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Walk Like a Buddha ~ Home for the Holidays Sponsor Spotlight

You know when you've found a good book, one that you can pick up and feel like you haven't even skipped a beat (or a paragraph) in this instance. Walk Like a Buddha has been that book for me.

Now I must admit, I'm not a Buddhist. You don't have to be to enjoy this book! I've found the chapters are short and the delivery simple. There is enough background information on the religion, common words, and meanings that you can breeze along without stumbling on terms or trying to infer meaning. I like that.

No matter what you believe or what you believe in, there is never anything wrong with learning more about the world and those in it. Having an open mind and living intentionally have become two of my major goals in life and also in parenting. Happier people have been proven to be great at living IN THE MOMENT. This is something I struggle with and have sad, regretful thoughts about several occasions and events when I wish I had been more present.

One example is parenting—all of those sleepless nights, tantrums, and diapers—things a lot of parents are guilty of wanting to rush through and I’m guilty of those at times as well. If I had been able to be present, truly present in each of those moments, I may not be AS sad as I watch my little baby grow into a big boy. It’s always bittersweet, you want your child to be prosperous and healthy of course, and if they WEREN’T growing, you’d be beside yourself with worry. I’m thankful for a healthy boy. BUT, I can barely remember some of the ‘baby years’ – he’s just turning three next year, but the first word, first steps, first coos, all of that, seems so foggy now. To have enjoyed all of those moments more fully I think I’d have a full heart and be more able to let go of that stage in his life. Instead, I am sad to the point of tears at times that I did not take it all in to its fullest. Maybe because he could be my only child, so to have gambled those sweet moments away by resenting the fact that I was home more than I would have liked or sacrificed my career to stay at home, to have thought ‘just go to sleep for goodness sake!’ So many regrets. This book helps me to focus NOW. It doesn't really heal the past, but nothing does. It helps me not to dwell and to enjoy each moment, each day, from here on out.

It has helped me in a time (they say terrible two’s, but I have a feeling that three is going to kick my butt!) when I need to focus on the present more than ever. You can’t know what will happen in the future and dwelling on the past is an idle waste. So I put down the phone. We no longer have television service, though we still have plenty of movies and on special occasions watch the grandparents televisions. We go outside even when I don’t really want to. We play a game even when I have laundry and other things to do. I try not to say things like “mom is busy.” I don’t shout as much. I think though I am not Buddhist that the principles of Buddhism and the simple text of the book have helped me immeasurably. I am more patient. Even in the midst of a screaming meltdown, I can calm down, think clearly, and instead of reacting negatively, I find patience. I find enough extra calm time to realize my child is frustrated, hungry, tired, sad....and then I can better deal with helping him. No yelling. No sadness. No regret.

Lodro has a way about his writing that is easy to read but also interesting to read. I’m a fiction gal. To mentally escape from reality. But, this book I found to be a wonderful reminder of how I want to live my life.  It's also rather funny--I wouldn't call it anecdotal, but I definitely found humor aohnd solace in knowing that even a practicing lifelong Buddhist has moments of complete human imperfection. 

You don't HAVE to be a parent to appreciate these words. You just have to be human. If you like to toy with ways to improve yourself and if you like books written with simple and honest text, this is for you! There are stories from hangovers, relationship will find SOMETHING relate-able, I feel confident in that!

Want to win a copy? Venture on over to my Home for the Holidays event -- this book would be a great addition to your coffee table!

Purchase Walk Like a Buddha from Shambhala Publications for $14.95. Connect with Lodro on Facebook or on his website

Incredible Results ~ NEW Zumba Fitness Program!

One of my favorite ways to start off a fitness regime in the past was with Zumba. I LOVED going to the classes in person and they seemed to really work FOR ME. I had great moods and lots of energy following the classes and I was able to kick start some great fitness and weight loss results with the in-person classes.

Now, I have a toddler and the classes do not work for me logistically. My husband cannot watch him as the classes locally are during the day, there is no childcare option at the locations, and, we've recently moved so we do not have daycare, relatives or babysitters yet.

My solution? Zumba Incredible Results, the NEW Zumba Fitness program that has just rolled out! I can do this at home, with my son and still have fun achieving fitness (and hopefully weight loss) results! I will be posting A LOT about this adventure, but first I wanted to take the time to tell you a bit about what is included in this new program.

Here is a shot of the DVDs and the guides. 

- Quick Start + 20 Minute Express
- Super Cardio Dance Party
- Zumba Step
- 30 Minute Burn + Amazing Abs
- Fresh & Simple Nutrition Book
- Program Guide with Workout Calendars

Zumba Fitness Rizer

The addition of a rizer is probably the craziest, most fun and newest thing to enjoy from Zumba Fitness. I've used it once in the last three days and I ADORE it. It is so fun and well, it's great toddler entertainment too! 

