (here, here & here), and while I love the results, I have found that they require a great deal of work. Seeking out bloggers, researching bloggers, following up, policing the reviews and so on, an average 15 blogger campaign can take up to 25 to 30 hours of my time. I’m not sure about you, but I have other pressing matters at the kids belts factory than to sit online for 25 to 30 hours stalking bloggers for a blog review campaign.

That’s why I was thrilled to find RunMyBlogCampaign.

This company does all of the leg work for me. All I had to do was choose the number of bloggers I wanted, supply some product pictures and approve the copy. Also, some of the packages that they offer even include sending the samples and prizes out for you for no extra charge (depending on the size and weight of your product). The blog review campaigns that I have done with them have been the best and easiest by far.

The really great part is that when they were running the campaigns, traffic to our retail site increased and we definitely saw an increase in sales. I can’t say for sure that they came directly from the bloggers themselves, but I know it’s because they found us easier through a search on Google because we were now listed on page one thanks to the keyword links!

I loved the fact that they searched out bloggers that were a good fit for Dapper Snappers and didn’t just choose the first 30 bloggers that applied. They really took the time to pick bloggers that had children in the right age range and whose social media numbers and site ratings were great. They also researched past reviews that those bloggers had written for other products and if their past reviews weren’t up to snuff, RMBC didn’t choose them

I highly recommend RunMyBlogCampaign for your next blog review campaign. I promise you won’t regret it (and you’ll never do a blog review campaign on your own again)!


Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor


My Fitness Pal

Thursday, March 22, 2012 @ 11:03 AM
posted by mrscaz

It’s Thursday and you know what that means? It’s time for this kids belts inventor to do a review! Today, in keeping with my iPhone app addiction, I will be reviewing the My Fitness Pal app.

This app is a great way to keep your “calories in, calories out” in check. This app lets you keep a food diary, but does all of the calculating for you. It already has thousands and thousands of food items already pre-loaded into its database, but the other really cool thing about it is that it has a bar code scanner. That’s right, no more manually typing in the calories, serving sizes, and all of the other nutritional information, just scan and save and you are set. I think that’s my favorite part. As you add foods to your diary, it keeps track of how many calories you have left for the day. How awesome is that?

When you set up your account, you put in your current height and weight and so on. My Fitness Pal calculates your BMI as well as your BMR (resting metabolic rate). The BMR is important because if you know how many calories you burn resting, you know how the calorie range you need to stay in each day. It also gives you daily goals for sodium, protein, cholesterol, potassium, calcium, and so on.

Another really cool feature is that you can add in when you exercise and it calculates the calories burned. It then adds those calories into your daily allotted calories and increases the amount accordingly. See, it totally takes all of the work out of it for you. So far, my assistant has lost 14 lbs using this app along with her running.

According to their website, here is what you get with your FREE (free is good, right?) membership to My Fitness Pal.

  • The easiest to use food diary on the web - Track what you eat with just a few clicks from anywhere with an internet connection – at home or at work
  • A searchable food database of over 1,582,000 items - and it’s growing everyday!
  • Your own personal food database - add your own foods and recipes at any time and access them from anywhere with an internet connection
  • Free mobile apps for iPhone and Android - so you can log your meals and exercise even when you are on the go
  • Support and motivation from people just like you – Our discussion forums let you learn from others, share your own tips, receive and give encouragement, and make friends.
  • A personalized diet profile - customized to your unique weight loss goals.
  • Flexibility - our system can support any diet like Atkins, the South Beach Diet, the Zone, and more. No matter what diet you’re on, we can help.

I’m really excited to be using this app and look forward to seeing the results!


Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor




e-meals Review

Thursday, February 23, 2012 @ 11:02 PM
posted by mrscaz

I’m busy, you’re busy, he’s busy, she’s busy, they’re busy… So the question is, if we are all so busy, who’s making dinner? Really, who has time to plan the meals, hunt down all of the ingredients at the store and then to actually remember what you had planned to make for the week and inevitably realizing that you forgot to pick up a key ingredient while at said grocery store resulting in you either having to make another trip to the store or giving up and calling Papa John’s.

Ugh… I have fallen into that pit of dis pare more times than I care to mention. That’s why, when I came across a Groupon last month for something called eMeals, my attention was peaked. It’s hard for me to leave the kids belts office, get the kids, help with homework, do some laundry, spend some quality time with the family and cook a good healthy dinner and eMeals seemed like it would take the guess work out of it for me. On their website they claim, “eMeals is a simple system to solve your dinner time dilemma with easy meals based on delicious recipes and a consistent grocery budget.”

I have to say, this is one of the coolest services out there. It really takes all of the guess work out of dinner. When you sign up, you pick a plan (there are so many to choose from; Gluten-Free, Budget-Friendly, Low-Fat, Portion-Control, Vegetarian, Organic and there is even a section for picky eaters), print the menu and shopping list, shop and then cook and enjoy.

