Favorite Features of the iPhone 6 #VZWBuzz

iPhone 6

 

 

Both my husband and I love getting the latest technology in phones whether it’s the latest Android, Windows or iPhone. We both had an iPhone 5s as our phone so when the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus was announced, we both knew we wanted to upgrade. After looking at the specs on both, I decided that I wanted to upgrade to the iPhone 6 while my husband upgraded to the iPhone 6 Plus.

iPhone 6

I’ve had the iPhone a little over a week now and I’m already in love. Below are some of my favorite features of the iPhone 6.

It’s Bigger

One of my favorite things about the Galaxy Note 3 that I also have is the bigger size. I knew that I would be comfortable going up in size for the iPhone 6, but I didn’t want to go as big as the 6 Plus. The iPhone 6 still fits comfortably in the palm of my hand and it’s still easy for me to type with one thumb and also reach across the entire screen with one thumb. I was worried that with the 6 Plus, I would always have to use both hands.

The iPhone 6 has a 4.7-inch (diagonal) Retina HD display and the screen is sharper and thinner than other phones. I like to read on my phone so it’s convenient to me that it’s a bit bigger – yet I don’t feel like I have a tablet on my ear when I’m talking on the phone!

Talk in GIF

Oh, how I love GIFs. When you find the perfect one, it can just make a conversation. One of the first apps I downloaded for the iPhone 6 is the GIF keyboard by Riffsy.  Now, I can speak entirely in GIFs thanks to iOS8 on the iPhone 6. {If you upgrade to iOS8 on your older iPhones, you can download this keyboard too}.

iPhone 6 GIFs

You just can’t see the full awesomeness in a picture – download the GIF Keyboard yourself!

Notification Center

If you’ve updated to iOS8, you can also take advantage of the Notification Center. You can completely customize what you want to see when you pull down your notifications. I’ve chosen to have my calendar, weather, Sportscenter {you can choose your favorite teams to highlight only them – Go Cardinals!} and my Kindle so I can easily tap on the book I’m currently reading. Another app I keep meaning to download is the TeeVee 3 app, where it will show all of your upcoming televisions shows in your notifications.

iPhone 6 Notifications Main

iPhone 6 Notifications 2

Camera and Video

Even with my iPhone 5s, it was my main camera over my DSLR. The iPhone 6 camera has an 8 megapixel camera and includes an improved image stabilization {perfect when you have little ones on the go!}, face detection and also the ability to take better pictures in low-light, something previews phones were lacking.

As for video, you’re shooting in full HD 1080 video and the image stabilization is better than the previous phone which is good for my shaky hand during my son’s school performances. In addition to the Slo-Mo feature, there’s the addition of the Time-Lapse feature which is just too much fun.

 

A lot of the things that make the iPhone 6 for me is iOS8 which everyone can update to, but I’m also love the size, weight and sleekness of it too. The battery life can last a little bit longer {although not as long as the 6 Plus} which I need as a power user. As I play with it longer, I’ll make sure to update with more of my thoughts!

Thinking of upgrading to the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus? At Verizon Wireless, you can get an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus for $0 down when you trade in your old iPhone. The Verizon Edge program is a flexible equipment payment plan that spreads the retail price of a phone over 20 months. So if it’s not time for your upgrade, you can still get the iPhone 6 for only $32.49 a month for 20 months.

Upgrade faster! Learn more about the Verizon Edge program!

Have you upgraded to the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus yet? 

 

Disclosure: As member of a pretty cool team of influencers, I have received some great items from Verizon Wireless. No additional compensation was provided nor did I promise positive feedback.  All opinions are my own.

National Coffee Day + Blueberry Streusel Mini Muffins Recipe

Excuse the reflection as my husband and I eagerly wait for a cup of coffee!

 

It’s crazy but it wasn’t until last year that I started drinking coffee regularly. Before then, I could count the number of times I drank a coffee on one hand. I can pinpoint exactly when I started drinking coffee – I had twins! The first week we were home, my husband went out and bought a coffee machine and I’ve been in love ever since. My morning isn’t complete until I’ve had a cup – or two – of coffee to get me energized and start off my day right.

Today is National Coffee Day, which I know will be a widely celebrated holiday by all those coffee lovers out there. As for me, I’m celebrating with my brand new Starbucks® Verismo™ 580 Brewer from Staples. This machine is amazing. My husband was initially hesitant to try it since he thought there was nothing wrong with our old coffee machine. Um, boy was he wrong. Compared to this new machine, our old was is ancient. It took forever to make one cup of coffee and we constantly had to fill up the water for multiple cups. Not only does it look good, the Starbucks® Verismo™ 580 Brewer has so many great features.

Excuse the reflection as my husband and I eagerly wait for a cup of coffee!

