Create & Maintain Your Pond With Bradshaws Direct

My mom and dad bought a house about five years ago and have completely updated the inside of the house, so they are now moving on to the outside. First, they put in a paved circle driveway in the front of the house. Then, my mom went to work on planting some beautiful bushes and plants around the entire house. Her latest endeavor is quite a big one and I'm so excited to see how it turns out. She wants to add a Koi pond to the front of the house to replace her broken water fountain. Luckily, I was able to find everything we needed at Bradshaws Direct, which has a variety of items to make your pond beautiful and keep your fish healthy!

I have learned so much about building a pond lately that I had to share. It's actually easy once you learn how to do it. My mom wanted to create a natural looking pond area, so we looked at all the beautiful liners and decided upon the Oase Stone Liner, which has beautiful stones attached to it.

We have just begun the process of building the pond, but went ahead and purchased all of the other accessories we knew would be necessary for the upkeep. Pond Pumps are a must-have to keep the pond clean and the water clear. My mom decided on a solar fountain pump that actually pushes the water up and gives the pond extra decoration! Filters also help keep the water clean and, with a pond pump, the water keeps moving and is goes through the filter, too. Nothing is worse that a cloudy pond. We wouldn't even be able to see the fish, so these were our first items on the list!
My mom asked me to look at pond vacuums this week and on Saturday we will be working on the pond again. My mom always goes all out when decorating, so I am expecting something spectacular. Do you have a pond? I cannot wait to see the finished product at my mom's house. I'll definitely post some pictures later!


Just For Baby Giveaway Event: Tiny Love Take-Along Mobile & $10 Amazon GC Giveaway

Welcome to the Just For Baby Giveaway Hop. This Giveaway Hop is hosted by Fabulous Finds by November Girlxoxo and Mama Chocolate. This Giveaway Hop features everything under the sun you’ll need for baby. Be sure to visit each blog from the linky below and enter for your chance to win some really amazing prizes! This event will end on August 10th at 11: 59pm EST.

How do you enter? 
Just enter below on the Rafflecopter form. When you are finished, use the "Linky" list at the bottom of the post. It lists all of the participating blogs, so  you can hop on over to the next blog on the list. It's so much fun, very easy and you have a chance to win some great prizes.

Ready for our giveaway?

Prize #1
Tiny Love Take-Along Mobile 
Sponsor: Tiny Love
Value: $24.99
Description: Wherever you go - all you need is Take-Along Mobile™, which will keep providing your baby comfort and amusement  at home or on the go.
Winner will receive their choice of Tiny Love Take-Along Mobile OR the Tiny Princess Take-Along!

Prize #2
$10 Amazon.com Gift Code
Sponsor: Me!
Description: We are so excited about this event that we are adding a $10 Amazon.com Gift Code to the giveaway! 

Total Package Value: $34.99 
Just use the Rafflecopter form below to Enter! This giveaway is open to US residents 18+. Good Luck!


Purina® Pro Plan® Launches the “How Is Your Dog Great?” Video Contest

As a dog owner, I love showing off our doggies and their cuteness. Our dogs, Jack and Lucy, are brother and sister we rescued and they've been in our family for about 3.5 years now. They are such cute, loving little dogs and full of life, ready to play.
Jack and Lucy love giving kisses!
Yes, we are all a bit biased about our babies and just how talented they are, but now's your chance to really show off your dog! Purina® Pro Plan® has launched it's "How is Your Dog Great" video contest that is running from now until August 27th, 2012, so get your dog ready for his/her moment in the spotlight.
How can you participate in the Purina® Pro Plan® "How Is Your Dog Great" video contest? Just upload a short film, less than two minutes long, to the Pro Plan YouTube channel. Your video should show those moments along your dog's journey to greatness that also inspire others to discover greatness in their dogs!

