Win 3 Fabulous Picture Books

datePosted on 11:02, March 25th, 2011 by Small Town Mommy

I had Joanna’s teacher conference today.  One of my big concerns with Joanna is reading.  While she reads fine, she doesn’t have the same passion for reading that Libby and I enjoy.  I spoke to her teacher to try to come up with new ways to encourage a love of reading.

This ties in perfectly with my giveaway today.  Pine-Sol (the cleaning product people) recently sponsored a study through the Taste & Smell Research Foundation that found that children who associate their homes with clean smells do better in school.  I choose to interpret this as the reason for Libby’s straight As.  Of course, it doesn’t explain Joanna’s not so straight As but I am choosing to ignore anything that doesn’t reflect positively on me.

The study found that children who perform better at school almost always identify their homes with scents associated with clean.  Those students who recalled their childhood homes are being an environment with negative smells or aromas were twice as likely to have a lower GPA than those who did not.  The percentage of students with a GPA of C or less, remembered negative childhood home aromas including urine, fecal and mold (can I just say ewwww) was double the percentage of those with higher GPAs

Since I am trying to encourage reading in my household, I have decided to help you to encourage reading in your household as well (because that’s the type of person I am).  I am going to giveaway 3 books (and a cute little tote bag since it really is all about how you look when you are reading).

The books are The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds, a great story about encouraging creativity.  My People by Langston Hughes, a tribute to “his people.” Finally, The Lion and The Mouse by Jerry Pinkney, who used to be a client of my mom’s although that has nothing to do with my liking his fabulous illustrations.

These books are all amazing, educational picture books that help to encourage reading in younger children (although my Libby is 11 and she likes them too). So, do you like to read?

Here is how you can enter to win all 3 books (and the fabulous tote bag to carry them…

Leave me a comment below with any suggestions for encouraging a love of reading for Joanna (because it is all about me).  You will not receive extra entries for offering to come clean my home so my kids can do better in school, but all offers will be accepted.

For additional entries:
Like Pine-Sol of Facebook: for every 2 likes, Pine-Sol will donate a book to Reading is Fundamental, so again, you can win my doing good (leave me a comment to let me know you did this).
Follow SmallTownMommy on Twitter (again, leave me a comment for this).
Retweet this giveaway (leave me a comment and use @smalltownmommy on your tweet so I can read your brilliance).

So, go ahead and enter.  The giveaway is limited to the US and Canada (see Canada, I do love you).  The giveaway will be open until March 31, the end of National Reading Month.  Now, I better go clean to get everyone’s grades up.

This giveaway was sponsored by Pine-sol. I received compensation for running this giveaway but all thoughts, ideas and pleas for cleaning are my own.

Share Your Breakfast to Bring Breakfast to Hungry Children

datePosted on 10:14, March 9th, 2011 by Small Town Mommy


This giveaway is now closed.  Our winner was Pricilla from the Maaaaa of Pricilla.  I am not sure what a goat will do with an Amazon gift card but I don’t get to edit what the winner will buy.  Congrats to Pricilla!


I rarely eat breakfast on weekdays.  I know all about how unhealthy it is to skip breakfast that is why I have a private health insurance, how it is the most important meal of the day and how you start the day right with a good breakfast.  And it’s all true.  Unfortunately, my mornings are not conducive to a rushed, frantic breakfast, let alone a nice, leisurely breakfast.  I spend most mornings yelling like a football coach, go, go, go, to make sure everyone gets out the door to school on time.

This morning I panicked.  Kellogg’s asked me to share a photo of my breakfast.  What the hell!?!  How am I going to share a photo of my breakfast if I don’t eat it?  But, Kellogg’s has partnered with Action for Healthy Kids and will donate a breakfast to a hungry child if I share my breakfast photo.  Since I do try to do my share to help feed the hungry, how can I not feed a hungry child simply by sharing a photo of my breakfast.  It would be almost like one of my kids saying she is hungry and me saying, too bad, I can’t take 2 minutes to feed you.

