product reviews

I grew up with Spot Shot carpet cleaner. My step-dad, whose mantra should be “Save money or die,” very rarely endorses a brand name product. He would much rather stick to the cheaper generic alternatives, whenever possible. However, when he finds a brand name product that outshines any other similar products on the market, he sticks with it for life, and will use nothing else. Plus, he recommends it to everyone he knows! The original Spot Shot carpet cleaner has long been one of these much-lauded brands. When I was growing up, I was taught that no other carpet cleaner would stand up to the job, and I might as well be throwing my money away if I used anything else. That’s how passionate he is when he chooses to back a brand name!

The one, huge drawback to Spot Shot Original–the thing has caused me to avoid purchasing it for my entire adult life–is the odor. The fumes from my step-dad’s beloved Spot Shot could practically set a person’s nose hairs on fire! I’m not kidding! With such potent fumes, I didn’t feel comfortable using the product around my children or pets. To my way of thinking, anything with fumes that harsh can’t be non-toxic, right? I had to make due with alternative products, some baking soda and vinegar, and a whole lot of elbow grease. That method works okay, but it’s not nearly as easy or efficient as the Spot Shot I used when I was a girl.

That’s why I was thrilled when MomCentral and Wd-40 offered to send me a Spot Shot demo kit, so I could test out the new and improved, non-toxic (YES, I said non-toxic) and environmentally friendly (YES, I said environmentally friendly) Spot Shot. I couldn’t wait to try it! The million dollar question was, of course, would it work as well as the old, fume-laden Spot Shot?

I received my Spot Shot demo kit in the mail. It was really cool, by the way, including a small carpet square, and bottles of amonia and chocolate to dump on said square. With my kids at a safe distance, I slathered the square with the amonia and chocolate sauce. Here’s what it looked like:

If I had a stinky, smelly mess like that on my living room carpet, I’d be extremely peeved, to say the least! After messing up the carpet square, I was supposed to spray the new Spot Shot on the stain and ammonia, then blot with a rag (also provided in the kit!). Then I was supposed to spray and blot, spray and blot, etc, until the stain and odor were gone. In less than five minutes, with absolutely no scrubbing, I had one very wet, spotlessly clean, totally odorless carpet square! Here’s what it looked like:

My son, who watched the proceedings very carefully, simply said, “COOL!” and I have to agree! I was amazed! Not only does the new Spot Shot work just as well as the original, but it has almost no odor at all! I’m hooked on the new, environmentally friendly, non-toxic Spot Shot, and I believe in it as firmly as my step-dad always has believed in the old version. Sorry, Rich, but it looks like a new best carpet cleaner has come to town!


Check out this video:

And this one:

Thanks to the One2One Network, I received a copy of Melee’s new cd, Devils & Angels. Not only are these guys really, really cute, but they’re incredibly talented! They write their own music, which is rare these days, and I really liked the cd. The music is rockin’, without being anrgry, but it’s not lite and sleepy, either. Watch the video above to see what I’m talking about. No swear words, either, which makes a huge difference when young kids are around!

When I got the cd to review, I honestly didn’t think I’d care for it too much. Now, after listening to it only a couple of times, I have to admit that I’m a fan! I think that Melee is a band to watch, and I expect great things from them! Angels & Devils is in stores now. You can buy it right this instant on Amazon. I highly recommend this cd!

Thanks to Family Review Network, I recently had the opportunity to order and review a costume from Honestly, the hardest thing about this review was choosing a costume! This website has quite a wide selection of Halloween costumes, and I felt a bit like a kid in a candy store, imagining my children dressing up in each one of these cool outfits. My daughter wanted everything, and my son is still hoping for a werewolf costume (unfortunately, they don’t have that one), so I decided to get my daughter the Tinkerbell Ballerina Halloween Costume. It’s sooooooooooooo cute!!

The prices at are very reasonable, and the costume arrived in the mail in good shape, less than a week after I ordered it, and my little girl had to try it on immediately of course! She loves the costume, and was so excited that she wouldn’t quite stand still to have her picture taken:

Every year, it’s the same story for my family. We rush around the week (okay I admit it: sometimes the day) before Halloween, dragging ourselves from store to store, until our kids find a costume that’s “just right.” That’s why this year, I’ve vowed to buy my costumes online. Buying this Tinkerbell costume was completely painless, effortless, and actually fun! What a far cry from the Halloween shopping I’ve become accustomed to! Check out Maybe you’ll find your child the perfect costume in the comfort of your own living room!


Sometimes, I feel like listening is the last skill my kids will ever learn, if they learn it at all! Some days, I feel like I’m a record player that’s gotten stuck, because I have to repeat myself so many times! “Put on yoru shoes. Put on your shoes. Put on your shoes.” “Don’t put things in the oven. Don’t put things in the oven. Hey! Do NOT put that in the oven!” Know what I mean?

