Saturday, December 31, 2011

It Wouldn't Be New Years If We Didn't Watch The Rose Parade

On the morning of January 1st of every year, I know exactly where I will be. I will be sitting down watching the Rose Parade on TV and loving every second of it. I grew up in the Los Angeles/Pasadena area so the Parade and all of it's elaborate preparations were just a fact of life. It wasn't until I was older that I realized this was an event that was watched and loved by millions of people all around the world. Every New Year's Eve when I was a teenager I would beg my parents to let me spend the night on Colorado Blvd. which is the main Parade route we all see on TV. Talk about a party! Every year they said no. I have only recently stopped carrying a grudge about this.

Have you ever gone to the Rose Parade? It truly is a once in a lifetime, very special experience. People come from all over the country to see the floats, the marching bands and all of those beautiful horses and their riders. The flowers on the floats are so stunningly beautiful they almost seem unreal. Amazingly, every flower, seed, or decoration used must be real or natural. There are not many people who can say they have decorated a float in the Rose Parade. But my daughter Sam did when she was in eighth grade with her Drill Team. It was quite an honor to do this and she came home dirty, covered in glue and seeds, but extremely happy. Each year she never fails to mention that she is the only one in the family who holds this honor. A couple of years later Laura was on the Drill Team, but the team wasn't involved with the decorating that year. From the Parade's humble beginning back in 1890 with decorated carriages and games to play, we have all come to love and appreciate the Tournament Of Roses Parade. Whether you are lucky enough to be in sunny Pasadena to see it in person or watching it on TV, our New Year's Day would not be the same without it. Happy New Year everybody!


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thomas & Friends Rescue on the Rails DVD and Thomas & Friends Adventure on the Tracks 6-DVD Set Movie Review

 Trains and Firefighters how cool is that! A newly released Thomas and Friends Rescue on the Rails DVD is full of firefighting action with the fire engine Flynn. Flynn was a new character to us when we saw him in "Day of the Diesels", still one of my son's favorite Thomas movies. It was great to see Flynn back in action saving the day on the Island of Sodor.

Ready to Rescue! The Sodor Search and Rescue Team is racing to the rescue -- Bertie's stuck on Shake Shake Bridge, Gordon's derailed and Thomas' firebox is on fire! In these exciting episodes, your favorite engines brave the rails to rescue their friends. Discover that being heroic is more than having speed and strength; it's about teamwork and a big heart – which puts every Really Useful Engine on the right track.
Episodes include:
  • “Fiery Flynn”
  • “James to the Rescue”
  • “Edward the Hero”
  • “Stop That Bus!”
Who's Pulling Into The Station? Game
“Thomas, You're The Leader” Karaoke Music Video

This Thomas & Friends Adventure on the Tracks 6-DVD Set is great! My son loves putting the DVDs in the player and telling me "Okay Go" so I can push play. Sometimes when he says it I like to be ready with the remote so he thinks he made it work. Having 6 new DVDs from this Thomas set made is day! He is more and more of a Choo Choo aka Thomas and Friends fan with each DVD he sees. I love that he enjoys trains and hearing him say Choo Choo is beyond sweet!

