Saturday, October 31, 2015

Weekends with the Wigglesworths- Happy Halloween and November Eve!

Happy Saturday everyone! Can you believe it's already the end of October? It might be because I'm not so young anymore (I just turned 36 on the 29th), but time seems to be passing by so quickly lately. I'm having a hard time adjusting to the fact that 2015 is winding up, but I am also hoping that the winter season passes as quickly as the rest of this year seemed to.  

Today is going to be pretty busy, you know with Halloween and all. Drew is going to be Lagoona Blue from Monster High and Reese will be Doc McStuffins (I will post pictures next week). We'll be visiting the local trick or trunk that we have been going to the last 3 years or so. I find trick or trunks (or as they are sometimes called trunk or treats) a lot easier to handle than walking around a neighborhood trying to navigate which house has candy and which house just has their porch light on. 

Since our Halloween activities are occurring later on, we will be using our free time to make some cookies for our church's bake sale tomorrow. I found a few great recipes that were shared on Facebook this week and I'm pretty excited to try the Pecan Pie CookiesCaramel Apple Pie Cookies, and Almond Joy Cookies. I will try to post pictures of those next week as well, so you can see how they came out.

Don't forget, Daylight Savings Time ends tomorrow. Before you go to bed this evening, be sure to set your clocks back an hour and (if you are able to) please change the batteries in your smoke and/or carbon monoxide detectors. I hope you all enjoy your weekend!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Beautiful Holiday Gifts from Pretty Peacock

In a little studio located just north of Seattle, we create jewelry that is created to tell your story. We like to mix in things like gemstones, texture, even a little geekery from time to time so that you can tell your story in new and creative ways.

There is a lot of thought and love that goes into each of our handmade pieces - you'll be able to feel the difference from the moment you open up one of our sparkly, purple packages.

Life is a story: write it, share it, change it, wear it - with jewelry by Pretty Peacock.

My readers get to save big! Pretty Peacock: FAMILY2015 and for 30% off the entire site valid until 12/31/15! National and Abroad .@usfg

Enter Hyland's Halloween Costume Contest!

It's Contest time from Hyland's! Enter the Hyland's Halloween Costume Contest for your chance to win some amazing products from Hyland's, plus a Target Gift Card!

About the contest...

The costume contest will be judged on the following criteria:

•  Adherence to the Halloween theme (35%)
•  Creativity of photo caption (15%)
•  Originality of costume (e.g., creativity of costume; costume details) (35%)
•  Quality of the photo (e.g., lighting, focus) (15%)

In addition to being able to enter on Facebook,  you can also enter using the #HylandsHalloweenCostumeContest on Instagram and Twitter.  The Contest begins at 9:01 AM Pacific Time (PT) on October 27, 2015 and ends at 11:59 PM PT on November 3, 2015.

Must be the legal guardian of a child to enter his or her picture. 

The prize for each of the three winners is:

Hyland’s Baby Nighttime Teething Tablets 
Hyland’s Baby Nighttime Tiny Cold Syrup 
Hyland’s 4 Kids Cold n Cough 
Hyland’s 4 Kids Cold n Cough Nighttime 
Hyland’s 4 Kids Bumps n Bruises 
Hyland’s Nerve Tonic
Hyland’s Calms Forte
And a $50 Target 

Good luck!

Last Minute Halloween Treat: Monster Munch

Looking for a last minute Halloween treat idea? How about some yummy in the tummy, and oh, so spooky Monster Munch? We were notified by B's teachers that we could send in a Halloween treat for his class party, or treat bags for each child in his class (there are 15). I knew that I didn't want to make cupcakes or buy pre-made cookies. I would rather send in something that the kids could take home and enjoy after school, and something that might be semi-healthy.

I decided to go with Monster Munch, because using popcorn and pretzels would be a healthier alternative. There are so many different ways to make Monster Munch. I wanted B to be able to help me pick out what we would add in for the munch, so we decided popcorn would be the base, and then headed to the store to pick out some other goodies.

We wound up with:
Pretzel Sticks
Candy Corn (B's favorite!)
Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Mini Marshmallows
Green Colored Candy Melts

Step 1- Make the popcorn

We don't use microwavable popcorn. We buy the whole kernels, and pop the popcorn on the stove. This way, the popcorn is fresh, there are no additives, except for the little bit of oil we use for popping, and sea salt that we add ourselves. This also allows us to make large batches at one time.

Step 2- Spread the popcorn out in a layer over a wax paper lined jelly roll pan.

Step 3- Enlist the help of your kiddos to add the extra stuff!

Step 4- Add a layer of the pretzel sticks.

