Tuesday, April 29, 2014

What a Difference A Year Makes

OK~ I'm thinking back to where we were a year ago. We were busy getting ready for our youngest son's high school graduation party. It's hard to believe that he will have been out of high school one whole year, very soon! Another year has flown by and I'm finding myself saying, "What happened to that year?"

Well, one year ago this week, this is what we were experiencing here in North Iowa. Yep, and my fingers are crossed that we do not have a repeat of this type of event in May of 2014.

Today we have rain and 37 degrees. It's important to remember that I packed my boots away and am sporting open toed sandals. Yes, I refuse to put my feet back into enclosed shoes.

A week ago this was our view...

Things are still  beginning to green up in what is quickly becoming a swamp. We have had a lot of rain which is even mixed with a few white flakes.

It's that time of year when I am anxious for color. I want colorful tulips, lilacs, and lots of color on the trees. I guess Mother Nature has a different agenda. She seems to think that 30 degree temps are welcome in Iowa the first week of May. Really? Seriously?

And our farmers will continue to be patient. There has not been a single tractor out in any field near our house. It's almost May 1st and nothing has been done. I know that our neighborhood farmers are anxious to do what they do best! Hopefully they can get going in the next week or so.

So, for now I will kick back, make the best of things and pray for sunshine and blue skies. Hey, you know what? Upper 30's sure beat the heck of out those below zero temps for highs! So- in the grand scheme of things, life is not that bad. After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Leven Rose Jojoba Oil: Review & Giveaway April 28-May 12, 2014

Disclosure: What The Buzz Is All About got this product as part of an advertorial.
I have been using oils on my skin and hair for a few years now so when I found out I had an opportunity to try out Leven Rose Jojoba Oil I was really excited. I wanted to see how it compared to my other oils that I bought at the local salon.

Made in the USA, Leven Rose Jojoba Oil is 100% pure organic and cold pressed leaving all of the important essential elements in the oil. The oil is stored in a dark amber bottle for extended shelf life as oils are light sensitive & must be stored in dark bottles to protect them from oxidation. Oils not packaged in dark bottles will lose potency & become non effective. All natural and organic, nothing added or taken away, leaving you Golden Jojoba Oil in its natural state, making it easy for your skin and hair to absorb and nourish. Leven Rose Jojoba Oil Uses:

  • Eyes and face to remove makeup
  • Face, as a moisturizer
  • To the body as a moisturizer
  • As a massage oil
  • Soften Hands and feet
  • Dry Scalp
  • Dry and frizzy hair, split ends
  • Dry, chapped lips
  • Cuticles
  • Acne
  • Beards
  • Stretch Marks
  • Stretching ears

OK~ I have not used this particular oil, but look forward to using it as this woman's experience has been a great one! Her experience is similar to others.

My thoughts: OMGosh! I have found myself a new oil. I put the oil on my hair right after towel drying it and instantly I could feel the difference in my hair. My hair was so easy to brush and seemed softer too. Following my usual routine, I blow dried my hair next. Normally my hair would tangle while being blow dried but not today. I was easily. After finishing up I noticed my hair was not a big frizz ball like it usually is after blow drying it and my hair felt very light. After seeing the great things this oil has done for my hair I wanted to try it on my skin.

First I tried it on my cuticles. I really wish I would have taken a before/after picture of my nails because this product makes a great cuticle oil. My cuticles are soft now and no longer bright white. Instantly my nails looked longer and much healthier. This oil is great on chapped lips and skin. I had very chapped lips and the Jojoba oil soothed them. After a little bit time my lips became very soft and were no longer chapped. I also tried this on my dry elbows and had excellent results. I really love how this oil is a go to for all types of skin and hair issues. I will be using this product as my go to product for now on. Forget the chapstick, lotion, and other oils because this does it all. Learn more about Leven Rose Jojoba Oil by following them on Facebook and Twitter. If you want to try this great oil out for yourself you can pick up a bottle on Amazon.com.


One lucky reader will receive one (1) full size bottle of Leven Rose Jojoba Oil. The approximate retail value of this prize pack is $45.00. This giveaway will end on May 12 at 11:59pm EST and is open to residents of the contiguous United States. The winner will be contacted by email within 48 hours of the giveaway ending. To enter please use the Giveaway Tools application below. Good Luck!

