Saturday, August 28, 2010

My dinnerware dream...

I could really use some dinnerware. We, I guess I should say, could really use some new dinnerware. Our dinnerware cost about twenty bucks at Wally World six years ago. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that,” as Seinfeld would say.

There is a time in your life when you need all purpose twenty dollar dinnerware. That time is when you are in your teens and early twenties and you are on your own for the first time. When we were early twenty-somethings, we were thrilled to have guests over to eat on our multi purpose formal dinnerware. Oh did I mention that it happened to be our informal dinnerware as well? Yes, this is what I mean when I say multi-purpose.

Shame on me, I’ve been mentioning our dinnerware the entire time and have not bothered to introduce you to each-other! That’s okay- it’s a quick fix. Plain black dinnerware meet the reader, reader meet plain black dinnerware. That is basically the extent of introduction necessary. And I’m sure the dinnerware you are picturing in your mind is exactly what we have…shiny, black porcelain dinnerware. Every story is better with a picture right? Not in this case. I’ll spare you because I am absolutely positive that the picture you’ve formed in your brain is what we have.

How did we obtain said dinnerware? Well, I believe that at the time of purchase it was on our registry and I was so hoping to get it at my bridal shower. Did we or didn’t we? I can’t recall. But I do know that we ended up making it ours and were very happy with the purchase, thank you very much.

Now I’ll be honest with you: I’m extreeeemely clumsy. Well, I used to be. Now I’m just a little clumsy. Had I purchased (even if I had the money then, which I didn’t) a fancy set of dinnerware, it would’ve been almost immediately destroyed. I’ve managed to mangle even my starter set of dinnerware so totally that we are down to three bowls out of the eight we started with.

Now in the past year of my life (2009) our family had some changes. Firstly, my husband had a kidney transplant. At all times, one or both of us lived about four hours away for six weeks. I could only work sporadically during this time. That is the first six week break I took from teaching in ’09. Shortly after we arrived home in about April, we found out that I was twelve weeks along. That’s right, we were expecting.

Fast forward a few months when I give birth to a beautiful baby boy. I have to have gall bladder surgery (of all things) just five weeks after the birth of my son. I’m off work another six weeks. Imagine missing three months of paycheck. Uh, yeah, not easy to do. I know that dinnerware is not really the most important thing right now, but I have a dream. A dream were we can entertain and have enough formal dinnerware that we don’t have to serve a meal on PAPER PLATES. A dream where I can be proud of the dinnerware we serve on. A dream where my dinnerware is Mikasa. I might be a few weeks or months (okay, let me be completely honest- probably more than a year) away from that. I mean, we are still paying hospital bills.

I'm not a fine china type of gal. I don't like the the kind that is put up in some hutch for-eva that is meant for decoration. To me that is just more to have to dust, and I do not care to dust anymore than I have to. I mean, I can appreciate people who have it in their home as a showpiece but I would much prefer to be able to get use out of my dinnerware. I would love to be abe to get a set for every-day use that's pretty informal. Maybe one that has square placesettings. And then I'd want a set of formal dinnerware too. (Sigh) However, since we do still have enough dinnerware to be able to eat on, I think there are other things we must prioritize. A gal can dream though, yes? Does anyone have dinnerware older and/or cheaper than ours?

Disclosure: This was a sponsored post based on my opinions. But I really would like some new Mikasa dinnerware cause mine is really long past its' expiration date. So if you have some to giveaway let me know...Hey, I'm just sayin' !

Winner of brochures

I used to pick a winner of the 100 Full color brochures. I want to say thank you to all of the participants. I also want to thank brochures printing online for allowing me to do this giveaway! The winner is susansmoaks. Thanks again for all of the entries!

If you did not win this time around, stay tuned! I have several reviews and giveaways coming up next month. Plus I have two other giveaways going on right now. Have a great weekend!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Rock 'N Learn Contest

This is just a quick post to announce a contest going on at Rock 'N Learn. To celebrate the launch of their iPad application, they’ll be giving away an iPad! I don't know about you but I would love to win one! To enter the contest go on over to Rock 'N Learn This contest has easy entry- just type in your name and email address. The winner will be announced on September 30. You should definitely take about a minute and go on over and enter. Good luck!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Social Parade-Follow on Fridays

Well I remembered to do the Social Parade Follow on Friday tonight. I'm excited to discover new blogs to love.

Smart and Trendy Moms

I am also doing Boost-My-Blog-Friday. There are no rules here!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Brochure printing giveaway


Small business owners, bloggers, teachers, and other interested parties, I am so excited to have the opportunity to give away a prize that can be of great value to you. Thanks to brochures printing online I have the opportunity to give away 100 tri-fold brochures. This is more than a $75 value!

Here are the details. The winner will receive 100 8.5" x 11" tri-fold brochures printed on 100lb paper gloss. The winner can choose the Z-fold or Trifold/Letterfold folding. And lastly, the brochures will have color on BOTH sides. Yay!

