I See Me! Books: The World According To Me Personalized Book Review & Giveaway #ISeeMeBooks @ISeeMe_Maia

When Josiah was born, I started reading books to him and, 7 years later, our bookshelves are overflowing with children's books. With two children, we enjoy having a variety of books for them to choose and have a reading time every night before bedtime. Out of all their books, our favorites are the personalized books. My boys get such a kick out of seeing their names in a book, which not only interests them, but encourages them to read. I See Me! Books have such a great variety of personalized books and personalized gifts for children.

I See Me! was created by a mom and dad who sought for quality personalized books for their son. They noticed most customized books failed to impress and wanted to create something that would "increase self esteem in children" and "celebrate the uniqueness of each child". Each books is designed to show each and every child how unique and special they are, from teaching them how to spell their name to learning how to read. It's so important to interest children in reading and I agree that this is such a great way to get them reading. Josiah, my oldest, had a rough start with phonics and learning to read. We practiced with book after book, but not until we brought out personalized books was he truly interested and given the incentive needed to keep trying.
For our holiday guide this year, we decided to review a different book offered by I See Me! called The World According To Me. Our little boys are growing up so quickly and we are so busy that I don't have the time I once did for making scrapbooks and photo books. This is where The World According To Me comes in and is such a wonderful idea for children and parents alike.

The World According To Me is a personalized book capturing a moment in time in your child's life that will be forever remembered. It is a 20-page professional hardcover book featuring the child's own drawings and opinions about his/her world. Josiah is now 6 years old and began first grade this year. He is growing and changing every single day and I want to remember every minute of his journey. We couldn't wait to receive our kit and, when we did, I got to work helping Josiah create his book.
The kit comes with everything needed to complete your book, including markers and  interview questions. I sat down with Josiah on multiple occasions to ask him questions about life, such as who he loves, who are his close friends and what he wants to be when he grows up. The answers children come up with are completely priceless. You never know what they are going to say! Josiah told me he wanted to be a knight, but not anymore because the armor doesn't work well. Then he told me he loves his Pop because he is so silly and makes him laugh.

Then Josiah used the markers included in the kit to draw a portrait of our family, a self-portrait and some other of his own unique creations. When finished with everything, we sealed up the drawings and answered questions in the prepaid envelope and sent it on its way. We are still waiting on it to return, but it only takes about 3-4 weeks to process and return. I can't wait to see Josiah's special book.

I think this is such a great idea for a keepsake and something I would like to do every year for our boys. This would be a perfect way to remember the special moments with the boys and how much they grow through the months and years. We'll be writing another post once ours is received so you can see just how great it looks.

Wouldn't you love to make one of your own personalized The World According To Me books?

Thanks to I See Me!, One Lucky Reader Will Win Their Own The World According To Me Book To Create With Their Child!

Hope & Love This Holiday Season With CaringBridge #sponsored #MC

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for CaringBridge. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

It's easy to become overwhelmed during the holiday season with everything going on, but it is so important to remember and share support families who are in need. We learned about CaringBridge last year, which is a nonprofit website allowing people to stay connected and receive the support needed through their own pages and website. Registering is completely free and currently helps over 500,000 people every single day, including our own family. Sharing Liam's story was so important to us and the amount of support received has been amazing. We've seen the same for many other of Liam's friends who are currently being treated with chemotherapy. Times can be very rough for families in need and even the slightest amount of support and love can make the difference. This is why we love CaringBridge and encourage you to not only check it out, but recommend it to anyone you think could benefit from it.
Here's a video about CaringBridge and what they do each and every day to help families and inspire hope.

Liam has had such a long year and we are so happy to report he has 3 whole months away from the hospital without chemo this holiday season, so we can be with our family and friends. We wish all of you a wonderful holiday season and a happy New Year!

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for CaringBridge. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.


