Tuesday, December 17, 2013

7 Days of Giveaways with Chicken Soup for the Soul: Day 7

Day 7: Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Mom Book and Gift Set
Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Mom will touch the heart of any mother with its stories of gratitude, joy, love, and learning from children of all ages. The paperback book packaged with a photo frame and bookmark is the perfect to give any mother, mother-to-be or even grandmother.

A mother's job is never done, but in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Mom, she gets the praise she deserves. Children of all ages share their words of thanks in these touching, heartfelt stories. Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Mom will bring any mother joy, inspiration, and humor and show her that the kids were paying attention after all.

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Monday, December 16, 2013

7 Days of Giveaways with Chicken Soup for the Soul: Day 6

Day 6: Chicken Soup for the Soul Cookbook eBook from Open Road Media
The kitchen is the heart of the home. So much of life is lived around the family table: We tell stories, review the day, pass on traditions, grieve our losses, resolve differences, introduce new loves, and celebrate holidays. In the preparing and sharing of meals we create deep memories that we carry with us forever.

The flavor of Chicken Soup for the Soul, here is a joyful collection of heartwarming stories accompanied by mouthwatering recipes. Seasoned with heartfelt blessings, this marvelous book will help you revisit time-honored values and foster the sharing of meaningful conversation—and new recipes—at mealtime.

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7 Days of Giveaways with Chicken Soup for the Soul: Day 5

Day 5: Chicken Soup for the Soul: It’s Christmas!
101 Joyful Stories about the Love, Fun, and Wonder of the Holidays

Christmas is an exciting and joyous time of year, a time of family, friends, and traditions. You will delight in reading these 101 festive stories about the joy, wonder, and blessings of the season. This collection is filled with merry and heartwarming stories about holiday traditions, family, and goodwill. Remember, all of our stories are "Santa safe" so they can be enjoyed by the whole family. A fantastic holiday gift and a great way to start the season!

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Saturday, December 14, 2013

7 Days of Giveaways with Chicken Soup for the Soul: Day 4

Day 4: Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Gift of Christmas 
Book and Frame Set

This extra long collection of 121 Christmas stories will warm readers’ hearts and spread the wonder of the holiday season with its tales of love, joy, and awe. A great holiday gift packaged with a photo frame and bookmark.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Gift of Christmas
 will delight readers with its stories about the joy, wonder, and blessings of the holiday season. This special collection is filled with joyful, heartwarming and merry stories about holiday traditions, family, and goodwill that the whole family will enjoy. 

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Friday, December 13, 2013

7 Days of Giveaways with Chicken Soup for the Soul: Day 3

Day 3: Chicken Soup for the Soul Angels Around Us Oceanhouse Media App

Angels are everywhere – we only need to open ourselves to seeing them and receiving their help. Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels Around Us gives you a portable reminder of the many different forms angels can take with twenty-one inspiring stories about faith and answered prayers. With this app, you can also reflect on your own miracles in your personal journal, engage with our supportive community, and enhance your understanding of yourself with our thought-provoking questions.

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide: CleanSmart Alcohol Free Hand Sanitizer

The Holiday Season is upon us! And with it comes spending lots of time out in the malls, shaking hands with old friends and new, visiting with friends and family... and just general exposure to germs! As a mom of 2 little ones I am always looking for ways to protect my family and be sure that we will be able to enjoy a healthy Holiday.

CleanSmart was kind enough to send my family some samples of their alcohol-free moisturizing gel and hydrating spray. Here's the CleanSmart story:

  • Kills 99.9% of Germs, keeping you and your family healthy this cold and flu season.
  • CleanSmart is naturally moisturizing. Your hands won't dry out from regular use like it does with alcohol-based products.
  • No odor! CleanSmart is Hypoallergenic, and virtually fragrance free.
  • Contains Hydrochlorous acid, the same chemical your body's immune system produces to fight germs and infection.
  • In addition to being alcohol-free, CleanSmart contains no Triclosan or BZK.
  • It's gentle on hands, the environment and safe enough to use on kids.
I have been very pleased with CleanSmart over the past couple of weeks. My husband and my daughter both seem to suffer from dry skin all winter long. I am constantly moisturizing their hands. So learning that this product won't dry out skin was a major plus for me. I also have a 1 year old who loves to put his hands in his mouth... so alcohol free and safe for kids was huge!

I have been carrying CleanSmart in my purse and using it when I pick my daughter up from school, when we leave stores, before we eat at restaurants and pretty much whenever I can to help prevent my kids from getting sick. I would definitely recommend you check out CleanSmart!

