Gift Idea For The Tween Gamer In Your Life

This is a paid post with MomSelect on behalf of Ubisoft. All thoughts are my own as always.

Have a tween on your holiday shopping list this year? If so, I’ve found the perfect gift for them! Starlink: Battle for Atlas is a game that’s a good fit for the 7-12 year old gamer who is at an age between kiddy video games and older, teen video games which means it’s perfect for kids like my two boys who are nine and ten. This video game has the open world play that has become so popular lately but is in a contained environment that’s safer for kids which means it has all of the challenges and adventure that kid gamers are looking for without the unsafe interactions that are common in other open world games.

In the game, tweens can travel seamlessly through the exotic alien worlds of the Atlas star system and discover its seven unique planets, each with its own ecosystem, wildlife and secrets to uncover. The world evolves depending on the player’s actions and choices, and continues to evolve even when they aren’t around. The innovative modular toys that come with the game, and are available as add-ons, allow players to build unique starships which can be customized for a new way to play as players adapt to overcome any challenge they encounter in this epic open world adventure. After they build their starship combo they can see it come to life in the game.


The game is available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. I decided to get the Switch version because I like the idea of being able to take this on the go when we travel. The Starlink: Battle for Atlas Starter Pack retails for $74.99 and includes the game, a controller mount (which allows you to connect your starship and pilot your controller), a starship, two weapon add-on’s, and two pilots. The box also contains a poster which they were excited about because they love covering the walls of their room with cool posters. 

The game components were simple enough for my ten year old to set up himself and he liked this unique way of playing his Switch. The game also offers the ability to invite a friend to join seamlessly at any time with the two-player split-screen option which is a nice feature. Jacob has recently developed a love of playing video games with his friends so I like that this game has that option and can see him using it often. Overall, he really enjoyed playing this game and I appreciated the fact that it has a storyline behind it and that it kept his interest for a while.

Would your tween gamer love this game? I’d love to hear your thoughts over on social! You can chat with me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Baby Bath Time Gift Basket

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GetJohnsonsBaby #ChooseGentle #CollectiveBias

Now that I’m in my second trimester I have a bit more energy than I’ve had over the past few months and I’m getting everything ready for baby before we are deep into our back-to-school routine and then before we know it the holidays are here and baby #3 arrives. We’ve set up the crib in our little baby nook and I’ve started buying baby things here and there. I’ll admit I have gotten a few I-don’t-really-need-this-but-baby-must-have-it items from the baby aisles of Target but I’m mostly stocking up on essentials.

 

(Interested in shopping for essentials online? Hover over the photo above to click through to shop JOHNSON’S® products at Target.com!)

When it comes to shopping I’m sticking to many brands I know and have relied on for years. One of those brands is JOHNSON’S® and their baby care line. I used the products with my boys, who are 9 and 10 years old, when they were babies and will use them for our new little one, too.

(Sidenote…) I thought it was hilarious when I went back to look for this photo shared above of my oldest and saw this message from my college roommate…

Little did we both know I’d be sharing it with them all these years later!

Anyways….

Like I said, I loved JOHNSON’S® then and I love it now but I feel even more confident using JOHNSON’S® on baby now because they have reformulated their products, inside and out, to set a new standard for gentle. Their products now have 50% fewer ingredients and contain no parabens, no phthalates, and are hypoallergenic.

I made sure to stock up on all my favorite bath time essentials and put together a little bath time kit that would make a super cute, practical gift for a new mom. It also is something you can put together for your own baby, like I did, if you want all of the bath items in one easy-to-carry container that can be moved from one bathroom to the other.

I included a rolled up hooded bath towel, baby washclothes, a rubber ducky bath water thermometer, JOHNSON’S® Safety Swabs, and a variety of other JOHNSON’S® baby products. I included JOHNSON’S® Head-to-Toe Wash & Shampoo and JOHNSON’S® Baby Lotion which are perfect for daytime baths along with my favorite trio for sleepy nighttime baths- JOHNSON’S® Bedtime Bath, JOHNSON’S® Calming Shampoo, and JOHNSON’S® bedtime lotion. The redesigned bottles are awesome with their easy-to-use pumps that are perfect for moms who are often trying to do everything one-handed as they hold their little one.

Everything went in to a durable container that I decorated with a little sweet, colorful garland. New moms will love getting the essentials their baby needs for a happy bath time routine and they will also appreciate how easy it is to carry baby’s bath essentials wherever they need them in their homes!

Target (my favorite store ever!) has all the items you need for this baby bathtime basket and there’s nothing better than strolling the aisles, coffee in hand, while you do your shopping. Plus, Target currently has a great offer going on for JOHNSON’S® baby products- buy 3, get a $5 gift card – which lasts through September 1st, 2018. And, if you are currently pregnant, don’t forget about Target’s baby registry because once you register you can get their amazing welcome kit (a $100 value) for free! It’s a great way to sample products from great brands like JOHNSON’S®.

