Technology Helps Shorten Distance

I don’t know how families did it without technology years ago when they lived miles apart. My heart was so full on our recent road trip because we were able to see family that we don’t get to see very often. One of those family members was our precious grandbaby A. She is so full of an outgoing personality. Immediately when we walked into her school, she greeted us with an ear to ear smile and reached her arms out to us. My cup spilleth over with joy.

We knew she had grown since we are able to connect on Facebook, Instagram and Facetime but still seeing her in person brought tears to my eyes. How did people go months at a time without seeing any pictures or video? I know my heart couldn’t handle it.

As soon as we picked up A and R from their schools, we made our way to Starbucks. Of course, right?! Baby A was loving her Poppy’s Mocha Cookie Frapp.

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It was time for her bottle but her eyes were only zooming in on the Frapp. No time for the bottle. Our visit was too short and we are counting down the days until we get to be with her for her 1st birthday soon. As we drove away after our visit, it made me so thankful for technology. No matter how busy we get, we need to make more time for family over technology. Essentially, it can help shorten the distance between NC and Florida.

My goal is to at least Facetime two times a month and we share pictures back and forth a few times a week. Milestones can be shared over technology and it is the second best thing than seeing it in person. Baby A was standing all alone, crawling all over and dancing with cute moves when she would hear music. Soon, we will see her walking and running down her sidewalk. Oh time please slow down.

Until we see this cute and adorable smile again…

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Thank you Technology!

The day I had a public meltdown…

Looking back on the day of my public meltdown, I feel a sense of silliness. I’m sure though if this incident ever happens again (please NO), I will react the same.

Let’s set the stage for this meltdown. Our county has several small towns. Two of the small towns have 4th of July parades over the holiday weekend. Sissy wanted to participate in the parade since M was clogging in the parade. How could I say no? Plans were made that Sissy would ride on the float while M clogged the entire parade. She is my hero. Such a trooper even with getting blisters the day before in our town’s local parade. After double-checking that I would meet them back at the same spot where they were dropped off, Hubby and I were on our way to find a front row seat for the parade. Of course, I had to get my hugs in before I could walk away from the girls.

The parade strolled down Main Street and all was well. It was a beautiful day with the sun shining down on all of our faces. My smile stretched across my face as M performed right before my eyes and Sissy was waving to everyone in sight. Pictures were snapped and video taken as tears were starting to form in my eyes. I’m so proud of my girls. They make my heart swell, no doubt!

As the parade was finishing up, I grabbed Baby J’s stroller and pushed him to go meet the girls at the same spot I dropped them off too! We waited, we strolled, and waited some more. No sign of the float or the girls. My heart starts racing, but I decide to just stroll some more. After about 10 minutes, I received a text from my close friend. M’s clogging team had decided to clog one more time in front of Main Street but for me to get L from the float. I figured she should be at the “same spot” within a few minutes. Those few minutes passed and no L. I begin to walk all over Main Street and this small town. As I am trying to keep calm, my heart begins racing even more. Where is L and is she fine? Did she leave the float? Did she think she saw Hubby and I? I try to call M’s clogging teacher, but there was no answer. I tried to call Hubby, no answer. I tried to call my Mom, no answer. I finally make the decision to go meet back at our vehicle. Surely, Hubby must have grabbed L and this would solve all of our problems. I see Hubby, M and my stepdaughter, but no L. I LOST IT!

Big crocodile tears start flowing down my face and I begin to wail. A sound that I have never even knew I could make so loud. I scream, where is L? Who has L? I CAN’T FIND L!!! My husband immediately takes off in the vehicle. My stepdaughter tells me I need to calm down but I am thinking what if this was your child? My brother goes straight to the police to give a description of L. Words start just spilling out of my mouth that shouldn’t have such as… M you are never going to be in the parade again, M you will be changing clogging studios, M why did you not make sure to get your sister? M just hugged me. She knew I was distraught and talking out of my head. I begin walking all over and praying. God please take me to L. My phone dies. How am I suppose to reach Hubby? I run to my parent’s car and plug my phone in to charge. As soon as it has enough battery to turn on, I receive a text from M’s clogging teacher. She has L near the town pool. I am ready to collapse. Hubby brings her back to me and we both join in the closest hug ever and just cry together. I have my L. I never want to let her go!

