The Mommyhood Life – Travel, Crafts, Food, and Florida Family Fun

Christmas

The Best Way to Keep Your Home Disinfected and Clean during the Holidays and into the New Year!


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This post was sponsored by GOJO, the makers of PURELL® Multi-Surface Disinfectant, as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

The Best Way to Keep Your Home Disinfected and Clean during the Holidays and into the New Year!

The holidays are here and that means I have a lot of guests at my house.  With friends Christmas exchange parties, Christmas dinner, and family get-togethers, I want to keep my house both disinfected and clean.  I just learned about PURELL® Multi Surface Disinfectant spray and have been using it every day!

We have always had PURELL® Hand Sanitizer throughout the house, but the PURELL® Multi Surface Disinfectant is a game changer for my cleaning routine.  It quickly kills germs without the harsh chemicals, so I can use it around the kids, pets and food worry-free!  During our holiday parties, we have a house full of kids, so I like to go through and clean the toy’s before and after the party to keep them germ-free. 

There is also a lot of cooking happening this time of year, so I love that I can use it to clean up my food-prep surfaces!  I pretty much use it everywhere!

We also moved this month, which was a huge task.  I used my PURELL® Multi Surface Disinfectant on every surface in our new home.

Top Reasons to Try PURELL® Multi Surface Disinfectant Now:

  • It is worry-free around kids, pets, and food.
  • It is approved for use on food prep surfaces.
  • There is no water rinse required when you use it on your food prep surfaces.
  • There are no harsh fumes, toxic residue, harsh chemicals, or bleach!
  • It contains the same germ-killing power of bleach without all the harsh chemicals.
  • You can use it in places you can not use traditional cleaners.
  • It disinfects and cleans at the same time.
  • It won’t stain clothes or fabrics.
  • It kills 99.99% of germs!
  • It can be used on both hard and soft surfaces.

Are you ready to get your home disinfected and clean for the new year?  PURELL® Multi Surface Disinfectant Spray is available online at Amazon.com, Jet.com, and Walmart.com.  As well as in-store at H-E-B and Publix.  Plus, it will soon be available in store at Shop Rite and Wakefern Food Corporation!  I bought mine at Walmart.com and took advantage of the great rollback price of $3.65!

 

 

7 Tips for Entertaining with Ease This Holiday Season!

This Post is Sponsored by Babbleboxx.com

7 Tips for Entertaining with Ease This Holiday Season!

The best part of the holidays is spending time with family and friends, making amazing memories.  Each year we have a family Christmas party on my mom’s side of the family, A friends Christmas get together, and another big party with my Dad’s side of the family on Christmas Eve.  We all take turns hosting these parties, so I know how easy it can be to get bogged down with the cooking and cleaning so that by the end of the night you realize you didn’t get to truly connect with anyone. 
That is such a crummy feeling to have, especially during the holidays.  So, I have a round up of 7 great items that will have your family thinking you’re a hosting superstar with ease so that you can find time to enjoy the festivities yourself!

Simplify the Hors D’oeuvres but keep them delicious with Castello Cheese.  These gourmet cheeses make creating the ultimate cheese board easy and tasty.  I tried the Aged Havarti, Gouda, and Traditional Danish Blue Cheese and every bite was delicious!  A cheese board is a perfect appetizer that can be made up in minutes.  Plus, if you don’t know what to pair together on your board, Castello has an online Custom Cheese Board Builder, that asks you several questions then creates a list of the best variety for your taste.

Keep your appetizers looking festive and stylish with Snowflake Hors D’oeuvres Picks from Cracker Barrel.
I am very impressed by the quality of these holiday picks, the kick the look of your tablescape up a notch, and they would also make perfect holiday gifts if you’re not the one hosting this year!
Use Code: SHOP30 to receive 30% off storewide.

Reduce fat and calories while also making sure the dishes will be easy to wash while cooking your holiday dinner, by using PAM Cooking Spray.  These non-aerosol cooking sprays have no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, and give you a superior non-stick cooking surface.  I love how these bottles make it easy to control how much I’m using, and not having to soak and scrub my pans after dinner is a huge win!
Download the ibotta app and you can earn cash back on your purchase of PAM Spray Pump.

