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Family-Friendly Entertainment

My Story Joseph And My Story David Books from Tommy Nelson #sponsored

12/31/13
I received a copy of My Story Joseph & My Story David for review purposes as as a Tommy Nelson Mommy.  All opinions are my own.


The Attic Baby loves books of all kinds, especially books that have stickers.  When she saw these Bible story sticker books, she immediately was excited about them.

Each book (geared towards ages 1-4) comes with 45 story-themed stickers and a Sticker Journal so your child can remember the events. 



My Story: Joseph, Fiona  BoonIn My Story: Joseph, the hero chronicles his amazing life that children treasure from the Bible. Kids will learn from Joseph’s story to always trust God, no matter what the circumstance, because He will see them through. 


My Story: David, Fiona  Boon


In My Story: David, the young shepherd with enormous faith tells kids about his decision to fight the Philistine soldier mocking the tribes of Israel. Children will learn that trust in God helps them to do great things, no matter their size!

Both books present a fun new way to learn about Bible heroes.  While these may seem to appeal more to boys, hopefully they will also do some female Bible heroines in the future.  They are short enough to keep my three year old's attention, have fun cartoon-like illustrations, and teach some great lessons!



Preview:

My Story: Joseph

My Story: David


Where to Buy:

Available at the Thomas Nelson website for $4.99 each



Giveaway:

One reader will win My Story Joseph & My Story David books

Just use the Rafflecopter form below.  You must be a US resident 18 or older to enter.  You must complete each task entirely or your entries will not count.  

I Love being a Tommy-Mommy
This giveaway is not in any way associated with or endorsed by Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.  Giveaway Ends 1//14 at 12:01 AM EST.  US Residents **18 and older** only may enter. One entry per household and IP address.  Winner will be drawn using random.org and will have **48 hrs** to respond to email or another winner will be chosen. Entries are verified.  No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.  The Attic Girl is not responsible/liable for prize delivery.  By entering this giveaway, you agree to the Giveaway terms/rules.

Disclosure:  I received a copy of the books for review purposes as as a Tommy Nelson Mommy.  No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.  Tommy Nelson is providing the giveaway prize. For more info. see my Disclosure Policy.

Tuesday Giveaway Link Up 12/31

Tots and Me
Welcome to Tuesday's Giveaway Link Up with your hosts Karen @ Tots and Me and Emily @ Emily Reviews

So glad you could join us as we share our giveaways!

Our co-hosts this week are Sue from My Photopage and Shelly from The Attic Girl.

This link up will be posted Monday at 7 PM est. and run all week long! Stop in as often as you can to list your latest giveaways.

Here is how to use the Giveaway Link Up

1. Post your reviews and/or giveaways, as many as you have, be sure to add the end date (family friendly please)

2. Help spread the word about the giveaway link up by grabbing our button, Tweeting or posting on Facebook. (Not mandatory- but it helps get more exposure to your giveaways as well!)

3. Take a moment to enter any giveaway that strikes an interest to you!

If you would  like to follow the  hostesses, we will gladly follow you back! Simply leave us a message to do so. 

Featured Giveaway
Hexbug V2 Nano Sky Max Set US only Ends 1/14


Thank you for linking up with Karen @ Tots and Me & Emily @ Emily Reviews along with Sue from My Photopage and Shelly from The Attic Girl.

Robin Jones Gunn {12 Pearls of Christmas 2013}

12/25/13
12pearlsofxmas


Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas blog series!

Disclosure:  This is not a compensated post.  This blog series is provided by Litfuse Publicity.  The giveaway is being hosted by the Pearl Girls and is not associated with this blog.
 
Merry Christmas from Pearl Girls™! We hope you enjoy these Christmas “Pearls of Wisdom” from the authors who were so kind to donate their time and talents!

We’re giving away a pearl necklace in celebration of the holidays, as well as some items from the contributors! Enter now below. The winner will be announced on January 2, 2014, at the Pearl Girls blog.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we’re all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Mother of Pearl, Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace, or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

A Teenage Pregnancy by Robin Jones Gunn

It was early, early morning, that delicate time of day just before sunrise when it seems as if all of creation is still asleep.

In the cold, gray light she gazed at the infant in her arms. He was less than an hour old and so, so small. Instinct prompted her to draw her newborn close that he might feel the rhythm of her heart. He curled his tiny hand around her finger and she smiled. His eyes closed, and with feathered breath he gave way to the blessed sleep that follows such a long journey.

In weary awe she studied his face, his ears, his nose. He was here. He had come at last.

A single tear fell from her eye and rolled across his cheek. She kissed the tear away but could not kiss away the memories that came with the tears; memories of the day she found out she was pregnant. How exhilarated she felt and yet how terrified. She was young, and there was much she didn’t understand.

