American Girl Holiday Dresses

Trying to get a photo of three small children is no easy feat.

Do you know what’s more fun to my girls than having fancy Christmas dresses? Having fancy Christmas dresses that match their beloved Holly and Annabelle dolls!! American Girl sent us a dress for each of the girls plus the matching dress for their dolls. To say the girls were smitten is, to say the least, an understatement.

For my older daughter, we got the Merry & Bright Outfit for Girls and for Dolls. It’s pretty, it’s shimmery, flowy, and, key for my daughter, is twirly. All the key features in a dress my child looks for, and for me? Well, it’s pretty, modest, and very well made. I know that my girls will both wear this dress, and we’ll then pass it along to another family to enjoy, with no worry of it fading nor falling apart. American Girl is not an inexpensive brand by any means but it is definitely all good quality.   There is even a beautiful capelet that you can get with this (to my daughter’s disappointment, we do not have this.  Perhaps Santa may drop it off?) to complete the holiday look.  This dress is absolutely gorgeous.  I’m a little jealous.  [click to continue…]

Talenti® Gelato e Sorbetto Old World Egg Nog

Are you an egg nog lover?  A foodie?  Epicurean?  Know someone who is?  I have a really wonderful gift idea (or treat for yourself) just in time for Christmas- my dad’s favorite treat for the holidays is now available in frozen form…its sweet, its creamy, its smooth and oh, so very delicious.  But get it fast, because Talenti® Gelato e Sorbetto Celebrates the Holidays with Old World Eggnog, a Limited-Edition Gelato Flavor Available Now Through December 31, 2011

The holiday season is the quintessential time for families to get together, laugh, love and…indulge. This is why Talenti® Gelato e Sorbetto is launching Old World Eggnog, a flavor that packs the comforting ingredients of traditional eggnog in a rich, creamy gelato. Available in stores and online for a limited time only, Old World Eggnog features fresh egg yolks, pure vanilla extract, soothing nutmeg and no alcohol for a family-friendly treat.

Not an egg nog lover?  There’s several other Talenti flavors to delight your palate- the Roman Raspberry is sweet and just a little bit tart and oh, so very delicious.  There’s even a Double Dark Chocolate (THERE is a gift to give a chocoholic in your life!! Hint, hint!!) [click to continue…]

Zazzle Custom Photo Ornament Review and 24 Hour #Giveaway

Every year around this time I love to select one special photo and have it made into an ornament.  I just love looking at these photo ornaments throughout the years.  It’s just so unbelievable how fast those little ones grow!  These are such wonderful gifts- a wedding photo would make a great ornament and holiday gift, baby’s first Christmas, graduation photos- it’s a nice way to preserve any memories, and these really do make wonderful gifts.  It might be a fun tradition to start doing an ornament of a Christmas photo to hang on the tree each year!
This year I tried out Zazzle to make my own custom ornament.  They have thousands of options and surely something to suit everyone’s taste.  I like the simplistic design of the Premium Square ornament.  To create my own masterpiece I just selected the ornament, uploaded my photo and edited as I pleased.  After taking a few minutes to understand the editing options, I was able to easily move my photo and add text.  You can even get fancy and add layers if you choose! [click to continue…]

Kiddy USA Adventure Backpack #Giveaway $169.99 ARV

Wow, do we have a really great review and giveaway for you today!  Earlier this summer we featured the Kiddy Sport n’ Move Stroller from Kiddy USA.  We just loved this product so much that we contacted them again for a review of their Adventure Backpack.  My little guy is now 5 months old and just LOVES his new stroller and will soon be ready for the backpack.  I think this makes the PERFECT holiday gift for that daddy on your list.  My husband thinks this is the best thing since sliced bread.  He has been taking the littles out on hikes in the cool weather and they are all enjoying it so much.  They get bundled up and explore (and I get some free time to myself at home!)