An eMeals plan includes:

  • A family-friendly,organized 7-day dinner meal plan – with concise and easy to follow recipes and directions.
  • A complete, corresponding grocery list – just print and go!
  • The member’s only option to participate in eMeals Referral Program

Here is a sample of the shopping list. You can customize it to the store of your choice. It also pulls in pricing so you can budget properly. They strive to keep a weeks worth of dinners under $100. Oh, yea, they even will include if an item is on sale. How cool is that? The list is also organized by section, that way you aren’t hunting all over for all of the ingredients. When you are in the freezer section, you have a list of everything you need from there. It also includes a list of staples to keep in your kitchen that work for multiple meals.

Above is a sample of the meal plans/ingredients/recipes. Yes, I said recipes, look at those recipes. They are all about a paragraph long and are ridiculously easy to but together. The best part? The kids have enjoyed everything that I have cooked so far. This is a really a great program and I can’t say enough about it.

I would highly recommend eMeals to anyone who is looking for variety, healthy meal ideas and even to save money. If you only have to buy what you need for the meals, then you are saving money by not buying unnecessary things!


Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor


Run Training App Review

Thursday, February 16, 2012 @ 01:02 PM
posted by mrscaz

I am many things; mom, wife, friend, kids belts inventor, and so on, but there is one thing I am not, I am not a runner. I don’t understand it. I’d even go as far as to say if I ever had to run for my life, I’d probably die. As I’ve said before, my assistant has gotten into running. She’s even gone as far as to run 3.25 miles straight, without stopping. I know what you are thinking, “What’s wrong with her?” Ha ha! I joke! I think it’s great and she went from barely being able to run in 30 second intervals to running a whole 5K in 6 and 1/2 weeks. How’d she do it? Well, she just happened to let me in on her secret.

Yep, its an app… You should have seen that one coming! My fondness for apps has outweighed my hatred of running. I downloaded the Run Training App and it looks really helpful. I decided to recruit some of the other moms at Bugs school to start this with me. I’m hoping that together we can push and encourage each other to go farther and really do this.

This App has some really great features (Note: this app does cost $2.99, but there is a free version that you can use 6 times prior to deciding if you want to purchase it). The first feature that I really like is the Mode section. That is where you can choose how you want to train. There are 4 main modes (all modes keep track of your time, distance, pace, and calories burned):

  1. Free Mode – Allows you to just get out and run.
  2. Route Mode – Allows you to set up a routes for different places that you may run.
  3. Training Mode – My favorite mode. This is where you can choose what you want to train towards, ie. 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Marathon (Good night! Why on earth would you want to put yourself through that???) What’s nice is that in training mode it gives you voice cues as to when to run and when to walk.
  4. Goal Mode – This mode allows you to set up either a distance goal or a time goal and then announces when you are halfway there.

This app also keeps track of a calendar for you and every time you run it logs it on the calendar without you having to take an extra step.

You can go back and look at your history and see how each run compares to the previous one.

The last thing I’ll mention is a cool sort of techie feature. It keeps a map of where you ran so you can actually see how far you went! I think that’s super cool because I am a visual person. You can select the street view, satellite view or a hybrid view.

Overall, even though I’m not a runner (no matter how many times my assistant says “Oh, you’d be surprised! You’ll love it!”), I really like this app and I think that it will be a great asset on my overall journey to health this year!


Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor


Customize Me

Thursday, January 26, 2012 @ 08:01 AM
posted by mrscaz

Earlier this year, in my kids belts blog, I admitted that my new year resolution is to work on my health. My overall health, not just weight, but with that being said, weight does play a roll in better health. Last week I started a running program (maybe I’ll review that app next week), so that is working on my strength and cardio, now I need to work on cutting calories and fat and all that fun stuff. Well, hubby and I wanted to go out to dinner a few nights ago (I know, eating right and eating out are a dangerous combination) and we decided on Red Robin… Yummm.

Once we were seated, I did the responsible thing (bleh… I know) and asked for their nutrition facts. What I was given both surprised and delighted me. You all know by now that I have an iPhone app addiction, so when the waiter said that there’s an app for that, I was sold!(PS they have an online version too, check it out)

I downloaded the Red Robin Customizer app and it is super cool.

The home screen of this app has two options: Create a Meal or My Saved Meals. When you click on “Create a Meal” it takes you to the Red Robin menu. You can choose any item, from burgers, to wraps, to chicken sandwiches, to appetizers to sides and so on and so on… Say you want a chicken sandwich, click on chicken sandwich and then surf through their options. Let’s pick the Chicken Caprese Sandwich. You can click on the “customize” button and suddenly, the sandwich separates by ingredient. you can then delete an item, or switch an item out by sliding the item back and forth. It’s so cool! As you are doing this, you can switch back and forth between that and the nutrition. Once you get the sandwich to the calories you want, you can then add on to the meal with a side, dessert and beverages. You can also save that meal for next time so you don’t have to take the time to do it again.

