Friday, December 18, 2015

An Experience They Won't Soon Forget

Holy crap.

Christmas is only a week away and you know what that means.

Greedy, money-grubbing children want presents. They want to dive into a mountain of carefully wrapped presents and tear them apart like the rabid little animals they are... or like I do with chocolate cake.


This year, instead of indulging the "More, more, MORE" ideology of our consumerist culture, why not try scaling it back and give the gift of a truly memorable experience?

A week from Christmas, half of their new toys will be broken or forgotten about and the money and time you spent on them will have been wasted.

Think about it:   What memories from your childhood stand out as ones that you'll never forget? Was it a trip to an amusement park? A week spent in a rustic cabin? What about the horseback-riding lessons that you'd dreamed about for your entire life (of 13 long years)?

Those are the things that our children really want. They want our time, not just our money. They want our attention, not just stuff. They want us to know them and take the time to do something special with them.

So this year, I've partnered with LivingSocial to show you some really great ideas of what you can do for your family. Want to spend time in a rustic cabin? It doesn't get better than Yosemite for $39 a night! Or, turn up the fun at an indoor water park for $195 a night for up to six people.


Want to impress your significant other or best friend with how amazing you are? Pick up a discounted spa package and let them think you paid full price!


Want to know what's under my tree this year? Yes, I do have some of the standard gifts, but I also have an 'Archery Experience for 2 at Average Joe's Archery' for my husband and son (just $19),  two horseback riding lessons for my daughter (just $45), and a gel manicure and pedicure for myself ($17)!

Obviously, your area will have different deals than mine, so the possibilities are endless and amazing! Try out LivingSocial, you won't be disappointed.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Have an Opinion to Share?


Are you opinionated and having a hard time NOT telling everyone what you really think during all your family gatherings and holiday parties? Believe me, I understand.

Sometimes you just want to tell everyone what you think. Sometimes it's hard to hold it in.

However, it's probably best that you don't tell Great-Aunt Beulah that her chin whiskers look like they're about to jump up and gallop away.

BUT.... you still need an outlet.

That's where PINCHme can help. PINCHme is a place where you can share all of the opinions that you want and you're actually encouraged to do so!


You don't pay a dime, you simply select products that you're interested in trying out and reviewing and sample them for a couple of weeks. Then, leave your feedback and let them know what you loved, what you hated, what could make it better.

Don't hold back!

To get started, go on over to PINCHme and sign in with Facebook or create a profile. You'll verify your email address, then you get to take some surveys to the folks at PINCHme can get to know you and your family.

Don't worry, they're not going to ask for your bank account numbers. They just want to know if you have pets, what you're passionate about, your favorite foods, etc. Nothing invasive or major. If you prefer not to answer, you always have that option too.

Next, you get to choose your product samples. This is the really fun part!

Checkout WITHOUT giving any credit card info, bank account info or anything.

Seriously. It's that easy.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Touch T214B Coffee Brewer Giveaway!

Touch Brewers

 The Touch T214B makes coffee simple. You can select so many different options to make the coffee your own. With a tank on the back, you can make about 6 cups of coffee before refilling it.

Touch brewers


Touch's patent-pending Rapid Brew Technology, features Flash Heating and Flavor Grooves. Flash Heating lets through piping-hot water throughout compatible K-cups, where the Flavor Grooves swirl the grinds to release bold aromas and flavors. You will never taste coffee as smooth as this!

Touch brewers

Make sure that you check them out on all of their social media and connect. Also visit their website and get one for yourself. I highly recommend it for the coffee lover in everyone!

Touch Brewer's Social Channels.

GIVEAWAY
Win a Touch Brewer for your home. All opinions are mine and mine alone. This blog is not responsible for this giveaway prize of shipment. Giveaway is hosted by It's Peachy Keen.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Apple Watch Sport Giveaway!


