Tuesday, January 21, 2014

2014 Joovy Resolutionsx2 Giveaway!

Time to ring in the new year with an amazing giveaway from Joovy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, January 17, 2014

Book Tour - Baby Penguins Love Their Mama! - by Melissa Guion

I recently had the wonderful opportunity to check out a beautiful children's book written by Melissa Guion.

Baby Penguins Love Their Mama! was a sweet story that made me immediately feel connected to Mama Penguin. Some days I feel myself going through the motions... get them ready, drive them to school, pick them up, make lunch, drive them to dance, drive them home, cook dinner, get the ready for bed. Then repeat... day after day after day. My life is centered around my children and what they want and need. The days fly by as I take them to dance, swimming, school, music, play dates. I love seeing how happy they are doing all these fun and important things... but it wears on a Mama. But then every once in awhile they do something so special and thoughtful. And it reminds me that they do love me, they do need me, and they do appreciate me.

Here is a little from the author about why she felt inspired to write this beautiful story.

BABY PENGUINS LOVE THEIR MAMA is inspired by my experience as a mom, and it centers on a big turning point in every mother-child relationship: the first time your child comes home with a present for you.

You know what I’m talking about. Their little hands hold up something they’ve carried all the way home without dropping or losing it. Their eyes shine up at you. You cry, or want to. You curse yourself for every harsh word you’ve ever uttered and resolve to be a perfect mother from that moment on!

Of course, kids being what they are, the gift can be very funny. Half a chocolate popsicle, an acorn cap. I’ve been offered a lot of shiny rocks.

Sometimes the gift clearly involved a lot of hard work, like this beautiful birds nest my daughter felted for me:

I’ve received gifts that I didn’t end up getting to enjoy in the usual way. Like expensive bath salts that ended up as a beach for Polly Pockets. Or a box of five chocolates that somehow became a box of one chocolate.

But whether or not the gift makes it home intact, it’s a watershed moment. Your child feels so much pride and excitement. You feel thought of and appreciated.  It’s terrific for everyone involved, and it seemed like it deserved its own book!

Be sure to visit Melissa's website to learn more about her and all of the books she has written. And hop on over to the next blog on the tour tomorrow, Booking Mama.

GIVEAWAY! - And don't forget to enter to win a fabulous prize!
One lucky winner will receive a deliciously-scented mama and baby penguin goat's milk soap (for preening practice, of course!) and a signed copy of BABY PENGUINS LOVE THEIR MAMA.
Simply comment below telling me why you want to win!
(U.S. addresses only.)
* A winner will be chosen at random on February 1st and contaced via e-mail.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Planning a Disney Vacation

Planning a Disney vacation can seem like a full time job. We started planning ours well over 180 days before our trip. So I thought I would share some of what I have learned through the process with all of you. Because... really... it is the happiest place on earth! Planning can be half the fun... if you do it right.

My first tip.... use a travel agent.
Not just any travel agent - an authorized Disney Planner. Why? For starters... Disney likes to release different discounts and deals throughout the year. But they won't be released until the season before the one they are releasing for. So if you are going in the spring you can expect discounts to start appearing in the winter. Many of us like to book much farther in advance and hope for a discount (you can always cancel if a discount doesn't appear and you were counting on one to make the trip happen). Obtaining that discount is now your travel agents job. They get to do all the work, research, and phone calls to Disney to get you the best price. This can be complicated and can even involve changing resorts in order to get the best deal or the most for your money. An authorized Disney Planner will know the ins-and-outs and have far more experience to offer you.

Tip number 2... stay on Disney property.
I know... sometimes looking at the cost for a night in a Disney hotel can be scary. But Disney has three different levels of resorts to help you work within your budget (value, moderate, and deluxe). Staying on Disney just makes the magic stay with you 24 hours a day. Disney likes to make staying on property appealing... so they do some great things for their guests staying at their resorts. Magical Express is one of those things. This is transportation from the airport to your resort. They get your bags from baggage claim and deliver them to your room. You need that when traveling with kids! Disney also puts a lot of thought into their hotels. From the food to the room decor you feel like you're in Disney. And by staying on site you get early access to booking your Fast Passes and you get to take advantage of Extra Magic Hours.

Tip number 3.... do your research.
So many people tell me they just want to wing it and enjoy their vacation. I totally agree. But those two things don't really go together. Having a plan will make things go much more smoothly and help you to avoid missing out on things you would really enjoy. You have to be flexible and go into it expecting things to change. But knowing what things you really want to see and do ahead of time is crucial. And don't forget to make ADR's (advanced dining reservations) for any restaurants that you would like to eat in. Character meals are a must for our family!

Planning a Disney vacation is time consuming, but in the best possible way. Leave the stress out of it but take the time to do it. Read some blogs, check out a Disney planning book, and ask people questions. I have been to Disney many times and every year I am learning about new things I never knew before. I keep reading and exploring and each trip gets better!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Disney's Frozen - Arrives on Blu-Ray Combo Pack March 18th!

Over Christmas vacation my husband and I took our 4 year old to see the latest animated Disney movie, Frozen. While we are huge Disney fans and can always count on seeing a fun movie when it's made by Disney, Frozen far surpassed our expectations.

We left the theater with so many wonderful things to say about the film. We all had different favorite characters. My daughter fell in love with Elsa, a queen who can't control her wintery powers; my husband was laughing out loud about Olaf, a silly snowman; and I was singing along with Anna, Elsa's sister who has the sweetest personality and is looking for love.

Ever since we have been singing and dancing to the amazing soundtrack. We can't wait to watch this movie again when it hits the shelves on March 18th! It really is a must-see!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Get Back to the Books with CampusBookRentals.com

It's that time again. Time to get back into the swing of a new semester. I am all too familiar with this time of mixed emotions. I was always itching to get back to college life and being with my friends. But leaving family after a long winter break was always a little hard. However, I think the hardest part of going back to school is the sticker shock when buying your books!

Who knew textbooks cost so much! And for a lot of my classes I barely ended up using the required books. I wish I had a textbook alternative when I was in school to help save me some hassle and some cash. CampusBookRentals.com is just what every college kid on a budget needs. This website gives you the opportunity to rent your books and save up to 80%!

This is a great option for students because you get free shipping both ways, a 21 day risk-free return period (very important in case you drop or change a class), and you can treat the book as your own and highlight and write in it when needed. You can browse their huge selection of titles and see where you can save this semester!

I know... some of you are kicking yourselves because of all the books you have bought. Well don't worry. There's an option for you, too. RentBack.com gives you the chance to rent your books to other students. This is a great way to help out other students and make back the money that you spent on the books.

And to top off a good thing... CampusBookRentals.com has made a commitment to put smiles on more faces then just college students. They have to committed to supporting a minimum of 80 more surgeries with Operation Smile. And they have also opened up the opportunity for students using RentBack.com to make contributions directly through their RentBack.com accounts. What a great way to give back to others!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Happy New Year!

Hello to all my fabulous readers! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and have welcomed in the New Year with arms wide open. I have really been enjoying my time with my family... but... I can't wait to get back into the blogosphere.

Keep your eyes peeled for awesome reviews and giveaways.. and some drama from this momma, as well! As soon as we can dig ourselves out and get back to our regular scheduled lives I will be blogging up a storm. There is so much to look forward to this year!

Thank you for being a reader... whether it has been for the 4+ years since I started or just a few months or even just a day.

From my family to yours... Happy New Year!