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.