Four Rules of the Road All Teen Parents Need to Know


This will be my view in a year. My oldest daughter will be driving the highways. How is this possible? You can imagine the worries that are already settling into my brain. Did you know there are over ten million teenage drivers in the United States? It’s okay, don’t panic! But with so many new drivers on the road, it is critical that we encourage our kids to make the right choices any time they get behind the wheel.

With Teen Driver Safety Week taking place this week, Growth Energy has a few tips for teens – and their parents – to encourage smart, safe choices before hitting the road.

Buckle Up: Buckling up saves lives, it is that simple. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recognizes that seatbelts reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passengers in cars by 45 percent and light-truck occupants by 60 percent. Since 1975, buckling up has saved an estimated 255,000 lives. Unfortunately, teens are least likely to use a seatbelt compared with other age groups. We should remind our kids that a simple act that takes two seconds to complete can have profound consequences.

Avoid Distractions: According to the Pew Research Center, over 80 percent of 16 and 17 year olds have cell phones, most texting a mile a minute. And half of teenagers say they’ve been in a car while the driver was actively texting. It is not a surprise then to learn that ten percent of all fatal wrecks with teen drivers were a result of distracted driving. Remind your teen that they need to put the phones down and focus on the road. Keeping the number of passengers in the car to a minimum is also valuable advice.

Maintain a Safe Car: National Teen Driver Safety Week falls right in the middle of Fall Car Care Month. This is a good reminder that vehicle maintenance is a necessary chore. Be sure your teen knows when to change their oil, check tire pressure and schedule regular maintenance. All these things will help keep your teen’s car running optimally and safely.

Fuel Choice: Drivers today have more fuel options than ever before. Teen drivers who drive 21st century vehicles should consider a modern fuel option – E15. This fuel option is 15 percent ethanol, up from the 10 percent ethanol blend found in E10 – the fuel most of us are already using in our vehicles. Although drivers have been using E10 for years, the additional benefits of E15 may be news to many:

– Lower-cost: Teens on a budget (and moms!) are always looking to save a buck. Ethanol lowers the cost of gasoline, and choosing E15 will keep more money in their wallets.

– Environmentally-conscious: Many teenagers care deeply about the wellbeing of the environment. After all, they’re going to be dealing with the effects of global warming and pollution for decades to come. Ethanol is a homegrown, eco-friendly biofuel that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and replaces toxic alternatives which have been proven to cause cancer and smog. Using E15 will help make the air we breathe cleaner and healthier for generations to come.

– Good for their car: E15 is a modern fuel that is a high-performance option for any car made since 2000. It runs cooler and causes less wear and tear on expensive engine parts.

To find the closest E15 station, you and your teen can visit and begin to take advantage of this next generation fuel today!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. This is a topic we feel passionate about. All thoughts and opinions are of our own.

Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs Hotel Review

On our recent trip to Walt Disney World, we were fortunate to be able to stay at Wyndham Lake Buena Vista, the closest hotel to Disney Springs. The excitement in our car when we drove up to the hotel was hard to contain. This was our first time staying on the property of Disney Springs. From the time the staff welcomed us to the moment we stepped in our room, the smiles were permanent on our faces!

Wyndham Disney Springs

M and L both laid claim to their beds very fast by putting their Disney travel gear on each bed. The room was very modern with the decor and furniture.

Disney Springs Hotel

Wyndham Hotel Disney

Wyndham Disney Springs Resort Hotel

Disney Springs Resort Hotel Review

This hotel is a wonderful option for your family when visiting Walt Disney World as you are still on Disney property but with more affordable prices for a frugal family vacation. You must watch our short video of our view from our room. The video will capture Magic Kingdom’s firework display as well, all from our room.

During our stay, we were actually not able to partake in all the on-site activities due to time constraints. We are looking forward to our next stay so we can show you all the great family amenities. Stay tuned!

Disclosure: We have partnered with Wyndham Disney Springs in order to give you a real-life review of the hotel. All thoughts and opinions are of our own.

Adventures in Dollywood! {Did we get lost?}

Dollywood Travel Review

We had so much fun at Dollywood last week. My family has season passes and we were able to bring a friend. Of course I chose my parents and brother since they have not been in almost 20 years. Check out our adventures and stay tuned this week as we daily vlog our adventures at Disney World!