Disclaimer: Rachel Ralston from What The Buzz Is All About received the product mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, she only recommends products or services she uses personally and believes will be good for her readers. No purchase is necessary to enter. One entrant per household. Void where prohibited by law. The odds of winning are based on the number of entries received. Winners will be selected in a random drawing from among all eligible entries received throughout the Contest Entry Period. The random drawing will be conducted by Random.org. Winners will be notified by email within two (2) days of the random drawing. Any winner notification not responded to within 48 hours or returned as undeliverable may result in Prize forfeiture and an alternate winner shall be selected. If a potential winner is ineligible to win the Prize because of age or other material misrepresentation, does not comply with the acceptance requirements above or is otherwise in violation of these Official Rules, then such winner will be disqualified and an alternate winner may be selected from the remaining eligible entrants. This blog is not responsible for product shipment to the winner(s) of this giveaway. The sponsor is responsible for all product shipments. All federal, state, local and other taxes are the sole responsibility of the applicable winner. This event is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by, or associated with, Facebook and/or Twitter, Google, Pinterest. This disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Contact rachelralston@whatthebuzzisallabout.com if you have any additional questions or comments.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Why Your Time As A Blogger Is Now: It's Time To Make Your Dreams Come True

OK~ I'm reflecting on where I started on this blogging train and where I am today. I started this blog for therapeutic reasons, as it was something to pass the time away and add some "spice" to my life. Little did I know that a person could grow a business from a blog. Yep, that is what has happened to me.

Many of you know that Social Connections, LLC came about this past Fall and it happened because I am a writer and a connector. I wrote and I embraced social media. It was through this blog and Travel With Sara  that I grew a business. So, let me give you insight as to how it happened.

Through my blogging I have learned several things about social media. I have not been afraid to try new things and I have not been afraid of stepping into that zone that makes us all feel uncomfortable. About three years ago I stumbled on blogging conferences. Through these blogging conferences I have been a speaker, attendee, conference volunteer, and a very strong observer. I have watched, listened, and embraced! After the second blog conference I began to "get" what this was really about. This was about me turning my passion of interacting with people and beginning to form a lifelong dream of being a business owner that could help other people. Boom- Social Media! Thank God for social media. If social media was not around today, I would not be where I am today.

I pride myself on the fact that I am a connector. I love helping others make the connections they need to be successful. I work hard so I can experience life and live my life to the fullest. I am working smarter so I can play hard! There's a great big world out there that I want to experience.

I am continually baffled to hear from fellow bloggers, "Well, I just couldn't go, it didn't work out. I don't get why I can't grow a business?" It's pretty simple: #1- They made a choice to not attend an event. #2- They were afraid to step out of their comfort zone and #3- For some reason they think a business is just going to fall in their lap.

Hello!!!!!???  I am here to tell you that if you want to grow your blog, build a business, or see your dreams come to life, it does not happen by not making a commitment. I challenge you to make that commitment in 2014. An excellent place to start would be to attend Bloggy Conference in Sandusky, Ohio in September 2014. This is not a huge conference, as it is a smaller setting and you will have time to interact with other bloggers and business owners. And hey, if you want, you can even come and see me speak!

I'd love to see you at Bloggy Conference this Fall. Located in Sandusky, Ohio at Cedar Point. Did you know that  Cedar Point is rated as one of the TOP amusement parks in the world? If you love roller coasters and thrill rides this park is for you. Have kiddos? They have an awesome section for them as well.

If you have been struggling with your blog and don't know how to go from Point A to Point B, your time is now! You need to make a commitment to move yourself forward. I can tell you that the sooner you decide to commit to making things happen, your dreams will come true, sooner than later. It's up to you- ONLY YOU- and nobody else can make it happen!

So....... if I can grow a business from a blog, I know you can too! See you in September! After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?

