Wednesday, July 11, 2018

$175.00 Cash Giveaway Sign Ups. Hosted By Lil Blog & More

http://www.ratsandmore.com/p/opportunities-for-bloggers.html



Hey bloggers! Here is a fun new blogger giveaway event opportunity (Hosted by Lil' Blog and More)

This will be a great event, that will help gather a lot of exposure and followers - So be sure to join in! There are a few different options available. 
 
Prize for the event:  $175.00 cash (or winner can pick their prize!)


Actual Giveaway Dates10/13/2017 - 11/14/2017


This is a great way to gain a lot more followers on your social media channels! There are completely FREE options, sharing options (for additional entries on the form.) and paid options, available! 

Last day to sign up for this event: October 9, 2017.

You can sign up for this event HERE

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Motel or Condo?




Since it is the beginning of summer vacation, I thought I would share a few vacation tips with you guys. One of those tips is lodging! I think that's one of the most important things when planning a vacation.

In this blog post I will break down some pros and cons of two different types of lodging, that my family has used over the last few years.

First up is motels and hotels. Both can make for really great lodging accommodations and are usually very reasonably priced. It's really not hard to find a deal on Hotels.com (which uses Ebates) or Booking.com (which provides booking without a credit card and you pay when you get there. Their cancellation policy is very lenient).


Advantages to staying at a motel or hotel

  • Usually, they are better for the budget and half the cost of a condo.
  • Some offer Continental breakfasts, which means that's one meal you do not have to plan in your budget. These breakfasts can include anything from a cold break fast (IE bagels, cereal, or donuts) to a hot breakfast (IE make your own waffles, eggs, or biscuits and gravy).
  • Most offer a microwave and small dorm type refrigerator. This can come in handy if you are a family that loves to snack or maybe eat lunch in your room. It's very handy to store bottled water, fresh fruit, lunch meat, cheese, condiments, and such. 
  • Swimming pools! Need I say more for the kids? Some motels/hotels are really upping their swimming game, complete with water slides and water falls. This can really help fill the family entertainment time and not break the bank, as it's already included for free in your stay. Most include outdoor patio furniture, so take your lunch poolside.
  • Your choice of daily maid service. You can get a fresh change of sheets, towels, and trash picked up with a simple phone call. If you are someone that loves to not worry about such things on vacations, it's covered!
  • Location. You can usually find a room near or right by the attractions you love faster than finding a condo. 
  • Pets. In my experience I have found more motels or hotels are willing to take in a family pet than a condo.






Disadvantages to staying at a motel or hotel

  • Noise. There are more visitors staying in a motel or hotel than most condo communities. There's usually more coming and going.
  • Space. Having a child with Autism, this can be crucial for us. Occasionally, she needs her own space to decompress and be alone. It's very hard to accomplish that in a motel room.
  • Although you do have a pool, so does 100 other rooms. If it's a peak travel time, you may find yourself elbow to elbow with everyone wanting to take advantage of swimming and sun.
  • Not having access to full amenities, say a full kitchen.






Next, I will talk to you about condos. Over the years this has really been a great option for us. It ticks all our boxes and offers the most amenities for our vacation. My favorite place to rent a condo for vacation has to be Homeaway. I find the site easy to navigate, easy communication with the owner, all fees are laid out for you upon booking, and I have found the most reasonable rates through their site. You can also find great coupons on Retailmenot and Ebates to use with your booking.







