Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year- Iowa Style!

OK~ It is cold here in Iowa. We have snow. I am trying to stay warm by thinking of how miserable I was during all of those heat advisories we had last summer. So, instead, I ventured outside to take a few pictures! And yes, it was cold out.

Our yard on a Cold, Winter Iowa Morning

And the blue sky- You know, I often take our fresh air and blue skies for granted!

Iowa: Blue Skies and Clean Air
And then there are my lilac bushes- Last year they never bloomed due to our crazy Spring temps. They were beginning to bloom in March and were frozen off the first part of April.

Lilac Bushes

Now that we have been able to enjoy the taste of Winter (Below Zero temps too), this Mom is ready for Spring! Yikes- Did I really say that? With Spring comes a busy high school trapshooting season and a high school graduation. Let the fun begin- Hello 2013!  After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Hiking With Your Kids In Rocky Mountain National Park

OK~ Rocky Mountain National Park is home to hiking trails that Mother Nature has designed for kids of all ages. Through the years we have found that our kids, who began hiking at the ages of one and five, learned to embrace a hike here and there. The fun started with our youngest in a carrier and he eventually graduated to his own two feet. Both of our boys were hiking on their own two feet by the age of three. Most importantly, take a day to acclimate everyone to the altitude that the Estes Park area offers. Altitude sickness is not fun; with a little bit of acclimating everyone will be ready to hit the trails.

The best advice I can give parents when it comes to planning a hike with young kids is to be flexible and patient. Kids do not always move at the pace parents anticipate and Mother Nature always proves to be interesting. When hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park, each hiker needs to pack rain gear, an extra pair of socks, gloves, and hats. Rain showers usually start popping up around noon, so it's of the utmost importance that you reach your destination by noon. Hiking is a great way to let your kids experience fishing. Be sure to pack a fishing pole, as your kids will have a ball. It is also a good idea to review the current fishing laws within the park before that fishing pole is on board.

Break Time Along The Trails In Rocky Mountain National Park

It is never any fun getting caught in a monsoon like rain storm at the top of a mountain. And yes, this family has experienced it. Trust me, it is not fun! The rain storms usually pass within an hour, but they are often very cold and often times accompanied with sleet and cold winds.

A hike to Cub Lake is a great way to introduce your whole family to hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park. This hike is 4.6 miles (Round Trip). Keep in mind that you will often see that a destination is one mile, but you also need to remember that your return distance is not calculated into the total hike. With an elevation gain of 540 feet, this is a good hike to test the hiking skills of your family. The flowers are usually very abundant along this trail, as well as the sighting of an occasional four legged critter.

Dream Lake (2.2 Miles Round Trip) is one of the most popular hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. The scenery at the lake is stunning and the views to get to Dream Lake are breath taking, to say the least.
View Along The Dream Lake Trail: Rocky Mountain National Park

The Dream Lake Trailhead is located at Bear Lake. From Bear Lake you hike up to Nymph Lake and continue on. Your kids will love having a place to stop along the way to your destination. Nymph Lake breaks up the hike and offers nice areas to spread out a blanket and take in all the beauty. There are many areas lakeside here to kick back and relax.

Nymph Lake; Rocky Mountain National Park


As you get closer to Dream Lake, small waterfalls will trickle around. Once you arrive at Dream Lake, keep to the right and venture down a little ways. You will find a fairly flat rocky area to kick back and relax with your family. Dream Lake does not have very many lake side areas to sit with little kids, so you will want to find an area a little ways away from the actual lake itself. The views here are absolutely breathtaking! There are some steep cliff areas that parents will not want their kids near.

Garrett Fishing: Dream Lake

Both the Cub Lake and Dream Lake trails are very busy. Start your hike early in the day, beat the crowds and the afternoon rain showers that like to hang over the mountains. If your kids decide they have hiked too far, take a break. Once everyone has rested a little bit, it's time to start hiking again. It never hurts to sing a song, try to name that flower, and even check out what animal prints are alongside the trail.

Rocky Mountain National Park Is Home To Numerous Coyotes

Rocky Mountain National Park is a great national park to introduce your family to hiking. Our boys both have backpacks that have each trail they have hiked on sewn onto the actual back pack. As time went on and they got older, they began to see how fun it was to tackle a new trail and get a new patch on their backpack.

At the End Of A Day of Hiking On The Trails Of Rocky Mountain National Park

So- what are you waiting for? Go ahead, plan a family vacation to Rocky Mountain National Park! Get your kids off of the couch and out hitting the trails. After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?



*My family and I traveled to Rocky Mountain National Park- we paid for all of our expenses. I did not receive any product or monetary compensation for this post. The opinions expressed here are mine and nobody else's.




Friday, December 28, 2012

My Three Highlights of 2012

OK~ 2012 is almost done. Wow, where did that year go? Talk about a year that flew by- this was the one that slipped by me in the blink of an eye. I was inspired by so many wonderful people in 2012 that it is impossible to list every single person here. Number one, I would forget someone and Number two- the list is literally a mile long!

My top three things of 2012 are:

* Social Media is changing how we all connect. I have enjoyed showing others how to embrace social media and how to make it work with their businesses.

*I attended my first ever NFL football game- It was fun! The New England Patriots Vs. The Tennessee Titans in Nashville, TN.