16 Reasons 2016 will be an Unforgettable Year at Walt Disney World Resort

Do you have a Disney World vacation scheduled this year? If so, you will be part of an unforgettable year at the resort. If you do not have a vacation planned for this year, you may be booking a vacation after you read these 16 reasons 2016 will be an unforgettable year at the resort. This list was compiled by our friends at Disney Social Media Moms.

Grab a drink, notepad and a pen. You will want to take notes.

1. The Galaxy Is Sweeter Than Ever Before: New Star Wars Experiences Debut

STAR WARS LAUNCH BAY -- In the heart of Tomorrowland, Star Wars Launch Bay is the central locale for guests to celebrate all things Star Wars. Disneyland park guests are welcomed to this multi-sensory space with the iconic phrase, ÒA long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.ÉÓ Once inside, they may encounter beloved Star Wars characters, play the latest Star Wars interactive video games, explore galleries full of treasured memorabilia and authentic replicas of large-scale Star Wars artifacts, step into a Star Wars-themed cantina, and have access to Star Wars merchandise. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort)

STAR WARS LAUNCH BAY — In the heart of Tomorrowland, Star Wars Launch Bay is the central locale for guests to celebrate all things Star Wars. Disneyland park guests are welcomed to this multi-sensory space with the iconic phrase, A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Once inside, they may encounter beloved Star Wars characters, play the latest Star Wars interactive video games, explore galleries full of treasured memorabilia and authentic replicas of large-scale Star Wars artifacts, step into a Star Wars-themed cantina, and have access to Star Wars merchandise. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort)

Starting Jan. 5, Disney’s Hollywood Studios launched its latest Star Wars-inspired experience with the addition of the “Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party.” As the enthralling fireworks show lights up the sky, guests can enjoy out-of-this-world desserts and specialty drinks in this separate ticket offering until March 19. This experience complements all of the other new ways to experience Star Wars in the park, including Star Wars Launch Bay, which takes guests into the Star Wars saga, including the newest movie adventure, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, with special exhibits and peeks behind-the-scenes, special merchandise and opportunities to encounter Chewbacca and Darth Vader.

2. Light Up The Night With “Rivers of Light” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Disney’s Animal Kingdom will come alive at night with new nighttime entertainment and experiences, the most spectacular being the “Rivers of Light” show debuting this spring. With a waterway as its stage, the innovative new show will feature entertainers, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery in a performance that truly brings the animal kingdom to life at night.

3. Explore Kilimanjaro Safaris at Night

Starting in spring, guests will get to experience the African savanna at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in a whole new light: amid the orange glow of the setting sun. During the nighttime adventure, guests can extend their travels on the safaris into the evening.

4. Experience Frozen Ever After at Epcot

The new “Frozen”-inspired attraction will open its doors in the Norway pavilion at Epcot in spring. In it, guests will be transported to the Winter in Summer Celebration where Queen Elsa creates a special day for the kingdom. Guests also will travel to Elsa’s Ice Palace, the ice-blue world of the North Mountain, and the Bay of Arendelle.

5. Stop By The New Frozen Character Greeting Location at Epcot

Guests can meet the royal sisters Anna and Elsa at Epcot at a new character greeting location in the Royal Sommerhus at the Norway pavilion starting in spring.

6. Experience New Jungle Navigation Co., Ltd. Skipper Canteen at Magic Kingdom Park

This new, themed restaurant opens in December 2015 and gives guests the chance to experience “World Famous Jungle Cuisine” in one of several unique dining rooms, including a crew mess hall and a once-hidden secret meeting room of the famed Society of Explorers and Adventurers. The restaurant is staffed by friendly Jungle Cruise Skippers, known for their clever jokes.

7. Try New Dining Offerings at Disney Springs

Disney Springs will continue to grow in 2016, with plans to add new eateries including STK steakhouse, The Edison, Sprinkles, Blaze Fast Fire’d Pizza, as well as two new restaurant concepts by chefs Art Smith and Rick Bayless.

8. A Shopper’s Paradise at Disney Springs

As Disney Springs nears completion with the opening of Town Center, 2016 will bring some new, must-do retail shops to Disney Springs, including Edward Beiner, Lilly Pulitzer, L’Occitane en Provence, PANDORA, Tommy Bahama, UGG, UNIQLO and Zara.

9. Staying Fit While Having Fun With runDisney Events

The 2016 runDisney racing season kicks off Jan. 6-10 with the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. This will be the first of four racing weekends held at Walt Disney World Resort in 2016, which include:

    • Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend Feb. 18-21
    • Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side April 14-17
    • Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend Nov. 4-5.

