Moulin Roty Shadow Puppets Let Imagination Soar #giveaway

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Moulin Roty Shadow Puppets

As a father i am always looking for things that will promote imagination and creativity. This especially occurs at bedtime when we make up stories, and simply have fun winding down the day. Bring in these Nightime Shadow Puppets from Moulin Roty.

I was able to try out the two sets that you see in the pictures here and I have to first say that I was so impressed with the overall quality of these. As a past puppeteer I can completely appreciate fine quality when it comes to puppets and this definitely provided that.

On top of this though the Shadow Puppets were so much fun and the company put so much detail into them,

The two sets I was able to test drive were the Castles and Dinosaurs sets. What was fun about the sets was that with the right lighting you could create big shadows and with your imagination you could create a story that would bring a smile to your childs’ face.

Moulin Roty Shadow Puppets

My daughters particularly liked the Castles set, and seemed to love having the Dragon being the protagonist in all of their stories.

On top of this all of the sets are reasonably priced in my opinion. The Paris Shadows ($21) set shows the Eiffel Tower, airplane, moon and sleepwalker. The 9-piece Castle Shadows ($18.50) include a dragon, a fairy, royalty and a witch! If dinos are more your style, the Dinosaur Shadows ($18.50) pack of 10 puppets feature a stegosaurus, brachiosaurus and more prehistoric shapes.

In the end these puppets are wonderfully made and truly sparked the creative juices in myself and in my girls. I highly recommend this to all!

Giveaway

How would you like to win a Shadow Puppet set for yourself this for yourself or for your family? All you need to do is fill out the below form to be entered.  The contest will run for one week and will end on March 1, 2014.

Winner must be a resident of the U.S.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winners are chosen at random, if you want all your chances counted, make sure you leave individual comments, not all of them in one!

Winner has 48 hours to contact me or another name will be chosen.

 

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CritterZone Makes Pet Smells Disappear

CritterZone
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About the Product

CritterZone is an extraordinary product that’s super helpful for pet owners and families. It’s an air naturalizer that tackles odors, allergens, germs and more. It is great for virtually eliminating smells from pet accidents, litter boxes, puppy pads, and many other odor issues!

CritterZone

What makes the CritterZone really unique is it doesn’t use harmful chemicals to mask odors. It actually energizes the air by creating a charged flow that removes unwanted particles, much in the same way Mother Nature does outdoors. The result is fresh, clean air that is better to breathe. It also can help with pet “accidents” that may occur on carpets and other materials and even restores the air in vehicles.

It’s easy to use (no filters involved), is energy efficient and can handle up to 800 square feet of space. In fact, it costs less than a penny per day to run, which makes it affordable to use 24/7 to clean your air.



My Take on the Product

I have been using this product for the past week or so. With two cats and a litter box, the area around the litter box tends to get a bit smelly and even if I clean it once per day, sometimes that smell permeates throughout the basement, to our consternation.

This product, which is small and discrete works so well. By simply plugging it in you start cleaning the air. Best of all, you don’t have to change any filter and instead simply start cleaning the air through a natural process instead.

At first I smelled a slight metallic smell which is normal, but after this initial sell, I never smelled that again. Instead I found the air to be quite refreshing in the area where the litter was. The more that I used it, the more I found that it seemed to neutralize the airborne smells. This did not mean that I should clean the cat box any less, but it did give us peace of mind in knowing that the smells that were wafting out from the cats were controlled for the most part.

If you have pets and the smells are getting unbearable, I highly encourage you to check this out, as it is working for my family and I know that it can work for you too!

SPECIAL OFFER FOR READERS

I have set up a special offer with the company for my readers. If you go onto the CritterZone Website and use the discount code DADOFDIVAS you can get $10 off the Air Naturalizers or the Travel Pack!

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Marbles ( @TheBrainStore) Challenges You To Continually Learn


Marbles: The Brain Store

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The older I get the more that I know that I have to continually challenge my mind to stay active and keep thinking about bigger and better things. The more I think analytically and challenge myself, I find the more benefits that it provides me in other ways too.

