Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Get your kids to eat more veggies? Yes, with a school grant from Action for Healthy Kids!

 Parents can be a formidable force for change in schools, especially when it comes to starting health and wellness programs. Ensuring that our kids are eating healthier foods, learning about nutrition, and being more physically active in school not only sets them up to learn lifelong healthy habits but, according to a growing body of research, it helps them be better prepared to focus and learn in class. Studies also show when parents are involved in a child’s education, their children demonstrate higher academic achievement, better attendance, better social skills, better-eating habits, increased physical activity and less emotional distress.


This sponsored post is brought to you by Action for Healthy Kids and coordinated by Wendy’s Bloggers
Yet, despite wanting to do what’s best for students’ health, many schools lack the necessary resources to implement health and wellness practices that help students eat better and stay physically active. That’s why Action for Healthy Kids (AFHK) has announced a new Parents for Healthy Kids grant just for parents for the 2018-2019 school year. The grants, which are provided through funding from ALDI, are designed for parents, caregivers and parent-groups (e.g. PTAs, PTOs) to lead school-based physical activity and nutrition initiatives and to engage more parents and family members in student and family health.

If you’ve ever thought of starting a school garden, getting kids to eat more fruits and veggies at school lunch, or finding ways to ensure they get more physical activity in and get the wiggles out during the school day so they can better focus in class, then this grant opportunity is for you. If you can think of a way to improve school and student health, AFHK can help you do it. In addition to providing schools with needed funding (grants up to $1,000), AFHK provides grantees with technical support and resources to activate their grants successfully.
Parents can learn more and apply for a grant by April 13, 2018 by visiting ParentsforHealthyKids.org/Grants. While you’re there, check out the resources to help you get involved in school health, and sign up to receive news your family can use to create a healthier school and home, today!
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Friday, March 23, 2018

Must see in Palm Springs

Palm Springs is undoubtedly the number one holiday resort in California’. Set in the Colorado Desert, Palm Springs is a sunny vacation destination. It lures locals and travelers because of its mid-century architecture, Desert Hot Springs, wonderful golf resorts and those row upon row of the region’s signature palms. There is a fun vibe that moves across the wonderful city with warm weather that offers loads of opportunities for hikes and skiing during the cold weather. There is plenty to do and see here, and one could tour museums, shop, dine and explore the nearby mountains and canyons. Just make advance bookings at Palm Springs homes for rent to avoid last minute disappointments as there is always a rush here.
This is a sponsored post.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.
Coachella Valley Preserve Coachella Valley Preserve is not a barren desert, but the 20,000-plus acres area is a lot more than just sand and brush. Located east of Palm Springs in the town of Thousand Palms, you can enjoy the preserve for free. There miles and miles of hiking paths that boast of rare wildlife, desert wetlands, and lush palm woodland oases. Enjoy looking at the wildflowers blossoming at different times of the year.

Ruddy’s General Store Museum Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley is certainly one of the few sparsely populated areas that boast of well-maintained General stores. A recreation of a 1930s general store, you will find authentic fixtures, signs, and products within a single room. You can shop for more than 6000-plus items here including biscuits, beauty aids, clothing, medicines, tobacco, hardware, soaps, and groceries.
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway Mount San Jacinto, located on the edge of Palm Springs, rises above 10,000 feet the desert floor. A good way to access it is via the scenic Aerial Tramway that happens to be the world's largest rotating aerial tram car. Enjoy fantastic views of the desert from the Tramway, and it is indeed a refreshing treat to feel the fresh cool air. You can take hiking trails through the pine forest, and one of the trials runs to the summit of San Jacinto.

Joshua Tree National Park Joshua Tree National Park is like an oasis in the middle of the desert. The National Park is perched in the Little San Bernardino Mountains and caters to a variety of travelers. You can get spectacular views of the Coachella Valley and enjoy picnics at the picnic tables of the Hidden Valley. There are campgrounds, several picnic areas, restrooms and even a café in the National Park.

The Monkey Tree Hotel Desert Modernist designed this boutique hotel and the private 16-room hotel attracts an illustrious clientele and Hollywood celebrities. It is indeed the most excellent boutique hotel that has been recently renovated and furnished. The meticulously manicured courtyard of the hotel looks bright with yellow furniture and umbrellas. Other attractions include Scandinavian Spa, dry sauna, mid-century treasures and even a therapeutic spa.

