Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Memories Digital Scrapbook Review and Giveaway

Share the Memories 1
As many of you know, I like to scrapbook. I like making cards out of scrapbook stuff as well as make my own photo memories. I really am not that good at the scrapbooks themselves, but I try really hard. I can make some really awesome cards though (check them out here). In trying to learn more about scrapbooking and to get better ideas for what I do, I have been looking into digital software. The one application I have found talked about a lot is My Memories Suite. As a member of Mom Blog Society, I found out that My Memories was looking for new reviewers and blogs to giveaway a copy of their digital scrapbooking software. I was very excited to learn about the opportunity and now here I am! I was given a copy of the My Memories Suite to review and at the bottom of this post you will find your chance to win a copy for yourself! How cool is that?

This is the first piece of digital scrapbooking software I have tried out and I must say that it was EASY! I am more of an old fashioned paper and stickers kind of girl, but this was so simple and now I have a scrapbook I can share in digital format and even as a video. I took all my Christmas pictures and put them into one of their built-in Album Designs using their Designer Template Option.

My Memories Suite Picture2
You have several built-in album themes you can choose from when you create your album and on their website, there are other free packages you can download as well as one you can buy. If you have a particular theme in mind for your album, you can design it yourself. The software offers many of the items you would use in paper and sticker scrapbooks that are all divided out by the names you would recognize as an experienced scrapbooker. For my first experience, I chose the Holiday Snows theme as you can see below.

My Memories Suite Picture3
Once you choose the theme you want (if you are using an existing one), it shows you all the page layouts with that theme and allows you to add or remove pages if you do/son't like a particular page. I really liked this feature. I kept all the pages in my theme, but I have noticed in other themes that sometimes there is a page that really doesn't fit what I am doing. I can simply remove it from the list of pages and the software won't use it when I add my photos.

My Memories Suite Picture4
Once you have your pages selected, you are given two options for your photos. You can put them in yourself, or have them inserted into the pages automatically. For my first time, I chose to let the software do it. I wanted to find out what it could do. I put it to the test with 103 Christmas photos. Now when I saved my photos on my computer, I renamed them because I am an organization freak. I have to have the date on every photo and some meaningful name to tell me what is in the photo. The downside to that is that renaming my photos also reorganizes them out of chronological order. We had three Christmas gatherings on Christmas day. When I renamed them, they got all mixed up. Obviously, I did not expect the software to recognize which photos went together and I didn't want my scrapbook to be out of order. My test with the automatic insertion of photos was to see how I could rearrange the photos so that they are grouped the way I wanted them to be. The answer was way easier than I expected. I added the photos to the dialog box and then simply dragged the photos around in the box to where I wanted them to be! So simple! You can see in the pictures that I moved the last picture shown to the 3rd to last one.

My Memories Suite Picture5
My Memories Suite Picture6
After the pictures were put into my template, I was then able to go page by page to nudge photos around to where I wanted them. I added text and other embellishments. I even added imprints to pages. There wasn't a lot that needed to be one because the template was pretty nice for my pictures already. After I finished making my book, I had to figure out a way to share it with all of you so you can get an idea of what the software can do. I found out that if you have the full version of the software (which one lucky reader will win!) you get a free add-on to turn your scrapbooks into movies. I made a movie out of my book to share with all of you.

I was given a copy of My Memories Suite to try out for this review, but all opinions expressed in this review are my own.


Share the Memories 2 As a special bonus to my readers, if you are interested in BUYING the My Memories Suite software, You can use my special code to get $10 off! When you are ready to check out, enter the code STMMMS15347 to take off $10 of your total order. It's just that simple. I recommend you copy and paste the code just to make sure ou don't put it in incorrectly!

