Champion For Kids Helps Provide Healthy Snacks For Kids #SnacksForStudents @Champions4Kids

Disclosure: This post was written for the #SnacksForStudents SIMPLE Giving program by Champions for Kids in conjunction with The Motherhood. A gift card was given for donation purposes. All opinions written are my own.

I was so excited to learn more about the Champion For Kids program because they do so much for children. I know what it is like to struggle financially and have relied on the kindness of others to get through each month. When Liam was on chemotherapy and we were at the doctor almost every day, providing healthy snacks for our boys was more than difficult. Now that Liam is doing better and even began pre-k this year, we wanted to do our part to give back. That's why we were more than happy to have his school, the Ralph Bunche Center, sign up as part of the Champions For Kids SIMPLE Giving program.
SIMPLE Giving began last year in central Arkansas Walmart stores and has now extended to many stores across the United States. The idea behind the Snacks For Students program is to provide schools with healthy snacks for over 10 million children in 2015! Last year alone they served over 5.6 million through in-store donations, service projects and community events. Now, you have a chance to help make their new goal a reality.

Champions for Kids, General Mills, Kellogg's, Emerald and Kettle Chips have joined together to make it simple for communities to provide basic resources for students via in-store donations. They want us to see just how easy it is to pick up a few extra items when shopping at Walmart. There are many children in need and the SIMPLE Giving program aims to help as many of these children as possible.

How can you help?
While shopping at more than 3,600 participating Walmart stores, you can purchase snacks and breakfast items for children and place them in designated donation bins located at the front of stores. There are community youth-based organizations and schools around your own community who will receive these donations. In addition, Champions for Kids, General Mills, Kellogg's, Emerald and Kettle Chips will award a total of $45,000 to participating school districts and youth-based organizations based on donations made at each store. So, if you donate, you have the potential to earn even more donations for your community! One snack, juice pack, or box of cereal can really make a difference in the lives of children.
We headed to our local Walmart in Canton, Georgia for our weekly shopping trip and to purchase our donations just recently. After talking to the manager at our store, I found out that they did not have a box set up due to the recent weather and shipping issues. That's okay because you can still buy a few items and drop them off at your local youth-based organization or school if you do not see a box.
The boys were ready to go shopping and picked the biggest cart possible when we got there. We headed around the store and searched for healthy snacks that the kids would love. The Pre-k program at Ralph Bunche has breakfast, snack time, and also lunch while at school, so Liam was very helpful with picking out the types of snacks they eat while there.
As you can see, Josiah was also quite excited. Cheerios are a huge hit in our home, so we were sure to get several boxes of those along with Rice Krispies, some juice boxes, chips, apples, and more. Needless to say, we had an entire cart full of goodies by the time we left.

We are dropping off all of our donations this afternoon, so check back for more photos in just a few hours. I can't wait to carry all the items into Ralph Bunche and hope the kids enjoy all of the healthy snacks. 


Celebrate #HeartHealthMonth with Cheerios + Ancient Grains & $15 Paypal Cash #Giveaway #ad #HealthySnacksHealthyHeart

Last year my husband had a wake-up call when the doctor explain to him that his lifestyle had to change immediately. He is a lawyer by profession, one of the most stressful jobs on the planet. That, coupled with his diet and lack of exercise, was not doing his body any favors. He'd gained quite a few pounds since we met many years ago and was also suffering from high blood pressure, so we knew it was time for us to become heart healthy.

My boys, including my husband, are all very picky eaters, so thinking outside the box has always been a must when in the kitchen. I thought eating healthier would make this more difficult, but it actually opened us up to a world of new food and recipe possibilities. Heart-healthy foods are those low in fats, sodium, and other ingredients that are bad for heart. There are many delicious foods that fit into this category, including three great new products from General Mills: Cheerios™ +Ancient Grains, Gluten Free Chex™ Granola Mix, and Nature Valley® Nut Crisp Bars.
Yesterday was our weekly shopping day, so I loaded up the kiddos and headed to our neighborhood Publix. We love our Publix and have gotten to know almost everyone at the Laurel Canyon location because they are so friendly. My kids actually look forward to going shopping there, which is a total miracle and makes shopping so much easier. Our first stop was the breakfast aisle for cereal. I was super excited to get our Cheerios™ +Ancient Grains because I love all Cheerios and wanted to give these a try.

