Make Your Bathroom Nicer in a Flash: My Favorite Tips

The bathroom is one of the most important rooms in the home. This is because it can add value or take it away, depending on the condition of it. Not to mention the whole family uses it every day! It’s nice to have a nice bathroom, for you and your family and your guests. Here are my favorite tips to making your bathroom nicer in a flash!

Add Candles and Incense

Some bathrooms have a bathroom-y smell. You know the smell. Add candles and incense and you can eradicate this smell, making your bathroom smell as fresh as a daisy. Not only will it help the smell, they can make brilliant accessories too. They’ll give your bathroom a much more luxurious look!

Give it a Deep Clean

This is a really simple tip but it’ll make all the difference. Give your bathroom a deep clean and you’ll notice how much better it looks straight away. There are lots of tips online that can help you to make it look brand spanking new again. Kim and Aggie have plenty of tips that you should find simple to use!

Replace Some Fittings and Fixtures

Take a look at your fittings and fixtures and see if any of them would benefit from being replaced. It won’t be hard to replace some of them. New cabinets might be just what you need to brighten the place up. Click here to get an idea of what you can get. Taps and light fittings are fairly simple and will make a difference in an instant. You may also want to re-assess your bathroom accessories and see if you should replace or get rid of them.

Paint

Why not pick a fun new color for your bathroom and paint one wall? It won’t take very long to do, and you can make your bathroom look completely different this way! Just make sure you pick paint that can withstand a lot of moisture and be easily wiped down.

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Keep an Eye on Countertop Toiletries

Countertop toiletries can mess the place up and make everything look haphazard. Make sure the toiletries you keep out are left there on purpose because they look good. Anything else should be hidden away in cabinets and storage!

Use Wall Decals

Wall decals are a really quick and simple way to give your bathroom some personality. You can get phrases and pictures in just about any color and style you want. I love these in my bathroom!

Add a Flower

Adding a simple flower to your bathroom decor can give it a spa feel and finish it off. I like the idea of having a white orchid in a thin vase. Fake flowers are best, as they won’t be affected by the moisture of the room!

I hope you like these tips and that they help you to create a much nicer bathroom for your family. Leave any tips of your own below, I’d love to hear them. Thanks for visiting - come back soon!

Value Diapers from Family Dollar

When you've got several kids, you look for ways to save money on every avenue.  With school supplies, new clothes, and other essentials, buying a pack of diapers every week adds up quick. That's why I am thrilled to tell you about Family Dollar’s Kidgets diapers, who is sponsoring this post.

We shop at Family Dollar a lot, to be able to snag some of their great deals on every day necessities. It makes sense that we would buy diapers there too.


Tracking Pixel My baby girl is currently potty training.  I guess I shouldn't really call her a baby anymore; She's two now and doing so good with learning how to use the "big girl toilet" as she calls it.  We're still putting her in diapers at night though, because she's not waking up in the middle of the night to make it to the bathroom.  At this point, I'm glad to have found a less expensive option for diapers.

The best part?  They hold up over night.  Seriously, we've tried some diapers that just leak through as soon as she wets them - which makes for a wet bed and a mad little toddler at 3am.  The Kidgets diapers are absorbent enough to keep her little bottom dry throughout the night.


They have stretchable sides, and fit my very active toddler well. The cloth-like outer cover is soft and gentle on your her skin and doesn't leave red marks like some diapers do.  They're also available at a great value: Budget-friendly, Kidgets’ diapers are offered at a great value – allowing you to afford more precious moments with your baby. Even better, 100% satisfaction guaranteed or your money back!

To find your nearest Family Dollar, you can use their store locator.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Family Dollar.

Single Income Family: Stretching Your Budget with 5 Easy Tips

There are a lot of families that are living with just one single income. It is definitely a hard way to live, but everything is possible if the whole family is working hard and does their best to save money. If you still struggle to find ways how to stretch your budget and avoid spending money where you can save it, I'm happy to share my top 5 best tips. It will definitely let you relax a little bit more and save money easily.


Shop for Value


It might sound weird and hard, but if you decide to keep yourself in a budget and stretch it, you should reconsider your shopping habits. The first thing you should think about is to shop for value, rather than quantity. It is much logical to buy stuff that will last longer and won’t need to be replaced soon than shop constantly for the same things over and over again. On the other hand, you should also shop for value and try to get as much as possible for a single dollar you spend. For instance, join a warehouse or shopping club and buy in bulk. Purchase clothing, furniture, and household goods only when they are on sale. Consider buying used cars and appliances and you will see – your budget will be stretched and bigger right away.