This is something that I continually want to challenge my own daughters to do as well and a new company that I just learned about is doing just that. Marbles: the Brain Store, offers products that challenge your brain to think harder and deeper, as well as to see the world around you in new and unique ways.

In looking through the site there are so many gifts and items for yourself that are too cool and make me want to go on a shopping spree, but alas, I find myself restraining. That being said though, I have talked in the past about the fact that my daughters are smarties and are sometimes even too smart and clever for even themselves. With that in mind I knew that I could find find gifts for my Clever Kids and with my youngest daughter coming soon, I wanted to find just the right gift that would be a ton of fun, but would also challenge her as well.

That being said I seared through the pages of Marbles: the Brain Store, and found a game (our family loves family game night) called Rush Hour that looked like a fun game with a lot of learning potential.

rush hour collectors editionWhile the game may not look like much, it is a blast to play and centers around using the game cards to set up the board and then moving the cars around the board to help the red car escape the Rush Hour that you have on the board itself. It requires you to think, but also gives you a great sense of satisfaction when you bring the car out of the board. Both my girls loved this game, even my 5.5 year old. It is a one player game for the most part, but you can always ask for help or take turns between rounds too. I put together a short video to give you a sense of the game itself.

This was a great game and one that I know that my family and I will be using for a long time to come…I just hope that we can get new card packs in the future possibly!

If you have never checked out this website/company I highly encourage you to do so and see all of the cool items that they have. Marbles: The Brain Store is a company that has things that you will not find in stores and it will definitely be a store that I will come back to again in the future.

Best of all, right now Marbles: The Brain Store is offering Free Shipping with any purchase!

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2014 Kia Soul – A Car With Plenty Of Go Power ( @Kia )

2014 Kia Soul
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Over the past week I have had the chance to drive the new 2014 Kia Soul. I have to be honest and say that this is a smaller car than I typically would drive, but have been completely impressed with the power and comfort that this vehicle provides.

The vehicle that I drove was completely decked out with all of the toys and even with that was priced just over $24,000 which is definitely reasonable for a small car. I found that I got pretty good gas mileage as well with Kia stating that it would get about 31 MPG on the highway and 27 MPG combined, which is far better than I get with my current vehicle that I drive.

I also liked the Kia website when it came to this and all of their vehicles as you can build out any of their vehicles and see what it would cost you with the options/extras that you would want to place on the car yourself.

Below you can view a video walking you through the car and my experience with the vehicle itself.

 

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Feel The Freedom With HP Instant Ink

HP Instant Ink
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If you have ever owned a printer and you use it on a normal basis you will go through ink continually and you know how expensive the ink can be. I know that this has definitely been a problem for me in the past, and especially in printing photos (as this uses a ton of ink). I eat up the cost of the ink to get the best possible prints that I can, but I know that I it is expensive and something that I have to budget for.

For this reason I was very excited to find out about the new program by HP called HP Instant Ink. HP Instant Ink is a newly launched ink replacement service for today’s connected home and can reduce the cost of ink by 50%. Printers with the HP Instant Ink technology monitor ink levels and will send replacement ink cartridges to your doorstep before you run out. The best part is that plans start as low as $2.99 a month and doesn’t charge you based on how much ink you use but rather how many pages you print. Printing a photo that uses lots of ink won’t cost you any more money than printing a plain text document!

 I think this above commercial is perfect and really shows the genius of this program. For me, having a monthly service like this allows me to have peace of mind and frees me to not be stingy on printing. Instead it allows me to print whatever I want and share this freedom with my own kids. Too often in the past I held back and passed this onto my kids because I am frugal by nature, but now with monthly plans that are affordable, I don’t have to worry about this as much and when my kids come to me and say “can I print this” I can say “go ahead”.