Excuse the reflection as my husband and I eagerly wait for a cup of coffee!

Starbucks® Verismo™ 580 Brewer

Features include:

  • High-pressure brewing system heats up and is ready to make Starbucks-quality beverages in less than 15 seconds
  • Integrated rinse function helps keep machine clean
  • Height-adjustable drip tray accommodates different sized cups
  • Auto-off activates after 5 minutes to save energy
  • Easily removable water tank makes refilling simple
  • Built-in used pod removal automatically moves up to 10 pods to storage for easy cleanup
  • Easy to make plenty of your favorite drinks at home
  • Enjoy everything from caffè lattes and espresso to brewed coffee. You can also use our milk pods for a rich, creamy hot cup of steamed milk

The Starbucks® Verismo™ 580 Brewer blew us away with how fast it brewed a cup of coffee. If there was a race between two coffee machines to brew a cup the fastest, I have no doubt this one would win. 15 seconds! Plus, it’s easy to keep the machine clean and it’s so simple to use. I’ve always loved going through the Starbucks drive-thru for a coffee pick me up, but now I’m saving money by doing it at home.

One of my favorite drinks to order at Starbucks is the Caffè Americano. With the Starbucks® Verismo™ 580 Brewer, it’s so easy to make from home. I use the Starbucks® Verismo™ Coffee Pods in Espresso Roast from Staples, mix with the hot water and have a delicious Caffè Americano – sometimes hot and sometimes iced – right at home.

I’ve recently started waking up early to get a little bit of work done before my three kids wake up. It’s so nice to sit down with a cup of coffee and breakfast and enjoy it in silence I recently made some Blueberry Streusel Muffins and I made them mini since I knew my kids would love them too. This is the perfect companion to a nice cup of coffee in the morning and they are so easy to make too.

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

Blueberry Streusel Mini Muffins Recipe
 
Ingredients
  • Muffin Ingredients
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • Streusel Topping Ingredients
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a mini muffin pan with cooking spray.
  2. Mix together the streusel ingredients in a medium bowl with a fork. The texture should start to become like sand and crumble. Mixture should start to get crumble when you mix it.
  3. Mix together all the dry ingredients for the mini muffins until well combined. Slowly stir in egg,the egg and milk until well combined. Gently mix in the blueberries.
  4. Add the batter into your mini muffin pan. Top with streusel ingredients.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool before eating and then enjoy with a cup of coffee!

These Blueberry Streusel Mini Muffins are so good with a cup of coffee!

Coffee and Muffins

Win a Starbucks® Verismo™ 580 Brewer from Staples on National Coffee Day

Head over to Twitter at 9am, 12pm and pm EST and follow both @SippyCupMom and @Staples. I’ll be giving away a Starbucks® Verismo™ 580 Brewer during each hour and all you have to do is answer my question or RT the question on Twitter for a chance to win. I’m so excited about this giveaway because I know you will love the machine.

Connect with Staples

Online

Facebook

Twitter

Happy National Coffee Day! How will you be celebrating?

 

Disclosure: A huge thanks to Staples for sending us our new favorite coffee machine. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Taco Tuesday with Turbo: FAST on Netflix #StreamTeam

TurboFast

 

 

The new school year has started and it’s definitely been an adjustment for the whole family. My son went from playing all day, sleeping in and staying up a bit later to having homework and an early bedtime. He has done a great job and I wanted to have a fun night for him. One of his favorite movies on Netflix is Turbo – I can’t tell you how many times we have seen it. He’s always asking me, “What’s the plan, Taco Man?”. Since we usually always have tacos on Tuesday, I decided to officially have a Taco Tuesday night with a Dos Bros themed menu and then surprise Hayden with the new episodes of Turbo: FAST on Netflix – the first-ever Netflix original series for kids.

TurboFast

After we saw Turbo in the theater, Hayden immediately asked if there was going to be a sequel. As a continuation of Turbo, DreamWorks’ popular flick about an ‘underdog’ snail who kicks into overdrive with his miraculous power of super-speed, Turbo: FAST follows Turbo and his pals on their pursuit of big dreams, as they continue to amp up everything to the extreme. There’s a total of 20 episodes of Turbo: Fast now and they don’t disappoint!

When setting up your taco bar, you can visit the Dos Bros Taco website for some ideas on what to serve. It’s not a Taco Truck, but it’s still fun!

Taco Tuesday with Turbo Fast

Dos Bros

To complete your night of Turbo: FAST fun, print these free printables which include Mad Libs, a Word Search and Origami.

If you’re looking to make things extra cozy for a family movie night in with Netflix, check out this DIY Blanket Fort – so fun! Don’t forget to catch the 20 episodes of Turbo: FAST on Netflix right now!

