Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Fight Back to School Germs with PURELL! #PURELL30 #ad



Back to School!  We just received our teacher assignment and supply list for this year and all of our Open House information.  Two thoughts crossed my mind, first "summer can't possibly be over" and second "here comes cold and flu season".  I can't possibly stretch summer out any more than it already is but thanks to PURELL Advanced Hand Sanitizer I can start the PURELL 30 Day Challenge with our family and increase our chances of staying healthy and happy this school year! The Challenge just asks for you to use PURELL Advanced Hand Sanitizer for 30 days.  In fact, a study showed that using PURELL Advanced Hand Sanitizer three times a day for 30 days can help reduce the risk of getting sick.


A recent study by a research team lead by Dr. Charles Gerba shows that using PURELL® Advanced Hand Sanitizer virtually stops the transfer of germs within a home.

We headed to our favorite place, our local Target to get all we needed for our school supply list.  We were swimming in a list of 48 pencils, tissues, sanitizing wipes, dry erase markers and more.  We made sure to grab our fair share of PURELL products such as, PURELL Advanced Hand Sanitizer, PURELL Hand Sanitizing Wipes and the PURELL Advanced Hand Sanitizing Gel.   I loved how organized the shopping experience was and the employees were so eager to help me find anything that wasn't on the shelf.  Also, their prices are awesome!  I was able to save an extra $9 with Cartwheel and a Back to School coupon!


They even offer smaller, take-along options with the PURELL Advanced Jelly Wraps these are perfect for everyone on your list.  Just think of all the places they could go! 
  • Recess/Gym Class
  • On the field
  • On-the-Go Parents
  • School Bus
  • Cafeteria
  • Play Dates

What are some of your favorite PURELL products?  We will be starting the challenge on Wednesday, August 12, 2015.  I think this will be perfect to form good habits with our son for school and we would love for your family to join us for the #PURELL30.




This post was sponsored by GOJO Industries, the makers of PURELL Advanced Hand Sanitizer.  The opinions are completely my own based on my own experience. 

Friday, July 31, 2015

World Breastfeeding Week #MyBFStory


World Breastfeeding week starts Saturday August 1st until Friday August 7th.  This World Breastfeeding Week, WABA calls for concerted global action to support women to combine breastfeeding and work. Whether a woman is working in the formal, non-formal or home setting, it is necessary that she is empowered in claiming her and her baby’s right to breastfeed.

Who knows how awesome it is to talk to other moms about breastfeeding?   It's a task, that sometimes, feels like we are all alone in.  So finding others to share your story with is always comforting. This week MAM is hosting an awesome giveaway just for moms who share their breastfeeding story. 


Breastfeeding is natural, beautiful and healthy; what breastfeeding is not is easy for all moms like most of the conversations online would have you believe! MAM believes that we all can benefit from honest, candid dialogue about breastfeeding between real moms so please share your personal story and your advice for new/expectant moms at http://bit.ly/MAM_MyBFStory with #MyBFStory. MAM will choose their three favorite stories to win a $100 gift card!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Annie in Charlotte! {Review}




Leapin’ Lizards! One of the world’s best-loved musicals is back! The timeless story. The classic characters. The unforgettable songs. Featuring the beloved book and score by Tony Award®-winners Thomas Meehan, Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin, ANNIE includes such unforgettable songs as “It’s the Hard Knock Life,” “Easy Street,” “I Don’t Need Anything But You,” plus the eternal anthem of optimism, “Tomorrow.” Don’t wait until tomorrow. Get your tickets today! 


This is a perfect show for those young and old!  I used to dream of seeing Annie on stage when I was little girl.  And being able to see it in person as an adult was quite surreal.  We brought our nine year old son along and he was enamored from the very first second until the curtain call.

The story stays true to the Annie we all know and love.  Annie, a loveable little orphan holds a locket and note, which gives her hope that her parents will come back to claim her. The role is played perfectly by Issie Swickle, who brings such heart to her role. She and the other orphans are under the rule of the mean, Miss Hannigan, played with wicked comedy by Lynn Andrews, a woman caught in the depression without any help, having to take care of little girls, which she loaths. Her character kept the audience laughing hysterically and the children terrified.  Annie is introduced to billionaire, Oliver Warbucks, played by Gilgamesh Taggett, who asks his personal assistant, Grace Farrell, played by Ashley Edler, to find an orphan to join his home Christmas celebration. This show is a feel good play with a simple story of how a positive attitude always wins. The whole cast is wonderful, but little Miss Lilly Mae Stewart, who plays the youngest child in the orphanage, Molly, stole my heart and many others, that's for sure! 

