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Thursday, July 23, 2015

How to get FREE Pudding at Publix through August 5....




We have a wonderful vacation/homeschool field trip to Walt Disney World coming up soon, and I've been on the hunt for things to take so we can stock our rental home on a budget.  Publix has Snack Pack 4 packs of pudding cups on sale 5 for $5 right now, and they also have a display in most stores (or ask at Customer Service) with a Publix coupon for $1 off 1 4 pack.  That means your pudding packs are FREE!  Most Publix stores will allow you to use 8 like coupons, so you can grab 32 cups of pudding for free! These would be great for school lunches or snacks, too.

Just take enough coupons for your family, please don't take more than you need.  There are plenty for everyone, and the coupon is good for a couple weeks, so don't stress if your store is out right now!

Which pudding flavor is the favorite at your house?  David likes lemon best!


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The best recipes for Good Girl Moonshine (Trim Healthy Mama drink)

Cherry Limeade Good Girl Moonshine 

I am following Trim Healthy Mama guidelines for about half of our meals, and one thing I really enjoy is the Good Girl Moonshine!! It's a drink you can sip on all day long.  The more the better!  I make my usual GGMS with several basics.  First, start with filtered water.  Fill a glass about 3/4 full.  Then I add a tablespoon of Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar (you want the unfiltered kind, with the mother in it), lemon or lime juice, and ginger. You can add stevia or other on-plan sweeteners if you would like.  I prefer it unsweetened.  I usually make it in a quart size jar or glass, too.  Last night I ran out of those jars so I used my pint sized ones too! I love to pull one out of the fridge and drink it while it's still super-cold and refreshing!

For ease in preparation, I have a little ice cube tray that I use to make ACV cubes, citrus juice cube and ginger cubes.  The ginger gets juiced in my Vitamix and then frozen for GGMS.  I store the cubes in freezer bags and add one or two to my glass each time I make GGMS.  I like to mix things up - so here are a few of my favorite variations of GGMS!  Remember, you can add an on-plan sweetener to any of these drinks if desired.

GGMS Fruit Punch ~ I use 1 lemon ginger probiotic tea bag, 2 oolong tea bags, 1 black tea bag and 1 green tea bag, plus about 1/3 (of a large pitcher sized) stick of True Lime Black Cherry Limeade Powder and mix in a pitcher.  I still add everything from the main recipe, but this one has a sweet, fruity flavor I love!

GGMS Cherry Limeade:  Water, ACV cube, lime juice cube, ginger cube, and a sprinkle of True Lime Black Cherry Limeade.  Once dissolved, add ice to fill glass.  Turns a pale pink and tastes amazing! (pictured at top of this post)

GGMS Cherry Lemonade ~ I make my regular glass of GGMS, and add cherry and lemon extract to taste.  Sometimes I'll add an oolong tea bag and a black or green tea bag to make cherry lemon tea, too.

GGMS Lemon Mint ~ Make glass of GGMS, then add lemon and mint extract (I only use a tiny drop of mint - it is strong!).  Again, tea bags make it even better!

Walmart has a great selection of extracts, and also the True Lemon and True Lime drink mixes, so play around and make your own flavors.  I'd love to hear your favorites - leave a comment below!

Thanks for stopping by....





Monday, July 20, 2015

Summer Series: Medieval Times at Sugarloaf Mills

It's almost time for school to start back, can you believe it?! I always like to do something special to celebrate the beginning of another year for my son.  One year we went to the park to feed the ducks early one Sunday morning, then had brunch. We went to see a movie he wanted to see one year. Another time we went for ice cream the night before school started!  If you like to celebrate back to school, I've got a fun idea: take your kids on a trip back in time at Medieval Times at Sugarloaf Mills! 

