Saturday, May 31, 2014

Yes, it is fun! And here are some facts you may not know about #HurricaneHarbor...

Metro Atlantans and vacationers have a new, splashing fun place to cool off this summer: Hurricane Harbor, the new waterpark NOW OPEN at Six Flags Over Georgia. Visitors to the Six Flags theme park can ride the slides and splash in the wave pool for no additional cost - it is included in park admission! Amelia and I brought some friends along to Media/VIP day this week and we had an amazing time.  

Our admission was complimentary for the preview event but as always, all opinions written here are 100% mine.

My friend Maria of MamaliciousMaria made this fantastic video from some of the press materials. It really gives you a sense of the excitement that awaits:

And here are a few fun facts about Hurricane Harbor at Six Flags Over Georgia - maybe some surprising things you did not know!

  • The waterpark is sparkling clean and looks like an old, quaint surfside town. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Word of Coca-Cola in #Atlanta: enjoy a family outing!

Hi locals and fellow Southeast travelers!

I took the kids solo to The World of Coca-Cola today for a blogger summer preview event. It was a blast! Amelia and I enjoyed following along with the new World of Coca-Cola iOS app, which pops up fun and shareable facts throughout the attraction. The new Happiness film is outstanding - featuring true happy moments that are guaranteed to make your eyes fill with a few with joyful tears. And of course, we felt the excitement  of The Vault and tasted several Coca-Cola products from around the world. Some were too sweet, some were too bitter, and some were just right. I made to sure to save my favorite, Cherry Coke for last!

You can win a family 4-pack of tickets to The World of Coca-Cola! Winner will be selected on Friday, 5/30 at 8 pm est. Winner will have 48 hours to respond with mailing address or another winner will be chosen. US only, please. The attraction is in Atlanta, GA, so anyone who uses the tickets will need to travel here before 12/31/14, when the tickets expire. 

Enter once each on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter:

Facebook: leave a comment on THIS FB POST

Instagram: leave a comment on THIS INSTAGRAM POST

Twitter: Retweet THIS TWEET 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

For the "Best Summer Ever"? Get on the boat!

“I participated in an Ambassador Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Banana Boat® Sun Care. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.”
- - - 

Get on the boat...
Do you remember those commercials? I can still hear the jingle, "get on the boat, the Banana Boat®", sung by a happy man with a Caribbean beach vibe. The advertisements used to make me dream of the beach, a place I could only be for one week each year. Ultimate summer memories.

Fast forward to 2014, I'm all grown up and a mom to two. The beach continues to be one of my favorite destinations for all ages. We splash in the surf, build sand castles, and search for shells on leisurely evening walks. If the tide is too high for beach play, we retreat to the pool for splashing water battles or pull out the board games on the condo balcony. We play outdoors, read outdoors, relax outdoors, and eat outdoors. If it can be done in the sunshine of a summer day, we are there. With our sunscreen applied and reapplied, of course!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Summer fun should also be safe! Safety tips and facts moms need to know.

In my area, the kids just began summer break. We get out early, which unfortunately means we go back the moment August begins. I may or not be ready when that date arrives. For now, we are excited to be free of the early-morning chaos, carpool lines, homework, and lunch-packing. We are ready to have some summer fun!

Summer can be a blast for parents and kids, but it can also be really dangerous. Extra outdoor and water play can means extra hazards. So when you are out enjoying the season, keep these things in mind.

  • Make sure all playgrounds have soft materials underneath, either rubber mats, mulch materials, or similar. 
  • Some playground surfaces can get very hot in the sun, so test for temperature before placing little ones on any slides or swings. 
  • If the kids were riding bikes or scooters, make sure they remove helmets before playing on any equipment. Accidental hanging could occur with falls. 
  • The National Program for Playground Safety reports that climbing equipment is the leading cause of playground injury, so encourage kids to pay attention, make sure they wear proper shoes, and keep an eye on them while they are climbing. Do not allow improper climbing on railings or poles.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Suggestions for a great Gatlinburg, TN weekend #familytravel

It's a throwback Mommy and Me Monday! 

I was a Tennessee girl long before I became a metro Atlantan. We would frequently drive to Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg for a day trip to shop and have a little bit of family fun.

Two years ago, I took my own family on a weekend trip to Gatlinburg. It was exciting because we spent a couple nights there. Since it was only a 90-minute drive from my hometown, we never stopped to stay. So for a long Mother's Day weekend in 2012, my husband and I rented a cabin, visited Dollywood, ran around the Gatlinburg downtown shops, and drove through Cades Cove as a long way home. Amelia was a little girl and baby Andrew, of course, was not even a thought in our minds.

