#Sponsored: Show Us Your Smile Contest for Children’s Dental Hygiene Month

sampleDisclaimer: This post is sponsored by Great Expressions Dental Centers. Any opinions expressed are 100% my own and have not been influenced in any way.

smile_pic

As a mom of so many kids, lots of lost teeth, and many (many) trips to the dentist, I understand the importance of good dental hygiene! I stress it all the time with my kids.

To encourage children everywhere to participate in good oral hygiene practices, Great Expressions Dental Centers (GEDC) is launching their “Show Us Your Smile” facebook contest this month.

To enter the contest, parents get the chance to submit a photo of their child’s smile for a chance to win a free bike and a movie bundle. Winners will be selected once a week throughout the month of February.

Visit the Great Expressions Dental Centers Facebook Page to submit your entry today!

Remember – the contest runs all month, but once February is gone, so is your chance to win! Head on over and submit your child’s entry today!

#Sponsored: “Captive” DVD #CaptiveMovie #FlyBy #Review & #Giveaway

sampleDisclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

captive

Captive is based on a true story about the power of faith over fear. It is the story of how two lost souls collided. Brain Nichols is on the run and desperate to make contact with his brand new baby boy. He takes Ashley Smith hostage in her own apartment. Fearing for her life, and wanting nothing more than to be able to see her daughter again, she finally tuns to Rick Warren’s “The Purpose Driven Life” for guidance. Ashley and Brian come to a crossroads where they discover hope and light in the midst of despair.

I received a copy of Captive for my family, and we couldn’t wait until our next Family Movie Night. I made the choice to allow my older children to watch the movie, (ages 11 and up), but I’m thankful I didn’t allow the younger ones to stay up and watch it.

My husband and myself were able to have some really deep discussion after the movie with my older children, and I was quite surprised by how much they understood and had questions about. There was a lot of drug use in the movie. Lots of violence. Some was scary violence. Brian Nichols was a very scary man. And we all discussed how making one bad choice can lead you down a path of many bad choices. Before you know it, you’re going down a path it’s impossible to come back from. (Luckily, we know that through Christ, ALL things are possible, but that still doesn’t make it easy!)

The story was intense from beginning to end. I don’t think any of my kids moved from their seats. The only thing I wish is that faith had been more of a motivator in the movie, or that God had been featured a little bit more. But, there was enough faith shown that it helped open the door for great discussion with my kids. I was able to talk with them about the choices they make when they’re young, and how they will impact them when they get older. We talked a lot about staying away from drugs and alcohol, and not even trying them when “all” their friends are. We talked about having courage and strength to say NO, and if they don’t have the courage to say no on their own, they can trust Christ to give them the courage they need.

Overall, I did enjoy the movie, and I’m thankful for the discussion it was able to open up with my children. I cannot imagine all that Ashley Smith went through, but I’m certain her testimony has led – and will lead – many people to Christ.

To learn more about the movie, please check out the following links:

Want to win a copy of Captive for your family? Just leave a comment on this blog post and tell me a time when you needed faith to get through a scary situation. (If you don’t have an example, just leave your favorite Bible verse as a comment.)

Contest will end January 29th at 11:59pm ET. Please use the guidelines in the disclaimer to see if you qualify. Contest open to US & Canada.

#AD: Keeping Our #GameDayTraditions FUN! @SheSpeaksUp @ProcterGamble @Walmart

sampleDisclaimer: This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/P&G. Opinions expressed are 100% my own.

gamedaytraditions

Game Day in our house means lots of preparation! I’ve got so much to do! There’s the food to prepare… the house to get clean… every little detail must be taken care of… Even down to what toilet paper I’m going to make sure is available for my guests! (I don’t want someone coming over, using my bathroom, and then going home to tell their spouse, “Ugh. That toilet paper was like sandpaper!” No thank you! Only best for my guests! They deserve the ultra strong, yet squeezably soft goodness that only Charmin can provide.) Luckily, I can head to Walmart and grab everything I need to make our traditions for Game Day perfect.

gamedaysetup

Set up is crucial. Spray some Febreze to get the furniture smelling fresh and clean. Then, I need everything laid out just right so my guests can get to it easily. I need the right paper towels to handle clean ups, because with the crew we host on game day, there are sure to be a few spills! Bounty helps me get the counters clean after I’ve slaved in the kitchen all day, and then Bounty paper towels are perfect for clean up during and after the party!

gamedayfood

And then there’s the food. Oh my goodness, the food! Meatballs, sandwiches, chili cheese dip and chips, bread, pasta, desserts galore. I don’t do anything small. I have to make sure there’s plenty of food for everyone, and that there’s no chance of anyone leaving my house hungry!

gamedaypeople

And while I’m going out of my mind, trying so hard to make everything just right, I remember the most important tradition I have when it comes to game day: the people I share game day with.

Even though I have ten people living in my house – and we can make any occasion a party! – when we add family and friends to the mix, it’s always something to remember!

Once the game is over, and everyone has left, that’s when I’m thankful I stocked up at Walmart! It’s time for the real clean up! I find dip under the couch. Stains on *everyone’s* clothes. And the bathroom usually looks like a tornado ran through it. (Did you notice all those kids in the picture above?!) Luckily, I’ve got Bounty to help with the clean up of the house, and Tide to help make laundry easier.

After every game day happening, all I want to do is sleep for a week, but I’m always thankful that I’ve had the fun with family and friends. They make every moment of preparation, frustration, and clean up worth it. It doesn’t even matter who wins the game!

Companies like Walmart and P&G make Game Day even easier. I’m thankful for quality products that make everyone happy, at a price that makes my wallet happy!

Want to read about other bloggers and their #GameDayTraditions? Here are the links that will help you do just that:

Now, tell me about Game Day at your house. Do you have any traditions you follow? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

#Sponsored: Another @PhotoPad_VG #Giveaway! ($25 OR $100 Amazon GC – Your Choice!)

sampleDisclaimer: This post is sponsored by PhotoPad. Any opinions expressed are 100% my own and have not been influenced in any way.

photopad_logo

Last month, I ran a contest for a $100 Amazon Gift Card, and I have to say, I’m a little baffled. There wasn’t one entry on that giveaway post! That’s just crazy!

