13 Nights of Halloween Schedule

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13 Nights of Halloween

The white sweater and pink socks are her own personal touches.

This time last year, my (then) six-year-old daughter already picked out, and had been wearing, her Halloween costume for this year – since the beginning of September!  Perhaps, then, that means it’s ok to get the ball rolling WELL before October 31st, right?  ….even if the temperatures here in Atlanta still linger in the 90s.  sigh

Once again, ABC Family is hosting 13 Nights of Halloween, packed with great family-friendly movies for the whole family to enjoy.  If you’d like to get the festivities started BEFORE October 19th, or keep the Halloween spirit going year-round, you can snag these titles on Amazon.  (Links included below.)

ABC Family's 13 Nights of Halloween

Super special thanks to Drug Store Divas for sharing this list!

ABC Family’s 13 Nights Of Halloween Schedule 2016

Night One- Wednesday, October 19th
5:30pm — Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas
7:00pm — R.L. Stine’s Monsterville: Cabinet of Souls (television premiere)
9:00pm — Hocus Pocus
12:00am — Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride [Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

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Remembering 9-11

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Remembering 9-11 Never ForgetI’d turned on the news, as I did every morning, getting ready to go play with some sweet kids at Athens’ Mothers Center. I came out of the bathroom, toothbrush still in hand, as I watched the second plane hit. In that instant, I knew -like everyone else watching- that our lives would be forever changed, forever scarred by such acts of cowardly hate.

I sat on the couch that afternoon, paralyzed in front of the TV, praying for my roommate – who knew not if her father had indeed emerged safely after the collapse of the second tower. (Hours later, he was confirmed ok. Thank God.)

For the next few weeks, I was plagued by the TV images of these terrorists, whose faces were plastered all over the place – which was better than seeing a mix of ash and things I cannot bear to write -even today- fall from the sky.

Today is a day to reflect. To remember. Fifteen years later, just like every year since, I can’t help but let the tears roll, for the victims, for the survivors, for the heroes, and for a nation that once was.  Remembering 9-11 still conjures up powerful emotions for so many of us.

Amidst the rubble, the sorrow, and the confusion emerged not only a sense of patriotism previously unseen by my generation, but also a sense of unparalleled support and outreach amongst strangers. For after such an event, we became united. We became one nation. Under God.

I remember, also, at Georgia’s first home game of the season – which was delayed by a few weeks- we paused for a moment of silence. That entire stadium grew to a silent hush. Heads bowed, many eyes closed. You could feel the passionate energy, mixed still with a charge of fear and anger still hanging over our heads, when amongst the crowd, one voice broke the silence: “F*ck Bin Laden!”

Said with a mix of anger, and a slight bit of edgy humor, as well as fear, the tension in the crowd was broken. We collectively let out a quick half-chuckle.

But with those three words, perhaps not the most eloquent choice, we moved forward. We lived our lives, while still carrying this day in our hearts.

So, years later, when Bin Laden was reported dead, I drew back to this day, this event. I know not who spoke those three words, but they resonate with me still.

Fifteen years.

It’s been fifteen years since our nation stood aghast, watching those towers crumble, hearing reports of the Pentagon being hit, and later learning of the courageous passengers who thwarted a fourth potential attack – our world changing in ways we could never have anticipated.

Fifteen years, and that day is still ingrained in my mind clearly, as if it were just yesterday we witnessed the second plane hit the second tower live on TV.

When remembering 9-11, anyone who was around, and old enough to know what was going on fifteen years ago, can vividly recall where they were that morning, what they were doing, and who they knew in New York at the time.

What amazed me most about the heartbreaking attacks fifteen years ago wasn’t the pure evil behind the attacks, but rather, the collective outpouring of support and love that emerged in the aftermath.

We watched as rescue workers from across the nation came to New York for the grueling task of first searching and rescuing those left alive in the rubble of the fallen towers, and then with the heart-wrenching task of assisting in recovering bodies, and body parts amidst the rubble and the ash.

Remembering 9-11 Rescue Workers

We watched as folks worked in shifts, bringing food and water to the rescue workers.  We watched as folks turned to total strangers in the street, many paralyzed in shock and disbelief at what was happening, offering hugs, a shoulder to cry on, or simply their mere presence.  We watched as people posted fliers all over the city of missing loved ones, their whereabouts unknown as cellphone batteries were drained and cell towers jammed in the pandemonium following the falling towers.  We watched as some loved ones emerged, letting friends and family know they were ok, and had found comfort and shelter amongst kind strangers, since they could not physically get back to their homes.

