Moms Don’t Get Sick Days {$25 Visa Gift Card Giveaway}

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This post has been sponsored by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare.

Being sick is the worst because, as moms, we don’t get “sick days”. We can’t just say to our children, “sorry, you are on your own today”. Instead, we have to get through the day the best we can and consider ourselves lucky if we find a few minutes of rest while our children are at school, napping or otherwise occupied.

I wanted to share a few ways that I get through my sick days which often include a full schedule of school drop-off and pickup, at least one sports practice/game or extracurricular activity for the kids, and a day of working online. Not to mention the things that must get done including helping the kids get ready for school, feeding them dinner, etc.

The first thing I do on sick days is decide what my absolute “must do” things are and what things I can skip for the day. The laundry can sit in the hamper another day and I normally will push off any nonessential work on the blog as well. I also try and figure out what things I can do to make my required tasks easier. For example, feeding my children dinner falls under the “must do” category but I can make it easier on myself by calling it a “breakfast for dinner” night or getting takeout so I don’t have to cook something.

Next you’ll want to come up with a few ideas to keep your kids busy throughout the day. When I was a preschool teacher I always had a box full of things that only came out on rainy days or days we were stuck inside. This box saved my sanity on those days. Even though the children had seen the toys and activities previously, being put away for a while before being brought back out made the items in the box seem new and exciting and kept their attention for longer than toys that they had been playing with recently. Other ideas include having a special movie marathon day with your kids or enacting a “quiet time” where children don’t have to nap but they have to rest in their beds and read/look at books for a certain period of time.

Once you have your day figured out and your kids are occupied it’s time to gather your essentials and relax. I always make sure to have extra blankets on hand because I always seem to get cold when I’m sick. I also make sure to have everything in reach I’ll need like tissues, something to drink, and a snack to eat.

You’ll also want to take some medicine to help you feel better. If you are feeling congested talk to your doctor about trying Advil® Cold & Sinus, the #1 pharmacist recommended brand for Cough, Cold and Flu Combinations for Daytime. This over-the-counter medicine combines the relief of a strong decongestant to open your airways with the power of Advil® to relieve the pain commonly associated with sinus pressure. As moms we may not get to take a sick day but we can at least do something to make ourselves feel better while we are sick!

How do you get through a sick day? I’d love for you to share your tips in the comments!

ENTER TO WIN A $25 VISA GIFT CARD

Leave a comment on this post telling me how you get through a sick day for a chance to win a $25 Visa gift card.

Share this post on social media and leave a comment with the link to your social share for an additional entry.

Giveaway ends February 7, 2017 at 11:59pm CST. Must be a US resident 21 or older, with a physical address (no P.O. boxes) to enter. Winner will be notified via email and will have 24 hours to respond to claim the prize.

 

 

Fun Giveaway For Parents Of Little Football Fans

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but all thoughts are my own.

Football season is almost over so I’m trying to squeeze in as much football love on this blog as I can. Today I have an amazing giveaway for parents or grandparents who want to share their passion for football with the special child in their life.

Little fans will enjoy being pushed around in this Game Day Helmet Ride-In Car from Simplay3, a new company by the founder of both Little Tikes and Step2. This push around buggy is ideal for children ages 9 months to 3 years. It’s made of thick, durable plastic and features a sturdy, removable handle that provides smooth maneuvering and allows for easy storage and transport.

What I like most about this ride-in car is that it can be customized to show your team spirit. Helmets can be ordered in your favorite team colors (black, gray, white, red/orange, blue) and feature a football decal. They can also be customized with team decals from your favorite high school, NCAA college or NFL professional team. Even though my favorite team didn’t make the playoffs, I’m still a huge Chicago Bears fan so my favorite custom combo is the blue helmet with the Bears logo.

Parents and grandparents will feel safe knowing this has a seat belt for their child and kids will have fun pretending to steer their little vehicle with the built in football shaped toy steering wheel. There is even a cup holder to store your child’s drink or snack so they can have it within arms length.

Want to win one of these fun helmets for the little one in your life? Just leave a comment with what helmet color and team customization you’d choose! For an extra entry you can share this giveaway on social media and leave a 2nd comment with your link to the share.

Giveaway ends on Super Bowl Sunday – February 5, 2017- at 11:59pm CST.

Rules: Entries will be counted from January 23, 2017 to Super Bowl Sunday, February 5, 2017 at 11:59pm CST. The prize is one Game Day Push About Helmet from Simplay3, valued at $79.99 USD. Prize can’t be exchanged for cash value. Entry open to residents of the contiguous United States who are 18 years of age or older as of the start of this giveaway. Winner will be chosen using random.com and will be emailed. Winner will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. Prize will be sent to the winner directly from the sponsor of this giveaway. Making Time For Mommy, and the author of this post, are not responsible for any lost or delayed prizes. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.

 

 

Afterschoolz Makes Finding Kid’s Activities Easy {$100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway}

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but all thoughts are my own.

It’s no secret that I believe in the importance of extracurricular activities for kids and that my boys are very involved in activities they enjoy. One of the main reasons I started putting them in activities was so they could work on their social skills and I’ve shared before how much growth I’ve seen in them over the past few years. I have no doubt that putting them in activities and sports has been one of the main things that has positively impacted them in that area.

Lucas in particular, who is on the Autism Spectrum and has had language delays, struggled in his younger years with forming friendships. Not only was he unable to communicate, but the majority of the time he was in his own world. I can remember when Luke was on a soccer team for the first time and, as the season went on, I saw him start to try to talk with other kids. All those hours spent practicing and on the sidelines helped him start to bond with other children. From social skills to teamwork to responsibility, after school activities have proven to be beneficial for us.

I’ve been asked before how I find out about activities my kids participate in and, in the past, I’ve shared that I scour the internet for activities. From our school’s website to the community recreation site to local Churches, I hunt down activities I think my children will enjoy. I find a lot of great things but I’ve discovered that it’s so time consuming to do this search every couple of months. Wouldn’t it be great if there was just one site that parents needed to go to in order to discover after school activities for kids?

Thankfully there is a resource like that being developed for all of us in Illinois (don’t worry if you live in another state- they will be expanding to other cities in the future)! The Afterschoolz website already has such a great variety of activities listed and more are being added as new activity providers sign up. Parents can find everything from the typical soccer and art lessons to activities that are a bit more out of the box, like anime club and a class on how to make a candy bouquet. Check out what fun activities are listed in your town here.

Afterschoolz allows parents to not only discover after school activities available in our state, but to view ratings for the activities as well. Considering a certain summer camp but not sure if it’s a good option? Check out how it’s rated on Afterschoolz to see what other parents thought of the camp! Wondering if a specific dance class has good reviews? Check out what other parents have to say on the Afterschoolz website. Find an activity you want to enroll your child in? Some listings let you book lessons or classes right on the Afterschoolz website!

This site is really such a fantastic tool for parents looking to get their children involved in an afterschool activity. Afterschoolz is currently growing and looking to improve their service. To do so, they are asking for feedback from parents who have checked out their website and can offer feedback on what they thought about the site, if they found it easy to use, what they’d like to see added or changed, or really any other feedback parents have about the site. I love when businesses care enough to ask their users for suggestions!

As an incentive to offer feedback, Afterschoolz is offering one Making Time For Mommy reader a $100 Amazon gift card! To enter to win the gift card all you have to do is fill out the form with your thoughts on their website/service and then enter the giveaway via the Rafflecopter form at the end of this post. Comments on the form should be a minimum of three sentences and they want your honest opinion, regardless of what that is.

First, fill this form out with your feedback on the Afterschoolz website.

(Please note that there are two questions on this form so make sure to scroll down. After you answer both questions then submit the form by clicking the blue submit button.)

After you’ve filled out the form, enter the giveaway here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for reading and entering the giveaway! I’d love to hear about what sports and activities your children enjoy in the comments below!

Learn To Take Beautiful Photos With The Shoot 2017 Year Long Project

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but all thoughts are my own.

I’ve really been working hard to improve my photos this past year and I think I’ve come a long way when it comes to photographing stationary objects for my blog posts. Taking pictures of the most important things (aka- my kids) has been a harder task to master. I feel like one of them is always moving or the photos look so forced with their pasted on smiles. I want to take more ‘real’ photos that capture genuine emotions and the smiles that come to their faces naturally.

I’m so excited to share about a photography project I’ll be joining over the next year called Shoot Along 2017 which was created by award-winning photographers, Amy Tripple and Heidi Peters. Designed specifically for parents, it encourages parents to remember to pull out their cameras more often to document the every day moments of life. Weekly photography lessons are sent via email to give structure and accountability to busy parents of ALL photography levels and help parents improve their photography skills.

Shoot Along 2017 membership includes:

  • Photography Instruction: Week-by-week photography lessons delivered by email. Learn new concepts, build on your existing skills, or embrace topics as inspiration to remain technically and creatively open-minded!
  • Inspiring interviews: Respected professional photographers from around the world give a glimpse into their personal images, sharing pictures of their own families. They will describe how they get shots that are meaningful and authentic.
  • Discounts & trends: The Shoot Along leaders keep an eye on what’s happening in the photography community so that you can concentrate on photographing your family. They’ve also arranged exclusive discounts for members throughout the year from suppliers of beautiful photo products.
  • A Supportive Online Community: The Shoot Along Facebook Group is a supportive online community where members connect & share photography throughout the year.
  • BONUS Editing Tutorials*: Step-by-step videos delivered by email each week will show you how to add magic to your images. *Editing uses Photoshop Elements 14, which must be purchased separately

The year long course covers all of these things:

Looking through the images from Shoot Along 2016, I’m inspired by all the parents that have been participating. I see unique angles, unusual crops and tiny details captured in ways I would have never thought of.

This is an example they showed on their site of how much techniques and creativity can dramatically improve your photos. Can you believe that these pictures below were taken just seconds apart with the same camera and same lens?

Here’s what past participants had to say:

  • “Shoot Along had been a tremendous resource for me. I was new when I joined… my boys see to it that I don’t have all that much time to participate, but I’ve taken away so much in the small amount that I have been able to be involved. I’ll definitely be joining again next year!
  • “[Shoot Along] has been an amazing resource for me as a photographer. It has been a great frequent reminder to get out and shootpictures of my own kids, which (as someone who does family photography part-time) I sometimes forget to do!”
  • “The lessons have been a great way to expand my creativity and try new things in my photography style. It’s been fun to see my work progress from what I thought was “pretty good” into something that continues to get better and better. I now have a collection of beautiful photos of my family that I’ll cherish forever!”
  • “The project has allowed me to capture experiences of my family that tells a story of who we are. From looking at lighting differently to seeing my everyday surroundings – these projects have really helped to open up what was definitely a narrow mindset.”
  • “I feel like I have such a better understanding of what goes into making a great image, from the basics of focus and composition to more artistic elements such as framing and color and texture. I will definitely be back!”

Want to join Shoot Along 2017? Now is the time to sign up because it starts January 1st! Typically this year long photo project costs $159, but it is on-sale for $129 through January 1st. Sign up here.

I also get to host a giveaway for Shoot Along 2017 so one lucky Making Time For Mommy reader can participate for free! See the giveaway below. Since this giveaway ends after the lessons start, I’d suggest signing up now so you don’t miss any lessons and then if you win you will be refunded for what you paid.

 

The LuLaRoe Obsession {Giveaway!}

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Disclosure: I received a couple LuLaRoe pieces in return for posting.

I live in comfy pants so when I heard about LuLaRoe I was intrigued. Leggings that are comfortable but also stylish and fun? That is this girl’s dream! They get bonus points for being versatile because you can pair them with everything from tshirts to dress tops and flip flops to heels.

