Monday, April 18, 2016

Placenta Banking with lifebankUSA


I have loved having the opportunity to share information with you regarding cord blood banking with lifebankUSA. Having the information and the knowledge when making this big decision is crucial. LifebankUSA has a fantastic website that educates you on everything you need to know to make an informed decision for you and your baby. But today I get to share something unique and special, Placenta Banking.

Saving your babies cold blood is something every new parent should be educated about. Knowing the benefits of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is so important. But did you know that you can bank placenta blood in addition to cord blood?

What is Placenta Blood?

Placenta blood is the blood that’s left in the placenta after birth. During your pregnancy, the placenta provides your baby with oxygen, water and essential nutrients and protects your baby against infection. After birth, your baby no longer needs the placenta, but the usefulness of the placenta doesn’t end with delivery. Like the umbilical cord, the placenta blood is a rich source of stem cells which can be collected and stored in case your child or a close family member needs them someday.

Collecting the placenta blood is a quick, easy, and painless process that happens after the placenta is expelled from the mom. 

What are the Benefits of Banking Placenta Blood?

Adding placenta blood banking can make your cord blood collection even more powerful by potentially doubling the number of stem cells that are collected and preserved.5 Here are three reasons why having more stem cells matters:

  • Research studies have shown that transplanting more stem cells can improve transplant success and survival. 
  • Preserving more stem cells means they may be used to treat more than one health condition that may affect your child or other close family member in the future.
  • Placenta blood increases other types of stem cells that have shown promise in regenerative medicine, an area of groundbreaking clinical research that involves the use of stem cells to repair or regrow damaged tissues and organs.


Only lifebankUSA offers this unique and wonderful opportunity. Since you only have one chance to take advantage of this, you should discuss cord blood banking and placenta banking with your family and your doctor before your due date. Having this decision already made will bring peace of mind on your exciting delivery day!

You can visit lifebankUSA for more information on all of the benefits of cord blood and placenta blood banking, and how this blood could help should your child or another family member need it.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Fashion Meets Philanthropy - 2015 World Vision Gift Catalog

As the holidays approach the excitement and anticipation of the season grows and grows for me. I love everything about this time of year, from the decorations to the music to the shopping, baking, and preparing. The kids are hyped up all the time, and I am constantly reminding them that that elf over there on the shelf is watching. How lucky I am to live among this glorious chaos.

But with my joy comes the reminder that no every family or person is as lucky as I am. The holidays are an important time to remember those less fortunate and give back in any way we can. The 2015 World Vision Catalog is an amazing way to do just that 



The 2015 World Vision Gift Catalog contains more than 250 poverty-fighting gifts, ranging in price from $16 to $39,000, that improve the quality of life for struggling children and families in the U.S. and around the world.  Give help where it is most needed and receive beautiful handcrafted jewelry for yourself or your loved ones, such as: 


Royal Silk Scarf – This gorgeous silk scarf adds color to the holidays and supports the needs of children and families worldwide. The luxurious silk is woven by Vietnam’s Ma Chau villagers, who receive sustainable income through their craft. $95 






Balinese Multi-Strand Necklace – This beautiful, draped beaded necklace is handmade by Balinese artisans in a project that helps children in Bali receive an education. $85 




Mango Wood Beaded Bracelet – Created by a community on the island of Java, these unique bracelets provide a sustainable income to help feed and care for their children – honor the special woman in your life with this gorgeous bracelet. $40 







Silver Vines Cuff - Women and girls will love wearing this elegant adjustable silver cuff bracelet designed by artisans in Old Delhi, India. Each bracelet supports their families through fair trade practices. $85 



African Soapstone Box – The hand-carved African Soapstone Box is a perfect place to store necklaces, rings and other trinkets. This ornate handmade gift is etched by talented artisans in Kenya who are using this sustainable resource to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. $85 



These beautiful and unique gifts are just a sampling of all that the 2015 Wold Vision Gift Catalog has to offer. You can provide families with animals that will provide food and/or income. You can help to support education for children in need. Or supply something we take for granted every day, clean drinking water. You can even donate to help those in need right here in our own communities. The possibilities are endless and the small steps we take this holiday season could have a lasting impression on those in need. 

I received a gorgeous Royal Silk Scarf that is vibrant in color and so incredibly soft. It's a gift I could not buy in the store. It was made with care and that shows. I strongly encourage you to take a look at the 2015 World Vision Gift Catalog and consider making it a part of your holiday gift giving season.

* I received a promotional item in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced in any way.

It's Fancy To Be.... Me! Personalized Story Book #iseemebooks

It’s Fancy To Be Me Personalized Storybook
                                                                     

Your little girl will love dressing up and jet-setting around the world in this charming personalized storybook. It’s Fancy To Be Me comes personalized with her name on the cover and throughout the story and illustrations. You can even upload a photo of her to appear inside the book! You can also select the hair color and skin tone when ordering, so the character in the book resembles your daughter. At the end of the story, your little girl learns that, although it’s fun to dress up and be fancy, the most fashionable thing in the whole world is to just be herself!

