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November 17, 2014

Adorable Toddler Elmo Costume

Some things are just too cute to pass up, and this Elmo costume certainly was. As soon as I saw it I knew I wanted it for my son. He started out a grover fan, but as soon as he could talk, it was all about ELMO!

Can you tell by this cheesy grin how much he loved this costume? It arrived WEEKS after Halloween, but he thought it was Halloween so he asked mom for his bag of "trick or treats" (aka candy) so he could pose for the picture. Adorable, but I'm biased.

I will only consider warm Halloween costumes if we are going outdoors, but if it's just to play "dress up" then it doesn't matter, but thankfully this one is very warm, but I'll warn you, it sheds more than my three pets combined!!! A week later I'm still finding red fur everywhere!

If you are looking for some reasonably priced Sesame Street Costumes or dress up costumes this would be a good place to start. Can you tell me how to get to sesame street?

About this costume:
This Muppet outfit features a red fuzzy jumpsuit and a headpiece with light up eyes. Not only are the lighting googly eyes on top of this hat adorable, they also function as a safety feature on dark Halloween nights out trick-or-treating. Watch your son or daughter's face light up when they step into our Elmo costume for toddlers. This costume includes plush jumpsuit, character headpiece with light up eyes and 3 LR44 button cell batteries.

Many thanks to Costume review for the opportunity to try out this elmo costume. All opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

GIVEAWAY: Why Do We Call It Christmas DVD

Straight from VeggieTales creator himself Phil Vischer comes “Buck Denver asks… Why Do We Call It Christmas?” movie for kids. In this movie Buck Denver answers the following: Cutting down trees? Hanging stockings? Santa Claus? What do any of these have to do with Jesus' birthday?  More than you'd think! 

Join VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer along with intrepid newsman Buck Denver and all his friends on an amazing journey into the world's most popular holiday! Sure, you know the Christmas story. But do you know the story of Christmas? Don't miss the whimsical, educational, Christmical party to end all Christmas parties as Buck Denver Asks … Why Do We Call It Christmas? 

Contains the following topics:
-Where do we get the word Christmas?
-When was Jesus born?
-What do Christmas trees have to do with Jesus?
-Who is St. Nicholas?
-What is Hanukkah?
-Who is Emmanuel?
-Luke 2 Story

I think this is a really cute movie. My son was captivated. He's almost 2 years old, and usually only stays interested for about 10-15 minutes of any given show or movie, but he watched 30 minutes of this [we broke the movie into 2 parts for him]. While he is still a bit young to understand what Buck Denver was explaining, it was entertaining for him and educational for me. I learned a lot about Saint Nicholas and how we got the nickname "santa claus." I also found the stocking story interesting. That was news to me. The origins of stories are always fascinating to me. It was a very well done film!

Watch the Trailer here:

WIN IT: Why Do We Call It Christmas DVD

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

GIVEAWAY: NOAH - A Wordless Picture Book

A hundred years before the Great Flood, a man named Noah came home talking crazy. God wanted him to build the biggest ship the world had ever seen. The future of humanity depended on it. How would his wife respond? What would the neighbors think? Was it even feasible?

This lavish reimagining of one of the greatest stories of all time will fascinate children and adults alike. Nuanced and playful, yet meticulous in following the biblical narrative, Mark Ludy’s world-class art digs deeper than the Sunday-school tale of cuddly animals, exploring noah’s relationship with his family, the natural world, God - and a formidable engineering challenge.

Bonus: Find Squeakers the mouse on every page!

About the author:

Mark Ludy has written or illustrated eight children’s books including The FarmerThe Flower Man, The GrumpWhen I Was  a Boy I DreamedWhen I Was a Girl I Dreamed, and Jujo the Youngest Tribesman. When he’s not immersed in his sketchbooks, you’ll find him in schools promoting art and literacy. He lives in Colorado with his wife, daughter, and two sons.

Mark’s website: http://www.markludy.com
Official NOAH websitehttp://www.plough.com/en/ebooks/n/noah 

 This book is full of beautiful artwork that helps you tell the story. I grew up in church, but I'll be honest and say that I didn't know what I was supposed to be explaining on every page, so it not only helps teach children, but also teach the parents about this famous Bible story.