Speaking of sampling products, be on the lookout for a Target in-store sampling on 8/26 where you can test out the Cotton Touch and the Bedtime lotions and also get a special coupon for the products.

What essentials do you stock up on for baby gifts or for your own baby? I’d love to hear so let me know on social by tweeting me (@aliciamarie112), PMing me on Instagram (aliciamarie112cb), or sharing on Facebook (/MakingTimeForMommy).

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Iced Tea Gift Basket For Mom

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #TeaProudly #CollectiveBias

Mother’s Day is coming up and I have the perfect gift for you to give to your mom….time with you! My mom always says she wants time to spend with her daughter and it makes sense. Imagine you spend years with your child relying on you and then all of a sudden they are grown up and out on their own- working, raising kids, and just busy with life in general… you don’t see them as much and when you do it’s typically with the grandkids in tow. We know grandma loves the littles but she probably really misses spending time with you.

So, in brainstorming some ideas for mother-daughter time, I thought about a creative gift idea that is super simple and will show mom just how TEA-rific you think she is. With the weather getting warmer, and my mom liking iced tea, I created an iced tea gift basket. This thoughtful gift, complete with two cups (one for you and one for mom!), shows her that you want to spend an afternoon on the patio listening to her tell stories while the two of you sip iced tea.

 

(Hover over the image above to shop for Bigelow Tea at Walmart.com!)

I decided to make the gift basket colorful because iced tea reminds me of summer and I wanted my gift basket to reflect that. I added a handtowel, two tumblers, coasters, a fun-shaped ice cube tray and a cute carafe. I also put Bigelow tea packets inside the tumblers. I chose Bigelow Tea (manufactured right here in the U.S.) because it’s my family’s favorite brand of tea. Known for their quality ingredients and foil packaging that keeps the tea fresh, it’s the perfect addition to a gift basket for mom.

When it came to flavors, I picked out fruity flavors of tea since I thought they would fit in well with the sunny day themed basket. Great choices include: Red Raspberry Herbal Tea, I Love Lemon with Vitamin C Herbal Tea, and Green Tea with Pomegranate.

Along with the gift basket you can also brew some iced tea for mom. I made iced tea using the Red Raspberry Herbal Tea and then put it in a “mom” tumbler before we headed outside to enjoy the sunny day.

Making the iced tea was a lot easier than I realized! Here’s the process to make 3 cups of iced tea:

  • Steep 6 tea bags in 8 ounces of hot water for 10 minutes
  • Pour concentrate into pitcher
  • Add 24 ounces of cold water on top of the tea concentrate and stir
  • Pour into glasses and serve.

So give mom the gift she wants most of all and bond over cups of delicious iced tea. Before you leave make sure to remind her that she’s hosting your next mother-daughter get-together and she has all the tools to do so thanks to the sweet gift you gave her!

*****

Find all your favorite Bigelow Tea flavors at your local Walmart!

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Romantic Scavenger Hunt And A Game Night Date Basket

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SendingYourLove #CollectiveBias

When Sinisa and I first started dating he went all out with the romantic gestures, from roses covering my car to mushy Hallmark cards on the regular. Now that we have kids (and have been together for over 10 years), the daily romance has changed from gifts of flowers, cards and candy to acts of love like doing the dishes and bringing me coffee. I still get cards and flowers and things like that, just more sporadically than I used to.

For Valentine’s Day this year I wanted to surprise him with a romantic gesture worthy of those I received during the early stages of our relationship and decided upon a romantic scavenger hunt to find a date night gift basket. I went to Walmart to get the cards for the scavenger hunt and some special date night gift basket goodies, including some games for us to play on our date-night-in since game nights are such a fun way to spend time together. Walmart has the newest collection of Hallmark Signature Cards for Valentine’s Day, so I picked out a variety of cards to write scavenger hunt hints in.

Hallmark Signature Cards are premium, hand-crafted cards and I fell in love with the beautiful embellishments on them. One of my favorites had a lovely message embossed on wood which reminded me of the game pieces to one of my favorite board games. Since I love to get crafty, this inspired me to make a little gift to go along with the board game that I was putting in the gift basket.

I love cards because you can write special messages in them and another favorite thing to give is personalized gifts, like this letter tile craft. The craft itself is pretty easy to put together but does require some planning when it comes to tile placement (which I learned the hard way lol). I was originally going to just put “Alicia”, “Sinisa” and “Love” but that seemed too empty so I decided to add the word “Family” and add my boy’s names in as well. Everything looked like it fit but then I went to put the frame on and discovered some of the pieces were too close to the edge so I had to use their nicknames so that everything would fit.

