Get Great Savings on the Canon EOS Rebel T5i 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.

I’ve always loved taking photos. Long before I was a blogger, and even before I had kids, I would spend hours taking and editing shots of the most random things. I have pictures from elementary school of my stuffed animals all lined up in a row that I took on an old disposable camera. In high school, I used my first digital camera {a point & shoot} to capture selfies while deep in concentration {as teens are known to do}. Now as a mom and blogger, I use a heavy duty DSLR to capture everything from cookies to crafts to, of course, my kids.

Canon Rebel

As my subject matter has grown up, my camera has, too- from the disposable camera with the wind-up flash to the point and shoot to the primative cell phone camera to the real deal. If you have someone in your life who has been wanting a “grown up camera”, be sure to check out this amazing deal going on at Best Buy just in time for the holidays!

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

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Do you love twitter parties? Best Buy is hosting a Canon Twitter Party on Thursday December 18th at 7pm CST. Feel free to join this party for a chance to receive Best Buy gift cards and other great prizes! Tweet #HintingSeason with your top gifts that you want this Holiday from Best Buy.

Who do you know that would love the Canon EOS Rebel T5i?

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Holiday Gift Idea: Personalized Children’s Books and More from I See Me!

We received the book mentioned to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.

Kids love themselves. And they should- they’re adorable. Whether they’re watching a video of themselves, taking dozens of selfies, or just dancing in front of a mirror, kids just can’t seem to give enough of themselves. So it’s no wonder that some of Shane’s favorite gifts in the past have been his personalized books from I See Me!

We first discovered I See Me! a few years ago when we got Shane a book for his 3rd birthday and we now read it on his birthday every year! {We read it throughout the year, too-  it’s actually one of his favorites.} So when I See Me! asked if I’d like to check out another book this holiday season, I couldn’t say no- but this time, it was Zac’s turn!

Who Loves Me Personalized Book and Blanket Gift Set from I See Me!

Zac has gotten really into books lately- and not just eating them {anymore}. He likes to listen to stories and turn pages, and he even claps when the book is over. So I know he will just love his new book, Who Loves Me?{In our case, it’s titled Who Loves Zachary?} It’s not a holiday book but it makes a great personalized gift because it comes with a super soft blanket that’s embroidered with his name. {Please note: This unique gift is brought especially to you by our friends at internationally award-winning publisher Chronicle Books.}

Dedication and Page

The book itself is so cute and allowed me to add several family members to it- it includes Justin & me, Shane, all four of his grandparents, and his aunts and uncles. Each page includes a beautiful illustration and a reminder that many people love him!

I See Me! has something for everyone- books for every occasion or just because, lunchboxes, puzzles, coloring books, placemats, and even growth charts. They can all be personalized to make the recipient feel really special! The quality of every book I’ve gotten from them has surpassed my expectations, with pages that have held up for years through hundreds of story times.

Zachary blanket

Buy It: To purchase your own personalized books for the holidays, be sure to order by TODAY! If you don’t have time today, you can always give the gift of a gift certificate- depending on the age of the child, maybe you could let them help you make the book and make it a fun experience! You can also check out their holiday gift guide to help make your shopping list!

Learn more: You can learn more about I See Me! on their website, Facebook, and Twitter. You can also check out my friend Alesha’s review of the book My Very Own Pirate Tale here!

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Win It: Right now, I See Me! is hosting a giveaway where one lucky Grand Prize winner will score a $500 Pottery Barn Gift Card + M is for Me Personalized Book! 25 Runners Up will get a personalized book of their choice from ISeeMe.com. You can learn more and enter the Reading is Magical Sweepstakes here!

Have you ever given a personalized book?

5 Ways to Make Reading Fun for Beginning Readers

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Rosetta Stone. I received a product and a promotional item to thank me for participating.

Shane is five years old and in kindergarten, so we spend a lot of time working on reading. He knows a lot of sight words and is great about knowing his phonics and sounding things out, so at this point it’s mostly a matter of practice and reinforcement. While we have always read to him a lot, he gets bored just trying to read books over and over, so we have found several ways to make reading fun!

5 Ways to Make Reading Fun for Beginning Readers

Choose books they like: Whether they are reading an old favorite or a new book about a subject they love, let them guide their reading choices {within reason}.

Select level-appropriate books: While it’s always good to challenge your children to help them grow, you don’t want to push too hard and frustrate them. If they don’t recognize any of the words or the book is full of “big words”, they might give up- or at least want to.

Read everything: I ask Shane to read street signs, food boxes, and even commercials or titles on TV.

Make it a game: We have a set of flashcards that has two of each word so that we can play a matching game with it. Sometimes I let him see the words while we’re matching, and sometimes we make it a memory game, too!

Bring in technology: What kid doesn’t love using a tablet or the computer? We have several games that help Shane with his reading, including the Rosetta Stone Kids game, which we’ve installed on our iPad.