10. Save On A Magical Stay at Walt Disney World Resort Hotels

Guests visiting early in 2016 can take advantage of a special Disney resort h
otels offer for stays most nights Jan. 2 – April 13 and save up to 25 percent on rooms at select Disney resort hotels. Guests can book the offer by visiting or by calling (407) 939-7709.

11. Enjoy Walt Disney World’s Springtime Events

Epcot will be in full bloom this spring when the , with its colorful topiaries and dozens of Outdoor Kitchens, returns for 90 days starting March 2 through May 15, the longest the festival has ever run. And, more fun grows at Disney Springs with St. Patrick’s Day Festival March 17.

Epcot will be in full bloom this spring when the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, with its colorful topiaries and dozens of Outdoor Kitchens, returns for 90 days starting March 2 through May 15, the longest the festival has ever run. And, more fun grows at Disney Springs with Raglan Road’s St. Patrick’s Day Festival March 17.

12. Soarin’ Around The World at Epcot

Guests onboard the popular Soarin’ attraction will journey to far-flung lands and fly above some of the world’s most unique natural landscapes and man-made wonders when the new Soarin’ Around the World makes its debut at Epcot in 2016.

13. Dine at Tiffin’s at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

The parks’ newest eatery will open its doors this spring to offer a menu inspired by the places the Imagineers traveled to when developing Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Open for both lunch and dinner, Tiffin’s will celebrate the art of traveling and include waterfront views from both indoor and outdoor seating areas. “Tiffin” is an Indian English word meaning midday meal or type of container used to carry food while traveling.

14. Celebrate The Invictus Games at ESPN Wide World of Sports

The Invictus Games will come to the United States for the first time ever in 2016. The games celebrate our wounded servicemen and women from around the world competing in a variety of sports events at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex May 8-12.

15. Experience Club Villain at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Grown-up guests can party with the Disney Villains in a soiree led by Dr. Facilier from Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog” at the new Club Villain at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The fun starts Jan. 16 and is a separate ticket event. Tickets to Club Villain can be purchased for $99 per person, tax and gratuity included. Reservations can be made online at, or by calling (407) 939-3463.

16. Share An Unforgettable Fall & Holiday Season

A new year means the return of festive fall events, including The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, and more.

4 Lessons to Learn in Wilmington, N.C. this Winter

The off-season is a great time to visit the Carolina coast including Wilmington, N.C. and its island beaches. Many visitors may only consider visiting a coastal destination during the summer, but there is actually a lot to be said for planning a vacation during the winter.

Below are “4 Lessons to Learn in Wilmington, N.C. this Winter.” From history to biology and everything in between, we bet you’ll discover some best-kept secrets. I’m happy to provide further details and images upon request.

  1. A History Lesson: Historic Sites Let You Step Back in Time

While you walk through Wilmington’s Historic District, think about the ground beneath your feet. To most, it’s just old streets that were likely full of horse-drawn carriages back in the 1700s. However, locals know there are actually tunnels underneath. Some say the tunnels were used by pirates and smugglers, others think they may have been used for slaves to escape during the Civil War. Still, there’s always the practical theory that the tunnels are there to direct creeks and streams into the river. You can learn more by taking one of the History Walking Tours where you’ll be guided by a Victorian character that will tell fascinating tales of old Wilmington.

Wrightsville Beach is home to the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History, which preserves the 100-year history of the island. One exhibit shows what the beach looked like in the early 1900s with a to-scale model including the old trolley system. The “Beach Car” trolley was an important aspect of the area because it extended from downtown Wilmington to the barrier island, making it a vacation destination for the last century. Today, as you stroll down Lumina Avenue, keep an eye out for the seven plaques that show the old trolley stops.

Wrightsville Beach Museum

Kure Beach is home to Fort Fisher State Historic Site, a Civil War National Historic Landmark, which was used to store and transport necessary goods to Confederate armies inland. Since its demise in 1865, the fort has become a history lover’s paradise. Outdoors, visitors can see a fully restored gun emplacement, including a seacoast cannon at Shepherds Battery, as well as take a self-guided walking tour of the grounds. There are also several indoor exhibits at the museum such as the Fiber-Optic Battle Map showing the Battle of Fort Fisher and artifacts from blockade runners that were left behind. The 151st Anniversary of the Battle of Fort Fisher takes place on January 16 and includes a commemoration, as well as a re-creation of the battle.

