Getting Ready for the Holidays

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this year, the holiday season has been very different for our family, we’ve had to get all the shopping and decorating done extra early because our baby girl will be arriving in the beginning of the new year. and not only do we need to get everything ready for Christmas and the baby, but we also have to get our house ready to sell. we are busting out of the seams over here. we’ve tried to make our small three bedroom work, but have ultimately made the decision to find a bigger home to continue our lives in. with that comes a lot of home repairs and beautification, so i have partnered with Schlage® to share some of the things our family has done to get ready for this time in our lives.

we are expecting that a lot of visitors will be coming to our home soon, so i really wanted get the house looking nice for Christmas, and then ultimately ready to show when we sell it. the thing that’s always bugged me about our home are the doors and door knobs. but we never got around to changing them out. i hate these flat panel doors and these cheap looking antique gold door knobs. they look old and dated, and don’t match my style at all.

see…UGLY!!!!!

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so last weekend, after 13 years, we finally changed out all the doors and door knobs. WOW….what a big difference it made. now i have pretty 6-panel doors and Sacramento levers by Schlage® in polished nickel. i couldn’t be happier. just this small change has made my home look updated and fresh. i really wish i had made the change sooner.

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changing out the doors and door knobs was the finishing touch to getting our home decorated for the holidays. and i am in love! my home feels warm and cozy and full of festive cheer. and the Schlage® door hardware was the perfect finishing touch to complete our home’s look, and was a low-investment with high-impact project that was done in just a day.


trendy-door-knob-styleschristmas-mantlechristmas-mantle-ideaspretty-christmas-treesanta-christmas-ornamentchristmas-presentspretty-christmas-ornamentsmy little elf especially loves the Christmas decor and new doors!upgrade-your-home-with-door-knobseasy-christmas-decorating-ideasour family has so much to be excited for this year. before we know it, the holidays will be here and we will have a new little one to cuddle and coo over. we will also have to say goodbye to our lovely home, but i am sure that our next will be filled with fabulous memories before we know it….and hopefully pretty doors and door knobs as well!

finally, i wanted to mention that with Schlage®, you can find hundreds of different door hardware finish choices and style combinations to meet your own style needs.

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whether you love Farmhouse & Country Chic with its dark-toned wood, lighter wood finishes and softer color schemes – where you can incorporate Industrial style products, particularly in light fixtures and exposed plumbing. or Mid-Century Modern style, with the trend of using modern blues, grays, and black. or even the Hollywood Regency style, with the recent rise of geometric designs seen in light fixtures, small furniture and accent pieces. there is a style that you will fall in love with. when it comes to beautifying your home. it’s all in the details. Schlage has recently launched a campaign called “Open Possibilities,” that brings door hardware to the forefront – as an accessory that can complete or enhance the look of any room.  Schlage® will open the possibilities to a whole new world of door decor.

are you ready to make this easy upgrade and change out your knobs? Schlage products are available online at Amazon.com and Build.com, as well as in retail locations including Home Depot and Lowe’s. to learn more about Schlage and its product offering, visit www.Schlage.com. or you can join the conversation online: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

pretty-door-knobsThis is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Schlage®.

Best Amazon Fire Apps for Kids

best-amazon-apps-for-kidsare you still looking for the perfect gift to get your kids this holiday season?  how about an Amazon Fire Kids Edition Tablet. we have been working hard with our first grader on his reading and have been looking for some additional support in our efforts. when we partnered with Amazon and learned about all the great learning games and apps that can be used with the Fire Kids Edition Tablet in addition to books and movie support, we thought it would make the perfect gift for him. it’s the the ideal blend of something that is both educational and entertaining for kids. they are getting their reading assignments done over winter break while also providing some entertainment and keeping them occupied during during holiday travel.

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Designed with kids in mind and best-in-class parental controls, you can manage usage limits, access to content, and set educational goals. Allowing you to guide what your kids are learning and watching, you can set a goal of 2 hours of reading before the ability to access their favorite movie. You can even create personalized profiles with age-appropriate content in Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, so you can share the device across the whole family.

