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How Always Discreet Liners Are Saving My Summer

My kids are at the age where our Summer break revolves around long days at the pool, spontaneous trips to the movies or to get SnoBalls, and car trips to see the grandparents or for a weekend getaway. My youngest daughter will be 5 years old soon and we have finally left the diaper stage, the potty training stage, and the “I need to use the potty” every 5 minutes stage behind us. We have reached the pinnacle of fun parenting, y’all. The promised land that we’ve been waiting for has finally appeared. If you’re a mom then you know what I mean. When your kids are in the baby and toddler stage all the moms with older kids tell you to just hold on, it gets better and easier. You watch them enviously as all their kids open their own car doors and carry their own stuff. You muck through the younger years with your kids knowing that at the end of the diaper lined tunnel will be the promised land where all the kids are potty trained and it doesn’t take you an hour to get ready to leave the house with diaper bags and sippy cups. Well, I’m there. I’ve made it to the promised land. All my kids go to the potty on their own and I don’t worry about them having accidents when we’re out enjoying our summer.

Now I just worry about myself having an accident. I have 5 kids. I’ve given birth 3 times. My poor bladder has been through the ringer and apparently no longer wishes to cooperate with my busy life. My bladder- I call her Gladys- has decided that it is now appropriate to relieve herself every hour on the hour regardless of what I’m doing or where I am. Oh childbirth, the fun aftereffects that nobody talks about. In the recent years I’ve discovered that sneezing, laughing, coughing, and standing up too fast can all lead to a little light bladder leakage. And we’re not even going to talk about what happened in the bouncy house. Oh Gladys, why? 

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Thankfully I am able to avoid the awkward bladder leakage moments with the help of Always Discreet Liners. With a thin and flexible design the liners give you discreet incontinence protection that absorbs 2x more than you need*. I never have to worry when we’re spending a whole day at the lake, or taking a long car trip to see the grandparents, or watching a Jaws movie marathon in the pool. I know that I can relax, have fun, and even laugh uncontrollably when my neighbor flips himself out of his float after his teenage son sneaks up on him with a fake shark fin just as Jaws eats the Captain. 

*Based on average US consumer usage

I’m also grateful to know that as Gladys continues her journey towards being elderly and cranky, Always Discreet makes other products to help me out. The Always Discreet Pads are full length pads with Dual LeakGuards to help prevent leaks and are up to 40% thinner than the leading brand to help keep my incontinence protection discreet. The Always Discreet Underwear have soft Dual LeakGuards help prevent overactive bladder leaks where they happen most – at the legs- and the Advanced Triple Layer Core helps pull, trap and lock away urine wetness and odor so you don’t have to worry! 

Did you know that Target offers a subscription service where you can have your Always Discreet pads or underwear delivered straight to your door for a discount? It’s incredibly easy to sign up and now those of you who prefer to keep your incontinence protection private don’t have to worry. You can find out more information about the benefits and ease of the Target subscription service on the website

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Fostering A Love Of Reading With Disney Story Central

I am a huge reader, as all of you who follow my posts about the books I read each month know, and I really want to foster that love of reading in my kids. Maia is 10 and she’s a voracious reader. She’s in 4th Grade, already reading at a mid-year 6th Grade level, and finishes 6 to 7 books a month. Mase is 7 and he has really struggled with reading this year. He enjoys it but he’s had trouble becoming the proficient reader that I know he can be. He started 1st Grade below where he needed to be with his reading level and while he has made some great progress in the past 10 months I know we’re really going to have to work on it during the Summer. And Zoey is just learning her letters and starting to recognize a few sight words. I want her to love reading as much as her older sister and I do, which at her age means introducing her to a steady stream of books with her favorite characters. 

