Thursday, July 24, 2014

First Things First: Resources to Strengthen Families ~ Plus, a MoonPie Family Prize Pack Giveaway! #FirstThingsFirst

First Things First (FTF) is an award-winning, not-for-profit organization that is dedicated to strengthening families. It is a resource that collaborates with and is supported by a broad cross-section of community organizations, groups and individuals. It accomplishes its mission through meaningful media messaging and skill-building classes.

Did you know:
• 24 million children are growing up in homes without their biological fathers.
• Only 30% of divorces are due to infidelity, addiction or abuse; 70% of divorces are due to couples feeling disconnected.
• Couples who manage to devote time specifically to one another at least once a week are markedly more likely to enjoy high-quality relationships and lower divorce rates, compared to couples who do not devote as much couple time to one another.
• Fathers provide unique benefits to their daughters through their active and positive presence from the time of birth all the way through adulthood.

The second statistic above especially spoke to me because my husband and I often feel like we’re just not on the same page! Often, we make assumptions about the “hidden meaning” behind what the other is saying, only to find that we’ve been completely wrong. Watch the humorous FTF video below, which shows how a typical couple usually communicates.

Other interesting videos from FTF include:
Save Your Marriage
Daddy/Daughter Relationships
Dad's Way
Date Your Spouse

Summer is all about family and spending quality time with the ones you love. And the more skills you develop, the more time you invest in your family and your relationships. Visit for more resources to help strengthen your family!

One lucky winner will receive a MoonPie / First Things First Family Prize Pack, which includes:
- His and Hers MoonPie T-shirts (2 Large T-shirts)
- 2 Boxes of MoonPies

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends at 11:59 PM EST on Sunday, August 3, 2014. Each household is only eligible to win one (1) First Things First Moon Pie Prize Pack via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. The prize will be sent via FedEx or USPS. No P.O. Boxes please. Enter through the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: The assets included within this post were delivered to me to promote First Things First. I received an Amazon gift card as a thank-you gift.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bring the Outdoors Inside with Bounce Bursts and These Tips from Interior Designer Thom Filicia

It has been raining so much here in South Florida this summer that I’m really starting to miss being outdoors. We’ve been stuck inside, avoiding the raindrops and lightning -- not a great way to experience the summer! Fortunately, I can compensate a little bit by bringing a few of the scents of summer indoors. With Bounce Bursts and Bounce Dryer Sheets, both in an Outdoor Fresh scent, I can at least fool my senses into thinking that I’m experiencing the wonderful fresh aromas of nature every time I put on my newly laundered clothes.

Celebrity interior designer Thom Filicia also has some ideas for transforming your indoor spaces into outdoor spaces. Here are his tips:

Don’t be afraid of bright colors.
By painting your walls with a bright color, the essence and vibrancy of the outdoors can be translated inside. For those who aren’t risk takers, focusing on one accent wall or introducing bright colors through the use of throw pillows or blankets is an easy (and maybe less daunting) way to bring the outdoors indoors.

Transform your fabrics.
By washing your clothes with Bounce Bursts, you will take the Outdoor Fresh scent with you everywhere you go. You can also add the beads to a dish or vase to transform the scent of your entire laundry room.

Add fresh flowers to your space.
By placing fresh-cut flowers in your favorite vase on your desk or indoor tables, you can enjoy the scent AND beauty of the outdoors while indoors. And… don’t stress … the flowers don’t need to coordinate with the color of your sofa or office furniture!

Switch up your patterns and layer your materials.
Don’t be afraid to be playful with your fabrics, adding in floral-inspired patterns and colors, along with a mix of materials, from wood to metal or stone, will help you evoke the feeling of being outside while lounging and even working indoors. You can also wash linens and other washable fabrics with Bounce Bursts for an added boost of Outdoor Fresh scent.

Blur the lines.
There’s really no difference in how you decorate from indoors to outdoors, so don’t be afraid to blur the lines. There are easy, functional and beautiful ways to use outdoor items, such as indoor/outdoor rugs in a kitchen or laundry room, outdoor fabrics in a children’s playroom, or all-weather blankets next to a fireplace or in a living room to hold extra blankets.

Invest in outdoor-inspired artwork.
There’s nothing better than looking up at a formerly blank wall to see a piece of artwork that evokes the spirit of the great outdoors. A favorite picture from an outdoor adventure, an abstract painting that reminds you of a meadow or a blurred image of a sunset – introducing outdoor-inspired artwork can help to boost your mood and elevate the look and feel of your indoor space.

