Archive for the ‘gifts’ Category

Lego Sopwith Camel Plane Promotions Set 10226

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

NEW LEGO® Exclusive
10226 – Sopwith Camel, Available Now!

Build and fly a huge Lego replica of the famous British biplane loaded with rare bricks and functions to match its real-life counterpart!

You can only get Lego set 10226 from or Lego stores. And man, is it cool.

The details on this replica amaze: realistic rotating propeller and engine cylinders; hinged tail rudder; realistic tension wires; functioning wing ailerons; and tail flaps that can be controlled from the cockpit.

Plus if you order early, you can get a FREE Exclusive Mini Sopwith Camel on $75 or more from The offer is valid June 1-30 2012 (or while supplies last).

FREE Shipping on orders of $75 or more. Offer valid June 1-15, 2012.

FREE Exclusive Mini Sopwith Camel with orders of $75 or more. Offer valid June 1-30, 2012.

Shop Amazon – Father’s Day Gifts

Best Mother’s Day Present Ever

Sunday, May 6th, 2012 Weekly Promotion! Save on $25 Gift Certificates!



Mom. She does so much for everyone else. Isn’t it time she took care of herself for a change?


Fourteen years ago I became a mother in April, and for my first Mother’s Day in May I asked for a membership in an all-women’s gym. I worked full-time. My baby kept me up all night. I was a walking zombie most of the time. I was not sure I would have the time or energy to actually go to a gym. But I needed Me Time. We got a three-month membership to The Spa, Fitness for Women in Upland just to try it out.

What a Godsend the Spa became! When I stepped through the doors I left the hectic world behind. When those doors shut last year due to financial problems, I was devastated, as were hundreds of other ladies who had been going there for years. Some of us started a Facebook Page to connect. We were thrilled when we learned that a former owner was taking back the facility and was going to renew the place and open it up as Shirlee’s Fitness Club for Women.

Workers have been busy for four months improving the place inside and out, and Shirlee’s will be opening soon. The wait has been excruciating for many of us, as we want our exercise oasis back! (You can see pictures of the new Shirlee’s on Shirlee’s FB page.)

My baby girl turned 14 in April, and is now old enough to join the gym herself. When Shirlee’s opens, (hopefully soon), she, too, will be a member. High school brings overwhelming stress for girls her age: grades, extracurricular activities, and social life in the age of FB, for example. I am hoping that Shirlee’s become an oasis for her as well—a place where she can relax, recharge, and be inspired by women of all ages, shapes, and sizes supporting each other.

If you know of a mom who needs some Me Time, let her know about Shirlee’s. Maybe she can ask for a Shirlee’s membership for Mother’s Day.



Half Off Restaurant Coupons Save You Money!

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Shop Amazon – Mother’s Day Gifts

How to Save Half Off or More at Restaurants

Want to go out to eat, but think it’s too expensive? Think again. Did you know you can save as much as half off restaurant coupons? I’ll let you in on a little secret: the place to get these great restaurant coupons is The usual deal they have is $10 for a $20 coupon or $25 for a $50 coupon.  That means you get to go out for half off!   But sometimes they have even better promotional deals.

I was a bit skeptical when I bought my first coupon.  But the promotion was too good to pass up.  The transaction went quickly, I printed out the coupon, and took the family out. The restaurant accepted the coupon no question. So I went back and bought several more coupons! I used them myself and gave them away as gifts.

You can easily find restaurants in your area that have coupons by putting your zip code into the site. All the offers come up with the details. Some coupons do require a minimum purchase and most require that the tip be based on the actual price, not the discounted price. But having been a server in grad school, I think the policy is fair, especially when you get one of the better promotions.

Below is a link for’s latest offers. Enjoy.


Retro Apron I Made from Free Pattern

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

retro apron I made

Fabulous Free Vintage Apron Pattern

Why is it that women drool over vintage aprons? The thought of actually being a 1950’s housewife toiling away in the kitchen appalls us.  But the fun, frilly aprons are just too cute.

A good friend’s son is getting married and his beautiful bride-to-be is a great cook.  So I whipped up a retro-style apron to give at her bridal shower.  I can just see her making her yummy crepes in this little number.

