Mother of Boys

11 Year Old Scout Camp

Drake is now officially a Boy Scout. I’ll be honest, after 10 years of consecutive Pinewood Derby’s, Blue and Gold banquets, and pack meetings this feels grown up.  {snicker}   I get to graduate from chaperoning Cub Scout camp to my last gig as an 11 year old Scout Camp volunteer.  In comparison to Cub Scout Camp ~ this is a cake walk!

11 Year Old Scout Camp

After a total of 2 hours prep, I arrived with my first aid lesson and fun times ahead.  I won’t lie ~ it was strange to walk in the unknown, not fully prepared, but full of confidence that I…

a.  Could handle it.

b.  Had probably already experienced it.

Since Drake is my third, and last son I guess all the years are finally sinking in and I’m able to enjoy the craziness Scouts bring.  My older two have taught me how to embrace the chaos.  Which I most certainly have.

Water Bottle Game Shoe Relay for Boys

Water Bottle Relay Race

I was only there a few hours but my favorite part of 11 Year Old Scout Camp was the water bottle relay race which I explained how to play in my craft room over on Tip Junkie.  I wanted to post it in a place where I could quickly find it later.

 

My first aid lesson on severe cuts was easy and turned out great.  I got some great advice to do a demonstration, show a video, and then a relay race so the boys can practice.  It worked like a charm.

I handed out red vines licorice as tourniquets for rewards.  So hello?!? Of course they were happy.  {evil laugh}

I was also impressed with the PVC team flags and their holders.  Genius.

Thank you sweet boy for allowing me to be a Scout volunteer one last time.  It’s been quite the ride.  I ended my time with such a fun day and enjoyed every minute spying on you with your friends.  I adore you, son!

I now officially pass on the torch to your Dad.  {sniff sniff}

Don’t worry, I’ll still be in charge of your blue cards and will eagerly await to help you with your Eagle Project. Until then I will have to be at peace that this stage of my life is over.

Blogger

D’oh! Social Media Wizard I am Not

I just called all my Instagram Followers an a hole. D’oh!  {bwaahaa!}

Tip Junkie Instagram Thank You Free Sign

I seriously can’t stop laughing.

So… it’s been a while since I’ve blogged.  I’ve been hiding behind excuses like seasonal depression living in Ohio with no sun.  Too busy with the move back to Texas.  Raising teenage boys.  And pretty much every other excuse not to go start blogging again.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE being a Tip Junkie and am honored to do what I enjoy.  However, not being involved in social media for many, many years… has made this chick a little clueless.  Starting again after so long has made me feel like quite the noob.

Case in point, I called my 11,000 Instagram followers today A HOLEs.  {see above cropped image}

Instagram cropped my image and that’s pretty much what anyone will see when they check my Insta-feed. I would never have noticed it.  Angie text me because she and her girls were laughing so hard they were crying.

Free Donut Appreciation Sign Feature by TipJunkie

My friend Shelly asked me to make a Donut You Know We Appreciate You sign for her teacher appreciation breakfast and I thought it would be nice to add it as a free printable on Tip Junkie.  Cute, right?!?  Feel free to head on over and download it for free.  You can use it for Teachers, Father’s Day, or really any event.

Of course I then went overboard and made three different versions each with three sizes you can frame for your convince. Cuz I’m O.T.T. like that.  I then tried to teach myself typography {which I quickly realized I am terrible at}.  So I’m learning some tricks of the trade from my amazing friend Amy and trying figure out all the latest trends.

Welcome back to blogging Laurie, you ahole. {bwaahaa!}

I can’t believe this is my first post since 2011.
A lot has changed.
Yet I still feel like the same person… just trying to do my best with what I’ve got.

Mother of Boys

Cuttin’ Up ~ It’s A Boy Thing

I was hired to provide some printables for the Real California Milk company and  Amanda and Brieanna did such an amazing job that I wanted to provide some pictures to go with the article of them in action.

Pictures tell the story so much better than print screens of document, don’t you think?  I’ve been working on my photography and editing skills lately.  Boy do I have so much to learn. It’s overwhelming.  {sigh}

It was early in the morning and my boys were so gracious to do their part for mom’s job.  As you can tell… they take their job very seriously.  {snicker}

Even Drake took one for the team as he let me take pictures of him at school!  He was really sweet about it.  Don’t let the smile fool you ~ this little man is NOT a morning person.  So you can imagine how surprised I was that he was so cooperative and happy during the shoot.