Step 5- Add candies, marshmallows, etc.
*If I had been making this for myself, I would have omitted the candy and marshmallows, and used almonds and cranberries.

Step 6- Melt the Candy melts in the microwave and drizzle over the Monster Munch.
Add final touches like sprinkles and chocolate chips.

We let the chocolate harden for about 30-45 minutes, before breaking the Monster Munch into chunks, and then adding it to Halloween treat bags for B's class. From start to finish, it took about an hour to make three batches of the Monster Munch (three cookie sheets). The part that took up the most time, was popping more than one batch of fresh popcorn on the stove.

The Monster Munch that we made is a fun mix of salty and sweet that we know B's friends will love! Why not give it a try, and put your own spin on it?

Day Trip: Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

For my mom's birthday this year, we planned a little outdoor adventure with the family. Just southwest of Charlotte is the beautiful Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens

Mr. G taking a walk through the fall flowers.

This is a great seasonal activity to enjoy on a day with good weather. Spring and Fall are probably the best times to visit, but if you don't mind a little heat, I'm sure summer has bountiful blooms. In winter, they also decorate with lights for the holidays. There is even a four seasons garden that shows beautiful color year round.

This is us!
You can meander each of the areas at your own pace. There are two large pergolas, several fountains, and an orchid conservatory. The tunnel fountain (behind us in the above image) was so much fun to walk (er, run) through.

It's decorative gourd season.
Mr. G just learned to say pumpkin (well, something that we know means pumpkin!) and spots them anywhere we go. This was definitely a found treasure.

He loved this fluffy pink grass.
There are also trails that lead to nearby Lake Wylie and connect to the Carolina Thread trail. Since our little guy was getting hungry we didn't have time to check these out but definitely plan to next visit.

Our favorite part was this cave in the children's area.
A newer addition to the gardens is the Lost Hollow Children's Garden. Trails and structures, including the Moon Keep make it a special place for little ones to explore. I can't wait to take Mr. G back when he is a little older.

The indoor gardens were full of fun too. 

Our last stop was in the orchid conservatory. Since the gardens weren't too crowded the day we went Mr. G got to walk around at his leisure discovering things large and small. The grandparents enjoyed their visit just as much as the little one, and I highly recommend a visit with friends and family of any age. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Planning Your Next Family Vacation? Here's What You Need To Know

Taking your whole family away on holiday can be a pleasure. When you work all the time, it can be hard to see the people that matter the most. If you want to get some quality time with your family, a quick vacation is always the best way to go. You can make some lasting memories on holiday, and so it is a great excuse to unwind. When it comes to planning this trip, you may need a little advice. Here is everything you need to know.

1. Find a family-friendly hotel

Some hotels are better than others when you have kids. There are particular features than make a hotel family-friendly. For example, you need to look for a hotel with a kids' club. That way, your little ones will always have something to do during the day. You might also want to get an all-inclusive deal so that you don't have to worry about what everyone will eat. Before you book a hotel, you need to make sure that it is right for your family. That means that you ought to do a little research first.

2. Plan excursions and trips

You can't spend the whole holiday chilling by the pool. Sometimes, you need to make sure that you get away and see things. Visiting a couple of family theme parks or heading out to the beach is an excellent idea. It is well worth planning these trips in advance. If you know what you're doing each day, you will not have to worry about a thing!

3. Take something to entertain the kids

When you travel with children, you know that they can get a little fidgety. That is normal. After all, children are uber active. If you ask them to sit still for more than an hour or so, they tend to struggle with the challenge. You should take something that will entertain them on the journey. For example, you might want to take a craft project for them to do. If you prepare yourself for the trip, you should have no issues.

4. Book well in advance

Are you short on funds? If you want to save yourself some money, you need to book your trip in advance. Saving cash is all about efficient planning. The sooner you book your tickets, the more money you will save in the long run. It is hard to organize things when you don't know what you want to do, but the sooner you decide, the better.

5. Look for cheap flights online

If you happen to be flying to your destination, you don't want the flights to cost you too much. You should try to find cheap flights online before you do anything. There are many comparison sites out there that are likely to help you. Just enter the dates and your destination. The site will find you the most affordable deal for you.

There is nothing more exciting than a family vacation. When you and your loved ones get away together, you will have a ball of a time.

The Stork Sent a Gift! The Stork Bag by MommyMaiDD #Review

Thank you to MommyMaiDD for sending me product, free of charge, for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions shared are my own.

