Thursday, October 30, 2014

SantaSentMeALetter.Com Giveaway & Discount Code

OK~ There's something to be said about a personal letter from Santa. Santa letters have came a long way since I was young. It used to be that I had to send a letter to Santa with my requests and that was it. Fast forward to the year 2014. Kids, as well as adults, can now receive a personal letter from Santa without having to ask for one. So, when I had the opportunity to try this service, I hopped on the band wagon.





SantaSentMeALetter.Com is fun and extremely user friendly. Here's the scoop on how this fun service works. With more than 20 exclusive templates to choose from (including religious, non-religious, a letter for adults, and even a letter to Jewish children from Santa), parents and family members can use the easy Online Editor to completely personalize each letter to each child right on their site.

Christmas cards are something that I still do try to send, I'll stress the word try. Last year I kind of let it slide, but the year before I was successful at sending them. Christmas is a season of cards, giving and a season of being appreciative for others in our lives. A letter from Santa would be a super fun way to surprise an adult friend this holiday season, don't you think?

Every letter is then delivered on Santa's own custom stationary (available only at SantaSentMeALetter.Com) guaranteeing that every letter is unique and "authentic." Santa signs and wax seals each letter by hand before postmarking it directly from the North Pole! Parents can even add on an optional Nice List card or a Magic Key (that Santa uses at homes without a chimney).

So, tell me, what kid of any age would not love to get their own personalized letter from Santa? Three of you are going to win an Original Letter from Santa ($9.95 Value) and I also have a discount code of 15% (IOWAMOM20 is the code) for all of you. (This code expires November 20, 2014, so use it soon).

This giveaway will run through November 13th! The discount codes will be good through November 20th, as the letters will be mailed out Friday November 27, 2014. Any orders placed after the Thanksgiving holiday will be processed within 48 hours, with December 14, 2014 as the last day orders can be placed.

So- Enter through the Rafflecopter form below!




a Rafflecopter giveaway

*I was given The North Pole Package for review purposes. I did receive product to review and as always, the opinions expressed on this post are mine and nobody else's.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Our Kids Are Using Social Media As a Plea For Help- Why Are We Not Answering Them?

OK~ I'm shaking my head again tonight. I'm reading the details about another school shooting and how there were signs on social media that this teen had issues. When are we going to wake up and realize that we have a HUGE problem on our hands? The problem being, our teens reach out for help through social media and everyone ignores it.

I will not glorify this young man and share his social media channels, but I can tell you that they are disturbing. It seems that this same type of thing happens time and time again. After the "bad" thing happens 9 times out of 10, it is reported that their were signs on social media that things were not going well.

Now I'm not going to point fingers in this particular case, but make a general statement. Where are the parents when it comes to social media and their kids? If parents would simply track where their kids go online, things like this would have less of a chance of happening. Sure, teens argue that it is an invasion of privacy. Really? Who is responsible for their actions until they are 18 and who is paying the phone bill?

There are easy ways to track where kids go online. U.S. Cellular offers a parent/child protection agreement, and I know other cell phone companies do the same. Another fantastic resource is WebSafety. I often hear parents say that these protection plans are too expensive. My answer to that is, "You give them a $700 computer and you are not going to protect them for maybe $10 a month?" Go figure, this Mom doesn't get it.

WebSafety is a new app that will give your family security. From monitoring porn that your children view online to all photos that are uploaded to your children's social media accounts, this app has it all!




I know for a fact that teens are swaying away from Facebook because Moms and Dads are there. Just recently I spoke to a high school business class on being an entrepreneur and using social media. These students said they had Facebook accounts but did not use it because Mom and Dad were there. They prefer to use Twitter, Instagram and SnapChat because Mom and Dad are not there. Do you see where this is going?

Our kids are smart! Let's ban together and protect our kids. When we, as adults, see something in question with a teen online, such as Twitter. We need to be involved as soon as possible. It's a fact, too many of our kids are dying from events that could have been prevented if someone was monitoring their social media accounts.

