Thursday, February 4, 2016

Have a Heart! Go Red on Friday!

Did you know that February is national Heart Month? Not just because it's the month of love...but the month of healthy heart awareness, too! 

Here are some interesting heart facts from my friends at the American Heart Association, where I'm a social media ambassador for them. Coincidentally, heart health and stroke awareness is our #NWARKCares blogger group focus for this month as I'll be getting lots of social media help from my bloggy friends on this one.

  • Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined. 

  • When it comes to beating heart diseases and stroke, change can be the cure.  

  • Cardiovascular disease knows no borders. Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, remains the leading global cause of death with more than 17.3 million deaths each year. That number is expected to rise to more than 23.6 million by 2030. 

How can you get involved in Heart Month? 

One way is very easy! Tomorrow, February 5, join me with the American Heart Association and Northwest Arkansas Bloggers to wear red to show your support for the movement to end heart disease and stroke in women. It’s not just a man’s disease! Learn more: 

Post a selfie of yourself wearing red on Friday and join the awareness! Use hashtags #NWAheart and #NWAGoRed

Here's the link for more Go Red information.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

My Kids are Flipping Out {sponsored post}

This is a sponsored post. I am currently serving as a blog ambassador for The Jones Center, who has compensated me for such. The photos and opinions are real, and are my own. This is a reflection of my family's personal experience as members of the facility.

My girls have decided that they would like to give gymnastics a try. This makes me happy for several reasons, one being that I waited until I was 12 or 13 to start gymnastics and it was too late for me to be successful. I was always sorry that I never learned basic tumbling skills; I never even learned to do a cartwheel. Boo!

As we've discussed the possibility over the last few weeks, I told the girls that we'd go check out the gymnastics class at The Jones Center. Since we go there a lot already, I knew that they recently started offering both dance and gymnastics classes. 

I'm happy to report that we went to visit a class last week and the girls loved it! There are about a dozen kids in a class and it's beginner level, right where my girls need to be. The kids were all welcoming to my girls and the instructor was very patient and kind. After one night of testing the waters, I came right home to sign them up online. For the record, Boy Twin chose to stick with soccer this spring, so he won't have time for gymnastics, too.

We are going to be in the Thursday evening classes. Girl Twin is in the age 5-7 class, which meets first, and Big Sis will be in the age 8+ class afterward. The classes are very affordable for anyone--especially for families with multiple kids. The cost is only $25/month per kid, which I can totally justify. I sat with another mom who was watching her 10-year-old twins practice. She said the same thing---The Jones Center really is a blessing to mamas who need to enroll more than one kid in class. Yes!

Another cool feature of the gymnastics class at The Jones Center? They offer multiple nights for convenience (even some daytime classes for younger kids) and you sign up online. You enroll each month. This means if you get busy during the summer and need to take off a  month, then you aren't stuck paying. Or, some kids want to play spring sports and take off gymnastics--no harm done! Just come back and sign up for the month that you want to participate. I love this convenience! 

Here's the link for more information about gymnastics classes at The Jones Center in Springdale. Check it out if you are interested. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Conversation With My Kids

With me not working right now, I'm spending a lot more time with the kids. I've really enjoyed it and I know they have, too. Mostly because they tell me, and often. It actually breaks my heart...they like that I'm home when they get home from school. We have time to play before dinner and not rush around like we do when I'm working.

It's funny how they are each reacting to me being out of work. I try not to make a big deal out of it, because I don't want them to be worried about the "grown up" things like money and bills. They know I'm looking for a job and know when I have interviews lined up.

Girl Twin has been the funniest about it. Every day when she comes in the door from school, she does the same thing. Literally, throws down her backpack and comes to ask me, "Did you get a job today?" Seriously, the very first thing out of her mouth. I can't figure out if she's genuinely asking because she cares or if she's just trying to keep me accountable. 

Big Sis has been a little less obvious about it. Some days she asks and some days she doesn't seem to care. One day she came in and looked at me funny, "Where are you going," she asked. When I said nowhere, she said, "But you are dressed." Now, I know that I've slacked off a little, but I do get dressed most days. Thanks, kid.