An Important Family Decision: Banking Cord Blood With the Cord Blood Registry #CordBlood411 #MC #sponsored

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for the Cord Blood Registry. I received promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Liam, my youngest, was a preemie and his health issues began before he was even born, during a placental abruption that forced an emergency c-section. Since then, he has been diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis and has three brain tumors with the risk of more growing over time. For this reason, he has been on chemotherapy for almost a year now. When I was pregnant with Josiah, my oldest, I considered cord blood banking, but we decided not to. You don't know how much I regret that choice and, when we have our next child, we will definitely bank his or her cord blood with the Cord Blood Registry.
Liam a few hours after birth.
Just like me, less than 10% of parents choose to bank cord blood and umbilical cords are often discarded at birth because parents do not know of their value. I wish I had taken the time to really research about cord blood banking because the cord blood stem cells have been used to treat over 80 conditions and are currently being tested under FDA-regulated clinical trials for their potential regenerative ability to help many common illnesses, including cerebral palsy, autism, pediatric stroke, traumatic brain injury, certain cancers, and much more. Banking your baby's cord blood could possibly be the difference between life and death in future circumstances.

As we have learned, the future is unknown and, of course, anything is possible. We never want to think of anything negative happening to our family or children, but these things do happen and it is so important to talk about the possibilities and what you can do, as parents, to prepare for them. Banking cord blood is such an important decision and one that should not be taken lightly. This isn't a subject our obstetrician brought up with us and is often not discussed, but it definitely should be. I think the only information I'd received was through a small brochure in the mail. If I'd been given all the facts when pregnant with Josiah, I would never have hesitated to bank his cord blood.
My two little men visiting Santa!
As I mentioned earlier, cord blood can be used to treat certain cancers and, through our own oncologists, we've heard how much it has helped other pediatric patients within the clinic Liam visits each week for his chemotherapy. Just knowing there is a chance it could help our children in the future is reason enough to bank cord blood, in my opinion, because I just cannot imagine life without them. Plus, knowing how quickly the medical field advances, there is no telling what the future holds and what other uses we will find for cord blood. The Cord Blood Registry has the highest published cell recovery rate at 99%, which is 20% more of the most important cells than others in the industry. We all want the best for our children and I believe banking cord blood is the way to go for their future health and well-being. Be sure to watch this video for more information on how cord blood stem cells work.

Have you banked your child's cord blood in the past or are you thinking about doing so in the future? We'd love to hear your story!

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for the Cord Blood Registry. I received promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Adorable Pajamas For The Kids This Holiday Season at Carter's & $50 Gift Card Giveaway #sponsored @Carters

Disclosure: The post and giveaway are sponsored by Carter's. Compensation was given in exchange for posting, but all written opinions are my own.

The holidays are our favorite time of year and we go all out with decorations and such! Not only do we decorate our home from top the bottom, but I love to dress up my boys in cute holiday clothes, too. Since my boys were born, we've dressed then in Carter's clothing. From little caps for their heads to comfy pajamas to wear at night, Carter's has kept our little ones snug and adorable for many years.
The pajamas Josiah picked out!

In November, I already had an idea for a holiday photo of the boys and we headed to Carter's. I wanted to get festive kids pajamas for both of them and knew that was the place to go. Carter's offer a variety of sizes (up to size 14 online) to fit both Josiah and Liam, so I could find cute pjs and I knew they would be in our price range, too. Shopping in the store, I immediately noticed just how soft the cotton PJs were and knew they would keep the boys not only warm, but comfortable during these cold months. These would be perfect gift ideas for children this holiday season! You can also check out their online PJ Shop if you don't want to go to the store and deal with all the holiday traffic!
Don't the boys look cute? They are so excited for Christmas this year and, since family will start arriving tomorrow, I don't think they will be sleeping much from now until Santa's visit. This is not the first holiday season the boys have worn Carter's, so take a look at some of the older photos I found of Liam in his adorable Carter's clothes and pajamas:
Liam's 1st Christmas in his adorable holiday PJs!