Have something special on hand for the little guests, like these adorable Reindeer and Santa Glass Milk Bottles from Cracker Barrel.  These Christmas milk bottles will definitely bring lots of little smiles to your dinner table, and after dinner, they would make an adorable Christmas decoration too.
Use Code: SHOP30 to receive 30% off storewide.

Keep the four-legged guests happy too with Wellness CORE Natural Pet Food.  This 100% grain free dog food contains dried raw bites of 100% meat with no fillers.  The recipe is high in protein for lean body mass and muscle tone but best of all, it must be yummy because our Brady ate up his whole bowl before I had time to put the bag away.

After the pups have a nutritious meal of their own treat them to a WHIMZEES Daily Dental Chew.  These great treats contain all-natural ingredients, freshen your dog’s breath, promote gum health, and clean their teeth.  Plus, they look adorable, and the kids love that Brady is brushing his teeth with us now!

And of course, it wouldn’t be a perfect holiday party without some beautiful decorations.  Luckily Christmas Central has everything you could possibly need to make your home into a magical Christmas setting.  From lights and trees to table linens and candle holders, Christmas Central is your one-stop shop for holiday decor and you don’t even have to leave your house.


I am in love with their Snowy Pine Flocked Tree and Trim, it is stunning!  I can imagine curling up on the couch with some hot cocoa and just watching the lights twinkle.

Are you hosting over the holidays?  I hope these products help make your festivities exciting and let you host with ease.

 

The Non-Toy Gift Guide!

This post is sponsored by the Florida Prepaid College Board, through my role as a Believer Blogger. All thoughts are my own.

The Non-Toy Gift Guide!

When you look at most kids wish lists around the holiday, it is jam-packed with toys.  Between commercials on TV, the catalogs in the mail, and of course the unboxing videos on YouTube, the only thing on their mind is the latest and greatest toys.  However, as a mom of 3, I am so sick of the toy mayhem that happens year after year.  Each child gets an endless array of toys from friends, family, and of obviously Santa, only to find those precious toys at the bottom of a toy box 3 months later or shoved under a bed.  My family is starting to move away from the toy giving and starting to give gifts that help us learn something, make memories, or use our imagination, and I think this is going to be the best gift giving experience we’ve had.

The Gift of Fun:

We live in Florida, so there is an endless supply of fun at every corner.  Between the amusement parks, beaches, and one of a kind attractions, Florida has it all.  So, instead of buying a toy that will be used a few times and then likely forgotten about, why not give gift cards to a fun attraction closet by.  There are so many possibilities for every budget, from zoo memberships to museums, aquariums, and even bike rentals.  There is something fun that any kid will love.

The Gift of Travel

Do you know any kids who dream of exploring the world, or even just a certain state?  My kids love to travel, particularly Anthony.  His favorite place to travel to so far is New York City, and he has dreams of living there one day.  When we lived in Massachusetts and New York was just a 3-hour drive away, he would ask to visit Manhattan instead of having a party, to which I would always immediately say absolutely.  He is also my child who looks up countries online and tries to talk me into going, currently, he is begging to go to England.  The twins at 8, are a little less enthused about traveling to countries with big buildings and statues and are more impressed with rides, characters, and animals.  Their top travel requests are usually Great Wolf Lodge or a trip to Orlando. 
We stopped doing birthday parties a few years ago and decided to take trips as a family instead and it has worked out amazingly, so for the holidays, this will likely be in our future.
If you have a little traveler on your list, why not get them a night at a hotel in a local city? 

The Gift of Creativity

Anthony is my Traveler, and Lilly, she’s the one with a creative spirit.  Her Christmas list this year consisted of gel pens, 2 sketchbooks, and puffy paint.  My heart melted at the simplicity of her desires that we ended up visiting the craft store early and having fun creating together.  However, for Christmas, a class at the local paint bar or a jewelry making class at the bead shop would be a perfect gift.

