Back To School Party For Kids

Megan Gates is an active blogger who provides written work to the blogosphere pertaining to Long Island Real Estate, Hamptons Beach Rentals, home improvement and the latest architecture, design and fashion.  Follow her on twitter @MEGatesDesign.

When kids have to go back to school, they might not be all that excited about it. They may think that summer has been a fun time of relaxation without any responsibility, and they may not want to let that go. This is understandable, but you need to do all that you can to get them excited for the coming year. One way to do this is by throwing a party to celebrate the school year that has almost arrived. They will enjoy the party and they will associate this with going to class. The following are a few back to school party ideas that you can try. 

Have A Pool Party
There is really nothing like a pool party, at least as long as the weather is still warm enough to warrant it. Swimming in the sun is one of the things that children and adults tend to think of when they think of summer. As such, you can have a huge party to give all of your children and their friends the chance to do this once more before it is too cold and they are too busy. This will help them celebrate how great the summer has been rather than reminding them that it is over.

Kick Off The Fall With A Last Cookout
Another thing that is often connected with summer is a cookout on the grill. You can have one more of these to celebrate the end of the season. You may even want to do it in conjunction with a pool party, though you should make sure that the swimming happens before you eat. If you want to tie the party closer to the fall as well, you can cook corn and other harvest foods on the grill. This is a subtle way to signal that the summer may be over but that the rest of the seasons still have a lot to offer.

Have A Costume Party
Who says that costumes have to be used exclusively on Halloween? You can have a party like this in August or September to give the children a very fun activity that they can enjoy. They will love having all of their school friends over at the house, and they will also love seeing what people have decided to dress up as. You can use a school-realted theme if you want, or you can just let them all choose their own costumes and have a good time with it.

Advice For Any Party
No matter what type of a party you decide to throw, you need to remember that the ultimate goal is for the children to have fun. They must have a good time and they must enjoy themselves. You want to make sure that all of their friends are invited. You also want to make sure that they have plenty of games to play and a lot of good food to eat. If you do these things, any type of back to school party will be a success.

Canvas People Free 8x10 Canvas or $50 Credit!

Canvas People

I'm not sure if you've seen this deal posted around, but I just wanted to share it with you! Right now the Canvas People are offering a free 8x10 canvas or $50 towards any size! That's an awesome deal. You just have to pay shipping, which was about $10 or so. We got ours and absolutely love it. It's hanging in our living room and looks amazing. These make great holiday presents, too!


Awesome Deals For Today -- Freebies For You Plum District, Savemore.com & Kodak

There were a few awesome freebies and discounts I found today that I just had to write a post.

Savemore.com -
They are back again with another awesome deal. $5 for a Collapsible BPA-Free Reusable Water Bottles & Free shipping. You get $10 credit for signing up, so this deal is not only free, but you'd have $5 left over.
Free + $5

Savemore.com -

The deal from last week is still around! $6 for 2 Expandable Vases plus Free Shipping! Again, you get the $10 for signing up for Savemore.com, so this deal is free and you still have money left over!


Free + $4

Plum District --

I love this daily deals site! Today you can score $20 Plum District Dollars for only $10! This can be used on future deals posted. This is a great offer, as Plum District always has great deals each week.

Kodak.com --

Kodak Gallery

Right now you can sign up to receive 50 Free prints and a $10 credit! That's an awesome deal!

 Plus, A New Daily Deals Site!!

Sign up with Koopik to get FREE daily alerts on the best deals in your city. Save up to 95% at your favorite places! Click Here!


Family Movie Night Presents Game Time: Tackling The Past on NBC Sept. 3rd at 8pm ET / 7pm CT

There are two things we love here in the south: spending time with family and football! That's why I am super excited to tell you about an awesome about Family Movie Night on NBC presented by Walmart and P&G. Yes, that's right, Family Movie Night is back on NBC, which means families across the nation are rediscovering their family rooms and actually watching TV... together. Thanks to Walmart and P&G, you will be brought great quality family movies with valuable lessons and even the commercials will be family friendly!

On Saturday, September 3rd, a new Family Movie Night will hit NBC at 8pm ET/7pm CT. Game Time: Tackling the Past is an incredible movie centers around the changing life of pro football star Jake Walker. He's a veteran tight end, fan favorite, and well on his way to setting the all-time receiving yards record, which will land him in the Hall of Fame. While at training camp, Jake receives a frightening call from his brother, Dean, letting him know their father, Frank, had a major heart attack.

Putting family first, Jake returns to his hometown of Riverton, North Carolina, a place he has avoided for almost 15 years. Memories of the life he once had flood back to him along with regret for leaving his family behind for his career. As Jake struggles to reconnect with his family, he receives yet another unexpected call, but this time it's from his agent. His contact is not being renewed due to concerns over his recent knee surgery. To avoid the media and all the news surrounding the drama, Jake decides to stay in Riverton, though very reluctantly.