While I will likely need to add more cardio to my program to keep my body 'guessing' from time to time and it's helpful to me once I get into better shape, I have found Zumba a really wonderful way to START the fitness process. Once I'm a little more limber and have dropped a few pounds using Zumba, I'm much more keen on opening up my schedule for other things too, like spinning and jogging. It's a gateway program! 

Happy New Year!

**I received complimentary product for this series. I was not compensated in any other way. All opinions are my own.**

Boxing Day with Little Passports!

Hoping you are having a great Boxing Day! If you are still out and about, here's some fun facts to chew on while you stand in line!

Boxing Day Traditions around the World with Little Passports

While the exact origins of Boxing Day aren't completely known, one of the more well-known traditions of this holiday started several hundred years ago in England. At this time, Boxing Day -- the day after Christmas -- was when the wealthy landowners would bring gifts of food or other necessities to the homes of people who worked for them. Many countries have continued this tradition of being generous to those who are in need at this time of year, but Boxing Day around the world has also changed to include other festivities and events.

In the Bahamas, they celebrate with a festival -- called Junkanoo -- dating back to the 16th or 17th century. On December 26th, Bahamans celebrate with a large and colorful street parade during which people wear magnificent costumes, masks, and headdresses, and dance, sing, and play music as they proceed through the streets. There's even a Junkanoo museum in downtown Nassau (the capital of the Bahamas) where visitors can see costumes from past festivals. 

New Zealand is another country that celebrates Boxing Day during their summer weather. Taking advantage of the nice weather, some New Zealanders may choose to go swimming in the ocean or the lakes and rivers. Others might decide to hike and have a picnic on the trail. Those families who just want to stay home and take it easy after the Christmas celebrations might flip on the television to watch cricket and grill up some Christmas dinner leftovers. Other families might go to the Ellerslie Boxing Day Races. These are horse races that have been held on Boxing Day for over 150 years at the Auckland Racing Club.

Australia is another country that has sports-centered Boxing Day traditions. On the day after Christmas, Australians can either watch the Boxing Day Test match featuring Australia’s cricket team or they can cheer on sailors competing in the Sydney-to-Hobart yacht race. The Sydney-to-Hobart yacht race, which is thought to be one of the most difficult yacht races in the world, starts in the harbor of Australia’s largest city, Sydney, and finishes in Hobart, the capital of the Australian island Tasmania.

Although we don't celebrate Boxing Day in the United States en masse, Sam, Sofia, and the team at Little Passports will be honoring the tradition by helping those in need in their local community. How does your family give back during the holidays?

Starting Over

Well, it's been almost 4 years since I was last what I would call "healthy." Enough is enough. I've blamed pregnancy, depression, bad weather, good weather, my child, my job, myself... I'm done with the blame game. I'm starting (not as a New Year's resolution or anything, just because it's time.

I am very fortunate to have some added support in my journey. I am proud to announce that I will be joining the ranks of the Nutrisystem Nation Bloggers! I know it will still be tough, because my husband is the king of ice cream and does not seem to think him changing anything about his eating habits matters in MY journey. I know that I'll have to reign in my eating and move more.

That's where I'm lucky again, as I partner with Zumba Fitness to try out their new program -- Incredible Results -- to help with weight loss and shaping up.

I plan on having some fun events along the way and also updating you all with honest thoughts and results from BOTH programs. I haven't tried either one before (I've done in-person Zumba classes that were fun though!)

So, in the spirit of that frame of mind, here's my beginning starts and my BEFORE selfie. Blech! I'm being brave right now -- I never thought I'd be posting a photo of myself in this kind of shape. (Or lack thereof.) But, I do hope that it is empowering to someone out there. I am trying so hard to have better self-image and self talk, if not only for myself but for those (including my son) that look up to me. I want the kiddos in the world to know that women - people - beings - are beautiful for their differences. I won't go into deep detail, that's a whole other blog post, but if you aren't proud to be in your skin, life is a whole lot harder. So...there it is. A tri-fold style view of what I've got to work with. Please don't mind my camera--I don't have a new-fangled remote DSLR. I'm still saving for that!

Starting Statistics:
Weight: 200 lbs
Height: 5' 5.5"
BMI: (will add this soon!) 
Energy Level: Abysmal, Lethargic
Mood: Impatient, Tired, Flat-lining

I didn't wait until New Year's to make a resolution or start working out. I made small changes to my diet and started working out using Zumba Fitness on 12/20. If you want to follow my progress for the next THREE MONTHS with these two systems and all of my attempts at getting healthier...this is where I'll have all of my posts.

