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Holiday Gift Guide: Little Star by Anthony DeStefano  

Tuesday, November 23, 2010



In my family, I began reading to my children when they were babies. It's a tradition we've held onto ever since then. (My youngest is 11!)

Family Review Network presented me with the opportunity to review Little Star by Anthony DeStefano, and I jumped at the chance, not only for what I said above, but because it sounded like a great Christmas story.

About Little Star:

“I think I understand!” Little Star cried out. “The baby Jesus is a king! He’s just little!”
A king is about to be born! The stars in the heavens are competing to shine the brightest to celebrate his birth. But when they see the poor family, the donkey, the shabby stable, the stars all think, That can’t possibly be a king. We’ve been fooled.

All except one.

The smallest, loneliest star in the sky, Little Star, is the only one to understand what the king was about to bring to the world. But what can Little Star do for him?

Certain to become a Christmas classic, this delightful tale connects the star atop our Christmas trees to the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of Jesus, in the hearts and minds of young children.

I'm impressed with this book. I never heard of any story like this. Who knew the reason why the stars go on top of our Christmas trees?! I sure didn't!


As you can see above, my daughter had a grand time reading this book! (She is a tad bit of a ham though!) She was shocked why the star goes on top of the Christmas tree too!

The story delighted us both and brought some tears to my eyes. I truly enjoy Christmas stories that focus on the true meaning of Christmas. I'm sure this will be a book we read in our home for many years to come, not only to my children, but to my younger cousins, nieces and nephews, and friends' children. It's a great story!

Have you read this book?



Disclaimer: This post was written for Family Review Network & Little Star who provided the complimentary product for review in exchange for my honest opinions.


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Holiday Gift Guide: Tiny Prints Holiday Cards  



Tiny Prints provides simple, modern and unique stationery from Christmas cards to personalized greeting cards to thank you cards and even business cards. Offering exclusive designs from the nation’s top designers, easy card personalization, a powerful preview engine and top-notch customer service and paper quality, their designs have been lauded by numerous television networks, publications and celebrities. With Tiny Prints by your side the Holidays will be a cinch! They offer perfect party invitations for every occasion and memorable personalized photo-gifts like notebooks, photo-books and calendars.

I've always looked at Tiny Prints' designs and coveted their products, and finally I get to do a review of them! On behalf of Global Influence, I was selected to receive 75 Christmas cards from Tiny Prints.

I finally got my cards today (due to late ordering) and I love them!

 Super cute box huh?

Not only do I love my cards, but browsing through the card designs was fun. I selected my card (a photo card) after browsing around for a little while. I chose my photo I wanted to add to the card, and at first the one I wanted, was too large, so I had to go to PaintShopPro and edit my photo (compress it for the Web) and I made it black and white instead of color.

Here's my finished product:

Pretty right?

I just love this saying:


I also like this Merry Script Tri-Fold Card, but I didn't have three Christmas-themed photos to use for this design. I also loved this Damask Darling (in Spanish Red) Die Cut flip card.

I must say, the ordering process for these cards was very simple. I think the total time I spent ordering the cards took about 5-7 minutes (minus browsing time). There is a large selection of cards to choose from, so it took awhile to find the perfect card! 

Not only was the ordering process easy, I'm extremely happy with the cards, as well as the fact that they include envelopes! I don't have to hunt around in my local stores to find the perfect envelope to fit these cards, because these are long cards and it might be a chore to find the envelopes! These cards are excellent quality and I know that the recipients will love them as well! Not only are the cards able to be personalized on the front, but you can also personalize the back of them! I opted not to do these cards with any personal message, but I think next time I will!

The back of my cards

*If you are a blogger, and you'd like to review Tiny Prints Christmas cards, please fill out this form! Tiny Prints will be giving out 60 cards to select bloggers. Good luck!

Disclaimer: I was sent the product named above to review on behalf of Global Influence. The opinions expressed above are solely my own and yours may differ. Receiving a product will NEVER influence what I write in any review.


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Holiday Gift Guide: ErgoMotion Laser Mouse (Giveaway)  

I'm sure you have noticed, but I spend A LOT of time on the computer. Between a full-time job, constant emails coming in, and working on this blog, I'm on the computer probably half of my life.