I love the fact that it is reversible.  I knew it turned out OK when my husband said it looked like it came out of one of those shops all the women love that he refuses to enter. Also when my teenage daughter squealed upon seeing it.

The design is based on a free retro apron pattern I found online.  The directions are pretty clear. Kudos to the designer for sharing.  I did change a couple things.  The original has the bias tape going all the way around the sides.  If you only want it on the top, bottom and pockets like I have, then just put rights sides together on both the apron and flounce, sew seams, right side it out and proceed.  I have two sewing machines, both vintage without an automatic buttonholer.  So I did not want to make button holes.  I switched up the top ties a bit and did not use buttonholes.  When you sew the buttons on, be careful to only go through one layer so you do not see stitching on reverse.  I also added a pocket on reverse side.  I made a square for a different look, and also because those angled pockets were hard to sew!

I have seen other pictures on the web of crafty women who have made really cute aprons using this pattern.

I also bought a retro apron pattern from McCalls, so I may try that next.  Hope Jemma likes it.

A great selection of retro apron patterns are available at Amazon.

Handmade Christmas Ornaments

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Salt and Flour Ornaments and More

I was proud of our tree last year because almost every decoration on it was handmade. We were on sabbatical in Princeton, New Jersey, for the year from So Cal. We did not haul our holiday decorations across country. We got a great tree from a Vermont tree farmer, but we had nothing to put on it! So we decided to make our own ornaments. We started with flour and salt dough ornaments and went from there, adding wire, Sculpey and pipe cleaners to the mix. Here’s the results. I am hoping to find time to make some more this year. Let me know which on is your favorite.

wreath made by Shea

Wreath made by Shea.

Jester ornament made of Sculpey, pipecleaners, copper wire by Kim.

Jester ornament made of Sculpey, pipecleaners, copper wire by Kim.

Present and name we all worked on.

Present and name we all worked on.

Snowman I made.

Snowman I made.

Peace sign Shea made.

Peace sign ornament Shea made.


Candy cane, Shea.

Candy Cane ornament, Shea.

Christmas tree, Shea.

Christmas tree, Shea.

Reindeer, flour and salt, Kim.

Reindeer, flour and salt, Kim. Weekly Promo Offer 300 x 250

Four and salt dough snowman, Kim.

Flour and salt dough snowman, Kim.


Sculpey reindeer, flour/salt snowman, Kim.


Love, Shea.



Wreath, Colman.

Wreath, Colman.

Figure skater made of pipe cleaners.  Kim.

figure skater made of pipe cleaners. Kim.

Angel made of pipe cleaners. Kim.

Angel made of pipe cleaners. Kim.

Christmas tree made of pipe cleaners. Cole.

Christmas tree made of pipe cleaners. Cole.

Poinsettia made of Sculpey. Kim.

Poinsettia made of Sculpey. Kim.

Pipe cleaner Christmas ornament, Colman.

Which one is your favorite?

Happy Holidays to all!!!

Custom Holiday Gifts 1

If you want to make pipe cleaner ornaments, believe it or not, Amazon has the best deals and best selection on pipe cleaners.


Related posts:
What I Made My Friend for Her 50th Birthday
Prizewinning Scarecrows My Sister and I Made
Yoga Tote Bag I Made
How to Make Designer Baby Burp Cloth Using Ribbon
How to Make Upscale Bookmarks Using Photos


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Kim Peasley

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Handmade Jewelry Makes Best Gift

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Bead, pearl, crystal necklace and earring set I made my friend for her birthday.

Bead, pearl, crystal necklace I made my friend for her birthday.[/caption]

Dori and I became best friends in 7th grade. Unfortunately, we don’t see each other often anymore, but I wanted to make her jewelry for a milestone birthday. Here’s some pics of the design made of beads, pearls and crystals with copper and rose gold findings.  The necklace is long, and you can wear it two ways. As seen in the photo above,  you can wear it with the charm dangling.  You can also remove the charms and one section of the necklace to make a simpler strand.