Slowly, Jake begins reconnecting with the community and his life begins to change in ways he'd never imagined. Impacted by the new and old friends with whom he has connected, Jake begins to realize life is much more than football and stats. At the end, he must, once again, make a decision that will not only change his life forever, but many of the people's lives around him.

My Thoughts

I was lucky enough to see a sneak-peak of Game Time: Tackling The Past and I have to say it was a great movie from start to finish! It had me wondering what was going to happen the entire time. Also, I love Catherine Hicks, who played the mom in both this movie and on the hit tv show Seventh Heaven. I feel like I grew up watching that show. Also, Beau Bridges was a part of the cast. Who doesn't love him?

I definitely say go ahead and save the date for September 3rd, be sure to get your movie snacks ready and tune into NBC at 8pm ET/7pm CT. Let's spread the word about Family Movie Night! I always loved watching movies with my parents and Game Time: Tackling The Past is a great one to watch. Also, "Like" Family Movie Night on Facebook to keep up with all the movies coming up in the near future. There will be some great ones you won't want to miss.
I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of P&G and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.


It's Raining Money Event Announcement

 Thanks for everyone that made The Day That Keeps On Giving Event a hit! If you are wondering who won, click here to see the list of all winners. The Children Teaching Mama winner for the $25 Biatta Intimates gift voucher was Christina Potts! We are still looking to verify, so please respond to the email send to you or email me at childrenteachingmama@gmail.com!

The Day That Keeps On Giving event was so much fun and was over in a flash, but now it's time for our next event.

It's Raining Money starts at 12:01am and runs through September 12th! There will be 3 winners-- of all cash prizes!!
  • Grand Prize will get $100
  • Second Place will get $35
  • Third Place will get $25
Unlike other cash events I've participated in, you have a much better chance of winning something since there are 3 prizes! :) Get ready for the event and be sure to tell your friends.
After this event, we already have another 3 planned and another 2 in the works, so there's no hibernation for Children Teaching Mama this fall and winter seasons.

Medela MommyParties Event & Fun

I was lucky enough to be chosen by Medela to throw an awesome MommyParties event on August 20th at our house. I received some awesome prizes along with gifts for all the Mommy guests and we had an absolute blast! Medela is the brand we've always used and trusted for our breastfeeding needs and we love them, so I couldn't wait to share all the great products and info with my friends and family members.

Some of my friends have babies and my sister-in-law is almost due, which is why the event was also a baby shower. Some of the ladies breastfeed and others were interested in learning more about it. Let me just say, this was right up my alley since I am all about breastfeeding! We ended up having about 17 guests in all, including moms, moms-to-be, and even some grandmamas.
The huge package of goodies we received before the party included: 
We had so awesome prizes, as you can tell!! All the prizes together were valued at over $350!!! Wow! As you can tell, all the mommies were very excited to have a chance to win.

We had our entire families there and all the men got to go out in the yard and play with the kids.  :) Yes, we put those guys to work while we got to play (and stay cool) inside! We did share some of the goodies with them, though. There were lots of presents and delicious foods and we took time telling our own baby stories and breastfeeding experiences. It's so nice to hear others talk about their own stories, some of which were similar to my own.

Jessica, the one who's due in only 3 weeks, ended up being the winner of the prize package and was so excited! She didn't get to BF with her first, but really wanted to give it a try this time. I am so excited for her and you won't believe how excited she was. I'm just glad she didn't go into labor right then and there, though she probably wouldn't have minded. lol! She's at that stage where she feels like she could pop any second.

Some of the ladies playing baby shower games!
Everyone had such a great time and I think we all learned something! Thanks Medela for providing us with some wonderful samples to pass out and an amazing prize package. The winner says to tell you thanks so very much. This was, by far, the best party I've ever thrown and all the ladies had a blast.


Official The Day That Keeps On Giving Giveaway Event Giveaways On The Hour All Day



As promised here is a schedule of bloggers and their prizes that are taking part in "The Day That Keeps Giving.

We have over $1,000 worth of cash, prizes and gift cards!

The links on the Rafflecopter form will be changing every hour so make sure to come back come back every hour to enter to win the prize from that hour. You will only be entered to win for the hour that you submit your entries. Grand Prizes will be drawn at the end of the day from the total entries. If you want to win the $5 Amazon GC you must enter that hour? Any questions?

Winners will be drawn using random.org and posted on our winner's page (Giveaway Blogdom or Heavenly Savings) throughout the day. Entries will be accepted via Rafflecopter so make sure you have javascript enabled, this goes for your phone as well. At the end of the day there will be at least two grand prize winners from all the entries for the day.