Advantages of staying in a condo

  • Being able to cook your own meals. We have noticed that we tend to spend less in the vacation grocery budget, when we are able to cook our own meals. We will generally cook breakfast and supper, then catch lunch prices at restaurants while out and about. It's always great to have a fully functional kitchen for those late night snacks.
  • Just like a motel most condos provide everything  you need. From pots, pans, towels, linens, and such. You just bring your clothes and food.
  • Having room! We found that a 2 bedroom is perfect for us. Our girls share a room and we have a room to ourselves. Going on vacation is a break from everyday life and to have some relaxation, for us having a quiet room to unwind and is extremely nice. It is also a big plus for families that have children with unique needs. Sometimes a cool and quiet room can do wonders for turning a day around. It really helps to have that space to decompress.
  • The amenities certain communities offer. Our past two vacation trips have been to the Appleview communities in Pigeon Forge. It's a gated community and offers so many amenities for staying with them. Among a few are: Pool, spa, town homes with screened in porches, game room, gym, pirate ship playground, access to a river, grills, and bon fire area. This can really help you out in your entertainment budget. These things are already included in your stay, take advantage of them! 
  • I have to say that the pool situation is a lot better at a condo versus a motel. In our experience their are usually a lot fewer guests using the pool during the morning hours, at some points we were the only family using the pool. 
  • Gated Community. More condo communities are offering gated communities these days and we love that! It's perfect for families that loe to go on an afternoon walk or bike ride. There's less traffic going in and out of the neighborhood.
  • Great neighbors! Most condo neighborhoods have permanent tenants and it's been a lot of fun for us to meet new people. This past vacation we met four different families that live there year round. They are great at giving you tips about the local area and we look forward to seeing them again next vacation.
  • Access to a washer and dryer. We have two kids, so this just goes without saying. Accidents happen and being able to wash clothes when you would like, it's something you really take for granted until you are off from home. I also pack less when I know I have a set.
  • Some agencies that handle condos and cabin rentals are willing to offer package deals. The most popular being "Stay X amount of days and they will give you X amount of days for free". I've known some to throw in certain tickets to local attractions and even a free breakfast at a restaurant.
 



Disadvantages to staying in a condo

  • Most require a refundable deposit upfront. In most cases you will be refunded about a week after returning home. 
  • Be careful of hidden fees. Some "resort" type condos will tack on daily facility and cleaning fees. Just make sure you check all fine print and your itemized bill before booking.
  • Repairs may take  bit longer compared to running to the front desk of a motel, you will need to contact the condo owner and proceed from there.



I hope this helps you on your next vacation planning. If you have any questions you can reach me at homemakerhighlights@gmail.com. 


Thursday, June 14, 2018

Old Time Photo Number 5

Earlier this month we took a vacation to the Great Smoky Mountains. We are always finding something new and interesting to do while there. While browsing Groupon, which you can sign up HERE for free, we came across a Groupon for an old time photo and I had to snag the deal. 

At Old Time Photo Number 5 of Pigeon Forge you will find a variety of backgrounds and costumes to please any of your family. I have to say we were blown away at all the options and we enjoyed that they are all historically accurate. They really go out of their way to make your experience as authentic as possible, right down to the etched framing you can get with your photos.

We had a unique need during our session. Our oldest daughter has Aspergers and Sensory processing disorder, as a result some textures and clothing can be hard for her to wear. Our photographer, Stephanie, went right to work helping ease worry. She was so lovely and professional with our daughter, she picked her out a very nice cowgirl/gunslinger outfit (dresses are just not our Lilly Rose's favorite). Having someone understand your child has a unique need and go out of their way to accommodate that need, really speaks volumes of the customer service of Stephanie and everyone at Old Time Photo Number 5.


Lilly Rose






For myself and our youngest daughter Emma Kay, who is my little fashionista, we were very excited to be turned into Southern belles, complete with all the accessories. She was just itching to have her photo taken in front of the piano, Stephanie did such a wonderful job on all our creative poses.


 Emma Kay





Our photographer made sure that we all had individual poses, poses as a family (which at the moment my computer is on the fritz, otherwise, I would have loaded those), and couple photos. There are a number of filters that can be done to your photos as well and your photographer will walk you through this at the end of your session. They will also go over their packages with you to find the one that best fits your needs. I highly suggest, as we did, the package that includes the DVD with rights to your photos. You can copy off as many as you would like and any size that you would like (which Walgreens is having a free 8x10 special for Father's Day, just use code PRINT8X10 at check out).

Check us out! This was back in Barry's gambling days.

All in all, we absolutely loved our session! It was so much fun to see us all dressed up as gunslingers and Southern belles. The great part is we have photos for the memories and they make wonderful gift for the grandparents. 

Call Old Time Photo Number 5 of Pigeon Forge today to schedule your session at 865-365-1550. 
You can also find them on Facebook HERE or their website HERE. Let them know the gunslinging McCords sent you!