So, I challenge you! Will you get involved to help a young person when you see something questionable through social media? I hope you will do what is right and step up to help our teens! This Mom is working hard to educate folks locally and I can tell you that it is difficult. Families do not want to admit that their communities have these problems. Go out in your community and be the change - your kids and community will thank you! After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Millennial Moms And Social Media Accounts For Their Infants

OK~ Did you see the news story that shared 40% of millennial moms open social media accounts before their child's first birthday? Would someone enlighten me as to what the purpose of something like this is for? I'm all ears on this one.

Here's what I think that these moms think:


  • Facebook will always exists
  • Facebook photos will always be accessible
  • Their baby will not be abducted, as that happens to other people.

Seriously, why would someone do this? Facebook is a great social media tool, but it seriously needs to be used the proper way.

Stacey Honowitz, a supervisor in the Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit of the Florida State Attorney's Office and recently shared some great information in regards to photos and your kids. Before any picture is posted of a child, some thought needs to go into the photo. 

I love social media and I love sharing photos, but it is true that it is easy to share too often. I think the challenge is finding that fine line between sharing the fun and life experiences. All parents have the cutest kids on the planet, and that's just a fact of life! 

I know that actual baby books have evolved since 1991 and 1995, but there are some great online tools for baby books. Yes, our boys have actual books!



This is not a paid post and I am not working with Shutterfly, but I can tell you that Shutterfly does offer some great baby books. 

It is healthy to step away from social media now and then. The opportunity to create a baby book is the perfect opportunity for new moms to explore their creativity. So, if you are a millennial mom, does your child have a Facebook page? I'm still shaking my head on this one and probably will continue too. After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Rohto® Cooling Eye Drops Review And Giveaway

OK~ My immediate family members are always on the look out for an eye drop that relieves redness and lubricates the eyes. I did receive a sample of these Rohto® drops to review and was glad to receive them. Living in the country with harvest season in full swing, these drops offered relief unlike any other eye drop in the marketplace.  Rohto® is the number-one global eye drop brand and was first launched in Japan over 100 years ago. Since then the brand has been consistently advancing the eye drop category with innovative technology.



Introduced to the United States market over 12 years ago, Rohto created a distinct sub-category of “cooling eye drops” which now comprises an important and growing part of the market. Unlike ordinary eye drops, Rohto® delivers a unique cooling sensation using Freshkick™ technology that works wonders to soothe and comfort irritated eyes for up to eight hours – a feature that is loved and embraced by loyal fans.

The line of Rohto® Cooling Eye Drop products provide fast-acting cooling relief for a number of symptoms including red, dry, or itchy eyes caused by environmental irritants.  

Rohto® Cool MAX is the newest product from the brand, which hit the shelves in the stores a couple months ago. Have you tried them? Two immediate family members tried these eye drops and found them to be very soothing. Featuring maximum-strength redness relief, Rohto® Cool Max whitens red, irritated eyes, plus soothes and protects eyes from further irritation. As always, the opinions expressed here are mine and nobody else's. After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right? 

I have two 0.4 FL OZ (13mL) to giveaway to one person. Enter through the Rafflecopter form below. 




a Rafflecopter giveaway


Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Glimpse Into The Beauty of Rural America

OK~ It's a beautiful day here in North Iowa. We actually mowed our lawn last evening and I can honestly tell you that I do not remember the last time we mowed in October. Quite often, August is the last time we need to mow. It's balmy today, very windy but warm for October. Last evening I glanced out the South window of our house and this was the view.



I thought to myself, now that's what I enjoy about Rural America. Look at how peaceful things are. The soybeans across the road are being harvested and sunset was just beautiful. I then thought about January and what the view would look like. There will be ice and snow, something I wish we could somehow skip around.

So, I began to make a list of what I do enjoy about Rural America.


  • Quiet
  • Clean Water/Air
  • I Can See For Miles
  • Traffic Is Minimal
  • I Know My Neighbors
  • Sunset And Sunrise Are Stunning
These are really simple things, but are really huge. I take it for granted when I can have a view like this, and then I realize that it's a treat for many to get out into the country to see something like this. Do you get to experience sunrise and sunset where you live? 

I have often heard from people, especially photographers, that a lot of folks miss out on really good stuff because they won't get out of bed in the morning. I have to agree, sunrise is really something to see in Rural America. Next time you are in Rural America, make it a point to experience sunrise and sunset with your kiddos, as they will thank you! After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?