What’s your favorite family movie to watch on Netflix?

 

Disclosure: I am part of the Netflix Stream team and compensation has been received. However, we have loved Netflix for years. All thoughts and opinions are my own.  

Fun Ideas for a Superhero-Themed Party

Superhero Cookies

 

 

Who doesn’t like superheroes? Most kids go through a phase when they love everything that has to do with comic book superheroes, whether it’s Batman or Superman. If you’re looking for a crowd-pleasing theme for your child’s next birthday or Halloween party, a superhero theme can be a real day to remember.

Superhero Cookies

Image Source: BlueJules/Flickr

Costume Ideas

Although you can have a superhero party in your regular clothes, it’s a lot more fun when costumes are involved! Browse the selection at funidelia.co.uk to get started and see what comic book heroes are available. Some ideas could include Wonder Woman, Batman, or the Green Lantern, for example. If you want to stick to classics, choose a Superman or Spiderman costume. However, you can also save money and let the kids make their own superhero costumes as one of the activities! Try filling some boxes with fabric to make capes and paper to make masks, and let the children run wild with their imagination. Naturally, you can let the adults at the party get into the fun as well.

Decorations and Food               

Decorations for a superhero party should be big, bold, and colourful – just as if you were walking into a comic book. Colourful streamers, balloons, and cartoon caption bubbles can be hung around the party area. Use sidewalk chalk to draw the Superman “S” or bat signal on your driveway, and use comic book pages as placemats. You’ll also find a wide selection of superhero-themed party decorations at any party store.

You can keep the theme going with the food, making cut-cookies in the shape of your superhero’s logo. Sandwiches can also be cut out into fun, superhero-themed shapes or garnished with themed flags, while the cake can be emblazoned with a superhero picture or emblem. A cupcake bar is a fun party idea that allows kids to get into it with brightly coloured icing and action figure toppers.

Superhero Cake

Image Source: Julie Elliott/Flickr

Games and Activities

If you want to facilitate some unstructured play, set up a phone booth where the little ones can change into their special costumes once they’ve created them. You can also put toys around that will naturally lead to superhero role play. For more structured activities, try putting on a pageant where each superhero can demonstrate his or her personal power for the group. You could create a scavenger hunt, letting the kids look for chunks of “kryptonite” or other themed prizes. It’s also easy to transform traditional party games into superhero-themed games. For instance, you can play “Kryptonite Hot Potato” by using a lime green bean bag, or playing Tag with villains against superheroes.

Party Favors

It’s easy to stock up on party favours for this theme, as you’ll find no shortage of stickers, capes, and temporary tattoos to choose from at any party store. Comic books, masks, and green candy rings also can be excellent favours, and if you have the kids make their own costumes, they can bring these home!

The most important thing to remember for the success of any themed party is to fully commit, and you’ll be sure to create lasting memories.

Skylanders Trap Team Countdown Chain

Skylanders Trap Team Countdown Chain

 

 

For the past few months, all my son has been talking about is Skylanders Trap Team. He’s been watching videos and loves looking at pictures of the new chracters. When I showed him that the Skylanders Facebook page showed there were only 15 days left, he immediately would wake up each morning to tell me how many days were left until the release of Skylanders Trap Team!

Skylanders Trap Team Countdown Chain

 

 

I meant to make a countdown chain for him when we were only 10 days out to the release but well, life got in the way. We are now 9 days out, so I made a countdown chain that you can start on Saturday, September 27th {or even a few days before you plan to buy it for your child – it doesn’t have to be the release day on October 5th!}.

Skylander Trap Team Countdown

Simply click on the pictures below to open up the picture, print and make a chain yourself to countdown the days until the release of Skylanders Trap Team!

Skylander Countdown Chain 1

 

Skylander Countdown Chain 2

 

Skylander Countdown Chain 3

Connect with Skylanders

Online

-Facebook

Twitter

Are you counting down the days until Skylanders Trap Team?

Amy Dunne’s Pinterest Page #GoneGirl

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I first read Gone Girl almost two years ago when I heard so many people raving about it. I’ve since read the book about 5 times and it’s quickly became a favorite in my Top 10. When I heard that it was going to be a movie, I couldn’t wait. Gone Girl is to be released on October 3rd and is directed by David Fincher. Based upon the global bestseller by Gillian Flynn – it unearths the secrets at the heart of a modern marriage. On the occasion of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) reports that his beautiful wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike), has gone missing. Under pressure from the police and a growing media frenzy, Nick’s portrait of a blissful union begins to crumble. Soon his lies, deceits and strange behavior have everyone asking the same dark question: Did Nick Dunne kill his wife?

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Amy Dunne is missing. But her Pinterest page has been found.  

