Cakes Suzette Cake O's - Review

Think of your favorite celebration. Is it Christmas? Birthday parties? Is it a wedding shower? Or maybe a baby shower? How about Easter? Graduations? Or maybe it's not about the celebration. Maybe it's about the delicious excuse to eat something that you usually avoid. Maybe it's about the joy of indulging yourself with a scrumptious piece of heaven that melts in your mouth. I have to admit, I sure hope Heaven has an all-you-can-eat buffet with zero calories. Until I get there, I've found something that is "made with a bazillion calories of goodness."
Look at this beautiful gift box that arrived from Cakes Suzette. Who wouldn't be proud to give that as a gift? Inside this box were six delicious Cake O's. What's a Cake O? It's a little cake that puts the capital O in OMG. I opened this box to find six bigger-than-bite-size cakes, all dressed up for any special occasion.
There are ten different flavors of Cake O's...Brownie, Carrot Cake, Chocolate Coffee, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Coconut, Lemon Cake, Red Velvet, Strawberry, and Vanilla Chocolate. Look at this beautiful presentation on a plate.
There were three of us here for dinner that night and this was our dessert. Each one of these little cakes is enough to be one dessert. I'd say it's about five bites to finish it. All three of us each sampled one, straight out of the fridge. Then we waited an hour, to sample the other three at room temperature.
These little cakes pack a big taste. They are absolutely, positively delicious. I honestly cannot remember the last time I had a cake this good. The Brownie cake was my favorite one; the blend of different chocolates was incredible. We all agreed the Red Velvet was the best Red Velvet cake we'd ever had.
We decided they tasted best at room temperature, because it gave the frosting the time to soften up a bit. Our Cake O's tasting party left us all feeling slightly guilty but most certainly satisfied. If you're going to blow your diet, this is the way to do it!
Cakes Suzette is even giving YOU a delicious discount of 20% off your first order, placed in the month of September 2011 (no discount on freight). Just use PLANETW in all caps to get your discount! 
Be sure to hook up with them on Facebook and Twitter, so you don't miss any giveaways or specials they may have! Hurry, this sweet deal of a discount is only good this month!
Disclosure: I received these samples at no charge. Our opinions are always true.

Even More New September Coupons


Super Sorting Pie: Review and Giveaway

Early learning should never be boring, never be tedious, and never be forced. Instead it's better to provide learning materials that instantly draw a child in, peaking their curiosity and and encouraging them through discovery. The Super Sorting Pie from Learning Resources is one of the most engaging toys I've seen in a while.
There isn't a child I know that wouldn't want to get their hands on this toy. There was one child left here yesterday when I opened the box and she played with this for an hour. That's right, an hour. How's that for engaging?
The Super Sorting Pie is so well-designed! If you look at the pie bottom, you'll see a five section sorting piece inside. Well, that lifts out so that one of three discs can be put in the bottom of the pie. The discs are over to the left of the above photo. They are printed on both sides, giving the child six obvious ways to begin sorting. Sorting by color and shape and characteristic are all pre-math skills that preschoolers absolutely need.
Her first choice was to sort the fruit by color and shape. She quickly realized there are two different fruits in each color. This helps her to observe each fruit even more closely because although they are the same color, they are not the same shape. Additionally some are the same shape and not the same color. These types of differences help children to begin to recognize more compex and less obvious differences, which is a pre-reading skill (think about how difficult it can be for a child to learn lowercase b and d).
It also comes with two pair of giant tweezers (using them to pick up the fruits strengthens their finger muscles which is important for beginning to write). Since there are two, I can easily make up some sorting games that include two of the children at a time. Building the social skills of cooperating and sharing should be part of every preschooler's learning!
After chasing the rolling oranges around the table for a while, we discovered the pie top (the lid) is a perfect spot for all the pieces of the fruit salad. She put the number disc in the bottom of the pie plate, impressing me with her number recognition and counting. The fruits are a perfect size for little hands. Learning Resources built so many developmental benefits into this toy!
She switched out the pie disc, to sort by color only so that she could sort everything from the pie lid into the pie bottom. It was really neat to watch her choose the sorting task for herself, because decision making is a lifelong skill and children need to be presented with appropriate opportunities to make choices.
When her mother arrived to take her home, clean up was so quick and easy. All the discs fit in the bottom, all the fruits fit in the pie, and the lid is curved enough to even allow for both pair of tweezers to fit in the pie when it's closed. I am so absolutely thrilled with the Super Sorting Pie. It's already won two awards and I'll bet it wins many more! Plus, check out Learning Resources on YouTube!

WANT TO WIN ONE? Of course you do!
Learning Resources is letting me give one away to one of my fabulous readers! You can enter using the rafflecopter form below until midnight on Wednesday, September 14, 2011. You must be at least 18 years old to enter and win, and as always must be a Planet Weidknecht follower via email, GFC or RSS. Good luck!


