Reviews, giveaways and memes - Jumpin Beans

11.12.15

It's More than a Necklace! #Giveaway @WorldVisionUSA #Giftguide

FTC Compliant Review Policy:
The product(s) featured in this review were provided free of cost to me by the manufacturer or representing PR agency for the sole purpose of product testing. Opinions expressed are my own and are NOT influenced by monetary compensation.

I am all about trying to give thoughtful gifts.  It means so much if you really think the person will like it and you are not just giving a gift to give one.  You know what else is pretty awesome?  When the gift is more than the gift to the recipient.  Don't know what I mean?
Well, at World Visions, when you purchase a gift, it is doing more than just being a gift from you to the person that gets the physical gift.   It also provides for families around the world.  Let me try and explain even further:
Balinese Multi-Strand Necklace 
You see this necklace?  It is a beauty!  (Even more so in person!)
If you donate $85 (or more) you will receive this gorgeous necklace that you can keep or give to a loved one.  (It is tax deductible, less the fair market value of $32, so you can write it off.)  More than that,  This necklace was made, by hand. from an artist in BALI.  World Vision then takes the donation part of the money and they use it to help wherever they see the need around the world.  

If you are not familiar with World Vision, you will want to head over to look at their catalog :
The 2015 World Vision Gift Catalog contains more than 250 poverty-fighting gifts, ranging in price from $16 to $39,000, that improve the quality of life for struggling children and families in the U.S. and around the world. This holiday season, encourage your readers to give help where it is most needed and receive beautiful handcrafted jewelry for themselves or their loved ones.

You can sponsor a child, get friends involved to give a major gift or even look through the gift catalog to see what you might want. (They have other items besides jewelry, I just loved this necklace!)  The great thing about the catalog is that you have a gift that is a reminder to you of how you helped someone besides yourself and your family.  Helping others, it really is a great gift!   

Now, one lucky reader gets to win a necklace just like this!
Enter on the rafflecopter form below: 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Books, Books, Books! #GiftGuide

FTC Compliant Review Policy:
The product(s) featured in this review were provided free of cost to me by the manufacturer or representing PR agency for the sole purpose of product testing. Opinions expressed are my own and are NOT influenced by monetary compensation.

I know books are not for everyone, but around here, we love them!   Books are great gifts not only for the story they tell,but also for the education (they are reading you know!)  I remember growing up, my Nana would make me read the newspaper to her.  If I did not know a word, she would make me look it up in the dictionary and learn it.  No, I did not read the WHOLE paper to her, but she would pick an article out and make me read it to her.  I think that was what started my love of reading.  You know, you can find many things out by reading about it.  Another way my love of reading grew? Frequent trips to the library!   She lived near the library, so you better believe we made daily trips there during the summer!!!!  Now, I try and take Broxton to the library from time to time and we are always within an arms reach of several books.  With Christmas almost here, I hope you consider giving a book or two to someone you love!   Here are two that might be great for your list!!!
In Bricksy, Friesen gives new meaning to Banksy’s gritty street art by using clean, modernist bricks. Bricksy goes beyond transforming the medium by expanding the scenes it plays on and adding a humorous twist to each one. Each of the eighty-four photographs is wittily captioned, delightful to look at, and appropriate for a wide range of ages. You’ve never seen Banksy like this before! This is the perfect gift for Banksy and LEGO lovers of all ages!
This book is perfect for any LEGO fan, actually make that any ART FAN, as this is a great coffee table type book.  Are you familiar with the street artist BANKSY?  If so, you will really enjoy this book.  (No lie, I was only familiar with the name BANSKY from watching Criminal Minds, as I am PRETTY SURE they mentioned him before!)   Anyways, each page shows a LEGO rendition of a famous Banksy style artwork.  Most famous one for me? The PULP FICTION one.
Head on over to Amazon (link above) so you can see a few of the photos from inside the book!  This is a hard back book, full of great colored photographs.  Perfect for all ages! 


Even when it’s pouring rain, Malcolm can’t bring himself to stay inside. He puts on his red boots and his red coat, pulls on his goggles, and heads out for an adventure. He splashes around the yard, jumps in puddles, and gets tickled by worms. But when Malcolm’s done playing he runs right through the mud and right through the sand—and right through the house! Mom’s not impressed. How is this silly boy going to fix his mess?

