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Five Fabulous Friday Finds–Back to School Edition!

by Paula on August 21, 2015

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It’s the most… won – der – ful… tiiiiime… of the year….

Can’t you just hear all the parents singing as the children drag their heels through the school supplies aisle?

{for those of you too young to remember the commercial, enjoy!}

 




 

Here are some of our favorite Back to School posts from around the interwebs this year:

 

10 Tips for Amazing Back to School Photos from Glue Sticks and Gumdrops

 

First day of school, you gotta take pics!  Check out these great photo ideas from Glue Sticks and Gumdrops.

 

Tips to Reduce Stress in the Morning from Organized Island

 

Make your mornings as stress-free as possible with these tips from Organized Island.

 

5 Easy Ways to Make Healthy School Lunches from The Jenny Evolution

 

I love these 5 easy healthy lunch ideas from The Jenny Evolution.

 

Homemade Uncrustables from Shortcut Saver

 

And how about these delicious Homemade Uncrustables from Shortcut Saver?!?!

 

Back to School Lunch Box Jokes from Coupons Are Great

 

These printable lunch box jokes from Coupons Are Great! are adorable!!

 

Happy Back to School Time!!  😀

 

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Magic Castle Bounce House Giveaway

by Paula on May 18, 2015

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Welcome to the Magic Castle Bounce House Giveaway!

Sponsored by Blast Zone

Hosted by Kathy’s Savings

magic

This giveaway is for a Magic Castle Bounce House from Blast Zone.  It has a retail value of $399!  This is open to the U.S. only and it will run from 5/18-6/1.  Please check out Kathy’s Savings review on the Hydro Rush Inflatable Water Park.  Good luck to everyone!

Disclosure: Kathy’s Savings and all other participating bloggers are not responsible for prize shipment.  US only.  Must be 18 or older.  Void where prohibited.  The giveaway is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by or associated with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or any other social media.  The winner will be contacted by email and have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is drawn.

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Win a 6′ x 8′ Backdrop from DropPlace!

by Paula on May 6, 2015

THE POST BELOW MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. FOR MORE DETAILS, PLEASE SEE OUR DISCLOSURE NOTICE.

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DropPlace offers a HUGE variety of Backdrops for picture taking. They are a very high quality and will last a super long time.
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Parents love being able to take their own pictures in their own home.  Children don’t like to sit still and are super active.  Being able to take the time to get pictures or do it over the course of a few days is AWESOME!!  Parents hate taking their kids to a studio and having them rush for the 1/2 hour and only getting 2 good pictures.  It just doesn’t feel natural at all.  DropPlace helps make that feel natural and not nearly as stressful!
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They range in price from $25-$75, but really are worth the high quality!
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AND now you have the chance to win a 6′ by 8′ backdrop of your choice worth $75!
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The participating bloggers are not responsible for a sponsor who does not fulfill a prize.
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  • One lucky reader will win a 6′ x 8′ Backdrop from DropPlace
  • Open to US ONLY.
  • Winners will be chosen at random.
  • Sweepstakes ends May 18 at 11:59pm ET.
  • Winner will be notified via email.
  • Winner will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.
  • The Tween & Me & associated bloggers are not responsible for prize fulfillment.
  • Must be 18 years or older to enter giveaway form.
  • Only one entrant per household.
  • Void where prohibited.
  • Entering this giveaway means you agree to terms above.
  • Good Luck!

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Great Hair for Great Moms Sweepstakes

by Paula on May 1, 2015

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Great Hair for Great Moms Sweepstakes

Welcome to the

Great Hair for Great Mom’s Sweepstakes

Organized by Budget Earth

Looking for a way to straighten your hair that is easy to use and doesn’t damage your hair? If so, we think you will love the Barbar 2300 Titanium-Ionic 1.5″ Flat Iron. This innovative flat iron is designed to be used on both wet and dry hair to reduce style time, and prevent burning or damage with the iron’s ionic ventilation holes that seal in moisture in your hair. As well, the titanium plates on this flat iron allow it to not only last longer than traditional flat irons, but heat evenly for better performance. The 2300 Titanium-Ionic 1.5″ Flat Iron is also designed to work with all hair types and lengths, allowing everyone to enjoy beautiful, straight hair all year long! With tits digital LCD display and variety of heat options, you can’t go wrong with this eco-friendly flat iron! To learn more, check out Budget Earth’s Barbar 2300 Titanium-Ionic 1.5″ Flat Iron Review!

