Local Events: Augusta on Ice

Last night my family and myself got the pleasure of checking out Augusta on Ice. It’s a local event that includes ice skating, an ice slide, train rides, Santa visits, and food and drink. I’m all about community events so I was stoked to go and check it out. Plus, it’s not everyday that you get to play on the ice in Georgia!

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Growing up in the north (Michigan) sledding and ice skating was just a typical winter activity. I forgot how much I missed it but loved that I could get that winter feeling here in my new home of Augusta. I also love that I was able to give my kids a glimpse of what my winters were like growing up!

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The kids had a blast sliding down the ice slide and racing cars down the ice ramp. Augusta on ice is definitely family orientated and had a lot of smaller activities to keep the kids occupied and entertained.

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The highlight of Augusta on Ice is definitely the ice skating. There is no extra fee to rent skates and they have sizes for everyone. Since it was our kids first time on ice, they had “skate helpers” there to assure that they felt comfortable until they could get the hang of it. They never really were able to skate around without the helper but I didn’t expect them to be able too!

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Everett was mad when it was time to leave as you can tell by this picture and of course his little sister needs to try to emulate the arms crossing.

I would suggest everyone go out and give Augusta on Ice a shot; especially if you have little ones. It’s a fun afternoon / evening out experiencing winter activities.

Details:

Augusta on Ice
836 Reynolds Street
Augusta, GA 30901

Currently open now through January 6th, 2018.

Check out Augusta on Ice’s website here for specific hours and special events.

Meet Carla

My best friend and I have a very strange but amusing relationship. We’ve been friends since first grade (25 years!) and we just kind of get each other. We live 12 hours away from each other so distance is a total jerk but we make the best of the situation. We’ve started a new tradition where we take a girls only trip once a year, we text every so often, and sending the occasional package.

The day before Halloween a package showed up addressed to the “Pinecone family.” My last name is Piccione but telemarketers often mispronounce it and call me Erin Pinecone. Well, I knew it was from her. I also knew the contents were going to be strange because that’s just who we are as people.

I opened the card and inside it said “I tried to find the weirdest things I could on Etsy.”

I was filled with excitement and terror all at the same time. 

Sure enough.

A taxidermy Guinea Pig.

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Meet Carla.

I laughed until I cried. Being a vet tech you’d think this sort of thing wouldn’t fly with me, but I’m the exact opposite. I find it unbelievably humorous. The pet Guinea pig wasn’t murdered for the reason of being mounted on my wall, she [or he] lived a happy little pig life.

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So, I think I win the strangest Halloween gift recipient contest. If that were a contest.

I can’t forget to mention the fact that this package also contained a vagina pin. The pin that you stick on your clothing, bag, wherever is the exact replica of a vagina. I’m afraid if I post a picture someone will flag my blog post for pornography.

Back to School at Walmart with Pilot G2 Pens

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MyGo2Pen #CollectiveBias

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I don’t know about you, but I am a huge overachiever. I love being organized; creating lists for every day tasks, my goals, for everything! How do I get this done, you ask? Well, I do this by using my go-to pen, Pilot G2, of course; America’s #1 selling pen brand.

The G2 product line includes four point sizes, 20 vibrant color options; it is the only gel ink pen that offers this level of customization – because, after all, pens aren’t one size fits all.

These assortments are only available at Walmart so make sure you get the pen that works just as hard as you do #MyGo2Pen

Only Walmart carries the G2 Premium Gel Roller 10-pack with bonus pen. They also have 4-packs available so make sure you get the pen that works just as hard as you do.

The best part? You can save $.75 on any 4-pack (or larger) of G2 Pens if you shop now in the Back to School Season.

Teddy Soft Baked Filled Snacks

This post was sponsored by Nabisco as part of an Integrated Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

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This is my first year having to pack a lunch for two kids five days a week. I tried having my older son just have “hot lunch” at school but of course he wasn’t having it. Coming up with new and exciting things each week has been a challenge; I always try to pack mainly healthy things but add in a few fun things for them as well. I’m so excited to have found TEDDY SOFT BAKED Filled Snacks. They’re absolutely adorable and my kids go crazy for them!