Business Owner · Family Cruise Director

Great Wolf Lodge: 8 Ways To Create Lasting Memories

Our family recently stayed at the Great Wolf Lodge and I swear that place is perfect for families!  So here are my tips on 8 ways to create lasting memories as a family at the Great Wolf Lodge!

**Be sure to check out my money saving tips at the end of this post as well as a video I put together to show you first hand what an amazing memories your family will create together.

8.  A family that bunks together stays together. {snicker}  You have got to check out all of the amazing themed rooms at the Great Wolf Lodge.  Ours had a kids cabin inside our room!  The boys absolutely loved having a room to themselves and Jason and I really appreciated how quiet it was and of course the privacy.

Tip:  Check-in starts at 4 p.m., but you can come as early as 1 p.m. to enjoy the water park. Also, check-out is at 11 a.m., but you can stay until 9 p.m. when the indoor water park closes. There are locker rooms in the water park  where you can rinse off, dry your swimsuit and change before the ride home.

7.  It’s Sweet!  The lodge has plenty of places to eat or grab a sweet treat, five to be exact.  Don’t forget the darling photo ops that come along with cute food. {wink}

Tip:  Bring a few snacks or treats to keep in your room. All the rooms come with a mini-fridge but your room is the only place in the hotel where they allow outside food and drinks to be consumed.

Great Wolf Lodge 26.  Scooops Kid Spa – A darling spa specifically for kids!  It’s perfect for birthdays or a special little treat. Your daughter will love the ice cream-themed manicures and pedicures where you can choose your favorite flavor.

{Image Credit}

5.  Cub Club® – If you’re kiddo is ready for a little break from the water park, then head on over to the Cub Club where they’ll enjoy activities and crafts designed to entertain your younger ones for hours.

Northern Lights™ Arcade

4.  Northern Lights™ Arcade – You’ll find just about everything here at the arcade like exciting games of skill for the older kids, as well as fun games of chance for the little ones, and everyone can redeem tickets for prizes.  It boasts hundreds of games for even kids-at-heart.

3.  gr8_space™ -This space is for teenagers only!  This hang out is pimped out with teen-appropriate internet access, mp3 docking stations, and multiple gaming systems including PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii.  It even has it’s own tech jockey who not only plays the latest tunes but hosts Rock Star Karaoke in the evenings.

Great Wolf Lodge Howlin Interior 
Great Wolf Lodge Howlin’ Tornado ~ Photos courtesy of Great Wolf Lodge

2.  Indoor and Outdoor water parks – This theme park is an adventure with Fort Mackenzie, a 4-story interactive tree house, a lazy river, toddler play area, and wave pool.  You’ll also love Coyote cannon with a trilling ride and a 40′ drop!  If that’s not enough, the most thrilling adventure is Howlin Tornado where you drop into the 6-story funnel with 3 friends.  There is also outside water fun to boot!

Great Wolf Lodge Magi Quest

1.  MagiQuest Adventure and Compass Quest™ Games –  Because we have all techy boys, our favorite part of the hotel was the MagiQuest game!  With a magic wand in-hand, you explore an enchanted kingdom and join in the ultimate adventure as you enchant objects, befriend a pixie, learn from an ancient wizard, battle a goblin and outwit a dragon. It’s a live-action adventure game is unlike any other you’ve ever played.

Tip:  Take the stairs!  Once you have your wand activated and you take the elevator ~ points are deducted from your score. This is a great perk for parents as your kiddo’s expend a lot of energy running up and down those stair wells. {snicker}

great_wolf_lodge_water_parkTips for First Timers

Money Saving Tip:  Most guests invest in a Paw Pass to experience all the different activities at Great Wolf Lodge. This offers an over 20% savings over buying each of the activities separately. Activities included on the Paw Pass: MagiQuest Wand and Game, Paw Prints, an animal at Great wolf Stuffing Station with outfit, ice cream in Bear Paw,  a small Glitter Tattoo, one “Color Your Own” item in Cub Club, and 20 tokens for the Northern Lights Arcade.