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After we calmed down, L said “Mommy, this was caused by evil. The devil separates evil from good. Jesus died on the cross for our sins. He brings us good.” Wise words from my girl.

I feel so silly the way I reacted. I should have known M’s clogging teacher would have taken good care of L but all these bad thoughts went through my head. I asked for forgiveness for saying all those words in distraught. Thankfully, M is my calm child and is very cool and collective.

The day I had a public meltdown…

Enjoying a Family Weekend!

It is so easy to get caught up in today’s top news stories, the latest technology gadget, the top summer sale and not put what is most important in our lives first!

This weekend was a long three-day weekend since it was a holiday weekend. I woke up Friday morning on the wrong side of bed. My morning was overshadowed by sad emotions. I had missed my family time so much. As we loaded up in the car, I told the girls and Scott that I missed them immensely and I wanted this weekend to be filled with family time. The latest gadget or top news story was the least of my worries. I could have cared less. My heart was yearning for my family to be close.

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My heart was finally content. This picture is worth a thousand words. I am use to being with the girls all the time but since I have started working full-time out of the house, my time away from them has unfortunately increased greately. This is my first summer EVER away from the girls. Our summers are usually filled with several road trips all across the map. We have yet to take our first out-of-state road trip this summer. My mind is about to go crazy. Thankfully, we get to change that in two more weeks. You will have to stay-tuned to hear all about our Florida adventures.

Why am I writing all of this? Because, it is so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day activities and not take that special time with your family. This past weekend was all about family time. Our precious M was in two 4th of July parades with her clogging team. My heart always swells with pride when I see her move along the pavement with her fancy feet. She makes me so proud.

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We enjoyed two picnics after the parades and followed up the picnics each day with a beautiful viewing of a fireworks display.

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Sitting there with the sun shining on our faces was such an enjoyable feeling. My family close to my arms while enjoying nature’s beauty. Time could stand still. The sun set and the darkness spread across the lands. The different colored lights starting popping up across the sky. My arms stretched across my baby girls and our eyes focused on the sparks. My husband’s arm touching mine. This was the family time that I had longed for so much.

Don’t take family time for granted. Who cares about the top story or scrolling on your phone? Your family is yearning for your attention. They had my attention this weekend and I will not take another second for granted.

Enjoying a family weekend is first on my list. My heart is filled!

My Favorite Morning Beverage: Homemade Delicious Mocha

Since I started working outside of the home, I drink more coffee in the mornings. As soon as I drop my belongings at my desk after morning devotions, I head for the break room to make my favorite morning beverage. I started getting bored of just a regular cup of coffee so my co-worker mentioned putting a packet of hot chocolate in my coffee. Introducing my cup of energy:

homemademocha

Who needs a fancy cup of joe from the coffee shop? Make your own within minutes.

Ingredients:

1 Packet of Hot Chocolate (I use the Swiss Miss Dark Chocolate Sensation)
Hot Coffee
Favorite Creamer (I use Cold Stone Creamery Hot Sundae Cookie

Directions:

1. Pour hot chocolate contents into your coffee mug.

2. Pour hot coffee into mug.

3. Pour creamer.

4. Stir. Enjoy!

You can see why it is my cup of energy. This is usually the only cup of coffee I drink a day. I drink water the rest of the day at my desk. It is the perfect pick-me-up in the morning and helps me get ready to take on the day. Also, I love that I can enjoy it in my coffee mug that Leanne from Walt Disney World’s Social Media Team mailed me!

Cheers!

Let’s Celebrate Pet Appreciation Week

Disclosure: I participated in this program on behalf of Pet Supplies Plus and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.

This week is Pet Appreciation Week! Our beloved Kingston is our sweet baby boy. He is the Prince of the family and sure knows it too.

KingstonShihTzu
This is a week to celebrate all the things we love about our pets as we shower them with extra love and affection. It’s also a good time to re-evaluate their nutrition needs and perhaps pick up a new toy to help them get the exercise and stimulation they need to thrive.