Want to win this awesome flat iron for someone in your family? We are delighted to be working with Barbar on this fantastic giveaway! One very lucky reader will win a Barbar 2400 Titanium-Ionic 1.5″ Flat Iron. To enter, make sure to read all the rules below and then enter through the giveaway form!

Great Hair for Great Mom’s Sweepstakes

  • One lucky reader will win a Barbar 2400 Titanium-Ionic 1.5″ Flat Iron.
  • Open to US ONLY.
  • Winners will be chosen at random through Random.org.
  • Sweepstakes ends May 15th at 11:59pm ET.
  • Winner will be notified via email.
  • Winner will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.
  • Budget Earth & associated bloggers are not responsible for prize fulfillment.
  • Must be 18 years or older to enter giveaway form.
  • Only one entrant per household.
  • Void where prohibited.
  • Entering this giveaway means you agree to terms above.
  • Good Luck!

Great Hair for Great Mom’s Sweepstakes

Disclosure: This blog did not receive compensation for this giveaway. Facebook, Twitter, & Pinterest are in no way associated with this sweepstakes. Prize fulfillment will be handled by sponsor.

Would you like to have your products featured in a giveaway event? Want to increase your social media exposure? Contact susan.l.bewley@gmail.com to see how I can help YOUR company today!

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Limeapple Girl’s Activewear Coming to Costco — and a Giveaway!!

by Paula on April 21, 2015

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Finding comfortable, age appropriate activewear for little girls is hard- well at least it used to be ’til Limeapple.  Limeapple is a lifestyle clothing brand that was designed to keep girls comfortable and in style after school, at the beach, during dance class, on weekends and more.  Cute clothes are essential for tweens…. but mommas want the clothes to be age appropriate.  And the clothes need to be quality!  Aren’t we all tired of spending money on clothes that come apart after the first wash?

UntitledThe Limeapple line includes a large variety of feminine, fun and stylish girls’ clothing in sizes 12 months to 14 available in bright colors and prints so your little girl can show off her bold personality.  All Limeapple active wear uses high-quality fabrics that are breathable, fast drying, moisture wicking, pilling resistant and designed to last.  They also feature flat seams, 4-way stretch, built in lining and iPod pockets.

Buy It: Their clothing can be purchased online at limeapple.com but for a limited only they have partnered up with Costco to design four active wear top and Capri legging sets (in sizes 6-14) that you can purchase from Costco for only $18.99.  Regular price for these sets is $43.00 so this is a total steal!  These active wear sets embody the same performance fabrics, details and quality as the normal line, but at a value exclusive to Costco.

Untitled

Limeapple Sport will be available at all Costco locations in the Western United States and online at www.costco.com with free shipping & handling till May 10, so make sure you grab a set (or two!) at this amazing price before they are gone!

UntitledWin It: Ten super lucky readers will each win a Limeapple activewear set.  Winner must be 18+ and a US resident.  Giveaway is open until May 5 at 11:59PM EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.  Winner will be notified by e-mail and must respond within 48 hours to claim prize or another winner will be chosen.  All entries will be verified.  Participating bloggers are not responsible for prize fulfillment.

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Philip’s Baby Monitor Giveaway!

by Paula on April 14, 2015

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mothers day giveaway

Sponsored by: FoodnService

FoodnService.com is a family oriented blog that has become one the fastest growing sites for amazing recipes & fun DIY Crafts! Whether you’re looking for great a last minute appetizer, crockpot meal, or something to remind of you home, then you’re going to love foodnservice.com! There’s even a spot for Special Needs and life in the home.

FoodnService has a great freebie! They are giving away a free Recipe eBook for when you sign up to be on their newsletter email list! To sign up and receive a free copy, simply CLICK HERE!

As a family focused blog, Foodnservice is hosting a giveaway for Mother’s Day! One Lucky winner will be win a Philip’s Avent Video & Audio baby monitor! What a better way to keep your eyes on the ones you love.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: The participating bloggers have not been compensated for this post. No purchase is necessary to enter. One entrant per household, per address. US only. Void where prohibited by law. Winner(s) will be contacted by email and have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. Mom Powered Media is responsible for the shipment of the prize of this sweepstakes. This event is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by, or associated with, Facebook and/or Twitter, Google, Pinterest or any other social media outlet. Contact david@foodnservice.com if you have any additional questions or comments.