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Aria, my three year old, is pretty easy to please when it comes to food. She’s always been the type of kid that will eat pretty much anything in front of her. So when I first showed her the TEDDY SOFT BAKED Filled Snacks I knew she was going to go crazy for them. I was right.

teddybakeseverettNow my almost 5 year old can be a little more picky. He is funny about the different textures in food so I was worried about the filling inside. Once he saw them, he was overly excited about the “cute little bears.” I knew then at least he would try them. Well, he did and loved them. In fact, after having the chocolate flavor he had to go right back for the vanilla.

Of course, one of the cutest moments with the TEDDY SOFT BAKED Filled Snacks happened as soon as I put my camera away. I gave them each one more of the opposite flavor we used in taking pictures. They started to play pretend on the table with them, having them dance around, and talk. It was absolutely adorable. I don’t usually encourage playing with food but it’s hard when the food is adorable little bears!

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TEDDY SOFT BAKED Filled Snacks are made with real ingredients. I feel comfortable giving them to my kids as a snack since they contain real things like milk and eggs! They contain absolutely no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial flavors, and no artificial colors which is another reason they’re allowed in little lunch boxes.

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Next time you’re out and about and need ideas for fun snacks around the house or for your kids lunch boxes make sure you stop at Walmart. TEDDY SOFT BAKED Filled Snacks are available at your local Walmart store in the cookie and cracker isle.

Nabisco is also holding a sweepstakes! Enter below at your chance to win one of twelve $50 Walmart Gift Cards or one of two $200 Grand Prize Walmart Gift Cards!

Nabisco Snacktime Sweepstakes

I-C will randomly select 14 winners from all program entries and will facilitate fulfillment of the winning prizes

Expectation vs. Reality: Aria’s First Day of School

My youngest, Aria, who just turned 3 in June had her first day of school this past week. She’s never been to any type of daycare or structured environment before so naturally I expected a few bumps in the road. She’s stubborn (I wonder where she gets that from, oops) and likes to test boundaries. She watched her brother get dropped off over last year at the school she’s attending so she seemed eager to go and play. She didn’t understand the concept that it wasn’t going to be a free for all. She’s learning. 

I picked her up from her first day and her darling teacher told me she had a rough time with a few tantrums. I expected it as she’s adjusting. Then later in the day the “first day of school” pictures were posted for the parents to see.

I about died. I laughed way too hard, then felt bad for a few seconds, and went back to laughing. This is going to be one of those gems that I can’t wait to show her when she’s older.

photo proof :

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The morning of with her nicely brushed hair and dress that she picked out. The afternoon at school with her hot mess hair and the most painful smile I’ve ever seen.

Now I’m writing this as she’s at her third day of school. Day two didn’t go much better but we’re working with her at home in hopes that she gets the hang of it sooner than later. I know how much she is going to benefit from going to this early preschool but I’m ready to not push it if she’s truly not ready. It’s a huge adjustment for her but I really think she’ll be able to figure it out. 

One Kids Back in School …

My oldest son, who is 4 and a half, went to a 3 day a week part time preschool last year. It was only for a few hours each time he went so I didn’t get the full experience of having a child in school. This year is different and I’m learning a few things.

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Everett started public preschool this year which is 5 days a week and it runs from 8:30 in the morning to 3 o’clock in the afternoon. It’s only the first week but he’s over the moon excited about this new adventure.

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Aria, who just turned 3, is going to be going to the same 3 day a week program that Everett went to last year. Hers doesn’t start for a few more weeks. She’s excited about it when we talk about school but she’s even more excited to not have her brother home during the day. They get along most of the time but there is always some kind of argument over toys, food, electronics, etc. She’s quickly learning that Everett in school means it’s a free for all when it comes to the kids things.

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So now, what am I learning? 

  • It’s amazing how quiet it is in the house with only one kid. It’s overly apparent to me now how much they feed off each other. No fighting and minimal crying.
  • I’m almost less productive when I seem to have more free time. It’s funny how this works but with less distraction around and more time to do things I need to do, I just want to do nothing.
  • Everett is overly independent when he wants to be. I think I was more nervous than him for his first day then he even was. He even used the phrase “Mom, you’ve gotta let me grow up.”
  • The house stays SO much cleaner when my son is in school. This leads me to believe all the times over the summer that he said “Aria made that mess” he was completely full of it.
  • There is an unreal amount of time spent in the car when they don’t offer busses and it’s only going to get worse when she starts school.
  • I’m way less of a morning person than I even thought I was. I’m used to getting up with them and taking my time to wake up and get moving. Now, with places to be at certain times, I actually have to move my ass and I’m not liking it. I work evening shifts so mornings are quite disgusting.

