Groupon Makes Finding Things to Do with Kids Easy

This is a sponsored post. All opinions expressed are mine.

I am always up for adventures with my kids. I’m a firm believer that experiences are always greater than things which is why when you come to our house you’ll see we don’t have the latest and greatest anything, rarely buy toys {like maybe Christmas?} and why I try to limit my kids electronics/tv usage as much as possible.

That’s not to say we don’t have nice things, we do, but we just choose to spend money on experiences, travel, seeing and doing things.

But doing things can get spendy, wanting to try something new and not sure how the kids will like it can be risky. Enter Groupon.

There are always a surplus of activities and deals for local events and happenings on Groupon. We’ve used Groupon Things To Do to try new things and also visit places we’ve been a dozen times before.

From bowling to painting to swimming and even sightseeing, there is always something on Groupon worth checking out and saving a few dollars in the process.
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We most recently used a Groupon Things to Do deal for a local bowling alley and laser tag but other times we’ve used it for date nights and other venues.

Right now, if you’re in Minnesota, there’s a Valleyfair admission Groupon that will save you $20 on admission! SCORE!

Have you used Groupon to discover and save on things to do in your area? What’s been your best deal so far?

hum Makes Driving Safer, Smarter for Teens {& Their Parents!}

This is a sponsored post. All opinions expressed are mine.

We’re on our second teen driver in the house. T has had his license close to 18 months now and M has had her permit nearly six months. In another half a year, we’ll have another teen driver.

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So many people think that makes our lives so much easier.

And it does. But it doesn’t.

Because we try not to depend on our kids to get other kids places and also because we WORRY.

Where are they going? Who are they with? When will they be back? Umm, do they really know how to get there?

That sort of stuff.

Enter hum.

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{Which by the way isn’t even just made for teens but for ALL drivers!}

hum is a tool and app that monitors everything related to the vehicle.

Speed, distance, GPS.

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By connecting part of hum to your dash and downloading their free app, you are in the know at all times about the vehicle. {And when I say connecting to your dash, that is really it. Once that was in, we were set and everything else was accessible via my phone app.}

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Can’t remember where you parked? No worries. Want to find out how fast junior is going on the side roads? You got it.

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One perk I really like is that it tracks your data like your mpg and your driving habits so when you are thinking about making a road trip you can use that data to estimate what your approximate costs will be. I mean, do we live in the future or what?

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hum also has special features to make driving safer and the ability to call for help or roadside assistance distraction free.

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The investment to own hum and have it’s monthly service {currently exclusively available through Verizon} is low.

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Because the value is high.

Having peace of mind about your auto health, speed, safety, location? All in all hum could be a game changer for many families with teenagers.

Do you have experience with teenage drivers? What has brought you peace of mind as they start driving and venturing away from home? 

Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions at Target Center

I have always loved watching gymnastics. I was never a gymnast myself but always wished I could do the aerial movements with the kind of grace we see displayed on tv.

From time to time, my friends and I would “pretend” we were gymnasts with elaborate floor exercises that bordered on a dance so poorly choreographed we would most often find ourselves in fits of laughter.
My littlest little really wants to give gymnastics a try this fall and I’m excited to watch her try the beam and tumble around, working her muscles and exploring her little capabilities.
We’re really excited to be able to go see Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics at Target Center in October.
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Tickets are available now and from today through September 5 you can save 15% using code: TC2016 right here. 
I also have TWO sets of TWO tickets to give away to TWO lucky readers! You can enter the Rafflecopter giveaway right here:

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Disclosure: Target Center has given our family passes to the event as well as passes to give away to a reader. All opinions expressed are mine.

Christmas in August at The Saint Paul Hotel

It’s Christmas in August at The Saint Paul Hotel!

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Read more here.

Christmas in August at The Saint Paul Hotel

It’s Christmas in August at The Saint Paul Hotel!

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Tickets to the beloved “It’s A Wonderful Live: Radio Play” go on sale Wednesday August 24 and the Saint Paul Hotel is pulling all the stops for this year’s Christmas tradition

On Wednesday, August 24, from 4-6 p.m., The Saint Paul Hotel will open its James J. Hill ballroom for a special advanced sales event for the hotel’s 11th annual production of It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play.