Trying to justify her condition to her parents proved more difficult than she’d hoped. But the most excruciating memory was the moment she stood guileless before the man she hoped to one day marry. She had no words to make him understand the awful truth—the child she carried was not his.

Leaving seemed to be her only option. A gracious aunt took her in and welcomed her with open arms. From the moment she arrived she was showered with motherly words of hope and sisterly touches of love. Week by week, month by month, the child inside her grew.

Was it a miracle when she returned home, her belly round, her face flushed, and found him there?

What prompted this man to take her back and make her his bride? Did he now believe what she had tried to explain all along, that none of this was her own doing?

When the time was right they left their small town together, as husband and wife, with her due date rapidly approaching. The labor began—tightening her abdomen with a force she had never before imagined. Perspiration streamed from her forehead. The contractions multiplied with a frenzied urgency until the need to push overwhelmed her young body, and the baby was born.

Nothing of the past mattered anymore. He was here. Naked, perfect, quivering in her arms. With a thrill of hope, she believed that her life, her world, would never be the same.

Now as the first silver streaks of dawn pierced through the cracks in the stable, she tenderly wrapped her sleeping babe in swaddling clothes and laid him in the manger.

12pearls-gunn

Robin Promo Photo Close Up 2013Robin Jones Gunn, bestselling author of the much-loved Christy Miller Series and the award-winning Sisterchicks® series, has had more than 4.5 million copies of her books sold worldwide. Her frequent speaking engagements have taken her around the globe. Robin and her husband live in Hawaii and have a grown son and daughter. You can learn more at Robin's website.

Cynthia Ruchti {12 Pearls of Christmas 2013}

12/24/13
12pearlsofxmas

Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas blog series!

Disclosure:  This is not a compensated post.  This blog series is provided by Litfuse Publicity.  The giveaway is being hosted by the Pearl Girls and is not associated with this blog.
 
Merry Christmas from Pearl Girls™! We hope you enjoy these Christmas “Pearls of Wisdom” from the authors who were so kind to donate their time and talents!

We’re giving away a pearl necklace in celebration of the holidays, as well as some items from the contributors! Enter now below! The winner will be announced on January 2, 2014, at the Pearl Girls blog.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we’re all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Mother of Pearl, Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace, or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

Do You Hear What I Hear? by Cynthia Ruchti

To shepherds? Really, God? You crafted a birth announcement that was delivered first to shepherds? The story’s become so familiar to us, so easy for us to visualize because of all the Christmas pageants we’ve witnessed over the years—all the fourth-grade boys in plaid robes with a homemade shepherd staff, carrying a cloth lamb from the toy department that plays “Jesus Loves Me” if you pull the ring where an umbilical cord should be.

Theologians speculate the reason for shepherds as the audience for the holy pronouncement could be as intricate as a genetic retracing of the Baby’s heritage back through history to King David, who started his career as a shepherd.

Or it could have been simpler than that. Maybe shepherds were the only ones listening that night.

“Nearby shepherds were living in the fields, guarding their sheep at night,” Luke 2:8, CEB. The biblical story tells us that the shepherds weren’t sleeping but were on guard, watching, when the news about Jesus came to them.

Distractions were few. Hills, sheep, other shepherds, a low fire, and a wide expanse of sky overhead—a dark sky that held the same stars night after night, until this one.

I wonder if any of the shepherds brought their families to the fields. I wonder if in the tent was a hardworking woman nearing the end of an exhausting day. She’d barely gotten the evening meal cleaned up when she had to start thinking about what her family and the other shepherds would need for breakfast. Soak the grains. Check the progress on the sheep’s milk cheese. And try to get those kids to settle down.

“Stop annoying your brother. Caleb! Last warning. Josh, get your fingers out of your sister’s ears. Turn down that video game. You can’t listen to the radio and watch TV at the same time. Turn one of them off. Better yet, both of them! Who’s singing? What’s that sound? Do you hear what I hear?”

What noise do I need to turn off in my life in order to hear the first notes of the angel’s song?

Another noisy Christmas party. Another trip to the department store for stocking stuffers. Another round of Christmas CDs. Another Christmas special on TV. Another Facebook post to share—the true meaning of Christmas. A text about the practice time for the Christmas program at church. Another phone call about travel plans. Brain waves clanking into each other, making a cacophony of noise.

Shutting down one layer at a time. Unplugging. Keeping even "Silent Night" low so I can silence my night and hear the downbeat of “Glory to God in the highest.”