Features of the Fire Kids Edition tablet

the Fire Kids Edition tablet is not a toy, it’s a full-feature Fire tablet with a 7″ IPS display and 16 GB of storage. you can also add a microSD card for up to 200 GB of additional storage. with the Fire Kids Edition tablet, you have access to over 13,000 age-appropriate videos, books, educational apps and games.

Education Goals – with Learn First, parents can block access to games and cartoons until after educational goals are met. They can also limit kids’ screen time by content type—for example, they may choose to limit videos and games, but make reading time unlimited.

FreeTime Unlimited – Amazon FreeTime Unlimited is an all-in-one subscription that brings together all the types of content that kids ages 3-12 love—including books, videos, educational apps, and games. you don’t have to spend time guessing what your kids will enjoy. Fire Kids Edition includes a year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited at no additional cost.

Web Access—With the FreeTime web browser, kids have access to more than 40,000 age-appropriate, hand-curated YouTube videos and websites.

Parental Controls – comes with Amazon FreeTime, a free app available exclusively for Amazon devices that gives parents a simple, engaging way to manage how kids use their devices, including innovative parental controls that encourage learning before play and that help manage screen time.

Shut off/Timer – Bed Time feature extends FreeTime’s existing Daily Time Limit controls to ensure kids aren’t staying up past their bedtimes on their device well into the twilight hours.

Camera – has a 2 megapixel rear-facing HD camera for taking high-resolution photos and 720p video, and a front-facing camera. enjoy free unlimited cloud storage for all Amazon content and photos taken with your Fire device. kids can explore their creative side with fun editing tools like adding stickers and drawings on their pictures, and parents can easily print them to hang, choose to share with friends and family, or auto-save to Cloud Drive. and remember, as always in Amazon FreeTime, kids are blocked from posting photos to social media.

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If they break it, Amazon will replace it.

really! no questions asked. accidents happen, so the 2-year worry-free guarantee includes coverage for anything that happens to your Fire tablet, including electrical and mechanical breakdowns. plus it comes with a case designed for little hands, protects against big drops. the Kid-Proof Case is designed to be durable and lightweight, fit perfectly in little hands without adding unnecessary weight. they come in blue, green and pink, feel like a foam cloud!

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Best Amazon Fire Apps for Kids

with the Fire Kids Edition tablet, you get unlimited, free access to 10,000 kid-friendly books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games with 1 year of Amazon FreeTime unlimited that is included with your purchase of the tablet. here are some of our favorite apps that can be uploaded to your Fire Kids Edition tablet:

Jobi’s Bistro – Jobi’s BistroJobi’s Bistro is a role-playing game developed for the toddler and preschool crowd. children can join the chefs of Jobi’s Bistro and help them run the café. engage in tasks like preparing food and washing dishes, as well as decorating and selling cupcakes.

LEGO DUPLO Food – get your food stand ready and open for business! this toddler-friendly game allows children build and serve ice creams, cakes and burgers to happy, hungry customers like Rabbit and Giraffe. Food must be stored correctly, and at the end of the day, it’s clean up time.

PBS KIDS Video – allows access to your local PBS station TV schedule. Every week, the app will introduce your child to a new “Weekly Pick,” a set of fun educational videos that will engage him or her in reading, science, math and more.

PBS KIDS Games – free learning games with your favorite PBS KIDS characters. the games feature top shows, including Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Wild Kratts, Super Why, The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!, Sesame Street, Dinosaur Train and more. new games for kids 2-8 will be added all the time that encourage children to engage in skills related to science, math, creativity and more in gameplay alongside their favorite characters!

Fisher-Price Baby – babies learn about animal names and the sounds animals make through interacting with engaging animations and sound effects! tap or tilt the screen to set a learning world in motion! there are two levels of play to grow with baby. Designed for babies 6 mos. & up.

ABCmouse.com – a multi-award winning early learning academy that offers a full online curriculum for preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten learners. it offers more than 5,000 fun and interactive learning activities that teach reading, math, science, social studies, music and art. it helps children become fully prepared for success in school.

Sago Mini Road Trip – select a destination, pack Jinja’s bags, choose a vehicle, and help her navigate her road trip. when you chang destinations, then a wardrobe change is a must; we love this implied lesson about how where you’re going can effect what to wear. Players can select from six destinations ranging from the mountains to the big city. choose one of fifteen vehicles including a race car, school bus, ice cream truck and even a bathtub on wheels or a pickle car.

