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Get ready to Sing – in theaters December 21, 2016 (giveaway ends 12/10/16)

 

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Get your singing voice ready for a new animated feature film called Sing. Sing is coming to theaters on December 21, 2016. 

The film features the voice talents of Academy Award® winners Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon. Sing also stars the voice talents of Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Taron Egerton and Grammy Award-nominated Tori Kelly.

Illumination has captivated audiences all over the world with the beloved hits Despicable Me, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, Despicable Me 2 and Minions, now the second-highest-grossing animated movie in history.  Following the release of this summer’s comedy blockbuster The Secret Life of Pets, Illumination presents Sing this holiday season.

Set in a world like ours but entirely inhabited by animals, Sing stars Buster Moon (McConaughey), a dapper koala who presides over a once-grand theater that has fallen on hard times.  Buster is an eternal—some might even say delusional—optimist who loves his theater above all and will do anything to preserve it.  Now faced with the crumbling of his life’s ambition, he has one final chance to restore his fading jewel to its former glory by producing the world’s greatest singing competition.

Five lead contestants emerge: Mike (MacFarlane), a mouse who croons as smoothly as he cons; Meena (Kelly), a timid teenage elephant with an enormous case of stage fright; Rosita (Witherspoon), an overtaxed mother run ragged tending a litter of 25 piglets; Johnny (Egerton), a young gangster gorilla looking to break free of his family’s felonies; and Ash (Johansson), a punk-rock porcupine struggling to shed her arrogant boyfriend and go solo.

singstill-1

Each arrives under Buster’s marquee believing that this is their shot to change the course of their life.  And as Buster coaches each of his contestants closer and closer to the grand finale, he starts to learn that maybe the theater isn’t the only thing that is in need of saving.

Featuring more than 65 hit songs, Sing is produced by Meledandri and his longtime collaborator Janet Healy.  Together, they have produced all of Illumination’s films since the studio’s inception.  Released by Universal Pictures, Sing arrives in theaters on December 21, 2016. www.SingMovie.com

I can’t believe the film has 65 songs in it. Of course it’s not the full version of the songs, but none the less, it will be fun to listen to them and try to remember the song titles and the artists who sang them. It would be like playing the game “Name That Tune.”

Below is the film’s trailer. It also includes a special message from Grammy Award-nominated Tori Kelly.

 

I think the film is about not letting fear stand in the way of something that you love. I think that is an important message for people – young and old – to take to heart.

To learn more about the film you can check out the Official Website. You can also “like” the film on Facebook and follow the film on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr. You can also check out the official hashtag #SingMovie.

You can order your tickets today on Fandango. I use Fandango all the time to buy movie tickets. It saves so much time and I like being able to pick out our seats ahead of time (the reserved seating feature might not be available in all theaters).

You can also download some FREE movie themed activity sheet and coloring pages at  www.SingMovie.com/Printables.

sing-prizepack1

I have a special Sing giveaway for a lucky winner, courtesy of Universal Pictures. The prize package includes;

  • $25 Fandango gift card to see the film in theaters with your family
  • Stationary Set & Pencil with Topper

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on December 10, 2016. The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via email and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post and tell me why you would like to win this prize package and if you plan on seeing the film.

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries won’t qualify.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kimberly

*I will be receiving the same prize package in exchange for my participation. There is no other compensation. The opinions expressed are my own. Prizes and samples provided by Universal Pictures. 

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National Geographic Kids Holiday Giveaway (ends 12/3/16)

 

Christmas Gifts

Now that the holidays are here, people are scrambling to find the perfect gifts for those on their holiday shopping list.

Something that people might now always consider as a holiday gift are books. Personally, I LOVE books. If someone gifted me a gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble I’d be happy. There are plenty of books that I would love to read.

I think that books make great gifts for children too. Even “reluctant readers” can enjoy a good book that doesn’t necessarily have to be a reading book. There are plenty of books out there that are educational as well as comics and graphic novels.

ngklogo_bluegray

Are you familiar with books from National Geographic Kid? We own many of their books and I have donated many of them to the classrooms where I’ve worked.

National Geographic Kids teaches kids about the world and how it works, empowering them to succeed and make it a better place. It is the only kids brand with a scientific, education, and conservation organization at its core.

National  Geographic Kids is the #1 publisher of nonfiction books for kids, producing more than 100 titles per year. From board books to leveled readers to almanacs to our wildly popular Weird but True series, we’ve got books for every young reader on your list.

National Geographic Kids sent me a few of their new books to check out for myself. They might be geared towards children, but as an adult I find them very enjoyable. Even I learn A LOT from reading them.

