#Sponsored: #SeeMuchMore – Keeping Your Family Healthy with a VSP Vision Care Plan #Giveaway

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Disclaimer: I will receive a pair of sunglesses in return for my post. Opinions expressed are 100% my own. Information provided by VSP.

VSP logoEye exams are important for everyone in your family – from babies to adults, and everyone in between.

Did you know that annual eye exams are important to your overall health? They allow eye doctors to detect early signs of chronic health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, among others.

The kids have been back to school for awhile now, but we can’t forget that getting them an annual comprehensive eye exam can help them learn and experience life to the fullest. Have you made their yearly eye exam yet?

It is important that parents should take their children to the eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam starting as young as six months old, then again at three years old, before kindergarten and every year after that. Because 80 percent of what we learn is through our eyes, an eye exam is essential for your back-to-school “to do” list.

In-school screenings do not provide the same level of detection as comprehensive eye exams. Even the screening the doctors office does at their yearly well care visit isn’t enough to get your child through another year.

Do you know the common signs of vision problems? The can include squinting, head tilting, avoiding “close work,” trouble focusing, continuous rubbing of eyes and headaches.

1 in 4 children has an undetected vision condition that can negatively impact learning. Don’t let your child become another statistic!

But, eye exams, glasses, and contacts can be expensive.

That’s why I want to share with you the benefits of enrolling in vision insurance. With VSP Vision Care, you can:

  • Keep your eyes healthy with highly credentialed doctors who provide the most thorough exams
  • Save money – the average VSP member saves approximately $320 each year with vision insurance!
  • Get access to great eyewear – more than two dozen brands and hundreds of styles to choose from!
  • Enable your family to experience life to the fullest

Please take a moment and check out the following resources:

Our eyes should be one of our top priorities. Please take a few moments to educate yourself on the facts, and learn more about enrolling in a vision insurance program today.

Want to win a pair of Designer Sunglasses worth over $100? Enter using the Rafflecopter gadget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

#MC #Sponsored: The Hunger Games: #Mockingjay – Part 1 {My In-Home Party}

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Disclaimer: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Lions Gate. I received a book, products, and a promotional item to thank me for participating.

mockingjay logo

On November 21st, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 will open in theaters. I know quite a few people that are so excited about the movie’s release and can’t wait for the 21st to get here. (I’m definitely one of those people – and so are my best friend, my teenage daughter, and many of her friends.)

Here, take a look at the trailer, and you’ll see why we are so excited:


Direct Link to Video

To help build excitement for the movie, I was asked to host a book club/trailer viewing party in my home. Each of my 5 friends received a copy of Mockingjay, and we met this past Monday night to discuss the book and watch the trailer for the upcoming movie. I made a great big batch of chili cheese dip, stocked up on chips, soda, and sweets, and we made a fun night of it.

mockingjay party pictures

I came up with some discussion questions, and we all shared our thoughts. While the book is geared toward younger readers, (I was actually surprised to hear this – and even more surprised that you can only find the books in the Young Adult section of our local library), we all seemed to agree that it resonates with each one of us – no matter what our age. Maybe it’s that we wish we had the strength and courage Katniss had while we were in high school – maybe it would have made those years easier on us. Or, maybe we wish we had her courage now. Being a mom is tough. You have to be brave and do things that are way outside your comfort zone. Granted, we’re probably not fighting in a war or trying to save our district from certain destruction, but we do have challenges that we face every day. A little Katniss in us wouldn’t hurt!

hungergames party

After we took our time discussing the book – and the trilogy, I was able to connect the TV to the internet and share the trailer with them. (I figured that would be way more dramatic than just showing it on my computer screen.)

The one thing a couple of my party guests said was that they wished they had made Book 2 (Catching Fire) into a 2 part movie, but they are excited to see where they end Mockingjay – Part 1 and begin Part 2. And we are all hoping we don’t have to wait too long for Part 2 to be released in theaters, because we all have a feeling we’re going to love the movie and just want more!

Thank you, Influence Central and Lionsgate for allowing me to host this party and build up excitement for the release of the new movie. We had a blast, and now that we’ve all read Mockingjay again, we are definitely excited and ready to see the new film!

