Celebrate the Holidays Minion Style!

Gru, his adorable girls, and the mischievous Minions are back with a whole host of new characters in the blockbuster sequel to Despicable Me. Just as Gru has given up being super-bad to be a super-dad, the Anti-Villain League recruits him to track down a new criminal mastermind and save the world. Partnered with secret agent Lucy Wilde, Gru, aided by the wildly unpredictable but lovable Minions, must figure out how to keep his cover while also keeping up with his duties as a dad.

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The top box-office comedy of the year Despicable Me 2 from Universal Studios Home Entertainment arrives on Blu-ray™ and DVD on December 10, 2013. A Blu-ray combo pack will include more than 45 minutes of hilarious bonus features plus three all-new mini-movies starring the film series’ breakout stars, the mischievous Minions.

You could be one of the first to own a copy of Despicable Me 2 if you’re the lucky winner of our giveaway.

To enter simply leave a comment below telling us the name of one of the three all-new mini-movies starring the Minions available in the DVD and Blu-ray Combo Pack special features.

After you’ve completed this mandatory comment entry you can do the following for bonus entries:

Please be sure to leave a separate comment below for each of your bonus entries.

  • Giveaway is open to Canada only
  • Winner will be drawn at random
  • Giveaway closes November 29th, 2013
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Win Personalised Fine Art from Sears Portrait Studio

Sears Portrait Studio can turn your portrait into an artistic masterpiece! Their Portrait Art collection provides a variety of innovative products, from contemporary to classic, for showcasing your favourite portraits.

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vintageClassic_10x30The #SearsBabysRoom bloggers are hosting a fabulous giveaway of a framed 20×20 or 10×30 custom portrait from Sears new Vintage Classic range – a series of portraits grouped together to create a beautiful piece of wall art. And of course you’ll receive a complimentary photo shoot as the start point to creating your masterpiece.

This fabulous prize is valued at $244.98.

For a chance to win simply pop to the Sears website and leave a comment below telling us one of the shopping categories in Sears baby departments (eg ‘Playtime’).

Once you’ve completed this mandatory first entry you can do the following for bonus entries:

Please be sure to leave a separate comment below for each of your bonus entries.

  • Giveaway closes October 20th.
  • Potential grand prize winner will be chosen at random.
  • Open to all Canadian residents over the age of 18 (excluding Quebec).
  • This giveaway is being run across all #SearsBabysRoom blogs. There will be only one winner across all the participating blogs. You may enter across as many blogs as you want.
  • A potential winner will be selected from each #SearsBabysRoom blog and the grand prize winner will be randomly selected from these names.

Disclosure: I am part of the Sears The Baby’s Room Ambassador program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Introducing Yum-A-Roo’s Toddler Snacks

Our friends at NurturMe, producers of certified-organic, dried fruit and veggie meals, would like to introduce you to  their new line of bite-sized organic dried fruit and veggie snacks for toddlers – Yum-A-Roo’s.

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Big nutrition designed for little hands, NurturMe’s new Yum-A-Roo’s organic dry toddler snacks are made from bite-sized pieces of fruits and veggies that easily dissolve in the mouth. Tasty and good for little ones ages 1 year and older, Yum-a-Roo’s are extra nutritious since they contain veggies, in addition to fruit, and are dried – a NurturMe process that preserves the nutrients, freshness and flavor. Your little ones will love the taste, and you’ll love that there’s 1.5 servings of fruits and/or veggies in every pouch. Yum-A-Roo’s are available in four flavours: Tropical Twist (Banana, Mango and Pineapple), Caribbean Crop (Pea, Banana and Pineapple), Happy Harvest (Peas, Sweet Corn and Apple) and Bountiful Bites (Banana, Apple and Broccoli).

NurturMe Yum-A-Roo’s snack line is certified organic, gluten-free, non-GMO and kosher and contains no added sugar, salt or preservatives.  Yum-A-Roo’s come in small, re-sealable pouches that are perfect for lunchboxes, picnics and road trips.

To celebrate the launch of Yum-A-Roo’s, NurturMe has created a free fun, educational App where the loveable “Roo” teaches your tots about their favorite fruits and veggies. And if you take a photo of your little one enjoying Yum-A-Roo’s out and about this summer and submit it to NurturMe’s facebook contest by July 31st you’ll be entered to win an iPad mini.