Here are the books that I was sent to review.

5000awesomefacts_cover

5,000 Awesome Facts (About Everything!) 3

Find fascinating knowledge nuggets on all kinds of cool topics, from bubble gum and ice cream to the outer space and the North Pole! This book offers hours of unplugged fun for curious kids who love to be the trivia expert in the family. (Ages 8-12)

2017almanac_cover

National Geographic Kids Almanac 2017

Get inspired for the year ahead with the most popular kids’ almanac on the planet! It features 350+ pages of incredible photos, fun facts, news, activities, and features about animals, science, exploration, technology, culture, and more. (Ages 8-12)

The second annual Almanac Newsmaker Challenge invites kids create a time capsule for kids in 2050 that shows what life is like today. Just gather up to 10 “artifacts,” photograph it, and share it on My Shot, the Nat Geo Kids online photo community. Get the details at: natgeokids.com/almanac.

weirdbuttrue8_cover

Weird but True 8

Kids love Weird But True! The latest, greatest in this endlessly fascinating series – now with more than 20 titles – is full of 300 all-new wild and wacky facts and pictures. (Ages 8-12)

I’m not exaggerating when I say as an adult, I find these books fascinating. I’ve learned A LOT from these books.

What I love about these books that they are very engaging. They have colorful photos to go along with all the amazing facts. Even if your child is still in the early stages of reading they can still enjoy the great photos found in each of the books.

These are fun books… but at the same time they are educational.

These would make great holiday gifts. As a mom I would certainly gift my children these books.

If you would like to learn more about these and other National Geographic Kids books, visit ShopNG.com/kidsbooks. You can also follow @NGKids and @NatGeoBooks on Twitter and “like” National Geographic Kids and National Geographic Books on Facebook. You can also check out the hashtag #NatGeoKidsBooks on social media.

holidayprizepack

National Geographic Kids has generously offered to give a lucky reader a copy of each of these books!

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on December 3, 2016. The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via email and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post and tell me which of these three books you think would be most interesting and/or who you’ll gift these books to if you are the winner?

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries won’t qualify.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kimberly

*I received the same prize package in exchange for my participation. There was no other compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. National Geographic Kids provided the prize and samples. 

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Countdown to Christmas with the Hallmark Channel (giveaway ends 11/30/16)

 

2010

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just days away. We haven’t even finished shopping for our Thanksgiving dinner yet. We haven’t even started shopping for Christmas gifts either. The holiday season crept up on us way too quickly.

The holiday season is my most favorite time of the year. From Halloween all the way through New Year’s Eve has always been my favorite time of the year – even as a child.

I am looking forward to driving around town with my family, checking out the holiday decorations. It’s something we do every year. Many years ago we even started to “award” homes with special titles such as “Most Creative,” “Most Beautiful,” “Tackiest,” and so forth. We usually do that on Christmas Eve, right after dinner. The past few years it hasn’t worked out on that day, so we are planning on doing that in the next couple of weeks.

I am also looking forward to my favorite holiday tunes. There is a radio station locally that plays ONLY Christmas music 24/7 up until midnight on Christmas day. My car radio is already set to that channel.

Family Christmas

Christmas with my cousins and great-grandfather (circa mid-70’s)

I am also anxious to put up our Christmas tree and reminisce about the ornaments for our tree. Each and every one of them has a special story behind them. It’s fun to hang up the ornaments with my husband and children, drink hot cocoa, suck on candy canes and enjoy each others company as we talk about our favorite ornaments and memories of Christmas over the years.

Another thing I love about the Christmas season is watching all the wonderful holiday specials and movies that air through the season. I enjoy the classics like It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, A Christmas Story, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Charlie Brown Christmas and so forth. I also enjoy all the new holiday movies that come out each year on the Hallmark Channel.

christmaslist_finalkeyart

Hallmark Channel is bringing back some delightful movies from past seasons, as well as debuting many new films. One such film airs this Friday (November 25, 2016) at 8:00 PM (EST)/ 7:00 PM (CST) called Christmas List.

Check out the film’s trailer.

 

Christmas List stars: Alicia Witt (“Nashville,” “Justified”), Gabriel Hogan (“Heartland”).

Isobel Gray (Witt) plans a storybook Christmas with her boyfriend (Hogan), including a snow-covered cottage in the Northwest, and a carefully composed bucket list of classic holiday traditions. But when the boyfriend goes AWOL, the list proves challenging and a tempting new romance turns her life upside down. Will Isobel have a White Christmas ending under the mistletoe? 