Have you read The Hunger Games trilogy? Have you seen the movies? Are you excited about the upcoming movie? I’d love to hear your thoughts about Mockingjay, or any of The Hunger Games books or movies.

mockingjay book club

#MC #Sponsored: Start Your Journey to Healing at CaringBridge

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Disclaimer: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for CaringBridge. I received product a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

caringbridge

Sometimes, you just want a place where you can connect with family and friends online, safely and privately. No matter what your reason, CaringBridge is here to help. This unique nonprofit was launched so that people could start their own free website to receive support when they need it most. A website through CaringBridge allows users to share important information with family and friends quickly and easily. Those with access to your personal site can then offer love and encouragement and help you focus on healing.

If you or someone you love could benefit from starting a CaringBridge website, please visit CaringBridge.org to learn more and get started today.

Have you used CaringBridge? What is your experience? Tell us in the comments below!

 

Need Some Extra Cash for the Holidays? {Affiliate Links Included}

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**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. Thank you for supporting Blessed Beyond Words!

Now that Halloween is done and over with, it’s time to move on to Thanksgiving and Christmas. Truth be told, we could all use some extra cash to get us through the holidays. Stella & Dot is a fantastic work-from-home opportunity that’s not only fashionable — it’s FUN!

Here’s how it works: you host trunk shows – either online or in-home, and immediately earn commission on your sales! Since you’ll be your own boss, you can make your own hours. Work as much or as little as you want. You can work enough for extra spending money for the holidays, or you could potentially earn six figures – it’s totally up to you. The bonus? You get $450 in free accessories when you sign up now. That’s a LOT of pretty stuff! :)

Click here to learn more and become a stylist today – www.stelladot.com/stylist.

Top 5 Rules of Regifting {Infographic}

Some people are incapable of shopping at Christmas time. They hate the hustle and bustle of the shops and all the people rushing to get bargains; plus they have no imagination in what to get anyone. This is where regifiting may save their life – bit on exaggeration but role with it. See this infographic on how to get away with regifiting.

Top 5 rules of Regifting

Top 5 rules of Regifting is an infographic that was produced by Gumtree

Prayers Appreciated!

ourchildren

Early tomorrow morning, I’ll be heading into our local hospital to be induced. Soon, our family will be complete and baby #8 will be welcomed with open arms.

If you can spare a prayer for a quick, easy delivery with no complications, I would sincerely appreciate it.

Things may be quiet for a few days around here while I adjust to becoming a mom of 8 and snuggle my sweet little newborn as much as humanly possible the first few days.

Thanks for being loyal readers of the blog. I promise to be back soon and things will be better than ever!

#Sponsored: The @LeapFrog #LeapTV System is HERE! Go Pre-Order Now!

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Disclaimer: This post is part of a sponsored campaign with LeapFrog and MomSelect. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

leaptv

It’s here! It’s here! The big day has finally arrived! The LeapFrog LeapTV Gaming Console is finally available for pre-sale! I am so excited!

So, what are you waiting for? Head on over to the LeapFrog website and order your LeapTV Gaming Console today!

Still have no idea what I’m talking about? Well, I’ve been giving you little teasers for the past couple of weeks. You can read them here and here.

Now, I want to leave you with one last video to encourage you to consider the LeapTV System for your family. It’s a chance to get your kids to move their minds and their bodies. Here, take a look:

Direct Link to Video on YouTube

Looks like fun to me!! Head on over NOW and reserve your very own LeapFrog LeapTV System today!

Don’t Forget to Connect with LeapFrog

#Sponsored: Don’t Forget! @LeapFrog #LeapTV System is Almost Ready for PreOrder!

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Disclaimer: This post is part of a sponsored campaign with LeapFrog and MomSelect. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

leaptv

Remember last week when I mentioned that the LeapTV System is about to be released for Pre-Sale? I just want to remind you that the big day is almost here!

The LeapTV system will be available for pre-order on September 2, 2014.  On that day, you can head to the LeapFrog website, and order your very own LeapTV Gaming Console. It’s as easy as that! It’s created for kids ages 3 – 8 years, and it’s educational and downright FUN!