As you can see from the photo, they were on sale this week (a buy one, get one free special). Plus, you can print the $.75 off Cheerios Publix coupon making them $1.44 a box! What a bargain!

Cheerios™ + Ancient Grains is so appealing to me not only because my husband and I love whole grains, but it also only has 5 grams of sugar! This delicious cereal contains quinoa, oats, KAMUT wheat, and spelt, making this a wholesome treat for the entire family. I knew exactly what I wanted to create with my new cereal and got to work on it as soon as I got home.

Fresh Fruit & Cheerios + Ancient Grains Probiotic Yogurt Shooters
This is a super easy recipe and something you can throw together for breakfast or snack time. You can use your choice of fruit and yogurt. I, however, love vanilla yogurt with bananas, grapes, and apples. Strawberries and blueberries are also great when in season. I didn't have shooter glasses, so I used some reusable containers that make a perfect snack size.
Fresh Fruit
1 cup Vanilla Yogurt
Cheerios + Ancient Grains
Just chop up your fruit to the desired size:
Then, create layers by placing a handful of one fruit, 2 teaspoons of yogurt, another fruit, etc. When you get to the top, add your Cheerios + Ancient Grains! This way they stay crunchy until it's time to eat. As you can see, I made two different cups. One has more yogurt added in for myself, but my kiddos prefer more fruit than yogurt, so the other is for my son. You can really make these to your own liking. That's the great thing about this recipe. Cheerios + Ancient Grains make a perfect topping for yogurt!

Ready For A Giveaway?
One Lucky Reader Will Win a $15 Paypal Cash Credit! (If the winner does not use Paypal, a $15 VISA Gift Card will be provided)!
To Enter just use the GiveawayTools Form below! This giveaway ends on Saturday, February 21st at 11:59pm.

Disclosure: The information, products and Publix gift cards were provided by General Mills through Linqia.

 breakfast - green tea


Preparing For A Big Day #Tomorrow with Kellogg's @KelloggsUS #BigDay #sponsored

Being a parent is overwhelming sometimes (understatement of the year), but there are ways to make each day a little easier and to plan for a better tomorrow. Mondays are especially hard for us because we honestly go off our schedule most weekends. Sunday night it is hard to get the boys in bed and, when 6:30am rolls around the next morning, those eyes are looking tired and the boys are usually moping. There are many ways to prepare the family for tomorrow and, once you establish a good routine, mornings really do get easier, I promise.

Mornings have always been tough for me because I am a night owl, so preparing the night before is key to a successful tomorrow.

What do we do to have a successful big day?

1. I check all book bags to make sure everything is ready to go. This means making sure the agenda/paperwork is signed and homework is completed/correct!

2. Make sure the laundry is finish, folded, and clothes are picked out for the next day. I hang both Josiah and Liam's clothes on the stairs next to their shoes so they can get up in the morning and immediately get dressed. I cannot tell you how much this has helped, especially with shoes because they always get misplaced. I used to run around like a mad woman trying to locate them.

3. I help the kids pick out a healthy snack to take with them to school. They especially love taking some dry cereal in a bag along with a juice for snack time. Liam loves picking out a snack! In fact, it isn't unusual for me to fill a cup with some dry cereal as a snack for myself. Cereal isn't just a breakfast food!

4. Ask the kids what they'd like for breakfast in the morning. Josiah wants cereal every single morning, so we have an entire cupboard of healthy cereal choices from Kellogg's. I didn't realize just how many we had until I started writing this post. One of his favorites is Frosted Mini Wheats because they are great dry or with milk.

