Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Favorite: Starbuck's NEW Tiramisu Latte and A Starbuck's Card Giveaway!

*This post is not sponsored by Starbucks.  It's just one of those rare moments where I'm a really, really nice person.*

I had to leave the house.  Due to ice and snow, I had been in the house with the kids off school for three days.

All of a sudden, I decided our family had a burning need for... mayonnaise.  From Publix.

Why Publix?  You know why.

I had a date with this lovely lady.

I saw they had a new menu item, a Tiramisu Latte.  I LURVE me some tiramisu.  It was a must to try this.

Y'ALL!  IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT!  You know I mean this because I used shouty caps.

In the spirit of surviving a long cold winter and honoring the love of tiramisu, I decided to giveaway a $15 Starbucks gift card.

Flash giveaway - 2 days only!  Opens Feb. 27, 2015 and closes midnight Feb. 28, 2015.  Open only to U.S. residents.  Not sponsored by Starbucks.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Our Five Favorite Atlanta Attractions for Spring Break!

I'm sitting in my house, awaiting Georgia Snowmageddon 2015.  So, yes, my thoughts are desperately turning toward the light in the tunnel, Spring!

We typically don't take a trip during Spring Break but I try to make it a crazy fun Staycation, seeing how much I can pack into that one week!

Stone Mountain Park

Hands down, this is my boys' favorite Atlanta destination.  I'm a big fan, too, because of just how much there is to do there.  Aside from the special events they will have going on for Spring Fun Break, there are enough attractions within the park to require multiple visits to cover them all.  Sky Hike high and low ropes courses, Geyser Tower Falls water play, the 4D theatre, Ride The Ducks... and that's all just in the Crossroads area.  There are still all the traditional attractions I've enjoyed since I was a kid: playing in the water near the Grist Mill, taking the cable cars to the top of the mountain or hiking the mountain itself, exploring the playground and hiking.  All these activities are low key and can be had for just the cost of the parking fee.  This is one of the places that my family actually gets MORE than our money's worth out of an annual pass.

Chattahoochee Nature Center

We used to live just a few miles from the CNC and I have a very special place in my heart for this one!  Before we moved a little farther away, we had a membership there every year for almost 10 years.  We've had birthday parties there and attended almost all of their special events.  Why do we love it?  Two words - HANDS ON.  There are trails with all sorts of things to explore.  There is a Discovery Center where kids can touch, poke, and play.  My oldest son's absolute favorite part, though, is the Nature Exchange.  You can read more about it in this previous post, but the gist is that kids are encouraged to bring in either an item from nature (nothing alive and no bird feathers or nests - those are protected) or some research that your child has done on a nature topic (school projects don't count, y'all!) and they will receive points for their item or their knowledge.  Your child can turn those points into items that others have brought into the Nature Exchange.  No cheap plastic toys, no annoying whistles, no sugary candy.  It's brilliant.  And your kid will be fascinated with the huge variety of true treasures that are available for trade.


How do I love ZooAtlanta?  Oh, the ways.  Free parking.  Okay, on some busy days you need to get there early, but overall we don't have trouble with this.  Picnicking - you can bring in your own cooler bag.  You're not held hostage to paying overpriced concessions just to feed your family at ZooAtlanta, unlike other popular Atlanta attractions.  If your kids are like mine, a steady stream of food is vital to a happy outing and I can get that done at the zoo without breaking my wallet.  You don't exit through a gift shop.  God bless you, ZooAtlanta, for that one.  Deals on tickets.  I've always been able to find discount tickets on Groupon and sites like it.  For our family of 5, this is a huge help.  So, what about the attraction itself?  My kids don't ever seem to tire of it.  They love trying to feed the budgies, watch the gorillas play with their babies and groom the sheep and goats in the petting zoo.  The playground at the end is a great way to blow off any remaining energy for the long ride home for us.

Atlanta Botanical Gardens

I'm torn about this one.  My kids and I love it, for sure.  The art installations that they incorporate in the gardens are amazing and introduce my kids to many different artistic mediums.  The gardens themselves are stunning, especially in the spring after a long, grey winter.  What is my hesitation?  The price.  You pay for parking in addition to the not-cheap admission prices.  I don't see many discount tickets for this one, but they pop up every  now and then.  However, their Children's Garden is amazing and my kids love it, even though the older boys have now reached the tween / teen stage.  Their sunflower sprinkler is perfect for a hot summer day!