7 Days of Giveaways with Chicken Soup for the Soul: Day 2

 Day 2: Audible Chicken Soup for the Soul 20th Anniversary Edition Audio Book
The 20th anniversary edition of the original Chicken Soup for the Soul is brimming with even more hope and inspiration - the stories you've always loved, plus bonus stories, plus 20 bonus stories from today's thought leaders.

Twenty years later, Chicken Soup for the Soul continues to open the heart and rekindle the spirit. Celebrate the 20th anniversary with the classic book that inspired millions - reinvigorated with bonus stories of inspiration! You will find hope and inspiration in these 101 heartwarming stories about counting your blessings, thinking positive, and overcoming challenges.

This inspiring edition of Chicken Soup for the Soul is read by Mark Victor Hansen, Amy Newmark, Rev. Michael Beckwith, don Miguel Ruiz, Gabrielle Bernstein, MK Asante, Kris Carr, Heidi Krupp, Tory Johnson, Darren Hardy, Eric Handler, Nic Ortner, Mastin Kip, and Lori Deschene.

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

7 Days of Giveaways with Chicken Soup for the Soul: Day 1

Day 1: Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miraculous Messages from Heaven
101 Stories of Eternal Love, Powerful Connections, and Divine Signs from Beyond
When our loved ones leave this world, our connection with them does not end and we often receive signs from the other side.

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Holiday Gift Guide: Angry Birds Go! JENGA PIRATE PIGS ATTACK GAME


(Age: 8+; Players: 1-2; Approximate Retail Price: $29.99, Available: Now)
Set sail as you battle pirate pigs in the new ANGRY BIRDS GO! JENGA PIRATE PIG ATTACK GAME. Race head to head against your rival to destroy the pirate ship! Slingshot your kart down the slope to capture the victory flag and take down the pirate pigs. Players can also unlock ANGRY BIRDS GO! in-app content with a special code in each pack.

My Thoughts:
My husband is an Angry Birds fanatic. He loves to play the game on his iPhone so I knew that this would be the perfect Christmas gift for him! When it arrived I decided to open it up and test it out. Then I would box it back up and wrap it up for Christmas.

I had a little trouble getting the ship together. It would keep  falling apart before I could get it entirely in place. I did a little research into other reviews and someone suggested crazy gluing the top pieces of the ship and the bottom pieces. This seems to work great! Now I can get the ship to stay together and set up the inside pieces of the ship for the game.

Once I solved the problem of getting the ship to stay together I really enjoyed the idea, set-up, and execution of the game. I would say it is totally worth it for an Angry Bird fan because it's so unique. Launching the pigs will definitely be a blast for my husband... and I'm sure my daughter will enjoy getting in on the action.

* I received this game from HASBRO in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced in any way.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Holiday Cheer Ideas: How to Get Into the Holiday Spirit

Spreading Cheer This Holiday Season
How to get into the holiday spirit with your neighbors.

All but the most Scrooge-like among us would have to agree that the holidays are about giving our time, attention and gifts to other people. To start out your holiday season in the spirit of generosity and good cheer, here are a few suggestions for families and neighborhoods that are looking for ways to brighten someone else’s day. From volunteer work to organizing a neighborhood Christmas caroling event, donating a small amount of your time can have a big impact on the people around you.

Help your neighbor clear their driveway – Have you seen your neighbor after a blizzard, shovel in hand, ready to tackle mounds of heavy, wet snow? If you own a snow blower, why not help out by clearing their driveway after you finish yours? You can also volunteer to clear the sidewalks around the block. A kind neighbor with a snow blower can be especially helpful to an elderly resident who may have difficulty shoveling.

Volunteer your time – A meaningful family bonding holiday idea is to volunteer at a local soup kitchen, homeless shelter or other non-profit organization. Kids love presents, and can tend to equate the holiday season with getting more things – you can teach them how to spread holiday cheer to others by volunteering and making a difference in your community.

Organize a Christmas caroling event – It may seem a bit old-fashioned, but your neighbors may enjoy participating in a caroling event. Ask around to find out who’d like to join in, and consider hosting a social gathering at your house afterward where everyone can warm up and chat over hot chocolate, coffee and cookies.

Plan a neighborhood gift exchange – If you’re not musically inclined but still want to plan a neighborhood holiday event, try a gift exchange. These types of holiday get-togethers are more about spending time socializing than exchanging presents, so consider placing a modest $20 limit on gift purchases.