Wondering about ways that you can use these? Well as a teacher I immediately thought of making these up to explain my classroom procedures/policies. These could be handed out during open house and they would make a lovely, professional presentation. I don't know about you all but my school printer only prints in BLACK ink, so a crisp and colorful brochure would be a special treat! Later on in the year I would have students create a brochure of their own on regular paper and they would be able to look at my example brochure to get them started.

As a small business owner, no doubt brochures are an excellent way of marketing. The visual presentation can catch the eye of potential customers and perhaps entice them to purchase the product. If you are just starting out as a small business owner this is the perfect opportunity to advance! Here's another idea, brochures online will even print real estate brochures.

Bloggers, bloggers, bloggers, what would I do with these brochures being both a blogger and a teacher? I would most likely make some brochures for my blog! I would make up brochures to give to local companies to use as PR. How professional would it make your blog appear to send out polished, beautiful brochures? Riiight! If you are in the market to expand your blog growth then brochure printing is one way to do that.

The possibilities are endless. Whatever your reason for wanting brochures, here is your chance to win! Here are the requirements:

Mandatory entries (must do this before all other entries count): First sign up to follow me on GFC or subscribe. Then go to brochures online and look at the types of brochures. Come back and tell me what kind you would be interested in receiving.

For 2 additional entries EACH:

+ Like me on facebook . My name is Mystery Shopping Teacher
+ Follow me on twitter
+ Tweet about this contest! You may do it once a day. Copy and paste
I'm entering to win 100 full color printed brochures on! Check it out!
+Put my blog button on your blog
+Post the following as your status on your facebook page:
I'm entering to win 100 full color printed brochures on ! Check it out!

Each of these earn one additional entry
+Follow my blog on networked blogs
+Leave a comment on any other post on this site
+Enter another of my contests
+Leave a comment telling me where you saw this giveaway listed

This contest starts Friday the 13th, and runs until Friday, August 27th.This contest is limited to residents of the U.S. who are 18 or older. I will choose a winner via and post the winners name on my website as well as emailing them. The winner must reply within 2 days or I will choose another winner. The brochures will be sent on or before the end of the month! Enjoy the possiblities!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

One hundred followers/subscribers Dingo doggie coupon giveaway- $20 value!

Now if you have furry friends who love Dingo dog treats, this contest is for you! I got a coupon for $20 off of selected merchandise from I am not going to use it so I thought I'd give it away to one of my readers! I'm trying to get to 100 subscribers and 100 GFC followers so this contest will end when both of those things happen, or December 15th- whichever happens first.

Here is what will happen if you win: I will email you my user name and password for along with the coupon code (sorry, I couldn't have it transferred, but you can change the password once you log in). You can purchase goodies on the Dingo website and use the $20 coupon but you will be responsible for shipping- a great deal!!

Here are the products available for the discount: Dingo Munchy Stix, Dyno Stix, Wag'n Wraps Slims Beef, Double Meat Bone Small, Dental Minis, Beefy Minis, Original Rawhide Bone Small, Molded Bone Medium, and the Molded Bone Large.

There are lots of ways to enter, but these two are mandatory:

Follow with Google friend connect and subscribe!

Other ways to enter:

+ Put my blog button on your blog (if you have at least 50 followers or subscribers- worth three entries).
+ Follow me on twitter: @mysshopnteacher. Leave a comment with your twitter name(two entries).
+ Tweet about this contest on twitter- you can do this once daily (two entries). Copy and paste:
I'm trying to win a $20 Dingo dog treat coupon! Go to or follow @mysshopnteacher.
+ Like me on Facebook. My facebook name is Mystery Shopping Teacher (two entries).

+ Post the following on your facebook page and copy and paste the link in a comment (two entries). Paste this:
I'm trying to win a $20 Dingo dog treat coupon from . Easy entry!
+ Follow my blog on networked blogs (one entry).
+ Leave me a comment telling me where you saw this giveaway posted (one entry).
+ Leave a comment on any other post on my site (one entry).
The contest is open to individuals 18 or older. This giveaway is open until I get one hundred GFC followers and subscribers. I will pick one winner via and will post the winner on my blog and send an email. Hope you will join me!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Review and Giveaway of Rock 'N Learn Phonics Volumes 1 & 2

It's almost back to school time and wow, summer has just flown by! I'm getting prepared for the beginning of the school year, and I'm sure that parents and students are doing the same. Recently I was given the opportunity to review two awesome videos that I will be using in my fourth grade classroom: Rock 'N Learn Phonics Volume 1 and 2. Not only was I given two copies to review, I was also told that I could give one lucky winner both dvd's!

Rock 'N Learn was started in the mid-80's by two brothers with an idea and the desire to make learning fun. After more than twenty years, the Rock 'N Learn company has earned awards and honors for their products combining music and learning. The company has more than 50 products that both teachers and parents can use.