We traveled to our local Pet Supplies Store to pamper Kingston.

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Pet Supplies Plus stores are conveniently located in neighborhoods across the country, with each location big enough to carry everything your pet needs, but small enough to feel like home. The Pet Supplies Plus in-store team is dedicated to helping you find the right products for your pet. As soon as we walked in, we were approached by team members to ask how they could help us. Great customer service.

We were on a mission to find Kingston a flea and tick collar. There were several different options available and even coupons attached to some of the collars.

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Our huge animal lover, L, had to take time to visit the birds and fish. She loves visiting the pet store to see all the different animals.

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The team members were able to answer our specific questions about the animals which impressed us with their knowledge.

As we were strolling down the aisles, we quickly realized Pet Supplies Plus is stocked with many items from clothing to sweet natural treats for our Prince.

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Of course we had to grab the doggy decorated treat. Kingston enjoyed every bite. Check out this cuteness.

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So adorable right? As we were checking out, we noticed that there was a dog tag machine that allowed you to customize the tag. We purchased a collar and tag that matched. It was extremely easy to customize. The team leader allowed me to type my own information that I wanted on the tag.

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I am sure you love your household pet and want to appreciate them as well. Please join me and The Motherhood as we  co-host a twitter party with representatives from the Pet Supplies Plus store. We will be discussing, learning and sharing more about our beloved pets. Get your cute pet photos ready to share!

When: Wednesday, June 4, at 1p ET / 12p CT / 10a PT

Where: We’ll be on Twitter – follow the #PSP4Pets hashtag to track the conversation. You can see the details and RSVP via this Twtvite: http://twtvite.com/psp4pets

Hashtag: #psp4pets

Prizes: Throughout the party, we will give away six $25 Pet Supplies Plus gift cards to randomly selected participants who correctly answer trivia questions tweeted by @theMotherhood25. Prizes are limited to U.S. participants only. Check here to find a store near you to use the gift card!

Hosts: @theMotherhood, @theMotherhood25, @CooperMunroe, @EmilyMcKhann

Sponsor: @PetSuppliesPlus

Must-Do Summer Family Visit: Georgia Aquarium {Giveaway}

Disclosure: We were invited on behalf of Georgia Aquarium to experience the sights and sounds. Our room and tickets were comped. All thoughts and opinions are of my own.

Make a mental note and put Georgia Aquarium on your family summer schedule. For years, I have been hearing about this really cool aquarium but was just recently able to experience it in person with my family. Read to the bottom for a change to win an awesome giveaway for your family!

I will just go ahead and say, this aquarium exceeded all of our expectations. L is such an animal lover so we knew this trip would rank high up on her list. Even L was blown away once we walked through the entrance doors.

Georgia Aquarium Entrance

A great perk is the Georgia Aquarium has partnered with Hilton Garden to offer a Georgia Aquarium package. The package includes tickets and breakfast buffet. Since the hotel was right beside the Aquarium, it worked out beautifully as we could leave our car parked at the hotel and walk to the aquarium. Our room and view was amazing. Very clean and full of southern hospitality. The breakfast included a buffet as mentioned before and made to order waffles, french toast and eggs. SCORE!

Hilton Garden Inn Atlanta

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Hilton Garden Inn AtlantaHilton Garden Inn Atlanta View
Great rest, beautiful morning view and a delicious breakfast was a win-win combination to start the day. As soon as we walked over to the aquarium, we were escorted to meet our tour guide for our behind-the-scenes tour. This was great one-on-one interaction for our family. L asked such intriguing questions. Our tour guide was very impressed but so informative for us all. L did not leave his side during the tour.

The first stop of the tour was watching the whale sharks during their morning feeding time.

Georgia Aquarium Whale Shark Feeding

Georgia Aquarium Whale Shark Feeding

As we were heading to the next stop on our tour, we had to take a peek at this little guy.

Georgia Aquarium

All day the aquarium filters the water.

Georgia Aquarium

The tour was very enlightening to what all goes on behind the scenes to run the aquarium properly. Very intricate tasks need to be done to ensure the fish and animals stay healthy.