Even though I'm pretty young, I still have noticed some indications of carpal tunnel. My wrists have been in such pain before that I had to take a few days off of the computer. (Not to mention, other body parts!)

Enter ErgoMotion Laser Mouse, by Smartfish:



This mouse is different from any others on the market because it features a patented pivot motion design. This allows the mouse to move with your natural hand and wrist positions, adapting to your unique movements while you work to help promote blood flow. It was designed along side with The Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), located in New York City, which is one of the leading orthopedics hospitals in the country, a portion of our proceeds are donated to the HSS Rehabilitation Education Fund.



I took this mouse to work since I'm technically on that computer more than at home (although that could be disputed).

I love that the USB connector is small and doesn't run the risk of getting run into by items on my desk (or if I was home, my kids!) I also love that it moves WITH my hands and wrist and I don't have to do so much work. It reduces the strain on my wrist and that's GREAT! I've definitely noticed the difference since I've been using this mouse versus my regular mouse!


 And, it's pretty! (Don't you think?!)

I've even gotten comments from my coworkers on this mouse. I told them to go buy one! Of course I told them where!

Connect with SmartFish on Twitter, Facebook, and the SmartFish website. You can also buy it at Amazon.com here: ErgoMotion Laser Mouse - Black

GIVEAWAY

One of my lucky readers will win one of these mice for themselves, or to give as a gift!

Here's what you gotta do to win:

Visit SmartFish and tell me what you love most about this mouse! (Required entry)

For an extra entry for this giveaway ONLY, Follow SmartFish on Twitter

For another extra entry for this giveaway ONLY, "Like" SmartFish on Facebook

For another extra entry, add my A Simple Shindig button to your blog and leave me the link. (You can find the code in my left sidebar)

For my normal extra entries, please view my Giveaway Rules, updated 5/12/10. 

Here's a custom tweet that you can use:

#Win a @Smartfish ErgoMotion Laser Mouse http://ow.ly/3eCVZ US & CAN! #ASimpleShindig Ends 11/30 RT? @pricousins

This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents ages 18 and older. This giveaway will end on November 30th at midnight EST. Winner will be contacted via email, so please be sure to leave your email address in your comment. 


Thanks for stopping by, and Good luck!



Disclaimer: This post was written for Family Review Network & ErgoMotion Laser Mouse who provided the complimentary product for review & giveaway in exchange for my honest opinions.


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Review: Duncan Hines Decadent Cake and Amazing Glaze  



I know you might be surprised when I say this: (but honestly, if you pay attention on this blog - you should remember this!) 

I'm not a big cake eater. I don't even eat sweets that much. When I do, they're my indulgence. Granted, I'm a mom so I usually have some type of sweet around in the house, but I don't always partake in them.

Regardless, I was recently given an opportunity to review Duncan Hines Decadent Cakes and Glazes recently, so I figured I'd check them out. I do like to make a cake or brownie for a weekend meal, so I knew these would come in handy.

Here's some info about these great new products:

Duncan Hines®, the well recognized brand that has been helping families create delicious memories for 60 years, introduces the latest breakthrough in deliciousness at the baking aisle – Decadent Cakes and Glazes. Only Duncan Hines now offers the most premium, indulgent cakes that one can find outside of a bakery. Duncan Hines new Decadent Cake Line with two new incredibly indulgent offerings – Duncan Hines Decadent Triple Chocolate Cake with real chocolate chunks and rich fudge and Duncan Hines Decadent Apple Caramel cake with real apples and rich caramel. With more people entertaining at home and looking for better quality desserts, these decadent cakes are perfect. Both cakes contain zero grams of trans fat and NO hydrogenated oils. They are available in cake baking section of supermarkets nationwide in 20 oz size boxes at a SRP of $2.99.

Simultaneously, Duncan Hines launches Decadent Glazes, a one of a kind glaze designed to elevate the baking experience with a whole new way to top your desserts. Available in Chocolate and Vanilla, Decadent Glazes help home chefs create spectacular desserts with professional results. Only Duncan Hines offers this versatile topping to complement your baked goods or any dessert with a touch of sweetness and flavor. What separates Decadent Glazes from frosting is they are not as heavy or sweet as frosting and are convenient to use. These glazes are available in a 10 ounce squeeze bottle at an SRP of $2.49.