So, I approached the owner of photoPAD, and we talked. We want to give you another chance to win! I’ll get to the giveaway in a minute. :)

While I kind of kept a business focus on my last post, I want you to see how great this can be for sharing family photos with those you love most!

Take a look at my family PAD:

Isn’t it cute? And it only took a few minutes to make. Now, I can share my PAD with family and friends on Facebook, twitter, or through email at the click of a button!

It’s like digital scrapbooking without all the headache, expense, and frustration. It’s so easy to create a PAD!

Just in case you’ve forgotten, here are the steps to create your own PAD:

  • First, head to the PhotoPad website.
  • In the top right corner, click on “Start Exploring.”
  • Click on “Join Today.” (Takes 30 seconds to join. SO easy!!)
  • Click on the Plus (+) sign at the top left of the page to create a new pad.
  • Follow the steps to Describe your Pad and get to work using the tools on the right!
  • Now, add pictures and create pages to complete your Pad.

Be sure to save your work at the end, and then you can share your pad by finding the link and sharing through social media. To find the link to your Pad, go to the home page, then click the funnel icon. Just click on “My Pads” and there you have it! SO easy!

I really want to encourage you to try out the new photoPAD for yourself. I think you’re going to love it!

And, to reward you, we’re holding another giveaway. You can win a $25 Amazon Gift Card OR a $100 Amazon Gift Card – your choice. Here’s how it will work:

  • 1. To enter for a $25 Amazon Gift Card, visit the PhotoPad Business Facebook Page. (Because we can’t ask you to “like” the page, according to Facebook rules, we sure would appreciate a “like” if you “like” what you see!)
  • 2. Want to increase your prize to a $100 Amazon Gift Card? Simply create your own Pad, with at least 2 slides, using the PhotoPad creator. (Follow the steps above.)
  • 3. Leave a comment on this post and tell me you did the above. If you created a pad, please leave a link to your PAD in your comment.(You MUST leave a link to your pad in order to win the $100 prize.)

Contest will end Sunday, January 17th at 11:59pm, and winner will be announced and contacted on January 18th.

Winner has been selected…. thanks to all who entered!

photopad_winner

#Sponsored: LeapTV – Educational Fun to Get Your Kids Moving! #Giveaway #LeapFrogMomSquad

sampleDisclaimer: This review and giveaway is made possible through my relationship with LeapFrog and the LeapFrog Mom Squad. Opinions expressed are 100% my own.

leaptv giveaway

Have you heard of LeapTV?

It’s this fantastic little gaming system that gets your little ones up and moving and *learning* all at the same time. My kids love it, and they just can’t get enough of it.

We’ve had our LeapTV for awhile now, and it definitely hasn’t gotten “old.” The kids still ask to play with it all the time, and I’m happy to comply when I know they’re going to be learning while they play. My favorite part is that ALL of my kids love it – from Carly (almost 3) all the way up to Zander and Jace (who are 12 and 11). The bigger ones help the little ones, and a fun time is had by all.

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There are so many games to choose from, and something to make everyone happy. From Blaze to Frozen, Paw Patrol to Sophia the First, all of our favorite characters are part of the kids favorite games. It’s a win-win for everyone!

leaptv_games

LeapFrog has been one of my favorite companies to work with, and product like the LeapTV are why! In their kindness, they sent me 2 LeapTV systems, so I’m sharing one with you! That’s right! You get the chance to win your very own LeapTV system and a Letter Factory Adventure game to go with it! How lucky are you?!

What if you don’t win? That’s OK! The LeapTV system is now retailing for just $59.99. That’s a fantastic price for a great product, and it’s worth every penny! No excuses. Now you can use up those gift cards you got for Christmas and make the kids happy. (Which, in turn, will make YOU happy!)

Use the Rafflecopter Gadget below to enter the giveaway. The contest will end January 19th at 11:59pm.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

#Sponsored: @PhotoPad_VG Makes Business Better | $100 Amazon GC #Giveaway

sponsoredDisclaimer: This post is sponsored by PhotoPad. Any opinions expressed are 100% my own and have not been influenced in any way.

photopad_logo

When you run a business, it’s so important to “brand” your business. Even with my blog, I’ve tried to brand myself so that when people see my logo or maybe even an anchor, they think of “Blessed Beyond Words.”

Do you own a business or a blog and need to brand yourself? PhotoPad is the best way to brand your business through Photo Stories.

You won’t believe how easy it is to start creating!

  • First, head to the PhotoPad website.
  • In the top right corner, click on “Start Exploring.”
  • Click on “Join Today.” (Takes 30 seconds to join. SO easy!!)
  • Click on the Plus (+) sign at the top left of the page to create a new pad.
  • Follow the steps to Describe your Pad and get to work using the tools on the right!
  • Now, add pictures and create pages to complete your Pad.

Be sure to save your work at the end, and then you can share your pad by finding the link and sharing through social media. To find the link to your Pad, go to the home page, then click the funnel icon. Just click on “My Pads” and there you have it! Easy, right? (Ok, I’ll admit. It took me a few minutes to figure out how to find my finished pad, but I did it!)

Here’s what my finished Pad looks like:

Not too shabby for my first try, right? I love it!

While PhotoPad is still in beta, I have to say, I’m in love with it! This is such a great way to share photos with clients, and even with friends and family!

Don’t run a business? That’s ok! PhotoPad is still the perfect way to show off your beautiful babies! In November, I hired a photographer friend to take photos for my family. Here are the results of that:

Super cute, right? And what a fun, easy way to show off my photos! I just love it! Now, I can quickly and easily share all the latest happenings with my family.

Now, PhotoPad wants YOU to try out their new program, and they’re giving away a $100 Amazon Gift Card to one lucky winner!

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Create your own Pad using the PhotoPad creator. (Your pad *must* have at least 5 slides.)
  2. Like the PhotoPad Business Facebook Page.
  3. Leave a comment ON THIS BLOG POST letting me know you did both. (Please leave a link to your created Pad in the comment. I want to check them out.)