Here’s some more pics to show the design.necklace100bwebnecklacecharm105web


Did you know Amazon has tons of jewelry making supplies? Sometimes they have better prices that Michaels or Joanns. They definitely have a wider selection.

Best Zuca Skate Bags

Friday, October 15th, 2010

LEGO Brand Retail, Inc.

Zuca Bag Review: Best Bag for Figure Skating Gear


Visit any rink with serious figure skaters and you will find colorful square Zuca skate bags lining the walls. What makes the Zuca bag so popular with skaters is that is that they are cute; they store a ton of stuff, and they are sturdy enough to sit on. Click on any bag for more info and pricing on that bag.


What Makes a Zuca Skate Bag Cute? For many young figure skaters, skating is more than a sport, it is an expression of their identity. Zuca bags appeal to young girls and teenagers because they can create their own look. You buy frame separate from the bags itself . The frames come in trendy colors and the bags come in hip patterns. Part of the fun is coordinating the frame and bag. And the fabric choices will amaze you: pink camouflage . . . black with sparkly crystals . . . lime green with pink polka dots . . . Hawaiian . . . .turquoise and brown . . . The list goes on and on. You can also add flashing wheels and add a skater’s name in embroidery or in rhinestones.


How Much Stuff Can Fit in a Zuca Skate Bag? The roomy size and thoughtful design (pockets and shelves) allows skaters to store skates, blade guards, music, gloves, sweatshirts, tights, water bottles, and other accessories.


How Strong is a Zuca Skate Bag? The frame of a Zuca bag is so strong that skaters can sit on it. A Zuca frame is the perfect height for a little stool that skaters sit on when putting on and taking off skates or when resting. Many rinks lack adequate benches so the bags are constantly in use as a seat.


How Much is a Zuca Skate Bag? Zuca bags cost a pretty penny. The frame runs from $100 to $150 and the bag runs another $50 or so. But the skaters LOVE them and they really are well made and will last forever. You can buy the bags separately if you want to update your frame.  Zuca bags can be used for other purposes besides skating. Photographers love them to cart around heavy gear as well.


Where Can I Buy a Zuca Skate Bag? You can buy Zuca bags at some skate shops, but the skate shops will not offer the full array of choices. the best way to buy a Zuca bag is to check them out online.  Amazon has several sellers with a wide array of choices and good prices. Click on any bag here to go to a seller.


What’s the Best Way to Give a Zuca Bag as a Gift? Gifts are all about unwrapping a surprise, but the best way to give a Zuca bag is to give a certificate for the bag.  That’s because half the fun of a Zuca bag is picking out the color of the frame and the fun fabric of the bag yourself.  You don’t want to pick the zebra bag with a black frame , when what she really wants is the turquoise bag with the brown frame!  Solution: Print out pics of the best Zuca skate bags and put them in an envelope! She will be thrilled to see all the choices and excited to know she can make the final decision herself.  I’ve put pics of some of my favorites on this post.  Feel free to print them out if you like the envelope idea.  By the way, each pic has a link to the Amazon store where it is sold. If you do buy from Amazon, please buy through my link. Thank you for your support. Let me know what bag you like best.


If you like this post, please Digg it, tweet it and share it!

Related posts:

How to Buy Figure Skates for a Beginner

How to Buy a Figure Skating Competition Dress

My Squidoo lens on figure skating dresses

Best Gifts for a Figure Skater

Tips on Buying Used Figure Skates

My eHow on How to Sharpen Skates Properly to Give You an Edge.

My eHow on How to Skates for Skates Properly to Make Them Last

Skating at Rockefeller Center Ice Rink: Is It Worth It?

Text and all photos copyright by kpdesign,

I tweet when I find good skate deals so follow me on Twitter.

Artemis Fowl: Fun Book Series for Boys (and Girls)

Sunday, January 17th, 2010


Review of Artemis Fowl Books

Why is it so hard to find good books for tween boys?  When my 6th-grade daughter goes to the library, we come out with stacks and stacks of books. But when I take my 4th-grade son, we often come out empty-handed. Or we get a book, he reads a few pages, and pronounces it “boring.”

