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walmart family mobile

Share More Memories With Walmart Family Mobile

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser, Walmart Family Mobile. All opinions are mine alone. #SummerIsForSavings #CollectiveBias #WFM3

Just over two weeks ago our daughter was born and our lives have changed significantly. I’m trying to adjust to the night nursings and establish a routine with a baby. My husband has taken over most of the household duties to let me care for our daughter and recover from my c-section. We can’t visit our family and friends as frequently as we like, and everyone expects photos and video of our growing family. Today I’m discussing how we share more memories with Walmart Family Mobile powered by T-Mobile.

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My Grandpa And His Garage

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.
#TheGiftOfClean #CollectiveBias

When I was born my Paw (my grandfather) had a corvette; he told my Maw (my grandmother) that he planned to give me this corvette when I turned 16 years old. I was their first born grandchild, and my time as an only grandchild was short lived. My brother Brandon was born 14 months later, and my cousins, Natasha and Kaylee were born shortly after that. He told her that he could never afford cars for all of the grandchildren (they would eventually have 7 grandchildren total), and he sold my car. He has owned a non-commercial garage for my entire life, and he has owned a host of “cool” cars that I was occasionally allowed to drive. He enjoyed restoring and rebuilding antique and wrecked automobiles. He gave me an appreciation for nice automobiles, and taught me how to properly care for a car; this includes regular washing and basic maintenance. 

armor all car care gift pack

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Teaching Children About the Amazon Rainforest

I would like to thank Pure Energies for sponsoring today’s post, and allowing me to discuss why it is important to talk to your children about the Amazon rainforest. The Amazon Rainforest Ecosystem is one of the most studied and monitored ecosystems in the world. This remote region is home to over 10 million species of plants, animals, and insects. It is also just a small fraction of the Earth’s surface area, but it produces nearly 20% of the oxygen on earth. The Amazon is also home to 400-500 indigenous tribes of Amerindians. Recently, the CEO of Pure Energies, an energy advising company in the US and Canada specializing in solar energy, visited the Kayapo tribe in the Amazon rainforest. They lived alongside the tribe for 10 days, and explored their independence from modern society. The Kayapo work to actively protect their territory in the Amazon. There is so much that can be learned from the Kayapo tribe—lessons we need to teach our children about the importance of our rainforests.

amazon rainforest

Kayapo girl Photo Credit: Pure Energies

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Fandango Gift Cards Holiday Giveaway

We love to go to the movies, and that is why I love partnering with Fandango. I can remember the first movie that I ever took Gabe to, but he will never remember it. Shamelessly, I couldn’t miss seeing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-Part 1, so I took my 8 month old son to the movies with me. From that day forward, he and I have shared a love of going to the theater. We even had a movie routine for a year or so. He and I would go to Saturday 5pm mass, grab a bite to eat, and go catch a movie. It was fun spending time together, doing something that we both enjoyed. Do you love to go to the movies? With the help of Fandango, I thought I would spread a little holiday cheer. I’m giving away one grand prize $50 Fandango gift card, and two $25 Fandango gift cards to three lucky winners. Are you feeling lucky?

fandango gift cards

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mrs. fields

Every Moment Counts with Mrs. Fields®

Today’s post is sponsored by Mrs. Fields® as part of the #mrsfieldsmoments campaign. 

When my son was 18 months old, we flew to from Lexington, Kentucky to Bogota, Colombia to visit his father. My (now ex) spouse was stationed there with the U.S. Army. It isn’t easy to fly with an active toddler, and especially not when you have a six hour layover in Chicago. I was so thankful for access to the USO facility there. I found a comfortable and quiet place to breastfeed Gabe, and it made our trip much less stressful. We enjoyed some free snacks, including Mrs. Fields® cookies. When you are separated for months at a time by thousands of miles, every moment counts. The stress of traveling can put a damper on even the most joyous reunion.

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Gabe and I in Bogota, Colombia

If USO doesn’t sound familiar, it stands for United Service Organizations, Inc. It is a nonprofit organization that provides recreational activities and programs to boost the morale and welfare of military members and their families. USO lounges are located in airports around the United States, and they allow service members and their families to relax away from the hustle and bustle of the airport terminals. USO facilities are staffed by volunteers, and couldn’t operate without generous supporters like Mrs. Fields®. The lounges often have comfortable seating, televisions, reading materials, games and other activities, drinks, and snacks. They also have facilities near military installations in Europe, Asia, and the Pacific.

USO and Mrs. Fields

Mrs. Fields®, in partnership with the USO, created the Every Moment Counts Campaign (#mrsfieldsmoments). They want all families to recognize the importance of spending quality time together. They have also pledged to donate 35,000 cookies to be placed in USO2Go boxes which will be shipped to soldiers around the world.

