Friday, May 18, 2018

#Giveaway Bring Memories to Life with Canvas Factory

As the seasons change from winter to spring, and summer right around the corner, we start thinking about getting the house ready for long, warm days. This usually means getting the windows clean and putting in the screens, reacquainting ourselves with the yard and warming up the mower, and cleaning out the grill. It’s also the time we look to renew our indoor wall photo collection, especially with mother’s day and father’s day conveniently placed close together as well. While we all carry around large digital photo albums on our phones, the small screen size barely does justice to most photos. We do like getting a few pictures blown up into nice prints, or for something more sturdy, unique and stylish we go with a canvas print. Hence, we jumped at the opportunity to test out a canvas print from our friends at Canvas Factory.

Once we had gone through the step of selecting a picture for the print (took us longer than we expected, obviously!), the rest of the process was thankfully very simple and speedy on Canvas Factory’s website. Firstly, we had to choose the type of print we wanted (e.g. single, split, collage, etc.), and then upload a photo(s). It is nice that we can retrieve a photo from one of the common social media sites or upload one from our phone or computer. Next we got to choose the edge design and the ability to add optional text, and then we were good to go.

We didn’t have to wait long for the finished canvas print to show up at our house, and boy were we impressed by what we saw. The print had vibrant colors and crisp, clean picture quality coupled with a sturdy canvas, wrapped on a nice frame. The canvas was cleanly wrapped around the edges and even the back of the picture was cleanly arranged. We feel really good about prominently placing the picture on our wall and know that it will last for a while, as nothing beats canvas when it comes to longevity.

Now we are curious about trying out one of the other design options (e.g. a collage) and see how that one turns out. With the reasonable pricing for the prints, creating new ones wouldn’t put a big dent in our pockets either. Additionally, for special gifts and occasions Canvas Factory also offers the option for creating Acrylic or Metal prints in addition to canvas. If only we can come up with an easier way to pick out the right pictures to use!

The wonderful people at Canvas Factory are now making one of their canvas prints (Canvas size: 16x20'' / 40x50cm) available for free to one of our fabulous readers: 

Product received, thank you to Canvas Factory for supplying us with a product for this review, all opinions are our own. 

Starting Our Days Out with Healthier Options from Hood Calorie Countdown

This post was sponsored by Hood as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

Mornings are a busy time in my house. It is a time where we all get up, get ready to start our days and share a quick breakfast during those busy mornings before heading out the door. And like many, when I go to get milk for cereal or get my youngest his favorite morning drink, a glass of chocolate milk, I find that I want to offer my family options that are better for everyone. So when I was introduced to the dairy beverage selections from Hood Calorie Countdown, I was not only curious to try the Whole option, but also curious to see what my kids thought of the Chocolate option.

See, like many kids who prefer flavored milk over plain milk, my youngest is one who will only drink milk that has flavor, especially the chocolate flavoring. And with the Hood Calorie Countdown 2% Reduced Fat Chocolate, I can serve my little guy a very tasty beverage that he enjoys, that is only 80 calories per glass which is about 56% less calories than traditional chocolate milk. Along with that fact that really stands out, I like that there are only 3 grams of sugar in the chocolate beverage which is a whopping 75% less sugar than traditional milk. Which from a parent and or a caregivers perspective, can really make the difference in how we start our mornings off. 

Then when it comes to the varieties which include the Hood Calorie Countdown Whole, I like that we still get nutritional benefits, which is true with any of the selections, minus the extra sugar or calories we can get from traditional milk. This is because Calorie Countdown provides us with 25% of the recommended daily value for calcium and 15% of the daily value for Vitamin D in each cup. Giving my family and I, healthier options when it comes to dairy beverages that give us that milky smooth dairy beverage we crave and enjoy as we go to start our days. Making the choice to switch up from regular milk options to the Calorie Countdown from Hood, which is the leader in high quality dairy products, a choice everyone in my house can appreciate.


Celebrate National Salad Month with Fresh Express, Litehouse & NatureSweet

The weather has warmed up, families are heading outdoors to enjoy their time together, which like many, we find that we also enjoy taking our meals outdoors as well. From those summer barbecues to the picnics at the beach with the kids, I am who looks forward to all that the summer time has in store for us. So when we heard that May is National Salad Month, we were excited to celebrate all month long with the fresh salad fixings from Fresh Express and NatureSweet along with the various varieties of dressings and dips from Litehouse!

