Monday, December 31, 2012

Here's to a New Year!

It's time to say goodbye to 2012. This year has been good to us. We found out we were pregnant with our second child, took a family vacation to Disney World, celebrated our daughter's 3rd birthday, survived another hurricane, and welcomed our son on 12-12-12. As we enter 2013 I feel like our family is complete and our future is even brighter then before...which is hard to believe. I feel very lucky to have such love and happiness in my life.

I wish you all lots of health, happiness, and love in 2013!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Daddy Scrubs - Review and Giveaway

When I found out with my first pregnancy that I was having a little girl I was over the moon. I was completely caught up in the world of pink and all things girly. I even bought matching pajamas for me and the baby to wear in the hospital.

 This time around it was my husbands turn. We were having a little boy and I wanted him to be able to feel special and stand out on the big day. So when I learned about Daddy Scrubs I knew that they would be the perfect surprise for him to show how proud he was to be the daddy!

When my Daddy Scrubs arrived I immediately packed them up in our hospital bag without him knowing. When we arrived at the hospital I told him I had something special for him to wear. He opened them up and was very excited!
He is clearly beaming with pride in the comfy scrubs that clearly say Daddy. And the back are even better with a loud and clear "I'm the Daddy!"
These scrubs are definitely the perfect daddy to be gifts. They are fun, comfortable, and very functional in the delivery room. He looked stylish and proud as he let everyone know that he was the daddy. Every family member and friend that visited commented about how fun they were. New dads gifts can be tough to find, so check these out!
While the scrubs were perfect at the hospital and a real conversation starter. They have also been fabulous at home. We have been lounging about and they are very comfortable. You can wear them around the house and even to bed. I highly recommend you check out the different colors and options offered by Daddy Scrubs. You can also check them out on Facebook and Twitter for news, sales, and promotions.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

SpongeBob SquarePants: It's A SpongeBob Christmas! Review


Available on DVD NOW

Jingle the bells, put up some mistletoe and make a cup of cocoa because the Christmas season starts early with the DVD debut of Nickelodeon's first-ever full-length stop-animation special, SpongeBob SquarePants: It's A SpongeBob Christmas! Inspired by the classic Rankin/Bass specials like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Santa Claus is Comin' to Town, this new holiday classic for the entire family arrives on store shelves on Nov. 6. This perfect holiday gift includes two MP3 compatible downloadable songs from the episode ("Santa's Eyes" and "Hot Fruitcake") and the exclusive Behind the Scenes Featurette. So there's plenty to rejoice for both new and old SpongeBob fans this holiday season!

In SpongeBob SquarePants: It's A SpongeBob Christmas!, Plankton vows to get his Christmas wish - the Krabby Patty formula - by turning everyone in Bikini Bottom bad by feeding them his special jerktonium-laced fruitcake. John Goodman guest stars as Santa Claus. Don't miss the popular SpongeBob SquarePants song, "Don't Be a Jerk, It's Christmas," written by Tom Kenny (voice of SpongeBob) and Andy Paley. Created by Nickelodeon Home Entertainment, and distributed by Paramount Home Media Distribution, SpongeBob SquarePants: It's a SpongeBob Christmas! is available on DVD on Nov. 6, 2012, for the suggested retail price of $14.99.

My Thoughts

We've been watching SpongeBob for years!  It's a familiar family favorite that you can find on Nickelodeon.  So when I heard they were coming out with a full-length Christmas special, that it would be a hit.

We pulled out the popcorn and made it a fun filled family night out of SpongeBob SquarePants: It's a SpongeBob Christmas! The film is filled with fun music and lovable characters. And of course our favorite sponge comes through to save the day.  Old and new fans alike are going to love the stop-animation!  It's a totally new look for SpongeBob and really makes the movie feel like a classic holiday special. It also has some great messages about being kind to others and staying in the Christmas spirit. It would make a great family movie night this holiday season.

Monday, December 10, 2012


"Tom Romeo founded the BEARPAW brand in 2001 with the intention of redefining casual footwear by utilizing sheepskin, nature's own technical fabric, to create comfortable and stylish shoes. Sheepskin naturally regulates body temperature so feet stay cooler and drier in the heat and warmer in the cold. In one of the most competitive footwear market segments, BEARPAWhas carved out a niche area by providing customers with comfort and sensibility to set itself apart. From slippers to boots to casual footwear, only the finest materials are used to produce BEARPAW shoes. Built to deliver quality and style, every pair of BEARPAW shoes focuses in comfort and fit, using the highest standards of craftsmanship." -

I was introduced to BEARPAW several years ago and became an instant fan. My very first pair is from the Classic Collection and is called the Emma. These classic boots sold me on BEARPAW because of their comfort, style, and quality. I literally felt like I was walking on clouds when I slipped these boots on. They allowed for versatile style by going under or over my jeans. They got a ton of use and I decided it was time to expand my collection. 