This looks like a sweet movie – perfect for the holiday season. I am looking forward to watching this on Friday, all while snuggled up under a fuzzy blanket, drinking hot chocolate and most likely enjoying the twinkling holiday lights on our tree (we put the tree up the day after Thanksgiving).

Make sure to tune in to Christmas List, this Friday at 8:00 PM (EST) / 7:00 PM (CST) on the Hallmark Channel. Check your local television listings guide for the channel.

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If you would like to learn more about the film you can visit it’s official page on the Hallmark Channel website.

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This is just one of many original holiday themed movies airing on the channel. If you would like to check out the channel’s holiday line up visit HallmarkChannel.com/Christmas.

You can also learn more by checking out @HallmarkChannel on social media as well as the hashtag #CountdowntoChristmas.

Hallmark Channel is also hosting a fun online app called “Season Your Selfie” where you can add festive touches to your selfie. To learn more visit HallmarkChannel.com/Christmas/Season-Your-Selfie.

I did one for myself.

selfie-1

 

Hallmark Channel would like to give a lucky reader a wonderful prize package. The prize package consists of;

  • $25 Visa Gift Card
  • Hallmark Channel Holiday Prize Package

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on November 30, 2016. The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via email and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

PLEASE NOTE – When sharing this giveaway/post on social media please use the hashtag #CountdowntoChristmas. Thank you!

To enter please comment on this post and tell me about what the holidays mean to YOU – AND – let me know if you plan on tuning in to Christmas List on the Hallmark Channel November 25th.

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries won’t qualify.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kimberly

*I have partnered with Hallmark Channel to bring you this information. Although compensated the opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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Holiday DVD Giveaway (ends 11/22/16)

 

smiling father and daughter reading book

No matter where you look nowadays, you’ll see signs that Christmas is on it’s way. After all, we have only a few more weeks left until the big day.

I love the holiday season. I’m looking forward to listening to holiday music and watching all the holiday specials and movies.

Sometimes a holiday movie pops up throughout the year, but it’s just not the same as enjoying it during the holidays.

Watching holiday movies and specials together is something my whole family enjoys – even my teenagers.

This holiday season there are new holiday specials available that would make a great addition to any family’s home movie collection.

Available from Anchor Bay Entertainment and The Weinstein Company are the holiday specials Santa’s Apprentice and The Magic Snowflake. They are available on DVD as a double feature and individually. Both family-friendly animated tales are also available individually on Digital HD and On Demand.

holidaydvd-doublefeature

The animated short films are based on the television series “SantApprentice.”

These animated tales also come with jolly goodies including 16 winter themed decals to help spread the joy!

These would even make a great gift or stocking stuffer.

Below is a brief synopsis of both animated flicks.

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In Santa’s Apprentice, starring Julie Gayet (My Best Friend, Select Hotel), Jean-Pierre Marielle (The Da Vinci Code), Max Cullen (The Great Gatsby, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Australia), Gabe Eggerling (The Kicks, “Jake and the Never Land Pirates”), Santa doesn’t want to retire, but rules are rules and he must train someone to replace him. The lucky winner, to be chosen from among millions of children, must be named Nicholas, be an orphan and have a pure heart. On the other side of the planet, there is a little boy who is a perfect match, but his lack of self-confidence and fear of heights make him a poor contestant. Will Santa agree to step down, and help his apprentice take his place?

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In the sequel to Santa’s Apprentice, The Magic Snowflake, starring Vincent Grass (The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Ernest & Celestine), Nathan Simony (Santa’s Apprentice, “Merlin”), the new Santa is a seven year-old boy. As Nicholas contracts the illness of those who want to grow up too fast: Grown-up-itis, The Council of Retired Santas is forced to relieve him of his duties and appoint an experienced Santa who will be able to manage the delivery in time. To get his job back, Nicholas must regain the innocence, freshness and carefree attitude of his childhood.

The Santa’s Apprentice and The Magic Snowflake double feature is ready for gift wrapping on DVD for the suggested retail price of $19.98. Each title is also available separately on DVD for the suggested retail price of $14.98 each.

I am looking forward to getting a copy of this delightful double feature to watch with my family.

You can find out where you can purchase a copy on Go Watch It!

Find out what others have to say about these wonderful holiday tales using the hashtag #HolidayMagic on social media.

Anchor Bay Entertainment would like to give a lucky winner the double feature version of these films AND a $25 Visa Gift Card (use it to buy snacks like hot cocoa an popcorn). 

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on November 22, 2016. The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via email and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post and tell me why you’d like to win this prize package?

