Why Choose An All Inclusive?

One day, not so long ago, I swore I would never travel to an all inclusive. Those places were for the boring. I was ready to forge my own path, even if sometimes that path led me to a motel on the side of the road in Venice that was so loud that I didn’t sleep a wink.

So why did I just book Social Media on the Sand as my Fall conference?
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Integrating Technology Into Family Life With the Intel AIO

#spon: I am in a partnership with Intel. Through this partnership I gain access to content, product, or other forms of value.

With the girls starting school this week, we are resetting routines and thinking about how we can have a successful school year. We’ve made the biggest change by switching schools but we also want to make changes at home.

One of these is changing the way we all use tech. There have been too many moments this summer where we have all been in different rooms on different devices. That’s why out kitchen counter now looks like this…

IntelAIO

I can see you thinking, really another screen? But stay with me here.
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Giving Back During Back to School

During back to school, it’s easy to give back. Thank you to Champions for Kids and The Motherhood for involving me in this awesome program!

Yesterday I finally conquered my sudden bout of homebodiness and took the girls to shop for school supplies and then to their back to school night. This translates to I went to the grocery store with the texted list from a friend of what she had bought her child and threw two of everything into a cart while the terror twins careened around the store looking for things to put on their never ending wish list. They have yet to cotton on to the fact that they never get anything from their wish list and yet it stops them from begging for things in the stores. So obviously I consider this one of my biggest parenting wins.

After successfully gathering all needed school supplies, I took the girls up to back to school night. Without telling anyone we totally switched their school. Well we told them obviously, but for everyone else it was a pleasant (I hope) surprise when we showed up at our neighborhood school. I felt like it was a huge success… for me. Everyone hugged me and none of the teachers knew anything about the girls so they actually welcomed in into the classrooms with happy, unknowing smiles.

The girls, on the other hand, were less impressed. They literally RAN AND KID UNDER A TABLE when a kid they knew said hi to them. When I asked why they said they KNEW HIM. The horror. Evidently they thought that by new school we meant we had populated our tiny city with people they had never seen. Which would be some amazing parenting.

So my feelings about the new school year are a mite bit mixed. In a throwback to the childhood I never had (I went to small Catholic schools and knew everyone, even in college, in Austin), I have been having nervous stomachaches all week. But even with the stomachache and hiding under tables, I consider us very lucky.

You know that hashtag #YourPrivilegeIsShowing? I kind of want to print it out and hand it out while back to school shopping. Because so many kids have to worry about things like going to school hungry. This hit home for me when my girls started public preschool at the ripe age of three. AS I chatted with the office one day about my precious darlings and their special snowflake needs, I noticed a pile of backpacks. I found out they were filled with food for kids who might not eat over the weekend.

One of the organizations that seeks to fill the needs of kids like those is Champions for Kids. Champions for Kids makes it simple to give children in local communities the resources they need to thrive. We can’t all make big gestures but helping others does not have to come in large doses. Champions for Kids seeks to help by fostering a ‘habit of giving’ among youth and parents in America.

SIMPLE Giving

Did you know that 16 million kids live in poverty? For kids in need, finding nutritious snacks can be a challenge. Children who eat healthy foods are better equipped to succeed academically. SIMPLE Giving is a Champions for Kids program that makes it simple for you to help kids in your community. To ensure children have access to nutritious snacks, Champions for Kids is teaming up with Dole, Emerald, Kellogg Company and Walmart for a SIMPLE Giving program.

You can participate by simply purchasing and donating snack food items at your local participating Walmart from August 1-18. If your Walmart store is participating, simply purchase breakfast foods and place them in the purple donation bins at the front of the store after checkout. To see a list of participating stores, click here.

All of the donations go to children in the school district where the Walmart store is located! the girls and I will doing this as part of our back to school day Monday. I hope you will join us this weekend by buying a few snacks yourself and donating.

Five Standout Brands From BlogHer14

Here are a few of my favorite stand outs from the BlogHer expo floor, with a special emphasis on Samsung who partnered with MomSelect in sponsoring this post.

1. Samsung: I love that they made the commitment to BlogHer to bring a major expo floor exhibit that related to the home in a way that respected how women are busy and. Their #MasterTheHome (check out the twitter stream for photos) showed off their Chef Collection time savings appliances which would make any home owner drool. As you can tell from my video, I was coveting the baking items they showed off hard core. But I also loved the washing machine and dryer combination.