The Gift of Experience

Time fly’s by and when they’ve outgrown the superheroes and Barbie’s, they probably won’t remember which doll they got when they were 8.  However, an awesome experience will stay with them!  Take an indoor skydiving lesson together or a surfing lesson.  How about renting a cozy coupe car down the beach?  Think outside the box and make those memories that last a lifetime.

The Gift of Education

This has to be the best gift of all!  Imagine giving the gift of eliminating the overwhelming amount of student debt a child will likely come across down the road.  It may not be on their radar yet, but Florida Prepaid is a gift that will last a lifetime, and it is open enrollment right now!

The Florida Prepaid College Plan is the largest, most successful, longest-running prepaid tuition program in the nation!  Florida Prepaid is helping parents and students prepare for college and making planning for the future a lot easier.  300,000 students have already attended college using Florida Prepaid!

THE PLANS

Florida Prepaid offers 5 savings plans, giving you the flexibility to choose one that fits your family’s needs. With plans starting as low as $46.61 saving for college is now possible.  Here is some more about these great plans:

2-Year Florida College Plan: Covers tuition and other specified fees for 60 lower division credit hours at a Florida College.

4-Year Florida College Plan: Covers tuition and other specified fees for 60 lower division credit hours and 60 upper division credit hours at a Florida College

2 + 2 Florida Plan: Covers tuition, tuition differential fee and other specified fees for 60 lower division credit hours at a Florida College and 60 credit hours at a State University.

1-YearFlorida University Plan: Covers tuition, tuition differential fee and other specified fees at a State University for 30 credit hours

4-Year Florida University Plan: Covers tuition, tuition differential fee and other specified fees at a State University for 120 credit hours
Learn more about which plan is right for your family here!

OPEN ENROLLMENT!
The Florida Prepaid College Board’s annual Open Enrollment period is Oct. 15, 2017 – Feb. 28, 2018.  Enroll now and use promo code: 
Life1718 to save $25 on your application fee!

 

Amazing Gift Ideas that Grade Schoolers Will Love!

This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com and the Brands Featured Below.

It is that time of year again!  I love the holidays and gift giving is so much fun, but let’s face it, it can be very stressful too.  I am always on the hunt for the perfect gifts that will make my children and the other little folks on my list excited, I love seeing a huge glowing smile and knowing I picked the perfect present.  However, these days kids have so many things grabbing for their attention it can be hard to get that good old list I remember writing up as a kid.  Luckily Babblebox has come up with some amazing kid-approved items for all the grade school aged kids on your list!

For the Fashionista on Your List:  Vince Camuto Shoes
Check out these Pietra Studded Ballet Flats!  These glitter ballet flats with an adorable bow at the toe are sparkly enough to bring a smile to the face of any little girl who loves fashion, like my Lilly.  Plus, they are comfortable and have a soft elastic strap across the top to keep them from flopping at the heel.  The quality of these shoes is impeccable, and have held up to all the dancing and spinning Lilly has put them through.

For the Traveler on Your List: Viv + Lou Duffle Bag
Do you have a child who loves to travel on your list?  Then the Viv + Lou Duffle Bag is the perfect gift.  They have adorable designs, can be personalized by adding a monogram or name, and are the perfect size for a grade-schooler to pack for a weekend vacation or a trip to their grandparents.
Use Coupon Code: MOMMYHOOD to receive 25% off sitewide!

For the Pet Lover on Your List: Petlanthropy Donation Gift Cards
These Donation Gift Cards give children a unique way to help animals in need!  The Petlanthropy Foundation was founded with only one goal, to help give all homeless cats and dogs a loving forever home.  Gift card recipients are able to find animal shelters and projects that they care about and donate the value of their gift card.
When you purchase, share, and gift Petlanthropy Donation Gift Cards this holiday season, you will receive a special furry and fun surprise!

For the Avid Reader on Your List:  The Wonderling by Mira Bartock and Candlewick Press
From New York best-selling author Mira Bartock, this magical chapter book is sure to keep a middle-grade reader entertained in an adventurous story of fantasy and friendship. 