That’s all you have to do! Remember to leave a link to your Pad as a comment on this post, because that’s how we’ll pick the winner!

Now, go create! I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

*Contest Ends January 1st at 11:59pm. Winner will be announced and contacted January 2nd. Facebook is not associated with this giveaway in any way.

#Ad: #Momoji by @Luvs for the Times When Parenting Needs More than Just Words & a Giveaway!

sampleDisclaimer: This review and giveaway was made possible by iConnect Influencer Management and Luvs. I was compensated for my participation in this campaign, but all opinions are 100% mine.

momoji keyboard

Do you ever have those days when you need more than just mere words to express just how your day is going?

Boy, do I ever.

Take a look at last night’s conversation with my Hubby:

momoji

What a day. I don’t know what it is about December, but the kids all seem to act out. Maybe it’s the shorter days. Or the thought of Christmas presents and a break from school. I don’t know. But about 6pm every night, I’m ready to put all 8 of them to bed, just so I can breathe for a few minutes!

The Luvs Momoji Keyboard is perfect for parents. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words – especially in those parenting moments when you simply have no words. (Like all the time?!) It’s a fun way to express yourself in your favorite way: emojis!

I will admit, I am a huge user of emojis. Sometimes, I use them a little too much. So, when I downloaded the Luvs Momoji Keyboard, I had a little too much fun with it.

momoji

Now, I tend to talk… a lot. So, I switch back and forth from the momojis to the letter keyboard, and that takes a little bit of work. But, it’s totally worth it to get my point across! And I probably drive my husband crazy with all my texts, but he just ignores me and goes about his day. We understand each other. 😉

The other great feature of the Momoji Keyboard is the “Promoji” feature. Luvs is the first brand every to share coupons, deals, and special offers with their customers in a fun new way. Now we busy moms can hunt for diaper deals while we’re out and about. It’s fantastic! I always seem to forget my coupons at home. Doesn’t matter any more, because now I can pull out my phone and see if there are any new deals or promotions for Luvs diapers right in the store!

Want to know the best part? It’s available for Apple AND Android! (As an Android user, this impresses me most! Most companies release the “iPhone” version first, and the Android users have to wait forever for their version – if it ever even comes to fruition. Thanks for thinking of ALL moms, Luvs!)

Hurry and download the Keyboard here:

Once you’ve downloaded and activated the Keyboard, be sure to check out the #Momoji Twitter party with @iConnectIm on December 15, 2015 at 9pm EST. There will be prizes and fun galore!
carly and luvs
To celebrate the launch of the Luvs Momoji Keyboard, and fantastic new Luvs with NightLock, I get to giveaway a fantastic prize to one lucky winner! Use the Rafflecopter below to enter for your chance to win a $100 American Express Gift Card and one package of Luvs diapers (size 1-6, you pick!). Contest Ends December 21st at 11:59pm.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

#Ad: I’m Happy for You (Sort Of…Not Really) #FLYBY #HydrateForTheHolidays #BookReview

sampleDisclaimer: This post is sponsored by FlyBy Promotions. I received a complimentary copy of the book in order to facilitate my review.

happy for you

Today’s world is full of competition. Do you ever look at Pinterest and get jealous of “those” moms who can do it all? I know I do.

Several weeks ago, I had the chance to hear Kay Wills Wyma’s interview with Focus on the Family. I was so impressed and so moved by the interview that I immediately ordered her book on my Kindle. I get so caught up with feeling like I have to be better than everyone else. Since everyone is comparing their life to mine anyway, I have to give them something that’s worth comparing!

How foolish is that? I can’t imagine Jesus would be very proud of that type of attitude. Nor would He appreciate my coveting the ability of others every time I log into Facebook or Pinterest.

This book is fantastic. A must read for every mom – or woman – who feels like her joy is being robbed by the comparison and competition in her life. Kay shares her own experiences with comparison living and gives her readers simple remedies that helped her family change their perspective and find freedom and joy in every day life.

Right now, we’re in the thick of the holiday season. Boy, that makes comparison an even touchier topic, doesn’t it? Well, I’ve got good news for you! On her blog, Kay is starting to #HydratefortheHolidays, and is helping us all learn how to recapture contentment and joy in our lives. I’m so excited about these posts. You must check them out!

Here are the best ways to check out all the #HydratefortheHolidays posts and interact with Kay:

I truly hope you’ll check out this book. It has truly helped me so much, and I’ve really changed my thought process on comparing my life with the lives of other moms and women, and have started focusing on my own blessings and all God has allowed me to do and have. This book is truly life changing and I will highly recommend it to everyone!

Have you read I’m Happy for You (Sort Of…Not Really): Finding Contentment in a Culture of Comparison? What did you think of it? I’d love to hear if it helped you as much as it did me. Leave me a comment below!

#Sponsored: New DC Super Hero Girls Cartoons & a #Giveaway

sponsoredDisclaimer:This is a sponsored post on behalf of DC Super Hero Girls. They provided the information, but any opinions expressed are my own. They are also sponsoring and controlling the giveaway.

dc super hero girls

In our house, Super Heroes are #1! We all love them. And, now that DC Entertainment has released their new animated series featuring DC Super Hero Girls, we are even more excited! My girls and I are all about a little “girl power” now and then, and this dynamic group of girls are strong, fearless, edgy, and fun! We each have our favorite Super Hero Girl, and even my boys love watching right along with us.

The DC Super Hero Girls YouTube channel makes it easy for our kids to watch their favorite characters, on-demand, and from any device. Thank heavens for wi-fi, because Carly keeps the DC Super Hero Girls channel playing on my Kindle Fire as often as I let her. Take a look at the playlist:

For even more DC Super Hero Girls fun, check out the DC Super Hero Girls website where kids can play games, download free printable activities, and so much more. Head over there now for some *super* fun!

To celebrate the launch of these Super Hero Girls, DC is giving away a $100 Visa Gift Card! Enter below for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


How excited are YOU about the DC Super Hero Girls? Tell me in the comments below!

