The Toydozer – Giveaway

We have approximately 4,728,193 Legos in this house. So when I received an e-mail about reviewing a fun toy called The Toydozer – an innovative product that allows parents and kids to spend less time cleaning and more time playing – I was all, where do I sign up?

From the Toydozer website:

Toy clean up time is often as tedious as it is time-consuming, but yet it remains a necessary evil of parenting. With the Toydozer, your days of crawling helplessly around on the floor picking up every last tiny toy piece are over. This innovative new product promises to make the clean up process fun and efficient for both parents and kids.

The Toydozer is simple and easy to use, and the results are dramatic. The “gatherer” is designed to work like the blade of a bulldozer and the “scoop” is modeled after a bulldozer scoop. Users hold on to the “gatherer” to collect small toys into the lightweight “scoop” and then dump the toys into their respective toy bins or containers. With just a few scoops of the Toydozer, clean up time is over in no time.

Stevie [and his Legos] had the chance to put the Toydozer to the test.

It honestly took me longer to get my fingers in place on my camera than it did for him to get this pile of Legos picked up. In fact, after three or four attempts to get some good pictures for this post, he asked, “Do you need me to do it slower?” My response was, “Yes, that will help a bunch!”

 And as an added bonus, he enjoyed using the Toydozer to get the job done.

The Toydozer retails for $18.99, ships free anywhere in the United States and Canada. The product is available exclusively on the website. It comes in three vibrant colors: blue, yellow and purple. Each Toydozer features orange Velcro tabs that attach the gatherer to the scoop when not in use for easy storage.


The kind folks at the Toydozer have graciously offered to provide a Toydozer for giveaway. In addition, I’ll be giving away one Toydozer also. To enter, simply leave a comment telling me what types of toys you’ll be picking up if you win the Toydozer.


In honor of mothers everywhere who are tired of picking up Legos, Polly Pockets, and blocks, the folks at Toydozer are offering a 20% discount to my readers. If you don’t win, simply enter the code BLOGGER20 at checkout to take advantage of this great savings.


For Extra [Optional] Entries: You may receive an extra entry for any or all of the following; just make sure to leave a separate comment for each.

1. Follow Toydozer on Twitter or Facebook. Or both!

2. Follow From Inmates To Playdates on Facebook

In the interest of full disclosure: This post is part of a Toydozer blogger outreach campaign. Participating bloggers have been provided with a complimentary Toydozer to review and have been compensated for their time.

FINE PRINT: Winners must have a U.S. or Canadian mailing address. A winner will be chosen with the help of Random.Org on Monday, April 9th after noon. I will announce the winners on Facebook and I will also send a personal e-mail. If a reply is not received within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen.

Phew. I think that’s it!


Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2012-04-11 02:33:54 UTC

Congratulations to Angie, who commented on April 4, 2012 at 7:43 AM.

Christmas Tour Of Homes

Welcome to From Inmates To Playdates. Come on in, I’ve been expecting you!

Can I interest you in a snack? Normally I drink Dr. Pepper but sometimes we get all wild and crazy around here and shake things up with some Cherry Crush. Oh, and don’t forget the Little Debbie Christmas tree cakes. (That Debbie sure knows how to make a cake!)

There’s lots to see around here, so I’ll do my best to keep the commentary to a minimum, but if you’ve spent any amount of time around here you know that isn’t going to be easy.

I absolutely love our Christmas tree. It makes me all kinds of happy to sit in the dark and watch it rotate.

And, as an added bonus, I’ve added a tree to our downstairs rec-room. I intend to put presents under the tree that match the turquoise theme. Only time will tell if that will really happen. (Oh, and if I had any sense whatsoever, I would have fixed the ribbon on the bottom of the tree before snapping the picture.)

This is my husband, McDaddy. He decorates the loft every year because I’m a klutz and I’m afraid of falling from the ledge and breaking something.

This is the Christmas “through the years” table. In addition to the crazy creation of Longaberger, a candle and a some Christmas bulbs which came about in a fit of anxiety about what to do with 20 some odd Christmas bulbs that were rolling off the table, I’ve got pictures of our boys with Santa over the past seven years. This table makes me all kinds of happy!

I changed up my dining table a bit this year. I found this really cute snowman collection of stuff at Kohls (which by the way has some fabulous deals and sales and whathaveyou!) and couldn’t resist.

Wave to McDaddy! As you can see, he’s risking life and limb to put decorations up there.

As you can tell, I love snowmen! (But I HATE snow!)

In fact, our bay window is full of them.

And so is our bathroom.

And in the loft, too!

