Cool Ways to Save Summer Memories

I received a set of products from HP to help us have more summer fun – and am so excited to share them with you! #HPFamilyTime.

“In the happiest of our childhood memories, our parents were happy, too.” – Robert Brault… I love this quote. It seems so appropriate for summer, since that’s the time that most of us truly try to slow down, enjoy life, and cherish the little moments and memories. Snuggling with the littles in a hammock. Lazing the day away on the water. Picking dandelions. Or just swinging on the swing set, staring at the clouds. Good times, right?

For me, photos are so darn important. They are what help me keep those small summer moments fresh. I love to browse my photos books, see prints on the wall, share pics with friends. And now, I have a super duper easy peasy new way to do that – My HP ENVY 5530 e-All-in-One printer! It is absolute must for every busy mom out there this summer, seriously.

HP Envy All-In-One Printer

Yes, this is a printer. Not the first thing you think of when you picture must-have’s for summer fun. But seriously – You are going to fall in love. Keep reading to learn why…

Summer graphic using HP products [Read more...]

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5 Epic Father’s Day Gift Ideas

I have been compensated for this #GreatestDad Father’s Day gifts idea post in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

I would share a photo of here of my Mister, but he’d kill me. He might let me photograph an arm while it’s showing off a recipe he’s making on the grill. Maybe a foot that accidentally gets into the photo. But he’s not much of a fan of fame, lol. So – instead, I’ll just have to tell you about my favorite guy, and some of the awesome gifts he helped inspire as I put together this epic Father’s Day gift ideas list.

Epic Father's Day Gift Ideas for the Entertaining Type Dad

There are a lot of different types of guys – gizmo gurus, fitness fanatics, memory makers – but my Mister falls into the entertainer category. We don’t go out much, and have been working on creating some pretty awesome spaces here at the house, since we entertain a lot. We’ve got a bit pool, a sweet patio space, a huge “man cave” style shop where he and his friends work on race cars, and a giant back field filled with a garden and kids play area. And I’ll admit it – while I want to get him a Father’s Day gift he’ll love, I want to spend my money on something the rest of us will enjoy too :) So here are a few of my FAVE gift ideas, and why. And I’d love comments later on which one you think I should get – it’s such a tough choice when I shop at Best Buy, seriously.

BeerTender

Krups BeerTender: This would be the perfect addition to my Mister’s “Man Cave” out in the shop, for just a little over a hundred bucks. And, it would be super fun to bring out when we have pool parties, BBQs, and… well, any other darn time we entertain. It has an LED temp indicator to let you know when your beer is frosty cold enough. The sleek design works in your kitchen, den, man cave, movie room, anywhere. And it fits perfectly with DraughtKegs you can buy at most stores. [Read more...]

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How Tech Can Help Your Family Have More Summer Fun

I received a set of products from HP to help us have more summer fun – and am so excited to share them with you! #HPFamilyTime

“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.” – Sam Keen… Ahhhh, summer. Here in central Washington state, we have four very distinct seasons, which I love. As I’ve gotten to travel around the country the past few years, I appreciate our weather even more: As much as I adore the sunshine, I would be bored of it if that’s all I ever saw. But right now, after a chilly spring, I am SO incredibly ready for Mother Nature to bring on the heat and the sun. {When you talk about summer, do you start to hear Olaf singing the summer song in your head? Tell me it’s not just me…. #FrozenMusicIsSoAddicting.}

So, as the weather here is finally warming up, and I’m doing my own dreaming of summer – it’s time for us to plan our summer adventures! We bought a camper last year, and want to plan a couple of big camping trips with friends. I’m hoping to have my brother and his kids join us at the end of summer for a trip to Great Wolf Lodge, here in Washington. And – in the next few weeks Mike and I will load up the girls and head out on a road trip. Somewhere within a few hours from here, but we haven’t decided where yet. Maybe a trip to the zoo over near Seattle, or a fun trip to see the Bavarian charm of Leavenworth. The Pacific Northwest has so many gorgeous places to visit – it’s hard to choose!

One thing I DO know about our trip is that we’ll be bringing some amazing technology along with us. Yes, I’m a big fan of spending “unplugged” family time together – but I’m also a total tech junkie, and love how it can add so much more enjoyment to a trip. Check out my new love – the amazing new HP Pavilion x360:

  • You can transition seamlessly from working, to video chatting, to browsing the web, to watching a movie, to playing a game, to reading a book on a single touch device that is priced about the same as an entry level touch notebook.
  • It converts to let you work and play in the ideal mode: from notebook to stand to tent to tablet mode, just by flipping the screen. {Which is where the “360″ part of it’s name comes from.}
  • When you need to get some work done – answer email, write a paper, prepare a presentation – it’s a notebook. This is important, since I always have work to do, and Mike’s oldest daughter will have summer school courses to keep up with.
  • When you want to watch a movie, fold it and watch a movie without the keyboard in the way – it’s an entertainment viewer. Perfect for keeping Abby entertained on a long car ride.
  • When you want to play a touch based game turn it to “tent mode” – it’s a game screen.
  • When you want to relax and surf the web, read a book or have fun with You Tube – it’s a tablet (keyboard is disabled when in tablet mode.) And it’s small enough to fit into my purse, to grab at a moment’s notice if we have a toddler meltdown approaching.

HP 360 - the All-in-one computer every family needs!

This bad boy is going to make traveling with kids, while keeping up with work, so much easier. It’s so super versatile, very lightweight and easy to grab and go – and how fun is the color? So bright and cheerful – which is what summer fun is all about. Awesome, right?

Summer family fun - pool time!