High Museum of Art

Surprised?  You don't normally think of an art museum as a kid-friendly destination.  The High Museum of Art is working hard to change your mind!  They put on amazing special events with junior art lovers in mind.  Spring break is no exception!  Attend their Studio Spring Break event, free with museum admission.  Their family events always include some hands on art-making and they welcome (and encourage) children to explore the exhibits in the museum.  The Greene Family Learning Gallery is a room just for kids to explore and create!  They also have backpacks you can check out and use while touring the museum's exhibits.  The backpacks include activities to help your child connect to various works of art in the exhibits.  You do pay for parking across the street, or you can take Marta - there is a station directly across the street from the High.

Planning to take in one of these attractions during Spring Break?  What are YOUR favorite Atlanta family attractions?

Monday, February 23, 2015

When You Can't #RunAllTheRaces

I'm sitting here feeling very sorry for myself right now.

In fact, I'm being a big damn baby for a woman who is 44 years old.  Why?

Because a ton of my friends are at the Walt Disney World Princess Half Marathon and I am not.

I know - first of the First World Problems.  I've missed out on races before and wished I was there, but not all depressed about it.  What's different about this one is that Princess Half  is my JAM.  The 2011 PHM was my first half marathon, ever, and I have been back every year since then.

2011:  This cracks me up.  Hair down and full makeup, y'all.  I don't do that anymore.
Except this year.

I ran the WDW marathon in January, and I had a blast with my girls.  The budget does not support 2 Disney races in 2 months.

However, a good majority of my girls did not have that issue, because they are there.  I'm happy for them - absolutely.  And I am not at all bitter - my family tolerates the crazy amount of OUR money that I spend on trips just for me.  I'm just... sad.

2012:  So.  Damn.  Cold.
Racing is addictive, like alcohol.  Racing at Disney is like moving on up to pills.  Racing at Disney with your best girlfriends is flat out crack.

But real life smacks you in the face and you have to admit that your priorities are not beneficial for your family.  You just can't #RunAllTheRaces.  Suck it up, Buttercup.

2013:  The year I totally upped my costume game.  I ran with a baguette in a basket for 13.1 miles.  I COMMITTED to that Belle, y'all. 
If I had been away this weekend, I would have missed watching my littlest guy get a surprise award at his Cub Scout banquet.  I would have missed out on working Friday and Sunday at our church, causing my family to be actually losing money while I was out spending money.  So, my head knows it was the right thing.

2014:  The Red Queen.  Curtsy and say "YES, Your Majesty!"  Glass Slipper Challenge AND Coast to Coast Bling

But my heart is with my Broads this year, and all my friends from our Atlanta runsDisney group.  I'm already in for the January marathon next year, too, so it's a strong possibility that I will miss PHM '16, too.  Thems the breaks.

Will I be bad ass crazy enough to say that Marathon will be my new "jam"?  I dunno.  But I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the Princess Half Marathon and the ladies who run it.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

When is a Runner Not Exactly a Runner?

When she doesn't run.  Duh.

I've been in a running slump, y'all.  I am a lazy, lazy runner.

Yes, I completed my first full marathon at Walt Disney World in January.  So I get why you would say, "No, girl, you're not lazy!"

Here's the thing.  The only way I completed the training for that was because my sweet friend Wendy ran the really long ones with me.  And she was the one who initiated the idea of getting together for those runs.

CONFESSION:  I haven't run one damn step since the marathon.  Not one.

Which might not be a big deal.  Except it kind of is.

See, there's this little thing called the Asheville Half Marathon that I'm running in, oh, less than a month.

Yeah.  It ain't flat, y'all.

My husband outed me last night.  "Um, have you run since the marathon?  Like, at all?"  I replied that I had not, but I was sure "it would be fine".  After 16 years of marriage, this man knows that this is how I roll.  "I'm sure it will be fine" will probably be carved on my headstone.  He wisely just raised his eyebrows and then said, "Oh, yeah.  I'm sure it will be."  Not at all convincingly, but he left it at that.

I have no excuses.  I have a treadmill in the basement.  I have several friends that have stressed that I am to call them whenever I want a running buddy.  No motivation, y'all.

I think it boils down to being far too comfortable with the half marathon distance.  This one will be lucky #13 for me. I get lulled into feeling like this is old hat and I can do it no matter what.  It doesn't help that I have had this idea reinforced for me several times.  Last year's Rock 'n' Roll Savannah, I went in undertrained.  Y'all.  I PR'd.  That doesn't help with the motivation factor.  I'M SURE IT WILL BE FINE.

I'm turning into my 13 year old son.  He wants to run races with me, but he doesn't want to train.  And you know what?  He's FINE.  He's also, well, 13.  I don't think it works as well for 44 year olds.