~Part of the MBP Maternity/Newborn Guide~

Pregnancy is a beautiful journey- filled with ups and downs. My first pregnancy was so easy and delightful. No morning sickness, little fatigue- it truly was a magical time in my life, and I expected my second pregnancy to be as such. Well, baby #2 sure has a sense of humor. I was sick for weeks, not to mention I was so exhausted that I just wanted to spend all day in bed for the first three months of the pregnancy. Now that we're onto the second trimester, I am feeling much better, but am already noticing the weight gain, tired feet after walking around for a couple of hours, and oh yeah- still tired! It's nice to be able to try a selection of pregnancy products, without having to purchase full sized products- especially if you don't know whether or not you'll wind up using them.

The Stork Bag® is the first ever reusable subscription bag just for pregnant mamas! Launched in 2014, each Stork Bag is curated to match each trimester of pregnancy and includes many products created by other mom entrepreneurs and inventors. With The Stork Bag you get between 8-12 handpicked surprise products in each bag and what better time to be showered with gifts than when you are expecting. The Stork Bag® was created to enhance the pregnancy experience for women by providing some of the best products for you throughout your pregnancy. Now you can have just what you want, when you want it without leaving the house!

I was so excited to receive a Stork Bag from MommyMaiDD! I love maternity products, and couldn't wait to see what would be included in the second trimester bag!

My Stork Bag arrived in a box, nicely wrapped in tissue paper.

I was sort of in shock over how stuffed full the Stork Bag was!

A beautiful gift for any expectant momma- The Stork Bag.

When I told B (my five year old son) that we received a mommy/baby gift, he was definitely interested in checking it out with me. I am so thrilled that he is so excited to become a big brother.

My handy helper, ready to help me take the goodies out of the Stork Bag. What might this be? A water bottle! Every preggo momma needs one of these to stay hydrated!

We removed all of the goods from our Stork Bag, and wow- we were blown away by all of the awesome products that came with it.

Products every momma needs-
Knocked Up Nail Polish
Morning Sickness Balm

I love the nail polish. It's such a great color for fall, and is a pregnancy safe polish. The balm contains ingredients that help ward off morning sickness. Thankfully, I am past this point, but I am still enjoying the creamy balm, especially since it's becoming dry outside. Tums are an essential for preggo mommas! I have been noticing more and more issues with indigestion, so I have been taking these Tums on the go with me- everywhere!

Two more staples for early pregnancy...

My morning sickness was so bad, that I had my hubby order a 3-pack of Preggie Drops for me. I relied on them in my first pregnancy, and it was no different this time around. Preggie Pops, Chews, and Drops, are great to have on hand- I keep them on my nightstand, in my purse, etc- just in case I end up with the queasies!

For taking care of your dental health during pregnancy...

It's no secret that pregnancy can do weird things to your teeth, which is why it's a good idea to buy a new toothbrush, and use an anti-plaque and whitening toothpaste, like this one from Tom's. I find myself brushing after every meal, just because the build-up is much worse than usual. You want to use a toothpaste and brush that's tough on plaque, but gentle on the gums, as pregnant women are susceptible to gum bleeds.

These organic teas from Earth Momma + Angel Baby are so soothing!

I love having specialty teas on hand- for heartburn, relaxation, etc. It's so nice to relax with a hot cup of tea in the afternoon or evening and just take some time to wind down. I know this is easier said than done when you have a family that demands your attention. These tea blends are nice and smooth, and soothing to a tired momma's soul!

Health and Beauty product musts!

I am in love with the Coconut Eyes Replenishing Treatment by ToGoSpa! It's no secret that preggo mommas are often caught with tired, puffy eyes- not to mention being puffy from shedding tears (it doesn't take much to make a preggonista cry). The coconut eye treatment is a gentle, soothing treatment for tired eyes- and there are three treatments in this pack! Use one for each trimester of pregnancy- or use it once a month, and just buy more!

The Branch to Nature Deodorant is a safe for mommies formula, which is aluminum free. It's a great size to take with you when you travel, or to keep in your purse or mommy bag. I have already been experiencing the mid-day sweats. Thanks, crazy hormone levels!

The Natural Hair & Beauty Body Butter is so yummy! It's just luscious on the skin. It's smooth and silky, and is the perfect product to rub into dry, tired feet at the end of a busy day. I like to put it on, and slip some socks on for a couple of hours at night- the next day, my feet are nice and soft!

Pregnancy healthy snacks!

I also received a BumpBoosters Pregnancy Cookie- Oatmeal Chocolate Chip. I absolutely love sweets, and my craving are much worse when pregnant. I know that it's not healthy for me or for baby, to scarf down lots of sweet treats, which is why the BumpBoosters cookies are a great alternative. They are filled with energy boosting ingredients, and they are a healthy, craving-satisfying snack to enjoy through out pregnancy. Unfortunately, my cookie tasted pretty stale when I tried it, but I believe that fresh versions of these cookies are probably awesome, so I am going to look for them and try them again!