Giveaway!!! Here’s your chance to try out some new Yum-A-Roo’s. You’ll win a pack of each of the Yum-A-Roo’s flavor combos for your toddler to try, plus a cute-as-can-be T-shirt in this special gift set.

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To enter, simply pop to the NurturMe website and tell us in a comment below one of the outlets where you’ll find NurturMe products stocked.

Once you’ve completed this mandatory first entry you can do the following for bonus entries:

Please be sure to leave a separate comment below for each of your bonus entries.

    • Giveaway is open to US residents only
    • Winner will be drawn at random
    • Giveaway closes Aug 16th, 2013

C_L_Standing_NMNurturMe is based in Austin, Texas and was co-founded by Mompreneur Caroline Freedman who was in search of the perfect baby food for her new baby, and Lauren McCullough, a culinary expert. NurtureMe was awarded the 2011 MACT (Mom Approved and Child Tested) Excellence Award.

“like” NurturMe on facebook and follow @NurturMe on Twitter for news of special promotions, new product introductions and more.

Monsters or the dentist – which is most scary?

Mike and SullyThe thought of monsters hiding under the bed can be scary for children, and so can the thought of going to the dentist! Thanks to the lovable Sully & Mike from Monsters Inc and the soon to be released Monsters University we all know monsters can be fun, but what about trips to the dentist?

These tips from America’s ToothFairy will help make dental visits a fun experience for children!

It’s fear of the unknown which can have a negative impact on a child’s feelings toward their dental visits. Ensuring that your child is familiar with the dental practice and the people that are going to help them keep their smile healthy will ease their fears and make the dental visit go smoothly.

  • Visit the dentist with your child prior to their first appointment. Help your child understand what to expect on their visit by taking a tour of the practice and asking the dental assistant or dental hygienist to explain what will be done and demonstrate how each instrument will be used. Not only will this help ease your child’s fears, but it also creates a wonderful learning opportunity!
  • For slightly order children, bring them along to observe your routine dental cleaning and exam. This will allow them to ask questions, see how each instrument will be used, eliminate potential fears by observing your experience and help them understand the importance of practicing good oral health behaviors.(Contact your dental office prior to your appointment to advise them that your child will be with you.)
  • Regular dental visits will enable your child to develop a sense of familiarity and comfort with the dental team and practice as well provide vital preventive care necessary for a healthy smile.
  • Reinforcing concepts such as daily brushing and flossing, by posting a calendar and rewarding your child a gold star or sticker for every day of excellent oral care. Help get your child excited about their next dental visit by bringing the calendar with you to show the dentist.
  • Allow your child to bring their favorite toy or blanket with them on their dental visit to give them an added sense of security and comfort.
  • Reading can have a soothing and calming effect on your child. Bring their favorite book to read to them during their dental appointment.
  • Let your child wear a costume on their dental visit. This special treat can help them view going to the dentist as a fun activity.

Be positive about going to the dentist. Avoid grumbling about your own dental appointments and help your child understand that going to the dentist helps them keep their smiles healthy. After all, the ToothFairy likes to collect healthy teeth!

Don’t forget to let your little ones sign up for America’s ToothFairy Kids Club. Members receive quarterly fun, educational activities, tips and personalized letters from the ToothFairy!

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Crest & Oral-B Pro-Health Stages are sponsoring this great giveaway of kids’ oral healthcare products. These products featuring the fun-loving monsters from the upcoming movie, Monsters University will be available in your local Walmart next week. Simply leave a comment below for a chance to win:

  • monsters inc toothpaste and brush stars2 Crest Pro-Health Stages Monsters, Inc. Toothpastes (4.2 oz. ea.) and
  • 2 Oral-B Stages Monsters, Inc. Toothbrushes

Once you’ve completed this mandatory comment entry you can do the following for bonus entries:

Please be sure to leave a separate comment below for each of your bonus entries.

