As the mother of 3 wonderful kids, I take a LOT of pictures. Every month, I realistically take over 1,000 photos. Hey, there are smiles, first steps, baby blunders and many other memories I just need to capture. After all, babies grow and change so much, even from week to week. I don't want to miss anything, so I always have my camera handy. I have friends and family all over the country, and I love being able to share my family photos with them, as well as see their photos. It gets complicated at times keeping track of everyone. We all have such busy lives, and it's easy to get behind as far as communication is concerned. Especially when it comes to sharing pictures! I often forget to e-mail the photos directly to people, since almost everyone I know uses Facebook regularly and I don't ever get requests for individual photos. They're always accessible to most of my friends and family members. But there are certain loved ones that haven't hopped onto the social media bandwagon yet, and they often miss out on the great photos I capture.
That's why I was so excited to learn about the amazing digital photo frames created by Pix-Star. Pix-Star, which pioneered the concept of "the frame with an email address", has been designing, manufacturing and selling connected photoframes since 2007. The Pix-Star team combines more than 20 years of experience in the fields of telecom, software and web design. Team members have been involved in the development of products and concepts combining wireless technology and innovative web service applications.Pix-Star products are designed to help friends and family members easily share their best moments in a simple and seamless way using the power of the Internet.
That's right: This innovative new line of digital photo frames have their own e-mail addresses! How cool is that?! What does that mean for you? Well, when using the Pix-Star FotoConnect Photo Frames, you can send and receive photo e-mails directly from the frame, no computer necessary! But that's not all! After registering your frame and setting up your e-mail address on the Pix-Star website, you can seamlessly transfer photos you have online on sites like Facebook, Picasa, FlickR and many, many more! You can even listen to and customize your favorite web radio stations and even get detailed, up to date weather forecasts!
I am so excited to share my next must have gift idea for the Holiday season. As parents, we all take TONS of pictures, right? Well, I know that I do! There have always been a wide variety of interesting photo gifts available, from books to throw blankets, even clothing featuring your priceless images. Well, the absolutely ingenious team at Vizardz is taking this concept one step further, and creating beautiful, elegant products that are sure to stand out in any home.
Vizardz is breaking new ground in the field of photography by applying the most advanced 3D technology to what has traditionally been a two-dimensional medium. The result is an innovative, multi-dimensional image made tangible through 3D personal sculptures and 2.5D pictures. What kinds of products do they offer? They create beautiful night lights, light boxes, ornaments, and even awesome 3D sculptures, all from your personal photos! How cool is that?! Using your favorite photos, Vizardz can help immortalize those memories in these fantastic products.
I learned about this company through one of my blogging groups. One of the ladies actually met the Vizardz team at the ABC Kids Expo and she immediately fell in love with their innovative product line. Can you blame her, though? Their work is so unique! Naturally, when the nice folks at Vizardz agreed to be part of my Holiday Gift Guide event, I was absolutely thrilled and couldn't wait to see what they would create with my photo!
I have to tell you, I am super-duper excited about my next Holiday Gift Guide Sponsor. After all, what would any Holiday wish list be without the wonderful products from Step2? First of all, they are one of my favorite companies to work with. Their staff is friendly, knowledgeable and a pleasure to communicate with. That should be no surprise, though, since Step2 is known for having stellar customer service. Next, Step2 is based out of North-Eastern Ohio, where I am originally from. I happen to love the great state of Ohio, and have to show some hometown pride!
But the BEST thing about Step2? Their amazing products, of course! Step2 is celebrating their 20th year of bringing safe, durable, and imaginative products to families. I remember having Step2 products in my home as a child, and I have been a Step2 fan for most of my life. Step2 offers a wide range of products from great ride-on toys to outdoor playhouses and playgrounds, and they even carry wonderful products for indoor play! One of Sophie's favorites is the Step2 Art Desk Easel. She loves being able to sit down and color at her own special art station! We also love the Step2 Play Kitchens. They allow budding chefs to play house and do what they see Mommy doing in the kitchen every day! For your chance to win a Step2 Kitchen of your own, as well as a video camera and a chance at $5,000.00, check out the Big Imaginations Are Cooking Contest! You can submit your stories NOW, but hurry! 10 finalists will be chosen on November 23, 2011!
As a part of my Holiday Gift Guide, I received a great new product from Step2, the Build & Store Block & Activity Table! This multipurpose table is the perfect play space for building, drawing, or any creative adventure your child can dream up. With lots of storage and removable block plates, it's also a perfect activity table. The really cool part? The removable block plates are compatible with both Legos and MEGA Blocks, making this great for the tiniest of builders and their bigger siblings alike!