Big changes around here with schedules means major adjustment time for me. I’m one of those people that takes a while to build up a new routine. I’m sure come summer vacation, I’ll have it down.

 

Why I Cancelled My “Cheap” Subscription Boxes

I’m not writing this post to knock anyone or put down any specific subscription boxes or services.  I’m only going off my personal experience. As a subscription box fanatic, over the years, I’ve learned what I like and what does / does not work for me. So I’m purely coming from a place of personal experience.

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The number one box I just decided to cancel is one that super popular. You know, without naming any names, the one that comes with five items in a different bag each month? I enjoyed it for almost 2  years but then went though my makeup drawer a few weeks ago and noticed that 99% of the stuff piling up was from that bag! I wasn’t using even 25% of it so I was basically paying to stockpile my drawer with samples and my closet with little bags. Not worth it in the least for me. I hate clutter and every month I was just gaining more.

The next box I cancelled was from a very well known makeup store. It was the exact same situation. I was finding maybe one item every 3 months that I was enjoying and the rest was just being buried in the makeup graveyard.

Sample sized subscription boxes just don’t work for me. The problem is that I am on a budget but I also love what I call “happy mail.”

Since I cancelled those two boxes and saved myself $20 a month I decided to look around and see if there was anything else that would bring me the surprise mail joy but be more useful to me.

I found the Pop Sugar Must Have Box. It’s a little pricier than the sample sized boxes but 100% worth it.

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This was the box that I got from Pop Sugar in June. I’m loving instead of makeup that sits in my drawer, I’m getting an assortment of full sized products that are beyond just beauty. I’m a huge reader so seeing a box was exciting on it’s own.

All the boxes are themed. This June was geared for summer so you have the mermaid hair (amazing) the beach bag to keep your wet stuff separate, the hat for sun protection, and the book for relaxation.

The next box I decided to finally splurge on is Fab Fit Fun.

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Fab Fit Fun is by far my favorite seasonal subscription box. It comes 4 times a year but realistically I’d probably pay the $49.99 monthly if it were an option. This was the last box and I’m obsessed. It had about 10 products in it and I loved each and everyone of them. It had a combination of jewelry, accessories, and even a water bottle. I always see Fab Fit Fun being endorsed by celebrities and thought it was just a huge gimmick. That was until I gave it a try myself. 10/10 would recommend.

So while the “cheaper” options were fun for a while I’m happy I decided to splurge. I’m actually using and loving the products I’m getting and not just letting them collecting dust.

*note: this post DOES contain referral links.

With Pop Sugar Must Have box has a $10 off promo if you use my link.
Fab Fit Fun currently has a $20 off your first box if you use my link.

I get the same deals off my next box that you do!

What are some of your favorite subscription services? 

 

Crunchy [no bake] Protein Balls

I haven’t blogged too much nor posted often on social media about the recent changes in our families health. We’ve made some positive steps to get us on the right track to a healthier lifestyle. One of the biggest changes I knew I needed to make was nutritional. I’d happily survive off tacos, chicken nuggets, and candy if I had the choice but that kind of diet is really just doing me a disservice. I had to stop eating like a seven year old child all the time and needed to make better snacking choices.

Thus this protein ball was born. 

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I know there are a million different protein ball recipes out there. I’ve tried a few in the past but wanted something that was simple to make, packed full of protein to fight off cravings, was a little crunchy, and of course delicious.

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Crunchy [no bake] Protein Balls

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 24 balls

Ingredients

  • 2 cups steel cut oats
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1/2 cup peanut or almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 scoop of your choice in flavor of protein powder
  • 1/2 cup mini dark chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Add oats, chia seeds, cinnamon, honey, nut butter, vanilla extract, chocolate chips, and protein powder to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Combine all ingredients until they are evenly coated in honey and nut butter. The mixture will start to clump.
  3. With semi-wet hands, start to roll the mixture into evenly sized balls.
  4. Place on wax paper and chill for a few hours before serving.
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http://www.momtails.co/2017/07/crunchy-no-bake-protein-balls/

Besides for having a quick snack to grab on the go, the best part of these is that my toddlers are eating them! I love seeing my picky children getting extra protein and reaching for these instead of fruit snacks. Mom win.