12pearls-ruchti


Cynthia Ruchti is an author and speaker who tells stories of Hope-that-glows-in-the-dark through her novels and novellas, devotions, nonfiction, and through speaking events for women and writers. Of seven books on the shelves currently, her latest releases are the novel When the Morning Glory Blooms (Abingdon Press Fiction), the nonfiction Ragged Hope: Surviving the Fallout of Other People’s Choices (Abingdon Press Christian Living), and several dozen of the devotions in Mornings With Jesus 2014 (Guideposts). Spring of 2014 will see the release of another novel—All My Belongings, also from Abingdon Press Fiction. You can connect with her at www.cynthiaruchti.com or on Facebook.

Hexbug Nano V2 Sky Max Set {2013 Holiday Gift Guide} #sponsored #giveaway

12/23/13
I received a Hexbug Nano V2 Sky Max Set for review purposes.  All opinions are my own.


If you're looking for an exciting robotic type toy, look no further than the new Hexbug Nano V2 Sky Max Set.  These robotic bugs do everything the original Nanos can do, but in addition, they are able to climb!   If you haven't seen these in action, they are definitely fascinating to watch.

robotic toys

The Hexbug Nano V2 Sky Max set comes with tubes to build 3 levels,  including a tower-like structure (crow's nest) and a spiral tube.  There are also these little "pegs" and "flags" that the Nano will hit against and will help guide them in different directions.   This set only comes with one Hexbug Nano V2, so you will need to purchase additional bugs if you want to see them interact together (make sure they are the V2; the regular Nano cannot climb up these tubes).

The set takes some time to put together.  It helps if you're familiar with how the pieces work (having played with previous sets) because the directions weren't very helpful.  I would recommend these for ages 7+ as younger ones may not be able to put the pieces together by themselves and may get frustrated.

robotic toys, Hexbug

The Nano V2 has three rubber spines on its back and several on its bottom side that allow it to scuttle up and around the tubing.  There is also a little switch so you can turn it off and on and the button cell battery is already included (I love that!).  This doesn't come with any storage container, so you may want to just keep it put together on your child's desk or a table.




It can climb up vertically, horizontally, and navigate around corners and even flip itself onto its back.  It may need a little help sometimes to flip back over, as you'll see in our video test run.  You'll also notice that it does make a vibrating type of noise; it's not super loud but it is worth mentioning.





The Hexbug Nano V2 series will encourage creativity and engage your children for hours of entertainment!  




Where to Buy:

The Hexbug Nano V2 Sky Max set is about $45 on

Amazon.com



For more holiday gift ideas, be sure to check out the 2013 Holiday Gift Guide!


holiday gifts, gift guide
Giveaway:

One winner will receive a Hexbug V2 Nano Sky Max Set.
Just use the Rafflecopter form below.  You must be a US resident 18 or older to enter.  You must complete each task entirely or your entries will not count.   

 Hexbug
This giveaway is not in any way associated with or endorsed by Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter. Giveaway Ends 1/14/14 at 12:01 AM EST. US Residents **18 and older** only may enter. One entry per household and IP address. Winner will be drawn using random.org and will have **48 hrs** to respond to email or another winner will be chosen. Entries are verified. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. The Attic Girl is not responsible/liable for prize delivery. Prize may take 6-8 weeks to ship. By entering the giveaway, you agree to the Giveaway terms/rules.

Disclosure:  I  received a Hexbug Nano V2 Sky Max set for review purposes.  No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own. Thank you to Hexbug  for providing the giveaway prize. For more info. see my Disclosure Policy.

Jodi Murphy {12 Pearls of Christmas 2013}

12pearlsofxmas

Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas blog series!

Disclosure:  This is not a compensated post.  This blog series is provided by Litfuse Publicity.  The giveaway is being hosted by the Pearl Girls and is not associated with this blog.
 
Merry Christmas from Pearl Girls™! We hope you enjoy these Christmas “Pearls of Wisdom” from the authors who were so kind to donate their time and talents!

We’re giving away a pearl necklace in celebration of the holidays, as well as some items from the contributors! Enter now below! The winner will be announced on January 2, 2014, at the Pearl Girls blog.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we’re all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Mother of Pearl, Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace, or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

Wrapping Paper and Fancy Bows Not Required by Jodi Murphy

For more than a decade I worked in the luxury design field, and every year around Christmas time there were holiday show houses and charity events where the designers would hold nothing back to create the most beautiful displays for the Christmas season—trees with baubles and sparkles, swags of fresh greenery festooned with handmade bows, every room dressed to the nines, dining and breakfast tables set for imaginary entertaining, and hundreds of perfectly wrapped packages that would make Santa’s elves go green with envy.

The sights, sounds and smells were magical! And though I enjoyed the "eye candy" and appreciated all of the creativity, I often left these events on a "sugar high" of the season’s pufferies and feeling disconnected to the spiritual significance of Christmas.