The prizes are absolutely amazing. There will be 10 finalists, all of which will get a one-year supply of Purina Pro Plan dog food. The selected grand prize winner will have their winning video featured in an upcoming Pro Plan TV commercial. This commercial will be unveiled and shown at the 2013 Westminster Kennel Club All Breed Dog Show. The winner will receive a trip for 2 plus their dog to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York, which includes round-trip airfare and hotel accommodations. As if that is not enough, the winner will also receive a year's supply of Pro Plan brand dog food. Those are some awesome prizes!
Our pups playing with Josiah, Katie and Michael when we adopted them 3.5 yrs ago!
Do you have a dog in your family? This is your chance to really show off your dog, so take advantage of this opportunity and enter today! Leave a comment below telling me just how talented and great your dog is! I love hearing about everyone's pets.
Disclosure: I was compensated for this sponsored post made possible by Mom Spark Media. Thoughts are my own.


Childrens Hospital: The Complete Third Season Now On DVD

We have been long-time fans of Adult Swim on Comedy Central and were so excited when we found another awesome show to watch. Childrens Hospital is so hilarious and makes me laugh every time I watch. If you haven't seen it yet, it is a must-see show. For those of you who are already fans (you rock), don't forget that Childrens Hospital: The Complete Third Season is now on DVD, so be sure to add this to your DVD collection. It's something all true fans should own, of course, and, yes, we also have it!

On the show all kinds of outrageous situations occur due to the silly doctors and the senseless staff. I have to admit, I've had my fair share of mix-ups and situations that were, at the time, not so comical, though looking back I have to laugh. One that sticks out in my mind is when I was on college and my roommate Holly was quite the stickler for keeping the apartment clean and tidy. I, on the other hand, was just the opposite. One day she asked me to clean the house and the dishes, so I got to work doing so. I'd eaten a Pop-Tart for breakfast on a plate and, just like all the other dishes, I thought it had already been cleaned. However, when cleaning, somehow the couch pillow got moved on top of the Pop-Tart and there it remained until Holly came home and managed to sit right down on top of it. DOH! That was over 10 years ago and she still brings that up, so yes, I got caught and will never live down the infamous Pop-Tart on the butt.

I have been hired by Warner Bros WBWord division to raise awareness for 'Childrens Hospital.'


Finding the Right Bed For Your Home at Sueno Beds

When I was pregnant with Josiah, we were still in graduate school and lived in an apartment. Our bed was a small futon that was fine for our needs at the time. Being pregnant changed everything because I could NOT get comfortable on that tiny mattress and knew I needed a mattress that provided more support. We immediately started looking for new beds and mattresses, both of which can be found at Sueno Beds!

Now that we have an even bigger family and we are redecorating our home, I have remembered just how fun it is to shop for new luxury beds. I have wanted a King size bed and found a few that really match my tastes and the decor of our home. The Zocalo Toscana Bed, a beautiful luxury bed made of solid wood and scrolled metalwork. The Frank Hudson Belgravia Bed is also a favorite. Paired with the right healthopaedic mattress, this will be an amazing bed for our master bedroom.

Right now Josiah has a double bed mattress, but has needed a frame for a while. I was so excited to find upholstered beds on the Sueno website because I wanted a soft headboard since he is always bonking his head on ours. He picked out the purple Sueno Libby Fabric Bed. It is stylish and completely lined in fabric from top to bottom. Plus, it's his favorite color!
Picking the right bed for your home is very important because you want it to fit your other furniture, but you also want the mattress to be very comfortable. It's important to do your research and find a bed that's right for you! Take a look at Sueno Beds and see which bed suites your tastes!

Bag It Forward with Walmart & Elmer's #BagItForward

 Just the other day we went on our weekly shopping trip to Walmart here in Ellijay. School will be starting up again very soon, so it is time to purchase school supplies! I always loved going to Walmart as a child and looking at all the cool new items I could get for the new school year. Every time there was something else fun to buy.

We are actually participating in an amazing opportunity to Bag It Forward. What does that mean? It means that I find the Elmer's school supply list stand in our local Walmart, purchase the items on the list and give it to someone else who can use the school supplies for the new school year. I think everyone should do this, especially because you can get school supplies for such great prices at Walmart. It doesn't cost much and is an easy way to really make someone's day and help them out. You can give the bag of supplies to a student, a teacher or an organization, #BagItForward. On the supply list stand you will also see info about the Elmer's 1st Day App. I'll talk about that more later on.