Synopsis via Candlewick Press:
Welcome to the Home for Wayward and Misbegotten Creatures, an institution run by evil Miss Carbunkle, a cunning villainess who believes her terrified young charges exist only to serve and suffer. Part animal and part human, the groundlings toil in classroom and factory, forbidden to enjoy anything regular children have, most particularly singing and music. For the Wonderling, an innocent-hearted, one-eared, fox-like eleven-year-old with only a number rather than a proper name — a 13 etched on a medallion around his neck — it is the only home he has ever known. But unexpected courage leads him to acquire the loyalty of a young bird groundling named Trinket, who gives the Home’s loneliest inhabitant two incredible gifts: a real name — Arthur, like the good king in the old stories — and a best friend. Using Trinket’s ingenious invention, the pair escape over the wall and embark on an adventure that will take them out into the wider world and ultimately down the path of sweet Arthur’s true destiny. Richly imagined, with shimmering language, steampunk motifs, and gripping, magical plot twists, this high adventure fantasy is the debut novel of award-winning memoirist Mira Bartók and has already been put into development for a major motion picture.

Receive 25% off and Free Shipping with Coupon Code: CANDLEWICK

For the Creative Child on Your List: WowWee Magnaflex
These fun and colorful magnetic strips allow children to create whatever they dream up.  The set comes with project ideas including animals, vehicles, and wearable accessories, or children can use their imagination and create anything with this Magnetic toy set.  Aidan loves construction toys and he spent hours playing with this kid, building, and rebuilding whatever popped into his mind.

For the STEM lover on Your List: Helio Night Light Projection System

My children love science and learning new things in general.  So, I was thrilled when I learned about this award-winning children’s educational nightlight projection system.  Instead of leaving Lilly’s closet light on, we have started playing the Helio Projection System for her and she loves it.  She wakes up and tells me all about the planets and the sleep hours of different animals on the way to school.

Buy one Helio and enter Coupon Code: LEARNINGLIGHT to get the second one discounted to $34.95 (valid through April 2018)

For the Candy Lover on Your List: PEZ Christmas Ornament Collection
These adorable mini PEZ dispensers that come in a real Christmas ornament will definitely bring a smile to a child’s face.  We love PEZ in my family so we opened this ornament up really quickly, but these would make perfect stocking stuffers too!

 

What’s your favorite gift idea this holiday season?

The Ultimate Holiday Road Trip Planning Guide!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Shell. The opinions and text are all mine.

The Holiday Road Trip Planning Guide

Are you thinking about taking a family vacation this holiday season? My family is. We have made it a family tradition to travel up to Kiawah Island, South Carolina each holiday season. My brother works on a resort up there, and because he is usually the one traveling down to visit us, we make it a plan to spend a week together during either Thanksgiving or Christmas in his world. However, traveling during the holidays is a lot different than any other time of year. From planning out dinners and trying to get gifts to the destination, a lot more goes into a holiday vacation. Here are my top tips for planning a holiday vacation!

Finding a place to stay: During the holiday season, you may want more than just your typical hotel room to stay in. If your extended family is going, you may want connecting rooms or a multi-room villa. Think about if you want to cook holiday meals, decorations and how much space you need for everyone to make magical holiday memories.

During our holiday trips, it is my brother, my family of 5, and my parents staying together. Plus, we host a lot of my brother’s friends for dinner, so it makes sense for us to rent a house for the holiday. This gives us a full kitchen for cooking, a living room to spend time together in and enjoy Christmas morning in, plus we all have our own bedrooms.

If you have seen my last few travel posts, you know I am all about using my Fuel Rewards® card as much as possible! You can earn Fuel Rewards savings when booking your hotel, so make sure you head over to the website or app and check out which hotels are offering great rewards.

If you’re staying with family or friends decide on a great thank you gift and schedule it to be delivered or picked up along the way, the less packing the better.

Consider attractions in the area. We visit Kiawah island which offers a ton of fun activities all week long over the holidays. Check out your locations tourism board or call the hotel to check out what events they have planned, and if advanced reservations or tickets are needed.