I received the Apple Caramel Decadent Cake and the Triple Chocolate Cake Mix, as well as both the Vanilla and Chocolate Amazing Glazes.

Since I wanted to try them both at once, I decided to Glaze the Apple Caramel Decadent Cake with the Vanilla Amazing Glaze.



I got out all of my items for my prep of the cake, and began mixing my ingredients.


Do you SEE those chunks?! They don't disappear... Just watch!


See?! I told you! Above is the cake batter after everything was all mixed together.


This is the caramel sauce that I had to swirl into the batter.


All ready to go into the oven!



Finished product after glazing. The glaze was super easy - just heat in the microwave, shake, then pour over cake. Yum!

I was disappointed because the Bundt cake pan that I used isn't so non-stick anymore, so my cake come out in a couple of pieces. Oh well! It was still edible!

As I showed above, there was CHUNKS of apples in this cake and in my personal opinion, this made the cake better! I love apples and this cake was delicious!

I'm saving the chocolate cake for Thanksgiving when I go visit my friend and her family. I'll post some pictures then!

My children and I loved this cake - it was gone within three days! I honestly only had two pieces! They loved it and I'm sure we'll love the chocolate cake as well!

Have you tried these cakes or glazes? What are your thoughts?




Disclaimer: This post was written for Family Review Network & Duncan Hines who provided the complimentary product for review in exchange for my honest opinions.


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Holiday Gift Guide: Photo Card Creations (Giveaway)  


Photo Card Creations is a leading online retailer of premium custom photo cards, announcements & invitations.  They specialize in wedding, baby & holiday cards.  They offer hundreds of Card Designs & a variety of Paper Types to choose from, many of which are hard to find elsewhere.  Their cards are printed on the highest quality paper using leading edge printing technologies.   With a professional graphic designer personally handling each order, they offer a more hands-on approach to customer service than many of their competitors.  They’ve added dozens of new Photo Holiday Card designs for the 2010 season, including their unique Die Cut Ornate & Scallop shaped cards and their cool Circle Ornament Cards.

Here's a few samplings of their designs:





Beautiful, right?!

GIVEAWAY

One lucky reader will win a $50 Gift Certificate to use towards the purchase of your Holiday cards this year!

To enter, visit Photo Card Creations and have a look around. Then come back here and let me know your favorite card design. (Required entry)

For an extra entry into this giveaway ONLY, follow Photo Card Creations on Twitter. Then come back here and leave a comment with the Twitter ID that you used to follow them with.

For another extra entry into this giveaway ONLY, "Like" Photo Card Creations on Facebook.

For the final optional entry in this A Simple Shindig giveaway, add my A Simple Shindig button to your blog, then come back here and leave me the link where you left it. (The code can be found in my left sidebar)

For my normal extra entries, please view my Giveaway Rules, updated 5/12/10.

Here's a custom tweet that you can use:

#Win $50 to purchase your #Christmas cards from @PCC21! ends 12/7 http://ow.ly/3eigX #ASimpleShindig @pricousins RT?

This giveaway will end on 12/7/10 at midnight EST. Winner will be contacted via email, so please be sure to leave your email address in  your comment.

Thanks for stopping by, and Good luck!


Disclaimer: I was sent the product named above to review. The opinions expressed above are solely my own and yours may differ. Receiving a product will NEVER influence what I write in any review.


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Holiday Gift Guide: Smilebox (Giveaway - TWO Winners)  


Have you ever heard of Smilebox? Long before I began doing product reviews and was just browsing crafty blogs, I had seen Smilebox creations made by one of my favorite papercrafters, Lauren Meader. I always loved watching her slideshows and now I have the opportunity to share this awesome service with you!

Here's a press release that I received that I'd like to share with you:

 Family Photos are Worth More Than Gold – Literally!

New survey from Smilebox reveals that consumers would prefer to receive family photos than family heirlooms

Redmond, WA – Nov. 16, 2010 – Smilebox Inc. (www.smilebox.com) today announced the results of a new online survey just in time for the holiday season, when photos are taken, shared and admired with loved ones.