The boys eating in the cart while I'm busy shopping!
We decided to purchase school supplies for my son's school, Pleasant Hills Montessori, a small school here in Ellijay. They often ask parents for help with supplies throughout the year, so I thought this would be a great way to help them get a great start! Josiah's teacher, Mrs. Kara, often does arts and crafts with them, takes them on field trips and does much more than she has to, so why not give something back to her? She deserves it!
An amazing wall of $.88 school supplies!
Crayola crayons and markers needed for school supplies!
 We found the school's supply list and bought all of the items on it: scissors, markers, paper, pencils, erasers, wipes and hand sanitizer. I also called the school to see what other items they would like, so picked up several items for them! I found a cute reusable tote to stuff all the items into and, believe me, it is packed full! We actually haven't dropped it off yet, but we are going to meet the teacher next week when she gets home from vacation! I know she will be so surprised and excited.
The Ellijay area school list.
It feels good to do something nice for others. This is such an easy way to give back to those who give so much to others and/or to those who could really use the supplies. I believe, in total, we paid about $20 for all the school supplies, which is such an affordable price to make someone's day!
All the items we purchased!

Everything neatly packed into a tote.
 Want to see more pictures from our shopping trip? Check out our Google+ album!

Elmer's 1st Day App For A Good Cause
When we found out school list on the stand, there was also an area talking about the new Elmer's 1st Day App. With the QR code, you can easily download the app onto your smartphone straight from there. We did it with out iPad and love this app. It's a great way to organize all your photos from this school year and to commemorate the 1st day of school. Plus, you can easily share them with friends and family. Take a look and try out this app! Another reason to get this app? For every photo you upload onto the app, Elmer's will donate one item to The Kids In Need Foundation (KINF).

Enter To Win
Yet another reason to check out the 1st Day App... The X-Acto Designer Series and Walmart are offering a chance to win a trip for four to Disney World!!! You can find the entry form on the 1st Day App website.

Be sure to keep up with all the news via social media:
Elmer's Facebook Page
Elmer's on Twitter
Bag It Forward on Pinterest

I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Elmer’s.  #BagItForward #CBias #SocialFabric All opinions expressed are my own.


Joovy Groove Umbrella Stroller Review

I am definitely the minority in my house, being the only girl in a house full of boys! Yes, our house is always full of excitement (and a total mess), but we love to play games and are a very active family, on the go almost every day and enjoying every minute of the spring and summer weather. If they could, my boys would probably live outdoors. This is why we have to buy quality baby and children's items! My boys play rough and we play every single day! We had an umbrella stroller that promptly died when we moved up to the mountains. It could not handle the rugged terrain, the unpaved roads and hills, so we needed one that could withstand the mountains... and my boys! I have always heard wonderful comments about Joovy strollers, which is why I was so excited to receive the Joovy Groove to review.

About the Joovy Groove
The new and improved Joovy Groove umbrella stroller is finally in stock! Calling the stroller improved is a huge understatement, this thing is totally new from the wheels up.
First thing you notice when you open up the box is this techy looking super strong rectangle aluminum frame attached to the cleanest looking 600D fabric ever! Available in Joovy's bestselling colors, Blueberry, Greenie, Orangie and Black. Pop the huge canopy open and step back... you are the proud owner of the best looking and most functional umbrella stroller available today at any price.

My Thoughts
As soon as we received our Joovy Groove, my husband couldn't wait to put it together for a walk. Since we live in the mountains, we can easily hike a short trail after dinner to get out any of that extra energy Josiah has. Unfortunately, Liam is usually already past his prime and ready for sleep and gets a bit fussy. This is why we wanted an umbrella stroller and the Groove is absolutely perfect for our needs.