Though most well-known for their leggings, that are said to feel like “butter”, I quickly came to realize that LuLaRoe not only sold leggings but tops, dresses, cardigans and skirts as well. The great thing is that their designs are flattering on a variety of different body types.

The prints are what I think makes this company so exciting. New prints come out on a regular basis that if you were collecting them (and I know some people that do) you’d be able to wear a different patterned item every day for months and not repeat a print. There are literally that many to choose from! Up until recently I had stuck with black leggings because as much as I loved patterned leggings on everyone else, I wasn’t a fan of them on myself. I had to take a hard look at why and realized it was all a body image thing. I started to be bolder- getting navy and then gray and just this past week buying my first pair of patterned leggings. Aren’t they the cutest!?

Oh, and they also have kid’s clothes as well. They make leggings, dresses, skirts and tops (for girls and boys!) If I had a little girl I’d be broke. Check out the cuteness below!

LuLaRoe works a little differently than most companies when it comes to purchasing items. There are no LuLaRoe brick and mortar or online stores you can just shop at and purchase what you want, when you want. This is because all the items are sold by independent consultants and there are only a limited number of each print made. Most consultants have Facebook groups you can join and then items are usually listed individually, or all at once, and the first person to say “sold” gets the item. LuLaRoe’s fun prints are limited to 800-2,500 pieces so once they are out of a print, they are out. Solid colored items will usually be available again in the future but most print items will not be available once sold out (from what I understand). Consultants also hold ”pop up” in-home parties and online parties where the hosts get free items and/or discounts depending on how many purchases are made at their party.

Want to get started with your LuLaRoe obsession or just want to join another group to have access to more fun prints?! Join Nancy Elizabeth’s Facebook group! She’s a new consultant in the Chicago area and has already had a ton of fun items up for sale in her group. She also shares a lot of pictures for inspiration so you can see how she, and others, style their LuLaRoe.

She’s also giving one of you a $25 gift certificate to spend on LuLaRoe items in her group! You can get a pair of leggings or use it towards the purchase of another item. So excited to share the LuLaRoe love with you all!

GIVEAWAY!

Entering to win is easy. Just leave a comment below telling me why you want to win.

(To leave a comment enter your comment and info below and click the pink “post comment” text)

For two additional entries you can do the following:

1) Join her Facebook group and leave a comment with the name of your FB account you joined with

(If you are already a member you can still leave a comment for the extra entry. Just let us know the name on your account.)

2) Share on Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, etc) and share the link to your share in a comment below.

This giveaway ends July 1, 2016 at 11:59pm CST and is open to US residents ages 18 and older. Good luck!

Flipp Is Celebrating Moms All Month Long {Gift Card Giveaway}

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Thanks to Flipp for sponsoring this post and giveaway.

Last Sunday may have been Mother’s Day but Flipp is celebrating moms all month long! Flipp is a free location-based app that brings the most circulars right to your mobile device, delivering all the latest sales from your favorite stores right to your pocket. With Flipp’s in-app shopping list and coupon matching, shoppers can quickly and easily find the best deals on whatever they need, and receive instant savings at checkout!

To give back to moms, who give so much of themselves, Flipp created a special #FlippforMom campaign. Throughout the month of May on its Facebook and Twitter accounts, Flipp will host a different giveaway every week! Visit facebook.com/getflipp to learn more and enter to win!

In addition to the giveaways going on over on Flipp’s social channels, I am hosting a fun giveaway here at Making Time For Mommy. One lucky person will win a $100 SpaFinder gift card to help make someone’s day a little more special and a lot more fun.

To enter the giveaway simply leave a comment sharing why you want to win. For an extra entry, share this post on social media and leave your link to the share in the comments below. This giveaway will end June 1, 2016 at 11:59pm CST. Must be 18 or older and a US resident to win. Good luck!

Baby Shower Memories {Giveaway}

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This post and giveaway were made possible by iConnect and Dreft. I was compensated for my participation in this campaign, but all opinions are 100% mine. Some parts of my pregnancies I’d like to forget- like the morning sickness, food aversions and puffy feet. Other things though, I remember fondly, like my baby shower that was thrown for me while I was pregnant with Jacob. I had a great group of people joining me to celebrate including family members, my work friends and even some of my college friends who came in from out of state. There were delicious foods and cute decorations and everyone gave me such thoughtful gifts. One of my favorite things that I received was a picture frame with everyone’s well wishes on it. I love personalized gifts like that. Other gifts I loved were adorable outfits for my baby and those necessities that every new mom needs like a highchair, a bouncer, toys and packs of diapers. Another item that new moms might not think to buy themselves is special laundry detergent made especially for their new baby’s delicate skin. When my boys were infants we used Dreftbecause it is gentle and hypoallergenic on baby’s sensitive skin, tough on stains and has a baby fresh scent. It is also the #1 baby laundry detergent choice of pediatricians and the #1 dermatologist recommended brand for baby clothes.

As babies grow and develop, laundry needs change for both little ones and their families, which is why Dreft introduced a new line of laundry products that are specially designed for different stages of babyhood. The line includes three products: Dreft Stage 1: Newborn; Dreft Stage 2: Active Baby and Dreft Blissfuls.

Now with Dreft’s line of laundry care products, families can focus less on the mess and more on the amazing moments they share together. I love the new Dreft Blissfuls in-wash scent booster because it lets me bring back that amazing baby scent (and all those memories) whenever I want.

I might not have a little baby anymore but one of my favorite celeb couples will soon and I can’t wait to follow their journey. Sean and Catherine Lowe from “The Bachelor” are expecting a child and Dreft has partnered with them to share their beautiful, messy moments of parenthood. For the first year they will be giving fans a glimpse into their lives as they journey into #amazinghood. Dreft threw them a “Loads of Love” baby shower last week where the couple was showered with all the love, support and essentials needed to prepare them for the arrival of their precious new baby.

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win a Dreft “Baby Shower” Package (ARV $75) which will include:

Dreft product (Newborn, Active Baby, & Blissfuls)
Little Me Welcome to the World Bib and Burp Set
 Little Me Giraffe Gown
Gender Neutral Lovey

HOW TO ENTER:

Leave a comment sharing your favorite pregnancy or baby related memory.

For an extra entry you can share on a social channel and leave the link in a comment below.

Giveaway ends May 15, 2016 at 11:59pm CST. Must be 21 or older to enter and have a US mailing address (NO PO BOXES).

The KIDZ BOP Concert Is Coming To Chicago {Giveaway}

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Thanks to Live Nation Chicago for sponsoring this post and giveaway for my readers.

The boys are both huge fans of KIDZ BOP and are really excited that their ‘The Life Of The Party Tour’ concert is coming to the Chicago area this Summer. They have never been to a concert other than when they were younger and went to one for a preschool show. Now that my oldest is almost a tween (seriously, how did that happen!?) I think they are going to be wanting to go to concerts more often and I think this one would be the perfect one to start with because it’s aimed towards their demographic and I know they won’t be hearing any bad words.

KIDZ BOP, the number one music brand for kids, is bringing The Life Of The Party Tour to FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island on August 7, 2016. The KIDZ BOP Kids – Ashlynn Chong, Sela Hack, Matt Martinez and Grant Knoche – are headlining the tour. The ALL-NEW live show features the biggest pop songs of the year, awesome choreography, and more fun surprises from The KIDZ BOP Kids. The Life Of The Party Tour is the ultimate pop star experience, and the perfect concert event for the entire family!

If your child loves Kidz Bop you are in luck because I’m giving away 20 tickets to the Chicago concert! FIVE winners will each win FOUR tickets. I thought four packs were a good idea because then you can go as a family or you can take your child and a couple of their friends. Enter below. Good luck!

(Please note: You do NOT have to do all of the entry options below to be elgible to win. You just need to do at least ONE of them. The more options you do, the better your chances of winning.) 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Step Into Spring {See Kai Run Shoes Giveaway}

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I’m so excited to finally see high temperatures in the 70s coming up this weekend! I can finally put away the winter coats and boots (hopefully I didn’t just jinx myself!) and get the boy’s sandals and summer shoes out. We received some fun new styles courtesy of See Kai Run that I can’t wait for the boys to show off.

See Kai Run offers footwear for Babies, Toddlers and Big Kids. Their Babies line features Smaller Crib shoes, which are true crib booties for ages 0-18 months, and Smaller Steps, which feature a durable rubber sole designed for those taking their very first steps, sizes 3-6. Their Toddler shoes (See Kai Run) are for sizes 4-9, and come in leathers, sneakers and their washable Runners. Their Big Kids, (Kai) shoes come in whole and half sizes 8-3y and also come in leathers, sneakers and washable Runners.

The quality of these shoes is amazing. Their shoes are made with buttery-soft leather with breathable leather lining and feature flexible soles which are perfect for children’s growing feet. Most of the shoes are made with a durable rubber sole for outdoor play and their Runners feature water friendly materials and are made for aqua play. I love that most of the sandals have a closed toe which is perfect for camp and school since they don’t allow open toed shoes. The footbed of the shoe is molded to fit their feet well and wide openings and wide toe boxes accommodate even the chubbiest little feet. Hook and loop closures allows for adjustable fit and easy on and off.

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win a gift certificate for a pair of shoes (winner’s choice) from See Kai Run

HOW TO ENTER:

Leave a comment telling me which pair is your favorite

For an extra entry, share this giveaway on social media and leave a comment with the link

Giveaway ends May 14, 2016 at 11:59pm CST. Must be 21 or older and a US resident to enter.

Giveaway: Customizable Radio Flyer Wagon

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Happy National Little Red Wagon Day! I’ve been a fan of Radio Flyer’s little red wagon for years and am excited to be working with them on this sponsored post to celebrate this special day.

For over 99 years, Radio Flyer has been helping make happy memories. Whether it carried loved ones on a trip to the zoo, goodies for a picnic at the park, or sport equipment for a day of little league games, the little red wagon held it all. For many kids it became much more than something used to transport people or things, it became a pirate ship, an ice cream truck and anything else children could dream of using their imaginations. Take a look at the video below and you’ll see what I mean.

I recently learned about Radio Flyer’s Build-A-Wagon platform that lets people customize and personalize wagons. There are over 150 combinations you could create, with everything from umbrellas to an mp3 player to padded seats. The hardest decision for me is deciding which wagon I want, the classic wooden one or the modern one with seats. Here are two I customized. Which one is your favorite?

Want to win a Radio Flyer wagon of your own to celebrate #LittleRedWagonDay? Enter my giveaway below! One winner will get to customize their own wagon on the Build-A-Wagon platform. Good luck :)

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tastefully Simple Easter Celebration Menu Collection {Giveaway}

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(Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but all thoughts are my own.)

When I was younger, I would accompany my mom to a lot of in-home sales parties. My favorite one was the Tastefully Simple party because I enjoyed sampling everything. I loved their Bountiful Beer Bread Mix and also the sweet, fluffy fruit dip that her friends always made.

I haven’t had Tastefully Simple products for years but today we made some of the items from their new Easter Celebration menu collection and the memories all came back as the bread baked in the oven. It smelled so good and tasted just like I’d remembered.

Tastefully Simple is helping make Easter easy by selling a kit full of products made to help you create a memorable Easter dinner. They also provide recipes and the shopping list.

Here are my favorite ideas for the meal that can be made with products from the collection:

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Want to win a collection of your own? Valued at over $80, this kit includes:

  • Key Lime Cheese Ball Mix
  • Truffle Fudge Brownie Mix
  • Perfectly Potato Cheddar Soup Mix
  • Absolutely Almond Pound Cake Mix
  • Rhubarb Strawberry Fruit Spread
  • Pomegranate Chipotle Sauce
  • Italian Garlic Seasoning
  • Artichoke & Spinach Warm Dip Mix
  • Samba Sangria Slush Mix
  • Cinnamon Muffin Melt Mix
  • Bountiful Beer Bread Mix

To enter this giveaway please share this post on social media and leave a comment below with why you want to win and a link to your social share. This giveaway ends Sunday, March 20, 2016 at 11:59pm CST.

