Tag - family

Puppy Love Actually – The Dog Who Saved Me

It seems like DaddyB and I went back and forth on whether or not to add a puppy to our family but once we decided we started looking into hypoallergenic breeds. We had our hearts set on a mini cockapoo and started looking online for breeders to ensure that our puppy would be 100% the breed listed because I have horrible allergies and asthma.

In starting our research, and little did we know that our new puppy would come at the perfect timing. In looking at breeds we tried to figure out which breed looked best in glasses and a hipster scarf and ended up choosing a mini schnauzer.

All kidding aside, we saw some great characteristics in the breed and found a great breeder not too far from where we lived. While we were on the waitlist we saw some adorable puppies for adoption through the breeder but we knew we wanted a salt and pepper girl {the most common, gray/white} version. We figured we would wait until April so we had the Summer to focus on the puppy, but God had other plans.

Less than a week after my mom unexpectedly passed away, we received an email that the breeder had 7 puppies and only one was a salt and pepper girl. We were filled with joy which was few and far between and knew she was destined to be our puppy.

Preparing for a puppy definitely kept us busy during a time that could have been even sadder. Though we never realized how much work a puppy is {and let me tell you, it’s a LOT}, I know in my heart that our puppy has really helped me through missing my mom. She’s sweet when I’m in tears and when I need a break from life she always wants to lay down on or next to me and cuddle. And while our entire family loves her {most days}, I think I was the one who needed her and she couldn’t have come at a better time.

 

Meet our sweet, feisty, cuddly, puppy Gracie Mae:

gracie-mae

 

We couldn’t love her more.

mommyb-gracie-collage

Tips for Younger Children with Eyeglasses

Last year Lil’ C mentioned she was having a hard time seeing things in her Kindergarten classroom. Little did I know there were several signs that I brushed off that were pointing to her needing glasses. After a visit to the eye doctor, I realized that Lil’ C’s headaches probably weren’t related to allergies but most likely from eye strain.

While I was glad we went to see the eye doctor I wish I would have figured out that C’s eyes were bothering her sooner. Regardless, we found out that her eyes only need a little bit of help as her eye muscles are still developing. The ophthalmologist said this is a pretty common issue with children in this age group.

mommyb-glassesusa

Isn’t she cute?!?!

Since I’ve never needed glasses I wasn’t sure how to properly clean them or wear them. Luckily we’ve learned some great tips on eyeglass care for children that will help C take care of her glasses.

 

“If they’re not on your face they’re in your case.” This was a rhyme that C was taught to ensure that her glasses go in a safe place when she’s not wearing her glasses.

These days having glasses is “cool” and everyone wants a chance to wear them, unfortunately it’s also an opportunity for your child’s glasses get broken. Role play with your child scenarios where they learn to be comfortable saying, “no” to their friends when it comes to trying on glasses.

Purchase at least 2 pairs of glasses in case one is broken or misplaced. Of course buying glasses can get pricey so I suggest finding the frame shape for your child and checking out discount glasses websites like the ones we found at GlassesUSA.com. Aside from having a pair that she can use in case one is damaged, we also found that it’s nice for her to have a pair in her bedroom for nighttime reading and downstairs for school work since she’s not required to wear her glasses 24/7.

Have your eye doctor, or another adult show your child the correct way to remove their glasses. Often times Lil’ C will pull her glasses off with one hand causing her glasses to need adjusting and even going as far as bending the screws in her glasses {oops}. Sometimes you have to learn the hard way, but teaching your child is the best way to help their glasses last.

Purchase the protection plan. Trust me, it’s well worth it. See tip #4, C needed a new pair of glasses after bending one of her screws and scratching up her lenses a little, luckily we only had to pay a small copay for a replacement pair.

 

We received a

Outback Steakhouse and Bonefish Grill Open in Concord North Carolina – #Giveaway

This is a sponsored post and giveaway. Any opinions expressed are my own, honest thoughts.

 

If you are a local to the Charlotte/Concord North Carolina area you may have noticed the construction right outside of Concord Mills mall. Outback Steakhouse ® and Bonefish Grill ® are pleased to announce that they are both open for business.