This amazingly compact stroller is was not only easy to put together, but is easy to tote around, fitting in our trunk with much space to spare and light-weight so I can pick it up without any issues. There are many things I absolutely love about this stroller, including:

1. There is a side latch that keeps the stroller snapped shut AND a side handle with a grip so you can easily carry the stroller around with out it slipping and popping open. That has been a huge issue with strollers in the past!
side latch

side grip

2. Look at the Mama's eye-view picture below. There is plenty of room for sippy cups, drinks, keys, spare change and any other little items I may need with the 2 drink holders and pouch.There is also a little piece of fabric that can fold down to reveal a peaking hole I can use to spy on Liam from up above when the oversized canopy is shading him from the sun.

3. There is a large basket for carrying extra items is underneath the stroller. Our last stroller did not have this feature and I ended up hanging the diaper bag on the handles, which is not at all safe. There is so much room in this area!
4. In the above pictures you can also see the breaks on the wheels, a must-have for those of us who live in the mountains. We don't want an accident occurring!

5. Liam loves it! He didn't want to get out. It even reclines if he wants to take a nap and I can adjust the edge of the seat to prop his legs up. This feature would work better for smaller babies. I remember having to manually recline the stroller for Josiah when he was a baby (aka, break my arms off holding the stroller back so he could nap) and that was no fun at all. This is a much better way!
Of course big brother had to take a turn pushing Liam, too!
As you can tell, we absolutely adore this stroller and know it will be very useful for many years and babies to come! I'm sure you will see it in my pictures in the future since we'll be able to easily take it along for vacations and road trips. Since this stroller is for babies 3+ months and can hold up to 55 pounds, you can get so much use out of this stroller. We've been using it quite often and I can definitely vouch for its ability to sustain a great deal of usage on rough terrain. The Joovy Groove is my favorite umbrella stroller and is something I think all families can benefit from purchasing.

You can buy a Joovy Groove on the Joovy website for $199!


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Aveeno Celebrates the 2012 Summer Olympics #Giveaway $30 Package

We love watching the Olympics and are so excited that they will be hosted in one of our favorite places, London, for the 2012 Summer Games!! As we root for our own USA teams, we have learned that many of this amazing athletes are fans of AVEENO® just like us! Check out the clip of Mariya Koroleva and Mary Killman from the U.S. Sychronized Swim Team express their love for AVEENO® Postively Radiant Tinted Moisturizer and how it helped them overcome the dreaded red, blotchy skin, or "Pool Face", as they call it! We recently received this product and think it is so great. It definitely works to hide red spots and acne and I use it as a foundation since I wear light make-up anyways. I love the way it feels on my face, like a moisturizer instead of make-up and how soft it makes my skin, too.

The games are going to be awesome this year and to help celebrate, AVEENO® wants us to share some great gold medal winning beauty solutions from them.

·       Pure Renewal 2in1: sulfate-free, easy, one-step shampoo & conditioner that gently cleanses hair for softness and manageability
·         Ultra-Calming Makeup Removing Wipes: gentle, soft wipes that remove dirt, oil, makeup and even stubborn mascara
·         Positively Nourishing Body Wash: enhanced with anti-oxidants and a fresh, light fragrance transforming your shower into an at-home spa
·         Positively Radiant Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30: hypoallergenic and noncomedogenic with UVA/UVB protection that evens tone and texture while providing light coverage

As part of the celebration, AVEENO® is offering Children Teaching Mama Readers a chance to win an AVEENO® Gold Medal worthy giveaway of the above products!! The winner will receive:


Cleaning House Can Be Easier Than Ever With Maid to Please

 I often talk about redecorating our new home and how much I enjoy living up in the mountains. However, I never mention how much work it takes to keep it clean. Our home is a cabin, which means it is made completely out of wood. Can you imagine how much time it takes to just dust this house? With all of our children, family members in and out and all the activities we are always doing, I could really use Maid Service Fairfax VA! Life would be so much easier and this would save me so much time.

Our cabin, from top to bottom, is three stories, has 3 full bathrooms and 6 bedrooms. Not to mention, the kitchen is constantly a mess since I cook several times a day. Having a maid service could really help me keep my house beautiful without breaking my back to do so! The great thing about having the service is that I can choose how in-depth I want the cleaning to be and how often I want them to come. Have some relatives and friends coming into town and want it spotless? Get the spring deep cleaning. Just need some light cleaning? No problem!

