Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Was Quite A Year~ I Can't Wait To See What 2014 Has To Offer

OK~ Here we go. It would not be an official new year without an ending to the old year. 2014 is just a few hours away and dang, I had a really, really busy year! Through my blogging I found myself gainfully employed, which led to the official formation of Social Connections, LLC, on December 26, 2013. Merry Christmas to me! This ride with Social Media has truly been about all the people I have met. Social Media has opened doorways that I never knew existed. Two fun bloggers that I enjoyed chatting with in Atlanta at The Type A Parent Conference were Suzanne of Kinsey's Texas Tales and Andrea of GoodGirlGoneRedNeck.This is just two of hundreds of awesome bloggers that I connected with.




The new year promises to be filled with many new adventures with a new business and tons of blogging opportunities. I really despise it when bloggers make the comment that so and so blogs about that. My response is, "Who cares? They are themselves and you are you." Blogging is all about sharing your voice, not comparing it to others. Make 2014 YOUR year!

And the travel opportunities I was blessed with were, I know this word is cliché, but they were really amazing! I met Lori Lite of Stress Free Kids, in real life! I met Michele Borba and reconnected with Sue Scheff in St. Augustine, Florida in March of 2013. These three amazing women have a passion for helping families muddle through the day to day challenges of parenting. I hope to reconnect, in real life, with all three of these women in 2014.

Sue Scheff, Myself, and Michele Borba

I worked with several CVB's, which helped TravelWithSara grow. Our family ventured on an extended family cruise in March of 2013 and then my hubby and I hopped on a Western Caribbean Cruise in November of 2013. We topped our Fall get-a-way off with a visit to the most magical place on earth, Walt Disney World. And then there were several blog conferences that I was fortunate enough to attend. Bloggy Conference in Sandusky Ohio was a new adventure for me, as I presented the closing key note with my good friend Amiyrah Martin of 4 Hats and Frugal. And of course, I enjoyed walking the beach with my hubby.




And how could I forget the newscast that my friend Teri of Cottage In The Court  and I did while touring CNN News! What a fun day we had touring downtown Atlanta.

And then there were the excellent local Iowa opportunities that I found. Connecting with local folks was truly a blessing for me in 2013. I had worked with several out of state companies, but once I found some awesome local folks that needed social media help, things really changed for me. I enjoy working with folks all over the United States, as each business is unique and brings a new challenge to each day. And of course, I can't forget the local folks that jumped at the opportunity to attend a monthly social media breakfast club that I organized in June of 2013. It's great to be connected locally with folks that have the same interests that I do. A belated thank you to Anna Rendell, for inspiring me to start this monthly gathering.

In May of 2013, my hubby and I found ourselves sitting at our youngest son's high school graduation ceremony.




Talk about a reality check! After 17 years of parent teacher conference, PTO Meetings, school fundraisers, and the nightly homework battles, this Mom was one happy camper! Once that ceremony ended, we truly felt a sigh of relief, knowing that we had done our best as parents and our boys were both official adults with high school diplomas.

So... I am excited to see what 2014 has to offer, as I know it's gonna be one fun year! I never imagined I would find myself doing something that I love day in and day out. All thanks to this wonderful blog, I am the owner of a small business and have had the opportunity to experience things that seemed unreachable five years ago. So, if you don't think you can do it, I am here to tell you that you can do it! I have enjoyed connecting with each of you and hope to get to know each of you a little bit better in 2014. Thank you for the laughter, smiles, fun times, and joy that each and every one of you brought to me in 2013. After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?


Sunday, December 29, 2013

CHARM IT! Giveaway (December 30- January 13, 2014)

 

Welcome to the CHARM IT! Giveaway!!

Hosted By: Simply Southern Couponers

Co Hosted By: Tales From A Southern Mom & Sweet Southern Lovin

Sponsored By: CHARM IT!

CHARM IT! created the original, detachable charm jewelry for girls ages 5 to 14 and any age in between. The CHARM IT! collection is huge, so every girl can express herself with the endless collection of charms. Gals of all ages appreciate charms and all the fun that they represent.




Simply Southern Couponers had the opportunity to review the Princess-themed CHARM IT! Bracelet. My girls loved it! To see the full review visit here.

As you can tell, there is something for everyone. Be sure to enter this giveaway, as you may find yourself as the lucky owner of a beautiful CHARM IT! Bracelet.