 

Bloomin Brands Grand Opening of Outback & Bonefish Grill at Concord Mills Mall on 11/7/16 by Carolina Portrait Designs

Bloomin Brands Grand Opening of Outback & Bonefish Grill at Concord Mills Mall on 11/7/16 by Carolina Portrait Designs

 

Tony Reynolds, Managing Partner, Bonefish Grill says,“We look forward to serving the Concord community at the bustling Concord Mills Mall.” “Our hospitality goes far beyond our restaurant’s front doors and into the neighborhoods we serve and we’re thrilled to invite everyone to come in to sip and savor the winter season.”

 

While Concord Mills has a number of great restaurants already these two additions will give an added variety and provide more sit down restaurants for the whole family. Personally, I love the Outback Steakhouse ® and Bonefish Grill ® brands and as a person with food allergies can attest to the professionalism that these restaurants go to to ensure each guest matters.

 

bloomin-onion1

 


{Check out my post on Dining at Bonefish Grill with a Shellfish Allergy}


On that note, I strongly encourage you to consider these two restaurants as the holidays approach. Not only are they convenient for shoppers, but also provide a great meal when cooking is the last thing on your “to-do” list.

Outback Steakhouse ® is open from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Sunday – Thursday and 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. Friday – Saturday. Bonefish Grill ® is open from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Monday – Thursday, 11 a.m. – 11 a.m. Friday – Saturday and 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. on Sunday.

Oh, and if you want to buy me a stocking stuffer I hear Outback Steakhouse ® and Bonefish Grill ® have gift certificates for purchase.

Speaking of gift certificates and giving, I’d love to give away a $50 gift certificate to your choice of either restaurant:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Unsettled

As we draw near to closing out 2016 and I reflect on my life this year I can say without any uncertainty that this year has been the year I’ve most felt Unsettled.

unsettled

 

I know the reasons I’m unsettled, my mom {who I was very close with, talked to sometimes several times a day} suddenly passed away in February. That, I’m sure is the biggest reason I’m unsettled. When someone you have such a strong bond with and someone you’re used to being a part of your daily life is all of a sudden not there it makes a huge impact. It feels as if something is not quite right. I look at pictures and phone messages and there’s a hole. It’s just not right for her not to be here. Though I have peace that I will someday be reunited with her in the Kingdom of God, I miss her. I know there will be times when I can flip through photo albums and talk about her remembering the funny and sweet moments, I see glimpses of that now. But at this moment in time, I’m just not there yet.

One thing that has been a blessing through losing my mom is that my brother and sister and I have grown closer. Death can do funny things to family, it can tear you apart or bring you closer and we are the ones that have control over that, we choose to move forward or look behind us. My only option is to move forward, I don’t have it in me to spend time on anything other than that. Life is fleeting.

I know that life is so precious, and not guaranteed to us. I hate that I have friends and even my own husband who have lost their parents before me and will lose their parents after me; spouses, children, family members and close friends. Mourning isn’t easy and the closer you are to that person, at least for me, the more I feel broken.

So, I turn to God when I don’t have words to pray, but He knows my heart. I spend time with friends who understand because they’ve “been there” or care enough to “be there”. I enjoy my family, taking in the moments knowing full well that the days we have been given are gifts. I linger outside while walking the dog, closing my eyes and feeling the wind blow on my face, thankful that I have breath.

I never used to be afraid to die because I have hope that I will live forever in God’s Kingdom. Now, I guess it’s not fear as much as not wanting to leave people behind, I know what it feels like to be left behind. Yet instead of dwelling on what could be in the future I do try to live in the now.

I’m not quite there yet to be honest, I’m broken, unsettled, filling up holes with the One I know who can repair my heart and soul. If I didn’t have my faith I’m not sure how I would make it through. If I didn’t have my family I’m not sure how I would make it through. If I didn’t have my friends I’m not sure how I would make it through.

As milestones and firsts pass sometimes I’m not sure how I make it through, but I know that I do and will continue to and this feeling of being unsettled probably won’t completely leave me, but I think that’s okay. I try to remind myself it would be more unnatural not to miss my mom than the feelings I have now.