 

Red Robin’s Burgers For Better Schools Program {Giveaway}

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(Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. The Red Robin information and gift cards have been provided by Red Robin but all thoughts are my own.)

As a member of the PTA at my boy’s school, I know that raising funds for schools is a lot of work. It seems that our school is constantly doing fundraiser after fundraiser and it takes a lot of work to make them successful. Thankfully there are companies that help schools raise funds without parents having to put in hours of hard work.

Red Robin is one of those companies. With their Burgers for Better Schools program, Red Robin Royalty members (those who are part of the free loyalty program) have an opportunity to support local K-12 schools simply by dining at participating Red Robin restaurants and using their Red Robin Royalty member account. When a Red Robin Royalty member’s account is presented at the time of purchase, Red Robin will donate one percent of the total bill to their school of choice (excluding taxes, gratuities and gift card sales).

This means, instead of buying some overpriced wrapping paper, I can raise money for our elementary school simply by going out and enjoying a wonderful lunch or dinner with my family! It’s so easy to sign up for, too. Just sign up for their loyalty program and go to the Burgers For Better Schools dashboard where you can choose which school you want to support. Then, when you go to dine out, just give your Red Robin Royalty member number and a portion of proceeds will be donated to the school you have chosen.

Members who have opted into Burgers for Better Schools can follow their progress in supporting a K-12 school of their choice on their Red Robin Royalty account dashboard. Details include individual contributions, how many others are supporting that school, and total donations raised by all supporters.

Want to support your school while enjoying a meal out? Enter my giveaway below! Make sure to sign up and make sure to select your child’s school on the site before you visit Red Robin!

GIVEAWAY:

Enter to win a $75 Red Robin Gift Card!

HOW TO ENTER:

1) Leave a comment below telling me why you want to win

2) Share this giveaway on social media

Giveaway ends October 10, 2015 at 11:59pm CST. Must be a US resident to win. No PO boxes.

 

Sandwiches Are Cool Again (Gift Card Giveaway)

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(Disclosure: Nature’s Harvest® provided me with a gift card and coupons for ingredients so that I could share my thoughts and information about Nature’s Harvest® bread.)

Back to school presents certain challenges. For me, one of the biggest challenges is making the kids school lunches in ways they are always eaten and never boring. Kids get bored with food easily and staying creative can get tough. Luckily I have 2 boys so the easiest creation is a timeless one, the sandwich. Even in today’s times, the sandwich is still king of homemade lunches.

The key ingredient to a great sandwich is not what is in the sandwich, but the bread. My kids love bread so for their sandwiches I have to choose the bread very carefully. As my boys are growing it is important to choose better quality breads and we have discovered a great brand called Nature’s Harvest®Bread . Nature’s Harvest® Bread is Nature’s Gift to your family. Your family gets the wholesome goodness you can feel great about serving them – like oatmeal, stone-ground wheat, honey, grains and seeds- without the high fructose corn syrup you don’t want to give them.

Nature’s Harvest®Bread wants to say “goodbye” to boring school lunches and “hello” to a new and exciting way to lunch!  Nature’s Harvest® Bread is holding its “Nature’s Harvest® Sandwich Art Photo Contest” to encourage moms to have a little whole grain fun with their kids’ lunchboxes.  From now through September 6th, parents can visit the Nature’s Harvest Facebook Page to submit a photo of their sandwich art creations, using Nature’s Harvest® bread, for the chance to win fun prizes!  One grand prize winner will receive a “kitchen crash” from Celebrity Chef Kelsey Nixon, where she’ll cook sandwich-centric meals and provide tips to the winner’s family

My kids tend to like simple sandwiches so I chose a few of their favorite ingredients to make something easy yet flavorful. Both boys like chicken so I chose to go with that for the meat (though turkey probably would have worked as well). Instead of mayo or mustard and cheese I decided to use an herbed cheese spread to give it that creamy taste we all love. The spread is also very kid-friendly so the boys can help make the sandwiches. For a little crunch I added red peppers since Jacob loves them and I thought it would add a little color to the sandwich.

Once the sandwich was made the boys chose their sides and grabbed a juice box and just like that lunch was ready! Nature’s Harvest®Bread has kid approved taste and texture and I love that it’s so good and healthy for them. What do you pack in your kid’s lunch?

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win a $25 Visa gift card and one (1) coupon, valid for $5.00 off Nature’s Harvest® bread

HOW TO ENTER:

Leave a comment telling me your favorite sandwich filling

For an extra entry, share this posts on a social channel and leave a second comment

Giveaway ends September 20, 2015 at 11:59pm CST. Must be 21 or older and a US resident to enter.

Overhead Garage Storage Giveaway For Chicago Area {$329 Value!}

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

Do you have an insane amount of holiday decor in your garage? Or maybe you have shelves full of camping gear? If your garage is anything like mine, you have way too much you are trying to store alongside all the kid’s bikes and you can’t even fit both cars inside your garage.

I am so excited to be working on the #MoreSpaceInNoTime campaign and hosting one of six amazing giveaways around the country. If you live in Chicago I’m giving you a chance to win a 4′ x 8′ overhead storage unit valued at $329! This professionally installed product takes less than an hour to install and provides 96 cubic feet of storage. This storage unit is an efficient way to restore your garage space – and perhaps your sanity!

To learn more about the storage units please visit Doors by Russ, the Chicago authorized dealer, here.

**GIVEAWAY FOR CHICAGO AREA ONLY**

For a chance to win a storage unit of your own….

Leave a comment below telling me what storage issue this will solve for you!

Earn an extra entry for sharing this giveaway on social media using the hashtag #MoreSpaceInNoTime

Giveaway ends July 20, 2015 at 11:59pm CST.

WINNER MUST LIVE IN THE CHICAGO AREA.

 

Fun Reading Activities For Summer {Giveaway}

2015 MCBC Compilation

Thank you to Reading Is Fundamental for sponsoring this post!

We’ve been working hard on the reading skills this summer. Every day, after playing at day camp, I have the boys pick out a few books and sit and read (if they need incentives check out this list of summer reading programs). Jacob reads out loud to himself and Lucas, who isn’t yet reading words, looks at the pictures and tells the story he thinks the words are saying. This quiet time looking at books is so important in making sure that they don’t lose reading skills while school is out for the summer.

Reading Is Fundamental has a whole website with ideas to keep kids reading. Here are 6 activities to get kids working on their reading skills over the summer:

  • Have a “book-nic.” Grab a blanket, snacks and books to celebrate a beautiful summer day.
  • Use sidewalk chalk to make a mural with your family. Don’t forget to title your masterpiece.
  • Play easy work or rhyming games with your child.
  • Visit the library and check out books for the entire week – pick one about birds or insects and go on an adventure walk to see if any live in your neighborhood.
  • Reading is contagious – let your kids see you reading books, magazines and even cereal boxes!
  • Play the alphabet game by finding letters starting from A to Z while in the car or on a walk.

Summer is an important time when students can either get ahead or fall behind academically, depending in large part on their resources and opportunities. All students have the potential to lose some of the learning from the previous school year – this is especially true however, for students from economically disadvantaged communities who don’t have access to books and enrichment experiences. Students who lose reading ability over the summer rarely catch up – existing research shows that 75% of students who read poorly in 3rd grade, a benchmark year for literacy skill building, remain poor readers in high school.

The key to helping children maintain or improve their literacy skills over the summer is providing access to quality books they can choose based on personal interests. When children have lots of interesting books readily available to them, they are motivated, empowered and inspired to read. Reading Is Fundamental is really such a great cause.

RIF has many supporters and through July 12th, Macy’s is raising money for this non-profit. Give $3 at any Macy’s register in-store to help provide a book for a child in need. As a thank you, Macy’s customers get $10 off a purchase of $30 or more, PLUS 20% to 15% storewide. 100% of the proceeds go directly to RIF to provide books and learning resources to children who need them most. Customers not only give children the opportunity to build their literacy skills, but also the opportunity to experience the magic and power of books.

I hope you will join me in supporting Reading Is Fundamental. They are offering some great prizes for giveaway with a total of FIVE winners! 4 people will each win a $25 Macy’s gift card and one person will win a $25 Macy’s gift card and a mini-book collection.

To enter, leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite book (for kids or adults) and then share this post on the social media channel of your choice. Giveaway ends 7/15 at 11:59pm CST. Must be a US resident and 21 or older to enter. Good luck! :)

 

 

Powering Up For The New Marvel Avengers Movie (Giveaway)

marvel avengers movie night

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Meijer.

When you are a parent there are countless movies you end up watching with your kids. One movie that both my kids and I absolutely love and watch over and over is MARVELS AVENGERS. Full of action and adventure and funny lines, it is a memorable family movie. The best part for the kids is all the superheroes are in it together.

As the new AVENGERS:AGE OF ULTRON movie comes to theaters May 1st we decided to have a family movie night and watch the first one again. To make the night more fun we headed to our local Meijer for snacks needed for our Avengers themed party.

My older son Jake was quick to find the Avengers fruit snacks and just had to have them. Luke my youngest hit the cereal aisle and pointed out that there were lots of Kellogg’s cereal boxes with Avengers images on them. Both boys wanted to buy multiple boxes each because they learned they could get free movie tickets. For every six codes collected we could get a ticket to see the movie they are so excited to see.

In preparation for our movie party, Meijer sent us a few items to showcase what is available to buy in their stores. The boys loved the stuffed super heroes and the blankets. Perfect companions for watching movies and bedtime.

For the movie night we wanted to have a tasty snack besides just the popcorn so the boys helped create their own snack mix. We used Kellogg’s Crispix cereal, Nestle Raisinets, pretzels and Kellogg’s Avengers fruit snacks. The boys were thrilled to have created a snack they liked eating.

Spending time with my boys is always very important and bonding over something as simple as a movie just creates special memories. We all wore Avengers T-shirts to celebrate the movie and talked about the heroes and the villains in the first movie. After re-watching it, the boys were telling me all about what they thought is going to happen in the new Marvels Avengers: Age of Ultron movie.

Now we are patiently awaiting May 1st. Everyone is geared up and excited and the boys are already talking about the next movie night we are going to have. Something tells me we might even have a Marvels Avengers theme birthday party this year. Let me know if you have a movie night party with your kids, I would love to hear about it.

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win an Avengers prize pack

HOW TO ENTER:

Share this post on a social network and leave a comment with the link below

Giveaway ends May 10, 2015 at 11:59pm CST. Must be a US resident and 21 or older to enter.

 

 

 

Stock Up and Save At Walmart (Gift Card Giveaway)

P&G

Disclosure: The Walmart gift cards and information have been provided by P&G.

It is finally spring! For my family this means we are spending more time outdoors. The kids have sports and activities so we are constantly on the go and that means I have less time to run my typical errands, like going to the store. Luckily I shop at Walmart so I can stock up and save on my family’s favorite P&G products with amazing savings. For a limited-time, Walmart has rollbacks and guaranteed low prices on our favorite P&G products, such as Tide laundry detergent, Charmin toilet paper, Bounty paper towels and more. The P&G line of products ranges from laundry detergents and paper towels to baby diapers. The stock up sale runs through Thursday, April 30th, 2015 .