Share the Memories 3
One lucky reader will win a copy of My Memories Suite V3. You can enter in as many or as few ways as you want. The winner will be randomly drawn on January 8th and notified via email. They will have 48 hours to respond to my email before I draw a new winner. Good luck!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hope You Had a Merry Christmas

Most blogs that I follow do this thing called Wordless Wednesday. I don't know if I really want to follow that, but this week I am doing Picture Wednesday. We had a wonderful Christmas and I want to share some photos from it. I got a new laptop from my hubby, a new digital camera from my mom, and a wonderful elliptical machine from my mother-in-law. I am a happy girl. I can document my son even better now and do it faster with the laptop. Hopefully I will also be able to feel better about myself with my new elliptical. Of course we have to call the manufacturer about that one because I either put it together wrong or something is wrong with it. When you step forward on the machine, the bars connected to the foot pedals hit the floor. A few times of doing that and I will destroy my floor. I am making my hubby call tomorrow to see where I went wrong.

I hope you had a Merry Christmas as well.

Christmas Picture1
Christmas Picture2
Christmas Picture3
Christmas Picture4
Christmas Picture5
Christmas Picture6
Christmas Picture7
Christmas Picture8

Saturday, December 24, 2011

iCaughtSanta Winners Part 2

Well I am thoroughly pleased! I really didn't expect to get a big turn out on the second giveaway since there are a lot of iCaughtSanta giveaways going on right now. However, I ended up with 85 valid entries for 9 unique entrants. I am very happy with that! Thank you to everyone that participated and for all the follows. Without further ado, here are the winners!

  • Kayla Syslk for adding me to her Google+ Circles
  • Ten Coupons for following me on twitter
  • Belinda for liking the blog post
  • Suzanne Ds for following on GFC
  • Brittany Boardley Renaldi for following @catchacharacter on twitter


CONGRATULATIONS!!!
The winners have been emailed their codes! I hope you enjoy your photos as much as I do! Everyone have a
iCaughtSanta Picture 3




Friday, December 23, 2011

Thanks to My Bookworm Santa

The Magic Attic You read that right. Bookworm Santa. I signed up for an event a long time ago to be a "Secret Santa" to someone by buying and sending them a new book. It was called Bookworm Santa instead of Secret Santa though. To be honest I completely forgot about this until I got my wonderful presents yesterday. My Bookworm Santa was kind enough to send me TWO books. That was VERY generous of her. For this event we had to send in a wish list of books we wanted. I tried to vary what was on my list by prices and so that whoever got my name could spend very little if necessary since not everyone knows how much money they are going to have at this time of year. I am SOOOOO grateful for my wonderful gifts. She got me Blood Bound by Rachel Vincent and Howling at the Moon by Karen MacInerney.

Bookworm Santa Picture1
Bookworm Santa Picture2


What a really neat and cool event huh? Since I forgot about the event, my person is getting her book late. It will get there though! I had it shipped directly to her to reduce the time it would take. I hope that Jade Hankes likes it. I emailed her to say sorry because I felt so bad. Part of this event was also to share our blogs and get to know one another. In the spirit of that, I want to share Jade's blog with you. You can find some interesting book reviews on her site at Chasing Empty Pavements. While you are there, why don't you follow her on Twitter, Google+, and GoodReads! Boost her numbers for her!

I would also like to that Bree from The Magic Attic and Michelle from Book Briefs for setting up this wonderful event. If it is done next year I do plan to attend and try to be better about getting my gift out sooner! Thank you!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Crazy Time of Year!

Christmas this year is absolutely crazy. I have been amazed when I go to ANY store how busy they are. I hope that is a good sign for the economy. Even the grocery store was slammed when I went shopping in the early afternoon on Monday. It seems like I am pushing people out of my way in every store I go to. I went to Walmart yesterday to pick up some hand towels and a picture frame. You'd think I was trying to get the last laptop or something with how people just wouldn't move out of my way. I even had my 15 month old son with me and they still wouldn't move. Insane.