Just look at some of the stunning artwork pictured here!

WIN IT: You can win a copy for yourself

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GIVEAWAY: Don't forget your dogs this holiday season!!!

Vital Essentials recognizes that dogs naturally crave treats that are made of real, wholesome, healthy meats.  VE Vital Treats are just that – fresh muscle meats and fresh, whole organ meats that have been gently freeze-dried to perfection.

VE Vital Treats are made with fresh, whole, single-sourced USDA animal protein to provide essential nutrition that dogs instinctively crave. Additionally, RAW treats promote digestive and oral health and support overall health – strong bones, thick glossy coats, firm muscle tone and optimal weight maintenance.

Vital Essentials freeze-dried products need no refrigeration and the convenient, resealable pouch makes it easy to take VE Vital Treats anywhere - ideal for training, snacking or traveling.

As the holiday season approaches, consider giving healthy this year with VE Vital Treats. A recent study reports that more than 50 percent of pet owners include pets in holiday shopping. VE Vital Treats are the perfect stocking stuffer or small gift item for all your favorite furry friends.

Our black lab mix loved these, so I have a feeling your canine friend will too!

WIN IT: A complete set of VE treats. One of each of 6 FD flavors

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GIVEAWAY: Baby Sign Language Kit

Need a gift idea for a mom of a little one, or soon-to-be mom? How about a Baby Sign Language Kit? If you are a parent, you know how frustrating it is to try to communicate with your child before they have the language skills to tell you what they want. In our house this communication gap caused many melt downs and tears.  This is why I think that baby sign language is so important. When our son was too young to speak we taught him the sign for "more" and "all done", so that he could tell us when he was still hungry or when he was full. It worked really well. He ended up signing "more" everytime he wanted to do more of something fun, lol. But still, he got it. And now that he's almost 2, he has some language, but can still get frustrated when asking for things, so we're teaching him more sign language with the Baby Sign Language system.

In the week that we've had this kit, he's started using "more" "all done" again and learned "fan" "eat", "cat" and he is learning more every day. We have "school" time and do our sign flashcards, but I only introduce a few new cards each week so he isn't overwhelmed. He enjoys it, and I'm enjoying learning them too! I learned the sign language alphabet when I was a kid, and I still remember it. I even joined a sign language club in middle school and remember some of that too. It's nice to be able to communicate with people across the room when voices just don't cut it, or to communicate with the hearing impaired.

I've also cut up the poster provided and pasted it onto a thick posterboard so it can stand next to us when we're working on "school." He points to the one he wants me to do, and I show him how to sign that particular word. The picture instructions are really easy to follow. It not only teaches him the signs for things, but he's also learning to read the English words for things. When I sign Mommy I point to the word "mommy" so he will recognize it on paper and in sign. It's a really great system!

This would make a great gift for a mom of a 6-18 month old, or a mom who wants to teach their child to sign!

You can purchase it here: http://www.babysignlanguage.com/product/standard-kit/ or try to win it:

WIN IT: One reader will win a Baby Sign Language Kit


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Maybelline - New Products on the Lineup for Fall 2014/Winter 2015

Recently I had a chance to try some of the newer products by Maybelline. I've been seeing advertisements for their dream wonder foundation, and I wanted to see if it really was all they said it was. Turns out, it is! It goes on like silk. You dab the foundation on your finger and smooth onto your skin, and instantly evens out skin tone and provides a great base for the rest of your cosmetics. I generally start with a foundation and then use a light powder to set, bronzer, blush etc, but you really don't need a powder to set this product. It goes on as a liquid, but finishes like a powder/cream. As you can see from the photo below, it blends well, leaving a natural look. So if you are a minimalist when it comes to makeup, I think this is a great product to invest in!

In addition to the foundation I had a chance to try the Eye Studio Color Tattoo Leather in Creamy Beige, but I wasn't a fan. It went on thick, and didn't look natural at all. I guess if you want a bulky eye look, this may be what you want, but it wasn't for me.

