I’m Heading to NYC For BlogHer Today

I am super excited to be heading out this morning for the annual BlogHer conference in New York City. I’ll be staying at the historic Hilton New York in midtown Manhattan which is within walking distance of Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Central Park and many other wonderful landmarks that I can’t wait to see again.

Since I’ll be traveling today I won’t be making my usual Publix trip and post this week, but I’ll be back to business as usual next week! I’m looking forward to learning lots of great stuff for the blog and I’ll be sure to tell you all about it when I get back next week.  In the meanwhile, I will still be posting as much as I can, but it likely won’t be as much as usual. Thanks for your patience!!

 

Getting Ready for BlogHer

BlogHer Logo Carved From Ivory Soap

In less than three weeks I’ll be heading to New York City for the annual BlogHer conference and I’ve been excitedly making all sorts of preparations.  This is the 8th annual conference and the third year that I’ll be attending.  Each year I learn so much and take away such great ideas for my business and blog that I spend the remainder of the year looking forward to the next conference!

The best thing about being able to attend social media conferences like BlogHer is that I get to meet such wonderful people who really “get” me.  When you work (and live) online like I do you often find yourself interacting more with computers than with people and I always look forward to this opportunity to meet people with similar passions in real life.  I’ve had the great joy of “meeting” some terrific people online and love getting the chance to meet some of them in person.

I’ll be staying at the historic Hilton New York with my friend and colleague Jerri Ann of MomECentric.com as roomie, and I can’t wait to see some of my good friends like Heather from Inexpensively, Heather from InGodsEconomy, and Jenna from MadeMoreBeautiful.

This year I’ll be arriving a day ahead of time and plan to do more sightseeing that I was able to do last time it was in New York.  Having already been there before I was able to pick up a few money saving tips for visitors to NYC.  Last time I paid $40 plus tip for a taxi from the airport to Manhattan, this year I’ve reserved a luxury sedan in advance for a much better price!  The fee for a luxury car from Dial7 is just $36 and I used coupon code ua03122 to take $5 off of that.

I wrote in advance to the Live With Kelly show and I’m super excited that I have tickets to be in the audience on August 2nd!  I’ve really been wanting to go to Battery Park and see the Statue of Liberty and venture out a little further than I did last trip so I’ve also bought a hop on hop off 72 hour pass for the Grayline Double Decker sightseeing tour buses.  It’s a neat deal where you can get on or off during any of the many loop tours of the area for one low price.  The 72 hour ticket is normally $64 but you get $5 off when you book online.

This trip would not be possible without my generous sponsors whom I cannot thank enough!  I’m privileged to have Murphy USA as my gold sponsor and they have covered my hotel accommodations.  I am honored to be a contributor to The Smarter Driver, a sister site to Murphy USA and I’m grateful for their continued support!

Other sponsors include the best brother in the world who took care of the airfare (thank you Mike!) and UPrinting who provided me with some awesome club card flyers!  I’ll be sure to bring you an update when I get back.

 

Pizza and Ice Cream Party with the Family!

My younger brother and his family live in Korea where he works on a US military base and they get to come back to the states to visit once a year.  Usually they get to stay for two to three weeks but this year they can only stay for 10 days so we’re going to have to cram a lot of stuff into a short period of time.

My kids absolutely love getting to visit with their cousins so we’ll plan a few fun things for them plus some family get togethers like yesterday’s Father’s Day celebration and a backyard barbecue we have planned next weekend for my dad’s birthday.

Since we’re running so hard this week I’m thrilled to have simple solutions at hand like Tombstone frozen pizzas and Nestle Drumsticks!  We had a houseful of kids and adults at my parents’ place yesterday and everybody was happy with the assortment of pizzas and ice cream cones that were served.

A few days before they arrived I shopped at Walmart for the Nestle ice cream treats and the Tombstone pizzas and we made some salads and other side dishes that turned our quick meal into a feast.  There is a wide variety of choices in the Tombstone pizza line from plain cheese to 4-meat double top so there’s always something to please everyone.  Same with the Nestle Drumsticks, a bunch of different flavor choices and you can even choose smaller portion sizes that are great for kids or dieters looking for a sweet treat without the calories.