On top of me just feeling like I am behind on EVERYTHING. I haven't been able to scrapbook for three weeks due to being sick and then trying to get my Christmas presents taken care of. This is the problem with being crafty. You come up with all these awesome ideas for presents for people and forget how long it takes to make them! I spent 4 days on one present. I won't mention what it is because that someone might actually read this post and the surprise will be ruined. The other downside is when the stuff you make doesn't turn out exactly the way you pictured it. I feel that way about everything so far. It's almost there, just not perfect. I hope that my family all like what I have done. They will appreciate the gesture, but I don't know my in-laws well enough to know for certain. My hubby says it's fine, but I know it could have been better. Sometimes I really wish that I would just shell out the money to have things professionally done. Instead I feel all emotional worrying that my presents aren't going to be liked or wanted. It actually made me cry yesterday thinking of my wasted time and effort if they don't like their gifts (not just the in-laws on that one). I gave up my coveted nap time to work on everything! I'm still not done either. =/

I hope everyone else out there is feeling better about their holiday than I am. I feel like Charlie Brown from Charlie Brown's Christmas. I hope next year is better. Drake will understand Christmas better and hopefully get excited about it. That will help I'm sure. Does it get easier parents out there?

Monday, December 19, 2011

iCaughtSanta Custom Photos Giveaway

iCaughtSanta Picture1
You saw that right! I get to do a second giveaway for five more iCaughtSanta.com photos. I was very pleased with the results of doing my first giveaway, so I'm doing it again! If you would like to check out my review of iCaughtSanta.com, please check out the first giveaway post.

Also, check out Catch A Character's YouTube channel for fun videos of Santa!









a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I am a Featured Blogger!

I am so excited to be sharing this with you! I was invited to be a featured blogger on the Mom's Talk Network as a Mommy Blogger. Want to read my interview and learn a bit more about my blog? Check it out here: http://mommycommunity.com/2011/12/18/mom-blogger-interview-phaedra-of-identity-discovery/

Mom's Talk Network is a part of Mommy Community. I signed up with them in order to get more traffic and interest in this blog. I want to get my name out there where ever I can and to learn about more ways to do so. If you have suggestions for me on how to do that, let me know!

My First Winners!!!

My first giveaway turned out better than I expected! I ended up with 75 valid entries for 19 unique entrants. I am very happy with that! Thank you to everyone that participated and for all the follows. I actually have been given 5 more codes to give out and will set up another rafflecopter giveaway for that shortly. Without further ado, my FIRST winners!

  • Jill L for following on YouTube
  • Kelly Moran for following on GFC
  • Kim Davis for leaving a blog post comment
  • Kelly Moran (yes she was drawn twice) for following @catchacharacter on twitter
  • MomofTwo for following on GFC


CONGRATULATIONS!!!
The winners have been emailed their codes! I hope you enjoy your photos as much as I do! If you are interested in trying to win one of five more codes, stay tuned for the next giveaway!

iCaughtSanta Picture3

Saturday, December 17, 2011

What do I want for Christmas?

I have been asked a lot this year about what I want for Christmas. My family does a gift exchange where we draw names so that we aren't spending hundreds of dollars trying to get everyone a gift and risk leaving someone out. I love it. It makes it so you get a special present from someone and everyone gets something. My uncle asked me tonight what I wanted since he had my name. It got me thinking of what it is I REALLY want. Here's my list and if you can help me out in any way, please do, but I doubt you can. =P

  1. My house to sell
  2. My grandpa to get well. - He went in the hospital with a stomach bug a few weeks ago and they discovered he has pneumonia and was about to have a heart attack. They were able to prevent the heart attack, but he is now on medication for his heart. He has been on meds for emphysema for years, but now he gets more. Unfortunately he went back into the hospital today because he was coughing up blood. They are running tests and putting him on antibiotics. I just want him to get well enough to get through Christmas.
  3. My house to sell
  4. My voice! I lost it yesterday and still can't talk.
  5. My house to sell
  6. To be able to have another baby and never have another ectopic pregnancy again.
  7. Did I mention for my house to sell? =P


Well it's time I should be going to bed. My son's been asleep since 7 PM so it might be an early morning. I hope not, but I better get some shut eye in case.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

$100 Amazon Twitter Blast Giveaway

Twitter Blast Picture


What is a Twitter Blast? You the blogger can join for free with one account – Twitter. Then Amee from Madame Deals and Jen from all her blogs (Kobiso, Makobi Scribe, Sason and Pobi, etc) will provide the prize-$100 Amazon card. Amee from Madame Deals and Jen from all her blogs (Kobiso, Makobi Scribe, Sason and Pobi, etc) are the completely sponsoring this event!!