Giveaway Details:
December 30th 2013 to January 13th 2014
Open to US ONLY (excludes Hawaii &  Alaska) and ages 18+


Winner will have 48 hours to respond to winning email. If winner does not respond, a new winner will be chosen.
Thanks for entering and good luck!!
                                                                         

Disclosure: All In An Iowa Mom's Day did not receive any compensation for this giveaway. Sponsor is responsible for prize shipment. If you have any questions please email Jennifer at simplysoutherncouponers@gmail.com

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Are We Really This Lazy?

OK~ This is really, really one of my biggest pet peeves. Would someone enlighten me as to what is so difficult when it comes to putting a shopping cart in a cart corral? This was the sight this afternoon in one of our local parking lots.


The excuses I can imagine are as follows:


  • It is 29 degrees outside and it's too cold to return the cart to the cart corral.
  • I don't care if I get another ding on my car or your car!
  • Someone else surely wants to shop with this cart.
  • Adding one more cart to the mess won't matter.
  • I'm just lazy!
Well, I managed to stack about six of them together and push them back into the store. I honestly think people are just lazy and rude. I can tell you that I do not proclaim to be perfect, but I can tell you that I do not think highly of someone when I see them do this. On this particular day, I saw nobody leave these. This mess of carts is taking up seven parking spaces that are, in fact, pretty close to the front doors.

I'm sure every cart has an excuse, so I am probably wrong to judge these folks as lazy. So, tell me. Do you think highly of someone when they show lazy like this? And today we had fairly calm winds, but can you imagine the damage these carts can do to vehicles when it is windy outside? 

Oh well, it's just another day for this Mom. I wonder if my boys would have grabbed six of them and taken them inside the store. Something tells me they would go right along with the others and add another one to the mix. This Mom would like to think otherwise, but unfortunately I believe they would follow along with what appears to be the majority. They are 18 and 22 and would probably go right along with what the other folks have done. After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?






Monday, December 23, 2013

Blogger Opportunity: $200 Visa Gift Card Giveaway

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*Note: Due to the giveaway host becoming ill, this giveaway was canceled.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

How To Grow Your Fan Base On Twitter

OK~ Twitter is on my mind today. My account @saramomof2 was suspended last evening due to suspicious activity on my account. So, I wait for the good folks over at Twitter to get things straightened out so I can start tweeting again. Maybe this is a Christmas present from Twitter to me, not a bad thing, right?





When I started tweeting almost five years ago, I quite honestly had no clue as to what Twitter was or how to tweet. I quickly learned. I began to follow people that were interested in the same topics that I was. Teens, parenting, travel, technology, social media, agriculture, you get the picture, right? When you find people that have the same interests as you, your fan base will grow.

I started attending Twitter parties and Twitter chats. These are by far the easiest way to grow your Twitter followers. By attending these Twitter events, you not only educate yourself but you also grow your Twitter followers. And yes, these do take time. These Twitter events are usually an hour in length. They contain a Hashtag (#) which is used to designate a keyword in a tweet. Businesses and brands use these so people recognize their products with the tweet. Be sure to follow the folks that attend the same Twitter events you do, as you do have a common interest. Once you follow them, be sure to interact with them. After all, Twitter is a social media platform, which means you do need to be social!

Make sure you have a current photo on your Twitter profile. I do not want to follow an egghead and I know you don't either. If you have a website, be sure to include it on your Twitter profile. This is a simple way to drive traffic to your website.

Retweet and share information that you find interesting. Be sure to give credit to the person or business that sent out the original tweet. Sharing information is a smart, simple way to connect with others. Chances are, the two of you have a common interest and will follow each other on Twitter.

Most importantly, you need to be on Twitter if you want to build your fan base. You cannot build a fan base on any social media platform and not be social. Social Media is all about connecting and chatting with other people.

I am a firm believer that the connections we make in real life do matter. I have met many people in real life that I met through Twitter. The eye to eye contact is still important in our day to day activities. When you are out and about be sure to have your business cards handy. Make sure your Twitter handle is on your business card so folks can follow you at a later time. And if both of you are tech savvy, whip out your smart phones and follow each other on the spot! Bingo- a new Twitter fan has been born.