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A National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day???

by Paula on April 8, 2015

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YES!  There IS a National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day!  It’s coming up on Sunday, April 12 and you need to get ready to celebrate.  How, you ask?

Well, you can make the basic, oldie-but-goodie with cheese, bread, and butter…. or you can opt for some of these phenomenal creations!!

 

 

Grilled Cheese collage completed

 

From the top:

Chicken Bacon Ranch Grilled Cheese Sandwich from What’s Cooking, Love?

Grilled Prosciutto, Mozzarella, and Pesto Mayo Sandwich from A Simple Pantry

Rosemary, Bacon, Tomato Grilled Cheese Sandwich from Flour on My Face

Strawberry, Brie, Chocolate and Walnut Grilled Sandwich from Confessions from An Overworked Mom

Grilled Cheese Roll-ups from A Mitten Full of Savings

 

Don’t they all look delicious?!?  My mouth is watering right now!

 

Don’t forget to check out the  special sandwiches that we posted last year here.  However you celebrate National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day on April 12, ENJOY!!  :)

 

 

 

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Awesome #hosted Trip to Great Wolf Lodge! Part 1

by Paula on March 18, 2015

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If you’ve been around here for a while, you may remember our first trip to Great Wolf Lodge back in 2012, when I attended a conference hosted at Great Wolf Lodge in Concord, North Carolina.  We LOVED it!!  (Here’s the post if you’re interested in reading about that trip.)

So, then, you will know just. how. thrilled! we were when they asked us to come back–and this time to take part in some special activities.

SO VERY EXCITED!

We were part of a fantastic group of bloggers and journalists on this press trip.  I met three awesome bloggers:  Maria from Mamalicious Maria; Shelly from Mom Files; and Laura from Carolina Epicurean.  I already knew the wonderful Jen from Mommy B Knows Best:)

Besides getting lots of free time to enjoy the water park and other amenities, the members of the press trip were treated to a tour of the facility by the property General Manager, Angie Brown.  It was obvious that Angie is a perfect fit for the Concord location.  Her hospitable personality sets the tone for the congenial staff.  I love that she patiently answered all of our questions (and you know with a group of bloggers and journalists, there were a lot!) and kept us entertained with Great Wolf history, facts, and information.  (Tidbit:  Did you know Great Wolf Lodge has its roots in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, the water park capital of the world?  Makes sense!  And so smart to put a really good idea under a roof and make it an even better idea!!  Genius!)

 

GM Angie Brown takes press group on a tour of Cub Club activity room

 

We toured the water park and learned some behind the scenes info.  Great Wolf Lodge properties are each individual, so while a visit will always have the same pleasant staff members and great customer service, features will vary slightly to give unique thrills.  Concord is one of only two properties to have Mat Racers, a popular water park ride.

 

Mat Racers at Great Wolf Lodge Concord

Angie also showed us where some of the rides exit the building and then come back inside.  Some parks, she said, are visible from the highway coming in and seeing the water ride flumes adds to the excitement when arriving.  Concord’s front face is the grand lodge itself and I can attest, we were all giddy driving up I-85 when we first spotted it!

 

outside water ride flumes at Great Wolf Lodge Concord

 

I loved hearing about how the life guard staff members are constantly patrolling for safety.  They are tested daily and while being present during testing can be unnerving for parents and children, it’s SO REASSURING to know that the guards are always performing at top ability.  I didn’t take a photo of “Timmy,” the life-size mannequin they use for testing, but he’s on display at the front of the park where visitors can see him and learn more about the safety procedures.

 

Water Safety at Great Wolf Lodge

 

We learned about all of the fun activities that aren’t water park related, like shopping at one of five themed shops, the Northern Lights Arcade, Elements Spa Salon and Scoops Kid Spa, the Iron Horse Fitness Room, and Cub Club.  There’s also Creation Station, where you can make your own stuffed animal–and dress it with a great custom look, a sweet pint-size bowling alley, and several electronic games/videos.  And our favorite for tweens:  MAGIQUEST!!  Not a chance to be bored at Great Wolf Lodge!!