I love Thom’s ideas for bringing the outdoors inside. I’ve always been a huge fan of color; it just lists my mood, especially when I’m stuck inside thanks to poor weather outside. And, of course, I especially love his tip for using Bounce Bursts when doing the laundry. I love the fragrance, and it’s great that I can adjust the strength just by changing the number of beads I use. Simply toss them into the washer, and be prepared for wonderful-smelling clothes! And keep the freshness going by using an Outdoor Fresh scented Bounce dryer sheet when you’re drying your clothes.

Visit to learn more about Bounce Bursts. Then head out when the rain clears to pick some up at your local retailer. And don’t forget to incorporate Thom Filicia’s tips for more ideas on how to make your home feel like you’re living in the great outdoors!

Clue: A Movie Mystery Adventure ~ Now on DVD from Shout! Factory Kids

About the Movie:
Clue: A Movie Mystery Adventure features the beloved characters inspired by the world’s most famous crime-solving board game, Clue. Follow six very different teenagers – Dimitri, Liz, Lucas, Agnes, Seamus and Whitney – who are all enjoying their everyday lives when they witness a dramatic incident. Unfairly accused of creating a hoax, they team up to find out the truth. As they embark on a mysterious adventure beyond their imaginations, they work as a team to discover hidden treasures, decipher cryptic knowledge, and uncover a secret society. In the end, they learn they have more in common than they thought.

My Thoughts:
I watched this movie with one of my ten-year-old sons, and he absolutely loved it. He told his brother later, “You’ve got to watch this movie with me!” When the teenagers in the movie think they’ve witnessed a murder, but nobody believes them, they set out to uncover the truth behind what they saw. They all work together, using their intellect and unique talents, to reveal pieces of a puzzle that only leave them more and more mystified. In doing so, they learn that their initial judgments about each other may not have been as accurate as they believed when they get to know each other better. The story is fast-moving and keeps everyone guessing, and there are some unexpected plot turns thrown in, too! Clue: A Movie Mystery Adventure is a great addition to Family Movie Night and will entertain both children and adults!

This post contains my Amazon affiliate link.

Children’s Book Review: "Me and My Big Mouse," by Ethan Long

Have you ever had a friend who was just a little too clingy? That’s the theme in the new children’s book, Me and My Big Mouse, by Ethan Long. Michael, a little boy, has a big mouse named Bo living with him. He can be fun to hang out with, but Bo can get annoying at times because he has no boundaries! He hates to be alone, so he wants to be with Michael all the time, whether he’s eating breakfast, sleeping, or even going to the bathroom! What’s a boy to do? At first, he tries the obvious: telling Bo to go away. But that hurts Bo’s feelings and doesn’t make Michael feel good either. Finally, Michael comes up with an idea for a “contract” that sets a few rules for when and how they’ll spend time together. Now, both Michael and Bo are happy because Bo gets to hang out with Michael, while Michael can have some “alone time,” too.

Long’s illustrations are bright and funny, and kids will laugh out loud seeing the big mouse playing basketball, hogging the bed, and trying to ride a scooter. And Michael’s reactions are exactly how a little boy would respond when someone in his life is being “a big giant pain”! The solution to the problem is a great example for kids to follow when they need to set some boundaries for the friends in their life who may be coming over just a little too often. Compromise, they learn, is possible. Learn more about author and illustrator Ethan Long and his wonderful new book, Me and My Big Mouse, at

This post contains my Amazon affiliate link.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Winners for the Week of July 13, 2014

Hoodie Bear or Sweater Bear from Teddy Bears Personalized

Congratulations to the winner: Cassandra C.M.!

CLICK HERE for another chance to win a hoodie bear or sweater bear from Teddy Bears Personalized!

Life AD 2: MIA: Missing in Atman, by Michelle E. Reed (eBook) & $10 Amazon Gift Card

Congratulations to the winner: Jody D.!