Sometimes don’t we all wish we can just turn back time? Keeping up with day to day activities and responsibilities takes a heavy toll and you blink your eyes and ten years have simply disappeared -- just like that! In its place are fine lines, wrinkles, and even a few gray hairs peeking out. There is no magical way to completely stop the aging process and stay 21 forever and that is okay. Embrace who you are and your accomplishments. Growing older is a beautiful process, but I bet if you knew you could reverse the signs of aging without surgery or injections…you would be anxious to learn more…

 Hydra Skin Sciences combines the simultaneous action of Snow Algae Powder, six powerful peptides (including Matrixyl 3000, Argireline and Syn-Ake), Vitamin C, with the ultimate moisturizer Hyaluronic Acid. The unique combination of Hyaluronic Acid and Snow Algae Powder gives maximum absorption of vital nutrients into the deepest layers of your skin. Restore your youthful appearance, dramatically reduce the appearance of wrinkles and tighten sagging skin and magically turn back time!

 First, Hydra Skin Sciences offers Allegro, a powerful new anti-aging cream developed by a team of expert scientists at some of the most prestigious laboratories in the world. This specially formulated cream helps rapidly reduce the fine lines and wrinkles that are just part of getting older. Results that had once only been possible with cosmetic surgery or painful injections is now available over-the-counter at a remarkably affordable price.  

Hydra Skin Sciences also offers Brio, an anti-aging serum for daytime and nighttime use, that has been described as a “face-lift in a box”. If you want radiant, glowing skin for life, Allegro Anti-aging Cream and Brio Day & Night Serum, is the closest to the fountain of youth as you are likely going to get!

G I V E A W A Y 

T I M E

Hydra Skin Sciences has sponsored this awesome giveaway! One super lucky winner will receive the Brio Day & Night Serum, the Allegro AntiAging Cream AND an Apple Watch sport! Total Prize package is valued at over $550!

Good Luck! Share this Giveaway with your friends and use hashtag #TurnBackTheClock

a Rafflecopter giveaway This blog’s participation in the promotion of this giveaway does not make them liable for the prize fulfillment. Prize fulfillment is the sole responsibility of the sponsor. This event is in no way associated with, sponsored, administered, or endorsed by Facebook or any other social media. One winner will be chose via a 3rd party service and will be contacted via email. Winner will then have 48 hours to respond to the email, otherwise forfeiting their prize. At that time a new winner would be chosen. US Residents 18+ years old only. The disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides concerning the use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Adve0rtising.

If you have any questions or would like help in promoting your own product please visit Mom Buzz Media and contact us.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

ESV Bible Giveaway! - 2 Bibles & 2 Winners

TWO new giveaways just in time for Christmas! Two lucky winners will take home either a Men's Devotional Bible or a Women's Journaling Bible. Both Bibles are English Standard Versions and both are amazing books that will make great gifts for loved ones or for yourself!


Good luck, everyone! This giveaway is open to all those in the U.S. and Canada, 18+. One entry per household. This giveaway will end on November 20, 2015.

Entry-Form



"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Show your Support for Paris

In the wake of the tragedy in Paris yesterday, my heart goes out to the people who have suffered because of this tragedy. When something like this happens, we all want to come together and do something to help. The attack in Paris will likely be for France what 9/11 is for all Americans.


What can the average American really do to show our support of our French comrades? Several things, actually.  

French Red Cross


One of the most important things we can do in the wake of a big disaster is to donate money. Funds are always needed for a myriad of things and it's a great way to show your support. It's important to donate to a reputable organization, however, and one who is already doing work is always a great choice.

The French Red Cross has already mobilized over 300 volunteers. These are people providing rescue services for those affected by the tragedy, comfort, blood donations, and medical assistance.

Over 90% of money donated goes to the people receiving services.

Social Media Support

Not everyone can afford to send money, especially in this economy. Instead, show your support on your social media channels. It's a great comfort to know that people around the world are supporting you when you're down, even more so when something truly awful like this happens.

On Twitter, use the hashtags #PeaceForParis or #Prayer4Paris.

On Facebook, there are several options. First, you can add an overlay to your photo of the red, white and blue stripes that make up the French flag. You can use the hashtags #ParisTragedy and #PrayforParis.

Pray

Many times it is said in a trite manner, but prayer works, people! No, it won't make this horrible, horrible act go away, but it can help those who have lost loved ones or who have suffered terrible trauma and who don't know where to turn.

Pray for our friends in Paris. Pray for the American life that was lost in Paris and the two who were injured (the number that is currently being reported - may change at a later date).

Pray for healing and pray for grace. Pray for the world to come together in support. Pray for this evil among us to stop spreading and pray for peace.