When he is hooked on a book series, however, he can’t get enough.  Recently he just finished two book series for boys he loved: Percy Jackson & the Olympians and Ranger’s Apprentice.  My daughter mentioned that boys in her class liked a series called Artemis Fowl. So at a recent trip to the library I checked out the first two Artemis Fowl books.

I starting reading the first book just to see what it was about, and I could not put it down. Within a couple of days I was back at the library getting the rest of the series and all three of us devoured them.

Kudos to the author, Eoin Colfer, for plots, characters, and action and humor that appealed to all of us.

Colfer’s hero (or perhaps anti-hero) Artemis is a super-bright, rich, articulate 12-year-old with supreme confidence.  He is also a criminal mastermind intent on amassing an even greater fortune. The kid comes up with brilliant plots, and his buff bodyguard Butler, who is trained in martial arts and carries array of lethal high-tech gadgets, helps him to carry them out.

When we first meet Artemis, he is planning to rob gold from fairies. But these are not your typical fairies. “Die Hard with fairies” is how Irish author Eoin Colfer describes his books.  His magical beings are an advanced civilization with amazing technology and powerful weapons.

Colfer’s inventive plots have tons of twists and surprises that pull you through the adventures.

The settings include Fowl Manor, where the Artemis has a mansion any boy would envy, various places around the world Artemis flies to in his private jet, and the Lower Elements, the world inhabited magical beings, which Colfer describes in rich detail.

Readers come to know quirky, charismatic characters with an edge, among them:

Artemis Fowl, a preteen prodigy with a huge bank account and the toughest bodyguard in the world. Although he is greedy and ruthless, Artemis can do the right thing at times. He is still figuring out his place in the moral order.

Domovoi Butler, a loyal bodyguard with cool weapons who has no problem taking orders from a 12-year-old.

Captain Holly Short
, a gutsy female LEPrecon officer who sometimes bends the rules to save the day

Foaly, a wise-cracking techie centaur who is a genius in his own right coming up with amazing gadgets that give his side an edge

Mulch Diggums, a dwarf thief who uses explosive flatulence to help tunnel his way into places through impenetrable.

Opal Koboi, Foaly’s nemesis, an evil genius pixie who comes up with diabolical (and extremely clever) plans to rule the world

Accelerated Reading and Artemis Fowl Books
The Artemis Fowl books have accelerated reader tests.  The accelerated reading interest level is between 5 and 6AR Points for Artemis Fowl books range from 10-13.  Adults will enjoy them as well.

Artemis Fowl Movie
A film based on the first two books is reportedly in development. A script has been written, but the film been delayed several times.

Artemis Fowl Series Books

Artemis Fowl (book 1)

Artemis Fowl: Arctic Incident, (book 2)

Artemis Fowl: Eternity Code, (book3)

Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception (book 4)

Artemis Fowl: Lost Colony, (book 5)

Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox (book 6)

Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex (book 7)

Other Artemis Fowl books
The Artemis Fowl Files (2004)
Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel (2007)
Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel: The Arctic Incident (2009)
Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel: The Eternity Code (20xx)

My son, almost 10,  ranks the Percy Jackson and Ranger’s series above Artemis Fowl, but I think I actually liked the Artemis Fowl series better.  Lots of humor and wit with likable characters and inventive plots.  Action packed but not scary.  Artemis Fowl books rate among the best books for middle school boys. Let me know if you like Artemis Fowl, and if you have other books to recommend to this age group.

If you read the first book in the Artemis fowl series, you will want to read them all.  Amazon a boxed set of the first five Artemis Fowl books. The set would make a great gift for a tween boy.

LEGO Brand Retail, Inc.

related posts:

My review of the Ranger’s Apprentice series

My review of the Percy Jackson series

Battle of the Boys Books: Percy Jackson vs. Ranger’s Apprentice

Lego Rock Band Review

Percy Jackson vs. Ranger’s Apprentice

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

I asked my almost-10-year-old son a tough question: if you were stranded on a desert island, and could only take one book series, which would you take: Ranger’s Apprentice Series or Percy Jackson series He had a tough time. Finally he noted that one series had more books. So maybe he would pick that one. Otherwise it’s a dead heat.