As we begin to count down the days toward December 25th, I will do my share of simplified decorating as a way to mark such an important day, and I will be celebrating Christ’s birth with a sense of gratitude and appreciation for the gifts God has given to me . . .

My Parents
I was blessed with parents who loved and respected me. I was always important, seen and heard. They gave me the confidence and strength to go out into the world because I knew they were standing right behind me in case I stumbled. They modeled generosity, loyalty and commitment.

My Sister
Tenacious, strong-willed, and determined balanced by a friendly, supportive, “I’m there for you” spirit—that’s my amazing younger sister. She’ll step out on the front line to stand up and defend you or throw on some work clothes and volunteer to help with whatever dirty work needs to be done. No questions asked . . . you need her, she’s there.

My Husband
My husband is so comfortable in his own skin. He doesn’t compare himself to others or secretly long for what they have. He doesn’t get embroiled in other’s gossip or petty arguments. His loving influence has made me happier and more at peace. Every day I wake up to the joyful realization that I am his friend, wife, and life partner.

My Son
My firstborn. My son with Aspergers Syndrome. Raising him is the most extraordinary journey. He has made me more accepting, patient, and understanding. He has helped me find my passion to support and advocate for him and those just like him. He doesn’t filter or concern himself with being anything but who he is. I admire his strength to put himself out into a world he doesn’t fully understand.

My Daughter
She was born with grace and an "old" soul. From a very young age, she had an understanding and compassion for others well beyond her years. And when she was excluded for not following the crowd, she never compromised her values in order to fit in. She personifies all that is good and right in our world.

So I’m taking a pause from the hustle and bustle of the designers’ holiday season. This Christmas, and every Christmas henceforth, you’ll find me singing praises of “Gloria!” to God for the walking, breathing beautiful gifts of my family.

12pearls-murphy

jodi_murphy-Headshot 1Jodi Murphy has been a freelance marketing specialist for the last 25+ years working for clients in a variety of industries, a journalist in the design/luxury lifestyle industry, and co-founder of Nesting Newbies, one of the first independent lifestyle digital magazines. But her most important role and her life’s passion is being a mom! She founded Geek Club Books to share her son’s life on the spectrum in a positive and entertaining way. Her focus is on building a community of spectrum and neurotypicals who are engaged with and inspired by the Geek Club Books’ message of self-acceptance—“I’m unique. I’m a geek.” Jodi writes original content on the blog, and, with the help of her talented kids and top-notch creative team, she produces audio stories, e-books, and interactive storybook APPs.

Sheryl Giesbrecht {12 Pearls of Christmas 2013}

12/22/13
12pearlsofxmas
Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas blog series!

Disclosure:  This is not a compensated post.  This blog series is provided by Litfuse Publicity.  The giveaway is being hosted by the Pearl Girls and is not associated with this blog.

Merry Christmas from Pearl Girls™! We hope you enjoy these Christmas “Pearls of Wisdom” from the authors who were so kind to donate their time and talents!

We’re giving away a pearl necklace in celebration of the holidays, as well as some items from the contributors! Enter now below! The winner will be announced on January 2, 2014, at the Pearl Girls blog.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we’re all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Mother of Pearl, Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace, or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

My Gift to the King by Sheryl Giesbrecht

It was a week before Christmas; a woman in the rush of her last-minute shopping bought a box of fifty identical greeting cards. Without bothering to read what the card said, she quickly signed and addressed all but one of them. A few days after they had been mailed she came across the one card that hadn’t been sent. She was horrified to read, “This card is just to say, a little gift is on the way!”

Gift-giving is just one of our many Christmas traditions. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only son, Jesus, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” Truly Jesus is the best gift we would ever want to receive.

One year a friend gave me a Christmas devotional book that turned my holiday traditions upside down. Anne Graham Lotz shared her custom of asking King Jesus what gift he would like for his birthday. God wants us to give freely out of our love for him as an act of worship. This process of intentionally and sacrificially giving a "love gift to my King" is something I have added to my personal Christmas traditions. I wonder, have you ever thought about giving Jesus a gift? Maybe this year you might ask Him what He would like you to give Him.

Each year, as the Christmas holidays approach, I ask the King what he would like for his birthday. I remember Anne Graham Lotz’s criteria: “Something I would not do except the King requested it. And it is something I could not do except the King enabled me,” (Christmas Memories by Terri Meeusen pg. 159).

One year the King began asking me for His gift in September when a local high school contacted me to develop a truant program. I didn’t feel qualified. Lotz’ words rang in my mind: “Something I would not do except the king requested it. And it is something I could not do except the king enabled me.” “God, not me," I argued. I remembered what God brought me out of; I was a rebellious and promiscuous teenager, chain-smoker, alcoholic, drug addict, and drug dealer who cut class all but five days my junior year of high school. At age seventeen, I went to work at a Christian camp and there I was shown the love of God through the experience of working transformed believers. I was shown God’s love could cover a multitude of sins. Now He asked me to share this same love with those who are looking for love in all the wrong places. I committed to doing the King’s bidding.