 

MagiQuest at Great Wolf Lodge Concord

 

And we were told a great teaser:  coming to Great Wolf Lodge Concord in May……. a ropes course!!  You know Ariel is pumped about that!!!  And I’m betting there’s not a kid at her school that hasn’t heard about it by now!   Just something about tweens and ropes courses!  😀

After our tour, we enjoyed a tasting luncheon with Corporate Director of Food & Beverage, Chris Hammond, and Corporate Director of Culinary, Russ Meeks.

Have you ever seen a meal that looked too pretty to eat?

 

tasting food at Great Wolf Lodge luncheon

 

Ummmm.  Yes.  It was too pretty to eat… but eat it we did!  And it was just as delicious as it looked!

Here’s what we sampled, starting at the top right and proceeding clockwise:

Mini Grilled Cheese: toasted with cheddar cheese and served with tomato soup shooters

Grilled Shrimp & Farro: Grilled Shrimp with seasonal greens, cucumbers, feta cheese, vine-ripened tomatoes, Kalamata olives and fresh mint. Served with red wine vinaigrette.

Roasted Wild Mushroom Pasta: Farfalle pasta with crimini, portabello and shiitake mushrooms, asparagus, roasted tomatoes and mushroom jus.

House-Made Hummus: with extra virgin olive oil, paprika, feta cheese and olive tapenade.  Served with grilled flatbread and vegetables.

Salted Caramel Brownie:  Do I even have to say more?  It was divine!

And not only was the meal delicious, but listening to Chris and Russ describe the lengthy journey Great Wolf Lodge’s culinary service has been through was very interesting.  Certainly parts of Great Wolf Lodge are perfect for families as they are.  Who can complain about an 84º oasis in any weather?  It’s downright decadent in freezing cold and quite refreshing in a baking hot summer.  You can check in as early as 1 pm on the day of your arrival  to use the water park (rooms won’t be available until 4 pm) and you can stay in the water park for the whole day on the day you check out (room check out is at 11 am).  Two days of fun for one night’s room charge.

Having restaurants in the facility made sense.  To families.  To Great Wolf Lodge.

But the restaurants weren’t great.  Food was expensive and just not awesome, the way families wanted it to be.  GMO this.  Non-organic that.  Nuts in products.

All of that has changed.

Chris believes that “Food has to have soul,” meaning that he wants the food at Great Wolf Lodge to have meaning, to be nourishing, fresh, to be the best of the best.

What a great idea.  Its implementation at Great Wolf Lodge has been a challenge.  I’m sure there have been times when upper management screamed at some of the costs incurred.  I’m sure most visitors don’t know all that goes into their meal prep.  Probably a lot of the GWL staff doesn’t know.  But it’s good for families that it’s happened, so much healthier and safer, and I’m glad I was able to learn a little bit more about what they’re doing with the food they’re making at Great Wolf Lodge.

Here are a few notes I jotted down as Chris spoke:

  • All ground beef served at Great Wolf Lodge is 100% pure beef, never frozen.
  • The new, improved pizza now served at the brand’s Wolf It Down restaurants took 6 months to develop!  They even figured out that THE WATER was critical to the great-tasting dough in New York style pizza, so they found a bakery in Brooklyn to make dough for all of the pizza restaurants!
  • All of the chicken served at Great Wolf Lodge is antibiotic and hormone free.
  • Special gluten-free pizzas are available at Great Wolf Lodge–and even though it costs more to make them, the restaurant absorbs the extra costs and don’t pass them on to the consumer.  :)
  • All of the newly implemented recipes at Lodge Wood Fired Grill were created using the cleanest methods possible, meaning if they could make something without gluten- or allergen-containing products, they did.  This is HUGE because it means that it doesn’t take any longer prep time to make a special request meal…. it’s already compliant!
  • No nuts are served in the restaurants or snack bars.  None.
  • Their chicken strips are breaded in rice flour.
  • No yellow #5 in the macaroni and cheese!  (and they serve over 60,000 portions of mac & cheese annually!)
  • He gave the example that they were buying non-GMO potatoes and frying them in non-GMO oil…. but then realized that a key part of the processing was done with GMO products.  UGH.  So they went to their suppliers and (because they are a large customer) were able to get the processor to change the process and use non-GMO products throughout the rest of the processing.  That’s using your leverage for good!