The most important essentials I love to stock up on are paper towels and toilet paper. Everyone knows that when you have smaller children they always overuse both. My boys are 5 and 6 and they go crazy with the toilet paper. Those were the first things I intended to buy in order to stock up and save with Walmart.

Buying paper towels and toilet paper and even laundry detergent is easy. The challenging purchase for any guy is buying tampons. P&G and Walmart definitely make that an easier task. Just stock up and then not only do you save money, but you only have to go to the store once. No more emergency runs to the store to get tampons when she runs out.

No matter what essential items you need to stock up on there are many choices and the shopping is made easy at Walmart’s Stock Up and Save event. So spend less money and time at the store and more time enjoying the warmer weather.

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win a $25 Walmart gift card

HOW TO ENTER:

Share this post on social media and leave a comment below with the link

Giveaway ends April 30, 2015 at 11:59pm. Must be 21 or older and a US resident to enter.

Practical Tips To Protect Your Car This Winter {Visa Gift Card Giveaway}

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(Disclosure: I am working with the International Carwash Association and was compensated to share these tips.)

Americans’ love affair with their cars is well documented, along with the dollars they spend each year to keep them running.  This is particularly evident in the winter time when the harsh elements can challenge even the most conscientious car owners.  One thing’s for sure:  keeping your vehicle in good condition will ensure a safer ride in the short term and a higher resale or trade-in value down the road.

So, before the cold weather takes hold for good, here are some tips to help your vehicle weather just about any storm!

1.       A clean car is your first line of defense against winter.  While the winter season typically takes a toll on your car, proper maintenance can go a long way to preserving your investment.   For example, according to the International Carwash Association®, getting a new wash and a fresh coat of wax before the temperature starts to fluctuate can be your first line of defense against winter elements like ice, salt, sand and slush.

Vehicular corrosion also occurs most quickly when temperatures rise and then fall below freezing.  That’s why most auto manufacturers recommend getting your car washed and waxed at a professional car wash twice a month, especially during the winter.

Using a WaterSavers® Car Wash can is a strong first step to ensuring that your car will be ready to withstand the winter elements – inside and out.  It’s also a great way to protect the environment.  For example, these car washes typically use only 40 gallons (151.5 liters) or less of fresh water per car wash.  Learn more and find a WaterSavers wash at Washwithwatersavers.com.

2.       Rotate your tires. Most people know they should get their oil changed every 3,000 miles, but many forget their tires need maintenance as well. Tires should be rotated before winter and then again every 6,000 miles.

3.       Add some winter weight to your oil. Changing your oil and filter is especially important during the winter. Drivers who live in a colder climate should consider changing to heavier, winter-weight oil during the winter months.

4.       Take care of your wiper blades. Your windshield wiper blades are your first line of defense when the snow starts to fly. Make sure your wiper blades are in good, working order and replace them if you have doubts. It’s better to make this change now instead of finding out your blades aren’t working when you really need them.

5.       Take your car in for a tune-up. Any noises, pings or sluggish starts you currently notice will only intensify as the temperature drops. It’s best to get your vehicle in for a tune-up as soon as possible to get any issues addressed. 

6.       Give your steering some power. Check your powering steering fluid each month, and make sure the car is warmed up before you do so. If you find the level is low, look for leaks in the hoses or pump. Low power steering fluid will make your car more difficult to steer, which is something you’ll want to avoid as the roads get slick.

7.       Protect yourself from carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide leaks are dangerous at any time, but they are especially deadly during the winter when you will be driving your vehicle with the windows closed. Have your exhaust system checked to make sure no leak exists.

8.       Apply the brakes. Besides the seatbelt, your car’s brakes are its most important safety feature. This is especially true in the winter when slippery conditions can make stopping difficult. Before the first snow fall, bring your car to an experienced mechanic to verify that your brakes are ready for the season.

Cold winter temperatures mean vehicle maintenance is even more important. By following these simple tips listed above, you’ll be able to ward off winter’s harshest advances, protect your investment and those who ride inside of it.

To learn more about protecting the value of your vehicle, visit Washwithwatersavers.com.

GIVEAWAY: 

One reader will receive a thermal travel mug, fleece travel blanket, hand mitt ice scraper and a $30 VISA Gift Card

 HOW TO ENTER:

Comment on how you protect your car in the winter

For an extra entry, share this giveaway on a social network

Giveaway ends January 20, 2015 at 11:59pm CST. Must be a US resident to enter.

My Festive Kitchen {Target Gift Card Giveaway}

target holiday items

Target is my favorite store so I’m excited to be working with them on this sponsored holiday post and giveaway.

I can never seem to get out of Target without a cart full of goodies, so when I saw the holiday kitchen and entertaining aisles I knew I was in trouble. This is our first Christmas in our new home so it was the perfect time to add some seasonal items to our kitchen. Everything was so adorable and many of the things would be perfect for making my home festive while entertaining family and friends this month.

One thing my family likes to do is get together to decorate cookies. We bake sugar cookies and then let the kids decorate them however they’d like to with frosting, candies and sprinkles. Normally the toppings are in plain bowls but I love these Threshold stoneware bowls. Though they are red and white I can use them year round since they aren’t too Christmasy.

We also like to make peanut butter kiss cookies. The kids unwrap the hershey kisses for me. It’s their favorite job because they get to sneak a few candies while mommy isn’t looking. Target has lots of cookie plates. I picked up a couple along with a cookie jar since we always have dozens of Christmas cookies during the holidays.

Another thing I made for holiday guests this year is a mini hot cocoa bar. I put hot cocoa mix in a big glass jar, marshmallows in a mason jar, and then set mugs out. I used a large gift tag and red ribbon to add a little holiday cheer to the setup.

I love how much more festive my kitchen looks now! I think it is so welcoming and I can’t wait for family to come on Christmas day to celebrate with presents, cookies and mugs of hot cocoa!

How can Target help you celebrate the holidays? Tell me what you pick up from my favorite store to make your Christmas, Chanukah or New Years celebrations brighter for a chance to win a gift card!

One reader who comments with their answer below will win a $75 Target gift card. You can earn an extra entry for sharing this post on social media (just leave a second comment with the link).

This giveaway ends December 31, 2014 at 11:59pm CST. Must be a US resident and 21 or older to win.

Baking Christmas Cookies With Betty Crocker {Prize Pack Giveaway}

Christmas cookie baking

Thanks to Betty Crocker for sponsoring this post and giveaway.

One of my favorite holiday traditions is baking Christmas cookies. I still remember all the fun I had in the kitchen when I was growing up and love reminiscing as I bake cookies with my own boys. When I was younger my favorite cookies to make were sugar cookies, corn flake wreaths, and peanut butter chocolate balls. Now that my kids are helping bake they generally are in charge of picking which cookies get made and their choices are chocolate chip cookies and sugar cookies (with lots of frosting and sprinkles!)

This year Betty Crocker sent us some baking supplies and my boys were excited to see their two favorite cookie mixes in the box. Luke decided he wanted to make the chocolate chip cookies and then use the frosting and icing to decorate them. He enjoyed spending time in the kitchen with daddy for some father/son bonding time :)

Betty Crocker wants to encourage you to spend some time in the kitchen with your loved ones this holiday as well! They have created a “kid’s corner” on their website and shared the top 10 cookies for kids. Each recipe also has a short how-to video as well. Tweet your cookie creations with the hashtag #GetYourBettyOn to share them with the folks over at Betty Crocker!

GIVEAWAY:

One person will win a Betty Crocker prize pack that consists of:

  • Kitchen tablet stand
  • Betty Crocker™ Mixing Spoon
  • Betty Crocker™ Oven Mitt
  • “Get Your Betty On” Apron
  • Gingerbread Cookie Cutter
  • Betty Crocker™ Sugar Cookie Mix
  • Betty Crocker™ Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
  • Betty Crocker™ Whipped Vanilla Frosting
  • Betty Crocker™ Holiday Recipe Booklet 2014 – feat. The Top 10 Cookie Decorating Ideas of 2014

HOW TO ENTER:

Comment below with your favorite Christmas cookie

For an extra entry, share this giveaway on a social network and leave the link in the comments

Giveaway ends December 15, 2014 at 11:59pm CST. Must be 21 or older and a US resident to enter.

Christmas Shopping At Kohl’s {$100 Gift Card Giveaway}

Disney Frozen

(Disclosure: I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Influence-Central for Kohl’s. I received Kohl’s gift cards to facilitate my review and a thank you item for participating.)

One of my favorite stores to shop at for Christmas gifts is Kohl’s. There is something for everyone on the list. I shopped online at Kohls.com on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. One thing that draws me in at this time of year especially is the sales. Why stand in line for hours on Thanksgiving or the wee hours of Black Friday when Kohl’s has amazing deals + 20% off codes + $15 Kohl’s cash and I can shop from my couch?!

Early last week I felt so behind because I had not purchased one single thing for Christmas but now, one week from Black Friday, I’m about halfway to being done. I don’t have a ton of people to buy for which is nice. Most of my money is spent on my children and then I also buy gifts for my immediate family. From Kohl’s I’ve bought the video games my boys wanted, a building set, Christmas shirts for holiday pictures, gifts for my niece and even a gift for myself!

How is your Christmas shopping going? If you are one of the many moms I know who has a list full of Disney Frozen items to buy you need to head to Kohl’s and check out the whole line of Frozen items. Through Monday (12/8/14) there is a wonderful family & friends sale. Kohl’s cash is back and if you spend more than $100 you get 25% off your order.

Since I’ve shared Disney Frozen gifts for the kids over the past couple of months (see here and here), I thought I’d share some gifts for the whole family can enjoy (even those of us who just act like kids ;) lol).

How perfect would this waffle maker be for a family breakfast before a day of playing in the snow?

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This game would be great for family game night!

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The whole family can play a little game of Frozen basketball while staying warm indoors.

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Start a new family tradition- family karaoke night!

With over 800 unique Disney Frozen gift ideas, Kohl’s will help you get your Christmas shopping done so you can spend the days cuddling with your kids or having a snowball fight instead of standing in line. Which is your favorite item from the Disney Frozen collection on Kohls.com?

To get you in the shopping mood head on over to see the Kohl’s Holiday commercial featuring the winner of the Disney Frozen Sing Your Heart Out contest! America voted Long Island sisters Katherine & Kelly Montenero the winners. See the winning video here.

Here’s something else to make shopping easy…a $100 Kohl’s gift card giveaway! It’s easy to enter. Just leave a comment telling me why you want to win. For an extra entry you can share this giveaway on social media (just leave a second comment saying you did so).

Giveaway ends December 11, 2014 at 11:59pm CST. Must be a US resident, 21 or older to win. Good luck!

 

Building Fun With K’nex {Giveaway}

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(Disclosure: This post is sponsored by American Certified.)

Kids love building toys. Last Christmas I shared a top 10 building toys for preschoolers list and today I’m excited to be sharing more about one of those toys that made that list- K’nex! Check below for a giveaway to enter to win your own set.

The boys enjoy playing with K’nex and the set we were sent from American Certified is the biggest set they have. An instruction booklet with over 70 ideas comes with the set but my boys love making their own creations. Cars seem to be a favorite when they build something specific.

The sturdy cardboard box makes it easy to store and all of our K’nex sets can fit nicely in this one treasure chest which makes cleaning up easy. The box says these specific K’nex are for ages 7 and up but my five year old has no problem using them. If you have a younger child there are other sets called “Kid K’nex” that might be better for them.

Enter in the form below for a chance to win a set for yourself! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Easy Thanksgiving Meals With HoneyBaked Ham And Turkey {Giveaway}

honeybaked leftover meal

(Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but all thoughts are my own.)