What gift will you give your King this year? Maybe God is asking you to serve in your child’s classroom at school or teach a Sunday school class. Or maybe God is calling you to prayer or to spend more time with Him? Maybe Your King is asking you to give Him control over a situation?

"Something I would not do except the King requested it. And it is something I could not do except the King enabled me." Ask the King for His gift suggestion. When He impresses on your heart the gift He desires, offer it to Him as your gift of thanks for His indescribable gift, His Son, Jesus.

“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.” (I Cor 9:15)

12pearls-giesbrecht

"Exchanging hurt for hope" is Sheryl Giesbrecht's focus. She loves to share how God rearranges loss, bitterness, and mistakes, and turns them into something remarkably beautiful. Learn more about Sheryl and her book, Get Back Up, at her website.

Holiday Savings at Medieval Times Baltimore #sponsored

12/20/13
I will receive tickets to a show at Medieval Times for sharing with my readers.  All opinions are my own.

MED-26454-Holiday-Savings-Landing-MD 
Are you looking for something fun to do with the family over the holidays?  Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament Baltimore (located at Arundel Mills in Hanover, MD) has some great holiday specials for you to take advantage of.  

We've been to several shows at the castle and had a blast.  You can find out more about the show at {Medieval Times Baltimore} Time to Get Medieval.

Holiday Savings:

December 24th & 25th (up til Dec. 31st)
All adults are $34.95 and kids $29.95 with code HOLWEB13 (upgrade packages additional & not valid with any other offers).

You can also celebrate your birthday FREE with the purchase of one full price adult admission with code BFJT (valid during birthday month and proof of birthday).


New Year's Specials:


Want to ring in 2014 with the munchkins but don't want to be out late?  Check out the 3:30 PM show with great family entertainment geared towards the kids!


Medieval Times BaltimoreNew Year's Eve Tues. Dec. 31st 3:30 PM

Adults: $39.95
Children: $29.95 (12 and under)
(Discount Code 35NYE)
 Admission Includes:
  • Free Knight Training
  • Free Face Painting
  • Free Action Poster
  • Four Course Meal
  • 2 Hour Live Tournament
  • Story Time with Princess
  • Free Activity Book





Or if you're up for some late night fun, check out the 9:30 PM show.  Great for a romantic date night or hanging out with your teens!



New Year's Eve Tues. Dec 31st 9:30 PM

Adults: $69.95
Children: $35.95 (12 and under)

Admission Includes:
  • Hors D'oeuvres
  • Admission to Museum of Torture
  • Two Hour Live Tournament
  • Four Course Medieval Feast
  • Party Favors
  • DJ & Dancing
  • Champagne Toast at Midnight (guests over 21, non-alcoholic drink for those under 21)
  • Midnight Countdown with Balloon Drop
  • Continental Breakfast

Connect with Medieval Times:
 
Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament-Maryland Facebook
@MedievalTimes


CaringBridge Helps Families & Friends Stay Connected This Holiday Season #MC #sponsored

12/17/13
I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for CaringBridge. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.


The holiday season is filled with love and joy and special memories.  It's especially important this time of year to take the time to share your support with friends and family in need.  CaringBridge, a nonprofit that provides free, personal websites, aims to help people to stay connected and receive support during any type of health journey. They serve more than 500,000 people each day hoping to make each journey a little easier.

If someone you know is facing a health journey, please take a minute to share CaringBridge with them.  


Also, watch and share this video to help spread the word about CaringBridge and how a small word of support can inspire hope and impact the lives of loved ones this season:


Tuesday Giveaway Link Up 12/17

12/16/13
Tots and Me
Welcome to Tuesday's Giveaway Link Up with your hosts Karen @ Tots and Me and Emily @ Emily Reviews

So glad you could join us as we share our giveaways!

Our co-hosts this week are Sue from My Photopage and Shelly from The Attic Girl.

This link up will be posted Monday at 7 PM est. and run all week long! Stop in as often as you can to list your latest giveaways.

Here is how to use the Giveaway Link Up

1. Post your reviews and/or giveaways, as many as you have, be sure to add the end date (family friendly please)

2. Help spread the word about the giveaway link up by grabbing our button, Tweeting or posting on Facebook. (Not mandatory- but it helps get more exposure to your giveaways as well!)