Build a snow-scape with your family – On the morning after a heavy snowfall, transform your front yard into a winter scene, filled with snowmen, igloos, snow castles and whatever else your family dreams up. Snow drifts piled up by your snow thrower create a ready-made mound for tunnels and forts or supply for snowmen. It’s a great bonding opportunity, and your neighbors can admire your handiwork as they drive down the street.

These are just a few suggestions for getting into the holiday spirit, but however you choose to spread Christmas cheer this season, make a point to improve the lives of the people around you. Get the family involved, or even the neighborhood, and come up with your own holiday ideas.

*Disclosure - This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers

Holiday Gift Guide - DreamWorks Holiday Collection DVD

Available for the FIRST-TIME this limited edition collection features four holiday favorites in one DVD box set for just $19.98. The glittering box set includes Shrek The Halls, Merry Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda Holiday and Dragons Holiday: Gift of the Night Fury as well as bonus features including games, music videos and more!

Start a new holiday tradition!  Bring the family together in front of the fire and get cozy —The DreamWorks Holiday Collection provides hours of entertainment for all ages.

My Thoughts:
I get so excited when the holiday specials start on TV. I try so hard to figure out when everything is on and not miss any of my favorites. But all too often I miss them. Now I have 4 fabulous holiday specials on DVD and they will be watched every holiday season by my family!

We settled in on one snowy day to check out the festive cartoons. My husband loves the hilarious crew from Madagascar - so this funny film about the 4-some trying to save Christmas by delivering all the gifts on Santa's sleigh was his favorite. My daughter is a Shrek fan so she was laughing out loud at Donkey's silly antics as Shrek tries to make Fiona's Christmas extra special. It's their first Christmas as a family with those little babies running around. Very sweet! I was excited for Dragons Holiday because it was one we had never seen and it didn't disappoint! And of course, our adorable pal Po was a hilarious hit in Kung Fu Panda Holiday.

The reason this DVD is such a hit in our house is because it's fun for kids and adults! It will be a family tradition for years to come! Grab it now from Amazon or Walmart or another major retailer. It will get you and your family in the holiday spirit!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Super Adventure

Available NOW on DVD!

Zoom! Wow! It’s Super Mickey, Wonder Minnie, Super-Power Pup, Super Goof, Dynamo Duck and Upsy-Daisy to the rescue! In an exciting adventure straight out of a comic book, Power-Pants Pete swoops down and starts shrinking everything insight down to teeny-tiny size! To save the day, Professor Von Drake transforms the Clubhouse Gang into super heroes with incredible powers. But Pete’s merely a sidekick; a wily villain named Megamort is the true mastermind behind the shrinky-dinky caper. Can our heroes outsmart the bad guys? Only by working together, with help from YOU… and the right Mouseketools! Packed with action, surprises and nearly two hours of fun – including three additional episodes – this Super Adventure celebrates the unstoppable power of teamwork and friendship.

My Thoughts:
Let me introduce you to the biggest Mickey Mouse Clubhouse fan in this universe....
When the intro music for Mickey Mouse Clubhouse comes on this guy starts bopping to the beat. And the Hot Dog Dance... oh forget it! He's got moves like you've never seen. So I knew that combining Mickey and superheroes was a slam dunk. It even got his 4 year old sister engaged and entertained!

While the Clubhouse gang is full of fun and adventures, my favorite part of it all is the message of friendship and teamwork. And they even need our little superheroes at home to help out. My daughter was jumping up and down and yelling to the gang to help solve problems and find the right Mouseketool!

This DVD is full of laughs and adventure. It is a great addition to the DVD collection of any Mickey Mouse Clubhouse fan.

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Monday, December 2, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide: The Little Mermaid II and Ariel's Beginning on Blu-ray Combo Pack

Available Now!

The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea
All of your favorite characters from The Little Mermaid continue their adventures in this enchanting sequel to one of the most celebrated animated films of all time.  Even though her parents tell her merpeople and Atlantica are just “old fish tales,” Ariel’s daughter, Melody, dreams of being part of that magical world. In an unforgettable story that will take your breath away, all the good creatures on the land and under the sea must join forces to show Melody that both her worlds can live in perfect harmony.

The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning
One of Disney’s most beloved characters reveals the extraordinary events that led up to her transformation into a princess!  Long before Ariel walked on land and into Prince Eric’s heart, she was one of seven beloved daughters of powerful King Triton. But times were troubled in the underwater kingdom – and music was banned! In this magical adventure, Ariel, her fun-loving sisters, and her loyal friends Sebastian and Flounder strive to bring music and friendship back to Atlantica. Featuring breathtaking animation – and some thrilling surprises – The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning is an enchanting tale you’ll share with your family again and again!

