Saturday, May 29, 2010

HP TouchSmart 300 PC review!

I was recently given the chance to review the new HP TouchSmart 300 PC. What did I think of it? Read on to find out if this should be your next computer purchase!


First of all - this is one good looking computer! Having no space left in the house for gadgets, computers, or just about anything else, I decided to put this computer on the dining room table. It actually looks good there! This computer is truly an all in one - no giant box connected to a monitor with wires everywhere. I love it.


Plug into wall, plug into computer. Done, that's it. Seriously. Oh one more step, hit power button. I guess my next observations are based on the ease of use of this system in conjunction with Windows 7. More on Windows 7 in a second. The computer seamlessly picked up the wireless mouse and the multiple function keyboard. This was very pleasing, as I've been in wireless connectivity hell in the past, but not this time! Software set-up was also simple - the usual registration info and that was just about it. (Connecting to the Internet was also almost instant, just entered my wifi password and that was that!)

Windows 7:

Very happy! I am running Windows Vista right now and my frustrations with the slow and poor response times have grown to unbearable levels. I can easily say that is no longer true. Very responsive, very quick and super user-friendly. As I already said, it all just worked. No cryptic questions, it just worked. And what more could I ask for?

Multimedia and Internet:

Import all my pictures in one step, yes. Import all my videos in one step, check. Make a picture CD and video DVD without pulling out my hair, double check! I have to say, this rivals my husbands iMac for ease of use. The internet is blazingly fast and ran without a problem. I blogged, I tweeted, I surfed and shopped. No problems at all except for a smaller balance in my PayPal account! Overall I ran into no issues to speak of. I'm attributing this to the combination of the excellent hardware paired with an awesome operating system.


The word "touch" is in this computer's name for a good reason. The beautiful and vibrant screen is fully inviting as a giant touch screen. Being used to this way of doing things with my iPhone I have to say that the transition could not have been easier. Even more interesting was the fact that my 4 year old was far more happy to use the screen to navigate around. A mouse can be challenging for a child, the touch screen made it a breeze for him. The most useful part of this touch screen technology is when was surfing the net. I don't know much about the inner workings of a computer, but whatever they packed into this elegant machine is much faster than anything I have used in the past. One thing that really bothers me about desktops is a loud fan -not a problem here! I can actually hear what is going on around me with this computer. The wireless mouse is pretty much standard and the wireless keyboard has all the extra buttons you'd expect from a modern computer; volume control, media playback, it's all there.


HP has made a very quick, responsive and sexy computer. My kids love it, I love it and I think I've caught my technophile husband enjoying it. They are priced well and probably even better when you consider that you are getting everything you need in one easy to set-up box. We are all impressed and are seriously considering making one of these our next family computer!

Thanks HP for letting me test out the new TouchSmart 300 PC!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Lay's Chip Trips!

If I asked you what your favourite snack is, I bet a lot of you would say chips! And why not - who doesn't love chips? I must admit, it is one of my guilty pleasures. You know what else I love? Summer! And taking my children to the local attractions this city has to offer. Well, Lay's Chips has develeped a program called Lay's Chips Trips to give Canadian families a simple way to enjoy summer at home without having to spend a whole lot of money. (It's so simple!)

Here's how it works:

Lay's Chip Trips promotion offers Canadians a chance to celebrate a whole season of fun with friends and family at their favourite local attractions. All you have to do?

• Go to and create an account. Then, enter the code "LOULO-UVIEW" - this will give you 10 free points to get started! (This code is only valid until May 31st though!)

• To add more points to your 'bank', pick up a specially marked bag of Lay’s Chips and enter the code that you'll find on the bag. You can enter as many codes as you want to start banking your points!

• The two new flavours, BBQ RIB and CHEDDAR AND SOUR CREAM are worth double points!

• Use your points to claim discounts on things to do with your family and friends all summer long!
You'll find major discounts at Great Wolf Lodge, Subway, Boston Pizza, Hertz Car Rental, CN Tower, museums, Marriott hotels, and so much more!

So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and have some fun!

Disclosure: I am participating in the Lay’s Chip Trips program by Mom Central
on behalf of Frito Lay. I received Lay’s Chip Trip points and a gift card to offset
my trip costs to facilitate this post. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Let's talk about... sex, baby! Um, Sex and the City 2, that is!

Last night, I attended the premier of Sex and the City 2, after winning tickets from Kelli. (Thank you!)

SATC2 has received some bad reviews and some so-so reviews. What did I think?

I liked it, and I would tell all my girlfriends to go see it. It's a fun girl movie. It was too long, though - it could have been at least 30 minutes shorter, and the entire wedding scene could have been eliminated from the movie (you'll have to watch the movie to see who got married!) but the characters are just as loveable the second time around on the big screen!

