Spring Break Visit to the Atlanta Zoo #OnlyZooAtlanta

This past week we were on Spring Break and at the last minute we decided to take a quick trip to Atlanta, GA, which isn’t too terribly far away from us. We love going to Atlanta – the weather tends to be a little cooler, and there is always plenty to do and see while there. I love to hike, and in this area there are a lot of trails that we can enjoy and our children can manage.

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This time, we went to Zoo Atlanta since we had never been there before. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by how much fun we had! We were expecting it to be small since it’s in the city, but we made a full day of it and we could have stayed longer if we weren’t just worn out.

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We went on a weekday during Spring Break, and it wasn’t at all crowded. They kept the entrance lines moving, and if you had bought your tickets ahead of time the line was even shorter!  Right after you get through the entrance there were flamingos, which got the children excited right away!

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Also conveniently located near the entrance were bathrooms, a place to purchase tickets for the extra rides, and a hand stamping station for re-entry if you needed to leave the park. We started off walking around the zoo, which is a fairly large loop. While the enclosures weren’t huge, they were well kept and clean. We enjoyed reading the fun facts that were posted throughout the zoo as well!  They also have a great conservation program!

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We got to see the baby pandas while we were at the panda exhibit (where we also learned a lot), and we also got to see a Red Panda, which my daughter was pretty excited about.

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We then slowly made our way back to the children’s area for the petting zoo and a train ride.  There is also an amazing playground in the children’s area that is large and nicely shaded. 

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I also got to try out their brand new Treetop Trail ropes course! I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was so much fun! I admit, I got pretty scared, but they had a guide to help coach you through the experience. I felt so accomplished, and I was rewarded with a short zipline trip! I have to say this was seriously one of the most fun things I have done in a long time. If you go, just remember not to have anything in your pockets and use the restroom before going! The ropes course is over the children’s area playground, so my husband hung out there with our children and took pictures. My daughter was going to do the course with me, but after one set of obstacles she decided it was too scary for her. There were a lot of children who loved it though!

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I HIGHLY recommend the zoo for a day of fun in Atlanta – go check them out!  

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Legoland in Atlanta #USFamilyguide

Spring Break is right around the corner!  It snuck up on us this year!  Do you have Spring Break plans?  We’re thinking about camping at one of Georgia State’s Parks.  If you’ve never been to their parks before – check them out – they are great!  We found one near Atlanta, so I was looking for some new things to do in Atlanta and found out the have a LEGOLAND discovery center!   Both of our children love legos, so this would be a fun day trip! 

With over 2 million LEGO bricks under one roof, LEGOLAND Discovery Center Atlanta is a LEGO lover’s dream! Come share our world of color, creativity and family entertainment. Bring your mateys and race your own pirate ship on our aquatic table at NEW Pirate Adventure Island! Come ride Merlin’s Apprentice and Kingdom Quest! Don’t forget to check out local Atlanta landmarks in our MINILAND and learn new building tricks in our Model Builder Academy. Don’t forget to check out one of our five 4D movies, including NEW The LEGO Movie 4D: A New Adventure! It’s the ultimate place for LEGO fans young and old!

You can get tickets here – looks like it’s best to get them online before you go!

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Celebrate National Reading Month with National Geographic Kids! #MomsMeet #NatGeo

Did you know that March is National Reading Month? We already kicked it off at our daughter’s school the first week in March with Dr. Seuss week. They had fun activities all week long to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday! We’re continuing the fun with some great National Geographic Books sent to us through Moms Meet!

I received this product for free from Moms Meet, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my honest opinion on my blog. The opinions posted are my own.

We love National Geographic books at our house. The pictures are always amazing, and they have fun facts and jokes spread throughout the book which my daughter just loves. Every morning this week she has told me jokes or asked me trivia questions from one of the books!

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My son loves the books too! He’s only two, so he isn’t reading yet but he will carry the books around until he can find someone who will sit and read with him. Every page gets an enthusiastic “Wow!” from him. I think he loves the photos. He loves the book “Hop, Bunny”!  My daughter loves the Red Panda book even though it is below her reading level because she thinks the panda is so cute.  They even offer Spanish language books – a great way too learn the language!  Animal Ark is simply beautiful and I am sure will become a family favorite. 

