Build Your Own Giant Wood Stacking Block Game

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

Build Your Own Giant Wood Stacking Block Game

Two of my five kids and I suffer from both seasonal allergies and sensitive skin so it can sometimes be hard to get the kids away from their screens and outside to play. I’m constantly trying to encourage outdoor activities so I love coming up with new and exciting things for them to do outside. Last weekend the kids and I worked together to build our own giant wood stacking block game, similar to Jenga but on a much larger scale and we had so much fun that they’re already planning their next “tournament”.

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Engineering Fun with Hexbug VEX Robotic Arm

Disclosure – This is a sponsored post and I have been provided with the product below from Best Buy to facilitate this review. I have received no other compensation and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Engineering Fun with Hexbug Vex Robotic Arm

When my now ten year old quadruplets were born it was so difficult to tell them apart that we used a marker to put dots on the bottom of their feet so we wouldn’t have to take off their diapers just to narrow down which were the girls and which were the boys. Since the two boys are identical it was still hard to tell which was which even after we could tell the girls from the boys. Fast forward to today and I’m constantly amazed at just how different they all are, they have widely varying interests and tastes in everything from food to clothes. Since they were very small they’ve talked about what they want to do when they get older – one of the boys (above) wants to be an engineer, the other wants to be a scientist and work for NASA, one of my daughters wants to be a veterinarian and the other is thinking teacher.

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How to Put Together a Race Day Survival Kit

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

How to Put Together a Race Day Survival Kit

Car racing is practically a way of life here in the Florida panhandle. I remember going to the race track every Friday night as a kid and now we live close enough to the speedway that we can hear when they are racing. While it’s always exciting to go to the races, it also often means a long, hot, LOUD day in a crowded stadium full of other fans.

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Mobile Virtual Reality Has Finally Arrived

Disclosure –  The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

Mobile Virtual Reality Has Finally Arrived

Mobile virtual reality has finally arrived with the new Samsung Gear VR! You can stream your favorite games, short films and video clips in a virtual theater setting and you can even create your own video clips and movie files with the Oculus Video app. In addition to having your own private cinema you can use the Gear VR to socialize with your friends.

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7 Safety Tips To Follow When Using Taxi Apps

7 Safety Tips To Follow When Using Taxi Apps

You may have heard about taxi apps such as Uber, where with a simple click of a button you can have an affordable ride show up at your door. These taxi apps seem to be taking over cities both big and small, as people are always looking for a convenient and inexpensive way to travel. The downside of this convenience is, there have been reports of assault and other crimes suffered by people who have used these apps. Instead of a quick and easy ride, they have found themselves at the center of a nightmare. So how can you prevent this from happening? Luckily, there are ways you can use these taxi apps and still be safe. Take a look below at 7 safety tips to use when using taxi apps so you can make the experience an enjoyable one.

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10 Frugal Valentine’s Day Date Ideas

10 Frugal Valentine’s Day Date Ideas

Holidays like Valentine’s Day can be difficult if you’re on a budget. There’s so much pressure to spend money on your clothes, gifts, and date activities. But Valentine’s Day is supposed to be about love, not about paying a small fortune. Luckily you don’t have to spend a lot to have a nice Valentine’s Day! If you and your loved one want to have a nice Valentine’s without spending tons of money, take a look at these 10 Frugal Valentine’s Day Date Ideas!

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11 Family Friendly Ideas for New Year’s Eve

11 Family Friendly Ideas for New Year’s Eve

I don’t know about you but gone are my days of dashing out at 10 pm in a dress, heels, and sparkly party hat to begin a New Year’s Eve party – now it is more likely to include me wiping noses that are fighting off a cold and very likely to be asleep by 10 pm. But I am not complaining! I am very happy to have my family and spend my time with them, it’s just that it is probably not exciting by most people’s standards. That doesn’t mean we don’t do anything at all to ring in the New Year, we just go a different route. Here are some ideas we have done in the past or are planning to do in the future in case your New Year’s sounds a bit like mine!

1) Non Alcoholic Toasts

There is no reason your family (ie kid friendly) party can’t include a toast to celebrate the new year. Fill plastic champagne glasses from the dollar store with clear soda, sparkling grape juice, or ginger ale.

2) Make Family Resolutions

Instead of or in addition to individual resolutions create some together. Things like – Eat dinner together every night, start a family movie night once a week or month, exercise for 20 minutes together 4 times per week, etc…

3) Host a Block Party

Get the other families in your neighborhood involved. Set up tables in a central location and have everyone bring a dish. You will get a lot of adult interaction and playmates for your kids. Pool your funds to buy fireworks for a neighborhood show if it’s allowed in your area.

4) Decorations

A fun idea that will keep the kids busy is to make your own party hats and noisemakers instead of buying them. The noisier, more sparkly, and goofier the better!

5) Celebrate Early

With really little ones you don’t have to shoot for midnight. Celebrate and be done by nine. It’s your party you can have it when you want to.