My Thoughts:
I absolutely love the personalized books from I See Me.  This book is perfect for my daughter. She absolutely loves clothes, and the fancier the better. This book is filled with fun outfits and amazing places. And her name is hidden in so many places.... like on luggage and on airplanes. She had a blast hunting for her name and pointing it out in excitement! This is truly a book for her to treasure forever, as it is just for her and with a special message and photo from us.

Personalized gifts are the best. They are so special and unique. I See Me has tons of book choices. We have B is for Benjamin for my son and he asks for it every night. But they have so much more to offer than just books. You can find everything from personalized puzzles, lunchboxes, placemats... to coloring books, stickers, growth charts and more. There is definitely something for everyone.



The personalized items from I See Me would make the most wonderful holiday gifts. And have I got a treat for you! From now until December 16th... use code SPECIAL to receive 20% off! Happy shopping!

*I received this book free of charge in order to facilitate an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced in any way.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Inside Out is NOW Out!!

Inside Out is NOW Available
on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital HD!


SYNOPSIS:                            
Do you ever look at someone and wonder what’s going on inside their head? Disney-Pixar’s “Inside Out” takes an exciting and hilarious journey into the mind to find the answer. Based in Headquarters, the control center of 11-year-old Riley’s mind, five emotions are hard at work, led by lighthearted optimist Joy. She strives to make sure Riley stays happy as she operates alongside fellow emotions Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness. It’s “an instant classic,” raves Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times. Experience it like never before on Disney Blu-ray!

CAST:                                      
Amy Poehler (“Freebirds,” TV’s “Parks and Recreation”) as Joy; Bill Hader (Monsters University, TV’s “Saturday Night Live”) as Fear; Phyllis Smith (“Bad Teacher,” TV’s “The Office”) as Sadness; Lewis Black (“The Aristocrats,” TV’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”) as Anger; Mindy Kaling (“Wreck-It Ralph,” TV’s “The Office”) as Disgust; Richard Kind (A Bug’s Life, TV’s “Spin City”) as Bing Bong; Kaitlyn Dias (voice acting debut) as the voice of Riley

Digital HD*, Blu-ray Combo Pack & Disney Movies Anywhere (DMA)
·     Riley's First Date? (In-Home Exclusive Animated Short Film) - Riley, now 12, is hanging out at home with her parents in San Francisco when potential trouble comes knocking: a boy shows up at the door. Can Mom and Dad's emotions handle “Riley's First Date?”

·     LAVA (Theatrical Short Film) - Inspired by the isolated beauty of tropical islands and the explosive allure of ocean volcanoes, LAVA is a musical love story that takes place over millions of years.

·     Story of the Story - Director Pete Docter talks about the evolution of Inside Out, from the ideas and memories that inspired the story through the hurdles, explorations and experiences that helped shape it into the film it is today.

·     Paths to Pixar: The Women of Inside Out - Inside Out filmmakers, from voice actors to animators to production crew, talk about their paths, their goals, the challenges they've faced and the lessons they've learned along the way

·     Mixed Emotions - Inside Out's filmmakers talk about how they decided which emotions to focus on in the story and how they went about creating each one's distinct personality and visual identity

·     Mapping the Mind - Inside Out's artists take you through the years-long process of designing and creating a world everyone knows, but no one has ever seen - the human mind.

·     Our Dads, the Filmmakers - Elie Docter (daughter of director, Pete Docter) and Grace Giacchino (daughter of composer, Michael Giacchino) bring you behind the scenes for an inside look at the making of the film.

·     Into the Unknown: The Sound of Inside Out - What is the sound of a memory forming? Sound designer Ren Klyce describes the challenges - and the unique solutions - involved in creating the aural world of Inside Out.

·     The Misunderstood Art of Animation Film Editing - Learn more about the crucial role of an animation film editor, who helps take     the story from its earliest, most exploratory versions, to the final, polished film you see onscreen.

·     Deleted Scenes

Riley Grows Up - In this scene from a version of the film where the primary relationship was between Joy and Fear (then named Freddie), the emotions begin to notice a change in Riley.

Joy's Decline - Joy's struggles to make sense of the limitations on Riley's behavior that seem to be springing up at every turn.

Misdirection -Joy and Freddie encounter a group of Riley's "retired" imaginary friends, including an early version of Big Bong.

Construction - Joy is guided through Riley's mind by a radical non-conformist, Bing Bong, outraged by the demolition of older areas like Imagination Park.

·       Commentary - Commentary includes participation from directors Pete Docter and Ronnie del Carmen, and producer Jonas Rivera.