This book has great illustrations, but we just did not really get into the story.  It is about Malcolm (how could you guess?!)  He was outside playing and it started raining... He got dressed and went back out to play, he eventually came back inside, but when he did he made a BIG MESS!!! I thought Broxton would love it, since Malcolm was jumping in puddles, but he has not asked me to read it to him again, so I am guessing he wasn't that into it. (Savannah on the other hand loved the illustrations and was laughing as I read each page to her!)
 
Do you give books as gifts? 

10.12.15

Pretty in Pink with her @robeez #GiftGuide

FTC Compliant Review Policy:
The product(s) featured in this review were provided free of cost to me by the manufacturer or representing PR agency for the sole purpose of product testing. Opinions expressed are my own and are NOT influenced by monetary compensation.
We were so lucky to receive several hand me downs when we found out we were having a girl.  I was so thankful and even now it amazes me how lucky we really are.  (When Broxton was born, we had one friend give us like 15 outfits,so very thankful, but that was all in the hand me down department.) With Savannah, we have been given several dozen outfits, shoes, toys and more. Can you tell we are super thankful for having a niece a little older than Savannah?  Yes, we do have plenty of things for her and this girl has more shoes than I know what to do with... but the fact remains that she had not ONE PAIR OF SHOES to fit her at her age now.  For real, she has about 40 pairs of shoes, but they are all for when she is a bit bigger!   I was so excited when I got the chance to review a pair of shoes from Robeez.  We were sent the PRETTY PANSY PINK shoes in size 0-6 months.  I was so excited because they actually fit her!  

These shoes are leather with a soft sole. Perfect for when she starts trying to stand / walk. The thing I like the best?  THEY HAVE ELASTIC in the ankles!   I remember the main problem with Broxton was that as soon as I got shoes on him, he was working to get them off (has anyone else had that problem with their baby?) The Robeez with the elastic eliminates that issue and we don't have to worry about looking for the missing shoe or putting it back on as soon as we get them on and ready to go.  They have been great for us when we are going out and about and her big brother absolutely loves when she has her shoes on!  He even has to point them out to everyone at his school!  
 
Savannah dressed and ready to go for her brothers award ceremony!  

Robeez has shoes for both girls and boys.  The great thing is that they offer soft soled shoes and hard soled shoes.  Robeez isn't just for little babies, they have shoes for all of our littles!  Are you familiar with the Robeez brand?  We all know babies don't really "need" anything for Christmas, as they are too young to be making their wish list, so why not give them a stylish pair of shoes this year?  Mama and daddy will thank you for it!   

9.12.15

How do you take their temperature? We use our @Exergen thermometer.

FTC Compliant Review Policy:
The product(s) featured in this review were provided free of cost to me by the manufacturer or representing PR agency for the sole purpose of product testing. Opinions expressed are my own and are NOT influenced by monetary compensation.


I hope your house is much better than ours.  Towards the end of October, Broxton started not feeling well.  At first he just said it was his throat. Of course with Halloween, he miraculously felt better... I mean, what child doesn't want to participate in trick-or-treating when it only happens once a year?  He enjoyed that night, but then he started in again about not feeling well.  I knew he was really coming down with something when he wasn't feeling well when he was with his friends and did not even eat pizza. (He can pretty much ALWAYS eat pizza!)  Once we got home that night, we busted out our brand new exergen smartglow thermometer.  He had a fever of 103.9.  Broxton has NEVER had a fever that high, so I knew he was really sick!  Instead of giving you a play by play, I will just tell you that November brought doctor appointment after doctor appointment.  Broxton, then Savannah, more than once for both of them...  then it hit me...  Numerous doctor appointments for me too!  As you can guess, November was not that great for us.  


I will say that although we were all sick off and on for over a month, I am very thankful that we had our new thermometer!  This thermometer is so easy to use! Let me just point out a few things that I really enjoyed:

1 - Since I had two sick children, it was great that I could take their temperature in the dark. This thermometer glows where the reading is, so I did not even have to turn on a light to check them.  