3. Take a moment to enter any giveaway that strikes an interest to you!

If you would  like to follow the  hostesses, we will gladly follow you back! Simply leave us a message to do so.
Featured Giveaways

Putting on the Spirit: Ten-Minute Devotions for Busy Moms PDF copy (3 winners) US only Ends 12/26

Recaro Performance Sport Harness Booster Car Seat (for kids 20-120 lbs) Ends 12/22

Beads For Life Beaded Necklace Ends 12/17



Thank you for linking up with Karen @ Tots and Me & Emily @ Emily Reviews along with Sue from My Photopage and Shelly from The Attic Girl.

Sarah E. Ladd {12 Pearls of Christmas 2013}

12pearlsofxmas

Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas blog series!

Disclosure:  This is not a compensated post.  This blog series is provided by Litfuse Publicity.  The giveaway is being hosted by the Pearl Girls and is not associated with this blog.

Merry Christmas from Pearl Girls™! We hope you enjoy these Christmas “Pearls of Wisdom” from the authors who were so kind to donate their time and talents!

We’re giving away a pearl necklace in celebration of the holidays, as well as some items from the contributors! Enter now below. The winner will be announced on January 2, 2014, at the Pearl Girls blog.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we’re all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Mother of Pearl, Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace, or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

The Magic of a Christmas Moment by: Sarah E. Ladd

Ah, it’s Christmas! Just the mention of the word makes me think of twinkling trees, steaming wassail, glistening snowflakes, and happy childhood memories.

One Christmas Eve, when my sister and I were quite small, my parents were trying to get us to go to sleep. Of course, we were far too excited to think about sleep! We double checked our stockings and strained our ears to see if we could hear reindeer hooves prancing on the roof. I can still remember my mom saying, “Santa can’t come until you are asleep!”

And then—it happened!

We looked out of our kitchen window, and what should we see? Through our neighbor’s window, we saw HIM . . . Santa Claus . . . doing the dishes! Santa was only one house away! My sister and I could not believe our eyes. Within a flash, we were in our beds, blankets pulled up to our chins, eyes pressed tight in hopes we would fall asleep so Santa could stop by our house!

Of course, it took several years for us to realize that “Santa” was our neighbor hosting a Christmas party, but even after all these years I can still remember the excited thrill of that moment. Even to this day the memory brings a smile to my face, and every Christmas, someone always says, “Hey, remember the year we saw Santa doing dishes?”

As Christmas approaches, it is easy to get caught up on the busyness of the season. Shopping, cooking, traveling—it can be a hectic time of year, with crazy schedules and hurried timelines. But in the bustle of the season, do not forget to keep your eyes open for the magic in the simplest moments, especially if you have young children or grandchildren. Those special memories are gifts that last a lifetime, and just like that Christmas many years ago, it would have been very easy not to take a moment to look out the window. Keep your heart and your eyes open . . . you never know what magic you will find in Christmas moments.

12pearls-ladd


Sarah E. Ladd has more than ten years of marketing experience. She is a graduate of Ball State University and holds degrees in public relations and marketing. The Heiress of Winterwood was the recipient of the 2011 Genesis Award for historical romance. Her second novel, The Headmistress of Rosemere, releases December 2013. Sarah lives in Indiana with her amazing husband, sweet daughter, and spunky Golden Retriever. Learn more at her website or follow her on Facebook. Also, be sure to stop by for your chance to win 8 Christian Fiction novels by some of your favorite authors! Follow this link to enter the Christian Fiction Christmas Giveaway.

12 Pearls of Christmas 2013: Margaret McSweeney

12/14/13
12pearlsofxmas

Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas blog series!

Disclosure:  This is not a compensated post.  This blog series is provided by Litfuse Publicity.  The giveaway is being hosted by the Pearl Girls and is not associated with this blog.

Merry Christmas from Pearl Girls™! We hope you enjoy these Christmas “Pearls of Wisdom” from the authors who were so kind to donate their time and talents!

We’re giving away a pearl necklace in celebration of the holidays, as well as some items from the contributors!  You can enter below.  The winner will be announced on January 2, 2014, at the Pearl Girls blog.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we’re all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Mother of Pearl, Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace, or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

A Hibiscus "Hug from Heaven" by: Margaret McSweeney

photo-12The flurry of festivities during Thanksgiving weekend came to an abrupt halt as I began the first week of December 2013 with an empty nest. My husband was back at work. My daughters were back at college. And my brother, Claude, and niece, Mary, were back in Alabama and Tennessee. Bare branches accentuated the overcast gloom in the Chicago suburbs on what marked the third anniversary of my brother Randy’s passing. Randy had been feeding a stray cat on his deck when the fatal heart attack struck.

Walking downstairs, I whispered a prayer. “Lord, I am feeling really sad right now. Please help me experience your joy.” As I walked into the family room, my heart smiled. The pruned hibiscus plant balanced a solitary flower that had blossomed overnight! This was truly a hibiscus “hug from heaven.”