Here is a little more info on the Kiddy Adventure Backpack:

“The ergonomics and functionality of the Kiddy Adventure Pack is impressive. With our stylish and comfortable child carrier you can hike miles and miles with your child on your back. Our back carrier ensures that you and your child both can enjoy a carefree outing in nature!” [click to continue…]

Windows Phone Samsung Focus™ Flash #Giveaway

I am an admitted smartphone junkie.  I love having a phone that lets me stay connected whenever I want.  Being a social media person, I check email frequently thoroughout the day, and often need to “check in” in different places for different reasons.  A phone I have recently had the chance to try out is the Samsung Focus™ Flash, which is a Windows based phone preloaded with lots of fun and features.   I like the look of this phone, and honestly of all the smartphones I’ve tried to date, this is one of my favorites, and most user friendly out-of-the-box.   I like gadgets but I like someone to just have it 100% ready to go for me.  Once my service was activated, setting up all of my accounts and sync options was super simple.  The screen is a nice size, and the phone fits easily into my hand- things that make me happy.  I like the colors and the screen isn’t super glare-y.  (Yes, that’s right…that IS a technical term.  In my world anyway!)

With a Windows Phone, navigating the holidays has never been easier. The only phone with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn built in, Windows Phones are a perfect fit for the holidays, making it easy to connect and share with the people who matter, whether you’re organizing holiday travel, picking out gifts or just saying happy holidays – no app required. Plus, with features like Local Scout, you can find your favorite shopping hot spots nearby – wherever you are.

 

I really like the affordability of this phone.  $49.99 right now at AT&T.com plus a free $25 prepaid APP card with purchase.  That’s a pretty affordable phone, and who doesn’t love freebies with purchase?  [click to continue…]

Holidays on the Loose DVD (Giveaway)

One of the first things my family does when the holidays begin is to watch Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  It kind of marks the start of the season and it’s become a tradition.  With the new Holidays on the Loose, we can now enjoy this beloved storybook come to life (which we read all year round) and now, some other seuss-tastic stories on DVD.  This is definitely a fun gift for any Dr. Seuss lover in your life- including yourself!!  This DVD is available in stores and online now!

Celebrate that special time of year with Dr. Seuss’ magical stories. Just in time for the gift-giving season, Dr. Seuss’s Holidays on the Loose! offers consumers the perfect collection of iconic classics in an all new gift set that is sure to captivate both kids and adults alike.

Dr. Seuss’s Holidays on the Loose! Featured Specials Include: [click to continue…]

SpongeBob Surf & Skate Roadtrip for Nintendo DS!

America’s favorite sponge is going on a roadtrip!! SpongeBob Surf & Skate Roadtrip is now available on Nintendo DS!  Join SpongeBob and Patrick as they skate and surf their way across a whole new world.  Bikini Bottom lovers and anyone who likes to skate or surf will enjoy this game.  I had fun with it- from customizing your boards to surfing with a sponge…its hard not to!

In story mode (which is what I played), you kind of follow SpongeBob and Patrick in an arcade style play.  With the Challenge mode, this is where things get more serious, more adventurous, and more challenging with 7 different challenges and 12 new environments to explore.   The better you get the more awesome your skate and surfboard can become!!

Surf and Skate across more than 24 maps
2-player multi-play with Single and Multi-card gaming
Grab some air in 5 different victory conditions – Score, Collectible, Combo Mayhem, Win the Race, Untouchable
More than 150 ways to play for unlimited hours of boarding action
Customize your boards with colors, stamps, wheels, fins and decks
Bonus Sport: Full Snowboarding level with 10 maps unlocked upon game completion

Surf & Skate Roadtrip is also available on the XBox360.   [click to continue…]

Matchbox Mice from Maileg- Cuteness all the way from Denmark #giveaway 6 winners!