Friday, November 13, 2015

ESV Men's Devotional Bible

With Christmas only weeks away, it's time to start considering what to get the important people in your life. One thing that any Christian man could use is a new Bible. I partnered with my husband (Mostly Together Dad) and FlyBy promotions to bring you an inside look of one of the newest devotional Bibles to hit the shelves - the ESV Men's Devotional Bible.


These types of Bibles are so nice, because you have everything you need in one book! Mostly Together Dad had this to say:

Men like simplicity. This Bible provides that. Everything we need is in one place and the ESV version makes the text easy to understand.

The devotions are geared to men. There are topics from each book of the Bible (365 devotions in all). Though I'm not a man, I was interested in reading a few of them myself! Topics like, "God's Purpose in Marriage" and "Help Wanted:  Must Sit on Scorpions". More importantly, though, Mostly Together found them interesting as well:

I can see this being a Bible I could read every day. There are many authors of these devotions that I already know and trust. The topics are interesting and grab my attention at first glance.
I like that they aren't dated, so if I miss a day, I don't feel like I have to "catch up" and feel pressured to either spend more time than I've got that day or just put it on a shelf and forget about it because I'm already so far behind.

The Bible comes in a hardback with a dust jacket. Mostly Together Dad has been known to be hard on his things, so I'm certainly glad for this! Available for just $25.89, the ESV Men's Devotional Bible will be a perfect addition to your shopping list.

Choosing the Right Bible for You


When you walk into a Christian bookstore, on the hunt for a new Bible, the selection can be daunting. They'll have multiple versions, Bibles for women, men, children, teens, and babies. They've got Bibles that are for studying, Bibles that include devotionals, Bibles with large print, small print, hardback and leather bound.

Whew! Are you feeling a little overwhelmed yet? 


Fear not, intrepid Bible pursuers! I'm here to help! I've got about 15 Bibles in my home (more if you include my children's) and so I've got a bit of experience in choosing one.

First things, first, you've got to choose the version you like best. Personally, I like the New International Version (NIV), the Living or New Living Translation (NTL), or the English Standard Version (ESV). I find that these are versions that are very easy to read and they make understanding the text simple. (Though, the King James version is an absolutely poetically beautiful version as well.)

With that decided, you've just weeded out three quarters of the other Bibles. Congratulations!

Now, you need to decide whether you want a soft cover or a hard cover. Either works well, I just don't recommend a paper cover - with even moderate use, it'll be destroyed in no time.

What will you be using this Bible for primarily? Are you going to take it to a Bible study, use it in your own personal study time, or are you looking for something that you can fit in your purse and travel with? These are all factors that will impact what you ultimately choose.


One option to consider is a Journaling Bible. There are many options, but one that I am loving right now is a cloth covered, ESV Journaling Bible that I was provided with in order to share my thoughts with you.

The space in the margins is more than enough to jot down your thoughts, notes on a sermon, or references that  you don't want to forget. I love that there is enough space that you can write down a lot. If you tend to use the same Bible for years and years, it can be really nice to go back over the notes or thoughts that you've had previously. For this reason, I suggest dating your notes.

As someone who struggles to write in a straight line, I very much appreciate that there are faint lines that can guide your writing. The print is rather small, which is not my favorite, but the small size allows this to be a smaller book, which I do love.

As far as "extras", the small size of this Bible does not allow for much in the way of devotions or commentary, but it does offer a 1-Year Bible reading plan, as well as the plan of salvation. There is also a short section where you can look up certain words and get a reference to those words (a concordance).

I would recommend this Bible for anyone who is also well versed in in the Bible and who needs something to go along with a stand-alone devotion. With a price of just $27.17, it won't break the bank, either.


Sunday, November 8, 2015

5 Tips for Beginning Potty Training + a GIVEAWAY!

*This post is brought to you by Acorn for Charmin and Sam's Club.

Potty training is one of those parenting milestones that every parent looks forward to with fear and dread. Amazon.com sells over 1,000 books dedicated to just this one topic! The thing is, it isn't an exact science and it's important to remember that all kids are different.


After potty training two of my children and while being in the process of training my third, I feel almost like an expert. There are some things that have worked well for me (and many that haven't!) I've learned a bit from books, but I've mostly learned by rolling up my sleeves and just trying different things!