Since then, I have invested in several other classic style boots in different colors and heights. Then one Christmas my husband introduced me to their amazing slippers. Once again, the comfort was unbeatable. I still have every pair of BEARPAW shoes I have purchased and they are all still in great condition. They are clearly built to last!

With my love of BEARPAW you may find it surprising that I haven't ventured out of the Classic Collection or the Slippers. But this fall/winter I was lucky enough to have the wonderful opportunity to check out something outside of my typical comfort zone. BEARPAW very generously sent me a new pair from their Fall Collection that is one of their fashion boots. 

For all the girls who love their wide leg jeans the Astoria is the perfact pair for you. You can wear these with any jeans in your closet and they will look amazing! The sleek styling and the height you get from the wedge outsole will have you loving the Astoria! 
Product Details:
  • Cow suede upper
  • Front lace
  • Classic stitched moc vamp detail
  • Sheepskin and wool blend lining
  • Sheepskin footbed
  • Metal charm logo
  • Tall 3.5" platform wedge outsole in lightweight TPR rubber
I LOVE these shoes. They offer the same comfort thanks to the sheepskin and wool blend lining. I also find wedges to be very comfortable because they offer more support throughout your foot. This style adds some height and makes you feel like you are more dressed up while leaving you comfortable and ready to be out and about.

I am so glad that I had the chance to explore BEARPAW shoes outside of my typical fashion area. By being introduced to the Astoria I am so excited to check out more of the fashion boots that they offer. Once again, BEARPAW has left me impressed and confident. 

I would highly recommend you check out the BEARPAW website to learn more about the brand and explore all they have to offer for men, women, kids and infants. You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and offers.  And stop by for some great reading about BEARPAW, style, and life in general.

Friday, December 7, 2012

SUPERPRETZEL Sweet Cinnamon - Review

SUPERPRETZEL Sweet Cinnamon Pretzel
From J&J Snacks

Delicious when eaten plain, topped with cinnamon sugar, dunked in icing, dipped in chocolate sauce or sandwiched with ice cream, this sweet treat is line priced with the Original SUPERPRETZEL Soft Pretzels and can be found right next to them on the shelf!
  • Cinnamon infused sweet dough with a cinnamon sugar packet included in the box
  • Perfect for breakfast, snack or dessert
  • Found in the frozen snacks section of your local retail store & NOW available at your local supercenter
  • Fun recipe ideas!
My Thoughts:
Oh yum! Yes, these pretzels are an easy and delicious treat. Our family was excited to give these a try. I love  soft pretzels and was very intrigued by the sweet cinnamon flavor. My husband whipped these up one night for dessert and we all agreed that they are a winner!

I am excited to do some more experimenting with these pretzels. I love the idea of serving them with ice cream!

You can learn more about these sweet treats at and And look for them at your local food store!

Whole Fruit Sorbet - Review

Whole Fruit Sorbet from J&J Snacks

Whole Fruit Sorbets are an award-winning member of the Whole Fruit Line by J&J Snack Foods. Available in five flavors: Mango, Black Cherry, Raspberry, Strawberry, and Lemon. Voted Best Flavors by Cooking Light Magazine! WHOLE FRUIT Lemon and Mango are bursting with award-winning refreshment.
  • Naturally fat free
  • Full 16 fl. oz. size pint
  • Smooth and creamy taste
  • Refreshing, unique flavors
My Thoughts:
I was so excited to have the opportunity to check out each of these 5 flavors for review. I have always been a fan of fruit and sorbets. But with this pregnancy it has been one of my strongest cravings. I constantly want really cold fruit. So the Whole Fruit Sorbets were seriously exactly what I wanted!

I decided to try the Raspberry flavor first and was completely delighted. It is everything it says it is and more. It really does have a smooth and creamy consistency. The flavor is just right. It's not too sweet but definitely refreshing. A small bowl leaves you feeling refreshed and satisfied. 

I have since tried all five flavors and have enjoyed each and every one. These sorbets are a big hit in my house with myself, my husband, and my daughter. My daughter's favorite is Strawberry, but I like them all! These are definitely worth looking for at your local food store.

If you are interested in learning more about the Whole Fruit Sorbets you can check out their website at  

Thursday, December 6, 2012

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: Adventures in the Crystal Empire



My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic – Adventures in the Crystal Empire is coming to DVD December 4th from Shout! Factory Kids in collaboration with Hasbro Studios! Adventures in the Crystal Empire includes 5 episodes from the beloved Friendship Is Magic series. Bonus features include a sing-along and coloring sheet.