**I am a NSN Blogger and did receive complimentary product for this campaign. I was compensated in no other way. All opinions and results are my own. Images and words may not be used with out express written permission from myself, copyright laws apply, 2013.**

Aqua Kratts Week! Started today! #PBSKids

It's no secret: We LOVE the Wild Kratts in this home! You want to know what is heartbreaking? We are not AT home today for the kick off. We are on the road. Tomorrow morning we'll be on the road again for Christmas. But hopefully we'll be able to catch re-runs of some of the ALL NEW episodes that air this week.

My son came up with the notion of a "bubble suit" that you need to put on to go on underwater adventures thanks to fun episodes of Wild Kratts. It has helped him visualize a bigger world than what he has experienced first hand, watching the show. It's made it more fun to pretend. He knows of animals that no other children his age know. We simply adore this programming and we are THRILLED that there are some new adventures to witness!

Image via press site.

The following is a list of episodes that will air during “Aqua Kratts Week,” December 23 – 27 (check local listings for air dates and times). Courtesy of PBS Kids Press Releases information.

“Sea Horse Rodeo,” December 23
While exploring the world of the sea horse, Martin and Chris uncover a plot by Donita Donata to capture these amazing creatures and turn them into living jewelry. Science Concept: Scientific Classification

“Blowfish Blowout,” December 24
When the miniaturized Kratt Brothers get swept up and lost in a current of plankton, they become part of a crowd of fish larva all headed to the most populated and diverse habitat on Earth – the coral reef. Science Concept: Early life cycle of reef fish and volume measurement.

“Speaking Dolphinese,” December 25
The Wild Kratts are on a mission to decode the secret language of one of the smartest creatures on Earth – Dolphins! Science Concept: Animal communication.

“Aqua Frog,” December 26
While the Wild Kratts explore the life cycle of the Bull Frog, they uncover a plot by Zach Varmitech to destroy the frogs’ habitat. With the help of some Wild Kratts kids, the team moves quickly to stop Zach. Science Concept: Amphibian Life Cycles.

“Rocket Jaw: Rescuer of the Reef,” December 27
While checking out how coral reefs are formed, the Wild Kratts discover that Zach and Donita have sent robotic Parrotfish to collect coral to make jewelry. Martin and Chris must use the power of the greatest hunters of the reef to stop this evil plot. Science Concept: Introduction to Coral Reef and active mimicry.

**This is not a sponsored post. I was not compensated in any way for posting this. I am posting on my own accord, because we LOVE PBS Kids and Wild Kratts.**

Diono Radian RXT ~ One Carseat for All your Needs

The name Diono is well-known among parents. When researching a great car seat, we found that few others come close to the quality and safety that the Diono Radian RXT boasts. This car seat can take you from FIVE POUNDS to 120 pounds. Birth to Booster. Pretty impressive. The Lexus of the car seat world. So, this gal was stoked to install a Radian RXT in cobalt (blue) into her car recently!

Truly, the feature that made the decision for our family, screaming that we needed to try one of these awesome seats in our car was that there are travel straps to all you to fold-up and carry the seat for traveling! The Radian RXT is FAA regulation and is a mere 17" across, so they fit into plane seats easily. That's also what allows them to be "three deep" in the back seat, as you may have seen in photos of the remarkable logistical heroics. Many folks have probably seen the images of the three shiny red Radian RXT seats in an SUV--it came up a lot in my searching.

We decided to rock the Cobalt color option.

Totally Rocks our Socks:

  • really plush, soft straps and head rest area
  • toddler cushioning makes it more comfy for longer trips
  • LOVE the fold and carry feature, and the slim base
  • the user manual was wicked EASY to read
  • quick installation took less than five minutes
  • Child Safety Information pocket - genius and if I'm not available to comment (like I'm knocked out) then hopefully EMS would look there!
  • buckles and large and sturdy, velcro is as well
Could Use Improvement:

  • It seems no matter how much adjusting we do, the padded plush straps rub a bit on our kiddos neck area. This irritates him and him voicing his irritation in turn irritates all of us on long trips--and makes us feel bad that he's not comfortable. 
  • A tad heavy, but hey, you aren't backpacking with your car seat, so it's a minor inconvenience.
  • Though we adjusted the height, we originally wanted to use the seat REAR facing, since it provides for extended rear-facing--up to 45 lbs.--which we LOVE to advocate for. BUT, in my Subaru, with the seat rear-facing even in its' shortest setting it was still really HIGH-backed and was level or higher than my seat, making things just too crammed and hard to maneuver while backing, etc. So, we became forward-facing parents to err on the side of caution.
You can get the Diono Radian RXT for your own vehicle from  select retailers for $339.99. You can also currently get it on Amazon for  $269.99. For all the updates, products and promos, make sure to like Diono on Facebook!