Thursday, October 16, 2014

Blogger Friends + Actual Cards = A Fun Birthday

OK~ I had a birthday this past week and I can honestly say that the bloggers of North Iowa sure knew how to make me smile.




I have not received this many actual cards on my birthday in years. But you know what? It was fun to hold an actual birthday card that was given to me. I am kind of odd, as I still enjoy holding an actual book in my hand, as opposed to my iPad when it comes to reading a book. If there is one thing that I need to get better at, it is sending and giving actual handwritten cards to people. I had a terrific birthday and look forward to moving forward in another year.

All of these cards got me thinking about how we all interact in today's crazy, busy world. Social Media plays a huge role in celebrating birthdays and other special occasions. I do think it's wonderful that we can send a simple birthday message across the miles through social media and celebrate the successes of our friends But there's still something to be said about a handwritten note, don't you think? My friend, Beth Ann of It's Just Life, really rocks the homemade cards, yes the handmade, handwritten ones! She has went so far as to talk about how your words matter, and the fact that letter writing is changing, as well as how all those scribbled notes are really letters!

I am a very lucky gal, as I have a wonderful family, friends, and awesome business partners and clients that continue to support me in my crazy, exciting adventures. When I look at this little "sea" of cards, this speaks volumes to me..... This group of cards reminds me that I do matter and it's definitely the kick in the pants that I needed when it comes to sending actual cards.

So, tell me. When is the last time you mailed or handed someone an actual card? I'm working on this and will continue too. But dang, Social Media makes it all a little too easy to wish someone a happy birthday! After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?


Monday, October 13, 2014

Five Star Co-op: Keeping Communities Alive In North Iowa

OK~ The North Iowa Bloggers and I recently visited Five Star Co-op located in Burchinal, Iowa. As you know, Fall is a super busy time of year here in North Iowa.



Farmers are busy harvesting and the co-ops are all extremely busy. This particular co-op is one that I grew up with. It was known as the Burchinal Co-op for many years and has been a Five Star Co-op for several years.

Five Star Co-op is the heart of Burchinal, as there is no post office, school or store. There are several homes and maybe 100 people in town. So, when I say that Five Star Co-op is the heart of Burchinal, Iowa, it is very true.

Five Star Co-op is a resource for farmers when it comes to agronomy products, as well as knowledge. Petroleum, feed, and hardware are all available for purchase. Farmers were hauling in corn and soybeans on the day we visited.




The employees of Five Star Co-op shared their knowledge when it comes to being safe and what an ear of corn is made of. Did you know that an ear of corn has an even number of kernels around it?



Agriculture is constantly changing, but you know what? The basics of raising crops to provide food and energy for all of us still remains. Farmers are hardworking people that work hard all year long and strive to be good people in our world. Five Star Co-op in Burchinal still has one of the older elevators on the premises and is used regularly. Look at the difference in how these bins look and will look in the future. These steel bins hold a lot more grain than the older storage unit.




I was intrigued by this panel of buttons, codes and locks. All of this is in place to keep the corn dryer functioning and keep the employees safe. Keep in mind, the bin on the left has nothing this electronic installed in it. Technology is changing how employees work in the world of agriculture. There's still a lot of hands on jobs with Five Star Co-op, it's just different from 25 years ago.

And just in case you need a job, check out all the listings that Five Star Co-op has. Thank you to Five Star Co-op in Burchinal for educating us on what you do for our community.

For me..... I will continue to enjoy harvest with my family and look forward to see how our local co-ops evolve to meet the needs of our farmers.




There's nothing like a combine ride with Dad, a ritual that's been going on for 46 years. Yes, you read that correct, 46 years! After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?




Sunday, October 12, 2014

Family Four Pack Giveaway: HalloWeekend At Cedar Point 2014

OK~ I've got a super fun weekend giveaway getaway for you! Have you been to Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio? If not, here's why you need to go!

Cedar Point is home to HalloWeekends now through November 2, 2014. Friday evenings kick off at 6 p.m. followed by a full day of fun on Saturday and Sunday.