Here’s what you need to make this letter craft:

  • Shadow box (mine was 8×8 size)
  • Scrapbook paper for the background
  • Letter tiles
  • Adhesive (I used a photo adhesive to adhere the letter tiles to the paper)

To make the craft:

Cut the piece of scrapbook paper to fit inside the frame and adhere it to the inside cardboard backing of the frame


Arrange letter tiles how you would like them and add adhesive to the back of the tiles, one tile at a time, sticking each tile in place where you’d like it to be. Once all the tiles are on, put the frame back together.

When you are done crafting, it’s time to put the basket together. Along with the frame, I added a snack, something to drink, a board game, a deck of cards and a cute Valentine’s decoration.

With the date night basket ready you are all set to put together the scavenger hunt for them to find the basket. You can choose to do the scavenger hunt around your home or at places that are special to the two of you (like maybe where you had your first date, a place your family likes to go, etc.) Since it’s winter, and I live in Chicago, I decided to do the scavenger hunt around the house.

I wrote notes in a few Hallmark cards and hid them around the house, with each card giving a hint of where he could find the next card. The first place I left a hint was on the front door so Sinisa would see it right when he came home from work.

Inside I left a message about the scavenger hunt and then led him to his next card with this hint: “your love makes my heart make music”. You could also say “your love makes my heart beat faster” or something else cute like that. This clue could lead to a stereo or musical instrument. Our son plays guitar so I put the next clue on the guitar.

The card led to a map (hint: “I’m happiest wherever I am, as long as I’m with you”) which led to a pillow (hint: “I dream about you”) which led to the candy basket (hint: “your love is sweeter than chocolate”) which led to the car where the basket was hidden (hint: “you drive me wild”). This was such a fun thing to do and a cute way to start a date night!

The scavenger hunt was really simple to put together and a lot of fun, especially when it ends with a gift basket and a romantic date-night-in!

Don’t forget your loved ones this Valentine’s Day. If you are short on time just head to Walmart where it’s easy to get everything for your Valentine’s Day celebration – including the perfect Hallmark Cards. And, 1/29 through 2/14 (or while supplies last), earn $1 back on Ibotta at Walmart on any Hallmark Valentine’s Cards priced $2.97 and above! You can also keep your eyes peeled for an in-aisle coupon at Walmart – get $2 off when you buy 3 Hallmark Valentine’s Day Cards!

Visit the Hallmark Valentine’s Day Hub for more inspiration and to find a store near you!

How are you celebrating Valentine’s Day this year?

Double Date Idea And A Paint Night Gift Basket

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FronteraExperience #CollectiveBias

For a while now I’ve been wanting to go to one of those places where you can hang out and paint. It sounds like it would be such a great time but I really don’t get out that much for girl’s night or date night since becoming a parent. Because of this I thought it would be fun to put together a paint night gift basket to bring the painting fun home! The basket is perfect for a girl’s night in or a double date night with another couple. (Personally I love the double date in idea because you get time with a friend and your man – just get a sitter to share and enjoy some adult couple time.)

Along with the painting there’d have to be food because a fun evening isn’t complete without it! When I thought about the bright colors of paint I had bought, I immediately knew they would pair perfectly with the vibrant flavors of one of my favorite cuisines- Mexican! I also knew I wanted something simple because nothing kills the fun of an evening for the hostess like being stuck in the kitchen while everyone else enjoys time together. Luckily I knew just the right ones that would work- Frontera® Frozen Skillets, inspired by Chef Rick Bayless. They only take about 15 minutes to cook so they can be made before guests arrive or while everyone’s artwork dries.

The paint night gift basket makes a great gift for a friend or your significant other. To make it for a double date night just put enough of everything for four people in the gift basket!

Here’s what I put in my gift basket:

  • 4 Canvases to paint
  • Acrylic paint in various colors
  • 4 Paint palettes
  • Paintbrushes (fine and wide tip)
  • Colorful plates and napkins

The gift basket is easy to put together. I used a black tin and decorated it with some paper flowers on the outside and added some crumpled paper inside the bottom of the tin. I added in canvases to paint (two 5X7 and two 8×10 sizes), paintbrushes, tubes of acrylic paint, paint palettes, and colorful napkins and plates for our dinner.

Speaking of dinner….if you love Mexican food you have to try these skillets. Frontera® Foods brings premium ingredients and flavors into the kitchen so they make the perfect dish to bring friends together. I bought two flavor varieties, the Frontera® Chicken Fajita Skillet (made with tender cuts of seared chicken simmered together with fire-roasted poblanos and chipotle chiles) and the Frontera® Carnitas Taco Skillet (made with slow-cooked pork with tangy tomatillos and roasted poblano chiles).

I loved that the meal’s ingredients and directions read in plain English and were simple to follow. They are so easy to cook that it took less than fifteen minutes to go from freezer to table.