So now, I patiently wait for @saramomof2 to come to life again! I have faith that the good folks over on Twitter will get things figured out in a relatively short period of time. I'd love to connect with you on Twitter, leave me your handle here in the comment section and I will be sure to follow you when I am able to start tweeting again! After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?









Tuesday, December 17, 2013

U.S. Cellular Is Creating Better Moments During The Holidays With Photo Apps And Gifts

Disclosure- As part of the Better Moments Blogger Brigade Program, I did receive compensation for this post. The opinions expressed here are mine and nobody else's. I have been a U.S. Cellular customer for 10+ years.

  
OK~ Apps and smartphones are truly revolutionizing how we all connect and U.S. Cellular is with us to help us capture our better moments this holiday season. Christmas morning will be a very memorable one when you wrap up a few gifts from U.S. Cellular this year.

The iPad Air
Instagram and Vine are changing how we all interact through social media. The holidays bring a fun time to capture these moments. If you do not have these two apps on your smart phone, may I suggest you get them now! The memories these photo apps will help you create will be priceless. In a couple simple steps you can have them installed on your U.S. Cellular smartphone/tablet.

From your holiday recipes to sending holiday greetings Instagram and Vine offer a fun way to share your better moments of the holidays. How about a little video of your spouse hanging your outdoor Christmas lights? Now that, in many households would offer smiles for years!

A number of brands utilize Vine and Instagram to promote their products or specials, especially around the holidays. Search for their verified account and see what they have to offer. Some brands even ask their users to create videos based on their hashtags, so they can select winners to claim prizes. So much fun and only so little time!

And in case you still need to fill up those stockings! How about a case, shell, skin or travel charger priced under $25? From personal experience, I can tell you that one can never have too many travel chargers!

And then there are gifts under $50. Gift a U.S.Cellular Bluetooth Headset for the multi-tasker who's constantly working to do more.

If your spouse is still hanging onto that "first" smartphone, how about a nice update? The iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, or iPad Air, would be a nice package to place under your tree!

iPhone 5s


Are your packages all wrapped or are you procrastinating? I hope to have everything wrapped up in a few days! I still have a few, right? After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Is Coming and This Mom Is Not Ready

OK~ Christmas is seriously only a few days away and I have not baked, sent out Christmas cards, or finished my shopping. I don't have a lot of shopping to do, but I do have a few items to pick up here and there. With no holiday programs or parties to attend, Christmas is sneaking up on this household. Music Man Square, in my hometown, is home to a nice lighted holiday display this year. I went to check it out yesterday and took in the lights and Christmas displays. This was one of my favorite settings in the museum.




When our kids were younger it seemed like during the month of December we were running here and there and everywhere. Do I miss all that running? Nope! It's a different kind of nice, having a calendar with time to breathe is very nice. I'm finding myself not getting wrapped up in all the material things that Christmas has to offer.

Maybe it has to do with my age. All I really want for Christmas is for my "brood" to be under one roof for one day! That seems to be the case when our kids spread their wings and fly.This road of life called parenting really changes as our kids age. When our kids are younger it seems to be all about Santa and the "stuff" that Christmas has to offer. Yet, as parents, we try to instill the meaning of Christmas as all of the holiday chaos goes on all around us.

So.... I will embrace the season. I best settle down and get working on those Christmas cards as it's been a tradition in this household for years. For now, this Mom is not ready to give up sending out Christmas cards.

Oh yeah, and then there's that little project of decorating the Christmas tree. The tree is up but the ornaments are not on it yet. I remember when our boys were little, they could not wait to decorate it. I guess I better get crackin' on that project too! After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?


Friday, December 13, 2013

Perfect Gift For The Man In Your Life: The MicroTouch SwitchBlade™

OK~ It's that time of year when everyone is scrambling to find that perfect gift for the man in your life. So, when I had the opportunity to review this all in one groomer, I jumped at the chance. I did not receive any monetary compensation for this review and the opinions expressed here are mine and nobody else's. The MicroTouch SwitchBlade™ fits the bill perfect. What's nice about this men's groomer is that it is an all in one groomer. This one is a head to toe groomer, so things can't get much simpler. With an all in one groomer, there is only one item to store.  And as you can tell, this all in one groomer is a relatively small groomer.



The blades were easy to switch out and the trimming, let's just say it was accurate! The guys in my house are tall and have large hands. This all in one trimmer is a smaller one, so those with larger hands really do need to focus when they use this hair removal tool.