In Adventures in the Crystal Empire, a magical empire has suddenly appeared in the arctic north of Equestria, and PRINCESS CELESTIA needs TWILIGHT SPARKLE and her friends to find a way to protect it. While her friends try to keep the Crystal Ponies occupied at the Crystal Faire, TWILIGHT SPARKLE searches for the hidden Crystal Heart that is the key to keeping their empire safe from harm!

The My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic series is currently airing on The HUB TV Network.
My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic – Adventures in the Crystal Empire episodes Include:
The Crystal Empire, Part 1
The Crystal Empire, Part 2
Sonic Rainboom
Luna Eclipsed
It's About TimeTotal Running Time: +/- 2 hours

My Thoughts:
I am so happy that my daughter has become a fan of My Little Pony. While the animation may be different the concept and messages remain the same from when I was a child. The stories are fun, exciting, and engaging... all while portraying messages of friendship and team work.

We had a great time watching this DVD together. We look forward to catching the show on the HUB, but I really enjoy having the option of having it on DVD. Now when she asks to watch her ponies I can pop the DVD in.

Win a Second Honeymoon from

It's time for the second round of this fabulous contest offered by!
Calling all Pinners!

The next contest is their Pin it to Win it contest and starts this Thursday, December 6th at 8am and ends December 13th at midnight.

Contestants create a Pinterest board titled “ Honeymoon Contest”, Repin our contest pin to the board and then fill it with pins that represent their ideal honeymoon. You will also need to copy the url of their board and paste it within the submission form in the contest app on Facebook. The best board will win the second honeymoon trip. The winning board will be chosen by an independent Modern Greetings judging panel. 

If you haven’t participated in their previous contest you will need to start by entering your email address on this page:  If you’ve already entered your email on that page then you can go straight to their Facebook page ( and click on the contest tab to fill out the submission form for the Pin it contest and it will also tell you exactly what you have to do to enter.

Good luck!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Portable North Pole Review

Make the magic of the holiday season last forever with new product offerings from Portable North Pole; all are available on As part of Portable North Pole’s Christmas Program, each time a Portable North Pole product is purchased, 5% of the sale price will go directly to affiliated children’s hospitals in the U.S., Canada, UK, Ireland and France.
Portable North Pole’s standard Santa’s Video (Suggested Retail: Free) A FREE personalized video message from Santa Claus, filled with magic and exciting discoveries for your loved ones. Includes a brand new story and a sneak peek at never-before-seen North Pole locations!

Ho Ho Ho! Christmas is coming and the magic of the season is in full swing at our house! The holidays have taken on a completely new meaning since my daughter has been born. She has brought the magic and innocence back into our lives and we are loving it.

Portable North Pole is the perfect way to keep the magic alive and bring some if it right into your home. With this easy-to-use website you can create your own personal message for your child from the big guy himself. Santa will address your child by name and talk about things that are specific to them, like what they want for Christmas or how their behavior has been this year. You can even upload a photo to appear.

This is the 5th year that Santa has been sending personal messages to boys and girls through Portable North Pole. They are offering a nice variety of packages and options to suit your needs. They offer everything from a FREE video message to a phone call from Santa and more. You can explore all they have to offer on their website.

This was a magical experience for the entire family. My husband and I had a great time going through the step-by-step process to personalize the video. Then we all sat down as a family to show our daughter her own special video straight from Santa. Her eyes lit up as he talked just to her. It was the perfect addition to the holiday season!

* I was provided with a free code to try Portable North Pole for review purposed. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced in any way.

Holiday Gift Guide: Esio Hot and Cold Beverage System

My husband and I are big coffee drinkers, so we are very familiar with the single serve coffee machines. But then I heard about something brand new. Esio had come up with a completely new idea. Something that would have something for everyone in the family. A hot and cold beverage maker.

My family has some diverse tastes in beverages. My husband would be happy if you served him coffee and water all day long. My daughter really enjoys juice. And I tend to go towards the iced teas and lemonades. So it's safe to say that we have a cabinet full of different drink options and  more are always on the shopping list.

The Esio Hot and Cold Beverage System had must have had families like mine in mind. This one system allows you to quickly and easily press a button and serve up the perfect beverage. We were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to try the system out in our home and put it to the test.

This counter-top system is very easy to use. Simply plug it in and add water to the water reservoir. 

Then, pick one of the many beverage varieties and pop it into your machine.
This pouch will make several glasses of lemonade!

Then press the button and watch as your glass fills with nice, cold lemonade.