2 - It was so easy to use.  I could take their temperature when they were sleeping and did not have to worry about waking them.  Just swipe it across their forehead.  No need to put it in their ear, or in their mouth or anything like the other ones.  One swipe and you're done! It shines a red light and a beep to let you know you got the reading. (You can turn the beeping sound on or off, whatever works best for you.)  
3 - It keeps the last 8 temperatures readings in the thermometer.  That is perfect when you are watching to see if the fever is going up or down. 
We use our thermometer to get our babies back to feeling well as fast as possible!  

We now have a thermometer in our diaper bag, but also one in our medicine cabinet.  This is great to have on hand.  I think it would be a great thing for every house, not just ones that have children.  If you are looking for a stocking stuffer, this would be great for new parents, grandparents, family and friends!   (Maybe it would be great for the gift basket for the school nurse!)  Do you have a thermometer like this, or are you more old school?

Stocking Stuffer, yay or nay? #giftguide

FTC Compliant Review Policy:
The product(s) featured in this review were provided free of cost to me by the manufacturer or representing PR agency for the sole purpose of product testing. Opinions expressed are my own and are NOT influenced by monetary compensation.



Do you fill stockings for your children?  I know Santa comes and brings things, but do you do stockings and stuff them from family?  The reason I ask is because the last couple years, Broxton's school did a stocking for each child in the class and we all sent in different treats for them to have for Christmas.  That got me thinking... So last year I did stockings for all the boys.  You know what is good for them?  Hygiene items... and new toothbrushes.  They don't live here, so they don't have toothbrushes that they leave here (We tried in the past, but they would argue over who had what color, so we quickly ended that one!)  I figure it is nice to fill their stockings with things they need (and a fun gift card!) and we all know that teenage boys need soap, toothbrush/toothpaste and great smelling cologne!

I love getting fun toothbrushes for Broxton and soon enough, Savannah will be having cool ones too!  If you are looking for a pretty neat toothbrush, head on over to see what they have at Brush Buddies!  It's not just for kids, I found one I like for me too!  


Just in time for the holidays Brush Buddies introduces its new Brite Beatz toothbrush featuring a fun synchronized light and music show all while playing the holiday favorite, “Jingle Bells.”  The holiday classic plays for two minutes to encourage longer brushing and ensure that users achieve the dentist’s recommended two minute brushing time. 


With 30,000 vibrations per minute the Soniclean Pro One removes more plaque than a manual toothbrush. Its Soft DuPoint™ end-rounded nlyon bristles are specially designed to clean the outer layers of your teeth, while the rubberized polishing cups in the middle are made for polishing to give teeth that glistening look.

The Brush Buddies Shopkins  Toothbrush collection features exclusive designs with characters including Kooky Cookie, Apple Blossom and Strawberry Kiss, to name a few. The BPA-free brushes also feature high quality bristles that are long lasting and offer better cleaning.


With the new Brush Buddies WWE Brush Beatz Theme Song Toothbrushes, fans can enjoy brushing their teeth while listening to two different “theme songs” from The Rock, John Cena, Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan.  Both songs will play for two minutes, which is the dentist recommended brushing time. MSRP $14.95. Available at Walgreens.com and in-store.

Do you use fun toothbrushes?  Do you gift toothbrushes, or just give them as needed?  Broxton received the WWE one and he LOVES it.  You should see him in there brushing his teeth with the theme song going on.  Pretty exciting adventures just to be brushing teeth!  

8.12.15

Pizza and SO MUCH MORE @Marcos

FTC Compliant Review Policy:
The product(s) featured in this review were provided free of cost to me by the manufacturer or representing PR agency for the sole purpose of product testing. Opinions expressed are my own and are NOT influenced by monetary compensation.

A little over a month ago, I was driving down the street and noticed that there was a new pizza place getting ready to open.  I stopped by and spoke to the owner.  He seemed to be a nice guy and I LOVED that he was planning to be so involved in our community.  I tell you, it is people like this that makes you proud of where you live!!!   Well, they opened up and seem to be doing great, so we finally got the time to go and check it out.  Come to find out, there are Marco's Pizzas all over the place and seems like everyone I know has been to one and has nothing but great things to say about it.  It was our first (and for sure not last) time there.
Now, I get to share with you about the one that just opened up in Powder Springs, Georgia.  