According to the survey, more than six in ten (61%) consumers would rather receive photos that have been collected and saved over the years than family heirlooms, such as antiques, jewelry and furniture. Surprisingly, men and women of all ages would both prefer to be given old family photos and albums stretched over generations than receive family treasures.

“Consumers love to capture special moments on camera, but many family photos collect dust in boxes or are stored on computers for months or years at a time,” said Tricia Montgomery, vice president of marketing for Smilebox. “With Smilebox, they have a fun, simple and fast way to share those family memories.  A photo scrapbook or slideshow burned to a DVD can be passed down from generation to generation. And it only takes a few minutes to create a thoughtful and unique gift for the holidays that will bring smiles to the faces of your family members and friends!”

After simply dragging and dropping photos and videos into a Smilebox design, customers  can share their one-of-a-kind creations in many ways.  In addition to printing directly to a retail location, such as a CVS/pharmacy, Walmart or Sam’s Club, a Smilebox creation can also be emailed, posted to a blog or Facebook, printed at home, or saved to a DVD or photo frame.

The free Smilebox application is available for PC and Mac platforms and the download takes up about as much room on a computer’s hard drive as a typical digital photo. Additionally, Smilebox offers users two subscription options to Club Smilebox - $5.99/month or $39.99/year for access to premium features such as full-screen and ad-free playback, extended music selections, and the ability to print and burn to DVD or a photo frame.

The survey, commissioned by Smilebox.com, was conducted by Kelton Research and included 1,000 nationally representative Americans ages 18 and older. Quotas are set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the entire U.S. population ages 18 and older.

*All decimals are rounded to the nearest percentage point. This may result in certain numerical totals adding up to slightly more or slightly less than 100%.

About Smilebox Inc.
Smilebox was founded in 2005 by a group of optimists with a lofty mission: joy is one of the world's most important renewable resources.  It's the company’s passion to help people share it. Smilebox is a service that makes it easy for people to connect in a more personal way using their photos, videos, and music. Smilebox is the only service that supports all personal media (photos, videos, music), all content types (ecards, invitations, slideshows, digital scrapbooks, photo albums and postcards) and all sharing methods (email, print, burn to DVD, blog and post).  Since the service’s launch in June 2006, more than 13 million people have installed Smilebox and more than 125 million Smileboxes have been played worldwide. 

Smilebox is a privately held company headquartered in Redmond, Washington.
Now that you've learned a little more about Smilebox, let us continue.

 
I was contacted to do a Smilebox for Halloween, but unfortunately I did not take many photos for Halloween. I am still planning to make my Smilebox, but it will probably be closer to the Christmas timeframe. I could even make one for Thanksgiving - we'll see. 

Look at these super cute designs you can use to make your Smilebox:




They're all super cute, right?!

GIVEAWAY

TWO winners will win Club Smilebox memberships (a year's membership) to Smilebox!  (a $39.99 value!)

With this membership, you also get 2 weeks free!

Once you join Club Smilebox, any design is available to you as Premium designs. You also have more music options, no ads displaying on your Smilebox, and they are printable by you and the person you send them to.

To enter, visit Smilebox and come back here and tell me a design that you LOVE!
(Required entry)

For an extra entry for this giveaway ONLY, "Like" Smilebox on Facebook.

Another extra entry for this giveaway ONLY, Follow Smilebox on Twitter. (Be sure to come back and comment that you are following them, and leave me your Twitter User ID.)

For another entry for this A Simple Shindig giveaway, please add my A Simple Shindig button to your blog. (Code can be found in my left sidebar.) Please leave me the link where you put it.

For my normal extra entries that you can also utilize, please view my Giveaway Rules, updated 5/12/10.

Here's a custom tweet that you can use:
#Win a membership to Smilebox! ($39.99 value!) TWO Winners! Super cute designs! http://ow.ly/3efJC Ends 12/7 #ASimpleShindig @pricousins RT?



This giveaway will end on 12/7/10 at midnight EST. Winner will be contacted via email, so please be sure to leave your email address in your comment.

Thanks for stopping by, and Good luck!