My family had a lot of fun checking out this new system. I love how user friendly it is. We literally hooked it up and were using it within a matter of minutes. My husband and I were both very impressed with the wide variety of brands and beverage options available to use with this system. There is definitely something for everyone! And with these pouches you can really save some money and make drinks as they are needed, rather than having a fridge full of options and not finishing them all. 

The one draw back that I did find with this system is just the size. I understand that in order for it to provide really cold beverages it needs to be on the bigger side. But it does take up a significant amount of counter space. That won't be enough of a negative to get us to stop using it, but it is something I wanted to mention.

With the holidays quickly approaching this is the perfect item to have on hand. You can offer your guests a large variety of beverages and have them ready at the touch of a button. This really is perfect for entertaining! And the kids just love it. My daughter kept wanting me to make more and more kinds of drinks so she could taste test them. 

This beverage system is available at Walmart!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Thyme Maternity now available at Babies R Us!

Thyme Maternity announced its official launch in the U.S. 
through an exclusive partnership with Babies“R”Us and

With decades of experience helping moms-to-be look and feel their best, Thyme offers current and comfortable maternity styles from casual to work, plus a complete line of nursing tops and accessories for the transition period after baby is born. Available styles will include denim, dressy and casual pants, knit tops and blouses, dresses, tees, lounge wear and outerwear, nursing tops and bras plus a complete line of nursing fashions and accessories.

In addition to offering apparel tailored for mom-to-be during her special state of mind and body, Thyme Maternity offers a full of life experience which includes expert advice, styling and fashion tips, and more to help moms-to-be on their pregnancy and post-pregnancy journey. You can learn more here: or

My Thoughts:
Being pregnant is not the most comfortable time for a woman and her body. This pregnancy has been a real challenge for me since it was a completely different time of year then my last. So none of my season appropriate clothes fit me at the right time. I also got big much faster the second time around then the first. So I was back on the hunt for new maternity clothes.

I wish that this launch had come earlier in my pregnancy because it would have been my go-to brand. I was lucky enough to get to try a sample piece from their collection and I was impressed!

This tunic was the perfect top to dress up a comfortable outfit for a family party. The material was soft and stretched around my very big belly at the beginning of my ninth month of pregnancy. I loved the length because it allowed me to wear comfy maternity leggins instead of real pants. I threw a black sweater over to complete the look. I was comfortable all day!

Now I am looking into their collection of nursing shirts. I have seen some that look very fashionable while staying true to the soft, comfortable material I know I will want after my c-section next week.

Holiday Gift Guide: Great Games for Under the Tree!

My daughter is just starting to get into video games! I know these will be hot items on the wishlists of many boys and girls out there this holiday season. But with so many games... and new ones always coming out.... it's hard to know which ones to pick! We were lucky enough to try two out that I would recommend this year.

Mama’s 2-Pack brings the culinary action to the Wii™ system with Cooking Mama Cook Off and Cooking Mama World Kitchen. The Wii Remote™ transforms into a universal cooking tool as players chop, grate, slice, stir and roll in motion-based cooking activities. Players whip up kitchen fun in Cooking Mama Cook Off as they go head-to-head against other chefs in two-player competition. In the Wii™ sequel, Cooking Mama World Kitchen, fans will enjoy Mama’s 3D makeover, fresh recipes from around the world, hilarious kitchen mini-games and new gameplay modes that will transform even the most uncoordinated chef into a master culinary artist!

Hello Kitty Picnic with Sanrio Friends invites players to join Hello Kitty and Sanrio Friends as they prepare for the perfect picnic party. Play 10 mini-games including Hidden Object, Spot the Difference, and Picnic Blanket Checkers as you collect goodies for the picnic. Explore and decorate whimsical environments including Hello Kitty’s bedroom, kitchen, and more. Earn apples to receive special items to customize Hello Kitty’s outfits. Interact directly with Hello Kitty using the 3DS touch screen and listen as the game guides you along. Invite your friends to join the fun in a variety of multiplayer modes as you play with your favorite Sanrio characters including My Melody®, Keroppi®, Chococat®, Badtz-Maru®, Little Twin Stars®, and more!

My Thoughts:
I tried both these games out first and my favorite was Cooking Mama's 2-pack. I have Cooking Mama for the DS and I loved being able to play it on the Wii. I get really into the recipes and not making a mistake. And I loved that you could compete against other people.

My daughter really loved playing the Hello Kitty Picnic game. She's a little young for the intended audience so she needed me to sit with her and help her along. But she started to get the hang of things... and she loves Hello Kitty so it was super engaging for her. I would imagine this would be a HUGE hit with the 5 year old and up crowd. A definite kid pleaser!

