Enjoy Spring Break in style with the Kia Cadenza



It's Easter weekend, and it's time for Spring Break!  Do you have any road trips planned?  On our spring break last week, we enjoyed lots of little day trips to San Francisco, the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield, and the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley.  And because we test-drove a Kia Cadenza that week, we enjoyed the drive almost as much as the destination itself!

The Cadenza is Kia's top of the line sedan.  If you're used to thinking of Kia as a maker of value-priced options, it's time to take a second look -- with all the bells and whistles, the Cadenza can easily top $40,000 -- but you get so much luxury and performance for your money.  The car is styled like a beast, with a mean-looking front and beautiful wheels.  My self-proclaimed luxury car expert, Jammy, immediately recognized the Cadenza's luxury status.  "Wow, this is an expensive car!", he said.  It certainly drives like an expensive car.  There's so much power in the Cadenza (3.3L V6 engine with 293 HP), you only have to tap the accelerator and it sprints forward.  All week, the sheer joy of driving this car kept me zooming forward, and I constantly had to check myself and slow down or risk hundreds of dollars in speeding fines!  All that power does come at the price of fuel economy, but at least the Cadenza takes regular, not premium, fuel.
Kia Cadenza

The interior is just as luxurious, with soft leather seating, beautiful wood paneling and trim.  The car is wide enough to seat my 3 kids comfortably for hours without squirming or complaining that they're encroaching into each other's space.  There's lots of legroom for the driver, passenger, and back row.  The kids loved the little hidey-hole in the back seat that opens up into the trunk -- great for accessing snacks on road trips, or for lacrosse sticks and cellos during the afterschool carpool.  Our only disappointment with the interior was the scarcity of USB ports -- everyone has their own devices on road trips, so we need lots of USB ports, especially some in the back, for charging!
Kia Cadenza

The quality of the audio system was amazing, and we had many happy sing-along sessions in the Cadenza to entertain ourselves during our drives!
Kia Cadenza


It was truly a pleasure to drive and ride in the Kia Cadenza.  The Cadenza took away all our discomfort on those long spring break road trips, so we were able to relax, enjoy the ride, and enjoy each other as a family.  And after all, isn't that what Spring Break is all about?


Disclosure: I received a loaner car for review purposes courtesy of STI. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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Thank You to the sponsors of Disney Social Media Moms! (and a giveaway for you!)



This year's Disney Social Media Moms Celebration was an amazing event, and it would not have happened without the help of some amazing organizers... and some amazing sponsors.  I haven't even begun writing recap posts of the event, but I knew I had to give the conference sponsors a big Shout Out and a huge Thank You for all they did to make this event happen!

Getting the right sponsors can be a tricky thing. I know sponsors do attendees a huge service by helping to foot the bill, but you want a sponsor that will enhance the conference experience for everyone, not just subsidize it.  It can be all too easy for a conference attendee to be turned off by a sponsor's pushy sales pitch, tacky swag, or insane demands for coverage.  I can tell you here and now that this was NOT the case with any of the sponsors at DisneySMMoms.

To begin with, I was impressed with the quality of the sponsors; they're all trusted and respected brands whose products and values I happen to admire.  I was also impressed at how the organizers carefully selected sponsors who were a great fit with the conference events, and an even better fit with the conference attendees. I was happy that they recognize the influence of parents in social media.  I was happy that they respected us enough to trust that we would get the word out about their products and services in our own time and in our own way, without any requirements on their part. And to be totally honest, I was thrilled at the attention they lavished on us!

The magical surprises began even before we left home -- American Tourister, the official luggage of Walt Disney World and the Disneyland Resort, sent us a gorgeous spinner suitcase from their Color Your World collection.

We also had the opportunity to check out Kohl's new Disney-themed kids' clothing collection, Magic at Play, and pick up a few items to wear at the parks.