Friday, April 25, 2014

Better Than Pants Giveaway: Win A Funny T-Shirt

Better Than Pants #giveaway

Life of a Mad Typer is hosting a giveaway from Better Than Pants. Better than pants has Funny t-shirts and even some pop culture offerings. Their prices are amazing and they even do custom orders.
You can see our review here:

Warmer weather often brings out the laughter in folks, what better way to kick off the warmer weather her in Iowa. A funny t-shirt can make anyone smile, right?

1 lucky winner will get to pick a shirt of their choice!
If you want to enter then continue below and enter using the form.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Coconut Oil Tropical Conditions Giveaway

OK~ I was a little curious about this and I have several friends that have used Coconut Oil and really like it. So, I thought I'd share a giveaway that one of my friends is offering.

We have posted a few times on how awesome Coconut Oil is. Once again we are partnering with Tropical Traditions and giving away a quart of their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Why Kids Should Participate In Fund-Raisers

OK~ Tonight I was reminded of why my boys were the quiet, shy boys that sold their Boy Scout popcorn. I was not the Mom that plopped the order form down in the center of the table and stated, "Here you go!" I was the "other" Mom.

I was the Mom that handed my boys the form and told them to go to the door and ask the people that lived there if they would like to buy some popcorn. 9 times out of 10 my boys clammed up. They would go to the door and mumble a little something. At that point I would then explain what they were selling popcorn for and what the Pack or Troop would be doing with the money raised. I would have my boys hand them the form with a pen in hand to order what they wanted. The customer would then return the form and they would say, "Thank you."

Now there were folks through the years that knew my boys would be selling popcorn and give us their order over the phone. For those orders, my boys had to fill out the form for the customer. Yes, I was "that" Mom too. Can you say grumble?

My boys are now almost 19 and 23. The beauty of all of this is the fact that they will now talk to another person if they have too. I know that by making them sell Boy Scout popcorn they developed people skills and some salesmanship skills. After all, it's important that young adults know how to sell themselves in a job interview, so selling Boy Scout popcorn is a win-win!

I often hear, "Why should my son have to sell the popcorn when I'm the one that is going to have to pay if they don't?" My message to these parents: "Wake up! There's more to this big picture than money. Your son will be more self confident, learn people skills, and be a more well rounded person."

So, do you plop the order form down in the middle of the table at your work place or do you have your kids sell their own fundraiser items for their activities? I'm all ears on this, as maybe I've got the wrong idea. After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

May Flowers $100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway: April 21-May 12, 2014

OK~Welcome to the May Flowers $100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway sponsored by Social News Daily and hosted by The Parenting Patch. If you are like me you are ready for May flowers, as these April snow showers should be bringing a LOT of beautiful May flowers!

Social News Daily is the first media reporting website that focuses 100% on social media platforms and news created and supported by social networks.

SND fully understands the power that Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and other social networks have on our lives. Find all your social media news and trends in one convenient place with Social News Daily. After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?

One lucky reader of Social News Daily and The Parenting Patch will win one (1) $100 Amazon gift card. To enter for your chance to win the May Flowers $100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway, simply use the following Rafflecopter form. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The May Flowers $100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway is open worldwide. An international winner will receive $100 minus any PayPal charges via PayPal in lieu of the specified prize. The May Flowers $100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway ends at midnight CST on May 12, 2014. One winner will be chosen at random via Rafflecopter. The winner will be sent an email and will have forty-eight hours to respond. If no response is received within forty-eight hours, another winner will be chosen. The Parenting Patch and All In An Iowa Mom's Day are not responsible for prize fulfillment.

A Holiday Without Cell Phones = Success!

OK~ We had a wonderful family day for Easter 2014. We have had rain showers throughout the day with occasional sunshine, and the rain sure greened the grass up quickly. Now we patiently wait for the leaves to begin to bud on the trees.

The one thing that was really nice today about Easter was the fact that everyone had their cell phones put away. Imagine that?! On the downside, we don't have photos of the day, but we do have some fun memories.

Some family members were home ill, others had to leave right after eating, as they had to work tonight, so all in all it worked out fine. Can you recall the last family event you attended where the teens, young adults, and adults were not snapping photos or posting things immediately to social media? Many of you know that I love social media, but I also strongly believe the number one way to communicate is by talking to someone face to face. And we all know that it's kind of hard to do that when others are on their cell phones 24/7.

