Delightful display: Custom canvas print from Canvas Factory (review and giveaway)

Delightful display: Custom canvas print from Canvas Factory (review and giveaway)

I'm one of those grandmas who displays lots and lots of photos of my loved ones. All around my house. For this post, I began counting the number of pictures I have placed here and there. And stopped thirty six. With the remainder of the main level plus the family room to go, I've chosen to just guesstimate here. I'm guessing there are fifty or so scattered about. On walls, bookcases, mantels, and more.

I delight in seeing my sweeties, old and young, in pictures. But with that many pictures to adore—and dust—I clearly don't need anymore.

Yet an offer to review—and give away! (more on that below)—a custom canvas print from Canvas Factory…

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Grand giveaway: Grandparent journals and Logitech webcam make connecting with grandchildren simple

Grand giveaway: Grandparent journals and Logitech webcam make connecting with grandchildren simple

Win a perfect prize for connecting with grandchildren now... and later

Both of my grandmothers lived far away from me when I was a child. My maternal grandmother—the one the longest distance from me but closest to my heart—got in the habit as I got older of writing letters a few times a year, filling me in on the simple day-to-day of her senior years.

Gramma was always intentional in staying in touch with me, up until her arthritic hands could no longer write and my return letters—typed in large, bold-face font for easier reading—were no longer easy to read at all as her vision had failed. Had webcams been around prior to her passing, I'm pretty sure Gramma would have been keen on connecting via the high-tech wonder.

Those handwritten letters from my grandmother are among my most cherished possessions. I still have every one. And though I loved reading of her ordinary everyday doings, I now long for more. I wish she would have shared her family story, her personal longings, her dreams and wishes and deeper thoughts on the virtues and values she held close and hoped to instill in her progeny.

My desire for something tangible showcasing such sentiments from my grandma is what makes me so excited to share this giveaway.

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Enter to win sweet prizes! Sweet’N Low® Spread Sweet Holiday Cheer sweepstakes

Enter to win sweet prizes! Sweet’N Low® Spread Sweet Holiday Cheer sweepstakes

Sharing sweets and treats with loved ones tops my list of ways to spread holiday cheer. My traditional Spritz Cookies, loaves of Cranberry Pumpkin Bread, and stockings filled with Confetti Popcorn are the goodies I most often give.

Sweet'N Low®, America's favorite pink zero-calorie sweetener, has gotten into the giving game this year, launching a national sweepstakes to spread holiday cheer. Fans of the brand can enter for the chance to win sweet prizes not only for themselves, but for a friend of their choice, too.

The makers of Sweet'N Low® have shared with me a gift card in exchange for sharing with you the details on their sweet seasonal sweepstakes. Check it out:

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Giveaway and review: Magic Sketch innovative art pad by Boogie Board

My eight-year-old step-grandson loves to draw. And color. And craft. And create.

So when I received a Magic Sketch from Boogie Board free for review, Bud was the perfect product reviewer for this post.

What's a Magic Sketch? It's pretty much the coolest thing ever, Bud deduced after a few minutes with it. Technically, though, the Magic Sketch is a kid-proof, waterproof, innovative art pad that provides a new and exciting screen on which kids can draw, learn, and play.

Then erase with the push of a button and repeat. Again and again.

magic sketch

The Magic Sketch LCD-display tablet retails for $29.95 and comes with...

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Alpha and Omega 2: A Howl-iday Adventure (Giveaway/Review)

Kate, Humphrey and their three wolf cubs — Stinky, Claudette and Runt — are back! Time to snuggle up with your own cubs to enjoy Alpha and Omega 2: A Howl-iday Adventure, recently released by Lionsgate in a Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD available exclusively at Walmart.

From front to back: "Stinky," "Runt," "Claudette," "Humphrey" and "Kate" in Lionsgate Home Entertainment's ALPHA AND OMEGA 2: A HOWL-IDAY ADVENTURE.

