Thursday, April 17, 2014

Five Life lessons Learned from Stand Up Paddleboarding

Disclosure: I received travel and accommodations to Daytona Beach to view their family-friendly offerings. All opinions are my own. Be sure to hop over to Examiner.com to read the series of articles highlighting the best family-orientated things to see, do, and eat in Daytona Beach.
I recently was treated to trip to Daytona Beach.  I went without my kids so I could concentrate and come back to tell you all the amazing things I found to experience in the rather quiet town five hours from Atlanta. I stayed a really hip luxury hotel, The Shores Resort and Spa, who served complimentary s'mores each night.(They know the way to my heart!)  I spent time marveling over the art at the Daytona Beach Museum of Arts and Sciences, standing on hallowed ground at the Daytona International Speedway, and climbing the 203 steps to the top of the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse.  It was all very exciting and interesting, but the one thing that stood out the most from my trip was my Stand Up Paddleboarding tour with Three Brothers Boards.  

Stand Up Paddleboarding is a rather new sport that is a spin-off of surfing, except you stay standing on your board and use a paddle, like an oar, for balance and to propel yourself through the water.  It was  a fun yet intense workout, and an almost spiritual experience.  Learning to trust myself in the middle of the Inter-coastal waterway, with sharks literally not far away, left me filled with pride and awe. Who knew I would learn life lessons from a Stand Up Paddleboarding experience in Daytona Beach? But I did.

Five Life Lessons Learned from Stand Up Paddleboarding

  1. Plant your feet firmly.  The key to keeping your balance on the paddleboard is to stand assertively with your feet shoulder width apart, head up, shoulders back, and weight balanced.  This is how you should stand on solid ground, too. Never be afraid to stand tall, eyes focused on your goal.
  2. Don't stop rowing.  If you stop rowing, the current will carry you away from your goal, and it will also be easier to lose your balance.  So keep rowing! Keep making strides in the direction you want to go and you will get there...eventually.
  3. If you fall, get back up.  While many people are able to go Stand Up Paddleboarding without getting wet, that's not always the case.  Sometimes you will have a headwind, a stray current, or just lose your balance and you may fall. But that's OK.  Get back to your board and start again. Just like in life, the lesson doesn't end just because you fall down.
  4. Take command of your vessel.  Having confidence to maneuver the paddleboard, and stay balanced and afloat, is the most important skill to learn.  The current doesn't decide where you go, you do! The water doesn't say if you can stay steady or not, you do!  Whatever your vessel is in life...your job, your family, your hobbies...take command of it to make sure it gets you where you want to go.
  5. Remember to breathe. The one thing we all need to do every minute of our lives is often the one thing that we forget about when times get tough.  When you feel unbalanced...breathe.  When you are anxious about something...breathe.  When your legs are wobbly and your arms are tired and you don't think you can go another stroke...just breathe.  It will center you, steady you, and calm you.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

$50 giveaway to Kohl's + Check out the new Magic at Play Disney line

Disclosure: I received a gift card to shop the Magic at Play line at Kohl's and also to give one to a lucky reader.  All opinions are my own.
Whenever I bring the kids to a Disney theme park I like to dress them alike.  It's cute, yes, but it's also functional.  I can pick them out in the a crowd quickly and if I lose track of one (not that I ever do that of course) I don't have to think hard to remember what that kid was wearing.  So when Kohl's asked me to check out their new Disney line to gear up for the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration at Disneyland this week, I jumped at the chance.

I hit Kohl's with my giftcard and since the line was 30% off this week AND I had a $10 off $30+ purchase coupon, I got some great deals.  The line is super cute with a Mickey Mouse-focus for the boys and Minnie for the girls.  Most items are in the red, white and blue theme (perfect for Memorial Day and 4th of July) but there was a few pink items for girls thrown in.  These are high-quality items too and I know they will last, so that equals great value to me. I liked that the line didn't stop at 4T and went all the way up to XXL or 7X.  I actually bought shirts for all 4 kids!  

Want to check out this line for yourself?  Or buy anything else at Kohl's?  Enter the giveaway below to win $50 to spend however you want!