Driving:

Driving up to South Carolina from Tampa only takes about 6 hours, which is the perfect amount of time for a fun road trip in my book. It’s enough time that you need to stop and eat, explore a couple welcome centers to stretch your legs, and still not have to break for the night anywhere. However, even when we lived in Massachusetts, we would drive to holiday vacations, and it was about 20 hours of road time.

With a family of 5, driving has always been a cost-effective travel option for us, plus with Shell and the Fuel Rewards® program, we are saving even more at the pump now! Also, with holiday travel there is extra luggage that is easier to transport by driving. When we spend Christmas on Kiawah, we wanted to have a Christmas tree, so that meant packing a tree stand, some ornaments, and of course our elf.

Quick Road Trip Tips to Keep the Kids in the Holiday Spirit: Pack holiday snacks to minimize stops! grab some holiday cookies and treats to keep the kids happy when you hear “I’m hungry” from the backseat.

Keep the kids entertained with small new toys from the dollar store. Wrap them up before you leave, and hand them out every couple hours for the kids to unwrap along the way.

Stop in each state to collect postcards as souvenirs! When we would travel from Massachusetts to Florida, we did this! It was a great way to mark off a chunk of travel and keep the kids excited. In the northern states, we were stopping every hour or two, but once we hit Virginia it is easily a 4 hour of travel time to check off.

Gifts

Are you traveling to visit family? Shop online and have gifts sent to their house instead of having to load your car with gifts, especially if your little ones still believe in Santa. Plus, make sure you check out the Fuel Rewards® site for some awesome stores to shop at for extra Fuel Rewards savings!

No family in the area? Try shopping online at stores that allow store pick up. Order all the gifts you need, and when you arrive at your location head over to the local department stores and pick everything up.

We did this for a Christmas in South Carolina and it was fun having an adult wrapping party after the kids fell asleep.

Also, think about local gifts if you are arriving early enough to go shopping. My son loves golf, so I make it a point to stop at the Kiawah Pro-Shop and grab him a Kiawah branded item.

Holiday Dinner

There are many restaurants and hotels that offer large delicious holiday dinners, however, my family loves cooking together and being around a family table to laugh and talk for as long as we’d like. We enjoy the relaxing feeling of a homey environment and on Thanksgiving, the guys want to be able to watch football.

However, that means shopping for a large meal in a new city. Make sure you’ve looked into the closest grocery stores and know their holiday hours. Plus make a list, and check it twice! A couple years ago, my husband was out looking for brown sugar late Christmas Eve and ended up spending about $10 for it at the resort store.

Also think about bring some extra bowls, mixing spoons, and disposable pans from home. Most hotel rooms with kitchens are advertised as fully stocked, but when it comes to cooking a full holiday meal it’s unlikely they’ll have enough items to cook everything comfortably.

Packing

Packing for a holiday trip requires a lot of items you wouldn’t need on an average road trip. For Christmas, talk with your family and decide how you’re handling a Christmas tree. Some hotels provide them, or you can bring your own fake one, skip it all together if your kids are older, or pack a tree stand and find a local tree farm.

One year we did this along with purchasing a bunch of dollar store decorations and making handmade ornaments. The kids still talk about that being their favorite Christmas tree ever.

Other items such as stockings, traditional holiday books, plus cookies and reindeer food needs to be added to the list along with your normal vacation packing list. Make sure you put a list together of all the holiday essentials you don’t want to make memories without.

Extra Savings with the Fuel Rewards Program!

The easiest way to save right now is by taking advantage of their limited time offer: Instant Gold Status. This savings has helped me stay on a budget during every fuel up. With the Instant Gold Status offer, everyone who joins gets a 5c/gal savings (up to 20 gallons per visit) every time you fuel up at a Shell location for at least the first 6 months from signup.

Plus, there are additional ways to save on fuel with the Fuel Rewards® program. When you link your debit or credit card to your Fuel Rewards® account you earn additional savings each time you shop or dine with participating merchants, like hotels and restaurants.