Gone Girl’s Amy Dunne has a Pinterest account you can explore. In the upcoming movie thriller Gone Girl by David Fincher, ‘Amazing Amy’ Dunne (Rosamund Pike) has gone missing and all eyes are on her husband Nick (Ben Affleck.) Everyone is wondering ‘Did Nick kill his wife?’

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As evidence mounts and speculation rises, Amy’s past is coming into focus on Pinterest. What was she like? What were her interests? Did she leave any clues? Explore for yourself at http://bit.ly/AmyDunne .

Watch the Trailer

Gone Girl is in Theaters October 3rd

Official Website | Facebook |Twitter | Google+

 

Stay tuned next week for a Gone Girl giveaway!

Kids Book Series: Adventures with Ricky Ricotta + Giveaway

RickySeries

 

 

 

My son is in 1st grade and while I have to force him to try and read to us, he does love being read to. Recently, I’ve been enjoying reading to him chapter books. He has such a fun imagination that he loves hearing these looks read aloud to him and then acting them out in his room with his action figures. One of his favorite books for me to read to him is Captain Underpants – he just thinks it’s so silly! That’s why I was excited to discover a new series from Captain Underpants writer Dav Pilkey – the Ricky Ricotta series!

RickySeries

Who is Ricky Ricotta?

Ricky Ricotta is a little mouse with BIG problems! Every day he is picked on by the neighborhood bullies. He lives in Squeakyville with his mother and father, and being an only mouse, he is often lonely. That is until SOMETHING BIG HAPPENS! A giant flying robot enters Ricky’s life and an unlikely friendship is born! Together, Ricky and his Robot must save the planet from a galaxy bursting with bad guys!

ABOUT BOOK ONE: RICKY RICOTTA’S MIGHTY ROBOT

Little Ricky Ricotta has a problem: the bullies at school pick on him all the time. Until one day, he saves the life of a mighty robot. Together, Ricky and his Robot face the bullies, and save Squeakyville from a giant evil lizard monster. That’s what friends are for!

ABOUT BOOK TWO: RICKY RICOTTA’S MIGHTY ROBOT VS MUTANT MOSQUITOS FROM MERCURY

Mr. Mosquito hates Mercury. The days are so hot, they melt his flip-flops, and the nights are so cold, his toothpaste freezes solid! He’s decided to take over Earth instead. Ricky and his Robot must stop his army of massive Mutant Mosquitoes!

ABOUT BOOK THREE: RICKY RICOTTA’S MIGHTY ROBOT VS VOODOO VULTURES FROM VENUS

Victor Von Vulture hates Venus. His toasted cheese sandwiches are always way too gooey, and ice cream melts in a second! So he and his army of Voodoo Vultures try to cast a spell on the Earth. It’s up to Ricky and his Robot to stop them!

ABOUT BOOK FOUR: RICKY RICOTTA’S MIGHTY ROBOT VS THE MECHA-MONKEYS FROM MARS

Little Ricky Ricotta has a problem: the bullies at school pick on him all the time. Until one day, he saves the life of a mighty robot. Together, Ricky and his Robot face the bullies, and save Squeakyville from a giant evil lizard monster. That’s what friends are for!

Illustrations

My son is 6 years old and he has loved hearing about the crazy adventures of Ricky Ricotta. He absolutely loves the illustrations too, which is done by Dan Santat. After a few years of designing art for video games, Dan switched his attention to children’s books. Since then, Dan has written and illustrated several bestselling books for children, including The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend and Sidekicks. Dan also created the Disney animated hit The Replacements. Dan was born in Brooklyn, New York, and now lives in Southern California with his family. You can find out more by visiting his website at www.dantat.com.

About the Author

When Dav Pilkey was a kid, he suffered from ADHD, reading challenges, and behavioral problems. Dav was so disruptive in class that his teachers made him sit out in the hallway every day. Dav loved to draw and make up stories, so he spent this time creating his own original comic books.

In second grade, Dav created a comic book about a superhero named Captain Underpants. His teacher ripped it up and told him he couldn’t spend the rest of his life making silly books. Fortunately, Dav was not a very good listener.

Dav has written and illustrated many bestselling books for children, including the Captain Underpants series with over 70 million books in print, the Ricky Ricotta series, and The Paperboy, a Caldecott Honor Book.

Dav grew up in Ohio and now lives with his wife in the Pacific Northwest. You can learn more about him at www.pilkey.com.

I loved hearing about Dav Pilkey’s childhood because at 6 years old, my son already sounds a lot like him. He has his reading and listening challenges but he has a HUGE imagination and likes to make up silly stories.

Check out the Trailer!