Marco's Pizza4150 Macland Rd
In the Kroger Shopping Center,across from McEachern Methodist Church

Marco's Pizza has more than just pizza... and since the pizza is SO GOOD, we will be back to try the other food options soon!   Just a head up, they have cheezybread, cinnasquares, meatball bake, salads, chicken wings, and even subs!!!!   ( I asked to try their croutons, since I heard they were made fresh daily.  WOW!!! I want to try the salad now, just so I can get croutons!!!  I will be ordering extra croutons too, they were that good!  )  I will tell you what we tried in a minute, but first I want to tell you about the place.  

The theater window where you can watch them making your meal.  

I know they are still new, but I was VERY IMPRESSED with how clean and organized everything was.  If they are trained from the start that this is how things are going to go, then it will be hard to change it... You know what I mean?  The owner even commented that if you ask an employee what they do, the answer is they clean and then make pizza on the side!  I love it.  The whole time we were there, you could see them constantly wiping things down and cleaning if they were not busy doing something else.  (It might help that they have a theater window, so they are held more accountable than other places.  You can sit there and actually watch them make your pizza!!)
As I mentioned, very impressed with the organization and cleanliness.  Their walk-in cooler was like this all around.  See the dates CLEARLY LABELED ON EACH CONTAINER?  YES!!!   Not to mention all of the food looked really fresh!   
I wish now that I had taken a picture of their massive mixer for you to see, but it was pretty neat to see how it all goes. Their dough is fresh, never frozen and you can totally taste the difference in theirs versus other places when you order their cheezybread!
One noticeable thing with their dough?  They have labels / stickers on each ball of dough. The label tells you when it was made, when it is ready to use and when you need to discard it.  The racks are labeled with small, medium, large and extra large for the dough and they have  system on how to grab it to make sure they are not wasting any and having it go bad.   
The massive oven where the pizza is cooked.  What I liked about this was he was telling me that it has a greener approach than other ovens. When it is not in use it goes into a bit of a sleep cycle, as to not waste energy!  (Don't quote me on the terminology, but you get what I mean!)  
After our tour, we sat and waited for our order to be made.  Just wait until you see what we got to try!!!  It was nice to sit there and just enjoy the area.  We noticed police coming in and found out they give a discount to police officers!  Great to know, since that means they will frequent the area!  Also, as the delivery drivers leave, you hear the entire staff call out " Buckle Up and Drive Safe!" It was a nice thing to hear and definitely something you notice and are proud to hear!  
Broxton enjoyed the theater window.  He sat there as they made our food and was talking about how they did each thing.  You get to see them stretch the dough from the ball it is in to the flat shape.  Then you watch them throw it around to make it just right (I don't know the right words on it, but that was what we were calling it!)  After that, you got to watch them add the toppings to make your pizza perfect for you!  I did notice that they have little sheets hanging up in that area telling you exactly how much of each item goes on each size pizza / sub.  It even has a picture to show you.  That way you know you will be getting the same thing every time!  I enjoyed that, it means consistency!  

What we were able to enjoy: 
White Cheezy
4 types of cheese including Feta, bacon, onions, sliced tomatoes, garlic butter sauce


Pepperoni Magnifico
Cheese, roma seasoning, pepperoni, old world pepperoni and our signature pizza sauce.
We also were treated to an order of their cheezybread.  It was so good!  You can totally taste how fresh the dough is!   
Once he was finished eating, he had to head back over to the window to watch other orders. That worked out perfect for us, as we were still enjoying our food!   

If you are in / near Powder Springs, make sure you stop by and try out Marco's Pizza.  We were so impressed and can not wait to go back!!!   The Pepperoni pizza was amazing.  The "old world pep" that they add on is awesome. Broxton even commented on it being "little cups" made just for him!  The White Cheezy was awesome. I was not sure what Marc would think, since it has no pizza sauce on it... and it comes with bacon as the meat (Remember, he feels the need for meat with every single meal!  Meat-lover is an understatement!)  He was so in love with it, as it really fills you up and you feel full of meat!   Also, we had 2 medium pizza's and had basically a whole pizza left to bring home. Normally we can do some damage on large / extra large ones, so that tells you about the amount of food you get!  Perfect for lunch or dinner... Make it a Marco's Night soon!  