·       Mind Candy – A montage of toolkit and interstitials produced for Inside Out.

·       Inside Out Trailers - A collection of domestic and international trailers made for Inside Out.

*Digital bonus offerings may vary by retailer              

Blu-ray 3D
·       LAVA

DVD:
·       LAVA
·       Commentary
                                                                   
DMA Exclusives:
·     Designing Abstract Thought - Inside Out character designer Albert Lozano describes the challenging, exciting and appropriately nonlinear process of designing the films "Abstract Thought" sequence.

·       Deleted Scenes
Joy Alone - Pursuing a lost memory underneath the ocean, Joy is given a chance to fulfill her heart's desire.

Imagination Park - Joy is chased through a reactivated Imagination Park by an antagonistic Freddie.

MY THOUGHTS:
We have been waiting anxiously for this movie to come out on Blu-ray! Ever since we saw it in theaters, the entire family has been excited to see it again. The movie is so full of emotion. As a mom, I found it to be eye opening to get a look into how a kid might be feeling without fully letting you in. Even my daughter found some sadness in the movie and cuddled closer to me at some touching moments. It was great to see it together and be able to talk about it after. I loved having that opening to tell her that it's ok to feel sad.

But aside from being moving and heartwarming, it was also fun and funny! The characters are incredible. My daughter really was drawn to sadness. She loves to lay down on the floor and pretend to be her. I personally love Bing-Bong. I mean really, he cries candy! I would love to see him reappear in his own little short!



I feel like this movie has so much to offer. It has an incredibly interesting concept. I love the idea of the islands that make up who you are. Riley's islands were made up of all the important people and things in her life that made her who she is. There were just so many awesome little concepts that just all pulled together to make a brilliant story, like long term memory and the train of thought. Cute plays on words. It's the perfect movie for families to watch together. To laugh and cry together. And to take the opportunity to talk about feelings and how ever feeling is important and valid. It's a fun family movie night for sure!!

The Bonus features of this film are also outstanding. We really enjoyed LAVA when we saw it in the theater. The music was beautiful and the tale of true love was so beautifully illustrated. So it was a lot of fun to be able to relive that moment again.

I also really enjoy getting a peak into how these films come to life. An amazing amount if time and work goes into creating something so magical. And the human mind is truly a fascinating place that these artists have created!

But my absolute favorite feature was the all new short, Riley's First Date? I love how the emotions are carried over to the different characters and they take on a whole new persona! It is so clever and well done. And it's very humorous to see how everyone reacts to this new journey in Riley's life!




I would highly recommend you check this movie out! And here are some fun coloring sheets to help make the most of your fun family movie night!

Download Inside Out Colors & Emotions

Thursday, October 29, 2015

See An All New Pixar Short - "Riley's First Date?"

"Riley's First Date?"

Synopsis: Do you ever look at someone and wonder what’s going on inside their head? Disney-Pixar’s “Inside Out” takes an exciting and hilarious journey into the mind to find the answer. Based in Headquarters, the control center of 11-year-old Riley’s mind, five emotions are hard at work, led by lighthearted optimist Joy. She strives to make sure Riley stays happy as she operates alongside fellow emotions Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness. It’s “an instant classic,” raves Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times. Experience it like never before on Disney Blu-ray!  

Stay connected with the latest news and information about ”Inside Out”:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PixarInsideOut
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PixarInsideOut
Instragram: https://instagram.com/pixarinsideout/

Monday, October 19, 2015

Halloween Fun with Inside Out!

As we all wait patiently for Inside Out to be released on 
Blu-ray Combo Pack on November 3rd... 
here are some fun Halloween activities to keep the little ones busy!


Download Inside Out Halloween Fun Activities

Friday, October 16, 2015

Advanced Biobanking with LifebankUSA


When I had my daughter, six years ago, cord blood banking was mentioned to me in passing. I wasn't provided with too much information and it wasn't brought up again after that first and only mention. It wasn't something I heard other moms talking about and wasn't on my list of things to research as an overwhelmed new mom-to-be. But it should have been.

Over the years I have learned so much more about it. Perhaps it's because I am now aware, but I see advertisements and have noticed fliers in doctor's offices. But the information needs to be easily available. Someone needs to be informing new moms about the choices they have for cord blood banking.

Knowing your options when it comes to cord blood banking is so important. I think it is something every mom-to-be should be informed about and given enough information to make the best decision for their family. It is something that is so easy to do, and could potentially save your child's life.

Cord blood banking is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to collect, process and preserve your baby’s stem cells for future medical use. Collecting your baby’s cord blood is a simple and safe procedure that happens immediately after the birth and usually takes the healthcare provider about 5 minutes to collect and package for shipment to our state-of-the-art facility located in New Jersey.
Cord blood is an important source of rich stem cells, and has been proven in treatments to help replace and rebuild diseased blood cells. Today, cord blood stem cells are used in the treatment of more than 80 diseases, 1 including various types of blood disorders and cancers such as leukemia.