Liam's 2nd Christmas in his Carter's PJs!
As you can tell, Carter's is definitely a favorite when it comes to clothing in our home, especially for holiday clothing. Their online Holiday Shop also has so many adorable clothes for boys, girls and babies that are perfect for this time of year. If the kids need some cute clothes to wear for family photos or for their visit to see Santa, this is the place to shop. I love this rugby shirt:

We have so many of their clothes and have used them as hand-me-downs for both boys. I'm sure we'll do the same for our next little one because the Carter's clothes that are too small are boxed up and ready to wear in the future. They seem to last forever! In addition to clothing, Carter's has many free printables available on their site to keep the little ones busy, including cute craft ideas, coloring pages and gift tags for the holidays.

During the holiday season, it's very important to remember to give back and Carter's does just that. As part of Carter's Cares, Carter's has partnered with Pajama Program this year, which is an organization providing new PJs and books to children in need, many waiting and hoping to be adopted. Carter's is joining the One Million Good Nights initiative to help collect 1 million new PJs and books by the end of 2015! This is such a wonderful cause and YOU can help support them by donating to the Carter's Pajama Program online. Carter's will be matching all customer pajama donations up to 100,000 pairs! Isn't that amazing? Liam's favorite channel, Sprout, is also partnering with Carter's to support Pajama Program. As we all know, even the small acts of kindness and love matter so much, which is why Sprout is counting all pajama and monetary donations will be registered as kind acts for Sprout's Kindness Counts initiative, supporting preschoolers demonstrating small acts of kindness in their everyday lives.

A new Carter's just opened closer to us and I couldn't be happier. We visited as soon as it opened for back to school clothes and then again for the winter weather and holidays! Do you like shopping at Carter's, too? You can also check to find a location near you. In addition, you can follow Carter's on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest to keep up with the latest deals, exclusive events, offers and more!

Ready For A Giveaway?
We are so excited because...
One Lucky Reader Will Win a $50 Gift Card For Carter's, which can be used in-store or online! 


Sickness Be Gone This Flu Season with CVS MinuteClinic #MC #sponsored @MinuteClinic

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for CVS MinuteClinic. I received promotional items as a thank you for participating.

Have you ever woken up on a Saturday or Sunday morning to a sore throat, earache or some other sickness? Or maybe going to the doctor is just a total inconvenience and expensive! I woke up one weekend with the worst earache of my life and needed to get treated for it as soon as possible. Of course, my doctor's office was closed and I really didn't want to spend all the money for a visit to the ER or urgent care. The day I had my earache, I drove to my local CVS Pharmacy with a MinuteClinic, signed up and was seen only 15 minutes later. It was, by far, the quickest I'd been seen and treated for my sickness. The nurse practitioner took a look, prescribed me an antibiotic and I was on my way... to the back of the store to fill my prescription at the pharmacy! That day, I learned that the MinuteClinic was the perfect choice for our family when searching for affordable, convenient and quick treatment.
With cold, cough and flu being prevalent this time of year, I love knowing that CVS and MinuteClinic is there just in case we need it. Josiah, my 6 year-old is in the first grade this year and germs are everywhere. He's already been sick twice and had a cough several times. I worry each time that it could be something more than a cold. Just two days ago, my nephew came home from school and wasn't feeling well. Yesterday, he was diagnosed with the flu, something I am really hoping the rest of us won't catch from him! This made me really start thinking about the flu and how to tell the difference between a cold and flu. It's such important information to know just in case you or your little ones aren't feeling well. No one wants the flu, especially during the holidays. Here's a really helpful chart that can help you distinguish between the two:
If one person gets sick in our home, chances are we will ALL get sick and that calls for many hours of wait time in doctors' offices. This is especially frustrating this time of year since everyone is getting sick and it takes days to be seen by a doctor. What should we do if our pediatrician is unavailable? Head to our nearest MinuteClinic, of course, and that is exactly what we do! Their clinic is staffed by board-certified nurse practitioners and physicians assistants to diagnose, treat and prescribe a variety of common illnesses, including strep, ear infections, pink eye and UTIs. Once treated, you can get your prescriptions filled at the pharmacy and pick up any other needed items like Kleenex for the sniffles. How convenient is that? Not to mention, MinuteClinic is open 7 days a week and also opened for evening hours, which is perfect for those who work or are busy during the day! You can even call to check wait times to make sure there isn't a huge line.