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Disney Story Central has become a fantastic resource for me as I encourage my kids to spend at least 30 minutes a day reading during our Summer break. Disney Story Central has the largest collection of Disney digital stories, featuring a wide array of characters that kids know and love. We downloaded the app from iTunes onto our iPad and the iPhones in our home but you can also use the Disney Story Central website or Video on Demand if you have AT&T U-verse. Disney Story Central gives families the freedom to choose the reading experience that suits them best, whether through a subscription service or using Disney tokens to purchase stories individually. The subscription service gives kids unlimited access to to Disney Story Central’s expansive library of books for $7.99 a month. The Disney Book Token System helps parents empower their kids to pick out the books they want to read, allowing them to build their own collection of stories featuring the characters they love. 

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My kids have really enjoyed using Disney Story Central. It has a lot of great features designed to make reading fun and easy for kids to navigate. The customizable book shelf for each member of the family gives personalized reading recommendations to help your child find new stories. The “Browse by Character” carousel lets families easily find books starring their favorite characters, including Disney Princesses, Disney Classics, Frozen, Doc McStuffins, Cars, and many more. My kids are very reward driven so the stars, ranks, and trophies keep them motivated and encouraged as they read. There is a variety of content available for pre-readers, speed readers, and all readers in-between, which means all 3 of my younger kids can enjoy using the app. 

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I think one of my most favorite features is that the stories are accessible both at home and while we’re on the go. We spend a lot of time in the car waiting for siblings at practices and activities so that’s the perfect opportunity for my kids to get their daily reading done. Even my youngest, at age 4 and a half, can navigate the app by herself and pull up the book she wants to read. She can choose to have the book read to her, to read it herself, or to have it auto-play. It’s very easy to use even for a pre-reader. 

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 I highly recommend Disney Story Central. We have gotten a lot of use out of it already and the kids are enjoying their daily reading instead of complaint. It’s a great way to encourage your kids to keep reading during the summer. You can even participate in Disney Story Central’s ‘Mid-Summer Light Reads’ Campaign – promoting weekly Disney reading themes — for a chance to unlock free books and enter the sweepstakes! Launching on June 11, the campaign will run through August 13.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Sharing Our Blessings With Others On Thanksgiving


For as far back in my childhood as I can remember the holiday season meant sharing our home and our table with others. My mom’s philosophy on the holiday season was always “the more the merrier.” We didn’t have a lot of family near us when I was growing up because my mom’s whole side of the family was in England and my dad’s side of the family was scattered around different states. We were lucky enough to be surrounded by friends who became a surrogate extended family for us. Our holiday celebrations were large, boisterous occasions full of laughter and joy. Some of the best memories from my childhood come from those holiday celebrations and I knew I wanted to carry on those traditions with my own family. We always kick off our holiday season on Thanksgiving. I took over the hosting duties from my mom a decade ago when it became too much work for her every year. She hosted the celebration for 30 years so it was time for her to relax and enjoy the day. My husband and I are lucky enough to live right in the middle of both of our parents. Matt’s parents live 2 hours away in one direction and my parents and sister live 2 hours away in the other direction. Both of Matt’s brothers are one state above us so they are still close enough to travel here for the holidays. One of my biggest joys is hosting the Thanksgiving and holiday celebrations. It’s the one time of year when both sides of our family are together for food, fellowship, and laughter. 

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One of the most important things I’m trying to teach my children by example is the joy of giving to others. We open our home to friends, neighbors, and sometimes people we don’t know very well for Thanksgiving. This year, in addition to our family and extended family, we will be joined by a newly widowed neighbor, a few co-workers of Matt’s that have no other plans, and several friends. There’s nothing I love more than having a house full of people for the holidays and I hope I’m showing my children the importance of opening our home and our hearts to other people. I’m so thankful for my family, for the life we have built, for the blessings that have been bestowed on us, and for the ability to share with others. And this Thanksgiving we will be giving thanks at our table surrounded by family, old friends, and some new friends. 

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New York Life wants people to share their own special moments and experiences of good. They will donate 25 meals to Feeding America for every tweet that includes #KeepGoodGoing and the hashtag #FeedingAMillion. 