Have you ever eaten a Marco's Pizza?  What are you waiting on???

Fashion + Education + Fun = Winning with @vtechtoys #GiftGuide

FTC Compliant Review Policy:
The product(s) featured in this review were provided free of cost to me by the manufacturer or representing PR agency for the sole purpose of product testing. Opinions expressed are my own and are NOT influenced by monetary compensation.

I am a proud mama.  There is no denying that, no hiding it or anything.  I have  a sweet and smart boy and besides his talking too much (he gets it honest!)  he really is a good kid.  The latest thing to make me even more proud of him?  His love of math and how he actually does really good in it. (That would be from his papa and his uncle!)
He is always asking what this plus this is... or that minus that...  Not wanting to crush his love of numbers, but it gets difficult to do the math he is throwing out when he is going 90 to nothing with what is 64 +7+19+82?  I am okay in math, but this boy can talk FAST and he wants the answer then...  Now, I can tell him to get his watch out to figure the answer out.  

We were sent the Kidizoom Smart Watch DX for review from VTech.
Blue is his favorite color these days, so he was excited to see that was the color we were sent for review.   *** ALERT! ALERT!!  CYBER SALE EXTENDED THROUGH Dec. 13, 2015!!

From their site: The VTech® Kidizoom® Smartwatch DX is an even smarter watch for kids with more fun games and activities! Perfect for young photographers, this durable smartwatch has more memory so kids can take tons of pictures and videos. Kids will love using the new motion sensor to explore three action challenges! The Smartwatch DX also includes eight games kids can play using the touch screen as well as the ability to download more from Learning Lodge®. The watch helps teach kids how to tell time by letting them choose between more than fifty 3D digital and analog displays. In addition to the alarm, timer and stopwatch, two new tools include a calendar feature and a calculator so your child can work out simple addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problems. More than just a watch, it’s the Kidizoom® Smartwatch DX.
Perfect for him to work on his math problems!  He has LOVED having this to use.  

Seriously?  I think after the calculator, his next favorite might be that it has a pedometer on it.  (Here I was thinking he was going to be all about the games, but nope.  He has to run around the house, up the stairs, down the stairs... just to watch that number climb higher and higher! )  This has been a great way to get him moving, even on days when he can't go outside!!!  

The Smart Watch DX also comes with a camera, a video recorder and get this... even a voice recorder that lets you change the way your voice sounds when it plays it back to you.  Say "Hey Broxton" and just listen to the different ways... pretty cool!   He has really enjoyed the camera too.  I had no clue that you could set up like a slide show, but he figured it out when he was playing around with it.  He has even worked on getting different effects to go with the photos!   Let's just say we have plenty of pictures of our elf on the shelf and baby sister on this watch!   Love that they have upped the memory!  
I love seeing him playing on this... Right here he is actually taking a picture of his baby sister!   So sweet!  If you are looking for a few gifts for children in the 4-9 year old range (that is what they recommend) I highly suggest you look at getting one of these Smart Watches for the child on your list.  There are still so many other features we are just now getting familiar with!!!

Have you seen the Kidizoom Smart Watch DX?  We have always been so happy with any purchase from Vtech, I am sure you will be as well!  

7.12.15

Number 30??? #KidzBopKidz #giftguide

FTC Compliant Review Policy:
The product(s) featured in this review were provided free of cost to me by the manufacturer or representing PR agency for the sole purpose of product testing. Opinions expressed are my own and are NOT influenced by monetary compensation.

Have you ever received a gift and the gift giver be so excited that they could not wait??? That is what happened with this review!   We were sent the latest Kidz Bop (number 30) along with number 29 and the Christmas version.  The recipient of these CD's?  My sons school.
Between the school gym teacher using them for P.E.  (talk about a great way to get kids moving... He incorporates push ups / jumping jacks in with the whole Whip-Nae Nae song! ) to the PTA using them for school functions.  This was a great gift for the holidays!!!   He was so excited that I had to snap a picture on my phone, in the car as soon as we opened the mail because he was ready to give them right that minute!     


Kidz Bop should be on all kids wish lists this year!  