The conference did not have an expo floor, but during conference check-in, attendees had the opportunity to check out some booths run by Disney Wild About Safety, Disney Interactive, Disney Citizenship, Taylor Morrison, ESPN Zone, and New Balance.
credit for individual photos in collage: Josh Hallett @hyku

The welcome reception on Thursday was sponsored by Coppertone, who were showcasing some of their sun protection products.  My family takes sun safety very seriously and we go through a huge amount of Coppertone sunscreen throughout the year.  We never enter a Disney park without a Coppertone KIDS sunstick!
Disney Social Media Moms Conference - Reception
photo credit: Josh Hallett @hyku

The family dinner on Thursday was sponsored by Disney Magic of Healthy Living.  The dinner featured some yummy items from the Mickey Check program, as well as healthy snacks from Disney Consumer Products. Disney Interactive was also present at the dinner to showcase some of their latest games and apps.
Disney Social Media Moms Conference - Dinner
photo credit: Josh Hallett @hyku

I love all the healthy Disney branded snacks I'm seeing in supermarkets these days:  if slapping Mickey and Minnie on the label of a pack of apples or carrots gets kids more excited to eat the apples and carrots, I say go for it!
Disney Social Media Moms Conference - Dinner
photo credit: Josh Hallett @hyku

Breakfast on Friday was sponsored by Hanes.  They set up a cute little storefront right outside the breakfast hall so attendees could check out all the bright colors and soft fabrics of their ComfortBlend products.
Disney Social Media Moms Conference - Breakfast
photo credit: Josh Hallett @hyku

The general session on Friday was sponsored by Alamo, the official car rental company of Walt Disney World and the Disneyland Resort.  We've used Alamo in the US and in the UK, and they always seem to have the best prices.  We've driven to Wales, France, and Belgium in an Alamo car, and we'll probably drive an Alamo car when we take a trip to Scotland this summer!
Disney Social Media Moms Conference - Breakfast
photo credit: Josh Hallett @hyku

Want another example of how sweet Alamo is?  They even provided a candy bar to perk us up during that tricky afternoon period when all you want to do is nap!
Disney Social Media Moms Conference
photo credit: Josh Hallett @hyku

Breakfast on Day 2, which turned out to be a very special event launching the Give a Book, Get a Book campaign, (and where I met Reading Rainbow's LeVar Burton!), was sponsored by Disney Junior and Disney Publishing WorldWide.


Thanks to Disney Parks Synergy, we were able to get a sneak peek at the latest Maleficent trailer and watch a special screening of the new Disneynature movie, Bears (it comes out today... go see it!)
Disneynature Bears

The Toontown family dinner on Saturday was sponsored by GoGoSqueez -- guess what the kids chose for dessert that night instead of cake pops?  Okay, they did have the cake pops, but for once, they only grabbed one cake pop instead of two, because they wanted to leave room in their tummies for all that yummy GoGoSqueez applesauce.  I had no idea it came in so many flavors -- we tried Apple Grape, Apple Mandarin, Apple Banana, and Apple Mango, and their latest flavor, Gimme Five (a blend of apple, mango, strawberry, peach, and banana).  Yummm... who says only little kids like applesauce?


Those of us who registered for the Sunday morning fun run are especially grateful to runDisney and New Balance, the official shoe of runDisney.
Disney Social Media Moms Conference - Registration
photo credit: Josh Hallett @hyku

Throughout the conference there were surprises in store for attendees and their families, courtesy of Build A Bear, the Disney Store, Hollywood Records, Joffrey's Coffee and Tea Company (after last weekend, my husband's new favorite coffee company!), H2O Plus, and Disney Publishing Worldwide.

Sponsors such as Nikon, Disney Aulani, runDisney, the Disney Store, and Build A Bear even provided fabulous prizes that were raffled away to a few lucky attendees.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all the sponsors of this year's Disney Social Media Moms Celebration -- you helped make the event truly magical for me and my family!

