Sunday, May 31, 2015

Savvy Sassy Sunday: Easy As Pie

It is no secret that I am not a baker or a chef. I have professed my great love for all things crockpot, we have established that some times grocery store pre-made meals are the way to go, and there was that unfortunate lasagna incident

Needless to say, when it comes to anything in the kitchen I tend to get a little panicky. So when I was asked to make an apple pie, I am not gonna lie, I was a little nervous. 

But y'all (see it's gonna be good because I am starting to talk southern to you), I found this little gem of a product that I swear came as a gift straight from the pie gods to the kitchen unfortunate like myself. 


Gourmet! I can regale my pie eating guests with not only a great tasting pie, but a gourmet tasting one. Plus, one that I had to do minimal effort to - read: less chance to mess up.


Right on the front, and in the directions, the Love'illy Gourmet Pie Mix informed you that all you needed was apples and crust, and everything else was taken care of. 

And I am not sure how closely you read it, but store bought pie crust. I'm in! 


I simply followed the directions to a tee. I purchased apples and crust from the grocery store. I sliced, cored, and peeled the apples. After placing them in a large bowl, I poured the entire mix in. I stirred everything together until it was coated, and then placed the entire contents into my crust. 


It took all my will power not to stop and eat it here. The pie mix and apples smelled DIVINE. Up until this point it was just as the directions stated, "Easy As Pie!". 


I ran into one little snafu with my top crust. It did not pull away from the aluminum it came in properly and it was mangled. I looked to the Love'illy site and Instagram for some inspiration to see what I could do and came up with a basket weave pattern. I rolled out my dough and cut it into strips, but this is where I was out did my skill. 

Mad props to the bakers who make their pies this way, and to the lovely bakers at Love'illy because they make it look so pretty. I need to learn your tricks, because...


I was committed, and went on to bake as instructed. Let me just say the aromas that filled my kitchen for the next 30 minutes were worth it. I didn't care what that pie looked like, as long as it tasted as good as it smelled. 


I pulled out the pie completing the instructed time, and while not the prettiest thing in the world, I thought it would pass. 

It was a HUGE hit, and I have definitely received my apple pie street cred. I can't lay claim though as the Love'illy Gourmet Pie Mix most definitely made the baking experience "Easy As Pie". 



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I received these products for review as part of the Savvy Sassy Moms Product Scouts program. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Summer of Fun Events Guide

We know how hard it is sometimes during the summer to entertain the kids. You would think with endless amounts of toys and crafts at their disposal, pool time, and running around outside with friends that they would be more than entertained. But that is not always the case. 

Or sometimes you just want to beat the heat or experience a change of pace from an endless rainy summer week. 

We made it easy for you to have a back-up plan, and compiled a list of some super fun (and sometimes FREE!) activities that you and your little ones can enjoy this summer.



NATIONAL

1. Regal Cinema's Summer Movie Express: Regal gives families a chance to see some great family friendly movies twice a week at 10a.m. for a $1 ticket fee that will benefit the Will Rogers Institute. Most areas begin showings on Tuesday, June 2nd. Check HERE for details in your area.

2. Showcase Cinema's Bookworm Wednesday's: Every Wednesday July 8th -29th at 10a.m. select Showcase Cinema locations will give free admittance to students that bring in a completed book report. Children/siblings under six will be able to attend for free. To download the book report click HERE.
  • July 8th - Rio 2
  • July 15th - Penguins
  • July 22nd - How to Train a Dragon 2
  • July 29th - Annie
3. Barnes & Nobel's Summer Reading Program: B&N gives students a chance to earn a free book. Students can read any 8 books and record them in the reading journal provided by B&N. They then will bring the completed journal to a store in exchange for a free book off of the Reading Journal List set up at each store.

4. Home Depot Kids Workshops: Held the first Saturday of each month from 9a.m. to 12p.m. At this free event children receive and apron, a pin/certificate, and learn to build a project. In some areas space might be limited, so registering for the event beforehand is recommended.

5. Krispy Kreme: June 5th enjoy National Donut Day with a free donut. No purchase necessary. Check here for location nearest you.

6. Kids Bowl Free: Registered children can bowl two free games all summer long. Click HERE to register and find a participating location in your area.

7. AMF Summer Games: Now through September 7th children under 15 can enjoy three free games of bowling daily. Monday - Friday open until 8p.m, and Saturday/Sunday open until 4p.m. Click HERE to register.

8. Kids Skate Free: Children 12 and under can skate for free under the Kids Skate Free program. Click HERE to visit a participating rink near you and to print out the letter for participation.

9. Chuck E Cheese Rewards Program: Reward your child for doing chores or good behavior. Fill in the chart provided by Chuck E Cheese and once completed children can bring it in for a reward of 10 free tokens. (Helpful for all ages. The rewards charts are custom for multiple tasks such as chores, getting dressed, sleeping through the night, etc.). Click HERE for chart.

