The Hip-T -- hip or slip?

I was browsing around blogger Miranda's website, when one of the sponsors of her Blogaversary Party caught my eye: the My hip-T. My eyes lit up when I saw it because I have a long-ish torso and I'm always looking for long-ish tops to cover it up. I went over to their site and discovered that the product is not actually a top, it's a spandex band -- like a strapless tank top -- that you wear around your hips, under your regular tops, and it effectively covers up your plumber's butt, muffin top, and other unsightly sights.
So, what do you think? Should I buy? Shouldn't I? I dunnooooo....... I would have preferred a real top. But then again, if I buy one or two in basic colors, I can wear them with low-cut jeans, under all my shorter tops, and I don't have to buy a whole new wardrobe of long-ish tops. Maybe I'll just join their hip_T giveaway and try to snag a free one for myself!
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Free pancakes at iHop!

Happy Shrove Tuesday! Everyone in England is eating pancakes today, so we're gonna go with the flow and have pancakes for dinner. The thing is, English pancakes are more like crepes, cooked very thin and served rolled up with powdered sugar and lemon juice. I'm too lazy to make regular fluffy American pancakes as it is, let alone figure out how to make the English stuff. So maybe we'll just scrounge off IHOP, who are offering free pancakes today!

Yes, you heard me, everyone gets a free short stack of IHOP pancakes from 7AM till 10PM. Tomorrow is also National Pancake Day and instead of charging for their pancakes, IHOP is hoping you all will donate some money to the Children's Miracle Network. Now that's something to flip over.
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Our New Sun Life clothes

My order from Land's End arrived today with new Sun Life outfits for all 3 kids: Short sleeved solid colored shirts and solid colored shorts for the boys, and a short-sleeved shirt with a cute flower design on it for The Pea. They love their new summer clothes -- the colors are gorgeous (3Po picked a yellow shirt and olive shorts, Jammy got a light blue shirt and navy shorts, and The Pea's shirt is pink) and the fit is great.
I'm stil on the fence about the look and feel of the clothes, though -- too much like swimwear. The kids were quite confused -- the boys kept asking if these were swimming clothes. The fabric is almost identical to the material used for rashguard shirts, and indeed they do look like rashguard shirts. The shorts have very similar material and cut to swim trunks, so when the kids walk around in these clothes inthe summer, I wonder if people will think they're on their way to the pool. Not that it matters given the peace of mind I'm getting with the UPF 50 protection.
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Too Tall Alice

When I first heard of Too Tall Alice by Barbara Worton, I knew immediately that I wanted to review it. This children's book tells the story of Alice, who is ".... tall. Not T-Rex or Empire State Building tall. Just four inches taller than the other girls in her class." And to a young girl, that might just as well be Empire State Building tall. Alice just wants to be as tall as the rest of the girls in her class -- just like I did.

See, I'm tall. In the US, 5' 8" isn't tall, but given that the average height of a Filipino male is 5' 4", and the average height of a Filipino female is 4'11", in the Philippines that makes me tall. I was 5' 6" at 11 years old and I hated it. I was always the tallest in my class; always at the back of the line, at the back row in class photos, and always the girl who had to play Prince Charming in all of our school plays (I went to an all-girls school). Until I entered college, I was as tall or taller than most of the boys I knew. I wondered if boys were intimidated by my height and developed a slouch.

Can you tell I'm emotionally involved in this book?

Too Tall Alice will resonate with children who wish they were like everybody else, whether they feel they are too tall or short or skinny or chubby or quiet or whatever. I love the message of self confidence and empowerment. Even the cartoon illustrations and whimsical text support this theme -- just the right mix of mermaids and athletes, more "girl power" than "girly".

Poor Alice is self-conscious and miserable about her height. She dreams she goes to a land filled with tall people who are successful in their chosen careers, and more importantly, are happy with themselves. In the end, Alice learns to love herself and realizes that her height does not have to stop herself from being anything she wants to be.

There's a happy ending for me as well. I love my height now and love wearing heels. I do constantly have to remind myself to straighten up and stand tall -- old habits die hard -- but I'm happy the way I am, just like Alice.
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Tree Top Trim Giveaway

When I first tasted Tree Top's new adult fitness beverage, a couple of months ago, it was only available in select Northern California markets. Now Trim is available in most markets throughout Northern California and around the Northwestern US! Try Save-Mart, Bashas, Raley's, Food Maxx, Stater Brothers, Lucky's, Scholari's and SSI -- and all Albertsons throughout California, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Idaho, Montana and Colorado. You can find out more about Trim on their Tree Top Trim Facebook page; the page also has registered dieticians available to answer any of your health or diet related questions.