A game of cards, 500 was played all afternoon and food was eaten by everyone! And the conversations were very good. Pictures of "old" family members were passed around. Now I'm talking photos from the early 1900's and earlier with no dates on them. It was decided that it was a good thing to not stay out in the sun, unless you wanted to have wrinkles like that "old" woman in the photos. The old woman in the photos was my Great Grandma's Grandma. Yeah, try to figure that one out! That's an old photo with old clothing.

I challenge you to do the same at your next family gathering. Can you do it? Trust me.... you can. And you won't regret it! After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Blogger Opportunity: Mother's Day Kindle Fire HD Giveaway

mother's day giveaway
**1 Winner**
Kindle Fire HD
Hosted by:
Want to participate in an amazing giveaway to give one awesome mom a great gift? Come and join in on this opportunity with Mama Foster.
Sign-ups close 4/28
**The blogger with the most referrals will receive the additional links at no cost
Click HERE to sign up and for more html info.
**Only a certain amount of co-hosts will be taken, so please sign up as soon as you can so you won't lose a spot!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Meet My Fellow Bloggers In North Iowa

OK~ I'm looking at this blog and thinking to myself, wow- how did I get here? Did you know that All In An Iowa Mom's Day has been on line for more than five years? Yep, it's been a great ride.... lots of fun to come in the future as well. Just over the past few months I have met a few more bloggers in my area. North Iowa is really coming to life when it comes to bloggers and it's an exciting time to be a part of such a great adventure.

I'd like to introduce you to these amazing North Iowa women and their blogs!

Meet Debbie Albrecht of Debbie's Midwestern Kitchen.

Debbie writes about food, fitness, and other ramblings around her home. And just in case you missed it, she has one of the BEST steak recipes around on her blog: Copycat Northwestern Steakhouse Dinner is one you must try!

Val Plagge blogs over at Corn, Beans, Pigs and Kids. If you'd like to know what the life of an Iowa farm wife is like, you can get it all by following Val!

Val has started a Little Free Library in Latimer, Iowa. Her community is going to love what she has done. Who wouldn't appreciate a place for families to read new books? Corn, Beans, Pigs and Kids keep Val very busy!

Joy Brown writes over at Living Life Joyfully and On My Mind Right Now. Joy shares her thoughts and musings of being middle age and she has a passion for the National Inclusion Project.

Inclusion... a Right, NOT a Privilege will give you insight as to how devoted Joy is. My Face To The World is Joy's published book of her personal cancer journey. Connect with Joy, she will inspire you to live each day JOYFULLY!

Meet food/lifestyle blogger Jeni Flaa.  Jeni's recipes and musings will make you smile, as well as test your taste buds! Jeni blogs over at Jeni Eats.

Jeni also writes about her pets... those stories are often times pretty hilarious. So, from food and other fun things, Jeni will make you smile and brighten your day. Oh yeah, and just in case you need something new for the dinner table, here you go- Bonding Over Beef Stroganoff.

Beth Ann Chiles blogs over at It's Just Life, Finding The Extraordinary In The Ordinary. Beth Ann's Comments For a Cause will inspire you; in fact, she inspired fellow North Iowa blogger Val of Corn, Beans, Pigs, and Kids to start Comments For a Cause on her blog!

If you love tea pots or not, you will LOVE tea pots once you become indulged in her blog! Trust me, she knows where to find the cool tea pots. Her love of travel, life and tea pots are sure to make you smile. Tea Pot Tuesday is one day you definitely want to swing by her blog- which tea pot is your favorite?

Donna Hup can be found at donnahup.com. Donna blogs about giveaway, recipes, reviews and much more. If you are a movie enthusiast, you will also appreciate her reviews and insight to current and future movies.

Donna recently participated in a bloggers tour in Branson, Missouri. She experienced zip lining and had a blast! Donna is new to North Iowa, as she and her husband recently moved from Florida to North Iowa. I wonder if she wishes she would have stayed in Florida with the cold we had here this Winter? We are delighted to have Donna in North Iowa, as she is a seasoned blogger and offers fun information on her blog

Meet Laura Cerny. Laura blogs over at All Things Travel.