So day-by-day I turn to the things that help me settle. I pray that if you are feeling unsettled that you too can find your peace, in faith, family, friends, nature.

An Introduction to Something New – Highly Sensitive Person

If you’ve never heard of Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) you may think I’m just talking about people who cry at commercials or don’t know how to take a joke, well believe it or not being a HSP isn’t about that.

According to Dr. Elaine Aron, the authority on HSP, at least 15-20% of animal species including humans are highly sensitive. In her book The Highly Sensitive Person, she takes a researched, in-depth look at highly sensitive people.

Just as no two people are alike, no two highly sensitive people are alike.

 

This quick test taken from The Highly Sensitive Person website:


Is this you?

Are you easily overwhelmed by such things as bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics, or sirens nearby?
Do you get rattled when you have a lot to do in a short amount of time?
Do you make a point of avoiding violent movies and TV shows?
Do you need to withdraw during busy days, into bed or a darkened room or some other place where you can have privacy and relief from the situation?
Do you make it a high priority to arrange your life to avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations?
Do you notice or enjoy delicate or fine scents, tastes, sounds, or works of art?
Do you have a rich and complex inner life?
When you were a child, did your parents or teachers see you as sensitive or shy?

To take the self-test or read more about HSP check out: hsperson.com


 

**Before I continue about what my experiences have been please note I am continually learning more about HSP through Dr. Aron, online groups, and daily life. I am certainly not a medical professional or an expert on HSP.

 

highly-sensitive-person

 

 

I stumbled upon HSP while looking for some tips that would help one of our daughters with some mild anxiety, little did I know, this discovery would make the past several years so much clearer as a parent and help me understand myself as well.

On my blog and social media channels I’ll be sharing my experiences with HSP both as an individual who is highly sensitive and as a mom raising two highly sensitive children. I hope that you will join me and share your own experiences as well.

 

Whether it’s someone you love who is highly sensitive or you yourself are highly sensitive or even if you’re just trying to understand others in this world, I encourage you to check out the many resources available, here are a few of my favorites:

 

Any Highly Sensitive Person books, specifically for parents – The Highly Sensitive Child

Sensitive and Extraordinary Kids

Happy Sensitive Kids

and also search Highly Sensitive groups on Facebook as well.

 

How about you? Are you familiar with HSP? Are you or someone you know an HSP???

Awesome Kids Eat Free Deal & Giveaway

Disclosure: I’m proud to partner with O’Charley’s Restaurant + Bar for this opportunity. I am being sponsored to help lead this campaign, but all opinions expressed are my own, and all claims and details shared can be verified by O’Charley’s Restaurant + Bar.

 

I definitely owe O’Charley’s Restaurant + Bar a huge thank you for giving this mom a much needed break. As we prepared to get ready for school AND are the middle of a move, my mind has been in a bit of a haze. Remembering my to-do list, and making sure the girls have everything they need for school leaves me more forgetful than I like to be.

I am so thankful that O’Charley’s is offering, (in my opinion), one of the best Kids Eat Free promotions I’ve seen. We experienced this first hand when we headed to our local O’Charley’s one busy day before school started.

 

Kids Eat Free O'Charley's

 

In the midst of packing up school supplies and getting ready for Back-to-School night {where the girls would meet their teachers}, I decided it would make life so much easier to grab dinner out. The four of us headed to O’Charley’s to take advantage of their Kids Eat Free promotion.

The girls loved the kids menu selections and ended up with the #1 kid staple: pizza. DaddyB and I added a side of carrots (not included in Kids Eat Free deal) for each girl, and their drinks were included, of course they chose the pink lemonade.

 

Kids Eat Free O'Charley's MommyB

O'Charley's Kids Eat Free MommyB

For the adult meals, we could have gone the money saving route and ordered regular entrees, but since the girls ate free we decided to choose menu items that were on the pricier side {although all the meals were pretty affordable}.

I got the NEW Filet Mignon with Garlic Butter which was amazing and DaddyB chose the Fresh Cedar-Planked Salmon. He loved his dish just as much as I loved mine and of course the girls were very happy with their meals too.

The food was great the service was fantastic and during Back-to-School season, it is one less thing to worry about. I think it’s fair to say that we are all very thankful for this awesome promotion.