The new holiday movie features the unlikely pair of wolves, Kate and Humphrey, and their new frisky family of cubs in a heartwarming wilderness adventure. As the family prepares to celebrate its first winter holidays together, their smallest cub, Runt, mysteriously disappears.  They must journey across the wilderness to find and bring back Runt before the winter festivities begin at home. While their adventure does not end exactly as planned, in the end Kate and Humphrey discover that for the holidays, “Home is where the family is.”

The 45-minute movie is filled with action and suspense as well as plenty of the humor and heartwarming moments. Adults will chuckle at the banter between the parents as well as a slo-mo moment when a toboggan takes a tumble and Kat and Humphrey find a second for romance mid-air. My hubby and I certainly were amused by the flick… and we didn’t even have grandkids in the room while watching it.

Special features include:

  • Are you an Alpha or an Omega?
  • Wolf Fun Facts Trivia
  • A Wolf’s Tale: Making Alpha and Omega 2
  • Following the Pack: A Sneak Peek Into Upcoming Alpha and Omega Adventures

For more on Alpha and Omega 2: A Howl-iday Adventure, visit the Alpha and Omega DVD site.

Thanks to Lionsgate Entertainment, you can enter to win an Alpha and Omega 2: A Howl-iday Adventure Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD Combo Pack ($24.99 value). Enter via Rafflecopter below. Entries accepted through midnight MST Nov. 18. Random winner will be chosen and notified Nov. 19. Prize to be shipped by Lionsgate, not this blog.

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Disclosure: I received this product free for review as part of the Entertainment New Media Network. Opinions are my own.

Munch! Win a cozy bedtime story package for little ones


Matthew Van Fleet — author of New York Times bestsellers Alphabet, Heads, Tails, and Moo — has once again created a coveted interactive tale for toddlers. This one is called Munch! and it hits stores August 27.

Munch! features four clever pull tabs and seven tickleable textures. The clever board book puts toddlers nose to nose with captivating critters as they demonstrate all different kinds of mouths and the amazing things they can do. Along the way, sounds, colors, and actions are introduced in a fun and interactive way. The sturdy and silly book is intended for ages 2-6, but can be enjoyed by all members of the family.

Munch! is another in a long line of unique books from Van Fleet, whose innovative books have been introducing children to basic concepts for almost twenty years. His unique formats invite toddlers to touch, press, pull, lift, and even sniff as they explore colors, shapes, numbers, letters, opposites, and more. Here's a glimpse into his creative process:

For more information on Munch!, visit the Official Book Site and Van Fleet Books.

Munch! prize packageBetter yet, enter via Rafflecopter below to win a cozy prize package to share with your favorite toddler, courtesy of the publisher.

One winner will receive a bedtime story package: 

  • Copies of MUNCH!, SNIFF!, LICK! MOO, CAT and ALPHABET by Matthew Van Fleet

Entries accepted through midnight August 27. Winner will be randomly drawn and notified August 28. Prize and shipping is responsibility of brand representatives, not Grandma's Briefs.

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Disclosure: I received a free copy of Munch! for review before sharing this giveaway.

Chicken Soup for the Soul honors Billy Graham, and you can win a copy

Billy Graham and Me 

Regardless of one's spiritual beliefs, political leanings or age, it's hard to deny the impressive influence and appeal of Billy Graham, world-renowned author, preacher and evangelist. Presidents past and present have requested his prayers and presence during times of crisis. Celebrities as well as the not-so-celebrated find comfort in his humble message and unpretentious manner.

At a time when cultural heroes, athletes, politicians — even Elmo — continually let us down, Billy Graham continues to lift us up and serves as a true American icon.

The publishers of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series appreciate the unprecedented impact Billy Graham has had on people of all faiths, races, genders, age and politics. For the first time in the brand's twenty-year history, it has published a Chicken Soup for the Soul book focusing on one individual — Billy Graham.

Billy Graham & Me: 101 Inspiring Personal Stories from Presidents, Pastors, Performers, and Other People Who Know Him Well, edited by Steve Posner and Amy Newmark, celebrates and honors the calm yet courageous man known as "God's Ambassador." The sheer diversity of the contributors attests to the wide appeal of the man who regularly preaches to others to not be judgmental and to model love.