My Thoughts:
My daughter is following in my foot-steps as a Disney fanatic. I can remember back to the day I saw The Little Mermaid in the movie theater and how in love I fell with the beautiful Ariel, the faithful Flounder and the overwhelmed Sebastian. When the day came to share this movie with my daughter I was excited to find out what she thought. She immediately fell in love.

While her favorite princess changes from month to month.... it is currently Ariel and has been for some time. So when this DVD arrived we were both anxious to pop it in and take a journey back in time to Ariel's Beginning and then discover what Ariel and Eric have been up to since their magical wedding in The Little Mermaid 11. 

I must admit that I am not usually a fan of sequals... or prequals.... and the idea of trying to find something that lives up to a classic like The Little Mermaid had me even more skeptical. But I wasn't looking for a replacement for one of my favorites. I was looking for a fun movie with familiar, lovable characters. And that is exaclty what we got!

My daughter LOVED both of these movies. She really enjoyed the fact that Ariel's sisters had a role in Ariel's Beginning because she has the sisters as bath toys. So getting to know them better was really cool. And she instantly loved Melody in The Little Mermaid 11. Melody really has a lot of Ariel's characteristics and her relationship with Sebastian is just hysterical. We both really enjoyed getting back under the sea and visiting with old... and new... friends!

This would make a great holiday gift for any Little Mermaid fan!

Holiday Gift Guide - Great Books from Sterling Children's Books

I love reading to my kids every night before bed. During the holiday season I fill a basket with all kinds of great holiday stories and the kids can pick a book on their way up to bed. This year I am excited to add some great ones from Sterling Children's Books!

Christmas Eve with Mrs. Claus
M. P. Hueston, illustrated by Teri Weidner

Christmas Eve is a busy time in Santa's headquarters - for Mrs. Claus, too. She's baking treats for everyone in this merry, lift-the-flap picture book. Kids will have happy holiday fun helping her find her missing items to make yummy biscuits, scrumptious gingerbread, and a tasty snack for Santa's trip around the world. At the end, a sweet surprise awaits Mrs. Claus!

My Thoughts: 
My daughter loves books that really get her engaged. She loved helping Mrs. Claus in this story and looked forward to turning the page and finding more flaps to lift and explore. We've already read this book a couple of times! And of course, now my little one wants to get bust baking just like Mrs. Claus. This is a super sweet and fun story that gets you into the holiday spirit.

The Gifts They Gave
Patricia Reeder Eubank

This beautiful holiday book uses a timeless, beloved Christmas song to tell the story of the nativity. In the manger where Jesus was born, all the animals flock around Him and tell of the special gifts they gave to the infant. From the donkey that carried Mary to Bethlehem to the sheep whose wool made the baby's blanket, these fluffy creatures will steal children's hearts. 

My Thoughts:
This book is truly beautiful. So often we lose sight of what Christmas is really about. This is the perfect book to remind ourselves and our children that Jesus really is the reason for the season. The pictures are beautiful and my daughter loved seeing all the animals and learning the role they played during this very important occasion... the birth of Jesus!

Brownie Groundhog and the Wintry Surprise
Susan Blackaby, illustrated by Carmen Segovia

Brownie is ready for a long winter's nap. "Just don't wake me up," she warns. But her friends miss her so much that they can't bear to obey her orders - and they turn Brownies "do not disturb" into a comic commotion, complete with a stunningly beautiful nighttime surprise. 

My Thoughts: 
A true tale of friendship! This fun winter story is not a Christmas story. It is simply a warm tale about friends. The illustrations are just beautiful. And the book is so well written that even in such a short story you feel like you really get to know the characters and each of their unique personalities. It's a lovely book to share with your children during the long, cold winter months. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide - Joovy Groove UltraLight

This year I had something on my list that every mom and dad need. A great, lightweight stroller. Our family is headed off on a great adventure in the New Year... a trip to Disney World! Since we will be traveling with two kids and 5 adults we decided that it would be a better idea to bring two single strollers rather than one double. This way we can split up throughout the day.

Traveling with a baby as young as my son will be a first for me. So I had a checklist of things that I was looking for in a single stroller. It has to be light. On and off buses all day.... the lighter the better! We need to be able to functionally use the basket. Between sweatshirts and souvenirs... the basket can get full fast! It has to recline. I am hoping he will be able to nap on the go and avoid going back to the hotel. There has to be a canopy and it needs to provide enough shade. The Florida sun can be hot!