User friendly features about The MicroTouch SwitchBlade ™that you need to know about are:


  • Removes hair anywhere
  • Gentle on sensitive skin
  • Built-In-Light
  • 4 Snap on guides are included
  • German Stainless steel blades
  • Ideal for touch-ups between haircuts
There are often times when the guys in my home need a little trim between hair cuts and this works perfect! And how about those eye brows, this is a super, easy handy tool for those! Areas that need precision trimming such as the nose, ear, eyebrows, neckline, and side burns will welcome this all in one trimmer.

So, If you need a usable gift for the man in your life. Do consider the MicroTouch SwitchBlade , as it's affordable and a gift that can be used day in and day out. After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?  

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Pro Timberland Mens Work Boots Are A Hit In Our Home

Disclosure: I was provided one pair of Pro Timberland mens work boots for review purposes. I did not receive any monetary compensation for this review.

OK~ When I was recently presented the opportunity to review a product from an Iowa based company, I immediately said yes! The Pro Timberland mens work boots were the perfect fit for this household. The boys in this house love the great outdoors and let me tell you, these Pro Timberland mens work boots have been a hit!

The guys in this house have fairly big feet, so I was pleased to see that these mens work boots are available up to a size 15! Our 18 year old has been wearing these mens work boots to work for the past three weeks and we have had zero complaints! There was no breaking in period, he literally put them on and walked out the door. He wears them hunting, at work, and while out and about.

These Pro Timberland mens work boots also have some nice features worth sharing with you. Full-grain waterproof leather, an extra waterproof membrane, a slip-resistant lug outsole and exclusive anti-fatigue technology to keep your feet warm, dry and sturdy during long shifts.


Timberland has also crafted a mesh lining with Angion ® antimicrobial treatment for maximum odor control and added a molded EVA midsole to conform to your foot and provide a comfortable cradle for your foot. An active heel lock lacing system ensures a secure fit, again no complaints of blisters, heel slippage or anything



The Pro Timberland mens work boots score a 10 out of 10 from the wearer in this house! And as many of you know, it's not always easy to please an 18 year old when it comes to boots.

From regular to big and tall sizes, G & L Clothing offers a fantastic selection of outdoor wear for your whole family! Check 'em out, as you will be glad you did. After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Facebook Chat: Thursday December 19, 2013 8 PM (EST)- Chatting About Tuckaway Shores In Indialantic Florida

I am excited to share that I am hosting a Facebook Chat with Tuckaway Shores on Thursday, December 19, 2013 at 8 PM (EST).  We will be celebrating the holidays and sharing the fun in the sun that Tuckaway Shores in Indialantic, Florida has to offer!




There will be several random chat attendees that will win a simple, nice holiday greeting from Tuckaway Shores. As many of you know, Tuckaway Shores, is one of my favorite Forida resorts. It's nestled nicely in a secluded beach area, right along the Atlantic Ocean.

My favorite thing about Tuckaway Shores, is the fact that all suites are literally a hop, skip, and a jump to the beach. There is no long boardwalk, just take a short walk from your home away from home, and your feet are sinking into the warm sand! How's that sound? Well, for many folks, it sounds fabulous! Winter has arrived with a vengeance in many parts of the country and Tuckaway Shores offers a get-a-way out of the cold and more.




We will chat about all the amenities that Tuckaway Shores has to offer and it's location. This resort is located on Florida's Space Coast and is very close to all the major theme parks in the Kissimmee area. Tuckaway Shores is the ideal place to relax after a few days at one of Florida's theme parks.

So, bring your questions! We will talk about them on Facebook. "Like" Tuckaway Shores on Facebook and join us at 8 PM (EST) on Thursday, December 19, 2013.

See you there- Maybe you will be one of our random winners!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Embracing The Cold Of Winter In Iowa

OK~ I am really trying hard to embrace Winter! Seems this time of year I cannot accept the fact that Winter is actually here. I woke up this morning to -2 degrees, with a windchill of -23 degrees. That is just cold, very cold! When I was younger I had a much easier time embracing Winter and all it has to offer. Not so simple, as I get older.

I had been on a road trip out of state this past week-end. When I left, we had no snow, yet when I returned this is what I came home to. I really miss the color that Spring and Summer have to offer. Fall is very short and we go right into the dull ditches and countryside that in my opinion, is just boring. Brown is not a color to trigger excitement for this Mom.