A list of our fellow bloggers can be found below and will be updated hourly at Giveaway Blogdom and Heavenly Savings. Can't wait to see you all there!

All times are listed in MST.
I struggle with Time Zone Conversions so to included is conversion for the four major time zones in the US. EST +2 hours, CST +1 hour and PST -1 hour.


Carbonite Protects Our Most Valuable Pictures, Memories & Files

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Carbonite for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Carbonite Online Backup

I use my laptop for everything from checking my email, writing on my blog, storing documents, uploading pictures, and much more. My computer is pretty much my connection to the outside world. My laptop has become more valuable than ever since having children because I can store all of their pictures, save documents from my journal and even make scrapbook pages to print out later. I never thought about the worst case scenario... death of my laptop. *Gasp* I never thought of computer backup either!

One night I turn on my computer and it starts up, as usual and then I hear a something rattle, an electronical noise and it shut off, never to return. I was in shock and thought I could bring it back from the dead, but no luck at all. This is why I went looking for some kind of protection when I got my new laptop and found Carbonite.

What is Carbonite?

Carbonite takes the worry of losing valuable files on your PC or Mac by offering secure, state-of-the-art data centers. Carbonite works continually on your computer, backing up your files automatically when connected to the internet! Plus, once your files are backed up on Carbonite, you can access online at any time or place. You can even get a free mobile app to access  and share files via iPhone, iPad iPod Touch, Android or Blackberry Smartphone!

Founded in 2005, Carbonite has safely recover over 7 billion files that otherwise might have been lost forever! It’s easy, fast, and hassle-free to get your backed up files back.

Carbonite is an amazing service which has allowed us to rest assured that all of our most important files, along with our most precious pictures of our children and family, are kept safe and secure. I never, ever want to lose any more of our families memories or important documents and I'm sure you feel the same. Once was plenty for me!

Right now you can try out Carbonite completely free for 15 days! It's totally risk-free and no credit card is even required. Plus, if you do decide to purchase their services you pay $59 a year and will receive 2 months FREE! Just use the code BLOGAD when purchasing to receive your 2 free months!

Visit Sponsor's Site

The Day That Keeps On Giving Event Announcement - Starting Tomorrow!

Hi, everyone! I have neglected to tell you about a cool event Children Teaching Mama is participating in tomorrow. It's called The Day That Keeps On Giving! Starting at 9am EST (or 7am mountain time zone), there will be 1-3 giveaways posted every hour, on the hour until 10pm EST!! That's 12 hours of giveaway fun!

Okay, so here's how it works. I'll put up the post tomorrow morning at 10am and it has all of the directions and the giveaways for the hour via Rafflecopter. Every hour the rafflecopter will update with the new giveaway. You may want to give it a few minutes after the hour to update or refresh the page! Then, you can register for the next giveaways. I believe there are 27 total bloggers.

The Children Teaching Mama sponsored giveaway will be at 10pm EST, so be sure to get those kiddos to bed and come back to register. Want to know what we are giving away? You can register to win a $25 gift code to Biatta Intimates! They sale bras, panties, sleepwear and other intimates. I absolutely love their bras. Also, the offer Plus sizes, which is awesome!

In addition, there will be two Grand Prizes given away. These will be calculated from all of the entries!

Ready for some giveaway fun? After that one ends, another one will start on Sunday! Woo! I'll write about that tomorrow.


Deal of the Day: 2 Free Vases at Savemore.com

Wow! Currently, SaveMore.com is offering up two Expandable Vases with FREE Shipping from the Vase Store for ONLY $6! Plus, when you sign up for an account through this link, you will receive a $10 credit in your account, which means you can score these expandable vases for FREE. Plus, you’ll have $4 leftover to use on a future deal! That's awesome!

Fine Print: Expires February 26, 2012. Free shipping included. Voucher will be available for redemption on 8/26, at 12pm CST. Redeem online at TheVaseStore.net. Limit one per person.


Lysol No-Touch Hand Soap Dispenser & Dual Action Wipes Review & Giveaway

Thinking back to the days before I had little munchkins running around the house, I didn't really think about soap, washing hands or germs. Once you bring baby home from the hospital all of that changes very quickly! From hand sanitizers to disinfectants, soaps and wipes, you need it all and use them on a daily basis. I want my house to be as germ-free as possible, which is why we love Lysol® products. I use several of them for sanitizing counters, sinks, and our toilets because I want to know that 99.9% of bacteria should be gone if cleaned thoroughly.

My mom used Lysol products and now I do the same. My husband especially loves the Lysol wipes since they are so easy to use when cleaning up the constant messes in our household. I was given the opportunity to review two wonderful products from Lysol®, the Lysol® Healthy Touch® No-Touch Hand Soap System and the Lysol® Dual Action Disinfecting Wipes. Here's a bit about them...

