Saturday, October 25, 2014

Teen driving tips from Ford #NationalTeenDriverSafetyWeek

Top Safety Tips for Teen Drivers
Teen Driver Safety Week
October 19-25, 2014

Experts from Ford’s ‘Driving Skills for Life’ offer these tips on how teens (and their parents) can be safer drivers:

1.    Engage in the driving process – As teens get closer to earning/acquiring their learner’s permit, parents should actively engage with them about driving. Talk about safe driving behaviors, practice with them, seek educational opportunities, and be clear that unsafe actions won’t be tolerated.

2.    Buckle up – It’s the law. In a crash, a person not buckled up is much more likely to be injured or killed than someone wearing a safety belt. Always buckle up and require all passengers to buckle up for everyone’s safety.

3.    Never speed – Research done for Ford’s ‘Driving Skills for Life’ shows that if parents speed, their teens are more likely to do the same. Speed-related factors continue to be reported in about one-third of all traffic deaths nationally.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Parenting: it's different these days

I was born at the tail end of the 1970s, so I grew up throughout the 1980s, in all their neon, side-ponytailed glory. While a lot of the toys and fashions are coming back (in a ploy to get the 80s-raised moms to buy for their kids), parenting seems awfully different these days.

Five ways my parenting differs from my childhood:

(1) Stranger Danger
Sure, there were bad guys in the 1980s. But it seemed so much safer back then. My sister and I would play outside alone without my mom having to hover over our heads. I could jump on my bike, kick up the kickstand, and fly down the road bouncing on the big banana seat, as much as three streets over to my friend's house. Today, even in my small cul-de-sac neighborhood of only a few homes, I will not let Amelia play without an adult at least outdoors, listening and making sure no strange cars pass through. It is a different world - and I live in big city suburbs now too, not the quiet of a small city in Tennessee.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How does all-inclusive compare to a cruise? We investigated from @BeachesResorts

If you took a glance at BalancingMama on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook this weekend, you probably already know how I spent the weekend with my husband and daughter: meandering along wooden plank boardwalks nestled within tropical foliage, sinking my toes in the softness of white sand while admiring a water color that, surpisingly, can actually be found in nature. Part of my weekend was spent with energetic people who all have a passion for family experiences and writing all about it. And also with some of the most accommodating, friendly resort employees I have ever had the pleasure to meet.

Yes, our weekend was truly grand. Our weekend was... #BeachesMoms! We attended the Social Media on the Sand conference hosted by Beaches Resorts Turks and Caicos.

Beaches Resorts are family-friendly and all-inclusive. As any employee will tell you, the only 'no' you will hear is 'nooo problem' (insert Caribbean accent). As a fan of cruising, I found myself continually comparing a cruise vacation with the experiences we were having at Beaches. Repeatedly, I said to my husband "this is like a cruise" or "wow, this is better than a cruise!".

So, how does an all-inclusive resort compare to a cruise?
My response: You definitely need to put it in your list of options when planning family travel. It may be very well worth it.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Using the #LeapPad3 on vacation

We just returned home from #BeachesMoms, the Social Media on the Sand conference hosted by Beaches Resorts, Turks and Caicos. The event was sponsored by brand leaders including LeapFrog, Playskool, Party City, HP, Land's End, Certain Dri, and many more.

The kind folks at LeapFrog were generous enough to gift a LeapPad3 and one Explorer game to the social media moms who brought children along on the Beaches adventure. They said it would be handy to have on a long flight... they were right.

Normally, my daughter begs for my phone or the tablet, but I am often catching up on work, writing, or trying to conserve the battery. Thanks to a LeapPad3 of her very own, she was entertained and barely made a peep.

Amelia is 6 1/2 years old and a super smart kid. She enjoys learning games and puzzles, as well as reading anything she can get her eyeballs on. I was not sure if the LeapPad3 games would be too "young" for her, but they do a great job of categorizing all of the apps by age and skill. I was able to choose from math games, puzzle games, creativity projects, and more.

Here, Amelia tells us a bit about her LeapPad3 (she was nervous but proud to do a video review of her own!)

So, kids think it is fun and they enjoy videos and games - not surprising! My daughter also likes the attached stylus so she won't lose it, and she loves that the LeapPad3 fits easily in a backpack.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Mommy and Me: Girl Time!

Okay, so Daddy was with us too, but I was able to have some special vacation time with Amelia this weekend on our trip to Beaches Resorts Turks and Caicos.