Two More Rock N Learn DVDs

I was so impressed with the Rock N Learn DVD Sight Words that I reviewed last week, that I turned around and paid for two more to add to my home daycare collection. I'm sure glad I had that 25% off coupon code to use! You can use it too.....JQ7711
Be sure to check out that review because you can win a copy of Sight Words, compliments of Rock N Learn!

I Received a Prize Today

My daycare kids are going to be so excited that I won this dvd!
Thanks to Christy at Quirky Fusion for hosting the giveaway!

Brand New September Coupons


Winner Annoucements n More Giveaways

What Children Need to Learn to Read book and CD - Amy (laprochaine@...)

Clean + Green Furniture Refresher - Gina (ginaferrell3@...)

Life Equals $20 Gift Card - (jessicapeeling@...)

Life Equals $20 Gift Card (liza767@...)

Life Equals $20 Gift Card (meltheplux@...)

ACTIVATE four flavors (jessicaclarke80@...)

and the winner of the
Spa For Ma Spoil Mom Shopping Spree
$50 Gift Certificate to Kiwi Studios
$50 Gift Certificate to AmyAdele
Any item at Paper Scissors Rock store up to $30
Danyale (evoluchun@...)

Thanks to all our great sponsors!
Thanks to all my fabulous readers who entered!

Maybe it's YOUR turn! Enter HERE!

Enter Money Mania $140 Cash Prize Giveaway

Hosted by One Busy Moma
We have teamed up with a few great bloggers to bring you a great cash prize!
This giveaway will end at midnight on Sept 15th.
Winner will be announced here and notified via email.
Entries are super easy.
One lucky entrant is going to win $140 CASH!



Viviscal Hair Nutrition Program - Review

I am so excited to try Viviscal Hair Nutrition Program! Starting today, I will take two dietary supplement tabs each day for two months, one in the morning and one in the evening, so I can provide a personal testimonial about this product that is also used by Reese Witherspoon and Gisele Bundchen!
Lifes2good makes Viviscal to help nourish hair and accelerate hair growth. It's a scientifically formulated blend of fish proteins and amino acids. The tabs contain 100% of daily recommended Vitamin C too! They are gluten-free for those of you who are restricting that in your diet. Thankfully the tabs do not stick to my tongue (I hate when that happens) and they don't taste like fish.
Although I do not have problems with thinning hair because I have so much hair, I definitely lose a huge handful of hair every time I brush it. I'm hoping my hair will become healthier and less likely to break or fall out. I also would love to add the shine that Jessica Stam found it did for her hair! Caroline Trentini has used it for five years and loves the results. I'm excited to try something the stars use! I'll let you know what I think of Viviscal in two months, so stay tuned.

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Empire Patio Covers - Review

This Texas heat is just brutal this year. I am so sad that my patio furniture is starting to feel the effects of the sun and high temperatures. My plastic Adirondack chairs are all cracking up near the headrest area and my poor chaise lounges have paint peeling off the legs. My cushions are only a year old and the sun is just baking them. And still there is no rain in the forecast.

Lucky for me that my new Empire Patio Furniture Covers are going to cover me the rest of this summer and from here on out. My chaise lounges are simply stylin' in their new covers! Empire has three beautiful collections of patio covers, hunter green with piping, metro brown stripes and classic nutmeg. I chose the classic nutmeg and was so impressed when I opened the package. This material is really super quality material.
Each comes with its own tie for storage and they roll up easily when not in use. These chaise lounge covers are just one of the many patio covers that Empire sells. You can choose from chair covers, a range of table covers, grill covers and even one that will cover an entire table/chair set! My new covers come with tie downs and even a clip across the bottom center to make sure they stay put during any kind of weather.
The material is breathable and soft, while providing 100% waterproof protection (I'm hoping it'll rain sometime soon so I can test that part). But I can tell you that these covers help keep the sun's rays off my chaise lounges, which will definitely prolong their use. I noticed the covers definitely reduce the amount of heat in the cushions. I swam the other afternoon (in my lukewarm pool) and took off one of the chaise lounge covers to stretch out for a few minutes and it wasn't nearly as hot as when it sits in direct sun. I'm very pleased with the quality and durability of these covers!

Disclosure: I received my patio covers at no charge. My opinions are my own.
You can win your very own fabulous chaise lounge cover right here on Planet Weidknecht! You can choose the hunter green, metro brown, or classic nutmeg. Fill out the rafflecopter form below by midnight September 15, and one random winner will get to choose one!  You must be 18 to enter and win, and of course you must be a Planet Weidknecht reader via email, RSS or GFC. Good luck to all!