Last but not least- Bump Bows!

Bump Bows are so cute! They're little skin-safe stickers to place over your belly button if and when it pops out. My belly button never popped out with my first pregnancy, but there's no telling what might happen this time around. I am glad to have these on hand to smooth out that adorable bump underneath my shirts.

I love the Stork Bag, and think that for the items I received, if I had spent the $45.00 on a monthly bag, it would have been well worth it. These are all products that I am using or will use within the next few months of my pregnancy. I would love to see what's in the 3rd Trimester Stork Bag, as well!
The Stork Bag would make an awesome gift for an expecting momma!

The Stork Bag® Single

Want it? Get it!

Head on over to The Stork Bag by MommyMaiDD to view their current subscription plans, and to learn more about their company. Connect with The Stork Bag on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube.

Special thanks to the team at The Stork Bag for allowing me to experience their wonderful subscription service! I give it five stars!

Amazingly Simple Advice To Turn Your House Into The Perfect Family Home

I wrote a previous post giving advice to first-time home buyers. As a sort of follow-up to that, I want to continue the home advice theme. I’m here to tell you how you can turn your new house into the perfect family home: 

Work On The Children’s Rooms
One of the first things you should do is work on the children’s bedrooms. There’s one major thing that separates a family home from any other house, the children! So, make sure you design the perfect rooms for them. Create a bedroom they feel comfortable in and looks perfect for a child. If you walk down the landing and look into the children’s bedrooms seeing all the colours and toys, it makes you feel more at home. 

You can decorate their rooms in any way that you like. You should think about all the things they enjoy the most. Try and get a lot of their favourite colour in there and lots of places for them to put their toys. You’ll also want to create enough space on the floor so they can play in a spacious environment. 

Family Photos
A really easy way to make your house a home is to put up loads of framed family photos. Pictures of you and your partner from when you were young, along with pictures of your kids. Have these placed in the hallway, and in the living room too. It can make the place feel a lot more homely.

You’ll be walking around the house and see these photos from your past and it will be a reminder of how important family is to you. It also reminds you that the home belongs to you. You’re a family now, and you all live under the same roof, it’s a lovely touch. 

Get Any Repairs Done
Your house won’t feel like a home is there are bits of it that need mending. A house with cracks in some walls or holes in the roof doesn’t feel complete. Of course, these issues are natural and happen over time. Many people will buy an old house with a couple of issues because it’s cheaper, even when you factor in repair costs. 

What you want to do is make sure you repair problems like these. Get someone in to fill any cracks and find a roofing company to fix your roof. If you can sort out all these problems, your house will feel brand new. It will feel complete and like a home. Plus, you’ll be safe in the knowledge that your family home is more secure and sturdy. 

Get A Pet
A great way to complete your family home is to get a pet. Something like a dog or cat is a brilliant idea. Purely because you can buy beds and food bowls for them and have them placed around the house. And, it feels more like a home when you have a dog or cat running around the place. 

Of course, only get a pet if your kids aren’t afraid or allergic. You could always get something small like a tortoise, which will last your entire life too!

My All American Swag Pack + $25.00 Gift Card #Giveaway!

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Review Wire Media for Clarius Entertainment. I received information to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

What Freddie Steinmark wants most in the world is to play football. Deemed too small by the usual athletic standards, his father trains him hard, and Freddie brings a fight to the game that ultimately gets him noticed - by none other than legendary University of Texas coach Darrell Royal. Awarded a scholarship and a chance to play for the Longhorns, Freddie sets off to Austin determined to make the team. Alongside his old teammate Bobby Mitchell and new pal James Street they rise to the occassion, giving the Longhorns a real chance to turn the team around. But just when they’re reveling in the success of the season, Freddie suffers an injury that leads him to a shocking diagnosis and the biggest challenge he will ever face.

Check out these great photo stills from My All American...

I love the movie RUDY, so I cannot wait to see My All American. I'm not actually a big football fan, but I love movies like this, which are uplifing and encouraging. This is a great movie to watch during football season!

Visit all the Sites: #MyAllAmerican

Giveaway Time!

One lucky MBP reader will win a $25 Gift Card, My All American Long Sleeve T-shirt, My All American Hat and My All American Cinch Sack. Open to US only, 18 and older. 
Prizing provided by Clarius Entertainmen. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Just use the RC entry form below to enter for your chance to win!

Special thanks to Clarius Entertainment for providing this giveaway opportunity for our readers,

Good luck!