This morning as I peered outside to watch the sun come up, I did think to myself, "That is pretty." Then I thought, "Dang, it's cold out there!" I am grateful for heat and the fact that I can look at the beauty of winter through glass windows from a heated home. Much to be thankful for. So, here is that color that I struggle to find this time of year. Maybe it's because it's soooo cold out that it is this pretty.


How do you embrace Winter in Iowa? Do you hunker down in your home or do you get out into the outdoors? When our boys were younger, we spent lots of hours on the local sledding hill and built a lot of snow forts in our yard. Now that they are older and my body shudders at the cold, it makes peering through the glass much more exciting.

As I literally ran through the Detroit airport yesterday, a gentleman asked me where I was headed, "I replied Iowa." His response was, "You are good people and have a good way of life!" The short conversation I had with a stranger made me think. Yes, Iowa does offer a good way of life. Life on the farm is quiet, there are no high rises, or sidewalks. There is wide open space, friendly neighbors a mile or so down the road and quiet that is not offered in a city.

So, I guess I will embrace Winter. Pray that my boys drive safe on this snow and ice and gear up for the Christmas season. After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?


Monday, December 2, 2013

Surround Yourself With People That Make You Happy

OK~ Today I was reminded that life is just simply to short to surround myself with people that are not happy. Why should I have be down in the dumps because of their unwillingness to make positive changes in their lives? I've seen relationships go by the wayside because of this and in all reality, it seems to be for the better.

Social Media offers opportunity to find those that can uplift us and it also offer opportunity to be surrounded with the negative folks. Would someone tell me why folks need to continually share the negative things, as opposed to the good things? In all honesty, some days, it makes me wonder if there are any happy folks out there. My Facebook Feed can be swamped with complaint after complaint and the people posting these things are doing nothing to help fix the situation. This just drives me crazy.

I understand that Social Media can also offer opportunity for us to help each other when we need it. I love that we can help each other through a family crisis and the like through Social Media. It is comforting to know that there are "real" people to reach out to in times of need. But seriously, stop whining about life in general, life happens! There is something about the happiest place on earth, I'm thinking I need to go back here NOW!



I have days that are not picture perfect, we all do, but I am not out blasting it out through my Social Media Channels. I choose to be happy and want to find people that want to love life and take it all in! Are you on the pity train or are you on the happy train? I hope you are on the happy train, because I want you in my life.

If you are struggling to get off of the pity train. Find someone to reach out to and connect with them. You may be surprised at how willing they are to help you change your life around. Come on people, life is short, get out and do the things you love and make it happen! I want to surround myself with happy people. Oh yeah, and those people that say you can't do that- that is a whole other blog post! After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Leona B. Embroidery $25 Gift Certificate Giveaway: Dec. 4 - Dec. 18, 2013


I love a good embroidered shirt. They are so cute and personal! I love to dress my little man in these shirts for holidays and man did Leona B Embroidery hit the spot with a super cute Christmas Owl Reindeer Shirt! These shirts are super cute and they have the most detailed and beautiful embroidery I have ever seen. Not a missed stitch on the whole shirt it was perfection! I love this company and the work they produce! There's always something fun for everyone of all ages. 


Let me show you some of the super cute Christmas embroidery she currently has in her shop!

For the GIRLS!


and the LITTLE MEN!



And here is a picture of the super cute shirt we got to try out!


This shirt is a wonderfully soft cotton with perfect embroidery! I love the owl with his cute reindeer antler it is just the perfect touch of Christmas without screaming a HOLIDAY shirt! We love it! Holiday shopping, birthday shopping, and just shopping in general are a good reason to shop. These items are just plain fun! And who doesn't love fun?

Leona B Embroidery and Faith Filled Footsteps are happy to offer one lucky reader a $25.00 Gift Certificate to get the perfect embroidered shirt for your little one this holiday season!


The Giveaway will run from December 4, 2013 and close late on the evening of December 18, 2013. The winner will be chosen at random through Rafflecopter. The winner will be announced both on the Rafflecopter as well as Faith Filled Footsteps Facebook. Faith Filled Footsteps is not responsible for prize shipment. Must be 18 years and older. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google are in no way affiliated with this giveaway. No Purchase Necessary. US Only.