How to Reduce Toddler Tantrums

Dear Lisa - Since you work with kids, I thought I'd ask you if you have any tips to help my child stop throwing tantrums. I'm so tired of his constant fits. He is two years old. Any ideas?
Frustrated mom

Dear Frustrated Mom:

First, you should understand that most two year olds have tantrums. They often do not have the language skills to say what they want and what they feel. Their inability to communicate is frustrating, which often elevates to a tantrum (even hitting and biting!). One trick to helping fend off this type of tantrum is to help the child by offering the words for what you see. For example, you see the frustration building in your child so you could say, "It looks like you are getting angry because you cannot reach your cup. Can I help you with that?" or "You look like you might be sad. Would you like a hug?" This teaches the child that feelings have names and should be discussed, as well as provides the child the idea that they can come to their parent with anything (this pays off in teenage years!).

Another reason tantrums happen is because the child is learning that the way mom does something is not the only way it can be done. This newly discovered independence clashes with what mom wants the toddler to do, escalating into a tantrum. The best way to head off these types of tantrums is to begin to offer the toddler choices. Be sure to offer just two choices and make sure both choices are ones you can live with! For example, if you need your child to wear a jacket because it's cold, you say  "Would you like to wear your red jacket or blue sweater?" instead of "Do you want your jacket on?" This gives the child some control, but not all control.

Another reason tantrums can occur is because the child is in a situation that isn't good for them. If they are throwing a tantrum in a store, they are probably hot or cold, tired or bored, or even hungry. Instead of ignoring that, acknowledge it and take them home. Don't make yourself and the child, as well as the other shoppers, suffer through a miserable shopping trip. Better yet, trade child-free shopping trips with a friend who has children. The child would much rather have a play date and the parent would much rather shop alone. These days, families keep to themselves too much and finding ways to reach out to friends and neighbors is so beneficial to everyone!

Remember that a toddler tantrum is normal and age-appropriate. Working with them now on redirecting that anger will benefit them their entire life. I am sure some of my readers also have some great ideas for you to help stop those toddler tantrums. Please leave comments below if you have tips for this reader! Thank you!




Dreaming of Retirement

I love my job, don't get me wrong. I've been raising up fabulous preschoolers for 25 years and I have to admit, I do dream of retiring. My sons will graduate from high school in two years, so I'd love to look at retirement in about five years or so. We've looked at property online in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, but we just aren't sure where we'll end up. I've lived in Texas for the past 20 years and familiarity is comfortable. At the same time, it's exciting to think of maybe choosing somewhere else. Arizona is very hot, like Texas, but the desert conditions there would be beneficial for two people who suffer from seasonal allergies. We saw some great land prices in New Mexico, but with all this Texas drought and 100+ degree weather, I have to admit that looking at these beautiful pictures of Denver are tempting me to consider Real Estate in Colorado.
Breathtaking, aren't they? My husband said the home prices are pretty good in Colorado right now, but who knows what it will be like in five years. Of course, we'd have to sell our home here in Texas before we can consider buying. So now I've got it stuck in my head and I'm dreaming of Real Estate in Denver CO. Maybe a little house just big enough for me and my husband, nestled in between towering pine trees. I can smell the burning wood in the fireplace and the coffee brewing, and outside there are big fluffy snowflakes drifting down around the front porch step. Ah, well, retirement will come someday.
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Choosing a Home Loan / Mortgage

Just yesterday I found myself surfing through real estate ads, not really looking for a house, but trying to determine how much money we've lost on our house during these years of the "Second Great Depression." I found a couple of homes with our floor plan in our neighborhood with a price tag considerably lower than what we paid for this house. Not to mention we added an inground pool before the "bubble burst" which adds to our debt on the house. Having the pool has made it virtually impossible to refinance our home loan during this time of record-low interest rates. I'm so very glad we've paid off all other debts we had, leaving us with just the home loan, pool loan, and school loans.

Looking at the homes for sale right now, it sure is a great time to buy a home. If your family is in a position to be looking at homes to purchase, you can be sure to get a super deal. Even though banks are being more selective with mortgage approvals, there are many different mortgage options available. First time purchases can be very intimidating, as I remember, and I bought my first home as a single parent! Luckily for me, I had a great buyer's agent working with me, who carefully explained everything to me every step of the way.

By choosing a mortgage that is right for your family, you can really lower the level of stress of buying a house. A bit of knowledge is all it takes! First, there are two basic types of loan rates - fixed rate or adjustable rate. A fixed rate loan stays at the same interest rate for the life of the loan, whether it's a 15, 20 or 30 year loan. An adjustable rate loan has an interest rate that changes over the life of the loan. There are a long list of advantages and disadvantages to an adjustable rate mortgage, also known as an ARM. That would be a whole 'nother blog post!

