Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Should I read The Hunger Games? (Yes, here's why...)

Should you read The Hunger Games series? Absolutely! I read the first book in this series this past week, and it was the first book in a long time that I read without stopping, all in one sitting! If you have the question, should I read The Hunger Games, let me explain why there is something in this book for everyone!


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Before I start, the general gist of the book is that in a futuristic world, there is a practice called the Hunger Games, and each district in the country must send 1 boy and 1 girl to the capitol city to battle to the death.

The Science Fiction Nut: If you love sci-fi and you're asking, "Should I read the Hunger Games?" the answer is yes! The Hunger Games is set in the future, and there are futuristic aspects to the culture and the technology you see in the book. The world presented in the future is very different from ours; for example, America has been destroyed by floods and war, so instead there are 12 districts ruled by an oppressive capitol city.

The Chick-Flic/Romance Lover: This is me. I was really skeptical when I heard about this book, because it sounded like an action movie. So I did ask many people, "Should I Read the Hunger Games?" They said yes, because there is a romance aspect in this book between Peeta and Katniss, the main characters. I loved this book because of the face pace, and there's even as aspect of fashion and glamour in the capitol city. The main character is a girl, and the descriptions of her emotion really ring true.


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The Action Seeker: There is so much action in this book! There is fighting and gore and blood, with all different kinds of weapons. The fast pace of this book will capture your attention. The concept of the book centers around a fight to the death in an arena, and many people do die. If you liked Gladiator, you'll like this book.

The Cry Baby: This book has some really emotion scenes, such as one between Katniss and Rue, another girl who has been sent into the battle. The beginning of the book is also really raw, when Katniss volunteers herself for battle. You'll love the sad and happy parts in this book and be rooting for Katniss all the way.

So is the Hunger Games good? It's so interesting because it's no story like any you've read before. It is not Harry Potter. It is not Twilight. It is The Hunger Games, and you should read it!!! The movie comes out at the end of March, and I always recommend reading the book before seeing the movie. If you've been waiting around for a book to read that you can count on enjoying, this is the one.

Here's the movie cast as their characters:

the-hunger-games-cast-tributes-image.jpg



Saturday, February 25, 2012

Review/Giveaway: Tote Bags by SnapSac!!

Bags Bags Bags. We often don't realize how frequently we use bags everyday: laudry bags, gym bags, backpacks, grocery bags, school bags; the list goes on and on. So it's a really good thing when we find a bag that is not only fashionable, but sturdy, and can serve many purposes! That's exactly what I've found SnapSacs to be, and so much more!

3 Neutral Totes

SnapSacs come in two styles, and I'd describe either one of them as preppy-meets-casual. Both come in the same patterns, but while the Pop line features grey and yellow, the Neutral bags are navy and white. You can buy the bags individually or as sets, with each one going for around $3.00 each. Snapsacs also makes some cool lunch totes! I loved that when you buy a set of bags, they come in three different sizes and patterns but all feature the same color scheme. That way, using all three at once, say to carry groceries or something, will make you look totally chic!

When Snapsacs arrive, they are nicely folded into little squares. They are small enough to fit right in the pockets in the seat of your car, and in that way are super convenient. The Snapsacs are made out of a material similar to reuseable grocery bags, but the material is more durable and of a higher quality. Snapsacs are 35% thicker than your average grocery bag!! When you buy them in a set, you get a small, a medium, and a large, so you are sure to have a bag for every one of your bagging needs! All of the bags are really cute and feature a snap at the top to keep everything in your bag! They all have a inner pocket as well and are machine washable!!

Grocery Tote: Pop
Grocery Tote in Pop
Going green has been a trend for a while. The Snapsac will help you do just that! Since you can just fold them up, they're super convenient to bring to the grocery store. Those generic green or blue grocery totes really aren't that appealing to the eye, no matter what we tell ourselves, but Snapsacs are durable and super cute! They are also roomy: true to name, the Megatote really is huge and will fit a ton of groceries, and all three totes that I received (Petite, Super, and Mega!) have more than enough room between them to carry most of your groceries. I love that while Snapsacs does carry grocery totes as well, the totes I received don't have square bottoms, and so can be used for many more purposes than just grocery shopping!

