Monday, September 29, 2014

Celebrate How You #GetGoing for a Chance to win $1,000 from Jif To Go Dippers

I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Influence-Central for Jif To Go Dippers. I received a sample to facilitate my review and a thank you item for participating.

Summer may be over, but we are just now dreaming of our next travel plans.  In fact, we did just get back from a family mini-vacation, and that seemed to just whet our appetite for more!  We dream of the day when we can take the whole family to Ireland, a place we find so beautiful and part of our family's very eclectic heritage.  While we have accepted that this dream trip is likely a bit out of our budget at the moment, we still like to aim high; $1,000 could really come in handy for this goal.

From now until October 1st, Jif is rewarding a life on the go (like the one we live) and is letting consumers know about their tasty and convenient new To Go Dippers by asking fans to upload photos of them as they #GetGoing. One lucky fan will get $1,000 toward their dream trip! Check out the complete rules and details on how to enter, you could be the lucky winner!

 As for me, I will be entering, but I know that even $1K won't make much in a dent in our big vacay plans (maybe airfare for one kiddo?)  It's something that I haven't given up on, however.  And if we do win the prize, it may be just what we need to start aggressively saving for that some-day vacation.  We could at least use it as a deposit on our big trip, and who knows -- maybe our trip will happen sooner than we think!

Where would you go if you won $1,000? Would it be somewhere as distant as Ireland?  Or would you do something a bit closer to home?  I would love to hear if you plan on entering! (You'll also want to be sure to check out Jif's Instagram account, Facebook page, and Twitter.  The giveaway is open to U.S. residents ages 18+ only at this time.)


5 Tips for Preparing Your Home for a Disaster

We have not been strangers to natural disasters.  This year, alone, a small tornado touched down near our home and destroyed trees, as well as caused damage to vehicles.

In 2011, we were just a mile away from a devastating river flood that ruined homes and farmland.

Hail, high winds, and fires are so common in our part of the country.  It has really caused us to rethink the way we handle storing our prized possessions.

Master Lock, has made it their primary business to keep your stuff safe.  Their new Python Adjustable Locking Cable is exactly the sort of product we use on our farm to keep large pieces of equipment, such as supply trailers, secure from theft or high winds.  We tried it out, and was impressed with its durability, easy of use, and quality.  We felt much better having items secured in this manner, rather than a typical padlock that could be easily cut.

There is a lot of work that goes into being ready for a disaster.  Start with just one of these tips, and keep going until you are ready!

1. Learn the language. Beginning October 22, the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center in the U.S. will add two new threat levels to its weather outlooks for storm days at risk of producing tornados, hail or high winds. Risk categories will now include "enhanced" and "marginal," in addition to the existing "slight," "high" and "moderate."

We are always amazed when people move to Nebraska and don't know the difference between a "watch" and a "warning", as well.  These are important distinctions, and can be important to keeping your family safe during conditions where a tornado can occur.

2. Prepare in advance. You'll never realize how important it is to plan ahead, until you're not prepared! In addition to enough water and non-perishable food for each person in your home, a back-up power generator, first aid kits, warm blankets, and access to medication, cash, and important documents is a must.  We keep supplies for our pets, too!  You can keep all of these important supplies secured in a central location, such as your storm shelter, for easy access.  Be sure to rotate food and water every 6 months to keep them fresh.

3. Create a backup plan. Those important papers mentioned above should include copies of your car and home titles, birth certificates, cash, and medical records.  If you ever had to start over fresh in a new location, whatever you need to establish your identity and assets should be included.  Put these in a fire and water-proof safe in a place you can easily get to in an emergency.  We personally use the Sentry®Safe fire safe for our paper copies.  For extra security, you may want to upload digital copies to the Master Lock Vault, which is free and can be accessed 24 hours a day, via smartphone, tablet or computer.

4. Secure outdoor belongings. I remember how difficult it was to track down our personal belongings that usually get stored outside after the tornado touched down.  Our trash bins few miles away, yard toys were destroyed, and some things were never recovered.  Putting everything in a covered shed or garage is ideal, and the lock should be secured with a lock.  The Python we mentioned above, is just the thing for patio furniture, small trailers, and bicycles.  If your home is damaged and you are forced to leave, it adds an extra layer of protection against looters, as well, who will be working quickly to go for the easiest stuff to steal.

5. Go cordless. No power is no fun.  In addition to time lost for those who work or school from home, you can lose access to important communications and needed medical devices.  If a backup generator isn't in your budget, make sure you have enough flashlights, batteries, and external "power supplies" for small devices and phones.  If you rely on your internet to be connected to power, this is a good time to look into how to use your data plan as a hot spot for wi-fi, as well.  If you lose power, remember to unplug all of your electrical appliances such as laptops, televisions and corded phones. Power surges can occur as the result of lightning and can damage plugged-in electronics and appliances.

You can learn more about protecting yourself and your family during an emergency, as well as new tools for security via the Master Lock website!

Wanna Win? In celebration of National Preparedness Month, we are giving away one of the Python Locking Cables we tried out!  There are two ways to enter to win:

1) Comment on this post with how you would use this product, if you win.

2) Follow us on Instagram and post a photo on Instagram of something you would like to keep safe during a storm. (It can be something you would like to keep safe, but doesn't have to be something you would secure with the Python.)  Use the hashtag #MasterLockPrepare so we can count your entry. 

You have until October 7th at 11:59 pm CST to get your entries in. One entry per method per person for a total of two per person.  Open to U.S 18+.

*Sample, prizing, and info provided by Master Lock. Opinions are my own.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Maternity Clothes: Then and Now

I have officially put my last piece of maternity clothing into a box to donate, knowing that I will never wear "pregnancy clothes" again.  This has made me sad for two reasons: 1) I will miss the baby years and 2) The clothes that are available for pregnant women are so much cuter than they used to be!

Not only are maternity clothes trendier than ever, they are also affordable, too.  I remember when just one top cost more than two regular women's tops.  I cringed at the thought of spending so much on an outfit that I would wear for just 4-6 short months!  I also have photos of me pregnant with my first child (16 years ago), and I can't believe how the clothes made women look larger than they actually are.  Did the sailor dress ever look good on a pregnant woman?

Walmart has recently come out with an updated line of maternity clothes that combine the beauty of fashion and frugality: Sandy and Marcie's Great Expectations have all the staples for a growing mom, without the guilt of throwing a fortune away on clothes you'll only wear for one season.

They feature the trends I love in maternity clothes, including:

1) Ruched sides.  This is a blessing when wearing tops.  It helps to keep a slimmer looking fit, even with a big belly.  It also makes the top look good when wearing after baby is born.  It's such a comfy fit! Priced at $14.94.

2) Belly support bands.  These are the smartest purchase a pregnant woman can make.  They not only support and hold up the belly, which can keep mom comfy, they can extend the amount of time you can wear normal jeans and pants.  (And they feel great after having a c-section, too.) Priced at $12.94

3) Yoga pants.  I'm so happy to see that women don't have to give up the comfiest pant just because they are expecting.  The "preggo" version of this comfy bottom is adorable! Priced at $16.94

I got away with buying 2 pairs of jeans, a skirt, and about 4 tops, when I was pregnant -- in addition to the belly band and some comfy nursing bras.  Whether you need just a few basics, or a different style for every day of the workweek, you can purchase all of the newest maternity trends from the Great Expectations line in 700 select Walmart stores and at!

As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I've received compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Nicolas Sparks' New Movie and Special Featured Trailer!

He's at it again. Mr. Sparks has a new film coming out titled "The Best of Me." This likely to be sappy and heartwarming flick features music from Lady Antebellum, and we wanted to share this trailer with you to give you a glimpse of what to expect!

Based on the bestselling novel by acclaimed author Nicholas Sparks, The Best of Me tells the story of Dawson and Amanda, two former high school sweethearts who find themselves reunited after 20 years apart, when they return to their small town for the funeral of a beloved friend. Their bittersweet reunion reignites the love they've never forgotten, but soon they discover the forces that drove them apart twenty years ago live on, posing even more serious threats today. Spanning decades, this epic love story captures the enduring power of our first true love, and the wrenching choices we face when confronted with elusive second chances. 
The film, starring James Marsden and Michelle Monoghan hits theaters October 17th. Be sure to check back for an exclusive giveaway for a chance to see the movie! (And follow news of the film at the official Facebook page!)

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