Time Saving Tip:  For other ideas before you arrive, be sure to visit their website and select the “Explore” tab at the top of the page. These will take you to pages with more information about all the family fun activities at Great Wolf Lodge.

Adult Activities:  There is a lot for grown ups to do as well.  Check out the various dining options, places to shop, make a reservation at the Elements Spa Salon  and work out in the Iron Horse Fitness Center.

 We Heart Great Wolf Lodge!

Upcoming Fall Events:

  • Howl-O-Ween – Enjoy thrills and chills as you celebrate Howl-O-Ween. This spooktacular event is fun, safe, and just a boo-bit scary.
  • Novembrrr Savings – It is getting cold outside, but our water park is always 84 degrees inside. Check out the deals and savings.
  • Snowland

Video: A Magical Time At The Great Wolf Lodge and inside MagiQuest Game

About Laurie · Business Owner

EVO ’11 ~ Cuz I’m a Conference Goer

For my business I travel every so often and usually it’s for a social media conference so that I can meet fabulous people and stay up-to-date on an industry that seriously changes every 6 months.  {no joke}  This year my most favorite conference was the EVO Conference.

My roommates and yes we all “LIKE”  EVO and each other! {snicker}  

I’ve already blogged extensively about what I learned at EVO and you can check it out on the links below.  This post is more to showcase  how warm and collaborative bloggers really are!

What you don’t see from those wrap up conference posts with all the tips, is that we all really ADORE each other!  I’m not exaggerating.  For me, my favorite part about going to a conference is being able to see some of my favorite people on the planet!

Sure we tweet, Facebook, blog, stumble, +1, and see each other on YouTube all the time – but there’s just something so sweet about hugging a person you only get to see 4 times a year who totally gets you!

I might have asked this young man if I could hold his staff.  {d’oh}

You see, I get so bummed out when I see  negativity and snarky comments coming from other bloggers.  And it’s really been weighing on my mind lately.  I’ve been wondering:

  • What is the worlds perception of “mom bloggers”?
  • Does the public understand how much we respect and support one another?
  • Or is the loudest voice the only one that gets heard?  {I assure you she does not represent the rest of us.}

Another one of my concerns is the approach of newer bloggers.  You would seriously be appalled at some of the emails I receive in my inbox.  I have begun to worry that mutual respect for hard work and a job well done ~ has been replaced by entitlement and aggressive behaviors that could easily be construed as intrusive and flat out rude.

I’ve been contemplating my part in all of this.  Do I have a responsibility to speak up and share my experience?  Can I help in some small way to showcase the true nature of our friendships and business dealings?  Quite frankly, I don’t know.  But I’ve decided to share more about how I collaborate with fellow bloggers.  Not to be braggy or name-drop ~ cuz I think those qualities are unbecoming ~ but in an effort to give you an insiders look of how supportive and positive this world really is!

Therefore, I want to bring you inside my world of blogging. 

  • We seriously have SO much fun together!
  • We share strategies and ideas openly.
  • We call each other on the phone and text each other regularly.

  • Ego’s aren’t tolerated – so leave them in front of your computer. But honestly most of my friends don’t have one to begin with!

  • We actually scream when we see each other and give each other huge hugs.  It’s genuine.  It’s not cliquey, fake, or attention-seeking.  We miss each other that much!
  • We celebrate each others successes both in business and in life.  Jealousy and competition also isn’t tolerated.  {again, most of my friends live their life this way, so it’s rarely an issue.}
  • We welcome new bloggers into our world openly and help them all the time!
  • We do not require anything of each other.  We don’t expect our friends to promote us.  Sometimes it happens naturally ~ but it’s not implied, required, or asked for.

  • We expect each other to only be themselves, nothing more.  We can let our hair down with each other, vent, chill, share our successes, and just be us.  It’s a very safe place.

These are the kinds of people who I surround myself with in this fast-paced, highly talented, and demanding business.  They are the people who make it so much fun and lift me up.