So, I cheated a little.   I shared a photo of Libby’s breakfast.  I cooked it so it kind of sort of counts (as far as credit for a free breakfast, it totally counts).  Here is Libby’s breakfast…

I know it is a little blurry but luckily Kellogg’s isn’t evaluating photo quality.  Posting this photo here will not get Kellogg’s to donate a breakfast (how would they know, I hope the executives from Kellogg’s have more important things to do than read Small Town Mommy).  So I went to Share Your Breakfast.  It took less than a minute.  If that takes too much time for you then take a quick photo of your  breakfast (even if it’s just a cup of coffee) and text it to 21534.  Don’t have a camera on your phone?  Text a brief description of your breakfast.  And you too can donate a breakfast to a hungry child.

In fact, I am so fond of this program that I am going to give away a prize to one random Small Town Mommy reader who participates in the Share Your Breakfast program.  If you upload or text a photo, leave me a comment below.  You will be entered into a drawing to win a $25 Amazon gift card (have to make sure you qualify for free shipping).  Remember you can upload the photo at or text to 21534.  The contest will be open until Wednesday, March 16th at midnight (east coast time).

After you have shared your breakfast and left me a comment, you can earn extra entries.

You can Tweet about the giveaway (include @smalltownmommy in your Tweet and include your Twitter handle in the comment below so I can find you).
You can blog about the giveaway (leave me your URL and 5 comments below for 5 entries).

So get started and share your breakfast!

This is a sponsored post through a compensated Mom Bloggers Club member program (but I paid for the gift card myself so it is kind of a wash).

<a href=”” _mce_href=”;aid=101523&amp;wd=100&amp;ht=50&amp;pair=as” target=”_top”><img style=”border:0px;” _mce_style=”border: 0px;” src=”” _mce_src=”;aid=101523&amp;wd=100&amp;ht=50&amp;pair=as” width=”100″ height=”50″/></a>

Shrimp and Salmon Ravioli: Yum!

datePosted on 20:15, December 27th, 2010 by Small Town Mommy

This is my favorite recipe of all time!  The ravioli are very healthy but the sauce more than makes up for them.  While no one gave me anything or paid me anything to reprint this recipe, I am doing it to improve your life.  Try the recipe, you will not regret it.

It is a recipe from Pierre Franey and Bryan Miller in their cookbook, Cuisine Rapide.  Unfortunately, the cookbook is out of print, but if you can get it from the library, I highly recommend it.

Salmon and Shrimp Ravioli (I usually double the recipe since I am making them for a large group)

¾ lb. medium shrimp

½ lb. salmon filet, skin removed

1 Tbls butter

8 scallions, minced, including some of the green part

Juice of ½ lemon

1 Tbls chopped fresh dill

Salt & pepper to taste

Cayenne pepper to taste

72 wanton skins

1 quart fresh fish or shrimp stock (or lightly salted water) for poaching

Dill sauce (recipe follows)

1.     Mince the shrimp and salmon with a large knife.  Sauté the mixture in the butter with the scallions and lemon juice over medium heat or 2 minutes, turning constantly with a spatula.  You want to remove the raw look, but not cook the fish thoroughly.  Remove from the heat and add the dill, salt, pepper and cayenne.  Cool to room temperature before using the wanton skins to make ravioli.

2.     To make the ravioli: lay a wanton skin on a counter and place a small amount of filling in the center.  Brush beaten egg around the perimeter.  Place a second skin over the top.  Use the blunt side of a cookie cutter to seal the ravioli dough around the filling and give it a circular shape.  Trim the excess dough with a large cookie cutter or a sharp knife.  Cover the finished ravioli with a moist towel as you make them to prevent dryness.

3.     Poach the ravioli in the simmering stock, 5 or 6 at a time, for about 1 minute or until they rise to the surface.  Drain well on paper towels and keep warm.  Serve with the sauce below.