September 2012- Nashville, Tennessee

*Necrotizing Pancreatitis consumed our lives from August 27th- the present. My Dad is a Miracle Man, as he survived a very nasty battle with necrotizing pancreatitis. Thankfully he was a healthy man going into the ordeal and is getting a little stronger each day. He has a long road ahead of him, but he is a determined individual. And of course, our family now has a new opinion of gall stones. Dad's necrotizing pancreatitis was all due to a gall stone.

2012 was a fabulous year. So many of you have blessed my life in so many ways- I am so lucky to have each of you in it! I am also lucky to have a wonderful husband and sons that make me smile! And my extended family- what a blessing you all are. Oh yeah, and I cannot forget that awesome night in Nashville at Blissdom 2012- That band called Rascal Flatts is pretty awesome too!

So------Bring on 2013- I guess this Mom is ready. Really? 2013- I can recall when Garrett was born, 1995, and 2013 was a long ways away! A high school graduation in May 2013- Unbelievable! After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Lefse 101: Uffdah -That Is A Lot Of Work!

Lefse-A Tasty Norwegian Treat!

OK~ Lefse was always something that my Grandma made throughout the year, and she made a lot of it over the holidays! A Norwegian favorite at our family gatherings for many years. My Mom has made lefse off and on over the years, but not so much the past few years. Our 17 year old son was asking me how lefse was made, as he would like to know how to make it. That was all it took, as I was immediately on the phone with my Mom. So, a lefse making session was about to commence!

I rounded up approximately seven dozen russet potatoes. These seven dozen potatoes were peeled and boiled.

Boiled Russet Potatoes

They were then placed in the refrigerator for approximately 3 hours. It was then time to let the lefse making session begin! Garrett and I ventured to Grandma's house- 1 1/2 miles down the road.

Grandma had all the necessary utensils out to make the lefse. A bakers cloth, rolling pin, lefse griddle, and a lefse stick. It is important to use a lefse griddle, as it needs to be a very, very hot griddle. At least that's what the Norwegians in the family have always told my Mom.

Bakers Cloth and Lefse Turning Stick


  We started by ricing the potatoes.

Potato Ricer


We then took three cups of potatoes and mixed in 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. sugar, 1/4 cup melted butter, 1/4 cup of 2% milk (some people use cream) and 1 1/2 cups of flour. These items were all combined and ready for the roller.

Mixing All The Fixings For Lefse



The potato mixture was then rolled out. Yep, a circle is what you are striving for. My Mom is an expert, as she rolls out perfect circles every single time!

Rolling Out The Lefse


The first one I made looked like the state of Texas, and I did not care. Once it's all rolled up with sugar and butter, any shape works for me!

The rolled out potato mixture is then lifted and placed on a very hot griddle.

Grandma and Garrett Turning Lefse

 Once it bubbles, the lefse is flipped.

A Cooked Up Lefse

And in about five minutes, you have a tasty Norwegian treat!

It is best to place the lefse between flour towels, so they cool properly. Once they are cooled, you can fold them and store them in baggies in the refrigerator. Once you are ready to eat them, bring them out of the fridge and butter them up to your liking! We like to warm them in the microwave, coat them with butter; and sprinkle them with sugar and cinnamon.

This little project of seven pounds of potatoes took us a little more than three hours to complete. My jaw just about dropped when my Mom said that my Grandma made lefse one holiday season containing more than 100 pounds of potatoes!  Uffdah- that's a lot of lefse!

I must add the recipe we used was a combination of four out of one cookbook. In all honesty, I think whatever recipe you use- they will taste very good! It is important to not use too much flour or too little flour, as you will have issues rolling the lefse dough out. It looks like the lefse tradition will continue in this family, as myself and my 17 year old son now know how to make this yummy Norwegian treat! After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

OK~ Christmas 2012 is here!  What a fabulous day it has been here in North Central Iowa. I think we may have hit the double digits for temps today, maybe a whopping 10 degrees. I truly hope all of you had a fabulous day. Ours was spent with family, playing our usual crazy game of Bingo and sharing laughter, while making new memories!

And this is one event of the day we will not forget!


Yep, those are the extra buttons for the annual Bingo game!  A quick pick up and repair job was needed for the container. This is one mess that was easy to pick up and one that we all could laugh at.

And the cleanup continues.......We spent weeks cleaning the house for Christmas and my awesome family destroyed it in 3 hours (almost), but it was all worth it! The family memories and togetherness were fabulous- I will take a dozen more days like today. Off to the kitchen I go- Christmas 2012 was one that I will cherish forever! After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

One Project Leads To Another

OK~ We are now three weeks into this getting the house ready for Christmas and one project continually leads to another. Here's the latest escapade. One would think the little project of painting the kitchen ceiling would be fairly simple, right? Well, wrong!


This little project led to the emergency replacement of wallaper border. When we moved into our home 8 1/2 years ago I had wanted to remove all the wallpaper. Well, due to the fact that the wallpaper border that was in place had been super glued to the plaster walls, there was no removing it. So, at that time I opted to hang a border over the one that was there. Worked fine, up until we decided to paint the ceilings 8 1/2 years later.

Once we began to remove the tape- the wallpaper border that we had installed 8 1/2 years ago decided to come down. And of course, sections of the wallpaper border that we had also tried to remove 8 1/2 years ago. The biggest problem- Christmas was three days away and how many places still sell wallpaper border?  Well, not many! I do hear wallpaper may be returning- don't know if I will embrace it!

I made a quick trip to town, in panic mode. I ventured to Menards, where we have spent lots of time the past three weeks. Due to the fact that I had not shopped for wallpaper in quite some time, I honestly had no idea what to expect. Well, there were approximately 3 dozen wallpaper borders to choose from. And I have to say, I think I came out quite well.  This is what I found!