*I received complimentary product for the purposes of this review. All opinions are 100% my own and I did not receive any other compensation.*

Home for the Holidays Event Kicks off now!

Welcome to the Home for the Holidays Giveaway Hop, hosted by So Easy Being Green and Viva Veltoro!

We are right in the middle of the Holiday Season, stockings are hung by the Fireplace, the smell of an Evergreen fills your Home... I've teamed up with a great group of bloggers that want to fill your home with even more! The Home for the Holidays Giveaways are all centered around the perfect products for your home - whether it's decorative gifts or appliances, each blogger has something for your home!
While you're hopping around to each, be sure to enter to win the Grand Prize for this Event too! A wonderful prize package worth $1,000 to include a Sebo X4 Upright Vacuum from from Allergy Buyers Club, a 5x8 Mohawk Rug {of Winner's Choice}, and a $75 Gift Certificate to



For my prize, we're focusing on things that warm the soul, like a good book and some wonderful candles. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


So Easy Being Green, Viva Veltoro, the Blogging Mamas Network, Adventures of Mommyhood and the other Home for the Holidays participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations. I may have received samples and complimentary items to facilitate spotlights for this event. All opinions are my own.

Grizzly Bare ~ Sponsor Spotlight ~ Home for the Holidays

Nothing makes a home feel more comfortable and cozy than some candles burning. Personally, I like to do a little de-cluttering and then light some candles so that my husband thinks I’ve been deep cleaning all day! They’re also great for that effect when you have company that was unexpected and due any minute. These candles are a unique twist on the mundane, with scents that will keep you guessing until they have been lit and will spark interesting conversation if anyone notices the names.

THESE make great stocking stuffers!

I love the variety that is offered on the Grizzly Bare website. Not only are the names delightfully quirky and playful, they are mostly spot-on in describing the smells.

High School Ex-Boyfriend: This one literally brings you back to the hallway outside the locker rooms. Your boyfriend has just gotten done with football practice and you can smell the warm, cheap cologne that he has drenched himself with. His wet hair and boyish smile greet you with a little peck and you hold hands all the way to the parking lot, where you get in his Camaro and “cruise” for a while before going home. Or something like that. Yeah, it’s nostalgic. And a good, clean smell.

Hair: This one was a trip. It grossed me out at first because immediately you think of burning hair for some reason, or at least I do when I put the concept of a candle + hair together. My husband came up with the same results when I asked what he thought it would smell like. It was surprisingly clean as well. Like shampooed hair. It wasn’t my favorite, but it was WAY better than I expected. And not at all like burning hair!

Old Cat Lady: This one was my least favorite. I LOVED the name, but the smell was impeccably my mother-in-law. I remember when she used to take my son for an hour or two as an infant and he’d come back reeking of her old-lady smell. It’s very floral and overpowering, not at all like ammonia, but definitely some kind of old lady signature smell. It’s not a BAD smell, but probably draws on some subconscious dread that I experienced back then.

Vacation Sex: This one is another favorite. It has unmistakable tones of warmth and citrus or maybe mango and papaya—something exotic anyway! It also has that scent of clean, so maybe like a shower at the beach – you know, the ones to wash the salt water off of you? It’s delicious and a little sinful. The perfect combination! Fruity and sultry!

Dirty Hippie: delicious, organic produce market with the smell of a meadow, perhaps? I have only given this one about an hour of burn-time, so my thoughts are not fully composed here, but I dig it. Hint of patchouli?

Shore Whore: Definitely a sea breeze kind of smell. Like an open window from the balcony of a coastal vacation home. I have only done the ‘dry sniff’ here, no lighting, since I had a six candles to go through from Grizzly Bare and wanted to give them the burn time they deserved!
Use the smaller candles in a smaller room to get the best results and the most bang for your buck. The burn time is about 4 hours, or at least was for us. The smell is long-lasting, after you blow the candle out it lingers for about an hour.

Starting 12/16, you can WIN $25 towards the purchase of any number of these scents and more in the selection you will find at the Grizzly Bare website. Good luck and enjoy!

*Disclosure: I was provided with complimentary samples to facilitate this review. Opinions are 100% my own and I was compensated in no other way.*

eMeals! Desserts made easy!