O'Charley's Kids Eat Free Promo MommyB

 

Whether you’re looking to save time (think not having to cook, or clean dishes) or money (for every one adult entree you receive one complimentary child’s entree) O’Charley’s is making it easy for families to dine-in during the back-to-school season. Make sure you head to your local O’Charley’s between now and September 5th to take advantage of this awesome deal.

 

O'Charley's Gift Card

Also as promised… I’m giving away one $50 gift card to O’Charley’s so not only can you get your kids meals free, but you can also treat yourselves as well.

 

How to WinComment between now and September 1st, 2016 with the entree you would like the most and the entree your child would like the most. If you’re feeling generous you can share this with your friends. All you need to do is be 18 years old and a U.S. Citizen. 

O’Charley’s Back-to-School – Kids Eat Free Promotion

Disclosure: I’m proud to partner with O’Charley’s Restaurant + Bar for this opportunity. I am being sponsored to help lead this campaign, but all opinions expressed are my own, and all claims and details shared can be verified by O’Charley’s Restaurant + Bar.

 

School supplies shopping, Meet the Teacher, haircuts, doctor’s appointments, and the list goes on. Any of these tasks sound familiar as the 2016-2017 school year is about to begin? I know we have checked off some items on our to-do list, but have a few more things looming over us before the girls start their first day of 1st grade and 4th grade.

 

I love when companies understand parents, especially during hectic times like Back-to-School. O’Charley’s Restaurant + Bar is one of those brands, brands that are making it easier to make it through long days by offering Kids Eat Free now through September 5th.

 

Kids Eat Free O'Charley's

 

You may be thinking, “okay, so what, a lot of restaurants offer Kids Eat Free nights“, but this is not your average promotion. O’Charley’s is offering free kids meals to guests all day, every day during their promotion. The only “rules” are it’s dine in (of course) at participating restaurants and one free kid’s meal for children 10 and under with purchase of adult entrée.

 

The O’Charley’s kids menu offers a variety of choices from the more traditional dinner items like the Kid’s Burger or Cheese Pizza to more unique options like Mini Corn Dogs and Bite-Size Shrimp. This promotion is available at all O’Charley’s restaurants with the exception of the Nashville International Airport location.

 

 

Next time you’re out running errands or heading to Back-to-School events be sure to drop in to O’Charley’s for a quick bite without breaking the bank. For more details on the Kids Eat Free promotion, or to check out other food offerings, head to O’Charley’s website: Ocharleys.com 

 

Also, be sure to subscribe or check back often for an upcoming post featuring the B Family’s experience with O’Charley’s and Kids Eat Free and a giveaway!

 

 

Tinkerbell and The Legend of the Neverbeast Movie {Giveaway}

Spring is on it’s way and just in time, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment will release TINKERBELL AND THE LEGEND OF THE NEVERBEAST on Blu-ray™ + Digital HD tomorrow, March 3rd, 2015.

Tinkerbell Beauty Shot

Return to Pixie Hollow for the heartwarming adventure of Disney’s Tinker Bell and the Legend Of The NeverBeast. An ancient myth of a fabled creature sparks the curiosity of Tinker Bell and her friend Fawn, an animal fairy who’s not afraid to break the rules to help an animal in need. But this creature, massive and wondrous with glowing green eyes, is not welcome in Pixie Hollow – and the scout fairies are determined to capture the mysterious beast. Fawn, who sees a tender heart beneath his gruff exterior, must convince Tink and her fairy friends to risk everything to rescue the NeverBeast.

I know my girls are big fans of the Disney Fairies and I like them because they usually don’t have a typical villain. I know they can’t wait to see this movie, and hopefully your kiddos feel the same way.

If you think they’ll love it to, be sure to enter this giveaway. I have 2 Blu-ray™ + Digital HD Combo Packs (Available on Blu-ray™ + Digital HD Combo Pack March 3rd) for 2 lucky readers!!!

Enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and be sure to get your copy of TINKERBELL AND THE LEGEND OF THE NEVERBEAST Available on Blu-ray™ + Digital HD Combo Pack March 3rd!!!