Disclaimer: I was sent the product named above to review. The opinions expressed above are solely my own and yours may differ. Receiving a product will NEVER influence what I write in any review.


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Holiday Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffer Ideas from scunci (Giveaway)  

Monday, November 22, 2010


I'm not soooo much of a girly girl that I do my hair every day. I don't. Most days I'm lucky to wake up on time! Plus, I've never had an easy time with my hair - it's always given me problems.

But I do like to get barrettes, headbands, and similar items for those days when I do feel like doing my hair! I wish I had bone-straight hair like this girl - but those days are long gone!


Nonetheless, I have a collection of hair clips, ponytails, and the like, but nowadays I usually just put some curl-enhancing product in my hair, let my hair air dry, and I'm out the door. Voila! Curly hair without all of the effort that some girls have to take! On the days I don't feel like doing that to my hair, I just pull my hair back into either a low ponytail or a loose bun, spray some hair spray on it, and head out the door.


I was recently sent the above product (the Upzing double comb) to try out and it's quick and easy, and looks elegant! Just check out the end result:


Sexy, right?

It's another easy way for me to "do" my hair, without a bunch of effort.



GIVEAWAY


One of you will win one of these (in black) to use for yourself, or to put in someone's stocking for Christmas! Here's what you gotta do!


Head to scunci and have a look at their hair products. Then come back here and tell me another product of theirs that you would love. (Required entry)


For another entry, add my A Simple Shindig button to your blog. (the code is in my left sidebar)


*Remember, if you added it prior to the 15th, add your FIVE comments for your extra entries! 


For even more entries, please view my Giveaway Rules, updated 5/12/10. 

Here's a custom tweet for you to use:

#Win a fun Upzing Comb by scunci for your stocking (or someone else's!) this #Christmas! http://ow.ly/3dZq7 ends 12/6 RT? @pricousins

This giveaway will end on  12/6/10 at midnight EST. Winner will be contacted via email, so please be sure to leave your email address in your comment.

Disclaimer: I was sent the product named above to review. The opinions expressed above are solely my own and yours may differ. Receiving a product will NEVER influence what I write in any review.


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Win a Laptop at Dear Crissy  

We all love computers! My family... I'd say more than most. My kids and I can usually be found on the pc. I have one that I bought back in February and then I won one back in June, but we all fight over both of the notebooks. If I won this laptop at Dear Crissy, I could eliminate all of the infighting and everyone could have their own laptop!

What do you want for Christmas?

I entered Crissy’s Can’t Wait til Christmas Lenovo Laptop Giveaway and hope to win a $799.00 IdeaPad!

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America's Best Salons - Sponsored Post  

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Americas Best Salons - Sponsored Post
OMG I'm SO excited for this!...Did You Make the Cut? Check it out!!!

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Holiday Gift Guide: Cars Toon: Mater’s Tall Tales Wii game  


One thing that we all know kids like to do (well most of them!) is to play video games. For my review portion of today's A Simple Shindig, I'm highlighting the Cars Toon: Mater's Tall Tales Wii game that we recently received from Mom Central Consulting.

Cars was a fun (and funny!) movie that a lot of people loved, including myself and my children! Did you love it?



About Cars Toon: Mater's Tall Tales:

This game brings together our old favorite characters: Mater, Lightning McQueen, and the rest of the gang for all new adventures! Players join Mater and his friends as they relive Mater's wild stories. Whether these stories are truth or fiction, no one can really tell!

Your family and friends can enjoy this game with the Mania! twist. Mania! allows pick-up-and-play fun for everyone in the room. Four players can play at once, so hopefully no one will be left out!



Our thoughts:

Our family loves competitive games that everyone can join in on. I was glad that this game can accommodate up to four players. This enabled my boyfriend, my son, my daughter, and myself to all get in on the fun! There are 30 different games on this game that you can play. We especially liked to be able to choose and customize our own vehicle!

This game truly is fun for the whole family! And, at less than $40 for this game, it's a great value!

Have you played this game? Do you like it? We LOVE IT!


Disclaimer: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Disney Interactive Studios and received the Cars Toon: Mater's Tall Tales Wii game to facilitate my review.


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Swagbucks Search & Win!

 

Design by Custom Blog Designs

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