More Fun with Ricky Ricotta

Check out the Classroom  Guide

View the Book Trailer

Play the Make Your Own Robot Game

Read Chapter Excerpts & a Mini-Comic Excerpt

Download the Character Cards

Check out Ricky Ricotta Printables

Get Social!

Visit the Ricky Ricotta Official Site

Learn more about author Dav Pilkey

Follow Scholastic and ScholasticTeach on Twitter

Like Scholastic Parents and Scholastic Teachers on Facebook

Win It!

Enter to win a Ricky Ricotta Prize Pack! Enter the Rafflecopter form below. US only, Prizing & samples courtesy of Scholastic.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

RickyPrizePackSolarSystem

Cruise holidays: Sun, Sea, and Satisfied Kiddies!

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Choosing a holiday that the entire family can appreciate is a tricky business, as any parent will tell you. Cruise holidays are perfect for families who are looking for unconventional ways to enjoy their vacation. The idea of sticking a bunch of restless, adventure-hungry tots on a boat in the middle of the ocean is a nightmare situation for many, but it doesn’t have to be that way. With the appropriate research and planning, a cruise can be a relaxing, fun, and rewarding experience for everyone. This in turn can improve your happiness and get away from the stress of life.

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Bargain Hunting

Cruise companies are falling over themselves to offer the latest and most exciting activities for children on their liners, with plenty to keep the adults busy too. Competition means that it is easier than ever to grab a bargain, and ensures that there will be something on board to keep everyone amused. Jumping on an Internet search engine and finding out what’s on offer is a must. Involve the kids in this process: they may moan about being dragged off on holiday, but they’ll like having a say, and consulting them removes all the guesswork!

Plan Your Way to Success

As much as the cruise will already be set up for your convenience, here are a few tips for making sure your trip goes smoothly:

1. Knowledge is power. If you AND your kids know what you’re doing and when, everyone will get along much better. It also helps ease the pressure if things go wrong – missing a connection or experiencing a delay is much easier to fix if you have the correct reference numbers and contacts.

2. Preparation is key. Travelling is a long and exhausting process at the best of times, and for children it can be the undoing of their (and your!) holiday. However, simple distractions can combat this – bringing a tonne of snacks, books, and gadgets to keep busy is essential for those hours spent queuing or waiting.

3. Spend time together and apart. The beauty of a cruise is that every family member can go off and do their preferred activity independently and safely. But, don’t forget to make time for family fun, and a good catch up over a sunset dinner.

So, what’s stopping you? A cruise could be a holiday of a lifetime, and some simple planning almost guarantees this. But beware – you may never want to sail home!

 

 

Save Your Split Ends with Suave Split End Rescue + $20 Walmart Gift Card Giveaway

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It’s bad but I can’t even tell you the last time that I went to the salon and got my hair cut. It seems that as Moms, we tend to put ourselves last when it comes to taking care of us. I’d much rather spend the money on my kids or us doing something fun together as a family than on my hair! But, it’s getting pretty bad. The worst thing about my hair – besides the grays that are sneaking in up top – are the split ends. They always seem to get so bad and then I get embarrassed when I finally DO get my hair cut and the stylist comments about them.

Recently, I’ve been using Suave Split End Rescue Shampoo and Conditioner from the Suave Professionals line. The products are currently on rollback at Walmart for $2.50 – you really can’t beat that price for fixing your split ends and getting hair like you’ve just left the salon. It’s salon-proven to strengthen as well as Paul Mitchell® SuperStrong ® Daily shampoo and conditioner to help help cleanse and condition hair, transforming split ends into healthy-looking, strong hair after just three uses.

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What’s better than $2.50 a product? How about $1? On Sunday, September 28th, there will be a coupon in the Sunday paper for $1.50 off Suave Professionals which means you can pick up Suave Split End Rescue Shampoo and Conditioner for only $1!

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Looking at Pinterest, there are some crazy things you can try to do to get rid of split ends besides getting a hair cut. I’ve seen to put coconut oil in your hair or even egg yolks. Also, raw honey and then an olive oil and avocado concoction. I honestly don’t have time for that which is why I’m using Suave Split End Rescue Shampoo and Conditioner!

What are some drastic things you have done to get rid of split ends without getting a hair cut? 

Win It!

Enter to win a $20 Walmart Gift Card! Enter the widget below. 

Suave Split End Rescue – Sippy Cup Mom

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Lunchbox. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

A Glimpse into Our Life with Slideshow!

An Awesome Slideshow Created by Melissa Mitchell   Fotor Slideshow

 

 

Like almost any parent, I love taking pictures of my kids and our daily life. My phone quickly fills up though and then I’m having to figure out what to do with all of these pictures. Recently, I discovered a slideshow creator app online appropriately named Slideshow from Fotor! I’ve used Fotor for a while now to ake fun collages of my kids but now I’ve been taking all of the photos I’ve taken in a month and then creating a photo slideshow. That way, I’ve got all my photos from the month in one place and with the website, I can easily share with my friends and family or onto my social media!