See when we go with the salad varieties available from Fresh Express, we can choose from a variety of fresh mixes that are ready to be served and enjoyed. These include those ready made salad kits that offer variety to go with various occasions and dishes to the Salad Greens that are perfect for adding to our backyard barbecues. I also like that when we add those sweet and juicy mini tomatoes from NatureSweet, that we add that flavor that my family looks forward to. Then to top off those salads, we have found the variety of salad dressings from Litehouse Foods to be exactly what is needed to complete any salad. Offering us not only those basic salad dressing flavors that some might prefer, but a large range of other dressings to pair with any meal. These include ones like the Greek Yogurt varieties to the Creamy Salad Dressings like the Cotija Cilantro Dressing, which turned out to be the perfect dressing to add to our dinner salads as we enjoyed some fresh grilled carne asada! Making the choice to celebrate not only National Salad Month all month long with Fresh Express, Litehouse and NatureSweet a choice everyone will enjoy, but a choice you and your family can enjoy all summer long! And to make National Salad Month even more exciting for everyone, be sure to enter to the promotion below where you can enter for a chance to win a years worth of salad and more!

“Raise the Salad Bar” Promotion
·         Contest: Join Litehouse, Fresh Express and NatureSweet tomatoes in our mission to Raise the Salad Bar! Enter to win a year's worth of salad and $100 worth of salad prep swag.
·         Recipes: Top quality ingredients for a top shelf salad – check out these delicious recipes for inspiration! 
·         Promotion: Greens, tomatoes and dressing are essential ingredients for any top shelf salad. Purchase any two Fresh Express Blends, Litehouse 13 oz. spoonable refrigerated salad dressings, and NatureSweet 10.5 oz. Cherubs® Tomatoes 2/$5 or 2/$6 at grocery stores nationwide (May 9-22, 2018)
·         In-Store Availability: All three brands can be found in the produce department, with Litehouse dressings and Fresh Express packaged salads found in the refrigerated produce department.

Product received, thank you to PR for supplying us with a product for this review, all opinions are our own.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

How to Get the Most Out of Your New Family Car

A new family car is a significant investment. It involves a lot of money, and you have to make sure that it is the best one for your family. You will want to look for a vehicle that is safe and reliable, after all, you will use the car to drive your kids to and from school, and even for family vacations.

But what can you do to ensure that you find the best vehicle for the job? Here are a few ways you can save up on your next family car:

Determine Your Budget

A family car is one of the most significant investments you will make for your family. That is why it is essential to plan for it accordingly. Estimate how much you will be willing to set aside for a new family car by doing your research. Check out vehicles online to get an idea of the vehicles with features you want, and for how much.

In Brisbane, if you have bad credit, you can still consider getting car finance to get a vehicle right away. That service is also available around the world. The great thing about finance companies is that some companies allow you to customize your payment plan according to your capacity, so you don’t have to worry about missing payments.


After you have determined your budget, you will want to know more about the safety features of the vehicle you are about to purchase. Modern vehicles all come with their own set of safety features including airbags and antilock brake systems.

You should also look into how much the vehicle will cost to insure. Older vehicles will have a higher cost of insurance, so it is best to get a late model car that is in excellent condition to ensure that your insurance will still fit into your budget.

Family Size

How big is your family?
When looking to get a family car, make sure that it can fit everyone inside comfortably with enough legroom and boot space for everything you need to bring along for a trip.

For smaller families, a sedan will suffice. But for big families or families that are keener to take on outdoor activities like camping, an SUV will be their best choice.

The size of the vehicle matters, as it can determine how much you have to make for the down payment and the monthly payment if you will be getting it through car finance.

Ask Your Dealer Questions

Now that you’ve determined the size, safety standards, and the amount you are willing to pay. Avoid the hidden fees that dealers will try to throw your way. The best way to do that is to list down any questions you may have and take it out while you are discussing the purchase. Doing this will allow you to avoid any hidden fees by forcing the dealers to tell you everything about the car you are about to buy.

