Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Enter to #win 4 Adventure Passes for Stone Mountain Park: It's Spring FUN Break time!

Are you in or near Atlanta next week for Spring Break? If so, you should not miss Stone Mountain's extraordinarily entertaining Spring FUN Break week!

Spring FUN Break at Stone Mountain takes place from April 4 - 11, 2015. Special attractions and entertainment will delight the whole family, including:

Spring into adventure at Stone Mountain Park with Spring FUN Break featuring attractions and entertainment, fun for the whole family!

Stone Mountain has offered one of my readers a family 4-pack of Adventure Passes! I highly recommend you visit during Spring FUN Break for the special featured entertainment, but the winner may select a date any date between April 4 - July 30, 2015. Tickets will be made available via will call once a date is provided by the winner. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
A winner will be emailed within 24 hours of the giveaway close. Winner must respond to the email within 24 hours or a new winner will be chosen. If winner opts to visit during Spring FUN Break, they should provide the date of visit in the email reply. (Otherwise, a future date can be emailed to me by July 15th.) 

Good Luck!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Five reasons why the beach is ideal for multi-generational travel #vacation

A beach vacation is an ideal choice for vacationers of all ages.

My family has enjoyed a multi-generational beach vacation for the past six years. We love family travel. Months prior to departure, we select a vacation rental condo after searching specifically for  layout, location, and rates that suit our varied needs. Each household packs up their vehicle and we all drive from our home state at our own pace, meeting up eventually at our family vacation destination.

Five reasons why a beach vacation is ideal for multi-generational family travel:

#1 - Vacation rentals
Beach destinations have hundreds of vacation rental properties. Websites such as VRBO or HomeAway allow future vacationers to search many listings at once with their own specific parameters and easily get in touch with the property owner or management company. Our family uses vacation rentals to customize the living space that fits our growing family. Number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, types of beds (queen, king, bunk), pool access, beach access, parking availability, wi-fi... all of these are important considerations for us. Vacation rentals allow us to have togetherness for morning breakfast and evening game time while also providing privacy via our own sleeping and bathroom spaces for a family vacation that is free of elbow jabs and cramped quarters.  

Friday, March 27, 2015

Happy spring! It's a Kitchen Aid stand mixer #giveaway - #WinKitchenAid

We are celebrating spring in the south! Easter Egg hunts begin tonight and tomorrow, trees are in full bloom, and outdoor play is BACK! A few local bloggers have teamed up to celebrate spring by offering you a great giveaway! The Kitchen Aid stand mixer is one powerful, helpful, awesome kitchen tool and now it comes in a rainbow of colors!

Spring is in bloom and what better way to celebrate then by bringing a little color into your kitchen! I’ve partnered with JaMonkey to share this awesome giveaway with you. One lucky winner will get to pick the KitchenAid Artisan 5 Quart Mixer in the color they want. Make sure to visit all of the sponsors blogs! JaMonkey Really, Are You Serious? Redhead Baby Mama In the Kitchen with KP Balancing Mama Mamalicous Maria JaMonkey KitchenAid Mixer Giveaway Our Facebook Fans get an extra entry! (Lucky you)

Open to US residents only. Giveaway ends at 11:59pm (EST) on April, 17 2015 . One winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way affiliated with Facebook or Pinterest. Facebook and Pinterest will be completely released by each entrant. One entry per person. Entry includes filling out the Gleam form above. Winner will be chosen using random.org. and will be notified via email within 48 hours of the giveaway closing time. Winners will be announced on the post, not on Facebook. The winner must respond within 48 hours of receiving the email or a new winner will be chosen. No purchase necessary.This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Snacks from a 1980s childhood

In the Autumn of 1983, a five-year-old me entered Kindergarten. I was in elementary school during the heart of the 1980s. That meant permed hair, giant plastic glasses, the "amazing" Apple 2C computer (with Oregon Trail, of course), little girls doing hand-slap songs, and boys trying their hardest to get their Hot Wheels to actually achieve a loop via the flimsy yellow track.

What about snacks?  I definitely ate a few things in the 1980s that I would steer clear of today, like:

Vienna Sausages - No offense to anyone who enjoys these, but what was I thinking? I probably ate a little can of these water-packed meat sticks every day after school for years.

Handi-Snacks - Do you remember those individual packs of crackers with a compartment of "cheese" spread and a little red rectangular plastic stick? 1980s kids thought it was so cool to spread our own "cheese" product over our crackers all by ourselves. Unfortunately, it was much less actual cheese than it was a concoction of oil and salt. A lot of salt.

Monday, March 23, 2015

A supervised dexterity exercise for baby/toddler

We stumbled upon a great dexterity and coordination exercise for baby last Friday.

Andrew's curiosity about our slide-out recycling bin drawer finally got the best of him, so he dug right in. He happily pulled out empty milk jugs and a few 20-ounce bottles. One bottle still had a lid screwed on and after a few minutes of trying to remove the lid, Andrew handed it to me with a grunt (which meant, "open this!").

So as it turns out, older babies are fascinated by lids and things that can open and close. Andrew spent a solid ten minutes trying to put the little lid back on the bottle. (Note: do not let a baby or toddler have a 20-ounce bottle lid unsupervised, as it may be a choking hazard!) It was a fantastic exercise in using his hands and improving dexterity and hand-eye coordination.

I watched him as he turned the little gray lid over and investigated the top and bottom. I observed as he brought the lid to the bottle mouth and tried to figure out which way it should go. Finally, I saw him get the lid on to the bottle - and he broke out in a huge grin. He learned how to manipulate a small object with his hands and he learned a bit of cause and effect (once I get the lid turned the right way, it will stay on the bottle). A useful baby dexterity exercise!

Here's a short clip of Andrew hard at work:

Friday, March 20, 2015

Find what makes you happy, then do what it takes

When you don't like something in your life or things do not go as you planned, what do you do?

Personally, I complain about it for a while. I let it get me down. And then, when I am tired of feeling let down or aggravated, I release the build-up of "oomph" inside and embark on a journey to fix it.

 My career aspirations have pretty much gone unattained at this point. I stepped backward for the sake of my then baby girl, because the only day care where I felt peace and joy was only available for part-time hours. I found a friendly career home, a perfect fit, that satisfied my needs for several years. I had plans for a long-term future there, but circumstances beyond my control changed that plan as I faced reduced work hours. Plus, the 70-minute one-way commute, even at only twice a week, was wearing me thin. Baby Andrew came along and I felt lucky to not have to worry about too many work hours. I took several months away from work entirely. As he reached 6 months old, however, I did not enjoy the isolation from grown-up discussion and yearned to work again. I finally realized that I was depressed and bored and not treating myself well. I took the unexpected curves in life and allowed them to veer me into a ditch where I sat and felt bad.

This is what I do. I get sad, feel bad, and eventually something snaps. A fire burns in me again and I set my mind to making a change.

You cannot expect anyone to make your positive life changes for you.

A mere seven months later, I no longer commute.
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