These 5 tips are a great start for beginners:

Introduce them to the Idea 

If you expect your child to go from not understanding what a potty is for to using it in a weekend, you're going to be disappointed. Make a long-term potty plan. By this, I mean that you should start talking to your child about the potty, explain what it's for - and not just once! This needs to be an every day, on-going conversation. Include your child in your trips to the bathroom.

Make a big show of getting them their own potty chair or toilet seat. Let them pick one out, or surprise them with one that makes them feel like a star.

Read children's books about using the potty, watch cartoons that deal with potty training. Make it fun! The more they see it, the more they are likely to want to try it.

Wait for Signs of Readiness

You'll know when your child is ready to potty train when they are showing interest in using the potty. This can be anything from them wanting to accompany you when you go, to becoming suddenly more aware of when they are eliminating. When toddlers get to the point that they are looking for a corner to hide in and start making their "poop face", they are showing that they are aware that they need to go, they just might not be verbalizing it yet.

Don't start potty training if your child isn't ready. I promise you that it's not worth the headache or the frustration! (Take it from a mom who knows!) I tried to train my son before he was ready, for a preschool program. It took far longer than it should. There were tears - from both of us, and in the end, he started using it when he was ready. Not when I wanted him to be ready.

The fact is,  not all kids are ready at the same time. Boys can be especially slow with this. If your child is slow to potty train, try not to worry overmuch.

Be Prepared

Potty training toddlers go through a LOT of toilet paper. You'll need to choose the right kind for your child's sensitive bum. Remember - it's not uncommon for a potty training child to use the potty every half hour. That's 48 times a day (YES, even in the middle of the night!) The right toilet paper is essential. A good choice is Charmin Ultra Soft.

Not only will it be soft enough, but it's absorbent too. To make your roll go even farther, check it out at Sam's Club. They add an extra 1,000 sheets per roll, so you change it less often and your money goes farther.

Big Kid Underwear!

This is always an exciting step, but it can also be a messy one. After your child shows that he or she knows how to use the potty, introduce some "Big Kid" undies. Get ones with their favorite characters on them and tell them that they are going to use them from now on.

Your child will inevitably have an accident and this is okay! Changing out of the diaper is such an important step! Using the diaper leaves your child feeling like they have the option of using the potty OR their diapers. By making the switch to underwear, your child will feel very uncomfortable if they potty in their pants.

If your child was truly ready, it won't take long for them to decide that it's much more pleasant for them to use the potty than to go in their pants.

Accidents will Happen

Remember, potty training is a process. Accidents will happen. Some kids learn to go quickly, some take a while. Some kids will be able to wear underwear at night and some will need to wear night-time training pants. There are children who will go poop in a toilet and not pee, and others who will not want to poop anywhere but their diaper.

Every child is different. It's important to go with the flow (no pun intended!) and do what works for your child. Don't despair if it takes them a while or they aren't showing readiness. Your child won't be going to college in diapers!

$50 Sam's Club Gift Card Giveaway for Charmin

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Top 10 Best Dressed Halloween Dogs

Halloween was a time of fun, laughter, and lots of candy at our house. Our kiddos loved their costumes and wore them 'till it was time for bed. After perusing Facebook, I realized that we left out a crucial member from our costume fun - Mochi, our Akita.

We had fun looking at other peoples pictures, though and these are our top ten best dressed dogs!

#1 Martini Dog

How cute is this shy dog? I love that her costume was made to compliment her "cone of shame."
Shared by Sherrie Berger
#2 BatDog

Clearly, this pint-sized hero already has at least one fan in his big Akita brother!
Shared by Sonny Brahma

#3 It's a Dog... It's a.... Horse?!

I actually thought this was a horse at first glance. Whoever came up with this costume is a genius!

Shared by COWGIRL Magazine

#4 Pug Punkin's

I'm a sucker for an adorable pug and these two sweet-faced pups are as cute as can be!

Shared by Bubblebeca Pugs

#5 Beauty and the BEAST!

Okay, I love, love, love that these two cuties costumes compliment each other!

Shared by Top Collar

#6 Doggy Devil

I don't think anyone could actually think this little cutie could ever be so evil... but he sure is cute!

Shared by Latte

#7 Doggy UFO!

If aliens are this cute, then sign me up!