    • Giveaway is open to the USA only
    • Winner will be drawn at random
    • Giveaway closes May 31st, 2013

The Secret Ingredient to your Toddler’s Nutrition

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Back in 2011 we were introduced to NurturMe‘s certified-organic baby food made from quick-dried fruits and vegetables. By quick-drying rather than cooking its ingredients, NurturMe preserves the vital nutrients and phytochemicals found in fruits and vegetables, making it one of the healthiest and most nutritious baby foods on the market. Simply mix the pouch contents with breast milk, formula or water to create the desired consistency for your baby’s meal, or mix NurturMe into toddler favorites like pastas, baked goods or yogurt for a boost in protein and nutrients.

Introducing New Flavors

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NurturMe Singles now come in Protein-Packed Quinoa, which is the first and only certified-organic pure quinoa meal created especially for children. Made from 100% pure super grain, quinoa is a healthier alternative to rice cereal and supports growth.

And NurturMe are further extending their range, bringing together some nutrient-packed superfoods in NurturMeals Blends in four exciting flavor combinations: Squash, Bananas and Green Kale; Sweet Potatoes, Oatmeal and Bananas; Peas, Quinoa and Apples; and Carrots, Raisins and Sweet Potatoes.

Like NurturMe’s original products these new flavors are all-natural, gluten-free and have no added salts, sugars, colors or preservatives. In addition, the fruits and vegetables used in NurturMe come from certified organic farms in the United States.

The Secret Ingredient to your Toddler’s Nutrition

Toddlers can be your toughest critics in the kitchen. That’s why NurturMe is the “secret” ingredient for your child’s favorite dishes. NurturMe packets can be sneaked sprinkled into foods like rice cereal, grains, purees, yogurts, apple sauce and macaroni and cheese to give them a delicious and nutritious boost.

sweetbananas_smoothieSweet Bananas Summer Smoothie, perfect for summer time playdates, is just one of the recipe suggestions available at NurturMe.com

  • Combine one pouch of NurturMe Sweet Bananas and either 1/2 cup of milk or 1/2 cup yogurt in a blender.
  • Add a scoop of ice and blend until smooth.
  • Makes 2 kids’ servings.

Next month be sure to also keep a look out for NurturMe’s new Yum-a-Roos organic dry toddler snacks. Yum-a-Roos are made from bite-sized pieces of fruits and veggies that easily dissolve in the mouth for little ones 1 year and older. Try Tropical Twist (Banana, Mango and Pineapple) and Caribbean Crop (Pea, Banana and Pineapple). Yum!

Giveaway!!! NurturMe are kindly hosting a giveaway of a medium feeding pack including assorted NurturMe pouches, a NurturMe “Mix with Love” bib and BPA-free baby spoon.

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To enter, simply pop to the NurturMe website and tell us in a comment below which of the ‘Recipes for Kids’ you think would tickle your little one’s tastebuds.

For bonus entries:

Please be sure to leave a separate comment below for each of your bonus entries.

    • Giveaway is open to US residents only
    • Winner will be drawn at random
    • Giveaway closes May 10th, 2013

C_L_Standing_NMNurturMe is based in Austin, Texas and was co-founded by Mompreneur Caroline Freedman who was in search of the perfect baby food for her new baby, and Lauren McCullough, a culinary expert. NurtureMe was awarded the 2011 MACT (Mom Approved and Child Tested) Excellence Award.

“like” NurturMe on facebook and follow @NurturMe on Twitter for news of special promotions, new product introductions and more.

Bamboo: What’s the Big Deal?

Welcome the folks from OYACO as this week’s guest bloggers 

download (1)Bamboo has been around since the prehistoric era and is the fastest-growing plant on Earth, able to grow over a meter in 24 hours. Gardeners often refer to it as ‘invasive’ because even when its shoots are cut its extensive root system continually sends up new shoots so it replenishes itself rather than having to be replanted. It is a very hardy plant able to grow in many diverse climates, almost like a good weed.

This sustainable, environmentally friendly crop breaks down into viscose fibre that can be woven into extremely soft and naturally luxurious fabric. Bamboo fabrics are three times more absorbent than cotton. It is breathable with wicking properties which mean it has natural cooling and heating effects to keep the wearer comfortable. It is also naturally antibacterial and less susceptible to odours. How perfect for our little babes is that?