Without having a paint sample along or anything to match, I think I did quite well. And I must say, I really, really think I got lucky. I know wallpaper is so out- but with an older home, crooked ceilings and walls, three days until Christmas, and a house that still needs help- this rocks!

And the end product- here ya go!


I'm not sure when our 17 year old son will notice the change. Do you think he will? BTW- It was a country themed border before and did need to go. Now, with two days to go until Christmas, my fingers are crossed that there will be no more incidents like this one.  Looks to be a blessing in disguise! After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?



Thursday, December 20, 2012

Blizzards = Snowdays!


Iowa Blizzard Dec. 20, 2012



OK~ We are in the thick of an old fashioned blizzard here in Iowa. I am always amazed at how we all tend to think the local and state weather people are hyping these types of storms up. We were told that we were under a blizzard warning last night at 6 p.m. and travel was not recommended in the state of Iowa after 8 p.m.

Several people do work for companies that require them to drive in these crazy weather conditions. Their jobs require them to transport packages from Point A to Point B.My husband is one of these people. He did drive last night; he only spent a couple hours waiting for a wrecker to dig him out of the snow. He was stuck on the on ramp to a major interstate. Thankfully he did get home this morning.

He commented that the amount of traffic on the interstate was high. Yep, in the thick of a blizzard warning. One of those things that makes me go Ummmmmmm.  I am assuming most of these were holiday travelers and not paying attention to local radio and news outlets. Sadly, a major accident happened on the roadway my husband traveled on earlier in the morning, and there were fatalities.

Here's my holiday reminder to all of you. If you are traveling, pay attention to the weather alerts that pertain to the area(s) you will be traveling through. The photo above was taken from my kitchen window later in the day, 22 hours into the blizzard warning. That is snow blowing, not clouds.

And of course, Garrett thought it was AOK- no school on the day before the last day of school before the holiday break! Let's face it, all 17 year olds love a snow day, as they can sleep in and watch movies all day! The 50+ mph winds were so bad here, that going outside was not an option. Gotta love a snow day in Iowa. After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?




Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Winter Is Coming: Three Items You Need In Your Car

OK~ We have snow coming our way. I have seen weather forecasts that say 2- 9 inches of snow. Time will tell what we actually do get. With a Winter Storm brewing, it is the perfect time to load your car up with, at minimum, these three items.

First and foremost, you need a shovel in your car. And I speak from experience on this one. I had always tossed a shovel into the trunk of my car, until I had the experience of getting stuck in a snow bank on the road and needed to reach for the shovel. It's a whole lot easier to reach into the back seat to get a shovel while stuck in a snow bank, as opposed to having to get out (in blustery conditions) to walk around to the trunk of the car. Digging out in blizzard conditions is not fun! I am all for shortening the time to be outside. Store the shovel in the car, not in the trunk. Yeah, gotta love Winter driving conditions in Iowa. You did read that correct, stuck in a snow bank on the road.

A blanket is a necessity. Should you find yourself stuck in conditions that you cannot dig yourself out of, you will probably want a blanket. You will need to conserve all the gas that you can. This is why you need to have at least a 1/2 tank of gas while traveling in the winter. If you know you cannot dig your way out, be sure to scoop the snow out around the exhaust system of your car; so carbon monoxide is not an issue.

A flashlight can be a lifesaver. Let's face it, if you are trying to shovel and have no idea where you are shoveling; a little light will go a long way.

A shovel, blanket, and flashlight are three very important items to have in your car during the Winter season. Getting stuck in a blizzard is never a good experience, but if you are prepared, the whole ordeal will seem much better. There are many more items that you will want to have in your car this Winter, but if you are like most, you will be lucky to have these three items. And in all reality, a shovel, blanket, and flashlight can help you out quite a bit.

And of course you will want to make sure your cell phone is charged and remember to let someone know what time to expect your arrival, as well as your planned route. By planning ahead, your Winter driving experience can be more pleasant. Should you become stranded, stay with your car. Do not venture away from your car.

Do you have any one item that you would highly recommend keeping in your car this winter? And of course, with a teen driver in the house, we can never have enough shovels, blankets, and flashlights around. Looks like Santa has a few packages to get down the chimney. After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Pets,Trees, And A School Calendar~ My Simple Christmas


OK~ Christmas is coming, very very soon and I am still not ready.And you know what? I will probably still be saying that when Christmas is here. Although, I can honestly say that these two are ready for Christmas to begin now! I am ready for a welcome change from mud to fluffy, white snow.

Skipper is ready for Christmas!






Our one Christmas tree is simple, yes very simple. The ornaments on my tree were made by my boys, as well as many from the places we have traveled over the years. 

Christmas Tree/Simple Decorations


And yes, we may actually have a White Christmas here in Iowa! I am kind of excited about that and I hope it is all gone the week after Christmas. I do like a White Christmas- just seems like the season and all.

This Christmas is another last one of Christmas Vacation. With a high school senior in the house, this will be the last time in quite a while that I will actually have to pay attention to Christmas Vacation dates. Doesn't seem possible, but that is reality. Santa is real and he will arrive on Christmas Eve! After All It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Now Is The Time To Relish- Sweet Relish: The Secret Sauce of Shopping


OK~ Christmas is sneaking up on all of us and it is time to update,or start your lists over on Sweet Relish. Your lists over on Sweet Relish will make Christmas shopping a very friendly experience. When you shop with Sweet Relish; you check out the list, click on the item, and start shopping. Yep, that's what Sweet Relish offers you!