My mom has used a maid service for as long as I can remember and absolutely loves having someone help her. Her maid comes every two weeks to spot clean, dust and vacuum, which helps her so much. She has worked with her for many years and is like a family member, is amazingly nice and very helpful. She has to have her house spotless, but with grandchildren and family always visiting, it's almost impossible to keep up. Thankfully, the services does an amazing job and keeps her home beautiful! Plus, the pricing is very reasonable. It's nice to know you don't have to pay a fortune to keep your house clean.

Do you spend a great deal of time cleaning your house? Maybe you should check out maid service, too!

An OutMyWindow™: Easy Way To Share Photos With Friends & Family #outmywindow

A few months ago I splurged and finally got a camera for myself that takes amazing pictures. Before that I took pictures often, but now I am constantly snapping pictures of every little thing. As a parent, it seems like my little boys are constantly doing something silly and photo-worthy, so I always have the camera nearby just in case. I love showing my friends and relatives pictures of my kids, but I really don't like pasting them all over the place for just anyone to see. I'm protective of my kids, as I am sure you can relate, and don't feel right about people I don't know seeing everything about my kiddos. This is why I was so excited to find out about outmywindow™!

About  outmywindow™
The outmywindow application is a more personal way to share and save your precious moments, giving you complete control of your photos and who views them. With unique timelines that automatically build themselves, it’s simple to organize and share across all kinds of devices (smart phone, tablet, PC, TV) in real time, all via a stylish easy-to-use dashboard.

My Thoughts 
I love that this program is so easy to use! I'm able to easily upload my pictures to albums and share them with friends and family without having to share with the entire world. Plus, you can share through the app and, since we have an iPhone and iPad, this is perfect for us! In fact, you can download the outmywindow app on iTunes! I've already made an account and shared with family members because, after taking a closer look at outmywindow, I think this is something my parents would enjoy and, even though my mom is not computer-literate, she will definitely be able to figure this one out. It's straight forward and it's great being able to store my photos somewhere safe. 

Do you take as many pictures as I do? Sign-up for outmywindow and see just how easy it can be to save and share your photos!

Disclosure: I have been hired by Warner Bros WBWord division to raise awareness for 'outmywindow™.

Preparing For The Mom & Daughter Period Talk #KotexMom

In my last period post, I wrote about my experience of getting my period for the very first time, how my parents never talked to me about it and how my mom was actually out of town with it finally arrived. I was a late bloomer, had no idea what to do and my dad was utterly clueless! This is why it is so important for me to do this the right way for Rylee. I don't want to make the same mistakes and want to make this experience a special moment between mom and daughter. The "big talk" is nearing and, yes, I am a bit anxious about what questions will be asked and how the talk will go, but I am doing my research and preparing because I want this to be a great memory, not something awkward and embarrassing.