Hosting Thanksgiving this year? What if I told you that you could have a delicious Thanksgiving meal cooked and on the table in less than an hour? Now THAT is something to be thankful for because it means you can get out of the kitchen and do more important things like spend time with family and watch football (especially since my Chicago Bears are playing!).

Sinisa headed to our local HoneyBaked Ham store and picked up ham, turkey, five different side dishes, a Pecan pie and a dessert tray. Everything but the turkey was ready to heat up in the packaging they were in which meant less dishes for me to wash. To make things even easier, the ham and turkey came with detailed instructions on how to heat up the meat.

One thing I love about the ham and turkey is that both have a delicious glaze on them. They are also pre-sliced. (Told you this was a super easy meal solution!)

The very best thing about the Thanksgiving meal, as everyone knows, is the leftovers. We had four adults and four children for dinner and we didn’t even eat a quarter of the food we bought. That means I have a week worth of delicious leftovers. Today I made myself a plate of food for lunch but for dinner I’m making turkey sandwiches, one of my favorite ways to use up the leftover turkey.

I’ll share more about the sides and desserts in my next HoneyBaked Ham post so stay tuned!

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From now until 1/11/15 you can enter to win a $25,000 HoneyBaked Kitchen Makeover when you buy a Ham and Turkey Breast bundle.

Check out this amazing limited time coupon for $8.00 off any Bone-in Ham and Turkey Breast or Boneless Ham and Turkey Breast from HoneyBaked Ham to help you make your holiday dinner easy and delicious! (This offer is valid only at the following locations: Rolling Meadows, Orland Park, Villa Park, Morton Grove, Naperville, Chicago, Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Plano, Mesquite, Hurst, Lewisville, Houston, Austin, Spring, Clear Lake, Sugar Land, Indianapolis, Ferndale, Grand Rapids, Roseville, Birmingham, Troy, West Bloomfield, Livonia, Flint, Dearborn Heights, Sterling Heights, Taylor, Ann Arbor, Canton Township, Oklahoma City, Pittsburgh, Mechanicsburg, Monroeville, San Antonio, Bellevue, and Lynnwood. For store addresses click here.)

HoneyBaked Ham is giving away $500 in Gift Cards to some of your favorite places! You can enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Crayola Fun During Football Season {Giveaway}

crayola bucket

Thanks to Crayola for sponsoring this post and giveaway.

It’s football season which means lots of fun family get-togethers. I love watching football but if you have kids who aren’t huge fans, I have a great idea to keep them busy! Make a fun craft bucket and give them the chance to let their imaginations run wild! This also makes a wonderful gift for the little crafty one in your life.

My children, my nephew and my niece had so much fun creating with the items in this bucket.

Want to learn how to make your own craft bucket? It’s easy! First, I headed to Target’s dollar section to find a bucket that would hold everything. While there I found some little blank books, a coloring book, rolls of craft paper, craft supplies, and containers. I then headed to the craft aisles and filled my cart with Crayola products. What a great selection of items they had!

Here’s a peak at what I put in the craft bucket:

As a previous pre-k teacher, I love open ended crafts so I made sure to include plenty of craft supplies. I even added a little frame for them to decorate which Lucas really liked gluing things on to. I put the stickers, googly eyes, pom-poms and pipe cleaners in containers with compartments so they were easy to use and keep organized.

To decorate the plain white bucket I cut up garland I found on clearance and taped it on the bucket. It was quick, easy and cheap to add a little color to the outside of the bucket!

Fun, right?! I loved seeing how creative the kids were. My nephew made up his own story book and was very proud of what he’d created. I have fond memories of creating my own books in grade school so when I saw these books I just had to get them. My favorite Crayola products are their crayons but the kids couldn’t get enough of these little character Pip Squeak markers.

GIVEAWAY:

One person will win a $25 gift card so they can pick out some colorful Crayola products

HOW TO ENTER:

Leave a comment telling me what your favorite Crayola product is

For an optional entry, share this giveaway on a social network

Giveaway ends October 3, 2014 at 11:59pm CST. Must be a US resident and 21 or older to win.

Walking Around Chicago {$50 Aerosoles Gift Card Giveaway}

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Sinisa and I got to go on a date this past weekend which was so nice because quality one-on-one time is so rare. AEROSOLES sent me a pair of shoes and gave me some spending money to go out so we headed to Chicago to enjoy the warm, sunny weather before Chicago turns into “Chiberia” again. There are so many things to do in the city and most of them we don’t get to experience with the kids so we took full advantage of the day and tried to cram as much as we could into our afternoon.

First we stopped for lunch at Da Lobsta. I had my first Lobster Roll in Boston back in July and I’ve been craving one ever since. If you love lobster this is a must-stop lunch place! We then decided to head over to Navy Pier.

Navy Pier seemed more crowded than normal since it’s under construction but I love how lively it is. You get a beautiful view of the city from the Pier and an even better view from the 150-foot high Ferris Wheel. I hadn’t been on the Ferris Wheel in years since I was nervous to take the kids on it but it’s a nice activity to do without the kids. It should be noted though, that if you have less than 4 people in your group they make you sit with other people which is a little uncomfortable at times (like if you are with a couple who seems to be getting engagement photos like we were!)

After we walked along the Pier we took a taxi over to Millenium Park. We walked along the path that went by the garden area, watched families splash in the huge fountain area and stopped at “the bean”. The park was pretty busy because there was a festival going on.

We ended up at The Park Grill’s outdoor patio where we enjoyed drinks and an appetizer. I had almost forgotten how nice it was to sit and just talk without being interrupted! It started getting late so we headed back to the Pier and home to pick up our babies. It’s amazing what half a day can do for a person and a relationship! I felt calmer and more connected.

All this walking and relationship building wouldn’t have happened without my AEROSOLES shoes! AEROSOLES designs women’s footwear featuring exclusive technologies that deliver the most comfortable shoes possible. They feature unique “Diamond-Flex” soles that absorb impact and disperse friction with every step and “Stitch ‘N’ Turn” technology which creates the MOST flexible and comfortable shoes possible; with no break-in time required. I really loved how comfortable they were. Many times when I wear flats, the bottoms of my feet hurt after a few hours, almost as if I’d been hitting the pavement barefoot. I didn’t feel like that at all with these shoes. My feet were well cushioned.

Want to try AEROSOLES yourself? Enter to win a $50 AEROSOLES gift card below!

 HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Comment on this giveaway with your favorite city to walk around in

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Follow Aerosoles on Twitter

4) Follow me on Twitter

Giveaway ends September 20, 2014 at 11:59pm CST. Must be a US resident and 21 or over to enter.

New Disney Planes: Fire & Rescue Collection {$100 Kohl’s Gift Card Giveaway}

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(Disclosure: I participated in an Ambassador campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Kohl’s. I received promotional items and product samples as a thank you for participating.)

I love celebrating special occasions, even the littlest of ones, with special outfits. I do this when we go to events, have themed parties and when new movies come out. When we went to see Cars 2 in theaters, the boys had special Disney Cars shirts that they wore. With Disney Planes: Fire & Rescue coming out on July 18th what better way to celebrate than with special shirts and toys?

Kohl’s exclusive Disney apparel by Jumping Beans collection is in stores now! We found t-shirts, shorts, long sleeve shirts, pants, and hooded sweatshirts. The boys and I shopped the collection and Jacob and Lucas just loved all the items. Here are some of our favorites:

We are all ready for the new Planes movie now! We even got two of the character toys to play with while we wait patiently for the movie to come out. We found the toys on the same racks with the clothes.

Along with being a fun collection, I love that the clothes are well made. Since the boys are only one year apart (and both born in June), Luke can wear Jake’s hand-me-downs. I have confidence that these clothes will last a couple years. Kohl’s always has great deals as well- between weekly sales and Kohl’s cash. My kids look cute and I save money. What could be better?

Want a chance to shop the collection yourself? One lucky winner will win a $100 Kohl’s gift card! Easy entry and you can earn extra entries for sharing the giveaway!

HOW TO ENTER:

Comment below telling me what your favorite piece in the collection is

FOR AN EXTRA ENTRY:

Share this giveaway on a social network and comment below letting me know that you did so

Giveaway ends July 1, 2014 at 11:59pm CST. Must be 21 or older and a US resident to enter.

 

 

Celebrate Summer With Nickelodeon {Giveaway}

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Celebrate the beginning of summer with six new DVD titles from Nickelodeon. Nickelodeon’s animated stars know how to have fun in the sun, so join favorite characters like SpongeBob SquarePantsDora the Explorer, the Bubble Guppies, and the PAW Patrol pups for some summertime adventures.  Each of these DVDs are available at retailers now and one lucky winner will receive a prize pack of all these great titles!

PAW Patrol (ALL-NEW AVAILABLE NOW)
Whenever there’s a problem, just yelp for help! The PAW Patrol pups are ready to save the day at home in their first-ever DVD, filled with 10 exhilarating adventures from the hit animated preschool series. Follow these six heroic rescue pups and a tech-savvy boy who work hard to show the people of Adventure Bay that “no job is too big, no pup is too small!”

Bubble Guppies: Sunny Days!
From the beach to the circus, to a night under the stars, join the Bubble Guppies as they swim into activities perfect for summer in these six swim-sational episodes!

Dora the Explorer: Summer Explorer
Dora and Boots are having a blast at the beach when they hear a call for help. It’s a baby crab stuck in a net! Help Dora and Boots take Baby Crab to his Mami on Crab Island.

Max & Ruby: Summertime for Max & Ruby
Max and Ruby work a lemonade stand, fly kites and put on a backyard magic show in this seasonal DVD favorite.

Nick Jr. Favorites: All Star Sports Day
Preschoolers’ favorite characters from Dora the ExplorerGo, Diego, Go!The Wonder Pets!Blue’s CluesYo Gabba Gabba! and Ni Hao, Kai-lan compete in sports and practice camaraderie in this DVD.

SpongeBob SquarePants: SpongeBob’s Runaway Roadtrip
Join SpongeBob and Patrick for six hilarious adventures.  Enjoy the Great Barrier Reef, a cruise, a trip to the Ocean Mint, a homebound holiday and a trip that’s out of this world.

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win a prize pack of all of the above DVDs

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any of the following tasks and leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Leave a comment telling me why you want to win

2) Share this giveaway on social media

3) Follow @NickelodeonDVD on Twitter

4) Follow @aliciamarie112 on Twitter

Giveaway ends June 26, 2014 at 11:59pm CST. Must be a US resident and 18 or older to win.

Patriotic Disney Clothes For Kids {$100 Kohl’s Gift Card Giveaway}

jumping beans

(Disclosure: I participated in an Ambassador campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Kohl’s. I received promotional items and product samples as a thank you for participating.)

I love shopping at Kohl’s for myself and my family so I was really excited to be chosen as a Kohl’s Disney Jumping Beans Ambassador. Kohl’s has quality clothes at great prices (especially when it’s Kohl’s Cash time!) On top of that, they support their local communities through their Kohl’s Cares program which I love. This month, I received a mailer with two sample outfits from the new Jumping Beans collection at Kohl’s.

Yesterday, I headed to Kohl’s to check out the new collection which pairs Mickey and Minnie Mouse with American red, white, and blue colors. It was easy to find the clothes because of the huge “Magic at Play” ceiling fixture and all of the Mickey and Minnie characters around the shelves.

I secretly was wishing I had a little girl when I saw all the cute girl clothes…

Have a baby? This t-shirt is a must for Disney lovers!

Jacob loved all of the sports shirts and they will be perfect for summer time sports practices.

This “Americana” line is also great for the 4th of July. I’ve already picked out Jake and Luke’s outfits for when we are watching fireworks together!

Want to check out the collection yourself? Enter below to win a $100 Kohl’s Gift Card!