The only thing that you have to consider is the plan that you are on and the number of pages that you are allotted each month:

HP Instant Ink
The prices that you see above are for black and white, or color ink. It does not matter what you run out of, as long as you stay within your allotment. If you go over you are charged an additional monthly fee. Thus, if you print quite a bit from home or in your office this is a great service, just as long as you monitor your printing.

With this in mind I have loved this service. No longer do I have to worry about not having the ink on hand when I want to print something. The monitors work and give me complete peace of mind and they will for you too. You can check out the printers that have the HP Instant Technology technology here.

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Disney Infinity Brings The Whole Family Together

Disney Infinity
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My family are HUGE Disney fans. With that in mind since Disney Infinity came out I have been wanting to try it. Being a fan of video games and seeing that I had the opportunity to try other systems with interchangeable players in the past, this looked like it would be a ton of fun. Also, having the ability to change out the characters into Disney characters that you know and love was something that not only I was excited about, but my kids were about jumping out of their boots to be Jessie or Anna.

Disney Infinity

Thus, I was very grateful to Disney Interactive for sending me a system to try out with my family for my Nintendo WII U. They sent us the starter pack as well as the brand new Rapunzel character. First and foremost I was thankful that the starter pack came with three characters. You get the opportunity to be able to be Sully, Mr. Incredible or Jack Sparrow.

Disney Infinity

The system was easy to set up and we were soon into the game itself. I liked the fact that each of the characters had separate adventures that came with them and that you could build each of them up to make the character even stronger. My girls are loving Rapunzel’s adventure and have played it over and over again trying to get as many of the lanterns as they can.

Disney Infinity

Of course you can’t stop with only those characters, so we ended up using a gift card to go out and get a few more characters including, Wreck it Ralph, Anna, Sorcerer Mickey and Woody, so I think we can say that we are now committed to the system and to the game itself.

Disney Infinity

My girls also enjoyed building their own world. I found that at times it was a bit hard to see where pieces were going and at times you had to have some trial and error to get rid of the pieces you placed to get them in the right place, but that being said, they still loved making the world themselves!

Disney Infinity

The game itself is very engaging and you can definitely lose yourself in the time that you are playing. The only thing that I wished was that you could have 3-4 players playing at the same time so then I could play with both my daughters at the same time. That being said though it still was a ton of fun and we all had a blast with the games and swapping out the players every now and again to try new things.

All-in-all I have to say that I was impressed with the system and am looking forward to continuing using this with my girls into the future!

 

Get Rapunzel For Yourself!

Rapunzel is letting down her long hair and using her frying pan to save the day in Disney Infinity! We wanted to let you know that Disney Interactive is giving away Disney Infinity’s first princess in the Rapunzel Saves the Day Sweepstakes and we hope you’ll share the news with your readers.

For the entire month of February, fans can enter the sweepstakes for a chance to win a grand prize of a video game console, Disney Infinity Starter Pack and Rapunzel character figure. A different game system will be given away each week!

 

No Purchase Necessary. Entry/Rules: princess.disney.com/rapunzel-saves-the-day-sweepstakes

 

Rapunzel assets can be found here: http://smu.gs/1ftKxjh

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The Game of Life = Great Family Fun! #Giveaway

the game of life

 


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I have so many great memories of playing the Game of Life when I grew up. I always loved having the ability to choose your future at the pick of a card, and inevitably ending up living in a home that looks like it might fall off a cliff (but at least you end up saving money).

Since I have been a parent I have had the opportunity to play this game with my daughters and they like me have loved playing a game as well. In talking to my daughters they mentioned that they really liked to be able to be in control of their future and it always seemed to put them into laughing fits when they would have a car full of kids.

In playing this with my daughters I was truly taken back to my own childhood and I feel myself truly letting loose and simply having fun with the kids, getting on their level and be their dad which is really all they want.

If you have never played this game for yourself or with your family you should! This game is a blast and will provide you with great memories that will last you and your family well into the future.

