Monday, September 29, 2014

Battle of the Bags (Vote to #Win!)

8 Personalized Mall Trick-or-Treat Bags will enter the Battle. 
Which will triumph? YOU DECIDE!

I'm a fan of personalized, quality, cute items (like so many others are too, I know) and these bags all make the mark. I can see my little 1 1/2-yr. old grandbaby wobbling along in a costume with a cute little bag. I don't think her parents are taking her Trick-or-Treating this year (she's way too young for sugary stuff), but I can see it in my mind just the same.  A few more years, and that will be more of a reality. ;)  I can also see my 1st Grader bee-bopping along with one of these cute bags, with his name on it, just loving life & the fun holiday.

These are definitely the kind of bags that kids and parents alike both ooh and ahh over.

It's the Battle of the Bags from
Great Prizes are to be had & you can enter here.

Today I'm posting about the battle of these bags!! 

8 Personalization Mall Trick-or-Treat Bags will enter the battle. Fans will determine which bag will win the battle each day (not counting days in between rounds). Winners will be announced the day after (each battle), with their names being displayed on the Personalization Mall Landing Page.

Good News for everyone (there's a discount in the house)!

Anyone who signs up/votes will receive a coupon code worth 20% off Halloween gifts, for the entire length of the contest.


Round 1 (quarterfinals) – Voting runs from Sept. 29th through Oct. 2nd - 1 person who voted for the winning bag will be chosen at random for each battle. He or She will win a treat bag of their choice (from the remaining available selection). The winners will be announced the day after each battle (winners will be announced Sept. 30, Oct. 1-3rd)

Round 2 (semifinals) – Voting runs from Oct. 6th through Oct. 7thth- 5 people who voted for the winning bag will be chosen at random for each battle. They will win a treatbag of their choice (from the remaining available selection). The winners will be announced the day after each battle (winners will be announced Oct. 7-8th)

Round 3 (finals/championship) – Voting for one day only on Oct. 8th- 10 people who voted for the winning bag will be chosen at random for each battle. They will win a treat bag of their choice (from the remaining available selection). The winners will be announced Oct. 9th.- 1 person who voted for the winning bag will be randomly chosen as the Grand Prize Winner of a $200 PMall Gift Card.

Where to Enter?
Enter HERE

Hurray for Johnny Appleseed, and Hurrah for the Teachers!

My son's new teacher this year is very thoughtful. To study Johnny Appleseed last week, she brought in three crock pots to cook different kinds of apple recipes, crafts to make apple projects, and four different kinds of apples so everyone could taste each kind. She also showed the kids a cool way to cut apples horizontally to make a star (works every single time).

Working on their Johnny Appleseed Crafts

To the kids it was a fun-filled day where apples (and Johnny Appleseed) were the core of the day's lesson plan (pun intended). To the teacher, I'm sure it was a lot more. The amount of time and effort that goes into creating a theme for the day like that, is not minimal. Nor is the effort to gather the items (which I'm supposing she purchased with her own money), bring in the supplies, and then at the end of the night pack them all up and take them back home.

Showing off their finished products

Of course, it was all worth it because the kids were excited about what they were learning. And that is the intrinsic reward earned from teaching, I suspect at every level and grade.

Happy to pose for a picture once we got home.
This is his apple headband, and it was a great day!

At the end of the day, you could tell the kids were very happy, and the teacher was very (happy but) tired. That got me thinking, that as parents it's easy for us to do our part to help. Sometimes it's as easy as just showing up, but there are many other ways you can help, including gift cards for supplies, sending in items you know your teacher needs, or and/volunteering to help on the days you know are going to be busy. When many people gather together to help in a small way, great things are achieved.

A big hurrah to my son's teacher. She won't see this post, but I'll let her know she's appreciated throughout the school year. :) And hurrah to all the good teachers whose dedication and hard work really does make a big difference! 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Brilliant Sky Toys & Books Award Winners Announced! Enter to #WIN One Here!

Disclosure: I received product compensation to help facilitate the review. All opinions stated are genuine and my own.

