Tuesday, May 31, 2016

DC Super Friends Area at Six Flags Over Georgia

Disclosure:  Although my family has purchased a season pass to Six Flags, we were invited to a special media event for this attraction opening.  All opinions are my own.

Y'all know I love me a good superhero.  

Admittedly, my heart belongs to Marvel over DC.  But... WONDER WOMAN!  She was the first superhero I ever paid any attention to.  I remember watching Lynda Carter on tv when I was a kid and being in complete awe of her beauty and her ability to kick ass.  And I wanted that tiara.

So it's exciting that our local Six Flags park has recently opened up the world's first Super Friends area, and we got to be there for the grand opening!

This area has four new DC comics-themed rides.  All the rides are geared toward the younger park goer.  Paired with the new Bugs Bunny Boomtown area that opened in the spring, Six Flags Over Georgia is really catering to entire families!

My almost-eight year old really appreciated this area.  He's not a thrill ride guy, but he still wants SOMETHING to ride at Six Flags, so these tamer rides fit the bill.  Even my twelve year old got into it - he went on the Wonder Woman Flight School ride several times!  Below he is acting like he is texting and steering with his knee.  Remind me to send his father with him for driving lessons.

The Superman Tower of Power takes people up and then bounces them up and down, bungee-style.  The Batman Batcopters are a traditional kiddie ride where the rider can control the up and down movement of the car while they spin around.

I think our favorite was the Joker Fun House coaster!  It's a great roller coaster for beginners.  My youngest son is still deciding how he feels about roller coasters in general but he gave this one his approval!

This aerial view taken from the Sky Buckets shows most of the track for the coaster.  In the background, you can see the new Bugs Bunny Boomtown area as well.  It's nice that those two areas are neighbors so the younger park guests don't have to travel all over the park to do their favorite things!

After we experienced the rides, it was time for the ribbon cutting!  Who better to do the honors than the Caped Crusader and Amazon Princess?  They made quite an entrance.

It's a great addition to the Six Flags Over Georgia line up but be warned - there is little to no shade in this area.  Next door at Bugs Bunny Boomtown there is a snack counter, bathrooms and a shaded spot with picnic tables.  Have your fun at the DC Super Friends area and then head to Bugs Bunny Boomtown for rest and refreshment!

While we're talking about bringing the whole family to Six Flags, I want to tell you about something we tried out for the first time - the rider swap.  My twelve year old LOVES coasters.  My 8 year old, not so much.  To be honest, I wanted to ride, too, but my youngest isn't old enough for me to leave him to wait by himself while his brother and I are on the ride.  Nor was I willing to wait in a line after my older son had already waited in that line, gotten off the ride and come to stay with his little brother.

We both love the Superman ride!  This is the actual coaster, not one in the DC Super Friends area.  Even if my Little Man had been tall enough to ride, he would have taken one look at this and refused.  With Rider Swap, though, we could all go through the line together.  When we got to the front, I sent my middle son to ride.  We waited at the gate.

When my son came back, he walked his little brother across the platform and waited with him while I took my turn to ride!  We didn't have to wait in line two different times and my youngest wasn't as bored as he might have been waiting outside the ride.

This is definitely the way to go if you have a timid or too-short person in your group!

Overall, the recent additions of the Bugs Bunny Boomtown area and the DC Super Friends area make it easier for me to take all my kids to Six Flags, not just the older ones.  Pair that with the Rider Swap option and our day was NOT filled with fights over who got to do what they wanted.

I'm thoroughly convinced that our Season Pass purchase was totally worth it, especially since it includes admission to nearby Six Flags White Water.  Two parks and plenty of things for all my kid to do?  SOLD!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Saving Money With Groupon Coupons

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post.  All opinions are 100% my own!

I'm a huge fan of Groupon.  The kids and I have been able to find some amazing deals on local attractions and restaurants using Groupons!  When you are a family of five, even the simplest outings can get pricey so I appreciate all the Groupon offers.

I was surprised and excited when a NEW way to save money with Groupon was brought to my attention!  Groupon Coupons are ways to save more money on your every day purchases.

I am notorious for misplacing mailers and receipts with coupon codes on them, not laying hands on them again until long after they were needed.  With Groupon Coupons, I can call up savings instantly!