Holiday Movies, For Your Guy, For Your Pup, For The Indie Chick, For Your Boss and Kitchen Gifts~ Sweet Relish has 'em all! And of course your lists will include everything you relish when it comes to shopping. If you are a technology lover, you may want a list of all things geeky. Now, if you love hats, how about a list of hats for my head? Let your imagination run wild- Sweet Relish offers a place for your creative juices to flow.

Shopping for your spouse this Christmas season can not get any simpler when you put your lists together on Sweet Relish. Saving you time, which in turn saves you money; as there are no gift returns or exchanges! When you utilize the lists over on Sweet Relish, your spouse will have relished what he/she wants. Now this, my friends, is the "secret sauce" of shopping with Sweet Relish!

What is holding you back? Head on over and get your lists made today! Have family that lives over the miles? E-mail them the link to your lists and invite them to follow your lists on Sweet Relish. When you take control of the Relish button, your Christmas shopping is a whole lot easier!

Moms, Dads, Grandpas, Grandmas, Aunts, Uncles, Nieces, Nephews, and all other family members will enjoy Sweet Relish, as it is a fun way to share and an easy way to fill out everyone's list. After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?



*Sweet Relish has partnered with All In An Iowa Mom's Day as a sponsor for Blissdom 2013. I did not receive any monetary compensation for this post. The opinions expressed here are mine and nobody else's.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas Gift Ideas For Your Aging Parents

OK~ Christmas is just a little over a week away and if you are like me, you still have some shopping to do. You know who you have to buy for, yet; you often have no clue what to buy that person. Some of the hardest people to buy for are your aging parents. Yes, I know. My 17 and 21 year old sons would probably place me into this category. BTW- these 40 something eyes can always use a new pair of reading glasses.

Christmas gift ideas for the aging parents in your life:

Technology is changing how we all interact. Chances are you have a parent that enjoys reading the local newspaper day in and day out. A year's subscription to the actual print newspaper is always appreciated. If your aging parents enjoy reading the newspapers online, give them a year's subscription to the online format.

Garden seeds would be a great gift for the aging parent that enjoys gardening. The Spring gardening season is just around the corner, well; kind of!  But, a bucket filled with garden seeds, a small spade, and garden gloves would be sure to please the garden lover in your life. Your local garden store could help organize the perfect bucket for Christmas.

The avid bird enthusiast would love a new set of binoculars and a bird watcher's guide.

Field Guide To Birds of North America- Available on Amazon.com

North America is a bird lover's paradise. The Field Guide To Birds of North America makes a great Christmas gift for the aging parent, as well as a birthday gift. If your aging parents are not bird lovers, why not introduce them to this relaxing, interesting hobby? Chances are they will embrace this hobby as soon as the package is open!

An iPad would bring your aging parents right into the 21st Century. With a little direction and patience on your part, your aging parents can have a wonderful experience with an iPad. Here's something to think about. Give your aging parents a crash course on how to use You Tube. This will provide hours of music, as well as information on how to repair anything around their home or apartment. And of course, social media outlets will allow your aging parents to stay in touch with relatives and friends all across the miles.

These are just a few suggestions to help you in completing your Christmas shopping list. You know your aging parents better than anyone, so base your shopping decisions on their unique personalities. After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?


*I did not receive any product or monetary compensation for this post. The opinions expressed here are mine and nobody else's.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Tweet An Iowa Farmer: Wish Them A Merry Christmas

OK~ It is Christmas time and everyone is in the giving spirit. How about thanking a farmer during this crazy, busy time of the year? Chances are, you will be enjoying a lot of good food over the course of this holiday season. Maybe you will be enjoying ham, turkey, chicken, pork, and maybe a few carrots or potatoes.....ahhhh- the list goes on and on!  Thanks to many amazing farmers across our great country, we are all able to enjoy plates of delicious food day in and day out!

Here's a couple Iowa farmers that you should Tweet out that reside in North Central Iowa! Go ahead, thank them for providing food for us and wish them a Merry Christmas!

Larry Sailer's Twitter Handle is: @FBLJ
Wanna know more about Larry? You can read his Musings of a Pig Farmer over on The Field Position.

Val Plagge's Twitter Handle is: @PlaggeVal (A hard working farmer's wife)
You can read more of what Val and her husband Ian are all about at Corn, Beans, Pigs, And Kids

And then there are my two favorite Iowa farmers (My Dad and My Brother)- They are not on Twitter yet, so you will have to wish them a Merry Christmas in the comment section of this post!


Summer in An Iowa Soybean Field
Enjoy the deliciousness of this holiday season and remember to thank the producers that provide for us. Iowa farmers are kind of my favorite, but in all seriousness; farmers all across our great country are feeding all of us on a daily basis. Merry Christmas to the farmers out there and thank you for feeding us! After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?




Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Do You Recognize This Gadget~ Of Course You Do!

OK~ We have been really finding some interesting things as we dig into the nooks and crannies to get ready for the big family Christmas gathering. We found this today.


It has been a few years since a corded phone hung here. But guess what? This is now back up, hanging in its spot. So, how would your teenager react to this? Ours walked in and said, "What's that, Mom?" We still have a landline in our home, so this fulfills the purpose of those potential emergency situations.