If you enjoy roller coasters, thrill rides, family friendly attractions and haunted houses- Cedar Point is where you will want to be! Here's a glance of what you can expect.





Families will enjoy a Halloween Show & Kids' Costume Contest. This event is reserved for guests 54" and under. To participate in this fun event, report on Saturday and/or Sunday at 2:30 pm (pre-schoolers) and at 3:15 pm (grade schoolers) to the Howl-O-Palooza Stage (Next to Wicked Twister). You and your family will have a blast!

And in case you like skeletons!




You will not want to miss the extravaganza that is loaded with family fun and skeletons! A cirque-style spectacle that will dazzle your senses. Located near Celebration Plaza and the showtimes are as follows:

FRIDAY: 7pm, 9pm, 11pm

SATURDAY: 7pm, 9pm, 11pm

SUNDAY:  3:30pm,  5:30pm, 7:30pm

Tip: Arrive early to get a good viewing place!

From the Monster Midway Invasion Celebration to the Magical House on Boo Hill, Cedar Point is sure to thrill you and your family. 

Thrill seekers will love the mazes and scare zones! With several haunted houses and creepy scare zones, you will be a little creeped out and maybe wonder what you are doing in such a haunted space. From the Zombie High School to the Eternity Infirmary, you will be a little creeped out! If you don't watch where you are walking, you may walk right into a zombie, true story!

Note: These haunted houses are for teens+ and not the faint of heart. 

So, I know you would love to visit Cedar Point this Fall to experience a Halloweekend at Cedar Point!

I have a family four-pack of tickets to experience Halloweekend at Cedar Point, for one of you! Enter through the Rafflecopter form and you could find yourself on your way to Cedar Point, very soon.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


*You have three weekends left to use these tickets. These tickets must be used during the 2014 season. Cedar Point is responsible for the delivery of the tickets. I did not receive compensation for this post, the opinions expressed here are mine and nobody else's. My family and I were guests of Cedar Point in September of 2014. This does not include transportation costs or lodging costs.

THANK YOU TO CEDAR POINT FOR PROVIDING THIS AWESOME GIVEAWAY TO MY READERS!







Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Fun And Affordable Halloween Costume

OK~ Who else is ready for the month of October to slow down? Dang, this month is flying by and I'm not sure that I am ready for it. On the bright side, I no longer have to think about a Halloween Costume for a little one. I will admit, I did get lucky in that department, as we had a Batman in our home for SEVERAL years! Those two costumes got a lot of miles on them.

Today I was reminded that Halloween is not that far away, as you can find mask after mask and costume after costume in a lot of local stores. Do you buy your kids' Halloween costumes or do you design their costumes? There's something to be said about a costume that Mom or Dad can whip up! This is simply the cutest, most simple Halloween costume I have ever seen.




Isn't this one of the most clever ideas ever? Look how simple this is! This proves that you do not have to spend a lot of money on a Halloween Costume! This costume wins- hands down!

So, tell me... What does Halloween look like at your home this year? I'd love to hear about it. After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?

Monday, October 6, 2014

October Brings Changes To Iowa

OK~ I've talked about Fall being in the air and you know what? It's more than a few days into October and we still have views like this here in North Iowa.





It's unusual to have soybean fields ALL around us this late into October. Usually by this time, a field like this, is hard to come by. But you know what? It's really interesting to this Iowa Mom when someones says, "It looks so warm!" Well, if you call 50 degrees and sunshine warm, it's all good! Cooler weather seems to arrive earlier every year. Maybe it has more to do with my age than anything- the older I get, the less my body enjoys the cold.

October brings a new scene every single day in Iowa. In a couple days this whole soybean field will be bare. The grain will be stored and the soil will wait for next year's crop. It is true, I do take a view like this for granted, every single day.

And the temps are currently in the 40's and the local weatherman casually states, "And a cool down is on the way!" I'm thinking- WHAT? This is waaayyy too early for this.

So, the lesson here is that I need to dig out all of my wool socks, long underwear, sweaters, and anything else that I need to keep warm. And it was packed away June 15th, almost four months ago, but not quite.