You saw the video last week. Now, here’s a new video to let you in on more information about the LeapTV system:


Direct Link to Video on YouTube

SO exciting! Your kids are going to love this! I certainly know mine will. It looks like such a fun, easy way to get my kids learning while playing. I’m all for that!

Remember, the big day is September 2nd. Be ready to order your own LeapTV Gaming Console then!

Don’t Forget to Connect with LeapFrog

#Sponsored: Get Ready for the New @LeapFrog #LeapTV System – Coming Soon!

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Disclaimer: This post is part of a sponsored campaign with LeapFrog and MomSelect. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

leaptv

It’s no secret, I love LeapFrog products! I’ve been a fan of their educational items for years. In fact, if you’ve been here recently, you’ll note that I just recently had the opportunity to review the LeapPad3.

Now, LeapFrog has asked me to tell my wonderful readers about an amazing new product they will be releasing soon. It’s called the LeapTV Gaming Console, and friends, you *must* check this out! It’s educational, active video gaming. It doesn’t get more fun than this! Over the next couple of weeks, I will be giving you more information, release dates and all the need-to-know info. I will let you in on a little secret… The LeapTV system will be available for pre-order on September 2, 2014. That’s just around the corner, and this would make one amazing Christmas gift! Get ready to order yours soon!

For now, I want to generate a little excitement and share this video with you. Check out the LeapFrog “Child Executive Officer” and learn more about this fantastic video gaming system:

Click here to watch it on YouTube.

I am SO excited about the release of this product, and it sounds like something my kids will thoroughly enjoy. I’m all about the kids having fun, but when they are learning while playing, it makes playtime even better.

Thank you, LeapFrog for continually making toys and games better for my kids!

Connect with LeapFrog

Oubly Premium Edge Business Cards Review & Giveaway

sampleDisclaimer: I received samples from Oubly.com in order to facilitate my review. Opinions expressed are 100% my own. I have not been compensated in any other way for this post. Oubly is also sponsoring the giveaway included in this post.

oubly

As a blog and business owner, it’s pertinent that I have professional looking business cards always on hand. I’ve been handing out my old business cards for awhile, and they’re totally out of date – they don’t mention the new baby to be at all, and they are still based around the site’s old design. It was definitely time to some new cards!

That’s why I was so excited when the folks at www.Oubly.com contacted me. I had heard about the company through another blogger, and I had been eying their premium edge cards. While they have lots of fun, unique designs to select from, I decided to create my own design and upload it. I wanted to base my cards around my new theme, and I loved that their turquoise edge matched my design perfectly.

My Review of Oubly.com

It didn’t take long for the cards to arrive after I submitted the order, either. I was so excited to get them so quickly, and then to see how absolutely beautiful they were. The quality took my breath away. These cards are on thick, high quality paper, with ink that seems to sparkle! I love, love, love my new cards, and I absolutely love passing them out wherever I go.

There are a few facts about Oubly that make me love them even more:

  • They are a family owned business. I am *all* about family, so I’m proud to support another family owned business.
  • Their customer service and dedication to their customers is second to none. Back when I was a single mom, I worked in the printing industry. In all my years of experience, I have never worked with a company quite like Oubly. I am seriously impressed.
  • Their selection of products is downright awesome. They have so much more than just business cards! They have kids birthday party invitations, stickers, note cards, and so much more!
  • The branded packaging that the products come in is beautiful and high quality. You’ll want to show off the packaging as much as you do the products!
  • It’s just $5 shipping on ALL orders! (I think that’s my favorite part!)

I am seriously impressed with Oubly, and I get so many compliments on my business cards. These are, by far, the most professional, highest quality business cards I have had the opportunity to review. I will definitely be ordering from them again, and I will certainly tell all my friends and business associates about Oubly.com.

Connect with Oubly

Want to win a $30 Oubly.com Gift Certificate?

Use the Rafflecopter Gadget below to enter. Giveaway ends August 11th at 12:00am.

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#MC #Sponsored: BGCA Keeps Kids #CyberSafe with the #CyberTribe

sponsoredDisclaimer: I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for BGCA. I received a promotional item to thank me for participating.