Lysol® Dual Action Disinfecting Wipes
LYSOL® Dual Action Disinfecting Wipes have two sides that go beyond ordinary wipes. Use one side for everyday touch-ups and the other to scrub through tough messes. Because Dual Action Wipes are from the Lysol Brand, you can also trust them to kill 99.9% of germs*. Use Dual Action Wipes all around your home to clean and disinfect.

Lysol® Healthy Touch® No-Touch Hand Soap System
http://www.my3littlekittens.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/image.bmpLysol® Healthy Touch® No-Touch Hand Soap System helps eliminate the millions of germs that your hands can pick up each day! It automatically senses hands and dispenses just the right amount of soap. Hand-washing is one of the most important steps you and your children can take to help you stay healthy and with the sleek stainless steel-inspired Lysol® No-Touch hand soap system, you and your family will never have to touch a germy soap pump again! The new look not only makes hand washing easy and fun, it helps consumers avoid the germy soap pump and also blends with any kitchen or bathroom decor.  The starter kit includes a dispenser, one hand soap refill, and four AA batteries.

My Thoughts

I've always thought squeezing soap out of a dispenser while washing hands just got even more germs on you, which is why I absolutely love the Lysol® No-Touch hand soap system! The kids can wash their germy hands without getting more germs all of the dispenser and the counter. It's not too gaudy and doesn't look like a peice of plastic sitting on your counter; it actually looks very nice and blends in with the decor in the bathroom. We have them in every bathroom! They are often on sale at drug stores and, with a coupon, you can get them as low as $5! Totally worth the price. Plus, since it dispenses a small amount of soap each time, it lasts a long time. Then, when it's out of soap, just purchase a refill. 

LYSOL® Dual Action Disinfecting Wipes are now my favorite wipes because they not only clean, but have a rougher side for getting up the dried food and messes I find on the counter and floor. Those are always the hardest to get up and with regular wipes, you have to scrub twice as hard. With these, cleaning is easier than ever. Plus, the Fresh Linen scent smells so good! There is also a Citrus scent, but I haven't tried it yet.

To promote their new Stainless Steel approach, Lysol is running the No-Touch Stainless Steel Kitchen Sweepstakes through August 31st!  The sweepstakes is open to US Residents who are 18 years of age and older.  You have a chance to win a Lysol No-Touch Stainless Steel Hand Soap System and the Grand Prize of a Stainless Steel Kitchen Set"Like  Lysol on Facebook to Enter (click on "sweepstakes" on the left sidebar). 

*Lysol is also offering a Buy Two Get One Free Rebate on their Wipes. Click Here to visit the Lysol Website and download your rebate form (good through October 31st)*

So, are you ready to give these two products a try? Here's your chance to win both!

Lysol, in conjunction with MomSelect, made this review and giveaway possible. I was given the products for review purposes. All opinions written are completely and 100% mine.


AboutOne Virtual Organization Program & &500 Giveaway

Staying organized is the biggest issue I have. I wasn't very organized before I had kids and now that I have two, it's necessary, but much more difficult. How many of you have received phone calls from your Dr. informing you of missed appointments? That's the worst! I'm also very bad at remembering birthdays and even my own anniversary, but I just didn't know how to get organized!

I can't even fathom how parents with more kids and/or older kids keep up with everything. Kids are involved in so many activities, sports, and clubs these days that it can be very frustrating and near impossible to keep up with it all without some kind of help. That's where AboutOne comes in to help make life much, much easier!

AboutOne is a convenient digital filing system and more, which allows you to quickly and easily store, manage, and retrieve family memories and household information online. It's so easy, you can even store information and pictures from your phone. In addition, it's safe and secure, so you don't have to worry about someone getting into your info.
What kinds of things can you store? You can store anything from daily activities and future schedules on a calendar to medical history along with current Dr. contact info and creating memory books from what you've written and kept up with so far! It's an amazing website that allows you to keep up with your family, preserve memories, and continue making it to future appointments, field trips, and activities on time.

My Thoughts

With all the different things AboutOne does, I expected it to be a bit complicated, but it wasn't at all. There are big buttons at the top to click categories and, from there, you can click on what you want to input, from Dr.'s appointments, current medications, and more. With Josiah in school now, I've already gotten several lists of dates to keep up with. We already have 4 scheduled field trips, a fall festival, and a snack week I am in charge of. LOL! I never knew preschool could get so complicated. Not only do I need to make plans for those days, but I need to find a babysitter to keep Liam.
Our family bulletin board!

Speaking of babysitters, you can even print out info to your babysitter so they can keep up with schedules, medications, current health issues, etc. That way they have current phone numbers and valuable info all in one place to reference. This would also be great when your children are starting school or even a new daycare.

