CSN Stores has over 200 online stores where you can find everything from stylish Modern dining room furniture to cute cookware to chic lighting pieces!

To mark my debut back into bloggy land, I'm offering one lucky reader a chance to win $25.00 to use at any one of these 200 stores.

Rules:                        1. Check out CSN
                                   2. Come back to my blog and leave a comment about what you'd buy
                                   3. Either leave an email for me or check back here for the winner next week

Contest Dates:        Friday January 14 through Friday January 21, 2011

Once a winner is picked, I will send your email to my rep at CSN and he will send you an online code to redeem your prize.

Offer valid for U.S. and Canada citizens only. 

Good luck!

For those of you who love to shop, CSN Stores has asked me to do a giveaway where you can purchase something up to $35 from their site.

Le Creuset cookware is just one of the thousands of products this online store offers.

To enter the contest, all you have to do is:

1. Head on over to their site: CSN Stores
2. Check out what you might be interested in purchasing for up to $35
3. Leave a comment here with what you'd buy for $35
4. Makes sure your email is in the comment
5. Check back August 1
6. If you win, I will put you in touch with the product rep who will send you a promotional code to shop.

Thanks and good luck!

* I was not paid to write this review nor did I receive any free product - it's all for you, kids!

I was originally planning on posting this review some place else, but my own website seems to be the best fit for it. In many ways I am glad.

Musical theatre has always been close to my heart. I plan on writing one myself one day. (Though my marriage musical has been put on hold with my writing partner now living in Quebec. What shall I do with my show stopping song "Vasectomy" or my Act Break tension filled closer, "What Would Dr. Laura Do?" Only time will tell.)

Meanwhile, I give you my Mary Poppins review. Hope you enjoy. ------------------------------------------------------------------

 Rex and I will be married ten years in August. Perhaps the most daunting part of our passionate union is that delicate balance between being a strong couple and maintaining our personal identity.

A prime example of this emotional juggling occurred just last Thursday. For weeks Rex and I had looked forward to a date night to the Tony Award winning musical Mary Poppins. Instead, due to L.A. rains, we got a very sick Rex. A spoonful of sugar wasn’t going to keep him from coughing through  Step In Time. (Though you wouldn’t have heard him over the raucous clapping and you-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it tap dancing and stage stunts.)

Having a big piece of Mary Poppins independence, I went ahead without him – and boy am I glad.

With sets that opened and closed like vintage doll houses, voices as lyrical as angels and enough dancing to make you breathless from watching, I felt guilty thinking this would be just another super-sized version of a good movie. This was indeed a razzle-dazzle family spectacular worth every bit of standing ovation it received.

Like me… ahem… Mary Poppins, who is Practically Perfect , the show was not without its flaws. There is a subplot involving a dancing statue and life sized toys that visually were stellar, but story wise seemed a bit contrived. And yet, these minor chinks were nothing compared to a musical armor of feel good optimism that radiated from the  moment Burt stuck his head out of the chimney. (The world’s favorite chimney sweep was played by the intoxicating Gavin Lee. Check out the brilliant Step In Time ensemble here.)

Perhaps most surprising, and touching, was the relationship between Mr. and Mrs. Banks.  While the husband was still the same stodgy Rex… I mean banker… from the 1964 classic, Mrs. Banks’ suffragette subplot was replaced with the very same angst I consistently speak of in this column. She wants to support her children and her husband:

I have a comfy home 
I have a simple life 
I have a name which tells the world 
I’m someone else’s wife

And yet she desperately clings to who she was before her “I” became a “We”.

And as for his ‘best’ people 
Well, I’d like to say “no thanks” 
They’re not exactly my idea 
Of being Mrs. Banks.”

Unlike Mary Poppins (Ashley Brown) who could come and go on her terms, Mrs. Banks (played by the impeccable Megan Osterhaus) had the tougher role of maintaining composure amidst runaway children, household calamities and her husband’s career crisis.

Yet, rather than “settling” for a boorish man, she became the gracious rock that allowed that man to shine.

And now although you're lost
It's time that we closed ranks
I'll fight for the man who needs freeing
The 'real you' who no-one is seeing
And you'll find a way of just being
Being Mister Banks.

Like this musical, marriages can surprise us. But, like Winifred and George, I’ve found that bringing out the best in someone when they are down on their luck is the most unsung, yet most important, virtue of all. Husbands and wives might not win Tony Awards for it, but we’ll end up with a peaceful home life. Not even the lights of Broadway can compare to that.

·         Disney This blog adheres to a FULL DISCLOSURE policy. Disney graciously comped my tickets to the show. If you'd like to go, you can order them here. I am considering purchasing tickets for the kids. I'll let you know if I do.
My kids are really into art, music and dance these days.

I am really into saving money.

So when All Childrens Furniture, an online store featuring quality games, toys and furniture for less, asked me to do a giveaway for them, as well as send me this adorable theatre set, I willingly agreed.

Actually, I enthusiastically agreed - waving my hands in campy Broadway style! Because I fancy myself a drama geek.

But really I'm a computer geek with tired eyes and coffee breath, but let's get on with the post shall we?

All Kids Furniture sells everything from
kids furniture to name brand toys and home decor.

I'm giving away this table top theatre set. If you're interested in winning it, here are the rules:

1. Required Entry: Visit
All Children's Furniture, and leave a comment telling me your favorite product from the site other than the one I'm giving away pictured above.

2. After visiting All Children's Furniture, please leave a valid email address in your comment or make sure one is visible in your blogger profile).

3. If you'd like the opportunity to leave your name two times - doubling your chances of winning - please link this contest from your blog. Within your blog, please leave this line which includes a link: "All Kids Furniture sells everything from
kids furniture to name brand toys"

A few other bloggers like Supahmommy are having a different giveaway (A Melissa & Doug product) sponsored by All Childrens Furniture. Feel free to leave your name there also.

This contest is open to U.S. and Canadian residents only. I will pick a name by next Saturday, August 15.

Good luck! Or, as they say in the theatre, break a leg! (And not the bank, courtesy of this very reasonable website.)

Tired of cooking dinner for the spouse, hubby, grandma and neighborhood dog that gives you that face at the screen that you swear you'll ignore but get sucked into anyway?

Here's your chance! Enter your name in the form of a written out email (ex: LifeHappins at Gmail Dot Com) and we will promise you two things:

1. Not to sell your address to the Spawn of Satan known as Spammers.

2. Pick at least 3 (maybe 5) names by Friday, May 22, 2009.

Here's BabyCenter Kristina Sauerwein's fabulous review of this great new seafood company - Sea Cuisine - that provides gourmet heat up meals better than fish sticks!

You'll find another review at Andrea's Good Housekeeping site on Monday.

Have we hooked you? Are you waiting by baited breath? Are we pulling your strings or just dropping corny fishing lines?

Okay, we're done.

Oh, wait... one more... are we floating your boat?

Okay, now we're done.

Go leave your email.

Oh stop being cynical. You just might win.

Yeah, really.

* Photo of Sea Cusine's Tilapia. Mmmm. It was good. We tried it and didn't even vomit once!