Have You Started Christmas Shopping?

The holidays for me last year were not that great.  I mean it was great to be with family, but I wasn’t excited about them.  It was just another day.  Money was tight because my husband was laid off and every parent likes to get their kids things for Christmas (and yes…I know that isn’t what Christmas is all about).  However, this year…I’m BEYOND excited!!

Back in October I went to Brandcation with a bunch of lovely ladies and we had a nice little contest when we got back and the winner could choose between some really great prizes.  From the second I got my ticket to Brandcation, I knew that I wanted to win that contest.  One of the prize options was a Kindle Fire HD .  I spent HOURS upon HOURS when we got back from Pigeon Forge, one day I sat at my computer for over 6 hours.  But guess what…it worked!  I won the Kindle Fire HD!  When I tell you I was shaking, I was literally shaking from head to toe.

Look what came today:

Yep…two Kindle Fire’s!!  I had enough Amazon cash that I could order a second one.  My kids are going to flip!  They have no idea we were even considering this!  I cannot wait to charge them up and get them loaded with some fun apps and  books for them!  One must have app will be Angry Birds Star Wars.  I haven’t check yet to see if it is at the Amazon App Store yet, but if it is, they will have it!

Not only am I excited to give my kids their main present, but I am also excited for my nieces and nephew and the grandparent gifts!  I love giving gifts!!

What are you getting your loved ones for the holidays?

Pixar Short Films Collection: Volume 2 on Blu-ray!

Disney-Pixar, the award-winning studio famous for “Toy Story”, “Up” and “WALL-E” will be releasing a collection of 12 unforgettable short films together on Blu-ray for the very first time!  The entire collection is rated G which makes this great for the whole family!  Pick up your copy on November 13, 2012!

volume 2

The Short Films included in this collection are:

  • BURN-E:  BURN-E is a dedicated, hard working robot that finds himself locked out of his ship and quickly learns that completing a simple task can often be a difficult endeavor.  Based on the characters from WALL-E.  (Directed by Angus MacLane)
  • Dug’s Special Mission:  In this funny short based on the character from Up, Dug is sent on a foolish mission by Alpha, Beta and Gamma so that they can hunt for the Bird of Paradise Falls by themselves.  Soon Dug discovers that where he belongs is not where he’s been looking.  (Directed by Ronnie del Carmen).
  • George & AJ:  Inspired by Carl’s escape, senior citizens around the city unite to make their own “escapes”, much to the chagrin of George and A.J., in this short that features characters from Up.  (Directed by Josh Cooley).
  • Air Mater:  In this hilarious short, Mater decides he wants to learn how to fly and is accidentally recruited by an elite group of formation flyers, the Falcon Hawks.  (Directed by Rob Gibbs).
  • Time Travel Mater:  When a clock lands on Mater’s engine, he travels back in time to 1910 where he meets Stanley, the founder of Radiator Springs.  (Directed by Ron Gibbs).
  • Your Friend The Rat:  Ratatouille’s Remy and his brother Emile guide fans through world history from a rat’s perspective.  (Directed by Jim Capobianco)
  • Partly Cloudy:  This humorous short features baby-delivering storks who receive their special packages high in the stratosphere, from clouds who sculpt babies and bring them to life.  (Directed by Peter Sohn).
  • Presto:  When Presto, a great turn-of-the-century magician, neglects to feed his rabbit one too many times, the magician finds he isn’t the only one with a few tricks up his sleeve.  (Directed by Doug Sweetland).
  • Day & Night:  This short follows Day, a sunny fellow who encounters Night, a stranger of distinctly dark moods.  As their suspicions turn to curiosity, they are delighted to find that this budding friendship can offer a new perspective on the world.  (Directed by Teddy Newton).
  • Hawaiian Vacation:  Fans will love this “Toy Story Toon”, as Woody and Buzz lead a group of toys in giving Ken and Barbie the Hawaiian vacation of their dreams — without ever leaving home.  (Directed by Gary Rydstrom).
  • Small Fry:  Fans’ favorite team of toys is back in this clever “Toy Story Toon”, Buzz Lightyear is left behind at a fast food restaurant where he finds himself in a support group for discarded toys.  As Woody and the gang devise a way to rescue their friend, Buzz tries to escape the toy psychotherapy meeting.  (Directed by Angus MacLane).
  • La Luna:  The timeless fable of a young boy coming of age in the most peculiar of circumstances, in which he discovers his Papa’s and Grandpa’s unusual line of work.  (Directed by Enrico Casarosa).