Brilliant Sky Toys knows that going to the toy store should be more than a visit, it should be an experience! They've got that down pat, and when you walk into one, you'll know exactly what I mean. There's just something comfortable and downright nice about walking into a toy store that has hand selected each of their toys for quality and excellence.

Founded over 12 years ago in Lansing, Michigan, and now home-based in Brentwood, Tennessee, Brilliant Sky Toys is a wonderful toy store that lends itself to exploration, ingenuity, and fun via the 10,000 carefully selected toys on its various store shelves. Each year, they compile a list of their top-ten toys that they feel deserve special recognition. This list is a great shopping resource for parents, grandparents, etc., and it's fun to see what toys were chosen.

The criteria for the top-ten list is threefold. First, the toy/book must encourage open-ended play; second, it must be designed to fascinate and delight your little ones; and third, it has to be high quality.

Brilliant Sky Toys & Books appreciates
the importance of high value toys that encourage family (learning &) fun.

One of the toys that made it to the list was the Super Stadium Baseball Game. Think: Old School fun. Games like this were engaging to us as children, and they helped us create happy memories of spending time with others in our circle of family and friends. Those kinds of childhood memories just stick, in a good way.

The Super Stadium Baseball Game replicates a real playing field.

You don't have to have technology to have fun, and this game proves it. It is a simple pull-the-lever , pitch & bat game, and my 7-year old loves it. There are realistic game positions for the players, and you keep score. This one was such a delight to my youngest, that I just left it out on the table (for awhile, I'll put it in its box with the other games where it should be, sooner or later). Now the first thing my crew wants to do in the morning, while waiting for their breakfast, is play around with the game sitting on the table. I love that, it does my heart good to see the kids just being kids.  That's the kind of experiences Brilliant Sky Toys wants to bring to your family, and with this game, for our family, they hit a bona fide home run.

The Super Stadium Baseball Game, and all of the selections for this year's award, are surprisingly (and hurrah for it!) low-tech, but they're all equally fun in their own way. One of the stories in the Illustrated Adventure Stories is The Count of Monte Cristo. I'd love to pick that up for my son for Christmas, that's a story he has not yet heard that I think he would love!

Winner Gets to Choose One of the Award Winners Pictured Here

As you can see from the list above, the winners all have something wonderful about them in their own right. We loved our baseball game selection, and will be heading to Brilliant Sky Toys and Books store before the holidays hit to do more shopping.

You can learn more about Brilliant Sky Toys & Books by visiting their website.

To help you be a part of the toy experience offered in their stores, one lucky winner gets to pick any one of the ten award winners for this year (pictured above). Do you have a favorite? US Entrants only.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Scaredy Cat? Visiting Coach Eli's 6-Word Theme.

From time to time I participate in Coach Eli's 6-word blogger challenge. I know a lot of you participate or visit, but I wanted to give it a shout-out, just because I think it's fun (and so those who haven't seen it, but might be interested, could take a look).

The challenge this go around was to answer 'what we are chicken of' in just six words (no more, no less).  Looks like Marcia (Menopausal Mom blog) and I were on the same page for this one. ;)

You can find the challenge here: Coach Eli's Six Word Challenge

Thanks for the include, Eli. :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: The Posed & The Playful

The Posed Picture (like we usually post).

The Playful Picture (we usually don't post, because most pics are for a product review). 
Have a Proper or Silly Wednesday, whichever you prefer. ;)

Pinch Me Therapy Dough (with giveaway)

This was brought to you by

Disclosure: I received a product to help facilitate the review. All opinions stated are genuine and my own. 

The plastic container keeps your Pinch Me therapy dough fresh.

My husband is off work today, and with no prior warning, tells me he needs my Windows computer. It has a program he can't access on his Mac. Cub Scout patches have to be sewn on before 6pm; two writing deadlines are looming (both need a computer); hubby's wondering where his big breakfast is; and my school advisor is phoning, upset that I can't make it to Nebraska during the school year (after his dates and mine for availability already did not match up in the summer). I need to get that dissertation presented live, and I'm worried. A lot of time has passed and every semester costs me money, in tuition, to stay actively enrolled (ugh!). It's already noon and I've got a ton of things to do, but I feel derailed and nothing has been done at all. You all know this day, well not this day exactly, but I'm sure you know of one that has produced similar feelings for you.