With moving, school, and all the mail we receive (and bills), how to declutter is a constant topic of discussion for our family. With AboutOne, you are able to store all the info you need online, so there is no need to keep drawers and folders full of papers. If you need, you can easily print out information from your account.

Liam has many medical issues with his Neurofibromatosis and it's hard to keep up with the appointments. I've already put in his future doctor's appointments, check-ups, and even phone numbers for the doctors so I don't have to find them online them every single time. This will not only keep me organized, but save time, too.

I'm very happy to tell my readers that you can also check out AboutOne.com for free! You can try out the entire website for 17 logins without having to pay a penny. If you are pleased, you can purchase a year for only $30! What a deal for what all is included in this program. I feel like I haven't even scratched the surface with all the things I can do.

Ready to win some cash? AboutOne.com is giving one lucky person a $500 AMEX gift card and a $250 donation to the school of their choice! Plus, you get a free year subscription to AboutOne.com to stay organized. What an awesome prize!

How To Enter

This giveaway ends September 9th at 11:59 p.m. ET and is open to U.S. residents age 18 or older.

This post was written for AboutOne.com in conjunction with Global Influence. This was a paid post, though all opinions are honest and truthful. 

Plum District Deals Today: Many Great Choices

I took a look at Plum District today (one of my fav daily deal sites) and noticed there are several great deals going on including these:
  • $20 for a $40 voucher to Crafty Kids Playhouses! This is an awesome deal. Kids love these cardboard playhouses and they are great quality. 
  • $20 for a $60 voucher to Posh Party Box. Don't have time to plan an entire party or go out and buy each separate little item for it? Posh Party Box offers fun and creative party boxes for many different party thems! There's no reason they've won so many awards!
 Click here to score your deal today at Plum District!


TracFone Offers Affordable Plans For Parents & Kids This Summer

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of TracFone for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

When I was in high school and then in college, my mom could never keep up with me. They ended up getting me a cell phone just to keep tabs. I know many parents are doing that these days and who can blame them, really? I'll do the same thing when my kids are older. I can keep in touch with them and know they have a cell phone in case of emergencies.

TracFone is a great way to keep in touch with your kids over the summer. They are always on the go when not in school,so they really need a phone. So many other companies are super expensive these days. Prices can be overwhelming to a parent, but they don't have to be. TracFone offers the least expensive way to own and use a cell phone in America! real TracFone customers are raving their cell phone service and how much money they've saved!

<iframe width="350" height="292" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/CjgA7x34iVo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

It's time to lower your phone bills and go with a plan that meets all of your needs. There are so many features available from TracFone that you will be amazed! Besides the fact that TracFone has nationwide coverage and great reception, there are No contracts, No credit checks, No activation charges, and (my favorite) No cancelation fees! Need to make International calls? TracFone is the only service that allows International calls for the same price as any other calls! Call over 60 International locations at no extra cost.

They have a wide variety of popular name brand phones that the kids will love, like Nokia, Samsung, and LG. They also have simply "candy bar" phones for those not looking for something too technologically advanced and, for those that love the newest phones out there, TracFone has blue-tooth enabled "Smart" phones.

What about the calling plans? You can receive calling and texting capabilities for under $10! Have to have it all? Pick from phones with features like camera/video, web access and application capabilities, mp3 players, and even full QWERTY keyboards for $29.99! That's the cheapest prices I've ever seen.

Need more convincing? Check out this video featuring real TracFone customers. They've experienced their wonderful service and think you should, too.

Visit Sponsor's Site


Back to School With Tiny Prints - Josiah's First Day of School

My sister-in-law and her husband are both teachers, so each year, I know when school's about to start. For some reason, it's always exciting to me, especially because of all the Back to School Sales around town., but this year was different. This August was even more exciting for me because my oldest son, Josiah started preschool. I was still in denial up until his first day of school, but, yes, my little boy is growing up!

We bought some new clothes, some markers and color pencils with a pencil case just for good measure. Then, the day before school I realized he didn't have a backpack, so we went back to the store for him to pick out his own backpack. He picked out a Star Wars bag, which is so funny since he's never even seen it. :) His cousin loves Star Wars, which is, I guess, reason enough for him to love it, too!

I was very worried about his first day of school for a few reasons. First and foremost, I was afraid I'd break down and bawl when he got out of the car and walked into the classroom. Secondly, I was worried we wouldn't even make it out the door before he broke down and refused to go. The week before, he told me he was not going and cried every time I told him school was about to start, but by August 10th, he'd pretty much resigned himself to the fact that he was going.

I begged my husband to take him to school on his first day because I was already on the verge of tears, but he wouldn't give in. He said I had to face my fears and let the little stinker grow up. Deep breath. Okay, I can do this.