Using Slideshow by Fotor is really easy – you can be done in minutes!

1. Choose your Theme

Slideshow Maker by Fotor

There are 9 different themes to choose from all with different music and styles. Choose your favorite! You can preview what it looks like before you begin.

2. Upload your Photos

Snapshots Template   Fotor Slideshow

I love how easy they make it to add photos. Upload from your computer or connect with Facebook, Instagram or Dropbox to easily add photos to make a Slideshow. I decided to create one using photos from the past few weeks. You have to choose at least 5 photos and up to 20. Once you’ve picked them, hit the GO button!

3. Watch and Share your Awesome Slideshow!

An Awesome Slideshow Created by Melissa Mitchell   Fotor Slideshow

Snapshots Template   Fotor Slideshow 2

Want to see my Awesome Slideshow by Fotor? You can view it here! Such cute kids, if I must say so myself! I just love how it arranges the photos and adds music too.

If you’re looking for a photo slideshow, you’ll want to check out Slideshow by Fotor! Do you like to make slideshows of your pictures?

 

Disclosure: I received compensation for this post but all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

 

A Fresh Take on Meals: Meatless Monday Ideas

MorningStar Meatless Recipes

 

A Fresh Take on Family Meals is part of a sponsored opportunity with Foodie.com. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

For awhile, I was making the same dishes for dinner over and over. The whole family was getting tired of it so I sat down with my husband and came up with some new dinner ideas. One thing we decided to start was Meatless Mondays. My husband had actually been eating most of his lunches meatless so we thought it would be good to incorporate it at home too.

MorningStar Meatless Recipes

Meatless doesn’t mean boring. Pretty much any recipe you like can be made meatless especially thanks to MorningStar products. It used to be that we would just buy the burgers and chicken patties and that would be it. But you can get so creative with them! Blue Cheese and Buffalo Chicken Salad? Mediterranean Gyros? YUM! Best of all, there are so many meatless meals that are kid-friendly…in fact my son prefers his meals not to have meat! One of his favorite MorningStar meals is their Corn Dogs….and they are SO good!

Below are some delicious recipes for meatless meals whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner. Not only are these recipes delicious but the ones featuring MorningStar products are good for you too!

Check out Meatless Mondays

by Melissa Mitchell at Foodie.com

Which meatless meal will you make?

Your Wallet Just Went High Tech with Softcard from Verizon #paywithmyphone

Softcard-Twitter-Party

 

 

Do you suffer from Mom Brain? I know I do. It’s totally an actual thing. There are days that I will grab my phone to Google something and as soon as the browser is open, I’ll forget what I was supposed to look up. Or I’ll walk into a room and have no idea what I was going to grab. With three kids, I’m always on the goo. I’m also often switching my wallet back and forth between my purse and my diaper bag. I can’t tell you how many times {more than I’d like to admit!] that I’ve been at a grocery store with a full cart only to realize that my wallet is back at home in a different bag. But you know what I never leave home without? My phone! Thanks to Softcard from Verizon, I don’t have to worry about being out without my wallet because now my phone IS my wallet.

Softcard from Verizon is a free app that allows you to store your credit cards and loyalty cards all in one place with a unique pin to open your wallet that protects your information! It’s also so easy to sign up – I did everything right from my phone! You can easily add eligible payment cards {American Express, Chase and Wells Fargo} to pay for purchases and get all the benefits and protections you would with your physical card. Don’t have those cards? Sign up for an American Express Serve® Account for free and you can add money to from your preferred debit or credit card.

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The other problem besides my overflowing wallet is my key ring. It’s got way too many loyalty cards on it – I just can’t stop adding to it! But with Softcard, you can even add your loyalty cards – less bulk on the key ring! Right away, I added my Toys R Us loyalty card since I knew I would be shopping there soon. I ditched all of the loyalty cards off my key ring and I swear I feel so much better!

Wallet Before

You might feel a little hesitant to tie all of your money to your phone. But Softcard uses state-of-the-art technology and layers of security to protect your information. There are passwords and pins galore! It’s also so easy to use. Tap your phone to the icon on the pin pad and you’re done.

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Wondering if there are stores near you that even take Softcard? Before I started using the app on my phone, I thought there weren’t any stores nearby that I would be able to shop and try out the app. But you can pay with Softcard anywhere contactless payments are accepted, at over 200,000 locations nationwide! Just take a look at all of the different stores near me! I’m always running into Walgreens and now I don’t even have to bring my wallet with me.