I bought the Frontera® Frozen Skillets, along with two jars of their salsa (Frontera® Jalapeño Cilantro Salsa and Frontera® Tomatillo Salsa), at Target. We found the meals in the freezer aisle and they had a variety of flavors to choose from.

And, if you are into saving money (who isn’t!?), from now through November 25th use the Cartwheel coupon below to get 25% off Frontera® Skillets at Target!

Have you ever had a double date night in? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

The Gift Of Writing

Thanks to CROSS pens for sponsoring this #LongStoryShort post.

For as long as I can remember I have loved to write and it’s something that’s come out in various ways as I have grown. In grade school one of my favorite assignments was to create a homemade book, and I spent hours perfecting my story line and illustrations. When I was in Junior High I wrote the story of my sister’s preemie birth to document that day and share about my experience during her NICU stay and beyond. Throughout the years I have had dozens of book ideas in my head and have half written manuscripts tucked away in my home. As an adult I started a blog to express myself after giving birth to my first born child.

This blog, Making Time For Mommy, started as a hobby for me. I wanted to write about my dreams and goals and how I made time for myself, even if nobody ever read it. I realized that I could connect with other moms through it and started writing to them and sharing my posts on social media.

Eventually I discovered that this hobby of mine was turning into a business. Though I still wrote for myself and for my readers, I was able to start making a bit of money to help contribute to our family (which, with the addition of my youngest, had become a family of four). At that time, even a tiny bit of income helped greatly and brought us from poverty level into what is considered the lower middle class. It also allowed Sinisa to cut down his work hours by only having to work one job instead of two.

When my blog led to a full-time job online we became a two-earner family and I quickly became the breadwinner in our home. Me. This mom, who had never finished college, was able to make an income from home while raising two children and it was all because of my writing “hobby”.  I now blog full-time and feel so blessed to be able to do something I absolutely love every day.

Do you know a budding writer? Give them the gift of writing and encourage them to follow their dreams- whether it’s writing the novel that’s in their head or turning writing into a career like I did. A fabulous gift for them this holiday season (or really any time) would be a beautiful pen by CROSS. CROSS pens are luxury fine writing instruments that symbolize achievement, accomplishments, and human potential. The pens can be engraved with the word or saying of your choice. I chose to get mine engraved with “MOM BOSS” to celebrate my blogging business but the options are endless!

What writer in your life would love the chance to express their dreams with one of these amazing pens?

Surprise Your Family With The Ultimate Gift

Sometimes blogging offers such amazing opportunities for my family and I was lucky to be able to treat my boys to the best gift ever this summer- a fabulous Springfree trampoline courtesy of the company. Their faces when they saw it were priceless. They were so excited and I loved being able to give them such a special surprise.

If you are still looking for a gift for your family, Springfree trampolines will create hours of fun for years to come. Imagine family gatherings, those long summer days and more, all spent outside together. You’ll also have the confidence in knowing that you’ve chosen a safe gift for your family.

new study from the Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics shows that from 2002 to 2011, trampoline accidents accounted for more than 1 million ER visits. This equates to 100,000 ER visits a year in the US alone. Springfree eliminates 90 percent of product-related injuries associated with traditional trampolines. Springfree is the only trampoline on the market that offers a safe jumping environment by removing the impact areas that can cause injury including risks from the springs, the frame at the jumping surface, falls to the ground and collision with rigid enclosure poles.

Image courtesy: Springfree

If you are looking to buy a Springfree trampoline I wanted to share that now through December 30th, Springfree is offering FREE shipping and a FREE FlexrHoop with every purchase! Check out all the available sizes and pricing here. There is also a #SpringfreeSurprise contest going on. To enter:

  • Plan an elaborate Springfree Surprise for your family this holiday season.
  • Film or photograph the surprise.
  • Upload your photos/videos/stories to the Springfree Surprise page by December 31st.
  • Share your surprise on social media with the hashtag #SpringfreeSurprise.
Have fun! I’ll be following the hashtag to see all the excited faces on Christmas morning :)

 

Angry Birds Go! Telepods Pig Rock Raceway Set {Giveaway}

My boys are really into Angry Birds lately. They love the phone app but they also enjoy playing with the playsets. I shared about the small set we got back in October (find the review here) and this month Hasbro sent us the ANGRY BIRDS GO! TELEPODS PIG ROCK RACEWAY Set.

This set is so much fun! Lucas was home sick from school today and, once I set it up for him, spent over an hour playing with the set (which is great for him considering he doesn’t have much of an attention span).

Two of the birds are in little cars and, with the push of a button, race each other along this long race track. There are extra obstacles you can add to the excitement but for my four year old the basic racing was enough to keep him occupied.

It was so cute listening to Lucas say, “you win! yay!” over and over again when one of the cars would get to the end of the track.

Another way to play with the characters from this set is to use the phone app and teleport your angry bird into the game. The boys think it’s so cool that they can do this.