I will tell you that I knew more songs this time around than the last cd.  Either way, we end up hearing all the songs so much that we learn them all.  It was pretty funny when my high school aged cousin went with us and got in the car... she was not expecting to hear the songs she hears being sung by kids... and my 6 year old singing and dancing along to it.
Still, I love that they are clean versions and I can rest easily knowing that I don't have to bleep out words or turn the station. This is our soundtrack to and from school each day.  Perfect for any of the younger ones on your Christmas list!  

10 Ways to Save Money During the Holidays

This is a Sponsored Post.  

10 Ways to Save Money During the Holidays
When it comes to the holidays, the final quarter of the year is full of cheer, excitement, family and friends. But for many folks, the holiday season also means a lot of extra expenses that can be hard to prepare or plan for, especially if you have little ones running around. The holidays don’t have to mean the undoing of your budget and a bank account panic!
Our friends over at Got Bugs? put together this awesome list of ways to save money during the holidays ­­ all without having to sacrifice the excitement and fun that comes along with them!
1. Make a budget in advance. 
This seems like a given, but one of the best ways to reign in your excessive spending this holiday season is to make a budget well in advance of your holiday planning­­ and it’s not too late! Figure out exactly how much you want to spend­ and can afford to spend this holiday season. Be sure to include money spent on: 
● Gifts
● Traveling
● Events
● Food
● Etc.
Once you have a budget set, be sure to stick to it!
2. Keep track of what you spend.
Keeping a count of every holiday dollar you shell out this year will not only help you keep an eye on your bank account, but will also help you stick to your budget. You could go old school and keep receipts and tally them up, or you can make it a habit to check your online banking account at least once a week and keep a spreadsheet of everything you spent that week.
3. Rein yourself in.
Do you find yourself a little short on holiday cash, but still spend on your little luxuries? During the holidays, it’s important to keep stock of what is most important to you. Would you rather have that tasty latte or manicure, or would you rather have a little more wiggle room in your holiday budget? When you find yourself spending money on unnecessary, try to rein yourself in and think of the bigger picture.
4. Try Secret Santa.
This method isn’t just for office parties anymore! If you have a large family or group of friends and buying presents for them all stretches your budget a bit too thin, propose the idea of a Secret Santa, or even a White Elephant party! Not only will this save your finances, but you may even start a fun new holiday tradition.
5. Make your traditions more thrifty.
Do your holiday traditions include expensive tickets to plays and ballet shows, or travel great distances by air? A great way to cut spending this holiday spending is to choose less expensive holiday traditions to enjoy. Consider driving around to see holiday lights instead of seeing a show, and consider sticking close to home to cut travel costs (or driving if possible.) Fun and memorable traditions don’t have to break the bank!
6. Host a potluck holiday meal.
Invite friends and family to bring dishes to your holiday meal ­­you can even host a pie contest if you’d like! You’ll find that many folks are happy to share family recipes with people they love. This will help cut costs for having to provide food for a ton of people!
7. Don’t go overboard.
When it comes to the holidays, it can be tempting to get a bit excessive with the spending. It is important to know when enough is enough, so don’t allow yourself to be pressured into spending more money than you are comfortable with.
8. Go cheap chic with decor.
Whether it’s fresh cut Christmas trees, ornate Menorahs or other holiday decor, cut your costs by cutting down on what you buy. Enlist the kids to help decorate DIY projects for your home for a whimsical look that doubles as a great activity! There are many ways to decorate beautifully without sacrificing your bank account. Check out this awesome article by Good Housekeeping on 35 DIY Christmas decor ideas!
Another great idea is to buy holiday decor right after Christmas for the following year ­­that’s usually when it’s on sale!
9. Give DIY gifts.
Are you artsy or crafty? Can you wield scissors? If the answer is yes, consider making simple DIY gifts for loved ones this year instead of shelling out tons of money on store ­bought gifts. Your loved ones will appreciate the heart and work you put into their gifts, and you can save a pretty penny. Good ideas are:
● Cookies in jars
● Homemade candles
● Easy DIY bath products
● Homemade canvas art
10. Keep your holiday guests happy and comfortable.
When it comes to entertaining this holiday season, nothing is more embarrassing than having pest control problems. To save money on pest control, ensure that you work with a pest control company that you trust. Got Bugs? pest control can take care of your pests within your budget so you can spend your dollars on the important things this holiday season!
You see, enjoying the holidays to their fullest doesn’t have to be a strain on your bank account. Enjoy your holidays ­­with more money in your pocket ­­this year and every year.