So, today I run.  3 miles in the basement, because it's freaking cold outside and Momma don't play that.  

Send the vibe that this will jump start my condensed half marathon training!  I'm sure it will.  I'm sure it will be fine.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

From Walt Disney World, With Love - A Twist On The Flat Stanley Tradition

You know that the Disney Parks obsession is strong with this one. But experienced runDisney peeps know that taking kids to race weekends is not always a great pairing with early bed times and even earlier wake up calls.  Sore legs, theme parks and eager kids are not always a recipe for happiness.

 Since I do have the ever present Mother Guilt about my girl's weekends to the mecca of a Happy Childhood, I try to do something special for my kids while I'm there. I've already written about the autograph book that I tote around for my 6 year old. On a couple of trips, my backpack was getting crowded because I was also carrying around 3 wild and crazy guys.

 If you are well-versed in Disney history, you'll know The Three Caballeros. In our house, though, they will forever be known as The Chuckieros. When Thing 3 was two years old he developed a crazy and fiercely obsessive habit for watching our VHS tape of these guys. And he christened them "Chuckieros". I don't know why. We corrected him, repeatedly. He would not be moved on this. Chuckieros they are, and Chuckieros they will remain.

 He was thrilled when I snagged all three of them off the Disney Store website for Christmas one year. Before my next runDisney race, I smuggled them out of his room and they took a trip to the Mother Ship. I took pictures of them on their adventures and texted them to my husband so he could share them with Thing 3. HE LOVED IT.

 Donald made an appearance first:

He went to a Very Merry Christmas Party with The DisBroads:

He rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad:

Panchito took a turn the next day.  He got to go to the Expo, but I, um, kind of forgot to take him out of the back pack.  I could have gotten an epic Panchito - Jeff Galloway pic, but that was a #BigFatFail.

He did, however, get to go to lunch with Grandma:

And ride both the monorail and the bus, so that was cool.  

At last, Jose' was turned loose!  Jose' was the only one who got to visit his namesake ride!

But he did get to hang with a lifesize version of one of his pals!  

Finally, the ultimate pairing - Chuckieros with DisBroad Caballeros!

This, by far, was my baby's favorite picture.  He loves that Mom dresses up for races and loves seeing her friends do the same - especially when they are dressing up as his faves!  

If you are taking an adults only trip to the World, surprise your kids back home with some digital fun!  

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Bend it! British Soccer Camp Registration Now Open!

Disclosure:  I am receiving a complimentary camp registration in exchange for promotional services.  All opinions are my own, and I am TOTALLY behind this camp experience!  

I know - if you are like me, you are sitting in your home, freezing your tail off, wishing and hoping for summer to come back from it's ridiculously extended vacation.  

You're not really thinking about summer camp.  Or are you?

If not, you should.  The good stuff fills up fast, y'all, and you need to be on your toes! 

Speaking of toes....  are you a soccer Mom or Dad?  I've been one for the last 10 years.  My oldest has run through sports - flag football, baseball, lacrosse - and always comes back to his first love, soccer.  Honestly, I'm glad.  I love soccer, too, and I will be THAT mom yelling her heart out (all good things!) on the sidelines.  

I'm super excited about the chance to sign Thing One up for what promises to be an amazing week of soccer camp!  

Did you know that British Soccer Camp is the most popular camp in North America?  Their curriculum for kids ages 3-18 develops skills speed and confidence in both boys and girls.  Provided is the opportunity to receive high level soccer coaching!  Additionally, British Soccer Camp offers your child lessons in character development and cultural education in a fun sports setting!

If you sign up during early registration, your child will immediately be shipped a free British soccer jersey!  AND if you enter code FMG15 they will include a Challenger water bottle as a bonus!

Check out the camp in action!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Color Run Atlanta 2015: Time To Shine! A Giveaway!

Last year was my first experience with The Color Run!  I grabbed my oldest boy and we had a blast; here's the proof.

This year, I wanted to share some of that The Color Run love with y'all!

They are pumping up the party with The Shine Tour for 2015!

The Atlanta date is April 4th, 2015 and registration is now open!  

If you can't take a chance on winning two free entries from me and neeeeeed to register rightthisveryminute use this code for $5 off!


This year, you are still getting the t-shirt and the fun tricolor headband, but you are also getting a gold finisher's medal!

Enter today to win 2 free entries to The Color Run Atlanta!
Contest runs February 10th, 2015 to midnight February 15th, 2015.  Open to U.S. residents only.

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