Keep track of all the fun at the Nestle Drumstick Facebook page, including their current Raise a Cone to Summer sweepstakes, and on the Tombstone pizza Facebook page.  Don’t forget, you can enter to win a year’s worth of Tombstone pizzas in their #GrabSummerFun Pinterest party!

Disclosure – 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 Nestle #CBias #SocialFabric #GrabSummerFun

 

Visiting the Battleship USS Alabama

We recently took the kids over to the Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile, Alabama and spent the day exploring the USS Alabama, their large aircraft museum, and the USS Drum submarine.  They had a blast getting to climb all over the Battleship, sit in the gun turrets, and take a “nap” in the bunk beds.  The kids are already asking when they can go back and I’m sure after the Battleship movie comes out this weekend they’ll be really anxious to get back over there again.  Check out my guest post at the HotelCoupons.com blog today to get all the details and see more pictures!

 

Never Miss Friend or Family Birthdays!

birthdayFB.com

Last month I was very pleasantly surprised by all of the birthday wishes I received on Facebook!  I've been worried since then that I would miss somebody else's birthday because I haven't gotten very good at Facebook yet, so I was happy to find this neat free Facebook app that lets you automatically send Happy Birthday wall posts.  Now I don't have to worry about missing my friends and families birthdays!

(All posts may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.)

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Having Virtual Makeover Fun!

View Yourself in Over 8,000 Hairstyles!

While I was at the Blissdom conference a couple weeks ago I had a new headshot made and I recently replaced my old Facebook profile with the new photo. I hadn’t changed my old profile picture in so long that I feel like I aged tremendously between the two, and now I’m really wanting to change up my look somehow! I’m planning on having a lot of fun with this virtual hairstyle app in hopes of finding a great new look without all the trial and error of my previous hairstyle changes.

You can play around with the app and check out thousands of new hairstyles for free, or you can get a membership for $14.95 and put yourself, your family and friends in the photos. I can’t wait to check out my boys in all the different Bieber hairstyles 😉

(All posts may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.)

 

Part 2 – Keeping Children Safe In Winter

I’m so thrilled to be participating in the Energizer Champions for Kids SIMPLE Service Project and I wanted to report back on the completion of this mission!  We chose to create a winter emergency survival kit to deliver to our local Ronald McDonald house for this project.  Our family has a history of childhood medical issues that originally introduced us to the Ronald McDonald house years ago when my quadruplets were born so we’re always happy to find ways that we can give back to other children in need.

Since we live in the south we don’t have to worry too much about winter weather hazards like snow and freezing cold, but we do experience tornadoes and power outages from storms, plus we’ll have to start worrying about hurricane season pretty soon, so we wanted to make sure we included things in our survival kit that would cover all of these emergencies.  We shopped at our local WalMart and purchased the following items for our kit.

Our survival kit package included:

  • Energizer LED Safety Light with alert whistle and emergency checklist
  • Energizer emergency crank radio with flashlight
  • Energizer rechargeable LED light
  • Wet Ones antibacterial wipes
  • Energizer batteries
  • 2 Cases of bottled water

We also picked up this cute red collapsible fabric storage cube to store everything.  The kids were super happy to deliver this package to the Ronald McDonald house and were just so sorry to have missed Ronald by only a few minutes – you can tell from these footprints on the sidewalk out front that he had just been there!

We will continue to look for other great volunteer projects like this one, and I’d like to encourage you to visit Champions For Kids to learn more about doing a SIMPLE Service Project in your community and help to meet the goal of mobilizing 20 million people by 2020.

Part 1 – Keeping Children Safe During Winter

Disclosure – This post has been compensated as a part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias, however all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thanks so much to #EnergizerCFK and #CBias!

 

What Room In Your House Is Used The Most?

Do you know which room in your house gets used the most? For most people, including my family of seven, the bathroom is the most used room in the house! Well The Clorox Lounge is trying to change the most underrated room in our homes, the bathroom, into a laughroom and you can not only find lots of great tips, contests and hilarious stories, but you’ll also have a chance to win some awesome prizes including a $10,000 top prize!

Starting this Monday, February 27th, The Clorox Lounge will be kicking off their Last Comic Sitting Contest and Sweepstakes.  All you have to do is visit the site and sign up to be entered to win.  You can also get additional entries for logging in each day and for leaving comments on the stories, photos or blog posts. 