Boy Twin isn't exempt from this discussion, either. In fact, he'll always tell me just how he's feeling. One night last week when I was tucking him into bed he said, "Mom, I want you to stay fired." When I asked him why, he said, "Because I like for you to be home with us." Awww, man. Talk about a broken heart. 

These sweet kids. Just when I think they aren't paying attention to things, they show me that they are. So perceptive and yet a tiny bit judgmental. We will survive...

Monday, January 25, 2016

Healthy Family, Happy Family

Hi friends! Today's blog post is a little different from what I usually post. Usually, you see me posting funny stories about my kids or documenting our adventures with photos. I've even done some paid product endorsements from time to time. But this time, I'm telling you about some products we use in my household just because they are wonderful.

We are Melaleuca customers. Maybe you've never heard of Melaleuca--I hadn't, until our friend shared the information with us almost six years ago. That's right, we've been using Melaleuca for over five years!

Melaleuca is a private label company that was established in 1985 with just a few household and wellness products. Today, they offer 450 different products. They don't have big marketing budgets or do commercial advertising, which keeps their prices low. You pay a membership fee to sign up, much like a wholesale club. You just shop online for the things you used to leave your house to purchase! Read on...

Why did we sign up to use Melaleuca?

First of all, I was pregnant with the twins when we started our membership. The idea of online shopping and home delivery was so appealing to us! Anything to cut down on our trips to the store with three kids. You place your monthly order online, and it's delivered right to your door by UPS within 3-4 days.  Now, I know not everyone gets such good service, but my UPS man will even carry my package inside the house for me! Convenience!

Second, we have three kids and want to keep them alive. Melaleuca products are all chemical-free and safe for kids and pets to be around. You know what? They don't even have kid-proof lids on the cleaning products because they are non-toxic! In 30 years of business, this company has had ZERO insurance claims over safety. Chemical-free and non-toxic means safe for the kids, safe for Fergie and I don't have to choke on bleach fumes when I clean the bathrooms. Safety!

Why are we still using Melaleuca today?

We love the products! Honestly, there isn't one thing we've tried that we didn't like. Here are the things that we regularly use: vitamins, lotion, laundry detergent, dish detergent, first aid supplies, shampoo/conditioner, deodorant, essential oils, household cleaners, insect repellent....and more.

This is our most recent order below. So excited to try the new toilet cleaner--it's a brand new product! Melaleuca is always adding something new. 

Also, the company cares about the environment. Products without chemicals are easier on the environment and packaging is created with less waste; many of the liquid products are highly concentrated so you use less and it lasts longer.

I can't tell you all about the products in one post, so here are my TOP 3 (today). I'll post a few more later in the week, so keep watching. 

This is the Attain crave blocker shake mix. There are lots of flavors, but I'm a chocolate gal all the way. I mix it with milk for breakfast and it keeps the munchies away until lunch. It works!

This is Sol-u-Guard, one of the all-purpose cleaning products from Melaleuca. It comes in the concentrated bottle on the left, and you mix it with water in a spray bottle to use. This is a disinfectant with no chemicals! I love the way it makes my kitchen smell. 

This. This is my beloved Renew lotion. Let me tell you, I have super dry skin. Like, all the time--even in the summer. Renew is the first lotion that I've found to actually help me! I have relief from my dry, itchy, flaky skin all year long. God help us if we run out of Renew.

IMPORTANT! SALES PITCH! If you are interested in a membership to shop Melaleuca, please let me know. The membership fee is only $29 but through January, it's ONLY ONE DOLLAR. You only have a few days left to get the sale price. There is no risk, no contract and you can cancel anytime. You know me....I'm skeptical of everything. This is legit, y'all.  Let me sign you up today. You can even Google "Melaleuca" and you won't find anything negative at all, I promise.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Holiday Recap

We had a flurry of holiday activity that started with our (mostly) annual trip to Branson. We spent the weekend swimming, eating and playing at Silver Dollar City. It was way more crowded than I ever remember it being in the past, probably because the weather was beautiful and mild the day we went. The little kids and Nanny enjoyed all the kid rides. The big coaster riders had to sit out because of Lee's injury and TP wasn't feeling well. 