5. Set the alarm and get some sleep! We are in bed by 8pm to ensure a good night of rest and I always set the alarm for 6:30am to make sure we have plenty of time in the morning. Running around late is never a good way to start the day.
How Do You Plan For The Big Day Ahead?

Kellogg's is a brand I've known, trusted, and purchased for many years. I suppose you'd say it is a tradition because my mom always had a variety of Kellogg's cereals in the pantry, too. Some Kellogg's cereal and milk in the morning is a great way to start the day, so that's exactly what we do!

Twitter Party Alert

I love Twitter parties and am so excited to announce the Kellogg's #BigDay #Tomorrow Twitter Party on Tuesday, February 10th at 12pm ET It will be hosted by The Motherhood and co-hosted by Dr. Travis Stork, star of the TV show "The Doctors"! He will share some great tips on staying healthy and having a successful big day by preparing the night before. In fact, he has already provided some helpful tips to share with my readers, some of which are similar to my own!

  • Lay out your clothes the night before to help streamline your morning routine.
  • Create a “must achieve” list for the morning to help yourself stop stressing about those tasks at night, leading to a more restful night’s sleep.
  • Plan out what to have for breakfast, and nothing is easier than setting out a bowl and spoon for a quick, nutritious and tasty bowl of cereal in the morning.
  • If you’re travelling or on-the-go, making sure to pack a nutritious snack (like a baggie of cereal) in your bag to help you avoid hitting the mid-morning lull and picking something unhealthy.
In addition to chatting with The Motherhood and Dr. Travis Stork, attendees will also have a chance to win some awesome prizes, including a $50 Amazon Gift Card, Kellogg's cereal, and other branded items!!! Children Teaching Mama will be joining the fun and we hope to see you there, too! If you'd like to join the Twitter party, be sure to use hashtags #BigDay and #Tomorrow! Also, don't forget to follow @ChildrenTeach, @TheMotherhood, @KelloggsUS, and @TravisStorkMD.


@MezzettaFoods Recipes To Remember This December #SharingJoy #MezzettaMemories #sp

Disclosure: This article is sponsored by Mezzetta Foods.

December marks that special time of year when joyous memories are made together with friends and family. As a parent, the holidays have become even more special for me. My kids are at the ages where everything is just astonishing to them, from light displays to the arrival of Santa, and I want to make the most out of every single moment. The holidays are a time of love, warmth, happiness, and family. Even though we are busy throughout the year, we always make time for friends and family during the holidays, visiting people we don't usually see during other times of the year. Most importantly, we load up the car and make the trek to NC around December 23rd to visit my parents. The ride is long, but knowing what awaits us each time makes every minute worthwhile.

Come the afternoon of December 25th, the door to my parents' home is full of friends, family, and, of course, food! It never fails that we try a new recipe each and every year, so this time was no different. I had a chance to try out Mezzetta products and couldn't wait to incorporate them into a recipe to remember.

Each year we have the usual holiday food items: ham, turkey, dressing, and assorted vegetables. However, this year my son, Liam, requested something a little different: pasta salad! So, I set out to make a delicious, memorable side dish that everyone would enjoy. There are several Mezzetta products I use often, but my two favorites are the Extra Virgin Olive Oil and huge Pitted Greek Kalamata Olives. I use the EVOO often when cooking as an alternative to vegetable oil and it has a great taste to it. The Mezzetta Kalamata Olives are absolutely amazing and really are HUGE! My oldest son was completely shocked when I purchased them a few years ago for the first time. Our entire family loves olives, so I knew combining these two products would make for a great side dish that everyone would enjoy. Here's my new recipe creation, Mezzetta Holiday Pasta Salad:

