Wednesday, August 8, 2018

I have too much to balance, so I'm saying goodbye

Helloooo out there. 

I know there are not many eyes reading this post because I have seriously (I mean, horribly, really, really seriously) neglected BalancingMama. 

Life is taking enough of my time and parenting/life/travel writing does not have it's little niche in my world anymore. I am writing for businesses, media strategizing, media planning and buying, and managing social media and B2B ad campaigns. It keeps me busy and, frankly, those things pay the bills a whole lot better. I can buy my own tickets to awesome theme parks and newly-released movies and, of course, I will still share my thoughts and favorites on social. 

So it's not really goodbye at all... just "see ya elsewhere."

@BalancingMama on Instagram has been changed to @julie.k.mama
Please find me there!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Have you ever used a baby teething necklace?

This is a sponsored guest post (ad) from a parent writer and loyal fan of Baltic amber. I have not tested the product myself, but it sounds interesting.

When I made the jump from one kid to two, I was anxiety ridden. I knew that at the end of it all, though, I would survive. After all, I had two hands and a husband. We could take this on and be okay. When I found out that I was pregnant with our third just seven months after having our youngest, I was not sure that we would survive. In fact, I laughed at the thought that I was anxiety ridden before. That was an understatement to what I was feeling about three.

My husband played it cool but I could tell with each passing day, his fear of what of going from two to three also increased. As with anything in our lives, when change is on the horizon it is best to prepare yourself for all possibilities. However, I was not prepared for my seven month old to start teething during the throws of my first trimester morning sickness. 

Friday, June 1, 2018

Summer 2018 at World of Coca-Cola! #atlanta

Have you ever been to the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta? It's a fun attraction for the whole family. They have welcomed over 24 million guests in a span of 25+ years in Atlanta. Pssst... you should be next! I have a family ticket giveaway at the end of this post. Keep reading!

World of Coca-Cola offers interesting sights and experiences around every corner. Visitors can get closer than ever before to the vault containing the secret recipe, view over 1,000 artifacts and get a behind-the-scenes look at the bottling process. Everyone in the family will enjoy a thrilling 4-D movie experience and the tasting room also.

The team at World of Coca-Cola provided a list of five things you won’t want to miss at the attraction this summer:

Beat the Heat – The moment you step in from the sun, World of Coca-Cola welcomes you with an ice-cold beverage to sip as you explore. Coca-Cola’s rich, 132-year history pops in each exhibit – from the Vault of the Secret Formula, where you can discover the myths and legends surrounding the famous Coca-Cola recipe, to Milestones of Refreshment, a trip down memory lane.

Blast from the Past – Ever heard of Sprite Boy? You may be surprised to learn he has nothing to do with the popular lemon-lime flavored soft drink. Die-hard Coca-Cola fans might remember the elfin cartoon from the 40s and 50s – and now you can meet him for yourself in a fun photo op experience. The Story of Sprite Boy is a new exhibit on display through spring 2019 in the Pop Culture Gallery. The pixie-like Coca-Cola character comes to life through original oil paintings, print ads, artifacts and photos from around the world.

Savor the Summer – After exploring the exhibits, pop over to the Taste It! Beverage Lounge, where over 100 familiar and exotic beverages will spice up your summer. You can sample fountain beverages from around the globe as well as recently released, limited-time offerings at the Sampling Bar. Find a new favorite flavor or simply savor the classics!

Drink in the Deals – If you are in search of hot summer deals, look no further than the Atlanta CityPASS, which gets you into five top Atlanta attractions – including World of Coca-Cola – over a nine-day period. Adult tickets cost $76, helping you save a sweet 40 percent on admission. You can purchase CityPASS tickets at World of Coca-Cola ticket windows or online at

Coca-Cola Red, White and Blue – Just in time for our nation’s birthday, the Coca-Cola Store at World of Coca-Cola is releasing a new Americana-themed assortment. Fans can rep both Coca-Cola and America the Beautiful with patriotic T-shirts, salt and pepper shakers, wooden signs, kitchen towels and aprons. Items in the collection feature the classic combination of Coca-Cola, stars and stripes.