Problems Solved

Google plus 1Google plus 2
After yesterday's post about my problems with the Google Plus badge and Plus One, I had one thing to try to fix them. It turns out that one thing is exactly what needed to be done. You notice the new design? Well it turns out that the template that I had installed (from random free site) wasn't letting the badge or button to render properly. I have no idea why. I just decided to try one of Blogger's predesigned templates just to see if they would show up. Go figure, they did. My default theme isn't what I want, but at least I have the functionality I want. You can now add my page on Google Plus to your circles and you can Plus One my posts! Yay! So get started! =P

So if there is anyone else out there using blogger and having trouble with you google button and badge, try a default template to see if that fixes it. When I get a custom template again, it will hopefully be made for me and just work. I have a really cool idea for a banner but unless I win a design service, it isn't happening any time soon. Hope you like the default theme.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Google+ button and badge

I am trying to keep my blog up to date with all the different types of social media. However I am having some problems with Google+! I find it funny that I can figure out all the others sites and even made custom buttons for them, but my Google page badge refuses to show up and the plus one button doesn't show up at the bottom of my posts. This is a Blogger site! Isn't that run by Google? So why don't the share buttons on posts appear automatically when I have that option selected? I went and found code to force having those buttons but then the Google plus button still isn't there. I thought maybe that was a fluke, but last night I tried to add a widget for my Google plus page so people can add it to their circles...if you see it on the right sidebar, let me know because I sure dont. Can someone please tell me what I am doing wrong? Is it my theme interfering? That's the only thing I haven't experimented with yet. I want a new theme anyway...just nervous about messing with it. Ideas anyone?

Monday, December 12, 2011

$100 Amazon Twitter Blast

Twitter Blast


What is a Twitter Blast? You the blogger can join for free with one account – Twitter. Then Amee from Madame Deals and Jen from all her blogs (Kobiso, Makobi Scribe, Sason and Pobi, etc) will provide the prize-$100 Amazon card. Amee from Madame Deals and Jen from all her blogs (Kobiso, Makobi Scribe, Sason and Pobi, etc) are the completely sponsoring this event!!

This is the first time I have entered one of these, so I hope I do it all correctly! Here are the instructions on Kobiso's post.

What do you need to do to join?
  • Post about the event with the button (shown above) linking back to Kobiso's post. (Right click save the image)
  • Fill out the form on Kobiso's post- sign ups close Dec 14th at 9 AM EST.
  • Post the Rafflecopter on your blog and your Facebook page for the event. You can get it here
  • Then schedule the giveaway post to go live on Dec 15 11:59 PM EST to Jan 1 12:01
  • You can post on every blog you have, one post per twitter account.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

All For Love Valentine's Event


All For Love Valentine's Picture


It is early to be thinking of Valentine's Day that is for sure, but I saw this blog hop on Mom To Bed By 8 and decided to look into it. There are two other Valentine's Day events on her site, but this one ends BEFORE February 14th. I kind of find it annoying when blog hops for a particular holiday end on the day of the holiday. If you are like me and trying to get a present for someone to give to them ON THE DAY OF, those blog hops are useless to you. Unless you want to give the person a card stating what the present is and to expect it in 6-8 weeks at the latest. This hop is from Feb. 1st-7th. The idea is hopefully each sponsor can get the prizes out fast enough for you to actually have the gift in your hands for Valentine's Day. This hop is being run by



Real Mom Reviews

and

Mama Chocolate
All For Love Valentine's Event 2 All for Love Valentine's Event 3


It is REAL Mom Reviews's very first blog hop. I find that appropriate since this is probably going to be the first blog hop I have participated in with a giveaway! Pretty cool huh?