Picture #1 of the "Eyes Shut" Series
Siah looked so grown up in his new "Crockers" (what he calls his Crocs), his new outfit, and his book bag. He proudly posed as I snapped some pictures, each of which resulted in a closed-eye Siah. I swear, he's just like his Papa! We loaded up the car, along with little brother and headed to his first day at Montessori! When we pulled up, we had to wait for the teacher to come get him and he was about to explode from excitement. She came to get him, lifted him down from his seat, and put on his backpack. He had a uneasy look on his face as he walked into the front doors of school, so I wasn't sure what would happen...

Until I went to get him at noon and he was already telling me he wants to stay a full day and eat lunch with his friends. LOL! Yes, indeed, he absolutely loved his first day of school and couldn't wait to go back! Phew, what a relief. The next day he wasn't so excited, but since then, he's been ready to go each morning. He talks about his friends every day and describes all of their adventures and projects. It's so much fun to hear about his time at school.

Are your children ready to go back to school? Have they started? Well, Tiny Prints has a great selection of Back to School products you should check out! I really recommend getting day planners for older kids to help them keep up with the millions of things going on in their lives. For the younger kids, the address and name labels are a must! I have them on everything Josiah owns. The lunch box notes are a cute touch, too. I remember my mom putting them in my lunchbox.

This post was written for Tiny Prints in conjunction with Global Influence. This is a paid post, but all opinions expressed are completely accurate and honest.

ABE 2.0 Official Blog Hop Giveaway Enter Now!


Hi everyone and welcome to my ABE 2.0 giveaway page! I have kept all sponsors a secret to make things a bit more exciting, so this will be something different.
How ABE 2.0 works! 
ABE is  a giveaway blog hop, so if you haven't participated in one before, here's the rundown. There are over 100 blogs participating in ABE 2.0 and each have at least one giveaway package worth at least $50, but most are worth much more. After you enter my giveaway, just scroll down to the bottom of the page for the linky. It has a list of all the participating blogs so you can easily click and go off to the next blog. It's that simple. Plus, many of us are using Rafflecopter to keep entries simple and help you get through as many giveaways as possible.
You have from August 17th until August 21st at midnight to enter!

Ready to read about the sponsors? Here we go!

My Theme: Educational & Entertaining Toys
This giveaway features fun items kids and family members! Getting on the floor, spending time with kids, and letting them explore the world around them are all imperative to kids learning and growing. All of these prizes are great for children and will also guarantee fun!

The Prizes! One Lucky Winner Will Receive All 3 Prizes!

Prize #1: Magic Cabin $50 Gift Card

Gevalia Coffee 1853 Heritage Blend Review & Giveaway

Ever since I tried Gevalia coffee, I have been hooked, so I couldn't wait to try a new blend! 1853 Heritage Blend is a delicious coffee only available in limited quantities, which means you have to act fast when it becomes available because it will not last long at all. Speaking of which, it is completely sold out at the moment!

About 1853 Heritage Blend

Blended for a near-perfect balance of full body, rich flavor and fine acidity, 1853 Heritage Blend is a medium-roast coffee that's not too dark - not too light. 

It all started with too much of a good thing. Our founder, Victor Theodor Engwall, set out to procure the world's best coffee beans to sell at his small trading company. And as trade ships pulled into his port town, bearing coffees from across the globe, Victor had his pick of the best. 

A true pioneer, Victor wanted to explore and appreciate coffee in all its flavors and aromas. A century and a half later, we'd like to honor that passion by introducing our newest cofee, 1853 Heritage Blend. And we want you to be among the first to try it.


Upromise Celebrates Its 10 Year Anniversary By Giving Away $20,000 Enter Today!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of UPromise for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

We all have big hopes and dreams for our children. As parents, we are not only responsible for our children, but for their futures. I want nothing more than for my child to be happy, healthy, and to explore what the world. I would absolutely love for them to travel abroad, attend college, and to take advantage of what life has to offer. What are your hopes and dreams for your child?

UPromise_Brand_300x250_static.jpg (3 documents)
Upromise is celebrating its 10th anniversary! It is quite amazing that, in its 10 years, Upromise members have already received over $600 million in college savings through their reward program! They are ready to celebrate by doing giving away $20,000!! That's right, $20,000! There will be 10 weekly drawings for $1,000 and a grand prize of $10,000!

All you need to do is go to www.upromisetodream.com and share your dream for your child, what inspired that dream and how you plan to achieve it. After you've entered, you are automatically entered to win $1,000 in the weekly drawing. Then, you read dreams others have written and vote on your favorites by selecting "like". The entry with the most votes by September 29th wins a grand prize of $10,000!

Take a few minutes to write about the dreams you have for your child by clicking on the link above. If you are anything like me, these are things you've thought about long and hard, so it shouldn't take long to express. Also, I'm nosey and would love to know what you wrote, so leave a comment below and share your dream with me, please! After you've entered, be sure to tell your friends and family members so they can not only vote for your entry, but so they can enter the contest, too! 