Advanced Biobanking
A New Generation of Proactive Life-Banking Services: Advanced Biobanking

Ongoing medical research is showing that the stem cells in cord blood have transformative potential and are used to treat more than 80 different diseases and are being studied for the treatment of dozens more.1 But cord blood is only the beginning.

Advanced Biobanking. Their Future is Here.
You want the best for your baby and family. So do we. That’s why we’re combining our years of experience and leadership in stem cell research and development to deliver a new generation of advanced, first-in-class biobanking services.

There is a lot to learn about the possibilities of Advanced Biobanking, from placental blood banking to complete placenta banking to cord vessels and cord platelet rich plasma. The LifeBankUSA website has everything you need to know to make an informed decision for your family on cord blood banking.

I wish our family had been provided with more information, and I hope that this reaches some new moms-to-be out there who will at least take a few minutes to look over LifeBankUSA's website. A little information can go a long way!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Disney's Cinderella


“Believe in Magic” – Claudia Puig, USA Today

DISNEY’S BELOVED AND EMPOWERING FAIRYTALE TOLD 
IN A NEW BEAUTIFUL AND MAGICAL WAY
CINDERELLA
ON BLU-RAY™ COMBO PACK, DIGITAL HD AND
DISNEY MOVIES ANYWHERE on September 15, 2015


Over 12 Minutes of Additional Scenes, Including an Alternate Opening,
 Plus the “Frozen Fever” Theatrical Short!


SYNOPSIS:                        
Celebrate Disney’s “Cinderella,” a modern classic that shines with beauty, imagination…and magic! Despite being mistreated by her stepmother (Cate Blanchett) and stepsisters, a spirited Ella (Lily James) resolves to take charge of her fate. Add a royal ball, a Fairy Godmother (Helena Bonham-Carter) and a glass slipper, and suddenly – magic becomes reality!



My Thoughts:
For as long as I can remember, Cinderella has been my favorite Disney movie. When my daughter was three years old I was so excited to share the classic story with her, and was thrilled when she fell in love with it... just like I did. She is now 6 years old.... and taking her to see this new movie in the theater was beyond magical! Her uncle also came with us, and after the movie he said his favorite part was watching her watch the movie. He saw excitement and magic in her eyes throughout!

Now if you ask my daughter her favorite part she will tell you two things.... when the pumpkin grows too big for the green house and when the Fairy Godmother gives her the gown. Oh the gown! Every girls dream... no matter how old... is to wear a gown that beautiful!

I am so excited to have this now on DVD so that my daughter and I can relive the magic any time we want. It is filled with magic and laughter, as well as a little sadness and tears. My daughter cried when Cinderella's mother died, which made me cry! But the movie is filled with so much goodness.  The words, "Have courage and be kind," are words I want my daughter to live by. Cinderella is a beautiful, kind, caring girl who rises above life's greatest challenges and heartaches. And she comes out stronger and even more beautiful for it. Inside and out.

This movie is a classic brought to life. It is a must see for all princesses... no matter their age!


Download Cinderella Host A Royal Ball

Friday, September 4, 2015

Sloth Slept On

Sloth Slept On
written and illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon


Who's that sleeping in our tree?!

When a group of children find a mysterious animal napping in their backyard, they set out to learn what it is and where it’s from. They search and search, never noticing all the posters and news articles about a sloth that's broken out of the zoo…

When the kids finally discover the identity of the snoozing creature, they hatch a plan to get it home… boy, will this sloth be surprised when he wakes up!

Frann Preston-Gannon has created an endearing, adorable, and huggable title character; a group of intrepid children; and a wildly humorous situation in SLOTH SLEPT ON (Sterling Children’s Books, September 2015)!

Frann Preston-Gannon is the author and illustrator of The Journey Home (Pavilion Press), as well as How to Lose a Lemur and Dinosaur Farm (both Sterling). In 2011, Frann became the first UK recipient of a Sendak Fellowship and spent a month living with and learning from the great master of illustration, Maurice Sendak. She lives in London.

My Thoughts:
I have always had a love for the slow moving, adorable sloths. And the sleepy sloth in this story is definitely adorable! I love how the kids in this story have such creative imaginations. They want to know who this sloth is and where he is from. A pirate? An astronaut? While they may not notice all the posters looking for this sloth, they do figure out a way to learn all about him.

I think it's fabulous how the author combined imagination and fact to make this story so interesting. From outrageous ideas like a sloth knight to all of the interesting facts about sloths, it's a great way to encourage imagination and learning about animals and what makes them who they are. It was a fun story that both of my kids enjoyed!