{Thanks Justin for the photo!}

And girl ~ you should see us on the dance floor.  We tear it up!!  I love these women so much and I know that we’ll stay friends for the rest of our lives.  So if there’s anything that I want the world to know ~ it’s that professional bloggers are warm, collaborative, genuine and so accepting.  Not to mention a flippin’ good time!  {snicker}

I’m completely honored to be associated with these extraordinary women.  And my hope is that these are the type of women who’s behaviors will be emulated.  These are the characteristics that make a successful blogger a professional. One who:

  • Who becomes a spokes person for a national brand.
  • Who writes her own best-selling book
  • Who gets her own HGTV show
  • Who is featured in a New York Times article

In an industry that is becoming saturated with talented and brilliant women ~ these are the characteristics that will help you lead the pack and really make a difference in your niche.  Anything less is just a bunch of hoopla that will eventually be yesterdays hype, not tomorrows successful business woman.


Mine and Jenny’s Xbox Dance Off! {video}

To prove how much fun we really have together.  Here’s a silly video of Jenny and I  playing Xbox Dance Central in the Xbox Suite at EVO.  I didn’t do any editing like Jenny does – it just showcases how fun the game is and what an un-sexy dancer I am.  Who picked Riannah?!?  We should have known better.  {bwaahaa!}

Girly Girl

30 ROCKS! ~ Rockin’ 30th Birthday Party

We had a rockin’ 30th birthday party for my sister Lisa at my house.  My sister really does ROCK and this was the perfect way to celebrate her 30th birthday.

rockin 30th birthday party

We all dressed up as our favorite rockers, played Just Dance 2, and Guitar Hero.  I swear it was such a fun night.

30 ROCKS! {Lisa’s 30th Birthday Party Video}

It was so much fun in fact that I just had to make a video.  {snicker}  It was just too much fun not to relive over and over again.  If you don’t have Just Dance 2 then you’ve got to go get it.  I swear it’s such a fun time and quite the work out!

Can  you tell who everyone one is dressed up as?  If you’re stumped then watch the video – it has all the details.

Lisa dressed up as Haley from Paramore and really rocked her red and yellow wig and was the life of the party. There are so many things I love about my sister.  I love it that she doesn’t take life seriously, she’s sarcastic, always up for a fun time, speaks her mind, is patient, and very independent.  {So basically – the exact opposite of me.  HA!}

Living so close to her that we can walk together at night and share our day has been such a blessing in my life.  She’s such a sport listening to me talk about my business and my boys.   She’s full of great advice and really has my back.  I just adore her and have come to rely on her so much.

It was the perfect 30th birthday party and fabulous evening full of friends, food, and fun!  Love you Sis!

Business Owner

I Just Adore A Luncheon

I’m a gal who just loves a luncheon.  Yep, quality time is my love language and therefore an intimate lunch fits the bill perfectly.  I love decorating a table and laughing with friends.  It’s most definitely one of my favorite things.

So when Tide asked me if I would host an event and chat about laundry woe’s, I was “in like Flin”!  Naturally, the first thing that popped into my head was, “how am I going to decorate?!?”  {snicker}

I knew that I wanted to use the Tide orange, but I wanted to keep it sophisticated and fun.  So when I found these ruffled orange place mats at Pier 1 Imports I was completely giddy.  Those were the starting  point for the look.

I already had the white plates {TJ Maxx} and picked up the spring napkins at World Market in the clearance section.  The big orange gerber daisy’s were at Bed Bath and Beyond of all places.  I simply cut and twisted the stems into a napkin ring.

I already had these 3 tall vases {from Walmart} and I knew that I wanted to caputure the essense of the blue Tide liquid ~ but having laundry detergent at the table just didn’t sit well with me.  I mean, who wants to eat with soap right in front of you.  {bwaahaa!}

So you can imagine my delight when I came across these blue, teal, and white glass pebbles.  They were perfect for the vases. The not only do they remind me of the Tide liquid but they also were heavy enough to hold my lolipops in place!

Tip:  I actually have a smaller vase inside the larger vases so that it takes up the majority of the room and I only had to purchase 1 bag of pebbles per vase.  This also works great when you’re decorating with candy!

Yep, you guessed it!  I printed off the Tide logos and taped them onto 3 large lollipop sticks.  To finish off the look I simply tied a bow at the stem in blue and white polka dot ribbon.

As happy as I was with the final look, one little guy was not as impressed.  {snort}  He’s a tough critic.