Shared by William Demelo

#8 Golden Ghosts

These 5 Golden Retrievers must be very well trained to all stand so still. I'm glad they did, though, because CUTE!

Shared by I Love Golden Retrievers

#9 Well, HotDOG!

These little guys went well dressed in very appropriate hot dog costumes!

Shared by Johanna Stavrakaki

#10 Rufferee Dog

This big shaggy dog is dressed as a referee. I'm guessing he's there to make sure that Mom and Dad don't take a bit "Candy Tax!"

Shared by Lori Sternberg
 Which one is your favorite! Did you dress your pets up with your kids this year?

Monday, October 19, 2015

No Allowance for You!


Today's generation seems to not be doing so well. We can blame it on the bad economy or Bush maybe, (isn't everything his fault?!), but the sad fact remains that more and more "kids" - otherwise known as people in their 20's and 30's - are coming home to live with Mom and Dad and live on their dime.

Rasing kids who are self sufficient and wont become "Rebound Adult Children"

Why is this and what can we do now to ensure we aren't raising kids who are going to rebound and live in your basement 'til you die?

Call me crazy, but I think this is important! As much as I love my children, I don't want them crippled by my own inability to let them mature.

So, what's the trick? Here's a starter - don't give them an allowance.

What are you teaching your child when you give them money just for existing? You are teaching them that they can get free money, with no work! Why then, would they ever want to earn it for themselves? It's far easier and more convenient for Mom and Dad to pay them in perpetuity for everything from a car at 16 to a monthly phone bill to the down payment on their first home.... that they will then default on. And, because you were such a great parent you co-signed for it, leaving a financial mess for you to clean up.

I would assert that "great parenting" isn't giving your children an allowance and paying for everything. It's teaching your children that they can and should earn their own money - whether it's by doing chores around your home, mowing lawns in the summer, shoveling walkways in the winter, or by getting a paper route.

Warren Buffet's first job was a paper route at age 13. Michael Dell got his first job at age 12, wiping down tables. Charles Schwab picked and sold Walnuts, then started growing chickens and selling eggs at age 12.

These men are all millionaires. They got there by learning to work hard for what they wanted.
My goal for my children is not necessarily to have them become millionaires. If they can learn to work hard for themselves, then they'll become independent adults. They'll be able to support themselves and have the self-confidence that maturity brings.

My son started his paper route a little over a year ago at age 9. Every Wednesday after school, he readies his papers, piling them in his red wagon and walks to over 100 houses, delivering a paper to each one. It takes him about an hour and a half, and he has to remember to put papers in newspaper boxes, or in storm doors. He has to remember which houses have animals he should leave alone, and what to do if a house appears vacant. For this work, he receives anywhere from $6 - $9 per week.

This requires commitment on my part, because I go with him. To get to his route, he has to cross two busy streets. Here's the thing, though:  Even though I am with him, I don't do it for him.

He knows that if he wants to get paid, he has to do the work.

When he gets home, we separate his money. 25% goes to the bank, the rest goes into his pocket to do what he wants with it. If he wants to blow it all on candy, so be it. If he wants to save up and buy a new Lego set, that's his choice.

When he gets to spend this money that he has earned, you can see the pride radiating off of him. He is constantly changing his mind about what he is saving up for next, and is excited about doing so.

He isn't begging for toys or money, instead taking pride in himself and his own ability to provide those things for himself.

Now, before anyone gets their shorts in a twist - yes, of course I provide my children with clothes and food, and everything else they need for life. They don't have to earn those things, but my children see me working hard to provide them. They get toys and books for birthdays and Christmases and sometimes "just because."

An added benefit for everyone is that when Junior earns his own items, he takes very special care of them. I don't find them lying about the house, or left in pockets and thrown in the laundry.

Teaching your kids to work hard for what they want now will carry over to when they are adults. Teaching them to set aside some of their earnings from each paycheck will teach them to create a safety net for themselves, so that when hard times come, they have something to fall back on.

Of course, life still happens. I'm not telling you to abandon your kids as soon as they hit 18. 

Sometimes adult children need a hand up after being knocked down. In which case, give them the hand up, but don't clean up their mess for them. Don't commit to consistently paying for them to live outside of their means. If they need to come and live in your basement for a while, that's fine, as long as there is a plan and movement in the right direction.

What do you think about giving kids allowance?