Didn’t McDaddy do a wonderful job? Plus, you’ll be happy to know he did it all without falling or breaking something.

 This is my one-of-a-kind vintage nativity set.

I call it vintage because it dates back to 1985. And I call it one-of-a-kind because I painted it in ceramics when I was 12 years old.

So yeah, vintage and one-0f-a-kind. Kinda like this little crazy-eyed sucker who is waving goodbye!

 And that, as they say, is that! Unless you want to grab a cookie on your way out the door.

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

Oh, and if you have any desire to read one of those dreaded Christmas letters our annual family Christmas letter, you can go here.

Thanks for stopping by!

This post is linked to The Christmas Tour of Homes.

Reason To Celebrate

 I have always been big on holidays.

Which is why I was surprised to discover that I missed my second blog anniversary. No gifts. No fanfare. No nothing.

That’s right folks, my little blog, From Inmates To Playdates blog turned two years old four days ago.

[Insert party horns and confetti here]

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank those of you who have been here since the beginning (all eight of you!) because I know it is not always easy to decipher my thoughts. For the other four of you, who are new around  these hallowed halls, here’s a glimpse of what you’ve missed.

My original blog design looked like this:

Then, my little princess grew up and wanted to show off her bod and the rest, as they say, is history.

My first post was titled, A Hearty Welcome and if you haven’t read it, you totally should because it gives a little background info to explain the whole “from inmates to playdates” thing.

If you’re wondering why I’m still using the same profile picture on my blog it’s because there aren’t too many good hair days around here and even when there are, I’m usually home by myself or at the mercy of a five-year-old to take the picture, and well, you can see the dilemma. At any rate, I like the picture and it will probably be there awhile.

You might be surprised to learn that this is my 757th post.

Folks, that is a lot of crazy.

Plus, I’ve got 11 posts waiting in the wings. You know, for a rainy day.

In addition to that I’ve had 4,933 comments which is nothing when you consider that I’ve had 10,484 STUPID SPAM COMMENTS. I hate SPAMMERS. There, I said it. I think there is a special section in a very hot place reserved for spammers.

Anyway, I’d just like to thank each of you who return here day after day to partake of my crazy.

Here’s to another two years. 

Happy Friday to you!

CSN Stores Dot Com

I was recently contacted by a company called CSN about the possibility of reviewing one of their products. They have over 200 stores and offer just about anything you or I or anyone else for that matter could dream of. They have an entire web-site dedicated to bedroom furniture sets and strangely enough one dedicated to massage chairs of all things. Sadly, that’s not what I’ll be reviewing. Instead, I’m waiting for one of these….

Head over to my Review Page for more.

Me and My Tiara

Red White and Blue Swap

A few days ago, I posted about a bloggy swap I was participating in.

The red, white and blue swap, hosted by Our Dandelion Wishes is taking place this week and packages are arriving on doorsteps all over the United States. Because of a glitch in scheduling (on my part!) my partner and I sent our packages a few days early.

The only instructions given were that each item had to be red, white, or blue, or all three. (Well, if you’ve ever participated in a swap hosted by Mamarazzi, you know there are hundreds of instructions, but I’m all about organization, so the instructions make me smile!) I was paired up with DivaEva from Daily Dose of Eva.

It seems she doses out a daily dose of Eva. And I dish a daily dose of crazy here at my place, so as you can probably imagine, we make a great pair!

I received my swap package on Friday. Can I just say that Eva went above and beyone with this little package. First of all, it was filled with little red, white, and blue metallic stars and blue tissue paper. It also included a sign that said, red, white and NEVER blue! I loved that and thought it was a sweet touch! Oh, and there was bling!

I just love getting a box of unique goodies, especially goodies that each have a note attached to them. I tore through that package like I meant business. Before unwrapping the stuff, I managed to snap a picture of the note Eva sent.

And just have a look at all of this great stuff!

 I was like a kid in a candy store.

Do you see the red box with white polka-dots? That happens to be a box of red velvet cupcakes. That’s not what I want you to see though. If you look just in front of the red box with white polka-dots, you’ll see this little jewel, which just so happens to be my favorite thing about Eva’s swap package.

 Can you believe that?

My very own tiara.

I squealed with delight, y’all!

With delight! I couldn’t believe Eva sent such a wonderful little gift!

And look what else was in there…

 This is a hand-crafted “charm” (that I intend to wear as a necklace) made by Eva’s best friend. I just love that it is one of a kind!

Oh, and did I mention she sent me a tiara? Because she totally did!

And I might or might not have spent the better part of an hour snapping candid pictures of myself in the tiara before going to bed on Saturday night.