Out with the Old and In with the New

As an ambassador for Rayovac I have been compensated for this blog post. All thoughts and opinions on the products are my own.

The new year is upon us and it’s a well-known time of year for change. People make resolutions, what not to eat, what to do more of or less of, and also changes on how they are going to organize or manage their household.

Out with the Old and In with the New MommyB

Here are some resolutions to help you manage your household while making small changes that will improve the organization and tidiness of your home:

1. Replace your batteries in items like remote controls, smoke detectors, and nightlights to avoid last minute (especially night-time) battery changes. Also using batteries that last longer and cost less help to stretch out the need for battery changes, which is why we stick with Rayovac batteries.

Improving Home with Rayovac Batteries

2. Buy furniture that doubles as organizers. We have several pieces of furniture that act as organizers, our ottoman for example has a great storage area for games and blankets, which makes for easy cleanup when friends pop in. We love anything that has bins too.

3. Use ordinary items for organizing. I love using clear shoe organizers for all kinds of things like cleaning products, and craft supplies, but mostly we use ours for our pantry door to hold grab-n-go snacks or store treats (out of kiddos reach).

Pantry Organizer MommyB

4. Line your fridge. Do you love cleaning your refrigerator?? No, no one that I know does either. To set yourself up for easy, stressless cleaning, consider lining your refrigerator with contact paper, wax/parchment paper. Move your items, lift and dispose of the paper and then replace with a fresh piece and move your items back. You’ll be saving paper towels and electricity too.

Whether your New Year’s Resolutions are different or you don’t have any, these are still some great, easy, tips to get you going in the direction of a happier, tidier home.

What changes, if any are you making for 2015??

Happy New Year!!!

This is a sponsored post on behalf of my partnership with Rayovac. All opinions and thoughts expressed in this post are my own, yours may vary.

10 Things I Heart in Winter

I know it’s not “officially” Winter yet, however the things I love all have to do with Winter or the Winter season, so I’m posting my 10 Things I Heart in Winter.

10 Things I Heart Winter MommyB

Here we go!

1. Warm coffee, yummo!!! Here are my favorite varieties:

    • On-the-go –  Starbucks, (My favorite is Hazelnut Macchiato with soy milk)
    • At home – Real Cup Coffee, they have awesome coffees and teas that work great with my Keurig and both hubby and I love. I personally love flavored coffee (see above) and for the Winter season they have a great Winterfest flavor.

Real Coffee MommyB

    • For stocking stuffers – Craft Coffee’s Coffee DNA Project™, if you know a coffee lover this great coffee subscription features coffees you probably won’t find anywhere else in a great sampler size (not too small not too big). Answer some questions, customize or get their recommendations.

2. The Spirit of Giving.

I reviewed and posted about this awesome book last year – The Sparkle Box Book Review and we fell in love. Without giving any of the storyline away the book encourages families to do for others. It not only gives a great incentive to have a giving spirit, but it reminds us what Christmas is all about. I love seeing our sparkling box this time of year and love that my girls desire to fill it up with good deeds for others. Hope you check it out!

3. Smiling Faces, Fun Experiences, and Cute Pets.

Where do all those things appear?? Instagram. Yep, I heart Instagram. Probably my most loved version of social media. It’s less controversial than Facebook can be at times and rather than all the words on Twitter I can see fun, sweet, beautiful pictures that embody the lives of family, friends, and coworkers (aka other bloggers and pr companies).

Recently I received an opportunity to check out #Cube™. Basically it’s a large 8” square LCD touch screen display, that taps into Instagram. #Cube™ delivers real-time and instant continuous delivery of a stream of photos and video clips, has built-in Wi-Fi, free wireless software updates, and is rechargeable. You can put #Cube™ anywhere in your house and move it around easily because it’s wireless (and really cool too.)

Classic_1680_hashtagcube_0008_color9

 

If you know someone who would love this as a gift, or want to buy it for yourself (that’s okay too), head to hashtagcube.com/#cube and for a $15#cube discount use coupon code: CUBE71 at checkout (affiliate link).