What does this mean for me? I am going to list this blog in the link and giveaway a $25 giftcard to Bath and Body Works. All of the prizes in this hop must have a $25 or higher value. I am sure you will find some blogs that have some pretty amazing prizes (people who have been doing this for a while and have a ton of followers). This is coming out of my pocket, but I have been told that if you want to get the chance to do more reviews/giveaways, you need to participate in blog hops and maybe giveaway stuff you covered yourself. So here I am. In February I will have a giveaway for a $25 giftcard to Bath and Body Works. Get yourself something nice...bubble bath, bath salts, lotions...Or get it for someone else!

If you are a blogger and want to participate in this event, go to http://www.realmomreviews.net/2011/11/all-for-love-valentine%E2%80%99s-event-%E2%80%93-blogger-sign-ups/ to get all the details and to get listed in the linky. The more blogs participating the more new followers you get and hopefully increase your blog's ratings! That's my goal!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

iCaughtSanta Review and Giveaway

iCaughtSanta Picture1
Yay! My first opportunity to do a giveaway. Now I know I don't have a lot of followers right now (only 13), but hopefully this will be the start of getting new followers! I got an email yesterday about an opportunity to try out iCaughtSanta.com. This is really an awesome idea. This is a place where you upload your Christmas photos and put Santa in the photo. This is an opportunity for you to give your children photographic proof that Santa is real. One of the things that I really like about this is that everyone who uses the site will have the SAME Santa in their pictures. Why is that so cool? Well imagine that you are having a big extended family Christmas. Kids are told that Santa goes to every house on Christmas Eve night to deliver presents. If you capture Santa on camera at your house and say your parents' house as well, you can show your kids that the SAME Santa went to both places. If you are photo software savvy, you can even put a time stamp on the photos to show that Santa went to each house at a slightly different time. Wouldn't that be neat? I so want to have a picture of my home, my in-law's home, my parents' home, and my grandparent's home. I want to put different timestamps on each one like 12-25-2011 12:00:01 AM, 12-25-2011 12:00:03 AM, 12-25-2011 12:00:05 AM, and 12-25-2011 12:00:07 AM. This will give the illusion to my son later when he understands that Santa was at each house merely seconds apart. Isn't that a neat idea?

I first tried out the site using their photos to learn more about it. What I did was select the "Try it Free" option. The initial page that shows up looks like the image below.

iCaughtSanta Picture2


In the image you can see Santa, but that is not the only way Santa can look. You actually have 20 different poses you can pick so you get the one that looks the best for your photos. Another way to make all those different family photos look different. You put Santa in each household's photo looking different so your kids don't pick up on it being a manufactured photo. You can even change the size of Santa to better fit the photo and to position him in such a way that it makes sense. I changed Santa to be one bending over the presents and made him a little bigger since it looked like the tree was 20 feet tall compared to him.

iCaughtSanta Picture3


Some other options you have are:
  1. Rotate Santa
  2. Flip Santa vertical/horizontal
  3. Add a Photo border (21 to choose from)
  4. Zoom in on your photo (allows you to cut out anything you don't want seen)
  5. Rotate your photo
  6. Change the color of Santa in shades varying from black/white to bright red
  7. Change the brightness of Santa - Why would you need this? Maybe you took your picture with the flash on and everything is really "bright" looking. You can try to match Santa's brightness so he blends in better.


