Upgrade Your Camera In Time For Christmas at Best Buy

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

Christmas is only a few days away!  I think I have all of our gifts bought, but something I always forget is the camera!  Pictures of the most exciting day of the year should not be neglected.  There are so many great options to upgrade your camera or camcorder so you can capture all of the wonderful memories in high quality.  Not sure what the best option is for you and your family?  Best Buy can help.  

These three cameras from Nikon, Sony, and Samsung all come equipped with built-in Wi-Fi so you can instantly share your high quality photos.  

Sony #HintingSeason#CamerasatBestBuy

Sony Alpha α6000 Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera

·         A compact system camera with the World’s Fastest Autofocus

·         This Sony Alpha A6000 features a 24.3-megapixel, Exmor APS-C CMOS sensor that makes it easy to shoot scenes in stunning clarity. Built-in Wi-Fi lets you share stored content across devices.

·         Also available in White or silver

Samsung #HintingSeason

#CamerasatBestBuySamsung Galaxy Camera 2

·         A digital camera that allows you to shoot, share, and use Android Apps

·         This Samsung Galaxy 2 digital camera's 16.3-megapixel, 1/2.3" BSI CMOS sensor allows you to capture sharp images and high-definition video footage. The 4.8" touch screen simplifies operation, and built-in Wi-Fi makes sharing stored files easy.

Nikon #HintingSeason

#CamerasatBestBuy

Nikon D5300 DSLR w/18-55mm VR Lens

·         A DSLR with built-in Wi-Fi so you can capture high quality photos and share them instantly

·         This Nikon D5300 DSLR camera comes with an AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II lens that enables you to capture sharp photos and video footage. Optical image stabilization helps prevent blurring to ensure image clarity

·         Also available in red or gray

#CamerasatBestBuy

Visit the Best Buy Holiday Gift Center to see more great cameras, whether you’re giving as a gift or upgrading for yourself.

So…what's on YOUR wish list?

 

Stock Up on Fig Bars for the Holidays!

This post was created in partnership with Nature's Bakery fig bars. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Nature's Bakery fig barsThe holiday season can be stressful and chaotic, and our good eating habits tend to go out the window for a few weeks (months?)  This year, I decided to have healthier snack foods on hand for our family and I have been proven time and time again how smart this was!

Running errands with the kids?  Don't stop for fast food, grab a Nature's Bakery fig bar.  Wrapping gifts and don't want to stop?  Fig bars.  Watching a Christmas program and need to dig a delicious but healthy snack out of your bag?  Fig bars!  Every time one of us gets hungry, instead of grabbing something unhealthy, I get a Nature's Bakery fig bar.  All three of the boys (ages 6, 4, and 1) LOVE fig bars.  Their favorite flavors are blueberry and strawberry, but all six of the delicious flavors are satisfying, healthy, non-GMO, and trans fat free.  Other flavors include: apple cinnamon, raspberry, peach apricot, lemon, mango, and fig.  Yum!  Each package contains two mini fig bars, which are the perfect size for little hands.  The sticky center can be a little messy, but when something tastes so good, it's hard to make much of a mess.  
Nature's Bakery Fig BarsNon-GMO ingredients include:  stone ground whole wheat flour, dried cane syrup, brown rice syrup, fig paste, canola oil, rolled oats, oat fiber, ammonia-free caramel color, sea salt, citric acid, natural flavors, baking soda, and more, depending on the flavor.  (The blueberry fig bar is colored with red cabbage extract!)

Nature's Bakery Fig Bars stocking

Join Nature's Bakery Fig Bar Fanatics Program and enter to win a box of fig bars for yourself in the Rafflecopter form below!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

D is FOUR! {birthday interview}

birthday interview

"Baby" D is F-O-U-R years old!  It is absolutely crazy that my sweet baby is so OLD.  I started this blog when he was about four months old, so he really has grown up here.  He is a great middle child….a great little brother and best friend to the Captain and big brother to his Baby Brother.  He is protective, sensitive, joyous, and keeps us laughing all of the time.  Happy birthday, sweet boy!  Here are his answers to our family tradition – the birthday interview:

How old are you?  four

What is your favorite color?  blue and yellow and green

What is your favorite thing to drink?  water

What is your favorite toy?  Duplos

Who are your favorite friends?  my brothers and cousins

What do you like to do?  play with Duplos

What do you want to be when you grow up?  "youth group" (youth minister)

What color is your hair?  brown

What color are your eyes?  blue

What is your favorite sport?  every sport

What is your favorite song?  "In A World Like This"