With lots of research and a bit of experience, my letter to Santa was written. I was wishing for a Joovy Groove UltraLight. And then.... Christmas came early! I was given the opportunity to check one out in person for review. Woohoo!

I have some experience with Joovy and LOVE my double stroller, the ScooterX2. So I felt confident that this stroller would meet my expectations. What I actually found was that it exceeded them... greatly.

Every point on my list was met:
Lightweight: only 12.78 pounds - and it has a carry strap! Toss it over your shoulder and go!
Functional basket: Large and easily accessible!
Recline: Unlimited recline positions to 149 degrees
Canopy: Oversized (perhaps my favorite feature... the canopy is huge!)

The Groove UltraLight was very easy to put together. All we had to do was attach the wheels, put on the canopy and attach the shoulder straps. Within minutes we were ready to go!
We got the Blueberry color.... and I love it! 

I have fallen so in love with this stroller and all of the fabulous features that I now want to replace our other single stroller with a Groove UltraLight to better meet the needs of my daughter. The back is nice and high, which would allow for her to nap should the occasion arise (oh please please please!). I also love the idea of providing her with the great shade that Joovy's canopies cover. And the handles are so nice and high that this stroller is just over-all more comfortable for my husband and I to push. Not to mention the cup holder... crucial for my husband who loves to have a beverage on hand.

Our Donald Duck has already checked it out and given it his seal of approval.

Joovy has never let me down with their great way of thinking, functional designs, great color options, and quality of products. But perhaps what really makes this company stand out is it's customer service. I had to call with a quick question and they were so friendly and dedicated to making sure everything was perfect. They had an answer for every question and made me feel comfortable. Two thumbs up!

Make sure you check out their website to learn more about the Joovy Groove UltraLight, as well as the other great products they carry. You just might find the perfect gift for someone on your list... or one for yourself! You can also follow them on Facebook for the latest news and great contests and giveaways!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

iCaughtSanta.com - FREE Photos!

iCaughtSanta.com is a really fun way to bring even more holiday magic into your home. It's as easy as 1-2-3. Simply upload a photo of your tree, stockings, house.... really anything.... and add in a fun image of Santa. Then you can show your kids that you caugh Santa in the act!

We did this a couple of years ago with my daughter and she thought it was the coolest thing ever. This is a fun and affordable way to make the magic come alive. And right now you can do it for FREE!

Simply go through the steps and then at checkout enter the code SantaShare for your free picture. This code expires on December 10th... but you can use it as many times as you want to up until that point. So share the magic with family and friends!

I just did this fun process and made a great photo of Santa getting caught in front of our stockings! It was quick and easy and look how great it came out!

I am really impressed with how easily you can move Santa around and size him to fit your photo. And he comes out looking crisp and clear.  We don't have our tree up yet, but it's going up this weekend! So I will be sure to share some more fun pics once we deck our halls.
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Holiday Gift Guide - Chicken Soup for the Soul: It's Christmas!

Chicken Soup for the Soul: It's Christmas!

101 Joyful Stories about the Love, Fun, and Wonder of the Holidays
Christmas is an exciting and joyous time of year, a time of family, friends, and traditions. You will delight in reading these 101 festive stories about the joy, wonder, and blessings of the season. This collection is filled with merry and heartwarming stories about holiday traditions, family, and goodwill. Remember, all of our stories are "Santa safe" so they can be enjoyed by the whole family. A fantastic holiday gift and a great way to start the season!

My Thoughts:
It has pretty much become a tradition for me to get the latest Christmas Chicken Soup for the Soul book each year. And as many as I read I just can't seem to get enough. There is something magical about reading the most personal tales from people's lives that bring them joy. It's like stepping into their home and feeling the warmth and love of the holiday season through their eyes.

I really enjoy reading a couple of short storied each night before bed. Being tucked in under the warm blankets and visiting with people I've never met but can almost feel like I know them. It really gets you in the holiday spirit. This would be a great gift for someone special this holiday season!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide - Phineas and Ferb: Quest for Cool Stuff

Join Phineas and Ferb on an out-of-this-world adventure as they dig, drill, and explore for hidden treasure for their Museum of Cool in their newest ride, the A.T.T. (All Terrain Transformatron). Play as Agent P and stop Dr. Doofenshmirtz from releasing his horde of robots on the Tri-State area.