In honor of the big day approaching, I wanted to list a few tips for you moms out there who are also preparing for this day. It's amazing how quickly our daughters grow up, so even if your girls are still toddlers, believe me, the years fly by and, before you know it, you'll have little woman on your hands asking many, many questions! I know I do! I found some great helpful suggestions and ideas on the Kotex Tween website, though, so here are some fun ways to approach the period talk and how to be confident when the time comes.
  • Do your research! Children can tell when we are holding back or when we feel uncomfortable about a subject. Take the time to look up information about the subject and educate yourself. You should know about the body, why we get our period and much more. You never know what will be asked, so be prepared!
    • Whether you are a mom or a daughter, the Kotex Tween site has invaluable information about and is dedicated to answering your questions about getting your period. It's a great place to look for answers, suggestions and can even help prepare you, as a mom, prepare for the talk.
  • Be open and honest - Daughters can tell if you are holding back. Be open, honest and tell her the important info she needs to know without overwhelming her. Answer questions and let her know you are there for her! Make her feel like this is something special for young women and that all women go through this. 
  • Purchase some products -Buy a few different U by Kotex Tween products for your daughter so she can get a first-hand look at them and ask questions about how they are used. Show her there is nothing to be afraid of or embarrassed. The designs on the boxes and products are made just for teens and tweens, making them approachable and cool. Rylee loved the ones she received. 
  • Have a Mom-Daughter Day - Make the day all about her! Get relaxed with a mani-pedi, go to an arcade or do something you know she really enjoys. Have a lunch or dinner together and start talking! Before you know it, you'll be chatting about periods effortlessly.
  • Let her know about the Hello Period Site. - There may be a lot of information to cover and you don't want to overwhelm your daughter, right? Tell her about the Kotex Hello Period website, which answers many, many questions for teens and tweens, helping them understand their period much better. They will learn facts, myths and can read experiences about other teens and tweens getting their period.
I can honestly say that I've learned more about periods and my own body since becoming a Kotex Tween Mom Ambassador and I want to put that knowledge to good use by passing it on to Rylee. I don't want her to be so confused and embarrassed like I was at her age. I've already begun thinking about the day we will spend together and have our period talk, but that's for the next post! So, if the day for a big period talk is nearing for you, keep the suggestions above in mind and take a look at the information available through the links, too. I can't wait to see how your own talks go and hope it ends up being a great experience for both you and your daughter. I am confident it will be for us!

Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a Brand Ambassador Campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of U by Kotex Tween and received products to facilitate my post and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.


Flufftastic Summer Celebration Event Sign-Ups Are Live

As a cloth diapering family, I love participating in cloth diaper events, which is why I am so excited about the Flufftastic Summer Celebration event hosted by Eco Baby Mama Drama and Mama on a Green Mission!

So far there are 30 participating blogs, including Children Teaching Mama. All participating blogs must have a package worth at least $30 and feature cloth diapers and related accessories. This will be such a fun event, so I hope you check it out and sign up, too. Click HERE for all of the info and to sign up!

Event Info:
  •  This is a FREE* event that will start at 12:01 am EST on August 10th and end at 11:59 pm EST on August 24th. With the craze over cloth diapering right now this hop is sure to be a huge success
  • If you’re using Rafflecopter to run your giveaway(s) please make sure to set it to end on August 25th.
  • The hash tag for this event is #clothdiaperhop Please include this hash tag in your daily tweet giveaway option.

Updating Our Kitchen & Dining Room With Beautiful Furniture

I love decorating our new cabin and giving it a new, updated sense of style. We've taken it from 1970s mid-western style to a beautiful 2012 designer cabin that we absolutely love! The one room on which I put a great deal of focus is our kitchen/dining room area because I love to cook and spend a lot of time there. I had, in my mind, a vision of how I wanted to decorate and what pieces I would like. Luckily, I found it all at Lakeland Furniture, which has high-end designer reproduction furniture at amazing prices.

I have a dining table already, but really needed some new dining chairs that match my home. Since it is a cabin, the walls are, of course, mostly brown, so when I started looking around, I found the most beautiful Chelsea Brown Faux Leather Chairs that match the table and our home perfectly.

Since our kitchen and dining room is connected, it looks smaller than the area really is. This is why I thought it would look great with a bar separating the room into two defined spaces. I knew I wanted breakfast bar stools with a back and really wanted them with arm rests, too, but was open to other ideas and designs. When I saw the Havana Brown Faux Leather Kitchen Breakfast Bar Stools, I knew they were the ones I wanted.
As a family on a budget, I have learned I don't have to sacrifice quality and style for a less expensive product. Thanks to Lakeland Furniture, my kitchen and dining room can be decorated, updated and gorgeous without spending thousands of dollars. Take a look at the Lakeland Furniture website and leave a comment telling me which chairs you would love to have in your home!

TruConnect MiFi Mobile Internet Review & Giveaway ($160 Value)

For Easter my parents decided to do something different and rent a condo at the beach for our entire family. I was so excited to get a nice trip away from home and the boys love the beach. When we were searching for condos, my only request was wireless internet, so she found a beautiful place right on the beach for us. Once settled, I sat down in the living room to check my mail and no internet connection could be found. I scratched my head, huffed and finally admitted there really was NO INTERNET. Luckily I had packed my new TruConnect MiFi Intelligent Mobile Hotspot!