What do you like to do with Daddy?  play wrestle time

What do you like to do with Mommy?  hug her

What do you like to do with the Captain?  tickling

What do you like to do with Baby Brother?  hold him

What is your favorite restaurant?  Pizza Inn

What is easy for you to do?  color

What is hard for you to do?  do math

What is your favorite think about homeschool?  math

What is your favorite thing about church? singing

What is your favorite thing to wear?  my rock star shirt

What is your favorite show?  Diego

What is your favorite book?  "Harold and the Purple Crayon"

What has been your favorite place to visit?  Grandma and Grammy and Grampy

What was your favorite thing to do when you were 3?  go to Grammy and Grampy's house

Homemade Christmas Gak Recipe (Scented With Thieves Oil)

Homemade Christmas Gak

Christmas will soon be here but until then, there is a lot of time to fill!  Kids who are out for the holidays plus parents who have a lot to do to get ready for the big day means that we have to pull a few tricks out of our hats.  Here is a fabulous DIY for something the kids love and can spend hours creating with!  Homemade Christmas gak is perfect for preschoolers (who aren't tempted to eat stuff) all the way through adults who love to play with squishy gak.  And, it can be scented to smell like Christmas with thieves oil or cinnamon spice.  

Ingredients:

  • two 4 oz bottles of Elmer's school glue
  • one tsp Borax
  • food coloring (we used green and red, but the red only turned out pink so I abandoned it)
  • warm water
  • 3-4 drops of Thieves oil (I use Eden's Garden) or a few dashes of cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Pour both bottles of glue into a bowl.
  2. Fill each empty bottle with warm water, shake them up to get the rest of the glue off, and then pour into the bowl with glue.
  3. Add food coloring.  (It took a LOT of green food coloring to get the color in my picture, and like I said the red was just pink forever, so I gave up on that.)
  4. Fill a cup with 1/2 cup of warm water.
  5. Add 1 teaspoon of Borax to the warm water (not the glue mix yet) and mix well until it is dissolved. 
  6. Pour the Borax/water mixture to the bowl of glue/water mixture and stir with a wooden spoon.  Then ditch the wooden spoon and mix with your hands.  Keep at it until it is all mixed well and it is all the same color.
  7. Let the kids have at it!  Bring out cookie cutters, pizza cutters, rollers, anything to make it more fun!
  8. Store in a jar when done.

Notes:  *The thieves oil might make it harder to mix well, but keep at it and it will turn out fine.  *Remind kids to not put the Gak in their mouths and to wash their hands after playing with it.  *If the kids get it on their clothes like mine did, (because doesn't everyone love to SIT on their Gak? Ugh!) just immediately pick off any that you can and rub with warm water and then wash.  It came out well and didn't stain, but with the food coloring and oil, it made me a little nervous.

Homemade Christmas Gak is a great way to pass the time during snow days and would make a great, inexpensive gift or stocking stuffer!

Purchase the Perfect Christmas Outfit at OshKosh B’gosh With This Coupon!

This post was brought to you by OshKosh B'gosh and Influence Central.  All opinions are mine.

(ad) OshKosh 25% off Coupons #IC #GIVEHAPPY

Are you still looking for the perfect Christmas pajamas or outfit for your littles?  Enjoy this 25% off coupon to OshKosh B'gosh and stock up!  The coupon is good through the end of the year and can be used in store and online!  Have fun shopping and Merry Christmas!

12 Festive Family Beverages – Yummy Non-Alcoholic Drinks For Christmas!

This non-alcoholic drinks post was brought to you by Foodie.  All opinions are mine.12 Festive Family Beverages

 

Check out 12 Festive Family Beverages

by Gena at Foodie.com

The holiday season is a time for delicious food and family time.  My guys all love the delicious drinks of the season, from hot chocolate to cranberry drinks.  I have made a Foodie collection of 12 tasty drinks to satisfy and intrigue all of your family members this season.  They're all non-alcoholic so even the littles can enjoy them (but it would be easy to add alcohol if that's your wish!)  I have collected these recipes because they're all a bit different, but yet festive and traditional.  Some are served warm, some cold, but all are full of the flavors of the season.  Enjoy!

Still Looking For The Perfect Family Gift? A Canon Camera Is It!

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.  #CanonatBestBuy #HintingSeason

Holiday Tree 2014_27 (1)

Christmas is only a 15 days away!  I can hardly believe that it's already almost here.  If you're still looking for the perfect gift for your spouse or family, look no further than Best Buy.  Canon cameras make the perfect gifts!  I have had one of my dad's Canon cameras on loan for a few years, and it has been such a great camera to work with.  I love the crisp, clear pictures that it takes for the blog or for family pictures.

Canon Holiday Image (1)Canon Holiday Image 2

Best Buy is the ultimate destination for the latest cameras to capture your holiday memories. The Canon EOS Rebel T5i is one of the best-selling DSLRs. This camera makes advanced photography easy and fun, and gives you exceptional image quality, along with a host of features to enhance your creative expression.