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We don’t do all of these things every day, and we do some more than others. Shane really likes to learn through play, and it’s definitely the method that keeps his attention the longest. Since we downloaded the Rosetta Stone Kids app on our iPad, Shane has been practicing with it quite often and loves showing me how many stars he earns on each level! The app is perfect for beginning readers because it’s easy enough for them to follow along without having to read a ton of directions, but is difficult enough to be challenging in a good way. It is a great choice for both learning new skills and reiterating acquired skills!

You can view a demo of the Rosetta Stone Kids app here and you can even try it for free! You can learn more about Rosetta Stone and the products they offer here.

How do you practice reading?

Giving the Gift of Efficiency with the Fellowes M-12C Shredder

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Fellowes Brands. I received a product sample to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

It’s the end of the year, which means it’s the busy season for the post office! From delivering gifts to every nice boy and girl to bringing you catalogs you didn’t even know existed to bringing you the credit card bill at the end of it, the mail carriers are working hard- and bringing you lots of paper clutter in the process!

Paper Clutter

With an ever-growing pile of paperwork teetering on your desk, it can be tempting to just toss it in the trash. However, it’s important to get rid of it properly- so that your private information stays private. We shred everything that has so much as our name on it!

Fellowes Shredder

We just got a new shredder from Fellowes {the Fellowes M-12C Shredder} to try out. It is perfect for our home because having a sharp blade close to the ground with a baby at home is less than ideal, but this one can not be accessed from the outside. Even though Zac has tiny fingers, the shredder will turn off if he tries to stick them in because it has SafeSense Technology that automatically detects when hands touch the paper opening. While we keep it unplugged and turned off when we’re not using it, it’s still a nice feature that gives us some peace of mind.

I also love that it’s a time saver- you can shred up to 12 sheets in here and it shreds each one into up to 302 particles per sheet. It can even accept staples, paper clips, credit cards, and junk mail, so you don’t even have to prep your old documents before sticking them into the shredder. If you’re like me and you have a tendency to let your paperwork pile up for awhile, you can get it all done with one quick burst as it will run continuously for five minutes before needing a {20 minute} cool down period. It’s so efficient!

My dad has always shred everything {even stuff that doesn’t need it, like lists of Hawaii Five-O episodes or the inning-by-inning scores of baseball games that he tracks by hand} so I’m thinking about getting him one for Christmas. He always buys whatever’s on sale at the store and burns through the motor really quick. The Fellowes M-12C Shredder has a 1 year product warrantee {plus, it can withstand a lot more in the first place} so it would actually save him money since he won’t have to replace it every couple of months! Don’t tell him but he just may be getting one for Christmas!

m-12c

If you have someone in your life who appreciates a powerful shredder, be sure to check out the Fellowes M-12C Shredder! You can buy it at Target  and Target.com for the suggested price of $99.99 or learn more about it here.

Do you know anyone who would love to find this under their tree?

DIY Holiday Gift Idea: Peanut Butter Fudge Cookie Mix in a Jar {+ 9 Other Cookie-Mix-in-a-Jar Ideas!}

This post is brought to you by Foodie.com. All opinions are my own.

My favorite food group is cookies {and yes, in my world, they are a food group}, so I think that they make great gifts, too. They’re delicious and there are so many varieties that you can find the perfect kind for just about anyone! A fresh batch of homemade cookies are a wonderful gift for any occasion- but what if you can’t give that away, either because you’re too far away or just short on time? You can give a DIY Cookie Mix in a Jar Gift!

Gifts in a jar are so cute- it’s no wonder they’ve become so trendy. Cookies in a jar are fun because you include all of the dry ingredients they’ll need, let them know how to bake their cookies, and decorate the jar with a little flair. I like the idea of gifting cookie mix in a jar even for those who are close by, just because you can then use the mix to bake together, creating memories in the process!

Peanut Butter Fudge Cookies Recipe

If you like cookies or have someone on your list who does {or just have someone who is impossible to shop for}, be sure to try one of the delicious cookie mix in a jar recipes found in the Foodie slideshow at the bottom of this post! To get you inspired, I’ve included my own easy version right here in this post- including a free printable for the jar which you can just click to download and print. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Fudge Cookie Mix in a Jar DIY Gift Idea

Peanut Butter Fudge Cookie Gift Jar

You will need:

-1 box of chocolate cake mix
-1 bag of peanut butter chips, any brand
-1 large wide mouth mason jar {like these}
-Double-sided tape
-Gift tag {Free printable below!}

Directions to Assemble:

1. Add the box of chocolate cake mix to your wide mouth mason jar.

2. Tap the jar a few times on the counter, allowing the cake mix to settle. Slowly pour in the peanut butter chips until they reach the top. You will probably have some left over, but that’s okay! You don’t need to add them all for them to be delicious.

3. Print the gift tag below {or found here} and secure it the side of the jar with double sided tape. Instead of tape, you could also hole punch the tag and secure it and the directions {written on the back of the tag} with twine or ribbon.

Directions to Include on the Tag:

1. Pour all ingredients into a medium size bowl.
2. Add 1 egg and ½ cup of vegetable oil to the ingredients and mix well.
3. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees. Do not over bake- they are best fudgy and chewy!

Click on for the free printable & for 9 more Cookie Mix in a Jar DIY Gift Ideas!

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