Visit THIS POST on the BalancingMama Facebook page to enter the giveaway for a family 4-pack of tickets! You can enter with a "like" and/or a comment on the post. Good luck!

World of Coca-Cola provided the tickets for the giveaway. They will be mailed directly to the winner.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

This koala teaches kids to cope with change

How do your children cope with change? Does it cause negative behaviors? Children appreciate a predictable routine and change can certainly be worrisome.  Whenever you know that change is coming, help your child with some advanced warning and discussion.  Of course, many of the most stressful changes come without any notice. What should parents do then? 

Bright Horizons Family Solutions, a leading provider of early education and preschools, offers these tips for helping your kids to cope with change: 
  • Keep as much the same as possible
  • Answer all their questions
  • Expect that some regression may happen
  • Be accepting of grieving

If you are looking for a new bedtime read for your young child, I have a lovely suggestion. This book is especially awesome if you are experiencing change that is affecting the family. Look no further than this Scholastic favorite. The Koala Who Could features Kevin, who lives his life clinging to the same tree. Trying anything new is just too scary for poor Kevin, so he misses out on the fun with friends on the ground. Then change happens. Just like it inevitably happens to us humans throughout our lives. Does fluffy fearful Kevin adapt to change? Well, read the book and find out. 

Monday, March 12, 2018

Great Wolf Lodge opens in Georgia soon and they just shared THE BEST NEWS

Parents, you probably know that Great Wolf Lodge is opening soon in Georgia. You may also know that it will be an easy road trip from Atlanta, offering comfortable accommodations for families of all sizes, fun activities, restaurants, and an awesome water park. 

Today, they announced some pretty fabulous additional news.

Great Wolf Lodge Georgia will introduce a new concept called Camp H.O.W.L (Habitat of Wild Learning).  The space was designed to feel as though guests have stepped into the Northwoods forest, complete with a Great Wolf Kids cabin that serves as  a stage and play space with an assortment of interactive activities. It is a multi-functional space with a variety of complimentary family activities to enjoy together during the daytime. And here is the best part... in the evening, Camp H.O.W.L. transforms into a parent-free, secure kids’ club! Parents can relax after a day full of kid-friendly fun while the children enjoy supervised educational and entertaining activities.

Friday, February 23, 2018

We all want the same thing: for our kids to be safe

How do we keep our kids safe when "see something, say something" does not work? When school is a potential target for evil acts? I wish I knew the answers. My heart is still broken after so much school violence in the US, most recently at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in south Florida, just 45 minutes from where my niece and nephew attend school. 

"She must've texted me three times. Please call the police. Please call the police. Tell them somebody's hurt on my building in my floor." -Parent, Lissette Rozenblat who received these texts from her daughter that afternoon.

People on either end of political extremes will tell you the answer is simple. However, those of us who use critical thinking skills and reasoning know that it is not that simple.

Arm teachers with guns? 

I can tell you, I do not know one single teacher who wants to carry a gun. Teachers are trained to teach and support kids, not act as armed protective services. I do not think any of us, except our heroes who have served in war, could ever know exactly how we would react in a deadly situation facing an assault rifle. And sadly, MSDHS had an armed officer. He sat outside the building while students and teachers died by bullets. He was trained! However, when it came down to do-or-die, he did... nothing. He was not able to make a difference. How do you defend against an assault rifle, anyway?!

"As parents, we shouldn’t have to worry when we drop our kids off at school that it could be the last time we see them. But we do." -Kim, Duluth Moms Blog 

Beef up school security? 