Mrs. Fields and #mrsfieldsmoments

Sitting down and eating a cookie with your child can be quality family time. The Mrs. Fields® website features several neat ideas that make eating a cookie even more fun than, well…eating a cookie. Who doesn’t like cookies? The “Sunday Snacktivites” are just ideas to get you started.

Gabe and I made Mrs. Fields® ice cream sandwiches; I even found Mrs. Fields® Breyers® ice cream. He and I sat down to draw while we were eating. Gabe drew a portrait of his “Papi,” who is still an active duty soldier. I know his dad doesn’t get to see him as much as he would like to, but we routinely talk about him.

mrs. fields

#mrsfieldsmoments

 

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In addition to their direct support of the USO, Mrs. Fields® is hosting a contest for everyone.

Here’s how you enter:

  • Take a selfie of your family participating in a Sunday Snacktivity.
  • Share the photo on Mrs. Fields® Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with the hashtag, #mrsfieldsmoments.
  • You can share as many moments as you like until November 12 to earn more entries.

Entries are easy and they are a great way to collect a few fun family photos. One lucky family will receive airfare for four to Washington, D.C., four tickets to ride the Capitol Wheel, gift certificates for dining in National Harbor, and accommodations for 2 nights. Complete details can be found here.

You can find links to Mrs. Fields® social media channels here:

What does your family do to make every moment count?

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I am participating in this campaign as a member of  The Niche Parent Network & Conference in partnership with Mrs. Fields. All opinions are my own.

 

 

 

Fishing for a memory: Thoughtful Thursday

It has been a rough few days. This past Monday marked the 5 year anniversary of my brother Brandon’s death. I cry sporadicly throughout the day. I honestly thought I was coping better, but I guess I was just holding it all in. Last night, I found a box of photos and I sobbed.

My late brother Brandon 

We took my son fishing on Memorial Day. Gabriel is just 4, and we are teaching him to cast his own rod. My brother Brandon loved fishing, and I hated it. I have dozens of childhood memories about fishing with Brandon. I have grown to enjoy fishing (well truthfully I just tolerate it better). Fishing reminds me of him, and I am sure he is watching over me (laughing hysterically at my poor fishing skills).

Gabe learning to cast with a bobber and weight. 

Great fishing attire? lol 

Gabe loves to fish, or at least he loves the idea of fishing. I finally purchased his first real rod and reel set. Jeremy attached a weight and a bobber, and he practices casting into the pond. His next lesson will be with worms (ewww!). When he is comfortable using a worm, he will advance to having his own hook. There is a pond on the farm which makes it easier for him to practice.

I wish Brandon was here to help teach Gabe, he would have loved his nephews. I was just a few weeks pregnant with Gabe when Brandon died, and he didn’t know he  was going to be an uncle.

Gabe and I go fishing for fish, but we also go fishing for memories. We are making new memories together, but I also get to recall memories from my childhood. I remember a freckle faced little brother who liked to chase his sister with his catch of the day.

Does it really get easier? How did you cope with losing someone you love? Do you participate in activities as a way to remember them?

Gabe and Jeremy reeling in a fish last fall

Thoughtful Thursday: How does your garden grow?

Some of my most vivid memories from growing up are from summers in my Mamaw Cole’s garden. We cut up old dresses, these were to tie the tomato plants to wooden tobacco stakes. She did this to keep the plants from falling over from the weight of the tomatoes. I carried pails of Miracle-Gro that we mixed to pour on her plants. I picked green beans, removed the strings, broke, and occasionally I strung them up to dry in the sun. I hoed potatoes, and I was occasionally surprised by a hiding snake. I loved life on the farm, and the memories I made with her.

I always hoped to give my son similar experiences. Growing up on a farm and understanding where my food came helped to keep me grounded. It also helped to keep me in shape, I didn’t lay on the couch all summer or watch too much television.

A photo I took of Jeremy’s farm converted to watercolor with the Waterlogue app

My house in Lexington didn’t have room for a real garden, so instead I landscaped. I planted evergreens, shrubs, and an abundance of hydrangeas, even as a toddler Gabe would follow me around with a watering can.

This year, Gabe and I are helping my fiance Jeremy put on a full garden on his farm. Gabe was so excited to plant something he referred to as “magic beans”. Gabe helped plant potatoes, beans, onions, tomatoes, and cabbage so far. Gabe is like most four year old boys, he loves to play in the dirt. We let him participate as much as possible digging holes, dropping seeds, setting plants, and covering things up with dirt.

When we drive by the garden, he yells, “Mom, look the “ta-toes” are growing.”

Gardening also teaches important life lessons, you get out, what you put into it.

I look forward to working in the garden with Gabe. We have a few more things to be planted, and whole summer to cultivate.

I don’t want to wish away summer, but I am looking forward to fresh sweet corn, vine ripened tomatoes, and juicy watermelons.

What is your most vivid childhood memory? Did you ever plant a garden or did you plant one this year? What is your favorite vegetable?

Happy Thoughtful Thursday,

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