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Four costumed cast members from playwright Joe Landry’s acclaimed adaptation, It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, will be on hand to greet guests, sing carols, and entertain early ticket purchasers. The Saint Paul Hotel staff will greet guests at multiple ticket sales tables accommodating both group and individual ticket purchases for the popular production, which features a three-course lunch or dinner as well as the live performance of the holiday classic.
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Tickets for It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play and the accompanying multi-course meal are $65 per person for the luncheon shows and $85 per person for the dinner performances, including tax and gratuity. Please note: Parking is not included in the price. The dinner and show last approximately 2.5 hours. Guests are also invited to arrive one hour before show time to enjoy a social time with a cash bar.

Special Offer
The first 10 people who purchase two tickets or more at the August 24 event will receive a gift certificate for one overnight stay at The Saint Paul Hotel (other restrictions apply). An additional 10 gift certificates will be given to the first 10 phone orders (651.228.3860).

 

 

In addition to the special offer, there are lots of other ways to get into the holiday spirit at The Saint Paul Hotel Wednesday:

Help put the finishing touches on the decorating the James J. Hill room for the holidays

Decorate-your-own Christmas cookies,

Make your own snow,

Participate in a contest to wrap the best Christmas package, Winner will receive a $50 gift card to M St Café.

A wintery Saint Paul Hotel backdrop from which to take selfies and

Sip complimentary “Sleigh Ride” cocktails — a preview of the new specialty drink, which will be served at this year’s performances.

These and numerous other touches will help guests indulge in some early holiday spirit as they ensure their seats for this popular, memorable holiday outing.

I’m excited to be at The Saint Paul Hotel Wednesday at 4 p.m. joining in the festivities and I’ll be posting on social media while I’m there. I’m also excited to give one reader TWO tickets to the December 8 luncheon performance next Wednesday on Facebook

This is one holiday tradition you don’t want to miss out on.

Tell me: Have you seen It’s A Wonderful Life: Radio Play at The Saint Paul Hotel? What is one of your favorite holiday traditions? 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

Flash Giveaway!! $50 Cash or Amazon!!

I’ve teamed up with some other bloggers for this flash giveaway!
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One lucky reader will receive $50 USD Paypal Cash or Amazon Gift Card!!
This giveaway is for THREE Days Only! Enter Now!
We are making it easy peasy to enter! Just use the form below.
Remember, this giveaway ends at 11:59 pm on Aug. 21, 2016! Tell your friends so they can enter, too!
Good Luck!

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Disclosure: This giveaway is organized by Giveaway Booster.com. The participating bloggers were not compensated for this post. We are not associated with any of the companies named above. No purchase is necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law. The odds of winning are based on the number of entries received. Must be 18+ to enter. Confirmed Winner(s) (by Random.org) will be contacted by email. Winner(s) have 24 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law.  My blog is not responsible for product shipment/delivery. 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. Entrants must only enter with either one email address, IP address and/or Facebook account, anyone found violating these rules will be disqualified. It is at the sole discretion of the admin of the giveaway if the winner has met the rules or not.
If you have any questions about this giveaway please email Tina at branchpropromotions@gmail.com.

Guest Post: Helping Your Kids Have Great Oral Health in the Summer

During the school year, most kids become accustomed to the routine of getting up early, eating breakfast, and brushing their teeth before heading to school, then brushing again before bed. But once summertime rolls around, many kids get a break for a couple of months and all that routine goes out the window. No matter how vigilant most parents are, it’s hard to keep young ones in the mindset of maintaining good oral health when they’re sleeping in and staying outside later to finish a basketball game.

However, there are some things you can do to keep your child’s teeth healthy during the hot summer months, such as making sure there are nutritious snacks in the pantry and offering them water instead of sugary drinks. Here are some of the best tips for keeping your little one’s smile bright.

Preventative care

Besides making sure your child is brushing and flossing regularly, it’s also helpful to book them a dentist appointment to make sure they’re good to go before vacations and trips. Also, communicating with your child about the dangers of running around slick pool areas or jumping on trampolines with other children is imperative. Kids will be kids, but letting them know how to keep from getting a mouth injury could prevent a painful accident.

Snacks and drinks

Keeping healthy snacks around–such as fruit, granola bars, and raw veggies–is a great way to limit your child’s sugar intake during the day and keep those pearly whites free from plaque. Help them make good choices when it comes to hydration and keep bottled water and single-serving bottles of milk in the fridge. One hundred percent juice is great, but sometimes even those contain quite a bit of sugar. Some foods, like yogurt and others that are high in calcium, even have the added benefit of helping your child sleep better.