•      Capture Hollywood caliber full HD video  

•      Continuous autofocus while taking HD video

•      Features an 18.0-megapixel CMOS sensor and a DIGIC 5 image processor to ensure vivid, crystal-clear images.

•      The 3" vari-angle touch screen simplifies navigation.

Save $150 on the Canon EOS Rebel T5i at Best Buy*. Visit Best Buy to learn more. *offer valid 12/7-12/20

HOLIDAY_LOCK_PRIME_1LINE_CMYK_WORKING

Best Buy is hosting a Canon Twitter Party on Thursday December 18th at 7pm CST. Join the party for a chance to win Best Buy gift cards and other great prizes! Tweet #HintingSeason with your top gifts that you want this Holiday from Best Buy.

Are you wishing for a Canon camera this Christmas?  Send this link over to your Santa for #HintingSeason!

Join Me for a #GiftOutsideTheBox Christmas Twitter Party on Wednesday!

twitter party

'Tis the season for gift giving and celebrations!  Make time for good deeds and paying it forward, too!  Join me and other great hosts and co-hosts for a fun Twitter party!

When:  Wednesday, December 10th at 1 PM, ET (noon CT/11 am MT, 10 am PT)

Where:  Twitter, following #GiftOutsideTheBox

RSVP here

What the Party is about:  Are you planning on giving back this holiday season? While doing good deeds is a great idea all year, the spirit of the holiday season gives us even more inspiration to pay it forward.

Paying it forward means to perform an act of kindness without expecting anything in return, other than the person receiving the act of kindness doing something nice for someone else. It’s a simple, powerful concept that can change the lives of others and make us feel great. Doing something nice for a friend, neighbor, or even a complete stranger also makes you happier and less stressed – and we all need that during this hectic time of year.

Join SBLI and Charley Johnson, President of the Pay it Forward Foundation, for a Twitter party to share tips and ideas for how we can pay it forward this holiday season. We’ll also be talking about how you can get the whole family involved in paying it forward, and how to teach your kids the importance of spreading kindness.

Prizes: We will be giving away five prizes to randomly selected winners. Five winners who answer trivia questions during the party will receive $50 VISA gift cards, and a Pay it Forward bracelet!

Hosts: @SavingsBankLife and @charleypif

Co-hosts:  

Danielle, Simmworks:  @simmworksfamily
Dawn, Homemaking Hacks: @dawnchats
Gena, Life with Captain Fussybuckets: @cptfussybuckets

Jamie, Roubinek Reality: @jmroubinek

Kristin, Exploring Domesticity: @ExpDomesticity

Leila, Life as Leels: @LifeasLeels

Melissa, Outnumbered 3-1: @OutnumberedMama

Tesa, 2 Wired 2 Tired: @2Wired2Tired

 

Save Money by Making Mini Layered Chocolates for Christmas Gifts!

This mini layered chocolates shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #TasteTheSeason #CollectiveBias

Mini Layered Chocolates #TasteTheSeason #CollectiveBias #ad

Every Christmas, I like to give homemade gifts to neighbors, teachers, and friends.  I do not like to give the traditional gifts like fruit cake and dipped pretzels, although they are delicious.  I just don't want to risk giving something that they have already received.  I personally love bite sized mini foods, so I thought about making these yummy mini layered chocolates for gifts this year.  I really had a blast making them, as you can individualize each piece and make them all different.  Plus, it is a great way to save money when you need to buy gifts for a lot of people and homemade gifts are always enjoyed!

I was able to pick up all the ingredients that I needed at Walmart on a quick shopping trip.  Everything that I needed was in the baking aisle or on the special holiday endcap.

IMG_4056

The ingredients I needed for the chocolate candy were Baker's semi-sweet and German's baking chocolate, Baker's angel flake sweetened coconut, Kraft caramel bits, pretzel sticks, sugar, and I already had the silicon baking mold with the gingerbread men at home.
#TasteTheSeason #CollectiveBias

I wanted to make the coconut more of a "butter" so I put it in the food processor for about five minutes until it had a smoother consistency.  

#TasteTheSeason #CollectiveBias

Then, I followed the directions on the Baker's baking chocolate for melting it in the microwave.  I melted 1 1/2 bars (not squares, but entire bars) of semi-sweet baking chocolate and stirred, then added 1/3 cup of the coconut that I had pureed in the food processor, along with 1/4 cup of sugar and mixed well.  This mix was brownie-ish and oh so yummy!  I spooned about 1/2 – 1 tsp of the mix in each mold and pressed it down.  To harden it a bit, I popped it in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

Mini Layered Chocolates

After that, I melted some Baker's German's sweet chocolate bar and also the caramel bits and just played around with making different layers in the gingerbread boy molds.  I even made some that were just sweet chocolate and caramel, which were definitely the smoothest mini layered chocolates and the Captain's favorites.

