THQ uDraw Your City Art Contest

I may complain about the lack of activities, shopping, and general oomph of our teeny town, but I have to admit, I prefer it over any big city. I can get to the kids’ school, Target, Safeway, and my favorite pizza place all under 2 minutes and really I can walk if I had to.  What I really love most though, is our community park.  Located adjacent to my kids school you’ll find a spot to play soccer, baseball, softball, bicycle/skateboard park, play on the playground, host a family gathering, and even BBQ!  Lately we spend our sunny, cloudy, and rainy days there and it’s just a catch-all for our little community. As long as we keep our kids safe there, keep the area clean, and respect this spot, it will be a favorite of mine filled with many memories.

uDraw Your City has launched a nationwide art contest, in which young artists ages 6 to 17 years old have the opportunity to share what they love most about their city through art. Contestants can use a uDraw GameTablet to illustrate what they love most about their city – though entries may also be created in traditional print formats using any artistic medium.

THQ and uDraw invite kids to embrace their artistic inspiration and to share “what your city, your town, or your community means to you.” Maybe it’s the silhouette of your favorite building, a drawing of your friends at the park, or a stencil of your favorite local athlete.

Enter here,  The submission period runs through October 31, and the grand prize winner will receive a package worth more than $15,000, including a uDraw, and a $10,000 cash prize that the winner can choose to apply toward a college scholarship. Additionally, THQ will donate $10,000 to the winner’s school of choice to help support its art program. Entries are judged on artistic merit (based on age group), creativity, and adherence to the overall city theme.

During these tough economic times, and  in California-the state of the education budget, money to keep arts in schools is so important.  I know our junior high schools in town have both lost their sports and music programs and are fighting to get them back!

Everyone can be an artist – no matter who you are or where you come from! Embrace your creativity and artistic inspiration to prove what your city, your town, or your community means to you!  My kids always have crayons on hand but love to create with paint and watercolors.  Lately my youngest has been using colored pencils in a composition book she carries around with her.  Her Kindergarten teacher is an art teacher at the community college as well and has instilled the love of art in her already!  Me, I love a good pencil sketch if I were to enter!  Grab some supplies and submit your entry today!

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of THQ and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Gummy Lump: Fun and Educational Art Supplies

We recently had a chance to review Melissa and Doug‘s Art Easel and my kids have loved it.  It’s been a great toy for playdates and parties too with the chalkboard on one side and the white board on the other.  The easel is also great for taking outdoors in this grand Spring weather that has finally hit and allowing kids to paint.  A perfect accompaniment is the Easel Companion Supply Set that Gummy Lump offers for a reasonable price of $27.99 which includes everything you need to get your artistic side flowing.

Included in the set: 
-an easel paper roll (18×75)
-4 posters paints in red; green; blue and yellow
-4 durable paint brushes
-4 paint cups with covers
-Dry-erase marker
-Chalk eraser
-Set of 10 rainbow chalks. 

The roll fits nicely into the easel with just a quick twist of the screws and comes up and over for painting.  The easel’s clips hold the paper in place, while the tray holds the four paint cups.  Smartly made the top for the paint cup is sloped so that the excess flows down back into the cup when the kids dab the brush.  It’s important to place the covers on when you’re done painting to conserve what hasn’t been used and to avoid drying the paint out (especially if you keep the easel outside).  

The paint brushes, marker, and chalk are all substantial (chunky) for small hands and definitely age-appropriate for range 3+.  The paints are perfect and a great teaching tool on the color wheel, when you mix red+blue=purple, yellow+blue=green, and red+yellow=orange.  The colored chalk is fun and we’ve used the chalk eraser for the white board as well (pound some of the chalk dust off first!)

Having taught Kindergarten and first grade, I’ve always been big on early literacy with my kids and a great way to incorporate words, spelling, and reading is the Alphabet Stamp Set. These educational toys come with a complete set of upper and lower case letters and a 4-color stamp pad.  I remember in my classroom 12 years ago we had a similar school set that we’d use in centers where kids could practice their names and other words they knew, and the more advanced kids would write sentences.

It’s nice to have a wet paper towel on hand to clean the stamps so the pad colors don’t mix.  Don’t worry though, the ink is easily washable if your child gets it on skin or other than the paper they are using. The blocks are perfect for small hands and fine motor skills and the wooden storage box is nice and sturdy for storage.  The set retails for $15.99 and is a great investment for your preschoolers and early elementary school kids!