Look for these great games this holiday season!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Holiday Gift Guide: Chicken Soup for the Soul - The Gift of Christmas

Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Gift of Christmas

A Special Collection of Joyful Holiday Stories

Share the magic and joy of Christmas. You'll love these heartwarming, inspirational, and fun stories of Christmas miracles, family reunions, charity, the wonder of children, the joy of giving, and family and religious  traditions. Most of these stories originally appeared in a limited edition book called Chicken Soup for the Soul: Tales of Christmas that was sold exclusively by Barnes & Noble in 2010.

My Thoughts:
I just love the holiday season. From the moment the turkey is cleared off the table I am in the full swing of Christmas. During this festive time I love to surround myself with all things Christmasy. From music to candles to decorations to books. So this book was a real joy to read early in the holiday season this year.

I always enjoy the stories written by real people in the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. This book was no exception. I felt like I was meeting new people, visiting with friends for the holidays. I laughed out loud, connected my life with the lives of others, and even shed a few tears... some of joy and some of sadness. 

I would highly recommend this book for any Christmas lover! It would make a great gift. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Holiday Gift Guide: Brownie Points

Nothing says the holidays quite like desserts! Tis the season to indulge... that's my motto. There's a reason everyone starts their diets after New Year's. The holidays are the perfect time to enjoy delicious treats with friends, family, and coworkers.

Brownie Points is a great place to go if you are looking for delicious treats. They have a great selection of unique and delectable brownies, as well as popcorn, cookies, and candy. They come beautifully packaged to give as a gift, bring to work, or send to someone you love.

Brownie Points was kind enough to send me and my family a little sampling of some of their treats.

This was the perfect sampling because we got to try a little bit of everything! I think the mini brownies were the most popular in my house, but I personally loved the half dipped cookie the best. But I must say the variety of the mini brownies was perfect. Everyone was able to find an interesting flavor that they wanted to try.

The beautifully packaged, individually wrapped treats offered by Brownie Points are a must this holiday season. Whether you are looking for something to mail to a friend or relative, a gift for a teacher or boss,  or just looking for something impressive and delicious to have on hand for guests that stop in... you will find what you're looking for at Brownie Points. And their prices are reasonable during this expensive time of year.

Check out their website to learn more about the company and to browse their great selection of items.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mia Mariu Makeup Review and Giveaway

Mia is Vibrant Beauty and Health Inside and Out

Mia Mariu’s high performance products are formulated with the most natural ingredients available helping you achieve vibrant beauty and health inside and out.  Each unique product fuses nature and technology by combining the highest quality botanicals, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and peptides.  The result is healthy products that provide a perfect balance that reflects itself through youthful, healthy, beautiful, glowing skin and renewed energy and vitality, at an exceptional value.  Mia offers natural skin care, professional makeup artist quality mineral cosmetics and brushes to Reveal Your Unique Shade of Beauty!
I really enjoy playing with makeup. I am not the type to wear a lot of it, but I do like to have the basics on to make my skin look even and brighten my eyes. So when I had the opportunity to check out Mia Mariu's line of mineral makeup I jumped at it!
My skin is a little sensitive. So I often have red spots or areas that are dry. I do my best to take care of my skin and to put as little on my skin as possible. I use a very simple powder to even my skin tone and then have fun with my eyes by using some eye shadow, eye liner, and mascara. And of course a touch of blush to brighten up my cheeks and some lip gloss to add shimmer and shine. While I was browsing their fabulous selection of items I found just what I was looking for.
I chose to review a mineral eye shadow duo in Rosa Marquesa, a mineral blush in Maria Azucena, a luminous lip gloss in Romance, and an intense eye liner in black. My items shipped quickly and I was anxious to give them a try.
The first thing I noticed was how lightly the eye shadow and blush went on. You didn't need to use a ton to get the beautiful tones. I used to duo to do a highlight and then a darker shade on the crease of my eye lid. It looked fabulous and the color lasted through most of the day, which my makeup usually doesn't. The eye liner also went on nicely... neat and smooth. And my favorite product is probably the lip gloss. It left a wonderful shimmer that didn't wear off in a matter of minutes. I only had to reapply a couple of time throughout the day. And I just loved the light tint of color it added. 
I was incredibly pleased with the items I received from Mia Mariu. I think they are high quality products that save you time and money by being long lasting. I would definitely recommend you check out their website to see all their products and learn more about the company. You can even learn about how you can become an adviser. 
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Holiday Gift Guide: GUND


If you are looking for great holiday gifts this year, GUND has got your covered! 