I can't forget to mention the amazing set design.  It was like nothing I'd ever seen before, every scene transported you right into a new place.  The city of New York, the orphanage, Daddy Warbucks house with the beautiful Christmas tree, the White House, etc.  My husband and son were in awe of the awesome sets.  If you haven't gotten your tickets yet be sure to do so, such a wonderful evening for the family!

Check below for our favorite moments in between intermission!



I received complimentary tickets from Blumenthal Performing Arts for me to attend this event. Any opinions expressed are mine and my families, but we're sure you'll agree.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Dirty Dancing in Charlotte! {Review}




DIRTY DANCING – THE CLASSIC STORY ON STAGE is an unprecedented live experience, exploding with heart-pounding music, passionate romance, and sensational dancing.


"Nobody puts baby in a corner" "I carried a watermelon?!" "This is my dance space" and these are just a few of the classic lines from this classic movie! Whether you are a dance fan or not, this is a show for everyone. If you love the movie, you won't be disappointed.  They bring the movie to life and even added in some history that was relevant to the time it was in.  I was blown away by the production of it all. The way that they moved from scene to scene with just a few pieces moved, or a screen projection.  The dancing was great and had everyone from young to old, dancing in their seats.



They had a live band set up which took the live music element to a whole other level, which I loved!  I owned the original Dirty Dancing movie soundtrack, so I knew every song word for word and anticipated the next song coming up.  A few of my favorite songs from the movie would play, but there wouldn't be lyrics sung.  That was really the only negative I found with the show.  The biggest shocker was Patrick Swayze's "She's like the wind."  We heard a, maybe, 30 second snip of the song and no singing. 


Be sure to grab your tickets today! 
Performance Schedule

Tue, June 16 at 8:00 PM
Wed, June 18 at 7:30 PM
Thu, June 19 at 7:30 PM
Fri, June 20 at 8:00 PM
Sat, June 21 at 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM
Sun, June 22 at 1:00 PM and 6:00 PM

The star of the night for me wasn't Baby or Johnny but the stunning Elizabeth, played by Jennlee Shallow.  Most of the shows popular songs were song by her.  Her voice reminded me of Jennifer Hudson and I can see that girl on Broadway!  She is quite the powerhouse!


By the time the iconic line, "Nobody puts baby in corner" was said the nostalgia kicked in for all of us and we were swaying back and forth as they started their dance and we were all clapping during the infamous lift!  We were along for the ride and I was definitely having "the time of my life".  The show ended and the cast was greeted with a standing ovation.  We all left, ready to dance the night away!





I received complimentary tickets from Blumenthal Performing Arts for me to attend this event. Any opinions expressed are mine and my families, but we're sure you'll agree.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Michael W. Smith: Sky Spills Over {Music Video Premier and Album Giveaway}







Michael W. Smith released his newest album “SOVEREIGN” earlier this month! He is releasing a brand new video of a single from the album “Sky Spills Over,” today and we are so excited to share it with you!

Michael W. Smith is excited for the video and said,  "I’m really passionate about the song SKY SPILLS OVER. It was fun creating it in the studio and I’ve been overwhelmed at the response it gets when we perform it live every night. My son Ryan is a really talented filmmaker so I always enjoy working with him on a project. But what made this project even more special was that 3 of my own grandkids were in the video. This video was a lot of fun to make. I hope people enjoy it!"



As an added bonus, one lucky reader will receive their very own copy of Michael W Smith's latest album, Sovereign!  All you have to do, is tell us your favorite season and why!  Yep, it's that easy!





"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:
“Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Friday, May 22, 2015

Hillsong United: EMPIRES {Review & Giveaway}


There are very few artists that I will rush out and buy a physical album the day it's released for anymore.  Hillsong Worship just so happens to be one of those.  I was given an advanced copy of their latest album and was over the moon when I saw it in my mailbox!

UNITED are committed to writing songs that speak truth, create a unique sound, connect with churches, individuals and ultimately connect people everywhere with God.  UNITED serve in church as a part of the wider Hillsong Worship and Creative team when they are home. 