Samsung Master your Home

WF9100 / DV9100 ONYX

It’s the worlds largest washer, which means you can wash 4 laundry baskets in a single load. Plus their Steam Wash cycle has been engineered to improve the cleaning quality of laundry. Unlike other washers which release steam from above, Samsung releases steam from the bottom of the laundry tub, saturating every item in the load which means a deeper clean with less pretreatment and using cold water!

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Among the Narcissists and Writers : BlogHer14 Recap

This BlogHer14 recap is sponsored by Mrs. Band and my own personal BlogHer sponsor second year running, Jen Lee Reeves.

So another BlogHer conference happened. And even though I said last year was my last one, I was there. Bloggers are an odd species. They are a combination of big loud flamboyant people and sensitive quiet introverts… to stereotype, narcissists and writers. Both have their awesome and not so awesome qualities and I love them both. But I don’t think I embody enough qualities of either to feel secure at BlogHer.

ABM_1408543429

Being in a large crowd of both is an experience that will shake you up, in good ways and bad. This year the experience of being around so many creative people, combined with an underlying theme of self acceptance left me pondering what blogging really means to me.


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I Gave My Seven Year Old an iPhone

While I was at BlogHer last week, as part of the US Cellular blogger brigade, I attended a lunch focused on kids and smart phones. Some interesting facts like the following were shared:

Though the above and some of the other thoughts shared gave me a lot of food for thought, the talk also reconfirmed my decision to give the #terrortwins a mobile phone. As the moderators said, it really is a case of responsibiloity and need, not age. And with two girls with such different needs, it makes sense for our family for them to have a way to contact us when they can not be with us and a phone to use at home. I feel better knowing we have a phone on the U.S. Cellular’s 4G LTE network to use in the case of emergency (it works GREAT in our city!) at home and that will share us where they are when they have it (we installed the Life360 app on it to help us keep track of their goings and to find them easily should we get separated.)

And yes, my seven year old has a nicer phone than I do.
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Wednesday Drinks : EPPA Sangria

Happy Wednesday! This week I am drinking EPPA Sangria while unpacking for BlogHer14 and packing for our EpicRoadTrip2014. EPPA sangria is the perfect light drink for summer evenings. When you have to spend a beautiful night inside in the laundry room, it’s nice to have a little bit of sunshine in your hand.

EPPA Sangria

I got to experience the above at the Sangria and Yoga Pants Sundown Soiree that opened the BlogHer Conference in San Jose. What better way to ease yourself into a frenzy of learning and networking than drinking spritzers and wearing comfy clothes. All the details about it and more about EPPA below…
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Miracle Marathon For My Everyday Miracles

Last night, late in the evening I arrived back home and fell into bed with my head spinning. Visions of blog posts dancing in my head, I finally drifted into a fitful sleep. My mind was kind of wrecked by BlogHer. There is something both sustaining and draining about a conference of bloggers. But then I woke up to this….

The Miracle Network Selfies

These are my visions; they are my reason for kind of all of being.
And they are part of the reason I am caught up in this crazy world of blogging.

My voice is small but it is a voice that can advocate, that can tell people how much has been done in the world and how much there is still to be done. That is why I’m thrilled to share that I’m serving as a lead blogger for this fall’s Miracle Marathon.
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Old Before My Time

Maybe it’s because I live in the Midwest but lately I have started feeling old before my time. I am still over a year away from forty, but in Missouri I am way over the hill. These chicks were having babies at twenty and while I am stumbling from mommyhood to reentering careerhood, they are confidently navigating barre classes and the corporate ladder in tasteful White House Black Market outfits.

But what really confirmed for me that i am old was the offer to do this sponsored post.
For Poise Microliners.

It has come to that. I am firmly in the target age for light bladder leakage protection.
And of course, I blame my kids.

After carrying twelve plus pounds of babies to 49 weeks, everything is a little weak. So yeah, laughing a little too hard and squatting a little too hard at those all too infrequent gym visits is like playing a game of Russian roulette.

I don’t want to be dealing with diapers when my kids are just out of them. Which is why Poise microliners are ideal. They are barely noticeable and have SAM (Super Absorbent Material) for those certain moments. i’m old, I need them, and I am learning to be okay with that.

My Extraordinary Kid

Lazy summer, where are you? It’s been a long week with both the girls being ill. Desmonda Drama even had to miss the entire week of summer school because of two different infections. And then on top of that, she had a morning of testing that we couldn’t cancel. Of course, I am in tatters but she is still tearing around the house with a smile on her face.

IMAG3845-MIX

That kid. She is something else.
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