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My daughter has enjoyed exploring the website and learning about different animals.  She thought some of the games were too difficult, but she liked others.  Now it’s her go-to place to go when she wants to learn more about an animal! 

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Goodie Box send free samples to your door! #DailyGoodieBox #free

Have you heard of Daily Goodie Box?  You register with them, and once selected, you receive a box packed with free samples!  The catch?  You just have to go review the products once you try them! 

Here are all of the great products I got in my box!

 

Nellie’s All-Natural – Laundry Soda Packs

http://nelliesallnatural.com/internal/?type=Laundry

JustChill – Stress Relief Drinks

https://shop.drinkjustchill.com/collections/drinks

Vermont Smoke & Cure  – Cracked Pepper Beef & Pork Sticks

http://www.vermontsmokeandcure.com/products/meat-sticks/cracked-pepper-beef-pork-sticks/

Nature’s Bakery – Raspberry Fig Bars

https://naturesbakery.com/snack-products/raspberry-whole-wheat-fig-bars

Jack N’ Jill –  Natural Toothpaste

http://jackandjillkids.com/usa/index.php/default/toothpaste.html

Dream Water – Sleep Powder

https://drinkdreamwater.com/collections/all/products/sleep-powder-5-pack

Coffee Blocks – Butter Coffee

https://coffeeblocks.com/products/8-pack-of-coffee-blocks

Aloha – Daily Good Greens

https://aloha.com/shop/product/daily-good-greens-chocolate

XyliChew – Spearmint

http://xylichew.com/products/

Gorilly Goods – Organic Snacks

http://www.gorillygoods.com/collections/all-products

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Organic Meal Kits Delivered to Your Home! #GreenChef #MomsMeeT

If you’re like me, you would love to eat healthy meals during the week, but often you’re just too tired. After a long day, the last thing I usually want to do is make a meal from scratch!  I’ve often seen those meals that they ship to your door to make, and I’ve always wondered how they would be.  Well Moms Meet and Green Chef sent me a box to try out! 

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I received this product for free from Moms Meet, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my honest opinion on my blog. The opinions posted are my own.

I didn’t realize the day it was coming, and my husband didn’t see the “refrigerate immediately” stamp on the side of the box (they need to make that bigger!), so right away I was worried about how everything would look. Turns out I was worried for nothing! All of the produce looked amazing, and there was a ton of it!

I love that each recipe had a color coded sticker, so getting all of the ingredients assembled for a recipe was easy.  All that was needed was grabbing everything with that color code on it, and you were all set.  They included everything you needed except for the most basic things (salt, pepper, olive oil).  The ingredients were also pre-measured, which made meal prep very fast! The homemade sauces and marinades they used were delicious. Since we have a very pick daughter, we opted for the 2-person vegan plan, which consisted of 3 dinners for two people.

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The recipes were easy to master, and my daughter and husband had a lot of fun helping prepare the meal. It truly turned into a family project! For us, each meal was enough for more than just two people!

Our favorite meal was the Chorizo Seitan Flautas. We had never made flautas before, and we had a lot of fun with them! My husband is a meat and potatoes kind of guy, but he really enjoyed this meal and said he would definitely eat it again!  My personal favorite was the Berbere Black Lentils.  I took this for lunches for four days, and it was so nice to have something different for lunch!  I absolutely loved the jicama slaw!  You also receive the recipe, so you can recreate the dishes again. 

A two-person plan at three meals a week is around $81.  Use this link to get $50 off your first shipment!  We had leftovers from all of our meals, so depending on how much you eat, you may have leftovers or it would probably feed two adults and a child, in my opinion.

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The Grand Box for Grandparents – #Review

Shopping for Grandparents can be hard. In most cases, they already have everything they need or want! One unique gift you can give this year is the Grand Box, which I was lucky enough to review!  This is a box sent out monthly that includes things that are popular with Grandparents. It also includes pictures that you choose – I love this personal step!