I’m a nerd, oh yes, I am!

Because just look at this thing.

So sweet of her to send that! I just love it!

The tiara is propped up on a ‘white’ paper umbrella that is decoratable (is that a word?). I have never seen anything like it, but it is very unique and I will treasure it.

Oh, and just in case you forgot, I got a tiara.

Here’s another picture of the goodies.

1. Little white paper umbrella

2. Red poppy grow kit

3. Red Boa

4. Really cute oven mitt and potholder

5. Little red bottle of bubbles

6. The custom “charm”

7. Red Velvet Cupcakes

8. Glow In The Dark Jumbo Glow Stick shaped like a ladybug

9. Jalapeno Lemonade (unique, I tell you!)

10. Body jewels (blue star) which I may wear as a tramp stamp on our camping trip this weekend just for kicks!

11. Blue martini glass

12. Pomegranate martini lipgloss

13. Oh look! It’s a tiara.

14. Cosmopolitan Martini Mix (Can you mix that stuff with sprite?)

15. The empty box

Wow. Just wow. I was overwhelmed with all the great stuff.

Especially this cute little booger.

Raise your hand if you think Queen Elizabeth takes candid pictures of herself in her crown? I bet she does because I’m telling you its a blast!

I guess it’s safe to say I enjoyed Mamarazzi’s red, white, and blue swap! I appreciate Eva putting a rush on my box so that I could post before leaving for the week!

Before sending Eva’s stuff a packin’ I decided to wrap each item and include a short poem. 

My box of goodies included a rubber pot holder, a blue plastic freezer cup, Blue Raspberry twister, Red, white and blue DOTS, a white shower puff, a fluffy red hand towel, red nail polish, a white magic eraser, blue Dentyne, a flag key-chain, a serious red, white and blue earring set (I say serious because the hoops were huge but I couldn’t pass them up because? hello, they were red, white, and blue!), and a candy apple red candle. I hope Eva is enjoying her goodies!!!

A big thanks to Eva for swapping stuff with me and to Mamarazzi for hosting another great swap!!! You can check out other swap partners over at Our Dandelion Wishes!

Bloggy Swaps work for me!

This post is linked to Works For Me Wednesday over at We Are THAT Family!

Happy Birthday Cake

For my mom’s birthday, a friend of hers made a really cool birthday cake out of candy bars and various little pieces of candy.

That evening she brought it to dinner because she knew my boys would love it.

Every waiter and waitress that passed our table stopped to admire it and asked if we sold them.

A few weeks later, I made one for my sister-in-law, Bridget.

First, you’ll need approximately 19 candy bars, an assortment of mini candy bars, Hershey kisses, peppermints, and whatever else you might want to include, as well as aluminum foil, a glue gun, 3 Styrofoam rings from Michael’s or some other hobby store for flowers, ribbon, scrapbook stickers or foam stickers, as well as a tiny bit of patience.

Begin by covering the styrofoam rings with aluminum foil like so.

Then, carefully hot glue candy bars around the edge of the styrofoam foil wrapped rings. (Try saying that three times real fast!)

If you have a quality glue-gun, you can continue on your merry way until you get the styrofoam rings covered. If you decided however to splurge on a new-fangled cordless glue gun, the gun will probably give out after the fifth or sixth candy bar and your birthday cake will have to wait until another day as was the case with this cake.

After covering the rings with candy bars, fill in the spots above the shorter candy bars (Kit Kat and Snickers) with miniature candy bars. Cover the entire top of the cake with peppermint candies and miniature candy bars.

Wrap a colorful piece of ribbon around the cake, hot-gluing it to the candy bars.

[NOTE: I attempted to drop a strip of hot-glue on the top and bottom of the ribbon for the entire length of the ribbon. This resulted in a serious burn on my thumb when the ribbon wrapped itself around my fingers.]

Next, add scrapbook stickers or foam stickers on top of the ribbon. In my case, the letters read, “Happy Birthday, Bridget”

After the top is covered carefully hot-glue candles on the top of the cake.

For other Work For Me Wednesday posts, head over to We Are THAT Family.

Red White and Blue SwapWell alrightythen.

Looks like I got in on Mamarazzi’s Red, White and Blue Swap.

Wonder what my swap partner will send?

Wouldn’t it be great if somehow I finally received a sweet little Saturn Sky?

After all, there are lots of choices.

Chili pepper red?

Polar white?

Or perhaps midnight blue?

I’d be thrilled with either of them.

Do you think the post office makes a shipping box big enough to hold one of the suckers?