About the TruConnect MiFi
Connect up to 5 computers, tablets and other WiFi devices to the internet with the TruConnect MiFi. And because it supports multiple users, you can share your high-speed connection with friends, family members and coworkers.
  • High-speed mobile internet - up to 3.1 Mbps
  • Connect up to 5 WiFi-enabled wireless devices simultaneously
  • Connects laptops, tablets, music players, gaming devices and more
  • Secure personal WiFi network
  • Easy installation and setup
  • Portable and convenient – Smaller than a deck of cards
  • Rechargeable lithium battery
  • Up to 4 hours of wireless use and 40 hours of Standby
  • Micro USB port for charging and tethered use
  • One year limited warranty
My Thoughts
We travel a great deal during the summer months and take many weekend trips throughout the year. I've never really thought about it until recently, but those internet fees at hotels are quite costly and really add up. Just a few weeks ago we stayed at a hotel and the internet fee was $16! That is very pricey, especially if all I wanted to do was check my mail! This is what makes the TruConnect MiFi so awesome! This tiny device easily fits into your pocket. Yes, it really is that small, so you can take it anywhere.
See how small it really is!
How does the MiFi work? First, you need to make sure the service is available in the areas you would use the TruConnect MiFi. I checked my area as well as frequently visited locations and all of them had service, so it is available in many places, especially in the south. Once you purchase the MiFi at $99, you only pay a monthly access fee of $4.99 to connect and, once connected, you only pay 3.9 cents per megabyte! That is really a great deal, especially if using when traveling! You can save some money easily.

The reason I was so excited to receive the MiFi was not only so I could save some money, but because I never want to be in the situation again where I am without an internet connection. You never know when you will need the MiFi and, since it is so compact, there is no reason you can't bring it along. It fits easily in my purse side pocket and, if ever needed, I just need to take it out and turn it on!

So, now that you have heard what an amazing device the MiFi is, would you like a chance to win one for yourself?

Thanks to TruConnect, one Lucky Children Teaching Mama Reader will Win a MiFi along with an entire year without access fees! The total value of this package is $160!!!


Making The Most Out of Our Weekend Vacation At Embassy Suites In Buckhead Atlanta

A few weekends ago we packed up the car and headed to Atlanta for the weekend. We often take mini weekend vacations with the kids and we thought this was the perfect time for a trip! We've wanted to visit the new LegoLand Discovery Center at Phipps Plaza since it opened and took this opportunity to get on the road! Our first stop was the Embassy Suites Buckhead Atlanta location, our hotel for the night, to check in and get settled. For those of you who are not familiar with the Atlanta area, Buckhead is one of the nicest parts of the city, with many shops, malls, activities and delicious restaurants! Staying in Buckhead means we are right in the middle of all the fun, so we were excited for the trip.

The beautiful view from our room!
We followed our GPS straight to the Embassy Suites Buckhead location and pulled in to automatically be greeted by the valet who offered to park our car and take up our luggage. We usually just opt for self-parking, but the valet parking was only a few dollars more, so we went for it and what a nice change that was- not having to haul all of our bags up stairs, elevators and across the world. As we walked into the hotel, Josiah let out a gasp because it truly was breathtaking! The glass ceiling let a glow of natural light into the atrium and there was a pond all the way through the area filled with Koi fish. This entertained the boys, including my husband, while I checked us in.
The kids loved looking at the fish!
If I remember correctly, we were on the 23rd floor and what a view we had from the elevator! The boys loved going up and down. I'm pretty sure they could have done this all night if I let them.
Coming into our room, we were immediately surprised at just how big the room was, or should I say rooms? There was a living area separate from the bedroom, both very spacious and inviting. The boys immediately went off to explore. The view of Buckhead was great, as we could see the skyline of Atlanta as well as the nearby attractions! Both rooms had 32 inch flat-screen TVs and I love that the living area had a desk where I could work as well as a pull-out couch for extra people! They even asked if they could provide a crib for Liam, which was so nice and thoughtful.