Available On: Nintendo 3DS™, Nintendo DS™, Wii U™, Wii™, Xbox 360®

My Thoughts:
This game is a lot of fun! My daughter loves to watch Phineas and Ferb and I can honestly say it's a show that my husband and I can sit down and enjoy with her. So now that she is starting to play some video games I figured that this one would be a hit.

I think the storyline in this game is key. It really keeps her motivated and interested to see what's going on next. And the game moves at a good pace for kids. It can keep her engaged and interested for quite some time. The music and sounds are great and really add to the experience.

The only trouble we had was with some of the controls. You really have to be pretty spot on with your jumping. But I think with time she will get the hang of it better. It wasn't enough to discourage her from playing!

This would make a great gift this holiday season for any kid who is a fan of the show. It really is true to the characters and general theme of the show. Lots of family fun!

Friday, November 22, 2013

JFK A New World Order



Over Six Hours Of The Myth And Memory of JFK The Man Who Captivated A Nation!
Fifty years after his death, President John F. Kennedy’s life and legacy continues to capture the hearts and minds of an entire nation.  Experience the history all over again as a new generation of Americans is introduced to the compelling story of this unforgettable leader, and the political dynasty that he left behind. Insightful and concise, this eight - part documentary series covers the life of JFK, from his perilous birth to his dramatic assassination in 1963.

My Thoughts:
The assassination of JFK happened before I was even born. My grandparents would talk about the young, handsome president as if they had known him. The emotions in their voices were strange to me as they didn't know him. But the pain of that day had clearly hit them hard and stuck with them.

With the 50th Anniversary upon us there has been a lot of coverage in magazines that I read. So I was slowly starting to get to know the more personal emotions behind the tragic event. And for the first time... I started to understand my grandparents pain.

Whether you agreed with his politics or not, no one can argue that November 22, 1963 wasn't a tragic day for our entire country. But perhaps what has hit me the most was the loss of a father and husband. Stepping inside his life, learning about his relationship with his wife and his children make this even even more tragic.

This documentary series is enthralling. JFK was a truly interesting man from birth to death. This DVD covers a lot of territory in only 6 short hours. It is historically so important and I'm glad that I got to know him... and can now understand better what happened that day to him and to all of those standing by.

Holiday Gift Guide - Mr. Tiger Goes Wild - Review and Giveaway

A wild picture book—about being yourself.

Mr. Tiger lived a perfectly proper life in a perfectly proper city and everything was perfectly fine . . . until the day he had a wonderfully wild idea! Why choose to stay in the stuffy city when there is a whole wide world of wilderness and wildness to explore? So Mr. Tiger bounds off on an adventure to discover where he really belongs.

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild shows us that there’s a time and place for everything. Even going wild.

Recommended for ages 3-6

My Thoughts:
I really do love books. As a teacher and a parent I have a real appreciation for children's books that portray important messages that boost self esteem and address real childhood issues in fun ways. With that being said, I have read hundreds of children's books and enjoy many of them. But this book.... tops them all.

When this book arrived I was excited because I knew that Peter Brown is a Caldecott honor artist. But when I began turning the pages I was just so impressed in so many ways.

First of all, the message. Be yourself. Don't be who people want you to be or expect you to be. Be you... and do what makes you happy. What a powerful message for kids just trying to fit in. My daughter is only 4 and I am already dealing with her wanting to dress like her friends and have the same toys. Wear what you like and play what you like to play. You are only 4 for a short time... so be true to you! This book helped open a lovely conversation with her about just being her beautiful self and enjoying every minute of it.

Secondly, the illustrations are just fantastic! From the dull, muted colors of the city to the vibrant colors of the wilderness.

Thirdly, the layout and pace of the story was perfect. There are pages with no words at all... but the illustration has so much character that you know exactly what the artist is trying to portray. The story is short, sweet, and perfect for bedtime reading.

This is a book that kids and adults can relate to. We all need to get a little bit wild at times. And it's so important to realize how to take the best of two worlds and make your own world where you are happy and you can be yourself.

I would highly recommend this book! And be sure to check out some really fun activities on Peter Brown's website. With gift tags and ornaments... your kids will have a blast!

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

LifebankUSA “Peace of Mind” Winter Car Seat Giveaway

As the only company that offers cord blood, placenta blood and tissue banking -- and the first to release placenta-derived stem cells for a successful transplant -- New Jersey-based LifebankUSA is a technological leader that is pioneering key medical innovations in the field.  Owned by the Celgene Corporation, a world-class biopharmaceutical company, LifebankUSA also operates a robust donation program and collects cells from anywhere in the US for use primarily in advancing medical research.