Stay Tuned.

Swap packages will be sent out on Wednesday!

A Little Picnik

I do not consider myself to be a photographer. Which is probably obvious to most of you who visit ‘From Inmates To Playdates’ frequently.

I enjoy taking pictures and I like for my pictures to look nice because I am a blogger and a scrapbooker.

For quite some time I’ve hinted to McDaddy that I’d like to have photoshop.

The only problem is that photoshop costs hundreds of dollars and if I’m going to spend hundreds of dollars on something, it should include carat weight or the initials iPad. And anyway, there’s a pretty good chance, I wouldn’t even be able to navigate my way through it. Basically, I just need a program that allows me to add borders, round corners, color correct and add text to the photographs.

I’ve used photobucket for my photographic needs since I began this blog, but I’m not real thrilled with its options.

Then, a few weeks ago, someone talked to be about Picnik.

They didn’t ask me to go on a picnik, they told me about Picnik. As in

You can totally thank me later.

Upon uploading (or is it downloading? I never know!) a photo, you have several options that will allow you to round your edges, add borders (thick, thin, double, or single), write text on photos and lots of other cool options.

There is a premium option, but I don’t know much about it. I do know that the wrinkle remover and blemish fixer hides out in Premiumville, so I may go premium very soon. (IF I HAD wrinkles or blemishes, I could still fix those on photobucket for free). Also, purchasing the premium version allows you to upload 100 pictures at once. (Which I’m not sure I would ever need anyway!)

And speaking of photobucket, picnik allows you to save your photos directly to photobucket or flickr or a number of other photo storage sites. And, it does all of that pretty quickly. Not to mention, it SUPER EASY to use which is great if you are me, because I don’t catch on to things quickly.

Here are a few examples of what you can do over at







If you are looking for an easy photography editing program, you should try picnik.

It sure works for me!

Check out other things that might work for you at We Are THAT Family.

Love Is A Choice

So, my friend Heather, over at Desperately Seeking Sanity had an idea for a blog swap. It works kinda like Wife Swap, only instead of swapping wives, we are swapping blogs. When I read about the opportunity to trade bloggy spaces, I quickly added my name to the list of swap partners and waited to hear who I’d be paired up with.

My blog swap partner is Lisa Boyd over at Simply His. She’s posting here at From Inmates To Playdates today, and I’ll be posting over at her place. To welcome, Lisa here at Inmates, Inc., I’ve rolled out the welcome mat and set out some refreshements on the table. Pull up a chair and get comfy as you read Lisa’s post. Then, visit me over at her place.


As that familiar tune started, my friends and I squealed and ran onto the dance floor. We lined up in a circle — girls on the outside facing in, guys on the inside facing out. We began the dance steps that would take us around the circle, dancing with every guy there. When I first saw him, I thought to myself Dream on! I am so out of your league! You could never have a woman like me! We were in a country bar, dancing to country music and he was … well ya’ll, not country at all.

The next time I saw him he had changed his outward appearance which got my attention — a little — but what he did got under my skin. He danced with every woman there but me. I was furious. Why wasn’t he dancing with me? I could make him look so good out there on the dance floor! Finally we started dating and eventually married. Over the years we’ve had our struggles. We’ve had good times and rough times.

Mother’s Day was a little tough for me. Not because I’ve lost my mother or because I’m not one (Mom’s doing awesome and I have a very smart daughter), but because the pastor preached on the Proverbs 31 woman. As I sat there listening to all the things the P31 woman did, I had the urge to smack her. Why did she have to do all those things and do them well? Why couldn’t I do even half those things?

I confided in my husband that I felt like a failure. The house is a mess. I don’t cook. I don’t clean. I don’t do laundry. I don’t feel like I’m very successful in running my own business. I’m not a good homemaker. He just smiled and held me tight. He said that when he was listening to the sermon, all he could think about was how much he loved me and how thankful he was for all that I do. He went on to list things that I do that I just don’t even really give myself credit for.

Through it all I’ve learned that love is not a feeling … it’s a choice. I obviously don’t believe in love at first sight, but I got to know him and somewhere along the way I made the choice to love him. And I’m so very thankful he made the choice to love me back. Some people make it easy to choose to love them. Some make it very hard. Who can you choose to love today?

Lisa Boyd is a coke addict (red-and-white can preferably) who loves to play softball and ride her Harley. She’s often accused of having an affair with her laptop. Thankful her husband got her attention 16 years ago, she’s trying to raise her daughter to not be stuck on herself. She’s very thankful Jesus made the choice to love her and stay on that cross. You can read her ramblings at simply His.