Archive for Holidays

VTech Alternative Easter Basket Ideas and Giveaway

“The VTech product, gift card, information, and additional gift pack have been provided by VTech.”

Easter is only days away, are you ready? VTech has some alternative Easter basket ideas and a giveaway to help you celebrate this spring holiday!

Did you know that VTech consults with a panel of experts on the development of its learning products? VTech supports you as your child continues to grow and reach new developmental milestones by offering a variety of age-appropriate toys. Here are the VTech products we reviewed:

InnoTab®Doc McStuffins Software Cartridge (Ages 4-7 years; MSRP: $24.99)

- Learn reading, vocabulary, observation, logic, memory, math, visual skills, creativity, healthy living and more! The Doc is in!

- Read a story about Lambie and Doc in an e-book, color in Doc’s Big Book of Boo-Boos and play games with Doc and her friends.

Our Review: This was great for all three of our younger children. Considering the fact they all love animals and we just got our own lamb, it was very cute and timely! Our children love their InnoTab 3S so I don’t think we could go wrong in any cartridge at this point!

VTech Innotab 3S Sofia the First

InnoTab Sofia the First Software Cartridge (Ages 3-6 years; MSRP: $24.99)

- Seven learning games and two creative activities teach counting, colors, patterns, problem solving and more! Join Sofia on this wild and thrilling day!

- Learn how Sofia becomes a princess in Story Mode with the interactive e-book. Take pictures with favorite characters and scenes (camera activity compatible with any InnoTab® system with a camera).

Our Review: Our eight year old daughter loves princesses so Princess Sofia was perfect for her. Even though it is geared towards younger children she enjoyed playing the activities. Our younger boys benefited from the educational activities as well as had fun in the process.

Go! Go! Smart Wheels® Vehicles (Ages 1-5 years; MSRP: $7.99)

- These electronic play vehicles are perfectly sized for little hands and entertain children with a light-up button that activates music and sounds.

- Little ones will also learn about different letters and vehicle names through pretend play.

Our Review: Our three year old loved his VTech bulldozer. Everything about it. If he couldn’t find it, he was asking where it was and the hunt was on! We’ll see how long it lasts. Parents may not like the sounds it makes though!

FFR Vtech Easter Basket Collage_

Switch & Go Dinos®Turbo Assortment (Ages 3-8 years; MSRP: $9.99)

- Kids can rev up the action with flywheels that let the dinos race and roar across the floor. Each dino also emits realistic vehicle and dinosaur sounds and phrases that teach fun facts about each dino.

- The range features six new dinos, including Dart the Triceratops, Zipp the T-Rex, Spur the Stegosaurus, Fray the Ankylosaurus, Cruz the Spinosaurus and Spinner the Stygimoloch.

Our Review: Our six year old really liked this product. I am not sure if he took it apart at all yet but he has been playing with it and taking really good care of it, as is characteristic of him and his belongings. We haven’t had it long enough to see how long it will last long term but so far so good.

You can stay up to date with VTech at the links below:

· VTech website

· VTech Twitter

· VTech Facebook

VTech Easter Basket and Giveaway

Wanna win? Enter to win your own VTech products in the giveaway below! Ends 4/30. Happy Easter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Kmart Layaway Dance Video

This is a sponsored post. I am a Kmart blogger, though all opinions are my own.

You’ll have fun watching this mash-up of customers doing the Kmart Layaway Dance! Dare we say it’s the latest dance craze? I know it caught my sons’ attention as they headed to bed! If you’re wondering what it is about Kmart Layaway that makes people spontaneously breakout in catchy dance moves, you should probably keep reading this. At Kmart, Layaway doesn’t start and end with the holidays. You can use Kmart Layaway all year round for celebrations such as birthdays, re-decorating or baby gifts. In addition, Kmart Layaway is available online and in stores. It’s simple: pick out the times you want, start with a down payment, make payments every two weeks (online or in store) and take your items home with you after your final payment (cue: Layaway dance)! Pro tip: Remember to give yourself plenty of time before you need the item, most Layaway contracts last about 8 weeks, so planning ahead is key! Plus, Shop Your Way Members get points on every Layaway purchase and exclusive Layaway offers.

Kmart Layaway Dance Video

Have an item in mind you’d like to put on Layaway? You know it’s about that time to start thinking grills and patio furniture! Get ready to practice your dance moves because you’re going to want to break out in a Layaway dance too! http://bit.ly/1hqSlD8

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SitStay.com Pet Treats for Valentine’s Day

FFR image for posts

Our Newfie/Golden Retriever mix dog, Padfoot, recently tried Shindig Valentine’s Day Treat Trio dog treats from SitStay.com. Valentine’s Day is a day to remember our pets with “sweet” treats too, right? And since dogs cannot have chocolate Love Licks, Heartbreakers and Love Birds are the next best thing…for a dog.

FFR Padfoot getting a treat 021814

Love Licks – 3″ jumbo patties made from USDA inspected bison tongue & heart. Nutrient-rich and tasty!

Heartbarkers – 100% USA raised beef heart. High in protein & coenzyme Q10 for good heart health.