Her motto of Life is Short. Travel Like You Mean It is one I love! Laura gets around... Her travels to South Africa have been fun to follow on her blog. No Hooting, Save The Rhino, And Dung Beetles Have The Right Away will give you insight to her travels. 

And I think it's fair to say on behalf of all of us bloggers here in North Iowa we all enjoy meeting new people. We enjoy writing, sharing, and being social! So..... check out these blogs and see how long it takes you to find some new inspiration for your life. I don't think it will take you too long! These North Iowa bloggers are awesome writers and I'm proud to call all of them my friends. After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Think Before You Speak, Don't Become "That" Mom

OK~ I've recently been reminded of how everything we as parents do is something that our kids are taking note of 24/7. Sue Scheff recently shared information on the whole topic of Monster Moms. This one really hit home with me while I was out and about this week.

While shopping in a local grocery store this week I came upon two Moms talking, with tweens by their side. They were discussing an upcoming event and they could not believe that so and so was actually going to help. One Mom went as far to say, "Well, I let her know on her Facebook page that her help was not needed." I might add, the tone was not pleasant. I kept walking and the wheels started turning.

Problem #1: Both of these Moms have kids and their own kids are very much aware that they do not want other people to help with their event. When did it become the norm to not accept help from others? I can tell you that being a CubMaster of a local Cub Scout Pack was a lot easier when I had parents volunteer to help out with events. Never once did I turn a parent away.

Problem #2: Facebook, or social media, in general is not the place to turn volunteer help away.

Problem #3: If a community event is going to be successful, social media needs to be used in a positive way, not negative.

Problem #4: Their own tweens were listening to every word said, which was not pleasant.

I know that my boys have always had ears all around- and they still do!

So, going back to these two Moms in the grocery store. I wonder when they will wake up? It is OK to embrace help from "other"parents. I can tell you from experience that events will be much more successful when volunteers are all welcome.

And now these Moms will wonder why their own kids are having issues at school. Or maybe their kids will be causing issues. Until we as adults think about what we are saying in front of our kids and other community members, bullying will be an ongoing problem. Now, I do understand that there is a difference between having one's feelings hurt and bullying. I can also tell you that by the tone of the voices of these Moms, they had intentions of being Monster Moms.

I despise the fact that we label adults and kids when it comes to bullying. The best way to take care of it? We, as adults, need to think before we speak and post comments online. We all make mistakes and we all need a reminder now and then. So, this post is your reminder. Think before you speak, your kids will thank you! After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I Know That My Iowa Friends Are Better Than This, We Need To Step Up Our Game On Guiding Our Kids

OK~ Iowa, we are better than this! My mind is reeling after Iowa made the news in a not so good way yesterday. VEISHA, an annual event held on the campus at Iowa State University turned ugly. From what I have read online and heard on the radio, several folks gathered at around 11:30 p.m. on a street corner in Ames, Iowa. I happened to stumble upon a video on Twitter showing this gathering. I must admit half way through the three minute clip, I said to myself; "Have I really stooped this low," as I watched the violence take place.

What shocked me the most was these young people, whom many appeared younger than 21, were holding beer bottles in their hands. I was a young person in my life at one time and there was no reason to gather on a street corner at 11:30 p.m., let alone confront the local police department. These people started throwing anything and everything at the police officers. Would someone enlighten me as to why this mob of people would shown no respect to these police officers? In my younger days when the police arrived, we moved on or had a short conversation with the officers. It bothers me that there were so many young adults that had absolutely no respect towards these police officers. 

I love my home state of Iowa, as we have good people that reside here and well mannered young adults that do attend Iowa State University. It's sad that this group of people, and it's not a small group, showed so much disrespect on their college campus.

I'm now asking myself, "How can we as adults help these young people learn to respect police officers?" It makes my stomach churn, as the violence that was expressed was something that I never thought I would see in Iowa. Do we need to find more activities for these youth to do on our college campuses?  Dr. Michele Borba addresses moral intelligence, and I'm thinking this is what these young people may be missing.                                                


I do understand that the city of Ames had to make some repairs to the streets and clean up the vandalism. But, it is too bad that those responsible for the damage were not forced to clean up the mess. If these young people had some personal ties to the damage they did, maybe they would think twice before they did something like this again. 