*Through 1/9/15, New York Life will donate $2.50 for each approved post, with a minimum of $25K & a maximum of $100K. 
See full terms and conditions at NewYorkLife.com/CelebratingGood. Find info about Feeding America at feedingamerica.org.

For a chance to win a $50 Visa Gift Card for yourself and a $50 donation on behalf of BlogHer in the winner’s name to Feeding America, share below what you are thankful for this Thanksgiving. 

Sweepstakes Rules:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 12/1/2014 – 12/31/2014.

Be sure to visit the New York Life brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

 

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6 Household Rules to Keep My Kids Safe Online

Like most parents who have kids in the teenage and tween years I am constantly fielding requests from my kids about social media. One wants an Instagram account while another is begging for a Facebook account. Both of them are curious about Twitter and both of them use Kik. Our 13 year old son and our almost 10 year old daughter both have iPhones as of this year. I resisted, y’all. I really did. Not so much with the 13 year old but with my daughter. I argued that 9 is too young for the responsibility of an iPhone but in all honesty, my daughter is the most responsible 9 year old I know. She’s thoughtful and careful, and she takes care of her possessions. So I caved and allowed to her join our Mobile Share Family Plan. Then I worried incessantly about what she was doing on her iPhone. 

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Being a parent is hard. I want to allow my kids the freedom to grow and experience new things and become independent but the world is such a scary place these days. It really made me stop and think when my husband happened to mention how much I am on my iPhone in the vicinity of the kids. I use my phone to post funny and cute pictures of my kids onto Instagram. I use it to keep up with my extended family and out-of-town friends on Facebook while I sit in the car line at school. I check my email and my Twitter from my phone all the time. I use it on a regular basis to do my shopping. My kids have been exposed to the wonderful world of social media for years. It’s my job to make sure they know how to use it safely.

A friend commented to me recently how our parents had it so much easier when we were kids. There was no internet and no computers. Our parents didn’t have to worry about what we were being exposed to online. It’s much harder now. All of my school aged kids need access to a computer in order to complete their homework assignments and do research for projects. Matt and I are doing everything we can to make sure our kids are as safe as possible while they are online. We have parental locks on the computers to restrict content, we have the computers password protected so the kids have to ask permission before getting online, and both computers are in high traffic family areas of our house. Even with those basic precautions we know there are no guarantees that our kids are safe online. We sat our school aged kids down to go over some basic internet safety rules and our expectations for their online and social media behavior. 

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#1- All social media accounts must be private and mom/dad will have the passwords.

#2- Do not accept friend requests from anyone you do not know in person.

#3- Do not share information such as phone numbers, address, school info, etc online or on social media.

#4- Never use social media to bully or post mean things about anyone.

#5- Do not post inappropriate pictures or use foul language.

#6- Do not post or share anything you don’t want the whole school to know about.

Hopefully with these 6 rules we are lessening some of the risk to our kids. I know the risk can never be completely eliminated but being vigilant and monitoring our kids online activities reduces it substantially. Our kids know the penalty for breaking our rules is the loss of all online and social media privileges indefinitely. 

Today’s families use digital technology in every aspect of life- from learning and socializing, to gaming and shopping! Broad access and use of technology is awesome — and opens so many new opportunities for so many students. But like any aspect of life, there are things you need to know to make positive, safe decisions. That’s why National PTA has partnered with LifeLock to share awesome ways families can create an open, evolving conversation about positive, safe decisions when using digital tools. It’s all part of having a happy, healthy lifestyle. For you, your family, your friends, and the whole world — everyone benefits when you are #ShareAwesome! The #ShareAwesome campaign seeks to build an understanding among parents and students that no matter the device, the app or the networking site — the skills we need to be safe and positive online are similar to what you need offline. It celebrates students and families who use digital media and tools for good – good for themselves, their family, their friends, and the whole world.