Love Birds – Human-grade chicken & turkey breast fillets – raised & packaged right here in the USA! Perfectly combined poultry proteins.

All include ingredients are sourced right here from the USA.

shindigval__60723.1391445675.1280.1280

The ingredients in these dog treats are actually pretty good. I had photos of the ingredients to include but they are stuck on our DSLR camera. :(

Padfoot really likes these treats, then again he’s not a very picky eater. Sometimes he gets sick of certain things he has a lot, like chicken, eggs or bread if the children are tossing their leftovers to him! He definitely preferred these over his peanut butter that you see in the video. He usually loves licking out the peanut butter jar, not so much this time when a Valentine’s Day treat was available instead.


Be aware I was really loud at the beginning so have your volume turned down!

Padfoot gives Shindig Valentine’s Day Treat Trio dog treats from SitStay.com two thumbs up!

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Where Do You Need More Love in 2014… from Yourself?

This is a guest post.

Self-Love-day-picture

Be More Loved in 2014

Do you over-give, over-do, over-work? Have relationships that aren’t respectful? Settle for less than your heart desires? Criticize, judge or compare yourself? Make choices based on fear, shame, or guilt? These are all signs you need more self-love this year, because these are all actions that are not self-loving.

Self-love is a choice you make, a permission you give yourself, like a best friend would.

Download the FREE Self-Love Pulse Check & Self-Love Promise Kit to grow your ability to make choices that honor your heart & soul >> www.ChooseSelfLove.com

Make 2014 a Year You RECEIVE MORE LOVE for Yourself, Starting with the Love From Yourself

Celebrate The International Day of Self-Love, February 13th. RSVP for this free live-streamed event on self-love day with best-selling, self-love expert Christine Arylo and self-love singer Karen Drucker. They’ll guide you to:

Give yourself permission to get what YOU need to feel taken care of, loved and free.
Take a Self Love Pulse Check – see where you’re weak in your relationship with yourself and where you are strong.
Participate in a self-love ceremony & make a set of self-love promises that’ll support you to give yourself what your heart and soul desire
Receive a set of Love Mantras you can use all year to transform guilt, shame, blame, fear, stress and criticism into LOVE in minutes!

It’s free to register. RSVP for free Now – Go here to register >> http://www.SelfLoveParty.com

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A JOLLY TIME Pop Corn Recipe for Valentine’s Day

 FFR image for posts

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There is nothing like snuggling up with your loved ones around a classic bowl of good ole popcorn! Jolly time might even inspire you to write a love poem around those light , fluffy kernels of buttery goodness!

 

This Valentine’s Day why not treat your family to some Jolly Time Pop Corn! Try out the recipe below for a special Valentine treat for the kids or any loved one! We sure did! We made the Choco Cherry Hearts for the family… and don’t worry if you do not have a heart shaped cookie cutter … we made ours into balls instead and put them on the sticks and they turned out great as popcorn pops! So any way you “pop” it this is a great Valentine’s treat! Throw them in the children’s lunch or surprise a loved one with a bouquet!

 


Choco Cherry Hearts Bouquet Recipe

Choco-Cherry-Heart-Bouquets

Makes about 8

Ingredients:

12 cups popped JOLLY TIME® Smart Balance Butter Light Microwave Pop Corn (about 1 bag)

1-1/2 cups dried tart cherries

1 (1-pound) bag mini marshmallows

1 cup white chocolate chips or chopped vanilla candy coating

¼ cup butter

Red food color

Long lollipop sticks or thick bamboo skewers

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or dark chocolate morsels

 

Here’s How:

Mix popcorn and cherries in a large bowl.

Place marshmallows, white chocolate, and butter in a large saucepan. Cook over low heat until melted and smooth. Stir in a few drops of red food color to tint the mixture pink.

Pour marshmallow mixture over popcorn; toss gently until well coated.

With wet or buttered hands, press mixture into a 3-1/2 to 4-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter (place cutter on a foil-lined baking sheet; press in popcorn, then lift cutter off).

Insert a lollipop stick in the base of each heart.

Allow popcorn hearts to cool completely. Meanwhile, melt the dark chocolate. Drizzle over hearts.

Allow to harden.

Wrap hearts in cellophane and tie with ribbon; stand them up in a vase or jar as a centerpiece or gift.

You can find more flavors, recipes, and inspiration from America’s first family of popcorn ~ celebrating its 100th birthday this year! Please visit Jollytime.com for more information on this product, coupons and free offers!

Link to Jolly Time Pop Corn promotions (coupons and free offers with UPC submission)

 

 

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Celebrating Valentine’s Day as a Family

Ah! Love is in the air – Valentine’s Day is coming!

Valentine's Day February 14

I remember the days of being Sweethearts -  going out to dinner, flowers, & candy.  My…My… can things change once kids enter the picture.  Valentine’s Day has changed in our house, we now celebrate as a family.   Here’s a few inexpensive ways to make Valentine’s Day a family event!