Next in line was the Master Kajal liner, which I was very impressed by. It glides on smoothly and the bold pigment leaves a dramatic look. I've just recently started lining my waterline, and trying to create a bold smokey eye, and I think I'm finally getting the hang of it! After you apply your concealer, foundation, bronzer, blush, highlighter etc next are the eyes. This is the order in which I do my eyes: 1) Thick eyeliner pencil 2) liquid eyeliner to get closer to the lash line 3) Apply dark shadow just over the eyeliner for more natural look 4) Apply medium shade eyeshadow to outer edge or eye and crease 5) apply lighter/highlight color across lids and under brows 6) Apply Mascara (try pumped up colossal mascara by maybelline).

I've had a good amount of success with this process in making my eyes appear larger. You can see the difference between photo 1 (without eye make up) and photo 2 (with).

Check out their new products for yourself now! I plan to do a beauty post on contouring my face for added impact, so stay tuned!

November 15, 2014

The Christmas Cat - Blog Book Tour

20665226After years abroad, Garrison Brown returns home to Vancouver to build a new life. When his beloved grandmother passes away a few weeks before Christmas, Garrison goes to her house to sort out her belongings, including six cats who need new homes. 

While Garrison hopes to dispense with the task quickly, his grandmother's instructions don't allow for speed. She has left Garrison with some challenging requirements for the future homes of her furry friends--plus a sizeable monetary gift for the new owners. Garrison's job is to match the cats with the right owners without disclosing the surprise gift. Along the way, he may just meet someone who can make him stay. 

Humorous and heartwarming, this latest Christmas story from bestselling author Melody Carlson is the perfect gift for pet lovers and anyone in whose heart Christmas holds a special place.

Review: This cover had me wanting to read it immediately, as I'm a big cat fan. I've read other books by Melody Carlson, and they are all easy enjoyable reads, this book included. I knew where the book was headed from the beginning, but sometimes that's exactly the type of book I'm in the mood for. It was a light read that I finished in less than a day. There wasn't too much depth to any of the characters, but they were all lovely. 

I loved how every cat had their unique personality, just like people have their unique personalities. I especially loved Harry. The sociably friendly maine coon. I have one cat that is very similar to that, and one that is closer to spooky who hides from strangers but loves his owners. 

If you want a book that makes you think or one you get really invested in, this is not the book, but if you want a nice, quick holiday read, this is it! 

November 13, 2014

GIVEAWAY: Manic Drive CD

Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Manic Drive’s latest album VIP, which released October 14th, and I had a chance to check it out. It was a little too rocky for my taste for a few songs, but then others were more mellow and more my speed. Their music reminded me of the Ballas Hough band that I learned about a couple years back. A good combination of beat and melody.

Manic Drive has been widely known as a Canadian band who always delivers a great show, but over the past few years and project releases, they have added to their extensive touring of Canadian and US markets multiple Billboard Top 10 & 20 singles on CHR & Christian Rock Radio. Manic Drive is clearly very intentional about reaching their generation and inspiring them to pursue a deeper walk with Christ and to get involved in changing the world they are inheriting. And they are uniquely equipped to do so. The band members, all in their early-mid twenties, have made sacrifices to pursue God’s call on their lives. Their life experience, spiritual maturity and ministry have opened doors to speak into the lives of their own generation and that is perhaps the most defining characteristic of this group of guys.

Find out more here:
Official Website- http://www.manicdrive.com/
Official Twitter-  http://www.twitter.com/manicdrive

WIN IT: A copy of this album

a Rafflecopter giveaway

November 12, 2014

Farewell, Four Waters by Kate McCord - Book Review

Day 14: It should have been the beginning . . .

All she needed were stamps and signatures. Marie and her translator stood in the government offices in Kabul, Afghanistan to complete the paperwork for her new literacy project. The women in her home town, the northern village of Shehktan, would learn to read.

But a spattering of gun shots exploded and an aid worker crumpled. Executed. On the streets of Kabul. Just blocks from the guesthouse. Sending shockwaves through the community.

The foreign personnel assessed their options and some, including Marie's closest friend, Carolyn, chose to leave the country. Marie and others faced the cost and elected to press forward. But the execution of the lone aid worker was just the beginning.