It is a sad fact that kids need as much security as possible at schools. Security measures will take time to implement, and a lot of money. School districts do not have those funds. Most counties do not have those funds. I do not know where the money would come from. We need it. But on the flip side, you have to ask yourself... is someone who is hell bent on killing going to pause when the metal detector beeps? Or obey any other security measures? They can enter a building in some way, somehow, if they have the fire power.

"See something, say something" should have worked. There were so many warnings... and saying something to the police and FBI (more than once) completely failed. Having an armed officer on campus should have helped. All of the drills and practices and safety speeches should have helped. A "background check" prior to assault rifle purchase should have stopped evil. These things did not  keep teenagers and teachers safe. Now our country grieves. Again.  

What are we to do? I want to see it become extremely difficult to obtain an assault weapon. Really, really, really difficult. With a long waiting period, mental health evaluation, school records check, employment record check, and personal reference checks. Somehow, we need to review current ownership as well. I have to give my personal information to purchase Sudafed for a stuffy nose and I am prohibited from buying too much at one time. So please explain to me how someone, like the Las Vegas shooter, is allowed to own multiple weapons designed for human death? It makes no sense.

I am sad and I am angry. We all need this insanity and evil to stop.

I love my children.
I love yours too.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Upcoming travel? These vacation rentals look awesome!

A mega-luxury huge vacation rental is probably not in the budget for your family travel, but this USA Today slide show will get you dreaming! In the article, 50 awesome vacation rentals: A great place to stay in every state, the website shows one amazing rental from each state. They were picked by vacation rental company HomeAway. If you feel like a vacation to remember, recruit a bunch of family friends and split the splurge!

I picked out a few additional options that would sleep up to 12 in some popular southeastern destinations. What do you think?

Orlando, FL
Within 7 miles of the Disney World Resort theme parks! This is an eight-bedroom Orlando home with a private pool that sleeps 16. It is beautifully furnished throughout and includes a Frozen-themed bedroom and an awesome Harry Potter bedroom if you are headed to Universal.  Foosball Table, Air Hockey Table, and Table Tennis table all in the home! I do love the Disney World Resort and Universal hotels, but having an entire house with friends would be so much fun and spacious!

Gulf Shores, AL
This stunning penthouse view on the beach has floor-to-ceiling windows and four bedrooms with four bathrooms. One room has twin beds and another is colorful with fish motif and bunk beds. Indoor and outdoor pool available at the property.

Charleston, SC
Charleston offers so much to see and so, and we love visiting there. This Charleston rental property looks awesome! It is located on the second floor of a stately building in the heart of historic downtown.  It is directly across Meeting Street from the iconic Mills House and has five bedrooms and a private entrance. Second floor.

Where are you traveling for spring break or summer vacation? We are ready for sunshine and family fun. Winter is long!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Can't play outside? Netflix kids has some great new shows

I love Netflix in the winter, especially when the Netflix kid section has fantastic new shows. We are luckily to be in the Atlanta, Georgia area where winter is not too bad, but it is still gray and often rainy. The weather makes us tired and blah, so I admit, my kiddos watch more TV than usual. Especially the younger one, who is only in preschool four hours per day (and I work from home at least six hours each day).

In a dreamland where she can make anything possible, Luna Petunia is back in this follow-up to the Canadian-American series. It is great for ages 3-6.

Dreamwork's Dragons returns for a sixth season of high flying and great adventure. It will have 13 episodes and it is recommended for ages 5-10.

Also for the 5-10 year old age group, Atomic Puppet will launch on February 22nd, 2018. This was a show on Disney XD a couple years ago, and soon the kids can stream the excitement of a 6th grader teaming up with a former superhero who’s been transformed into a sock puppet. Yes... really! Thanks to Netflix kids.

These new Netflix kids programs join some already-beloved titles like Beat Bugs and Trollhunters, (both of these first aired in 2016). And as a kid of the 1980s, I love that they brought back and modernized a lot of our favorites like Inspector Gadget and Danger Mouse! I challenge you to not get those two theme songs stuck in your head.

What are you watching when the weather keeps you in?

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