10. Microsoft Youth Spark Summer Camps: Microsoft stores offer free technology summer camp classes for children ages 8 - 13. Click HERE for store participation and registration.

11. Lakeshore Learning Craft Time: Free crafts for children ages 3 and up are offered each Saturday from 11a.m. to 3p.m. Click HERE for a location near you.

12. Bass Pro Shops Family Summer Camp: Every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday at noon families can enjoy free activities and crafts for the whole family. Families can enjoy free crafts, the shooting gallery, pond casting, make s'mores, etc. Click HERE for participating locations and details.


13. Bank of America Museums on Us: If you are a Bank of America or Merrill Lynch card holder you can visit for free over 150 museums for free the first weekend of every month. To see participating museums click HERE.



ATLANTA LOCAL

1. Georgia Aquarium's Dive In Movie Series: On the forth Saturday of each month at 8:00p.m., the aquarium will host activities, character appearances, and show a family friendly movie.
  • May 23rd - Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
  • June 27th - Penguins of Madagascar
  • July 25th - Home
2. Georgia Movies in the Park: From May until December Northside Hospital partners with Southern Outdoor Cinema to provide free movies in various parks around the Atlanta metro area. Activities and start times vary by location/date. 
  • June 6th @ War Hill Park, Dawsonville, Lake Lanier - Frozen
  • June 21st @ Downtown Woodstock - Mr. Peabody & Sherman
  • August 30th @ Brown Park, Downtown Canton - Rio 2
3. Food Trucks - Several cities now host a weekly food truck night complete with free entertainment and activities. 
4.  Fountain of Rings: Enjoy for free Atlanta's Found of Rings show and splash pad. Musical shows are shown four times of day. For schedule and more information click HERE.

5. LEGOLAND:  Various great deals exist this summer at this fun attraction.
  • Toddler Time - Every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday at 10a.m., enjoy Toddler time. Children 0-2 are free. Children older than two receive discounted tickets when purchasing on line. For more info click here
  • Group Saver - For larger groups, one adult will receive free entry for every five children. Click here for more info. 
6. The Center for Puppetry Arts: During the summer enjoy a variety of shows for children of all ages. For show times, information, and ticket purchase click here. This summer shows include: 
  • My Life as a Fairy Tale: The Ugly Duckling - May 26th to June 7th
  • Click Clack Moo, Cows That Type - June 11th to July 26th
  • The Reluctant Dragon - July 28th to August 9th
  • The Tortoise, the Hare and Other Aesop's fables - August 13th to September 20th
7. Little Acorns @ The Avalon: Every Tuesday morning at 10a.m. in the Avalon's plaza. Preschool age children can have fun listening to stories, creating a craft, or seeing a magician. Lunch is also available from one of the family friendly Avalon restaurants. For more info click HERE

8. Imagine It Children's Museum of Atlanta: Experience the museum free on June 9th & July 14th, from 1:00 to 6:00p.m., courtesy of Target's free Tuesday program. For more info click HERE

9. Marietta Fire Museum: Experience the museum free daily Monday to Friday from 8a.m. to 5p.m.

10. Tot Spot @ Atlantic Station: Every Tuesday from 10a.m. to 12p.m. bring preschool aged children to enjoy free playtime featuring face painting, story time, arts & crafts and more. For more info click HERE.

11. Splash Grounds: Several cities in the metro area now have free (or minimal entry fee) splash grounds for children of all ages to enjoy.

  • Splash 'N Play - Riverside Park; open every day minus Tuesday from 10a.m. to 7p.m. $2/person over 1 years old. Adults free with paying child. 
  • The Spray Station - East Roswell Park; open every day minus Tuesday from 10a.m. to 7p.m. $2/person over 1 years old. Adults free with paying child. 
  • Legacy Fountain - Piedmont Park; open daily from 8a.m. to 8p.m. Free. 
  • Silver Comet Trail Fountain - Silver Comet tail head at Floyd Rd.; open daily dawn to dusk. Free. 
  • Duluth Town Green Fountain - Located in Duluth's Town Green center; open daily 9a.m. to 10p.m. Free. 
  • Historic Fourth Ward Park and Spraygrounds - Fourth Ward Park; open daily 10a.m. to 8p.m. Free. 
  • Spray Pad - Old Atlanta Park; open everyday Tuesday to Sunday from 10a.m. to 7p.m. $2/person entry fee. 
  • Splashgrounds - Lillian Web Park; open daily 10a.m. to 10p.m. Free. 

12. Get Georgia Reading - Program that gives free access to over 8,000 books for the summer. For more info click HERE


If you know of a local event or fun activity we would love to add it to the list. 