Shop with Coupons


Another way how to shop much cheaper and without much of additional effort, is to look for special online coupons. Couponing is great because you don’t need to wait for sales, clearances, etc. and can receive discounts no matter when and where. Also, along with coupons you can save money on absolutely everything: from renting a car, to shopping for food. So definitely consider couponing as a way to stretch your family budget more.

Eat At Home


If you used to go eating at some fancy restaurant, definitely choose not to do that if you want to save money. Eating at a restaurant is great for some special occasions. But if you struggle with money on a daily basis, it is much logical to stay at home and cook your meals by yourself. But let’s not be so strict. You can definitely pamper your family by eating out. Just order meals without liquor and desserts. That you can easily eat at home. The bill afterward will be smaller for sure. I can guarantee.

Put Cash Aside


Another great way to stretch your family’s budget is to have a place (a box or a jar) where you can put cash aside. This is not only a nice way to save money for some bigger purchases, but it can also be a nice game too. Think of new ways how to make the whole family put money in that jar. Like penalty dollar for swearing or not doing chores. Everything works if you think of creative, fun, but frugal ways how to increase your savings. So include your whole family and put cash aside in a fun way.

Shop with a Budget


Finally, if you want to stretch your budget, you need to make a primary budget on things you want to purchase. And strictly keep on it! It is very important to never spend more than planned. Otherwise, the whole stretching budget thing will be useless. So write down your budget, with specific categories of spending, and stick to it. After some time of using it, you won’t even notice that you are letting yourself spend only some amount of money.

Check Out What Goes Into My Momma Kitchen

As a Momma, I like to think it is my duty to provide healthy, nourishing meals to my children. Don’t get me wrong. I know it is incredibly hard to do when you are busy, and your grocery budget is tight. For me, it’s about spending that time creating something that I know is good for them. There are times when I have to cheat, sure. And there are times when I am thankful for batch cooking!

Because I have so many great recipes to hand, some people ask me how I equip my kitchen. Before I go into what gizmos and gadgets I love, I think it’s fair to say that you can create fantastic meals without them too. I may have my preferences, and I’m sure you do too. That’s not to say you can’t create something incredible with just the bare minimum of equipment.

I love having a kitchen that has everything to hand. Lots of clear worktop space is important to me when I’m preparing a meal or baking something. I like to have a pot of cooking utensils to hand too. A spatula, ladle and slotted spoon are essential for me. I also like to have a masher and a whisk to hand too.


Of course, there are electric whisks. I like those little handheld electrical kitchen tools. They have interchangeable ends. You can have a mini blender, a slicer or a whisk on the end. They are handy, but I think a battery operated one would make more sense. The cable can get in the way sometimes.

When it comes to baking, I’m often asked whether I think gas ovens are better than electric ovens. I think the make and model of the oven are more important than how the heat is generated. If you have an electric fan oven, I think you can usually get a more even temperature throughout. Keep this in mind if you are following recipes from really old books, though.

In addition to my little handheld ‘blitzer’, I love big blenders. They can make light work of anything in any way you need them to. This is great for making sauces and soups. It’s also rather handy for smoothies and cocktails! Some models have a great slicer and chopper tools. They can be used to create more uniform looking vegetables and fruit when you’re in a hurry.

High on my wishlist for a great kitchen would be space for guests to sit and enjoy a drink while I prepare them a meal. Like most people, I hate people seeing the mess I’m making so the layout of the kitchen is really important. I like to be sociable, so one of those bars could be quite handy, or a large kitchen diner might work too.


The kitchen is one of my favorite rooms. I know how I like to work in the kitchen, so I try to set my space up in the most practical way to suit me. Yes, I do like my gizmos and gadgets, because I'm a busy Momma. But I think it’s important not to rely on them all the time. That way the kids can join in. Enjoy something tasty from your kitchen today.

The 6 Most Famous Attractions in Long Beach

Located on the Pacific Ocean to the West of Los Angeles, Long Beach is one of the most underrated places to visit in the United States. It has a perfect climate, plenty of beaches, and is a gateway to Hollywood and the offshore Channel Islands.

source: Wikipedia
Most people that plan to visit discover that finding Long Beach hotels online is fairly straightforward when you use a site like Hipmunk.com that focuses on providing information on all the hotels in every price range.

