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How can it be possible that the holidays are nearly upon us? Summer flew by at breakneck speed, followed by a whirlwind fall, and now we find Thanksgiving perched on our doorstep. Once we push back from dinner – we’ll jump feet first into gift-giving season. So what better time to unveil the 2014 Mom Central Holiday Gift Guide For the next month, we’ll roll out cool, clever, and creative gift items for everyone on your list – offering you a non-stop selection of gift ideas. As an added bonus, we’ll feature a selection of giveaway items throughout the Gift Guide where you can enter for a chance to win.
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Join us for the Busch Gardens #ChristmasTown Twitter Party tomorrow from 1:00 – 2:00 PM ET! We’ll be chatting about the upcoming Christmas season and the fun ways Busch Gardens Tampa is helping families continue family traditions while adding some new ones along the way! Date: Thursday, December 4th 2014 Time: 1:00 – 2:00 PM ET Moderator: @MomCentral Brand Participants: @BuschGardens Party Hashtag: #ChristmasTown Prizes: Two (2) winners using the correct Twitter Party hashtag will be randomly selected to receive a $50 American Express gift card prior to the start of the #ChristmasTown Twittter Party. 6 winners using the correct Twitter Party hashtag will be randomly selected to receive a $50 American Express card during the hour of the #ChristmasTown Twittter Party. (Winners are restricted to the 48 contiguous United States and the District of Columbia.)
Decadent French preserves from Bonne Maman
Influence Central received samples to facilitate this post. All opinions are our own. Gifts for the kitchen are one of my favorite categories to shop for during the holidays. There are so many unique, innovative products that can enhance the culinary experience that your loved ones might not yet know about, but will make a big impact in their cooking and hosting endeavors! Here are a few of our favorite products to consider for gift ideas, or thoughtful hostess gifts this holiday season: Bonne Maman – A great hostess idea or stocking stuffer is a gift sampler of decadent French preserves from Bonne Maman. We love the innovative flavors – from Redcurrant to Golden Plum Mirabelle – that are sure to elevate simple dishes, and inspire your gift recipient to use the preserves in some delicious recipes, which can be found on the site.
The Target dog mascot!
Influence Central was invited to attend a Holiday Preview Event hosted by Target and received some sample items to facilitate this post. All opinions are our own. We were invited to experience the best of Target holiday at a special holiday-themed preview here in New York City. The event was fun, festive, and got us in the spirit of the holidays. We even got the chance to meet the Target dog mascot! We love when we can cross multiple items off our holiday shopping list with one visit, and Target is certainly a great place to shop for family, friends and loved ones and help us check off all the items on our holiday list! Plus with free shipping between now and Christmas, it’s easy to shop online for our favorite Target finds. If you’re looking for some holiday gift ideas, Target Toys and Games offers some great product for kids (and adults) of all ages on our list.
Fast and Fun Holiday Shopping on Zappos
Influence Central participated in a “Secret Santa” swap where we were able to select items for a fellow Zappos blogger ambassador, and in exchange received our own items to consider review. All opinions are our own. Holiday shopping can be both a lot of fun, and stressful! There’s so much joy and excitement in finding the perfect gift, but also anxiety about receiving it on time. With the wide variety of brands and products available on Zappos and fast, free shipping, it’s really easy to use the site as a one-stop shop for clothing, shoes, accessories, beauty products – even housewares for the ones you love! Zappos makes it easy to find the perfect gift – with free shipping, 365 day returns, and an easily laid out gift guide that helps you sort for gifts at various price levels.
Captain McFinn Swim & Play App
We recently discovered a truly unique, first-of-its kind tablet-based app that we think children will really enjoy discovering – Captain McFinn Swim & Play, which is best suited for children ages 3-6. Upon downloading the app, your child will input his or her name and select a style of fish they choose to be for their adventure under the sea, where they can discover creatures and adventures in the ocean. What sets this app apart from others is that your child will be able to hear from a live host who will interact with your child by name in real-time. The host will invite you to participate in a mission, such as finding a sunken ship, going to a dress-up closet or painting a picture. The host encourages your child and even rewards their accomplishments in a fun and enthusiastic manner, building social skills and self-esteem. The app is very intuitive to control – you are able to control your fish by simple touch, and the screen is really responsive to your direction.
  Oh no! Your shopping’s not done??! (Don’t worry, ours isn’t either!) Mom Central knows the holidays can be a hectic time, and Zulily is a retailer obsessed with bringing moms special finds every day at incredible prices. Together, we’re helping busy moms get a jump-start on holiday shopping with these two amazing opportunities: Twitter Party When: Wednesday Nov. 26 at 9:00pm ET Where: Twitter at #ShopZulily Why: Fabulous prizes & great convo How: Just join in! No RSVP required Canadian Residents: Rules & Regulations US Residents: Rules & Regulations
Join us on Tuesday, November 25th for Kohl’s #KohlsBlackFriday Twitter Party from 1-2pm ET! We’ll be chatting about getting a jump-start on holiday shopping by heading to Kohl’s this Black Friday and sharing our favorite tips when shopping during the busiest time of year.
Creating the Ultimate Comfort Food with Amex EveryDay “At Your Service”
Disclosure: Amex Everyday “At Your Service” is a client of Mom Central Consulting. Every Mom knows the power that lies within macaroni ‘n’ cheese. It proves time and again to be the one dish that all kids will eat and possesses the ability to both soothe and celebrate whatever our kids’ may be dealing with at any given moment. It also can be found universally on kids’ menus no matter a restaurant’s genre. It’s also a dish that’s coming into its own as adult fare. We now see gourmet versions in both high-end restaurants and cookbooks – whether featuring combinations of artisanal cheeses or decadent additions such as lobster, pancetta, or shaved truffles. Surprise & Delight
At the beginning of the year, I decided to try and go as paperless as possible. That meant moving my online account statements into electronic form but also scanning documents and filing them as soon they are received.  This is my second attempt to go paperless – my first was in 2012 but the scanner software was so cumbersome and buggy that I gave up after two months. So before the year began, I sorted out what I needed. Namely: - A personal scanner that could handle everything from multi-page documents to credit card receipts. Specifically, the scanner’s software had to be powerful, intuitive and work on my Mac - Some method of electronically capturing and archiving all of my account statements. Even though the scanner is critical, if I could eliminate the bulk of the paper generated by bank accounts and credit card statements that would really help.
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