Speaking of things to remember, Mezzetta is holding an awesome giveaway with 31 days of winners! Yes, winners will be picked daily throughout December, so enter now for your chance to win a Mezzetta Favorites Holiday Gift Basket.
The basket includes:
• 100% Italian Estate Grown Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• Golden Greek Peperoncini
• Garlic Stuffed Olives
• Castelvetrano Olives
• Pitted Greek Kalamata Olives
• Roasted Marinated Red & Yellow Sweet Bell Peppers
• Cocktail Onions
• 1 Apron (from House Party contents)
• 1 Metal Olive Spoon (from House Party contents)
• 1 Tote Bag (from House Party contents)
• 1 Ceramic Bowl
Mezzetta is the perfect way to spice up the holiday season and give your recipes a zesty new flavor. Be sure to enter the giveaway today by clicking here!
Are you a huge Mezzetta Foods fan like we are? Could you eat olives or peppers every day and want to try a new brand? Be sure to get your $.50 coupon for Mezzetta products before going shopping to save some money!

What are your plans for this December? We will be traveling to my parents' house, but also celebrating again at my mother-in-law's house! That makes two incredible dinners for our family and I look forward to every minute each year.


Dr Pepper Snapple Group Gives Back To Communities & Has Many Innovative Ideas for 2015 #DPSBalance

Disclosure: This post was written for the Dr Pepper Snapple Group in conjunction with The Motherhood. All opinions provided are my own. Compensation was provided in exchange for my participation in the group meeting and post.

Just last week I was fortunate enough to be part of a panel of moms who participated in a virtual briefing with the Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPS)  As a huge fan of Dr Pepper, I cannot express how excited I was to be presented with this opportunity and I was bubbling with questions for the DPS team! Apparently, I wasn't the only one because all of the other participants were actively participating and asking questions throughout the meeting as well, which made for a very interesting and informative experience for all.
I learned so much about DPS and am going to share a bit of that knowledge with all of my readers. Before last week, I had appreciation for the Dr Pepper Snapple Group products, but I had no idea just how involved they are in the process of creating new and innovative products as well as participating in communities. I wasn't at all surprised to learn that they are the leader in flavored carbonated beverages. I have been a Dr Pepper fan for as long as I can remember and, if there is a soft drink to be purchased when at the grocery store, that's the one in my cart. It is also a favorite of my son, Liam, who would drink it all day if I let him. As you may already know, Dr Pepper is a culmination of 23 flavors. Of course, I had to ask the group what the flavors are because I sometimes feel like I taste caramel and cherry, but I was surprised when told that only 2 people know the secret ingredients contained in Dr Pepper, so it is just a mysterious as it is delicious!
Dr Pepper Snapple Group sells more than 50 brands of carbonated soft drinks, teas, juices, mixers, and other premium beverages, which include YooHoo, Hawaiian Punch, Mott's, and IBC Root Beer. They consistently stay at the top of the charts, with 6 of the top 10 non-cola soft drink brands in the business. How are they so successful? They take the creation of new drinks very seriously. In fact, a product they put on the shelf may have existed in over 40 different variations before the final product was approved! DPS actively listens to their consumers, wanting to give them exactly what they are looking for in a product. I find the entire process, from scientists to store shelves, so interesting.
Outdoor play is very important for a balanced lifestyle!
As someone who really strives for a healthy balanced lifestyle, it's always encouraging to find out a company has similar goals for their products and consumers. DPS also believes that healthy lives depend on balance. You should balance the calories consumed with the amount of calories burned through physical activity to stay keep healthy and fit. This is why DPS has set a goal for the upcoming year to focus at least half of all innovation projects on providing healthier options for consumers. This includes adding low- and no-calorie beverages, adding smaller portion options, and improving overall nutrition. They even took full-calorie beverages out of schools and hope to reduce the amount of calories consumed in beverages by 20% over the next 10 years!