“Hey! It’s summer! Be free and happy and danceful and uninhibited and now-y!” – Terri Guillemets

We’re also planning a lot of “Staycation” style fun this year too. As you can see – the pool is almost ready to go. We’re hoping to open it up for the first swim party this weekend – my birthday is Thursday, Mike’s oldest daughter’s birthday is Friday, it’ll be Memorial Day weekend – it all combines into a great big reason to celebrate. {Not that I need a reason. You know me. I like to party.} I’m putting together a summer bucket list for the kids and I {I’ll be posting it soon – stay tuned!} And I’ve been collecting some super fun ideas on my Summer Family Fun board on Pinterest too, so be sure to check that out. And this all-in-once PC from HP is going to bring a ton of fun to our staycation adventures too:

  • Abby and I can snuggle in and watch evening movies in the hammock.
  • I can keep up with emails while laying out by the pool.
  • I can make party playlists and bring this out to the patio – it’s got amazing Beats Audio sound, which rocks.
  • We can use the built-in web cam to Skype with grandpa, and help him feel like he’s a part of our summer fun, even if he’s far away.
  • I just bought Abby a subscription for ABCMouse.com, and she’s having SO much more fun doing the activities on this awesome touchscreen tablet than she would have on my regular laptop.

I hate to sound old, but… When I was a kid, I remember getting our first Atari, and playing River Raid. I remember the first time I ever got to use a computer, in 3rd grade, and thought that playing Oregon Trail was about the coolest, most high-tech thing ever. Technology has sure come a long way, baby. And – be sure come back next week to learn more about the uh-MAY-zing things our new printer can do, how to get your ink auto-magically sent to you before you run out, and more. And follow the #HPFamilyTime hashtag to see regular updates of how we’re using these fab tech tools to make this summer more memorable! Or if you can’t wait, take a peek here at some of the links to the products to learn more right now:

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How to You Listen to Music? #AudioFest

The reviewer {that means me :)} 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. But as always – these are my real opinions, 100%. #AudioFest @BestBuy 

Audio Fest at Best Buy

I’m a music lover. An eclectic music lover. Where some people need silence to concentrate when working – I need music in the background. I need music playing all day – when I get ready for the day in the morning, when I clean the house – and let’s not forget dance parties in the kitchen while we cook dinner :) And, because I have a really wide range of music that I love, it’s been totally amazing the past few years to get an iPhone, to discover Pandora, and learn that there are awesome speakers that can play my choice of streaming music wherever I am in the house – bathroom, kitchen, or even by the pool when we entertain in the summer. Love-love. I also come from a big family filled with musicians….

Music Lovers unite

This is my younger brother James, who’s been in a band for about 10 years now. {And, this rad, totally randomly snapped pic, came from my point and shoot I got from Best Buy too.} So, since I’m a music lover, it explains why I’m super excited that my absolute fave store for gadgets and tech gear is celebrating the love of music this month with their Audio Fest event. A little more about what it is, and why it rocks my socks: [Read more...]

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How do You Juggle it All Each Day?

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of VTech Communications for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Are you a multitasking mom?… Bahahahaha. That was funny, right? Is there any mom out there who’s not a multitasker? I mean, we take care of kids, work inside or outside the home, do house work, run errands, cook, clean, organize, plan events, host parties…. And every once in awhile, we get the chance to take a 3 minute shower while the minions bang on the door repeatedly asking what we’re doing in there. I mean, motherhood definitely has it’s perks, for sure. But it is a challenging job – and any tip or trick that can make it a little easier is worth sharing. Which is why I’ve got a great “Tech Tuesday” product to share with you guys today…

Busy mom tips [Read more...]

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Best Buy Mobile Specialty Stores

Have I ever told you how much I dread shopping for a new cell phone or calling plan? There are a few reasons I hate cell phone shopping: Staff who aren’t knowledgeable about the products. Even worse, staff who do know their stuff, but who value their commission more than finding the right phone for me. I’ve been debating changing wireless providers for awhile, and that’s tough too. I don’t want to visit 5 different stores to learn about 5 different brands. But ladies – I’ve found a better way. Follow me, and I’ll show you the way to simpler smartphone shopping….

The easiest way to shop for smartphones and tablets [Read more...]

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Nabi 2 Disney Special Edition – See it in Action

Looking for the best kids tablet? Look no further… Let me introduce you all to the nabi 2 Disney Edition Tablet, available exclusively this holiday season from my fave peeps over at Best Buy. {I received a complimentary nabi 2 tablet to test out for this review – everything that follows are my own honest rambling opinions, as always…}

nabi 2 Disney Special Edition

I am super lucky-ducky to have gotten to work with the Best Buy team for the past year or so, and I’ve gotten to try out a lot of their super cool new products as they come out. And while this is of course a ton of fun for us – the real goal is so that I can share some real-life feedback about these sweet new gadgets with you guys. You know, the stuff you really want to know about. You can find the product specs and technical info on the websites – but you want the skinny on how they work in real life, with real crazy kids. So, I’m here to give you some {hopefully!} helpful insight into one of the hottest holiday gift items of the season – a kids tablet that rocks for little ones and their parents. Check it…

how to choose the best kid's tablet computer

I can’t believe all of the technology that exists for kids these days. I hate to show my age, but…. When I was a kid, we had an Atari. I remember the excitement of things like the first Nintendo. The Walkman and cassette tapes. Heck – do you remember how freakin’ awesome it was to play Oregon Trail on a computer? My nephews don’t believe me that when I was in middle school a kid having a cell phone was unheard of – in high school the cool kids just started to carry pagers. What a long way the world of tech has come, right? My oldest nephew has friends in 3rd grade with nicer iPhones than I have, and every kid has a tablet on their Christmas list this year. And, the nabi gives you some serious power and programs, at a price that won’t blow your whole holiday budget. [Read more...]

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