Books for Gifts? YES or NO? #GiftGuide

FTC Compliant Review Policy:
The product(s) featured in this review were provided free of cost to me by the manufacturer or representing PR agency for the sole purpose of product testing. Opinions expressed are my own and are NOT influenced by monetary compensation.

As Christmas gets closer and closer, I know some are looking for perfect books to add to their gifts.   I normally give Broxton a book or two for gifts, but the last few years, we started doing a countdown to Christmas.  With that, I take old books we already have and mix in new books that are gifts for him.  Once I numbered them 12 - 1.   Normally The Night before Christmas is number 1... then, I let him pick one to open.  (You can number them to be opened a certain way, or just let them pick one each night to open, totally up to you. There is no right or wrong way to do this.  Some people do it each night in December, we have done that before too.   Oh yeah, I have mixed in Christmas books with others and we have also done just Christmas themed... as I said, totally up to you!)
This year, we will be giving Savannah a few books to add to her library, but for the most part, it will just be books for Broxton.
Today, I wanted to share a book for each of them.
Image Credit - Amazon
Mother Goose invites all her nursery rhyme friends to a slumber party in this dreamy, rhyming tale featuring beloved characters. It’s a true “pajama party” for characters and youngsters alike!

I am so in love with Mother Goose's Pajama Party!  You have no idea!!! It has all of the old tales that I grew up with and shared with Broxton. Now, I get to share them with Savannah too!   This is a book that has all the characters together in the story, but also includes their own little rhyming story at the end of the book as well.  PERFECT for any littles on your list!!!

Image Credit - Penguin Random House 
With black-and-white interior illustrations from the author and gross-out humor, RUFFLECLAW is the third standalone book in bestselling author Cornelia Funke’s first chapter book series and is the first to feature illustrations from the author herself!

This is a book that Broxton and I are working on reading together each night.  We are still getting into chapter books, so this is new.  Follow along to see what Ruffleclaw is going to get into now!

Do you give books for gifts?  Do you like to receive books as gifts?  

6.12.15

Open A Box of Cheer from @BloomsyBox #GiftGuide

FTC Compliant Review Policy:
The product(s) featured in this review were provided free of cost to me by the manufacturer or representing PR agency for the sole purpose of product testing. Opinions expressed are my own and are NOT influenced by monetary compensation.

Are you on that loves flowers, or could you care less about them?  
I remember before I was married, I thought it was so sweet when my co-workers husbands / boyfriends would bring them flowers when they came to see them.  When Marc and I married, I was so excited the first time he walked in with flowers for me!!!!    Through the years, I have been surprised with flowers from time to time and even now at 6 years old, Broxton knows a great treat for me would be a special thing of flowers.  No, it doesn't have to be a fancy arrangement, I love the weeds from the yard, because that means he was thinking about me.  (That does not mean I don't love the nice flowers too, I am just saying I love ALL flowers!)  

When I learned of a monthly flower subscription, I will admit I was pretty excited to see what it was all about.  I mean, hello... Like I said, I love flowers!!! The company I am talking about is called BLOOMSYBOX.  You decide if you want the SMALL (34.99/mo) MEDIUM (38.99/mo) or LARGE (48.99 / mo) That is the only decision you have to make!  Then, each month you are surprised with the type of flowers you will receive.  You might get roses once and then daisies another. That is part of the excitement!)  

A little about Bloomsy Box: ... few major differences from the average floral supplier: First, no mixed bouquets with unnecessary extras – BloomsyBox only deals in "single-variety"- hand-tied bunches; second, the flowers are sourced direct from suppliers in South America, Holland, Thailand and California meaning no middle-man mark-up to increase the price.
... couldn’t do this without the help of our farms. With our close farm partnerships, you’ll get blooms that are freshly cut 2-4 days before you get to enjoy them. You know what’s even more awesome? The farms we work with take care of their workers and the environment. That’s kind of a must for us.