Thomas & Friends: Percy's Ghostly Trick & Other Thomas Stories
Discover laughs and surprises around every bend! Thomas thinks he's seen a ghost, Percy puffs into a giant pile of hay, Oliver encounters some troublesome trucks and Donald and Douglas rescue a mischievous engine.
Bonus Features:
  • Character Gallery
  • Sing-Along Song: Thomas' Anthem
  • Bonus DVD Game: Who Am I?
Thomas & Friends: Thomas and the Jet Engine & Other Adventures
Always expect the unexpected on the Island of Sodor! Thomas gets a surprising push from a jet engine, Percy lets his imagination run away with him, Harold makes a horse fly and Salty and Fergus prove they're useful on and off the tracks.
Bonus Features:
  • Sing Along Song: Boo! Boo! Choo Choo
  • Thomas Gallery
  • 3 Bonus DVD Games: Counting Corner, What Came First? and Memory Madness
Thomas & Friends: Rusty To The Rescue
Thomas and his friends discover that fun and excitement never end! Join in the adventure as little Rusty sets off where only big, brave diesels dare to go and Duke gets rescued and reunited with Stuart and Falcon.
Bonus Features:
  • Sing-Along Song: Gone Fishing
  • Sodor Memories
  • Game and Activity Sheets
Thomas & Friends: Percy Saves The Day
Learn the importance of listening to others when Thomas ignores Percy's wobbly track warning, Rusty sets off to save a reckless Duncan and Fergus proves himself to be really useful.
Bonus Features:
  • Read Along Story: Thomas and Percy and the Dragon
  • Sing Along Song: There Once Was An Engine Who Ran Away
  • Bonus DVD Game: Pick that Sound
  • 2 DVD-Rom Games: Percy's Maze Adventure and Counting Fun
Thomas & Friends: Thomas Comes To Breakfast & Other Thomas Adventures
Everyone learns important lessons about good behavior when Thomas shows off a little too much, Diesel causes trouble between the other engines and Gordon finds out that sabotage can backfire.
Bonus Features:
  • Read Along Story: Thomas and the Naughty Diesel
  • Sing Along Song: Little Engines
  • DVD Bonus Game: James' Connects the Dots Fun
Thomas & Friends: Steamies vs. Diesels
Find out how just how much the Steamies and Diesels have in common when they put aside their differences and start working together to keep Sir Topham Hatt's railway running smoothly.
Bonus Features:
  • Fun and Games
  • Pick a Story

Twitter: @TrueBlueEngine

*I was not paid or compensated for this post. The opinions in this post are 100% mine and may vary from other opinions. I was provided for free a copy for my review. 

The Looney Tunes Show Season 1 Volume 2 DVD Review

Bugs Bunny and his friends are classic cartoon characters. I remember watching it as a kid. They are short but funny clips that are fun to watch even as an adult. Its always fun to share characters like Daffy, Tweety and Taz with my son. He can be a Tweety one minute and a Taz the next lol. One of my favorite episodes on this DVD is Devil Dog where Bugs befriends Taz and scares Daffy! Too cute.

Movie Summary:
This half-hour animated comedy series starring Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck is no longer confined to 7-minute shorts. Bugs and Daffy are out of the woods and living in the suburbs among such colorful neighbors as Yosemite Sam, Granny, Tweety and Sylvester. In addition to each episode’s main story, The Looney Tunes Show also features “cartoons within a cartoon.” The Tasmanian Devil, Speedy Gonzales, Marvin the Martian and other classic characters sing original songs in two-minute music videos called Merrie Melodies . The legendary Looney Tunes cartoons are getting a 21st century relaunch and a CGI overhaul for a new generation.

You can buy The Looney Tunes Show Season 1 Volume 2 on DVD from the WBShop online.

*I was not paid or compensated for this post. The opinions in this post are 100% mine and may vary from other opinions. I was provided for free a copy for my review.

Still Just a Baby

My son is now 2 but still very much a baby. He has the attitude of a teenager but still wants his baby stuff out. I was cleaning out his closet, its one of my to do before the New Year items on my long list, and his baby seat was in there. When he saw it he was so happy and insisted I let him sit in it. He wanted me to install the bar with the animals on it and he crawled in with his two stuffed giraffes and sighed. It was so sweet. He sat in there for over an hour without moving, for my son thats amazing since he is such a busy bee. He barely fits in it but he loves it just as much as he did when he was a baby. Its hard to believe he is 2 already but he is still just a baby.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Train Table Madness!

For Christmas my son received a Train Table from Santa. At first he was so gentle and was having a blast. I thought he would love it and oh my he does. He yells Weeee and Choo Choo. He loves the train table at Barnes & Noble and I knew this would be a great gift for him. The next day he was a bit more rough with his table and has taken the track apart. I have lost the instructions to how each piece goes to put it back together. I feel like I need an engineering degree to figure this out lol. Today I think we are now missing a piece as well. If there was a color code or a way to keep the train together better that would be awesome. For now he is using the train table to stand on and leap from! He is a wild boy! I have launched operation Train Table Madness to find the pieces, put it back together and for it to stay that way. Wish me Luck!

Ellery Homestyles Sound Asleep Curtains Review

My son has been working on a new sleep schedule. I have been trying to be consistent with his naps so his day will go smoother. He does not like to nap in his room since during the afternoon it is very bright and sunny in there with the current blinds we have. I have been considering looking for curtains that can block out the light but still look nice. I have seen other brands of room darkening curtains but did not like the limited color choices.