Some of the questions you can ask your dealer should include:
  • Has the vehicle gone through any significant repairs?
  • How long is the warranty and what does it cover?
  • Can I get accessories upon purchase?
Asking these questions can give you a better idea about the car’s history and other coverages you can get with the car’s warranty. That way, you can rest assured that you have made the best choice for your family vehicle.

Once all is said and done, you will be driving out of the dealership in your family’s new car. Drive safely and be content knowing that you took the best choices to find a vehicle that fits your family’s needs.

Disney Princess Pleybox subscription makes it easy to surprise your little one!

Even in this digital age, receiving something in the mail still feels magical. Kids love seeing their names on letters, magazines and especially packages! Maybe because it is so rare these days, they are excited to see what surprise awaits inside, so the subscription box trend seems tailor-made for kids. When we saw the subscription boxes from Pley had been selected as one of the Forbes' Best Subscription Boxes For Kids of All Ages in Nov 2017, we were super-excited to try it out and see if it lived up to our expectations.

First off, there are a few different Pleyboxes available, but we chose the Disney Princess Pleybox since our 4 1/2 year old son is kind of going through a princess phase (it's lasted a couple of years now, the neighbors still talk about his incredible mash-up Princess Elsa/Batman costume for Halloween, which was, of course, accessorized by a lightsaber. The kid knows what he likes!). This Pleybox is targeted to kids ages 4-9 and each box has up to 6 official Disney Princess toys, activities or fashion accessories.

The box arrived with a few scrapes from delivery process, and I was a little concerned that the contents or play scene would be damaged. All the items inside the box were really well packaged and nothing was damaged. The Cinderella box we received contained:

Hobo Purse
Tin Money Bank
Light-Up Yo-yo
A box that turns into Cinderella's Castle
Activity magazine

We loved the items in this box. The Yo-yo was a little bit more advanced than my son could manage, but he loved the other items. The Money Bank was a big hit and the Activity magazine kept him engaged for quite a while. I inadvertently ordered the wrong size T-shirt, so definitely need to get that right in the next box! 

One of the most unique elements of this Pleybox is that the shipping box itself can be transformed into a castle and added into your child's play story. It was pretty intuitive to put together, but the instructions are in the Activity magazine if you need a little assistance.

Shipping box transforms into Cinderella's Castle!

I'd definitely love to get another of these Pleyboxes for my son. I might be interested in trying the other Pleyboxes, including the HotWheels and National Geographic Kids Pleyboxes. I think these are a great idea for birthday or other special occasion gifts for a grandchild or other loved one.

Being a subscription service, there are some terms that are good to understand. New boxes are released every other month, with the most recent release in May. You can place an order (while supplies last) until the 7th of the month following the release (e.g. this time, cutoff for orders is June 7). It is good to order early if you have your heart set on something particular, as the Pleyboxes are run in limited quantities. All boxes are shipped while quantities last, including past boxes are now available to purchase separately via the online Pleyshop.

Of course, any time you sign up for a new subscription, you should also be clear on the billing and return policy. If you sign up for multiple months subscription from Pley, you are billed for the full subscription upfront. Pleybox gifts cannot be canceled, refunded or transferred after purchase, but you can 'take a breather' if you need to pause your shipments and skip a box.

All in all, I think this subscription box was a lot of fun. My son wants to color the castle next and will be digging out all his Disney figures over the weekend to make a show for Grandma. We are both looking forward to enjoying all the treats in this Pleybox for hours to come! 

Product received from Pley, thank you for supplying us with a product for this review, all opinions are our own.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Take part in the Great Cycle Challenge to fight Childhood Cancer

Help raise money for Children’s Cancer Research Fund (CCRF) through the 4th annual Great Cycle Challenge USA, a month-long nationwide fundraiser starting June 2. Riders set their own goals in terms of money raised and miles ridden throughout the month of June. Many people ride in honor of lost loved ones or kids currently battling cancer.

Why? Over 15,700 American children are diagnosed with cancer every year, and sadly, 38 children die every week.

The money raised through the Great Cycle Challenge goes to fund cancer research at local hospitals across the country.

Founded in 2015, Great Cycle Challenge USA has quickly grown to become one of the biggest cycling events in the country. Over the past three years, more than 76,000 riders from 50 states have ridden 5 million miles while raising $9 million to support childhood cancer research. This year’s goal is for 48,000 riders to raise $5.5 million.
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