 

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I gave our box to my Mom – she really liked it! The lotion was very nice and came in a nice box. The boxes ship on the 15th of each month – but this month for the Holidays you can order the Winter box and it will ship on the 19th! You can choose anything from one month to a full year.

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Her favorite items were the pictures (of course), and the lotion.  I think she was pretty excited about the hard candies too – we hadn’t seen them before. 

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My Mom also loved the Topics for a Good Conversation that came in the box – she loves stuff like this!  Go check them out if you’re looking for a unique gift!  

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Christmas Gift Idea – Grand Box! @usfg #GrandParentGifts

It’s hard to buy gifts for grandma and grandpa. What do you buy for someone who has everything or limited space?  We will soon get the Grand Box – I can’t wait to show you what is inside!  They are already sold out for November, but they are taking orders for the Holidays! 

GrandBox

GrandBox is the original monthly subscription box customized and curated specifically for seniors 65 and up. It’s the perfect gift to bring a smile to the older loved ones in your life.

GrandBox, the subscription box for the ones who cared about you. Order yours now for the Holiday Season! http://www.mygrandbox.com/

My readers get to save!
GrandBox perfect Holiday Gift for your loved ones! Save on your first purchase!
http://usfamilyguide.com/coupons.php?bid=13139&dealid=3064  @usfg

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Heroes and Heroines – We Need Them! #Giveaway #MomsMeet #NatGeokids

I have to be honest – after the events of the past few months, and especially the past week, I’ve been looking for some positivity to share with my daughter.  She and I were huge Hillary fans, and she was so excited about the possibility of our first female president!  So when the results came in, I was thankful that MomsMeet had sent us these great National Geographic books that highlight so many guys and gals who have made a difference in our world! 

I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com), May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my honest opinion on my blog. The opinions posted are my own.

Hroines

We were sent The Book of Heroes and The Book of Heroines from National Geographic Kids.  We concentrated on The Book of Heroines, because as a quiet mother to a quiet girl I am always trying to find role models for her that encourage her to challenge herself.  We even found Hillary Clinton in there!  After the election, we talked about how she is still a hero.  It also had people like Mother Theresa and Marie Curie, and even celebrities like Tina Fey and Emma Watson. 

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These books are great conversation starters.  We talked about what makes someone a hero, and the differences between being famous and being a hero.  We also talked about how different people may have different values that they see as heroic.  I really enjoyed talking to her about the traits she saw as heroic!  Her heroes are compassionate, brave, inspiring, and don’t give up! 

One of my lucky readers will get to win this same set (Book of Heroes and Book of Heroines)!  Each book retails for $14,99, and they are great for 8-12 year olds.

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Oster Pro 1200 Review and Coupon! #MomsMeet #Oster

 

One of the best ways to increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables is by making prep work a breeze. I discovered that having a great food processor makes me much more likely to eat healthy foods!  From chopping up quick salsas to making fruit smoothies, having a good processor is important for healthy eating. 

I received this product for free from Moms Meet, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my honest opinion on my blog. The opinions posted are my own.

I love that Oster’s new Oster® Pro 1200 Plus Food Processor has convenient settings that are already programmed for smoothies, salsas and milkshakes.  My daughter was so excited about whipping up a fast smoothie using pineapple, mango, and spinach!  It includes an all metal drive system and the jar not only is dishwasher safe, but it also has drainage holes so it won’t fill up with water if you put it in the dishwasher. 

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Since Fall is soup season, I decided to use my Oster to make a yummy and creamy vegetable soup.  This is great for taking to work for lunches!!  The curry flavor is mild – you may want to heat it up depending on your personal tastes.  I didn’t want a spicy soup, just something warming. 

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Want to get an Oster® Blender?  You can save $10 off any Oster® Blender $39 and up at Target. They can simply print the $10 off coupon here.  You can also download Target’s Cartwheel app. There will be other Oster Blender® offers on the app throughout the holiday season!