About the Game

Where will your choices take you in the Game of Life? You made it through high school, so now what’s next? Go to college or start a career – it’s your choice. Think the family life is for you? Take that path and see how many kids you’ll have! Will you venture down the risky road where fortunes can be won…and lost? Do whatever it takes to retire in style with the most wealth at the end of the game. Spin the wheel of fate and take a drive along the twisting roads families have enjoyed for more than 50 years! Do good deeds as you go through the game to earn Life Tiles and more money down the road!

Giveaway

How would you like to win this for yourself or for your family? All you need to do is fill out the below form to be entered.  The contest will run for one week and will end on October 19, 2012.

Winner must be a resident of the U.S.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Winners are chosen at random, if you want all your chances counted, make sure you leave individual comments, not all of them in one!

Winner has 48 hours to contact me or another name will be chosen.

 

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Five tips for sticking to your #fitness resolutions

English: DeBarra Mayo in workout gear 1987. Ph...


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It’s that time of year when we all make resolutions to better ourselves. I know that I have set fitness resolutions a number of times in the past to mixed results. Too often I have lost momentum, motivation or inspiration to find the time, even though I know that I need to for my overall health in general.

 

So if you’ve joined a gym, resolved to get in shape this year or set another New Year’s goal I was able to work with  Master Lock to offer up a few tips to help you stick with it.

 

A Marine of the United States Marine Corps run...

 

1. Check your resolutions. 

 

Giving a new goal the title of a “New Year’s Resolution” can sometimes make it seem like a gigantic, intimidating target. Now that you’ve had a few weeks to jumpstart your new you, take a step back to see how you’re progressing. Do you already feel like giving up? Are you losing your motivation to follow through? If so, this might be a time to rethink your objective. For example, if you’re not a fitness buff, don’t ask yourself to turn into one overnight. Instead, think about where you are today and set a goal that is not too far away so you can experience the success of achieving that goal. That way, when you set the bar even higher, your next benchmark won’t seem so far away.

 

lock2. Make it easy. 

 

If health and fitness is a goal of yours, give yourself every opportunity to attain it. By making small changes to your everyday routine, you can set yourself up for success. Examine what you do right now, and see if there’s a way to make maintaining your goal easier. For example, make a few playlists so that you have a new soundtrack for each day’s workout or pack a gym bag in the morning before work so that you can head straight to the gym instead of risking the chance to stay home once you arrive home. Just remember to lock up your clothes and valuables! The 1500iD Speed Dial set-your-own combination padlock opens on directional up-down-left-right movements for faster, easier operation.

 

 

 

3. Spice it up. 

 

A common cause for lapsing fitness resolutions is boredom. If you’ve recently joined a new gym or vowed to increase your workouts but are starting to feel boredom creeping in, try switching up your workout routine. Many gyms offer group classes for no additional charge and can help keep your workout on the calendar when you can add a class to your schedule at a specific time. Didn’t join a gym? You can get the group exercise feel at home too by purchasing or streaming a variety of workout DVDs such as dance workouts, strength workouts, Pilates or yoga. Having something new to do each time you lace up your sneakers may help both your body and your mind.

 

English: NORFOLK, Va. (April 26, 2007) - Andre...

4. Be accountable. 

 

Put your reputation on the line and tell your friends or your loved ones about your resolution. They can provide support, keep you focused and keep you in check. You can also consider joining an online community or a local club whether you’re looking to lose weight or train for the next marathon.

 

If public sharing isn’t for you, find a friend who also has a specific goal they’d like to reach, and check in with them daily or weekly as the year goes on. A gym buddy might be the best motivator there is because if you don’t show up, you might not only be letting yourself down, but your buddy too.

 

 

 

5. Stay positive. 

 

 

Remember to phrase your goals in a positive light rather than a negative light to help you achieve them. Think about what you will do, not what you won’t do. For example, rather than thinking, “I can’t skip the gym,” think, “I always feel so much better after my workout — I love that feeling.”

 

To keep yourself motivated and see the progress you’ve made thus far, make a visual representation of your goal — of where you are now and where you want to be. Create a chart, list or calendar and keep track of each time you make it one step further.