My kids really enjoyed the short films on here!  My son’s favorite was “Time Travel Mater” and Bella’s favorite was “Partly Cloudy”.  Besides the 12 short films mentioned above, there are seven rarely seen student films from renowned directors John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Pete Docter.  Those include:

  • Nitemare
  • The Lady & The Lamp
  • Somewhere in the Arctic
  • A Story
  • Winter
  • Palm Springs
  • Next Door
Check out this short clip…this would make a great stocking stuffer!  Enjoy!

Pick up your copy of the Pixar Short Films Collection 2 on November 13, 2012.  The 2-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack will retail for $39.99 (U.S) and $46.99 (Canada) and the 1-Disc DVD will retail for $29.99 (U.S.) and $25.99 (Canada).

 

*I was provided with a copy of the Pixar Short Films Collection for the purpose of this review.  All opinions are solely my own.

My Pretty Playhouse Giveaway!

There is nothing more exciting than to watch a child’s imagination come alive!  Zack and Bella have always had a very vivid imagination.  I can remember when both kids were little and they had imaginary friends…anytime we got in the car I had to make sure their “friends” were in the car too.  If I didn’t, one of them would scream that I left a friend behind or one time I ran one over.  Ooops!

Cascades, an ecological products boutique, fosters a child’s love for imagination by offering the My Pretty Playhouse.  This playhouse is made in Canada from 100% recyclable cardboard.  Here are a few stats on the playhouse:

  •  Dimensions:  35″x32″x55″ (88.9 cm x 81.3 cm x 139.7 cm)
  • Recommended for ages 3 and older
  • 100% recycled cardboard
  • Easy to assemble
  • Safe
  • Stores easily in the original box
  • Includes 2 doors, 2 windows, 1 skylight and a mailbox
  • Can be recycled when outgrown
  • Made in Canada from recycled fibers recovered in Canada and the United States

One of the things I like about the playhouse is that you can decorate it any way you would like.  Give the kids some markers and they can spend hours customizing their house to their liking!  If I had one, I would totally make it look like a gingerbread house!

For each playhouse sold in Canada and the United States, Cascades will donate $2.00 to the Habitat for Humanity!!

Guess what…one lucky winner can win a My Pretty Playhouse!!  Read on for details!!

Cascades Boutiques

*picture courtesy of the Cascades Boutiques website

GIVEAWAY!!!

This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada residents only.  You must complete the mandatory entry first before any additional entries will be accepted.  Please put each entry in a new comment.  Thank you and good luck!!

Mandatory Entry:

Visit the Cascades website and check out the other things they have to offer and come back here and tell me one thing you would like.

**Once you’ve completed the mandatory entry, you can have as many entries as you like by just plain commenting…they need to be complete thoughts please.  Tell me a joke, like my Facebook or Twitter page, tweet or post this as your Facebook status…whatever you would like!!  The possibilities are endless!

This giveaway will run from today (11/7/2012) until November 17, 2012 at 9pm EST.  One winner will be chosen at random using the “And the Winner is” plugin.  An email will be sent to the winner and they will have 48 hours to respond with their shipping information or a new winner will be determined.  

*I did not receive any compensation for this post.  I am doing a giveaway because I think all of you will like it!

The Muppet Christmas Carol on Blu-Ray!

It is hard to  believe that The Muppet Christmas Carol is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary.  That makes me feel so old!  I was 11 when this movie came out and I remember it like it was yesterday!  But it still makes me feel incredibly old to say that I was 11, 20 years ago!  Nevertheless, on November 6, 2012, the holiday story inspired by Charles Dickens will make it’s Blu-ray debut!