4. Christmas Cards

I love making our Christmas Cards each year, but even more so I love receiving them. We’re thankful for any cards we receive this time of year, but I’m especially partial to those with pictures of beautiful families, awesome couples, fun kids, awesome babies, and sweet pets. This month we’ve already received a bunch and I can’t wait to see new ones that come each day and hang them up.

5. Elderberry

Each time we get sick (which I feel like for a family of four isn’t too often, but often enough), I have a couple of dear friends who remind me the power of Elderberry. Well just last month I decided to get on the Elderberry train and I’m so glad I did! I didn’t realize all of the great benefits of Elderberry especially when you’re fighting an illness.

Norm’s Farms (locally in NC but ships worldwide), has an AMAZING selection of Elderberry products, that we used and loved (okay the girls didn’t like the taste but I thought it was similar to cranberry and loved it). My favorite product is their Elderberry Extract which is great for boosting your immune system, and has 2 times the amount of antioxidants than blueberries. They also have some great jellies and jams you’ll want to check out as well.

Norms Farms Elderberry MommyB

I also found some Elderberry products in health stores like lozenges that included zinc which I’ve heard is also another great, homeopathic way to treat a cough/cold. So don’t put it off like me, try Elderberry and then come back and thank me when you fall in love too!

6. Gettin’ Crafty.

Now that my girls are older, they want more hands-on activities and learning opportunities that a coloring book just won’t achieve. We often keep recycled materials in a bin in their “kids’ office” but we also buy science experiment kits, and craft sets.

We were able to try CreatorBox, a built-it-yourself subscription box that includes a new toy each month. The box comes complete with instructions and quality materials and feature some really cool things you wouldn’t normally think to create like a trebuchet/catapult, paper airplane launcher, and smart house.

For us, this was a great project for the girls to do with DaddyB because I often work on arts, crafts and projects with them, but due to DaddyB’s work schedule the quality time he does have is on the weekends. We saved our catapult for the girls to put together with him and they had a blast with it! I highly recommend this for great family bonding, and learning too!

7. Holiday Shopping

We don’t go big for Christmas presents but we do buy each of our girls 3 gifts (want, need, read) and this year we also bought most of our family 3 gifts as well (one thoughtful gift, one gift card, and one handmade gift). While at a recent BJ’s Holiday event, my assistant Lil’ C and I were introduced to quite a few great gift sets and learned a little more about BJ’s Wholesale as well.

Though we were members for several years, mostly buying diapers and paper products, I never realized how much larger BJ’s Wholesale is than their competitors, carrying more than double typically. They also have a great charitable foundation that gives back to the community and each store also participates in several outreach opportunities throughout the season including an angel tree. Did you know that???

Here are some of the great gifts for two-legged family and friends (and some four legged ones too):

BJs Holiday MommyB

 

8. Fun Movies

I love fun winter and Christmas movies, don’t you? The problem with fun movies though is that there are so many to choose from, so I’m gonna try to keep my list simple. Try is the operative word people. In no particular order:

  • Elf, for obvious reasons.
  • Iesodo’s new JOY themed video
  • The Grinch (good lessons in here)
  • Home Alone (and Home Alone 2 but if I have to pick, I’d go with the first one)
  • Any Veggie Tales Christmas, Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas, Saint Nicholas is a great one to teach your kiddos about who St. Nicholas really was, and the Ultimate Christmas Collection has a bunch of great holiday DVDs in one great set.

9. Goodies

Yep, it’s the season of candy and sweets, cookie exchanges, and delicious stocking stuffers. One of my favorite places to pick up sweet treats for my family is CVS/pharmacy. They have the usual treats like candy canes, gold coins (which I always put in the girls’ stockings), and other great candy bars, nuts, and trail mixes to name a few, plus the sales and prices are….awesome.

CVS Gold Emblem Select MommyB

10. You! 

The biggest thing I love this Winter is you!! I always try to remind you, my readers, that I’m so thankful and blessed to have you stopping by my site, reading, and sharing my posts. I hope that you have a great winter, a Merry Christmas and of course an awesome New Year. Thank you for being so amazing for yet another year end. I heart you!!!

 

 

 

This is not a sponsored post, however I have worked with some of the above brands in various ways and received some product to showcase on my blog. Any and all opinions expressed in the above post are my own honest thoughts. Yours may vary.