Simple enough really. My next step was to generate my own Proof using a code that iCaughtSanta.com supplied to me for this review. I took a picture of my little Christmas tree just this afternoon for this purpose. It's not completely decorated yet, but my son is only 15 months old. Next year he might question why the date isn't on Christmas Eve or why the tree isn't decorated, but my plan is to tell him that Santa decided to visit early to make sure he was being a good little boy. We'll try to encourage that whole naughty and nice list thing. ;)

iCaughtSanta Picture4


iCaughtSanta Picture5


Well I guess I don't have to worry about the date on the photo...I am making my picture as I write this post, obviously. The date in my photo is being covered up by Santa which is actually pretty perfect. I decided not to add a border to the photo. It's going to go in my scrapbook so I will probably give it a special border later. I also changed the color of Santa's suit to be close to our tapestry on the left side of the picture. This is going to be so cool to have for next year. I will show it to Drake and we can start the season of believing. Share the magic with everyone!

After you create your picture you are also supplied with 5 links to watch Santa interacting IN THE PHOTO. This is so cool. You can then show your child the video of Santa in their own house. What more proof does a child need? It's pretty obvious to an adult that Santa is moving around independently of the photo, but your son or daughter will be a believer for sure for a few years. I know my youngest brother would have FLIPPED to see something like this when we were little. Check out one of the videos from my experience.

Buy Your own Santa Proof
Want to try this out yourself? iCaughtSanta.com is giving my followers 25% off your order when you use the code SAVE25 at purchase.

Try for your chance to WIN free codes to get your proof of Santa's existence. I have 5 codes to giveaway to 5 lucky people. Now this is my first giveaway, so bear with me on doing this. I signed up with Rafflecopter, but I have to figure out how to use it.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Check out Identity Discovery

Identity Discovery is now on Facebook! I created a Facebook page for my blog to try to get fans and likes. I needs these to get products to review. Some companies require a blog to have thousands of facebook fans, but I couldn't apply to any site with something like that because I didn't even have a page. We'll see how this turns out. Hopefully it will be a good incentive to write a lot more and get more involved in the Blogiverse. I know that I don't have many followers through GFC, but I think that I will get more starting tomorrow when my very first giveaway goes live. I am going to have to enter it on some giveaway linkies in order to get more people aware that my giveaway exists. I know what I will be doing during naptime tomorrow! Want to like my FB page now? Here's the link:

Identity Discovery on FB!

Why don't you follow me on twitter too? @kainshottie

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Scrapbook Christmas Giveaways

Time to enter some more giveaways. I have been following a couple of scrapbook blogs and while most giveaway things for the Cricut cutter machine, these sites actually are giving away things I can use. I want a cricut machine really badly, but I have no place to put it right now, nor can I afford it. If I win a machine, GREAT. The chances are pretty slim that I will. So I am sticking with rubber stamps and stickers that come in packs.

"I just entered a #giveaway to #win a prize @ 12 Days of Christmas Craft Blog Hop and learned a great new project! You can too @http://upcycledscrapbooking.blogspot.com/2011/12/day-1-12-days-of-christmas-craft-blog.html#more

Scrapbook


This first site is one that I won a Halloween punch set from and there are some really neat projects on it. The Halloween giveaway had been focused on a mini wallet book that I am probably going to try to make some time soon when I have a chance. This is their 12 Days of Christmas giveaway that is focused on Christmas items. This particular giveaway is for Day 2 (I need to go look at Day 1). Here's what's being given away:

$50 worth of prizes in ONE PRIZE PACK!!
1 - set of 3 designer scissors
1 - Fiskars Harlequin charm Acrylic Stamp Set
1 - Studio G - 2-1/2" clear stamp block
1 - Studio G - Butterfly Acrylic Stamp
1 - Fiskars Embossing Border Punch
1 - Westcott "Windmill" Ornamental Paper Punch

"I just entered a #giveaway to #win a prize @ 12 Days of Christmas Craft Blog Hop and learned a great new project! You can too @ Wanda's Whimsical Wonders

This is for a cricut product, but not the machine. I am entering this just in case I win the cricut machine at http://herecometheboysblogchallenge.blogspot.com/p/1000-follower-blog-candy.html.

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