Of course, consumers are very important to any business, but DPS really takes a hands-on approach to reaching their consumers and helping them also complete their own goals. I had no idea that DPS was so heavily involved in philanthropic organizations, causes, and projects for local and national communities. To date, more than 2,300 employees have spent time volunteering!
Playing Frisbee with family on Thanksgiving!

When doing their research, DPS found some very interesting facts, including that only 20% of children live near parks and 2/3 of children get less than an hour of play each day. It's no surprise that obesity rates have tripled when children aren't as active and also have poor eating/drinking habits. With all of this in mind, DPS began its $15 million 3-year Let's Play program in 2011 with KaBOOM!, an awesome non-profit organization dedicated to promoting active play. I've mentioned KaBOOM in prior posts on my blog and fully support their work encouraging children to get off the couch and play! Thanks to the partnership between DPS and KaBOOM!, 2,000 playgrounds were built or improved. The Let's Play program was so successful that they extended their partnership this year through 2016 with an additional $10 million from DPS with hopes of continuing the dream to provide children with safe and fun playgrounds for children and encouraging the entire family to stay active and lead a balanced lifestyle.

This year DPS also made a $1 million contribution to Good Sports as part of the Let's Play program. Good Sports is a national non-profit organization dedicated to promoting active play among older children by providing athletic equipment to disadvantaged youth. As we all know, participating in sports can be very expensive. Many children are not able to be a part of organized sports in their communities due to lack of funding, the cost of equipment, uniforms, and entry fees, so Let's Play has also expanded to also include individual children who "lack the opportunity to participate in organized sports due to the cost of equipment, uniforms, and entry fees. By the end of 2016, DPS will have donated more than $26 million to Let's Play.

Participating in this meeting gave me the opportunity to see how the Dr Pepper Snapple Group works from the inside out and I'm not an even bigger fan of their company. I'm utterly amazed at the dedication all the employees have for not only their products, but also for their consumers. DPS takes it a step further by focusing on consumers, what they want, and what they need, before moving forward each year. I have no doubt that DPS will succeed in their goals for 2015 and cannot wait to see what is in store for the future.

I hope this post gave you a but more insight into what DPS is all about. What was the most important fact you learned about DPS? How do you work to maintain a balanced and healthy lifestyle?

For more information on fun ideas for active play as a family and grants, be sure to check out the Let's Play website. While there, take the Let's Play Pledge to add more playtime to your schedule and spend time as a family outdoors! My boys would spend each and every hour outdoors if they could, so when it isn't too cold, that's where you will find us.

Disclosure: This post was written for the Dr Pepper Snapple Group in conjunction with The Motherhood. All opinions provided are my own. Compensation was provided in exchange for my participation in the group meeting and post.


Beautiful Personalized Holiday Cards With Snapfish & $50 Gift Code Giveaway #SnapfishBlogger

I look forward to the holidays for many reasons and having children just makes everything more exciting. Many of our family members live far away and this is why it is so important for us to make holiday cards each year and send them out. I used to buy cheap cards in the store before I had kids, but they are so impersonal! Snapfish is a service we have used for many years to purchase prints and I've always been very pleased with their fast shipping and quality items. This is why I was so excited to try out their holiday cards this year.

I'm the type of person who takes many, many photos each year. If we go somewhere special or have a special event, I am going to snap hundreds of photos. I love showing off my boys and how much they've gown each year. Personalized photo cards are the perfect way to show what we've done over the year and share our progress with family members and friends we don't see often. Snapfish has a huge variety of holiday cards from which to choose. The great thing is you can also choose the style and how many photos you want included.

This year has been very busy, so I just wanted a nice looking card with one family photo. My favorite was the Christmas Swirly 2014.

I just selected that as my option, uploaded our photo and was finished in no time. Not to mention, 20 cards is less than $20! I love the prices and all the different cards. Plus, if you are in a big time crunch, you can actually have Snapfish send out your cards for an additional cost. I'm all about making the holidays simple and this is the perfect way to do so.