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Monday, April 7, 2014

Meet The Happy's #TheHappys #sponsored

Disclosure: I received free products in order to host the Cepia, LLC sponsored MommyParty with The Happys. The opinions expressed here are my own.
The Happys

My friends at MomSelect have introduced my kids and I to a variety of cool products and services and have helped me pass items on to readers and friends.  So, when they told me about the new toy, The Happys, I didn't know what to expect but figured it would be good.  And I was right!  The Happys are a new line of interactive puppies and kitten plush "pets". They play, make over 25 silly sounds, and they can even be trained.  Seriously.  They can play keep away or chase a special ball.  For someone like me who just can't handle a pet, The Happys are the next best thing!

I brought The Happys party kit I was sent to a playdate I was hosting for the Metro Atlanta Chapter of Mocha Moms Inc.  It was the 2nd day of Spring Break and we were meeting at a local outdoor shopping center that has a central park.  There were 11 kids "officially" at our playdate but The Happys created quite a stir and more kids kept coming over to run after The Happys.  They worked well outside (but better in a shaded area).  It was fun to see the kids run around after them as if they were real.  At my playdate, there were kids ranging in age from 1-8 years old and ALL of them played with The Happys. Not many toys can do that.

The Happys are available nationwide at Toys R' Us and other retail stores. Cost: $19.95.  Each pet requires 2 AAA batteries.  I was supplied with batteries from Rayovac which have lasted so much longer than the cheap ones I usually buy.  As a treat, MomsSelect also sent me some bags of Werther's Original Caramel Popcorn to share.  It was so good though that I really didn't want to share.  Really.

A beautiful Spring play date was had thanks to The Happys.  I know there are a lot of new toys out there on the market but I recommend checking out The Happys.  It's a toy your kid will actually play with. Yay!




Sunday, April 6, 2014

A behind-the-scenes look at the @GeorgiaAquarium

Disclosure: My family and I were given a complimentary behind-the-scenes tour and admission to the Georgia Aquarium in order to tell readers about our experience.  All opinions are my own.

My family and I love the Georgia Aquarium.  It is an educational experience as well as am interactive and entertaining one as well. My kids are always amazed at the Oceans Voyager wall of fish.  They loved the new Deepo's Chatroom and even asked the 3-D "fish" a question.  And of course they can't leave the Aquarium without seeing the AT&T Dolphin Tales show.  They now even love touching the fish in the hands-on experience.  But before last week they had never seen the behind-the-scenes side of the Georgia Aquarium.  And now we all have a new respect, and perspective, on this fun Atlanta attraction. 


We enjoyed the view at the top of the world's largest exhibit (Ocean Voyager, presented by Home Depot), and observed the world's largest fish, the whale shark, as it swims literately just a few feet away. We learned firsthand what it takes to support and run the largest exhibit in the world while viewing the incredible Ocean Voyager filtration system. And we even got to see the veterinary clinic and commissary where the Georgia Aquarium workers care for their animals and prepare their food. And the cute little African penguins in the Correll Center Animal Care Suite were a hit with my crew. 

 I was surprised at how my kids (aged 7, 5, 4 and almost 2) were paying rapt attention to the tour guide. They even asked some very thoughtful questions! My kids are a little on the young side for a typical behind-the-scenes tour though so be sure to ask about age requirements for the different tours if you are interested in taking your family.  And in case you were wondering, I took all 4 kids on this tour by myself because my husband was out of town.  It is possible to bring a gaggle of kids to the Aquarium!  Here are some tips to keep in mind if you do want to book a behind-the-scenes tour at the Georgia Aquarium.

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: Behind-the-Scenes Tours at the Georgia Aquarium
  • Behind-the-scenes tours start at $15/person (over the regular price of admission)
  • The tour guide will arrive 10 minutes before the tour start time. All tours leave on time. Guests arriving up to 10 minutes late will be escorted to join the rest of the tour already in progress. No refunds will be issued for missing part or all of a tour.
  • All tours can be booked by individuals or by a group.
  • No high heels allowed on the tour.
  • Tours will not exceed 15 people.
  • Payment in full required at the time of booking. Booking can be made by calling the Georgia Aquarium call center at 404-581-4444 or at the ticket window. Find information here.
  • There are no refunds for no-shows.
  • Date changes must be made at least 24 hours before the scheduled time of the tour.
  • All tours are subject to change due to medical procedures or other unforeseen circumstances. 
  • No food or drink is allowed on the tour.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Win a Caillou Talking Doll! #cailoudoll

Do you have a child who can't get enough of the PBS show, Caillou? You know who I'm talking about.  It's the theme song that will stay in your head all day. "I'm just a kid who's four but each day I grow some more. I'm Caillou...". Now your child can get their fill of Caillou wihout turning on the TV.  The Caillou Talking Doll was just released in stores April 1.  