How do you stay  healthy during this cold winter months? If you've visited a MinuteClinic, please tell us about your experience! Also, be sure to follow them on Twitter at @MinuteClinic.

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for CVS MinuteClinic. I received promotional items as a thank you for participating.


Holiday Gift Guide: Joseph Nogucci IRIS Bead & Charm Bracelet Review

Every holiday season, I easily purchase gifts for the entire family, but there is one person I always save for last. Finding a great gift for my mom is always difficult and I struggle with it every single year. This year, however, I found the perfect gift for her. Joseph Nogucci IRIS glass bead and charm bracelets are so beautiful and can be customized to your own liking. Plus, they are absolutely beautiful!

Rebecca Glass Bead
My mom and I both love jewelry, so when I read about the Joseph Nogucci bracelets, I couldn't wait to receive one. On the website, customers have the option to buy complete bracelets, which come with either 5 charms or 5 beads, or they can create their own! The IRIS Lampwork Glass Beads on the bracelet are beautifully handcrafted blown glass, giving each of them a shiny and unique look that is surely eye-catching. The charms come in both silver and rhodium and the band comes in your choice of a silver European clasp or a genuine leather double-wrap.

As soon as my package came in the mail, I tore it open to reveal a gorgeous bracelet complete with glass beads and charms. I was able to pick my favorite colors, blue, purple and green, which fit perfectly together along-side the silver charms. When picking out your charms and beads on the website, you can tell how pretty they are, but seeing the finished product is even more beautiful and breathtaking! My favorite of the beads is the Rebecca, a blue and white Murano inspired glass lampwork bead that just shines and shines when light hits it. My favorite charm is the Annette Rhodium charm, a triangular shaped charm that resembles a Celtic design.
Another thing I love about this bracelet is the clasp. It's different from all the other jewelry I own and is so much easier to put on myself without help. Instead of having to hold the clasp open with one hand, one side of the bracelet easily fits into the clasp and shuts around it.
European Clasp
All of the beads fit together and make a truly unique bracelet that my mom will be able to wear and enjoy for many years to come. I wish buying her presents were this easy every year! Be sure to check out the Joseph Nogucci website for great selection of jewelry. Complete IRIS bead and charm bracelets retail for $109 or you can make your own by purchasing a starter band for $40 and individual charms/beads at $13 each.

Disclosure: This post was written for Joseph Nogucci and a product was received for review purposes. No other compensation was provided. All opinions expressed are my own.


Indie Author Holiday Gift Guide Kindle Paperwhite Package Giveaway Event

The Best in Indie Book Gifts

Horns of the Devil by Marc Rainer

The second book in the Jeff Trask crime/legal thriller series, a series hailed for its realism by those in the law enforcement career field, Horns of the Devil is the story of the havoc wreaked upon the nation's capital city by a drug gang turf war. As one career prosecutor wrote, "As a long-time prosecutor, I continue to be astounded by Rainer's perfect pitch for police/prosecutor dialogue. Outstanding Read! Rainer is way ahead of his contemporaries in this genre."

Price: $2.99 (Kindle) $9.45 (Paperback) via Amazon

For: Thriller Fans

Palmetto Review Take:  Nonstop legal and procedural crime novel that’s rich with detail and suspense.