For more than a century, GUND has been creating unique teddy bears and other soft toys recognized the world over for their quality and innovation.
The leading soft toy manufacturer in the U.S., and also the oldest, GUND was founded by German immigrant Adolph Gund in Norwalk, Conneticut in 1898. GUND was one of the first companies to design and produce teddy bears in the early 1900's.
Today, the company manufactures an extensive collection of unique characters licensed plush under the GUND and babyGUND brands.

I have been a fan of GUND products for many years. My husband gave me a GUND teddy bear when we started dating. He has unique features and is the cuddliest teddy bear I've ever owned. He has been my number one bear for 9 years now, and is still very much loved.

This holiday season I had the amazing opportunity to check out some of the hottest toys, perfect for any kid on your list. GUND sent me some samples for my three year old daughter and my infant son, so I have some nice variety to share with you!
My First Drum (ages newborn and up)
When your kid grows up they just might want to be a rock star. Get them started GUND My First Drum! Children will delight in the fun as they tap the yellow star of this playful plush drum to hear enjoyable sounds.

I adore this toy. You can turn the sound on and off on the battery pack. The toy is a good size and the entire thing is soft, making it a safe toy for even the youngest musician to explore. You don't have to hit the star too hard to hear the music, so kids are sure to discover it's musical potential in moments!
Boo (ages 1 year old and up)
Boo, the internet sensation, with 4 million Facebook fans and the star of his own book, calendar and YouTube videos, is finally available, just in time for the holidays, in plush for fans to love at home! The GUND version of Boo is the spitting image of the famous Pomeranian.... right down to his loveable smile!

Boo is so incredibly soft! When I took him out of the box I couldn't help but hug him. I have seen his adorable face all over the internet this holidays season (has anyone caught him as the star of the holiday toys page on Amazon?). He is the perfect companion for any lucky little girl or boy this year.

GUND Girls (ages 3 years old and up)
Ideal for fashion-obsessed youngsters in your list, GUND Girls are huggably soft 17-inch fashionistas with unique personalities and signature styles. The BFFS - "best friends in fashion" - come with one removable outfit for dress-up play. GUND Girls Brooklyn, Sloan, DeeDee and Emma all sport colorful hair highlights that show off their funky fashions, while unique, chunky shoes keep their style young and playful.

This doll is perfect for my daughter. She is quite the little fashionista and loves Brooklyn's pink outfit, bow and shoes. They are perfect little pals and I am looking to add more girls to her little collection!
HuggyBuddy Bumble Bee (ages newborn and up)
This Huggybuddy bumble bee has a yellow satin underside, to compliment an extra-soft fabric top of fluffy yellow stripes with contrasting dark gray stripes and white polka dots. Makes a great security blankie for baby, and a perfect newborn gift!

This bumble bee is too cute. The picture does not do him justice.. you have to see and feel him in person. He is a the perfect size for little ones to cuddle. His is so soft and cuddly. I can see him easily becoming a favorite of many little babies!

GUND clearly takes pride in their products. They are unique and cute, but more importantly, they are built to last. Their quality makes them stand out from the rest. I am thrilled with all four of the toys I received and am always on the lookout to see what GUND is coming up with next. 

You can visit their website to learn more about these products and others. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Holiday Gift Guide: Granite Gold

I waited years for the opportunity to re-do my kitchen. And when my husband said those magical words.... let's re-do the kitchen.... the first thing I wanted to look into was granite counter tops. We had an ugly corian veneer with a giant crack down the middle. So granite was a top priority!

Once we had it installed it became my baby. I wanted to take such good care of it to keep it shiny and beautiful. I wasn't sure of what I should use to keep it in tip top shape, so I am thrilled to learn about Granite Gold.

Granite Gold offers a great selection of everything I need to keep my counter tops looking their best while being clean. They have everything from daily cleaner to polish to disinfecting wipes and more. And with the holidays coming up I definitely want my kitchen looking it's best.

I received this fabulous selection of products to put to the test on my granite. I have had the pleasure of being able to test out all of the above products multiple times. The daily cleaner has come in handy as I do like to wipe my counters down each night. But with a little one in the house I find myself often turning to the disinfecting wipes, as well. They are easy and convenient to whip out and give the counters a good cleaning.

Every weekend I polish the counter tops. I just LOVE the shine that they have when I'm done. I feel like my counters are brand new again. And I feel so great knowing that these products are designed to not only clean, but also maintain my granite counters. So they can be in tip top shape for years to come. Because I highly doubt my husband will be up to re-doing the kitchen again any time soon!

I have already recommended Granite Gold to my mom and my mother-in-law. I am very happy with these items and will continue to use them to care for my counters. I would recommend you check them out and give them a try!