WE are dessert people, through and through. My husband and son are lucky and they can eat a gallon of ice cream with no consequences, mama isn't so lucky, but I still like to indulge from time to time! 

eMeals is launching their new dessert plan! Get inspired each week to make incredible desserts. With mouth-watering recipes like Chocolate Pretzel Slab Pie, Buttery Toasted Vanilla Clusters or Crunchy Streusel Pumpkin Loaf, this plan is perfect for the dessert lover in all of us. Receive 3 indulgent dessert ideas every week including a mix of Crowd Pleasers, Quick & Easy options, and Skinny Sweets. This variety of sweet endings will fit the bill for weeknight desserts, casual entertaining and even healthy treats.

eMeals, the leader in online meal planning, is a comprehensive meal planning resource that helps provide healthy and delicious dinners for busy families and individuals. Endorsed by financial guru Dave Ramsey and highlighted in the Oprah Winfrey blog, the eMeals weekly dinner plans include grocery shopping lists and recipe instructions that are simple and easy to follow.

What is eMeals? from eMeals on Vimeo.

What does this mean for you, you ask? In my house, it means I spend less time planning and more time with my family. We like to enjoy our nights snowshoeing and sledding in the winter instead of preparing complicated meals. If we have a lot of extra time, we like to enjoy our desserts inside a fire-warmed living room watching movies together before our bedtime routine! There are a million ways eMeals could give you more time to just do what you love!

Sign up NOW to get 15% off eMeals with code USFG!

**I recieved free samples of eMeals for this post.**

Babo Botanicals! For the skin your child is in!

I've noticed since becoming  a mother that the companies we expect to be able to trust, EVEN THE LEADERS in children's body care products are not trust-worthy at all. Having gross ingredients like formeldahyde is just the start. Now more than ever, it's important for you to know what's in your products! Want a better option?

Babo Botanicals's Special Holiday Promotion: 50% Off all products available at USE PROMOTION CODE : HOLIDAYBABO

Babo Botanicals offers a full range of natural and safe skin, hair and suncare products for newborns, babies, kids and the entire family! Babo products are made on a certified organic farm in upstate New York and are ultra-rich in vitamins A, C and D delivering maximum nutrients, protection and moisture to your child’s hair and skin. Babo’s mission is to provide the perfect balance between optimum results, natural ingredients and family fun.

ENTER PROMOTION CODE : HOLIDAYBABO at check out to benefit from this amazing offer.

**Offer available from Dec 11th to Dec 18th. Coupon does not apply to VIP Gift Basket. **

Echo Bridge Entertainment

Adventures of Mommyhood

Since everyone likes to cozy up near the fire or under a blanket, surrounded by family and/or pets when it's wintery weather outside, I thought a fantastic addition to my 2013 Holiday Gift Guide would be Echo Bridge Home Entertainment! Here are three great collections for family fun that are mostly wholesome and good for almost all ages. 

Echo Bridge Home Entertainment

Some of our favorites were:

Snowbound: The Jim and Jennifer Stolpa Story (based on a true story)
The Legend of Wolf Mountain
Castle Rock
Rugged Gold (based on a true story)
Time of the Wolf

These were part of the following collections, priced right for family fun on a budget:

You can find the best in Action, Horror, Comedy, Drama and FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT at Echo Bridge. The collections are vast and the possibilities for fun-filled family evenings fending of the frozen outdoors by enjoying films together indoors are many.

Some of the films had mild language, violence, and adult situations. If you watch as a family, you will be there to explain these things to your children. The films that I said were favorites were all ones that we viewed with our toddler son. Castle Rock had the most language, Legend of Wolf Mountain had a lot of 'killing' concepts via the convicts in the movie, and Rugged Gold had a sad part that needed some explaining. Otherwise, all of the movies were at time corny and are not Hollywood hits, but are wonderful FAMILY movies that have themes worthy of watching. 

You can find these and a lot more selection on the Echo Bridge Home Entertainment website. It's really a great deal, to have so many hours of family together time for the low prices that they offer. We were incredibly pleased with the content and variety of the packs and have purchased a few more to take us on through the winter!

Now you can WIN Two DVDs from the Echo Bridge Home Entertainment collection! Enter my Home for the Holidays event for your chance!

**Disclosure: I received complimentary movies as part of this review. All opinions are my own. I was not compensated in any other way.**

I See Me Books ~ Holiday Gift Guide 2013

I See Me Books offer a vast selection of personalized books that can make this Christmas extra special for your younger reader! (Or even your really young listener, as is the case with my son!) I think this is a wonderful addition to my Holiday Gift Guide this year, since kids and literacy are two of my greatest passions. As many of you know, I was a literacy advocate and actively tutoring kiddos in Preschool for a stint before having my own dear son to teach and learn with!