Win a Disney Social Media Moms Celebration prize pack

I've put together a special prize pack featuring some of the items I took home from this year's Disney Social Media Moms Celebration (along with some items from the DisneySide @Home Party I hosted), and I'll be sending it to one lucky Bonggamom Finds reader!  The prize pack will contain:

iPad mini caseReading Rainbow reading logMuppets Most Wanted puzzle
H20 Plus toiletry samplesSofia the First storybookDisneynature Bears button
Cars Land flagMickey Mouse Clubhouse storybooksoft laptop case
runDisney braceletsSabrina Carpenter cdHP photo card packs
Star Wars M&MsOlaf magnetcopy of Driven, Donald Driver's memoir
Hanes tee (child 10/12)Minnie watermelon seedsrunDisney tote bag
DSMM card holderDisney JR water bottleDisney TRYit apron

....plus a few other goodies :)

Required Entry
Leave a comment on this post and tell me which of the sponsors mentioned on this post you like best, and which product of theirs you buy or use. 

Extra Entries
For extra entries, you can do any or all of the following. Please leave a separate comment for each extra entry with a way to verify the entry (i.e. tweet link, blog post link, Facebook id, Twitter id, etc.).

1) Follow bonggamom on Blogger (1 entry)

2) Follow bonggamom on Instagram (1 entry)

3) Follow bonggamom on Pinterest (1 entry)

4) Pin this giveaway on any of your Pinterest boards (1 entry -- you can use the "Pin It" button at the bottom of this page!).

5) "Like Bonggamom Finds" on Facebook and write this on my wall (1 entry):
I entered the Disney Social Media Moms prize pack! http://ow.ly/vWkXd

6) Tweet this once per day (1 entry per day)
Enter to win a prize pack featuring items from the #DisneySMMoms conference! Giveaway ends 5/4 @bonggafinds http://ow.ly/vWkXd

7) Join any open giveaway on Bonggamom Finds (1 entry for every giveaway you join)

The Rules
This giveaway ends at 11:59PM PST on May 4,  2014; I will draw a winner at random, on May 5 and post their name after they confirm acceptance. Continental US residents only. For additional giveaway rules, click here.


Disclosure:  I was invited to attend the 2014 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. The conference fee I paid included discounted lodging and park tickets for me and my family as well as free products from sponsors. I was not asked or required to blog about the conference or any of its sponsors. Neither Disney Social Media Moms conference organizers nor any of its sponsors are responsible for hosting this giveaway, or for prize fulfillment.  Please direct all questions and comments about this giveaway to bonggamom@yahoo.com. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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Bonggamom's Friday Finds: List your giveaways here


Bonggamoms Friday Finds

Welcome to Bonggamom's Friday Finds! I'm glad so many of you are finding this to be a useful way to get more traffic to your giveaways. And as a person who loves entering giveaways, I have to admit it's a great, easy way to find out where all the best giveaways are.

So feel free to leave links to your giveaways, everyone. And don't forget to get cracking and enter everyone else's, too!


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Disneynature's new film, "Bears" opens Earth Day, April 18


Disneynature Bears

When my family is at a Disney park, we mean business. Every minute is precious, so there aren't many things that can entice my kids away from enjoying the rides and attractions.

Apparently, a movie is one of them. Well, not just any movie: a special preview of Disneynature's new movie, Bears. It opens this weekend, April 18, but we got to see it ahead of schedule as part of last weekend's Disney Social Media Moms Celebration.
Disneynature Bears at the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2014
I was actually surprised that the kids said they wanted to watch the movie. I thought they would prefer to spend time in the parks, and watch the movie along with the rest of the country. I guess I underestimated the magic of a Disneynature film! We've watched almost every Disneynature film since Earth opened in 2007. The cinematography is gorgeous, and there's no better way to celebrate Earth Day than by learning more about our planet and the creatures that live in it.