Dill Sauce

2 stick plus 1 tablespoon of butter, cut into pieces.

3 shallots, minced

2 Tbls white-wine vinegar

½ cup fish stock or clam juice

¼ cup heavy cream

1 ½ Tbls minced dill

Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste (I always use black since I do not have white)

1.     Melt 1 Tbls butter in a saucepan over medium heat and in it, sauté the shallots for 1 minute.  Add the vinegar and fish stock.  Reduce the liquid over high heat by half, leaving about ¼ cup.

2.     Add the cream and reduce by half again.  Place the sauce in a blender and drop in the remaining pats of butter while pureeing.  Add the dill, puree briefly, and return to the saucepan to keep warm until serving.  Add the salt and pepper to taste.

Because it is so rich, the sauce should be used very sparingly.

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You Too Can Learn Radio City Music Hall’s Secrets

datePosted on 08:06, November 15th, 2010 by Small Town Mommy

I know it has been a while since I have reviewed any products offered something free, but I have been waiting for something really good.  And now, here it is.

We recently took the girls on a backstage tour of Radio City Music Hall.  If you have never heard of Radio City, it is a giant theater in Rockefeller Center in Manhattan.  Who am I kidding.  Everyone’s heard of Radio City Music Hall.  If that doesn’t ring a bell, think of the Rockettes (according to Libby, the Rockettes’ outfits are trashy but I thought they were sparkly).

The tour was cool, although a bit more exercise than I am used to (and they don’t allow strollers so I had to walk).  We did learn some of Radio City’s deep dark secrets.

For me, the highlight was the basement, where they keep the animals during the Christmas Spectacular.  In fact, if you go now, the animals are already there so you can see them living inside the building.  Radio City was already decorated for Christmas, so I came out completely ready for the holidays.  It is amazing how much of an impact decorations can have on your mood.

The girls even got to meet a Rockette.  They were surprisingly unimpressed.  Small Town Daddy, on the other hand, was snapping photos like crazy.  I bet the Rockette didn’t mind all the stairs.  She seemed to be in pretty good shape.

Now, for the good part.  I am giving away 4 tickets to the Backstage Tour for Radio City Music Hall.  You will need to live near NY to win (or be planning a trip) since bringing Radio City to you would be a little awkward.  If you are planning a trip to NY or live in or near the city, you can enter below.  Just leave me a comment.  Since the holiday decorations at Radio City have put me in a holiday mood, tell me what puts you in a holiday mood (your holiday doesn’t have to be Christmas, it can be any holiday.  Even the 4th of July).  The tickets to the tour do not appear to have an expiration date but I wouldn’t encourage you to hold onto them forever.

So go ahead, leave me a comment.  I know it’s a bummer having to limit the prize geographically, but as I mentioned, Radio City Music Hall doesn’t travel.  You have to travel to it.

Winner for the General Mills and Target Giveaway

datePosted on 07:43, August 30th, 2010 by Small Town Mommy

We have a winner for the General Mills and Target Giveaway. The winner is Lydia from On the Verge. Sadly, Lydia is not going to buy something exciting with the gift card. She is planning to buy cat food and laundry detergent. Next time, I hope I can require that people buy something for themselves and not for the most evil animals in the empire.

Normally, when I do giveaway, I write everyone’s name on a piece of paper and have one of the kids pick the winner. That didn’t work this time. We received nearly 150 entries so I had to do it the official way.

I used and the number chosen was 6 (I tried to figure out how to include the image here, but I couldn’t figure it out so you will have to trust me).

I have contacted Lydia for her mailing address. If she doesn’t get back to me then I will know that she doesn’t read my emails I will choose another winner.

Thank you to everyone for entering and I really do wish I had a prize pack for everyone who entered.

