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    Holiday Guide giveaway: Lullabies by Page CXVI [CLOSED]

    As described in the 2012 Grandma's Briefs Holiday Guide, one winner will win a copy of Lullabies by Page CXVI CD ($6.99 digital download; $9.99 CD+digital) Page CXVI is a project started with the idea of making hymns accessible again. The name comes from a reference to page 116 in The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis, a passage where Aslan begins to sing Narnia into creation out of a black void. The seven lullabies on this calming CD—which comes in a blue or pink cover—includes Peace Like a River, Near To The Heart of God, Jesus Loves Me, The Lord's Prayer, and more. All ages.


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    Holiday Guide giveaway: Yo Gabba Gabba Music is Awesome Vol. 4 [CLOSED]

    As described in the 2012 Grandma's Briefs Holiday Guide, one winner will win a copy of Yo Gabba Gabba "Music is Awesome! Vol. 4" CD ($9) The latest from the award-winning live action show features educational tracks from the likes of famous acts such as The Roots, Biz markie, George Clinton, Belle & Sebastian and many more. This off-beat, unconventional collection will please preschoolers, parents and indie music lovers alike. All ages.


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    Holiday Guide Giveaway: Santa's Coming book [CLOSED]

    As described in the 2012 Grandma's Briefs Holiday Guide, one lucky winner will win a book from the Santa is Coming series by Steve Smallman and illustrated by Robert Dunn ($9.99, ages 4+). Santa navigates his way from the North Pole to a city, state or region near your favorite child. Children are introduced to important places of local interest as jolly old St. Nick flies over and sometimes lands on noteworthy locations such as monuments, capitals, museums, and other attractions on his way to their house. The series includes Santa is Coming to My House, plus: Arizona, Boston, California, Chicago, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New England, New York, Ohio, Philadelphia, Portland, San Francisco, Texas, the Carolinas, the Rockies, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington, Wisconsin.


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    Holiday Guide giveaway: A Very Merry Golden Records Christmas [CLOSED]

    As described in the 2012 Grandma's Briefs Holiday Guide, one lucky winner will win A Very Merry Golden Records Christmas ($9.99). The album is packed with 20 classic songs and stories that combine the beautifully orchestrated original recordings with the talent of today’s biggest and brightest stars. Children and parents alike will love Golden renditions of "Twas The Night Before Christmas," "A Christmas Carol," "Frosty The Snowman," "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Winter Wonderland," and many more.


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    Holiday Guide giveaway: A Bit of Applause for Mrs. Claus [CLOSED]


    One lucky winner will win A Bit of Applause for Mrs. Claus by Susie Schick-Pierce, Jeannie Schick-Jacobowitz and Muffin Drake-Policastro as described in the 2012 Grandma's Briefs Holiday Guide.




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    My indoor skydive: Cloud 9 Living offers gifts of fun experiences

    I'm a pretty big chicken and afraid of many things, from swimming to speaking in public to falling down stairs. Yep, I'm a chicken. While I accept that about myself, I refuse to let it limit me, keep me from doing things that scare me. For it's often the things that are most frightening that end up being the most exhilarating and offering the greatest reward upon doing them, even if that payoff is simply an increased sense of pride or power.

    Because of my determination to not let fear hold me back, I've successfully completed a tandem skydive, won a water-based challenge despite not knowing how to swim, appeared on television for a cause, screamed my way through the scariest of haunted houses, and more, despite fearing I'd lose my lunch—or my life—each time. So when I was offered the opportunity to review an experience of a lifetime from Cloud 9 Living, I jumped at the chance...on the outside. On the inside, I was scared to death, but said "Yes!" anyway.

    Cloud 9 Living is an "experience gift" company that offers unique and memorable experiences as gifts, touting an experience portfolio consisting of more than 1,700 experiences in 43 regions.

    Before sharing my scary-yet-so-much-fun experience, here's an explanation of how Cloud 9 Living works:


    I was offered by Cloud 9 Living my choice of experiences to review, for free. I perused what was available in my region, settled on trying out zip-lining—something I've long wanted to add to my "Did it!" list—and was disappointed to learn zip-lining isn't offered this time of year in my region. Which makes sense, considering the cold and snow. So I settled on the next best (and indoor!) thing: Indoor skydiving!

    In not time at all, I received confirmation—and a lovely folder announcing my experience gift, just as shown in the video—that my husband and I would each get two one-minute flights (plus gear and instruction beforehand) at SkyVenture Colorado.

    Now, two minutes total time in the wind tunnel doesn't sound like much, but we were assured that it's equivalent to one to two real dives. "Many flyers find that each minute feels much longer, due to the adrenaline involved with flying in a 120 mph wind stream."

    As I mentioned, I've done a real skydive before, about 20 years ago. So has my husband. Still, we both were anxious about our indoor dive. The training beforehand though, from our friendly SkyVenture Colorado instructor Landon, assuaged our fears a smidgen, thanks to his sense of humor and thorough explanation of the hand signals we were to know and use as well as his gentle-yet-adamant instruction to relax and enjoy.

    So after the 45 minute or so instruction, which included a short video, Jim and I and our half-dozen classmates (three being parents with their tween son) suited up in the gear supplied by SkyVenture Colorado while Andrea, our youngest daughter, played photographer. Then we lined up as directed by Landon and took our turns on our first one-minute jumps.

    A few things that surprised me about the first one-minute flight: I slobbered. Big time. Landon had mentioned it may happen, and it did. Also, it was pretty darn hard to control my body. But with Landon directing me on positioning and such (keep chin up, arms bent at the elbow and near my face, and legs bent slightly), I flew. Or fell. Or floated. Or, more accurately, bounced here and there throughout the windtunnel for the full minute, which felt, as they said, much longer than sixty seconds.

    Jim pretty much bounced around, too, on his first turn, as did most of the rest of the class.

    But then, we all were ready for our second one-minute turn, each of us more determined to follow Landon's instruction better, now that we had a feel for the flight experience. And what a difference! Here, my flight then Jim's, with Landon at our sides:


    Such fun! Such an experience! Such a super opportunity that I would not have had, if not for Cloud 9 Living offering it to me, free for this review.

    Bottom line: I highly recommend my experience to anyone with a sense of adventure. More so, I recommend Cloud 9 Living for gifting the adventurous on your holiday list with a present that will excite and exhilarate like never before. And don't forget to add an experience to your own wish list, too, while you're at it.

    You can do more than add an adventure to your wish list, though. Right now, you can win your own experience by entering Cloud 9 Living’s “9 Days of Christmas Contest” here. For nine days, from December 16 through December 24, Cloud 9 Living will draw one daily winner for the following prizes, culminating with the Grand Prize drawing on December 24th.

    • Day 1 Prize: Flight - Learn to Fly

    • Day 2 Prize: Relaxation - Spa Package

    • Day 3 Prize: Driving - Drive a Stock Car & Stock Car Ride Along

    • Day 4 Prize: Foodie - Food Tour for Two

    • Day 5 Prize: Golf - Golf Lesson with a PGA Pro

    • Day 6 Prize: Romance - Dinner Cruise for Two

    • Day 7 Prize: Adventure - White Water Rafting for Two

    • Day 8 Prize: Adrenaline - Tandem Skydiving

    • Day 9 Prize (GRAND PRIZE): Experience of a Lifetime - Fighter Pilot for a Day

    For more information on Cloud 9 Living, visit them on their website, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest.

    For more information on indoor skydiving, visit SkyVenture Colorado.

    Disclosure: I received a free experience for this review. Anecdotes and opinions are my own.