GIVEAWAY:

Enter to win a $100 gift card to Kohl’s

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Leave a comment telling me why you want to win

2) Leave a comment telling me which Disney Jumping Beans “Americana” piece is your favorite

3) Share this giveaway on social media

4) Comment on another one of my blog posts

Giveaway ends May 3, 2014 at 11:59pm CST. Must be 21 or older and a US resident to enter.

Stream Your Favorite TV Shows {Netflix Giveaway}

netflix giveaway

(Disclosure: I’m on the Netflix Stream Team and enjoy complimentary service.)

A couple weeks ago I confessed that I was a TV junkie and shared 5 shows I love watching. I enjoy discovering new shows and thought you all may have some favorite ones that I haven’t even heard of yet. To encourage you all to share, Netflix gave me one 3 month subscription to their service to give one lucky winner!

To enter, leave a comment below telling me your favorite television show. One person will be chosen at random to win. The giveaway will close May 2, 2014 at 11:59pm. Good luck!! :)

 

Shake Your {Pirate’s} Booty With Rio 2 {Giveaway}

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(Disclosure: I received a case of product but all thoughts are my own.)

Rio 2 came out in theaters last week and I’m excited to take the boys to see it. In the 2nd installment of the Rio movies, we follow Blu, Jewel and their three kids as they go from the city to the wilds of the Amazon. As Blu tries to fit in, he goes beak-to-beak with the vengeful Nigel, and meets the most fearsome adversary of all – his father-in-law.

To celebrate the movie, Pirate’s Booty is offering a special Limited Edition 7-ounce package and a national “Shake Your Booty” contest to win a “Bahamas Adventure Cruise.” The Limited Edition Rio 2 7-ounce packages of Pirate’s Booty Aged White Cheddar snacks will be available in retailers nationwide now through the end of May. Pirate’s Booty Aged White Cheddar is a deliciously baked snack made from puffed rice corn and blended with real aged white cheddar cheese.  Pirate’s Booty has half the fat and fewer calories than regular fried potato chips, so it is a snack that kids and parents agree on.  Pirate’s Booty contains no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives and is also trans-fat, gluten, peanut and tree nut free.  We love Pirate’s Booty here at our house!

In addition to the limited edition packages, Pirate’s Booty is offering people a chance to win a “Bahamas Adventure Cruise” for the entire crew through the “Shake Your Booty” contest.  Consumers can enter for a chance to win by capturing their families’ best dance moves and entering the “Shake Your Booty” contest on Pirate’s Booty’s Facebook page.  For more information and a complete listing of official contest rules, terms and conditions, please visit www.facebook.com/piratesbooty.

GIVEAWAY:

One person will win a case of Pirate’s Booty (that’s 12 full-size bags!)

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Leave a comment telling me why you want to win

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Leave a comment on another post here on this site

Giveaway ends May 1, 2014 at 11:59pm CST. Must be a US resident and 21 or over to enter.

New Sweet & Salty Snack {Costco Gift Card Giveaway}

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Ever have those times when you are craving something to snack on but can’t decide between something sweet and something salty? If so, I have the perfect snack for you! Fisher Nuts recently sent me their new product to try out and share my thoughts with you all. They just launched a new snack product – Fisher Nut Exactly – exclusively at Costco stores in the Midwest for a limited time only. This sweet yet savory snack contains no artificial ingredients and is created with the perfect combination of crunchy roasted almonds and whole grain popcorn, rolled into a snack-sized bite that’s dipped in rich 66% cacao dark chocolate.

They have been a great snack for me to eat while driving the boys to Spring sports practices because they come in small poppable pieces. The combination of the nut and whole grain are filling enough to tide me over until we get home for dinner. The chocolate on them is just the right amount to give me that sweetness I’m craving.

These are also a nice snack to serve at your March Madness party tomorrow or really any get-together you are having this Spring. The key to any party is easy to eat food and this snack fits perfectly in that category!

Want to try it? Costco stores in the Midwest are having tastings this Thursday, April 10th. Live elsewhere? The giveaway below is open to everyone in the USA!

GIVEAWAY:

One person will win a $50 Costco gift card and package of Fisher Nut Exactly

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Leave a comment telling me why you want to win

2) Share this giveaway on the social network of your choice

3) Comment on another blog post

Giveaway ends April 17, 2014 at 11:59pm CST. Must be a US resident, 21 or over to enter.

A Special Family Dinner At Houlihan’s {Gift Card Giveaway}

houlihans giveaway

(Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Houlihan’s via MomTrends.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Houlihan’s or Momtrends.)

Going out to eat at a sit down restaurant is normally reserved for special occasions in my family but we decided to break the routine and go out to eat last night. We went to Houlihan’s which I hadn’t been to in years. After a short wait we were seated and I ordered one of the few adult drinks I like called a “Miami Vice”.

The boys checked out the kid’s menu and stuck with their typical corn dog and chicken tenders. I liked that there was a variety of foods for kids and the sides weren’t just the typical ones you’d expect to see. Lucas chose fresh strawberries for his side and Jacob chose tortilla chips and salsa. Along with the entree and side, kids get a drink, dessert (ice cream or flavored apple sauce) and an appetizer of carrot sticks with ranch dip. With all this included I was surprised to find the kid’s meals were only $5.95!

For our appetizer I ordered the Parmesan Frites not realizing that was just a fancy way of saying french fries. They came with three dipping sauces, my favorite of which was the garlic parmesan dipping sauce.

Sinisa chose the salmon dinner with asparagus and mashed potatoes as his sides. I wanted to save plenty of room for dessert so I ordered a pulled pork slider and side salad. I loved that the pulled pork was a chunk of meat and not little pieces. It also came with fried pickles on it which is a delicious combo.

Nobody could decide on dessert so we chose a few! I had to try one of the seasonal specials, the chocolate mousse with fresh raspberries and whipped cream. It was absolutely amazing and was one of their light choices at only 410 calories. We also got a brownie sundae and doughnuts with a caramel apple dip. It was a delicious way to end our family day!

Houlihan’s had a great atmosphere. I like that they do their best to source the highest quality ingredients from partners committed to traditional farming practices and responsible stewardship of the land. Wherever possible, they choose smaller, artisan partners and make every effort to choose ingredients that are free of preservatives, antibiotics, and hormones. I also love their website design along with it is really creative sayings like “if you like it, put a pin on it“.

Giveaway:

One reader will win a $50 gift card to Houlihan’s

How to enter:

Leave a comment telling me why you want to win

Extra entry:

Share this giveaway on a social network and leave a comment below

Giveaway ends March 25, 2014 at 11:59pm CST. Must be 18 years of age or older and a US resident to enter.

Discover DOVE® Dark Chocolate {Giveaway}

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(Disclosure: This post is sponsored by DOVE® Chocolate but all thoughts are my own.)

Chocolate lovers, I have an announcement! DOVE® Chocolate has a new flavor out: Sea Salt Caramel Dark Chocolate. I enjoy milk chocolate more than I like dark chocolate but these little pieces of chocolate are so delicious. The sweet caramel goes perfectly with the bitter taste of the dark chocolate. I also love that DOVE has inspirational quotes inside their chocolate wrappers.

To celebrate the new chocolate flavor I’m giving away one prize package on my blog. The giveaway includes:

  • Bag of NEW! DOVE® PROMISES® Silky Smooth Sea Salt Caramel Dark Chocolate
  • Bag of DOVE® PROMISES® Silky Smooth Dark Chocolate
  • Two exclusive NICOLE® by OPI nail lacquer shades inspired by DOVE® Dark Chocolate: “Better After Dark” and “Promises in the Dark”

HOW TO ENTER:

Leave a comment telling me why you want to win

EXTRA OPTIONAL ENTRY:

Gain 1 extra entry by sharing this giveaway on social media

Giveaway ends February 15, 2014 at 11:59pm CST. Must be 21 or older and a US resident to enter.

Keep Calm And Sleep On {Gift Card Giveaway}

oat

A couple of years ago, Luke’s doctor was worried that he had sleep apnea. I didn’t know much about it but learned that what basically happens is that people with sleep apnea suddenly stop breathing while they are sleeping. That was really scary to think about but thankfully, after an overnight sleep study, it was determined that he didn’t suffer from it. Even so, I’m happy to be partnering with the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine on this sponsored post to share information about oral appliance therapy for adults who have sleep apnea. {Please note: I am not a doctor and the content of this post is not medical advice. You should always consult with your doctor before trying any new products or therapies.}

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition that causes people to suddenly stop breathing during sleep anywhere from 10 seconds to more than a minute and up to hundreds of times a night. It’s a potentially life-threatening condition affecting 12 to 18 million U.S. adults that can increase the risk for serious health problems, including congestive heart failure, stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease – just to name a few.

A new therapy called oral appliance therapy (OAT) uses a “mouth guard-like” device worn only during sleep to maintain an open, unobstructed airway. OAT devices prevent the airway from collapsing by either holding the tongue or supporting the jaw in a forward position. The devices are quiet, portable and easy to care for.

AADSM recommends oral appliance therapy for people with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. Once a patient is diagnosed with primary snoring or obstructive sleep apnea by a board-certified sleep physician, a dentist trained in dental sleep medicine can provide treatment with OAT. Consumers with sleep apnea or loud and frequent snoring can go to www.LocalSleepDentist.com to find a local dentist trained in oral appliance therapy.

GIVEAWAY

One reader will win a $50 Bed Bath and Beyond gift card

HOW TO ENTER

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Tell me what you learned about sleep apnea or oral appliance therapy

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Subscribe to this blog via email (look in upper right corner)

Giveaway ends February 5, 2014 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be 18 or older and a US resident to enter.

Jané Trider Extreme Stroller Giveaway

Jane

(Disclosure: I’m being compensated for sharing this giveaway.)

One “must-have” on every new parent’s shopping list is a stroller so I’m really excited to share an amazing giveaway with you all. Jané USA is giving away a Trider Extreme stroller. This stroller sells for $790!

Jané has been around since 1932 and was started by a dad who created the first pram for his son. Love that the company was built from a parent’s invention. The company now carries a line of carseats in addition to strollers.

The co-sponsor of the giveaway is zseek. The website is a marketplace that lets parents compare baby products side by side to help them make decisions on which products would work best for their family. Zseek also runs giveaways frequently so be sure to check them out.

 

 

Herbal Essences Hair Care Kit {Walmart Gift Card Giveaway}

herbal essences 1

Moms, if you are like me and don’t always get to wash your hair every day, I have some new products to share with you! Herbal Essences recently contacted me about trying their new collection exclusively available at Walmart.com and they sent me a gift card to purchase it online. This collection features 4 products, including a dry shampoo for in between washes. I will be reviewing it next month and letting you all know what I think about it but here is some information about the new collection from Walmart’s website.

Bare your softest hair with the Herbal Essences Naked Collection Volume kit. The kit includes Naked Volume shampoo and conditioner with 0% heavy residues, dyes and parabens. Then finish your style with Volumizing Souffle to weightlessly boost hair. And to help keep that volume between washes use the volumizing Herbal Essences Naked Dry Shampoo with natural tapioca to instantly absorb excess oil. It’s everything you need for irresistible volume!

About the Shampoo and Conditioner

Restore hair’s natural body with our Volume Shampoo and Conditioner with zero heavy residues, dyes and parabens. Start with Volume shampoo and gently massage into wet hair until it lathers. Then rinse thoroughly, working from root to tip so your hair is left with a weightless clean. Next, work in the Volume conditioner to keep hair detangled, conditioned to nourish, and full of irresistible volume.