Indian Canyons If you are looking to explore some stunningly beautiful desert scenery, then head for the Indian Canyons. The 15-mile long canyon just outside Palm Springs is lined with large palm trees and filled with a creek and waterfalls. It is indeed one of the most spectacular areas at Palm Canyon. Indian Canyons are very popular for hiking, and these canyons add color to the muted desert surroundings. You can enjoy a picnic here, go hiking to take a short stroll to the creek simply. A\another oasis worth checking out is the Andreas Canyon, which is simply great for birdwatching.
The Living Desert This is indeed an extraordinary setting of a desert that is partly zoo and partly botanical garden. The handful of gardens boast of thousands of species of plants like prickly pear and agave and animals like mountain lions, meerkats, bighorn sheep and more. It is recommended that you visit early in the desert when the temperatures are cooler. You can feed the giraffes, and the park tickets can be purchased online.

Golfing in Palm Springs It is indeed a great joy to play golf at some lovely golf courses of Palm Springs, especially during the winter months. The temperatures are perfect in winters for that round of golf. Golf lovers take golf vacations especially for the incredibly scenic views of the arid mountains at a distance that make a stark contrast with the surrounding desert. Some of the most popular golf courses in the area include Willow Golf Resort, Marriott's Shadow Ridge, Indian Canyons Golf Resort, Escena Golf Club and Classic Club.

Tahquitz Canyon Check out the Tahquitz Canyon if looking for Native American history and culture. This area boasts of a 60-foot waterfall and a great variety of flora and fauna as well as fantastic rock art. You can study different artifacts, buy souvenirs and watch a movie about the canyon. There are resorts, Museums, and canyons near the reservation as well. Outdoor enthusiasts can go hiking and climbing in the Tahquitz Canyon that is only open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Moorten Botanical Gardens In the Moorten Botanical Gardens, one will come across a huge display of cacti and desert plants with a great variety of plants and full grown trees. Enjoy the desert blooms in the spring and look at the trees turning green again. The gardens are lovingly looked after by Moorten's family that has traveled all across the globe, collecting thousands of species of desert plants and amazing cacti.
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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Sleep Solutions for Kids

 If you follow along on my social media you may have seen we transformed our son's room from kid to big boy! Yes, he is starting to filter out toys and add in things like "rock collections", duck calls and EVERYTHING Hockey related! He is such a strong personality that it seemed only fitting his room reflect that. We even traded out the bed for a bunk bed, allowing him to have sleep overs. When we approached the idea of giving up his "night light" let's just say the little boy was still in there. Ok, so he knows monsters under the bed are not real BUT just in case.....maybe we should keep a light on! We decided to get rid of our old one and replace it with a Sleep Buddy
 **I received a free products to facilitate my review. I was not required to write a positive review in any way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.
The Sleep Buddy allowed us to program it easily. It shows when are acceptable times to get up and out of bed. We have an EARLY riser. He has been this way pretty much since birth. I also know he will go back to sleep if prompted. To help with this we set the Sleep Buddy to alert him in conjunction with our alarm in the morning. This way if he does get up he knows if he should go back to bed or not. Another great way of using this is to get your kids in bed at a reasonable hour!
 I will say I am rather lucky in that regards because my son goes right to bed (well, MOST days). I know so many parents though that struggle with getting their kids to bed at a decent hour. I have watched as they threw fits, screamed, had breakdowns and parents just give up at bedtime. The Sleep Buddy is really the perfect solution. It comes with a reward chart (compete with stickers) and suggestions on what to do if they are not adhering to the devices set times!
Look, I know there is no MAGICAL device to get your kid to bed. Heck, there is no SLEEP-IN please device either! I can say though we are extremely happy with the sleep buddy and truly recommend it if you are in the market (We all know I can be a bit blunt with reviews so I hope you know just how serious I am with that last sentence)!
The best part about this device aside form the obvious one's I just pointed out. It is small, easy to setup and fits just about anywhere. We decided it would go on his TV shelf so he can see the light from his bed.
Do you have a child who will not go to bed? Or an early riser??
What have you tried to get them settled done for sleep or nap time??