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win an Angry Birds Go! Telepods Pig Rock Raceway Set

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 this for

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Comment on another one of my blog posts

Giveaway ends December 30, 2013 at 11:59pm CST. Must be 18 or older and a US resident to enter.

(Disclosure: As stated above, I received a game for review.)

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

(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.

Play-Doh’s Holiday Craft Fun

(Disclosure: I received books from Play-Doh to review but thoughts are my own.)

My boys love playing with Play-Doh’s “Let’s Create” series books that we reviewed back in August so we were excited to learn about their new Holiday Craft Fun Series. Both books in this brand new series combine tactile, interactive play with learning to not only help children retain basic concepts taught at the preschool level but also to make the learning experience enlightening and entertaining by bringing in 15 inventive craft projects that tie in the spirit of Halloween and Christmas.

In PLAY-DOH: Halloween Craft Fun, Groovy Ghost invites kids to an evening of crafty creations. With the projects in this kit, children will help Groovy bring the Halloween party to life with the turn of every page and step-by-step guides to molding spooky PLAY-DOH sculpts. By the end of the book, children, from ages 3 and up, will know how to craft jack-o’-lanterns, ghosts, witches, spiders, candies, and other ghoulish goodies. Learning takes shape within the book and activities that combine reading, written and verbal directions, and hands-on projects. Complete with a book of instructions, four cans of PLAY-DOH compound, a roller, and a plastic knife, PLAY-DOH, Halloween Craft Fun is a thrilling adventure that invites youngsters to be bold and mold.

Lucas loved creating spooky figures with his daddy.It was a great way for Sinisa (who hates crafts) to do something creative and not too messy with the boys and he seemed to enjoy it as much as the kids did. I liked how the book gave step-by-step directions for those who can’t just look at a picture and copy what they see.

The other book is PLAY-DOH: Christmas Craft Fun which introduces young readers to Holiday Hound, who acts as their guide in this holiday crafting extravaganza. In no time at all, kids will be as equally enchanted by the Christmas-themed story that unfolds as they will by the snowmen, candy canes, bows, and drums that they will learn to make under Holiday Hound’s tutelage. This kit also comes with 4 cans of PLAY-DOH compound and two sculpting tools. Recommended for ages 3 and up, PLAY-DOH: Christmas Craft Fun is a great way to kick off the holiday season and it makes a great gift for school gift exchanges and a project to keep kids occupied during holiday parties and gatherings.

If you are looking for something to keep the kid’s busy as it gets colder outside these are perfect for indoor fun. They’d make great gifts, too!

Flashlight Friends Make The Dark Not So Spooky

Jacob is afraid of the dark. Every night we have to have the hallway light on because his nightlight doesn’t give off nearly enough light. We received a flashlight friend for review and, while both boys are loving it, Jacob is especially fond of it because their new stuffed friend has a light in his belly so Jacob has a great light for the dark.

Flashlight Friends are available in four styles: dragon, penguin, puppy and unicorn. I love that the Flashlight Friend is soft and huggable because many of the other light up things we own are hard inside and not something that the kids can sleep with. To turn the light on all the kids have to do is tap the tummy light twice. Another great feature is that the light shuts off automatically 10 minutes later so I won’t find the light still on when I go upstairs to check on the kids before I go to bed.

Flashlight Friends can be purchased online here.

(Disclosure: As stated above, we received a Flashlight Friend for review. All thoughts are my own.)

LeapPad2 Power Prize Pack Giveaway {$170 Value}

(Disclosure: I received products from LeapFrog and this giveaway is sponsored by them but all thoughts are my own.)

Yesterday I posted a video with some great tips on choosing educational toys. I learned a lot of valuable information, including more about how toys are developed at LeapFrog. You can find the video here.

I’m so excited that LeapFrog is letting me host a giveaway for you all! We have an old LeapPad and the kids love it! One of you will win a LeapPad2 Power, 2 games and $20 app card. The total value of this giveaway prize is $170. Wouldn’t this make a perfect Christmas gift!?

Here’s a little more about the LeapPad2 Power:

Create, learn and explore with the #1 kids’ learning tablet*—now with an easy, one-step recharger built just for the LeapPad2- a $40 value! You’ll never have to buy batteries again!

The LeapPad2™ Power learning tablet includes 9 apps, 4GB memory and loads of exciting features in a kid-tough tablet designed just for kids! Take pictures and videos with front-and-back cameras/video recorders. Play, draw and write on the 5″ touch screen with the included stylus. Tilt and shake for motion-based play, customize and care for a lovable pet, and create masterpieces in the Art Studio.

LeapPad2 Power works with LeapFrog’s library of 800+ educator-approved apps, games, eBooks, videos, music and more.** Learning games draw from 2,600 skills and select games auto-level, adapting to your child’s pace in subjects like reading, writing and mathematics. With 4GB of storage and an included rechargeable battery pack, the learning fun never ends!