Here's to an awesome summer everyone!
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Friday, May 29, 2015

Share Your Summer: Summer Kick-off {Favorites}

Woot, woot!  It's Friday!  For a short week this sure has felt like a long one.  We came right home from the lake late on Monday night and hit the ground running first thing Tuesday morning.  Between the girls' all day dress rehearsals for recitals, swim team practice, the first swim meet (that I was totally unprepared for - more on that later), dentist appointments for all of us, a 6 year check-up, and a dance recital tonight I am worn out!  Unfortunately this week has not felt like summer, but I keep telling myself that after this week things will really slow down for us!

Today I wanted to share some of our favorites from our Share Your Summer link-up!  This week's topic was "Summer Kick-Off" and we are so happy you gals are joining us in this summer fun and we loved reading how everyone kicked off their summer.


Cory from Playdates & Prescriptions  said their summers usually consist of pool, popsicles, and play. I have a weird love of alliteration and I just love the sound of that summer fun.  She shared some adorable pictures of her sweet kiddos at the pool and I loved reading how they get to and from the pool!  Such fun!

Whitney at Polka-Dotty Place  said summer to her is the beach and she shared 14 tips for taking toddlers to the beach.  Lots of good advice and I was nodding my head in agreement for lots of them. I've been taking my babies to the beach since they were itty-bitty and it does get easier with time, but it's still a lot of work so being prepared is totally the way to go!

Photo from Whitney at Polka-Dotty Place 

Jen from And Hattie Makes Three  shared how they kicked off their start to summer with a fun filled holiday weekend.  I loved the fruit pizza they had at their BBQ on Monday!  It almost looks too pretty to eat!

Photo from Jen at And Hattie Makes Three

Liz from Ellie and Addie shared all about her weekend fun and oh my goodness, look at how gorgeous her family is in front of this colorful feature at the Missouri Botanical Gardens.  I totally want to go!
Photo from Liz at Ellie and Addie 

Last, but not least, Ashleigh from Fun with the Fingers  kicked her summer off right...at the beach!  She's a fried of mine from college and I just loved seeing pictures of her adorable family at the beach.  These gorgeous moss covered trees are so very southern.  And look at her cutie-pie girls finding star fish!

Photo from Ashleigh at Fun with the Fingers

We hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and we will be back on Monday with our next Share Your Summer topic - Making a Splash (swim or beach style).  We hope you will join us to share your favorite swimsuits styles, beach attire, swim accessories for your kids, etc. It's totally open for interpretation, so feel free to get creative!


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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Meet Me at the Barre


A few months ago, I became bored in my workout routine. What little routine I was able to squeeze in during busy days. I knew I needed something new to try and to force me to take a little time for myself. Carrie Beth and I had both heard great things about barre classes so on a whim I decided to join a friend one week during hers. 

While nothing like what I expected (I was thinking I was going to be able to use my old ballerina skills...you know, because they would come back to me magically after more than 15 years), I definitely was hooked. Don't get me wrong, that first workout was humbling, but I had found something new to slip into my tired routine, it worked muscles I didn't know existed, and began seeing toning right away. 

And if that isn't good enough, they play wicked awesome music. :)

To read a little more about barre classes, check out our guest post today for The Avenue

Click HERE for the hop. 

Have you tried a barre class or a new workout routine lately?
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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Random Ramblings

I can hardly believe it is already Wednesday!  That is one thing I love about holiday weekends...it means we are that much closer to the next weekend!  We are officially on summer vacation right now, although this week is busier than a regular school week and I have a lot of random ramblings to share today.  

~Last week the girls had their last day of school on Thursday.  They were both happy about summer, but sad about saying goodbye to their amazing teachers so I wanted to say welcome to summer in a big way!  The other parents and I planned to greet the kids at the bus stop with silly string and water balloons, both of which were a big hit!  The kids had no idea what hit them and they were all so excited.  



~Like Jen wrote about yesterday, we had a wonderful time at the lake this past weekend to celebrate the start of summer.  (You can read all about our weekend HERE.)  The weather was gorgeous, the water was clear, and we spent time with wonderful friends!  One thing I love most about being at the lake is all of the uninterrupted family time.  We didn't turn the TV on once and took full advantage of being outdoors, laughing together, and making memories.



~We recently got a paddle board and I got to try it out of the first time.  Y'all, it was SO much fun and I'm officially hooked!  I only took it out for a quick spin, but can't wait to try it more next weekend.


Little Mama and Blondie gave it a whirl, too and both did great for their first time (and considering the board is huge for them!).



~Yesterday we practically spent ALL day at the dress rehearsal for our dance recital.  The girls had fun performing up on the big stage and just loved getting to wear make-up and their costumes.  They looked precious and I can't wait for the big show later this week.