I am still speechless, do you think we have all became a little too used to cordless phones? I guess this is just a sign of the times. I wonder how many years before nobody in a home has a clue as to what this is, any ideas? After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Slow Down Martha- You Make Me Look Bad!

OK~ I am looking at Facebook status updates showcasing loads and loads of sugar and chocolate. Tis the season of all the holiday goodies. I know that I should be baking, but the sad part of all that baking is the fact that I would eat more than my fair share. I am envious of those that are baking up a storm day after day and don't gain a pound.

The plate of Christmas Cookies needs to have chocolate star cookies, decorated sugar cookies, divinity, peanut clusters, lefse, pretzels and rolos, almond bark dipped pretzels, and of course lots of peppermint flavored goodies!

My name is not Martha and I do not think it ever will be. There are days I wish I could bake some very tasty treats, but in all reality it's a good thing that my oven is not permanently set at 350 degrees.

And then there are the Martha's out there that have several Christmas trees in their homes. Hey, this Mom does good to get a tree up and decorated for Christmas. For people in the business of selling Christmas trees, they've got to love all the extra business this time of year.

I'm not knocking Martha. I am just realizing that I really do lead a fairly uncomplicated holiday life. I will bake a turkey on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. I will decorate a couple dozen sugar cookies to put on a plate for Christmas Day. My lone Christmas tree is very simple.

Several years ago the angel that sat on the top of my tree was destroyed in flood waters and I have never replaced it. So, when I say I have a simple tree, I seriously mean it. Yep, this Mom has a tree without a topper on it. Yet, my 17 year old son says he has a Mom that gets carried away with Christmas decorations... Go figure!  So, to all of you Martha's out there, enjoy yourself and make the season count! After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Why You Should Join A Community On Google+

OK~ We all know there are several social media platforms that we can choose to engage in. I personally enjoy Google+. And yes, I do hear, "You mean that is still around?"  In the back of my mind I am thinking, "Have you really spent any time on Google+?"

Google+ just launched Communities. Here you can connect with people that have a specific niché that you are searching for. Some Communities are set up so you have to request to join and others are set up so you can hop right in. When you are in your Google+ account look over to the left and click on Communities. Here you will see all types of Communities that you can opt to engage in.

You can even invent your own Community. This is just another way to connect with like minded individuals over on Google+. I have hosted a couple Google+ Hangouts just to chat about Google+ and how we can all benefit from this platform. The general consensus of our hangouts was that many of use enjoy it but aren't utilizing it to its full potential. So, go ahead, embrace a Community on Google+ and submerge yourself in Google+!

Are we connected on Google+? If we are not, I'd love to connect with you. You can connect with Sara Broers and/or All In An Iowa Mom's Day on Google+.  Some of the communities I have found that interest me are Women of Google+, Travel Talk, Agriculture & Farming, and Parenting Tweens and Teens. Trust me, you will find a community that fits you.

Google+ is a great way to meet some new people, make some solid business connections, and a fun way to interact online. I do see the value in these Communities and I hope you will too. Swing over to Google+ and check 'em out! After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Sunrise Cottages: King's Pointe- A Waterpark Resort

OK~ My family and I spent a few days at King's Pointe in Storm Lake, Iowa, this past summer. While on the property we were given a tour of Sunrise Cottages. If you are planning a family outing for 2013, I would encourage you to book one or more of these cottages. They are perfect for reunions, extended family birthday parties, and just plain old fun!

Sunrise Cottages: Kings Pointe-A Waterpark Resort

Lake views, resort amenities, a fully equipped kitchen, free high-speed wireless internet, and accommodations for up to 10 people await you and your family. Sunrise Cottages offer you the great outdoors with all the amenities of a waterpark resort. King's Pointe Resort will welcome you and your extended family for one day or a week of fun!

With the holidays just around the corner this would make a fabulous family present. A week stay for your whole family at Sunrise Cottages, at Kings Pointe Resort; would make a great Christmas present.

Full Service Kitchen At Sunrise Cottages

Loft views are also prominent in each cottage. A warm, cozy atmosphere will surround you as you kick back and relax at Sunrise Cottages. All of the amenities of home and more await you and your family at King's Pointe Resort in Storm Lake, Iowa.

Oh yeah, and I almost forgot to mention a fabulous dining experience. You can experience lakeside dining at The Regatta Grille and a day of fun at the indoor/outdoor waterpark all located within walking distance of Sunrise Cottages!

Do not wait- book your family vacation today! These cottages fill up fast and offer a lot of fun and adventure for your family. Moms and Dads will enjoy the activities here just as much as the kids! What are you waiting for? Book your family vacation today! After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?

*The header pictured here is courtesy of King's Pointe Resort. All other photos are mine. My family and I were guests on the property in August of 2012. We did receive a $50 Credit Via a Gift Card for the Regatta Grille For Breakfast, Lunch and/or Dinner. We did also receive two nights lodging in a Family Queen Suite Room Which Featured Two Queen Beds and a Queen Size Fold out Sofa. I did not receive any monetary compensation for this post. The opinions expressed here are mine and nobody else's.

Monday, December 3, 2012

There Is An Elf On The Shelf

OK~ A couple weeks ago my twitter stream was flooded with an elf on the shelf. I did not think too much about it. But then, I kept seeing more tweets about the elf on the shelf. And then, this crazy little elf hit my Facebook feed. I was beginning to think that I had really missed out on something.

I've been watching pictures of these eerie looking elfs on shelving and you know what? Some of them look really, really eerie. Think about it, if you were a kid wouldn't you behave?