There are so many wonderful books to choose from, from babies to twins to older kiddos. Several interests are available like pirates and princesses. The illustrations are captivating for kids and the stories keep them wanting to read over and over. The best part? The stories are about THEM! This particular story that we chose, My Very Own Name, is all about spelling your child's name. You have the option of a dedication in the front as well.

We figured it would be an excellent way to not only make our son feel special, but also for him to learn how to spell his name. My husband and I have VERY different learning styles, and being just 33 months old, we're not sure yet how our son will learn best for things like writing, memorizing, digesting information and recall. But, we thought that if the REPETITION of this story could help him learn his name, either by letter or by association of an animal to a letter or even by a form of photographic memory practice it would be a great book to have in his collection. He also loves animals of all kinds, so it's a great choice that way too!

We LOVED that the animals weren't all just you common: Cat, Dog, Elephant, Horse... There were fairly exotic ones like Emu and likely new animals for many kids to plus things like the name of a particular animals' baby [sheep:lamb.] I also loved that the 'S' was skunk -- they seem to get the raw end of most deals and I ADORE skunks!

Did you know you can get personalized gifts, too? Ornaments, Puzzles, Gift Sets and more! There is no shortage of impressive and special finds on their website! Make the holidays just a little more personal by going with an item from I See Me to make it a treat for your little one.

Win a book from the "My Very Own..." Collection during my Home for the Holidays Event!

**Disclosure: I received a complimentary book for this review. All opinions are my own.**

Campus Book Rentals ~ Why buy when you can rent? New Program! Rent Back!

**This is a sponsored post but my own opinions are expressed below.**

With all the money you're pouring into your education, don't sell yourself short! Save that extra money for some last-minute Holiday shopping or splurge on yourself! But DON'T give the money to the highway robbers that sell the texts for your classes. It's insane what they want for books these days!

Campus Book Rentals (a company that can save you a bundle) has a NEW program called Rent Back! This is a pretty neat program where YOU can use your old textbooks to let Campus Books rent to other students! It's something that will happen over and over and YOU will get a profit from those books that would otherwise collect dust and take up space! See how it works, here:

I am thankful that I have not had to buy a text in a few years. If I DID have to get a book now, I'd definitely rent it. The proof is in the pudding as they say or, in my case in the basement. Totes FULL of textbooks, probably three of the between my husband and myself. All just taking up space and getting more and more dated. Don't let this happen to you!

They offer free shipping and you can even HIGHLIGHT in texts. The good things about Campus Book Rentals and the Rent Back program don't end there. They are also supporters of Operation Smile, which is an organization that helps kids with a cleft lip or palate.

You can't go wrong with Campus Book Rentals! Save money! Make money! Help others!

You can find Campus Book Rentals on Facebook for all the latest and greatest!

**This is a sponsored post but my own opinions are expressed above.**

PBS Kids ~ Creature Power!

PBS Kids has a great selection of fun stuff your kiddos will love -- they are also a sponsor of my Ho-Ho-Holiday 2013 Gift Guide!

My son ADORES Wild Kratts. He tells me constantly that he is either Chris or Martin and I have to be "Abiba" (we're still working on the 'V' sounds) because I'm a girl.

Creature Power!

This shirt is a size 3T. They are personalized with your child's name, just like the shirts that Chris and Martin wear. There is also a purple option. The material is pretty heavy duty cotton and the monogram seems to be very good quality. I have not washed the shirt (as it is a gift for under the tree) but I plan to follow the included washing and care instructions and I'm sure it will hold up great!

As a mom, I can count on PBS Kids to provide great educational programming free of advertisements targeted at my child and without any inappropriate content. I can actual do the dishes in peace, knowing I won't be explaining scary images or bad words later!

We also got to check out Creature Adventures, an exclusive Wild Kratts Two DVD Set that features some great Creature Powers in action! We learned about Monarch Butterflies, Duck-billed Platypus, and MANY more animals! I am absolutely certain that I've learned a few things (even as a wildlife biologist by trade) and my son has learned a ton. He's enthusiastic at the zoo and in the woods when he sees now familiar animals, birds and creatures.

You too can order a shirt like this one for your little budding naturalist! They retail for $19.99 and can be found here at the clothing page for Wild Kratts in the PBS Kids Shop. There are several different shirts to choose from, all with free personalization. The DVD set retails for $19.99 as well, with many others to choose from. You can purchase fun items from all of your kids' favorite PBS Kids television shows in the PBS Kids Shop. 

Stay tuned, Wild Kratts enthusiasts, "Aqua Kratts Week" starts December 23rd! So exciting--make sure you set your DVRs and mark your calendars! Take a break from the Santa shows and catch up on some knowledge!

You can connect with PBS Kids on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date on all the Creature Adventures!