From the tweets I found in my Twitter thread it did not take me long to figure out who was participating in this mess and who was not. Social Media may provide a lot of information for law enforcement when it comes to finding the guilty young adults. 

Iowa is a great place to call home and we Iowans will strive to keep our state a safe, caring place to call home. VEISHA represents: Veterinary Medicine, Engineering, Industrial Science, Home Economics, and Agriculture. It is a time when students show off their college and families celebrate Iowa State University. So, for now, it's all on hold and we wait for things to calm down in Iowa.  After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Dr. Michele Borba: Empathy Needs To Be Taught For Bullying To Slow Down

OK~ Bullying has been around for a long time and the scary thing is that bullying continues to evolve. It could be due to our increased time online where people are not speaking directly to someone. The number one way to communicate is still face to face. Many people feel that they have the right to say anything and everything when it's not said face to face. Wrong, that's simply not the case. It's not just kids, it's also Moms and Dads that engage in bullying.

I recently had the opportunity to attend CES Community Empowerment Series) in St. Augustine, Florida, and let me tell you, now that was an eye opener!

Dr. Michele Borba, well known parenting expert, held a session on bullying. I walked away with a wealth of information and sadly, many that needed the information were not in attendance.

Did you know?
  • Bullying is a learned behavior
  • Narcissism is up and empathy is down in our society
  • 20% of 3-4 year olds are involved in youth violence
  • Bully prevention only works in communities that offer a caring and compassionate environment
  • High bully areas are: restrooms, playgrounds, parks, hallways, stairwells, lockers, bus stops, and buses
  • 85% students witness bullying when adults are not present
  • Zero tolerance is not working- empathy is not being taught
Wow- can you say wow? If that information does not open your eyes, I'm not sure anything will. 

So, how do we overcome this huge national problem of bullying? Stressing kindness is one step forward. There are many kids doing great things when it comes to kindness. Kids are changing the norms. Check out what happened here...... A Twitter account was formed- @OsseoNiceThings. One Minnesota teen who became tired of the cyberbullying online decided he would take charge by fighting cyberbullying with kindness.

Kindness is contagious. If everyone focused on kindness, don't you think we would see a shift in behaviors? Keep in mind new behaviors take 21 days of repetition. How many educators and/or parents give up on day #10? And that word empathy, just imagine if kids were taught about empathy. Imagine the possibilities.

It does take a community to be willing to change when it comes to bullying. Guess where most kids feel the safest? The library. I am thinking there is something to be learned from a few librarians around the country. Libraries are not stressful settings, and due to the fact that stress and mental health needs are at an all time high, in regards to our kids, could there be something to this?

Many communities have not embraced and educated teachers, as well as students on how to use social media. That seems to me to be one of the draw backs of why social media has taken off as such a bullying platform. Schools have to step up their game and start educating their staff and students. Social media is a part of our day to day lives and if our kids and educators know how to use it correctly, the doorways to the world open up.

Dr. Michele Borba is working hard to educate families all across the world. She is a motivator and extremely knowledgeable on the topic of bullying.

Dr. Michele Borba's The Big Book of Parenting Solutions offers 101 answers that you as a parent may be searching for. Swing over to her website to learn more about bullying and how you can help slow down this upwards trend in bullying.

I am grateful that I took the time to attend CES (Community Empowerment Series) in St. Augustine, Florida. I have more to share, as Dr. Michele Borba was not the only expert speaking on this day. St. Augustine was lucky to have so many experts under one roof, for one day, sharing helpful parenting tips and more! After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Earth Day And The iPhone 5s With U.S. Cellular Are Making Our World A Little Greener #SPONSORED

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~ Earth Day is coming quickly and it is that time of year when we all begin to think about how we can make our Earth a little cleaner. I wish we could focus on Earth Day 365 days of the year, but life doesn't seem to work that way. Now that our snow is almost gone in North Iowa, the litter that has been tossed out from car windows is very visible alongside our highways. If folks would not toss trash out their car windows, a lot of this problem could be eliminated.