#Sponsored: Top Toy Trends for the Holiday Season from #zulily!

sponsoredDisclaimer:This is a sponsored post on behalf of Zulily. They provided the information, but any opinions expressed are my own.

’Tis the season for gifting little ones the toys they’ve been wanting all year long. This year, it’s not just about play – the most popular toys this season promote learning and creativity!

That said, we’ve tapped zulily’s resident toy expert Kenji Yoshinari for a list of trends to keep in mind as you scour the zulily Toy Shop for the perfect gifts that will both entertain and educate your child this season. Kenji’s tips are:

  • Use the Force to make sure you give the hottest toys! With the upcoming December 18th premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we’re sure Star Wars toys and apparel will be flying off the shelves this holiday season. Make sure to purchase early so you don’t miss out!
  • Look out for open-ended building toys. Giving kids the opportunity to let their imagination run wild and not be constrained by instruction manuals is the heart of this hot trend.
  • Switch from STEM to STEAM. Adding the ART component to STEM gives you more ways to introduce creativity and fun to your children’s world of educated play.
  • Customize Your Play! Make the play experience meet who your child is – from personalized rockers and ride-ons, to a doll that looks just like your child.
  • Retro, classic play remains a top trend. Brands and toys that bring back memories of days gone by are at the top of everyone’s list this season.

zulily toys

In addition, Kenji has pulled together a list of the Breakout Toys of 2015 and I’ve featured a few below:

  • TEGU Classroom Kit – combine art and education for a great gift. zulily toys
  • Green Toys – teach your child to care for the environment with these eco-friendly toys. They are easy to maintain, dishwasher safe and don’t require batteries.
  • Build-Your-Own (Customizable) 18” Dolls from Madame Alexander – Customizable and hands-on building, this toy covers off on two top toy trends!
  • Razor Crazy Cart Spinning Go Kart & JoyBay Pink Swing Car – These toys are perfect for kids on the go.
  • FINIS Mermaid Swim Fin – a fin-tastic choice for kids who love the water!

At online retailer zulily, shoppers have something new to discover each morning including toys, gifts, apparel & accessories, home décor and more. Be sure to check back often on zulily.com or on their mobile app to get the best deals for the whole family this holiday season.

#IC #Ad: #WaterWipes – Amazingly Pure Baby Wipes Now at @Target @WaterWipesUSA

sampleDisclaimer: This post was sponsored by WaterWipes as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.

water wipes

I have two little ones still in diapers, and both of them have extremely sensitive skin. Carly’s skin is so tender that I can only use certain diapers and I have to be extra careful about the type of wipes I use. I used to make my own baby wipes, but that is time consuming and sometimes difficult – especially when you have 8 children and all that entails!

And then I heard about WaterWipes. I had to know more! A wipe that is chemical free and made of 99.9% water and 0.1% grapefruit seed extract? I had to know more. I had to try these wipes for myself.

I also love any excuse for a Target run as well, so I hopped in the car and headed to my favorite store to pick up some WaterWipes.

When I got to my local Target store, I knew I was heading right for the baby section. I made a few stops along the way, grabbing a few other items I knew I needed – and some that I didn’t really need – and then finally found myself in the aisle with the baby wipes. 😉 The WaterWipes were easy to find. At my store, they were up on the top shelf and easy to spot. I grabbed a couple of 60 count packs, and a few more “necessities,” and then I headed back home.

waterwipes display

I wanted to be sure I used the WaterWipes for several days so that I could truly test them out, especially on Carly’s ultra sensitive skin. I am pleased to tell you that they worked *great!* If I try to use a “normal” baby wipe on Carly, she would scream loud enough for the neighbors to hear. (And we don’t even have neighbors right now!) But, with WaterWipes, it was like wiping her bottom with straight water. The cloths are soft but strong. They clean effectively, and wipe off gunk easily, but without any irritation at all. So wonderful!

They are fantastic for Sawyer’s sensitive skin as well. Even though his isn’t quite as bad as Carly’s, it’s still quite sensitive. Not to mention all the urologists visits and issues we’ve had with him that have required chemical free wipes. The WaterWipes are perfect for on-the-go and at home diaper changes for Sawyer. (And he doesn’t wince when I come at his runny nose with a WaterWipe either!)

waterwipes

There are a few things that you need to know about WaterWipes:

  • Because WaterWipes are chemical free, there are no preservatives. One package will still be good for up to 15 months before it is opened. Once you’ve opened the package, WaterWipes recommends you use that package within 1 month.
  • WaterWipes are not interfolded like other wipe brands. This keeps the inside of the package a sterile environment. Because of that very reason, WaterWipes recommends you do not move the wipes into any other type of container.

If you have a new baby, a little one with sensitive skin, or if your little one has trouble with diaper rashes, I would highly recommend you try out WaterWipes. I have been so happy with our results after using them, and I will continue to keep a large stash in our home.

Use this link to find a WaterWipes retailer near you now!

Also be sure to connect with WaterWipes in the following ways:

Want a chance to win a $100 Target Gift Card? Now through December 4th, Influence Central is hosting a contest for WaterWipes, and that’s the prize! Enter below by choosing a social media sharing option from the social media amplification tool. It’s so easy!

WaterWipes Target

*I-C will randomly select 1 winner from all program entries and will handle fulfillment of the winning prizes.

Thank you, WaterWipes, for making such a great product. And, thank you, Target, for putting them on your shelves so I can get them any time I need them! I am so thankful to have found these wipes, and I know Carly and Sawyer are too!

#Sponsored: Make it an EPIC Holiday with @LeapFrog #LeapFrogMomSquad

sampleDisclaimer: As a member of the LeapFrog Mom Squad, I receive product in exchange for my honest review. While the products are given to me, the opinions expressed are my own.

epic leapfrog products

Have you started shopping for Christmas yet? Around here, we procrastinate and don’t even get started until probably the week before Christmas. We’re crazy, I know! But, I am constantly adding items to my online Wishlists all year long.

With 8 kids, I need toys that I know are worth the money I’m going to invest in them. That’s why I love LeapFrog products so much!