Do you accept change well? I hear people say, "I would miss the change of seasons". But, you know what? I would not miss the temperatures that accompany the change, but I may miss the views that each season offers. So, for now, I will enjoy what's around me and bundle up! After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?


Saturday, October 4, 2014

U.S. Cellular Teaming Up With ABC'S Shark Tank To Give Small Business Opportunity To Grow #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~ Last year, U.S. Cellular launched the "Spotlight on America's Backbone" contest which invited small businesses in the company's footprint to enter to win free advertising, cash and a year of wireless service to help grow their business. To further show their commitment to business owners, U.S. Cellular expanded on that this year and gave consumers more access to tools and support to help grow their business or make their entrepreneurial dreams con true by working with ABC's "Shark Tank." 




I happen to really, really love ABC's "Shark Tank," as it's a show that gives people that have dreams to succeed. The cool thing about U.S. Cellular and ABC'S "Shadow Shark Tank" sweepstakes recently kicked off and runs through October 31, 2014. This sweepstakes will provide customers in the U.S. Cellular footprint the opportunity to gain unprecedented access to the casting call process, hear tips and advice from other small business owners. And get this, one lucky winner will win an exclusive behind-the-scenes Shark Tank experience, which includes a VIP seat during the entire pitch process in L.A., lunch with the casting team and opportunities to engage their business if the winner is a business owner. 

So, are you curious as to what happens behind the scenes? Take a peek at what happens during the Shark Tank casting process and what happens after you get funded. Stories from entrepreneurs and the obstacles they are facing can also be viewed at Americasbackbone.com/sharktank

U.S. Cellular continue to be committed to the people and businesses that may not have unique opportunities to grow. By partnering with ABC's "Shark Tank" with casting calls in Des Moines, Milwaukee and Greenville took place. 

To sign up, head on over to ShadowSharktank.com and you may find yourself with new dreams for your business. Winners will be selected between 11/1-11/14 and the announcement of the winner will be between 11/17-11/21. 

U.S. Cellular is committed to the entrepreneur, as well as keeping families safe online. If you have not reviewed U.S. Cellular's parent/child agreement, you need to do that now. After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Halloween Giveaway Event: Three Gift Cards

Welcome to our October Giveaway Event: CooCoo over Costumes Halloween Giveaway Event




Introducing You To WebSafety: Solutions For Today's Tech Savvy Household

OK~ Over the past few years I have watched our kids get braver and bolder online. Our boys are now 19 and 23. I watched them move from My Space to Facebook over the years and my gosh, if you have a teenager today, you have to know a gazillion social media platforms. Let's face it, it's very challenging to keep up with the social media and web content that is out there.




I was recently introduced to a new app called WebSafety.  It rolled out today for Android Smartphones and tablets. iOS Support is coming soon and I will let you know when it's available for parents to use. WebSafety is an app that will help you, as a parent, monitor your children's online activity and more.

In a nutshell, WebSafety will allow you to keep tabs on your children. Want to know what you can do with WebSafety? Here you go!

  • Monitor Social Media
  • Monitor Apps
  • Monitor SMS
  • Monitor WWW
  • Track Location
  • Set Curfews
  • Notifications
So, as you can tell, WebSafety has you and your family covered. Family friendly features to keep you all connected in a smart way. 

And if you still don't think this is something you and your family need, here are some statistics to make you think. The old saying, "Not my kid," is something you don't want to be caught saying in today's tech savvy climate.

Research that has been done by WebSafety shows the following:

80% of teenagers regularly use a cell phone
71% of teens admit that they hide their online activity from their parents
43% of children have said they have exchanged messages with strangers

WebSafety has a limited time offer where monthly subscribers can get the first six months at 50% off. Annual subscribers get the first year 50% off. With WebSafety's limited time offer families can feel the peace of mind that they have been searching for.

My friends, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Now is the time for all of us to be proactive and not reactive when it comes to our kids and their safety online. Educate yourself and do what is right for your family. Utilize the tools that are available to you and reach out for help if you and your family need it. Most importantly, use them. After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?

*Note: I am not a paid spokesperson for WebSafety. I am working hard at educating folks at being smarter and safer online. The opinions expressed in this post are mine and nobody else's.