Features
• Charge and go with a long-lasting rechargeable battery pack and AC adapter included. Get up to 9 hours of play time with each full charge!
• Create, learn and explore with the #1 kids’ learning tablet. Now with an included one-step recharger pack—you’ll never have to buy batteries again!
• Features front-and-back cameras/video recorders, eReader, music player, motion sensor, 5″ touch screen and 4GB memory.
• LeapPad2™ Power includes 9 apps (onboard and downloadable):  Photo Lab, Art Studio, Pet Pad, LeapFrog Learning Songs and more.
• Works with LeapFrog’s educator-approved library of over 800+ games, eBooks, videos and more.
• Compatible with LeapFrog Explorer™ cartridges and apps (sold separately) and LeapFrog LeapPad2™ accessories (sold separately).
• Ages 3-9 years
• Includes 1 year limited warranty

You can also connect to the LeapFrog Learning Path to see the details of your child’s play and learning, including levels achieved, skills practiced and recently played games. Celebrate accomplishments with online rewards, and gather ideas to support and expand the learning.

HOW TO ENTER:

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

1) Tell me who you’d love to win this for

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

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

4) Comment on another one of my posts

5) Follow LeapFrog on Twitter

6) Follow me on Twitter

Giveaway ends November 1, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be 18 or over and a US resident to enter.

GeoSafari Jr. Animal Eye Viewers For Kids {Giveaway}

(Disclosure: I received a set of Animal Eye Viewers to review. All thoughts are my own.)

Have a child who is really into animals? Or maybe one who wants to know everything about everything? If so, they will love GeoSafari Jr.’s Animal Eye Viewers from Educational Insights!

These viewers let them see the world through an animal’s eyes. Three viewers come in the box: shark, insect, and a chameleon.

Did you know that sharks can see what’s behind them? Your child can get a 360 degree view with rear-view mirrors, central blind spot, and an ocean-blue tint! They will think they are swimming in the ocean.

Did you know that instects can detect movement faster than we can? Your child will see dozens of mini-images with this pixelated view of the world. For even more fun, have them run around “bzzzz”ing like a bee!

Did you know that chameleons can look in two different directions at once? Your child can look through the viewers that have two independently rotating eyeballs.

The shark was Jacob’s favorite animal eye viewer. He had a lot of fun walking around outside while looking through them and was looking at everything up close. He even wore them to the school bus to show his bus driver because he thought they were so cool!

Want to find more fun ways to use the viewers? Download free play-and-learn activities online.

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win a set of 3 Animal Eye Viewers courtesy of Educational Insights

HOW TO ENTER:

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

1) Tell me which animal you think your child/grandchild would like the most

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Comment on another one of my posts

Giveaway ends October 20, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be 21 or over to enter. Open to US and Canadian residents.

50 Ways To Say You’re Awesome {Giveaway}

(Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book but all thoughts are my own.) 

Recent studies have shown that just saying “thank you” is proven to boost health and happiness —promoting a stronger immune system, lowering blood pressure, even helping you sleep. And besides being good for you, saying thanks just got easier with 50 Ways to Say You’re Awesome, a creative and fun way to tell the people in your life that you care.

The book is filled with cheeky mad-libs style notecards you can full in, pull out and give to your loved one, parent, BFF or friendly barista. It also includes 50 ways to put your thanks into action. How about:

·         Tucking a note into your sweetheart’s coat pocket as a romantic surprise?

·         Framing your favorite note and placing it in your workspace for everyday inspiration?

·         Rolling the note into miniature cones and filling them with candy for a favorite friend?

I love this book because it gives people a quick way to show their appreciation by using old-school communication methods: written and face-to-face! Too often those methods are forgotten and messages come via text message, Facebook and email. I found a variety of messages in there for many people in my life and loved how colorful the pages were. I also liked that the book contained pages with writing prompts.

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win a copy of the book 50 Ways to Say You’re Awesome

HOW TO ENTER:

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

1) Leave a comment telling me who in your life you think is awesome

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

Giveaway ends October 15, 2013 at 11:59pm Central Time. Must be 21 or over and a US resident to enter.

(Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book but all thoughts are my own.)

Make A Plate Art Project Kits For Kids

I’ve just been given the opportunity to review the Make A Plate Art Project and I’m looking forward to sharing it with you. I will be posting about my experience when I receive the kit.

If you want to make one as well, my readers save 30% on their Prepaid Art Plate Kit (that’s a savings of over $5!) – USE PROMO CODE: USFAMILY at http://www.makit.com/ProductDetail.aspx?ProductCode=K1100PP

Makit has been in business for over 40 years. Make A Plate kits allow children to let their creativity soar in crafting a lasting gift for Mom, Dad, Grandparent or teacher. All Make A Plates are nontoxic, BPA-Free, dishwasher safe and proudly made in the USA.

