Let’s Turn Black Friday Red, White, & Blue

If you love to shop “Made in the USA” boy do I have a giveaway for you! Along with a bunch of other bloggers, I’m co-hosting a mega giveaway of American made products and gifts for kids.

This giveaway runs from Black Friday and through December 7, with winners selected each day during the first week of December.

Like the fun gift exchanges we all enjoy with friends, the first winner will have their first choice of prize, and so on, continuing until this huge pile of American-made treasures is in the hands of our readers, just in time for Christmas giving.

Prize Sponsors:

Huge thanks to these fabulous sponsors who offered their American-made products for this fun giveaway. This list of companies is a fantastic source for finding made in USA gifts. Before or after you enter, take a moment to click around and get to know our favorite resources for kids’ stuff made in the USA. Oh, and be sure to follow them on social media to show your support and to hear about upcoming products and promotions.

K’Nex | On Facebook | On Twitter | On Pinterest
K’Nex are the world’s most creative construction and building toys.
Prize: K’Nex Classics 50 Model Building Set with over 700 pieces

Piggy Paint | On Facebook | On Twitter | On Pinterest
Natural, Non-toxic Nail Polish, “Natural As Mud”
Prize: MistleToes Gift Set

Oh Say USA | On Facebook | On Twitter | On Pinterest
Made in USA Store for one-stop All-American-made shopping online.
Prize: All American Toy Collection in a handmade stocking

Pure Play Kids | On Facebook | On Twitter | On Pinterest
Battery-free, Creative Toys with a Focus on Toys Made in USA.
Prize: Wooden Fire Truck Toy

KeepAmerica.com | On Facebook | On Twitter
An Online Source for Things Made in the USA, including toys.
Prize: A $100 gift certificate 

Vermont Teddy Bear Co. | On Facebook | On Twitter | On Pinterest
Gifts & teddy bears stuffed with love in Vermont.
Prize: 15″ Hoodie Footie Bear

Cuddle Smart | On Facebook | On Twitter | On Pinterest
Smart Textiles for Smart Parents! Antimicrobial Baby Products.
Prize: Fold & Go Antimicrobial Changing Pad

Zooguu | On Facebook | On Twitter 
Plush toys, handmade just for you!
Prize: Medium Plush Toy of your choice

Channel Craft | On Facebook 
Authentic American Toys, Games, & Puzzles
Prize: $10 toy, game, or puzzle of your choice

Tailgate 500 | On Facebook | On Twitter
An addicting car racing table game for parties or family game night.
Prize: A Tailgate 500 Game Set

Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty | On Facebook | On Twitter
Play with your Thinking Putty at home, school, work, the car, anywhere! Prize: A Trio of Tins of Thinking Putty

Hank Player USA | On Facebook | On Twitter | On Pinterest
Cool graphic tees for infants, toddlers and boys and girls of all ages.
Two Prizes: 2 long sleeved t-shirts, winners choose

Seven Acre Toys | On Facebook | On Twitter | On Pinterest
Fun, safe, and environmentally friendly all natural wooden toys.
Prize: Maple & Walnut Start Stacker Toy

Butterscotch Blankees | On Facebook | On Twitter | On Pinterest
Personalized gifts with love. Blankets, pillows, accessories & dresses.
Prize: A full-sized, personalized acrylic blanket

Our Promotional Sponsors:
The following sites are showing their USA Love by co-hosting this event on their blogs.  Take a moment to get to know these fabulous bloggers who write about a wide range of topics. This season, they are helping to turn Black Friday Red, White, & Blue!


USA Love List: Stuff We Love, Made in the USA on Facebook | Twitter Pinterest

How to Enter: 

We like to keep our giveaways flexible and allow our readers to enter in whatever ways they are most comfortable. There are a LOT of entry options below, but don’t be overwhelmed. They are not required… however, the more entry options you complete, the more chances you’ll have to win. The more entries the better because you could even win more than one prize! Some entry options are available for daily entry so bookmark us and come back!
Just click the Do It! button for further instructions on each entry.  Prizes will begin to be distributed on 12/1 and this giveaway will close at midnight on 12/6. The winners will be randomly selected, verified for correct entry participation, and notified by email.
If you’ve already entered one contest on USA Love List, entering another will be even easier. Visit USA Love List’s Giveaways Page to find out about other active offers to join.