As Steve Posner mentions in the book's introduction, "The personal stories in this book show us why so many individuals from differing faiths, nationalities, and political beliefs regard Billy Graham as a touchstone of goodness." Posner points out that although there have been numerous books and articles written on Billy Graham since he was first catapulted to fame in 1949, the stories in this collection "give us an inside glimpse of the ways in which the everyday Billy Graham has lived as a loving father, brother, grandfather, uncle, mentor, pastor, statesman, and friend."

Contributors to Billy Graham & Me include Tony Blair, Dan Rather, Barack Obama, Wynonna Judd, Ricky Skaggs, Philip Yancy, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Roseanne Cash and many, many more (101 total, in fact). Plus, there are more than 40 historic photos of Billy Graham with family and friends — including Ronald Reagan, Charlie Daniels, Pope John Paul II and hip-hop artist tobyMac — and an evocative afterward by Billy Graham.

What I loved about the book: Billy Graham seems to have always been a part of our culture as long as I remember, yet I was never incredibly familiar with his extensive work and influence across the globe, in large ways and small. I was touched by the deeply personal accounts and recollections of Graham shared by the public figures who have had the privilege of meeting him, working with him, or just plain counting on his message to give them strength during tough times. 

Plus, the photo section made me think of my father. Not in the figurative sense, the father with a capital F, but my father, my dad, whom I've always thought looked strikingly similar to Billy Graham, especially in both their younger years. Even more so, one of my uncles — who, interestingly enough, was once a pastor — looks even more like Billy Graham, back in the day as well as now.

Mostly, though, I loved the way the stories moved me and made it clear there really are American heroes who surely won't fall from their pedestals. At a time when I've been questioning many so-called heroes of our culture, the words about and from Billy Graham came through for me in unexpected ways.

Billy Graham & Me: 101 Inspiring Personal Stories from Presidents, Pastors, Performers, and Other People Who Know Him Well, published February 2013, has a suggested price of $24.95 (hardcover) and can be found nearly any place books are sold, in hardcover and electronic versions.


The publishers of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series have graciously offered to give two random winners a hardcover copy of Billy Graham & Me: 101 Inspiring Personal Stories from Presidents, Pastors, Performers, and Other People Who Know Him Well. Giveaway entries accepted via Rafflecopter (below), through midnight MST April 3. The two winners will be drawn April 4 and contacted by email for shipping information.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book for review, as well as the offer of two copies for giveaway, to be shipped by the brand.

Book review & Giveaway: Bailey

It's back-to-school time, and in best-selling illustrator Harry Bliss' latest delight, Bailey the dog has joined all the (human) students in heading back to class. Bailey meets the principal, has his own special cubby, and shares some of his favorite things with the class ("slow-moving squirrels" making the list, of course).

Bailey also learns math, gives reports, enjoys art class, and more. Just like every other student come school time.

Well, here, take a look for yourself at Bailey by Harry Bliss (Scholastic, $16.99):

What I loved about this book: The illustrations are truly delightful and fully capture Bailey's personality. The speech (and thought) bubbles above the heads of the human students—and Bailey—throughout the book increase the chuckle factor. Each page is a nice spread with lots to discover with younger readers, perfect for the intended age of 4 to 8 years.

Clicking on the book cover will provide more information on the book. It is NOT an affiliate link; I earn nothing by you clicking on it.


Scholastic has generously offered THREE copies of Bailey by Harry Bliss for me to give away to readers of Grandma's Briefs. Which means it doesn't take advance math skills to figure out that your odds of winning this charming back-to-school tale are pretty darn good.

To enter, simply comment to this post with the answer to the question:

What was your favorite subject in school?

Entries accepted until midnight MDT Friday, Sept. 9. Winner chosen by and notified by email Saturday, Sept. 10. Be sure to include your email address as winners will be contacted by email for shipping information.

Thank you for entering! Good luck!