When you do visit, you will find a wide variety of things to do and see. Here are the 6 most famous attractions in Long Beach:

The Queen Mary: Located on the harbor with a perfect nighttime view of downtown Long Beach, the Queen Mary is a cruise ship that used to epitomize elegance while it sailed for the Cunard Line. Pressed into service to move US troops to Europe during the last World War, it took on many dangerous missions before it returned to civilian use. The city took a role in acquiring the ship when it was retired, making it a floating museum, hotel, and restaurant that is like a fascinating trip to the past.

Downtown Long Beach: As an entertainment area, downtown Long Beach offers some of the most popular nightclubs in the Los Angeles area. It also provides a large mix of restaurants that range from Spanish to Californian Bistro. One of the nice things for visitors is that the restaurants and clubs are arranged to fit any size of budget. The downtown area is also very safe to walk around in at night.

Little Phnom Penh: Cambodia is an up-and-coming country in Asia. Long Beach is home to one of the largest populations of Cambodians not actually in Cambodia. To celebrate their culture, their community business people got together and created a district known as Little Phnom Penh. Full of shops and restaurants offering traditional Cambodian fare, it is well worth a visit.

Naples: You don't often get a chance to take a gondola ride outside of Italy. Yet the Naples area in Long Beach offers gondola rides along the canals that criss-cross the area. Built in the 20th century by developers, the area also offers restaurants and shops that cater to people who are interested in European style.

The Long Beach Grand Prix: Every April, the city gets ready for its main event, an Indy car race that brings thousands of fans in to see the action close up. One of three races held during the same weekend, the Grand Prix has a storied history that goes back decades to a time when it was a Formula series race. If you are going to visit Long Beach for the race, it is a good idea to book your hotel room early so that you have a larger range of rooms available. The Hyatt The Pike Long Beach is one of the more popular hotels during this event.

The Aquarium of the Pacific: Long Beach has long been associated with the ocean that laps at its shores. However, it was only in the past few decades that developers became serious about building a world-class aquarium. When it wss finally completed, the Aquarium of the Pacific exceeded most people's expectations. Not only does it have a very large collection of sea life on display, it also hosts events and festivals that are open to the public, managing to weave the lives of different interest groups into the theme of each celebration.

*Blogger Opp!* JuveRest Sleep Wrinkle Pillow

This is a Blogger Opp for a great giveaway of

JuveRest Sleep Wrinkle Pillow ($159.99) 

Hosted By: 

Amy & Aron's Real Life Reviews




Free and Paid Options 
Co-Hosts Wanted and Needed

Click Here: Announcement Post

or below

This is a giveaway for JuveRest Sleep Wrinkle Pillow

Each blogger will receive 2 free links for posting and sharing (Facebook & Twitter). 

Open to US
Dates 8/26
9/9

Co-Hosts & Paid links will be listed on the main form. 

If you would like to co-host this event it will be $5 for 5 extra links (plus your 2 free links = 7 total) and a back link to your blog. (Daily comments email sign-ups secret word pages & all other premium links are included in those 5 co-host links so get crafty!)
Premium links for co-hosts to add on are $1, limit 5 extra

Non-Co-Hosts

Secret word pages are $3
Adding social links or Daily Comments, retweets etc $2 each, limit 5
email sign ups $2


If Co-Hosting or purchasing links- send to [email protected] as a gift, JuveRest in the notes

Posting will be required within 24 hours of launch.

Please share 3-4 times a week. The success of the giveaways depends on how much they are seen.

I hope to see you there.

Adorable OshKosh B'Gosh Looks for Back to School

I participated in a Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for OshKosh B’Gosh. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.


I can't really believe it.  My Sammy-man is starting preschool in less than two weeks. I mean, he's not a little guy anymore; he's really growing up!  So of course, after I shed a few mommy tears at the prospect of him not being a toddler anymore, it was time to go get his school supplies.

What back to school shopping trip is complete without picking up some adorable duds to show off in?  Admittedly, this part was probably more fun for me than for him, but he was excited about finding new shirts to show off to his friends.



We headed to the nearest OshKosh store to shop for back-to-school clothes. I'm pretty sure Sammy was getting nervous at the prospect of starting "big boy school" but armed with his B'Gosh Blue Jeans and handsome graphic tees, now he's confident that he'll make friends.  I know that with the durable construction and quality material, he wont wear through his clothes playing on the playground.