Another Giveaway: Art Supplies Out the Wazoo!

datePosted on 11:26, August 27th, 2010 by Small Town Mommy

This seems to be the week of reviews.  I can’t believe I went a month without posting anything and now I am posting a second review and giveaway in the same week.  But, heck, people keep offering me great stuff to give to you and how can I turn it down.  I am definitely a giver.

Have you ever heard of Crayola Color Wonder?  They were first introduced when my 11 year old was a baby (wow, that was 10 years ago).  They were like an answer to my prayers.  When Libby was a baby, I was one of those neurotic new moms.  I know it is hard to believe but I used to count her blocks when she finished playing with them to make sure there were none missing.  When there was one that didn’t make it back to the box, forget it.  I would tear apart the house until I found it.  I guess her slightly neurotic behavior is now a little more understandable.

When I discovered markers that wouldn’t show up if she scribbled on the furniture or walls but would show up on paper I almost wet my pants with excitement (what, you try to have a baby ripped out of you with a pair of salad tongs, then talk to me about bladder control).

Color Wonder has expanded its product line dramatically since those first markers were introduced.  Crayola now offers finger paints, a lap desk, stamps, forget it, all kinds of good stuff.  And none of it will stain your furniture.  Or your dog, in case someone decides to paint the dog (it happens).

This summer, Color Wonder sent me a big box of products through MyBlogSpark.  I received a set of markers and a coloring book, a desk set, a stow and go kit, a set of stampers and more.  Aww heck, here is a picture…

It was awesome and the kids loved it.  There was the usual fight over who got to keep what until I pointed out that at 11, Libby probably wasn’t that interested in coloring any more (and she has never liked finger painting.  They made her finger paint once in daycare and she cried).

I was supposed to post photos of the girls artwork, but I wont put you through that.  No one wants to see my kids’ artwork (sometimes not even me).  There are certain lines I will not cross and making you look at the art work of a 7-year old is one of them.  Suffice it to say she is not a prodigy and it is pretty much like the art work of any other 7-year old.  As her mother, I think it is fabulous but I do not deceive myself that anyone else will.

Because Crayola, MyBlogSpark and I are all awesome, we have another set to give away to you.  That’s right, you can be the proud recipient of the finger paints, the markers, the desk, etc.  You will have art supplies for months.  And it will arrive directly to your front door.  Hand delivered by a studly man in a Fed Ex uniform (okay, I can’t guarantee the studly man but with all the great stuff you wont even notice).

All you have to do is leave me a comment.  You can tell me anything.  You can tell me how grateful you are that you don’t have to look at my daughter’s artwork.  You can tell me you would like to see her artwork (although that might result in my emailing you some samples so be careful with that).  You can tell me how much your kids will enjoy the products (or if you don’t have kids, how much someone else’s kids will enjoy them).  Tell me how fabulous I am.  Tell me your problems (rumor has it that I am a good listener).

You can win another entry by Tweeting about this giveaway (make sure you include @smalltownmommy so I can see it).

You can win 5 entries by blogging about the giveaway.  Make sure you link to Small Town Mommy and to this giveaway post.

Leave me one comment for each entry.  Otherwise, I will just get confused.  And, to confuse me further, this giveaway will be open until Tuesday, August 31 at midnight EST.  That is the last day before school starts here in the Small Town so it will give me one more thing to celebrate (the happy dance will start 19 seconds after the last bus leaves).  So start entering.

Win Free General Mills Products and a Target Gift Card

datePosted on 13:03, August 24th, 2010 by Small Town Mommy

As I mentioned over on Small Town Mommy, we recently returned from vacation.  I arrived to discover a giant box on my front stoop.  The box, from General Mills through MyBlogSpark, contained an assortment of back to school items including Juicy Juice boxes, Gushers fruit snacks, Welch’s Grape Jelly, Nature’s Valley granola bars, Hefty Cinch Saks, Honey Nut Cheerios, an Avery binder and a $25 Target gift card.  Except for the Gushers (which no self-respecting adult would ever eat), the products are great, even if you don’t have kids (although I recommend you giveaway the Gushers.  Really, they are awful but the kids liked them).