However, Carrie totally irritated me! I don't know why it took this long for me to realize how self-absorbed and whiny she is. I'm not going to give anything away, but she's just not cut out for normal married life! Hey Carrie - you can have all the glamour and fun and still enjoy a night in watching TV sometimes too, you know!

So basically, Charlotte, Miranda, Samantha and Carrie are sort of feeling 'blah' in their lives - with work, children, and the usual day-to-day life events, but guess what? Samantha saves the day! Through her connections she jets the ladies off to an all-expense paid trip to Abu Dhabi. From this point on the movie got good - not as great as the first one, but still, plenty of funny scenes as the ladies experience a totally different culture from the one they are accustomed to. The private plane they were on wasn't too shabby, either!

So how did over-sexed Samantha - and the others - do in the Middle East? This exerpt of a review I read sums it up:

"[Director] King manages to navigate sex and the Middle East, religion, female power in a male-dominated society and conservative values coming face-to-face with New York liberalism, without getting burned at the stake — or incurring an ethnic boycott — and for this, he deserves some credit."

My favourite scene was the one where Miranda and Charlotte have a discussion, over drinks, about their 'bad mom' moments. I bet every single one of us could relate to what they were saying!

For me, Samantha stole the show - with her hot flashes and inability to cover up! Her meonpausal temper tantrums were also hilarious - I love her! Truly, she is my favourite character on the show, along with Charlotte.

So while this move wasn't as good as the first one, it's still pretty awesome!

There is so much more I could say, but I don't want to give too much away - you'll have to see it for yourselves to find out what happens!
What did you think of SATC2?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Tales from the Trips: An interview and book giveaway!

Update: Congrats, James, you are the winner of this book!

As a mother of two boys, I sometimes wonder how much harder things would be if I had more than two children. I imagine the age of two being especially difficult - imagine chasing after three two year olds who are running in different directions? Seems impossible, right?

A fellow blogger, John Cave Osborne, recently wrote a book called Tales From The Trips - How Three Babies Turned Our World Upside Down. The book is about his adventure as a father of triplets - two adorable boys and one girl. The book chronicles his life from when he and his wife found out they were expecting triplets to the day they learned to walk.

For a glimpse into the crazy life of a parent of triplets, you have to watch this video - it's so cute - you will not stop smiling. Even Ashton Kutcher and Alyssa Milano tweeted about it!

John send me a copy of his book to read, and I have enjoyed it very much - and not only that - he offered one for me to give away to one of my lucky readers!

I did a little a little q's and a's with the author, too:

As a father of triplets - what do you find the most challenged part of you day? Is it bathtime? Bedtime? Or the right-before-dinner part of your day?

Bedtime. Hands down. It’s not unusual for us to go upstairs ten times on any one given night. With three, the odds are overwhelming that at least one of them will give us trouble. They tend to rotate, as far as who the squeaky wheel will be, that is. Currently, our little girl goes down right away, while the boys, who share the same room, give us fits for the next couple of hours. Our little girl is kind enough to wait until four in the morning before starting in with her shenanigans.

How does your wife cope with the triplets - what are her words of wisdom?

Caroline doesn’t necessarily think she copes with them all that well. And I don’t necessarily think I cope with them all that well, either. (Not that you asked me.J) It’s difficult. Especially now that they’re toddlers. Simply put, there’s never a spare moment, especially on weekends when we don’t have any help. It’s funny, a lot of people ask us for words of wisdom, as if we’re, well, wise. But we don’t feel wise. We just feel tired.

Still, Caroline does have three (appropriately enough) tips she’d offer to anyone who suddenly finds themselves in our shoes.

1. Get as much help as you can.
2. Exercise regularly.
3. Pray for patience.

In your book, you were given pretty detailed instructions on how to prepare your oldest daughter's breakfast when your wife was in the hospital - does she still have to give you such instuctions about things like this, or have things gotten easier for you here? ;)

Ha. I love that part. You gotta remember, I was a bachelor well into my thirties. Before marrying Caroline, my roommate had been a brown dog, and we lived in a house which featured a refrigerator that never once contained milk. At the time of receiving Caroline’s detailed instructions, I was only ten months removed from that era, and far from the most domestic guy in the world. So, I needed every bit of direction I could get.

Does she still have to give me such detailed instructions? No. I’m good to go now. Consider it a baptism by fire, but I’m good to go.

What inspired you to right this book?

I’ve always loved to write. Before I started the granite countertop company with my business partner, I wrote quite regularly. I had a “humor column” I did monthly for a nearby local paper, and at one point was under contract with a Manhattan-based publisher for a children’s book I had written. I received an advance and worked on it with an incredible illustrator and editor. I was very excited for it to hit the shelves. Shortly before it was to go to press, however, the publisher went under. I was crestfallen.