Holiday Gift Guide: Goblin Kids Review and Giveaway

Goblin Kids strives to provide toys that are as natural and educational as possible. We believe in wooden toys over plastic toys and naturally stimulating toys over battery operated toys. Rather than offering a store that provides a little of both or one that provides mainly plastic toys with some wooden toys mixed in, we wanted to offer a store that would stay true to the belief that toys close to nature are longer lasting, more stimulating, better for nature and most importantly better for your kids. 

This is exactly the kind of store I love to know about. Encouraging my daughter's imagination is so important to me. She has so much creativity and I hate to see it wasted when she has all of these plastic toys that play music or talk for her. I think there is a time and place in a child's life for toys like that, and we definitely have them in our house, but we prefer for her to use her own imagination to make her toys talk, dance, sing, etc.

I was very excited when I was offered the opportunity to check out one of their new products from a company that is very environmentally friendly, Begin Again. The Artist on the Go Kit:

A complete art kit for families on the go. This natural cotton carry case with built in crayon holster, pencil holder and pockets is fully equipped with a 6"x9" recycled paper notepad, 12 smaller colored wood pencils, 2 large wood pencils, 5 drawing stencils including a 6" ruler (metric and inches), 1 pencil sharpener and plenty of storage! Perfect for restaurants, airports, and road trips. the 8"x10" carry case fits in a baby bag and has built in handles for the little ones to carry proudly. 

I knew that this would be the perfect item for my daughter to review. She has been very interested in art lately. She takes any chance she can get to sit down and color. So having an item like this is very convenient for me. I can easily toss this entire kit in my bag and take it on the go. Then we have something we can do together or she can do independently. It's compact enough that it travels well. It has a lot of pieces in it and she's still young, so we have to limit which pieces she is going to take out to avoid a lengthy clean up. When we are home she spreads all the pieces out in the kitchen table and plays to her hearts content!

I love watching my daughter use this kit. She is experimenting with stencils and switching between pencils and crayons. She loves exploring all of the things the kit has to offer. She has stored some stickers in the kit as well, so she has been incorporating those into her master pieces as well.

Goblin Kids has so many great products! I had a great time browsing the site to get a feel for what they offer. I love the way the site is set up. You can browse by age or category. I really like to browse by age so I can save myself some time by only looking at age appropriate items. They have a nice range of products for infants to 7+ years of age.

I would highly recommend you check out this great site for educational toys during your holiday shopping!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Holiday Gift Guide: World Vision Gift Catalog

Share the true spirit of Christmas!

Sometimes buying holiday gifts can feel like an obligation. Another sweater Grandma won’t wear, another tie to add to Dad’s collection – what if the gifts bought out of social necessity went to supply real necessities around the world? This upcoming holiday season, shoppers can reinvent gift lists with items from the World Vision Gift Catalog. These alternative gift ideas, from goats and chickens to life-saving medicine, honor the recipient and create a lasting impact for people in need. The catalog offers nearly 250 gifts online and in the print version ranging in price from $16 to $39,000. These gifts can be purchased in the name of a family member, teacher, co-worker or child, including many affordable items under $50.

I just love this idea! It is so true.... we buy gifts because we have to. Don't get me wrong, I genuinely enjoy giving gifts during the holiday season. And I like to put a lot of thought into finding something that the person will love. But in reality, I'm not buying anything that anyone NEEDS. My family and I are in very fortunate positions. We don't have needs like so many other less fortunate people around the world. World Vision gives you the perfect alternative to your typical gift giving. Give a gift that also helps others in need.

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work with World Vision this holiday season. They sent me a gorgeous ornament set.

This set of handmade Zakale wire & bead ornaments are from Nairobi. Meaning "reuse" Zakale crafts are made from recycled materials by a group of Kenyan artisans reclaiming their own lives from poverty.

While we all enjoy shopping for our friends and family, we should keep those in need in our minds. World Vision has created the perfect opportunity to give to those who need it most. Through their World Vision Catalog you can give the gift of life by feeding a family in the US for a day for only $16. You can help fund a child's education for only $32. Or you can purchase a goat for $75. With the purchase of a goat you are providing children with protein from the milk and allowing families to sell the surplus.

I would highly recommend you check out this great site and consider making a donation or giving a gift that helps others. 

Holiday Gift Guide: Stompeez Review and Giveaway

Stompeez Begins Christmas Stampede Early: 
Now under new management, maker of soft, animated character slippers steps 
up production efforts to meet this year’s holiday demand – news story: 

Every time my daughter sees the adorable Stompeez commercials she asks if she can have a pair! Each pair is colorful and adorable in it's design, with a selection that includes dragons, unicorns, puppies, kitties, and monsters. There are great colors for boys and girls ages approximately 5-9 (though the smallest size fits my three year old pretty well and looks like it will last a couple of years). 