**Disclosure: I was provided complimentary product for this spotlight. My opinions remain honest and genuine.**

I Don't Regret the Dress

***This was a sponsored post. All opinions expressed herein are my own.***

Weddings are a very personal thing. Some folks like to get married high in the sky with parachutes strapped to their backs. Some go for the beach and others go to the Justice of the Peace. Many spend their lives planning for that one special day.

Me? I wanted a small wedding. Intimate, family and close friends only. Well, 200 people later, we found ourselves cutting corners to keep it economical but still spending a LOT of money. I splurged on the photographer and got mediocre pictures. It seemed that with all the compromise, I'd lost my dream wedding any many many paychecks.

In hindsight, I do not have any regrets at all about marriage or having a wedding. I also do not regret my choice of wedding dress. I didn't buy Vera Wang or spend four digits, but I did feel beautiful in my gown. It was inexpensive but practical, since it's something that I knew I just wouldn't wear again.

I also chose affordable bridesmaid dresses that didn't have matching hats or enough tulle they'd need three seats on an airplane. They were something that fit the figures and complexions of all four ladies and none of them said a peep about not liking them! (Not that they'd dare tell the bride they didn't like the dresses!)

I have often said that to do it over, we'd do a small wedding this time. With the money we'd save, we would take a trip abroad.

But I still LOVE looking at wedding dresses. I'm a little bummed that I didn't see any one-strap numbers when I was in the market. I have also been seeing a number of ladies throwing the notion of traditional white and ivory hues to the fore winds and going with actual colored dresses! It's also a dream of mine to look like Belle, a Disney beauty.

While shopping around, you might consider -- most of these selections that I adore were very affordable and elegant. There is an array of selection from prom to wedding to bridesmaids--and don't forget those adorable little flower girls' dresses!

My advice? Have fun while dress shopping! Make an event of it. Bring champagne and your friends and your dear old mum and just be thrilled that you are the bride! It really is a day that you cannot match, not even with a lifetime of birthdays--it's YOUR day! Enjoy it!

What is YOUR wedding story?

***This was a sponsored post. All opinions expressed herein are my own.***

Dino Lingo ~ Learning a Foreign Language as a Family - Parents and Toddler!

Dino Lingo is a fun sponsor of the Ho-Ho-Holiday Gift Guide 2013 and a sponsor for my Family Fun Giveaway Event.

My toddler is learning Spanish! And, Mom and Dad are brushing up on their skills too! I have tried several demos of different learning programs -- after viewing the demo for Dino Lingo with my son, I knew he'd love it and I'd tolerate it. I was so pleasantly surprised when not only was it tolerable, it was fantastic! There is a disclaimer on the site that says the program is "not intended for children with over 50 hrs of foreign language immersion" and I've had two years of Spanish + months abroad and I still thought it was a good refresher!

The delivery is in 35 minute segments which is just enough time to pack in a lot of practice but my son doesn't lose interest. It's also the perfect amount of time for ME and for television time, since we do limit screen time in our house. What was funny and what will surely make the 'baby book' was when I first put the DVD number one on. My son kept getting frustrated, saying "NOT GATO! CAT!" I saw this and immediately was thankful that the kit included a map. So, I sat down with the map and explained (my son is two and a half) that some people live all over and that they talk differently in other places on the map. We were going to listen and look at something called Spanish. I felt silly for not addressing this right away. They've really thought of EVERYTHING with this program!

It's been about a week and a half and we've viewed each DVD two times. My son requests them which is surprising since kids usually prefer Disney and Pixar to educational media! He also requests the DVDs by saying he "wants to watch pato and perro!" He has also started saying hola and adios regularly and in the appropriate situations! I couldn't be more pleased!

I noticed that when introducing tense and verbs or actions it was much easier for ME to make sense of the words in Spanish via the Dino Lingo system than what I recall from textbooks and in-person teaching. It just clicked. They videos may seem a little corny at times, or completely random (like a ten second clip of a snowboarder) but there's science behind that, too. For whatever reasons, it works.

The music CD that is included isn't terrible for kids' music. It's something we actually listen to while in the car. My son doesn't make the connection as well without the visuals, but he listens eagerly and eventually I think just the extra exposure will pay off, when he starts to hear words he recognizes! He also loves his blue dino. We've named him Azul. My son is a tad too young to understand the reward charts and progress charts, but we do use the flash cards for picture/word recognition and to go over some words after the videos, when he's interested.

Here is a preview of a Spanish lesson:

I am elated that my toddler is learning another language. I'm excited that I am getting better at a language that I adored a few years ago and have been rusty on my recall. My husband can sit through the videos and has also been picking up tidbits (his Spanish was nearly a decade ago, so it's rusty for him as well!) As a family, we are doing something worthwhile together. Dino Lingo rocks.

