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Welcome to Grandma's Back Room

Grandma's Back Room is where you'll find all kinds of fun stuff, including GIVEAWAYS, REVIEWS, SPONSORED POSTS and more!

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    Target YesVideo Gift Cards: Simple gifts of memory preservation

    A few years ago, my husband and I decided we'd surprise our adult daughters at Christmas by giving them all DVDs of our old VHS movies from their childhoods. It made for a memorable gift that they — and we — have enjoyed again and again, but man-oh-man was it a pain to do. And expensive, too, as we had to purchase a DVD/VHS recorder in order to get the job done.

    If only we'd used YesVideo for the job, it surely would have been quicker, easier and cheaper. This is YesVideo:

    Now that Target YesVideo Gift Cards are available in Target stores, the job is even easier. Plus, the Target YesVideo Gift Cards themselves make it simple to give family and friends the gift of memory preservation this holiday season.

    Target YesVideo Gift Card

    Target YesVideo Gift Cards are available only in Target stores, not online. The $30 gift cards are good for a credit toward videotape or movie film transfers* (the transfer only; not DVD copies) with YesVideo and Target, and redeemable online only — not inside Target stores — at

    With redeemed gift cards, YesVideo transfers home media — VHS, VHS-C, S-VHS, 8mm videotape, Hi-8, Digital 8, MiniDV, BetaMax, 8mm, Super 8, 16mm formats* — to a cloud. Then customers receive their digitized videos in a private online account, where they are able to share the videos publicly via social networks or privately with secure emails with a password to access the videos. They also can order DVDs of the videos. All original materials are returned to customers, with the movie film cleaned, spliced and returned on new reels.

    Target YesVideo Gift Cards are a great way to encourage that loved one with boxes and boxes of old VHS tapes — or old-timey reel-to-reel goodies — to get them out of the box and into a format the rest of the family can enjoy for years to come.

    Find out more about Target YesVideo Gift Cards on the Target YesVideo website. You can also get more info by following YesVideo's social networks: @YesVideo on TwitterYesVideo on Facebook and YesVideo's Blog.

    *Gift Cards are NOT good for slides/prints transfers — videos only.

    Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Target YesVideo Gift Cards. I received compensation for publishing the information.


    Get moving with Jawbone UP from Best Buy — My review

    Sitting is what I do best. If practice does indeed make perfect, the number of hours I spend sitting on my bum in front of the computer in my job as a writer and blogger truly makes me a champion at it.

    Which isn't something to brag about, especially considering how detrimental championship sitting can be to my health. The Jawbone Up from Best Buy — which I recently received free for review — is helping me in efforts to no longer lay claim to such bragging rights by getting me up out of the chair and moving about.

    The Jawbone UP is a system that takes a holistic approach to a healthy lifestyle, a joint effort between a watch-like wristband ($130) and a free app on your iPhone. The waterproof wristband tracks your movement and sleep in the background, while the app displays your data, lets you add things like meals and mood, and delivers insights that keep you moving forward.

    Setting up the Jawbone UP and downloading the UP app on my iPhone was simple. I did have a bit of a problem with my band after a few hours, but that was quickly solved with a new band delivered quickly by the Jawbone UP customer service team. Once that glitch was overcome, I was up and running in no time. I had even set the band to vibrate if I had been sitting for 30 minutes and needed to get up and move — which I did, even if that meant just walking from my desk to the kitchen (to get a glass of water, of course).

    The way the Jawbone UP works is you wear it 24/7 — yes, even while sleeping, even while showering. The only time it should be removed is while charging the battery (it has a 10-day battery life) and when syncing to the iPhone app, which should be done one or two times daily so you can check your progress. When you go to sleep, you click it over to night time mode; when you wake, you click it on over to day mode.

    Another way of putting it:

    When you sync the Jawbone UP wristband to the phone app, you learn all kinds of things. One of the things I learned is that I don't move enough. Okay, I already knew that, but the Jawbone UP puts it in front of me in brilliant color. At set up I noted my goal for walking is 10,000 steps — a healthy and recommended amount — and my goal for sleeping at 7 hours. Here's an example of what the Jawbone UP tracked for one day:

    Walking —


    Sleeping —

    And it tracks your progress for both:

    With the Jawbone UP, you can (and should) track your food intake. The app then provides important nutritional info, such as this I got for my typical breakfast of Multi Grain Cheerios:

    I've gotten used to tracking my food with another iPhone app, so this one took a little getting used to, though it's relatively easy to add new foods either manually or by scanning the packaging UPC code. I do like the amount and variety of foods in the UP database, which makes it simple to stay on top of even restaurant and take-out foods.


    As you can see, the Jawbone UP is an all-around great gadget to help folks get moving, get sleeping, get eating and get healthy.

    The bottom line from brand: Live Better. Start Now. Jawbone UP. Track your sleep activity, steps, calorie intake and more with the Jawbone UP wrist sensor and free mobile app. UP gives you meaningful, personalized insights so you can make lasting improvements to your everyday life.