There’s only one opportunity to save your baby’s stem cells for the future... 

As an expectant parent, your baby’s health means everything. Right now, he or she is protected in the womb and will soon enter the world. There is a lot to think about and prepare for, but an invaluable step you can take when your child is born is to preserve his/her stem-cell rich cord and placenta blood The ability of stem cells to save lives via cord blood banking has proven successful for replacing abnormal or diseased cells, and treating life-threatening blood disorders such as leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma.  In fact, since 1988 stem cell transplants have been used to treat some 80 diseases.

LifebankUSA is dedicated to providing peace of mind for you and your family. As a mother of two I strongly urge you to check out LifebankUSA and all that they have to offer as the only company that offers cord blood, placenta blood, and tissue banking.

In the true spirit of "Peace of Mind," LifebankUSA will be giving away three top rated Britax Marathon 70-G3 Convertible Car Seats.

Please Click HERE for your chance to win!

Holiday Gift Guide- Pound Puppies: Holiday Hijinks

Available Now on DVD

Can the Pound Puppies gang — Lucky, Niblet, Cookie, Strudel, Squirt and Mr. Nut-Nut — make sure that every pet has a family of their very own this holiday season? Find out in this merry-filled disc, packed with five of your all-time favorite holiday episodes!

Winner of the 2012 Humanitas Prize in Children’s Animation, the Pound Puppies series is currently airing on The Hub in the U.S. and YTV in Canada and stars the voices of Eric McCormack, Yvette Nicole Brown, Michael Rapaport, John DiMaggio, Alanna Ubach, RenĂ© Auberjonois, and M. Emmet Walsh.

Episodes Include:
I Heard The Barks On Christmas Eve
I Never Barked For My Father
Good Dog, McLeish
Prince And The Pupper

My Thoughts:
As an animal lover and a holiday enthusiast this DVD is a welcome addition to our family's collection of holiday DVD's. There is something really special about the idea of a new puppy for Christmas. Of course, after watching this my daughter desperately wants a puppy for Christmas. Can we take a rain check, Santa?

My daughter loves watching Pound Puppies and I love having this DVD for this holiday season. Each episode is short and sweet and filled with holiday cheer. The puppies are each unique and have their own personalities. But they are truly the best of friends... all looking out for each other. It's a great DVD to share with your kids this holiday season.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide - Educational Insights

Based in Southern California, Educational Insights, is the manufacturer of playful products with serious educational value, including subject-specific classroom products, teacher resources, educational toys, and games. Our products are designed by seasoned educators and parents who know that, first and foremost, learning must be fun.

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to check out one of the fabulous products offered by Educational Insights, Shelby's Snack Shack Game.

This preschool counting bone-anza is a summer day trip to a dog beach! Shelby buried bones in the sand and needs your help collecting them. Help her dig up the most bones and you win! Kids take turns using the adorable Shelby Squeezers to fill their dog bowl with bones while they practice early counting and number skills. Sounds simple, but be careful—spin a sneaky seagull, and you’ll lose some bones or get sidetracked chewing a flip flop and miss your turn!

2–4 players. Grades Pre-K+ - See more HERE.

My Thoughts:
As the parents of a preschooler I know how important it is to make learning fun. My daughter craves learning because we turn everything into a game. This is a fabulous game to play with your little ones where they will practicing counting skills in a fun way.

For my daughter, anytime mommy and daddy play with her the game becomes oodles more fun. This is the perfect game for parents and children to play together. It doesn't take long to play, so it's great for a quick game after dinner. And I have already noticed that my daughter's counting skills are stronger after playing this a few times. She asks to play... so I know it's a winner!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide - My Little Pony: A Very Minty Christmas

Available Now on DVD

The “Here Comes Christmas Candy Cane” is an important part of Ponyville — it’s the beacon that shows jolly old Santa Claus the way to the town as he makes his holiday rounds each year. But when Minty accidentally breaks it, uh-oh! It looks like Ponyville is destined to have a bleak holiday season. Minty is determined to do anything to save Christmas for her Pony friends while they, in turn, band together to try and cheer up their despondent friend. Together, they all discover that Christmas can come anyway, wrapped in the love of good friends and the oversized heart of one little clumsy, minty-green Pony!

The My Little Pony brand has been beloved for three decades, and is now more popular than ever. My Little Pony: A Very Minty Christmas is a gift everypony will love!