Daily Whisper Inspirational Messages For Women {Review}

Some days I feel great about myself and some days, like many women, I have a lot of negative thoughts about myself run through my mind. I should have reached out to that friend earlier. I should exercise more so I can be skinnier. I should not work and give my kids more time. I should have done more from my to-do list today.

All of the things that go through my head bring me down and make me doubt the job I’m doing on a daily basis as a woman and as a mom. The truth is, yes there is always areas I can improve on but I’m really doing the best I can with the time and energy I have.

That’s why I like these Daily Whisper Inspirational Message cards. They are little business card sized messages with beautiful colors that keep me thinking positively and encourage me daily. They neutralize negative beliefs and unhealthy self talk.

One of my favorite cards talks specifically to women who work. As a mom who works from home this is constantly an area where I have a lot of negative self-talk and question myself a lot. Is this the best thing for my family? Am I giving my kids enough time? Most of the time these questions are insinuated by society and by others and not necessarily something brought on by me.

I have been a stay at home mom. I have been a working mom. Now I’m a work at home mom and I am so blessed to be able to do what I do on a daily basis and I think what I am doing is best for my family. This card reminds me that this is a journey that I am on and my family and I are on it together. It’s also a daily reminder to express to my family how much I love them and am thankful for them.

***

Daily Whisper Inspirational Cards are also now available for teens and children. Each set focuses on the unique challenges faced at these different life stages. The cards can be bought online here.

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

Zoo 3D Awesome Animal Kingdom Book Review

Have an animal lover in your life? I think I have the perfect gift idea for them! The editors of TIME For Kids magazine have put together a fun book called Zoo 3D Awesome Animal Kingdom. This book is full of 3D photos of animals. The book comes with 2 pairs of 3D glasses so kids can look at the animals as the creatures seem to leap, crawl, fly, slither, swim, and stampede off the pages. The book is packed with close to 100 large-scale, state-of-the art photos taken by master 3D photographer, David Klutho.

I put some glasses on and checked out the book myself. The animals and insects all look so real! The tarantula was all hairy and it looked like if I touched it I would feel the little hairs prickling my fingers. I also liked that the book had information about the different workers that the children might find at the Zoo working with the animals.

After I was done looking at it I gave it to Jacob. It was funny watching him try to reach out and touch the animals. He normally doesn’t like anything on his face or head due to his sensory issues but he left the glasses on the whole time he was looking at the pictures.

You can find more details about the book here.

This book can be bought from Amazon among other stores. If you are an Amazon Prime member you can get it for $13.57 which is a great deal for this book. With free two day shipping it should be at your doorstep before Christmas!

(Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for review but all thoughts are my own.)

The City Ruffle Shawl- A Perfect Gift For The On-The-Go Mom

Busy moms know that when you are on the go you want to be stylish and comfortable at the same time. I also like to wear layers so I can easily change what I’m wearing to work for the temperature in the room. The City Ruffle Shawl from AprilMarin is perfect for my every day life.

I love that there are so many ways to wear it. I can dress it up with some jewelry or dress it down with a tank top and some comfy boots. It can be worn several different ways which is fun. I received one in black and have been wearing it over my shoulders to keep warm while I work.

This accessory is one size fits all and comes in a variety of different colors. I love the one pictured above and think it would brighten a room with it’s pretty color. Another feature is that it’s machine washable which is great because that means washing it is not a hastle.

The City Ruffle Shawl retails for $89. You can find more images of the shawl and a link to purchase one here.

(Disclosure: I received a City Ruffle Shawl to review but all thoughts are my own.)

Hickory Farms Gift Set Giveaway

For more than 60 years Hickory Farms gifts have been a classic holiday tradition that brings family and friends together. They also make great gifts for those hard to shop for friends and family members. Hickory Farms products can be purchased online at HickoryFarms.com, in 700 holiday stores and kiosks across North America, and in select retailers.

My family was sent a Hickory Farms Pack & Go Picnic Tote. A week later and we only have some of the Peanut Brittle left. Sinisa loved the summer sausage and cheese that came in the box. I loved the Peppermint cookies and the mini melt away mints. The boys enjoyed the Holiday pretzels and loved the festive sprinkles that covered them.

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win a Hickory Farms Pack & Go Picnic Tote that includes the following:

-Signature Beef Summer Sausage
-Turkey Summer Sausage
-Farmhouse Cheddar
-Holiday Pretzels
-Peanut Brittle
-Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
-White Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
-Mini Melt Away Mints
-Olive Oil & Rosemary Crackers

HOW TO ENTER:

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

1) Tell me which Hickory Farms product is your favorite

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Subscribe to this blog via email {look in upper right hand corner}

4) Leave a comment on another one of my blog posts

Giveaway ends December 2, 2012 at 11:59pm Central time. US 18+ only.