Here is our family holiday cards for 2014:

Have you made your holiday cards yet? If not, don't despair. You still have a bit of time if you hurry. We want to help you with those holiday costs and, thanks to Social Chorus, two lucky from Children Teaching Mama and from This Mama's Life will win a $50 gift code to Snapfish! Just use the form below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post was created in partnership with Snapfish and Social Chorus. All opinions are my own.


A Holiday Donation To CaringBridge Can Do So Much #MC #sponsored

 I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for CaringBridge. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

I've written about CaringBridge many times in the past because they are very important to our family and many others around the world. This amazing non-profit organization provides an online community allowing family and friends to connect and receive report when they need it most. For our family, that time was when Liam was diagnosed with brain tumors and Neurofibromatosis. CaringBridge allowed us to share his journey with others and connect with other families going through similar situations. It is so wonderful to know support is available at the touch of a keyboard. Seeing comments each day, prayers, and wishes for Liam's wellness has been a much needed blessing.

When the Steinback family found out their daughter, Julia, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which consisted of three years of treatment, CaringBridge provided the constant emotional and physical support they needed, allowing them to share Julia's story with others.

This holiday season, we are so happy that Liam has a few months without chemotherapy and Julia's family is also excited that she is in remission. These are such amazing gifts for our families and we are all looking forward to making the holiday season the best yet!

CaringBridge not only provides support, but they rely on the support from others as well. They also need donations to continue their service and their WonderFull year-end giving campaign hopes to raise $1.2 million. Nearly 95% of funding comes from people who use CaringBridge, so if we also spread the word and others donate, just imagine how much more CaringBridge can do for others.

Be sure to check out the WonderFull campaign and make a tax-deductible donation if you can. The campaign also features match contributions from three generous donors ranging from $10,000 to $25,000! We wish CaringBridge luck receiving just as much support as they offer so many families each and ever year. Families like the Steinbacks and our own family really need all the support they can get during tough times and you can help make that a possibility.
I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for CaringBridge. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.


Spread Awareness For RSV Prevention & World Prematurity Day #MC #RSVAwareness #PreemieProtection #sponsored

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for MedImmune. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Today is World Prematurity Day and I'd like to share a story that is very near and dear to my heart. Sunday, September 27th, 2009 was a very scary, yet important, day for our family. My husband had a stomach virus all weekend and, as I was feeling miserable, I was certain he'd passed it on to me. By 4pm, my stomach was hard as a rock and I was afraid that maybe I was actually having contractions, so we headed to the hospital, praying everything would be okay. Liam Alexander DeBord was born a few short hours later due to a placental abruption, which meant an emergency C-section had to be performed immediately. When he was born, he cried with vigor and weighed over 7 pounds even though he was 5 weeks early. The doctor thought this was a very good sign, but within minutes, they noticed he was having issues breathing. Being premature, Liam's lungs had not fully developed and, for the next three days, he needed assistance via breathing tubes and intubation. This was such a scary, uncertain time for our family and one that will never be forgotten. Thankfully, our doctors and nurses were absolutely amazing and helped us with every little obstacle in our way.

While Liam was in the NICU, my husband and I were required to take a special preemie class before bringing him home with us. During this class, we met many other parents of preemies and got to also hear their stories. Listening to each of them talk about their little babies, some of which were only a pound or two at birth, was not only educational, but reinforced the importance of prenatal care. We were lucky that Liam was only in the NICU for two weeks. Many of the other babies had been there for months and months.
Liam only a few hours after he was born!
Part of the class was also dedicated to infant breathing, infections, and prevention of those possible infections and viruses. RSV Prevention was at the top of the list and something the teacher taught about in great detail. While RSV is a typical seasonal virus for full-term children that causes mild to moderate cold-like symptoms, it can be extremely dangerous for preemies. In fact, preemies are 2x more likely to get RSV! This is one of the reasons no other children are allowed in the NICU and there is a visitor limit set.