Finding good books for boys his age is so hard I am thrilled he is so excited about both these series. He is also reading the Artemis Fowl Series now, but Percy Jackson and Ranger’s Apprentice have him begging me to take him to the library, and when the books are not there, to the book store.

Both Ranger’s Apprentice and Percy Jackson series published new books in January, 2010. Book number 7 of the Ranger’s Apprentice series came out in January, and a special “movie”edition” of book 1 of Percy Jackson and the Olympians came out as well. I’ve found that most of the books in both series have waiting lists at our library, (LA County Library system).

Lightening Thief, the first book in the Percy Jackson series

The Lightning Thief, the first book in the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series


The Ruins of Gorlan, the first book in the Ranger's Apprentice Series

Number of Books in the Series

Both writers Rick Riordan and John Flanagan are prolific, coming up with new adventures for their young heros (who age as the books continue). In the U.S. the score is Percy Jackson: 5 books, and Ranger’s Apprentice: 7. Flanagan has written 10 Ranger books, but the last three have not yet been released in America.

AR Rating

Both books have AR tests.  Ranger’s Apprentice has a slightly interest level (between 6 and 7) than Percy Jackson (between 4 and 5).  This means they probably appeal to readers in 6 and 7th grade vs those in 4th and 5th grade. Although I think both books appeal to a much wider range.

Ranger’s Apprentice books also have higher AR points possible (between 12 and 14). AR points for Percy Jackson range from 3 to 13 with many between 9 and 10.


Both series are packed with suspenseful action and plot development.  Both feature both battle strategy and detailed descriptions of battles.  Both have fierce enemies.  Both have cool weapons. Percy Jackson has more mythological characters.


Although both series are fictional adventure stories, they both teach you something about history and culture. In Percy Jackson books you learn about Greek mythology, and in Ranger’s Apprentice books you learn about Medieval times.


Both have likable, young, male protagonists with various sidekicks and friends. Ranger’s may have more in-depth character development of some of the characters.


We’ve already seen the trailers for the first Percy Jackson movie, based on The Lightning Thief. The movie is due out next month (Feb). Ranger’s Apprentice has a script and a director, but no word on when it might be out.

Video Games

Nintendo has a game in the works based on the first book and movie of Percy Jackson. The video game is a tactical role-playing game for Nintendo DS that puts players in command of Percy Jackson and his fellow demigods as they battle for survival in a world ruled by vengeful Greek gods. Nintendo says the game will be in stores when the movie comes out. No word on a video game for Ranger’s Apprentice as of yet.

Cover Art

It’s interesting to see what publishers come up with for cover art for tween and teen readers. My kids are voracious readers, and as a graphic artist I appreciate the thought and creativity put into book covers. The U.S. editions of both Percy Jackson and Ranger’s Apprentice series are stunning. As a personal preference, I like Ranger’s a bit more.  Pubishers sometimes change the cover art when they release books in different countries or when they do a second printing.  If you do a Google image search you will see differences in covers in both of these series.


Both books have garnered praise from critics and been on the New York Times best-sellers list. Both have been published in several different countries.


Both books have official websites, and to be honest, I find both annoying, just because they take too long to load and I do not always like background music or spooky rainfall and wind howling. Kids probably love it though. On the Ranger site you can log in to become a “Ranger” and get access to more info on the site. Even without doing that you can download beautiful graphics for your desktop. There’s some interesting info about the author. On the Percy site there is a page describing all the Olympian Gods and Monsters. It also has downloadable games and wallpaper. You can also access the trailer for the new movie.

Rick Riordan has an author’s website that has some additional features without all the fancy sounds and effects.

My reviews

My review of the Ranger’s Apprentice series
My review of the Percy Jackson series
My review of the Artemis Fowl series
My review of Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice book series

Let me know how you think how these two great book series compare. Both books have special deals on sets on Amazon.

Ranger’s Apprentice Series: Book Review

Thursday, January 14th, 2010


Rangers Apprentice Book Series: Suspenseful Adventure for Boys (and the rest of us)

The fantasy genre is hot in literature right now, which is good news for tween boys. My 10-year-old son raves about the Ranger Apprentice books by Australian writer John Flanagan, which make new twists of Medieval tales of knights and castles. When he finishes one book, he can’t wait for the next. Many of his peers at school are reading it as well. The Ranger Apprentice series has been on the New York Times bestsellers list and has sold more than a million copies in the US alone. The books have sold a million more copies in other countries, and is the number 1 book in the the author’s native Australia.