When she returned home to her Afghan friends in Shehktan to begin classes, she felt eyes watching her, piercing through her scarf as she walked the streets lined in mud brick walls.

And in the end . . . 

It took only 14 days for her project, her Afghan home, her community-all of it-to evaporate in an eruption of dust, grief, and loss. Betrayed by someone she trusted. Caught in a feud she knew nothing about, and having loved people on both sides, Marie struggled for the answer: How could God be present here, working here, in the soul of Afghanistan?

If you enjoy the show HOMELAND on Shotime, you'll enjoy this novel. At first I was thinking, how can anyone live like this? How can women give up their American lives and homes to go to a foreign land where there is constant fighting, where women live in fear of being kidnapped or killed, and where women have little to no rights? Women can't drive cars, must be covered in public, can't own things, can't have money of their own, but by the end of the book I was so impressed with the friendships they formed and the progress they made. I even found myself wanting to be part of this world. I was sad to see them leave all their friends and projects behind. It was a very well written book, and I loved reading Marie's honest thoughts as she went through the highs and lows, especially how she struggled to see God in the crisis. Many people think missionaries are saints and without questions or doubts, and I really appreciated this honest look at one woman's experience!

WIN IT: A copy for yourself

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November 11, 2014

GIVEAWAY: Pampers Prize Pack & Diaper Genie!!!

This review was made possible by Double Duty Divas and Pampers. I was provided product free of charge to facilitate my review, but all opinions are 100% mine.
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When you become a new parent there are so many things you realize you DON'T know, like how much should my child be eating, or is this rash normal, or what does this cry mean? The not knowing can drive you crazy, but thankfully there are websites and guides to help you figure it out. One of the things I talked about most when we took our son home was....poop! How much of it, the consistency, the odor, the color, you name it, we talked about it. I often found myself consulting other experienced moms to find out what was "normal" and what I should be concerned about. The same goes for rashes. My son never had any until he started eating solids, so it was a breeze, but now that I have a daughter she gets them frequently, but what is normal for babies and what's not? Now they have the Pampers Stool Color Card & Diaper Rash Guide to help make that clear!

While I can't post a picture of my foster daughter in her pampers, I can post a semi-shot. Here is my son holding our foster daughter, but for her privacy it's been blurred.

Pampers Wipes: Restoring Baby’s Natural pH Balance. Today, clinical testing proves that Pampers baby wipes condition the skin and help restore baby’s natural pH balance. By utilizing ingredients that restore the natural pH (levels) of the skin, Pampers baby wipes are milder than water and washcloth on baby’s delicate skin.

Enter the Mommy Memory Match Sweepstakes Now on Pampers.com and you can win some great prizes!!! Grand prize winner will get six months of FREE diapers and wipes! You’ll also have a daily chance to play the Mommy Memory Match game and win one month of free diapers and wipes or a Pampers t-shirt INSTANTLY!  Sweepstakes runs from now until January 31, 2015.

WIN IT: Pampers Prize Pack Including...

  • 1 Pack of Pampers Newborn or Size 1 diapers
  • 1 Pack of Pampers Wipes
  • Diaper Genie
  • Diaper Genie Refills
  • Portable Diaper Caddy
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November 05, 2014

Children 'n Us Premium Stroller Organizer

1. ENJOY YOUR OUTINGS WITH YOUR CHILDREN !!! Children 'n Us Premium Stroller Organizer is something you can always RELY ON regardless of where you need to go on a DAY TO DAY basis. It can FIT ALL YOUR BABY'S NEEDS while keeping it all completely safe and protected. It has a TON OF STORAGE too. Allowing you to BRING EXTRA ITEM just in case of any emergencies. This will help you FIND WHAT YOU NEED, when YOUR BABY NEEDS it. You'll be VERY GLAD with this baby bag as it carries everything -- AND MORE. With all the USEFUL FEATURES and storage space, it makes traveling with your baby an ABSOLUTE JOY !!!