I recently started using an iPhone 5s and I must tell you, it's pretty sweet! I love how I am now connected with my iPad and iMac. I no longer have to worry about what computer I have my "stuff" on, as it's everywhere! I was kind of skeptical as to what type of photos it would take, and much to my surprise, my photos rock. I love them. The images I take with my iPhone 5s are captured in 8 megapixels and they look fabulous. Check 'em out on Instagram! My life is all captured with a soft touch of a button on my iPhone 5s.

In honor of Earth Day, U.S. Cellular encourages people to recycle their old electronic devices and is providing incentives to do so. Customers can get up to $250 when they trade in qualified smart phones- including Apple iPhones at U.S. Cellular retail locations through the company's Trade- in -Program.

Statistics on the numbers of electronics that are not being recycled are sobering; of the 141 million mobile phones that were discarded in 2009 (the most recent data available), only 12 million were recycled, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Thirty percent of people that do not recycle their used phones refrain from doing so because they don't know where to recycle their devices, according to an online poll conducted by Earth 911.

You can shop a little greener. The GoodGuideApp offers a solution! This app allows users to scan products' barcodes on their smart phones to access science based ratings and scores based on the products being safe, healthy, and environmentally friendly. Information on more than 170,000 items is available, broken down into different categories such as food, cleaning products, and baby items. One simple way to keep tabs on leading a greener lifestyle all year long.

I'd love to hear how you recycle your old electronics. This is an area that is new to many of us, as it's just been within the last five years that smart phones, tablets, and the like are in all of our homes. After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Outdoor Activities Vary Widely Across Our Country- How Do We Keep Youngsters Moving In Colder Climates?

OK~ I just returned from a long week-end in St. Augustine, Florida. The one thing I noticed while I was in the area was that families were out and about exercising. This made me think about how we are limited to our outdoor activities here in North Iowa. Sure, we can take to the cross country ski trails, hit a local sledding hill, but the biggest challenge is to have the right amount of snow and temperatures that our bodies can withstand.

I came across a local skate boarding park with a small playground for younger kids at one end of the park. I thought to myself, this is a fantastic concept. Moms and Dads were with the younger kids and the older kids were skate boarding at the other end. A few miles down the road I came across a park packed with families. Several volleyball games in the sand were happening, kids were on swings, parents were pulling kids in wagons, and every picnic table had a family gathered around it. And the cool thing about all of these activities was the fact that they were free and available all year long.

Of course my mind began to wander back home to Iowa. I have no doubt that kids in St. Augustine, Florida, do like to play video games and complain about their weather too. After all, it does rain in Florida. Our challenge in North Iowa is complex. I began to think about what we have for our kids to do for the five months out of the year, that make it hard to enjoy the outdoors. We do have a nice YMCA, a roller skating rink, a bowling alley, and active church youth groups. So, there are opportunities to get out of the house and exercise. Transportation issues keep many kids from getting out of the house, as Moms and Dads are working. I'm not sure how we combat that issue, we definitely need to work on that as a community.

Our indoor activities in North Iowa often cost money and usually within a couple hours the activity ends and everyone goes back home. The advantage kids have in warmer climates is the fact that they can stay outdoors all afternoon. From riding bicycles, walking the beach, playing volleyball, visiting the local playground, skate boarding, to fishing- warmer climates offer more enjoyable outdoor year around activities.

For approximately 7 months out of the year here in North Iowa we have ice and snow free sidewalks and roads, which make it easier to get out and about. We also need more family friendly trails for bicycles, which I do believe our community is working on.

Families as a whole are trying to eat healthier and exercise more, and one of our biggest challenges here in North Iowa is how to harness the momentum to keep moving when the cold hits! It's easy to hunker down and not venture anywhere. Somehow, someway, we need to change our mentality. We need to find ways that invite families to get outdoors 365 days of the year and keep moving!

If you reside in a cooler climate, how do you keep your family motivated to keep moving year around? For those of you that live in a warmer climate, how do you keep your kids motivated to get away from the tv 24/7? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic. It was an eye opener for me, as I see too many families that are attached to their gadgets 24 hours a day. By offering opportunities to get outdoors, I think we can put a dent in the inactivity of many of our youngsters. After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?