We watched the nation swell in to a powerful surge of patriotism.  I cannot say for certain how patriotic I felt on September 10, 2001 – as a 21 year old senior in college, my patriotism, while it was there, was nowhere near the same degree as it was just 24 hours later.

I can still vividly remember the first football game of the college football 2001 season, can still clearly where I was in the stands at Sanford Stadium, and can still clearly hear that singular voice’s loud declaration of fear and hate, pointed towards Bin Laden with three simple words: “f*ck Bin Laden”.

That one statement of profanity proved to be quite profound for me, and perhaps for the nation, as we struggled to understand WHO it was who attacked US.  As we grappled with the idea of an entire body of people who simply wanted to wipe us out, we needed someone or something at which to direct our anger.  So as a nation, we said “F*ck Bin Laden.”

More importantly, however, that surge of patriotism, coupled with our sense of selfless giving resonated with many, and for years and years to come.  As we, unfortunately saw many more tragic events unfold in the last fifteen years, we continued to see the bright side of humanity come out on top.  Perhaps the events of 9/11 were by far the most shocking and tragic, we have since witnessed too many other acts of violence on our soil by people of our own nation, as well as tragic acts of nature.  Hurricane Katrina devastated an entire city, but we saw the outpouring of help and support from neighboring states as people, now without a home, scrambled to put the pieces of their life together.  We all prayed for the children and faculty who lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary a few years ago. Even the heinous acts in Orlando this summer, while beyond senseless and hateful, proved another opportunity for our nation to ban together and show the world that we would not let a hateful act keep us down.

Is our post-9/11 world all rainbows and sunshine?  Of course not.  In 2016, in many significant ways, we are a nation divided, and a nation that needs to find a way to heel those divides; we are still one nation who -at least for one day in September- comes together in solidarity to reflect on our nation, our history, our collective triumphs as well as our collective wounds.

In many ways, those three simple words of profanity spoken by one person ring truth as our nation continues to move forward: f*ck Bin Laden, and all he represents, as we strive to continue to be a nation working to uphold freedoms, liberties, and truths in which American citizens are granted, simply by being American citizens.  F*ck the people who try to rob us of that right, of those freedoms.  F*ck the folks who think it’s their destiny, their duty to terrorize us.  F*ck them: we are collectively stronger than they.

My hope for our nation, on September 11, is to reflect as a nation on how far we have come, both since the formation of our country, as well as in the last 15 years.  My hope is that, as we remember those lost fifteen years ago, we can work towards finding peace for our nation, and peace for the ones we lost that day.  Fifteen years ago.

God.  Bless.  America.

 

***P.S.  There are some amazing documentaries on 9-11.  Most are raw and gritty and not for the faint of heart; however, they are worth watching.  Turn your TVs on today, set up your DVRs and record a few.  I found a few last year on CNN, I believe.  Documentaries on what typical folks were doing in New York on September 10, 2001, and how their lives changed that day.  Powerful and haunting.

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

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4 Budgeting Mistakes to Avoid to Quit Being Broke

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budgeting mistakes to avoid

Keeping a budget is one of the most effective ways to save money and be more mindful about your spending. However, there are budgeting mistakes that you may be making that are hindering your saving progress. Once you stop these errors, you will notice you have more money to work with each month.

Read on to find out four common budgeting mistakes to avoid if you want to stop being broke! [Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

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Healthy Habits: The Benefits of a Benefiber Routine

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Benefiber CouponDisclosure: this is a sponsored post by Savings.com to share with y’all a great Benefiber coupon.  However, all opinions, anecdotes, and off-color comedy are all my own.

And now my I’m-not-a-doctor disclosure: Please please please please please please keep in mind I am not a doctor.  Heck, I didn’t even enjoy science until adulthood.  So, if you are experiencing any medical issues, please please please -for the love of sweet tea- please talk to your doctor before starting any sort of medically-related program.

This week, my daughter started 2nd grade, which is not totally unlike that time she started Kindergarten, and I felt like I was just trying to stay afloat, getting back in the swing of things.  Typically, I feel like I’m flung in to a swirly chaos for a few days, trying to (re)adjust to a new routine.  During these times of change and transition, I find it super-helpful to keep my routines and habits as intact as possible.  My daily dose of fiber is no exception. [Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

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Shopping at Aldi: Hints and Tips

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shopping at Aldi

Shopping at Aldi

If you’re lucky enough to live near an Aldi grocery store, I highly recommend you take advantage of this great, simple grocery store! Here are a few simple tips to get you started so you can make the most while shopping at Aldi: [Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Back to School Books – Grade by Grade

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back to school booksI can still remember the night before school would start each year, I’d have trouble falling asleep due to excited and nervous jitters about the impending school year to come.  I can honestly say, this was the case as both a student and a teacher.  😀

Some of y’all have kids starting back next week, while others have already started.  In any case, here are some great back to school books to get your kids ready, from preschool all the way through 6th grade.