MyBlogSpark sent me this amazing package to promote the fact that Target is offering double Bonus Box Tops until August 28th.  Last year, I launched this review blog with a discussion of General Mills Box Tops for Education.  They basically count as free money for your school.  If you don’t have kids in school, you can save Box Tops for someone who does.  Joanna’s school earned more than $800 last year.  FOR FREE!

Here is the fine print for the offer…

All you have to do is purchase at least 5 participating products.  Participating products include all General Mills, Avery, Hefty, Juicy Juice and Welch’s Box Tops items. For a list of Box Tops for Education participating products please visit Only participating BTFE schools can redeem Box Tops. Each Box Top is worth 10 cents to redeeming school, Limit $80,000 per school year. For more details, click here.

And because General Mills, MyBlogSpark and I are so special, we are offering the prize package to one lucky reader.  To enter, simply leave me a comment below, telling me how you will use the $25 Target gift card if you win (if it is for something boring like cleaning products, make up something exotic or tell me you will use it to buy Take 5s and send them to me).

This is what you will get (without the table and chairs in the background)…

Once you have left a comment, you can earn extra entries.  You can get an extra entry for following me on Twitter.  You can get an extra entry for following Small Town Mommy on Facebook.  You can get an extra entry for subscribing to Small Town Mommy by email (you must verify your email to be eligible for this entry).  You can earn 5 extra entries by blogging about the giveaway and linking to Small Town Mommy and this post.  That offers you a total of 9 entries.  That would definitely put the odds in your favor (unless everyone chooses to do it but most of us are too lazy).  So go ahead, leave me a comment (everyone can use a Target gift card, they offer mail order).  This giveaway will run until Sunday, August 29th at midnight EST.  So you can enter until then.  If I can get my s$#t together, the winner will be announced on Monday, August 30th.  So run, don’t walk, enter to win this great prize package and celebrate the Double Bonus Box Tops Giveaway.

We Have a Winner!

datePosted on 08:01, July 19th, 2010 by Small Town Mommy

Congratulations to Julie from Momspective!  She has won the Wanchai Ferry giveaway.  I have sent her an email to get her shipping information and will have My Blog Spark send it out to her.  If she doesn’t reply, I will choose another winner. If you have a moment, check out her blog.  She is fascinating and very funny (warning, there is definitely might be profanity.  Thanks everyone for playing!

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Wanchai Ferry Review and Giveaway

datePosted on 08:34, July 12th, 2010 by Small Town Mommy

I know, it has been forever since I have offered everyone a review but I try to be positive and I haven’t had anything nice to say.  But that is about to change and I am even going to throw in a giveaway to sweeten the pot.

If you read Small Town Mommy regularly, you know that I had some type of stomach bug last week.  It was unpleasant for all involved, but especially for me.  Of course, I am a mom.  So, it doesn’t really matter if the very thought of food makes me want to hurl.  I still have to figure out what everyone is having for dinner.  Luckily for me, MyBlogSpark and Wanchai Ferry cared that I was sick (okay, they probably didn’t really care that I was sick, but they provided for me anyway).

I was invited to review the newest Wanchai Ferry frozen entree, Beef and Broccoli.  It had been sitting in my freezer for a little while, but this was the perfect opportunity.  It didn’t require a lot of planning and I didn’t have to expend a lot of effort.

It was very easy.  The beef and vegetables go into the pan with a little water.  You cook it for a few minutes and then add the premixed sauce.  While the sauce is cooking, you microwave the rice.  When I made it, I did add additional broccoli and some additional brown rice (the dinner comes with white rice so my kids were thrilled with the choice of 2 rices).