Our recent shipment from LeapFrog was full of really great items! You are definitely going to want to hear about these and put them on your kids’ wishlists.

LeapFrog Epic

leapfrog epic

First up is the LeapFrog Epic. This tablet is fantastic! There is just so much you can do with it. Because it’s an Android-based tablet, so there’s no need for LeapFrog cartridges anymore. Because I have so many kids, I am all about not needing extra “parts” to make something work. Everything my kids need to have fun is right on this tablet.

While the recommended ages for the tablet are 3 to 9 years old, I’ve caught all of my kids playing on the epic at one time or another. There have been many times when I’ve found my 4 year old showing my 11 year old how the tablet works and all the fun games and videos they can find on there.

epic kid

I love the look and feel of the epic as well. It’s thick and sturdy, and has a larger screen, but the fantastic case makes it easy for even the smallest hands to hold. My two year old has no trouble holding onto the epic and finding her favorite part – the videos!

It’s easy to use, grows with my kids, and is just so much fun! While it retails at $139.99, that price is more than fair, and is quite comparable with other tablets made for kids that don’t do near as much. It’s a great little tablet for the money, and one I know your kids will love!

LeapFrog Number Lovin’ Oven

number lovin' oven

Next up, we have the Number Lovin’ Oven. This is Carly’s absolute favorite toy. It’s the very first thing she plays with when she wakes up in the morning. In fact, she’ll get up and “cook” me an egg and a cupcake every morning for “breakfast.” It’s adorable! I think she loves the songs it sings the most. And, believe me, in no time, you will be singing “Put an Egg on it” too! :) Honestly, I sing that song every time I cook in my real oven now too! It’s one of those songs that sticks in your head.

This little oven comes with 16 pieces to play with including 2 cupcakes, 4 slices of deep dish pizza, an egg, and bread. The pizza and bread come apart to help little ones learn their numbers and how to share. (I love that!)

It really is a lot of fun to play with, and at just $24.99, it’s the perfect price too! It’s perfect for the 2 to 5 year old age range, and it will keep them happy and playing for hours on end. (At least it does in our house!)

Your little one will love serving you up breakfast, lunch, and dinner everyday, and they’ll do it with a smile on their face and a song on their lips. This is a must-add product for your preschooler’s wish list!

Scout’s Build & Discover Tool Set

Scout's build & discover tool set

Singing, laughing, counting, matching, measuring, and banging – that’s what you get with Scout’s Build & Discover Tool Set. And it is awesome!

Your child gets all the tools and items they need to build a completely interactive house for your favorite dog, Scout. Your child will count nails, measure the walls of the house, all while they sing along to the number song. While they are doing this, Scout is talking, singing, and cheering them on in their efforts!

This is a great little tool for helping your little one to learn their numbers and how to count. And it’s just a lot of fun! Gage has loved Scout since he was a baby, and so he immediately recognized the voice. He was thrilled to be able to make a little house for his favorite puppy!

The tool set is perfect for ages 2 – 5, and retails for just $19.99. That makes it the perfect gift to give to your favorite little boy, or donate a few to your local women’s shelter and give someone else a Merry Christmas. :)

I am just thrilled to be working with LeapFrog, and getting the chance to share these amazing products with you!

I’ll have more gift ideas and our Holiday Gift Guide coming soon! Be sure to check back.

#Sponsored: Mary’s Secret Ingredients – A Recipe for Success!

sampleDisclaimer: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Mary’s Secret Ingredients. I received a sample in order to facilitate my review. Opinions expressed are 100% my own.

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Are there ever times when you need a few extra ideas in the kitchen? Or maybe you want to try something new, but you’re just not sure where to start?

Let me introduce you to Mary’s Secret Ingredients.

With Mary’s Secret Ingredients, you can quickly and easily become a pro in the kitchen, discovering fantastic new flavors and products that will make life easier, and make your food taste better!

There are two ways to purchase: Individual boxes (priced at just $25.95/box!), or order a one-year subscription and get 4 boxes shipped to your door throughout the year. At just over $100, the one year subscription is a great option to keep for yourself or give as a gift to that special cook in your life.

Want to know the best part? Mary’s Secret Ingredients has partnered with Feed the Children, so every time you buy a box, you’re helping feed someone in need. Love that!

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For this review, I received the Fall box from Mary’s Secret Ingredients. I was pleasantly surprised by what I found inside!

The Ultragrain Blend All Purpose flour is already a favorite. It’s what I buy when I make my homemade chicken and dumplings or cookies from scratch. In fact, when I opened the box, Jace caught a glimpse of the flour and asked, “Oh, Mom! Does this mean we’re having dumplings for dinner?”

The POURfect Measuring Spoon Set is to die for! It’s funny, because I was really wishing I had one of these before I got the box. I ordered some cute measuring spoons several months ago, but while they look cute, that’s about all they do. They don’t measure accurately, and I got frustrated every time I tried to use them. Enter the POURfect measuring spoons, and I don’t have that problem anymore! I can quickly and accurately get just what I need – down to the DROP! (Which is 1/32 of a teaspoon, by the way.) 😉

The other items were new to me: Sarah’s Sea Salt, which is a Tuscan Sea Salt, and the Jenkins Jellies are both items I’d never heard of, but I can’t wait to try them out! I’ve got chicken breast thawing in the fridge for tonight. I think I’ll visit the recipe section of the Mary’s Secret Ingredient website and see what I can whip up for dinner. I’m not a fan of spicy foods or jellies, but my 12 year old, Zander sure is. I have a feeling his next Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich will have a bit of a “kick” to it. :)

Whether you are a seasoned cook or just starting out, I encourage you to check out Mary’s Secret Ingredients and order a box. If you avoid the kitchen at all costs, why not order a box for a friend? The winter box would make a fantastic Christmas gift! And, just by ordering a box, you can help feed a hungry child. What could be better than that? Mary’s Secret Ingredients is a gift that keeps on giving.

#Sponored: Watch the Be Cool Scooby-Doo Video & Enter to Win!

sponsoredDisclaimer: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Warner Bros. Information for the post was provided by Warner Bros, but any opinions expressed are my own.