SleepBuddy systems can be found on Amazon and the SleepBuddy.com website
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Friday, March 16, 2018

Refinishing a Basement

It might be cabin fever kicking in because Spring time always stirs up house projects. Before we start traveling for the year we spend our time fixing the house. I have ALWAYS wanted first floor laundry. When I bought my home (12 years ago) it was located in the basement. That is two flights of stairs down and two flights up, EACH load of laundry. After years, let me tell you, it has gotten OLD! This year we decided to tackle refinishing our basement and moving the laundry, FINALLY!! Believe it or not I figured out how to do this via a friend's Facebook post. I thought I would share, my experience, in case I can help anyone else looking to do the same to their home. 
**I am NOT a professional, these are just my personal experiences. If you are interested in doing this please make sure to consult professionals about your particular household. 
 What you will need:
Gloves
Face Masks
Hydraulic cement paint ( for patching any cracks)
Drylock paint ( I used white)
Scrub brush ( found this Brillo one at the Dollar tree)
Paint brush
Paint holder ( found this blue one at Dollar Tree)
Bucket
**I received a free products to facilitate my review. I was not required to write a positive review in any way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.
First, I recommend cleaning your surfaces. Now, my windows needed replacing. They had crumbed and let moisture in causing some Mold. We cleaned all of that out and replaced the windows. I bought a dehumidifier for excess moisture before starting this project. Because mold can be a very serious problem I recommend still cleaning the surfaces. We used the Mean Green product as mentioned above.
The Mean Green Mildew Destroyer is a bleach-based cleaner and disinfectant. It destroys what is growing in dark, damp spaces. Mildew Destroyer is also effective against Salmonella enterica and Staphylococcus aureus in 30 seconds.
I simply sprayed the cleaner on the walls and scrubbed them with a brush. This loosened any rocks particles and helped disinfect.
Next, We patched the holes and cracks in the walls. Overtime they tend to get rather large if you let them go to long before sealing them. Once I cleaned the walls I realized just how bad some of them were. I would like to suggest using chemical gloves for this because some people can get sores from this stuff!!
 Once the walls were patch and dry we started to seal them. Now, I sealed they once with a masonry liquid and then the Drylock paint. After having mold in our home I wanted to spend a little more and go the extra mile to never have that problem again. 
Since we cleaned the stone surfaces and patched the walls this paint went on rather easily. Within a few hours they looked new again!
The transformation downstairs is so indescribable. It went from drab to fab within a weekend! Yes, it did take some work to get it looking like this but honestly it is worth it!
Do you have a basement needing refinishing?
Come back for more updates as we continue to finish the basement and decorate it!
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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Travel Thursdays on Ebates

If you have followed my website or social media for some time now you know that part of my job is travel writing. Since I started this journey my family and I have traveled all over the world. Often I get asked how we find deals for traveling with our family and what I personally use! First off, I want to stress getting cashback for any online purchases really help save money. Second, we do travel aside from my job usually during the higher volume seasons ex. Spring Break. Currently, we are planning a trip back to Las Vegas. I thought I would take you along as I search deals and book our trip!
This is a sponsored post on behalf of Ebates.
Let me share a secret website called Ebates. I found this website a few years ago and have used it ever since! If you were lucky enough to take one of my financial classes you may have heard me mention this website before. Basically, if you are going to purchase anything online just hop over to the site and purchase through their links. Two reasons I do this:
1. You get cash back on purchases!
2. They also have great coupons, discounts, promotions and special deals, including free shipping.
Why am I telling you all this?? Ebates just introduced Travel Thursdays which offer 10% cash back! The week of March 15 are focusing on bigger Cities: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Las Vegas. If you head over to the Ebates you can take a look at what great sites that are participating! 
I could not have found a better time to book our vacation. Last time we stayed at the Palace Station Hotel and Casino I found on Hotels.com. They were offering 8% cashback and were so family friendly. They have a pool, conveniently located to downtown, restaurant on site and 24/7 bingo! I will probably be booking with them again because we enjoyed our stay so much.
At 10% cash back you could save an average of $40 cash back for a three-night stay or $70 for a five-night stay. That is why I just had to share about this with you all. In some cases saving $40-70 on your purchase is the equivalent of getting a night free! Some of the hotels in Las Vegas for example only cost $40 a night. If you are not going to the big cities I mentioned above do not worry because they have other great Travel Thursday deals coming.
March 22—Disney: Orlando, Anaheim March 29—Resorts: Miami, San Diego, Maui, Ft. Lauderdale, Phoenix