At check-in, we were told about the nightly manager's reception, which featured a variety of drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic as well as delicious snacks! Josiah and I decided to head down to the atrium for some beverages during the reception! We got there a little late, so all the snacks were gone, but there were two bartenders there to make any drinks we'd like! I decided on a Peach Bellini, got a glass of Merlot for Cory and Josiah was excited to get a Shirley Temple with cherries on top.
The manager's reception was hopping with guests!
One of the first things I realized was that not only is a Ruth's Chris Steakhouse attached to the Embassy Suites, but they offered room service! We had never eaten there before, but had heard it was delicious, so we took this opportunity to enjoy a great meal in the comfort of our own room. Dinner arrived about 30 minutes after ordering and it looked amazing!
Doesn't this make your mouth water?
My husband opted for steak with their famous Potatoes Au Gratin and the kids shared a cheeseburger meal off the kid's menu. I wasn't as hungry, so I got a salad and the French Onion Soup. Paired with our free drinks from the reception and some iced tea, we were ready to eat!

We were stuffed by the end and needed something to do to work it off. What to do? There was no need to even leave the hotel, honestly, because they had two pools, one indoor and one outdoor. Since it was so nice outside, we went outdoors. I usually just stick my feet in the edge or sit on the stairs with Liam because the water is chilly, but the water was actually heated and warm.
This was definitely the kids' favorite part of the stay at Embassy Suites. They had a blast and we stayed outdoors until the boys were obviously sleepy and ready to go back to the room!
The view from our room at sunset!
I gave the boys a nice bath and we got into bed to watch TV. About this time I realized we didn't bring any milk for Liam, so my husband ran down to the gift shop and purchase some milk and was back in no time! We laid in bed watching cartoons until the boys couldn't keep their eyes open any longer. My husband, on the other hand, stayed in the living room watching sports until the wee hours of the morning, enjoying the peace and quiet!

We had such a great time and the bed was so comfortable. Once I fell asleep, I was completely out until late the next day. I unfortunately missed the made to order breakfast and was so sad, but my husband, the early bird, was up at the crack of dawn and made it a point to get his delicious breakfast. He raved about it, saying how amazing his omelet was. He travels for business quite often and usually complains that breakfast at the hotel is not very appetizing, but not this time. He was very pleased. Since he got there so early, there was no line either and he really enjoyed sitting in the lobby reading a paper and people-watching.

As someone who worked in customer service for many, many years, it is very important to me that staff is caring and helpful. The staff was unbelievably helpful every time we needed something, from the moment we checked in to the time we checked out. We even forgot our deodorant and they had complementary deodorant for us, which saved us from having to purchase at the gift shop. Plus, when I travel, it is usually with kids, so it's nice to finally have a very kid-friendly hotel in mind for us to visit the next time. When we checked out, my husband turned in our valet ticket and our car was brought up to the front door for us. Once it was there, they even helped us load our luggage!
Going to the gift shop with Papa!
I am honestly not used to so many great amenities and features in our hotels. Even the 4-star hotels in the area we've stayed in have not been as nice as this Embassy Suites, so I was extremely impressed with the entire visit. We planned on going out that evening for dinner and for some sort of activity for the kids, but with a restaurant on-site, we were able to stay in to eat and since they had two pools, we had more than enough to do without even leaving the building!
Building a castle for Liam at LegoLand Discovery Center!
We actually planned on visiting LegoLand after checking into the hotel, but since we were so happy we ended up extending the trip and going to LegoLand the next afternoon! Believe me, I took about 200 pictures during the trip and the boys have really enjoyed looking at them over and over again!We had such a great time, I honestly cannot wait for our next visit. The boys are already asking when they can go back to the hotel with the fish! I have a feeling we'll be visiting again before the end of the summer. This was a perfect weekend trip for our family!

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Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in an Ambassador Program by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Embassy Suites Hotels and received a one-night complimentary stay at an Embassy Suites Hotel to facilitate my reviews and a promotional item to thank me the taking the time to participate.