Little sister Kaya couldn't be left out when it came to shopping.  She's my little fashionista and fell in love with the cute OshKosh b'Gosh dresses.  I fell in love with the Tunics and Leggings!  Since she's still not 100% with the potty yet, we opted not to get any overalls this time - but the World's Best Overalls are usually my first go-to for her.

OshKosh has styles for every kids' personality - whether they're active and sporty or trendy and stylish.  My kids all have their own styles, so shopping at OshKosh is a must!


My niece even got a dress for back to school, and she loves it!  The fully lined eyelet lace skirt adds just the right amount of detail to make it gorgeous and unique, just like her!


OshKosh B’gosh wants all kids to have what they need for school, from blue jeans to books! That’s the inspiration behind the nation launch of the “B’gosh Jeanius Campign”.  That's why they're giving customers the opportunity to donate a new pair of jeans or make a cash donation to a students in need this school year.

All denim donated from July 28 through September 16, 2015, will be delivered to local children in need through K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers, while cash donations will be dispersed to local DonorsChoose.org.

The Carters Charitable foundation will match all cash donations up to $50,000 and all denim donations with a new item of clothing.


Give kids a leg up! Donate a new pair of blue jeans or make a cash donation at the register.
For more information visit: www.oshkosh.com/bgoshjeanius

Oh, I almost forgot!  OshKosh is hooking you guys up with an awesome coupon to help in your back to school shopping.  Save even more on their great prices!  You can download the coupon here to use in store.  There's even a code if you're shopping online!


Bonus Box Tops™ at Walmart®!

This is a sponsored post on behalf of General Mills®.  All opinions expressed are my own.

With one kid going into fourth grade, and another just starting preschool, I want them to have the best education available.  Since they go to public school, the funds can get stretched thin from time to time between making sure that all of the programs have the money that they need.  As a parent, I do all I can to help out.  That means participating in all of the PTA drives, the fundraisers, and probably the easiest - Box Tops for Education™.

Last year, our school met it's goal of $1000.  That meant that they had an extra $1000 for whatever they needed.

With over 80,000 schools participating, Box Tops for Education is one of America's largest school earnings loyalty programs.  Earning for your school is simple!  When you're grocery shopping, look for the Box Tops logo:


I'd wager that you have a few of the participating products on your grocery list.  You probably already have some of these at home too!  Just clip the coupon off the box, save them up, and send them into the school!  Did you know that the school earns 10¢ for every box top brought in? They add up quick, too.


Here's some math:  If every child brings in 50 Box Tops, that's $5.00 each.  Let's say for example's sake, that in your school, there's about 400 total students.  That means $5.00x400, or $2000 for playground equipment, new technology, classroom supplies, or field trips!  Box Tops for Education has contributed over $525 million to participating schools since the launch of the program in 1996.

For a limited time, General Mills® is offering Bonus Box Tops; you can get 5 Box Tops on participating items only at Walmart®.


That means that for every one of the participating products you buy at Walmart, you're earning 50¢ for the school of your choice.

Learn more about Box Tops at Walmart


This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of General Mills®. The opinions and text are all mine.

#BackToBlogging Giveaway

Alright guys, I am super excited about this giveaway.  Blue Sky planners agreed to give away 3 (that's right, 3!) of their fabulous Day Designer Planners.  It got me thinking, why not do a giveaway for bloggers?

I've met so many of you awesome bloggers (virtually and in person) and I would love to make someone's day with a Back to Blogging Giveaway.  After all, the kids are about to start school again, so now's the time we start to feel the blog crunch - the pressure to write more, create more, and bring in more readers.

Even if you don't have a blog (yet) this giveaway would be great to win.  I'm offering a full blog design or makeover, with matching social media headers, plus we've got the Blue Sky Planners, AND a coffee prize pack.


Welcome to the Back to Blogging Giveaway, where you can win a prize pack for bloggers, designed to help get you more organized and back into the swing of things.

