Monday, March 2, 2015

Celebrate the Importance of World Water Day with World Vision {Giveaway}

The need vs want struggle is one that we all deal with on a daily basis, whether for ourselves (do I really need that pair of shoes?) or our children (I know you want another cupcake, but it's really just going to end in a sugar high).

However, while our needs and wants may be a little superficial at times, it is no joking matter that, although water is essential for healthy living, there are 748 million people that lack access to clean water – the equivalent of nearly two and a half times the United States' population. As a devastating effect, one child under the age of 5 dies every minute from diarrhea caused by contaminated water and unsafe hygiene.

These people don't just want clean water, they need it.

Therefore, to address this crisis and to acknowledge water's essential presence on the earth, the United Nations General Assembly declared March 22nd as World Water Day in 1993. What will you do this year to help make a difference?

World Water Day 2015

A day to celebrate water and make a difference for the members of the global population who suffer from water related issues, World Water Day is also a day to prepare for how we will manage water in the future. After all, water is a necessary resource for sustainable living!

So, don't let another World Water Day go by, join World Vision to spread awareness for people around the globe who need safe water sources! Giving clean water helps to create a brighter future...

the water effect

...and World Vision suggests that along with a number of other ways that we can all help change a life this month:

Give Clean Water: Help us get one step closer to providing reliable clean water sources around the world by visiting World Vision’s website to contribute to the Clean Water Fund, or make a monthly pledge. A total of $25 per month provides 6 more people with clean water every year.

Take a Short Shower: Keep track of time spent showering as a reminder of the water shortage around the world. An American that takes only a five minute shower has already used more than an entire day's worth of water for the average person in a developing country’s slum.

Make a Home Cooked Meal: Skip a restaurant meal and eat in. Use the time at home to talk about the need for water and donate money saved by cooking at home to give clean, life-giving water. A gift of $50 provides one new person with clean water. 

Water Now logoRally on Social Media: Last year, World Water Day posts reached up to 700 million people. Break this record and spread the word about clean water access, using the hashtags #WaterEffect and #WaterNow.

Water Now is a global clean water social media campaign that raises your voice and the voice of your friends alongside the voices of celebrities and dignitaries – including Pitbull, Pharrell Williams and more – in a week-long social-media blitz centered around World Water Day.

Make and Share a Video: Pull out your camera or smartphone and make a video with your children, showing dirty water that many people may have to drink each day. Bring a water bottle or small bucket and find a puddle in the street or in a park. Use your container to scoop up the water and talk about your experience. Would you or your children drink it?

Show off a Royal Silk Scarf and World Water Day Umbrella: From the World Vision Gift Catalog, the Royal Silk Scarf is made with luxurious silk, using Fair-Trade practices. The blend of soft colors emulates the purifying qualities of water and the vibrant life that it sustains.

The blue umbrella, sporting World Vision's logo and a call to save lives with water, serves as a practical reminder that rainwater is considered a precious resource for people that lack established water systems.

Throughout the upcoming spring showers, use these accessories as a symbolic way to emphasize the importance and shortage of clean water around the world. The umbrella is a reminder that people in developing countries often collect rainwater for their supply and the elegant scarf is a tangible way to appreciate the life-giving qualities of water.

World Vision World Water Day

Walk or Run 6K: On World Water Day, thousands of people will walk or run 6 kilometers (3.72 miles) for children in Africa. Each registration brings clean water and fullness of life to communities in need one person at a time.

Organize a Mall Walk: For alternative scenery, gather family and friends for a mall walk to remember the significant time women in developing countries spend bringing water to families. The time North American women spend shopping daily equals the time many women devote to collecting water each day – nearly 200 million hours!

Help Provide Clean Water by Doing What You Love: Whether it's hosting a benefit concert, coordinating a bake sale, involving the kids and setting up a lemonade stand or giving up your birthday, you can be part of the water effect. Find out more here and then get involved!

help provide clean water

What will you do to join in the conversation and help to celebrate World Water Day?

If you need even more inspiration or reason to take part than simply the upcoming holiday, take a peek at this amazing video for an inside look at the impact of the water crisis in one girl's life.

Spoiler alert: I cried watching this.


The time is now!

Be sure to visit World Vision to find out more and connect with them on Facebook and Twitter and by using the hashtags #WaterEffect and #WaterNow.