The tote I've used most often is the petite tote. It's blue-green and has a really cute zig-zag brown pattern. This tote has become my giant purse. I've used it to bring clothes to a friend's house when I stayed over last weekend as well as to cart various things whenever I go out. I love that it's big enough to hold everything I need but small enough to look just like a regular purse!



Our SnapSac was perfect for bringing home library books this morning!!

Living in Maine, I really can't wait for Summer to come back as soon as it's over. Not only do I love the beach, but our town is a real touristy town and just comes alive in the Summer. Now I have another reason to look forward to my favorite season: the Snapsacs are going to make great beach and pool totes! Since they're made of the canvas material, I won't have to worry about ruining them with sand or water. The Megatote will be perfect for carting everything from sandals to beach toys to and from the beach. Since all the bags are machine washable, I know that they won't be ruined by anything I have in there.

Super Tote: Neutral

I can think of so many uses for these totes, including what we've used them for so far! Think of all the times I mentioned about that we use bags, and then imagine having one set of bags that is perfect for all your toting needs! These bags are great for sports mamas who don't want their kids' dirty cleats all over the car. In the winter, hauling snow gear is made a lot easier with SnapSacs. Elementary-aged kids always have to haul their snow clothes to and from school, so why not let them do it in a fashionable SnapSacs instead of entrusting them with a plastic bag that could rip! With the snap at the top, kids will feel a lot less flustered with these bags than with hauling multiple plastic bags to school.

SnapSac Family
For just under $30 you could get a whole set!! This is a great deal!!
SnapSacs really eliminate so much waste in our lives. From the plastic bags we get at the grocery store to the random, mis-matched canvas totes floating around our house, we really can cut down on our bag usage thanks to SnapSacs. Every household has them: the free totes you've accumulated over time with adds on them for various libraries, banks, or super-markets. SnapSacs are super cute and, unlike these totes, don't make you out to be a walking billboard.

Did I mention these bags will be durable camping bags this Summer? Can't Wait!!

Heather Dubrow, new on Housewives of Orange County with a MegaTote
RHOC housewife Heather with a SnapSac!! Too cool!!!

If you have some time, browse around on SnapSac.com. Aside from offering very fashionable, reuseable totes, SnapSac also has some fun and interesting articles to read! Just browsing myself, I learned that these bags have been featured at New York Fashion Week, Daily Candy events, the CAA Young Hollywood Party, and more!! I also saw that two of my favorite Real Housewives, Taylor Armstrong and Heather Dubrow, own SnapSacs of their own!!

Buy It: SnapSacs can be purchased righ at http://www.snapsac.com/. They are super affordable as well as super cute! Convenience is a huge factor for me when buying something, so let me say to you now that these bags will eliminate a lot a stress when toting around all your family needs! These would make great gifts for anyone from parents to college kids, and I really encourage you to browse their site and pick one out!

Win It: One lucky winner will receive one tote of their choice!! For me, it would be either of the Petite Totes since I love mine so much, but it's really up to you! This giveaway will end March 11th at 11:59pm and is open to U.S. entrants. For your mandatory entry you must do the following:

1. Follow Not One Ordinary Moment via GFC (righthand sidebar)
2. Head over to SnapSac and comment back with the tote you would choose!

Extra Entries:
4. Head to SnapSac.com and subscribe to their email newsletter (1 entry)
6. Subscribe to Not One Ordinary Moment via email (1 entry)
7. Subscribe to Not One Ordinary Moment via reader (1 entry)

*I received a set of three totes to review, all opinions expressed are my own

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Review: SodaStream System!!