Sound Asleep Curtains by Ellery Homestyles was a great solution to my problem. They have 10 colors to select from. For my sons room I picked Light Thyme. The curtain color seemed a bit darker in color than I thought it would be. So I decided to put the curtains in my living room. I often find myself sleeping in the couch from my back hurting in my bed but with street lights peering into the living room it can be too bright in there. We also seem to have air leakage in the living room in the windows that I know cause the room to be colder and making the heater work on over time. I thought these Sound Asleep Curtains would help both situations.

Product info from the site:
A soft Thermaback coating is applied to fabric to create room darkening qualities. The Thermaback technology reduces penetrating light which helps provide the "darkness" necessary for a better night's sleep. The curtains also reduce outside noise and their thermal properties aid in reducing home heating and cooling costs.

They easily went on with the loop style hanging on the back

Closed they did keep out the draft and light. A family member that slept over on the couch over the holidays said it was easier to sleep without all the light.

Looks nice open in the living room.

Nice thick backing keeps out light and the draft.

Sound Asleep Curtains are available for purchase form Amazon. You can learn more about Sound Asleep Curtains on Facebook and Twitter pages.

*I was not paid or compensated for this post. The opinions in this post are 100% mine. I was provided the products pictured to review for this post by the Company / PR Company.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone! We hope your day is filled with love and laughter. We will be spending time with those we love and hoping you will do the same. On Christmas Eve all of the kids in the Frugal Family Tree opened up their matching jammies from Nana to wear to bed. We have a tradition of all the kids waking up on Christmas morning wearing the same jammies. It keeps them connected even though we are all states apart. This year we will be using Skype to see the newest baby added to the Frugal Family Tree. Sam had her baby and they are both doing wonderful. She is a beautiful and precious baby girl.

My son and I watched a few videos of one of our favorite Christmas Songs. The words are wonderful.

O Holy Night Lyrics 
Christmas Carol Lyrics

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
O'er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friends.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim


Saturday, December 24, 2011

How Do You Feed a Hungry Giant? Pop-Up Book Review Workman Publishing Holiday Gift Guide

Giants seem to be a theme in the book publishing world right now and I find it wonderful! Giants are fun and magical characters that can be great for kids to learn from. In this book How Do You Feed a Hungry Giant ? the Giant is a gentle giant who has found a young boys home and asked for some food. Its a cute book with pop-up and pull tab features. My son thought it was funny to see the book move and do stuff. He tried to get a little rough with some of the tabs but did let me show him how to be gentle with it.

There is a cute little cookbook leaflet for recipes to feed your little Giant

Book Summary from the Publishers Website:

When a boy named Oscar discovers a giant—a very hungry giant holding a sign that says “Food Please”—in his backyard, he knows he can’t turn his back on him Yet it’s not easy feeding a hungry giant. A whole pizza disappears in a single gulp. Twelve blueberry muffins, 33 jars of peanut butter, 197 chocolate chip cookies—all just an appetizer. So what is little Oscar to do? Just how do you feed a hungry giant?

In this warmly illustrated and interactive picture book, the reader gets to help Oscar feed the giant. But despite Oscar’s best efforts—he cleaned out the fridge AND the pantry!—the giant still remains hungry. That’s when mom comes to the rescue. She has eight great recipes, including Mega-Pigs in Blanket, Jumbo Fries, The Biggest Burger in the World, Ginormous Blueberry Muffin. Each serves one giant—or eight kids. Yes, the “feed a giant” recipes are included in the book, printed in a separate 8-page mini cookbook, and are ideal for a kid’s party.

I found this book to be whimsical and fun to read. The ending is really cute too. It reminds me of how my son tries to feed the dog everything he sees. He likes to give her a bite of everything he eats. I loved the Chocolate Milk interaction of the Giant drinking a straw. This is a cute book that can teach your kids to give to others in need and help a stranger when they are in need.

You can connect with Workman Publishing to learn more about How Do You Feed a Hungry Giant and find other great books published by them online at facebook and twitter.

* I was not paid or compensated for this post. I was sent a free copy of this book for my review by the publisher/PR company. The opinions are 100% mine and may vary from others.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Giant Book of Giants Sterling Books Holiday Gift Guide

As a book lover I enjoy finding unique books to share with my son. I like to find fun ad interactive books for us to enjoy together. The Book Giant Book of Giants has a huge, interactive poster that measure over 4 ft tall and six adventurous stories. There are plenty of extras, including flaps to lift and removable items such as a clock tower pocket watch! My son was stunned by the Giant Poster. It is taller than him and he thought it was "cool" as he said. The book is a fun read and the book itself is large in size, perfect for the Giant theme. We will be enjoying this book for many years to come. Its wonderfully illustrated and a great addition to any kid's library.