#TasteTheSeason #CollectiveBias

I love the variety of the little gingerbread men layered chocolates.  The Captain has a tree nut allergy, or else I would have put some nuts in there, too.  I did make a few with pretzel sticks and those were my absolute favorites.

It was very simple to pop about 5-6 mini layered chocolates in a small Mason jar for a gift!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ingredients and Supplies needed:

  • Baker's semi-sweet baking chocolate, 2 bars
  • Baker's German's sweet baking chocolate, 1 bar
  • Baker's angel flake sweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • pretzels, nuts, cranberries, and any other add-ins you would like! (optional)
  • silicone molds of choice
  • small mason jars and/or treat boxes for packaging gifts

Directions:

  1. Pour a half of a bag of Baker's angel flake sweetened coconut into the food processor and run for 5-10 minutes, stopping and stirring every minute or so, until a smoother texture is achieved.
  2. Melt 1 1/2 whole bars of Baker's semi-sweet chocolate in a microwave safe bowl according to package directions.  (Check and stir every 30 seconds until melted.)
  3. Mix coconut "butter" and melted chocolate in a bowl, along with 1/4 cup of sugar until well combined.
  4. When cooled, press 1/2 – 1 tsp of mixture into bottom of silicon molds.
  5. Place molds in refrigerator for about 20 minutes to harden and set. 
  6. Then, add in a layer of crushed pretzels, nuts, cranberries, etc to various molds for variety.
  7. Melt Baker's German's chocolate bar in the microwave, checking and stirring every 30 seconds.
  8. Pour chocolate into various molds.
  9. Melt Kraft caramel bits (watch closely!) and pour in various molds, as well.
  10. If you want to make a layer of German's sweet chocolate on top of the caramel, make sure to refrigerate for 10-20 minutes to firm up before adding in the last layer.
  11. When all molds are filled, refrigerate for an additional 30 minutes and then pop them out and into your mason jars or treat boxes.
  12. Deliver to your recipients and watch their smiles erupt!

Note:  You probably need to advice your recipients to keep the chocolates cool so they won't melt.  You shouldn't need to keep them in the fridge, but that may not be a bad idea.  Also, make sure to note any allergies (dairy, coconut, nuts, etc).

 

Mini Layered Chocolates #ad #TasteTheSeason #CollectiveBias

What is your go to holiday treat that you enjoy making for gifts?  

If you need more inspiration, visit the Cooking Up Good website. It has recipes, sweepstakes, loyalty programs, coupons and more! What's not to love? If you're looking for a new dinner idea or a chance to win some awesome prizes, be sure to check it out!

Mini layered chocolates

#ShareATree Online and the Arbor Day Foundation Will Plant a Real Tree!

This #ShareATree post is not sponsored, but I will be receiving a gift from Green is Universal and the Arbor Day Foundation in return for writing it. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

acornTrees are so vital to our lives and are also relaxing and beautiful.  Baby Brother loves to watch the wind move through the trees around our house.  It boggles my mind when I think about how long these trees have been alive and growing tall into the sky!  Did you know that every year, Green is Universal and the Arbor Day Foundation partner up to give a special gift to us and the environment?  When you decorate and #ShareATree, the Arbor Day Foundation plants a tree.  All you have to do is visit the #ShareATree website, click on "Decorate A Tree" OR share a "Celebratree" that has been created by an NBCUniversal celebrity like Al Roker or Meredith Vieira.  For every 25,000 trees shared, an additional $5,000 will be donated to the Arbor Day Foundation.

The Share A Tree Program will help the Arbor Day Foundation plant trees all across the United States in our national forests, state forests, and state parks.  Jack pine trees will be planted to improve the habitat of the endangered Kirtland's warbler.  This neotropical migratory songbird’s breeding habitat is almost exclusively confined to young, dense Jack pine stands in the area. Today, Kirtland’s warblers are found in only ten counties on Michigan’s northern lower peninsula and four counties in the upper peninsula. Efforts by the Arbor Day Foundation's replanting partners have increased the number of singing males from less than 200 to more than 1,900, bringing the species back from the brink of extinction.

warbler

This fabulous project is a gift for future generations!  It began December 3rd and will run through December 31st.  Check out the beautiful trees created by celebrites, like this one from Shaun Robinson:

#ShareATree

Follow @ArborDay and #ShareATree on Twitter to join in the fun!

 

THEbesttimetoplantatree