Hosted by:
Co-Hosted by:

Here's the prize breakdown:

From Blue Sky:

 
Custom Blog Design from Clueless Momma Designs:
Custom Header
Coordinating Background
Custom "About Me" Widget
Up to 5 Sidebar Labels
Matching Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ headers

Coffee Prize Pack:

To win, just enter on the form below!  All entries are optional, but the more entries you complete, the higher your chance of winning!  
Back to Blogging Giveaway

Disclaimer:  This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media platforms.  Momma Without a Clue and Amy & Aron's Real Life Reviews received the aforementioned products in exchange for their honest reviews, but no additional compensation was received.  This blog is not responsible for prize fulfillment.  If you have any questions, please feel free to email [email protected]

6 Tips for Picking Hotels in Kuala Lumpur

If you have always wanted to visit Asia, there is no better time than the present. The history and culture of the Far East are certain to fascinate you and the other people you will be traveling with. There are certainly many Asian countries to choose from, so which one will you decide to make your destination? One beautiful location that you might want to give some serious thought to visiting is the capitol city of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. It is not a surprise that Kuala Lumpur has become one of the most popular southeast Asian cities for tourism over the past two decades. The city has an equal amount of activities for children and adults, making it a good destination for families. Here are six tips for picking hotels in Kuala Lumpur.

image source: Wikipedia

1. Consider the price


If you spend some time comparing Kuala Lumpur hotels, you will see that many comparable hotels are priced quite differently, even though they offer basically the same amenities. Therefore, you must do your best to avoid paying more than you need to for a hotel room, especially if there is a similar room available for a much lower price. You can use the Internet to help you learn more about Kuala Lumpur prior to your trip. If you use the Hipmunk website, you will be able to book yourself a room at The Majestic Hotel in Kuala Lumpur.

2. Consider the amenities


Depending on your budget and your personal preferences, there might be certain amenities that you will want your hotel to have. If this is the case, you will need to find the hotels in Kuala Lumpur that offer the amenities you are looking for. Some hotels will charge more for certain amenities than others. Therefore, it would be wise to invest some time into shopping around for the hotel that charges the least for your desired amenities.

3. Consider the location


This is something that many travelers do not take into consideration. In many cases, the location of your hotel will have a direct impact on how much your room costs. Hotels that are located in the center of a city typically cost more than those on the outskirts of town.

4. Are there free meals offered?


Although they are getting harder to find, certain hotels will offer a complimentary breakfast every day of your stay. Needless to stay, this can definitely help you reduce the money you spend on food during your trip. It would be worth your while to search for hotels that provide this freebie to their customers.

5. Discount for advance booking


Hotels will often give customers a discount on their room if they decide to book it in advance. The amount of the discount they give you will depend on the particular hotel, as well as how far in advance you decide to reserve your room. Make some calls and find out which hotels give out the biggest discounts for advance booking.

6. Customer reviews


There are reviews for everything online these days. Take advantage of this before your trip to Kuala Lumpur. Read some customer reviews of the various hotels throughout the city. This will give you some idea of which ones are nice. These reviews will also help you to avoid staying in a hotel with lackluster service.

Peanut Butter Cookies and Memories

My love of baking came along back when I was tiny.  My oldest sister always took care of me; keeping me company when I was feeling left out because my baby brother got all of our mom's attention.  I was probably four or five years old and she would set me up on the stool and talk me through her recipes, step by step.  It was our bonding thing, baking.  Any time I'm in the kitchen, mixing flour and tasting the dough, I always think of how she would tell me stories of how her grandma used to bake with her.

Peanut butter cookies were always our favorite to make, probably because the recipe was the simplest to remember.  There's just something so sweet about the memories behind these cookies, and I love making them for my little ones when I'm feeling sentimental.

This is probably the one cookie recipe that I've never changed up, never played around with the ingredients... it's cookie love, and it should always be made the same.



Best Ever Peanut Butter Cookies

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) of softened butter (or margarine)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 1/2 cups self-rising flour

Instructions

  1. Cream butter and sugars
  2. Add in vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time
  3. Mix in peanut butter
  4. Slowly mix in the flour, 1/2 cup at a time.
  5. Make dough balls about 1 inch in diameter. Roll in sugar and press into a criss-cross pattern with a fork on baking sheet.
  6. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  7. Let cool on baking sheet for a couple of minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Yield: 48


Fricaine Duchess Shoulder Bag Giveaway #FDBGiveaway {2 Winners!}

Amy & Aron's Real life Reviews & Momma Without a Clue have teamed up with Fricaine to bring all of our readers such an awesome giveaway. 