2. ONE OF THE LARGER STROLLER ORGANIZER OF THE MARKET !!! Children 'n Us Super Stroller Organizer has a LARGE CAPACITY to take all of your IMPORTANT BABY BELONGINGS !!! Has a pocket for your SMARTPHONE; a VELCRO pocket to carry things like pacifiers; TWO INSULATED BOTTLE spots, to take your BABY'S and YOURS beverages; a ZIPPER pocket to store your KEYS; and an EXTERNAL POCKET, to bring DIAPERS for your baby's URGENT moments !!!

3. ADJUSTABLE STRAP TO ATTACH AND FIT ONTO ANYTHING !!! Children 'n Us Super Stroller Organizer can be used in all of your moments with your kids !!! Fits in most BABY STROLLERS; can be used in your BIKING RIDES; used also in your CAR, giving your kids the chance to get their own water bottle or toys !!! And also used as a HANDBAG, giving to you the freedom to take it ANYWHERE !!

4. BONUS E-BOOK !!! Ordering Children 'n Us Premium Stroller Organizer, you will be able to download totally for FREE an special EBOOK, with a lot of tips of how to take care of your CHILDREN ! Our EBOOK was specially made FROM MOM TO MOM !!


Most moms know how much stuff kids come with, and it can be hard to fit it into your purse, diaper bag, and especially your stroller. Many strollers don't have cupholders, or anywhere to put sippy cups other than the buttom bucket area, which doesn't help keep things upright. That is one reason why I like this stroller organizer. While I wasn't able to try it out, due to the weather plummiting so quickly in the northeast where I live, I love the idea of it! Another thing I like is that it fits ANY stroller, as well as on bikes and cars. If I owned a bike, I would definitely use this!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

November 04, 2014

Stila - Fall MUST HAVE's!!!

I am one of those people who like to change my look depending on my mood, the weather, the event, or my outfit. If It is warm outside I tend to do more peaches and pinks. If it's cooler I tend to do more reds and purples. I have yet to venture into the "browns" yet.

I have a fair complexion, sandy blond/light brown hair and grayish blue eyes [eye color also changes depending on the day...or what I'm wearing], so I feel lucky to be able to wear a variety of colors and shades. I've learned through trial and error which colors work and which don't. 

I've found that peachy/coral colors work on my cheeks but NOT on my lips. Or that light brown eyeliner does nothing for my eyes, so I generally go with darker grays, black or deep purples (like Stila's Kajal eye liner in #120 Topaz). I've also been told, by my loving husband, that bold warm reds on my lips make me look like a clown, so now I look for reds with blue undertone to avoid this clown similarity :-P. I've also found that no matter what the weather or my personal mood for the day, it's important to emphasize the brows, especially on days where make up is minimal. It helps make the eyes stand out. 

With the cooler weather upon us in the NorthEast it's time to break out the bolder reds and purples, and Stila make some of my must-have products for this season including: Coconut Crush Lip & Cheek Stain item# 908, Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Color item# 971 Light, Kajal eye liner item# 120 Topaz & Convertible Color item# 207 poppy.

As I mentioned, a good brown pencil or liner is a must have for me. I never used to use a brow pencil or liner, but lately I've had less time to do "the works" on my eyes, so I've found that some brow liner and blush are all that I need for the day. It's my 'quick fix' and a must-have for my makeup bag this Fall and Winter.

I also recently discovered Stila's Convertible Color in Poppy. Its a lip balm consistency with bold color and can be used as a lip color or cheek tint. In the photo shown I've used it as both. I really love when the lips coordinate with the cheek color, so what better way to achieve this than with one product that does both???

Another Stila product that I've been a fan of for awhile is their Lip and Cheek Stain. I had previously tried a purple color, but recently tried the coconut crush. I am IN LOVE!!! It provides a metallic shimmer with the staying power of a lipstain. I just love how it defines my lips and pops! When I'm going to go bold on the lip, I tend to do less on the eyes. In this photo I just lined my lower lashes, applied mascara, and this lip stain and Done!

I am generally a simple person when it comes to my daily cosmetic routine, so these are some great products to have on hand. I will spice it up for date nights or events, but in general I like quick, simple, and beautiful. Stila's products help me achieve both.

Paperback Swap!!! (get rid of old books and get new ones)

Trade Books for Free - PaperBack Swap.

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