I have to admit that I knew little about RSV before I took this class. The truth is, one out of three mothers has never even heard of RSV. Liam was our second child and this class was the first time I'd heard about it! Even scarier, one of the smaller babies in the NICU had RSV and it was quite an ordeal of the preemie who already struggled with breathing before her symptoms began. RSV quickly became very close and personal for our NICU family and something we were vigilant to prevent.

What are the symptoms of severe RSV Disease? The most prevalent symptoms are coughing and wheezing, along with trouble breathing. If your child is having trouble breathing, such as rapid, difficult, or gasping breaths, please contact a medical professional immediately. Other symptoms include a temperature of 100.4 or more, extreme fatigue, difficulty feeding, and bluish coloring around the fingernails and mouth, which is caused from lack of oxygen.

Remember, there is NO treatment for RSV, so it's very important for parents, close friends, and family members to help protect children by taking preventative steps year-round. RSV is very, very contagious and can be spread through touching, sneezing, and coughing. During RSV season, these are some very important steps to preventing RSV disease:

  • Frequently wash hands, toys, and bedding.
  • Avoid crowded areas and other young children.
  • Never let anyone smoke around your baby.
  • Stay away from others who are sick and/or contagious.
 I cannot stress enough just how important it is to stay vigilant and to prevent against RSV. I was shocked to read that RSV disease is the leading cause of hospitalization for babies during their first year of life. There are approximately 125,000 hospitalizations in the United States each year and up to 200 infant deaths caused by RSV disease. This is why, as parents, we must educate ourselves and also continue to educate others about the dangers of RSV disease. Prevention is key and something we practice year-round. My kids wash their hands frequently while at school and I make them wash hands as soon as they get home, too.

What do you do to prevent RSV disease in your home? Do you know anyone who has had RSV? Please share this post with any parents, caregivers, or parents-to-be! Do your part to help prevent and spread the word about RSV disease!

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for MedImmune. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

CaringBridge Connects People With The Healing Power of Words #MC #sponsored

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for CaringBridge. I received product a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

I've shared information with you in the past about my son, Liam, and his experiences with Neurofibromatosis and his diagnoses of brain tumors, something he will fight the rest of his life. When he began chemotherapy about two years ago, we met with a social worker for the very first time who suggested checking out CaringBridge to not only connect with others going through similar health issues, but to share our story with others.

As a blogger, I've learned just how powerful words can be. I simple comment of support can really turn a bad day into something better. Other days, I just feel overwhelmed and, though I fail to express my emotions aloud, writing them out would be so therapeutic and CaringBridge was the perfect way for me to really get out my feelings and share our story with others.
CaringBridge was created in 1997 as a place for people to remain in contact with friends and family members to receive support when they need it most. Just as we learned, CaringBridge is an amazing way for people to navigate a very emotional journey, to share support and to receive support.

If you know someone who could benefit from what CaringBridge has to offer, please share this post with them and also let them know you care. A quick note, visit, email, or hug can really make a difference and brighten someone's day. Let them know that not only are friends and family there, but CaringBridge offers an entire online community that is supportive, caring, and understanding.

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for CaringBridge. I received product a promotional item to thank me for my participation.


Build Your Phone Plan With Virgin Mobile Custom #CustomMom #MC ##SprintMom #Sponsored

I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Influence-Central for Sprint. I received a device to facilitate my review. 

Last month I was so excited to attend an event with several other Atlanta bloggers to learn about Virgin Mobile's new Custom plan, which allows users to build their own phone plan exactly the way they want it to be. Of course, I love meeting up with other bloggers and, since my cell phone is with me at all times, I was very interested in learning more about Virgin Mobile. I, personally, had never used Virgin Mobile before, but have always heard great things about their service and plans. Meeting with Sprint/Virgin Mobile executives gave me the opportunity to learn more about them and to also ask questions!
With a room full of bloggers, I wasn't the only one who had questions. Luckily, the executives had everything perfectly planned with a PowerPoint presentation, handouts, and a variety of phones they offer.