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries won’t qualify.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kimberly

*I will be receiving the same prize package in exchange for my participation. There was no other compensation. The opinions expressed are my own unless otherwise noted and not influenced in any way. 

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Enter the Cranberry Friendsgiving Photo Contest for your chance to win $4,000 in prizes (giveaway ends 11/20/16)

 

Sunday roast - Thanksgiving turkey dinner

What are your plans for Thanksgiving? Are you planning on traveling to a relatives house for the holiday? Are you hosting dinner at your house?

Thankgiving was always a big deal for both me and my husband. Even when we were younger (long before we even met), Thanksgiving was always an important family event. We both have fond memories of sitting at the “kid’s table.” In fact, we were almost 30 years old and ended up at the kid’s table with my husband’s family on Thanksgiving. He’s the youngest of six, and all of his siblings were married. There was no room at the table for us, so we ended up sitting with our kids and all of our nieces and nephews.

Sadly, Thanksgivings haven’t been the same since both my mom and my mother in law passed away. Our home is too small to host everyone, and our siblings have gone on to celebrate Thanksgiving with their in-laws. Even my father and stepmother are not around. They spend the holiday in Indiana with my stepbrother and stepsister.

For the past several years our Thanksgivings consist of me, my husband and our two children. Even that has been changing. Our daughter had to work on Thanksgiving last year and she has to work Thanksgiving again this year. She doesn’t mind, per say. She gets holiday pay. But it does mess up our normal Thanksgiving routine.

There is a new type of Thanksgiving that is quickly gaining popularity. We might just have to look into it for ourselves. It’s call “Friendsgiving.” Have you heard of it?

Friendsgiving, the alter-ego to Thanksgiving and the holiday undoubtedly supported by millennials, continues to grow in popularity as it adds a new spin on the traditional celebration. For many, Friendsgiving is becoming the social event that cannot be missed. Millennials are breaking the mold by transforming sit-downs into potlucks, roasted turkey into turkey meatballs and mom’s cranberries into sophisticated cranberry cocktails.

Interesting… spending the holiday with friends instead of family. I like that idea, especially since we have no family around anymore to celebrate with.

Although I do like to stict with more traditional things, I do like the idea of mixing it up a bit and trying new things.

In honor Friendsgiving, the Cranberry Marketing Committee is launching its second annual Cranberry Friendsgiving Photo Contest, giving entrants a chance to win $4,000 in prizes for the best cranberry dishes, drinks and décor. Simply post a photo of your cranberry creation on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest with #FriendsgivingCranberryContest and then upload it at CranberryFriendsgiving.com to enter.

The holiday is not the same without cranberries. From stuffing to sauce – they are a must have on any holiday table.

Cranberries are easy to use in sweet or savory dishes, and are a bold and bright addition to tablescapes, making them the perfect festive fall fruit for any Friendsgiving (or traditional Thanksgiving) celebration.

I LOVE cranberries. I enjoy them year round (not just for the holidays). They are versitle and you can make a lot with them. One of my favorite ways to enjoy cranberries is homemade cranberry sauce.

homemade-cranberry-sauce

homemade-cranberry-sauce-with-brandy

It’s so easy to make.

Cranberry Sauce

  • 2 8-oz packages of cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • Juice and zest from 1 orange
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick 

Directions

Place all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat and simmer until the cranberries burst and the sauce thickens – about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate. Remove the cinnamon stick before serving.

You could even add ¼ cup of Brandy to give it a bit of a flavor kick too.

You can even make Cranberry Salsa. There are several recipes on the internet. I’ve tried a few, each one making it taste a bit different (but yummy none the less).

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One of my most favorite ways to enjoy cranberries is Party Meatballs using canned cranberries. These are so good that I make them every chance I get.

The Ultimate Party Meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of Classic Italian Meatballs
  • 1 can of Ocean Spray® cranberry sauce (or another brand)
  • 1 bottle of Heinz Chili Sauce

In a large pan heat up the cranberry sauce and chili sauce. I find it easier to “melt” the cranberry sauce if you cut it up in small chunks.

Once melted toss in the meatballs and cook until the meatballs are heated.

It’s THAT easy!

It sounds kind of weird combining cranberry sauce with meat, but they go so well together. Mmm… now I’m craving them!

party-meatballs

There are so many ways to enjoy cranberries.

If you are planning on hosting a Friendsgiving this year (or even a traditional Thanksgiving), check out the great variety of inspirational party resources at CranberryFriendsgiving.com. There you will find…

I received some cranberry products to enjoy and to make recipes with (appetizers, desserts, sides, cocktails…).

cranberries

cranberry-products

The bag was getting moist from a pot of boiling water on the stove next to it.