Blogger Take: Horns of the Devil sounds like the perfect book for me. As the wife of a former prosecutor, the field of law enforcement has always fascinated me and so do legal thrillers. I have a feeling this one would keep me intrigued from beginning to end.

Too Quiet In Brooklyn: A Fina Fitzgibbons Mystery by Susan Russo Anderson

Twenty-two-year-old Fina Fitzgibbons stumbles upon a throttled woman in the heart of Brooklyn Heights and discovers that the dead woman’s four-year-old grandson is also missing. She begins a wild hunt for the strangler-kidnapper, Ralph. During the chase, she resists falling in love with her boyfriend, Denny, an NYPD patrol officer, steps on the toes of Detective First Grade Jane Templeton, and uncovers secrets about her own past. In the end, Ralph has a deadly surprise for Fina.

Price: $.99 (Pre-order) $3.99 (After 12/20/2013) via Smashwords

For: New Adult

Palmetto Review Take: Crime, passion, and New York City - count us in!

Blogger Take: I really enjoy reading books that keep me guessing about what is going on and what will happen. Plus, I love New York City!

More: Follow @susanrussoander Fan Susan Visit her via her Website and on Amazon

Tug of War by Ross Collier

An action packed, tension filled espionage thriller set in Melbourne, Australia during WW2, based on actual events between the US forces and the Australians.

Price: $2.99 (Kindle) $16.95 (Paperback) via Amazon, B&N, and iTunes

For: Fans of Thrillers and Espionage

Palmetto Review Take: A fresh plot line to enjoy as you follow the political intrigue down under in this historical look at the relations between two seemingly cozy nations as friction emerges.

Blogger Take: When taking world history in college, I was very interested in WW2 and even continued to major in German Language and culture. As this story is based on actual events, this really seems like a great page-turner and something that would keep me up at night until I finish.

More: Follow @CollierRoss Visit Collier’s Website

Night Chill by Jeff Gunhus

For fans of Stephen King and Dean Koontz -- Enjoy a creepy supernatural thriller with over 100 Five Star Amazon Reviews.

Price: $2.99 (Kindle) $12.78 (Paperback) via Amazon and Audible (12/20/2013)

For: Adult Supernatural Thriller and Horror Fans

Palmetto Review Take: One of the most highly rated books we’ve reviewed, read at your own risk of being frightened half to death.

Blogger Take: I am constantly reading horror books and watching scary movies, most of which are supernatural thrillers. I love being on the edge of my seat, wanting to know what will possibly happen next. King and Koontz are two of my favorites, so I am positive Night Chill will be just up my alley.

More: Follow @jtmonsterhunter Fan Jack Templar Visit The Author’s Website

The Jack Templar Monster Hunter Series - Books 1-3 by Jeff Gunhus

A new series for fans of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson.

Price: $.99 (Kindle) $9.79 (Paperback) via Amazon, B&N, and Audible (12/20/2013)

For: Middle Grade and YA

Palmetto Review Take: Ignite your imagination with this trio of supernatural books focused on monsters, mystery, and mythical adventure.

Blogger Take: My son is just old enough to get into Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. I have to admit I have read all of the books, too. Once reading those, you have to wonder what to read next? What can possibly compete with those? My son and I enjoy mythical adventure books.

More: Embed clip (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNeq99GVzVE) Follow @jtmonsterhunter Fan Jack Templar Visit The Author’s Website

Vengeance Out of the Shadows by David Peretz

In the third thriller to feature Ross Cortese, NYPD, the detective contends with both a killer targeting landlords and a Russian assassin out for retribution. Kirkus Review described it as "a seamless blending of stories and first-rate characterizations."

Price: $4.99 (Kindle) $11.25 (Paperback) via Amazon and B&N

For: Suspense, Romance, and Thriller Fans

Palmetto Review Take: Indie Must-Read Book of Summer Winner as voted on by everyday readers.  