There are few cartoons that stand the test of time. Scooby-Doo! is one of those classics that our kids can enjoy just like we did growing up.

Now, you can watch your favorite team together again in an all new show: Be Cool Scooby-Doo! It’s coming to Cartoon Network in the US!

While one of our favorite cartoons continues to provide entertainment for the whole family, the way our kids watch cartoons is certainly not the same as it was “way back when…”

Now, they can watch videos, play games, and even download printable activities on ScoobyDoo.com!

The Warner Bros Youtube Channel makes it easy for our kids to watch their favorite mystery squad – on-demand, and from any device.

Want to know the best part? Scooby-Doo! is giving away a $100 Amazon gift card. That makes this a great time to check it all out.

Take a minute to watch the video.

Now, enter for your chance to win today!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks to Warner Bros for this fantastic new show – and for the amazing giveaway!

#Sponsored: Check Out the New Quick Cups Video & Enter to Win!

sponsoredDisclaimer: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Spin Master Games. Information for the post was provided by Spin Master, but any opinions expressed are my own.

Take a minute to check out the fantastic new Quick Cups video from Spin Master. Then, be sure to scroll down and enter the giveaway to win one of three grand games packages. (Packages include Fibber, Mustache Smash, Boom Boom Balloon, Shark Mania, Rapidoodle, and Quick Cups and are valued at $125 each.) Also – there are 10 amazing Runner Up prizes of the Quick Cups Board Game!

Haven’t heard of Quick Cups? It’s this great game where kids can outperform their parents IF they have a quicker eye and hands. It’s a game that everyone will love to play, and ANYONE can be the winner!

Here, take a look at the video:

Now, enter the giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck to all who enter!

Also, be sure to thank Spin Master by checking out the Spin Master Games website and the Spin Master YouTube Channel. Because of them, I can bring you these fantastic giveaways!

#Sponsored: Gerber’s #FormulaForHappiness Will Have Everyone Smiling!

sponsoredDisclaimer: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Gerber. Information for the post was provided by Gerber and MomSelect, but any opinions expressed are my own.

newborn photograph

Ahhhh… the first few months of life. Full of joy, tears, and absolutely no sleep.

When you become a mom, it seems everyone on Earth has an opinion about how you can get your baby to sleep through the night. Your mom, dear old Aunt Gertie, and even the stranger in the grocery store: they all want to tell you what’s best for you and your baby. (And sometimes their information is so outdated, it’s just not safe!)

What if there were someone you could talk to who was a certified sleep consultant, and her only “job” was to help you learn ways to help baby sleep better, and in turn, help YOU sleep better? Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Sleepy moms, rejoice! I have wonderful news! Gerber® Good Start® now has a certified sleep consultant who is available to talk to you! Her name is Christina Gantcher, and it is so easy to set up an appointment with her through the Gerber Website: gerber.com/experts.

I had the opportunity to speak with Christina yesterday, and she is wonderful! While I am past the newborn baby stage with my crew, we still have sleep issues. I was able to spend some time with Christina discussing the issues I’m still having with my 2 year old.

Christina was such a joy to talk to. She didn’t know me or my two year old, but in just a few minutes, she was able to gather some information about us and give me tips on ways I can encourage Carly to sleep in her own bed all night long.

It was so nice to talk with her. I was able to ask her all my questions, and I didn’t feel like an idiot asking her the questions. She was kind, reassuring, and incredibly helpful. And she was honest. She told me it wasn’t going to be easy to transition Carly back to her own bed. The older the child is, the harder it is. I loved that she was honest, but she still encouraged me that we CAN do it, it just might take a little time.

After we were finished talking about Carly, we discussed a typical phone call with Christina. She talks to moms, dads, and even grandparents of newborn babies up to children around the ages of 3 or 4. We talked about what happens when you rock a baby to sleep and then transfer them into the crib. We discussed sleep cycles, bedtime routines, and schedules. She shared a bedtime process with me that was absolutely brilliant, and something I wish I had known years ago. In fact, I wish I had had this service back when I became a first time mom – or even with my 4th baby who was 2 years old and still hadn’t slept through the night once. (Not once! Do you know what I would have given to have Christina to call back then?!) I remember that back then, the only way I could have any kind of Formula for Happiness was to hand Lucy over to my Mother in Law, (who was living with us at the time), so that I could grab a nice hot shower, or even a few minutes of sleep. Those were tough days, and I know there are many of you who understand.

I would highly encourage you to check out the entire team of experts available through Gerber® Good Start®. Not only will you find Christina their sleep consultant, but also a nutrition consultant and a lactation consultant. So, whether you have questions about getting your baby to eat, sleep, latch on, or whatever else it may be, Gerber® Good Start® has someone you can talk to. They’ll get you on the path to finding your #FormulaForHappiness.

Schedule your appointment today by visiting their website: https://www.gerber.com/experts. Or call 1-800-284-9488 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Thank you, Gerber® Good Start® for your desire to help all moms (and dads, and grandparents!) succeed at this parenting thing! It’s tough to do it alone, but what a joy to know we don’t have to!

So, what are you waiting for? Pick up the phone and call them today, or hurry on over to their website and schedule your phone call now. Get on your way to happiness!

#Sponsored #BBWBabyBash: The Graco Sous Chef™ Seating System

sampleDisclaimer: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Graco. I received a sample in order to facilitate my review. Opinions expressed are 100% my own.

graco_souschef

As a mom of 8, I’ve gone through many highchairs through the years. Most of them have been Graco highchairs, simply because I know what I like, I know what works, and I trust Graco when it comes to products I use for my kids.

That being said, I already had a bit of a bias toward loving this highchair when Graco asked me to review it for them. Because it was Graco, I knew I would love it. I just had no idea how much!

Let me introduce you to the Graco Sous Chef™ Seating System. This is THE highchair I wish I had had with all of my kids. The one that I would have held on to for 18 years – or until it finally fell apart. This is my favorite highchair I have ever used.

I know what you’re thinking. It’s a high chair! How can be that great?