A great find was deals for Shutterfly!  I might actually have some time now that school is out to put together some of those photo books that I've been meaning to create!

We've been doing a lot more shopping at Kohl's lately, so I was pretty happy to find a coupon code for 20% off!

In addition to Kohl's, the following department stores also have deals!

  • Macy's
  • Saks Fifth Avenue
  • JC Penney
  • Target
  • Nordstrom
  • Sears
You can shop by category or by store!  Here is a sampling of the most popular stores:

Groupon Coupons are definitely worth a look before you go shopping.  There is such a variety of stores and services, you're sure to find some savings!  I'm about to get everyone new shoes for the summer and stock up on some of our outdoor supplies, so I'll be spending some time poking around Groupon Coupons first!

Be sure to like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter to get alerts on the newest deals!  

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical - A Review

Discloure:  I was given complimentary tickets for this show.  I was not required to write a post and all opinions are my own!

Let's just get this out in the open.  I'm not a spring chicken.

I grew up in the 70's, listening to the radio my parents constantly had going.  I also tuned in to the records my much older brothers and sister were playing.  I was lucky enough to be exposed to a great mix of things!

I absolutely remember listening to Carole King songs on the radio.  Only, I didn't know they were Carole King songs.

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical revealed to me just how prolific a songwriter she was.  Teamed up with her then-husband Gerry Goffin, they wrote numerous Billboard top ten songs for the most popular acts of the day.  Along with friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, the four wrote hit after hit for Don Kirshner and the Aldon Music publishing company.

Photo Courtesy of Brave Public Relations
The show goes deep into King's personal life and her relationship with Goffin.  After years of writing with a partner behind the scenes, King finally had the courage to step forward and write solo.  Her second album, 1971's Tapestry, revealed her talent as a singer in addition to her songwriting.

Photo courtesy of Brave Public Relations
I made it a girl's night out with my friend Jennifer.  We ate at the legendary Atlanta restaurant Mary Mac's Tea Room!  If you need Southern comfort food at its finest, Mary Mac's is a MUST.

That's roast pork with cornbread dressing, sweet potato souffle and fried green tomatoes.  Oh.  My.  Word.  We were running out of time and I didn't get to savor everything I wanted to so we decided we were definitely coming back another time.

We walked back over to The Fox Theatre for the show.  I was excited for Jennifer; it was her first time there and I was geeking out by telling her the history of the place and pointing out my favorite features!

The show was fantastic and the cast talented.  Abby Mueller as Carole King was amazing!  Carole King's voice is so distinctive, but Mueller nailed it.  Need more proof of her talent?  It's actually her playing the piano on stage during the show, not someone in the orchestra.

Intertwining the music and story of King's life is a winning combination!  The show is at Atlanta's Fox Theatre through May 29th and I cannot encourage you strongly enough to get tickets!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Surviving (Dubious) Honors Night

Honors Night.  It's not something many kids with ADHD and other behavioral issues expect to attend.

Imagine my surprise when I got the email informing me that my 8th grade son was being honored and would I attend?

Heck, yeah!

But.  What in the world is he being honored for?  My kid is very bright but his grades don't reflect that.  He struggles for the A's and B's he does have.

P.E. is a different story.  That boy is a natural athlete.  He has a 97 in P.E., is at intramurals every morning and was a flag football team captain.  Tapped to help out with the 6th & 7th grade Field Day.  Was allowed to be a ref for one of the girl's intramurals teams.

So, P.E. honor.  That must be it.

When we got there, we had a little fun.  I was okay with a sports honor as opposed to an academic honor because athleticism is important to my child and helps him feel good about himself.

He loves taking selfies with me.  LOVES IT.

The program listed the P.E. awards first.  Great!


Hmmm.  Art?  Science?


Citizenship?  C'mon, citizenship!  Nope.

Oh, sweet fancy Moses.  We're here for...


My heart hurt a little for my son.  And, if I'm honest, for myself, too.

We watched all these other kids accept awards for excelling at something while my kid excels at... being healthy and having parents who don't pull him out for stuff.

And you would think a kid whose butt is in a seat every day would have better grades, no?

 Does it make me a horrible mom to believe that "Perfect Attendance" is more of a distinction than an honor?  I loathe it when kids want a trophy just for showing up to sports.  Really?  You're getting an award for doing what you signed up to do?  If my son wanted an actual award, then he needed to work as hard as all those kids who walked across the stage for other things that night.  Actually, he probably needed to work harder than those kids.