I was so excited when the box arrived.  It is a bit longer than this, but I cut off the end because it showed my address.  Love ya, but not that much!  
The flowers are secured with a heavy plastic tie to the packaging so that it doesn't shift.  It also has that bright red ribbon holding the flowers together so that when you remove it from the packaging, it is still together until you put them in your vase.  (You supply your own vase, this is just the flowers.)
Now here is the bad part... I don't have a photo of the arrangement once I put them in the vase.  I placed them in a vase and put them on our kitchen table to enjoy. We all did, even Marc wanted to know who sent me flowers!  Loved that!  Broxton noticed them as soon as he came home from school.   You could not only see their beauty, but you could smell them too!  LOVE!!!  
The bad part was my camera was in our family room (have to have it near with a baby!) and I never got around to taking in to the kitchen.  

I will say that I was very impressed with the flowers.  They were beautiful and there were so many of them!   The lasted for a good while.  (Oh yeah, they also include the little pouch of flower food for you too!)  You can skip months if you want, totally up to you!

This would be a great gift to give someone who has everything.  It would also make a great thing for you to set up a plan and have them delivered on their birthday and other special months!   (If you want fresh flowers WEEKLY for your office, make sure to check out their office box.  They even include a vase for the first order!) 
Feel free to follow them on social media. They are even on Instagram if you enjoy looking at beautiful flowers!

Looking for a Sweet Christmas Gift? @ITSUGAR Probably has it! #GiftGuide

FTC Compliant Review Policy:
The product(s) featured in this review were provided free of cost to me by the manufacturer or representing PR agency for the sole purpose of product testing. Opinions expressed are my own and are NOT influenced by monetary compensation.

Image Credit - It'Sugar

There is no denying that candy is a big part of childhood for many people.  Maybe you did not get to eat it often and it was a special treat to have a piece when you went to grandma's?  Maybe you all shared a box of sweetness when you went to the movie?  As a child, I remember walking to the local store with my Nana and us buying some candy from time to time.  You know, back when you could get a little brown paper bag and have an assortment of treats that were like 5 cents each or something!  (Am I showing my age now?)  Well, if you have classic memories like that, you might want to take a trip down memory lane and head on over to IT'SUGAR to see what all they carry.  

I think that IT'SUGAR has several great gift giving ideas for the holidays!!!!
Think about it, if you know a sweets fan, wouldn't it be great to open up a gift to see a wide variety of candy from your childhood???   I can not lie, I was sent a box of mixed candies and it was so great to laugh and remember how much I enjoyed them as a child.  I was even treated to the candy cigarettes of my childhood.  (Please tell me I am not the only one that used to get them as a kid!)  Some of the candy was new to me, but that did not stop us from trying it out and enjoying a little of this and a little of that!  If you follow me on instagram, you saw a few of them.  One that I did not instagram, but we still enjoy now?  Big League Chew!  Broxton actually enjoyed a mouthful of that yesterday!
Let me share a few of the candy items that grabbed my attention from the site.  (Just in time for Christmas gift ideas!)  

That 60's Mix...
What do you think should be in there?  I will give you a few examples:
Boston Baked Beans, Charleston Chew and Squirrel Nut Zippers.  
Can you think of other candies that might be in this mix?  
For me, it is ALL ABOUT THE 80's.
That 80's mix includes candy such as Cry Baby, Nerds and Sweetarts.  I used to LOVE the cry baby candy!  Wonder how I would do with it now.  

If you aren't thinking about going the route of a decade candy, you can also go for the more gag gift  route and search for do a search for CHRISTMAS CANDY.
NO LIE --  you will be greeted with Reindeer Poop, Yellow Snow Balls and even the Christmas Vacation Moose Mug. (There are so many other options, you need to head over to see!
Broxton had in his mind that he wanted to get the "WORLDS LARGEST GUMMY BEAR" since he saw someone working on one on You Tube once.  Well how about IT'SUGAR sells a wide variety of them!   They sell the mini ones that we are all used to seeing, but they also sell bears that are 1, 2, 5 or even 27 pounds!!!!  You read that right, you can get a 5 pound gummy bear from here.
I can sit here and tell you about everything I saw on their site that I want, but that is not fair to you.  Head on over to see what all they have!  From chocolate to candy cigarettes, they seriously have it all.  You can search by size, type, price and more!   
 
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