If you live in any of these areas, you're in luck! Not only do you get to try this yummy drink (and don't be all noble and give it to your kids -- save it for yourself!), you also get a chance to try a bottle of Trim for free! Trim is giving away 10 coupons to the first 10 readers who either follow Bonggamom Finds on Twitter *OR* become a fan of Trim's Facebook page. So you can actually nab yourself two coupons if you do both things.

To enter, simply leave a comment on this post telling me if you follow me on Twitter (my twitter id is @bonggafinds) or became a fan of Trim on Facebook, or both. If you already follow me or you're already a Trim fan, that counts too. First come, first served, so act quickly!
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Savvy Source giveaway

I'm doing a giveaway today on Being Savvy Silicon Valley, a local parenting and preschool online resource! One reader will win a copy of the book, "A Spiritual Companion to Infertility". You don't have to live in Silicon Valley to enter, so head on over and enter to win!
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You've got to Taste This Picnic Chicken!

When I told the kids we were going to make chicken nuggets for dinner, they didn't believe me. They didn't think anyone could actually make chicken nuggets; as far as they're concerned, chicken nuggets are shaped liked dinosaurs and come from a box (yes, it's a sad testimony to the food I feed my children).

But all 3 were game to try the Italian Picnic Chicken recipe from Taste This!, even when I warned them that it might be "slimy and icky". This recipe is the perfect illustration of why I like this cookbook. The ingredient list is short, you don't really need to follow measurements, and it's so easy that even a child could do it. And that's just what happened: the kids did it all. They had a blast crunching up the cornflakes, dipping the chicken tenders in salad dressing and dredging them in cornflake crumbs. And when they tasted it, The Pea proclaimed, "This tastes exactly like chicken nuggets!". So those Dino nuggets are now banished to the back of the freezer for emergencies.
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You've got to Taste This chicken tinga!

I asked Alfie to choose a dish from Taste This! to try, and this is what he chose. I had never heard of Chicken Tinga before, but since then I've learned that tinga is shredded meat (pork, chicken) cooked with tomatoes and sweet onions. It's Mexican in origin and it's wonderful as a filling for tacos or empanadas. I have a confession to make: I left out a crucial ingredient -- the chipotle pepper that gives it a distinctly smoky flavor. My kids are just not into spicy food; I'm hoping they'll, uh, warm up to it as they grow older. For now, I left out the chipotle and sprinkled some paprika instead. And everyone devoured it anyway.
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Toys R Us weekend sale

I can't resist weekend sales. Especially when they're for stores I like. And I see the words "Save up to 70%". And "Take an EXTRA 50% OFF".
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And the winner of the Girl Scout Cookies is...

... Sonya!! Congratulations, you've won a box of yummy Do-Si-Do's. Thanks to you and everyone who entered and helped Quaker Oats in their quest to end childhood hunger in the US!
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Why I heart Label Daddy

My first thought when I saw Label Daddy's BlogHer '09 contest instructions: Here's a wild idea: I'll definitely get my entry noticed if I post a photo of myself with Label Daddy labels plastered all over my naked self. Two seconds later, I rejected the idea. All you pervs out there, it's not happening, and here's why:

1) My body is, uh, not small, and it would cost a lot of money to buy enough Label Daddy labels to cover it entirely, thereby negating any savings I might enjoy by winning the full sponsorship to BlogHer 09.

2) I've been pregnant with twins. I could balance a plate on top of my gigantic stomach. You can't stretch skin that far and expect to bounce back without a tummy tuck. Or Angelina Jolie's genes. Not pretty, people. And so not the best product placement move for Label Daddy.

3) These Label Daddy labels are meant to last, so they don't come away easily. I don't exactly relish the thought of stripping away each and every label afterwards. Ouch! The alternative, leaving them on, is just as unpalatable. Especially given that upcoming PTA meeting next week.

So enough about that idea. Let's talk about Label Daddy's Peel-and-Stick, washable labels instead. Here are ten reasons why I heart Label Daddy's labels:

10) Because the kids drive me crazy fighting over their toys.

9)Because Pea is constantly bringing home other people's pencil cases/books/ballet shoes.

8) Because I do NOT like sewing. Or ironing.

7) Because there are some things we CANNOT afford to lose.

6) Because I want my kids to know which sippy cup on the picnic table to sip from.

5) Because I sometimes can't tell my twins apart.

4) Because on bad days I can barely even remember my own name.

3) Because my husband needs a way to let my admirers know I'm taken.