1.)     Make heart pancakes for breakfast – Make your favorite pancake mix, add a few drops of red food coloring.  Stir up the batter good and cook them.  When they are done cooking, take a heart shaped cookie cutter and cut out your heart pancakes.

2.)    Heart shaped sandwiches for lunch – This is a good craft as well as lunch.  Build your favorite sandwich and then use the heart shaped cookie cutter to cut out a really cute sandwich.

3.)    You need flowers for Valentine’s Day – Material needed:  a few sheets of colored tissue paper and a pipe cleaner for each flower.  Take the tissue paper and lay them on top of one another and then twist a pipe cleaner in the middle.  Fluff out the tissue paper to make tissue flowers.

4.)    You can’t have Valentine’s Day without chocolate -  My favorite is chocolate covered strawberries.  Buy strawberries at your local store and a bag or a few bars of your favorite chocolate.  Using a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate in 30 second intervals at first.  Stir the chocolate.  Once the chocolate starts to melt only microwave about 10 seconds or less, be careful not to burn the chocolate.  Use oven mitts to take the chocolate out of the microwave, it will be very hot.  Then dip your washed & dried strawberries into the chocolate, I sometimes use a spoon to coat the berry.  Place the chocolate strawberry on wax paper to dry.

Enjoy celebrating Valentine’s Day as a family!

 

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$100 Visa Gift Card Giveaway

$100 Visa Gift Card Giveaway

Most people can use a bit of extra cash after the Christmas season or any time really, right? Five fellow bloggers and I have joined together to offer a $100 Visa Gift Card giveaway. Not only can you buy groceries or gas but it could be used for gifts too. A great way to get a head start on 2014 Christmas gifts. I’ve bought one small gift so far for each of our children. Even if I buy one thing per child per month, I will be that much farther ahead than I was last year. Here’s to better planning this year! Do I hear a “hear hear!”?

The giveaway will run from Tuesday, January 21, 2014 to Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:59 EST. So be sure to come back and enter tomorrow!!
An actual Visa gift card will be mailed to a winner. This is not an e-gift card.

Thanks to Katy over at MovingThroughLife.com for organizing and coordinating this giveaway.

$100 Visa Gift Card Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What would you use the gift card for?

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Wool Dryer Balls Giveaway

Remember the review I did of a local farm’s wool dryer balls? Well, I have an extra set I was going to donate to a charity auction but it fell through so I thought I’d offer you all a chance to win the set. They are Christmas colors though, just so you know.

Oh and I must add, I am still not sure if we have completely eliminated the static or if the dryer balls are missing some of our loads. Still working on figuring it out. Other than that we do still really like them!

And I fixed the tweet in the Rafflecopter! Sorry about that!

Wool Dryer Balls Giveaway

FFR Christmas Wool Dryer Balls

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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2014 is Here! Happy New Year!

FFR HAPPY NEW YEAR

Another year has come and gone….and I am not sure how I feel about it. I cannot say I am excited about the new year. Excited for spring and summer. Guess I am quietly contemplating what is going to happen when my husband’s unemployment runs out in 2-3 months. It kind of puts a damper on the new year cheer to say the least.

Looking back on 2013, I can honestly say it wasn’t all bad. The good list certainly outweighs the bad.

The Good:
Finally sold our townhouse.
Increased my income….somewhat.
New work at home job as hostess on Moms.com
Saw growth and potential in our wee organic farm venture.
Added a cow to our farm family.
Healthy family.
Not one but TWO visits from my mom.
Birth of my first niece on my side of the family.
Signed a two year lease with our landlords. Hard to believe one year is gone already. Only a year left.

The Bad:
Sixth miscarriage in June 2013.
Husband’s second job loss in five years.
Loss of poultry.
Bad break with a client.

Looking forward to 2014, I really only have one goal in mind and several others stirring. I don’t like to make new year’s resolutions because past experience tells me I won’t succeed. I prefer setting short-term and long-term goals.

What about you did you make any new year’s resolutions?

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10 Things that Make Me Smile

As 2013 comes to an end, I am thinking about things that make me smile.

1. I am usually not thinking of things to smile about while doing the paper route at 3-4 AM, especially during the winter months. However, there’s this one house that has a tunnel built right through a huge pile of snow and every morning it makes me smile as I think of how much fun they had digging through the snow. It also makes me smile because of how much our children love digging snow tunnels.

2. Seeing all the snowmen children build around our town. I must say they are few and far between this year.

FFR Thnigs that make me smile

3. Obviously, my children.

4. My husband. He has the ability to make us all laugh.

5. The look on my children’s faces when they learned to read. This doesn’t happen during reading lessons, but usually after we are all done and they read something over my shoulder or their older sister’s and really realize they can read.

6. Our goofy dog.

7. Christmas lights. I’ll miss them once everyone takes them down.

8. Christmas music.

9. My favorite foods: Pizza, chocolate, ice cream. All the healthy stuff, right?

10. Doing a job well.

What makes you smile these days?

Have a wonderful New Year’s Eve! We will be hunkering down at home, watching movies, munching on some goodies and probably letting some of our children stay up late to ring in the new year. Not sure why that is so appealing to them but it is. :)

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