In her book When Grief Is Your Constant Companion, my late mother shared her poignant poem about a hibiscus plant. She wrote this following poem several years after losing my dad to a sudden heart attack while he was in Paris on a business trip.

TEARDROPS: EVERLASTING JOY
By Carolyn Rhea

My love, how can it be
That I no longer think of you
Almost every waking moment
And grieve for your loving presence?

There are small spaces of time
When my life is so absorbed in present living
That you are not in my thoughts at all.
How unthinkable!
How sad that I should forget you even for an hour!

But I have not forgotten you, my dear.
You are forever a part of me.
You helped God shape my life
Into my present self.
I carry your love in my heart.
I miss you so very much and always will.

But now I’m caught up in trying to reconstruct
With God’s guidance
A meaningful life for myself.
One in which I can help,
Serve, share, love, grow.

I remember the hibiscus plant
We bought at the annual show.
It was called Teardrops,
For several perfectly-shaped white teardrops
Spattered the broad expanse
Of its gorgeous pink blooms.
How we loved it!

Then later, after it had grown much taller,
We saw a different kind of bloom:
Multitudes of small, sturdy, happy pink blossoms
Swaying merrily in the Florida breeze!
Teardrops had been grafted onto a stronger plant!

We named it Everlasting Joy.

Teardrops still bloomed at the lower level,
But as the plant grew ever upward and outward,
Everlasting Joy bloomed in profusion!

Lord Jesus, when teardrops fall,
Help me remember that through faith
I have been grafted in You –
You, the vine;
I, a branch –
Eternally secure in God’s love through Thee!
Blessed with Thy fullness of joy on earth
And the promise of everlasting joy in heaven!

Thank you, dear Father for sharing your everlasting joy with me today in my solitude. We are not alone in our grief. You are with us. “Ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.” John 16:20 

12pearls-mcsweeney


Margaret McSweeney is well-published author (A Mother’s Heart Knows, Go Back and Be Happy, Pearl Girls, Mother of Pearl, Aftermath), host of Kitchen Chat, and the founder of Pearl Girls™. Through Pearl Girls™, Margaret collaborates with other writers on projects to help fund a safe house for WINGS, an organization that helps women and their children who are victims of domestic violence, and to build wells for schoolchildren in Uganda through Hands of Hope. For the past twelve years she has served on the board of directors and leadership advisory board for WINGS. Margaret lives with her husband and 2 daughters in the Chicago suburbs. Learn more at Margaret's website.

Carmex Limited Edition Lip Balm: Great Stocking Stuffers! #sponsored

12/12/13
I received a Carmex Limited Edition Moisture Plus Lip Balm set to review.  All opinions are my own.

Winter is really rough on the lips.  Even worse if you're a mouth breather when you sleep like I am.  I love Carmex to keep my lips moisturized throughout the year, but especially during dry winter months.

Carmex has come out with a Limited Edition Collection to celebrate the holiday season featuring four fun fashion-forward patterns.  Aren't they cute?   They'd make a great stocking stuffer!

They are also a great size for popping in your purse or even a diaper bag.  I use mine throughout the day and before bed time to keep my pucker happy and looking healthy.  I love the clear gloss finish!  And best of all, they even contain SPF 15 so your lips won't burn on sunny days outside playing with your kids.

lip balm, Carmex

Each of the 4 new patterns was selected to represent your unique personality traits:  Chic, Fab, Adventurous and Whimsical.  You can even take a fun quiz to find out which pattern suits you best:  Carmex Personality Quiz.  I ended up being Whimsical, which I think fits me pretty well, although I don't think I'm as earthy as that.  (Not a camping kinda gal)






Which style are you?  Take the quiz to find out and then you can enter the giveaway below to win a set for yourself or a friend! 


Save:

Fill out the form to receive a $.75 coupon off any for one Carmex Moisture Plus® lip balm.


Giveaway:

One reader will win a set of the Limited Edition Moisture Plus Lip Balm

Just use the Rafflecopter form below.  You must be a US resident 18 or older to enter. No P.O. Boxes please You must complete each task entirely or your entries will not count. 


This giveaway is not in any way associated with or endorsed by Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.  Giveaway Ends 12/28/13 at 12:01 AM EST.  US Residents **18 and older** only may enter. One entry per household and IP address.  Winner will be drawn using random.org and will have **48 hrs** to respond to email or another winner will be chosen. Entries are verified.  No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.  The Attic Girl is not responsible/liable for prize delivery.



Disclosure:   I received the product above for review purposes as part of the Carmex Blog Squad.  No other compensation was received.  All opinions are my own; your experience may vary from mine.  Sponsor is providing the giveaway prize.