Softcard Map

If you’re planning on doing a lot of shopping soon – the holiday season is approaching – you’ll want to check out these fantastic offers that are right in your Softcard account!

* Spend $40 and Get $20: Verizon customers with an American Express Serve Account on Softcard from Verizon can get a $20 credit after you spend $40 or more on one purchase with your Serve Account through September 30, 2014. Terms Apply.

* First 3 Coca-Cola® drinks are FREE. After the first three free drinks, if you buy 10 more, you get another 1 FREE through December 31, 2014. You must sign up for the “My Coke Rewards” loyalty card within Softcard to take advantage of this offer.

* White House Black Market – $20 off $80 (ends 10/31)

* Osh Gosh – 20% off $40 or more (ends 9/30)

* Chico’s – $25 off $100 or more (ends 10/31)

* Carter’s – 20% off $40 or more (ends 9/30)

#PayWithMyPhone Twitter Party

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Are you interested in learning more about Softcard? Join the Twitter Party on Thursday, September 25th from 12pm-1pm EST. Prizes include 2 $75 American Express Gift Cards and a Grand Prize of a $200 American Express Gift Card! RSVP now!

I’m such a techy person and I love that thanks to Softcard by Verion, even my wallet is going high-tech! Now, I’m off to shop!

 

I am part of the PTPA Brand Ambassador Program with Verizon Wireless and I received compensation as part of my affiliation with this group. The Softcard related content is provided by Verizon Wireless. The opinions on this blog are my own.

September is Newborn Screening Awareness Month

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The moment I found out that I was pregnant, I started educating myself on as much as I could. I bought books, I searched message boards and websites, I took classes and I sought the advice of Moms who had been there, done that.

When you’re a Mom, any story you read in the news can hit you hard. There have been numerous news stories that I have read about sick babies that just hurts my heart. September is Newborn Awareness Month and thanks to Save Babies Through Screening Foundation and Baby’s First Test, more people are becoming aware of the tests that can save newborn lives.

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What is a Newborn Screening?

Newborn screening is a state public health service that reaches each of the more than 4 million babies born in the United States every year. It ensures that all babies are screened for certain serious conditions at birth, and for those babies with the conditions, it allows doctors to start treatment before some of the harmful effects happen.

Newborn screening is performed soon after the birth of your baby, and in most cases, while you are still in the hospital. All it takes is a few drops of blood and a simple hearing test.

I know it is hard to think about your brand new baby experiencing any type of pain, but it’s worth it to screen for any serious conditions that your newborn could have. I’m all about better safe than sorry and having the knowledge to prepare yourself.

ABC's of Newborn Screening

Newborn Screening Tests

  • Hearing Test: There are two different types of simple, fast hearing tests that are typically done when your baby is asleep. This is to make sure the brain responds to sound and there are no hearing loss.
  • Heel Prick Blood Test: Your baby’s heel will be pricked and a series of small circles on a piece of paper will be saturated with the blood. This is sent off to a lab to be analyzed. One issue with this aspect of newborn screening is that the tests are not processed fast enough–when a baby does have a detectable disorder, the sooner it is discovered, the better. Some states are making improvements in this process.
  • Pulse Oximetry: “Pulse ox” is very easy, fast, inexpensive, and non-invasive. This is the little clip that gets placed on your finger to measure the oxygen in your blood. For a young child or infant, they will place it on the big toe and tape it there for a bit.

Find out which tests your state will perform. If you’re giving birth in a hospital, ask in advance about the tests that will be performed. If you’re giving birth in a birth center or at hone, just ask your midwife and they can direct you on where to go get the screenings done!

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If you’re expecting a baby or know someone who is, please bring awareness to these important newborn screenings! Visit Baby’s First Test and Save Babies Through Screening Foundation to learn more.

Connect via Social Media

Baby’s First Test –  Twitter and Facebook
Save Babies –  Twitter and Facebook

One Foot at a Time…Save Babies Through Screening!

 

Share Your Real Beauty With Dove and Walgreens #BeautyIs

Walgreens and Dove

 

What does beauty mean to you? For me, beauty doesn’t mean having the perfect body or looking perfect. Beauty is motherhood. Beauty is sitting on the patio with your husband enjoying the view. Beauty is watching your kids sleep at night and having to drag yourself away.

Share Your Real Beauty

Dove and Walgreens have teamed up and they want you to share what YOUR real beauty is. They are committed to building positive self-esteem and inspiring all women and girls to reach their full potential and acknowledge that beauty is defined in many different ways.

I’ve never been a fan of selfies – until I had my kids. I hated being in the picture because I just wasn’t happy with how I look. But then I realized that I needed to be in the pictures with my kids and my kids also needed pictures of me around. Selfies are actually good for you – they can give you the self-confidence that you need to show your kids you have.