(Disclosure: Compensation and products for review were provided by Hickory Farms via MomTrends. I received a free sample of the product for the purpose of this review and to facilitate a giveaway.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Hickory Farms.)

Trunki Kid’s Suitcase From Melissa & Doug {Giveaway}

I told you all about Melissa & Doug’s Top Twenty List the other day and promised a giveaway of one of the great gift items on there. It was hard to make up my mind as to which one to giveaway but I really love the one I chose and I hope you will too!

GIVEAWAY:

Blue Trunki Suitcase from Melissa & Doug

This is a great suitcase for traveling on long trips or just weekends at Grandma’s. It has wheels so children can ride it while the parent pulls them around. There are also additional stickers that can be purchased so children can personalize it themselves.

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 the Trunki for

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Like Making Time For Mommy on Facebook

4) Follow me on Pinterest

5) Comment on another one of my posts

Giveaway ends November 25, 2012 at 11:59pm Central time. US 18+ only.

(Disclosure: I received a product for posting about Melissa & Doug’s toy list. This giveaway is not associated with Facebook in any way.)

Touch’d Review and Giveaway

I wanted to share a new line of beauty products with you called Touch’d which launched yesterday. Touch’d bath and body was founded by Rachel Ferrucci. Rachel created the products when she couldn’t find what she was looking for in the stores.  She says, “one product specifically, the organic sugar scrub, was created when my daughter had eczema and the doctors were giving us medicated creams that seemed to be drying out her skin. I wanted to give my daughter relief without slopping medicated creams all over her delicate body. I researched and read every book on natural oils and how they can benefit our skin. I was successful in making a product that was 100% organic and alleviated her eczema.” Being a mom of a child with eczema myself,  I understand completely where she is coming from.

I had the pleasure of reviewing the “Moisture Myst” in the Tropical Paradise scent. The website says that the “convenient spray on moisturizer will revive and hydrate your skin with oils containing natural vitamins to penetrate rather than coat it. Moisture Myst contains no waxes, leaving silky smooth skin with none of the grease.” I love that the spray made my skin feel soft without feeling oily like a lot of other lotions do. I also love the floral smell of the myst which is one of six different scents that the products come in.

Rachel says that the myst is great to use right after a shower so your skin will soak it up. Another great use for the spray is as a moisturizer after too much time in the sun. She says if you get a sunburn and use Moisture Myst three times a day, you won’t peel.

To try out the Moisture Myst or any of the other products you can visit the Touch’d online shop and buy one. To receive 25% off your order you can use the code “TimeforMommy” (valid June 7th-July 15th). You can also win one here!

GIVEAWAY

Rachel is offering a Touch’d Foaming Salt Soak to one lucky reader.

To enter to win you can do any of the following (leave a comment for each):

1) Subscribe to Making Time For Mommy blog

2) Go to the Touch’d website and tell me which scent is your favorite

3) Like Touch’d on Facebook

4) “Like” Making Time For Mommy on Facebook

5) Follow @touchd on Twitter

6) Follow @aliciamarie112 on Twitter

7) Tweet about this giveaway (please leave link to your tweet). Must include link to this post in your status update.

This giveaway will end on July 8, 2010 at 11:59pm. Please make sure to include an email address so that I can contact you if you win.

(Disclosure: I received the Moisture Myst from Rachel at Touch’d to review. All opinions given are my own.)

Loving My New Keurig

I was given the opportunity to review a Keurig-Special Edition Brewing System in exchange for sharing my honest opinion about it with you all.

I have to tell you that I was super excited to try it out because of all the great reviews it had received. When it finally showed up on my doorstep the other day I just had to set it up and try it out right away.

Because I was busy with my two little guys, my 14 year old sister, Morgan, set it up for us. The brewer comes with step by step directions so it only took my sister about 10 minutes or so to set up.

Once the Keurig was setup we had to decide what we wanted to try first. The company generously sent me four boxes of their k-cups- two sampler coffee boxes, one box of teas, and one box of Timothy’s white hot chocolate. We both chose to try out the hot chocolate first.

Now for the review:

What I loved- I loved that the Keurig had a LCD screen that told me “ready” and “not ready”. It really made it easy to know when it was ready to use. I also loved the fact that there is no messing with coffee grounds and filters or hot chocolate powders. The Keurig uses K-cups and all you do is pop the K-Cup in and close the lid. There is nothing to open as the Keurig has an internal needle that pokes holes in the K-Cup and lets the water seep through.

What I would change- The only thing that I don’t love is that it doesn’t make cold drinks. If this Keurig made hot drinks AND cold drinks I would be head over heals in love! :)

Don’t you think this would make an awesome Mother’s Day gift? I would have shared with my mom but she already has her own :) More information about the Keurig brewing system and their other products can be found online here.

(Disclaimer: I was provided a Keurig brewer from MS&L in exchange for my honest review and opinion. Like always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.)