This album did not disappointment and has been on constant rotation in my car, since I received it.  My personal favorite from this album is: "Even when it hurts".  The lyrics, Even when the fight seems lost, I'll praise You.  Even when it hurts like hell, I'll praise You.  Even when it makes no sense to sing, louder then I'll sing Your praise, speak right to me.  I remember going to church and seeing people lift their hands up during worship and not understanding the concept.  Now, as an adult, I raise my arms and sometimes even cry during worship.  I know now, those people went through something, just as I have, they're all in and know exactly where their help comes from.  Those lyrics reminded me of that just over pouring of His great praise.  No matter how bad it gets, I will always sing your praises.

As an added bonus, I have an extra copy of their latest album to giveaway to a lucky reader!  To enter please leave a comment below telling us what you're looking forward to doing this summer.  For bonus entries feel free to share on social media and link back to those in another comment!







"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.  Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa {Review}

We have planned our dream Disney vacation for years but things would come up and money was tight and we wouldn't make it.  Finally, right after our son turned 9 years old, we made the trip!  Driving nine hours and packing for a week long vacation and hoping everything goes according to plan is a scary thing for someone with anxiety issues.

When we pulled up to Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa, all of our fears melted away.  We walked into a beautiful lobby with ceilings that seemed to stretch on forever, and we're then taken down a red carpet to the check in desk.  We were greeted with our room keys, a calendar for their awesome kids events and all the information we would need.  Once we got on the elevator we noticed it only allowed you to go to another floor with a room key, so that was really awesome knowing how secure it was!

The moment we walked into our two bedroom suite, we were in awe.  It felt just like home and maybe even a little better.  We stayed in the Antigua suite, which features 2 bedrooms and 2 baths in 1080 square feet of family space and sleeps up to six.  So there was more than enough room for our family of 3!  We loved the full sized living area that led right out to a full balcony with a view of the awesome pirate themed pool.  Another plus was the full kitchen, we were able to cook several of our meals and save some money!  This suite also has a washer and dryer, which really came in handy after long sweaty days at the parks and for our swimsuits after splashing around in the pool!  Now, for the real reason we will be coming back to this awesome resort... the master suite!  For a mom, that never takes time for herself, to walk in and see that amazing Jacuzzi tub in our room, it was just what I needed to start my vacation right!  I loved that our son had his own separate room with DVD player that gave him a place to unwind at night.  Below, I've included photos I took from my phone to share for social media.  THAT was our suite, pretty "sweet" suite, right?!


The resort offers lots of amenities which include a gorgeous Spa and Fitness center, convenience store with Pizza Hut, pirate themed swimming pool and also a quieter pool (usually kid free) and a wonderful restaurant, Frankie Farrell’s Pub & Grille onsite. We went to Frankies one night and every dish we ordered was incredible.  It was pretty pricey, even with the coupon they gave us, it also included gratuity which we thought was strange.  It was a great meal and it was nice to be able to walk right back to our room afterwards.  Below is a collage I created from images of the resort that are on the resorts website. 



Lake Buena Vista is a Walt Disney World Good Neighbor Hotel, which means you can buy tickets for the parks on site, they offer transportation to and from the parks and they are located conveniently to all of the Disney magic!!

I would highly recommend the Resort and think it's a great off property location for any family vistiting in the area.  What do you think?  I would love to know if any of my readers have had experience with Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa.

Be sure to follow them on social media:


Disclosure: Lake Buena Vista Resort & Spa provided my family a two-bedroom suite in order to facilitate this review. No monetary compensation was received. As always, this is my honest opinion. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Christy Nockels: Let it be Jesus {Review & Giveaway}


Over the years I've added more and more Christian music to our home.  We actually only listen to Christian radio in the car because it's the only stations I can trust that aren't going to be inappropriate for my nine year old son.  I was more than excited to receive Christy Nockels new album, "Let it Be Jesus".  Christy Nockels is a Contemporary Christian Artist that has been entertaining audiences for many years, she has also been an integral part of Passion Conferences from its inception in 1997.

Nockels, a pastor’s kid, was born in Fort Worth, Texas and raised in Oklahoma where she grew up singing in the church. She met her husband, Nathan, at a Christian Artists Seminar and later formed the group Watermark.

Let it be Jesus is one of those albums, no matter where you are when listening to it, you're going to want stand in Worship.  My favorites include, "Wonderful Name", "Let it Be Jesus" and "Who can compare".  There are many days when I feel overwhelmed with work, being a mom and wife and all I need is a great worship album to remind me how much I have to be hopeful for.  This is one of those albums that will be on constant rotation in my car for those moments!  If you're a mom that loves to worship in the car, or if you know one that does, this makes the perfect Mother's Day gift!  It's available now on iTunes!