Monday, October 5, 2015

The TB Blood Test

*I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for the TB Blood Test. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation. 

I'm not one of those people who minds having blood drawn or getting shots. As long as I don't have to watch the needle go into my arm, I'm pretty much good. I wasn't always this way, though.

It all started when I joined the Navy and in the first few days, was injected with a whole cocktail of immunizations and blood tests that I couldn't name them then or now! Two shots I'll never forget. One, the penicillin shot, where you have to bend over and pull down your pants. They inject that sucker right into your cheek and it hurts.


The other shot was the Tuberculosis (or TB) test. This one was memorable because it's injected into your arm, leaving a raised bump. You then have two to three days to make another visit to your doctor so that they can check it and determine if you are infected or not. It's hugely inconvenient, but then, so is having tuberculosis and passing it on to other around you.

Most people don't realize just how contagious Tuberculosis is - especially the people from my generation who've not had to deal with it on a massive scale, thanks to life-saving vaccinations.

Every 21 seconds, someone, somewhere dies of Tuberculosis. This is serious stuff, people!

And so, I have faithfully gone for my check-ups and tests, as painstaking and time-consuming as it is. After all, this is the same test that my parents and their parents took. In fact, it's 110 years old. Tried and true, right?

Except that no, it's not always that accurate. False positives are not uncommon and many people (myself included) report feeling itchiness at the injection site. Diagnosis is open to interpretation, leading to even more false positives. Add to that the inconvenience of the whole ordeal, and it makes you think that someone should make a change.

Luckily, we aren't the only ones who thought so.

A new blood test has been developed, allowing for much more accurate results, less false positives, and only one visit to the doctor! They only need 3 mL for testing (less than the amount that fits in one of those little test tubes). Sounds like a winner to me!

It's easier than ever to make sure that I'm not infecting my children with a disease that could be deadly. Peace of mind allows for more time during the year to just be with my kids.


To find more information on the Tuberculosis blood test, check out the website.

Get tested, protect  your family.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Mama's Got a Gun


The truth of the matter is, I feel strongly about women protecting themselves. We live in a day where 16% of women report being raped or having had an attempt made.

It's appalling. Anyone okay with those numbers must seriously be delusional.

We should not be subjected to a culture where more than 1 in 6 women not only feel unsafe, but in fact are unsafe. I'd be devastated if my daughters ever experienced the pain and anguish that accompanies such a brutal exploitation.

Rape is only one issue. The FBI reports that for 2013 (the most recent stats available), there were 1,163,146 violent crimes reported in the U.S. That's down from 2009, but it's still enough to cause concern. All too often, we hear of women being the target of malicious intentions.

The question, though, is what to do about it? Legislating an answer does not protect me and mine here and now

I take my role as a mom seriously, which to me, includes protecting my family if and when the need arises.

I'm a mama bear and I will defend my children with every last breath in my body. For that reason, I own a gun. And I carry it. And I practice with it. And I have old men look at me funny when I'm buying bullets in Walmart.

Buy you know what? My kids are worth it.

Now, many of you might wonder why I would do this. After all, aren't guns dangerous? Would you actually use it on someone? Shouldn't you keep guns away from children? The answer to all of these are, simply, "Yes."

Yes, guns can be dangerous, if not used properly and if you don't practice regularly and know what you are doing.

Yes, I would actually use it on someone if I felt my or my children's lives were in danger.

And yes, you should keep guns away from children, which I am diligent to do. I also talk to my kids about firearms. Knowledge is power and I think that only through removing the mystery and opening dialogue can we teach our children safety while also teaching them to respect firearms.

So, why do I carry a gun? I carry it because it is my responsibility to protect my family. Too often, we hear where someone has terrorized those around them or taken advantage of the weak, simply because they could. I refuse to be weak.

 Why not simply wait for the police?


While the police are a wonderful part of our society and I absolutely respect the sacrifice they make for our communities every day, they simply cannot be everywhere at all times. In my small community, often there is not an officer on patrol during the wee hours of the morning. Response time during those hours can be anywhere from 20-45 minutes.

If I have someone beating down my door to cause harm to myself or my children, then I don't have time to wait for an officer.

If someone approaches me down a dark street and tries to take one of my little girls, I don't have time to wait.

