What Should I Get Your Child for Christmas: The Gift of College

This post is sponsored by ScholarShare.

parkin-boys-scholarshare-christmas-gift“What should I get your kids for Christmas?” i am sure many of you have gotten this same question that i have many time from family and friends this holiday season. grandparents have asked me, aunts and uncles have asked me, and even some friends. it’s hard because most of our kids have so much, they really don’t need anything. but let me tell you, there is a gift that every kid will benefit from…..a donation to their very own Scholarshare account.

ScholarShare is a state-sponsored, tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan that’s helping families and individuals plan for the cost of higher education. it’s available to any citizen or tax payer. and just about anyone can help contribute including Grandparents, other family members and friends. exciting news….

Double your Scholarshare Money on Holiday Match Day

on Friday, Decemeber 9, 2016, from 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. PST, California families who open a new ScholarShare 529 college savings account with $50 can receive a matching initial deposit of $50 from ScholarShare. To be eligible for the matching promotion, California families will need to open a new ScholarShare College Savings Plan account with at least $50 – to be contributed and invested at the time the new account is opened – and enroll in the automatic contribution plan for the new account with at least a $25 per month contribution. The matching deposit of $50 will be made to the eligible ScholarShare 529 account on or before 11:59 p.m. PST on June 30, 2017. There is a limit of one matching deposit per new ScholarShare account opened for a new beneficiary. Additional details can be found here www.ScholarShare.com/holidaymatch.

besides adding funds to their Scholarshare accounts, my boys do have a few wishes on their Christmas lists this year. i thought i would share some of them in case you are wondering what to get a boy for the holidays.

Jackson, my thirteen year old, is really into technology, drawing, swimming and playing water polo. on his wish list is a web camera, a laptop computer, ear buds (kids go through these like no other), Pokémon Sun/Moon for Nintendo 3DS, clothes and goggles and swim fins for swim team. he has been super good this year getting good grades and being very committed to his swimming by going to swim team and water polo practice five days a week. i hope he gets some of the things that he wants.

Kyle, my eleven year old, loves to hip-hop dance and listen to music, play his iPad, practice the cello, all things cats, and hang out with friends. he is my creative kid, and also a social butterfly who always wants to be on the go doing something fun. he would love iTunes music, clothes, Legos, Nintendo 3DS games, Tech Decks, and


my youngest, Vann, is six. he loves stuffed animals, and if he had it his way, his entire room would be filled with them. he also likes to hip-hop dance, read stories, color, go to Build-a-bear, and snuggling with mom. for Christmas this year, he wants a Jurassic Park Lego set, Beanie Boos, and Tsum Tsums. he pretty much likes anything i get him, so it was fun to shop for him this year.vann-scholarshare-christmas-giftvann-parkin-scholarshare-christmas-gift

and then there is our baby girl, who is supposed to arrive just after the New Year. since she is not here yet, there is no need for gifts. but i should start planning for the future.

thats a lot of kids! more reason to get those college savings accounts going now. time is getting shorter and shorter to start saving for my kids’ college. i will now have FOUR kids who will most likely be attending college….that is going to equal A LOT of money. but saving money for college doesn’t have to be painful at all. in fact, by saving in small realistic steps, you can end up saving big in the end. by simply giving up your morning latte once a week or eating in instead of going out once a month…you could put that money away for your kids’ college. we have created ScholarShare…saving plans for each of the kids, which are California’s 529 plans. they are GREAT!!!! and saving has really been easy.

with the help of family and friends during the holidays, on birthdays and special occasions throughout the year, you can work together on getting your kids Scholarshare accounts funded. it’s super easy for others to buy Scholarshare gift cards for your children, they are even sold at Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us. the gift of education is a gift of love !!!!
scholarshare-gift-carddon’t forgot about the Holiday Match Program this December 9th, 2016!!!!  time is short, soon our kids will be saying goodbye to us and heading into the grown-up world of college and careers. as parents, we love to give our kids the best, an not have them worry about the struggles of funding school and having to pay off huge student debt loans. one day they will look back and thank you for what you have done for them!


{Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.}

The Toys ‘R’ Us BIG BOOK is Here

This post brought to you by Toys“R“Us . The content and opinions expressed below are that of Sandy Toes & Popsicles.