For our trip I saved:
$180 on hotels.com with 8% cash back, 
$102 savings for food/activities on Groupon with 9% cashback 
$108 on rental with 1.5% cash back on Car rentals

Total value just for using Ebates: $390 plus cashback on all purchases!
Now that I have booked our hotel room, flights and rental all we need to do is wait for the dates to come and travel! To date, Ebates members have earned nearly $1 billion, paid out quarterly in the form of a “Big Fat Check” or via PayPal. I use the Paypal feature and you can see how much I have gotten by simply using Ebates (pictured above). 
Where are you traveling next??
Do you use Ebates? If so how much have you saved??
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Monday, March 12, 2018

Wubble Fulla Review & Giveaway

We have review several of the Wubble Ball products because my son personally LOVES them. If you do as well, check out several of the reviews on the Supper Wubble, Wubble Ball and Glo Wubble Ball. Each new one that comes out has something exciting to offer that leaves us with hours of fun together!
Collaboration post with Wubble. All opinions expressed are my own.
We find our Wubble balls at Walmart but they are avalible at Target, Toys R Us and Walgreens! Today, I thought I would give my thoughts on the new line starting with the Wubble Fulla.
What is a Wubble Fulla you ask?? It is a Wubble filled with gooey slime or soft, colorful Magic Marbles. The new ball comes in three super squishy sizes: Huge (5"), Big (4") or Tiny (just under 2 ½")! 
Each size comes stuffed with either slime or Magic Marbles – colorful and squishy round balls made of a super-absorbent polymer that absorbs water. Be warned once you pick up Wubble Fulla, you won't want to put it down! It is such a great stress reliever my son and I were entertained for hours.
 You can toss it, squish it or throw it. We even found out it sticks to our walls when tossed. Not something I would normally encourage but because it is soft it won't damage anything.
Interested in Winning a Wubble?? Just enter below :)
Have you ever played with a Wubble product??
I personally love the larger sizes for Birthday party fun!
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Friday, March 9, 2018

Contemporary Dining Room Makeover

 Craving to spruce up your dining room? Turn it into an inviting place to gather for meals after a busy week? I’ve got a few suggestions on how you can tackle this project with just a few simple things. I’ll show you exactly how we transformed our red dungeon dining room to a contemporary gathering space. After purchasing my home at 20, I painted it a few times but left it this maroon red color pictured above for 11 years.  The color originally fit a chef theme I had in the kitchen. Which sort of carried over into my dining room....While at the time it seem like such a great idea, after years of having it this way, we decided it was time for a change. It was SCREAMING for a makeover!
Collaboration post with CSI Wall Panels. All opinions expressed are my own.
Paint color can do wonders to a room you are trying to spruce up! A gallon of paint can cost as low as $6 depending on where you buy it and what finish you want. I loved glossy finishes for years but decided to go out of my comfort zone and pick matte instead. 
Since I had such a bright color (red), I did use a primer to help soak up the coloring underneath. This process took about 3 coats to get it to the relaxing blue hue I was going for!
Next up we changed the positioning of the furniture. That long buffet was purchased at a local thrift shop for $30. I kept it the same color for now but eventually I want to paint it! Just by turning my table around it gave the room flow. I got rid of all the clutter around it as well and used my new buffet to house all of our things instead. "Out of sight out of mind" So many people come over and remark how clean/simple our house looks. We have a LOT of stuff I promise you! I just find ways to organize it out of the line of sight making it "appear " clutter-free.
When deciding on decor I shopped online. I found these 3 glass jars, perfect for storing our beach glass collection. I know several people place food/candy in them but we get ants so I decided to stay away from all that!
 Next I arrange several plants throughout my dining area. They can be easily moved but create different pops of color. Can you guess which one's are real verses fake?? I splurged and got some silk plants so if you touch some of them they feel lifelike!
Things started to really come together after that. We hung a few prints on the wall. I changed out the curtains (per request from a friend) and BAM! The dining room no longer feels like a red dungeon but rather a light inviting place.  
I can entertain up to six people at a time without feeling overly squished! Clean up is extremely easy because I only have the area rug to vacuum and the hard wood floors to Swiffer. 
My entire room transformation consisted of:
New paint
Rearranging of furniture
New storage buffet
Which room in your house needs redone?
Think I should paint the table & buffet... I am thinking white??
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