Bonus Feature:

My Thoughts:
My entire family loves the holiday season! Once November hits we are in the spirit and enjoying everything about this wonderful time of year. One of our favorite things to do is catch up on all our holiday shows and movies. This year my daughter was thrilled to add this DVD to her collection.

We have already watched this Christmas DVD several times and we are all loving it. My daughter loves her pretty pony friends while my husband and I love the message portrayed about the true spirit of Christmas and the celebration of friendship.

All too often we get caught up in the gift giving craze. And it's very easy for our kids to pick up on that and get lost in the hoop-la too. This fun holiday movie is a great way to remind our kids that there is more to the holiday season than gifts. I would highly recommend checking out this DVD this holiday season!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

My Little Pony - Friendship Is Magic: A Pony For Every Season

Coming to DVD November 19, 2013

Los Angeles, CA – Soon the season will change and another year will come to a close, but the ponies from Ponyville know friendship is important all year long! My Little Pony – Friendship Is Magic: A Pony For Every Season is coming to DVD November 19 from Shout! Factory Kids in collaboration with Hasbro Studios. The set includes 6 episodes of the hit TV show and a Sing-Along as a bonus feature.

There’s a Pony for every season and an episode for every Pony in this fantastic collection of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. That’s right! Each member of the Mane 6 – Twilight Sparkle, Rarity, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, Apple Jack and Pinkie Pie – gets her very own opportunity to shine with six episodes guaranteed to have you laughing and singing as you discover the magic of friendship!

Through Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, My Little Pony – Friendship Is Magic: A Pony For Every Season is sure to entertain us all!

The My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic series is currently airing on The HUB TV Network.

Bonus Features:

My Thoughts:
My daughter adores these lovable ponies and this is the perfect DVD to have on hand. We watch My Little Pony on the HUB network, but sometimes she will ask to watch it when it's not on and now we have any easy solution. We just pop this DVD in and she can pick which of her favorite ponies she wants to visit with that day.

This is a show I enjoy sharing with my daughter because of the wonderful, positive messages that are portrayed by the ponies. Friendship is an ongoing theme, but it's how the ponies handle differences and issues that kids also face. Every time the ponies come out as friends and work through their problems. They learn that friendship is the most important thing and to always be there for each other.

Each episode on this DVD is different and fun. My daughter loves to sing and dance along with these colorful ponies! I would definitely recommend you check them out. And this is the perfect DVD as you will get to know each of the ponies and their different personalities in these 6 fabulous episodes.

* I received a copy of this DVD for review purposed. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced in any way.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Planes - Coming to Blu-ray Combo Pack November 19th!

Coming to Blu-ray Combo Pack
November 19th!

The world of Cars takes flight in Planes, Disney's high-flying animated comedy revved up with action and adventure.  Join Dusty, a crop duster with sky-high dreams and a once-in-a-lifetime chance to take on the world's fastest flyers in the greatest air race ever. Dusty has a huge heart but two big problems...he's not exactly built for speed, plus he's afraid of heights.  His courage is put to the ultimate test as this unlikely hero aims higher than he ever imagined. With a little help from his friends, Dusty finds the courage to be more than he was built for—and the inspiration to soar.

My Thoughts:
I imagine this movie will be on the wish lists of lots of boys and girls this holiday season. My daughter has been talking about wanting to see if since it was out in theatres. So I was really excited to surprise her with a family movie night featuring this fabulous film!

Trying to compare "Planes" with "Cars" wouldn't be fair, as this movie is chock full of all new characters and a different kind of high flying fun. Dusty is the clear star of the show. He is just lovable with his genuine personality and little quirks (umm... a plane afraid of heights? Kind of adorable). And he manages to surround himself with the most loyal group of friends a plane could ask for.

Ripslinger and his crew are definitely the "villains" in this Disney movie. They are not shy about their feelings about Dusty trying his hand at their game. And they are prepared to take pretty much any measure in order to keep him, in what they think, is his place.

The movie is full of high flying adventure and fun. In true Disney style, the graphics are top notch. At times you can literally feel like you are flying right along with these guys. But perhaps what I love most about this movie is the same thing that Disney has done over and over again.... this is a movie that kids and parents can both enjoy. My husband and I were laughing at the jokes that went over the kids heads, my dad was commenting on all the different kinds of planes, my daughter was excited because there were some girls in it (Dottie was her favorite) and my son was just excited with all the action. It was a hit for family movie night!

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*I received a copy of this movie for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced in any way.