Super special thanks to Couponing with Rachel for sharing this extensive list!

My Big List of Back to School Books, Grade by Grade

Here are a few books that you may be interested in snagging for your own little ones.  You can find many of these titles at your local library, or snag them off Amazon.

Preschool:

The Night Before Preschool

Big Preschool Workbook [Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Tangled Hair, Starting Kindergarten, and Doing-It-All

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I originally wrote this almost two years ago, but as I get closer to sending my now SECOND GRADER off to school, and cope with also having a boy in pre-K, there’s still so much of this that rings true.  ….and I still don’t know how to do-it-all.  😉
Starting Kindergarten

Last week proved to be quite a week, to say the least.  My family and I spent the first week in August on vacation in Florida, first hitting the beach, then spending some quality time with the grandparents, and a day at Disney.

We came back on Saturday, and my oldest was starting Kindergarten on Monday.  Seriously, the summer seemed to have just flown by.  I’m proud to say I held it together quite well, and masked my nervousness and sadness at sending my baby off to Kindergarten, in a school with kids all the way up to 8th grade.  It was the second day, when carpool began, where I nearly lost it – watching her walk away with her cute Ariel backpack.  Such a big shot.  What happened to my little baby??

With starting kindergarten, came many many many adjustments, including earlier wake-ups in the morning, adjusting 2-year-old boy’s nap schedules, packing lunch every. single. day AND a snack.  We’re still working on it all.  But so far, neither of my children have starved.  At least not from lack of meals, but perhaps on occasion because I’m mother of the world’s pickiest eaters.  I digress.  I’m figuring out how to get breakfast prepped the evening before, and get lunch prepped on Sunday (freezing PBJ wraps = GENIUS!), and streamline as much as possible…

And now I start (back) to teaching preschool.  We had CPR refresher last week, which was a nice chance to re-connect with friends, co-workers, and teachers alike.  And to watch my son literally skip down the hall as he returned to “school” was priceless.  So in addition to juggling this ah-mazing blog (which I love dearly), two mornings a week of teaching, and trying to maintain a regular gym workout, life has become …hectic.

In the midst of all this, I got a Facebook message from a friend, whom I haven’t actually seen in a very, very long time.  You can read it for yourself:

Starting Kindergarten - Nice Compliment

That got me thinking, how many moms appear to “pull it off” even if they feel like they’re merely in survival mode?  My friend Maria over at Mamalicous Maria offers a candid look at how moms appear -particularly on social media- verses how we actually ARE.  After all, we’ll post 20 pictures of our kids reaching those coveted milestones, those clever jokes/sayings/quips our kids say, and all the cute things in between.  But would we dare post that we just lost our temper and yelled at our kids, overreacted about something small -likely the proverbial straw breaking our mommy camel’s back- and took it out on the kids, or when we knowingly fed our kids junk for dinner because …well, it was just easier, and quite frankly because you “didn’t want to hear it.”

Sound familiar?  Yep.  Thought so.  We put our best (social media) face out there, thus creating this false ideal of what motherhood should look like.  The truth is, we don’t “do it all.”  We do the best we can with what we have – and sometimes our best is simply “survival mode”, or something not too distant from there.  And that’s ok!  I, for example, FINALLY tackled the piles and piles of papers and …junk that had accumulated on the kitchen table.  (You know how every house has that one “catch all” area for junk?  I have such an area in every.  single.  room of my house, y’all!)  While I finally got the table quite presentable, clean even, I discovered the kids had scattered toys ALL over the den; the boy dumping out every single kids’ book in his possession.  Oi.

I digress.  (surprise!)  It’s been quite a week.  (The fact that it’s taken me WELL over a week to get this typed up and posted should give you some indication of just how hectic life has been.)  But we are all here, and we have all survived.  More or less.

Oh, and Monday night, I indulged, letting my daughter brush my hair.  When she’s fully in the mood, it.  feels.  fantastic.  So she started going to town, as I laid on my belly on the bed, reading stories to her and her brother – part of our nightly ritual.  All of a sudden, I felt a familiar tug as she started rolling the comb up my hair – before I could say anything, I found myself with a brush firmly tangled in my hair.  We finished stories with a comb in my hair.  We said prayers with a comb in my hair.  I rocked my son with a comb tangled in my hair, and tucked my daughter in with a comb in my hair.