The other choice a home-buyer makes is between a conventional loan (which is not secured by the government in any way) and a government loan (insured by a federal agency, in the event of nonpayment). Conventional loans are made in the private sector, usually by banks and credit unions. Government loans include FHA loans (Federal Housing Administration), VA loans (Veterans Affairs), and USDA loans (US Department of Agriculture). FHA loans are open to a large percentage of the population through FHA-approved lenders (many banks do this), but VA loans are reserved for those in the military service members (and families) and the USDA loans are best known as farmer loans. If you qualify for the USDA loan or VA loan, there are many loan facts you need to know. The different types of loans have varying interest rates, such as the VA mortgage rates set aside for our military as one of the benefits of protecting our country.

Regardless of the mortgage type and mortgage rate you find these days, you're sure to get a better deal than I did. We're desperately trying to pay off the pool loan because of its ridiculous interest rate. At that point hopefully we will no longer be under water on the loan (which means we owe more than it is worth) and be able to refinance at a lower rate. It's a challenge to pay off debt but we are determined!

Hot New Printable Coupons


Feeling Lucky? Giveaways End Wednesday!

Spa For Ma - Spoil Mom Shopping Spree
ends 8-31-2011

What Children Need to Learn to Read

ends 8-31-2011

Life Equals $20 Gift Card - 3 winners

ends 8-31-2011

Clean + Green Furniture Refresher

ends 8-31-2011

ACTIVATE - Four Assorted Flavors

ends 8-31-2011

My Home Daycare in Pictures

I am updating my website for my home daycare and thought I'd take you on a tour. Welcome!
This is the entryway, complete with cubbies for the children.

Here is the dress-up closet, full-length mirror, and Lego/train table.

Our active play area is great for dramatic play and music.

Our home center is full of great educational toys.

Our indoor riding toys sit next to the block center.

Our book center holds over 200 picture books for kids.

Our math and science area even has a light table.

We do art projects, preschool lessons, and lunch here.

This is part of our collection of manipulative toys and language/literacy toys.

The children's dollhouse is almost as popular as the children's computer area.


My Guys are High School Juniors

Just two more years of high school for my two sons! I can hardly believe how grown up they have become. They are so responsible and mature, working part time, and paying for their own car insurance and gasoline. I took a "first day of school" picture of them, with their dad standing between them, since they're both taller than us now. We are very proud of them!

Empire Truck Covers - Review

If you're like us, your garage doesn't hold your cars. Instead it holds tools, bikes, boxes of stuff waiting to be donated, Christmas decorations, lawn care equipment, containers of off-season clothing, pet carriers, trash cans, and a whole myriad of other stuff you just don't want in the house. Ten years of parking in the driveway has NOT been kind to our truck. My husband was just recently telling me we needed to get the truck repainted before the peeling paint exposes the metal to the elements, because then it will rust. Since we're not buying a new truck anytime soon, I guess we need to take care of this one.
Empire Truck Covers are custom made to your truck's specs. When choosing one, I had to put in the year, make, model, and even specifics like the extended cab. This ensures that it is custom fitted to our truck plus the entire hem is elasticized so it's really easy to put on the truck and it stays put. If we're dealing with high winds, it also has grommets and tie downs.
I was amazed at how fast Empire ships out their products. It was very well-packaged and arrived just a couple days after I ordered it. Our truck cover came in its own storage bag and when I opened it up, it was tightly wrapped in a vacuum seal plastic for extra shipping protection.
I opened it easily with a pair of scissors and my husband was rather excited to help me put it on his truck. Since the temperature will reach 109 degrees today and the truck is parked in the street, he's really hoping it will make a difference in how hot the truck can get. (Check out our baked grass in the sun).
Empire Truck Covers must have known we'd stand there and say, "Which side is the front?" because I looked down and saw the word FRONT. We slipped it on the truck easier than putting a sock on. The material they use for their truck covers is of excellent quality and even covered under warranty for normal wear and tear!
The seams are all double-stitched and best of all, Empire Truck Covers are affordable too. Since we are so budget-conscious right now, it frustrating when affordable means cheap quality, but this Empire Cover looks and feels like it's going to last us a good long time.

You can also get truck bed covers, car covers, bike covers, boat covers, and patio furniture covers, just to name a few of their other products. Check out their website and see how little it will cost to extend the life of your expensive possessions that sit outside in the heat and the rain. A big thank you to Empire Covers!

Disclosure: I received this product at no charge for taking the time to review it. My opinions are truly my own.

Three New Planet Weidknecht Winners

Co-Opted by Joan Bigwood - mglawyer@...

SnapSac set of two - Maddie Gilliland

HearthSong Connectagons Happy Faces - Ericka

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