More great features of the Build & Store Block & Activity Table are:
My husband is a puzzle fanatic. One year, he spent the vast majority of his free time putting together various puzzles. And the puzzles he prefers are no cake walk, either! He likes the huge 1000-1500 piece puzzles that can take months to complete. One of them, a wolf scene, took him 3 months because is was done entirely in 3 colors. Talk about a challenge! It ended up absolutely gorgeous, though, and he was very proud to have finally completed it. Since then, he has done many other difficult puzzles as well. He enjoys the challenge, and he says it definitely helps him to unwind.
One of the biggest obstacles we've had since having babies when it comes to completing our puzzles is having somewhere to do them while making sure that the pieces stay intact. Have you seen what baby saliva can do to a puzzle piece? Not pretty at all! We are also now buried in baby gear, and don't really have anywhere to put a puzzle together. The table in our formal dining room is totally out of the question, since this is where my "yet to be reviewed" products go until I get a chance to post. This way, they stay separate and don't get lost among our everyday items. (Ahh, the life of a blogger!) Coffee tables are out, too, since they're all at toddler accessible heights. Leaving a puzzle out for weeks on any of them would mean that most of the pieces would get lost, eaten, or otherwise destroyed. Not good at all.
That's why I was so excited to discover the great puzzle products at Jigthings. Jigthings is a great UK based company that offers tons of great accessories that make putting together jigsaw puzzles a lot less painless! The prime objective of Jigthings products is to make jigsaw puzzles more fun for jigsaw enthusiasts. They have 5 main product groups..... With the help of Jigsort, Jigboard and Jigsafe it becomes simple to manage jigsaws in your home during the time that they are being made up. (This is a MUST in homes where curious little hands like to explore!) Jigstore enables you to safely store made-up puzzles and the Jigframe provides a way for you to easily hang them on a wall in a picture frame. You only have to buy Jigthings ONCE and you can then enjoy them for a lifetime with any amount of different jigsaw puzzles.
As the parent of an infant and a toddler, I am well aware of the scrutiny that sippy cups and other feeding items have been subjected to in recent years. Traditionally, these items have been made of plastic. How is this bad, you might ask? Well, for a number of reasons. Plastic manufacturing often releases harmful gases and other toxins into the environment. Even worse: A lot of these bottles, sippy cups and other accessories contained BPA. BPA is a chemical compound not occurring in nature that has been shown to have negative effects on babies and children with long term exposure. Seriously, it's some scary stuff.
For quite some time now, manufacturers have been staying away from BPA, thank goodness! But it took 25 YEARS for them to catch on to the risks associated with this substance. 25 YEARS! What's next when it comes to plastics? I don't want to find out, so I am constantly on the lookout for safer, more environmentally sound products for my family. Rather than potentially put my kids in harm's way, I have been leaning towards sustainable, easily recyclable materials for my family's needs. One material I am loving is stainless steel. It is reusable, clean, and does not leech into the fluids or foods that it comes into contact with. Stainless steel is also one of the most easily recycled materials on the planet!
That's why I was so excited to learn about the Safe Sippy and the Safe Starter from Kid Basix. Kid Basix is a company that is dedicated not only to helping the environment by using stainless steel in their cups, they are also committed to providing high quality products that are absolutely safe for the entire family. None of their products contain BPA, and all of their products are reusable, durable, and recyclable. At Kid Basix, their mission is to raise awareness about harmful ingredients and make us rethink the way we look at plastics.
First, let me say this company is an absolute joy to work with. Their staff is friendly, knowledgeable, and passionate about the products they sell. I was thrilled to receive both the Safe Sippy 2 and the Safe Starter for my children. These products arrived quickly and were incredibly well packaged. Take a look!
I am a HUGE fan of flavored sparkling waters. You see, I am able to trick my taste buds with them. For over 10 years, I drank OVER a 2 liter of regular soda every single day. I cringe just thinking about it! Seriously, that is a TON of sugar and empty calories that did absolutely nothing for me other than help pack on added weight. I no longer drink regular soda at all, although I will enjoy a diet soda on occasion. More often than not, I am drinking flavored sparkling waters. They have great flavor, usually no calories or added sugars, and they have the fizz that I grew to love when I was a total soda-junkie. Having the carbonation made me think I wasn't giving anything up, and it allowed me to get off of the soda once and for all! This has been one of the best decisions I've made, since 30lbs literally fell off within a few months of making the switch to sparkling waters.