Quick tips for a great Gatlinburg visit 
(from a girl who practically grew up there!) 

#1 -- find great food. Tennessee isn't the healthiest state by any means, so set aside the calorie concerns for just a couple days and enjoy some of the best cooking in the USA.

Breakfast at the Pancake Pantry - do not get fooled by any of the copycat pancake places around. Go to THE Pancake Pantry, in the middle of Gatlinburg. Not Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg.  Pancake Pantry... Gatlinburg... got it? Be prepared to wait, the line often goes out the door. But they pack the place full and the wait isn't usually too terrible.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Pinterest: A delish success and total failures (what not to do before a party)

I admit, I pin waaaaay more things on Pinterest than I will actually ever make, remember, or buy. But I have had a few successes, and some incredibly dismal failures.

Note to self, a word of culinary advice, and the #1 Pinterest baking rule:

Do NOT try a brand new pinned recipe for a party that starts in 2 hours. 

We just moved into this neighborhood back in June 2013. It is a small enclave of about 12 homes, so everyone gets to know each other. We're a friendly little bunch. For our neighborhood block party, I wanted to be all "Pinterest fabulous" to meet these people for the first time. I hate cooking but love baking, so I signed up to bring a dessert.

I made two desserts, actually, Hershey Kiss Pies and Jell-O Cookies. 

Don't they look lovely and unique? In my kitchen, they turned out to be a royal fail. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Advice that shaped my parenting style

I do not remember where I heard it or read it, but I have a mantra that I always follow.

"Your job as a parent is to create an independent adult."

That advice made its way to me several years ago, and it stuck. It lodged itself into the core of my parenthood and shapes how I teach and observe my children. I know so many parents who want to control everything, to shelter constantly, to answer for their children. Even mothers of teens; their children want to grow and explore and seek to build their independence, while the mother clings and restricts out of fear or a struggle against change.Safety is first and foremost, and rules should apply as needed for each individual child. But after safety comes trust, then allowance. As parents, we must allow the people we created to become the people they are meant to be. Even though the world is big. And sometimes scary. 

When Amelia was a toddler, I had a mom comment on how "laid back" I was on the playground.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

#WW: Amazing Mommy's Day note

Oh my.... she is my joy. A three-page note, written all by herself, for me on Mother's Day Sunday.

it says...
Happy Mother's Day Mommy,
Thank you for helping us do stuff 
and helping me when I need help on my bike 
and helping me when I get hurt
and helping me when I need to learn something
and also when I need a push on the swings.
You push me and that is what I really like about you -
When you do stuff for us and me
and no matter what, I love you.
From, Amelia. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Assisting a neighbor: State Farm gives back to local causes

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for State Farm. I received a promotional item to thank me for participating.

Giving back is a common theme in our household. We are blessed with good health, amazing family, and everything we need. My daughter has a playroom full of toys and books, and we regularly take a moment to choose what she no longer loves to donate to others. She has grown up with an understanding that there are many other children in need, and it is our duty to share. She understands that once in a while, saying goodbye to her belongings allows them to go on to another child who will love the toys and give them a new life of more fun and new playtime.

State Farm takes "like a good neighbor" seriously. The State Farm Neighborhood Assist program is back, and it is time to vote, vote, vote for your favorite neighborhood cause. 4,000 causes were submitted to the Neighborhood Assist program, and the State Farm Youth Advisory Board has selected the top 200 wonderful and worthy finalists. The top 40 causes will each receive $25,000! That is life-changing funding for these local causes, and you can make a difference by helping decide which ones are the lucky recipients.  

Thursday, May 8, 2014

It's a double-whammy celebration weekend for meeeeee!

Friday, May 9th is my birthday! It's a grown-up birthday, which means it will basically be like any other day. But at least it is a Friday! No cooking for the weekend for me, because Sunday is also Mother's Day. I always get the double-whammy celebration weekend to commemorate both extra-special days.

Amelia's kindergarten class put on a fantastic Mother's Day breakfast event for us this week. As each mom entered the room, their child greeted her and led her to their seat. Each child-sized seat was decorated with drawings on the paper table cover with a special art piece set to the side.

Later, we had breakfast and viewed an adorable interview video, in which each of 22 precious children answered questions about their moms. Amelia reported that my favorite thing to do is play board games with her, and my favorite drink is Coke. The children also read a part of their mom journals. Amelia said, "My mom wears glasses, just like me."

Melt. So proud.