Let me tell you about this highchair.

First, the highchair can be used from newborn all the way up to “big kids.” Your baby can be in the kitchen with you from day one. (Or two – or whenever – depending on when you get home from the hospital and/or feel like actually being in the kitchen again!)

There are 5 different modes of use for the highchair:

  1. The Elevated Newborn Seat – perfect for wheeling baby into the kitchen in a safe place that’s high enough for you to reach him/her while you’re cooking.
  2. Removable Rocking Chair – THIS IS AWESOME. It’s my favorite feature of the highchair, and it’s the reason I wish I had had this highchair from day one with Sawyer. (Heck, with all my kids!) You simply remove the chair from the stand (without baby in it, for safety reasons, of course!), and put it in any room of the house. This would have made life SO much easier with all my babies. Honestly, this is the BEST feature of the highchair and it’s what makes the entire highchair worth every penny!
  3. Infant Reclining Highchair – perfect for those first feedings and beyond. Allows you to easily reach and interact with baby while they get those first feedings of cereal.
  4. Highchair mode – This is how our highchair stays most of the time. We don’t have enough seating at our table, so this allows me to put Sawyer in his highchair and feed him. The tray and insert are fantastic. The tray can easily be removed with just one hand, and the insert is dishwasher safe, so it allows for super easy clean up. (Even after the first birthday cake fiasco!)
  5. Toddler Booster seat – Another fantastic feature of the highchair! The toddler booster seat attaches right to your kitchen table chair. No extra pieces required, no difficult maneuvers to go through, just buckle it on! We use this all the time at church dinners and when we go to MawMaw and PapPaw’s house for dinner. That way, we still have somewhere to put Sawyer for dinner, but we don’t have to load the entire highchair into the van. The booster seat holds up to 60 pounds, so I have a feeling we’ll be using this for quite some time!

The highchair is so easy to use, and the initial assembly is quite easy as well. I was able to put the entire seat together in about 15 minutes.

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The entire seat is also easy to wash – which was GREAT after the picture above was taken! Even with the awful mess Sawyer made, I was able to have everything cleaned up in just minutes, and threw most of it in the washing machine for even easier clean up.

If you are about to have a baby, have recently had a baby, or have a toddler at home and you are in the market for a new highchair, let me recommend the Graco Sous Chef™ Seating System. You will not be disappointed! This is one highchair they won’t grow out of too quickly, and you’ll be using it for years. We love our Graco Sous Chef™ Seating System, and we know you will too! You can find the Sous Chef Seating System on the Graco Website or at Babies R Us.

Learn more about the Graco Sous Chef™ Seating System by visiting the Graco website. You can also find Graco on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.

#IC #Sponsored: @BGCA_Clubs #TriplePlay10 A Game Plan for the Mind, Body, & Soul

sponsoredDisclaimer: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Boys & Girls Club of America. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

TriplePlay_BCBSGA_Lockup

As most of my readers know, I recently made some serious lifestyle changes and lost over 40 pounds. (Actually, I’m at 50 pounds gone now!) Some of those changes included changing my eating habits and moving more. As a mom of 8, it is so important to me that my kids learn early the need to maintain a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and form meaningful friendships.

bgca_tripleplay

That’s why I am SO excited about the Boys and Girls Clubs of America’s Triple Play program. It’s something I want my kids to know about.

Did you know that nearly 3 out of every 10 kids in the US are either overweight or obese? That breaks my heart! It is so important that we teach our kids and teens to be healthy, active, and to know they can achieve great things – now and in the future!

BGCA has garnished support from partners The Coca-Cola Company and BlueCross BlueShield of Georgia Foundation as well as the Amerigroup Foundation for the Triple Play Program. The clubs provided by BGCA are there to help build the next generation of leaders by motivating today’s kids to be healthy. Some ways they do this are through nutrition and health education, better access to healthy foods, how to avoid risky behaviors, and a lifelong commitment to being fit and active.

Download the Triple Play Parent Game Plan

I recently downloaded the Triple Play Parent Game Plan for my crew, and I’m so glad we did! My kids and I had such a fun afternoon focusing on our minds, bodies, and souls!

The first thing we did was focus on our minds. We did this by talking about making better eating choices and then I asked the kids some questions about what we discussed.

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Some of the questions were tough, and the kids really had to think about them. But, they did great for the most part, and I was really proud of them. Since I made my own healthy lifestyle changes, the kids have really picked up on it and understand why we don’t eat the cakes, cookies, doughnuts, chips, and other junk foods we did before.

After we spent some time focusing our minds, we moved on to our bodies. (Get it? We moved on? Ha. I’m so funny!) We got our bodies moving – ALL of us! That’s right, even me! If I’m going to encourage my kids to be healthy and active, I must SHOW them first. This is not a “do as I say, not as I do” type of situation. This is a “let me be your example and show you how to do it” situation.

We started with a rousing game of Frogs in the Pond. Oh my goodness. This was so crazy, it was FUN! Here’s how it works:

First, one person gets to be Kermit. (In our first game, it was Jace.) Everyone else gathers around Kermit, placing one finger on his arms, legs, or back.

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On the leader’s signal, all the players become frogs and start jumping. Kermit jumps around, trying to tag a frog. Once you get tagged, you become a prince or a princess and get the power to tag other frogs with a wand.

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Once everyone has been tagged, you start the game over with a new Kermit.

Man, we had FUN! The kids loved watching Mom jump around like a goofball, and that made them laugh and jump even harder and faster!

After several rounds of Frogs in the Pond, we decided to focus on our souls for a little bit to have fun, strengthen relationships, and increase our confidence.

We did this first by playing a game of “Auto Trip.”

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It starts like this: All the players but one sit in a circle. Each seated player is assigned a part of an automobile: tires, steering wheel, gas tank, door, dashboard, etc.

The player in the center begins to tell a story about a trip driving the car. Each time a specific part of the car is mentioned, the person assigned to that part gets up and follows the storyteller around. Soon, you have a long line of car parts following the storyteller around.