 

 

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Have A Fun Family Pizza Night With @Pillsbury

pillsbury pizza
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When it comes to family time I am always looking for ways to find more and to do more with the kids. This surrounds all aspects of my life, from playing to even finding common activities that we can have fun with together. One way that we have done this in the past is through cooking. Whether it was baking cookies, making smoothies, or just working together to make dinner there is something about the whole family coming together to have fun making something that we all will love.

pillsbury pizza

I was excited to get a fun Pizza DIY kit from Pillsbury that provided me with some great coupons for free pizza dough as well as a few other fun items that were perfect for making pizza after a long week at work. We put the coupons to work and went out to buy a few items!

We decided to make two pizzas, one that the whole family would like and one for the adults! What was great was that everyone got into the act. From the shopping trip where everyone picked something (or a few things) to add to the pizza. To the preparation where we talked about cooking while we were doing it, making it educational and fun…everything together was a blast and something that we all enjoyed.

pillsbury pizza

The pizza dough was easy to use, and I was impressed with the thickness as well as how well it all gelled together. As I mentioned, we made a kids (pepperoni and bacon) pizza and I found a recipe for a buffalo chicken pizza on the Pillsbury website that looked amazing so we tried this as well.

The pizzas came together easy enough and in only a short amount of time we had two great pizzas that both the kids and we loved! I think we are sold, and we are already thinking about the next concoctions that we can have at our next family pizza night.

pillsbury pizza

What would be on your Pillsbury pizza?

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Love Coffee? See The Best Single Serve Cappuccino Makers

We are becoming connoisseurs of coffee slowly but very definitely surely. It has never been easier to get a great cup of Joe. Artisan coffee shops are popping up everywhere serving independently sourced, organic chalices of treacle-black goodness.

 

But sometimes the thought of hauling yourself out the front door for a caffeine hit seems to much to ask. If you are that type of person then there are loads of new coffee machines on the market that can serve you beautiful coffee in the comfort of your own home.

 

I have picked out my favorite machines on the market. Whether it is for you or as a Valentines Day gift, I recommend you look into these three. They are:

cuisinart buona tazza

3) Cuisinart Buona Tazza Super Auto Single Serve Coffee Maker – $599.99

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This really is an all singing, all dancing coffee machine. And I would hope so too with a price tag like that. The look of the machine isn’t great to be honest and it is a bit on the big side for my liking. In terms of easy to make, tasty coffee I have no complaints. This is marketed as a home-owned machine as opposed to for cafés and so seems a bit on the pricey side to me.

delonghi ec155

2) DeLonghi EC155Espresso and Cappuccino Maker – $79.99

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A coffee maker that strips things back to the basics. Good coffee made simple. Unfortunately it’s not as simple as the machine above. You do have to froth your own milk in this version. But at a fraction of the price, who’s complaining? Not me. It creates a nice silky espresso. Again in terms of looks it’s certainly no David Beckham.  But then who cares how it looks when underneath is such a great performer.

nescafé dolce gusto

1) Nescafe Dolce Gusto Genio Coffee Maker – $129.99

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This really is my standout winner. A modern and sleek looking machine that produces great quality coffee time after time. The freshness is never an issue nor is convenience. Just simply pop a capsule of your chosen coffee flavor (there is a wide variety from which to choose) and hey, presto, the coffee is made. Perfectly smooth and easy to use, you will be served beautifully hot and smooth coffees every time. A touch more expensive than the De Longhi machine above, but well worth the investment in time and energy saved over a period of months or years.

 

Coffee makers have come in all shapes, sizes and varieties over the past few years. Be sure to get an intuitive and intelligent machine like the Genio machine from Dolce Gusto. What is your favorite coffee maker? Let me know!

 

Disclaimer:

The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of NESCAFÉ® Dolce Gusto®. For the most up to date information on single serve coffee makers, specialty coffee pods, and offers by NESCAFÉ® Dolce Gusto® company, please visit the website at: www.dolce-gusto.us.

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