   

Ends 8/26 
Open to US

2 Winners will each receive a Fricaine Duchess Bag valued at $138

This giveaway is going to be amazing! A very special thank you to our awesome co-hosts!


Thank you to all of the bloggers making this giveaway so great! For the giveaway, Please share it with your friends and family.   

We can't ask you to like our pages but if you see something you like, let us know so we can bring you more of it. We love it when you like our pages. 


Fricaine Duchess Bags Giveaway

My Newest Favorite Planners - Day Designer Line from Blue Sky®

I would be completely lost without my planners.  If I don't schedule my day, there's a pretty good chance I wont get anything done at all. It's a problem with being a procrastinator - I tend to put things off until I have to scramble to get them done.  Personality flaw, I guess.  But as long as I write things down and give myself a deadline, I can stay on top of everything and life runs a lot smoother.

That's my I practically jumped up and down when Blue Sky® contacted me about doing a review of their Day Designer line.


If you're anything like me, a planner has to have a full month view for those bigger events, and then a weekly day-by-day break down that lets you plan every hour of your day.

Now, I'm picky when it comes to my planners.  So much so, that I've started making my own just to make sure I have everything I need/want in one handy place.  My requirements?  I need a at-a-glance spread for an entire month, a break down of each day, plenty of space to micro-manage my day, space for a to-do list... Like I said, I'm picky.

The Day Designer planner from Blue Sky though? Oh man, I'm in love with it.  Seriously. This line of chic and sophisticated planners was designed in collaboration with Whitney English, creator of the Day Designer - a lifestyle brand known for it's signature planner, life enhancing content, and singular mission to help women live a "Well Designed Life."  Well, I'm here to tell you - I'm not sure what I would do without my Day Designer now that I have one.

I received three planners, the Day Designer Peyton CYO Weekly/Monthly 5 x 8 Planner, Day Designer Blue Casebound Weekly/Monthly 8 x 10 Planner, and the Day Designer Rugby Stripe Weekly/Monthly 8x10 Planner.


I'm not gonna lie.  This one is actually my favorite of the three.  My aunt used to buy me these leather-bound journals when I was a teenager where I used to keep all my innermost thoughts, the teenage angst that defines all of us at that age.  I still have one or two that hold my poems from when I had emotions and everything was life or death serious.  The casebound planner reminds me of these, with it's fabric bookmark and smooth leather-like cover.  It's become my life planner, really.

The Day Designer Rugby Stripe Weekly/Monthly 8x10 Planner though, now this is a planner you can fully customize to meet every one of your needs.


Because of it's spiral binding, you're able to add pages as you'd like - which means I'll be adding the awesome grocery list printable that Blue Sky has on their site.  They also have some "Create Your Own" Printable Covers, so you can make your planner a one-of-a-kind reflection of yourself; something that you'll be happy to carry with you everywhere.

I actually made a couple printables for you all, so you can create your own cover for when you get one of these awesome planners.  (Because I think you totally should)



The styles are so stylish and modern, and I love bringing my planner everywhere I go.  It almost gives me this feeling that I have something important to do - and with my procrastination downfall, it's good for me to feel as if everything I do is important.  Keeps me motivated, ya know?

Check out their site for more information, and to buy your own!

What is the most important feature to you in a planner?

I received the aforementioned products in exchange for my honest review.  All words and opinions are 100% my own.

How To Be A Respectful Tourist Anywhere In The World

One might think carving your name on the Colosseum or posting graffiti in America’s national parks might be inappropriate vacation activities, but these are real things that real tourists have done—and they’re hardly the end of the list of egregious decisions tourists have made over the years. Indeed, tourists have come a long way since the United Nations declared 1967 the International Year of the Tourist—and not always for the better.


With approximately a billion tourists traversing the globe, many natural, cultural, and historical sites have become threatened by frequent—and at times destructive—visitation. While recent trends suggest today’s tourists are more likely to prioritize environmental sustainability and social responsibility (and that’s good news), the future of tourism lies with the choices we all make as individual travelers. Here’s how to be respectful everywhere you go.

Do some research.

Before traveling anywhere, read up on local customs including expectations for dress, bargaining, tipping, public displays of affection, and offensive gestures. Also develop a sense for the area’s geography, currency, language and dialects, and major cities and towns. Not only will it be easier to navigate a new place, but it’ll demonstrate that you cared enough to invest in learning about the region.

Go local.