By stacking all these potential rewards, you can really save at the pump and stay on your holiday travel budget! Best of all it’s free to sign up!

Make sure to head over and sign up for the Fuel Rewards® program and start saving at the pump now!

After signing up send your referral link to friends and family so they can join the Fuel Rewards program. The first time a friend uses the program by earning a reward or using their card at a participating Shell station after registering with your link, you will instantly earn 25¢/gal (up to 20 gal). There’s no limit to how much you can save!

Are you traveling over the holidays? Follow our Thanksgiving road trip adventure this Thanksgiving on Instagram! What is your favorite travel tip?

*Restrictions apply. To qualify for the Gold/Silver Status offers, you must be a Fuel Rewards® member and swipe your Fuel Rewards® card or enter your Alt ID when you fuel at a participating Shell station. With Gold Status, you will receive 5¢/gal in Fuel Rewards® savings on every fill-up. The 5¢/gal reward for Gold Status will be combined with other rewards in your Fuel Rewards® account. If you are an existing Fuel Rewards® member, you will receive Gold Status from 6/5/2017 through 12/31/17, the “Existing Member Introductory Period.” If you are a new Fuel Rewards® member, you will receive Gold Status for the initial month you join through the last day of the month, 6 full calendar months later, the “New Member Introductory Period.” The last 3 months of the Existing Member Introductory Period or the New Member Introductory Period (collectively the “Introductory Period”) is the “Qualification Period.” You will retain your Gold Status during the Qualification Period, but you must make 6 qualifying fuel purchases to qualify for Gold Status for the next 3 months, the “Benefit Period.” During the Benefit Period, you must continue to make 6 qualifying fuel purchases to maintain your Gold Status for the next 3-month Benefit Period. A qualifying fuel purchase is any fuel purchase at a participating Shell station in which you swipe your Fuel Rewards® card or enter your Alt ID and fill up with at least 5-gallons of any grade of fuel. For example, if you are a new Fuel Rewards® member and register on 6/15/2017, you will receive Gold Status through the New Member Introductory Period (i.e., 12/31/2017). You will need to fill up with at least 5 gallons of fuel at least 6 times during the Qualification Period (i.e., 10/1/2017 and 12/31/2017) to maintain Gold Status during the Benefit Period (i.e., from 1/1/2018 to 3/31/2018). Thereafter, if you continue to fill up with at least 5 gallons of fuel at least 6 times during the successive 3 consecutive month Benefit Periods, you will retain your Gold Status. If you do not maintain your Gold Status, you will receive Silver Status. With Silver Status, you will receive 3¢/gal in Fuel Rewards® savings. The 3¢/gal reward for Silver Status will be combined with other rewards in your Fuel Rewards® account. Redeem Fuel Rewards® savings with your Fuel Rewards® card or Alt ID at participating Shell stations. Fuel Rewards® savings are limited to 20 gallons of fuel per purchase, per vehicle, or fraud limits placed by Shell and/or limits placed on your financial card by your financial institution, each of which may be lower. Fuel Rewards® savings must be redeemed in a single transaction. Once you begin to dispense fuel using your Fuel Rewards® savings, you must dispense to the 20-gallon limit or you forfeit any remaining discounted gallons of fuel. For example, if you only pump fifteen (15) gallons of fuel, you would abandon the remaining five (5) gallons of discounted fuel. If you have a rewards balance greater than the current per-gallon price of fuel, the price will roll down to the maximum capability of the fuel equipment, and your remaining rewards will be saved for a future fuel purchase. Dispenser may require a price of up to 10.9¢/gal. It may not be possible to combine multiple discounts and/or rewards in a single transaction. For purchases of $75 or more, please go inside to pay. Unbranded diesel and alternative fuels may not be eligible. The Fuel Rewards® program is owned and operated by Excentus Corporation. Offer may be modified or discontinued at any time without notice. Not valid where prohibited by law. Please see fuelrewards.com for complete Fuel Rewards® program details and Terms and Conditions. Other restrictions may apply. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners. To learn more, visit fuelrewards.com/gold or call (888) 603-0473

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