Then, I enlisted my husband’s help in de-tangling that confounded comb out of my hair.  The struggle was real, y’all.  Things weren’t looking hopeful, and I was trying to figure out how on earth I could possibly CUT the comb out and still do ….something…. with my hair.  (And still be able to donate my hair in the process.)  And then I told him he could snap the comb in half, if he thought it would free my hair.  *light bulb*  In the end, my hair came out, the pieces of the comb were recycled, and my hair was de-tangled.  Eventually. Soo, alls well that (split) ends well, right?  😉

Starting Kindergarten - Comb Tangled in Hair

I conclude simply with this. I put the question back to you all, mothers of the world – or mothers reading my blog: How do YOU do it?  How DO you do it?

You may also like to read about A Message from My Daughter:
A-Message-From-My-Daughter_profile.jpg

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Cow Appreciation Day is Coming!

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Cow Appreciation Day 2016

July is known for many things, and many occasions. Most notably, we Americans get all red, white, and blue for the 4th of July. But for the die-hard chicken lovers, we know something spectacular occurs later in the month: Cow Appreciation Day.  Around Atlanta, and across the country, folks will dress up as their favorite bovine, in order to snag some free Chick-fil-a chicken.

There are some changes this year for Cow Appreciation Day 2016, as you may have heard.  First, hours are from 6:30 am to 7:00 pm.  Second, all participants who dress up will receive an entree.  In years past, it was up to the individual location’s discretion to discern if you were fully or partially dressed, to determine if you got an entree or a full year – but this year, all locations are offering an entree for all levels of dressed-up.

It’s a tradition I’ve been embarrassing my kids with for a few years now, and I’ve no intention to stop anytime soon.  However, I’m not (totally) ashamed to admit, I am a walking, talking Pinterest fail.  So, my costumes over the years tend to lack in imagination.

A few years ago, I think I reached my creative peak, by including my son’s Beanie Baby monkey, per my son’s request in the festivities. But of course, except for the collage below, I totally forgot to snap good pics, because, well, that would’ve just been *too* easy…

 

So, I reached out to some of my blogger pals and fellow Chick-fil-a Mom’s Club members, and came up with a few ideas for you, in case you want to go beyond just pinning the paper cutouts to a white t-shirt.  🙂
Of course, Chick-fil-a has some great ideas to get you started, and this year they’ve included some creative extras.  Check out their printable cow templates!

Cow Appreciation Day 2016 costume ideas

First, Lani of Life Anchored created this adorable cow onesie.  My favorite part?  There’s NO SEWING involved!  Plus, it could easily be done as a regular shirt, not just for a onesie.

Easy-No-Sew-Cow-Costume

 

Tabitha, over at Saving Toward a Better Life, created a simple and adorable cow costume with a simple trash bag.

trash bag cow costume
And of course, Lindsey of Redhead Baby Mama, created a round-up of cow costumes, as well.

Cow Appreciation Day Costumes - Redhead Baby Mama

And then make sure you also watch this tutorial on how to make a cute cow tail.

So seriously, how will YOU participate in Cow Appreciation Day this year?  Comment below with your ideas, or with how you intend to participate in Cow Appreciation Day.

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

CVS Curbside Pickup Service

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Disclosure: I’m working with CVS Pharmacy to help spread the word about CVS Curbside Pickup.  All opinions, bad puns, and over-excited zeal expressed are all my own.  All product claims and program details shared should be verified at CVS.com or with the appropriate manufacturers.

BIG news for the Atlanta, Charlotte, and San Diego area, y’all!  CVS now offers curbside pickup in these areas.  Yep, you can now make an online order at CVS.com and they will bring it to you curbside.  No need to even turn off the engine!

CVS Curbside Pickup - what's so great?

Do y’all know what a game-changer this is?!?  No more schlepping the kids in to the store, chasing them or lugging them around, trying hard to keep them from touching every.  single.  thing in the store.  Heck, you could pickup your CVS order in your PJs.  Or this summer, keep the kids in their wet bathing suits, and you in your cute bathing suit cover. [Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Help for My Achy Knees #TryLivRelief

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Disclosure: This post is sponsored by LivRelief, for which I receive a form of compensation; however, all opinions, bad puns, and gripes of old age are 100% my own.  Following is my LivRelief review, as well as my own getting-older pity party.  Bear with me.  😉

LivRelief Review - Sorry, you have to see my pasty legs and knees

So, y’all, in about two months, I’ll turn 36.  Although it seems like I *just* turned 30, my body in the last year or so has given me plenty of reminders that I’m no longer in my early twenties.  Namely, my back and knees: years of stomping on the diving board have left my knees with a constant crackle to them.  And my back, ugh, my lower back continuously reminds me that my four-and-a-half year old son is growing up, and getting FAR too big for me to pick up.  **sigh** [Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

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