6) Make a Time Capsule

Fill a plastic container that has a tight fitting lid with predictions for the new year, letters to your futures selves, family pictures, newspaper articles, etc. Place it in a sealed plastic bag and bury in the yard (or stick it up in the closet) to be opened on the next New Year’s Eve.

7) Have a Slumber Party

Right in the living room, have the whole family get into their pj’s and watch movies or the ball drop in Times Square. Spend the whole night cuddled up on pallets or the couch.

8) Take Pictures

Take photos of your child in the same spot, shirt, etc.. every year to document their growth. Get creative, take photos of your family holding up the numbers of the year or twisting their bodies into the number shapes.

9) Bag it Up

Put a treat, a joke on a slip of paper, or a small toy in 12 (or however long you want to make it) decorated paper bags, let the kids open one each hour from noon to midnight.

10) Learn Something

Research New Year’s festivities in other countries – for example Chinese New Year is actually celebrated in late January-February.

11) Make Fun Food

Celebrate New Year’s with your kids by making a round cake and using gel frosting writers to make a clock face, bake cookies but use number cookie cutters to shape them, bake crescent rolls in the shape of the year, the ideas are endless!


10 Tips to Help You Have a Wonderful New Year’s Eve on a Budget

 10 Tips to Help You Have a Wonderful New Year's Eve on a Budget

New Year’s Eve is such a fun night! But whether you’re hosting a party or not, it can be costly. If you’d rather not start the new year having just spent a small fortune, you’ll have to stick to a budget. But how do you have a fun New Year’s Eve without spending a lot? Take a look at these 10 Tips to Help You Have a Wonderful New Year’s Eve on a Budget!

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Should I Upgrade my iPhone to the Latest Operating System?

Disclosure – This post was sponsored by Asurion as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central.

Should I Upgrade my iPhone to the Latest Operating System?

I have to admit that I rarely keep up with the upgrades to my iPhone’s operating system. I’m always afraid that something will happen and I’ll lose the thousands of pictures I have stored on there, or my calendar information or one of the many other things that help my phone make my life easier. Lately though it seems like there were several new updates all in a row and now I’m nervous about NOT updating the iOS. What if I’m now vulnerable to other problems or hackers or something awful? I don’t think I could survive without my phone!

Since my phone is always either in my hand or pretty close by I firmly believe in keeping insurance protection on it so I’ve always kept the Asurion plan current through AT&T. Well I only just recently realized that along with that protection I get the  Asurion Premier Support that provides me with unlimited expert tech support. No matter who your carrier is you can download the app and get one click technical support for all sorts of issues – from setup, to troubleshooting, to explaining features of your mobile device and so much more.

With the app on my iPhone I was able to get on the line with a knowledgeable expert with one click!  I talked with Anthony about my concerns in updating the iOS on my iPhone and he assured me that updated don’t affect any of the content on my phone like my pictures, videos and other information. Instead, he informed me that I really should keep the operating system current on my phone (even if I’m not experiencing any problems) because the updates fix known bugs and glitches, and it keeps me current with all the latest features. Plus I learned that not updating can cause delays in searches, messages and other features.

Anthony walked me through getting my phone updated to the current iOS version and even called me back 20 minutes later to make sure the process went well. I was very impressed with the service I received and I’m happy to know that I can call back anytime with any other issues I might run into on my mobile devices.

Asurion partners with all the country’s leading wireless providers so, like me, you may already have Premier Support and not even know it. You can get more information about your plan’s benefits and how to get free technical support at one of these sites:

Verizon’s Total Mobile Protection

AT&T’s Pro Tech Support

Sprint’s Total Equipment Protection



Moving My Adobe Photoshop to the Cloud

Disclosure – This is a sponsored post and I have been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card, however all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Adobe Creative Cloud

Besides the thousands of pictures that I take of the kids I also take tons of pictures of food, groceries and shopping excursions for this blog. I don’t claim to be the best photographer but I’m constantly trying to get better and for years I’ve used Adobe Photoshop to edit my photos and help make them even better. Being a longtime Photoshop fan I have to admit that I was a little nervous about switching from Creative Suite, where I get to hold onto the CDs to reinstall the software if needed, to the Creative Cloud where you get an annual subscription to cloud based software.

I was anxious to give the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan a try so I first tested it out with the above image from my Make Your Own Root Beer Sugar Scrub post. The image needed a little bit of color adjustment before I added layers for the wording and the opaque bar beneath them. Then of course I added the watermark for the site and the image was ready to be posted.


Although I kept searching for differences in functionality I really couldn’t find any. The subscription version of the software works just like my previous version did except that it has the added benefits of being able to organize, edit and share my photos across my desktop, mobile devices and the web.

I use both a laptop and a desktop computer and the new Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan, which includes both Photoshop CC and Lightroom, makes it easy to access and work on my projects from wherever I am and whichever computer I’m using. The pure convenience of the Creative Cloud has sold me on it, but I’m also thrilled to have a more affordable option for my favorite Photoshop photo editing software.