So I buried myself in the countertop business and didn’t give writing a second thought. Until the little guys were born, that is. I was blown away by the reaction we got whenever we went out in public. We couldn’t even make it to the grocery store and back without fielding dozens of questions from complete strangers. It seemed that a story was happening to us—one that was of great interest to others. Given how much I like to write, I decided to document it.

I’d love for this book to open other doors for me. I’ve already had a couple of things fall in my lap, and I’m hoping that trend continues. But even if it doesn’t, the worse-case scenario is that this book will serve as the coming-of-age gift of a lifetime for my four children—a gift which details an exciting era in the history of our family.

And that’s what really inspired me to write it—to give that gift to them. Anything else that happens would be gravy.

You were recently chosen to interview the one and only Dooce - how was that experience?

It was interesting. Going into it, I didn’t know that much about her. I’ve only read Heather a couple of times, and honestly? I don’t really understand what all the hoopla’s about. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some bitter Heather hater. I think it’s awesome that she’s had the success she’s had with her blog. But I liken her to Kate Gosselin. It’s undeniable that she’s struck a chord with pop culture, but she doesn’t appeal to me. Still, I jumped at the opportunity to do the interview as I figured it’d be a nice chance to gain a little exposure.

I was given the choice to conduct it by phone or email. I chose email because it’d be so much easier. When her “personal assistant” emailed me back with her responses, I was pleasantly surprised by what I read. Rightly or wrongly, I’ve always considered Heather to be a crass and pessimistic person—maybe even a bit mean-spirited. But she came off sweet and a lot more sensitive than I would have imagined, particularly with regard to people’s opinion of her.

For your chance to win a copy of Tales From The Trips, just leave me a comment telling me how you think you'd be able to handle triplets!

For an extra entry, follow my review blog!

I will pick a winner randomly on Friday, May 21st. This contest is open to U.S. and Canadian residents.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Need a new pair of glasses?

For the last several years, I have noticed that I squint more when I am driving. In fact, I can pretty much not read any road signs that are not, like, RIGHT in front of me.

This is not such a good thing. I know I need eyeglasses, and I have been looking around for a pair that is just right for me.

By chance, I was recently contacted by Glasses USA to review their site and was offered a discount on their prescription glasses and glasses - and boy, do they have a lot to choose from - including some great designer glasses, like Dior, Ralph Lauren, and Ray-Ban.

If you're in the need for a new pair of glasses, check out their website.

They are offering my readers a 10% discount off any presciption eyeglasses!

Just enter the discount code Mommy10 when you're placing your order.

Here's hoping your vision improves - I'm on a mission to find just the right pair of glasses for me!

Monday, May 3, 2010

A review... and a giveaway too!

Update: Congrats to lucky number 15 - Lady Mama - you are the winner of the Melissa and Doug wooden fruit cutting toy!

I recently received a very awesome tent for my children from CSN Stores. CSN Stores carries so many high quality items for children, I literally spent over an hour browsing through everything they sell - from outdoor play structures, to educational toys and children's furniture.

Not only does CSN have thousands of items for children (literally anything you can imagine) but they also have amazing products for the home, too - from bedroom furniture to funky wine glasses.

My husband set up the tent before my boys came home the day it arrived, and they were both so excited when they saw the tent set up in our living room! They both 'moved in' right away, and requested I bring them snacks and juice to enjoy in their new 'home'.

The tent has since made it's way outside, to our backyard, where my children continue to have a lot of fun in it, playing together... which is a bonus for me, too!

CSN is generously giving you something awesome, too - enter below for your chance to win this Melissa and Doug Play Food Cutting Food Crate. My boys love the Melissa and Doug fruit cutting sets!

To enter, just leave me a comment telling me what you loved to play with when you were a child!

The contest is open to both US and Canadian residents. I'll randomly pick a winner on May 11th, 2010.

Good Luck!

Ready, Set, Party!

If you're pregnant or if you have recently had a baby, this a great idea for you!

You can be part of the HUGGIES "Happy Healthy Baby" party sponsored by Huggies, Playskool, and Heritage RESPs!

All you have to do is fill out the online host application, and enter a draw to win one of 8 Heritage RESPs (valued at $2,500). You might even win a Personal Chef dinner for four - a value of $600! Yum! That's not all - you might also win a a toy gift pack from Playskool!

If you're selected as one of only 500 party hosts, you’ll receive a Party Pack filled with lots of free goodies for you and your friends, and be truly be the "Host with the most!"

Go to: Ready Set Party to find out more about this fun event!