Bubble bamboo - lifestyle lowresOYACO is delighted to be launching a fabulous new product from Bubble. The Bubble Bamboo Wrap is a bamboo-sourced viscose blanket that is lightweight, durable and has the silky-soft texture that babies and moms love. Unlike traditional bamboo blankets, which are typically made of thinner, gauzy muslin weave, the Bubble Bamboo Wrap is a thicker jersey knit, measuring a generous 120cm square thus providing a flexible swaddle for baby or a discreet cover-up for breastfeeding moms.

The Bubble Bamboo Wrap is available in 3 cute design combinations: Ollie the Owl, Puppy Love, and Nautical. Each pack contains three wraps and sells for $48.95 across Canada.

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Based in Calgary, OYACO is known across Canada as a discriminating distributor of unique, safe and high quality baby, toddler and pregnancy products. Oyaco ships its 30 product lines to over 600 retail and online stores across the country and is the exclusive distributor of the Bubble brand in Canada.

OYACO are kindly offering our readers a giveaway of a 3-pack of Bubble Bamboo Wraps. To enter, simply pop to the OYACO site and tell us in a comment below another of the brands OYACO distributes in Canada.

Once you have completed this mandatory entry you may do the following for bonus entries:

Please be sure to leave a separate comment below for each of your bonus entries.

  • Giveaway is open to Canada only
  • Winner will be drawn at random
  • Giveaway closes April 12th, 2013

The Importance of Pre and Post Natal Exercise

Welcome Cherry Baker, author of ‘Pregnancy and Fitness‘ and a featured instructor on GymCube.com, as this week’s guest blogger

Research has shown that being very overweight is detrimental to your baby’s health. (NICE guidelines 2011). Exercise can play an important part in keeping a healthy weight, however the exercise programme for pregnant women needs to be tailored to suit the anatomical and physiological changes that occur during pregnancy to be safe for mum and baby.

IMG_5665Of course the problem is finding somewhere local where you can get good advice on how to exercise effectively. And then you have to find the time to be able to do it, fitting in the class times around your busy schedule. That’s why I started teaching on GymCube.com.

GymCube.com streams LIVE exercise classes every single day, and then each workout is archived into its extensive Anytime archive section. I teach a pre and post natal class on there every week, so expecting and new mums can get safe and effective exercise advice, whenever they want, wherever in the world they may be. All they have to do, is visit GymCube.com.

Our approach is to keep women strong and build confidence to help them deal with pregnancy, labour and the post natal phase. We make sure our classes are suitable for all levels of fitness, providing options for all shapes and sizes, including those new to exercise and those who’ve been avid gym bunnies all their lives. Because everyone is different.

IMG_5674Together, we target our pelvic floor muscles and core, developing stability and strength to help cope with labour, and preventing and helping ease pelvic girdle pain. We also work on our posture, demonstrating correct lifting techniques to help prevent back pain both pre and post natally. Because if you’ve haven’t realised already, you’ll be doing a lot of picking up and carrying soon!

Join me on GymCube.com whenever you want, so that we can help keep you fit and prepare you for baby’s arrival in a safe and effective way. Every new mum gets a FREE 30 day trial, where you can catch up with all of my classes so far. We’ve also teamed up with survival4moms to offer one lucky reader a free annual membership too! And don’t forget, I’m always on hand before and after my classes on Facebook and via email to answer any questions you might have about your pregnancy or about your body after the birth.

Come and try GymCube.com, because whilst every minute of your time can be taken with a new born baby, try and give yourself some time to look after yourself, strengthening from the inside out with our sessions, building up self esteem and confidence.

Because happier mums make for happier babies 🙂

Cherry x

thumb_47__staff-profile-thumbTeaching pre and post natal exercise for over 25 years, Cherry has trained many teachers and midwives to become pre and post natal exercise specialists and has worked with hundreds of mums throughout their pregnancy and after delivery. Cherry had her first book ‘Total Core Strength on the Ball’ published in 2004 and her second book ‘Pregnancy and Fitness: All You Need to Know to Exercise Safely and Effectively Throughout Pregnancy’ was published in 2005. She has also released several DVD’s and has been recognised with numerous awards from the fitness industry. 

Giveaway!