Georgia Aquarium Coral Reef

The aquarium grows about 35% of their own coral reef. They hope to increase this number to near 90% over the next few years. Once again, it was so interesting to see all the steps that needed to be taken.

School groups are able to go on the tour and enjoy educational fun games along the way.

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You will not only see all different types of fish but they have penguins as well. We were able to see penguins that were only a month old. Look how cute!

Georgia Aquarium Penguins

Any time an animal needs medicine or surgery, these tasks are done on-site. There is a surgical room and veterinarians on-staff 7 days a week to take care of all needs. Amazing!

Georgia Aquarium Operating Room

After our tour, we were able to go through the tunnel with fish swimming all around us. Take a moment and realize what you are watching. All types of species.

Georiga Aquarium

Georiga Aquarium

Georiga Aquarium

Georiga Aquarium

We were surrounded by beauty and L was truly over the moon.

The girls decided to take a crawl under the penguins exhibit. Fun interaction for sure.

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As you can see, there is plenty for the family to enjoy. So much to see and so much to do.

With more than 10 million gallons of fresh and marine water and more aquatic life than found in any other aquarium, you are sure to see things you’ve never seen before!

Several show exhibits are available with your ticket and we decided to end our day by watching the Dolphin Tales show. We did not realize the treat we were in for. This show will keep you on the edge of your seat as the dolphins perform amazingly right before your eyes.

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We did NOT want to leave. I have been to aquariums before where yes, you seen the animals but you are ready to leave after two hours. This aquarium is not like this at all. You and your children will not want to leave the awesome experience.

The aquarium is showing their southern hospitality by offering a sweet deal this summer. to their neighbors in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama and Florida. Visit them for just $29.95 +tax for an adult Total Ticket this spring, until June 13, 2014. That’s a nearly 17% savings on our regular price ticket.

GIVEAWAY {$330.00+ Value}

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hiking at Linville Falls with the Family #Travel

Our family loves the outdoors and we live in a great place to enjoy may different outdoor activities. The weekends are spent with as much family time as possible so at the last minute, I thought let’s go hike up to Linville Falls. The last time we did this hike was when M was 10 months old. It was past time to go enjoy this beautiful scenic hike.

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There are different trails you can choose to take depending on how much time you would like to spend. Also, there are picnic tables so it is always nice to take a family picnic and enjoy the mountain air.

The view and water falls awaiting for your arrival at the end of the trail is mesmerizing. So much beauty to take in as a family. Stand and enjoy.

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As a family, it was just nice to disconnect from technology and enjoy God’s beauty. Families are able to view the upper and lower falls.

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Linville Falls

Linville Falls NC

Hiking at Linville Falls

You can visit the National Forest website for details on the different trails and directions. It is beautiful. The family will not be disappointed.

Once you leave, you can travel on the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Linville Viaduct.

The Linn Cove Viaduct was only the second bridge in history to be built from the end of a span, called a cantilever, which is anchored only at one end. In this case, the cantilever was the road itself. To protect the fragile terrain, all construction was done from the top down and no machinery was allowed more than 50 feet from the base of the piers.

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Linville Viaduct

Great adventure, family fun and beautiful scenery… what more could you ask for?

Celebrate 25 Years of Look Good Feel Better #ReimagineBeauty

This post is in partnership with Look Good Feel Better and The Motherhood. All thoughts and opinions are of my own.

Look Good Feel Good

Cancer can rock a person’s world more ways than one. My heart hurts for everyone affected by cancer. I pray that we can find a cure for all types of cancer. During its 25th anniversary, Look Good Feel Better is encouraging women to Reimagine Beauty and its meaning and importance to women undergoing cancer treatment.

The appearance changes women undergo while coping with cancer treatment – like beauty itself – are far more than skin deep. They can impact a woman’s self-esteem and rob her of the courage and confidence she needs to face one of the toughest battles of her life.

As a friend and/or relative, we need to rally around and uplift the women in our circles that go through these treatments. Be there for them, lend a listening ear, offer your shoulder, wrap your arms around and giving a loving hug and surprise her on days when she needs it most.