             Sodastream | turn water into fresh sparkling water and soda

Let me just start this post by saying, we're really not a soda-drinking family. We keep soda in the house for birthdays, and ginger ale when someone is sick, but other than that we do not buy it. These days, you read so many articles about how soda alone adds an average of 10 pounds a year to people who drink it frequently. I'd also heard that the chemicals in soda are strong enough to rip the paint off of a car, so putting something like that into our systems did not seem like a good idea. However, thanks to SodaStream, our family is now enjoying perfectly healthy soda that can be made right at home and tastes just like the real stuff!

Genesis - Soda Starter Kit

When our SodaStream system arrived, we were amazed to see just how much comes with the system! Not only do you get the phycial SodaStream and the 60 liter carbonater, but you also get 3 SodaMix bottles in the flavor of your choice, and a 12 pack of SodaMix variety samples. We were lucky enough to receive some extra SodaMixes (8 total!), as well as a 3 pack of MyWater flavor essence bottles to make flavored carbonated water!



Set-up of the SodaStream is very easy! The directions are easy to follow, and we had ours together in no time flat! On the night we put together the SodaStream, I was suffering from a major allergy attack, so all I was craving was a cup of ginger ale. How perfect! To use the SodaStream, you simply fill one of the carbonating bottles with water and screw it into the SodaStream. Next, you press the carbonating button and well ah! Unscrew the bottle of water, and add a cup-full of your favorite SodaMix flavor to get home-made soda in no time! Using the SodaStream couldn't be easier, and both of the older kids have no trouble whipping up a liter of soda whenever they want!

Cranberry RaspberryLemon LimeGinger AleCola FreeDiet Pink GrapefruitSparkling Naturals Black Currant PearSparkling Naturals Green TeaSparkling Naturals Orange Pineapple

The ginger ale was delicious, and tasted just like the brand names you can find with the store! I found that will the Cola Free, Root Beer, and Lemon-Lime flavors, all could be compared to brand-name sodas in the store! SodaStream also offers a variety of fruit-based flavors, such as Diet Pink Grapefruit and Black Currant & Pear, which were both flavors that we tried and loved! The sparkling naturals flavors, such as the Black Currant, are made with all-natural ingredients! Orange & Pinnaple and Cranberry-Raspberry were some other new flavors to us that you can't really find in a store, and we liked them as well. The flavor we received that I really don't care for is Green Tea Pomegranate Peach. It was just a little too sweet for me, but it really wasn't a big deal since all the other flavors are wonderful!


As I alluded to in the beginning of this post, the soda made with the SodaStream contains none of the harsh chemicals in real soda. The Cola Free, which is the flavor we received that is comparable to Coke Zero, has zero calories, zero grams of sugar, and only 30mg of sodium! Since all of these sodas are water based, (you use water right from your tap,) I feel a lot better about drinking them frequently and letting the kids have them whenever. The regular, non-diet sodas, such as the Ginger Ale and Root Beer, have only 35 calories per serving and 8 grams of sugar!!

The SodaStream will save you money, there's no denying it. I really feel that we will never have to buy store-bought soda for our family again, and since we have so many SodaMixes I think it will be a very long time until we run out! The SodaStream itself is quite skinny and sits right on our counter, but could easily be stored in a cabinet if we ever needed to. SodaStream is also great for the environment, because it eliminates the need for plastic bottles and tin cans, many of which end up in landfills. Since you make the soda in the 1 liter plastic bottles provided, you have an automatic bottle for your soda if you were ever to bring it anywhere!



The greatest part of the SodaStream is the convenience. I have access to 10+ kinds of soda, without having to store the giant 2-liter bottles anywhere. If I come home and want a cup of Coke, I can have fresh and healthy cola that tastes just like the real thing in less than 2 minutes! SodaStream is great for entertaining too, because everyone can have whatever type of soda they want without the host/hostess having to buy it all beforehand!

I would recommend the SodaStream for any family, and for people of all ages. If you're a soda skeptic like me, you won't feel guilty letting your children have this soda because you make it yourself, and the diet flavors especially really are not bad for your health in any way. College dorm rooms would also be a great place for the SodaStream since refridgeration isn't required; college kids will love just being able to have a bottle of soda and be done with it! Tired students will also love the energy-drink flavors. The only clean-up involved is washing the carbonating bottles if you're switching flavors, but really not any hassle! Regular soda drinkers could save a lot of money with a SodaStream, and will save the gas from driving to buy more!