Monday, April 30, 2018

Affordable Silk flower arrangement from Silk Plants Direct, brought to you by CSI Wall Panels

Today's blog is brought to you by the good people at CSI Wall Panels. If you are in the market for new architectural panels in wall, wood veneers, tiles, felts, acoustics, or ceilings, you will absolutely love their site! The best part of CSI Wall Panels is their customer service,  they are here to listen to you as a customer, your desires for your space, and help you make that dream a reality by working together.

You can order a catalog or take a look at the advantage of using CSI Wall Panels by visiting http://www.csiwallpanels.com/.


I would love to give a big thank you to them for providing me this lovely silk flower swag from Silk Plants Direct at https://www.silkplantsdirect.com/.



I really love silk flower arrangements. The variations are endless and can be found to go with any decor you may have. It really brings a bit of nature, color, and a focal point into a room. One of the great perks of adding silk flower arrangements to your decor is that they can literally last for years! They are easy to dust and keep clean, as well.

I was able to pick this beautiful swag arrangement from Silk Plants Direct, thanks to our good friends at CSI Wall Panels. I was very impressed when it arrived this past week, with fast shipping. The metal, of the swag itself, is very sturdy and a lovely dark color. I think the color went very well with the color of the flowers used in the arrangement. The flowers are made of silk and very lifelike.

This swag is the perfect accent piece to our dining room, as it is decorated in a mix of sunflowers with blue willow prints. I look forward to enjoying the freshness and pop of color it adds, as we enjoy our family meals together or entertaining company. I'm also happy for how little upkeep this decor piece will require in my daily cleaning routine.

*Information on swag*
You can find this swag at Silk Plants Direct  at this link https://www.silkplantsdirect.com/sunflower-swag-yellow-pack-of-1-c2394s.html

Sku is: C2394S
Measurements27" x 12" x 4"

Friday, March 23, 2018

Funny Emoji Slippers Review.





This was such a fun review for the girls! This past week we reviewed these adorable and fun Fandian emoji fuzzy slippers. If your children are a fan of any of the emojis, they will absolutely love these slippers and love wearing them around the house.

My girls are a size 3 and size 8.5, both were able to fit these slippers comfortably. They are very well stuffed, very fluffy, and the bottoms are very soft, no cardboard type filling here! When you order online you can pick from a few different emoji designs.

If you are still having cold afternoons you will love these fuzzy and warm emoji slippers. These would make great birthday, holiday, or just because gifts. They are just so much fun and comfortable to wear.

Some of the benefits of Fandian slippers:

  • They are unisex.
  • Come in a variety of emojis.
  • Indoor friendly.
  • Very warm and fuzzy for the winter months.
  • They mold really well and stretch for a variety of shoe sizes.
  • They would make great birthday or a gift to cheer someone up.
  • They are fun and a great conversation icebreaker. 
  • These slippers are extremely affordable and can  be purchased with Amazon Prime, for free shipping.



For more information you can visit here : http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075CHK1QN

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Bitor Exfoliating Foot Peel







I have been reviewing the Exfoliating foot peel by Bitor, in an attempt to get ready for flip flop season. When you open the package you have two sealed booties that are filled with a lightly scented lavender solution. You simply trim off the tops of the booties, place over your feet, and attach the included stickers for a comfortable fit. While the scent wasn't overwhelming, I did find the time needed to wear the booties (60-90 minutes) a bit time consuming. During this time it's suggested not to walk around and you're pretty much stationary. If you are movie watcher I think this would be great, but I found it difficult to sit that long with two children and a nightly routine. After using the foot peel, I found my feet to be very smooth on the bottom. I am a few days out and my feet have only peeled around the toe area. I found this product as an exfoliating foot peel to be a bit disappointing, but very impressed as a moisturizer. For information visit here: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_in_B_p_6_1?fst=as%3Aoff&rh=n%3A3760911%2Ck%3Afoot+peel%2Cp_36%3A1399-1399%2Cp_6%3AA1JH01C081J2LI&bbn=3760911&keywords=foot+peel&ie=UTF8&rnid=331588011