About the Dry Shampoo

Refresh your look and experience lightweight clean hair, even on days you don’t wash. The natural tapioca formula absorbs excess oil, transforming lifeless, oily hair into fresh hair with the crisp essence of citrus and mint. Gently spray on and work into roots, and brush out as desired.

About the Volumizing Souffle

This weightless, volumizing wonder gives you a lift for fullness that lasts, while you delight your senses with a boost of grapefruit and mint. Gently work in this mousse through wet hair for touchable, natural volume you can run your fingers through.

GIVEAWAY:

Want to try this product yourself? Enter to win a $50 Walmart gift card!

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following. Leave a separate comment for each you do.}

1) Tell me which product you can’t wait to try

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Follow @herbalessences on Twitter

4) Follow @aliciamarie112 on Twitter

5) Comment on another one of my blog posts

Giveaway ends January 12, 2014 at 11:59pm CST. Must be 18 or older and a US resident to enter.

Books For Boys {Giveaway}

boy books

(Disclosure: I received a set of books to review but all thoughts are my own.)

If you have a little boy that is fascinated by all things that rumble, crumble and crash, a new series by Capstone Book for Young Readers is a SMASH-ingly great gift for this holiday season! The aptly named DESTRUCTION series features four very sturdy board books where readers can follow along as a building is imploded, a car goes into the crusher, a wrecking ball destroys a wall and tires are shredded to bits. Crush It!Knock It Down!Blow It Up!; and Shred It! all feature big, bright images and movable parts that allow the reader to blow it up, knock it down, crush and shred it — perfect for little ones mesmerized by destruction!

Lucas, who is always on the go, is not a fan of typical books. He doesn’t enjoy looking at picture books but he loved these books because he could do things while he was looking at the pictures. He can move the wrecking ball back and forth, make a building crumble to the ground, crush old cars and more.

I also liked that these books were very sturdy. Having multiple kids, it is great when I know items will last for more than one child. The colors of these books were nice as well and the bright colors grabbed Luke’s attention along with my own.

For more information about the series and purchasing information please visit: http://www.capstoneyoungreaders.com/products/crush-it-/.

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win all 4 books in the series and a yellow construction hat

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any 0r all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Tell me who you want to win this set for

2)  Share this giveaway on a social network

Giveaway ends January 5, 2014 at 11:59pm CST. Must be 18 or older and a US resident to enter.

Earn Money With Bunny Bucks From Energizer {Giveaway}

energizer bunny bucks

(Disclosure: I received a gift card and batteries in exchange for posting but all thoughts are my own.)

The Energizer Bunny is 25 years old and he believes birthdays are about celebrating with those around him so, in stores now, consumers can collect Bunny Bucks to turn into money, via a check or deposit into their PayPal accounts.  And with Christmas just a week away, it’s the perfect time to start stocking up on batteries for all of those holiday gifts you will be giving.

Here’s some more details on how to get the bunny bucks:

To participate in the Energizer Battery, Inc. Bunny Birthday Bucks Rewards offer purchase two specially marked packages of Energizer® batteries now through June 1, 2014, while supplies last. Each specially marked pack will contain one  unique code. Two codes are required to receive either a $4 Bunny Birthday Bucks Reward or an $8 Bunny Birthday Bucks Reward. To read more details and the offer rules please go to the website found here.

The Energizer Bunny will also dole out party favors in the way of coupons throughout the months to come so make sure to follow him on Facebook!

GIVEAWAY:

2 specially marked packages of Energizer Max batteries with Bunny Bucks codes (AA or AAA)

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Tell me what toy or gadget in your home uses the most batteries

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Follow @aliciamarie112 on Twitter

4) Follow @Energizer on Twitter

5) Comment on another one of my posts

 Giveaway ends January 10, 2014 at 11:59pm CST. Must be 18 or older and a US resident to enter.

 

Gift Ideas For Boys, Sneaky Shopping Tips & A Target Gift Card Giveaway

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Target recently gave me a gift card and sent me on a Christmas shopping mission with my kids to one of their stores. My challenge? Be a kids’ gift detective and purchase toys for my boys without them knowing.

Sometimes shopping for kids can be hard. Jacob and Lucas tell me they want everything that they see on television so it’s not always easy to decide which gifts they want the most. With Sinisa working so much it’s also difficult for me to find time to go shopping. While I do a lot of my shopping online, I’ve found that sometimes I just prefer the shopping experience in-real-life instead of online.

Target gave me some great ideas on how I could shop with my children without them knowing. Here are the ideas I was given:

  • Kids’ Gift Detective Tip 1: While shopping at Target for your everyday needs, indulge your kids with a stroll down the toy aisle. As they interact and point out toys they like such as the Air Hogs Atmosphere, you can easily pull out your smartphone and use the Target app to purchase it right there in the toy aisle without them ever knowing it.
  • Kids’ Gift Detective Tip 2: For an upcoming shopping trip, bring the other parent, friend or grandparent who can bring the kids to a different part of the store for a snack while you make purchases of the gifts. Or, doing your shopping with the kids’ while in plain sight and tell your kids the items are being given to a cousin or friend, so your kids won’t even realize the gift is for them.
  • Kids’ Gift Detective Tip 3: Enlist your kids in the shopping fun. Want a sneaky way to find out exactly what your kids want for the holidays while also shopping for a good cause? Tell your kids you’re shopping for gifts to donate to a local charity, and have them pick out the toys to donate. Your kids will love scanning the aisles for their favorite items, like the Flutterbye Flying Fairy or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles R/C Shellraiser. Little do they know that the items you’re picking out will also be the gifts they’ll find under the tree. To make sure they don’t blow your cover, you can drop off items you bought at your local charity and order the items online that they picked out for their Christmas gifts.
  • Kid’s Gift Detective Tip 4: If you don’t have a partner in crime to help during your covert shopping trip, make sure to disguise or hide the items you put in your cart. When you arrive at the store, line your cart with “undesirables” (like jumbo packs of frozen Brussels sprouts or books about manners) so your kids can’t see the real gems hidden inside. You can also swing by the container aisle to convert your cart into a covert shopping storage machine. Just place one big, closeable bin into the basket and add their wish list items to the bin while you wheel through the aisles.

For my shopping trip, I decided to focus on my 5 year old’s gift ideas. I seem to be full of gift ideas for preschoolers but for some reason that next year up is harder. He’s too big for preschool toys but too young for many elementary toys. I went along the lines of #2 and told him I wanted him to show me 5 toys that he thought his friends wanted most for Christmas. At his age, his “friends” wants are still suspiciously the same as what he wants ;)

Here were his choices:

Skylanders is #1 on Jacob’s list. The newest game out is Skylanders Swap Force which he loves. Really anything Skylanders will do!
Angry Birds Telepods toys go with the phone app and are a big hit in our house as well.
Switch & Go Dinos were mentioned a few months ago and here he shares again that they’d be in his top 5. Vehicles that turn into dinosaurs? Pretty cool!
Jacob got this Hot Wheels Set for his birthday. Cars are always a hit with this age group!

This LeapPad bundle tied with the Nintendo 3DS as a top electronic gift. For the LeapPad Jake thought a 5 year old boy would like a SpongeBob game the most and his top 3DS game was Pokemon. 

Target also shares some of their top gifts for boys in that age range. They are:

  • 4-pk. Disney Planes Die-Cast Gift Set (Target Exclusive)
  • Imaginext Justice League Javelin (Target Exclusive)
  • Angry Birds Go Pirate Ship
  • Kidtrax SRT Viper 6-Volt Ride-On Car
  • MEGA Bloks Hot Wheels Super Stunt Test Facility
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles R/C Shellraiser
  • Zoomer

So many great gift ideas! Need help figuring out how to hide all of the fabulous gifts? Don’t worry because Target has ideas about how to do that as well! Find them all here.

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win a $25 Target Gift Card

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Leave a comment telling me a sneaky shopping tip you have

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Share a picture of yourself using the Target Kids’ Gift Detective tips on Twitter.

Use the #MyKindofHoliday hashtag to tag your pictures.

4) Subscribe to this blog

5) Comment on another one of my posts

Giveaway ends December 20, 2013 at 11:59pm CST. Must be 18 or older and a US resident to enter.

(Disclosure: As stated above, Target gave me a gift card to use. All thoughts are my own.)

Diamond & Amethyst Earrings Deal & A Giveaway {5 Winners!}

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(Disclosure: I am receiving earrings in exchange for posting about this giveaway. Thoughts are my own.)

As a woman there is nothing more exciting than receiving a tiny little box on Christmas and finding diamond jewelry inside. I think the reason is because it’s something we normally wouldn’t buy for ourselves because it tends to be expensive. I have a secret to share though….

Today, December 6th, 1Sale has  1/10th ct Diamond and 6.5 Amethyst Earrings, value $199, for only $29.99 today!

At 1Sale every day is Black Friday getting up to 90% off retail prices on products each day ranging from electronics, housewares, jewelry, accessories and more. New daily deals are posted at 12 midnight Eastern time every day. And there is no need for group buying on 1Sale! Anyone can get these daily deals for gifts, personal shopping, etc.

Last Christmas I found an amazing deal that I thought was too good to be true and got a dream light and pillow pet set for only $20. I was so excited for my boys to get them. Make sure to check out the other great deals being offered today!

GIVEAWAY:

5 people will each win an earring set, valued at $199!!

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Tell me who you want to win these earrings for

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Follow @1SaleADay on Twitter

4) Follow @aliciamarie112 on Twitter

5) Comment on another one of my blog posts

Giveaway ends December 23, 2013 at 11:59pm CST. Must be a US resident, age 18 or older to enter.

Trendy Looks And Soft Lips From Carmex {Giveaway}

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(Disclosure: I received free products from Carmex but all thoughts are my own.)

Every woman has a style of her own. Some are more classic, some are edgier, and some are always showing off the latest trends. I used to be trendier but started to stick with a more classic look as I headed into my mid-twenties and beyond.

Carmex, wanting to help each woman embrace her own unique style, created a Limited Edition collection of lip balms. There are four designs: chic black & white, adventurous leopard print,  trendworthy purple, and a whimsical colorful print. There is a quiz online where you can discover which stick best aligns with your personal style. I took the quiz and got “chic”.

 GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win the collection of Moisture Plus lip balms

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Tell me which design is your favorite

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Comment on another one of my blog posts

Giveaway ends December 19, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be 18 or older and a US resident to enter.

Get It Done With Microsoft Office {Giveaway}

microsoft office box

(Disclosure:  I participated in the Microsoft Office 365 campaign on behalf of One2One Network. All opinions stated are my own.)

You never know how much you take something for granted until you don’t have it. I never realized how much I used Microsoft Office products until I didn’t have them on my computer. I couldn’t edit Word documents people sent me, I couldn’t easily create invoices, and I had a lot of trouble opening attachments I was sent that were written in Word.

One thing I really wanted to do was create some sort of spreadsheet to track my blog income better. I had been relying on email and a sheet of scrap paper to keep track of things but that was a horrible system. Once I got Microsoft Office back I immediately created a spreadsheet using excel.

Using a spreadsheet has made it a lot easier to see when projects have been completed and when I should expect to be paid. I also created a blog expenses sheet and a sheet to keep track of where I have promoted posts on social media. All of these spreadsheets have made me much more efficient.

One other bonus of using Microsoft Office is that it can be accessed anywhere I go. The 9 to 5 has blurred and today people need modern technology to find balance. From the home to the office, and especially on the go, people all around the world are working differently than the past. I work from home full-time and, though I’m mostly at my computer, I need to be able to get work done even when I’m not home.