Here is a word from Gonzo (I LOVE Gonzo!!):

Greetings, holiday movie fans and lovers of culture, I am Gonzo…or perhaps better known to fans of this classic motion picture as literary legend Charles Dickens.  Are you ready to laugh, cry, sing, frolic, cavort and enjoy yourself beyond belief!?  Well, you’re in luck, because this 20th Anniversary Edition of Disney’s “The Muppet Christmas Carol” is guaranteed to put you in the holiday spirit that will stay with you forever–or at least until your Aunt Edna starts complaining that nobody is eating the fruitcake she brought…again!

Available for the first time ever on Blu-ray with high definition sound and picture, so you can enjoy even more of my blue-ness, not to mention the incredible spectacle of Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit, Miss Piggy as Emily Cratchit, Academy Award winner Michael Caine (Best Supporting Actor, 1999, “The Cider House Rules”) as Scrooge, wonderful songs by Oscar winner Paul Williams (Best Original Song, 1976, “Evergreen” from “A Star is Born”) and, of course, my pal Rizzo the Rat as…well, Rizzo the Rat.

This is a heartwarming and hilarious holiday classic, told as never before by yours truly!  Yule love it!

Blu-ray Bonus Features:

  • Disney Intermission — An all-new bonus feature.  When the film is paused, fans can watch and “cluck-a-long” to five classic holiday-themed songs performed by the Muppets Chickens and chums.
  • Audio Commentary — All new audio commentary with fan-favorite characters, Kermit, Rizzo, Gonzo, and more, all reflecting on their experience making “The Muppet Christmas Carol”.
  • Frogs, Pigs and Humbug:  Unwrapping a New Holiday Classic.  A Behind the Scenes Look — Hosted by director Brian Henson, Gonzo and Rizzo fans go behind-the-scenes fo the making of “The Muppet Christmas Carol”.
  • Blooper Reel:  “On the Set” — Bloopers from the set of the film.
  • Pepe Profiles Gonzo:  “Portraits of the Artist as a Young Weirdo” — A special look at the man, the myth, the legend the Great Gonzo, hosted by the one and only Pepe the King Prawn.
  • Christmas Around the World — Gonzo and Rizzo take a look at how Christmas is celebrated all over the planet.

DVD Bonus Features:

  • Audio Commentary with Brian Henson
  • Blooper Reel
  • Pepe Profiles Presents “Gonzo:  A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Weirdo”
  • Christmas Around the World

The Muppet Christmas Carol makes it’s debut on Blu-ray on November 6, 2012 and the suggested retail price is $19.99 (U.S.) and $24.99 (Canada).

 

**I received a copy of The Muppet Christmas Carol on Blu-ray for the purpose of this review.  No other compensation was given.  All opinions are solely are mine.

What Do You Get Grandparents Who Have it All for Christmas?

Buying presents for my parents and my in-laws for Christmas is really difficult.  They literally have it all.  And if they don’t, they get whatever they want when they want.  Sure we can get them gift certificates to the movies or their favorite restaurant…but that gets old after awhile.  I know some people give  pictures of the grandchildren and while that is nice, I know that my parents only have so much space to put pictures out and they already get their school picture in October…so giving more pictures in December doesn’t really make sense.  For us at least.

A few years ago I was a Creative Memories consultant and I started making all the grandparents and great-grandparents photo calendars for Christmas.  They loved it!  Everyone needs a calendar and what better than to have a beautiful 8×8 or 12×12 picture of their grandchildren every month?!?  And of course they are themed pictures according to the month!  In September I put pictures of their first day of school; October I put their Halloween pictures; and on their birthdays, I put pictures of them from their party the year before.  Here’s an example of one of my calendar pages:

diy Christmas gift

When the kids were much younger, I had all these grand visions of getting cute little themed outfits to put them in and having photo shoots in our living room.  I wanted to dress them up as Mr. and Mrs Claus for December; Leprechauns for March; Little professors for September; and so on.  But of course, time got away from me and I never got that chance.  Now at eight and six, I doubt they will let me dress them up like that!

So what do you get for people who have it all?  Because I could use all the gift ideas I can get…I haven’t started my photo calendars yet for this Christmas and I fear I am running out of time.