I will admit, I am a little more than protective when it comes to my kids and the internet. There is so much BAD out there, that I want to protect their innocent eyes for as long as I can.

Now, I am not dumb. I know that with technology today, it is easier than ever for kids to access the internet, and get involved in all sorts of situations that could potentially be scary.

Even when I was a teenager, the internet wasn’t the best place to “hang out.” Back then, it was chat rooms. I will never forget when I was 16, and I met a guy in a chat room. My boyfriend had just broken up with me, and I was young and vulnerable. This guy knew all the right things to say to make me feel better, and I fell for it – hook, line, and sinker. I ended up making plans to meet this guy, all without my parents’ knowledge. I told my parents I was meeting a friend that night, and instead, I met this stranger from online. When I got to the park where I was to meet him, there was a man there – probably in his early 30s. Definitely NOT the guy I had seen pictures of online, and not who I was intending to meet. As I drew closer to him, I noticed he had printed out my picture and was holding it in his hands. So, he was the guy I had been talking to all along. Not the 16 year old boy I thought it was.

Everything inside me was telling me to run, and so I did. Straight to my car, and I drove to my friend’s house, because I didn’t know where else to go or what else to do. I couldn’t go home and confess to my parents what I had just done. I knew it was stupid. I knew my life could have been in danger that night. And, looking back now, as a mom myself, I want to bang my head against a wall. That was probably one of the stupidest things I have ever done in my life. Thank God I was smart enough to get out of there. I don’t even want to think about what could have happened.

I wish that back then, we had had something like the BGCA CyberTribe. A safe place for kids to go to ask teens questions about online safety and bullying and get real answers. It’s also a fantastic resource for parents! In fact, I encourage you as a parent to take the “Are You a CyberSmart Parent?” quiz and see how your answers stack up. I ended up being a Cyber Survivor, and proving that I am doing my best to keep my kids safe while they are online.

I also encourage you to ask the CyberTribe any questions you may have about online safety and/or cyber bullying.

You can find the quizzes and ask your questions on the Boys & Girls Club of America’s Cyber Safe Website. All in all, it’s a great site that *every* parent needs to explore. Our kids are worth it!

Here are the two questions I asked the CyberTribe:

1. With easy access to cell phones, laptops, tablets, kids can access things they shouldn’t at any time – day or night. How can I protect my kids from seeing something they shouldn’t see if they click on an ad while playing a free version game on my cell phone?

2. I often feel like the “bad guy” because I won’t let my kids have a social media account until they’re old enough. I constantly hear, “But ALL my friends have one.” What can I say to convince my kids that it’s better for them to wait until they’re ready for an account instead of just giving in and letting them have an account?

I’m excited to see how the CyberTribe responds. I want to do right by my kids. I want to keep them safe while they are online, and I want them to always think before they post anything. This is something we will continue to talk about at length, especially given the number of kids I have!

Also, remember, that through today, June 30th, you also have the chance to win an ipad mini AND $500 to the Boys & Girls Club of your choice. But, hurry! Your chance goes away at midnight tonight! So, get your questions in!

How about you? How important is online safety to you? Have you ever had an experience where you or your child should have taken better precautions online? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section.

CafePress has Thousands of One-of-a-Kind Items! #AffiliateLinks

affiliateDisclaimer: The links in this post are affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Blessed Beyond Words!

CafePressLogo

I have been a fan of CafePress for a long time, but I’ll be honest – I haven’t stopped by there in quite some time. I can’t get over how many different items they have.

I spent the last 20 minutes laughing my way through their maternity t-shirt section. Oh my gosh, some of them are hysterical. Here are a few of my favorites:

Awesome, right? I love it.

And you all know how obsessed I am with anchors. Check out these awesome items I found that are Vintage, Flag, AND Anchored theme:

I want them ALL for my living room. (My living room is Vintage Americana. Fits perfectly, don’t you think?!)

Check out CafePress today and take a look at all the awesome products they have available. You won’t believe it until you see it!

What’s your favorite product/theme available on CafePress?