Caillou is an award-winning educational television programming for kids.  It has consistently ranked in the top 10 TV series for preschoolers since it debuted in 2000.  The Caillou Talking Doll lets children continue the fun they have with the TV with a whole new level of interaction.  The doll offers ten educational interactions mean to spark children's creativity, including two easy French words to learn and say.  (I hope they are "oui maman".) The Caillou Talking Doll will have a fresh new look for this world renowned character, with bright new school gear including a removable backpack and hat. Caillou apparel, books, home video and other merchandise are also sold online and in mass and specialty retail stores nationwide

The Caillou Talking Doll will retail for $34.95 but you don't have to wait to get one.  Just enter the giveaway below for a chance to win a brand new Cailou Talking Doll for yourself!



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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Seeing Family-Friendly Daytona Beach...without my family

Disclosure:  I am receiving complimentary travel, accommodations and activities in order to learn more about Daytona Beach.  All opinions are always my own.

Later on today I will board a plane by myself.  I will not have to gate check a stroller or carry a mega-sized bag filled with every kind of snack and game you can imagine.  I will be able to sit in the emergency row.  I will read and use my own iPad.  And when I land in Daytona Beach, I will grab a cab by myself and not worry about car seats.  I will sleep in the middle of the four-poster feather bed at the Shores Resort and Spa and wake up by myself.  I am heading down to Daytona Beach Florida to see all their family-friendly offerings...but I'm doing it without my family.

I really shouldn't be as excited as I am.  I know I will miss my husband and kids but this mama needs a break.  Plus, we all will be traveling to Disneyland in California the following week so I'll get my "travel with kids" time in then.  I'm excited to see the Daytona International Speedway, the Daytona Beach and Boardwalk and to check out the beaches that actually allow cars to drive on them.  So retro cool!  I'm intrigued to see why Daytona Beach was chosen as a Best Florida Attraction in the Readers' Choice Awards sponsored by USA TODAY. And if a margarita was thrust in front of me as I took in the sea breezes...then so be it.  

Follow along with my adventures with the hashtag #springtodaytonabeach on Twitter or on my Facebook page.  And you can always get real-time Daytona Beach updates, on Facebook.com/DaytonaBeach or Twitter.com/DaytonaBeachFun.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Save money with Shop Your Way Max #ad

This is a sponsored post.  I'm a Shop Your Way blogger.  All opinions are my own.

There are millions of reasons I am loving "Max".

Max opens doors and carries my bags. He brings gifts (delivered in two-days or less!). He makes me feel beautiful and never looks past me to catch the last minute in a Laker game. Yes, "Max" is the real deal. And at just $39/year, he’s a steal. (He's sort of like that other guy who is just past his PRIME.)

Meet Shop Your Way MAX which offers free two-day shipping on Sears and Kmart merchandise for just $39/year. Shop Your Way MAX  is available to members of Shop Your Way, a free online social shopping program that offers perks and points whenever you shop at Sears or Kmart. jWant in on the deals?  Click here to join Shop Your Way now and start saving.

At just $39/year, Shop Your Way MAX makes sense!  Members get free two-day shipping on tons of items, from tools and clothing to footwear and more. Yes, there are millions of reasons to love Max, but 39 will do. (insert *wink*)

It’s time to become a member of Shop Your Way MAX,  don't you think? Want even more incentive to sign up?  it’s free for 90 days! Sign up and activate free two-day shipping for just $39/year (after your 90 day free period). 

A couple weeks ago, I looked in my Shop Your Way account and saw I had been awarded $10 in bonus points.  I bought a pair of yoga pants (total stay-at-home mom stereotype...I know) for $8 on sale.  I had 2-day free shipping from Shop Your Way Max so I got a pair of yoga pants for FREE!  What kind of deals will you get?