So here it is, the final video that I created for Tide to showcase our fun discussion as well as help get the word out about the In-Wash Booster.  Man, it was such a fun afternoon!
Jen wins with the worst thing that she has washed and dried ~ a poopy diaper!  You’ll have to watch the video to see what other crazy things we have washed.

btw:  Thanks to this assignment, I’m completely addicted to the In-Wash booster.  My 5 year old still has #2 accidents in his pants. {I know TMI – yuck!}   But now I just wash all of his laundry together and toss in the little packet.  Now everything comes out clean!  I was pre-washing those baby’s by hand and it was making me an angry mama.  Now I don’t even think about it anymore.  Talk about a huge relief and one less thing I need to stress about.  Thanks Tide!

Thanks to all the amazing information Tide sent over, I learned a lot as well about the Tide Stain Release In-Wash Booster!

  • It removes stains better than the leading powered in-wash booster.
  • It comes in these easy to use duo packs – check out my Laundry Basketball Video.  {I’m such a dork!}
  • It contains technology designed to help stop stains from reattaching to other items of clothing during the wash cycle.

Our stained clothes came out clean and we had the most delightful luncheon.  Not a bad day a the office.

Want more info?  Her are Tide Tools and Tips and Coupons:

Mother of Boys

The Boys as Bubble Runners

One of the best things we did for our family a few years ago was to purchase Jet Ski’s.  Those baby’s transformed our techy family into one that lives on the lake.  Ahh the memories we created.

We sold the Jet Ski’s because this family is now ready for a boat.  The jet ski’s were a great intro to the water but now we’re ready to adventure pass the shore and dive into deeper waters.

While at the boat show exploring our options they had these Bubble Runners and watching people inside them was so hysterical the boys had to give it a try.  {snicker}

See what I’m talking about ~ new fun memories already.
Mother of Boys

It’s Baa-ack!

Oh what to say about school… It’s so nice to have the boys back into a routine however this year has been a bit of a difficult transition.

back to school

Davis and Dylan are at the hybrid school this year which means that they have 5th – 8th grades under one roof.  The good news is that they are together and they really like their teachers.

The bad news is that this is the schools 2nd year to be open. {pulling hair out}  I knew it wasn’t going to be a good fit for us as I’ve heard plenty of horror stories. So I put in a request for them both to be transferred and it was DENIED.  I swear I have had more problems with this school district. {grrrr}

At this point, I won’t vent to you about all the craziness nor will I share how I’ve been verbally attacked by administration during carpool {twice}.  I’ll just say that it’s been a difficult transition.

I have taken drastic measures for my personal happiness and you will no longer find me in the carpool lane.  That is something that I can change and have control over.  After trying to arrange several different carpools and buses – with no success.  I have hired a car service!  Yep, this girl is that desperate and it turns out my neighbor runs an after-school transportation service and is now picking the boys up in the bus lane.  {whew}

Disaster averted!  With my current track record – there’s no telling what would have happened on week three!  {snicker}

Drake’s teacher is completely lovely and very well suited for her class of 8 boys.  For this year we opted to enroll Drake into the Kindergarten program at his pre-school.  His teachers last year gave us the heads up that he was not ready to go to full-time Kindergarten and Jason and I both agree. Drake is a very young soul.

The program is fully accredited and we have the option of enrolling him in 1st grade next year if he’s ready.  However, at this point our plan is to put him in Kindergarten in public school.  We really think that two years of kindergarten is just what our little man needs.

It was really difficult for me to watch all of his friends move forward into Kindergarten knowing that he’ll always be a year behind them.  AND selfishly I was really looking forward to having all of my kids in school full time.  {big sigh}

Even though he has a difficult time going into the classroom each morning he is so happy when I come to pick him up.  His teacher completely gets him and already loves those boys.  She’s the perfect mix of love and logic.  We feel very blessed.

Family Cruise Director

At The Fishin’ Hole

One of the main things the boys like to do when we visit Gramma and Grandpa is fishing!

The boys love baiting the hooks, casting it out, and the anticipation of a bite.

This is pure bonding time and I let Jason and Gramma do their thing with the boys.  While I try to learn more about my camera and try different settings and angles.

Their river is full of fish so they usually catch a few and love the thrill of a new fish.

Oh how we LOVE to catch fish.  The entire family gets so excited and then I’m on duty do take lots and lots of pictures of the catch.  {snicker}

My favorite part is watching the sunset and the relaxing ambiance as everything seems to be settling down for the night.

Well… everything but my boys of course.