That's why I was excited to try the great sparkling water beverages from Sparkling ICE. This was a brand I had not tried before, and I was eager to see what flavors they had to offer. I received a mixed case of their tasty waters to review. It came at the absolute perfect time, since I was able to take them to enjoy on our 8 hour drive to Cleveland, Ohio over the Thanksgiving holiday. That was awesome, since it took away the temptation to stop for a quick soda at one of the many rest stops we encountered along the way.
My youngest baby, Xander, is probably the best eater I have ever seen. He happily gobbles down anything I give him, and it stays IN him rather than getting all over him. I don't think there's a single food he doesn't like. Whether it's meat, veggies, fruits, or even French Onion Dip, he likes it all. (Eww! He's braver than I am! Mama doesn't do onions!) I wish I had his love for different foods. I am, and always have been, an incredibly picky eater. I don't eat eggs, seafood of any kind, turkey, pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes, and the list goes on and on...Yep, I am weird. The holidays have always presented a challenge for me, as I don't eat most traditional holiday foods. Lucky for me, this will not be an issue for Xander.
Why is he such a great eater when so many other babies are resistant to new foods and flavors? Well, I have been giving him a wide variety of foods ever since he was old enough to have them. Sure, I introduced each food one at a time, but soon he was eating a wide variety of different foods. Each new food was an adventure, providing unique textures, flavors, and even smells. After all, babies' taste buds are essentially "virginal" and they have not developed aversions to foods yet. Learning to enjoy all food groups from the start helps prevent overly picky eaters. I truly believe that introducing baby to a wide selection of foods early on helps to make for a well-balanced diet for years to come.
With the Holiday season in full swing, there are endless opportunities to help expand baby's palate. After all, baby is part of the family, too! Including baby at the dinner table during holiday celebrations is a wonderful way to create priceless memories as well as introduce baby to all of the seasonal flavors they will (hopefully) grow to love about this time of year.
Earth's Best offers a great selection of seasonal favorites that will allow baby to enjoy the holidays right along with the rest of the family...even if they don't have a mouthful of teeth to chew with yet!
Here are a few of the tasty, seasonal offerings from Earth's Best:
• 1st Foods - Squash
• 1st Foods - Sweet Potato
• 2nd Foods Season Harvest - Apple Turkey Cranberry
• 2nd Foods Seasonal Harvest - Green Bean Casserole
• 3rd Foods Puree Pouch - Pumpkin Cranberry Apple (part of the new Earth’s Best puree pouch
My Xander loves the Pumpkin Cranberry Apple pouches, as well as the turkey varieties from Earth's Best! He got to enjoy these over our Thanksgiving vacation. He also loves pumpkin pie, although I have yet to find that in a jarred variety!
How do you include baby in your Holiday festivities? I'd love to hear about what you do to bring the entire family together!
HOW TO CONNECT:
At www.earthsbest.com, parents can learn more about available products, the organic and
natural difference, nutrition and feeding information and more.
You can also become a fan of Earth's Best on Facebook to stay on top of their latest products and promotions! You can even submit a photo of your child and get the chance to have them featured as the Earth's Best Baby of the Week!
***Disclosure: As an Earth's Best Blogger, I may receive products and coupons to facilitate my reviews. As always, my opinions are 100% honest and have not been influenced in any way.***
Well, after returning home from a GREAT (and much needed) vacation to Ohio, I am back and ready to get back into the swing of things. We had a wonderful time in the Cleveland area and enjoyed spending time with family. And of course, the chicken burgers and Grandma's cooking were wonderful, too! The babies were extremely well-behaved and loved playing with all of the coasters in the house, and they didn't even fuss one bit during the 8 hour trip, both coming and going. (Thank Goodness!) Xander even made a great new friend in my Grandma's dog, Lucky. My Grandpa and Dan took Kyle to Lake Erie so he could see the Great Lakes for the first time. It was cold, windy and rainy, but he had a blast and even took a sample of lake water to show his favorite teacher.I got to see several family members in Ohio and it was nice catching up with them and having some laughs. I miss Ohio and wish we got the chance to visit more often! One cool thing that I got to see was the Step2 Headquarters off of the Ohio Turnpike in the Hudson area. I wanted to stop and take pictures, but the hubby wanted to keep driving. It was pretty cool for me, though, since Step2 is one of my favorite companies to work with!
After leaving Ohio, we headed to Maryland to spend Thanksgiving with my husband's dad and his family. There were about 40 people there, and it was great getting to see everyone and share some laughs and wonderful food. By the time we got to Maryland, poor Xander had decided he'd had enough and got a little cranky. But there were plenty of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins to pass him around and keep him entertained! (And give an exhausted Mommy and Daddy a break!) We had a wonderful time, as we always do with that side of the family, and we cannot wait to see them again on Christmas morning!