Book Summary from the Publisher:

The pop-up, pull-out poster in this BIG tome measures over four feet tall--and offers plenty of playful extras, including flaps to lift and removable items such as a clock tower pocket watch, pipe organ harmonica, and even the giant's ear wax! The action-packed tales in the book include “Jack and the Beanstalk,” “Sinbad's Third Voyage,” and “Coyote Tricks the Giant.” Monster fun for any child--tall or small!

There were classic Giant stories that I have heard as a kid and two Giant stories that I have not heard before. One was about a female Giant, I thought that was great since when I was little I never heard of a girl Giant.

Giant Poster

You can connect with Sterling Publishing to learn more about the Giant Book of Giants and find other great books published by them online at facebook and twitter.

* I was not paid or compensated for this post. I was sent a free copy of this book for my review by the publisher/PR company. The opinions are 100% mine and may vary from others.

LoveMode Clothing Review and $25 Giveaway is a women's fashion clothing site selling items such as dresses, jackets, pants, jewelry, and more! They are very similar to Forever21 and have many different up to date styles in trendy juniors clothing. LoveMode is a great place to find clothing but their biggest selection is in their dresses and tops department. The prices are decent and most of their items range from $10-30.

I received this strapless dress in a medium and I am very excited about it! The top part is blue satin with cotton lines going up the bust, while the bottom half is a thin floral cotton layer. The top fits snug but the bottom half flows down comfortably. The bust has two wires in it vertically, helping support the dress to stay up and not give your breasts a flatter look like most strapless dresses do and it gives you full upper support. The middle has a brown braided belt that clasps at the waist also offering additional bust support. I love this dress and I am very happy with what I have received at lovemode and plan on purchasing juniors clothing from them again soon!

Another great feature of Love Mode is not only is it cheap juniors clothing but there is also FREE Shipping on all U.S. orders. Great deals and free shipping is a great way to be a frugal shopper!


Win a $25 Gift Certificate to

To Enter This Giveaway: (mandatory entry before extra entries)

Who would you win this gift certificate for?

*Leave a comment answering the question and be sure to leave your email address if its not public in your Google account*

Extra Entries: Can be done after leaving a comment for mandatory entry. If the extra entry says 1 extra entry leave 1 comment and 2 extra entries leave me 2 comments and so on.

-Like LoveMode on Facebook +1
-Follow LoveMode on Twitter +1

-Follow Frugal Family Tree on GFC ( right hand side) +1
-Like our new fan page on Facebook Frugal Family Tree +1
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-Share this giveaway on Facebook ONLY, using the Share Button at the bottom on this post. +1 for each share you do. (can be done once a day)

-Copy and Paste This Tweet on Twitter and leave me the link (to find the link click on the time stamp under your tweet. Can be done once a day for the duration of the giveaway)

#Win a $25 Gift Certificate to @ShopLoveMode at @FrugalFamTree #Giveaway ends 1/05

*Limited to US residents; 18 years old and above. Giveaway starts December 23, 2011 and ends on January 05 , 2012 at midnight PST. Winner will be emailed and has 48 hours to respond before another winner is selected. I was not paid for this giveaway or post. The opinions on this item are 100% mine and may vary from others. The sponsor is responsible for providing the prize.
Share: Review Holiday Gift Guide

599 Fashion is a fashion website selling men's, women's, and infant clothing and accessories for only $5.99 or less! This is amazingly well priced and on their website they show what every item retails at and then their price is always 5.99 or under! I was hesitant at first but after receiving my items I  was more than impressed with the products. They are department store quality and you would never guess they were so well priced. 599 fashion has clothes for everyone and is a great place to order from, but I must warn you their items sell out fast so you have to purchase them quickly!

This Spaghetti Strap Floral Dress is perfectly hemmed right above the knee and right above the bust showing little cleavage and comes in at the waste. The beautiful floral design would pair perfectly with a black or white cardigan, and maybe a bracelet for an accessory. I am very pleased with this dress and I am considering wearing it on new years eve! (retail price $40.50)

They carry many feather earrings that are awesome looking (not to mention a huge trend going around) and on 599 fashion they are priced for 1.99! You can choose between metal or silver and the brown feathers drop from the middle circle piece. They're super light weight and go great with any outfit. They are a mix between a natural and feminine look and are a great accessory to have!