Buy it: If you're interested in purchasing a SodaStream for yourself or a friend, simply head over to Sodastreamusa.com! The SodaStream systems range in price from around $80 to $200, and can also be purchased at retailers like Staples, Best Buy, Macy's, and Kohl's! The SodaStream would make a great gift, and would be great to have for barbeques this summer (hint hint Father's Day!)

*I received on SodaStream unit to review, all views and opinions expressed are strictly my own

Friday, February 17, 2012

Ebeanstalk Website Review!

ebeanstalk.com
A great company out to supply your child with great gifts!

I was lucky enough to have the chance to review a wonderful online hotspot for toys and gifts for kids - Ebeanstalk!!!

Homepage - The Ebeanstalk homepage has so much information! You can search for toys on the sidebar by the child's age. A rotating info/picture box is filled with information about the store and  is very eye catching; you can find everything from the experts who reviewed the toys to gift ideas for kids of all ages using a gift finder! On the Ebeanstalk homepage you are able to search by brand, category, browse by age or even "wow factor", as well as the top searched categories.

Harper-Collins Big Words for Little People

There are so many ways to find the perfect toy, and ebeanstalk is great for gift giving. At the same time, searching the site could be tedious: you could be searching through thousands of toys by all different ways and have trouble picking just one. I did love all the pictures on the homepage; you can see there's a huge variety of toys offered from the moment you get to the site. Ebeanstalk isn't a brand; they sell other top brands that experts have compiled for them based on criteria. I was really pleased to see recognized and trusted brands, such as Melissa and Doug! The Ebeanstalk homepage is a bit crowded but overall very nice. The one thing I'd rather see is a "search by age" drop-down bar than to see every age listed out, with a boy or girl option, on the side.

Kumon KUMON - Ready for Kindergarten Verbal Skills
This would have been perfect for our family last September!

Toys for all ages: What I liked about browsing through the toys was that Ebeanstalk will tell you up front the customer rating, price, targetted age, and if the toy's in stock. The large pictures of the toys are a real plus! Sometimes there's an option to view a video for a certain toy. I just have to say, there was SO MUCH to choose from! Any gift chosen through Ebeanstalk is sure to be a good one, the hardest part is choosing from the great seelction. There are great toys for all different kinds of kids, with lots of arts and crafts selections - great for fostering creativity!


Wizard of Oz Musical Tin Tea Set - available at Ebeanstalk.com!

My cousin's daughter is three, so I thought I'd browse for a gift for a 3 year old. Ebeanstalk has the great selection that you need to find a gift for a 3 year old! I LOVE the wizard of oz musical tin tea set. This is something I would have loved when I was little. A gift for a 3 year old on Ebeanstalk is sure to be super cute, but I loved this tea set the most! It's classic and looks like a ton of fun! Ebeanstalk toys that won't break and are high quality, which is what most people want when they go to buy toys. Ebeanstalk is a great place to buy a gift for a 3 year old, and I will definitely be purchasing some for our favorite baby cousin! You can find the Tea Set that I love here: http://www.ebeanstalk.com/Schylling/toy-product-detail/Wizard-Of-Oz-Musical-Tin-Tea-Set.html

Books by Eric Carle will delight your preschooler!

Children's Books: Again, this category had a little of an information overload, but it was all very interesting! Each category has a summary of the process Ebeanstlk went through to choose products in that category. The children's books on Ebeanstalk are based on whether they are open-minded, well written and illustrated, and age-appropriate. I liked that the term "good for all ages" is frowned upon by Ebeanstalk; recognizing that children's books can be personalized just as much as anything is awesome! Our family is a big Books by Eric Carle fan. We were so pleased to see Books by Eric Carle on Ebeanstalk! Ebeanstalk offers library sets as well as individual Books by Eric Carle. These would make a great baby gift!!