We took our first trip to Medieval Times a few weeks ago and it was a blast!  We got there about 1 hour and 15 minutes before the show, and there was a line already - it is popular! When you arrive you will be given a crown with the color(s) of the Knight you will be cheering for.  If you'd like,  you can have your picture taken with the King before you enter the huge gathering area.  Relax and enjoy cold drinks for everyone from the bar - they have smoothies for the kids.  Visit the Dungeon (there's a nominal charge for this).  Check out the beautiful offerings in the gift shop. You can even visit with some of the cast members before the show begins.   Before long, they will call you to the doors and begin letting you in, one color at a time.

Proudly wearing our black and white crowns!
Once inside the arena, you are seated at long tables, grouped by the colors of your Knight.  Your server will let you know the drink choices, and before long, your drinks, garlic bread and soup are in front of you.  One note here - everything is served without utensils. You are, of course, in the middle ages!  Your soup is in a bowl that you can sip out of.  We went with our friends Tiffany & Seth, and Tiffany brought along plastic cutlery for us to use, thank goodness! So, you may wish to bring your own if you prefer to eat with a fork & spoon and not your fingers!

Photo from the Medieval Times website
About this time, the show began.  Beautiful horses, Royalty, the Royal Falconer, and a storyline that will have your family cheering loudly for your Knight!  My son's favorite was the horses - he really enjoyed watching them perform.   The Falconer was fascinating to watch, as well.  And then came the jousting - I was really surprised at how much David got a kick out of that!

While we watched, we were served our main course of chicken with corn on the cob and potatoes.   Everything was delicious and so filling.  After your plates are cleared, you'll receive an apple pastry and coffee, if you'd like.  They also offer to-go boxes if you can't finish everything.   There is a vegetarian meal available if you let them know when you book your tickets.



Medieval Times was a wonderful experience.  Before we visited, I wasn't sure if I would like it, but I am glad I was wrong! It is a great family attraction, and to see those beautiful horses performing was magical.  That's why I think this makes a great back to school tradition - it's so special and unique! Your kiddos will definitely remember this night.  And if you homeschool like we do, you'll love the Partners in Education pages Medieval Times has on their website.  I really appreciate that our special night out can be turned into a history lesson for David, too!

David & his friend Seth joined us!
I don't want to spoil the show for you, so I won't give many details, but here are some pics of our night out at Medieval Times.

Such pageantry on display!

We cheered for the Black and White Knight!









King Don Carlos & Princess Catalina
I highly recommend visiting Medieval Times for your special family night, or celebration.  It's something you won't soon forget! We had a wonderful time with our friends, enjoying a delicious dinner and an exciting show.  I am sure we will be back again!

There are some great specials on the Medieval Times website right now - check them out here.  They also offer discounts for military families and free admission on your birthday.

Medieval Times is located at 5900 Sugarloaf Pkwy, Lawrenceville, Georgia 30043 in the Sugarloaf Mills Mall.  It is on the back side of the Mall and you can't miss it - just look for the big castle!

Photo from the Medievel Times Website

Medieval Times provided complimentary admission for us to attend in order to facilitate this review. No other compensation was received.  


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Summer Series: Freeman's Mill Park




I'm always looking for fun places to take David to run, play, get some sunshine and exercise. A few months ago my friend Isabella shared photos on Facebook of a picnic she and her family took at a beautiful pond with a waterfall.  I started looking online to find out more and learned it was just a few minutes farther than the parks we regularly go to! We've been to this hidden gem of a park three times so far, and we'll be visiting again soon.  It's so wonderful, I just had to share! 

The following information is from GwinnettParkLife.com: 