 

Remember:  each room at Great Wolf Lodge comes with a fridge and a microwave and there are tons of restaurants around the area in Concord.  You can eat snacks and meals in your room if you wish.  You cannot take outside food or beverages into the water park, but you don’t have to eat there to have a great time.

BUT, with all of the wonderful changes being implemented at the food service level at Great Wolf Lodge, you can enjoy meals there knowing that special diets or accommodations are welcomed and not treated as an inconvenience.  To me, knowing that my child’s friend with a peanut allergy can safely eat anything served at GWL makes me VERY happy!  Knowing that another friend with celiac won’t feel ostracized by not being able to have pizza with the rest of the birthday party friends is awesome.  KUDOS to Great Wolf Lodge for making these warranted and appreciated changes!!

 

nut-free treats equal safe dining options at Great Wolf Lodge

 

As he ended his presentation, Chris said something that made so much sense to me.  He said, “It’s the right thing to do.”  He’s right.  I am grateful that my family doesn’t have special dietary needs and that we can eat out pretty much anywhere we want to, but I know so many people who can’t.  What a relief this must be for families that do have those concerns!  Additionally, guests are encouraged to contact the chef of the property they’re visiting via phone or email prior to their visit to ensure that all their needs are addressed in advance.  Such a great way of providing customer service.

What a wonderful addition to a fun, fabulous, and SAFE water park hotel:  food service that makes eating out safer and worry-free for families that have dietary concerns.

 

We had so much fun and learned so much about Great Wolf Lodge’s new initiatives on Family Travel Dining and their continuing emphasis on safety.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and learned something too!  Soon, I’ll tell you about the rest of the fun we had at Great Wolf Lodge!!

 

Disclosure:  We attended a press trip at Great Wolf Lodge where we received one free night’s stay and chose to pay a reduced rate for another night’s stay.  We were also given vouchers to sample each of the restaurants while we were there.  We bought an additional meal plan (great value!) and purchased various souvenirs too.  (Of course!)  All opinions here, as always, are my own. 

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Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss! It’s Read Across America Day!

by Paula on March 2, 2015

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Read Across America Day An NEA Project

 

Could there be a more wonderful literary holiday to celebrate than Read Across America Day?  AND… it’s observed on Dr. Seuss’s birthday?!?  I don’t think so!

Ariel and I adore Dr. Seuss books, of which we have many, and one of our favorite musicals is Seussical.  The whimsy and creative writing style of Dr. Seuss has been a favorite of generations of children and there’s no better day to celebrate reading than on his birthday!

 

Happy Birthday to You! by Dr. Seuss

 

Join us today as we honor Dr. Seuss and Read Across America!

To find out more about Read Across America, check out the NEA’s site hereAngie at The Country Chic Cottage has a huge collection of resources that you might find helpful in plabnning your celebration.

And, as usual for us, it is All About Those Books  :)  :

 

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Let’s Celebrate National Tortilla Chip Day!

by Paula on February 24, 2015

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Six Yummy Dips for Tortilla Chips

 

Did you know that Texas has an official state snack?  It’s the tortilla chip!  Why not celebrate along with the Lone Star State and enjoy some of these great snacks with some delicious dips?!?

 

Check out these awesome offerings from some of our favorite bloggers:

 

Peach Salsa from Cooking on the Front Burner:

Peach Salsa from Cooking on the Front Burner

 

 

Cheese Chipotle Dip from Couponing & Cooking:

Cheesy Chipotle Dip from Couponing and Cooking

 

 

Roasted Guajillo Pepper Salsa from Food Done Light:

Roasted Guajillo Pepper Salsa from Food Done Light

 

 

Chunky Avocado Salsa from Leave No Leftovers:

Chunky Avocado Salsa from Leave No Leftovers

 

 

Cream Cheese, Salsa, and Crab Dip from What’s Cooking, Love?:

Cream Cheese, Salsa, and Crab Dip from What's Cooking, Love

 

 

Mango and Peach Salsa from Flour on My Face:

Mango and Peach Salsa from Flour on My Face

 

 

Bring on the tortilla chips!!

 

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