Live Happy Magazine: 1-Year Subscription

Congratulations to the winner: Amy C.!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Super Saturday Giveaway Linky (July 19, 2014)

I don't even want to think about how quickly this summer is passing! So, to keep my mind from going there, I'm going to focus on giveaways! I hope you'll join me by entering some of the awesome giveaways listed in my right sidebar, as well as those in the linky below. And if you are hosting some giveaways on your blog or website, feel free to include them in the linky, too. Don't forget to tell all of your Facebook and Twitter friends about this page. Enjoy the summer!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Another Summer Giveaway from Teddy Bears Personalized! (US/CAN)

Thanks to Teddy Bears Personalized, we’re celebrating the arrival of summer with giveaways all summer long! As many of you know, I am a HUGE fan of the personalized bears and other plush animals from Teddy Bears Personalized. They make great gifts for everyone, from little ones to grandparents. And they’re the perfect way to show someone how much they mean to you because every item is unique. It's easy and fun to place an order from Teddy Bears Personalized. Just head over to to:
  • Pick the animal. (Bears, dogs, bunnies, giraffes, monkeys and more!)
  • Pick the hoodie or sweater. (Every color of the rainbow!)
  • Specify a special name or message to be embroidered. (Personalize it!)
  • Select the personalized card. (All occasions!)
  • Enter the mailing address and payment information. (Great prices and free U.S. shipping!)

In no time, you have the perfect gift! And here’s another great reason to love Teddy Bears Personalized: They’re offering THREE giveaways this summer just to readers of Susan Heim on Parenting! We just finished up the first one, but we still have two to go. Keep reading to find out how you can enter to win. And don't forget to show your love for Teddy Bears Personalized by visiting their website at and joining them on Facebook!


One lucky winner will receive his or her choice of a personalized Hoodie Bear or Sweater Bear from Teddy Bears Personalized! To enter, simply fill out the easy Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is open to residents of the United States and Canada and ends at 11:59 PM EST on Friday, August 15, 2014.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Witches of East End: Season 1 Now on DVD! #WitchEEDVD

When I heard about the TV show, Witches of East End, I knew it was a series that I would love! Unfortunately, I never got around to watching it last season, so I was thrilled to hear that Season 1 is now on DVD! My husband and I both just finished watching it together, and it is such wicked fun! We’ve been taping the Season 2 episodes on TV so we can now get caught up with the whole series.

If you haven’t yet been able to catch Witches of East End, here’s a synopsis of the show:

Witches of East End stars Emmy award-winning Julia Ormond (Temple Grandin) as Joanna Beauchamp, an ageless mother trying to keep a supernatural secret from her daughters, Freya (Jenna Dewan-Tatum; Step Up) and Ingrid (Rachel Boston; (500) Days of Summer) so they can lead a normal life. But when Joanna’s estranged sister (M├Ądchen Amick; Twin Peaks) arrives to warn her of an evil entity out to destroy them all, Joanna is forced to reveal the truth about her family’s magical legacy. Co-starring Virginia Madsen (Sideways), Eric Winter (Days of Our Lives) and Daniel DiTomasso (Beauty and the Beast), this powerful and enchanting drama series will cast its spell on you!

I love all of the strong female characters in the show. The two generations of sister witches are so much fun to watch! And the season finale left so many storylines open that my husband and I are dying to begin watching Season 2 so we can see what happens. I won’t give away any spoilers (although it is SO tempting), but I can tell you that Season 1 was filled with surprises, shockers, and plenty of action. Highly entertaining! I hope you’ll pick up a copy of Witches of East End: The Complete First Season on DVD, whether you want to relive Season 1 or discover a whole new exciting show!

This post contains my Amazon affiliate link.

Monday, July 14, 2014

A Back-to-School Blog Party and Blogger Giveaway from Master Lock for Products and a $50 Visa Gift Card! #LSSS

I’ve mentioned before that I am a lucky member of Master Lock’s Live Secure Safety Squad. All of the bloggers on the squad share helpful tips, videos, giveaways and product reviews each month courtesy of Master Lock! This month, we’d like to invite other bloggers to join us in helping families prepare for heading back to school. The Live Secure Safety Squad members will be sharing their best back-to-school ideas and products on August first, but we’d love to get some inspiration from other bloggers. We’d like to know:

• What are your best back-to-school safety tips?
• Do you have any cute or funny first-day photos?
• Will any of Master Lock’s products help in getting ready for school?

Please share a post on your blog addressing the questions listed above, and then enter the link to your post in the Rafflecopter form below. I will draw THREE bloggers on August 2 to win a prize pack containing all three items below:

• Master Lock 1500eXD dialSpeed Digital Combination Padlock

• a Master Lock 1535DWD Set-Your-Own Combination Lock

• and a $50 Visa Gift Card for Any Other Back-to-School Needs!

Just post your best back-to-school tips and photos on your blog by 11:59 PM EST on August 1, 2014 and enter the link to your article in the Rafflecopter form below. (The article must be published between July 14 and August 1, 2014. It cannot be a previously published article.) Earn bonus points for featuring a Master Lock product!

a Rafflecopter giveaway