If you’d like to share some funny potty moments in your life you’ll also be entered in the weekly community contests.  Every week, comedienne Sherri Shepherd will ask about a funny moment in your life and you’ll be entered to win a $100 gift card just for sharing your story.

They say that the potty is one place a busy mom can go to get a little break during the day – but I’m not so sure about that, especially if you have little ones who follow you everywhere.

We thought it was really difficult when our quadruplets were in diapers and we were so looking forward to the day when we could get rid of the hassle (and expense!) of diapers, but that’s when the hard part really started.  Potty training is a tough (and dirty) process, but try potty training FOUR kids at the same time. 

The trick that really worked for us was using rewards that suited each child.  Once you figure out what your kids’ currency is, you can really use that to motivate them.  For example, my two girls were thrilled to receive stickers for using the potty that they got to stick on their charts which we kept pinned to the bathroom wall.  My boys on the other hand wanted absolutely nothing to do with stickers – one only wanted trucks and the other was really into tools.  So we bought both “small” and “large” trucks and tools and let them see them, then put them away until they did their doody duty.  That really motivated them to keep trying and we’re now so glad to have survived and finally moved beyond the potty training period!

My quads are six now and they’re long past potty training, but that was one of the most difficult parenting issues we’ve faced so far.  It truly helps to keep a sense of humor, and a good toilet cleaning product handy!

I know you guys have some great stories and tips of your own, so be sure to head on over and share yours for a chance to win some awesome prizes, and even if you don’t win you will receive a $1 off coupon for Clorox products.

Disclosure – I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Clorox® blogging program, for 8,000 My SocialMoms Rewards Points. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

 

Whoohoo – I’m Bound for Blissdom!

L to R - my mom, Heather from Inexpensively.com, Kay Lynn from Bucksome Boomer and me.

I enjoyed the Blissdom blogging conference last year so much that I’ve really been looking forward to this year’s conference – and now I’m on my way!  I’m taking my mom with me and we’re driving up to Nashville for the weekend.  I’m super excited to have the opportunity to watch a live Dave Ramsey radio show and take a tour of Financial Peace Plaza.  I’m also thrilled to be attending a meet and greet dinner tonight with a bunch of fabulous frugal bloggers and I can’t wait to see some old friends, make some new ones, and share the pictures with you here and on the Facebook page.

 

Keeping Children Safe During Winter

According to the Centers for Disease Control accidents are the leading cause of death for children and over nine million children suffer from non-fatal injuries each year.  In addition, dangerous weather causes hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries each year.  Champions for Kids is mobilizing millions through SIMPLE service projects and they’ve partnered with Energizer for the Light Up A Life campaign and I’m proud to be participating with a SIMPLE service project of my own – make a winter emergency kit and deliver it to the Ronald McDonald House.

We live in south Alabama but the nearest regional children’s hospital is in Florida, which is where I gave birth to quadruplets six years ago.  The babies had to stay in NICU for a month after they were born so we were offered a room at the Ronald McDonald House next door to the hospital.  There were so many other babies in NICU, way too many kids in the children’s ward, and lots of other people in need of that room so we decided to stay with family members who didn’t live too far away.  When the babies were three months old our two identical boys both had to have surgery for pyloric stenosis so were back at the hospital over the Christmas and New Year holidays.

These experiences have really shown us how important it is that we protect the health and safety of children everywhere and we believe that it’s important to give back whenever possible.  The kids enjoy doing things like delivering gifts to the children’s ward at Christmas and they’re thrilled to be helping plan a winter emergency kit for the Ronald McDonald House.  While we don’t typically experience snow, ice or other similar hazardous winter weather here in the south, we do experience other weather hazards like tornadoes, flash flooding and hurricane season will be here before we know it so we plan to shop this week for items like:

  • Bandages
  • Bottled Water
  • Hand Wipes
  • Batteries
  • Flashlights
  • Weather Radio

Then we’ll get our package bundled up in some sort of a storage container and deliver it to the Ronald McDonald House.  Can you think of a deserving shelter, school, religious organization or other organization near you that could use a winter emergency kit?  Please visit Champions For Kids to learn more about doing a SIMPLE Service Project in your community and help to meet the goal of mobilizing 20 million people by 2020.

Disclosure – This post has been compensated as a part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias, however all thoughts and opinions are my own.  Thanks so much to #EnergizerCFK and #CBias!