I was sent products for honest review.

Melissa & Doug Art Easel

My youngest daughter attends preschool 3 days a week and on the days she comes home with painted pictures is one of my favorites.  I remember being in school and putting a clean white sheet of paper on an easel and dipping my brush into those paints.  I even remember the smell of the paint, mostly because it wasn’t too long ago I taught Kindergarten and had those very easels in my classroom.  Sloshing the paintbrush across the paper into the rainbow or unicorn of my imagination was the best.

I adore creative toys for my kids and the Melissa and Doug Easel is the perfect way to inspire your artist! Generously sized chalk board and dry erase boards are perfect for projects large and small. Easel folds ups easily for convenient storage and features a colorful paint tray with cup holders. Has an easy loading paper roll holder and an extra large tray for holding erasers; chalk and clips. Paper cutting edge at top of easel means clean paper cuts for your artists work! 4 large clips included, and it’s adjustable to 3 positions so it grows with your child!

Our Take:  My husband put together the Melissa and Doug Easel in about 20 minutes, he didn’t have any problems, and all the tools (one tool) needed for the job was included in the parts bag.  My daughter couldn’t contain her excitement while he worked and asked every few minutes, “is it done?”  My husband checked my daughter’s height when adjusting the position and the middle notch works best (she’s almost 5 years old).

When finished we found our chalk and dry erase markers and my youngest immediately went to work.  I love a fresh clean chalkboard, and you rarely see them anymore, even in classrooms.  My daughter loves the dry erase, because she can use a napkin or tissue in place of an eraser, as we don’t have one yet.  Art goes on and off in an instant and a clean slate is perfect for hours of art.  My husband has big paper from his blue print machine to use until we get the roll, and for now water color paints will have to do, but my daughter (and 9 year old son) are in heaven!

Paper roll and Melissa and Doug Easel Companion Art Supplies are not included, but can be purchased at, which I’m going to do immediately!

The easel measures 25″ x 25″ x 45″and the adjustment works for kids ages 3 and up, the price is right at $79.99, but you can find it on sale at for $63.99 if you order now!

We were sent product for an honest review.  All opinions are our tried and true experience!

Modern Bird Studios Creates Works of Art from YOUR Photos!

The art in our home is personal in the fact that it’s all photographs of my children. Whether it school pictures, sports shots, or pictures I’ve taken myself, I take pride in my family and display them all on the walls of my home.

When I think of a smart company, it’s one that takes something personal and gives it a fabulous twist on creativity. Modern Bird Studios is that kind of company. Modern Bird Studios creates personalized, modern art from your photographs and hand-paints them on wood to make a timeless, unique piece for any room in your home. You can choose two colors that would match your room’s theme or style and the results are stunning! The process is simple and here are a few tips from their website on how to choose the best picture for your creation.

How do you create each piece?

Each one is an original studio piece created with a combination of digital, hand, and painting processes.

What type and size digital file should I submit?

If you are a casual photographer, a JPG or GIF will do. A high quality image (300 dpi) is preferred, but no less than a medium quality image (72 dpi) will do. Send us what you have, and if there is a problem with the image, we will let you know immediately and try to work something out.

What types of photos work the best?

The best photos are the ones that use a natural source of light without a flash. Photos taken with a flash may work, but the possibilities are less likely. If you submit a photo that does not work, we will contact you to figure out a solution that works in giving you the best painting possible. Please, no nudes. If you send us a nude, we will Tweet it.

On a recent visit to the coast, my daughter who is a dancer, was doing her thing and I captured her in a pose that I just loved. After some thought and trial and error with other family photos, I chose this shot to create a work of art from Modern Bird Studios.


This summer we will be repainting my oldest’s room blue and green, so when we saw the result of her photo, we were truly awe-inspired! (click to enlarge). I also love the littlest detail of her glasses that show in the print!

My daughter came home from school and grinned ear to ear when I showed her the picture. Although her comment was, “I could have done a far better leap!” Dancing and the beach are two of her favorite things, so the composition of this photo art is really special to her and it’s going to look fantastic in her room! It is made on oak and the piece is heavy. We will be sure to not put it over her bed and secure it safely to the wall, we do live in Earthquake country here in California!