If I'm being completely honest, I wish we hadn't been included in Honors Night. It was a little embarrassing for him.  Without me saying a word, he came up to me afterwards and said, "They called me here for perfect attendance?!"

And I was dying for him, because I knew that was what he was thinking as he took that stage.  And I wanted to stand up in front of all those people and tell them what a great kid he is and that he hustles on a soccer field more than any other kid on the team.  He's great with little kids.  He's thoughtful of others (as long as it's not his brother).

In bouncing all this off a few friends, their comments gave me some insights.

I have come to agree that there IS something of note in showing up every day even when you're not excelling.  My son has inherited his mom's fabulous brand of perfectionism - if we can't do something well immediately, we don't want to do it.  Showing up when you are struggling and loathing these classes merits a nod.

I also realize there are a host of other kids out there like him but there's no way the school can suss out what deserves to be recognized in each child.  That's our job as parents.

Here is my kid's recognition:

For overcoming ADHD and confidence-crushing anxiety to pull two failing grades up to B's in one semester.  No extra credit was given.  No special accommodations.    Just hard work, day after day.  Showing up AND buckling down got that job done.  I'm proud of what he's accomplished this year and I hope that he is as well.

There is beauty and character in the basics of the everyday.

But, seriously.  What's up with not getting that P.E. award?

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Be Athletic in Awesome Alpharetta!

Summer in Georgia is hot, y'all.  This is usually when I slack off a little from my half marathon training.  And by slack off, I mean lay poolside and watch my kids be active while I sip adult beverages.

I'm not proud.  I'm just being honest.

This year, though, the city of Alpharetta, GA is not making it easy for me to remain in the supine position.  Sure, I can slack off a little in June, but then...

Alpharetta has been honoring war veterans for over 50 years - join them for the Old Soldiers Day Parade & Road Race on August 6th.

Image courtesy the City of Alpharetta

  It's a full day of fun for the entire family - the 8K starts at 7:00am, followed by a memorial service at 9:15, a program at 10:00 and the parade at 10:30.  There will be free hot dogs, soft drinks and children's activities at the parade finish!  Early bird registration is only $24!  

Finish the summer strong with the Mayor's Corporate Challenge 5K Run and Block Party on August 25th! (Will update with link when registration opens.  Mark your calendar!)

Image Courtesy the City of Alpharetta
 This one is an evening race and is supported by the Rotary Club of Alpharetta, the City of Alpharetta and Mayor David Belle Isle.  There is a kid's fun run that starts at 6:30pm while the 5K starts at 7:00pm.  During and after the race, everyone can enjoy live music and Alpharetta's Food Truck Alley!  This one is a few days before my birthday - I'm thinking that knocking out a 5K will be a good reminder that I don't feel as old as my birth certificate says that I am.  

Completely unique to Alpharetta is the September 18th IronKids Triathlon!

Image courtesy the City of Alpharetta
This is the largest kids triathlon in the country!  Kids ages 6-15 can participate in this swim - bike- run competition.  The distances for each sport are modified per age group.  It's a great way to share your love of sports with your kids and get them on the road to a healthy lifestyle!  Spend the summer training with your kids and you'll both see the benefits.  

For more information on these and tons of other fun events this spring and summer, make sure you check out the Awesome Alpharetta website and have your calendar handy!  

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Door Dash Review

Disclosure:  I was compensated for the cost of this meal.  No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own - and my friend's!

I was really excited to learn more about a new service expanding across Atlanta - Door Dash!  It's a food delivery service that reminds me a lot of how the car service Uber works. It's actually beneficial for more than the customer.  The people employed by Door Dash as "Dashers" get a flexible work schedule.  The restaurants get orders they may not have gotten otherwise.  Winning all around!

While the service has expanded to Marietta, unfortunately it hasn't expanded to MY area of Marietta.  So I treated my friend Wendy to a nice lunch!  She's a hard-working, WAHM with 3 guys ages Kindergarten and under.  She deserves a nice meal brought to her!

Here was her process:

Download the DoorDash app or head to DoorDash.com.  Wendy elected to use their website.  She entered her address in the search box and was taken to the page appropriate for her area.