I would have loved this fancy jewelry set when I was little!
 Fun toys by Alex:  I chose the brand-name Toys by Alex to browse for our five-year old.My first thought was that there were so many crafts, all perfectly age appropriate for Angie! Many of the Toys by Alex crafts were very creative, such as a headband making set! The fun toys by Alex that I viewed were so different than just an average paint-by-number set or something: the best part is that all the fun toys by Alex have been tested for age appropriateness, durability, and play value! Ebeanstalk provides a ton of information about the toys is sells, so I know I would be getting a good product no matter what I buy. The summary of fun toys by Alex talks all about safety as well as the ways in which these toys and craft sets go beyond basic art supplies. Fun toys by Alex also offers toys for imagination play! I loved the "My Super Knot a Quilt" set! Fun toys by Alex include many sets that are super original and would make great mommy-and-me or sister-and-me projects that encourage creative activity!!

There are great gifts for girls ages newborn to pre-teen!

Other/Miscelaneous: Ebeanstalk also offers a clearance section, safety information, and doesn't have adds being thrust in your face. There are so many options for information on each individual toy or craft that I know I would not need to return anything I ever bought from Ebeanstalk. The site has an option for gift cards and birthday reminders, as well as a main search bar at the top. This feature is perfect if you'd rather search by keyword than try to narrow down your search by using all the tabs. These are helpful but can get out of hand; I found I could spend hours on the site trying to find the perfect toy and get caught up browsing!

ebeanstalk.com

Overall: Ebeanstalk is super informational when it comes to the best toys and gifts for kids! I would DEFINITELY use and recommend Ebeanstalk as a high quality online source to buy toys and gifts for kids of all ages. Moms will trust it and kids will love the toys! I would definitely buy birthday and christmas gifts on Ebeanstalk in the futre; every toy I saw looked fun, high-quality, and as if it encouraged imagination and creativity. These are definitely the kind of toys I want in my house and would feel very comfortable giving any of these toys as gifts to a friend's child! Not One Ordinary Moment recommends Ebeanstalk!!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Closed: Review/Giveaway: Cadoozles by Zebra Pen!

This giveaway is now closed. Congrats to comment #103, Fiona N.!

Communication is the most important skill you can have today. From public speaking to texting, and everything in between, it's important to have communication skills, skills which should be taught from an early age. Writing is one of our most important forms of communication, and I'm happy to say that Zebra Pen is helping little writer's achieve big things with their Cadoozles!



A funny name; a great product. We've all used mechanical pencils, but they break easily and aren't very attractive. Cadoozles are something completely new and different! They are mechanical pencils that look just like regular pencils, except they are so much more colorful and fun!

Cadoozles are perfect for little hands, and any elementary schooler would be lucky to have these. They are smaller than normal pencils, and are easy to hold due to their smooth body and ridged edges. They are indeed mechanical pencils, so instead of sharpening them kids just click the eraser! The eraser is real as well, and actually erases. Sharpening pencils can be tough for little hands, especially hand-sharpeners, so Cadoozles create less stress for little students while making writing fun!



Why is it that most pencils are just plain yellow or orange? That doesn't sound like much fun to me. Cadoozles come in a pack of six, and each pencil is just as unique as the student that will hold it! Every pencil comes in a different color with different designs on the outside. From sports to space, there's sure to be multiple designs that fit the personality of the little writer. The orange ice cream Cadoozle was a hit with us!

Another downside to sharpening pencils is that they get shorter. Once a pencil becomes too short, little hands can cramp up while trying to write with them. Because you never have to sharpen a Cadoozle, they never get any shorter! Another upside to this is that you never have to say goodbye to the pretty design on the outside!



Angie is in Kindergarten and is still in the learning stages of writing. She says that "Cadoozles rock!" And that they are "her thing!" They are the perfect pencils to keep at her princess desk, and anytime she needs to write she heads for her Cadoozles! The size and shape really promote correct hand positioning for writing, and kids who start out with Cadoozles would have no problem transitioning to regular pencils. Thumbs up Cadoozles!