The #ReimagineBeauty campaign which runs through July 1st encourages all women – in a small way – to virtually experience Look Good Feel Better and to “reimagine beauty” and the power it can have to restore confidence and courage to women undergoing cancer treatment.

I love that the Look Good Feel Better is a non-medical, brand-neutral and free public service program dedicated to helping women living with cancer manage the appearance side effects of cancer treatment and improve their self-esteem.

Let’s do this together!

1. Visit the Look Good Feel Better website to try the Virtual Makeover tool.

2. Use the Look Good Feel Better Virtual Makeover tool by uploading your photo and trying the new hair and makeup looks. Through this experience, women everywhere can experience, in a small way, the help women living with cancer receive during a Look Good Feel Better workshop so that they can “reimagine beauty” and the impact Look Good Feel Better can have on women undergoing cancer treatment.

3. Share the “after” photo from the Virtual Makeover tool on Facebook or Twitter, using the hashtag #ReimagineBeauty, to spread awareness and to be entered for a chance to win a trip to the National Women’s Survivors Convention to participate in the Look Good Feel Better 25th anniversary party. The winner may give their prize to a friend or family member who is a cancer survivor.

To further encourage campaign participation, Look Good Feel Better is offering one participant the chance to win a trip to the National Women’s Survivors Convention in Nashville, TN July 31 through August 2, 2014 to connect her with other women who have survived cancer.

Check out my before and after look!

Look Good Feel Better

What do you think? It does make me smile for sure. Go ahead and perform your makeover!

Visit lookgoodfeelbetter.org, follow @LGFB on Twitter, and join the conversation at www.Facebook.com/lookgoodfeelbetter to learn more and spread the word.

Has a battery ever leaked from your child’s toy? {Giveaway}

Let’s set the stage. Your kid is having a major tantrum in front of you because their toy is no longer working. “Mommmmmmy, please make it work.”

We have all been there but that moment you open the battery compartment door and battery acid causes a huge mess all over your hands. Your mood just went south even further. Was that even possible? Oh yes!

Stop the presses. I have help.

While many consumers believe battery leakage is an issue of the past, some batteries can still leak after they have been fully used, causing damage to devices and creating a mess. Believe me, I can vouch that there are still batteries out on the market that will cause a mess.

I have partnered with Energizer® MAX® with Power Seal to bring less messes to your household. Leakage is an industry-wide issue among alkaline batteries. Research shows Energizer® MAX® with Power Seal technology outperforms leading competitors when it comes to in-device leakage.

So the next time you reach for batteries, make sure your child’s favorite toy is powered by Energizer® MAX®. Your kids will thank you. Energizer protects your devices from damaging leaks. Guaranteed.

energizer max

Want to discuss this further and find out more information on the No-Leak guarantee? Join me, The Motherhood and other bloggers for a twitter party on May 20 at 1:00pm ET. We are all going to help spread the word on Energizer’s innovative, long-lasting battery that can protect your household devices or children’s toys from damaging leaks.

Energizer continues to be known for many “firsts” in battery technology! Join the party fun to chat with parents everywhere about the “firsts” that they and their children are experiencing and some of our messiest leak moments. From batteries to faucets to diapers, we’ve all experienced the peril of leaks! We’ll also be exchanging helpful tips for battery storage and use, so that your family’s battery-operated devices and toys are always ready for use, without worry of leaks! Can’t wait to “chat” with you!

When: Wednesday, May 20 at 1p ET / 12p CT / 10a PT

Where: We’ll be on Twitter – follow the #NoLeaksGuaranteed hashtag to track the conversation. You can see the details and RSVP via this Twtvite: http://twtvite.com/noleaksguaranteed

Hashtag: #NoLeaksGuaranteed

Prizes: Five prizes will be given to randomly selected participants who answer the trivia questions correctly. Each prize basket includes a collection of Energizer batteries, a plush Energizer bunny, a water bottle, a t-shirt and more! Valued at $75+.

Hosts: @theMotherhood, @theMotherhood25, @CooperMunroe, @EmilyMcKhann

Sponsor:
@Energizer, @EnergizerBunny

GIVEAWAY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: This post is sponsored. I have partnered with TheMotherhood and Energizer. All thoughts and opinions are of my own.

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