I started reading them to see why he loved them and I love them, too. So they are not just for adolescent boys!


The Ranger’s Apprentice books are an epic tale about Will, a orphan small in size, who has always dreamed of becoming a knight, like the father he never knew. Instead, he is adopted into the mysterious Ranger corps. Will is joined on fast-paced adventures to defend the kingdom by his mentor, Halt, and his best friend, Horace, among others. With his crossbow and a couple of knives, Will battles fierce enemies, overcomes suspenseful obstacles, and learns that what he lacks in size, he makes up for in speed, agility, intelligence and courage. Honesty and loyalty also matter.

The plot keeps you on the edge, wondering what is going to happen next. While reading the adventure, young readers learn about Medieval life with surprising accuracy.

Flanagan’s take on feudal good-versus-evil does not depend on tons of magical creatures to keep the reader interested, but rather plain old good writing. The books have suspenseful well-paced plots, sympathetic characters with interesting relationships, and detailed, colorful descriptions of Medieval times.

Critics have praised the books, as have Amazon readers who submitted exceptional reviews. I’d love to know what you think of Ranger’s Apprentice books.


Will there be a Ranger’s Apprentice movie? United Artists reportedly paid seven figures to option the film rights, and it was supposed to come out in 2010 with Paul Haggis directing, but may have had funding problems. No word yet when it may come out.

Google Preview now allows you to get a limited preview of many books so I have embedded a preview for the first Ranger’s Apprentice. To get a real sense of the book, though, preview chapter 2 (not just chapter 1) because it is more representative of the tone and style of the series. The first chapter is not as good as the rest. To preview, just click on Google Preview button below.

If you are buying a Ranger’s Apprentice book as a gift, consider Amazon’s deal on The Ranger’s Apprentice Collection. Reviews of the Reviews of Amazon’s Ranger’s Apprentice Collection have been high. This collection would be one of the best gifts for a boy, and you get the first three books in the series for the price of one inexpensive toy.

Flanagan has written 10 books in the series. Seven have been released in the U.S. so far.

The Ruins of Gorlan (The Ranger’s Apprentice, Book 1)

The Burning Bridge (The Ranger’s Apprentice, Book 2)

The Icebound Land: Book Three (Ranger’s Apprentice)

The Battle for Skandia: Book Four (Ranger’s Apprentice)

The Sorcerer of the North: Book Five (Ranger’s Apprentice)

Ranger’s Apprentice: The Siege of Macindaw: Book 6

Erak’s Ransom (Ranger’s Apprentice Book 7)

Ranger’s Apprentice: The Kings of Clonmel: Book 8

Halt’s Peril (Ranger’s Apprentice, Book 9)

The Emperor of Nihon-Jin This book is not available on Amazon yet.

Note that the books come out in Australia first.  The last one to come out in the U.S. is book 7, Erak’s Ransom, which came out in January, 2010. The later books have not been released in the U.S., although you may be able to get them from sellers who import them and re-sell them.  We were lucky enough to have a friend visiting Australia and she bought them in a bookstore there for us. Check the links above to order through Amazon.

Books in the Ranger’s Apprentice series have Accelerated Reading tests available, so if your school uses AR tests, you can get points. They have an interest level ranging from middle grade to upper grade, usually a high 6 or 7. Taking a test and getting the answers right will earn you 12-14 AR points.

My son would definitely put these books on a best books for boys list. I’ve found these books often have waiting lists at the library, so be sure to get the next one in the series if it is available. You may have to put your name on a waiting list. Because they are popular, they can also be hard to find in stock in bookstores.

Related posts:
Percy Jackson & the Olympians book series review
Percy Jackson & the Olympians vs. Ranger’s Apprentice

Artemis Fowl book series review

How to Get free Tickets to Legoland California

Review of a Great Surf School in Northern San Diego, CA

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