#Sponsored: Seeing Isn’t Always Believing! Have a #FoodSafe4th This Year

sponsoredDisclaimer: This post was made possible through the support of Element Associates. All opinions are my own.

food safe 4th

I love the 4th of July. I love spending time with family and friends, catching the fireworks, and the Bar-b-ques. Oh, how I love the bar-b-ques. :) Hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, baked beans… Yes, I definitely love the Bar-b-ques.

But did you know how serious food poisoning can be? It is so much more than just an upset stomach. It is a serious health threat to Americans. In fact, the CDC estimates that about 1 in 6 Americans could suffer from foodborne illness this year. (That’s about 48 million people! Yikes!) In turn, that will lead to about 128,000 hospitalizations, and, even worse, an estimated 3,000 deaths. Scary stuff! And all because people don’t take the time to take the proper food safety precautions.

The heat of the summer gives bacteria the chance to thrive and multiply more rapidly, so there’s usually a spike in reports of foodborne illnesses.

I will admit. We are terrible about using a food thermometer. But, after reading all of the information I collected to put together this post, I can promise that is going to change!

Seeing isn’t believing. In the past, I figured if the hamburger is brown in the middle, that means it’s done. But truth be told, just looking at the color and texture of the food isn’t enough. The only way to be really, really sure is to use a food thermometer. In fact, according to USDA research, 1 out of every 4 hamburgers turns brown before it’s safe to consume. A hamburger needs to be cooked to at least 160* F in order to be safe and delicious. Please take a moment to check out this Safe Cooking Temperature Chart and the “Is it Done Yet” brochure by the FoodSafety.gov website. Also be sure to check out the USDA’s tips for Safe Grilling.

Also be sure to visit the FoodSafety.gov website to learn all about food safety, and definitely check out “Ask Karen,” which is an online database with nearly 1,500 answers to specific questions about preventing foodborne illnesses. You can also call the USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline.

Before you start celebrating this summer, be sure to take a moment and watch the following videos:

Recipes for Disaster: BBQ

Summer Food Safety Tips from Martie Duncan of Food Network Star

Also, be sure to join the #FoodSafe4th twitter party. It will be held June 30th at 1pm EST. Just follow and tweet with the #FoodSafe4th hashtag, and be sure to follow the hosts: @martieparty, @buzzmommy, and @usdafoodsafety.

Have a Super Dad? Make Him a Super Gift!

Super Dad Gift

I wanted to do something special for hubby this year. Something unique and fun that plays on his personality. As the dad of 4 boys, (with another one on the way!), Superheroes have a big part of our lives.

I had seen the quote on a Father’s Day card, and thought it was perfect. The Super Man shirt was way too big for anyone in this house, so I cut out the logo and attached it to a very thin piece of wood. I painted the frame black, (it’s an 11″x14″ frame), and used a red paint marker to add the quote “Our HERO doesn’t need a cape… we call him DADDY.”

The gift was a HUGE hit. Hubby loved it, and now he just wants to finish the basement so we can have a Superhero themed living room down there. :) For now, though, it will just have to hang in our living room with everything else.

This is a super easy craft and doesn’t take long at all to make! (And it’s cheap if you use a t-shirt you have on hand!)

What other quotes do you think would work well on this frame?

Grandparents House Rules Free Printable

I’ve mentioned on the blog before how much we love “PapPaw” around here, and how important he is to us. Last year for Father’s Day, we made him a special Father’s Day Present (and Birthday Present). It went over quite well, and I knew I was going to have a hard time finding someway to top it this year.

So, I enlisted the help of my eldest daughter, and together we started browsing Pinterest. We came across this pin, and we both fell in love. I couldn’t find a place to purchase the already made plaque, so I decided to make my own using materials I had on hand. (Be sure to read all the way to the bottom of the post, because I’ve got free printables for YOU to enjoy!)