 

Vegetable Curry Soup

Vegetable Curry Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large chopped sweet onion
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 heaping cup peeled and chopped carrots (2 small carrots)
  • 6 packed cups broccoli florets (1 large bunch broccoli)
  • 4 cups peeled and chopped sweet potato (from 2 small sweet potatoes)
  • 5 1/2 cups (1.375 L) low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder of your choice
  • 1 teaspoon chili pepper
  • Salt and pepper, to taste (I used about 1 teaspoon salt)
  • Lime juice, to taste (I use one teaspoon)
  • For serving: Fresh salsa, sour cream

Instructions

  1. Grab a very large pot (about 6 1/2 quarts) with a lid and set aside.
  2. Add the onion and garlic with the oil into the pot and sauté over medium heat for a few minutes. Season with a couple pinches of salt and pepper.
  3. Add the carrots, broccoli, and sweet potato, continuing to sauté over medium heat, stirring every once and awhile so it doesn't stick to the bottom. Add the curry powder and chili powder.
  4. Cover the pot with a lid and cook the vegetables for 4 to 5 minutes, reducing heat if necessary.
  5. Remove lid and stir in the broth. Bring the soup to a low boil. Reduce heat to low/medium and cover with lid. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the sweet potato is fork tender.
  6. Turn off heat and remove lid. Allow the soup to cool slightly for 5 minutes or so. After cooling, carefully scoop the soup into a blender. Carefully blend the mixture with the lid ajar (to allow heat to escape), starting at a low speed and increasing the speed until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  7. Pour all of the puréed soup back into the original pot. Now, stir in the lime juice, to taste, about 1 teaspoon at a time. This helps give the soup flavors some brightness.
  8. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with fresh salsa, broccoli, and sour cream, if desired.
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San-J Gluten Free Sauces #Review #MomsMeet

I love Asian food.  It’s one of my absolute favorite flavor profiles!  So I was so excited to be able to try some San-J Gluten Free products for Moms Meet!  

I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com), May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my honest opinion on my blog. The opinions posted are my own.

Unfortunately for some people with gluten allergies, soy sauce used to not be an option – now it is! San-J Organic Tamari Gluten Free Soy Sauce is made with 100% soy and no wheat!  The higher concentration of soy protein gives San-J Tamari a richer and more complex taste. They also made a line up of sauces that are gluten free!  I’ve been using them the past few weeks to make great meals for my family! 

 San J sauces

My husband loves the vegetables you get on the side at many Asian restaurants, and he’s pretty picky about his vegetables.  I sautéed some vegetables using San-J’s Mongolian Sauce and he said it tasted just like what they serve at the restaurant!  I was so happy!  It’s a great quick and easy side dish. 

I’ve also made quick lunches by sautéing veggies, cooking quinoa, and adding a little San-J sauce to go with it.  While the recipe below isn’t exactly an Asian dish, it is delicious and takes advantage of butternut squash, which you can find everywhere this time of year!  Don’t forget to connect with them on facebook and twitter as well! 

 

 

Roasted Butternut Squash Quinoa

Serving Size: 6 +

Roasted Butternut Squash Quinoa

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water or broth
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 large Butternut Squash, cubed (about 4 cups) *
  • 3 cups Brussel sprouts, halved
  • Olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon chipotle
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ¼ cup San-J Orange Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle pepper
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the butternut squash and brussel sprouts in a large bowl.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons oil, 3 tablespoons maple syrup, chipotle, and salt to taste - stir gently to coat.
  3. Spread out on a foil-lined baking sheet (or two) and bake about 25 minutes. Squash should be soft and the sides should have a slight char on them.
  4. While that is cooking, sauté one cup of quinoa in a teaspoon of olive oil. After two minutes, add 2 C water or stock – bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce heat, add cranberries, and simmer about fifteen minutes.
  5. In a large bowl combine the quinoa, San-J Orange Sauce, and Brussel sprouts. Top with butternut squash and pumpkin seeds.

Notes

To make cubing the butternut squash easier, pierce several times and cook in the microwave for two minutes. Let cool, then cube.

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