Blogger Take: This book sounds perfectly suspenseful and perfect for the days I am off of work during the holidays. Thriller books are always a plus and this one sounds very entertaining.

More: Embed clip (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpYLmI7xIyk) Visit NYPD Crime Novels and Fan on Facebook

Lunch with Lucille by Annarose Ingarra-Milch

Readers can expect to be inspired and entertained as “Lunch with Lucille” whips up a delightful dish of hope and optimism, served by a fun-loving, sassy, female character who shares a message all women need to hear – you are your best asset, at any age. Voted overwhelming the Buzzworthy Book of Summer, “LwL” overflows with nourishing wisdom and humor as you are treated to simple, practical solutions to some prickly issues such as aging, confidence, self image, and achievement. This fast-paced novella is thought provoking and leaves you hungry for the next course.

Price: $4.99 (Kindle) $13.13 (Paperback) via Amazon and B&N

For: Women

Palmetto Review Take: A perfect gift for any woman in need of Inspiration.

Blogger Take: Every woman needs to feel good about themselves and, of course, sometimes you just need a good laugh. As I grow older, I constantly have to remind myself of these two things, which is why this inspirational book sounds perfect for me. I can also read it on my Kindle while traveling in the car.

More: Embed clip (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMDD-X1X-Xg) Visit Facebook, Author Website, iTunes Podcast, WFMZ TV, Berks County Living Story, BCTV

Tall, Dark, and Handsome and Other Devotionals by Christopher Hall

A collection of Christian devotionals based on one man’s life experiences. “This book makes you think! It is funny, uplifting and a down to earth view of Christianity. We all have those bad days at work that make you wonder if it is it all worth it. Chris Hall takes a bad day and redirects it to a lesson in Christ... I highly recommend this book to all my friends.” Karen Brooks-Rochelle

Price: $5.99 (Kindle) $11.57 (Paperback) via Amazon

For: Anyone interested in uplifting stories related to Christian Living

Palmetto Review Take: Deepen your walk in faith, or take your first step to finding it with this inspirational book rooted in the real world, and written for you to discover the next.

Blogger Take: Sometimes we all need some uplifting and, as the review above says, this is just the book for that.

More: Fan the author on Facebook

At The Gates of Walhalla By Justen Forge

Suspense, intrigue, and action. A page turner that makes you feel like you're in the scenes. This novel sets itself apart with its vivid writing and top notch storytelling. Perfectly priced so you can give this to all the readers on your Christmas shopping list.

Price: $2.99 (Kindle) via Amazon, Sony, iTunes, B&N, and $21.99 (Paperback)  McNally Robinson

For: Thriller & Mystery Fans

Palmetto Review Take: After a horrific series of events a hero emerges to set wrongs right in spellbinding detail.

Blogger Take: The description of the book immediately intrigues me to find out more about this book and so does the price. Action books like this always keep me interested, so I could definitely see myself reading this.

More: Embed video clip (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZiDlihGXyOY) Visit the Author’s Website

Liberty's Torch (Dystopia Trilogy Book 3) by Janet McNulty

Expect excitement action, and to learn the meaning of true sacrifice. All it takes is one spark to ignite Liberty's Torch.

Price: $2.99 (Kindle) via Amazon

For: YA, Teens, Dystopian Genre Fans, Those Who Like Strong Female Characters

Palmetto Review Take: Like Hunger Games and Divergent, this dystopian drama is both entertaining and plausible.

Blogger Take: This book was compared to Hunger Games, a book that I absolutely loved and read in a day, so this really sparks my interest.

More: Embed video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-CJb-hrRV8&feature=youtu.be) Fan on Facebook, follow @JMRUL, visit the author’s Website

Ready For A Giveaway?
One Very Lucky Reader Will Win a Kindle Paperwhite prize package complete with:
  • Kindle Paperwhite
  • $50 Amazon Gift Card
  • One copy of each book included in the holiday gift guide