With every step your child takes your Stompeez ears perk up revealing their cute little faces. A really fun way of keeping your little ones feet warm. They are fun and functional, making a great holiday gift for any boy or girl on your list. 

As a mom, I am very happy with the Stompeez that we were lucky enough to check out. We chose Be-Bop Bunny because they are pink and purple (my daughter's two favorite colors). She started having a blast with them right away... stomping her way around the house. I was impressed with the quality. There is plenty of padding to keep her feet comfy. We ordered a small (the smallest size) and there is room for her to grow. But even with some extra room she is able to activate the stomp feature in the heel. 

I think these are slippers that she will enjoy all winter long! Right now you can save $5.00 off your order by using the code SLIPPER.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 26, 2012

Holiday Gift Guide: A Pirate's Twelve Days of Christmas

A Pirate's Twelve Days of Christmas
Philip Yates, illustrated by Sebastia Serra

Ahoy mateys - Christmas is coming and even pirates celebrate the holiday! This follow-up to the hugely popular A Pirate's Night Before Christmas offers a witty re-imagining of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" - with a sly buccaneer twist. With impeccable rhythm and a lively sense of fun, Philip Yates and Sebastia Serra create a delightful world all their own.

My Thoughts:
I just adore this book! I think it is so unique and unlike any other Christmas story I have read. It was so much fun to sit and read this book with my daughter. She really likes pirates. I think it has to do with her favorite ride in Disney World, now she's stuck on them. So she was really excited to learn that even pirates celebrate Christmas. But she did inform me that they wouldn't be getting any presents because they were naughty. Those poor pirates get such a bad rep. 

The book is filled with fun illustrations and clever saying as the pirates count down the 12 days of Christmas. It is a fun book to add to your Christmas collection!

Holiday Gift Guide: The Great Christmas Crisis

The Great Christmas Crisis
Kim Norman, illustrated by Jannie Ho

First the reindeer rebelled - now it's the elves' turn! This fun follow-up to The Great Reindeer Rebellion is as over-the-top entertaining as its forerunner. Told in fun rhyme, this holiday-bright book takes kids on an undercover mission with Santa himself - and gives them an inside peek at what REALLY goes on in the elves' workshop.

My Thoughts:
What an appropriate book for this time of year! This story is full of chaos and stress as the elves try and deal with the quickly approaching big day. It is funny and engaging for kids to get a peek at what goes on with Santa and his elves in order to prepare for such a monumentous night. And what an important lesson the elves learned about taking some time to stop and enjoy the season and all the wonderful things that go along with it.

Families can easily get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. And this leads us to often miss out on some of the most magical parts. Simply stopping to enjoy some holiday music and drink some hot cocoa could make such a huge difference in how your family celebrates. I love that the elves are the ones to remind us of this! My daughter was fully engaged throughout with the fun illustrations and silly things going on at the North Pole! 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Holiday Gift Guide: Stable in Bethlehem

Stable in Bethlehem
Joy N. Hulme, pictures by Dan Andreasen

From 12 drowsy doves to 7 soft sheep to 4 shaggy camels, this lovely board-book celebrates the wonders of Christmas - with a counting concept built right in. Joy N. Hulme and Dan Andreasen perfectly capture the spirit of the season with gentle rhymes and softly hued, charming pictures. The ideal addition to any Christmas stocking!

My Thoughts:
This book is absolutely precious! It's the perfect little board book to cuddle up with your child before bed with. The pictures are beautiful and calming. The animals are sweet and fun to count with your little one. My daughter and I enjoyed cuddling up with this book and taking a moment to slow down and talk about Baby Jesus and what Christmas is all about. This is a wonderful book to remind children that Santa and presents are fun, but Jesus is the reason for the season.

Holiday Gift Guide: Christmas Magic

Christmas Magic
Kirsten Hall, illustrated by Simon Mendez

Have a merry, old-fashioned Christmas with this enchanting book! With the pull tab, Santa and reindeer-driven sleigh fly across a beautiful night sky and over the rooftops. Special Christmas moments, and more, magically appear in this stunningly illustrated changing picture book. Kirsten Hall's lyrical verses will delight readers of all ages and simon Mendez's exquisite art brings the holiday season to life. 

My Thoughts:
This book is so unique! I just love how each page takes you to another magical Christmas moment, where right before your eyes, you can see the scene change! Each picture was like a peek into the world of a family celebrating the holidays and it brought such comfort and joy to my heart.

This books is so much fun to read as you rhyme your way to the big moment when Santa appears in the night sky. Each Christmas moment is magical, and there is such excitement as you wait to see what the picture will change to. My daughter really enjoyed pulling the tab to change the pictures. It's a must-have Christmas book!