From Dino Lingo, this photo shows the prize that is up for grabs during my Family Fun Giveaway:

You can purchase your own Full Home Education Set on the Dino
 Lingo Website or on Amazon.  The Five DVD set pictured above retails for $89.95.  Connect with Dino Lingo on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter so that you don't miss anything that might be going on--sales, events, promotions and giveaways!

***Disclosure: I received a complimentary program for the purposes of completing this review. All opinions are 100% my own and my thoughts about Dino Lingo being completely RAD are genuine.***

Family Fun Event

Welcome to the Family Fun Giveaway Hop, hosted by Happy Mothering and the Green Moms Network! The participating blogs are offering a prize package each, to help inspire family fun and togetherness this holiday season! So after entering my giveaway, be sure to hop around and enter all of the other giveaways listed on the linky at the bottom of this post!

Family Fun Giveaway

Well, if you missed my Holiday Gift Guide, then here is your chance to check out Dino Lingo again! And, even more fun, WIN your choice of a language for your family to start the bilingual learning early! To get the family together this season, why not start learning (or brush up on) another language!?

I've tried a few different methods of brushing up on my own Spanish--I was really quite conversational back in my college years, traveling abroad and then, just like anything without use, I lost it. When I had my son, I desperately wished someone in our family spoke fluent Spanish, as it was my dream for him to be bilingual! Well, the dream is not dead and I plan to be bilingual WITH my son and probably my husband too! We actually LIKE watching the DVDs together! Even more remarkable? My son ASKS to watch them. 

This is the best method I've seen (even watching only the preview on Dino Lingo versus several other sites, I found the method and delivery more pleasing with this system.) So you want to bring the family closer? Have some fun together? Why not LEARN together and then plan a family vacation or another fun activity in Spanish (or another language that you'd like to learn!) You could rent a foreign movie, listen to some holiday tunes in another language, or make up another fun activity with your newly honed skills!

No matter your reason, it's a great way to bond!

Enter my giveaway on the Rafflecopter form below. Don't forget to hop around now!

Sorry Folks, Park's Giveaway's Closed! (oh, Lampoons...)

**Disclaimer: Adventures of Mommyhood is not responsible for prize fulfillment. This contest will run through December 24th, 2013. The winner will be chosen the following day and announced on Adventures of Mommyhood. No purchase necessary. US entries only. Must be 18 years or older to win.The sponsors provided me with free samples of these products to review, and I was under no obligation to review them if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to Adventures of Mommyhood and not to Facebook. Please note that Adventures of Mommyhood, Happy Mothering, the Green Moms Network and the Family Fun giveaway hop bloggers are not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prizes. We have represented each sponsor with the expectation they will fulfill their prize and in a timely manner. We will contact the sponsor regarding your prize(s). The sponsors, in most cases, are shipping their items to you directly. I will make every effort to assist you obtaining your prize. If there is an issue with a sponsor, please notify the blog you won a prize from within 4-6 weeks for assistance, after that we may be unable to assist you.**

***Disclosure: I was sent a complimentary set for review. I was not compensated in any other way. My opinions expressed are 100% my own.***

It's Finally Here!!! Merry Fluffy Christmas!! #FluffyXmas

MFC button_lg

Welcome to the greatly anticipated 4th annual Merry Fluffy Christmas Giveaway Event!! There are over 30 blogs that are giving away cloth diapering prize packages $50+! Make sure you enter here and then hop to all the others!! There are thousands in fluffy prizes to be won! This year, there are also two HUGE Grand Prize packages, on both of the host blogs, And Then There Were 5 and Mommy’s Favorite Things! So make sure you enter to win those as well! Good luck!

Adventures of Mommyhood has teamed up with some FLUFF-TASTIC sponsors to bring you not one, but TWO great, fluffy packages, each worth over $50 in fluff! You will find a combination of great accessories for diapering with ease, through all of the stages your wee ones will waddle through, from birth to undies. My reviews are geared toward potty learning (the giveaway is rich in gift code/certificates, so really you can choose anything you have your FLUFFY dreams set on!) Win for yourself or win for someone matters not to me! All that does matter is that when you are done entering my #FluffyXmas giveaway, you enter others! It's like Black Friday or and Ice Cream Cake for no reason. It's THAT good.

Bummer! This contest is over now. Come back next December to try again!!! In the meantime, enjoy other giveaways and fun events by liking my page on Facebook and following along! Thanks!

***Disclaimer*** Adventures of Mommyhood is not responsible for prize fulfillment. If you contact me within four weeks I might be able to help you with your prize and sponsor liaison work.***