I have to say, this will totally take the guess work out of eat out at Red Robin. I wish every restaurant had one. My word, could you imagine my phone if they did?? It would explode!!!


Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor


Dreamy Dream Zoo

Thursday, January 5, 2012 @ 11:01 AM
posted by mrscaz

Oh, iPhone, you never let me down… In a world, where I am being pummeled (yes pummeled, my assistant is a brute) with kids belts deadlines and decisions, I can still sneak off into the corner of the room and indulge in a little dreamy escape called “Dream Zoo”.

I know that my app obsessions change weekly, sometimes daily, ok, sometimes several times daily, but that’s ok, right, whatever keeps mama happy… or sane… whichever the case may be and for me it’s iPhone apps. What’s the harm? The majority are free and if they aren’t, $0.99 isn’t too bad (I know I am sounding a bit hypocritical after my Value of a Dollar post, but don’t judge me).

This weeks app is Dream Zoo, its an addictive time suck. The people at Zynga have done it again. They have created some of my favorite games and Dream Zoo has not let me down.

The premise behind the game is to build your dream zoo. You start off with a small piece of property and an animal and go from there. Everything you do earns you more coins, hearts and bills. You can use those as forms of payment when purchasing more land, animals, decor, storks and such. You can interact with other (friends or random people) zoos to earn more hearts and coins. You can breed your animals to create champion bloodlines. The possibilities are endless. The animals even need to be fed and bathed!

I have also realized that the people who design and sell these apps are genius’. They suck you into playing and then sell you little bits of nothing for $.99 here and $.99 there. To be clear, I still have not spent any extra money on this game. I patiently wait to earn the hearts/coins/bills needed to “purchase” whatever it is I want. However, I am sure that there are a whole lot of people who do participate in those in-app purchases. Wow… maybe I am in the wrong business.

Anyway, back to Dream Zoo. There are a few things that I am not so crazy about when it comes to this app. It crashes a little more than I would like which is frustrating. It’s also such a new app that there isn’t much support out there (even on Zynga’s website) and there are no instructions anywhere that I can find. I sort of feel like their guinea pig in the testing phase, but I can play for free, so I’m not complaining… too much anyway.

If you have an iPhone, iPod, iPad, iWhatever, you should download it and see what all the fuss is about and if you want to add me as your neighbor (code RVHMLB), that wouldn’t be a bad thing!


Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor


Weelicious App

Thursday, December 8, 2011 @ 08:12 AM
posted by mrscaz

I have an iPhone App addiction, I know this… I have embraced it because it’s really useless to fight it. I love the variety of apps out there, games, entertainment, books, utilities, social networking… and so on.

As I have mentioned before, besides being an awesome kids belts inventor, I am also a mom and as such, I try my hardest to be the best mom I can be. I am not perfect my any means, but I do have spurts of greatness… :) One thing I like to do, is cook for Super Dude and Bug. I found a website a long time ago (and have even shared recipes from there, read this blog post) called Weelicious and fell in love. They offer tons of recipes for all ages (seriously, even baby food!) and they are usually quick, easy and relatively healthy.

My assistant brought it to my attention that there is a Weelicious App. I know, I don’t know why she did that either, but she did and yes, I love it.

This app has so many features that it’s hard to know where to start, but one really cool feature is the videos. The videos are tutorials for how to prepare the recipe and she posts at least one a month. I like this because I can review the video before I prepare the dish so I know what to expect.

Then I can go in and check out the recipe which can add  to my favorites so it’s super easy to find the next time and how cool is it that it will even make my shopping list for me?? They must know that I will lose a paper list. While on the recipe page, you can scroll to the bottom and read comments and reviews for that recipe.

Speaking of recipes… I think they have something for every palate, every taste bud, every age and even variations for food allergies. I really like the fact that they not only separate them by category (including, but not limited to holiday categories, age categories and meal type categories), but they also have a search feature if you are looking for a specific ingredient.

Then, there is this “More” tab, which includes even more great stuff. It breaks down the food groups and gives you recipes that fit into them. There are tips for getting your kids to eat, trying new things, and feeding plans for babies. The health tab is amazing because it shows you all of the vitamins and minerals, explains why we need them and where you can find them!

Overall, I love this app (in case you couldn’t tell). I can’t think of anything I would change or add. If you are a parent with a smart phone, I highly recommend this app. Did I mention that it’s a FREE app? That makes it like a bazillion times better!


Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor