My Top Three Tips for Surviving the Back-to-School Season and a $25 McDonald’s Arch Card #Giveaway #HappyBalance #McDGoesB2S

*I received compensation from McDonald’s for writing this review.*

The school year always begins with a flurry of activity that I can barely keep up with. This year adding a newborn to the mix has seen me totally off my game! Back to school shopping has barely happened for this household so thank goodness they can still get by in their summer clothes so far! I’ve already missed an activity for one kid because I don’t have their crazy schedules down quite yet, and driving around in the afternoons to all the new activities makes it nearly impossible to get them dinner in a timely manner. My life saver has been McDonald’s! I swear, you have no idea how many times that drive through has saved me when I’m frantically late with cranky hungry kids in the car! So yes, things are crazy around here, and I know they will settle down as we get into our routine, but here are my top three survival tips for moms at this busy time of year:

 My Top Three Tips for Surviving the Back to School Season and a $25 McDonald’s Arch Card #Giveaway  #HappyBalance #McDGoesB2STOP THREE SURVIVAL TIPS

1. Look at the schedule a day ahead and lay everything out you will need the night before. There is nothing like scrambling to find soccer shorts 5 minutes before your kid is supposed to be at practice, trust me! (then try it with a screaming baby in your arms!)

2. McDonald’s Happy Meals! ‘nough said.McDonald’s has made these so much more nutritionally-focused for our kids with apple slices in every one and now the choice of Go-GURT Low-Fat Strawberry Yogurt instead of French fries. They are called Happy Meals for a reason people…they make me & the kids super happy!

 My Top Three Tips for Surviving the Back to School Season and a $25 McDonald’s Arch Card #Giveaway  #HappyBalance #McDGoesB2S

3. Don’t stress the small stuff. I’ll let you in on a little secret, that art class you forgot, the PTA meeting you are late to, the form you never filled out for school…..it’s O.K.! These are tiny little things that are not going to make a long-term impact. Take a deep breath when you find yourself racing like a maniac to get to playgroup and realize…it’s JUST playgroup, not a board meeting, you can be 5 minutes late.

I used to get so incredibly stressed out about all this little stuff, but something about having the third kid just clicked it all into perspective for me. The most important thing is my kids health and safety. As long as they are fine all the other silly little stresses just melt away. If a $2.99 Happy Meal is going to make our lives go more smoothly and make every one happy, then I go for it. And if I can’t get home in time to make dinner for my family, they are thrilled if I walk in with McDonald’s bags full of goodness. Guess what, on those nights I’m thrilled that I don’t have to worry about frantically making dinner for a starving mob that I’ll have to clean up after too.

McDonald’s has really committed to making the Happy Meal a wholesome option for families. They added the apple slices, Go-GURT Low-Fat Strawberry Yogurt, drink options of 1% low-fat while milk, fat-free chocolate milk or 100% apple juice, and this fall, Cuties clementines from Sun Pacific will be included as a Happy Meal side as well. These changes came about when after listening to customers, McDonald’s partnered with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and made a Clinton Global Initiative commitment in 2013. This partnership aims to increase access to fruit, veggies and low-fat dairy, and to help families, and kids make informed choices. My Top Three Tips for Surviving the Back to School Season and a $25 McDonald’s Arch Card #Giveaway  #HappyBalance #McDGoesB2S

So take that deep breath and know that it’s o.k. to take advantage of things like the Happy Meal to make your life easier, being a mom is hard enough as it is! Be sure to visit McDonald’s and follow them on Twitter today.

Giveaway: Now for a chance to win $25 Arch Card! This giveaway is run via rafflecopter. For the mandatory entry, tell me your tips for a stress free back to school experience in the comment section where it says post comment.  While the other entries are optional, I highly suggest filling them out to increase your chances of winning. Winner will be picked on 10-31 and will have 24 hours to respond. McDonald’s will be providing the prize. US only. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
  I received compensation from McDonald’s in exchange for writing this review. Although this is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own.

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Disney’s ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY New Clips! #VeryBadDay

Seriously, this movie looks so good! How excited are you to see it? You don’t have to wait too long because it hits theaters on 10/10 but to get you excited here are some new film clips:



 

ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY
DISNEY

Genre: Family Comedy
Rating: PG
U.S. Release Date: October 10, 2014
Cast: Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner, Dylan Minnette, Ed Oxenbould, Kerris Dorsey, Megan Mullally, Jennifer Coolidge, Bella Thorne
Director: Miguel Arteta
Producers: Shawn Levy, Lisa Henson, Dan Levine
Executive Producers: Philip Steuer, Jason Lust
Writer: Rob Lieber
Based on the novel by: Judith Viorst

Disney’s “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” follows the exploits of 11-year-old Alexander (Ed Oxenbould) as he experiences the most terrible and horrible day of his young life—a day that begins with gum stuck in his hair, followed by one calamity after another. But when Alexander tells his upbeat family about the misadventures of his disastrous day, he finds little sympathy and begins to wonder if bad things only happen to him. He soon learns that he’s not alone when his mom (Jennifer Garner), dad (Steve Carell), brother (Dylan Minnette) and sister (Kerris Dorsey) all find themselves living through their own terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Anyone who says there is no such thing as a bad day just hasn’t had one.

“Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,” directed by Independent Spirit Award-winner Miguel Arteta (“The Good Girl,” “Cedar Rapids,” “Youth in Revolt”) from a screenplay by Rob Lieber, is a 21 Laps Entertainment/Jim Henson Company production. The film hits theaters nationwide Oct. 10, 2014.

In theaters Oct. 10, 2014, Disney’s “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”follows 11-year-old Alexander (Ed Oxenbould) as he experiences the most terrible and horrible day of his young life—and soon learns that he’s not alone when his mom (Jennifer Garner), dad (Steve Carell), brother (Dylan Minnette) and sister (Kerris Dorsey) all find themselves living through their own terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

 

 

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Great Wolf Lodge New England is a Car Ride Away!

*I visited Great Wolf Lodge for my review. All my opinions are my own and not swayed by outside sources.*

A few weeks back I had the chance to visit the brand new Great Wolf Lodge located in Fitchburg, MA. My family was so excited to visit because we always wanted to stay at a Great Wolf Lodge but we had none in our vicinity.  Now with the Great Wolf Lodge opening in the heart of Massachusetts (about an hour drive from Providence, an hour from Boston, 1.5 hours from Hartford, 2.5 hours from Albany, and 1 hour from Manchester, NH) it is easily accessible to the entire New England region. We started our drive very late on Friday evening and in an hour (as promised) we were greeted by the super friendly reception staff upon checking in.10628410 10152664778799356 9069188342973105314 n Great Wolf Lodge New England is a Car Ride Away!

When we got out of the car to check in, we noticed that they had shows for the children going on right in the main lobby area. Each night at Great Wolf Lodge ends with story time and is perfect ending to a fun filled day. When we checked in, we noticed that the show was hopping and all the kids were dressed in their pajamas to enjoy their favorite bedtime stories in the Grand Lobby. Since my kids saw this, they instantly sat down with the other children to watch. After all the kids are able to snap a photo with Wiley or Violet (two of Great Wolf Lodge main characters) and give them each a high-paw. This made for such a great start to our vacation. In the morning they also have a 9 AM Wolf Walk with the characters.DSC 1417 1024x682 Great Wolf Lodge New England is a Car Ride Away!

Once checked in, we were given keys to our room and when I say room, I mean a 7 person suite that is simply gorgeous. If you are traveling with a large group, the Wolf Den Suite is the way to do it. It is has separate bedrooms to accommodate your entire family or if you chose to go traveling with another family.  In this suite, there is a Master bedroom with a king bed along, the entrance bedroom (main portion of the suite) which includes a queen bed, twin-size sofa sleeper for those extra people traveling with you, a cave-themed sleeping area for kids with their own bunk beds and TV, a large picture window, a microwave, fridge, coffee maker, and hair dryer.DSC 1471 1024x682 Great Wolf Lodge New England is a Car Ride Away!

This suite is HUGE and allows each member of your family to have their own individual space. Hayley and Zane went gaga over the bunk beds. It was their first time sleeping in bunk beds and they loved the concept. In the morning when we were sleeping, they were able to watch their favorite shows in bed. As for my husband and I, we had a great night sleep in the main bedroom and we put baby Taylor in her own bedroom. They do have pack n plays available if you are traveling with smaller children too.DSC 1475 1024x682 Great Wolf Lodge New England is a Car Ride Away!

After an awesome night of sleep in such a fun filed suite complete with bear themes, we were ready to start the day. We grabbed Dunkin Donuts right in the lobby. I read some reviews that there were long lines for D +D in the morning, but we did not encounter this. We got right up and were able to grab our java and breakfast on the go. You can pay via cash, credit card, or on your room charge at all the places you want to eat, as well as the activities you want to participate in.DSC 1440 682x1024 Great Wolf Lodge New England is a Car Ride Away!

The next stop was obviously the water park and when I say water park, I mean a MEGA indoor water park that is unlike anything I have ever seen before. It is a massive, 84 degree indoor water park with over 68,000 square feet of water-packed excitement! At Great Wolf Lodge New England, the water park is separated into two main areas both with young children and older children rides. Before you enter, they measure you and you are given colored bands to tell you what rides you can or can’t go on. They do this for your children’s safety which I am a big fan of. Do not worry if your kids fall into the youngest height requirements, because there is still plenty of rides for them to go on!DSC 1464 1024x682 Great Wolf Lodge New England is a Car Ride Away! DSC 14481 1024x682 Great Wolf Lodge New England is a Car Ride Away!

DSC 1460 1024x682 Great Wolf Lodge New England is a Car Ride Away! At the water park, you will find a favorite slide or water attraction for the entire family. They have slides from the most beginner to the most advanced, a spray park for the younger kids , a younger water area for toddlers, a lazy river, and so much more. Hayley and Zane’s favorite was definitely the Slap Tail Pond which features waves up to 3 feet tall that comes in 5 minute intervals. It also features zero deep entry and goes up to 5 feet. Both my kids stayed in the mid section of the pool and spent hours there.  They also loved Big Foot Pass which was an agility challenge course where you have to climb ropes right in the pool. Your kids will get to jump from lily pad to lily pad to reach the end of the pool. They provide safety water vests at no additional costs to children who are not able to swim or just want to wear one to feel safer.DSC 1470 1024x682 Great Wolf Lodge New England is a Car Ride Away!

DSC 1468 1024x682 Great Wolf Lodge New England is a Car Ride Away! If you have older kids including teenagers, they have some water rides they will never forget such as the Howlin’ Tornado which features a 6 story funnel all while swishing and swirling down the slide, 30 feet up the sides of the funnel before landing in the main pool area. My husband also had his share of fun and went on the Wolf Tail which features a enclosed tunnel which drops you into a 360 degree thrill ride. I was too scared to go on but he said it was the most awesome ride he has ever been on!

After spending hours at the pool, we then went on to explore some of the other attractions such as the Howlin’ Timbers Play Park which includes indoor rides such as the Frog Hopper attraction and train ride. In this section, they also have a Howlers Peak Rope Course, mini golf, and bowling! I am not kidding when I say Great Wolf Lodge has everything! Once done with the play park, we visited the Northern Lights Arcade where they played games for hours and even had the chance to go on a ride-on movie (XD theatre) of their choice.DSC 1452 1024x682 Great Wolf Lodge New England is a Car Ride Away!

DSC 1438 1024x682 Great Wolf Lodge New England is a Car Ride Away! Some activities we did not do but heard rave reviews about is the Scooops Kid Spa and MagiQuest. My three kids were a little young but we heard that both activities are huge hits at Great Wolf Lodge and should be checked out if you have kids 6+!

Lastly, we had a great amount of food choices available at all times whether it was taking out pizza in the Hungry As A Wolf Pizza Palace or sitting down for a great dinner at Lodge Wood Fired Grill.  They have it all!

Be sure to visit Great Wolf Lodge New England for a fantastic family weekend of fun and excitement today!

 

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Tiny Prints for Taylor’s Birth Announcements and Thank you Cards!

* I work with Tiny Prints on promotions. All my opinions are my own and not swayed by outside sources.*

logo 2013 10 23 Tiny Prints for Taylors Birth Announcements and Thank you Cards!As a recent mom for the third time, I have a lot on plate these days. Between taking care of my kids, working, and maintaining a little bit of time for myself, I am busy! With the birth of a child, I like to remember the occasion and make my friends/family aware of a birth by sending them a birth announcement. Sure I can try to do my own but I can assure you that it would not come out as well and take up way too much of my little time I have each day. That is why I am thankful that Tiny Prints makes such gorgeous and affordable baby announcements.

If you are not familiar with Tiny Prints, they are the premiere , one stop shopping destination  for all things invitations, announcements, personalized gifts, and more. At Tiny Prints, they have just about any type of personalized card you are looking for. For me, I was in dire need to send out announcements as well as thank you cards.

When we first looked at Tiny Prints for the announcements, I was amazed just how many beautiful announcement cards there were and best of all, they were all so affordable. I had a hard time deciding which announcement I was going to go with. I had about 9 in shopping cart and finally narrowed it down to 1, with the help of friends.

DSC 0197 1024x682 Tiny Prints for Taylors Birth Announcements and Thank you Cards!

The best part of Tiny Prints is they have announcements, as well as invitations, that will gel with your personal style. For me, I wanted to incorporate our family in the picture, so I was readily able to do that with the two sided card that featured my family of 5 on the back, and baby Taylor on the front. I then was able to add my own words and in no time at all, the card was ready to be sent. You will be able to get a proof of the card before it gets sent to printing, to assure that all the details are correct. You also have free range with wording and various fonts you want to use. If you want to have your address already printed on the corresponding envelopes, they will be able to do that too!DSC 0198 1024x682 Tiny Prints for Taylors Birth Announcements and Thank you Cards!

We also received Thank you cards for Taylor and I could not be happier. Again, they have so many different styles to pick from, that you will be sure to find one that you just fall in love with. I know we did!DSC 01951 1024x682 Tiny Prints for Taylors Birth Announcements and Thank you Cards!

We are so happy with Tiny Prints and the customer service there. I got my card promptly and in the beautiful blue box, it always comes in. If you have a new baby and are looking for ideal Thank you cards and/or announcements, then Tiny Prints is your online store!

Here is some other new and exciting information:

Tiny Prints launched a partnership with Baby2Baby, a non-profit organization that provides low-income children, ages zero to 12, with diapers, clothing and all the basic necessities that every child deserves. Together with Baby2Baby, Tiny Prints has committed to distributing over 3,000 new cribs to families in need them through donating a portion of its birth announcements sales back to Baby2Baby!

unnamed8 Tiny Prints for Taylors Birth Announcements and Thank you Cards!
Tiny Prints now has the Tiny Prints Baby2Baby Personal Stationery line created by celebrated designer Jill Smith! Inspired by children’s drawings from the Baby2Baby/Tiny Prints Mother’s Day playdate, Jill created a joyful line of personal stationery sure to make anyone smile. In addition to the birth announcement sales, Tiny Prints is donating 5% of proceeds from its Baby2Baby personal stationery line back to the non-profit.

 

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Truly Scrumptious by Heidi Klum Clothing Line!

* I work with Toys R Us/ Babies R Us  on promotions. All my opinions are my own and not swayed by outside sources.*

Little Taylor is now almost 3 months! Can you believe it?! Time really goes fast. I absolutely love having a girl partly because I can dress her up. There is nothing quite as cute as seeing her in adorable outfits day after day. Now I am so excited because Babies“R”Us just launched the Heidi Klum line and it is simply adorable, and best of all, affordable!

As a mom, I like to find fantastic clothes but can’t fathom spending an arm and a leg. Now I do not have to with the Truly Scrumptious Line. The exclusive apparel from the Truly Scrumptious by Heidi Klum fall collection is now available on all Babies “R” Us countrywide and online. In this line, Heidi Klum once again brings together her fashion and motherly expertise to provide parents with the perfect fall clothes and accessories for their little ones.Screen Shot 2014 09 29 at 2.48.38 PM Truly Scrumptious by Heidi Klum Clothing Line!

So this is the outfit Taylor received from her line and I can’t rave enough about it! People ask me all the time where I received it and they are always shocked to learn that it did not come from an expensive clothing store (that truly I can’t afford). I tell them with the Truly Scrumptious line you can get the high priced, fashionable items but at reasonable costs. You can’t beat that!10418384 10152678981749356 7921965224623944157 n1 Truly Scrumptious by Heidi Klum Clothing Line!

Not only does Heidi Klum include clothes in her collection, you can also find nursery furniture, baby shoes/socks, and baby gear in her line too. Fashion certainly meets function with her line and the bold, yet beautiful, prints will look great on your children. Be sure to check out Babies “R” Us today for the complete Truly Scrumptious Line By Heidi Klum.

 

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