Here are the dream wall official rules.

Visit Sponsor's Site


The Smurfs Dance Party Wii Review

I remember waking up early every Saturday morning to watch The Smurfs when I was child in the 80s.It was one of my favorite shows (along with Fraggle Rock, of course) and I looked forward to watching it each week. Imagine my extreme excitement when I saw the preview for The Smurfs movie last month!! Now you can find Smurfs everywhere... in happy meals, at Toys R Us, and there are even fun games for the Wii and Nintendo DS.

I received The Smurfs Dance Party from UbiSoft to review on our Wii and couldn't wait. We have Dance, Dance Revolution and it's so much fun, but I wanted something the kids could do. Dance, Dance Revolution needs a mat and takes a great deal of concentration and coordination (no of which do I have, but I still  try). This is just too much for smaller kids and they don't get the concept and all the funky symbols all over the tv, though they love the music.

Game Info
The Smurfs™ are back in an all-new dance video game based on the best-selling Wii™ games Just Dance® and Just Dance® 2. Kids and parents will dance with their favorite Smurfs characters to popular, top-of-the-chart songs in this fun, high-energy game. The Smurfs Dance Party is based on Sony Pictures' and Columbia Pictures' upcoming hybrid live-action/CGI blockbuster movie, in theaters July 29, 2011.
  • Chart-topping singles: Dance with friends to top-of-the-chart tracks from popular artists like Katy Perry, Selena Gomez, and Aly & AJ.
  • Legendary characters and heroes: Dance alongside you favorite Smurfs, including Papa Smurf, Smurfette, and Clumsy Smurf!
  • Real moves: Perform easy-to-follow dance moves choreographed by real experts from various styles of music!
  • All new modes and songs: Party to hours of fun multiplayer modes for kids and parents!

My Thoughts

I love that The Smurfs Dance Party allows kids (and parents) to participate and dance along to music with your Wii remote! It's so much simpler than having to drag out the mat and get everything situated just right. You can easily move the remote to follow your follow your favorite Smurfs characters on the screen.

There are so many great songs and, since I love listening to music, I was excited to hear all the catchy beats. Even Josiah recognized several of them. Some of the songs were special Smurf songs, too, which the kids thought were hilarious and fun. Also, the songs are rated by difficulty, so we knew which ones we should try... AKA the easiest ones!  The great thing about this game is that I had just as much fun playing it as the kids. The judges rate your performance, but no one actually loses. It's fun to see how much you improve as you keep playing.

I had a great time with this game and highly recommend it for kids who enjoy music, dancing, and, above all, the Smurfs! You can purchase The Smurfs Dance Party on Amazon.com for only $29.96!

Thank you to Ubisoft for sponsoring this blog post. Please click here to learn more about Ubisoft. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions are my own.


Falling Skies TV Show Survival Kit Giveaway

falling skies, steven spielberg, tnt, noah wyle, tnt, skitters, moon bloodgood, scifi shows, sci-fi shows, sci fi shows, aliens

Falling Skies debuted this year on TNT and has me absolutely hooked. Have you seen it yet? I held off on the season finale until last night and don't know how I'm going to make it until next year for Season 2! Yes, I said Season 2. The show was recently picked up for another season! Yay! I'm so excited to say the resistance will continue next summer.

For those of you who are not hooked yet, here's the background story:

falling skies, steven spielberg, tnt, noah wyle, tnt, skitters, moon bloodgood, scifi shows, sci-fi shows, sci fi shows, aliensfalling skies, steven spielberg, tnt, noah wyle, tnt, skitters, moon bloodgood, scifi shows, sci-fi shows, sci fi shows, aliensfalling skies, steven spielberg, tnt, noah wyle, tnt, skitters, moon bloodgood, scifi shows, sci-fi shows, sci fi shows, aliensFALLING SKIES opens in the chaotic aftermath of an alien attack that has left most of the world completely incapacitated. In the six months since the initial invasion, the few survivors have banded together outside major cities to begin the difficult task of fighting back. Each day is a test of survival as citizen soldiers work to protect the people in their care while also engaging in an insurgency campaign against the occupying alien force. 

ABE Starts At Midnight!

Are you ready for ABE? Well, I sure hope so because it starts at midnight tonight. I have some great surprises lined up for you, so get ready to enter!


