Friday, February 27, 2015

The 2015 State Farm Neighborhood Assist Program

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

Neighbors across the country will soon have an exciting opportunity to help change their communities for the better through State Farm Neighborhood Assist®. This philanthropic program awards 40 causes a $25,000 grant. Anyone in the United States can submit a cause beginning March 9 through March 30. Ultimately, voters will decide which community improvement projects win big.

Returning for its fourth year, State Farm Neighborhood Assist asks individuals to identify causes that would help make their communities safer, stronger and better-educated. Up to 4,000 causes will be accepted. The State Farm Youth Advisory Board (YAB) will then narrow down the field, using a scoring rubric to identify the top 200 submissions. The public will have a chance to vote 10 times a day from May 14 through June 3 for their favorite causes from the list of finalists. The 40 causes that receive the most votes will win a $25,000 grant. The nominations and votes will be accepted exclusively through a free Facebook app.

Since the program began, State Farm has awarded $3 million to 120 communities across North America, supporting a wide variety of causes, including fighting childhood hunger, helping homeless veterans, revitalizing parks, improving literacy and offering athletic programs for children with disabilities.

We're written about the State Farm Neighborhood Assist program for a few years now and we really love it. We've even nominated causes within our own neighborhood. So I encourage you to check it out for yourself!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

They're Always Watching #privacyisnogame

I am an F-Secure Freedome Ambassador. All opinions are my own.

Last week I posted about F-Secure Freedome and how they are an amazing VPN network that makes you virtually invisible online. And why is that so important? Because I don't think that we should be tracked like animals. What I do in my time is my business. And that's why I personally use F-Secure Freedome. 

Downloading and using F-Secure Freedome is very easy too. Simply go to the website and click the button for the free 14 day trial. When you download the program, go to the subscription button on the left hand side bar and put in your code. That will give you your extra 90 days. Right now you can download a free 90 day trial of Freedome by using this code - qsf257.

After you have it all downloaded which only takes a few minutes, then you'll get a nice screen like this on your site:

When you see this, just click the protection button right in the middle and within a few seconds your connection will be secure and encrypted.

Right now I've had F-Secure on my computer for only 10 days and here's a screenshot of just how many tracking attempts and harmful websites were blocked:

So after only 10 days, I have 41,312 tracking attempts blocked. That's completely insane and very wrong. And 20 harmful sites were blocked as well. My husband has been ecstatic about F-Secure Freedome and has it on the computer non-stop. He really loves how efficient it is and he's glad that we'll have it for a year to try out.

If you want to learn more about F-Secure Freedome, please check out their video below:

How do you make sure to protect your computer? Do you think this free 90 day trial will help you out?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Have a Paddington Bear Day With Your Kids

I am a member of the Fandango Family Digital Network. All opinions are my own.

Last month while I was browsing through my daughter's home-school groups, I noticed that one group was going to have a Paddington Bear day. Since I used to watch Paddington when I was little and Mary started watching the animated series a few months back, I thought this would be a fun day for her to join in on. The day was planned to have crafts, food and stories, then ending with going to the theater to watch the movie.

Like I had said in a few other posts here, it's hard to find decent kids' movies that don't have inappropriate items in them. So going to the movies gets hard for us since we monitor what Mary does very intently. But when we do find a cute little movie, we get very excited about it. And that's why we really love Paddington.

So much in fact that we wanted to share some fun and easy ways to celebrate Paddington in your own home!

Making Paddington out of a toilet paper roll is a huge hit on Pinterest right now and it's super easy. And kid can do this with a little help and it's fun for adults too! For the full tutorial, click here.

Another fun craft is to make a Paddington paper plate friend. Paper plate friends are super easy to make too and you can make them for all your kid's favorite characters. Soon you could even have a collection of them! For the full tutorial, click here.

And here's an adorable idea for homemade marmalade jars without all the fuss! Any kid would love to spoon some of this out of the jar while they're watching the movie! For the easy way to make these, click here.

Make sure to also check out the reviews of Paddington on Fandango Family!

Have you seen the Paddington bear movie yet? Did your kids enjoy it?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

All Mothers Should Have a Safe Pregnancy and Birth #KanguMama #IC #sponsored

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central and Kangu. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Do you remember when you gave birth to your children? How about your pregnancy? With Mary, my pregnancy started out rough. I was very sick and was actually loosing weight with her in the beginning. The half way mark in my pregnancy I could finally keep some food down, but near the end I got HELLP syndrome which is life threatening. I was put on bedrest because I couldn't even walk somewhere without my feet swelling. And when I eventually had Mary, it was an emergency C-section because I almost died. 

Giving birth is supposed to be a natural and special thing but sometimes it's not for all moms to be. Sometimes it can be very scary and also life threatening. I believe that all women should have the benefit of a safe pregnancy and birth. And that's why I support Kangu

Kangu is a non-profit organization with a big dream: that every woman in the world has a safe birth. Kangu’s crowdfunding platform is designed to help put an end to preventable maternal and newborn deaths by enabling donors to support life-saving health services for pregnant women – mamas – and their babies in need, globally. Every day, 800 women – nearly 300,000 every year – die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth; 99% of these deaths occur in developing countries.

One scary thought is that before I went into surgery to have Mary, the doctor told me they only had about 20 minutes before I would die if I didn't have Mary. I came out safe because I was in an amazing hospital in the US. But  if I would have been in a developing country, I would have left Mary motherless. That's really something that has crossed my mind a lot. There is no way to know if your pregnancy will go as planned no matter who you are.

On Kangu you can help a pregnant mom in need for as little as $10. In developing countries, having children is a lot less expensive. Mary's birth was well over $20,000 because I stayed in the hospital for a week after having her.

If you want to help a mom in need, I encourage you to check out Kangu. Also enter below for a chance to win one of 5 $100 donations that Kangu will make to a Kangu mom! The contest ends February 25th so make sure to enter soon!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Help Ditch the Habit with Pica Pacifier + Giveaway!

How long did it take your kids to leave their pacifier behind? Mary personally never used a pacifier. That's mostly because from the second she was born, she started sucking on her two front fingers instead. And even through the years, that habit has yet to stop. And a finger sucking habit is hard to break because you can't just throw them away!

I personally was a pacifier baby but my mom always tells about how I got rid of it so easy. One day I just threw it away and never looked back. But not all kids are that lucky to break the habit so easily. So if this sounds like your kids, then they need to check out Pica Pacifier. It's a great new app that helps your kids kick the pacifier habit.

In the app you will learn together how to break the pacifier habit and receive a personalized diploma for your kid saying he is all grown up to share it with your family and friends. You can also play the "Pica Fun" games and watch a 10-minute video in which our expert adviser explains why your toddler should be weaned from his pacifier, when is the best time for weaning, how to wean your child from his pacifier, how to make the weaning process an enjoyable milestone, and what you should avoid when weaning your child from his pacifier.

• 10 story pages containing illustrations and animation
• Awesome interactive objects on every page
• 4 cool games: Pica Puzzle, Pica Eraser, Pica Color and Pica Memory
• Record your own voice so your child can listen to a personalized story
• A 10-minute video featuring our expert clinical child psychologist
• A personalized diploma for your kid
• No advertising
• No in-app purchases

Currently Pica Pacifier is available on iTunesGoogle Play & Amazon for $2.99. Also from the same company, there is Pica Sharing which is a free app that teaches kids about sharing.

Make sure to enter below too for a chance to win a free download of Pica Pacifier! There will be 3 winners!

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