In addition to the presentation and questions, we took a moment to eat some of the most delicious food! While we ate, the executives continued with their presentation. I was happily surprised when our lunch plates were replaced by dessert! Believe me, I was stuffed by the time I walked out of the building.
After the event, each blogger received a goody bag containing more information about the Virgin Mobile Custom plan, some other fun gifts like ear phones and a cup, and the big gift was our own cell phone! I couldn't wait to get home and play with my new toy. In addition, we received a $35 credit so we could try out the Custom plan ourselves.

About Virgin Mobile Custom
Plans start at only $6.98 per line, so you can also add on other family member. From there, you have complete control with Virgin Mobile's Custom technology. Do you use your phone more for text messages than talking? You can choose a plan with lower talk minutes and a higher text limit. Do you stay online and need more data? Custom allows you to pick and choose and set limits to your personal likings. As if this wasn't already enough, Virgin Mobile Custom stands out even more because, unlike other plans, you can adjust your plan any time you want. Yes, I said ANY TIME you want! If, in the middle of the month, you realize you didn't use as many talk minutes as you thought you would, simply go in and decrease your talk minute limit. So many other plans only allow you to only adjust up, but not with Custom. You can adjust up or down and you will be reimbursed via credit to your account when adjusting down!

Why This is A Great Option For Kids
My kids are much too young for phones, but not my niece and nephew. My parents made the mistake of giving them phones without any types of limits are controls, which backfired and cost them a ridiculous amount for data overages. With Virgin Mobile Custom, limits are already set, so they cannot go over. In addition, you can control which features they are allowed to use, from apps to texts. Another feature that is quite important is a curfew setting, allowing parents do decide when kids can and cannot use the phone. If you want children to study from 4pm until 6pm, all you have to do is set their phone and usage is blocked during those hours. I absolutely love this feature and, unlike my niece and nephew, I can rest assured at night that my kids aren't sneaking online when they should be sleeping, too! It's a great way to keep connected to your children and also keep them safe.

Staying Social With Custom
As someone who is online a great deal of each day, I am all about social media. Who doesn't check Facebook 500 times a day or go on Twitter to see what is trending? Virgin Mobile goes a step further with Custom's Special Offers by allowing users to choose add-ons to the plan. If you use Facebook as much as I do, you can pay $5 extra for unlimited monthly access to it! This means the time spent on Facebook will not count against your monthly data usage. They also have the option for unlimited Twitter, Instagram, and music, each for an additional $5! Looking at my phone, I noticed over 50% of my monthly data is spent on Facebook, so paying $5 would be a great way to save data for other use. 
Do you make International Calls often? Virgin Mobile Custom has several special minute offers for a variety of countries, including Mexico, Canada, India, and the Dominican Republic. You can also choose a World 100 International plan, which includes several different countries.

Our Thoughts
I received the LG Pulse ($79.99 retail), one of three phones especially made for the Virgin Mobile Custom plan. At such a low price, I was expecting a pretty basic phone, but I was completely wrong. The phone takes great photos, has room for apps, and has a wider screen with a crystal clear picture, making it perfect for watching videos, too. My children have pretty much taken over this phone because it is far superior to my other $600+ phone. I'm quite a fan of the bigger screen, too, making it easier to type text and read captions while watching movies. Since it can also connect to our wireless network at home, I've taken to watching movies on it at night before falling asleep because the battery lasts quite a while.

Setting up the phone was so simple, making the hardest part choosing how to build my plan. I simply set my phone and then it was ready for me to create a Custom account. Just as I explained above, I could choose which options I wanted included in my plan and with $35 to spend, I was able to create the exact plan I wanted with some to spare.

I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Influence-Central for Sprint. I received a device to facilitate my review.