Losing those baby teeth

Kids will begin to lose their baby teeth at a variety of ages, usually starting around 6, and it’s important to remember that every child is different when it comes to how many they’ll lose and how long it will take each one to come out. Some children don’t have adult teeth waiting to come in behind particular baby teeth (this is a hereditary trait that can be passed down from either parent), so they may only lose a few. Others will lose them one right after the other.

It can be tempting to want to pull on one that looks like it’s barely hanging onto the gums, but pulling teeth before they’re ready to come out can do damage or cause your child unnecessary pain. It’s important to let it happen naturally. If the tooth is dangling and you are afraid your child might swallow it, check with your dentist to see if they can help.

Reminders

For most kids, summer is a time to stay up a bit later, play outside often, and have sleepovers with friends, and all of those things can lead to forgotten oral health habits. It might be helpful to set an alarm to help your child remember to stop what they’re doing and brush, especially if they’re away from home. Make it fun by buying them a special “away” toothbrush and paste to use when they have overnights.

If your child has braces, it’s especially important for them to remember to brush after every meal and take special care not to eat foods that could get stuck, such as popcorn and chewy candy. It’s also a good idea to check them out yourself once in awhile to make sure there are no loose brackets or wires causing your child pain.

Helping your child keep up with their oral health can take some patience, but there are lots of things you can try to help them remember to take care of their mouths. Sometimes a bit of planning can go a long way!

 

Sean Morris is a former social worker turned stay-at-home dad. He knows what it’s like to juggle family and career. He did it for years until deciding to become a stay-at-home dad after the birth of his son. Though he loved his career in social work, he has found this additional time with his kids to be the most rewarding experience of his life. He began writing for LearnFit.org to share his experiences and to help guide anyone struggling to find the best path for their life, career, and/or family.

 

Getting Ready for NYC: Classic Harbor Lines

I’m so excited to head to NYC this fall with J, my dad and his wife and my aunt. It’s one of those places I’ve had on my list for years and years and am anxious to see and do as much as we can in the few days we’re in town.

One of the things I’m really looking forward to is taking a cruise on a Classic Harbor Line yacht! The tour we’ll be taking includes a look at both the skyline AND the Statue of Liberty.

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More on Classic Harbor Line:

Family Friendly Boat Tours of Manhattan Dedicated to helping locals and visitors alike enjoy the unique wonders of New York City, Classic Harbor Line hopes for the privilege of escorting you on a relaxing, inspiring and breathtaking sightseeing cruise through the waters we proudly call home. Our classic yachts – the Schooner Adirondack & Adirondack III and the Schooner America 2.0 (our sailboats), and the Luxury Yacht Manhattan (our motorized yacht) are reminiscent of the classic boats that cruised New York Harbor a hundred years ago.

I’m excited to share that my Readers receive 15% off each ticket purchased at www.sail-nyc.com using ONLINE promo code Mom2015 – Valid for any Day Sail, Sunset Sail, City Lights Sail aboard Schooner Adirondack, Schooner America 2.0 OR any Cruise aboard our 1920’s style motor yacht: Yacht Manhattan!

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So whether you know someone in NYC or plan on visiting you can take advantage of the deal and see the sights from the water.

To book your cruise go to: sail-nyc.com and use code: MOM2015 to save.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post as part of US Family Guide. All opinions expressed are mine.

 

Four Things To Know About Beauty & The Beast at Chanhassen Dinner Theatre

A few weeks back we had the opportunity to take two of our kids to Beauty and the Beast at Chanhassen Dinner Theatre. It was such a fun and special night. The kids loved the atmosphere, the dining experience and the show. They were giddy with excitement about their special grown-up night and slept the whole drive home.

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Beauty and the Beast is still at Chanhassen Dinner Theatre through the end of September and is definitely a family, friendly show so if the idea of taking your kids to dinner and a show is appealing, this is the one to try.