Since Twitter has all the answers I decided to send out a tweet. I wanted to know what I had been missing out on in regards to this elf on the shelf. I was informed that I had not really missed out, as it has just been within the past couple years that this elf on the shelf has really became popular in a lot of households. With a 21 and 17 year old, I was out of tune with this one. My Twitter friends came to the rescue again.

And then last evening in my Facebook feed there is an elf from someone's Christmas tree and they are proud that the elf has been on their tree for 40+ years! Looks like Mr. Elf has been around a while.

I am curious. What Christmas traditions do you have? Have you ever had an elf on the shelf? Do your kids really behave with an elf in the house? So, I am thinking- maybe we need to come up with an "elf"for all holidays. Seems to me we would have lots of well mannered kids running around! After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?


Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Secret Sauce of Shopping: Sweet Relish Twitter Party


                              UPCOMING TWITTER PARTY WITH SWEET RELISH
                          WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 12, 2012
                              10:00 PM (EST)





                                                                         

Join myself @saramomof2 and the good folks from Sweet Relish for a good old Twitter Party on December 12, 2012! We are going to be talking gifts, lists, presents, lists, toys, lists, diamonds, lists, shoes, and the hot items your kids/grandkids have on their lists this year! Your Christmas shopping is going to be a whole lot easier when you utilize the lists on Sweet Relish.

Loads of ideas to make your holiday shopping a lot easier! Is it possible to keep your gifts equitable, or at least look equal? What are the hot toys on your child’s list? How much are you willing to spend this holiday season and is it possible to stay on a budget over the holidays? When is the best time to open presents- Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? We are going to cover a lot of ground in one hour and we want you to join us!

Oh yeah, we’ll also be chatting about these topics and a whole lot more! Teacher gifts, gift ideas that will knock the socks off of the teenager in your life, as well as what to buy the person that has everything!

Did I mention that we are gonna be talking about lists? We will be sharing with you the secret sauce behind Sweet Relish and the many ways you can utilize Sweet Relish.


Sweet Relish is all about you and your lists! With all of your Sweet Relish lists, you will never have to guess what anyone on our list wants! Christmas is just around the corner, and of course we will have prizes to share along the way. Here’s the awesome prizes you could win!

  • Mango Tree Bangle
  • Hydra Soap Shower Burst
  • Carolina Pad iPad Case
  • Delezhen Jewelry
  • Gelaskin iPhone Case


And The Grand PRIZE IS
One Lucky Person Will Win All Of The Above!

How you can win:
Connect with @saramomof2 and @sweetrelish on Twitter

Tweet the following: I am attending a Twitter party with @saramomof2 @sweetrelish on Dec. 12 10:00 PM (EST)- Join us!  #SweetRelish

Use the Hashtag #SweetRelish

Start building your lists today. One random prize winner will be chosen from a party goer that has lists on Sweet Relish. So, head on over and roll out a few lists of your favorites! Leave us a comment here letting us know that you have set up lists over on Sweet Relish- this way we will know who is eligible for the random prize for their lists!

All other prizes will be randomly chosen throughout the hour. No RSVP is necessary, but in order to quality for the random prize, you need to leave the link to your lists on Sweet Relish .                      

Tweet with the Hashtag #SweetRelish and have fun! 

Spread the word, Sweet Relish is going to be rocking Twitter on December 12th at 10:00 P.M. (EST). 






Saturday, December 1, 2012

My House Is Getting Ready For Christmas

Christmas Tree 2012

OK~ My house was looking pretty nice after last week's cleaning. Then yesterday the Christmas bug hit, time to relocate a tv. Seriously, one would think that would be a fairly easy project. Well, not so fast. When you live in a house built in the early 1900's, trust me, nothing is simple!

The relocating of one tv led to the cleaning out of a closet that had not been touched in 8 years, yes, you read that correct! TV one was relocated, which in turn led to tv number two being relocated. This is what I currently have in view.


Due to the unique curves that the heating system has, it may take some time to get that cable tv hooked back up. I am thinking by the end of tomorrow it will be up and running. When Garrett arrived home from school yesterday he looked at us and said, "Woah, what is going on here?" We quickly put him to work. Isn't that what 17 year old boys are good for? He's got strong muscles and energy, so he's been busy moving furniture and assisting with all this chaos.

With plaster walls it always gets interesting when it is time to remove drapery hardware, and let's just say that we had some hardware that really needed to go. The rods were like 6" tall and it was so hard to find anything to fit them that looked decent, so it was time to go. I kind of like this pattern, don't you?



Yesterday and today were busy days. Relocating two tvs and a sea of cords! Things are looking much better now. Oh yeah, and then there's that new wall light fixture. Looks like I might need to change out the light bulbs, seemed I purchased 240 watts of light- can you say bright?

More projects ahead...... another curtain rod to be changed out and I'm looking at another window and thinking that one needs to go too!  Do I dare tell hubby that? He's the guy with the drill and the carpentry know how. Give me a tape measure and I can probably get close and that is about it! Paint, that's another item on the list. Not sure why we never labeled all those paint cans that are in the basement. It will be interesting searching for the "right" touch up paint.

So, here's to Christmas- bring it on- my house is getting ready and Santa will get down the chimney fine! After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?