2) Because I don't want to hitchhike my way to BlogHer.

And the number one reason I Heart Label Daddy.....

1) Because Label Daddy Hearts Bloggers too. (cue soundtrack: *awwwwwwwwww*......). Thanks, Label Daddy , for sponsoring this wonderful BlogHer 09 contest and giving bloggers like me something to dream about!
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This book will make you smile

I recently received a review copy of Baron Thinks DOGS Are People Too!, a lively short story about a high-spirited dog who does a good deed and makes a friend. Alfie read the book to the kids last night, and here's what we thought of it.

The Good
Children with lively dogs will enjoy the recounts of Baron's frisky antics, and the busy, colorful illustrations are great for reading out loud to large groups. They'll spend the whole book wondering whether Baron will ever find a best friend, so it's easy to keep them engaged in the story.

The Bad
Characters are introduced and removed so randomly that even my kids felt that the book left way too many questions unanswered.

* Are Billy and Emma children of the doggie's mom and dad?
* Who are they and where did they come from?
* Why did the book say that Emma was on the sled? Emma has yellow hair in the beginning, and none of the girls on the sled have yellow hair!

I also found myself wondering what the dad's deployment with the air force has to do with anything in the story. And the biggest question on everyone's mind was: Why in the world is this book called "Baron Thinks DOGS Are People Too!"?

The Bongga
This book puts smiles on children's faces -- not only on your child's face when you read it to him, but on a child with a cleft palate somewhere around the world. If you buy this book from publisher Big Tent Books, author Laurie Dean will donate $1 to Operation Smile! Which is something that should put a smile on your face as well.
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Create some Jealousy with Gel-les'c!

Keep reading, I've got a great giveaway for you below!

Remember when I posted about my new short haircare regimen a couple of weeks ago? The Pea has finally wised on to the fact that I've been sneaking some of her Curly Q's Moist Curl Moisturizer to tame my mid-day frizzies. "Mamaaaaaaaaa....!" Fortunately, CURLS (the company that makes Curly Q) recently sent me a sample of their latest product, Curl Gel-les'c. It's pronounced "Curl Jealousy" and I'm happy to say that I'm no longer jealous of The Pea's styling products because now I've got some of my own.

Curl Gel-les'c is a styling product -- part gel, part serum -- that tames frizz, creates curls, and imparts shine. I've been scrunching it into my damp hair in the mornings and letting it air dry (I have a pathological aversion to blowdrying, probably because I'm lazy). I like that it's organic and botanical-based, and like all the CURLS products I've tried, smells soooo good. I like that it's not as thick and sticky as regular gel. And let me tell you, it REALLY does hold that curl in. Some days my hair looks like it's been permed!

Want to incite some curly jealousy with Curl Gel-les'c? CURLS is giving away a Curls Gel-les'c Prize Pack to one lucky winner! The gift pack includes:

* A fun, fashionable Curl Gel-les'c tee that says "Are you envious?" on the front, and "..... of my CURLS?" on the back
* An 8-oz. bottle of Curl Gel-les'c, packaged in a Limited Edition bottle

To enter, just leave a comment on this post and tell me about the one haircare product you cannot live without. Don't forget to leave your email address so I can contact you if you win. For extra entries, you can do any or all of the following:

1) Follow me on twitter (my twitter id is @bonggafinds). If you already follow me, you still get the extra entry! Leave a separate comment with your twitter user name.
2) Tweet this contest. Leave a separate comment with a link to your tweet.
3) Subscribe to Bonggamom Finds via a feed reader or email. Leave a separate comment telling me you've subscribed.
4)Follow this blog. Leave a separate comment telling me you're following.

This giveaway ends at midnight PST on February 23, 2009; I will draw a winner via on February 24 and post the winner's name on the same day. Click here for full giveaway rules. Good luck!

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Do you have a little princess?

When the Shabby Apple sponsored a giveaway on SV Moms some time ago, I crossed my fingers like never before -- their girls' dresses are sweet and funky, chic and girly all at the same time. I didn't win (rats!) but here's a chance for The Pea to get an entire Shabby Apple spring wardrobe -- they're searching for the next Shabby Baby Girl between ages 0 to eight. And who is cuter than The Pea, I ask you? If you have a little princess between the ages of 0 to 8 who could be any sort of competition for The Pea, then don't visit the Picture Princess Contest page for rules. And don't enter before March 31st, 2009. Because you don't want to win all those gorgeous clothes for your own princess...... do you?

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You've got to Taste This appetizer!