looking-at-the-toys-r-us-big-book-for-christmasThe Holidays are coming fast! And since we have a baby on the way, I made the boys get their Wish Lists together as soon as the Great Big Toys”R”Us Book of Awesome arrived at our home. I still remember the Big Book arriving in the mail at my home when I was a little girl, the excitement was incredible. I would circle all the toys I hoped Santa would bring. So I’ve made looking through the Big Book a yearly tradition for our kids, too. When it arrives, the boys cuddle up on the couch and go through each page one-by-one, looking at the hottest toys for the holiday season. Then they get some paper and a pencil or crayons and make their “Wish Lists” for Santa so I can pick them up during Cyber Week. toys-r-us-big-bookdear-santatoys-r-us-big-book-excitementThe Big Book is over 100 pages of the hottest and most loved toys. From collectibles, to hero haven, to tech town, to big gift central – Toys”R”Us has toys for everyone of any age. You can also have your kids go through the Big Book or head over to the Toys”R”Us website and make an online Wish List. From your phone, kids can take pictures of the toys they love using the 2D Scanner and add them to create your Wish List. Once they have created the lists,  you will have it handy on your phone, plus you can share with friends and relatives. How cool is that? It takes the guessing out of what the kiddies are wishing for this holiday season. how-to-make-a-wish-list-with-toys-r-us-big-bookhow-to-make-a-toys-r-us-wish-list1For fun, the boys and I picked out some of our favorite toys from the Toys”R”Us Big Book that we thought kids would love to receive for the holidays. toys-r-us-big-book-top-gifts 1) Nintendo 3DS XL Game Systems, Pokémon Sun & Moon Games  2) Fisher-price Think and Learn Code-a-pillar  3) Melissa & Doug Wooden Toys 4)  Disney Tsum Tsum Characters 5) Quixels 6) Step 2 Kitchen Paysets  7) Crayola Emoji Marker Maker 8) Razor Crazy Cart

I have been over excited this year for the holidays. I can’t wait to see the joy on my boys faces on Christmas morning when they see some of their Toys”R”Us Big Book wishes under the tree. Now it’s time to get shopping, Toys”R”Us has some great deals to Get Inspired this coming this holiday season, especially on Cyber Week and through the holidays. Happy shopping! looking-at-the-toys-r-us-big-book



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WOW Nintendo 3DS is just $99 plus a Giveaway

This post is sponsored by Nintendo. nintendo-3ds-black-friday-sale you probably saw my recent Instagram and Facebook posts of the boys and i visiting Nintendo Headquarters in Seattle. ever since our visit, my boys have been obsessed with their new Nintend 3DS game systems.and i must admit, i have fallen in love with Nintendo all over again. it’s such a great family brand. (read all the way to the bottom of the post for a great giveaway!) nintendo-headquarterswell, you’re in luck this weekend. there is an AMAZING deal happening on the New Nintendo 3DS Super Mario Edition. for the first time ever, Nintendo is launching cool NEW black and white New Nintendo 3DS Super Mario Edition systems for under a hundred bucks – $99.99, to be exact. you will find them exclusively online at Nintendo.com. the new systems are adorned with instantly recognizable elements from the Mushroom Kingdom and will launch exclusively on Black Friday. regularly priced at just under $150, this is an awesome deal for your Nintendo loving kiddies. the systems include such features as stable 3D technology, fast processing speeds, and built-in entertainment options.  this is one of Nintendo’s best deals of the holiday season! a perfect fit for anyone’s stocking. 3ds-black-friday ALSO, did you know that some of the hottest games of the year are only available on Nintendo’s hand-held Nintendo 3DS systems?!!!  this includes Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon, which both recently launched on November 18th, as well as Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS which will be launching on December 2nd.



here is your chance to win a NEW black New Nintendo 3DS Super Mario Edition game system with a charger. just enter via Rafflecopter below. contest ends December 2nd at midnight. winner will be chosen randomly and must be 18 years or older and a resident of the United States. Good luck!!!! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Canvas Photo Love and Giveaway

Tracking Pixelphoto-canvas-review-at-walmart this year the holidays are going to be much different for our family. we will be busy getting ready for our baby girl that will be arriving the first week of January. I have to get all my shopping done ASAP, because who knows if this little girl will try to make her debut early. but being eight months pregnant makes long holiday shopping trips uncomfortable, and I get tired easily. so luckily, i’ve partnered with Walmart to share how i got some of my holiday shopping done right at home.

shopping for the grandparents is one of the hardest tasks of the season in my opinion. but one thing i know they love is photos of their grandchildren. Walmart Photo helped me to create the perfect gifts for the grandparents…and I didn’t even have to leave my home. plus, I also was able to order some extra canvas photos to spruce up my house. those bare walls really needed some photos. great-photo-gifts-at-walmart on the Walmart Photo website, you can choose the sizes of the canvas photos you need, the orientation – landscape or portrait, and if you want it to be a single photo, or a collage. there are lots of great templates to choose from. PLUS…even better, Photo Canvas’ are on Rollback until 1/3 with 11 x 14’s at just $24.96 and 16 x 20’s at just $34.96!  then just click and pay. You can choose to pick them up at your local Walmart store or have them delivered to your home. my Photo Canvases arrived safely at my home which was like Christmas morning opening them to see how they came out. seeing photos of my children on the canvas was the best. canvas-photo-collagehow-to-arrange-pictures-on-the-wall to wrap up the canvas photos in a unique way, i found a whale Christmas ornament that matched the canvas photo and used some rustic beachy twine and raffia to tie around some turquoise wrapping paper. it’s details like this that make it look like you were very thoughtful in putting it together. and what I am most thrilled about is the fact that i am getting my holiday shopping done early this year. it’s going to be so nice to just focus on the boys and our new baby. fun-ways-to-wrap-presents here are some of the other great photo gifts you can create at the Walmart Photo Center, from holiday cards to photo books to blankets. many of them are available for free same-day pick-up in store. perfect for last minute shopping and gifting!   best-photo-gifts-to-give-family