    The bottom line from me: Jawbone UP is a handy dandy way to easily, efficiently and accurately track my steps taken and remind me to move regularly. It also provides an easy way to track calories, sleep and mood (with nifty little icons, ranging from meh to merry and more). I will continue to wear my Jawbone UP from Best Buy. And I'll continue to move, continue to get healthy.

    And I'll continue to allow someone else to lay claim to being the ultimate champion when it comes to sitting.

    Disclosure: The reviewer 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. Opinions and anecdotes are the reviewer's.


    Life Insurance Awareness Month: Coverage a must for breadwinner moms

    mother and son

    Once upon a time, I had a great fulltime job, with great pay, great benefits. One of those very important and necessary benefits being life insurance.

    Then along came 2008, the year of economic calamity for so many. I was one of those. I lost my job. I lost my pay. I lost my life insurance.

    Since then, I've secured a new job. As a freelancer. The job is great, the pay less so. The fact I have no life insurance the least great thing of all. As a contributor to the support of the household, if I were to die, my husband would be in a fix.

    Thing is, my husband and I are empty-nesters, and my income as a freelancer is erratic at best, so though my premature passing would impact my husband, it wouldn't be financially devastating. The stakes are much higher for women who contribute larger portions to the support their families — or serve as the sole support of their families — when they have no life insurance or are underinsured. In such cases, the loss of her life and subsequent loss of support for her loved ones could prove devastating to those she leaves behind.

    September is Life Insurance Awareness Month, making now the perfect time for uninsured and underinsured women — especially those who earn and contribute to the household income — to consider how to protect their families with life insurance. Though life insurance surely cannot replace Mom, it can help replace Mom's lost salary, help cover childcare expenses, pay off the mortgage on the family home and ensure college is still a possibility for her children.

    Royal Neighbors of America logoNavigating the ins and outs of life insurance coverage can be daunting. Royal Neighbors of America, one of the nation's largest women-led life insurance companies, suggests considering the following questions:

    • How much will it cost to pay off your debts — mortgage, credit cards, autos, other loans — if you were to die prematurely?
    • What are your ongoing expenses? Consider the loans above as well as child care, tuition, groceries, utilities.
    • Would your family be able to pay its bills without you?
    • Do you have enough to pay for funeral expenses?

    While the amount of coverage rule of thumb recommended by the insurance industry is 7 to 10 years of household income, Royal Neighbors of America provides a Life Insurance Calculator to help choose adequate coverage.

    Royal Neighbors of America provides life insurance with a difference as the organization's philanthropic efforts are dedicated to changing women's lives through programs such as its Nation of NeighborsSM Program and through the Royal Neighbors Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity.

    For more information on Royal Neighbors of America and its life insurance with a difference, visit the Royal Neighbors of America website.

    Disclosure: This post is part of a Vibrant Influencer Network campaign on behalf of Royal Neighbors of America. Though I was compensated for my participation, anecdotes and opinions are my own.


    #TailgateWithFoodSaver and enter to win a FoodSaver System

    Here's a giveaway you won't want to miss!

    FoodSaver® Brand systems are ideal for empty nests and grandparents, so follow the steps (see below the graphic for links you can copy and paste) and you may end up one of three winners of FoodSaver® V4865 Vacuum Sealer System plus an abundance of FoodSaver® Bags & Accessories.


    Details direct from FoodSaver® Brand:

    FoodSaver® Brand – the #1 vacuum sealing system – is offering three grand prize winners the brand new FoodSaver® V4865 Vacuum Sealer System plus an abundance of FoodSaver® Bags & Accessories to make this year’s tailgates the best ever. Entering is easy! All you need to do is:
    1. Follow FoodSaver® Brand Pinterest page
    2. Create a Pinterest board called “Tackle Tailgates with FoodSaver® Vacuum Sealers”
    3. Repin the contest overview image available on the “Tackle Tailgates with FoodSaver® Vacuum Sealers” board here:, with any additional tailgate-inspired images and recipes you like!

    Be sure to follow the specifics in the graphic above. The sweepstakes is open through September 30, 2013.

    Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post and I was not compensated for posting. I do, though, hope to win one of the three FoodSaver Systems and hope Grandma's Briefs winners win the other two.


    'Camp' and 'Season of a Lifetime": Two uplifting, inspirational family films

    When it comes to television, my husband and I prefer down-and-dirty dramas. Think Breaking Bad, Justified, Walking Dead, Sons of Anarchy. Family fare is rarely on the series agenda for us.

    When it comes to feature films, though, we enjoy and appreciate a far wider variety, everything from documentaries and dramas to comedies, musicals, family films. We recently had the opportunity courtesy Word Films to enjoy two powerful movies available on DVD that not only entertain but that uplift and inspire, as well.

    CampThe first is Camp, a film inspired by the true stories of folks who volunteer at Royal Family Kids Camp for abused and neglected children — not to be confused with the recent television series of the same name. In Camp, a jaded financial advisor named Ken (Michael Mattera) volunteers to help at a Christian-based summer camp for kids in the foster care system. He's paired with 10-year-old Eli (Miles Elliot), who recently lost his mother to a heroin overdose and who's not too thrilled at the prospect of spending time at camp. The two butt heads along the way to an understanding and acceptance of one another.