Friday, November 30, 2012

Why You Should Attend A Blog Conference




Guest Blog Post: Sharon Graham of Sharon The Moments 
I would like to introduce you to my friend Sharon Graham. Sharon and I met at Bloggy Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio this past Fall. Sharon writes about her life at Sharon The Moments. Do take a swing over to her blog, as Sharon is an amazing writer and photographer!
Why You Should Attend A Blog Conference
When I first entered the world of blogging, I felt it would be an easy transition into the blogosphere.  After all, I love to write, I love my family, and I love taking pictures; three great attributes that make a great blog, right?  I thought so. 
But something was missing.  My puzzle pieces were not fitting together and I didn’t know why. 
What I forgot to factor in was the aspect of a strong readership base, a network of sponsors and supporters, an understanding of my brand, knowing how to utilize S.E.O., and just plain having a network of other bloggers that have the same goal as me to support one another.   These areas are components that make a great blog greater.   Then a friend suggested I find a blog conference and attend.  And so I did just that!
That’s when I realized the reason I was unable to complete my puzzle was because I didn’t have all the pieces.   Attending a blogging conference gave me those missing pieces and so much more.  
  I learned how to identify my brand and what it means to have a brand. 
  I learned that social media comes in many forms, not just Facebook.
  I learned the value in utilizing each area of social media such as Twitter and LinkedIn     
  I learned the value of pictures in a blog post.  
  I learned how to define my niche in my writing style. 
  I learned I need to create a schedule for my posts and to be consistent. 
  I learned that dinner with other bloggers can and will lead to dancing in the isles.
  I learned to write as I write, not trying to write like someone else. 
  I learned the value in being professional in my blogs and other social media communication. 
  I learned the need to evolve, to be ready to change. 
  I learned great techniques for writing humor posts. 
  I learned that content is king.  
  I learned about another wonderful bloggy conference scheduled for March 2013 BlissDom.
And that was just in the first day! 
But of all the wonderful things I learned while attending my very first Bloggy Conference, the best gift I took away was the friendships I made that will last a life time!!   So whether a newbie or a seasoned veteran blogger, I can promise you, attending a Bloggy Conference you will leave with smiles, loads of information, fond memories and new found friends.   You will not be disappointed. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Stocking Stuffers For Tweens and Teens

OK~ Christmas is going to be here very, very soon. Filling those stockings can be fairly simple when the kiddos are fairly young. So, what happens as our kids age? It becomes more challenging to fill their stockings with things that will make them say, "Wow!" So..... I've got a few ideas for you. These items just might make your 11-18 year old say, "Wow!"

How about these? Any girl would like these- Bath bombs from The Etsy Betsy Bath Shop! I might add that these are made in Iowa!

Available In Seven Scents At $1.50 Each


Now I know this may not fit in the actual stocking, but this book does make a fun gift for a boy in these challenging tween/teen years, The Dangerous Book For Boys. This book talks about anything and everything related to boys. From frogs to rocks.... this has your boy covered! The book is available through local retailers and book stores, as well. 


Available at Amazon.com 
   
Best Buy offers a nice selection of iTune gift cards available for purchase for the music lover. And we all know that tweens and teens enjoy their music! Many other retailers also offer iTune cards, often conveniently located right at the check out stand. 

If you have a young driver or soon to be driver, a key chain is always a great idea. Better yet, if you know what vehicle your young driver will be driving; make extra keys for the vehicle and attach them to the key chain. 

If you are looking for a very unique stocking stuffer and you know your family is in the vacation planning mode. Go ahead and book a family vacation to Universal Studios Orlando and fill your 11-18 year olds stocking with goodies from Universal Studios Orlando.


A Fun Clap-Board! (Photo Courtesy of Universal Studios Orlando)

You did know that you can purchase lots of great merchandise on-line, right? There are items for the Harry Potter fanatic, Despicable Me memorabilia, and anything else you can think of related to Universal Studios Orlando


These are just a few ideas to add some life to the stocking of your 11-18 year old. Those tween/teen years can be challenging for Santa! I hope this short list has given you some ideas and has given you hope that you can have success filling your 11-18 year old's stocking this year! After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?


*I did not receive any product or monetary compensation for this post. The opinions expressed here are mine and nobody else's.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Let Me Introduce You To Sweet Relish - Just In Time For Christmas




OK~ I have found a new secret sauce of shopping to share with you- it is called Sweet Relish! I'm telling ya, this is the hottest, newest craze. Head on over and get your lists up and running!

So...............maybe your holiday list entails jewelry of all types. Your jewelry list may include watches, necklackes, rings, and maybe even a few diamonds here or there. There will be no excuse this year for tht special someone when it comes to finding you that perfect gift. All you need to do, is head over to Sweet Relish and set up your lists.

And maybe the young outdoor enthusiast in your family has a long wish list that is confusing to Grandpa and Grandma over the miles. Introduce your outdoor lover to Sweet Relish and encourage him to set up a list of outdoor gear that he wishes to own. This is a super way for Grandchildren to share, over the miles; as to what exactly is on their lists this holiday season. Grandpa and Grandma can see what exactly your young outdoor enthusiast has on his list.

Sweet Relish is the ideal place for the technology lover to share their list. Technology items are often on about every single Christmas list out there. With so many different smart phones, laptops, tablets, and computers to choose from, Sweet Relish lets the listmaker share exactly what they are wishing for this Christmas. There is no guessing! Your Sweet Relish list will show the exact model number, supplier, and how much the item costs.