This park along the banks of the Alcovy River includes a unique playground that replicates a gristmill, picnic pavilion, half-mile multi-purpose trail, parking and restroom facilities as well as the historic Freeman’s grist mill.
The mill was built sometime between 1868 and 1879 by brothers John Griffin Loveless and Levi J. Loveless. In 1913 W. Scott Freeman and his son, Winfield, owned it until it was purchased in 1915 by Newt Pharr. Winfield descendants continued to operate the mill through the twentieth century. In the late 1990’s the mill was placed on the National Register of Historic Places for its significance in architecture, engineering, industry, and social history. As of 1996, the mill was the only working grist mill remaining in Gwinnett County.
Freeman’s Mill played an important role in the local community in early Gwinnett County. Local farmers would bring their wheat and corn to the miller to be turned into flour and meal. Alcova Baptist Church, located up the street from the mill, used the mill pond for baptisms and the millhouse itself, provided a gathering place for the surrounding rural community. The water powered grist mill was preferred by many farmers because it would grind the corn more slowly than electric mills, resulting in a sweeter taste.
The mill changed hands several times over the years until Gwinnett County purchased the mill and surrounding property in 2002 with funding available from the Georgia Greenspace Program and the 2005 SPLOST. In 2009, the county raised and restored the mill and surrounding 12 acres for educational and recreational use offering Gwinnett County citizens a sense of the agricultural past.

Here is the Mill:  (you can get there by following the sidewalk from the parking lot down to your left and you'll see it on your right, or follow the trail by the playground through the woods and you'll end up here, as well)
Now, some shots of the pond/waterfall/beach, which is is located just past the Mill through the woods and on your left.  If you come on the trail by the playground, the pond area is before the mill on your right. 

This is the hill looking back up from the bottom - you have to navigate this, roots and all, to get down to the next level where I am standing to take this.  From here, you have another big (to me - I'm 5' tall) step down to the beach.  So if you have any issues with walking, etc. this will probably be a hard area of the park to access.  (The playground and trail are much better for accessibility!)


David and his buddy Seth



It is posted no swimming or wading, but the kids did wade in the water.   There were others doing the same.  I wouldn't let my kiddo go under water though - too murky and lots of rocks!







The playground is near the 1/2 mile path that winds back through the woods to the Mill.   The restrooms are by the parking area, and there is also a water fountain.  If you want to picnic, there is a covered pavilion by the playground.  Lots of benches too!  







It's a nice, quiet, out-of-the way park that has never been crowded when we've visited. But very easy to find - it's just a few minutes off of Highway 316, which is off I-85 in Gwinnett.   If you are in the metro Atlanta area, this is worth the drive to play and explore for an afternoon!  Bring a picnic lunch, buckets and shovels for the beach area by the pond, and towels if you plan to wade.  Then get busy making special memories!    

Freeman's Mill Park is located at 1401 Alcovy Road, Lawrenceville, GA 30045. Hours are sunrise to sunset. 

Have you been here yet?  Share your favorite park in the metro Atlanta area in the comments below! 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Wrapped Up Teething Blanket Giveaway! #wrappedupatl



Do you like to shop for babies?   Your own, or friends & relatives with wee ones? Or you have a baby shower coming up that you need the perfect gift for? My little baby days may be over, but I have friends with little ones and I absolutely love shopping for baby gifts! Wrapped Up is Atlanta’s first babywearing and natural parenting retreat.  They just launched their online store, and the brick and mortar store will open later this Fall.   Wrapped Up is gonna be a wonderful addition to our local shopping choices!

WrappedUpAtl.com offers high quality products that appeal to the growing eco-conscious parenting niche. The online boutique has carefully chosen stock from wooden toys and teethers made by hand, stainless, silicone and glass food storage and various types of carriers for babywearing. The women behind Wrapped Up arrived at the brands and products through personal trial and error, discovering a need for such a boutique along their own journey into “Mamahood” as the site’s blog would describe it. The owners have made a point to procure several local brands, also developed and run by parents, in the Atlanta area.

Sharon Letsinger and Jessica Wall had a chance encounter at a babywearing meeting in Atlanta, quickly discovering that their sons, born two days apart, share the name Paxton. Soon after, they also realized they shared many of the same philosophies and struggles with natural parenting. The main issue was finding readily available, “ideal” parenting products. Their friendship and mutual desire to spread the babywearing and natural parenting love, brought them to start Wrapped Up - Atlanta’s first babywearing and natural parenting retreat.