A few weeks ago, Jenni and I were chatting and I noticed a stack of catalogs with pages marked or pulled out. One such catalog page was from Garnet Hill, and when I grabbed the page to look, I gasped. These little cuties (to the left) were on the page, and we both said “We NEED these mice!” Little stuffed mice, who sleep in little tiny matchbox beds, and live in a milk carton house. They have little tiny furniture pieces made from little pieces of newspaper. Mom and Dad mouse sleep in a cigar box. Whimsical, simple, and oh so very sweet with lots of attention to detail and let me tell you- one look and you’re in love. These are called the Mice Family, imported from the rustic, nostalgic and artistic minds from Maileg… and there are many family members to love. There’s newborn twins, little brother and sister, big brother and sister, and mom and dad…with Christmas versions of several of these. I will warn you now that you will not want to stop at one. Or two. You’ll want the whole family and you’ll probably want some friends for them. They are

THAT cute. They are tiny, too, so they are easy to travel with, and are wonderful toys to inspire imaginative and creative play.

I was surprised at how sturdy the matchbox itself was for the mice- I’m not sure what I expected, but this is a nice, durable cardboard, made to last to lots of playtime. I forsee hours and hours of play. Or rather, more and more hours of play. One day we may even let our kids play with them too. I love that the clothes aren’t meant to be changed on the mice family. I want to be little again so that these can be my favorite toys, clutched in my hands at every possible moment and carried around wherever I go. Maileg doesn’t stop with the Mice family. There are bunnies and wooden toys and fabric banners and clothes and elf hats…there are textiles for the home and cards for sending, and even rustic wrapping paper to prepare your parcel for giving. They’ve only been here in the US for a few months but I have a feeling they are going to be around for a very, very long time! [click to continue…]

Nintendo has DS and Wii bundles for everyone just in time for the holiday!

On Sunday, Dec. 4, Nintendo launched new bundles featuring a pink Nintendo 3DSportable system and either the nintendogs + cats: French Bulldog and New Friends or nintendogs + cats: Toy Poodle and New Friends software.

The limited-edition bundles are available at a suggested retail price of $169.99 in the U.S. – the same price as the standard Nintendo 3DS system.  But these come WITH a game.  Plus, they have pink!  Yes, pink!

If you remember, we tried the 3DS over the summer, and thought it was cool.  While the 3d features are great, I love that you can turn them off.  The kids don’t mind 3d, I get dizzy after a while (must be my old age).  I still love me some Super Mario World though!  Any DS game will work on the 3DS, although obviously if they aren’t a 3D game you cannot play them in 3D mode.

I am so happy that Nintendo offers games like the nintendogs+cats games, because I think they are cute and fun and am always glad when violence is not included in games, particularly for children. I think there is plenty of violence and there’s a place for everything- it doesn’t have to be in games my kids play!  There’s a HUGE range of games and products to fit budgets and preferences with the Nintendo family.

If you have a someone on your list who loves pink and likes the idea of a DS, I’d be on the lookout for this limited edition pink 3DS bundle!!  It’s all kinds of awesome.

Not sure you want to go with the 3DS?  Nintendo has a lot of other options for both the DS line and the Wii! [click to continue…]

Are your holiday memories in the music? #ChristmasFantasyCD

One of the most significant things to me about the Christmas season is the music that goes along with this season. So many of my memories that I cherish most of all are tied in with carols and songs about Christmas. I didn’t grow up Catholic, but my Grama B was and I went to Christmas Eve mass with her every single year, and we’d sing Angels We Have Heard on High – I always feel a smile in my heart as my eyes shed a tear remembering those services.    The Little Drummer Boy sure does make for great background music to wrap presents to!

My mom had about 40 different Christmas albums-not CDs, but albums.  Records.  She did modernize as time went on but if you know how records sound- that’s part of my association with Christmas.  We always used to make a different kind of cookie each night after dinner and before bed all through December, and I’m not sure she ever turned the stereo OFF at any point in time during the month.  There was always holiday music on somewhere in the house- infrequently, kid versions, but mostly, just her favorite artists and favorite songs.

I’ve apparently inherited mom’s Christmas Crazy- it’s definitely in the genes, my kids are doomed.  But my collection of Christmas music grows each year, and my 6 year old is already asking me “Mommy WHY do you tell me about when grama played this song to decorate the tree every single year” so I know that I’m planting the seeds in her little memory as well. [click to continue…]