Do you now have a mile of lists in your head? Head on over to Sweet Relish and get your lists rolling. There is no time like the present to start your lists on Sweet Relish! While starting your Christmas wishlist, now is also the ideal time to set up your birthday wishlist. What are you waiting for? Head on over to Sweet Relish and start your lists now!

Connect with SweetRelish on Twitter and Facebook for up to date information. There are a lot of cool things Sweet Relish will be rolling out in the near future. Stay connected to keep in touch with the latest happenings. After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?


*Sweet Relish has partnered with All In An Iowa Mom's Day as a sponsor for Blissdom 2013. I did not receive any monetary compensation for this post. The opinions expressed here are mine and nobody else's.


Monday, November 26, 2012

SANTA PAWS 2: THE SANTA PUPS- Review & Giveaway

OK~ Just in time for the holidays. Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups, is sure to be one of your family favorite movies this holiday season. The adventure is heart-warming and adorable! Hope, Jingle, Charity, and Noble are sure to give you and your family many smiles.

A magical Christmas awaits you and your family- Here's a little glimpse into this fun film!

An amazing adventure that will warm your heart and definitely get your whole family in the Christmas spirit. Of course there's also a little bit of fun with Santa's Workshop along the way, as well. Christmas is as the risk of being lost forever, but with fun pups around we all kind of know how it will all end. After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?

You can purchase Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups at retail stores nationwide as a 2-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack (Blu-ray+DVD) for the suggested retail price of $39.99 U.S., a 1-Disc DVD for the suggested retail price of $29.99 U.S. and via High Definition Digital for the suggested retail price of $39.99 U.S.

One of you lucky readers will win your own copy of Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups! Just enter through the Rafflecopter form below!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway


*I did receive a movie for review purposes. I did not receive any monetary compensation for this post. The opinions expressed here are mine and nobody else's.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Little Things Really Do Matter

OK~ Another feast has come and gone. Now, it's time to gear up for the next big feast, Christmas. Christmas not only brings lots of good food, but it also brings a lot of gifts. The commercialization that now accompanies all of our holidays is reality. I get it that retailers need to get the merchandise out in a timely manner, which is defined in vague terms. For many, timely manner would be the week before a major holiday . In all reality, the planning for any holiday when it comes to retail begins months in advance.

From 1985-1995, I spent many hours working in the field of retail. The one thing that I really looked forward to every year was changing the store front window to a Christmas theme. Once Thanksgiving hit, we geared up for a fun holiday themed window. Since I worked in a shoe store; there were shoes, purses, socks, and anything shoe care related to be placed in those windows. The excitement of decorating the windows dwindled over time, as the fire department said we could no longer have lights in the windows. I guess they have their reasons *sigh*. Sure blew the wind out of our sail! I look around our community today and sadly there are not many decorated store front windows. A sign of the times, as labor costs are probably too high.

The little things really do matter. Kids like to visit with Santa, families enjoy going out and cutting down a "real" Christmas tree, and kids are gearing up to present their Sunday School Christmas programs. Ahhh yes, the afternoon of baking and decorating sugar cookies; pictures and movies for the family record books to treasure for years.

Times are very different now as we transition from holiday to holiday. Often times it seems there is no down time in between any of them. Doesn't it seem like Halloween just transitioned into Christmas this year? Most importantly, remember it is the little things that really do matter. Enjoy your family, your health, and remember to count your blessings every day!

Our youngest son is now 17.............the other night when he went to bed I told him, "Good Night." My mind went back to the many, many years when he would have to tell me, "Buenos Noches" every night. No, we are not Spanish, we speak English in our house, but some cartoon character introduced him to those words and for MANY years that was how we told each other "Good Night." Yep, the little things really do matter. After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?








Friday, November 23, 2012

Small Business Saturday: The Etsy Betsy Bath Shop

OK~ Tomorrow, the Saturday after Black Friday, has recently been recognized as Small Business Saturday. Here in Iowa we are blessed to be surrounded with many awesome small businesses. I would like to introduce you to The Etsy Betsy Bath Shop.

Meet Betsy- The entrepreneur behind The Etsy Betsy Bath Shop

Betsy is a high school senior, yes you read that correctly. An aspiring, young Iowa entrepreneur. Betsy has gotten creative in finding funds to help pay her way to college. Isn't that cool? You can support this young lady and her business by taking a swing through her shop.

Small Business Saturday is the perfect time to check out what Betsy has created. She has several items that are nicely packaged in a gift bag with a ribbon. Betsy is going to make your holiday shopping very easy!

Happy Hands Gift Set
The Happy Hands Gift Set is just one of the great gift ideas that Betsy has to offer this holiday season. I personally think this would make a great Christmas gift for any piano teacher. Matter of fact, you can choose what season you would like this gift for. So, once Christmas has come and gone, you can still head to The Etsy Betsy Bath Shop for your personal and gift needs.

Oh yes, and affordability!  Betsy currently has 11 fun items in The Etsy Betsy Bath Shop. They are all affordable, and sure to please anyone on your gift list this holiday season and beyond. Her current shop inventory has items priced from $2.50 to $10.00, as I said, very affordable!

You can also connect with Betsy on Facebook and Twitter. It is exciting to see a young girl in Iowa doing something she loves while building funds for college.

Betsy is offering some great deals if you shop with her this week-end!  Take a swing through The Etsy Betsy Bath Shop and you may find that gift for the teacher, grandma, babysitter, or just that hard to buy for person. Ready, Set, Shop!  After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?

*I did not receive any product or monetary compensation for this post. The opinions expressed here are mine and nobody else's.