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When the storyteller yells, “BLOWOUT!” each player has to rush to get a seat. The player left without a seat becomes the new storyteller and the old storyteller is assigned that player’s car part.

I loved this game for the fact it made my kids think about the other kids, include them in the story, and they had to work together to make sure there was a new storyteller each time.

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BGCA wants to combat the growing rate of childhood obesity in our nation’s children through the Triple Play program. Every child should participate in moderate to vigorous physical activity that lasts at least 60 minutes every day, yet only about one quarter of kids in the US (between the ages of 12 – 15) are meeting that recommendation. That is a scary statistic, people! We have GOT to do better as parents at keeping our kids active!

The Triple Play Program launched in 2005, and has made close to 10 million connections with kids since then to share the importance of physical activity and proper nutrition through the three components of mind, body, and soul.

Parents, PLEASE read more about the Triple Play program and download the Parent Game Plan. You’ll find all the activities I mentioned in my post and so many more! You won’t regret it, and you might just have as much fun as we did!

I’m looking forward to pulling out the Parent Game Plan again soon and doing some more of the fantastic activities. I hope you’ll do the same.

#Sponsored: #FabFitFun – One Box, Endless Joy!

sampleDisclaimer: This is a sponsored post on behalf of FabFitFun. Opinions expressed are 100% my own.

fabfitfun fall box

Have you heard of FabFitFun?

I hadn’t either – until they sent me their new Fall Box for review.

Oh my goodness. This box full of goodies is absolutely amazing! Now, I’m hooked, and I can’t wait to see what’s in their next box. If it’s half as good as this box, it’ll be one worth having.

Here, take a look at the goodies I found inside my box:

whats inside the fabfitfun fall box

See what I mean? Amazing!

In case you can’t see everything that’s inside my FabFitFun Fall Box, here’s a list:

  • Gold Radiance Luxury Facial Mask with Collagen & Rosa Damascena Flower Oil (Value $65)
  • Strength Tubing & Strength Tubing DVD for Total Toning (Value $33)
  • Tribe Alive Bracelet (So sparkly & pretty!) (Value $49)
  • Manna Liplocked Priming Gloss Stain (Value $24)
  • Doctor D. Schwab Flawless Skin Fluid (Best moisturizer I have *ever* used. Hands down!) (Value $39)
  • HISY Battery Pack (This has saved my sanity more than once, and I just got it!) (Value $24.99)
  • FabFitFun x Tappan Collective Umbrella (Not pictured, because it’s in my van. I’ve used it every day for over a week now.) (Value $32)
  • Gift Card by Jeweler’s Wife (Value $15)
  • Gift Card by Picture It on Canvas (Value $75)
  • Purple Purse Charm
  • Sample of 3D White Brilliance 2-Step System by Crest

Did you catch the value of that box? $357! And you can get it all for just $49.99, and then get 3 more boxes throughout the year for the same price. (Shipping is free!)

If you’ve been on the fence about trying out FabFitFun, let me encourage you to make the leap! It is SO worth it.

I can’t wait to see what’s coming out next time, but don’t you wait either. Jump on board and grab the Fall Box of goodies now!

 

#Sponsored #BBWBabyBash: Graco Pack ‘n Play® Playard Sport™ #Review

sampleDisclaimer: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Graco. Opinions expressed are 100% of my own.

graco Graco Pack 'n Play® Playard Sport™

With kids in sports, church activities, and all the things this crazy family has going on in a given week, this has quickly become one of my favorite products EVER. Honestly. I don’t know how we survived this long without the Graco Pack ‘n Play® Playard Sport™!

There are so many reasons why I love this Pack ‘n Play. Let me list just a few:

  1. The Setup was SUPER easy! I literally pulled it out of the box, took it out of the awesome carrying case it comes with, and set it up. It went from box to complete in less than 2 minutes. (I LOVE that!!)
    graco Graco Pack 'n Play® Playard Sport™
  2. The canopy provides the perfect amount of shade, but I can still see inside the Pack ‘n Play® Playard Sport™ perfectly. Sawyer can see me, I can see him, but he’s protected from the harsh elements of the sun, wind, and/or sprinkling rain.
    graco Graco Pack 'n Play® Playard Sport™
  3. The “doggy door” – as my kids call it – as the absolute BEST feature. We can leave it unzipped, and Sawyer can crawl in and out as he pleases. He loves having the freedom to be in the comfort of the Pack ‘n Play® Playard Sport™ or in my lap. Whoever decided this should be a feature on the Playard is brilliant. It’s fantastic!
    graco Graco Pack 'n Play® Playard Sport™
  4. Sawyer loves it. If your baby loves something, you know it has to be good, right? Kids can be so funny, but when they find something they love, they let you know. Sawyer absolutely loves the Graco Pack ‘n Play® Playard Sport™, and I love that he loves it!
    Graco Pack 'n Play® Playard Sport™
  5. It’s just as fabulous indoors as it is outdoors! When we’re not using the Graco Pack ‘n Play® Playard Sport™ on the go, it’s set up in the middle of my living room. It’s so great on carpeted floors. Sawyer still crawls in and out, goes where he wants to go, and drags his toys into the playard. It’s easy enough to collapse and put away that we do it all the time.

While this is truly the best product ever, there are a few things I want you to be aware of:

  • Do NOT use the playard on hard floors or cement. There is absolutely NO padding on the bottom of the playard at all. None. Stick to grass and plush carpeting for baby’s sake. There have been times when we’ve only had hard, dry ground available, and it worried me to death the entire time Sawyer was in there.
  • I wish there were spikes so I could pin it into the grass when we’re out and about. Not having to worry about the playard blowing off while he’s not in it would be a wonderful thing.

If you are the type who is always on the go, loves to be outdoors, and needs a safe place to put your infant or toddler, I highly recommend the Graco Pack ‘n Play® Playard Sport™. If you need a playpen set up in the middle of your living room (carpeted!), the Playard Sport is a fantastic option. Sawyer just took his first steps inside his playard the other day, and I didn’t have to worry about him hitting his head on anything.

I’m in love with the Graco Pack ‘n Play® Playard Sport™, and I’m confident you will love it too!