As Cherry mentioned above, GymCube.com is offering one of our readers a free year’s membership worth £59.95 or $90. The GymCube studios are based in the UK which means Live classes are scheduled around a GMT day, however this means evening classes are bang in the middle of the day for those on ET and in the morning for those on PT. Plus, the GymCube Anytime archive is available for you to access classes as long as you have an internet enabled device, so moms can join the pre and post natal classes, as well as all the other classes, whenever they want. And being as babies and toddlers don’t always allow you to fit into a tight schedule this archive feature could be really useful! Of course you’re not limited to pre or postnatal classes – your membership entitles you and your family to access the whole range of over 40 Live classes per week; even dance classes for the kids.

To enter, simply take a look at the GymCube timetable and tell us in a comment below the name and time of one of the classes available on a Tuesday.

Once you have completed this mandatory entry you may do the following for bonus entries:

Please be sure to leave a separate comment below for each of your bonus entries.

  • Giveaway is open to ALL
  • Winner will be drawn at random
  • Giveaway closes March 15th, 2013

Have Fun, Enhance Learning and Create Precious Moments

Welcome the folks from Team Qramel as this week’s guest bloggers

QRML_201301_ALPHABET_V01_01_600x800These days, three-year-olds can be more iPad-literate than most Baby Boomers. Smartphones and tablets are great for educating kids and having family fun-time.

There’s a new product on the market to combine your little technology prodigy’s interests with the physical world in a fun and educational way: Qramel Alphabet Stickers. These quirky stickers can be scanned to attach a picture, video, or voice message, then be placed anywhere. With a simple scan from a smartphone or tablet, your special messages can be shared over and over again. All it takes is a snappy download and registration of the FREE Qramel mobile app and an online trip to Amazon.com (any excuse for online shopping, right?) for Qramel stickers that will be delivered right to your doorstep.

Explore some possibilities:

  • Use these stickers to record yourself making funny faces and noises that make your little ones giggle and stick it on their favorite toy for a nice surprise.
  • Read a book while capturing sound and place it in the book so story time can continue on when you’re tired, not feeling well, or are out of town.
  • They can be used to teach tykes the alphabet, common animal sounds, and new languages.

With Qramel stickers, you can turn your tech-savvy child into an everything-savvy child in an educational, interactive way.

Qramel Alphabet Stickers are available on Amazon along with lots of other fun Qramel interactive programable message stickers. Check out the

1an8vg-qramel-promo-vday-bear03_4lnq1hwyewcwnfuoAnd with Valentines just around the corner here’s one for the parents. Looking for a new way to tell him ‘I love you’ this Valentine’s day? Why not try the Qramel Valentine’s Day Message Stickers – create a personalized digital picture or voice or video message, attach it to a Valentine’s Day sticker, and place it on a gift, on the fridge or even on the bedroom door!

For more possibilities watch the Qramel instrucional video

Team Qramel | http://www.qramel.com

We have a set of the Qramel alphabet stickers to give away so that you can try this fun new idea for yourself. Download the free Qramel App to make sure you’re ready to go, then to win the stickers simply browse the Qramel Stickers on Amazon and tell us in a comment below which are your favourites.

Once you have completed this mandatory entry you may do the following for bonus entries:

Please be sure to leave a separate comment below for each of your bonus entries.

  • Giveaway is open to US residents only
  • Winner will be drawn at random
  • Giveaway closes February 22nd 2013

Is Your iPad Toddler-proof? Giveaway!

Earlier this week we reviewed the Speck iGuy iPad case and promised a giveaway – so here it is.

iGuy is perfect for keeping your iPad safe when the little ones take it over. It’s bright, sturdy and with its friendly arm-shaped handles it’s very easy for the little ones to grip which means it’s less likely to be dropped, but if that does happen the PVC-fee EVA foam is good protection. Its feet also make it great for free standing if it’s being used for watching a cartoon. The case also features cut out sections so you can still access the function buttons and charging ports.

If you’re looking for a colourful and fun iPad or iPad Mini case, the iGuy is just the ticket.

Speck iGuy iPad case

We have a Speck iGuy iPad case to give away courtesy of MobileFun. To enter, simply pop to MobileFun’s site and tell us in a comment below one of the funky colours the iGuy is available in.

Once you have completed this mandatory entry you may do the following for bonus entries:

Please be sure to leave a separate comment below for each of your bonus entries.