Super Why: Alphabet Adventures – a collection of five interactive literacy games that help build strategies and skills to master the alphabet! with each game hosted by a different Super Reader, your child will be introduced to uppercase and lowercase letters and their names, the order of the alphabet, common letter sounds and writing letters in fun and exciting ways!

Think & Learn Code-a-pillar – is a set of puzzles that aim to introduce young kids to the underlying concepts behind coding and computer programming.

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{This post is sponsored by Amazon. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.}

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

Giveaway!!!!!

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!

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

Fun Ways to Play on Carpet with Kids

Fun Ways to Play on the Carpet with Kids!!!!!! Fun ideas to enjoy your carpet. – www.sandytoesandpopsicles.com BeautyofCarpet AdTracking Pixelat our house, we are carpet lovers. although we also love hardwood and tile, when we bought our home, any room that we would be spending a lot of time in was carpeted. my husband always said that he didn’t want to have to walk on cold tile or hardwood when he got up in the morning…so of course, we made sure that wouldn’t happen. we love our carpet so much, that i have partnered with the Carpet and Rug Institute to bring you this post. having carpet has made our home feel warm and inviting, and also quieter. you should of heard the echoing before we put in the carpeting. (keep reading to see how you can enter to win $500!)

Fun Ways to Play on the Carpet with Kids!!!!!! Fun ideas to enjoy your carpet. – www.sandytoesandpopsicles.com BeautyofCarpet Ad

we have carpeted the second story of our home a couple of times since we bought it, as our needs have changed as our family has grown. we started off with light colored carpet, which is my favorite. but once we had kids, a dark brown variegated color was a better choice. it sure doesn’t show all the dirt my boys and hubby bring in. and we like it thick and soft as we spend lots of time laying and playing on it. we love watching television together on the weekend nights, and piling the pillows and blankets on the floor to watch movies. the boys also spend hours sprawled out on the carpet playing cars and blocks. its great to have some comfy carpet to relax on….and with the baby coming, it will be nice to lay a blanket down and let her play. we got the thick padding, so it’s nice a soft.

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even our kitties love it.

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our bottom floor is hardwood, but in the living room we have a gigantic white area rug, which I love. white is my fave, but with three boys, i couldn’t carpet the entire house with it, so the area rug was a good compromise. this area has the least foot traffic, and even though i do let the boys play here, it has been really easy to keep clean. actually, carpet is really easy to clean…especially since all you have to do is run the vacuum. i love vacuum streaks! and did you know that studies show carpet actually captures allergens?!! i also make sure to spot clean it here and there, and then have a professional carpet cleaner come once a year to keep them looking new.

we pretty much play on our carpet everyday. my two youngest boys love there toy animals and cars. they will play for hours. i can give them a roll of wash tape and they will make roads and areas for the cars and animals. it’s pretty cool to see what they create.

Fun Ways to Play on the Carpet with Kids!!!!!! Fun ideas to enjoy your carpet – www.sandytoesandpopsicles.com BeautyofCarpet Ad Fun Ways to Play on the Carpet with Kids!!!!!! Fun ideas to enjoy your carpet – www.sandytoesandpopsicles.com BeautyofCarpet Ad Fun Ways to Play on the Carpet with Kids!!!!!! Fun ideas to enjoy your carpet – www.sandytoesandpopsicles.com BeautyofCarpet Adyou can also make carpet game boards using washi tape on the floor. tic tac toe is one the boys’ favorites.Fun Ways to Play on the Carpet with Kids!!!!!! Fun ideas to enjoy your carpet – www.sandytoesandpopsicles.com BeautyofCarpet Adi even let my boys practice their skateboarding tricks on the carpeting. they use a board without wheels to practice their balance and to get the hang of tricks before trying them out on the cement. it’s so much safer – and as a whole, carpet helps reduce slips and falls and minimizes injuries.

Fun Ways to Play on the Carpet with Kids!!!!!! Fun ideas to enjoy your carpet – www.sandytoesandpopsicles.com BeautyofCarpet Ad Fun Ways to Play on the Carpet with Kids!!!!!! Fun ideas to enjoy your carpet – www.sandytoesandpopsicles.com BeautyofCarpet Ad

as you can see, we get a lot of use out of our carpeting….and i wouldn’t have it an other way!

 do you love carpet as much as we do? please share your “Beauty of Carpet” stories in the comments below. 