Happy Mother's Day to all mothers out there, including my own, my mother-in-law, my sister, sisters-in-law, friends, neighbors, and more. Wishing everyone an enjoyable day with some precious kid art thrown in for good measure.

I love her in the spring, summer, and snow too!  

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

#WW: Kid Space

Kid rooms! Some of my favorite rooms in our house...

Amelia's Cinderella room
Andrew's Mickey-inspired room
Playroom - someone has been crafting!
Playroom - grocery/kitchen space
I have posted additional details on each of these rooms - for more info and photos, check out:

Happy Wednesday! Almost summer break for us here. Cannot believe it!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Last but certainly not least, one more #giveaway! Choose your favorite Epiphanie camera bag

And last but certainly not least, here is the third giveaway from my fun and mom-loving giveaway week! Don't forget to check out the previous posts to enter to win Jamberry Nails (ends 5/6) and a Kindle Fire HD (ends 5/12).

Epiphanie Giveaway
Welcome to the Epiphanie Bag Giveaway!
Co Hosted By: Balancing Mama
Sponsored By: Epiphanie

Maile Wilson, a professional photographer for over fifteen years, started Epiphanie four years ago. At the time, there were no cute camera bags for women. They didn't exist. She would end up leaving her gear at home or shoving it into her purse wrapped up in whatever was nearby, because she hated lugging around a bulky man-bag. So that is when she decided to create her own line. Epiphanie launched in 2009 with 10,000 people already on the waiting list. Since then the collection has expanded from three to twelve styles and over 60 different bags, and there are lots more to come!

Shellie over at Sweet Southern Lovin had the opportunity to work with Epiphanie. She had the chance to review the Olive Lyric product. Head on over here and check out her complete review. Jennifer over at Life of a Southern Mom also had the pleasure to work with Epiphanie. Head on over here and check out her review.
**Giveaway Details** May 5-May 19 at 11:59PM EST Open to Continental US residents only. Must be 18 years of age or older to participate. Prize: 2 winners will win any bag of choice as long as it is in stock. RV $165+ each.
**How to Enter** By entering you agree to abide by the Terms and Conditions listed on the Entry Form. All winning entries will be verified. Winner will receive an email from and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. Good Luck and thanks for entering.
Disclosure: BalancingMama did not receive any compensation for promoting this event. Sponsors are responsible for prize fulfillment. This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed by, affiliated with, or associated with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google or any other social media platform. If you have any questions or would like to see your product featured on Sweet Southern Lovin contact

Friday, May 2, 2014

The "I don't like this" of a post-baby body

A friend (@TheRealMomTalk on Twitter) shared a link to these beautiful post-pregnancy photos on Facebook other day. Great timing for me, as I have been struggling with all the changes in my body now that baby is 3 months old.

I bounced back pretty quickly after my first baby, whom I delivered shortly before turning 30. This little guy, however, arrived in our lives towards the end of my 35th year of life. My body is older, less elastic, and I'm just plain old tired.

I did not expect a c-section and the lovely scar that comes with it. I did not plan on stretch marks, since I had no visible "souvenirs" from pregnancy number one. I took for granted how quickly I became skinny after Amelia. I was so stressed out about caring for a real live human being for the first time ever, that I pretty much forgot to eat. (Not a healthy suggestion, by the way). And two weeks ago, thanks to bad timing, I had two skin excisions on my abdomen - rogue cells that could become pre-cancer if I didn't take action. So two more (albeit smaller) scars added themselves to the collection of "I don't like this" on my body.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Get ready for summer poolside lounging! KINDLE FIRE HD #giveaway!

You may get a surprise this Mother's Day - you could win a Kindle Fire HD for yourself or a mom you love! 
Welcome to the Mother’s Day Kindle Fire HD Giveaway hosted by Mama Foster with Co-Hosts A Madison Mom, Eat It and Say Yum and Purple Monster Coupons.

Kindle Fire HD

Mother’s Day is a special day and what better than this jewel to reward yourself or reward another mother!
This Mother’s Day, we’ve decided to give away a Kindle Fire HD. Retail value: $119.

You have until 5/13 to enter! MamaFoster gave a couple extra days since the tornadic weather in Alabama slowed her down. So take advantage of the entries you can do daily! Giveaway runs 5/1 to 5/13 at 11:59pm EST. Open to US and Canada Residents Only.

Good luck!

Participating bloggers were not compensated for this post. Giveaway is not affiliated wtih Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or any other social media sites. All entries will be verified. Winner will be notified via e-mail and have 48 hours to claim prize before new winner is chosen. Mama Foster is responsible for prize fulfillment. Direct any questions to Courtney at
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