Grandparents House Rules Free Printable

Here are the materials I used to create the special gift above:

  • 12×16 frame
  • 12×16 mat with 10×13 opening (Or a 12×16 piece of cardboard, painted black)
  • 11×14 thin blank canvas
  • 11×14 printable (printed on two 8.5×11 pieces of copy paper)
  • antique Mod Podge
  • Red paint
  • Black paint
  • Black & White Polka Dot grosgrain ribbon

Now, it sounds like a lot, but in this house, it’s what I had on hand, and I had to make it work. When I first started to paint the frame, I was certain it was an 11×14 frame, and I could just put the canvas print into the frame. Imagine the shock (and horror!) when I discovered the frame was actually a 12×16 and the canvas fell right through the opening! GASP! But, I quickly solved the problem and proved just how crafty my mind is. ;) And, honestly? I love the way it turned out more than I would have if I had just put it in a frame. The ribbon and mat gives it an extra special touch.

To make the print, I simply printed the 11×14 printable onto 2 sheets of 8.5″x11″ copy paper. Then, I taped the two pieces of paper together (on the back of the papers). I applied a coat of Antique Mod Podge to the blank 11×14 canvas then applied the papers to that, trying to smooth out all the wrinkles. (Obviously I have not perfected keeping the wrinkles out, as you can tell toward the bottom of the canvas. If you know the secret, would you PLEASE let me in on it?) Once I got the papers perfectly lined up on the canvas, I applied a thick coat of Antique Mod Podge on top of the papers and let dry.

It was then that I discovered the frame was not an 11″x14″ like I had originally thought. So, I took the mat that had originally been inside the frame and painted it black. The only problem was, the opening was only 10″x13″, and my printable was an 11″x14″, so it cut off too much of the quote. So, I had to get creative. I decided to use hot glue and glue the 11″x14″ canvas to the outside of the mat. (You could also just use the right size piece of cardboard and paint it black if you don’t have a mat.) Once I got the canvas stuck to the mat, I hot glued black and white polka dot grosgrain ribbon along each of the edges for a special touch.

I absolutely love the way it turned out, and PapPaw did too.

Now, here are your free printables in a variety of sizes. Click on the picture to be taken to that size printable and save to your computer. Enjoy!

8″x10″ printable:
Grandparents house rules free printable

8.5″ x 11″ printable:
Grandparents house rules free printable

11″x14″ printable:
Grandparents house rules free printable

If you use one of these printables, I’d love to know how! Be sure to comment below, and if you have pictures of your finished project, leave us a link to them.

#Sponsored: Check out the New Superman Website Just in Time for Father’s Day

sampleDisclaimer: I received samples from SupermanHallofHeroes.com in order to facilitate my review.

Superman Hall of Heroes

Living in a house with a husband and 4 boys, (with another boy on the way!), you can only imagine how much we *love* superheroes.One of our favorite heroes? Why, it’s Superman, of course!

I actually grew up with a Daddy that was a little more than obsessed with Superman. I grew up watching all the Christopher Reeve movies, and I could tell you anything about Superman that you could possibly ever want to know.

So, when my boys were born, there was no debate: our boys would be versed in all things Superheroes. (And if you could see all of their shirts in the picture above, you would notice that each one of them has a shirt with a different superhero on it. :) Superheroes are just part of our daily lives.

And that’s just one of the reasons why I am SO excited about SupermanHallofHeroes.com. This fantastic website is inspired by Superman and the character attributes that define the world’s first and most recognized Superhero – unwavering morals and an endless pursuit of truth and justice – and the website offers a fun and inpirational way for fans to pay tribute to REAL, everyday heroes by submitting their photo and story online.

Do you have a hero in your life? Someone who has gone above and beyond the call of duty, or someone who has touched your life in a special way? Induct them into the Superman Hall of Heroes today! There are multiple gift-giving options and levels, and each one contains special Superman-themed items similar to those pictured above. These are high quality items, and they are certain to bring a smile to the face of your favorite hero.

Through Father’s Day, a portion of the proceeds from the sales of Superman Hall of Heroes packages will go to the The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. I love that!

Also, right now, if you have a hero that you want to nominate, but you just don’t have the funds to do it, use the code MYHERO at checkout and you will receive a free Level One induction of your hero.

So, what are you waiting for? You have NO excuses. Head on over to SupermanHallofHeroes.com  and nominate your hero today.

Superman Hall of Heroes