To be completely honest, I don’t usually prepare frozen entrees.  I am kind of a food snob.  But this was a lifesaver when I wasn’t feeling well (and it is cheaper and healthier than ordering a pizza — it has broccoli).  The kids ate it and they said it was good.  Since I was planning to do a review I thought I should try it as well.  I was thrilled that it didn’t make me sick (if I said it helped my stomach, that would be a health claim and not allowed by the FTC, but I did feel fine after I ate it).  The sauce was slightly sweet which is why I think the kids liked it.  It wasn’t spicy at all but it was still flavorful (it also wasn’t too salty, which can be a problem with frozen entrees).  I would definitely recommend having one in your freezer in case you don’t feel like cooking but your family members still expect to eat (I know, the nerve).  One package feeds 2 but it fed all four of us (okay, 3 of them and I had a few bites) with the extra rice and broccoli that I added.

If you want to try it, you can click here to access a coupon to save $1.60 (I don’t know how much your grocery store charges for it, my grocery store charges $7.99).    In addition, I am giving away a Wanchai Ferry prize packages to one lucky reader.  The prize package will include a package of the frozen Wanchai Ferry Beef and Broccoli entree.  In addition, you will receive 2 tea sets.  The items will all be shipped separately so if you have a crush on the UPS guy, you will get to see him 3 times (and remember, a lot of UPS guys carry dog biscuits).  I am sorry to everyone who is outside of the U.S., but this giveaway is only open to residents of the US.  The entree comes packed with dry ice which has all kinds a rules for safe handling.  Since I don’t feel like repeating all the rules. just don’t touch the dry ice.

To Enter:

The Giveaway will be open until Friday, July 16.  Leave me a comment below, telling me what is your favorite Chinese food.  I know you didn’t ask me, but my favorite is Dragon and Phoenix.  You can also leave me a comment to let me know if you have ever eaten Wanchai Ferry frozen meals and what you thought (or you can even leave me a random comment, just make it relate somehow so I don’t assume it is spam).

That’s it.  I know I usually have a bunch of other hoops for you to jump through but I realize it is summer and everyone is probably hot and tired.  So all you need to do is leave me a comment.  So go ahead, get started… What is your favorite Chinese food?

MyBlogSpark and Wanchai Ferry sent me a prize pack so I could try the meal to write my review.  All opinions are my own (and hopefully wont tick anyone off too bad).

Surprise Snow, Go Figure

datePosted on 11:09, January 28th, 2010 by Small Town Mommy

Today the Small Town had a surprise snow storm.  Let me make clear that the Small Town doesn’t handle surprise anything very well.  So the snow was no different.  I say surprise storm because the weather man said we might have a few snow squalls, but no accumulation.  In my next life, I want to come back as a weatherman.  What other career allows you to be consistently wrong without any consequences?  Imagine of your child’s teacher consistently taught your kids things like 2+2=5.  You would be up in arms.  But if the weatherman is wrong, he just says, “Well, it came out of nowhere, we didn’t expect it.” and it is all good.

Since the storm wasn’t expected, the kids had school.  Apparently the Small Town can’t cancel school without a week long warning about an impending storm.  Joanna’s bus was 25 minutes late.  Fortunately, a neighbor took her to school (although it took the poor woman an hour so I probably owe her my first born).

Libby’s bus showed up 10 minutes after school started.  Although she got off easy.  There were some kids who didn’t get to school until 11 am (school starts at 9).  Since it has continued snowing, I would guess that the ride home is going to be just as peachy.

I know you are thinking that if I was a good mother, I would pick up my children at school (maybe your not thinking that, maybe that is just the Small Town mentality).  But picking them up at school would not be good for anyone.  I drive a Scion.  While it is a fabulous car, it panics in the snow and stops itself by sliding into the nearest tree.  The girls are safer on the bus.

So, do you have snow (this is an engraved invitation to all of you from Florida to taunt me endlessly)?  How does your town or city react to surprise weather?

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