In a nutshell, Bears tells the story of a mama bear, Sky, and her two cubs, Scout and Amber, in the cubs' first year of life. I don't want to get into the details of the plot or the characters because I don't want to spoil the surprises. I will, however, reveal the biggest surprise of all: how much I enjoyed the movie.
Disneynature Bears at the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2014

Bears is so much more than a beautiful documentary of bears and other creatures in the Alaskan wilderness. Disney has woven their usual magic and turned these animals into characters with a story and a purpose. I didn't think I would relate to a real life bear, but I found that I could totally relate to Sky. She's a parent who would do anything and suffer anything for her children. Sky could totally be one of my besties (or should I say beasties)!Some of the interactions between mom and cubs were downright human-like! So were some of the mannerisms and expressions that the film crew managed to capture. They did a wonderful job with this movie and I highly recommend it.
Disneynature Bears at the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2014

Trust me, if my kids deemed Bears worthy of missing a ride on the Tower of Terror and California Screaming, you can bet it's a great movie.
Disneynature Bears at the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2014

About the movie
In an epic story of breathtaking scale, Disneynature’s new True Life Adventure “Bears” showcases a year in the life of a bear family as two impressionable young cubs are taught life’s most important lessons. Set against a majestic Alaskan backdrop teeming with life, their journey begins as winter comes to an end and the bears emerge from hibernation to face the bitter cold. The world outside is exciting—but risky—as the cubs’ playful descent down the mountain carries with it a looming threat of avalanches. As the season changes from spring to summer, the brown bears must work hard to find food—ultimately feasting at a plentiful salmon run—while staying safe from rival male bears and predators, including an ever-present wolf pack. “Bears” captures the fast-moving action and suspense of life in one of the planet’s last great wildernesses—Alaska! Directed by Alastair Fothergill (“Earth,” “African Cats” and “Chimpanzee”) and Keith Scholey (“African Cats”), “Bears” arrives in theaters April 18, 2014, to celebrate Earth Day.

Help Disneynature donate to the National Park Foundation
For everyone who sees Disneynature's Bears on opening week (April 18-24, 2014), Disneynature will contribute $0.20 per ticket, to the National Park Foundation through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund to protect wildlife and wild places, with a minimum of $100,000.

Win an Adventures By Disney trip to Yellowstone
Disney is giving your family the chance to take your own incredible journey through Wyoming’s great “wide open,” including Yellowstone National Park! Discover more about the 7 Day/6 Night vacation at http://nature.disney.com/bears/sweepstakes and enter for your chance to win!



Photo Credit: all photos courtesy of Josh Hallett

Disclosure: I was invited to attend the 2014 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration which included an advanced screening of the movie Bears. The conference fee I paid included discounted lodging and park tickets for me and my family. I was not asked or required to blog about the conference or any of its sponsors. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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Disney Junior announces Give a Book, Get a Book campaign


Disney Junior Give a Book, Get a Book

If you're reading this blog post, I'm guessing you already know how to read.  And I'm guessing you already know how important reading is for your child's future.  You probably know that reading to your child helps develop their creativity and imagination.  You probably know that letting your child see you read, and having books available in your home, increases your child's chances of being a good reader even more.
Disney Junior Give a Book, Get a Book
(Yes, that's LeVar Burton from Reading Rainbow reading to the lucky kids at the Disney Social Moms Celebration!) 

No, I'm not worried about you or your child.  You are doing a great job!

I'm worried about the families who don't know about these things.  I'm worried about the families that do know about these things, but don't have the resources or opportunities to do anything about it. They may work two jobs, leaving them no time or energy to read to their kids.  They may not be able to afford their own books, or have access to libraries with books.  Did you know that in some low income communities, there are as little as 1 book for every 300 people?  This country spends $300 trillion on defense, and leaves 300 people to share 1 book.  What a disgrace.