    While Camp, rated PG-13, will appeal to adults as well as older kids, I do want to point out that the first few minutes give an unflinching glimpse into the life of an abused youngster, the lead child character in the film. It's not graphic but does show the reality some kiddos face at the hands of horrendous parents, and I imagine it may be a bit too realistic for some kids. I suggest grandparents and parents watch it first (at least the first few minutes) in advance of viewing with kids.

    Overall, though, Camp is certainly worth sharing with teens. And the special features should be watched by all adults. I must admit I was inspired to consider volunteering at a camp myself after hearing the stories of those who have and how it changed not only the lives of the children they met but their own lives, too.

    Find more information on the movie and DVD/Blu-ray availability at

    Season of a LifetimeThe second DVD I received free for review from Word Films was Season of a Lifetime. It's a documentary on the incredible true story of Jeremy Williams, a high-school football coach who, when faced with Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS), chose to continue coaching his team for one last season. The tagline of the film is "Faith. Family. Football.," and Season of a Lifetime (not rated) powerfully shares all three.

    The challenges faced by the terminally ill Williams and his family are heart wrenching, but he faces them with such heart, strength and spirit that it's impossible not to cheer for him — and for his team. Season of a Lifetime had a slight Friday Night Lights feel (one of the more wholesome series my husband and I have watched and loved), and the interviews with Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger, made famous in 1993's Rudy, and other fans, friends and family underscore the unflinching courage of Jeremy Williams and what a true hero he is.

    Find out more about Jeremy Williams and the film on the Season of a Lifetime website.

    Disclosure: I received the two movies free for review. Opinions and anecdotes are my own.


    Wrinkle-free and needle-free: Dermaflage fills wrinkles, scars, pox marks

    My mom recently had surgery for skin cancer near her eye. Skin was removed from her under eye area and replaced with skin from near her ear. My mom was, naturally, quite distressed about any scars she may have after the surgery.

    Funny thing is — if there's anything even slightly humorous about skin cancer, which there's not, but you know what I mean — just before finding out my mom had skin cancer and would face facial scarring after surgery, I was offered the opportunity to review for free Dermaflage Topical Perfecting Filler. Little did I know how important this review would be.

    I said yes to the review thinking it might be a great product for some of my forehead wrinkles as well as a scar my oldest daughter has near her eye, a scar she's had since she was a toddler. A scar that was my fault — because I had a coffee table smack dab as tall as my daughter was when a toddler. My daughter fell on the corner of the table, resulting in a scar for life (and also resulting in us living with no coffee tables for, literally, decades).

    By the time I recruited my daughter to try out the product with me, we had learned of my mom's skin cancer. We knew that if it worked as promoted, the Dermaflage would be doing far more than hiding my wrinkles and filling in her scar — it would give my mom hope that she'd look good as new once her face healed and she was able to apply the Dermaflage.

    So my daughter and I set out to try out the Dermaflage. And, boy, were we impressed.

    First we tried it on my daughter. No, not because I was scared and made her go first. Really. I figured I should try it on someone else before attempting on myself, just to get the steps down, just to see how easy or difficult application may be.

    Turns out it was pretty darn easy. And effective.

    We followed the 3-step directions:

    Step 1: Apply primer and allow to dry 30 seconds.

    Step 2: Mix together a small amount of the two parts of the filler (clear and tinted), then apply with the provided tool (within 30 seconds, as it sets quickly).

    Step 3: Use the provided texturizing pad to smooth out the edges of the applied silicone.

    My daughter's scar went from this:


    To this:

    Honestly, if you didn't know anything had been applied, you'd never know she was scarred. And this was just my first time using the product. As the Dermaflage literature notes, the finished look gets even better with practice.

    Next up: my wrinkle between my eyes (which comes from all the hard thinking I do).

    We followed the steps above and went from this:


    To this:


    Not the greatest application but still impressive. I just need to practice to get it textured a tad better. And I must admit: I did try covering all my forehead wrinkles, but I didn't heed the advice in the literature to do only small areas at a time and did end up with a clumpy mess... that would be a really cool Halloween look, if I so chose to scare the neighborhood trick-or-treaters.

    Dermaflage — Hollywood created, clinically tested and dermatologist tested — is a cross between makeup and plastic surgery, according to the literature. "From Hollywood special effects to the everyday cosmetic case," the pamphlet says, "Dermaflage simulates skin to fill and conceal imperfections instantly." It's also safe and recommended for scarring from Mohs surgery, which is exactly what my mom faced. So my daughter and I did a demonstration of the product for my mom, to let her see how easy it is to apply, how well it covers scars.

    My mom's face has not yet healed enough for her to be applying makeup, much less scar filler. But when the time comes, she's happy to know there's a simple, surgery-free and relatively inexpensive way to look like her same ol' pretty self again.

    Here's a video with more information on Dermaflage, more examples of its magic:

    An application of Dermaflage lasts about 36 hours and is easily removed by peeling it off in the same manner you peel off facial masks. A 2-3 month supply costs $50 and can be purchased in a variety of skin tones from the Dermaflage website.

    Disclosure: I was provided a free sample of the product for review. Opinions and anecdotes are my own.