In addition to the package of cranberries I also received cranberry juice cocktail, jellied cranberry sauce, a measuring cup and a cocktail shaker.

Mmm… I love cranberries!

Don’t forget to enter the Cranberry Friendsgiving Photo Contest too for your chance to win great prizes.

I can give a lucky reader the same prize package. 

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on November 20, 2016. The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via email and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post and tell me what is your favorite way to enjoy cranberries. If you could share the recipe (or directions if it’s a craft) that would be great too.

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries won’t qualify.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kimberly

*I received free product samples. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Check out the new WWE Pet Collection from Petmate

 

petmate-wwe-collection

I can’t believe that the WWE is still around. I’m not saying that it’s not entertaining, I’m just surprised it’s lasted all these years. I still remember watching it when I was younger – back when Hulk Hogan and “Superfly Snooker” were popular wrestlers. Honestly, I thought it was just a fad. Guess I was very wrong.

Wrestling is just as popular today as ever. There are some major wrestling fans out there.

WWE fans can now share their passion with their pets as Petmate, the worldwide leader in the pet industry, has recently launched their new collection of WWE pet products , which are now available at retailers nationwide. The new collection features iconic pet beds, fan favorite collars and leashes, and assorted rough and tough rubber and plush toys, capturing the excitement of WWE.

Showcasing the brand’s mega-themes and fan-favorite Superstars including WWE Superstars John Cena and The Rock, and WWE Hall of Famer Stone Cold Steve Austin, the collection is now on pet store shelves near you and online at PetSmart.com, Amazon.com and Walmart.com. For more information visit Petmate.com.

Petmate sent me a few of their WWE products to check out for myself. One items is a wrestler “doll” toy (WWE Plush Superstar Toy) for our dog Espn. He’s rather large and he’s make with great detail.

  • With WWE Plush Superstars, your dog can wrestle with the
    greatest.
  • These tough canvas toys feature popular Superstars including The
    Rock, John Cena and Stone Cold Steve Austin.
  • Each toy also has a squeaker inside for added excitement during
    playtime.
  • Suitable for small, medium and large dogs.
  • MSRP: $14.99

wwe-doll

Espn often pulls apart his toys, but this toy is made for rough play. It would take a lot o pull this toy apart.

He does have a hard time with the squeaker. It does squeak but not as easily as other toys he has. In fact, when he’s chewing on it and it squeaks he looks surprised. I guess he doesn’t see this as a squeaker toy because he doesn’t get it to squeak that often.

We also received two pet beds from the WWE collection. You might be wondering why two? That’s because we have five cats and a dog (plus a Goldfish). They all love to sleep in comfort, so I figured they would all use and appreciate the beds -which they do.

bed-1

One of the beds is the WWE Pinch Corner Lounger Bed With Logo.

  • Styled to resemble a wrestling ring, this cozy lounger dog bed
    features either the WWE or Divas logo.
  • Soft plush interior and small size is ideal for little dogs that want to
    feel like heavyweight champs!
  • MSRP: 19” x 16” x 16” – $34.99

I thought our dog would like this bed the most. He does sleep in it, but her prefers the other WWE bed we received. Our cats on the other hand love this bed, most especially our cat Anakin. He sleeps in this bed the most.

The other bed, WWE Pillow Bed Pillow Bed With Logo, I thought the cats would enjoy the most. Espn sleeps on this bed all the time. He love it.

  • Knife edge pillow bed
  • Available in The Rock Brahma Bull print, WWE logo pattern and
    Diva’s Leopard print
  • MSRP and Sizing: 27” x 36” x 6” – $34.99
I'm sorry for the poor picture. You can see the word "Diva" on the one corner. The other side is bright pink.

I’m sorry for the poor picture. You can see the word “Diva” on the one corner. The other side is bright pink.

I got the Diva Leopard print because I assumed our cats (we have more girl than boys) would sleep on this all the time. They prefer the other pet. So our boy dog is enjoying the pink and black leopard print bed that says “Diva” on it. LOL!

This is a generous sized bed. It’s very plush and fluffy. It’s no wonder that Espn really enjoys this bed.

If you are a dog/cat owner who is a big fan of WWE, you might want to check out this new line of products from Petmate (Petmate.com). Don’t forget to check out the other products that they offer.

You can also find the brand on social media. All of their links are found at the bottom of their website.

petmate-logo

Kimberly

*I received free product samples to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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