~I shared this on Instagram last week, but not sure if I have shared here.  I am earning my badge as swim team mom this summer because the girls are doing swim team this summer for the first time. So far they are loving it.  You can ask me my opinion about it later this month when I have really had to get them up and to practice every morning, but so far, so good.  We have our first meet this evening (if the thunderstorms hold out) and they are so pumped! 


~And last, but not least, be sure to join our very first Share Your Summer link-up HERE.  We will read everyone's posts and share some of our favorites on Friday!


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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Share Your Summer: Summer Kick Off!


Today we are so excited to begin our "Share Your Summer" link up series, and show you how we kicked off the unofficial/official start to summer. 

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of the summer. Thursday marked the last day of school and the official kick off to our summer. We celebrated with water balloons off the bus, bounce house fun with friends, and then grabbed some of our best friends to get the official party started at Lake Keowee in South Carolina.  


We look forward to this weekend the moment Christmas is over. We are summer girls through and through and nothing makes us happier the spending our days enjoying the sunshine and a body of water. 

The moment we arrived at the lake house we threw on our swimsuits, packed our coolers, and made way to the boat. We didn't even bother unpacking our bags, we were so excited! 


Our kids have inherited the love for all things summer, and by now are pros at lake life. Carrie Beth's children wasted no time breaking out their wakeboard and refreshing their skills. Little Mama showed us how its done!


Boo-boo hasn't progressed to his own wakeboard yet, but he has skills of his own!


After a full first day of swimming, paddle boarding, and wake boarding, some of the littles were worn out. Boat naps are by far the best naps! :)


Once everyone was well rested, we made our way back to the house for a quick change, only to head back out on the boat to one of our favorite local lakeside restaurants, Lighthouse. 


Not only does it have yummy food, and a tasty cocktail or two on the menu, it also has a huge grassy lakeside field that is perfect for the kids to play in. We love sitting on the deck and letting the kids just have fun. The played tag, read stories, and did cartwheels to their little hearts content, while the adults enjoyed a relaxing dinner of adult conversation. It is blissful. 


On the way home the kids begged to jump in the lake with their clothes on. A tradition Carrie Beth's family started years ago. It was freezing out, but that didn't deter them. And even more fun, Carrie Beth surprised them and cannon-balled herself in right along side them! 



Once everyone was done with their summer polar bear swim, we headed back to the house for the night. Everyone got warm and snuggly in their pjs and the boys insisted on having a sleepover like everyone else.


The entire weekend we had only one little hiccup with the arrangements. Halfway through the first night both boys woke up and wandered around trying to find us. We realized in the morning the air mattress they were sleeping on deflated and it must have woken them up. Cute finally settled back down early morning with a snuggle from Walker. 


The boys later insisted on still sleeping together, and we were so happy to let them enjoy the arrangements. They completely surprised us and did so well! Not once from then on did they make a peep, and slept the entire night. We see lots more sleepovers in our future!


The rest of Saturday we spent doing much of the same. We packed everyone up for the a fun day on the boat and water, and we didn't hear one complaint from anyone. Especially once popsicles were involved. 


The kids wanted to change things up a bit, so we broke out the tube. They could have stayed on it for hours if we let them. It is huge and can fit most of them at one time. They think they are hot stuff showing off their "tricks" as we toot along. 


To wrap up our day we enjoyed a fun cookout, and Mr. Cute provided a little dockside fishing entertainment for some of the littles. 


On Sunday we made way for a fun little spot dubbed "the waterfall" because, well, waterfalls. 


This is an interesting place because the waterfalls lead up to a beach. People all hook up their boats in the cove and then swim in to play games, climb the falls, and maybe enjoy a fruity cocktail or two. We are not going to lie - it is highly entertaining and excellent people watching. All walks of life show up with one common goal - to have fun. Now we get there early when it is a little more family friendly, but post lunch things tend to get a little more college friendly and we make way for calmer waters. 


The kids have a blast, and always hate leaving. They throw rocks, play frisbee, swim, and try to see who can stand the freezing cold waters of the falls the longest. 


It is so much fun!

Memorial Day we kept up the routine and soaked up every second we could on the water. We knew we would have to head back home soon, and wanted to spend the day savoring this beautiful weekend as much as we could. 


The dads decided that it was enough with child's play, and showed the kids where they inherited their mad skills from. Daddy P has tons of tricks up his sleeve. 


Once everyone was nice and water logged, we made our way to a sandy beach for some playtime before enjoying a dockside pizza party.


We are so excited summer is finally here!!! We couldn't think of a better way to kick it off and can't wait to spend the rest of the summer with you! 

So tell us, how did you kick off your summer? Be sure to grab the badge and Share Your Summer!

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