Fort Fisher State Historic Site

At Carolina Beach, you can see historic plaques on various buildings including houses, storefronts and office buildings erected in the early 1940s. The Joy Lee Apartments is a family-owned vacation landmark that has been enjoyed by visitors since 1945 and is one of the most photographed buildings in Carolina Beach. The iconic signage and one-of-a-kind stairways take visitors back in time to an era of simplicity, where they’ll be intrigued by unique architectural elements.

  1. A Biology Lesson: Parks and Recreation Areas are Full of Wildlife and Rare Greenery

Fort Fisher State Recreation Area is a great location for winter birdwatching. You can see a variety of warblers, Loggerhead Shrikes or even the world’s fastest bird, the Peregrine Falcon, on the wooded trailways. As you walk through the windy paths of the recreation area, you may spot wintering seabirds like sleek Red-throated Loons or Surf Scoters. Finally, at high tide, check out the area near the boat ramp where flocks of American Oystercatchers congregate. InWrightsville Beach, be sure to stop by the jetty at the south end in the early morning or late afternoon to see the sea ducks. One of the rarest birds in the area, the Razorbill, known as the penguin of the north, can be spotted and only comes near shore during the winter breeding season.

To get a feel for the local plant life, take a Biological Wonderland tour at Carolina Beach State Park.

Carolina Beach State Park

A park ranger will point out the variety of greenery, including one of the world’s most unique carnivorous plants, the Venus fly trap, during tours that take place each Saturday. The Venus fly trap is found natively only in North and South Carolina, specifically within a 60-mile radius of Wilmington. To see more carnivorous plants, visit the Piney Ridge Nature Preserve in Wilmington. The 39-acre tract of land hosts several gardens where you can see Pitcher Plants and Sundews.

  1. A Lesson in Love: Enjoy a Vacation with your Best Four-Legged Friend

Winter is a great time to spend some quality time with your tail-wagging friends. Carolina, Kure and Wrightsville Beach allow pets during the off-season, on leash, to take strolls with you along the shore, or maybe even catch a seaside nap. To give your favorite pooch some exercise and a woodsy experience, there are miles of hiking trails at Carolina BeachState Park or Fort Fisher State Recreation Area for you and your pet to enjoy.

For those dogs that just want to run free, play in the surf and dig in the sand, Freeman Park allows dogs to enjoy thebeach without a leash until February 29. Visitors in Wilmington can also check out one of the many off-leash dog parks in the area, including the Hugh MacRae Park, which has two separate fenced-in areas for big and small dogs and is surrounded by woods.

You may also want to head over to Good Hops Brewing and say hi to the brewery dog, Prada. Well-behaved doggy visitors are allowed to come in and take the tour or just hang out while their owners taste the locally brewed beers. Visitors can also bring their people-friends to play board games or watch the brewers do their thing.

  1. A Lesson in Adventure: Experience the N.C. Coast from a Different Angle  

A 4×4 vehicle is a great way to experience the beach from a different perspective. Drivers are advised to lower tire pressure, watch for low tide for the best conditions, and always be alert to the natural habitat. Carolina Beach’s Freeman Park allows visitors to head out in off-road vehicles to swim, camp, fish or go crabbing throughout the park. The winter months are the perfect time for a small bonfire or campfire, which are permitted throughout the year. Campers will enjoy falling asleep to the sounds of the waves and the crackling of a campfire after spending the day at the beach and watching the sun set.

To take in the view of the shore from the water, take a boat tour. Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tours offers a variety of trips year-round, including Party Tours, Eco Tours, Kids Tours and customized tours. Take the charter boat in any direction you want from Wrightsville Beach and see Carolina Beach and Kure Beach from the water. Reserve the Island Shelling Eco Tour, and you’ll get a glimpse of the unspoiled beach on Masonboro Island and find one-of-kind shells to take home including The Scotch Bonnet, the state shell of North Carolina.

Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tours

Visitors to Wilmington’s historic district can get a different perspective of the monuments and other landmarks by taking a tour via a horse-drawn carriage. Springbrook Farms Inc. offers daily continuous tours complete with a costumed guide who will provide insight on some of the best-kept secrets in Wilmington. The tour company has been in operation for 22 years and has a secret of its own: all their horses are rescued from auctions. They take great pride in the care and well being of each Percheron draft horse.

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