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Second Child Potty Training Woes

We’re driving the struggle bus hard with potty training my second child. Aria just turned 3 in June and wants nothing to do with her potty. She doesn’t care if she’s wet, dirty, or have any interest in not wearing diapers. Whoever coined the phrase “boys are much harder to potty train”  didn’t meet my children.  I wrote a post back right before Everett turned three about how he basically potty trained himself. Maybe my expectations were that I would be able to follow her cue like I was with him but that isn’t happening, yet.

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Now, I understand the entire “wait till they’re ready thing.” I really do. It’s just we’re running out of time for her to be ready. I have her enrolled in a 3 day a week preschool program starting in August that they have to be potty trained for. I have been in contact with her teacher and they’re okay with sending her in a pull up but will call me if she has a “messy” accident. Knowing she always poops in the late morning, I don’t want to have to drive up there daily to go change her. My son went to this program last year and benefited so much from it. I don’t want to deny her the chance to do the same just because she doesn’t want to use the potty. So, we’re trying to encourage her the best we can.

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She’s doing her fake smile for the camera but in reality she’s really mad she has to sit there.

So what have we tried?

  • We told her about the “diaper fairy” who will come take all the diapers to babies who need them. We explained to her that she is a big girl now and can use the big girl potty. To make the diaper fairy sound more exciting we explained that she will leave her new big girl undies and a present. She could care less.
  • We let her use the iPad only while sitting on the potty. She loves messing around with the electronics and while she will sit there with it, she doesn’t want to actually go.
  • Tried motivating her with stickers. This girl loves her some stickers but when it comes to being rewarded with them, she doesn’t want tons to do with them.
  • I let her pick out her own big girl undies and told her if she goes in them we’re going to have to get rid of them. She seemed really upset when she “made hello kitty cry” but it hasn’t stopped her from doing it.
  • Currently going sans pants around the house. We’ll see if that helps. This might just be to help my sanity because I am getting extra sick of more laundry.
  • We’ve tried some of her favorite snack rewards. She just gets emotional and wants them wether she has gone or not.

So I know that time is really the only thing that is going to truly help her get ready. If she’s not there in 4 weeks then looks like I’ll be driving up to the school to change her. That sounds awful but I bet seeing other kids in her class using the bathroom could be beneficial to the process. The program has so many benefits academically and socially that I really don’t want her to miss out on.

Stay tuned and if you have any other tips on motivation, please share! 

Get a Productivity Boost

If you’re anything like me, you always have a running list of things that need to get done. I’m not talking about big projects either. I’m talking about the day to day stuff that you want to accomplish on a regular basis. I’m one of those people who gets overwhelmed and then just throws in the towel and get basically nothing done. That was until I started using the “Productive” app.

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I need to state that this not sponsored by them in anyway, shape, or form. I just really dig this app. I use it all the time and figure if it’s helping me so much, it’s bound to help others as well. I know I’m not the only one who struggles with things like this.

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I have the Productive app in a folder labeled “health” because lets be honest, being productive is totally part of my mental health. The more things on my to do list that I have weighing on me, the worse I’m bound to feel. The app is exactly what the icon looks like, list making.

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You’re able to go into the app and schedule yourself basically anything you want to be completed anytime you want. I’ll show you a few examples of how I set it up but it’s 100% customizable to your lifestyle. I have a few things set to be completed weekly, a couples of things that are done 3 times a week, and multiple things to be completed daily. I even have things that are to be done 3 times a day. The app lets you separate things to morning, afternoon, and evening.

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This is what it looks like from the inside. Basically a checklist that keeps track of how productive you’re being [if you remember to use the app]

It might look stupid to put things like brush and floss your teeth on there but I’m one of those people who really functions best when I get the gratification of checking things off. I have “drink some water” on my list several times a day just as that extra reminder. The app does send you notifications throughout the day to help keep you on track.

I really just love this app and wanted to share with all of you 🙂 Do you have any tips to staying on track with your day when your schedule is already full? Share in the comments or on Facebook! I’m always open to new ideas.