We brought Amelia and left the baby at home with grandparents so she could get a few special moments of "only child" again. She lived 5 1/2 years as an only child, after all. With fewer responsibilities, I was able to capture a bit of the old me again as well.


Friday, October 17, 2014

I miss him, but #BeachesMoms is amazing!

I soooooooo miss this gorgeous little guy.

We only just arrived, but so far the #BeachesMoms event (Social Media on the Sand 2014) has been amazing. Beaches Turks & Caicos is gorgeous beyond words. Lots of photos to come on Mommy and Me Monday and Wordless Wednesday! (Although that probably won't be wordless - too much to tell you about!)

We had an energetic and friendly meet and greet and the pirate pool party last night. Amelia is happy to be able to stay up late and soak up all of the attention. We all miss our sweet baby boy, but this experience is one in a million.

See you soon, sweet Andrew! Sending smooches and squeezes. XOXOXOXO

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Flying through the blue sky to paradise #BeachesMoms

Social Media on the Sand begins tomorrow afternoon!
Beaches Social Media on the Sand
I think I know how the morning will go; the hectic rush to get up, get the kids ready, double-check the luggage. Did we forget anything? Honey, did you remember the...? Is Amelia dressed - did she brush her teeth?
I will make time to snuggle and kiss on my sweet baby boy who will be staying home with Grandma and Granddad. I have never been away from him overnight - that will tear me up inside. I will be going through the motions of a mom on the verge of vacation while shoving aside thoughts of the goodbye I have to say to that sweet little guy.
As usual on crazy out-the-door mornings, I will probably skip breakfast. I will plan to grab food at the airport, but might manage to snag a bottled Starbucks Iced Coffee from the fridge before the husband whisks us away down the interstate. We will have Atlanta rush hour traffic to contend with; I will be stressed and worried that we will be late.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Amaluna = Astounding! GIVEAWAY: 4 tickets #Atlanta #Amaluna #CirqueDuSoleil

I do not want to spoil any surprises if you have not seen Amaluna from Cirque du Soleil, but I will say that this show was one of my favorite Cirque shows yet! The all-female band was rocking it with some strong girl power. The costumes were, as always, beautiful, fun, and unique. All of the acts had the audience's eyes glued to the stage at all times.

Amaluna is a love story set on an isolated island with a shipwreck, a young woman, and a man. Also a jealous pet lizard, a cautious mother, a hilarious nanny, and a whole cast of wonderful characters with amazing talents.

The Balance Goddess was an act I had never before seen in Cirque du Soleil shows. She was mesmerizing! She balanced huge sticks, lifting with her feet, bending, and even spinning the final huge structure with perfect poise. I don't think the audience took a breath until she was finished!

I highly recommend this show! If you are in or near Atlanta from now through November 30th, buy your tickets and make plans for an enjoyable afternoon or evening out. Amaluna plays every day except Mondays. And here's a special offer for you:

Experience Amaluna from Cirque du Soleil, now playing under the iconic blue and yellow big top at Atlantic Station. Save 20% on a Family 4 Pack and take an adventure to an island governed by goddesses.  CLICK HERE and buy your tickets today.  

Feeling lucky? I also have a 4-ticket giveaway! These tickets are for the 7:30 PM show on Wednesday, November 5th. Enter via the form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Amaluna on Facebook
Cirque on Twitter
Cirque on Instagram

I received complimentary media passes to see the show and share my opinions. All opinions are 100% mine.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Snug & Dry for the speedy baby on the go! @Huggies #MC #sponsored

Note: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central for Huggies and Target. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.
The baby boy in this house is now over eight months old and a total speed demon. He kind of reminds me of Turbo, that racing snail from the animated children's movie. He's a little guy on all fours, scooting around the room, but scooting really FAST. It seems no obstacle can contain him; he is a baby on the move with lots of things to see (and taste).
With all of that zippy crawling, I have recently noticed red marks around his legs from diaper chafing. Not all diapers fit the same way. Some are more of a rectangle shape and fit more loosely around his little squishy thighs. Looser = more chafing, it seems.

Enter Huggies Snug and Dry diapers with the Sure Fit design. This diaper has more curve to its shape and a thinner feel. It hugs baby's soft and sensitive skin and stays with him as he moves and races throughout his busy baby day. We have been testing Huggies Snug and Dry for a few days now, and no chafing! Before, I was using baby lotion or petroleum jelly to soothe the red marks. Not needed anymore! So far so good, and he seems as happy as can be on his daily quests for adventure.

When you are diaper shopping, don't forget the wipes! All wipes are not created equal.

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