If we don't educate our children, we don't have a future.  Something has to be done.  In my years as a blogger, I'm proud to have worked with various brands to promote programs designed to help children in low income communities discover the joys of reading.  This month, I'm proud to add Disney Junior to that list.
Disney Junior Give a Book, Get a Book


On April 12, at the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration at the Disneyland Resort, Disney Junior announced their partnership with First Book in the Give a Book, Get a Book initiative. Between 4/21/2014 and 9/30/2015, families can enter special codes at giveabookgetabook.com. Once you enter the code, two magical things will happen:

1) You GET a free Disney Junior digital book!
2) Disney will GIVE a book to a family in need!

Yes, that's right -- Every time someone enters a code, Disney will donate a book to First Book, a non-profit social enterprise that provides new books to schools and programs serving children in need, all over the country.  Disney will donate up to one million books!  You even get to specify the region where the book goes.  I've worked to get books into the hands of kids in nearby school districts like East Palo Alto and Redwood City, so I'd love for my book donation to go there.

Here's how to get the codes:

1)  Purchase specially marked Disney Junior products and books which include a redemption code.

2)  Give a Book, Get a Book bookmarks with redemption codes will be distributed to visitors at participating public libraries and Radio Disney events throughout the summer.

3) Starting April 21, Disney Store locations will provide an enhanced interactive "Storytime Powered by Give a Book, Get a Book" featuring two new stories from Disney Junior favorites, "Sofia the First" and "Jake and the Never Land Pirates."  Children at these events will be given a free book along with a redemption code bookmark.

4) Disney Store locations will host special storytime events at Boys & Girls Clubs of America in multiple markets across the U.S. Children at these events will be given a free book along with a redemption code bookmark.

I've included step-by-step instructions (including screenshots) for redeeming the codes at the end of this post.

Disney Junior Give a Book, Get a Book
(And yes, those are Disney Junior Stars David Arquette -- voice of Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates-- , Ariel Winter -- voice of Sofia from Sofia the First -- and Tim Gunn -- voice of Baileywick from Sofia the First -- reading to the kids at the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration!)
What a wonderful way to help kids all across the country experience the joy of reading!  And what a wonderful way to help your kids experience the joys of giving back to the community!  Visit www.giveabookgetabook.com for more details.  Happy reading!

Photo credit: all photos except screenshots on this post courtesy of  Disney / ABC Television

Disclosure: I was invited to attend the 2014 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. The conference fee I paid included discounted lodging and park tickets for me and my family.  I was not asked or required to blog about the conference or any of its sponsors.  The views and opinions expressed here are my own.


Here's how to redeem a code for a free Disney Junior eBook and Disney book donation to First Book.

Go to www.giveabookgetabook.com and enter your code.

You'll need to enter your email address to get to the next screen.

Choose from 1 of 10 Disney Junior eBooks featuring Doc McStuffins, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Minnie, Mickey, or Sofia the First.  Two of the book choices are in Spanish!

Select a US region where you would like the book to be donated.  

Confirm your selection.

Check your email for the link to your free Disney Junior e-Book.

Enjoy your free Disney Junior e-Book, and be happy in the knowledge that Disney has donated a book to a child in need!




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Simply to Impress Graduation Cards


This is a sponsored post

The schoolyear seemed endless last August, but now that we're  less than 2 months away from summer, the time seems to have flown by!  It hardly seems possible, but school is almost over and my kids are moving up a grade.  For those with kids graduating from grade school, middle school, high school, and college, the end of the school year has even more significance.  I still have a year until my boys graduate from grade school and my girl graduates from middle school, and I'm already teary-eyed just thinking about it.
,
There's no better way to commemorate your child's graduation than with a party, a special dinner, or even just a graduation card sent to family and friends to proudly announce your child's achievement.  To that end, Simply to Impress has a beautiful line of graduation announcements and graduation invitations.   This online stationery company is impressive by name and impressive by nature!  They sent me a sample box of graduation cards and invitations to examine, and each one is exquisite.