Don’t be the person ordering room service or grabbing a Big Mac when there’s a new world of culinary adventures to be explored. Presumably, you traveled to a place for a reason—so get out there and see what it has to offer. Whether savoring Scottish cuisine or eating out in Shanghai, valuing local foods (and arts, crafts, and customs) is a great way to express appreciation for a foreign land. As an added bonus, your money will go directly toward sustaining local people and establishments.

Remember that people are people.

Sure, some people may not look, dress, talk, or act exactly the same as you—but humans are humans everywhere in the world. That means it’s inappropriate to treat anyone like a sightseeing object or fodder for Instagram. Don’t stare at locals, don’t take photos without people’s consent, and try to keep an open mind.

Take the “sustainable tourism pledge.” 

Created by the World Monuments Fund, the pledge asks travelers to commit to responsible tourism through actions such as conserving natural resources, visiting lesser-known attractions, offsetting their carbon footprints, leaving things as they’re found, volunteering, and educating friends and family about responsible tourism.

Learn some of the local language.

Even knowing a few basic words or questions (“Where is the nearest bathroom?” is always handy) can signal that you care enough to make an effort to meet people where they are. When talking in any language, be sure to speak quietly, kindly, and without judgment.

Mind your surroundings.

Don’t peruse a city map in the middle of a crowded sidewalk, don’t block a street vendor loaded up with fruit, and don’t take 15 minutes to place a food order in front of a line of hungry locals on their lunch break. Be mindful of other people and try to stay out of the way of people going about their daily routines.

Keep politics at home.

While our travel habits may say something about our political affiliations, it’s best to be subtle about politics abroad. You may not agree with local customs or religious beliefs, and that’s fine. But remember these things may be very important to people, and it’s worth showing respect for that reason alone. This goes doubly at holy sites—turn cell phones off, speak quietly (or not at all), and aim to be as discreet as possible.

Own that you’re a tourist.

There’s no need to pretend to be a seasoned expat when you’re just passing through. It’s perfectly okay to be a tourist. Acknowledging that you don’t know everything about a place and seeking input from people who live there can open up opportunities for connections and give the inside scoop on what places to visit when. Humility may also save you from being pranked by locals, as in these lies Londoners tell tourists.

Don’t assume that merely possessing a modicum of common sense automatically makes for a respectful tourist (although it certainly helps). Instead, keep these strategies front of mind while planning a trip and adventuring around the world. We all have a part to play in preserving environmental, cultural, and historical heritage for generations to come. Take responsibility for yours.

The Takeaways

Do

     Research your destination before you go
     Support local restaurants, artists, craftspeople, and shops
     Learn some of the local language
     Keep an open mind
     Take the Sustainable Tourism Pledge (and stick to it)

Don’t

     Bring politics abroad
     Treat locals like sightseeing objects
     Pretend to be an expert on a place that’s new to you
     Interfere with locals’ comings and goings
     Leave behind trash, graffiti, or other evidence of your stay

This post was posted by Fiona Moriarty on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on July 26, 2015

What Do You Care About When It Comes to Your Kids? #ConcealOrReveal

When it comes to my kids,  I care about whether they're getting enough to eat, if they're getting the right nutrients, and I worry about what's in their foods.  I might not be able to keep the littlest one from trying to eat food she's dropped on the floor, but I can fight to know what ingredients are in her foods.

Nutrition labels tell us how much sugar or sodium is in a product; whether there's nuts, soy, or dairy; how many grams of saturated fat; etc.  So why the stink about hiding whether or not ingredients have been genetically modified?

Now, I'm not here to say whether or not GMO products are healthy or harmful.  I'm fighting for my right, as a mom, to know what's in my kids' food.  I'm calling on the big companies to be transparent about how their products are made.  I want to know if the item on the shelf contains genetically modified corn, or if the fruit we buy is some frankenfood hybrid.

Large food companies combined have spent more than $168.4 million since 2013 – $51.6 million in 2015 alone – to fight GMO labeling campaigns across the country. Their trade association, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, is supporting the anti-consumer DARK Act, which will make it even harder for consumers to get the transparent labeling they deserve. This dangerous bill just passed in the House of Representatives.

I'm not alone in feeling that labeling is important.  Celebrity moms Jordana Brewster, Jillian Michaels, Sara Gilbert, Ginnifer Goodwin, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Constance Zimmer came together to sign Just Label It’s Conceal or Reveal petition in support of GMO labeling.  The group of moms asked big food companies to stop blocking their right to know what’s in the food they feed their families.