We had a quiet Christmas Day at home feasting and playing with all the kids' loot. We cooked the best turkey we've ever had, but I'm going to save that for another blog day.

My little Christmas miracle is that I finally got to set up my Dickens village, after storing it for nearly 10 years! I finally have room for a display and can trust my kids not to handle it or break it. My handy hubby repurposed an old wooden ladder for me to use as a display. It's so beautiful that I still haven't taken it down, even though the Christmas tree and decorations are all put away. It makes me so happy to look at it, that I may leave it up all winter.

For New Year's, we headed to Wynne, where we had our family Christmas and went to the Liberty Bowl for the Hogs vs. Kansas State game.

I picked the best photos of our holiday season to share. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

2015: Out with a bang!

Look! I'm here!

I think that the 4th Quarter got the best of me in 2015. All the prep work for holiday time in retail--Santa, events, sales, advertising---just wow. It sure left me with very little time or energy for blogging. And I still had to take care of holiday prep at home!

Things are certainly much different, and much slower, now. This is where I fill you in on all the drama that we ended the year with.  Let's see...

On December 17th, Lee went to the doctor for what he thought was kidney stone pain, and got put on medical leave from work. Turns out he has a hernia, not kidney stones! The surgeon couldn't even see him until after Christmas for a consult. He's been off work since then, and set to have surgery this Friday. Say a little prayer that everything goes smoothly. He will likely be off work another four weeks at least.

The very next day, I found out that I was losing my job. I won't get into details, but there has been an ownership change at the mall and a lot of other people were let go as well. In nearly 20 years of professional work, this is the first time I've lost a job. It's very strange.

Talk about a bad week! Yikes.

The good news is that I was able to be home with these little turkeys while they were out of school for holiday break. We cooked, baked, had play dates and got ready for Christmas. It really was very nice.

Now it's time to find a job and get 2016 started off better than last year ended. Wish me luck!  A bonus? Now I have more time for blogging!

Monday, November 16, 2015

I Think I Might Be "Tech People" After All!

Last Tuesday, I attended the 2015 Northwest Arkansas Technology Summit, presented by the Bentonville-Bella Vista Chamber of Commerce and the NWA Tech Council. When I first heard about the event, I was sure that it was not a place for me. My mental image was that of people with pocket protectors and social skills akin to Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. File me under "prone to stereotyping" again.  (shame)
The event was very well organized and full of more information than my non-techy self could process. It was great in every way! I was exposed to so many new ideas and lots of things that apply to my life: professionally, as a blogger and as a consumer. 
Nearly 1,000 people were able to come together and learn from people who are getting it right when it comes to blending technology with their businesses. People were welcoming and encouraged questions and offered explanations. I was able to join a group of my fellow Northwest Arkansas bloggers to help promote the event on social media in real time, which was also fun.
Professionally, I knew that I could take away some things that would certainly help me in my daily marketing duties...and boy, did I! Mainly, as much as the world has gone to digital and online shopping, there is still a place for brick & mortal retail in the world. People may go into a store only to pull up an item on their phone to purchase, or check out an item in person before they buy online. It's still our job, as sales professionals, to provide excellent customer service to earn the customers' trust and make them want to buy from us.
Customer service is universal in any business; in person and online.
Another big takeaway for me? The job opportunities! This gave me such hope for my kids' future! I got even more affirmation to challenge, encourage and show them the value of technology in their lives now and in the future. I want my kiddos to embrace it and go toward it. The possibilities are unlimited and will continue to grow as they do.  
Here are a few of my tweets from the presentations at the Northwest Arkansas Technology Summit.

The event will be coming back in 2016, so watch for information if you missed this one and might want to check it out! If I can learn from it, you can too! Let me know and I'll save you a seat.

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