1) Photo Sweatshirts and Tees,  2) Personalized Mugs and Cups,  3) Photo Puzzles,  4) Photo Pillows,  5) Photo Phone Cases,  6) Photo Jewelry, 7) Personalized Photo Blanket, 8) Personalized Calendars, 9) Personalized Coasters, 10) Canvas Prints

shopping at Walmart Photo is super easy. there are over 3,500 Walmart Photo locations nationwide or you can order online. If you choose to go into the store to shop, you can easily transfer images from your mobile device in-store either using the Fujifilm Kiosk Photo Transfer App or connecting with a cable at the kiosk. you can even transfer images from Facebook or Instagram. it really is that quick and easy! walmart-canvas-photosphoto-canvas-choices-at-walmart


here is your chance to win a Walmart Photo gift pack valued at $50!!!!! just leave a blog post comment below and share what Walmart Photo gift you would create for someone this holiday season. be sure to include #sweepstakes in your comment! then, visit the Rafflecopter below to see how you could win! Good luck!

{ This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Walmart Photo.}

The Magic of Canon Cameras, Lenses and PIXMA Printers

I have partnered with Canon to bring you this post. 
Canon Let it Snow Globethis past weekend, i had the opportunity to attend the Canon “Let it Snow” Globe event in Hollywood. you probably saw the photos i was sharing during the event on my feeds. check out the 3-story snow globe they had!!!!

i was in absolute Heaven at the Canon event because i was able to try out the latest Canon cameras and test out new and different lenses. i just LOVE taking pictures.  i get comments from readers all the time asking what kind of camera i use for my photos…and the answer is a Canon. it has been my camera of choice for more than 10 years, and besides my phone, i use a Rebel 3Ti. however, after trying out the new Canon SL1, i am seriously considering that it will be my next camera purchase in the near future. it is Canon’s new compact EOS, probably the smallest and lightest digital SLR available.

during the event, i also had the chance to meet actress and director, Bryce Dallas Howard. she and her father Ron Howard are avid Canon users, and she was able to teach me some great information about using my camera.

Canon Bryce Dallas Howard it was a pleasure and a treat to meet her…

Canon Event Bryce Dallas Howard

and her father.

Canon "Let It Snow" Globe

check out some of the pictures i took during the event….

these are pictures i took using the Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens. this is one of my favorites of the lenses I tried. with it, I was able to capture fine details of the objects I was photographing.

Canon Let it Snow Globe Event Macro Lense2 Canon Let it Snow Globe Event Macro Lense

i took these two shots using the Canon EF-S 55-250 f/4-5.6 IS STM lens without changing my location. this is a very versatile lens that takes photos close up and afar. i love how I was able to zoom in and get a great detailed photo and pan-out to get a wider shot.

Canon Let it Snow Globe Event El Capitan Canon Let it Snow Globe Event El Capitan1

the Canon EF 28 f/1.8 USM wide angle lens allowed me to get this shot of the entire event…including the awesome snow globe.  it’s a great lens to use when you are trying to take a wider shot, like when taking large group photos or room interior photos.

Canon Let it Snow Globe Event Wide Angle Lense2

finally, i was really impressed with the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens that allows you to take photos in very low-light and still get a great picture. believe it or not, I took this picture of my little guy in a dark gingerbread house…that picture still looks great (as you can see, he was a little wiggly).

EF 50mm 1.8 in low light

Being able to try out the Canon cameras and lenses really opened my eyes to all the magic of the Canon products. I had so much fun taking pictures of the boys and now have a wish list a mile long of camera lenses and accessories I “need.”

Canon Giant Globe EventCanon Giant Globe Event Los AngelesCanon Let it Snow Globe Jill Parkin

after I took all my pictures, I was able to get them printed using Canon PIXMA printers with cloud technology. Canon Pixma printers give you the ability to print photos and documents directly from popular cloud services such as, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Dropbox, Photobucket, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and Evernote. They can even print directly from select Canon digital cameras. I just love this technology!  I printed these photos that I took at the event directly from my camera’s memory card…and they look exactly like professionally printed photographs.

Canon Pixma Printer

i also got to learn about the Canon’s North Pole PIXMA app, which enables you to create wishes that can be sent directly to Santa’s workshop in the North Pole and printed on the latest Canon PIXMA printer with Cloud technology. you can write, draw or use pre-selected images to create your holiday wish and watch it as it is sent through the cloud to Santa’s workshop, where you will see Santa receive the wish right off of a Canon PIXMA printer.

Canon Northpole Pixma app

you can visit NorthPolePIXMA.com and sign up to experience the magic of Christmas…and PIXMA. imagine the excitement your little ones will have when they see Santa print out their very own wish!

Canon Northpole Pixma app sign up

i am so thrilled that i was able to share the magic of Canon with you this holiday season. it is a company I that have loved for years and years. i get excited just talking about it, as photography can be an emotional thing. Capturing your life, your memories, your children, and the emotions on film is an amazing thing. and you want the best products to do that.

Canon Ice Sculpture

i invite you to #BringIt with Canon this holiday season!

Canon BringIt Event