Here are some photos from our trip!
So as you can see, we had a great time over the Thanksgiving holiday! I hope everyone else had a great time with family and friends, too! Did you do anything special? I'd love to hear about it!
One of the things my kids love about the Holiday season is the abundance of tasty treats they get to enjoy. With plenty of candy canes, pies, cakes, and cookies to indulge in, what kid wouldn't be thrilled? On Christmas, we often head out to spend the day with family. This year, we will be going to my husband's aunt and uncle's home where they hold an annual Christmas brunch. There's a ton of great food like creamed chipped beef and buttery biscuits, sausage, and of course bacon. There are also some yummy sweets like Christmas tree cookies and candy to be enjoyed by all. Aside from the 2 hour drive it takes to get there, I couldn't think of a better way to spend Christmas morning.
One of the things I plan to bring along to the brunch are the awesome holiday cookies from Smiley Cookies. I recently had the chance to review their Holiday Cookie Gift selection of gingerbread and Christmas tree cookies. My kids were thrilled when they arrived, and couldn't wait to dig in to these cookies. The first thing I noticed about my Smiley Cookies was the great packaging and presentation. They came in a whimsical box covered in colorful, smiley cookies! This box is actually very durable and suitable for gift giving. Inside the box was a package of a dozen large cookies. This gourmet Christmas gift features beautifully made cookies that are definitely big enough to fill hungry little tummies during the Holiday season! Take a look!
I'm sure that if you're a parent, you are familiar with the story of Puss 'N Boots, especially if your kids are fans of the Shrek movies. (Mine definitely are!) Well,I received "The True Story Of Puss 'N Boots" featuring William Shatner to review awhile back and I would like to share my honest opinion of the film. First of all, this is NOT the Puss 'N Boots movie that is tied into the story of Shrek that has been advertised everywhere. I just wanted to clear that up before I get into my opinion of this film. I know there has been some confusion surrounding the two different Puss 'N Boots movies as they were released fairly close together. The one featuring William Shatner of Star Trek fame as the voice of Puss is not at all connected to the story of Shrek the lovable ogre.
A Young Farmer’s son inherits a strange talking cat with magical boots. With his cunning wit, Puss helps him win the heart of the Princess while battling devious suitors that are after the throne.
Luckily, I first viewed this movie with my husband and babies. (The babies were actually asleep in the room.) I am thankful my daughter was sleeping, since I would not deem this movie appropriate for smaller children. The characters are a bit frightening, and there are many adult things in the movie that I would not personally allow my kids to watch being a rather strict mother.
First of all, the Queen is very visibly drunk throughout the entire storyline and slurs her words. This was surprising to me, as this is supposed to be a film for kids. I do not encourage my kids to watch movies that graphically depict intoxication, and the Queen was definitely under the influence of something rather potent.
Another thing I really didn't like was the way that the Princess was depicted. She was quite....how do I say this politely....enhanced. It was a bit graphic for my tastes, and I don't feel that upping the sex appeal of the princess by having highly exaggerated curves sends the most healthy message to young girls. Yes, princesses are supposed to be beautiful. They are in almost every movie I have seen. However, being built like a sex industry worker is not the image of beauty I want to send to my daughter. That's just my personal opinion though.
The story was also rather dark, and may terrify smaller children. It may be alright for older kids, with parental discretion. If you're considering watching this movie with your family, I would highly recommend watching it first before allowing the kids to see it. After all, all households are different and perhaps you'll have a different experience than we did. While my husband found the movie entertaining as a 34 year old man, we decided that this is not the best movie for children and we won't be allowing ours to watch this movie...At least not until they're much, much older. I wish I could give a more positive review, as my hopes were set high for this film. But in the spirit of total honesty, I simply cannot.
If you'd like to check this movie out yourself, it is available on Amazon as well as at most movie retailers.
It is 79 minutes long and is rated G. (However, I strongly feel it should be PG-13.)
Have you seen this movie? What was your opinion of the film? I'd love to hear it!
***Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this film from Team Mom to facilitate my review. No other compensation was provided and all opinions are 100% honest and have not been influenced in any way.***
PR Friendly Mama!
I'm Brandy, a happily married, proud mama of two munchkins and a teen. You can read more about me HERE. If you're interested in building a working relationship, please feel free to e-mail me at: NewlyCrunchyMamaOf3@gmail.com
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