I started with Volume 1 which is recomended for ages 6 and up. As a teacher I immediately appreciated the fun interactive component to the video. The DVD features approximately 70 minutes of learning about vowel and consonant sounds through animations, music, and read-along sentences and stories. The songs are catchy and kinda made me want to tap my toe to the beat! I liked that the video included read along stories to help students with comprehension. One of the keys to learning and retention is repetition, so the practice stories are wonderful!

Volume two goes into more depth with vowels and consonants and builds on what is taught in the first volume. This video is also engaging and entertaining. Volume two has the same fun characters as volume one.It gives important rules for learning phonics and, like the first video, includes plenty of fun animation and music. Both videos use a mouth that speaks the words so that children can see how to pronounce the words.

As a teacher, I like the fact that music is used to teach and reinforce the vowel and consonant sounds. The presentation is appropriate for learning and I plan on using these videos in my classroom of 4th graders for differentiated instruction which is teaching to the level of the students. I often work with groups of students based on their level of need, so I feel that these videos would be of benefit to my students. From my experience my students love to sing along to videos and they also enjoy videos with animated characters. There is also a website of worksheets that go along with the videos. Click here to check it out.

As a parent I like the fact that the videos have a lot of information- both are 70 minutes or more. I don't think that these videos would be ones that I would show all at one time. Sometimes children (or really all of us) can get overwhelmed with too much information coming at one time so I were a parent showing these videos I would break them down into segments. That is what I will do with these in my classroom as well. Parents can get as involved as they care to with the videos, or children can also watch the videos independently. The worksheets can be used to complement the information learned in the videos, and there are even extension lessons.

Buy it: If you are not a winner of this contest, you can buy these and more Rock 'N Learn videos from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or even from Rock 'N Learn.

Win it: I have the opportunity to give both Phonics Volume 1 and Volume 2 to one lucky person (Valued at $35-$40)! Even if you don't have a child is there someone you know who this would make a good gift for? Oh, and don't forget to leave a contact email so that I can reach you if you are a winner! Here's how you enter:

Mandatory entry: Subscribe to my blog. You must make sure to click on the verification link in the email sent to you when you subscribe (If you are already a subscriber then pick one of the additional entries to participate). Then click here to go to Rock 'N Learn and tell me which product you would like and leave me a comment. This counts for three entries. If you skip this step your other entries will not count.

Additional entries (leave a comment to let me know):

+ Put my blog button on your blog (if you have at least 50 followers or subscribers- worth three entries).

+ Follow me on twitter: @mysshopnteacher. Leave a comment with your twitter name. I may tweet about additional opportunities to enter so this is a good way to stay in touch(two entries)!

+ Tweet about this contest on twitter- you can do this once daily(two entries). Copy and paste:

Rock 'N Learn Phonics Volume 1 and 2 giveaway for ages 6+ ($35-$40 value) ends 9/4. Follow @mysshopnteacher to learn more.

+ Follow me on Google friend connect(two entries).

+ Like me on Facebook . My facebook name is Mystery Shopping Teacher(two entries).

+ Like Rock 'N Learn on Facebook. Tell them that the Mystery Shopping Teacher sent you(two entries)!

+ Post the following on your facebook page and copy and paste the link in a comment(two entries). Paste this:

I'm entering the Rock 'N Learn Phonics Volume 1 and 2 giveaway for ages 6+ ($35-$40 value) and you should too! Go to for your chance to win!

+ Follow my blog on networked blogs(one entry).

+ Leave me a comment telling me where you saw this giveaway posted (one entry).

+ Leave a comment on any other post on my site (one entry).

The contest is open to individuals 18 or older. This giveaway is open until 9/4/10. I will pick one winner via and will post the winner on my blog and send an email. The winner will have 48 hours to give me shipping information or else an alternate will be chosen.You have lots of chances to win!

Disclosure: This is a non-paid post and all opinions mine! Rock 'N Learn provided me with Phonics Volume 1 and 2 to review. Thanks Rock 'N Learn!

Social Parade-Follow on Fridays

So it's Friday and I'm trying something new to find new blogs to follow and meet new people. You can check it out by clicking the button!
Smart and Trendy Moms

Giveaway Scout

Do you like winning things? You've come to the right place. I love giving things away but I am not always able to, unfortunately. No worries, I've found this new site that features tons of giveaways. If you're like me, and I know you are, you want to win something! Well if you go to Giveaway Scout and sign up for the newsletter you will receive updates when new giveaways are listed. Sign up for new giveaways daily and you'll increase your odds of winning. Check it out here!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Giveaway~ not mine but definitely worth entering!

Hi there! I love awesome giveaways and here is one that I think is worth entering! The giveaway is for a mother's ring from Kranich's. Now this is not just for women- men think gifts for the wife too! It ends tonight so get on over to to get your entries in. Have a great day.


CashNet Sweepstakes