Simply to Impress has dozens of designs to choose from, ranging from traditional and classic invitations to more modern, whimsical designs, in a variety of sizes, including square.  You can add photos of your graduate and you can customize the wording of your announcement or invitation.  You can choose from four finishes: glossy, matte, linen, or fashion pearl. Some designs have fancy edges and borders.  You can even customize the back of your card!  They have a variety of colors and patterns, or you can add photos or text to the back of the card.


Your order arrives in a beautiful box that is perfect for storing the graduation announcements and invitations of all your child's friends.  The cards are printed onto heavyweight cardstock; you can really see and feel the quality.


What's even more impressive than the quality of their cards is the quality of their service.  Every order is personally examined -- and I know this because I ordered holiday cards from Simply to Impress last December.  I was emailed by a Simply to Impress customer service representative who informed me that my photo resolution was too low.  She then worked with me to change my photos and layout and make my card even more gorgeous!  I was so happy with the quality when they arrived -- but that wasn't enough for Simply to Impress.  I received a second box of cards shortly after my first box arrived, because they discovered there had been a quality issue with the printing.  I certainly couldn't see anything wrong with my cards, but Simply to Impress sent me a replacement order, for free.  I can honestly say I have never received this level of service from ANY stationery company.

A graduation is a special event, and it deserves to be celebrated in a special way.  Make sure you honor your child's achievement and shout it out proudly to the world with Simply to Impress!


Win a set of Simply to Impress cards
One lucky Bonggamom Finds reader will receive a code good for 25 cards at Simply to Impress, a $75 value!

Required Entry
Check out Simply to Impress' line of graduation announcements and graduation invitations, then leave a comment on this post with the name of your favorite design (or leave a link to the design!).

Extra Entries
For extra entries, you can do any or all of the following. Please leave a separate comment for each extra entry with a way to verify the entry (i.e. tweet link, blog post link, Facebook id, Twitter id, etc.).

1) Follow bonggamom on Blogger (1 entry)

2) Follow bonggamom on Instagram (1 entry)

3) Follow bonggamom on Pinterest (1 entry)

4) Pin this giveaway on any of your Pinterest boards (1 entry -- you can use the "Pin It" button at the bottom of this page!).

5) "Like Bonggamom Finds" on Facebook and write this on my wall (1 entry):
I entered the Simply to Impress giveaway! http://ow.ly/vRymE

6) Tweet this once per day (1 entry per day)
Enter to win 25 personalized cards fr @SimplyToImpress ! Perfect for #graduation ! Giveaway ends 4/30 @bonggafinds http://ow.ly/vRymE

7) Join any open giveaway on Bonggamom Finds (1 entry for every giveaway you join)

The Rules
This giveaway ends at 11:59PM PST on April 30,  2014; I will draw a winner at random, on May 1 and post their name after they confirm acceptance. Continental US residents only. For additional giveaway rules, click here.



Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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Bonggamom's Friday Finds: list your giveaways here


Bonggamoms Friday Finds

Welcome to Bonggamom's Friday Finds! I'm glad so many of you are finding this to be a useful way to get more traffic to your giveaways. And as a person who loves entering giveaways, I have to admit it's a great, easy way to find out where all the best giveaways are.

So feel free to leave links to your giveaways, everyone. And don't forget to get cracking and enter everyone else's, too!


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The opinions expressed on the Bonggamom Finds blog are the personal views of the author; any reviews or recommendations are not intended to constitute medical advice or treatment in any form. In addition, neither the Bonggamom Finds blog nor its author are liable, and cannot be held liable, for any dissatisfaction you may have with the product, sponsor or any injuries that may be caused by use of that product.

Posts on this blog routinely link out to other sites; I am not responsible and cannot be held liable for anything on those sites.

I occasionally receive samples of the products I review on this blog. I also occasionally accept monetary compensation for posts on this site. If and when I receive either product samples or compensation for writing a review post, this will be clearly stated in the body of the review post.

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