Cadoozles come in Purple, light Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, and White. They feature 6 different graphic themes and are refillable with 0.7 mm lead. To refill, you simply remove the large eraser and replace with new lead! With a solid, wood case design barrel and large, colorful eraser, they are perfect for standardized testing! They come in a fun packaging and would make great party favors.



Cadoozles are a must for elementary school classrooms. Say goodbye to boring orange pencils and hello to the kids' pencil of the future! Teachers will find that kids easily take to Cadoozles, and that they make learning fun! Parents looking for things to give to their childrens' classroom would be smart to provide each child with one of these fantastic pencils. They would also make great stocking stuffers, new school supplies, children's desk accessories, or Easter-basket presents! Whenever you give them, they are sure to be a hit!

 

Buy it: Cadoozles can be purchased easily at Zebrapen.com or at Amazon.com. They can be bought in packs, or one at a time for just $0.41 each! Super affordable and super fun!

WIN IT: One lucker reader will win the same set of sample Cadoozles that we received to review! These are so much fun to have around and would be great for any little child in your life.

Mandatory Entry:
1. Follow Not One Ordinary Moment on Google Friends Connect (right sidebar)

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will close on February 20th, 2012. Good Luck!

Extra Entries:
Subscribe to my blog via email - 1 entry
Subscribe to my blog via reader - 1 entry
Comment on another blog post or enter another giveaway - 1 entry

*I received one sample pack of Cadoozles to review, this did not affect my opinion of the product in any way

What your top ten movies say about you!

Everyone has a top ten list of their all-time favorite movies. But these movies may say more about your personality than you think! Here's what I've discovered about myself by listing my top ten favorite movies.



10. Toy Story 2 - This is a classic and my absolute favorite pixar movie! Songs such as "When she loved me" and "You've got a friend in me" seal the deal. As one of my favorite movies, this shows my love for my childhood and how much I value memories of growing up.

9. Schindler's List - To be honest, the first time I saw this movie I couldn't sleep that night. I'm a huge history buff, and I've probably seen every Holocaust movie ever made. This is an amazing story and such a tear jerker. And it's true!

8. Sweeney Todd - Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter are two of my favorite actors! This is one of my favorite musicals, the story and music are amazing. Love it.

7. Mary Poppins - Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, need I say more? I grew up with this one, a classic.



6. The Wizard of Oz - This should be on everyone's favorite movie list. As the first color motion picture, this is a little slice of America in the '30s. Judy Garland is a goddess.

5. Oliver! - Again, another musical! See how your list says so much about you? I cry every time I head "Where is Love," and I probably quote this movie once a week. Such a great story, and the dance numbers are amazing.



4. The Notebook - Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams are also two of my favorite actors. This story is such a tear jerker and it's set in the '40s, so it goes with my history-buff-love-story-buff theme. I could watch this all day.

3. Home Alone - I can't count how many times I've seen this movie, and it still makes me laugh. I consider this one of the best family comedys of all time. It doesn't get better than Kevin and the Wet Bandits!

2. Back To The Future - Marty McFly and Doc, the time-traveling inventor go back in time to save the future. This story, along with BTTF 2 and 3, will keep you on the edge of your seat. No matter how old I get I will always enjoy this movie. "We're going back, Marty. Back...to the future!"


1. Titanic - If you know me at all, you know that I can pretty much quote this entire movie from memory. It is my absolute favorite movie of all time. Again with the history, the love, and the tears. Again with the suspence. Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet are stunning. "Titanic was called the ship of dreams...and it was, it really was."

So what does my list say about me? I love history, especially American history. I love musicals. I don't need a happy ending to love a movie, but sometimes a happy ending is nice. I love cheesy movies. I love to laugh. I'd rather watch the movies I grew up with than any new movie. I love watching the greats - Judy, Julie, Leo, Kate, Rachel, Ryan, Johnny, Helena. I like to be amazed and swept away by a story! What does your top ten list say about you? What's your favorite movie ever??

Cassie