Modern Bird Studios has prints as small as 6″X 12″ up to 46″X46″ and make a fabulous gift for a wedding, graduation, or pregnancy/new baby! My readers can order during the length of my giveaway and one week after (through 4/15) and receive 15% off your total price! Use the code: MOMREVIEWS at checkout!

Thanks to Modern Bird Studios, I am giving away a 12″X12″ custom piece for one lucky reader to create!! (value: $215)
To Enter:
MAIN ENTRIES: Do both of the following things as your first and main entry!!

ONE: Follow @themomjen and @Modern_Bird and TWEET this giveaway, copy and paste this:

The Mom Reviews @themomjen #giveaway 12″X12″ Custom Print (from your photo) (srv: $215) ends 4/8 @Modern_Bird Studios

and comment with your tweetlink (you may enter once a day)

and TWO: Become a Fan on Facebook, The Mom Reviews and Modern Bird Studios and leave your FB screenname.

This is your first and main entry, it’s a must in order to include any other bonus entries!

–>Bonus Entries (leave a separate comment for each entry)

*1 entry* Tell me about the photo you’d use if you won!!

*2 entries* Follow on Google Friend Connect(see my sidebar) and leave a comment you did.

*1 entry* Comment on any non-giveaway post, leave a comment for each one.

*1 entry* Enter my other current giveaways and let me know which one(s).

*5 entries* Blog about this giveaway with a link back to my site.

–>Contest ends 4/8 you must include your email address or your entries will not be counted. Open to US only. Winners will be contacted and have 48 hours to claim their prize or another winner will be chosen.

I was sent a custom print to facilitate my review. The opinions are my tried-and-true opinions and were not influenced by any source. I was not compensated monetarily to write this post.

*contest closed* Retse Designs-Children’s T-shirts *Giveaway*

In our town we have few stores to select from. If we don’t drive 20+ miles to a mall, then we order online to find unique, stylish clothing for ourselves and our children. Often my older kids beg to shop somewhere other than Target so they have clothes that don’t look like everyone else’s.

I came across Retse Designs and fell in love with their adorable every day t-shirts for children. Their original artwork is simply beautiful and as a bonus, they give back to their community!!

Our Alphabet Shirts are drawn by our 6-year-old daughter. For every shirt sold, we give $1 to the Foundation for Seminole County Public Schools. The designs are printed on high-quality American Apparel t-shirts.

Our Take: Their newest design for the holidays is the S is for Snowman tee. We received this cute shirt for my 3 year old. Made of 100% cotton, it a wonderful conversation piece as my daughter is learning her letters! T-shirts do run small so be certain to order one full size larger than usual. E.g. E.g. If child wears a 3 order the 4.

All the t-shirts are $15 each and come in sizes 3-6mo. through size 8 (sizes vary in each design).

These make a great unique gift for a birthday or the upcoming holidays!

Thanks to Retse Designs, I’m able to give away a t-shirt to one lucky reader of The Mom Reviews, a choice of any from her shop!
To Enter:

–>Main EntryVisit Retse Designs and come up with YOUR idea for their next t-shirt design!! This is your first and main entry, it’s a must in order to include any other bonus entries!

–>Bonus Entries (leave a separate comment for each entry)

*2 entries* Follow @themomjen and Retse Designs and tweet about this giveaway, use @themomjen in your tweet and comment with your tweetlink (you may enter once a day)

*2 entries* Become a Fan on Facebook, The Mom Reviews and Retse Designs and leave your FB screenname.

*1 entry* Follow my blog on Google Friend connect (sidebar)

*1 entry* Comment on any non-giveaway post, leave a comment for each one.

*5 entries* Click through the Eye Smart-EyeCommitted widget (through 11/30) on my sidebar, put “Eye Widget” in your bonus entries!

*5 entries* Blog about this giveaway with a link back to my site.

–>Contest ends 12/3 you must include your email address or your entries will not be counted. Open to US residents only! Winners will be contacted and have 48 hours to claim their prize or another winner will be chosen.

I was sent product free of charge in exchange for an honest review. The opinions are based on our tried-and-true experience and was not influenced by any source. I was not compensated for this post.