Check out a few of their gorgeous offerings:  (all pics are from the Wrapped Up website)



Building Blocks from Clover & Birch


Bowl and Scoop Busy Bag



Bambu Bibs 


The Soothe Shirt is a carrier, nursing bra and tank top in one - so cool!
Why didn't they make these when my kids were babies?! 


Babywearing is not just for mamas! This is the Bijou Wear Windmills
 Field of Dreams Tencel® Ring Sling


Allspice and Baltic Amber EXTREME Ultimate Teething Necklace



ezpz Happy Mat - BPA free, dishwasher safe!



Wooden Stacking Ring 

Such beautiful baby products!  I  enjoyed browsing through their online store and can hardly wait to visit their retail location later this Fall!


How would you like to win a Dear Stella Teething Blanket from Clover & Birch?  The ladies at Wrapped Up would like to give one of my readers this adorable teething blanket, pictured below.


All you have to do is enter the giveaway through the rafflecopter widget below!  



Monday, July 13, 2015

Summer Series: Fernbank~Brain, the Inside Story


Are your kiddos getting bored?  Running out of ideas to keep them busy? Let me tell you about one of our favorite places to spend the day exploring and learning.  

Earlier this month I took my son and his cousins to visit the new exhibit at Fernbank Museum of Natural History.  It's called Brain: The Inside Story and it was fascinating!




First, we watched the 9 minute movie at the beginning of the exhibit.  It was really informative and I'm glad we took the time to stop and see it.  Then we started exploring.  



There are some fun and interesting experiments and tests to try out.  The kids especially enjoyed the one where there was a list of colors side by side.  The first one had the colors printed in the same color as the name (orange in orange, blue in blue, etc) and the second had the colors mixed up.  The challenge? To say the second list but say the color by name, not by the color it was printed in!  It was tough to do - your brain wants to use the color it is printed in!






We learned about the brain and love, emotions, forming memories, and lots more.  Tons of hands on activities in this exhibit! Samantha said she liked learning about the advances in medical technology.  Brain: The Inside Story will be on display at Fernbank through August 23, 2015.








We also got to check out some old favorites at Fernbank!  Sensing Nature is a FUN room full of all kinds of optical illusions, hands on experiments for sound and sight, giant bubbles, a weather forecasting set and much more.  It's always a fun time when we visit this awesome room!







Jeremy enjoyed this hands-on Archaeology cart - lots of cool things to discover!

My kids & I have loved visiting Fernbank for years. We especially love Fernbank NatureQuest, which is an interactive play area with literally hundreds of hands on activities!  I even reviewed NatureQuest back in 2011 when it opened.  The huge clubhouse has several levels, there's a huge red oak tree to climb and explore.  You can follow a stream, explore a cave, and see live alligators and turtles!  Learn about the Georgia coast, and other regions too.  Plan to spend plenty of time in this fabulous permanent exhibit!





David and Jeremy checking out the baby alligators!




There is plenty more to see - the IMAX theater, the Star Gallery, Walk Through Time in Georgia, World of Shells, follow the  fossil floors throughout the museum, check out the Dinosaurs, Fernbank Forest, and much more.

Fernbank Forest



There is a nice cafe where you can have lunch, and a gift shop with great gifts and souvenirs.  We spent almost 5 hours at the museum and still didn't see everything this visit! It's a great family destination for days that are too hot, rainy, or when the kids say "Mom, I'm so bored"! (You can find out about upcoming activities and events here)   We had a wonderful time and look forward to going back again for the next traveling exhibit.   Don't forget, Brain, the Inside Story is only there until August 23.  I encourage you to check it out - it will be a great day of family fun, exploring and learning.

Fernbank Museum of Natural History
767 Clifton Road, NE
Atlanta, GA 30307


Get directions to Fernbank here.   You can purchase tickets at the museum or online.

Have you been to Fernbank Museum of Natural History? What is your favorite thing to see there? Leave a comment below and let us know!



Fernbank provided complimentary tickets to the museum so I could write this review - no other compensation was received, and all opinions are my own!