Walgreens and Dove

Walgreens and Dove want to encourage women and girls to use their selfies for good and show what #BeautyIs, means to them with any type of picture below.
• A self-portrait that captures your natural beauty
• A picture that shows you sharing a positive moment with someone else
• An image that shows you giving back
• A picture that portrays your overall personality
It’s easy to participate. Just share what #BeautyIs to you on Instagram or Twitter. Visit DoveShareYourBeauty.com to see what other women are sharing.
What does beauty mean to you? Share your Instagram pictures with me!
Disclosure: I was compensated by Global Influence but all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Gummy Drop!: A New Match Game from Big Fish Games!

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We are headed on a 16 hour road trip to Walt Disney World soon and I’ve been busy making small bags filled with fun stuff for the kids to keep them busy in the car. But what about me? I know that I’ll download a few books to my iPad but I also know that I’ll be playing Big Fish Game’s latest release – Gummy Drop! It’s a candy matching puzzle game, which are my favorite type of games! Combine that with the bright colors and fun levels and I’m hooked!

Gummy Drop

Gummy Drop! is full of gummies, globe-trotting and FUN! In the game, you’re on a mission to travel the world to rebuild famous landmarks. Match bouncing gummies in groups of 3 or more to earn resources to rebuild landmarks like The Queen Victoria Building and Sydney Tower. With each level, there will be specific objectives to achieved within a set number of moves. There’s a lot of strategy involved! Sometimes you’ll find that you need more building resources for a landmark so you’ll have to go back to a level and play it again which I like since there are specific levels I really enjoy!

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If you get stuck, Gummy Drop! will give you boosts to help you get through a level or you can earn them by doing well. There is also a ‘Lucky Spin’ feature that randomly awards players extra moves or additional lives. I was able to spin when I ran out of moves! If random boosts and the ‘Lucky Spin’ can’t get you through tougher levels, players can purchase additional boosts or special abilities in the game store. I love discovering what all of the different boosts do – my favorite is the earthquake one!

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Like other Big Fish Games, Gummy Drop! is social so you can interact with your friends – I love the friendly competition! And if you check back daily, you can earn Lottery Tickets! Scratch to win additional coins and building resources. Plus, check the bottom of your game for a daily quest that will help you earn more rewards for your building expedition!

If you’re looking for a fun game to add to your iPhone or iPad, download Gummy Drop! – it’s FREE!

Check out the trailer for Gummy Drop!

Gummy Drop! iPad Sweepstakes

Win an iPad Mini in the Gummy Drop! Sweepstakes!

Want to win an iPad Mini so you can play all of the fun Big Fish Games including Gummy Drop!?

Through September 21st, visit the Big Fish on Facebook or Twitter to enter to win a free iPad Mini! The sweepstakes will end at 11:59pm on September 21st at which time a winner will be chosen at random.  The winner will be announced on Facebook and Twitter on September 26th and contacted by Big Fish for contact and shipping details.

Facebook

Visit the Big Fish Games Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/bigfishgames and COMMENT on the Gummy Drop! iPad Sweepstakes post with the phrase “The world’s gone gummy!”.

Twitter

Tweet @bigfishgames with the phrase #theworldsgonegummy.

 

Check out my other reviews of apps from Big Fish Games!

Panda Pandamonium

Awakening Kingdoms

Cascade

Fairway Solitaire Blast

Jade Monkey

 

What are some of your favorite Match Games?

 

Disclosure: I received compensation for this post but all thoughts and opinions are my own. We love Big Fish Games!

 

 

Rescue Your Split Ends with Suave Split End Rescue

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Since having kids, it seems that I don’t get to the hair salon as often as I used to. It’s usually months and sometimes even over a year. When I finally get in for a trim or a new style, I’m always embarrassed for the stylist to see my split ends. I’ve tried expensive conditioners and hot oil treatments trying to get rid of them without having to go in for a cut. Thanks to Suave Split End Rescue Shampoo and Conditioner, I don’t have to feel embarrassed anymore about the split ends in my hair.

WM_Suave_SilverRollback_570x300_082214[2][1]Even better, the new Suave Split End Shampoo and Conditioner is on Rollback at your local Walmart – only $2.50 per product! It’s salon-proven to strengthen as well as Paul Mitchell® SuperStrong ® Daily shampoo and conditioner to help help cleanse and condition hair, transforming split ends into healthy-looking, strong hair after just three uses.

Save your split ends and save money? That’s what I like to hear! I’m super excited to have a product that can help repair my hair since I’m too busy to get to the hair salon.

Have you taken any drastic measures to get rid of your split ends? 

 

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Global Influence but all thoughts and opinions are my own.