I've begun trying out the recipes in Gina Von Esmarch's cookbook, Taste This! Gina comes from the family who runs Alioto's #8 in San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf (the one with the gigantic crab sign) so you know she knows her s*&t. I wanted to try her Red Onions & Red Grapes recipe from the moment I saw it, and it didn't disappoint. Even though the mixture spent a wee too much time in the oven (note the slightly burnt edges of the onions), it was deeevine. The Pea, who supposedly hates onions, loved it: "Mama, the onions taste like grapes!". Well, not exactly, but the combination of the two flavors complements the goat cheese and sesame crackers perfectly.
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You've got to Taste This! candy

This Rock-E-Road candy from the Taste This! cookbook is one of those recipes that are so easy to make (even a five-year-old can melt chocolate and add marshmallows and nuts if a grownup supervises) that you ought to be making it yourself anytime you find yourself craving it. Instead, you go to See's Candies or Russell Stover and buy it for $12 a pound. We used dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate because that's Alfie's favorite. And the result? I think the photos below speak for themselves.

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Celebrate your baby's Firsts with Earth's Best

When my kids were babies, Earth's Best baby foods were kind of a splurge, but I always threw a couple of jars into my grocery cart anyway (especially when they were on sale!). Yes, they cost more, but you get what you pay for -- you're getting high-quality nutrition. Even more important, these taste WAAAY better than the regular baby foods. Their teething biscuits make my mouth water, and I could actually open a jar and eat some of the purees myself. Hey, even now I still occasionally buy jars of pureed sweet potatoes or squash to throw into my kids' macaroni and cheese or other dish to make it healthier.

The PR folks from Earth's Best sent me some information about their new Celebrate the Firsts promo, and I'm sharing it with you because they've got a good product and this sounds like a good deal. Just send in receipts for the Earth's Best baby foods you purchase and they'll send you some neat rewards:

Send in $25 worth of receipts and get $5 in coupons and a bib.
Send in $50 worth of receipts and get $10 in coupons, plus travel size Jason Organic baby body care.
Send in $100 worth of receipt and get s$15 in coupons plus Fisher Price Tubtime Friends.

The promo only lasts till March 31, so you need to start collecting receipts. But $100 in baby foods, teething biscuits and cereal in two months? That's so doable! If my twins were still babies I'd totally be aiming for that tub toy.
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You've got to Taste This!

As soon as I flipped to the first recipe in Gina Von Esmarch's new cookbook Taste This!, I new it was going to be my kind of cookbook. The recipe for the Red Grapes & Red Onions appetizer contains two of my favorite foods, red onions and goat cheese, and the recipe doesn't depend on exact measurements.

It only got better as I flipped through the book. It's filled with simple dishes that, thanks to the ingredient list and photos, make my mouth water. Half of the dishes are ones I already like to make (Pear & Walnut Salad, peas , Cuban Style Picadillo, tomato & white bean stew to name a few), and the other half are dishes I've always wanted to make. This is totally the cookbook I'd write if I wrote a cookbook.

If I had to sum it all up in a single word, it would be Not Intimidating (okay, that's two words but right now I can't think of the opposite to intimidating). I'm itching to try the recipes, all of which have a pretty short ingredient list and simple preparation instructions. They even utilize -- gasp! -- canned food, bottled salad dressing and refrigerated dough! We're going to get started on it right away, so keep a lookout for reviews of her individual dishes. Yum!
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Disney Deals

Going to Disneyland during the off-season is such a no-brainer for me. The crowds are thinner, lines are shorter, hotel rates are lower, and there are always special promotions going on. For example, you can buy 3-day Disneyland Park Hopper tickets for $150, which is essentially the kids' admission price. Other great winter and spring deals include:

* Free Gift Cards for staying at on-site Disneyland Hotels: When you stay at the Disneyland Hotel, Grand Californian or Paradise Pier, you'll get a gift card worth $50, $100 or $150 (depending on the length of stay).

* 3-Day Vacation packages starting at $69 per person, per day: This includes a 3-Day Park Hopper ticket, so subtacting the $150 tickets from your $207 means you're only paying $57 per person for a 2-night stay! And you get early entrance to the parks!

* Kids Fly Free -- if you book a Disneyland Resort vacation package flying with United Airlines from San Francisco Airport, kids fly free! That's mind boggling.

Of course, traveling in the off season means that some rides might be closed for repair. And there's always that pesky rain. And by the way, about those deals, I've only listed the cool stuff. For more information and all those restrictions and details, you have to call a travel agent or go to But that's all minor stuff compared to the fact that you save your money and sanity by traveling to Disneyland in the off season.
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