I wouldn't have time to wait if a dog was attacking my son and trying to kill him.

I'm not paranoid. I'm not looking for danger around every corner. I don't think that every person I meet is out to harm my family. All I have to do is turn on the news to hear of little girls being kidnapped and sold into slavery.

It happens. Not just in third world countries, but here. In America - the 'Land of the Free'.

If a police officer was on hand, ready and able to protect my family, I would absolutely defer to them. That's what they are there for and quite frankly, I would prefer to leave it to the professionals. While I am prepared to use it, I would be absolutely horrified if ever I had to shoot someone. I carry it as a precaution. I have never had to draw my gun to date and I truly hope to continue in that lucky streak.

I absolutely believe in gun safety. 

I keep my gun where children cannot come into contact with it. I keep the safety on. I have taken classes to learn the laws and to gain my permit to carry a concealed weapon. I continue to practice using my weapon, improving both my accuracy and my familiarity with guns.

Do you or have you thought about carrying your own defensive weapon?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Life is Crazy...

So, it's been a while since I've posted for you guys and for that, I'm sorry. Life got crazy on me and I had to step away for a while and tend to other things. I really enjoyed keeping up with everyone on Facebook (follow me here to keep in touch!) and I'd like to thank everyone for their prayers.


For those of you who didn't know, my brother-in-law was in a horrible ATV accident. He and my nephew were riding it around their property when there was a malfunction, throwing both of them off. My BIL was thrown into the trunk of a tree, where he hit his head pretty hard, causing swelling and injuries to his shoulder and hand.

He was kept in the hospital for about a month. During that period, my sister was at his side, caring for him and being his advocate with the excellent doctors and nurses on staff.

What this meant for her is that her three children needed a place to go. So, they came here for a good portion of that time (they also spent a significant amount of time at my other two siblings houses).

Going from 3 children all the way to 6 was not always an easy task! Kids were everywhere. I barely had time to brush my teeth, let alone write! Regardless, I love them and they needed love. While they can be a rowdy bunch, they are also some of the sweetest kids I know.

Luckily, everyone is back home now though, so life is slowly returning to normal. While things won't be completely back to the way they were for a long time yet (he can't go back to work for almost a year!), things are settling in, which means I can go back to sharing my thoughts, opinions, and life with you all. I'm looking forward to it and I hope you are too!


Monday, July 6, 2015

5 Tips to Vacation on a Budget



School is done and kids are going to be getting bored. What does that call for but an amazing family vacation where you can relax, the kids can get out of the house and you can all take a much needed break from your regular life. Instead of spending thousands of dollars, there is a way to take a vacation while on a budget.


Choosing Your Destination



Before you decide to fly across the country, find out what great things are within a few hours of your current location. Driving is definitely cheaper than flying! Your local state park is always a great choice (and they are sometimes even free to visit!) On a recent visit to Mt. Rushmore, we found that not only was it free to visit the park, but there were several attractions nearby that were also free.

Research, Research, Research!


Now that you've chosen where you're going to go, check LivingSocial for the deals nearby. You can often find an experience that your kids won't soon forget at discounts of up to 75% or a relaxing day at the spa for yourself at a great price.

Make sure you also do a search of the local attractions and find out if they offer discounts. On a trip to Bear Mountain USA, we found that not only did we get a discount because we had a child under the age of two, but they also offered a military discount!

Ask Friends/Relatives to Care for Pets


Instead of boarding pets, consider asking a loved one that you trust to care for them while you're gone. Depending on the length of travel, this could save you hundreds of dollars! Make sure you include enough food, toys, and treats for you dog. A treat for your friends would also be much appreciated!

Consider Camping

 


Nothing brings the family together like a night or two under the stars, sharing a tent, roasting marshmallows and talking about your lives. Many campgrounds offer showers, bathrooms and other amenities, like wi-fi, so you'll still be able to enjoy some of the comforts of home, while saving a bundle! As an added benefit, while you might need to bring some bug spray for the mosquitos, you won't have to worry about bringing bedbugs home with you!

Plan Meals Carefully


If you don't have a plan, you can easily spend as much on meals as on the rest of your vacation combined! Instead, plan on bringing sandwiches for the road, hotdogs to roast over the fire, and check LivingSocial for the meals you plan on eating out. Instead of spending your money at a fast food joint and getting a greasy burger, you could spend the same amount at a sit-down restaurant and feel great!