  • Giveaway is open to UK, USA and Canada
  • Winner will be drawn at random
  • Giveaway closes February 21st, 2013

My Memories

My memories of the first 5 months of Bowser’s life are best summed up like this:

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He was, let’s just say, ‘challenging’ as a baby. I have much fonder memories of Pickle as a baby…and as she was the firstborn we also have a lot more of her progress recorded: I wrote a journal; I have a ‘My Baby Keepsakes’ box full of memories; we have photos printed off and organised in albums – proper baby albums with cute covers and words on the front like ‘My little baby faces’ and ‘Precious baby pictures’. In fact we had 3 albums filled before she was 2 years old. For Bowser we have photos …in folders on the computer. And that’s it.

For Pickle’s homework last week she was asked to complete a timeline of her life and I was able to delve into the journal and provide great detail of what happened when. If Bowser ever gets set the same task there will be a lot more guess work involved.

I think that’s pretty standard parent behaviour for first child vs those that follow. With Baby #1 it’s all new and you dote more, worry more and celebrate more. Plus you have time. You may not think so at the time, but once you have a toddler plus a newborn you’ll realise you did have time. Are there truly any parents out there that made the same fuss over baby #2, 3 or 4 as baby #1? Now Pickle and Bowser are 8 and 5 and both at school I do have time so I’m going to attempt to redress the balance by recording and organising some of my memories of Bowser’s baby days.

Handily we’ve been asked to take a look at My Memories digital scrapbooking software. I am by no means a scrapbooker – haven’t got the patience – but this certainly seems to be a fun and easy way to create scrapbooks, photobooks and more. I didn’t read the instructions; instead I took the bull in a china shop approach. But in all honesty once the download was complete (which did take quite some time) it only took me about 10 minutes to create the custom page above. All I have to compare it to is Photoshop which I’ve had for ages but never got to grips with – can’t even work out how to add a label to a photo. The possibilities with the software are near endless. If you do read the instructions and take time to experiment you can definitely create some beautiful records of your beautiful memories.

You can make photobooks from scratch or you can build an entire album using one of the many professionally-designed templates provided within the software. A large collection of papers and embellishments are also included to help you make each page uniquely your own. And if you’re looking for something specific you can also choose from hundreds of scrapbooking kits and photo book templates from the My Memories shop.

You can print off your designs to make personalized greetings cards, or use the share option within the software to turn your digital scrapbook into a professionally printed and bound book. If you’re after a challenge you can get even craftier with custom gifts. Alternatively stay in digital mode and you can even put your memories to music and share the completed project on a DVD or slideshow.

I’m not sure what traditional scrapbookers will think of this, but some advantages you might consider are:

  • Speedier – creating pages takes minutes rather than hours
  • No mess – no set up or clean up
  • Cheaper – you can reuse all your digital backgrounds and embellishments and if you don’t like the end result all you’ve wasted is a bit of time
  • More flexible – try different layouts, and papers etc without having to commit to anything
  • Many ways to share your creations
  • You can include videos and sound rather than just static pictures

To be honest when I first downloaded the software I had doubts that I would ever use it beyond creating something for this review, but the more I read about My Memories Suite the more it appeals to my creative side. It’s definitely wetted my appetite to look into this more – there are so many possibilities.

Giveaway! If you fancy giving My Memories a try you’re in luck. Not only do we have a copy of the MyMemories Suite v4 Software (RRP $39.97) to give away, we also have a code giving you $10 off a purchase of the software if you’re not the lucky winner.**

To enter the giveaway simply pop to the My Memories site and let us know the name of a design kit that takes your fancy.

Once you have completed the above mandatory entry you may do the following for bonus entries:

Be sure to leave a separate comment below for each of your bonus entries.
    • Giveaway is open Worldwide!
    • Winner will be chosen at random
    • Winner will be provided with a promo code via email allowing them to download My Memories Suite Version 4 for free
    • Giveaway closes February 7th, 2013

**If you wish to purchase My Memories Suite v4 be sure to use our coupon code STMMMS10858 at checkout to receive a $10 discount PLUS a $10 coupon for the MyMemories.com store – $20 value!. Please go ahead and share this code with your family and friends!