If you decide to bring your kids here’s four things to know before you go:

  1. 1. Children must be ages 5 and up to go to Chanhassen Dinner Theatre. Under age 5 might not have the attention span and you really want to make sure that not only they, but the people around them, will enjoy.
  2. 2. Beauty and the Beast follows the traditional storyline so there are some parts that some kids might find scary. Think of the loud and boisterous beast and some dark and scary woods scenes. Think of Belle trapped in a castle alone. Some young kids might find this scary. Keep that in consideration when deciding if you’ll bring them. There are a couple scenes that take place off of the stage and within the audience too.
  3. 3. While you can dine and enjoy the show at Chanhassen Dinner Theatre, you can also buy tickets just for the show and enjoy an a la carte dessert during intermission. These tickets are available 10 days or sooner to show date and only as available.
  4. 4. Evening performances go late. Most evening shows don’t begin until 8 p.m. with an intermission in the middle, it can make for a late night. {Specifically, Beauty and the Beast is 2.5 hours long} Prepare ahead by having your child have some downtime and if your kids are like ours, they’ll sleep the whole way home.

My kids really loved the evening. Before we went, I think that H {our 10 year old} was hesitant about going but he was mesmerized the entire show and afterwards couldn’t believe the talent that was on the stage.

My favorite scene was the scene where Gaston was in the pub. The dancing, the choreography with the clinking of the mugs and the energy level of the cast during that scene is like nothing I’ve ever seen.

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Tickets are still available for the last six weeks of Beauty of the Beast, but they are selling quickly so if you’re thinking of going buy tickets now.

Disclosure: Chanhassen Dinner Theatre invited our family to attend Beauty and the Beast for review purposes. All opinions expressed are mine. Photos are used with permission from CDT.

 

Pete’s Dragon Opens Nationwide Today!

Last weekend our family had the opportunity to see Pete’s Dragon.

I’ll be completely honest, this was one of those movies that I was pretty indifferent about seeing. There have been plenty of great movies this summer that have had me excited and I felt pretty in the dark about Pete’s Dragon {I don’t recall seeing the original…} but we went and boy was I surprised.

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Pete’s Dragon was hands down the BEST family movie I’ve seen ALL summer. We brought our three youngest, ages 3, 7 & 10 and it was perfect for all three of their ages. The feel good storyline, the imaginative aspect and overall the joy and giggles, all made it a movie we walked out of smiling.

For years, old wood carver Mr. Meacham (Robert Redford) has delighted children in the sleepy town of Millhaven with his tales of the fierce dragon that resides deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. To his daughter, Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard), who works as a forest ranger in these very woods, his stories are lile more than tall tales…unl she meets Pete (Oakes Fegley). Pete is a mysterious 10-year-old with no family and no home to speak of, who claims to live in the woods with a giant, green dragon named Elliot, and from his descripons, Elliot seems remarkably similar to the fabled dragon from Mr. Meacham’s stories.

As Grace slowly begins to earn Pete’s trust, opening his eyes to the possibility that there is a world beyond his forest, his presence causes Grace to take a look at her own life, including her relaonship with Jack (Wes Bentley), who owns the local lumber mill. Jack wants to support Grace’s endeavors to study and protect the surrounding woods but needs to focus on keeping his company profitable at the same me, and it is driving a wedge between them.

When Pete’s idyllic life with Elliot in the forest is in danger, Grace, along with the help of Jack’s 11-year-old daughter Natalie (Oona Laurence), sets out to uncover the truth about this dragon and determine where Pete came from…and where he belongs.

A reimagining of Disney’s cherished family film, “Pete’s Dragon” is directed by David Lowery from a screenplay by Lowery & Toby Halbrooks based on a screenplay by Malcolm Marmorstein and produced by Jim Whitaker, p.g.a., with Barrie M. Osborne serving as execuve producer.

Here’s a few things to know before you go:

Pete’s parents die fairly early in the movie. Or the film alludes to them dying. Some kids will get this, some won’t. Some kids will have questions and this sad feeling might overshadow the film for them.

Pete’s dragon, Elliot, can be a little scary for young kids. Overall he’s a friendly dragon but there are some adventurous and intense scenes.

There are people who want to hurt Elliot the dragon which can also be scary for kids.

My three year old sat through the whole movie and both my 7 and 10 year olds really enjoyed it, though my 7 year old was teary eyed during some parts and had some questions about Pete’s parents and some of the peril.

Overall the movie is fantastic. No language, no sexual innuendos. It’s clean, it’s funny, it’s got a happy ending.

It’s hands down the best family movie I’ve seen all summer!

Pete’s Dragon opens nationwide TODAY, August 12! Do you plan on taking your family to see it?