This off white semi see through lacy cardigan looks great over a white cami tank top. I love how the edges are loose and trimmed with lace, but the long sleeves are fitted. The middle ties together with a string slimming the waste and the shirt hits just above the thigh. The cardigan itself is feminine and chic looking and is only priced at $5.99. A price and quality you cannot beat!

This would be a great place to purchase clothing and accessories for New Years parties.

You can learn more about 599 Fashion and see the latest updates on sale info on their Facebook and Twitter pages.

*I was not paid or compensated for this post. The opinions in this post are 100% mine. I was provided the products pictured to review for this post by the Company / PR Company.

Oral-B Stages MommyParties

As a fairly new mom, my son is 2, I learn more all the time about taking care of my son. His teeth are something that I have been trying to get him to understand we brush out teeth and not use it to comb our hair. He always wants to brush his or my hair with a tooth brush. It makes me laugh but oral care is a very important part of overall health. He has the sweetest smile on the planet and I want to keep his smile bright white! When we had the chance to host a Oral-B Stages MommyParty I was excited to have the chance to show my son and other families how its important and up to us as parents to take care of their teeth.

We were sent a parry pack from Oral-B and MommyParties to host a movie party for family and friends to watch Winnie the Pooh and share Oral-B products. They even sent popcorn, which was an awesome idea since no one can eat popcorn without getting some stuck in your teeth! It was a great way to start the Oral-B and oral care conversation after the movie.

I had a bit of trouble trying to get everyone over here since sick kids and holiday parties were happening. But I did manage to get a few families over to share the movie and products with. We even went high tech for our party by using SKYPE and the postal service. I mailed a few of the items to my sister for her kids, they do not live near by but still wanted to be apart of the fun. They were virtually at the party when we were all talking about the Oral-B products and playing the flash card games. It was cute for all the kids to see their cousins brushing their teeth like they were but on the computer. The party was very fun there were moments of not wanting to share and a few thats mine battles for the toothbrushes but the kids had fun watching the Winnie the Pooh movie. I even got out our Retro looking movie theater style popcorn maker to get the true movie going experience.

The Winnie the Pooh and Disney Movie themed Toothbrushes and Toothpaste are perfect to get kids to want to brush their teeth. My son finally got the hang of brushing his teeth and not his hair by the end of the party. The other kids were showing him how to use it correctly. One of the kids a few months younger than my son just nibbled on his toothbrush but I am sure the exposure to the toothbrush experience was good for him.

You can check out Oral-B Stages online!

You can also "Like" them on Facebook!

Thanks again to Mommy Parties!

*Disclosure: All products were provided to me at no charge by Oral-B and Mommy Parties in exchange for hosting a party and sharing these great products. All thoughts and opinions are a 100% my own.

What we all want that Santa can't bring us

I know it's really getting down to the wire for most of us. Christmas is just a couple of days away. Have we gotten all the gifts, made all the cookies and fudge, cleaned the house and did the other hundred things on our list? It can all seem like such a burden, right? But here's the truth. If you are lucky enough to have a warm place to live, plenty to eat, and people you love and who love you, what more can we really ask for? We can walk down streets in any city in America and see people who are in the most desperate situations imaginable. Where is someone to love them? Where is their mother or sister or brother to help them? Do you have an elderly neighbor who is alone at the holidays? Do you know a divorced single mother who is struggling to buy Christmas presents for her kids?

All of these people in all of these situations exist right in front of us. And the truth is, sometimes it's easy to look away, because we don't want to acknowledge what we really see. I know we can't change the world with simple acts of kindness, but we can change someone's world with one act of kindness. One kind, helping act can make all the difference to someone out there who is desperate in someway.

Do you know of such a person? If you do, then give! Give a few dollars, give kind words, give an invitation to Christmas dinner, give a helping hand. You will be doing something wonderful for that person and yourself. It feels good to give, it feels good to share and bring happiness to others. What Santa can't bring to all of us is love and kindness and concern for those who are less fortunate than we are. But we don't need Santa for that because we already have it right inside of us. We just need to bring it out and share it.
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