Life can get a little stressful, most definitely when you're working, but also when you're a stay-at-home/work-from-home-mom. One way to naturally decompress and relax is for me to sit down and knead my Pinch Me Therapy Dough. The pliable, subtly scented dough cleverly redirects my attention as I knead through it for a minute or two and physically feel the stress around me start to melt away. It may not seem like much, but at times it can be exactly what I need... just a little re-balance and restoration to help me be able to aptly bring me back to my center.

Pinch Me Dough comes in six pleasing fragrance selections

The Pinch Me dough comes in thoughtful scents, carefully designed to redirect your thinking to something pleasant. I selected the Tropics dough, and it's light spa-quality oils produce a coconut-y aroma that really does make me feel better instantly.   Tropics is not the only scent offered though, Pinch Me actually has a variety of six to choose from: Tropics, Beach, Ocean, Earth, Spa, and 'For Men.'

Proceeds Help Soliders

As an added bonus, every Pinch Me Therapy Dough purchased buys 1/2 day of stress management training for soldiers via the BootStrap USA program.

It's a Great Gift Idea!

I'm thinking this dough would be a great gift idea too for everyone from the secretary, to the teacher, to the principal, to the CEO. Who couldn't use a little time-out to relax and refresh with this aromatic, pliable stress-relieving dough?

You can learn more about Pinch Me Therapy Dough by visiting their website. You can also follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest.

One lucky winner gets to choose a Pinch Me Therapy Dough of choice to call their own. US entrants only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 22, 2014

Instant 15% off from TwoSmiles: Classy Way to Print Gift Cards at Home!

TwoSmiles by HP

This is a sponsored conversation on behalf of TwoSmiles.

I like to give gift cards to people for special occasions. In doing so, I know the recipient is going to be able to select something he or she really likes, there will be no fake smiles and strained thank you's if my gift giving was a miss, and a gift card allows the person to be happy with your present twice (once when they open it, and later when they actually use it!). Usually, if it's a gift card I'm giving though, I have to drive into town to purchase one, because printing it from home and offering a gift code on a sheet of paper is a little tacky.  TwoSmiles has relieved you of the tacky. Keep reading!

TwoSmiles is a great way to customize a gift for any occasion. It's a greeting card and gift in one, and you can make it on your own home printer. See what I mean? No more tacky! They've now provided you with a way to present your card with class, just the way a gift should be given.

And though summer may be coming to an end, but it's not too late to take advantage of a great summer sale from TwoSmiles by HP!   It's easy to use the service. You simply pick from hundreds of FREE designs, select a gift, personalize, and print. Giving the perfect gift has never been easier, and I love it!


While supplies last, you can save 15% on gift cards from the following merchants: Aeropostale, AMC Theatres, Banana Republic, Bass Pro Shops, Forever 21, GAP, Old Navy, and Sports Authority.

Just use code: SUMMER15 (valid until October 17th, or until supplies run out!)
Head over to TwoSmiles by HP and select a gift card from Aeropostale, AMC Theatres, Banana Republic, Bass Pro Shops, Forever 21, GAP, Old Navy, or Sports Authority. Just choose the greeting you'd like to attach to your card and the amount you'd like to purchase (most gift card minimums are $25). Enter the coupon code SUMMER15 at checkout and your price will be reduced by 15%! That means you can purchase a $25 Old Navy gift card for just $21.25! You'll then have the option to print it from the comfort of your own home or email it to the recipient.

This is a great service for someone like me who doesn't like to take the long-ish drive into town, unless I must. It is also great for last minute gift giving, stocking up for the holidays (especially when there's a great 15% off sale going on, like this one!), or purchasing for someone who lives out of town (no more atrocious shipping fees to pay!). Those are just a few ideas that came to mind. I can think of many other great reasons to use TwoSmiles. Take a look around the site, and look at all the great card options they offer for printing. I am impressed with their webiste, and I think after a little bit of looking around, you will be too. :)

Twosmiles by HP

This code is valid only on the merchants listed above. For full terms and conditions, visit