You can connect with Christy on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!  

As an added bonus, I have a few copies of her latest album to giveaway to some lucky readers!  To enter please leave a comment below telling us some of your favorite Christian Worship bands/singers that you enjoy listening to.  For bonus entries feel free to share on social media and link back to those in another comment! 




"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.  Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Friday, March 20, 2015

Our surprise #DisneySide birthday party!


I received free products in order to host a Disney Side @ Home Celebration.  The opinions expressed here are my own.


For months we've been planning our very first family trip to Orlando.  The only thing is, we've had to keep it a secret from our son.  We wanted to wait until his 9th birthday to spill the beans.  So when I was chosen to host a Disney Side @ Home Celebration I was stoked because I knew exactly what we would do. 


We invited our closest friends and family to a local restaurant, the boys favorite, Buffalo Wild Wings.  Everyone got there about 10 minutes before my husband and son walked in.  Our son believed it was just the three of us coming to dinner and he was extremely surprised!  We had 24 people come out to celebrate our boy and we are so blessed to have so much love around him!  Every guest went home with a goody bag filled with coupons from a few of Disney's sponsors, Photo paper, Disney luggage tags, Mickey & Minnie themed treats and a family tree to complete at home.  We played some Disney trivia, and were surprised at how much our family and friends knew!


So thankful that my kit included a Mickey cake pan.  Our friend, and fellow blogger, Kerry not only came to celebrate with us she also made our amazing Mickey cake.  It tasted just as good as it looked!! 


To end the evening, we had our boy open our gift for him.  I included a poem on the envelope of the card to kind of explain the contents of the box.  Excuse the horrible hand writing, I wrote it on the fly minutes before guests started to arrive.


The box included three Disney themed t-shirts and a LEGO luggage tag.  At the end of the box he picked up the envelope and read it again and then it clicked and he said, "Am I going to Disney?" we shook our heads yes and he said, "REALLY?  YAY!!!"  This look alone was worth all the wait and the planning! 


The party couldn't have went better, and we are so thankful we were able to incorporate so much of our Disney Side in our surprise party for our boy!  So, Walt Disney World, The Downing's are coming for you this May!  We can't wait! 



I received free products in order to host a Disney Side @ Home Celebration.  The opinions expressed here are my own.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

It's halftime folks! {Personal}

Wow, 9 years old.  We've reached halftime with you!  Just 9 more before you start choosing which college you will attend.

This year's favorites:

Food: Mommy's Chicken and Dumplings (same as last year)
Sport: Basketball (same)
TV Show(s): Once Upon a Time, Under the Dome and Shark Tank
Best Friend(s):  Samuel, Jacob H, Kenan and Kalon
Teacher: Miss Seamster (hasn't changed since 1st grade)
Song: Jealous- Nick Jonas
Singer: Ed Sheeran 
Book(s): "The Magician's Nephew"
Toy(s): LEGOs
Movie(s):  I am Sam, Big Hero 6, Mr Peabody & Sherman
When he grows up he wants to be: "In the Air Force just like my Uncle Chase, I wanna fly planes and protect our country."

As I went through pictures over the last year I realized how many great memories were made.


This year you:
  • probably read close to 100 books, no joke.  
  • were baptized.  You sang with the children's choir at Elevation Church and One7 ministries. You also brought over 15 friends to church with you, we love seeing your passion to spread the Gospel. 
  • volunteered your time to help others (we love your generous heart)
  • became a Godbrother.  Paxton is a lucky boy to have you to look up to.
  • attended your first concert: Elevation Worship at Time Warner Cable Arena
  • visited: Raleigh, Sanford and Lake Lure
  • played Basketball
  • lost: PawPaw {your great grandfather}
  • played Minecraft, Pokemon Omega Ruby and Disney Infinity
  • fell in love with your Uncle Chase, he's probably your favorite person besides mommy and daddy.
Yes, there were sassy attitudes, tears, many fights about cleaning your room and more in between but those are the highlights. You are such an amazing kid.  We are inspired by your huge heart for others and can't wait for you to be a Big Brother!  You amaze us every single day and remind us how lucky we are to be your parents.  We can't wait to see what the next year will bring!
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