You can win a $500 Visa Gift Card

to celebrate our love for carpet, The Carpet and Rug Institute is giving away a $500 Visa Gift Card to one lucky reader! Head over to visit the Carpet and Rug Institute and use the Rafflecopter widget at the bottom of the page to enter for a chance to win! What’s a great prize!

{Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Carpet and Rug Institute.}

I Got My Old Home Movies Put onto DVD with Southtree

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for over ten years, my mom and i had been discussing how to get our home VHS videos preserved onto DVDs or even made into digital files to view on our computers. she had even bought me an expensive computer device that was supposed to help me transfer them to DVD. however, i could never figure out how to use it, and it’s still there in my garage collecting dust. that is why i was over the moon to get to partner with Southtree, because they finally made my dreams come true! they made transferring my old home movies onto DVD easy and painless.  keep reading for an AMAZING DISCOUNT CODE!!!!!

How I got my Home Movies onto DVD

i can’t believe how easy it was! all i did was go online and choose the options i wanted. you can convert tapes to DVD or digital filedigitize film and even get it repaired, scan old photos and preserve radio tapes. then you gather up all your film or photos in a box, and send it to Southtree to be preserved. every item in your order is barcoded, and they send you status updates that let you track the progress of your order online. VHS_tapes_to_DVDi was thrilled at how easy it was and couldn’t wait to start watching my old movies. a few weeks later, i received everything back, ready to watch! how awesome is that.

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and the movies i ordered came back nicely wrapped and organized on DVDs and i also chose to get a thumb drive made so i could watch them directly on my computer. that was a great decision!How_to_Save_Your_VHS_Tapes Transfer_Old_Movies_to_DVD

i’m sure you have some home movies, photos and film deteriorating in your closet. what a treat it would be to preserve them digitally with Southtree so you can relive them, again and again. it would be awful for them to deteriorate beyond repair and not be able to ever enjoy them again. getting your old movies and photos digitized would make a great Christmas or Holiday gift for your loved ones! 

i couldn’t be more happy with the results…..

Here are MY special moments

let me share some snippets of the videos i received back. it’s a glimpse into my childhood and some memories of my first born son. one of the most anticipated videos i wanted to see was of my elementary school play Peter Pan. i was eleven years old, and i got to play Wendy Darling. it was such a fun experience, and the VHS tape wouldn’t play on the machine anymore. we knew it was on it’s last leg and deteriorating more and more each year. i was worried it wasn’t salvageable, but Southtree came through and now i have a DVD and a digital recording of the performance. it was also fun to hear the excitement my castmate who played Peter Pan had when i shared the video with him. he didn’t have any footage of the play, so it was a fun surprise for us to relive those fun 6th grade moments together.

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here is a short clip of me singing the Distant Melody lullaby to the Lost Boys. i can’t believe i was that brave to sing in front of a crowd. i could never do that today.

here i am in fourth grade presenting a report on Pocahontas.

and here are some photos of Jackson, my 13 year old when he was just a baby. the tape that these were on was actually broken. the tape had broken and it was unplayable. Southtree fixed it and i couldn’t even notice where it had been fixed. wow!!!!! i look so young here. i can’t believe how fast time flies. i was just a baby when i had him.

receiving all these home movies and video back from Southtree was the highlight of my month! it has been a very emotional month, and being able to watch these home movies of my childhood and of my son as a baby has really lifted me up. so much so that i am gathering all the rest of the VHS tapes i can find at my mom’s house to get digitalized and put on DVD. its going to be such a fun holiday season this year at our family get togethers, because i am going to surprise my family with all the movies. i can’t wait to sit around a cozy fire with treats and cocoa and watch the movies with them. what a special treat this has been.

Southtree Discount Code

use promo code POPSICLE to get 40% off your order. that’s a fabulous deal! discount cannot be combined with other offers. limit one use per household. not valid towards ForeverFiles or hard drives. only valid at southtree.com. expires 10/31/2016. get those orders in for the holidays!!!!!

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