Percy Jackson Sea of Monsters Blu-ray Giveaway #sponsored #PercyHeroes

12/11/13
I will receive a copy of the Percy Jackson Sea of Monsters as a Fox Home Entertainment Insider. All opinions are my own.


EXPERIENCE THE MOST HEROIC ADVENTUREFox Home Entertainment

OF THE HOLIDAY SEASON

Percy Jackson:  Sea of Monsters is coming to Blu-ray Deluxe Edition December 17 and is available on Digital HD™ December 3.  If you have a pre-teen or teen fan of the series, you won't want to miss this!  It's one of my 2013 Holiday Gift Guide top picks.



Synopsis
The magical, mythical adventures of teenager Percy Jackson — son of the Greek god Poseidon — continue in this heroic, action-packed thrill ride!  Out to prove he’s not just a “one-quest wonder,” Percy and his demigod friends embark on an epic, cross-country journey into the treacherous Sea of Monsters, where they battle terrifying creatures, an army of zombies, and the ultimate evil. With time running out, Percy must find and bring home the fabled Golden Fleece, which has the power to save his world...and save us all!


Special Features


PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS 3-Disc 3D Deluxe Edition/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD

  • PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS – Blu-ray 3D Theatrical Version
  • PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS Blu-ray with the following special features: 
    • Tyson Motion Comic
    • Collectible Character Cards
    • Back to Camp Half-Blood
    • It’s All in the Eye
    • Deconstructing a Demigod
    •  
Your kids can also play an online game for Percy Jackson's Quest for the golden fleece:  http://www.percyjacksonthemovie.com/quest/
  
For more holiday gift ideas, be sure to check out the 2013 Holiday Gift Guide!
holiday gifts, gift guide


Giveaway:

One winner will receive Percy Jackson Sea of Monsters on Blu-ray
Fox Home Entertainment
Just use the Rafflecopter form below.  You must be a US resident 18 or older to enter.  You must complete each task entirely or your entries will not count.  

This giveaway is not in any way associated with or endorsed by Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter. Giveaway Ends 12/28/13 at 12:01 AM EST. US Residents **18 and older** only may enter. One entry per household and IP address. Winner will be drawn using random.org and will have **48 hrs** to respond to email or another winner will be chosen. Entries are verified. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. The Attic Girl is not responsible/liable for prize delivery. Prize may take 6-8 weeks to ship and is not guaranteed to arrive in time for holiday gift giving. By entering the giveaway, you agree to the Giveaway terms/rules.


Fox Home Entertainment
Disclosure:  I  received a copy of the movie as a Fox Home Entertainment Insider.  No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own. Sponsor is providing the giveaway prize. For more info. see my Disclosure Policy.

Take Care of Yourself at CVS MinuteClinic @minuteclinic #MC #sponsored

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for CVS MinuteClinic. I received promotional items as a thank you for participating.

It's that time of year when colds, flu, and all kinds of other pesky bugs hit.  Our family recently just went through this over Thanksgiving with fever and congestion.  It hits when you least expect or want it.  And sometimes your primary care doctor or pediatrician's office is booked full.  So where can you go if you need to see someone right away outside of normal hours?  

MinuteClinic can be a convenient an affordable option, especially during the winter months when doctor offices may not be able to provide a timely appointment and the ER and urgent care centers have longer wait times and higher costs. 

MinuteClinic and CVS are a great one-stop shop for your cough, cold and flu needs. You can visit MinuteClinic to get your flu shot, get a diagnosis for your cold or flu illness, and pick up wintertime cough and cold essentials at CVS.  And you can even get your child's sports physical too!  They have board certified Nurse Practitioners and Physician assistants available to diagnose and treat common ailments like ear infections or strep throat.



My hubby & I had our flu shots at the MinuteClinic and it was fairly easy.  Just fill out the paperwork and wait for the tech to give you your shot.  (wait times vary depending on how busy the pharmacy is) Plus, we received a 20% shopping pass to use that day.

The MinuteClinic is a walk-in clinic located in select CVS/pharmacy stores in 28 states and DC. They are open 7 days a week with evening hours and you don’t need to make an appointment!  Just walk right in.  They accept most insurance and other forms of payment.

MinuteClinic shares visit summaries with your primary
care provider (with your permission).  They also provide a list of physicians in the area accepting new patients if you do not already have a primary care provider. 


Not sure how to tell the difference between a cold and the flu?  Check out this great article http://bit.ly/18ca8La
Colds, flu symptoms

It's reassuring to know that you have an affordable alternative when someone in your family gets sick and can't wait for the doctor's office to open. 

For hours and locations for a MinuteClinic nearest you,
visit www.minuteclinic.com/locations


Have you been to a CVS MinuteClinic?  Where do you go if someone is sick after regular doctor office hours?

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