Show Microsoft how you #GetItDone and you and a friend could win a trip to some of the most happening events anywhere. Get it done alongside the most accomplished athletes, filmmakers and musicians around—on a trip to NYC, a journey to Park City, Utah, or a musical voyage to Austin, Texas. Visit http://bit.ly/GetItDoneContest to share and enter to win:

  • A February trip to NYC, America’s most get it done city—with enough cash to buy tickets to the big football showdown, or catch your favorite Broadway show.
  • Slap on your skis and head to Utah this January, where you can get it done in between indie flicks in Park City.
  • Fly to Austin in March, where you’ll enjoy a boot-scootin’ week of living history, live music and interactive in the heart of Texas.

Enter to win here at Making Time For Mommy, too! One reader will win a one-year subscription (US $99.99 value) of Office 365 Home Premium.

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Leave a comment telling me how you’d use Microsoft Office on the go

2) Share this giveaway on a social network.

3) Follow @Office on Twitter

4) Follow @aliciamarie112 on Twitter

5) Comment on another one of my blog posts

Giveaway ends November 24, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be a US resident and 18 years or older to enter.

Making The Best First Impression With AXE Hair {Walmart GC Giveaway}

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(Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but all thoughts are my own.)

Since having kids, I stopped spending much time on my morning routine. Working from home means I can wear comfy clothes all day long and my hair usually ends up in a ponytail because my hair takes forever to style. I used to care about making a good first impression but now I’m more worried about how my kids look than how I look. How important is making a good first impression to you? Are you the type that always strives to make the best impression you can or are you the type of person who could care less about what others think?

Regardless of your answer to the above question, I think it’s pretty safe to say that most everyone tries to make the best first impression they can when they go on job interviews. Walmart  and AXE Hair have teamed up for The Greatest Place to Work sweepstakes, inspired by the DVD release of the movie, The Internship.

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Through Oct. 23-Nov.23, just head to your local Walmart and visit bit.ly/axesweeps via your mobile phone, answer a couple fun and easy questions and get entered to win The Greatest Place to Work sweepstakes. You could win the prizes featured below.

 

Isn’t that a fantastic sweepstakes!? While I don’t have all those amazing prizes to give away, I do have a $25 Walmart gift card to give away to one reader. Enter in the comments below!

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Tell me what thing helps you make a great first impression…is it your smile, your power suit, a fierce lipstick, or your fabulous personality?

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Comment on another one of my blog posts

Giveaway ends November 26, 2013 at 11:59pm CST. Must be a US resident, 18 or older to enter.

Visa Gift Card Giveaway- Easy Entry!

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I’m excited to share that on the cbSocially Facebook page we are giving away a $25 Visa gift card! It’s easy to enter to win. Just comment on this status on Facebook with your favorite store to shop at. The giveaway ends tomorrow, Saturday 11/9 at noon EST, so hurry up and go enter :)

(Disclosure: This giveaway is being held on my work’s Facebook page but I am not receiving any compensation for posting this on my personal blog. Just thought you all would be interested. This giveaway is not associated with Facebook in any way.)

Change Your Clocks And Your Batteries {Giveaway}

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(Disclosure: I received a home safety kit but all thoughts are my own.)

Don’t forget that tonight you have to change your clocks back! While you are doing that you should also make sure to change the batteries in your smoke detectors.

Did you know, thirty-eight percent of fatal fire injuries occur in homes with no smoke alarms, while 24 percent occur in homes in which at least one smoke alarm is present but fails to operate, frequently due to dead or missing batteries? It is so important to change the batteries because a working smoke alarm can make the difference in whether you and your family have the critical extra seconds to safely escape or not.

With the extra hour “gained” from the end of daylight saving time it might be a good time to review your home fire safety plans also. Energizer’s Facebook page has coloring pages, escape plan grids, and fire safety tips you can go over with your family.

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win a Family Safety Kit complete with a reusable grocery tote containing: one 16-pack Energizer® MAX® AA Batteries years, one 1-pack of Energizer® MAX® 9 volt batteries, one Energizer® Weatheready® LED Safety Light flashlight, and one Kidde Battery-Operated Combination Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Alarm. {$70 value}

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Tell me how often you change the batteries in your smoke detectors

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Follow @aliciamarie112 on Twitter

4) Follow @Energizer on Twitter

5) Comment on another one of my posts

 Giveaway ends November 23, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be a US resident, 18 or older to enter.

 

Raccoon Rumpus Preschool Game {Giveaway}

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(Disclosure: I received this game for review but all thoughts are my own.)

At our Halloween get-together this past Saturday my boys and their cousins played Raccoon Rumpus and had so much fun. This game is perfect for the Halloween season because in this game the raccoons wear costumes, too! The kids roll dice and then have to put costumes on their raccoons based on what article of clothing and color they see.

This game is for 2-4 players, ages Pre-K and up. Our group was between the ages of 4 and 6 and all of them were able to play on their own. The boys have been playing this game daily and even play some games solo. This game is sure to be a hit and keep the kids busy throughout the winter!

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win a Raccoon Rumpus game

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Tell me who in your life would love playing this game

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Comment on another one of my posts

Giveaway ends November 16, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be a US resident and age 18 or over to enter.

Tiny Prints Holiday Cards {Giveaway}

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(Disclosure: I’m receiving free Christmas cards from Tiny Prints but all thoughts are my own.)

I love Christmas. I have been known to decorate on November 1st because I love the holiday so much. Holiday cards though? I never get them out on time! It’s such a long process and I always need to make sure I find the perfect card. This year I decided to start early in hopes that my Christmas cards would actually go out before the holiday :)

I checked out the Tiny Prints website to see this year’s Christmas Cards collection and here were some of my favorites:

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There were so many other cards that I loved. This is going to be a hard decision! I love the Christmas ones that share the good news of Christ being born but these “year in review” cards are calling me so hoping I can incorporate both into one card somehow.

Tiny Prints is offering new trim options this year- Square, rounded, bracket, ticket & scallop trim options. They also have new design styles for 2013 – Contemporary, Classic, Vintage, Full bleed photos, All That Glitters, Bold Expressions, Simply Chic, Woodland Wonder & The New Tradition. I like that they have all these options so you can really customize your card. Another thing you can do to make your cards stand out is to add matching address labels and envelope liners.

Tiny Prints also has great photo gifts! Want to make your own Christmas, holiday, or New Years cards? Enter to win below!

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win $50 off total order (plus free shipping) code at Tiny Prints

HOW TO ENTER:

Leave a comment telling me your favorite design

OPTIONAL EXTRA ENTRIES:

1) Pin your favorite card with the #TinyPrintsCheer hashtag

2) Share this giveaway on another social network

Giveaway ends October 25, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be a US resident, age 18 or older to win.

NCAA Fun At Target {Giveaway}

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(Disclosure: This is a compensated post but thoughts are my own.)

I talk about the Chicago Bears all the time but did you all know that I enjoy college ball, too? I live in Illinois but when I watch NCAA football or basketball the team I’m cheering for is from Ohio. Why? I went to college in Ohio! My school didn’t have a team in the NCAA since it was a small liberal arts school so the college team I adopted as “my” college team was Ohio State University {OSU}.

To make this sports season even more exciting, Target has teamed up with Dove Men+Care™, AXE®, Degree™ Men and the NCAA to create the “Save Your Season” QB Challenge. Enter the contest for your chance to win an Xbox One. Think your team is going to reign supreme? Recruit your friends to play against you!

Don’t forget to grab your favorite Dove Men+Care™, AXE® and Degree™ Men products, too. From now until November 9th, you’ll receive a $5 Target gift card when you buy any three participating Dove Men+Care™, AXE® or Degree™ Men products. Now, even if your team may stink this season, it doesn’t mean you have to.

Like Twitter parties? Join the Twitter party with @ResourcefulMom taking place on 11/4 at 8 PM ET by following the hashtag #NCAATarget.

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win a $20 Target giveaway

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Tell me what NCAA team you (or someone in your family) cheers for

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Follow me on Twitter

Giveaway ends November 9, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be 18 or older and a US resident to enter.

 

Save Money With The 2014 ENTERTAINMENT® Coupon Book {Giveaway}

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Everyone likes to save money. Many do this in a variety of ways, one of them being coupons. If you love to coupon you have probably heard about the ENTERTAINMENT® coupon books that are filled with great deals. I was excited to get one to review because I remember my parents having them when I was younger and getting to try out new places because we had coupons for them.

Featuring more than 250,000 locations to save across the United States and Canada, the 2014 edition of the iconic ENTERTAINMENT® book includes hundreds of 50% off and two-for-one discounts. Members have access to thousands of dollars of savings from local, regional and national brands all while supporting local schools and fundraising efforts. Savings are available for restaurants, groceries, shopping, services, movie tickets, travel, car care, local sports attractions and much more. The savings from using just a few of the coupons pays for the cost of the book!

Prefer mobile coupons? Anyone who purchases the 2014 edition also gets access to online and mobile savings through the website and mobile app, allowing you to save even more. I love this option because I sometimes forget my coupons at home but I always have my phone on me.

Available in 120 different city editions, the 2014 ENTERTAINMENT® Book Memberships can be purchased at www.entertainment.com, through a local fundraiser or retail partner, or by calling 888-231-SAVE (7283).  All of the coupons available in the 2014 edition are valid through Dec. 30, 2014.

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win a 2014 ENTERTAINMENT® Coupon Book for the Chicago South & West Areas

(This book includes coupons for: Buca di Beppo, Food4Less, Howl At The Moon, Papa Johns, Pump It Up, Hollywood Palms, Target, American Airlines and 100s of other brick-and-mortar & online locations)

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Tell me which place you hope there is a coupon for

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Follow me on Twitter

Giveaway ends November 15, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be 18 or over and a US resident to enter.

(Disclosure: I received a coupon book for free. All thoughts are my own.)

Giving The Gift Of Sleep {Giveaway}

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(Disclosure: This review was made possible by Double Duty Divas and Pampers. I was provided the featured product free of charge to facilitate my review, but all opinions are 100% mine.)

By interviewing over 9,000 moms about what was important for their baby, Pampers found the number one unmet need is a diaper that provides superior overnight dryness.  Pampers incorporated this firsthand insight, as well as the brand’s deep understanding of baby and baby’s needs, to design a diaper that both mom and baby can count on for up to 12 hours of overnight protection. Pampers Baby Dry now features a longer, blue tinted absorbent area, more absorbent materials making it 15% more absorbent and new and updated Sesame Street designs that moms love.

Pampers sent me on a mission to give the “Gift of Sleep” to a family or baby in my community. I thought of a friend at Church who is pregnant with her second child. She welcomed my family with open arms when we first came to the Church and coordinated the Special Needs Ministry ensuring that my children would be well cared for in a safe, loving environment while I attended service. I had been wanting to do something special for her and I thought this was the perfect opportunity to do so!

I created a little gift basket for her and the baby including Pampers Swaddlers and Baby Dry diapers along with Pampers wipes. For the baby I got a fleece pair of pajamas and blanket to keep him nice and warm, a rattle to play with, and a rubber ducky for bath time. I chose some lavender scented baby wash and lotion and a snooze wrap to ensure he would drift off to sleep easily.

I didn’t forget about the mommy-to-be either! I am giving her a copy of Dayspring’s Inspirational Daily Calendar with words from Ann Voskamp, one of my favorite bloggers/authors. I also added a teething bracelet for when the little one starts teething. I can’t wait to give her the basket of goodies on Sunday!

GIVEAWAY:

 Sleep Sheep Sound Machine, cozy blankets for Mom/Baby and a $50 Visa gift card

HOW TO ENTER:

1) Tell me who you’d give the gift of sleep to

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Follow Pampers on Twitter

4) Follow me on Twitter

5) Subscribe to this blog via email (look in upper right column)

Giveaway ends October 28, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be a US resident and 18 or older to win.