Tommee Tippee's "The Day Baby Was Born" & The Day Josiah Was Born

The day Josiah was born was one of the happiest days of my life. My husband was still in law school when we got pregnant and we were living on pennies back then. Just as Hemingway said (in so many words), we may not have had much money, but those are the times I look back on with fond thoughts and happiness. The day I was scheduled to be induced was a joyous occasion, especially because I thought the day would never come since he was 2 weeks behind schedule!! I was in labor for over 23 hours and was beginning to think he had decided to stay in there. I ended up with a c-section and, the moment we heard his little cry "Meehh,Meehh" we both broke down into tears and smiles. It was absolutely amazing. My husband and I still get teary-eyed whenever we reminisce about that day. I only have a few pictures to look back on the day and only memories about the entire pregnancy. I always wanted to keep a journal or do something to help me remember, but just never got around to it. Now there is a brand new way to do so!

Tommee Tippee has an all-new web application called "The Day Baby Was Born". You can write as much or as little as you wish, but I would have absolutely used the entire service. You can easily write up your journal documenting the entire pregnancy all the way up to the birth of baby! In addition, you can add pictures, like ultrasound pictures, to it, too!

Once baby is born,  you can add all the info about him/her along with pictures. Then, family members can write their own messages and congratulations for you and the baby. Oh, and you can add fun facts about the year, like what's going on in the world. I love reading my baby book and seeing what was going on in the world back in 1980, so I'm sure our children would love to be able to do the same. Another thing I absolutely love is that you can write baby a letter just from you to preserve the memories and exact feelings from those special moments.

The great thing about The Day Baby Was Born is that it is completely FREE and you can download the PDF to keep forever. This way you can print it out and make keepsake books, too. There is also an added feature which allows new parents to send out birth announcements.

Like I mentioned, you can do as much or as little as you want. You can share the entire process with Facebook friends or only certain people. You may even choose just to do it for yourself. There are so many things I can't remember from my first pregnancy, you know, the little things. What I felt like at first, those "will I be a good Mama" thoughts, etc. It was much different from my second pregnancy. I checked out the application just to see how it worked and it was so simple. You don't have to be internet savvy to understand what to do. The app guides you through the entire process! I wish something like this had been available back then! 2007 feels like a million years ago. I would have done it in a heartbeat, especially since we were on a budget and it was free. How many things are free these days?

Click HERE to start your storybook today!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Tommee Tippee blogging contest for a chance to get a gift pack worth $50. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Bath Time Safety - A Tale Of Precaution & Safety Tips

I've always known it's very important to stay with children while in the bathtub and I'm sure you've heard it a million times, too, right? You've heard the horror stories and know what "could happen", but how many of you have strayed briefly out of sight of the bathtub, went to grab a towel or some clothes for the kids? It was only for a second and all was well when you returned a few seconds or a minute later. After a while, you get more comfortable with bathtime and don't really think about it as much. You know you are supposed to stay right there, but where's that lotion? Shoot, it's in the other room, be right back. Am I right?

Last night I had the most terrifying experience. Liam actually fell backwards in the tub and couldn't get up. He starting kicking and was as scared as I was. Of course, I quickly scooped him up and saved the day, but what if I hadn't been there? What if I'd been getting some clothes or a towel? It was enough to make me realize just how important bath time safety really is!

Here are some tips to keeping bath time fun & safe!

1. Keep bathroom door closed/locked until bath time! I don't know what it is about the bathroom, but the kids are always trying to get in there to play. I always keep ours closed with a kid lock on the outside. For the older kids who actually use the potty, they use the one upstairs. Otherwise, Liam ends up playing in the toilet (YUCK!) or trying to get into the bathtub. Also, lock cabinets, especially those with cleaning solutions, razors, etc. Kids love playing in cabinets. Here's a link to an awesome toilet seat lock that has helped us keep Liam out of the potty, thank goodness.

2. Use a Faucet Cover! I don't know how many times Liam has bumped his head on the faucet while taking a bath. That's why we bought a faucet cover. Now he can bump all he wants and it won't hurt at all. Plus, the faucet covers I've seen are so cute. Here's a link to a great cover I found on Amazon.com and have seen available at Target, too: Munchkin Fire Ducky Spout Guard($12.24).

3. Check Water Temperature! Many families choose to set their hot water thermostat lower than usual. You can also purchase a water temperature duck/animal. Just place the duck in the water and it will say "HOT" on the bottom if it's too hot. Be sure to always, always check the water before putting children in. Here's a link to the duck I found (to the left) that tells you the actual water temperature.

4. Wash Bath Toys Every 1-2 Weeks. With all the moisture around the bathtub, toys are a breeding ground for bacteria and mildew. Nasty! Many toys are dishwasher safe, so just pop them in the sterilize every 1-2 weeks. If you notice mildew already forming on a toy, trash it. Those with holes like squirt toys, are very likely to mildew. I've had this happen many times.

5. Never, Every Leave Kids Unattended! As I stated above, it's very important to never leave children under the age of 6 unattended in the bathtub. You may think they are okay if they are able to sit upright unassisted and even able to wash themselves, but this is not always the case. Accidents do happen and you need to be right there to assist.