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

LivingSocial - Experiences + a Giveaway!

Summer is the perfect time to introduce new experiences to your children... or have a fun one yourself! LivingSocial is THE place for affordable deals this summer, whether you're looking for a couples retreat or a trip to a waterpark for the family.

The great thing about LivingSocial is that even if you don't quite know what you want to do, but know that you're ready for some fun, all you have to do is enter your location and they will find the action for you! At the tips of your fingers, you'll find exciting trips to take, beautiful hotel stays, amazing restaurants, and even fabulous entertainment all at discounts that will make your wallet happy.


The offerings will vary by location, of course, but some of the exciting offerings are:

As you can see, no matter where you are in the country, you will be able to find something unique and fun to do. The best part? New deals are always being added in your area and they are always a deal compared to what you'd find at the event.


To get you started having fun this summer, LivingSocial is reaching out to offer a giveaway for one lucky winner. They will get $50 in Deal Bucks, to spend on anything on LivingSocial, whether it be tickets to a concert, a day at the spa, or attending dance classes. If you're in the mood to learn something new or take a much needed break, enter the giveaway on the form below.


Entry-Form
*I received compensation for this post. Regardless, I only promote products/services that I myself use and/or would use.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Little Leader Method to Getting Children to Eat Vegetables



*Today's Guest Post comes from Jennifer at MomTricks.com

My name is Jennifer and I have a new blog at MomTricks.com.

And I have a confession to make: I love vegetables. I even loved them when I was a kid.

While I know it's pretty common for kids to be fussy about them, I was never like that at all.

Unfortunately, my son didn't follow in my footsteps. He was a very picky eater, and I was convinced it was probably something I did wrong. We did go to McDonalds, and he loved his McNuggets, but getting him to eat veggies was an entirely different story.

He would just refuse to do it. Completely.

All hope wasn't lost, though. We did eventually get him to open up to eating new fruits and veggies, and while he isn't exactly the veggie-devouring machine his mama is, I'm always impressed with how brave he is about eating new things. Especially compared to how he used to be.

So, how did I do it?

I used what I now like to call the Little Leader Method.

Basically, I got him to help me make the meal, from start to finish. He was in charge, meaning he made the decisions. And it really helped!

First things first, I let him pick out the veggies.

Since he was young, he couldn't have just walked through the grocery store and picked something out. So, instead I picked out a few different things, like carrots, cauliflower, zucchini and potatoes. Then I let him pick which one he preferred from the bunch.

It turned out that the zucchini was the most appealing, so that's what we got!

If you start off like this, I believe even young children can make the connection between buying the veggies in the store and them winding up on their plate later.

It removes a lot of the fear and mystery behind the new and strange foods!

Next, I let him pick the recipe. What I think works best is to look online, especially on Pinterest. I find Pinterest to be the absolute best place to find new recipes!

Best of all, they always include high-quality, awesome and tasty pictures of the final dish. What I did was pick out which ones I liked, and then let my son pick from them.

That's all you really have to do. It's an important step, because they feel like they're important and making the decisions along the way.

All you have to do is head over to Pinterest and do a search for the veggie you have. For example, if you have a cauliflower, just look for “cauliflower recipes” and you'll instantly get a whole bunch of great recipes.

Then, just let your child pick one of them!

Finally, I let him prepare the meal. I think this is the most important part, because even a young child can make the direct connection between the preparation and what they eat at the end.

Since my son was young, I had him help wash the veggies and tear up lettuce leaves for a salad. That's something any young child can do.

But if your child is older, they can be more involved, and even do things like help cut up veggies or meats.

All that's important is that they do something to help, so they feel important and like they're in charge. It is called the Little Leader Method, remember!

I really believe that if you let them help as much as possible, it makes a big difference in how willing they are to eat the meal at the end. There's no more mystery: they know where the veggies came from, they know how they were used, and they helped with washing and preparing the meal.

Remember to have patience and understanding, and things will be much easier. I know you can help your son or daugther overcome their picky eating habits!

*Jennifer is a stay-at-home-mom, blogger, and full-time kid wrangler. She blogs at MomTricks.com on a variety of topics, all aiming to making your life as a mom easier. Stop by and say hello!