Easy paper plate Leaf Wreath Craft

I got it in my head that I needed to do *something* crafty for Thanksgiving with the little guy. I really wanted to do a felt hand print turkey but didn’t feel like running to the store for materials.

So I needed another idea and since we are blessed (cursed?) with tons of trees in our little yard I thought a LEAF WREATH would be perfect and easy. So off we went on a scavenger hunt for beautiful Fall leaves.

From trees to bushes we found leaves of all shapes, sizes, and colors. We even clipped a cluster of dried out hydrangeas that turned out to be a perfect accent piece on our wreath.

Un-pressed leaves will shrivel up.

If you don’t have a backyard to “shop” from this is a perfect excuse to get outside and visit a local park.

After you have your leaves you are going to have to press them so they don’t completely shrivel up in a crunchy mess like ours started to do. Oops!

At this point, I went looking for a paper phone book but then remembered I’ve taken to throwing them out as soon as they are delivered. Darn it!

Press leaves in a book so they dry out flat.

Ideally, you should let the leaves be for a week or so.

Flying by the seat of my crafting pants, I only let ours sit for a night.

It’s been a few days since we made our wreath and some of our leaves are curling up but overall it’s still a door-worthy wreath.

Next step, grab a paper plate and cut the center out of it.

Start with the biggest leaves first and begin gluing all around your paper plate wreath base.

Then it’s as simple as layering on other leaves from biggest to smallest while using your artistic license to mix up the colors and shapes.

We used tacky glue (my favorite for crafting) for the most part, but the the pine sprigs and hydrangea required me to bust out the glue gun.

Finally, what’s a good craft without some glitter? We globbed on different colored glitter glue and then spread it out with a paint brush to give our leaf wreath a little shine!

This is a craft that can be done with a large age range that will result in a wreath you’ll be proud to hang on your door! And best of all, it’s super easy  and inexpensive with the biggest hurdle being the part where you should plan ahead and press the leaves.

Small Businesses Embrace Social Media Marketing

Vertical Response just released an interesting infographic. They surveyed 462 small businesses on how much time and money they spend on social media activities, including finding and sharing content on popular social networks and blogging, and what tasks take the most time.

Bottom line, more small businesses are catching onto social media marketing and are spending more resources on it.

Forty-three percent of respondents spend six or more hours per week on social media activities for their business.

Nearly half of the small businesses who blog spend up to three hours per blog post on at least a weekly basis – time that, prior to having a blog, would have been used on other business activities. Some spend even more time per post. And they should! As easy it looks, a good quality post doesn’t get slapped together in a few minutes.

A company truly invested in social media marketing will then spend more time promoting the post that just took hours to prepare on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus, etc.

Small businesses are recognizing the increasing importance of generating content for social media.

Of course, everything comes at a cost, whether that be time or money. So the question now becomes how small business should spend their time and money on social media?

The answer will be different for everyone. It could be a complete DIY job, hiring an employee or contractor to focus on social media, consulting with a social media expect for training, or completely outsourcing to an agency.

Hurricane Sandy: A Tale of Caution

So many people on the East Coast have been affected by Hurricane Sandy in one way or another. We personally lost power for an evening and our town held a rescheduled trick-or-treat day on November 3rd due to so many being without power for many days.

But I wanted to share my brother’s story with you. He lives in the Pocono Mountains of PA. Power outages in any storm are not uncommon around there. So it was no surprise when the long arms of Sandy knocked his power our pretty early in the storm.

Sitting at home, alone, in the dark for hours, my brother decided to take a break and charge up his cell phone and listen to the news for a little bit in his truck.

And here’s what he posted on Facebook a little while later:

He told me, “I went out and sat in the truck to charge my phone and listen to the news. I was out there maybe 5 minutes and the tree fell on me.”

Later he commented that, “A little boy in this area died last night when he was hit by a falling branch. I count myself extremely lucky.”

The pictures below show just how close he came to meeting his maker.

So what did we learn from this? DO NOT GO OUTSIDE DURING A HURRICANE, even if it’s just to your car!

And I’ll be gifting my brother a solar and hand-cranked powered emergency radio and cell phone charger. It’s an all-in-one gadget that would have kept him indoors, for sure!

Get Your Fruit On for Halloween!

It’s Halloween time! Which also means spoiling ourselves with some not-so healthy foods. Chocolate, candies and those good old chips! We all love our chips but the guilty feeling that comes with it, not so much! But hold on! What if you could eat chips and still do your body good? And how about if you could win some of those fantastic and delicious chips?