You have several ways of finding your restaurant - speed, popular, newly added, delight, price.  Wendy chose Cafe Agora as it was rated a 9/10.

She was able to place her order before the restaurant opened.  What a huge convenience!  You can schedule your delivery DAYS in advance!  Another convenience - they text you when the order is picked up and the driver is on their way.

Her food arrived in 10 minutes.  The driver had an insulated bag; the food arrived hot and packaged well.  Everything was just as she ordered.

While the driver was efficient and friendly, Wendy didn't need to tip.  No money changes hands with the drivers; all the charges and tipping are taken care of at the point of ordering.

Wendy mentioned  that she's used other services like this before and the fees incurred with Door Dash were lower than orders with other companies.  Overall, she was pleased with the whole experience and would use Door Dash again!

If you would like to try out this service for yourself. download the app or head to the Door Dash website.  Plug in your address to see what is available in your area - the service is in central Atlanta but has recently expanded to Sandy Spring, Vinings, Alpharetta, Roswell and Marietta.  Be sure to use code MMMILES to get $5.00 off your first order!  This code is in effect until July 1, 2016.

Have you used this service before?  Tell me about your experience!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Score Extra Points at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta!

Disclosure:  My family was hosted by the CFB Hall for this visit.  All opinions are my own!

So, y'all may remember that I was trying to find non-girly things to do for Mother's Day weekend.  We spent Mother's Day at the College Football Hall of Fame in downtown Atlanta and it was a big hit with my guys AND me!

Mother's Day surrounded by football?  Whose idea was THAT?

Mine, actually.

We like college ball in our house and the SEC is the ONLY conference as far as we're concerned.  Oh, and there was this:

Manicures, massages and mimosas.  BAM.  Everyone gets what they want.  In addition, mom got a nice little surprise at check-in from Kendra Scott!

We started our day by registering our passes.  When you register, you input your name and your favorite team.  The RFID chip inside does the work!  The rest of the day's experience will be tailored to you and your team!

Every time I walked by an interactive kiosk, "Hi, Amy!" and the UGA logo would pop up!

We started out at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Skill Zone!  The playing field is a replica football field where fans can try their hand at passing, punting and making that dramatic catch!

My guys LOVED this area!  They repeatedly went back through all the areas to test their skills!

I attempted a kick, but it was literally laughable.  My husband, however, made the goal!

We had so much fun with the interactive kiosks on the second floor!  It truly highlighted the Fan Experience and the kids were totally into it!  The best part about your pass is that it downloads all your pictures and videos - you can access them at home and download them for free!

There was the singing of the Georgia Fight Song:

Spelling is hard, y'all.

Thing 2 and I also sat in on the ESPN GameDay desk!

I don't think I have a future in broadcasting.  You can see my lips moving as I'm trying to micromanage the 12 year old.

Paint your face for game day?  Do it.

Here was his finished product, with a photobomb by Mom:

You want skills? My people have skills.

We tested ourselves on the vertical leap, 40 yd dash and reaction times.

Okay, so my vertical jump was lamesauce, but I beat my kids on the 40 yard dash!

This little guy bounced all over the place, having the time of his life.

I do have another son.  He's not photographed much.  He currently is suffering from an affliction known as "Being 14".  Actually, I think we all suffer from that.  But despite giving me the Heisman every time I tried to take his picture, he had a great time, too.  He went back down to the playing field and kicked his little heart out.

Me?  I was busy elsewhere.

The mimosa bar was open, people were lining up for manicures and I was in the massage chair while someone else was managing my children.  It was a nice way to end the day.

I loved spending Mother's Day with my boys doing something that was interesting to ALL of us!  We got to hang out and play together which reminded me how glad I am for my boys.  Thanks, CFB Hall!

If you're planning to visit, know that it's a blast even for the youngest of kids.  They can all get in on the action!  There's even a Chick-fil-A attached for when hunger hits!  In addition to the regular admission options, they are also included in the Atlanta City Pass.   The City Pass gives you access to five popular Atlanta attractions and it must be used within a certain period of time.  It's a great option for visitors or residents who are planning a Staycation!

Follow the College Football Hall of Fame on social media to learn about upcoming events!
Visit them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

We're Dawg fans all the way - comment below on your favorite team!