My children’s listening skills could definitely use some work. That’s why I was super-thrilled when MomCentral offered me the chance to test out and review one Noodleboro game from Hasbro. I was even more thrilled when I received the Pizza Palace game, which is all about learning to listen! As soon as the box arrived, my kids and I cracked it open and gave it a whirl. I have to admit that the first couple of times we tried to play the game were rough. My kids, with their selective hearing, were so excited about the new game and all the funny pizza topping cards (dinosaur skull, stinky socks, etc.), they were completely ignoring me! They wanted to carry the cards around and forget about the game! Then I had a brilliant (if I do say so myself) idea that changed our experience with this Noodleboro game from stressful to enjoyable.

I have always believed that we, as parents, teach our kids more by our actions than by our words. If we want our children to listen to us, we have to listen to them. Still, it takes time. I do try to listen, really listen, to my kids when they’re speaking. Part of me thinks that this non-listening phase is just something kids go through, and they’ll eventually grow out of. But, it would be nice if this game helped them work on their listening skills now. So, I decided to play the game in reverse! Normally, in the Pizza Palace game, the parent orders a pizza with various toppings, and the child has to listen in order to fill the order correctly. We switched it around, and I made the pizzas. My kids loved it, and after I showed that I could listen to them well enough to make their silliest, most complicated pizzas, they were willing to settle down and test out their own listening skills. Much to my surprise, they both did exceptionally well when their turns came! So now I know that they can listen, when they want to!

The bottom line is this: The Noodleboro Pizza Palace game isn’t a miracle fix for teaching kids to listen, but I don’t think there ever will be a miracle fix for teaching kids good manners. It’s something you have to work on, again and again and again. And since we have to work on it so much, why not enlist the help of a product that will make the learning fun?

The Noodleboro games come with a book that teaches a lesson about the skills in question, and also a cd taht has fun songs and reads the story out loud. My daughter loves the book and still reads it almost daily!

In addition to the Pizza Palace game, there’s a Picnic Basket game (please & thank you) and a Fun Park game (sharing).

You can win a Noodleboro game! Take this quick, easy survey and be entered to win one of 200 Noodleboro games, thanks to MomCentral and Hasbro! Here’s the link:

Read on to learn how to win a Peekaru Original!

If you haven’t figured it out already, I’ll confess: I am a babywearing fanatic! I truly do love all things babywearing, and I get almost absurdly excited when I find a super-cool new babywearing product, especially when you consider the fact that neither one of my kids will allow me to wear them any more!

Recently, I made what I consider to be a tremendous babywearing discovery. It’s called the Peekaru Original, and -call me a nerd if you must- it’s one of the coolest things I’ve seen for quite a long time! There are several basic types of carriers out there, and although each brand modifies and individualizes, the carriers can still be classified into a certain group (slings, mei tais, wraps, etc.). However, once in a while a fresh, completely new baby carrier or accessory will come along and make me think, Wow, I’ve never seen anything like that before! That’s how I felt when I saw the Peekaru Original. This baby carrier accessory looked so cool that I just had to try it out and see how it worked first-hand. Thanks to the good folks at TogetherBe, I got my chance to try out a Peekaru Original, and I’d like to give you a chance, too. But first, my review:

The Peekaru Original is a fleece vest that fits over any soft baby carrier, when baby is on your front. Approximately 85% of this fleece is recycled, saving about 25 plastic bottles from lanfills with each Peekaru made! I found the Peekaru very easy to use. The packaging includes detailed instructions in both words and pictures, which made slipping it on a breeze! It was very warm and cozy, and the mom and baby head holes fit just like shirt openings, with a zipper at the collar of mom’s (or dad’s). In colder weather, a coat can be worn, unzipped over the Peekaru Original. Best of all, the Peekaru is available in several sizes and colors, perfect for women or men. My only regret is that I didn’t discover this amazing product earlier. When my daughter was a happily worn baby, there were many times I had to stick her in her car seat -kicking and screaming- so that I could keep her warm when we went somewhere. If I’d had a Peekaru back then, the car seat would have been reserved for car trips only!

Now, I’d like to offer you the chance to win a Peekaru Original! To win a black Peekaru Original in size Large (12-14), read more about the Peekaru. Then, come back here and tell me what you like best about this product.

To Obtain Extra Entried for all This week’s Babywearing Giveaways, you can do one or all of the following things:

  • Blog about the Babywearing Bonanza
  • Grab my Babywearing Bonanza Button (see my sidebar) and place it in your sidebar
  • Email five people about the Babywearing Bonanza, and Cc me at: wamcmann(at)telebeep(dot)com

If you choose to earn extra entries, be sure to let me know, so I can give you credit for your hard work!

This giveaway ends on September 11, 2008, at 11:59 p.m. CST.