Just Label It’s Conceal or Reveal petition, signed by these celebrity moms and many other parents, food advocates and supporters across the country, asks Quaker Oats of PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, General Mills and Kellogg’s to stop blocking Americans’ right to know if there are GMOs in their food and to support mandatory FDA labeling.

If what’s in your kids’ food is important to you, be sure to sign the petition and share this video to help spread the word!

Secret Word Page


Your secret word is below. Remember to head back to the form and enter it in to earn the extra entry!





Mommy!

Things to Consider Before Moving

Moving is a huge step that takes a great deal of thought, research and consideration. No one should take a move lightly because the decision could come back to bite that person after a short while of staying in a new area. Moving is a several-step process, and a person should follow this protocol before making a final decision:



Create a List of Desires

The first step in making a move is deciding what one wants to achieve from the move. The prospective mover should write down all the elements that he or she wants in a new area. Examples of desires are a beach view, a country setting, a peaceful environment and warm weather. The list of desires can help a prospective mover to choose a location that most closely fits the person’s desires.

Look at Pictures of the Area

Reviewing the visual aspects of a prospective living area can help a person to choose. The person can get a feel for the cleanliness, the population and the overall mood that the area generates. For example, someone may fall on pictures of skyscrapers, waterfalls and tourists if they type the word “Orlando” into a search engine.

No one should decide to move to a different area without taking a good look at the area. An area that depicts an atmosphere of doom is usually accurate. The same concept applies to pictures of peace and purity.

Talk to People in the Area

Hopefully, a prospective mover will have someone in the new area that he or she knows. Sometimes such is not the case, however. In that case, the person will want to communicate with people who live or have lived in the prospective area. The person can look for online forums and groups that have members who live in the prospective locale. He or she can then ask those people about everyday life in the area.

Check the Utility Rates 

Checking the utility and bill rates in the area is part of the budget that is necessary to conduct a successful move. The person will want to check electric, water, vehicle insurance and telephone rates in the area. Moving from one area to another could cause a major increase in a bill, for example. The person will want to consider that part of the budget before making a quick decision.

Research the Employment, Demographics and Real Estate Markets

The goal of conducting research is to make sure that the mover will thrive. Checking the demographics, employment rate and real estate market is a good way to ensure stability and perseverance.

Visit the Location

Lastly, no person should relocate without first visiting the area. He or she will want to take a trip to the area, stay at a nice hotel and drive around for a few days to meet the residents and check the local businesses. The prospective mover will want to review a list of Virginia Beach hotels if the new area of choice is Virginia Beach. Hipmunk is an example of a reliable site that a person can use to find a hotel in Virginia Beach like Oceanaire Resort Hotel.

Moving should be a slow process. The previously mentioned list of actions will help a person to conduct a move in a healthy fashion that is best for the family.

Back To School With @MeadFiveStar Giveaway



Back To School With @MeadFiveStar Giveaway 

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You can check out Amy & Aron's Real Life Reviews Review of Mead Five Star Products  Here

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2015 Back To School Giveaway

Welcome to the 2015 Back To School Giveaway!

Hosted by: MamatheFox & Planet Weidknecht

This year we are pleased to bring you a super awesome package from 6 different sponsors: WryBaby, Crayola, LunchSkins by 3greenmoms, I See Me, Capresso & Teach My!

giveaway $

Grand Prize worth $264!

(1) Lucky winner will win ALL of the following:

From Wry Baby: choice of 2 Backpacks! ($50 value)

backpack  

From Crayola: ($39 value)

24ct Colored Pencils
64ct Crayons
8ct Dry-Erase Crayons
Visi Max Dry Erase Markers
Power Lines Markers
6ct Power Lines Markers
crayola pack  

From LunchSkins by 3greenmoms: ($20 value)

a $20 credit!
blue-whale-with-food

From Capresso: ($50 value)

A Personal On-The-Go Coffee Maker
main pic

From I See Me!: ($65 value)

(1) Personalized Storybook
(1) Personalized Lunch Box
book-lunch

From Teach My: ($40 value)

(1) Teach My Learning Kit (choice of Teach My Baby, Teach My Toddler OR Teach My Preschooler)
trio
with additional help by:
2015 Back To School Giveaway MamatheFox and all other participants are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill their prize