The #ShareAwesome contest invites social media users to share a smart and safe decision, uplifting accomplishments, or positive action for the good of others using hashtag #ShareAwesome on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. So get busy and snap a photo of an awesome moment in your day and share it on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with the #ShareAwesome hashtag! Students who enter a photo between September 15 – November 30, 2014 will be eligible to win fantastic prizes, including tablets and a $2,500 scholarship! 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Keeping My Kids Happy At The Pool With Capri Sun Juice Drinks

 
Summer vacation finally arrived at our house amid a flurry of cheering and sighs of relief. The cheering would be the kids celebrating the end of another school year. The sighs of relief would be mine, thankful that we made it through yet another school year. The first few days of summer vacation are normally spent allowing everyone to unwind and release all the stress that comes with school. The kids wake up late, wear their pajamas all day, play video games, and catch up on all the television shows they missed while they were at school. But I cannot in good conscience let the sloth-like behavior continue for more than a couple of days. I strive to provide and encourage a healthy lifestyle for my family and that means not vegetating in front of the television and video games all day during the summer. We limit the amount of organized activities we participate in during the summer which leaves us with a lot of free time. Our school year is full of sports practices – soccer, basketball, football, karate, dance, cheer – so summer time is a nice chance for all of us to recuperate. The trick is to keep the kids active and busy while still allowing them a chance to relax and have fun. The best way I have found to meet all our needs for summer is the neighborhood swimming pool.    

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The best part of our neighborhood is definitely the pool. We live close enough to walk, the kids have built in playmates with all the other kids in the neighborhood, I get to talk to other adults, and swimming is fun while still being a healthy and active part of the day. It’s not unusual to find us at the pool for most of the day which means I need to provide snacks and drinks for the kids. Getting the kids out of the pool to make sure they stay hydrated while still sticking to my goals for providing a healthy lifestyle can be challenging. This summer I’ll be buying my kids Capri Sun to enjoy while they take a break from swimming.     

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Capri Sun juice drinks with the new clear bottom pouch are the perfect choice for moms who want to offer their kids a drink that not only tastes good but also has less sugar. Capri Sun gives kids the awesome taste they love while giving moms the wholesome “No Artificial Colors, Flavors, Preservatives” benefit they want. My kids really love the Capri Sun Roarin’ Waters Flavored Water Beverages. I love that the clear bottom pouches mean I can see the juice I am giving my kids.     

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The clear bottom pouches are not exclusive to the Capri Sun Roarin’ Waters Flavored Water Beverages. You can also find them on all varieties of Capri Sun Juice Drinks, Capri Sun 100% Juice, Capri Sun Super V Fruit and Vegetable Juice Drink. Capri Sun has invested millions of dollars into product development, manufacturing, and quality assurance work to make their clear bottom pouches even stronger and more resistant to leaks. The stronger pouches make Capri Sun Juice drinks my top choice for trips to the pool.     

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Did you know that Capri Sun Roarin’ Waters is an official sponsor of Major League Soccer? We are a soccer loving family. I was a competitive soccer player for over half of my life and several of my kids have discovered their own love of the game. For the second year, Capri Sun is giving kids the ultimate sip of liquid swagger by inviting kids to take on Pro Athletes and win! This year, Capri Sun leveraged the excitement of their MLS sponsorship by gathering together a team of soccer Pros. These guys are some of the best in the league. BUT, when it comes to playing kids in the way kids play… these Pros don’t stand a chance. The Kids vs Pros MLS Soccer Showdown Instant Win Game will send 4 kids, their friends, and families to sunny Orlando, FL, to take on MLS Pros in a live event. At the event, kids will truly stand out by competing in soccer-themed contests where being kid-sized gives them an amusing advantage over the Pros. Plus, there are 1,000s of instant win soccer prizes for daily chances to win. Program started on July 28, 2014. Look for details on specially marked boxes of Capri Sun at your local grocery store and read more here.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.  MANY WILL ENTER, ONLY FOUR WILL WIN A GRAND PRIZE. Open to residents of the 50 United States and D.C., 6-17 years of age. Game starts 7/28/14 and ends 11/30/14.
 

 

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