Plus, thanks to the generosity of World Vision (beyond just what they do on a daily basis to try to make the world a better place), one person will be even more prepared to help spread the word of the importance and necessity of clean water as well, because...

One lucky person will win a Royal Silk Scarf and World Water Day Umbrella from World Vision!

World Vision giveaway


A big thank you to World Vision for providing a scarf and umbrella for me as well as for one lucky giveaway winner. The opinions shared are my own and honest and if you really need to see more, click here to see how I roll.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Make Summer Plans with Challenger Sports' British Soccer Camp!

 British Soccer Camps logo
Although it is hard for me to imagine the arrival of summer when the current temperatures outside hover somewhere between frigid and glacial, it is indeed already time to start making plans for my kids. Will they attend camp? Will they take lessons or classes or go to events or have play dates?

While there is still plenty of time to decide on some of the options, parents everywhere know that there is no time to waste when it comes to signing up for a great camp.

For us, this summer it means finally checking out the most popular camp in North America (150,000 campers!), British Soccer Camp from Challenger Sports!

soccer camp

With an innovative curriculum that develops skills, speed and confidence in players ages 3-18, Challenger Sports' British Soccer Camps provide boys and girls with the rare opportunity to receive high-level soccer coaching from a team of international experts right in the heart of their own community.

Hundreds of Challenger coaches each year have helped the company develop one of the most innovative approaches to coaching youth soccer in the U.S. Their experienced staff study the game at all levels and have identified the key techniques and skills that players need to work on and master to reach their true potential.

Each day includes individual foot skills, technical drills, tactical practices, small-sided games, coached scrimmages, and a daily World Cup tournament. Plus, in addition to teaching new skills and improving game performance, each British Soccer Camp provides lessons in character development, cultural education and is the most fun your child can have learning the sport they love!


Challenger Sports has a program in almost every U.S. market so head over to their website today for a complete list of camps available.

Even better, when you enroll your child in a British Soccer Camp now, they will receive a free t-shirt, ball and British Soccer Jersey... and, if you enter the promo code FMG15, they'll also include a bonus Challenger water bottle for free!

Challenger jersey

Challenger's British Soccer Camps have helped hundreds of thousands of young boys and girls fall in love with the sport of soccer for the past 25 years, so what are you waiting for? If you have a child in your life who would have a blast learning, playing and having fun this summer, check out Challenger's Soccer Camp options today!

Other than the information and free admittance to one week of camp I was provided by USFamilyGuide, I was not compensated or enticed to do this post in any way. This post is solely my honest opinion about this company and its offerings.

Wrapping Up the Listerine 21-Day Challenge — A Success!

 Listerine logo
We are a family of routines.

Although the clutter and disorganization might indicate otherwise, it has always seemed as though the four of us have thrived the most when our days have been somewhat predictable or methodical. What can I say? Daredevils, we are not!

Therefore, when it comes to altering our daily routine, the change has to be something that has not only come about for a good reason, but it has to be received quite positively in order for it to stick.

Which just goes to show how much we have enjoyed being a part of the Listerine 21-Day Challenge that we're excited to keep up our new and improved (and healthy) habits!

Listerine Challenge

Three weeks ago, when we committed to brushing, flossing and rinsing every day, twice a day, I had my doubts that we would successfully complete all 21 days. After all, even though my kids were thrilled over their new bottle of brightly colored Listerine Smart Rinse (Elsa, Anna and Olaf are on here!!!), that didn't necessarily mean that they were ready to embrace the idea of a more intense oral care routine.

After all, it was one thing to make sure that we were doing all three aspects at bedtime, but in the morning as well? Didn't the people at Listerine have school-age children or have any idea as to how hectic things can get when it's time to get out the door to get to school on time?

Listerine 21-Day Challenge

However, all it took was a demonstration from Mom showing how much fun it was to squeeze the bottle of Smart Rinse so that the correct amount of mouthwash pooled in the top (LOVE that feature!) and my assurance that they would be able to handle it, and they were ready to give things a try.

While it took Big Sister E a little more convincing, Little Sister B was immediately on board. By the second day, they both realized that they were able to do the entire process (squeeze the bottle, pour the mouthwash into a cup, rinse and spit it out) all on their own, and suddenly the idea of being "in control" of this process made it infinitely better. Not to mention how good it feels to start your day with a clean, fresh mouth!

As the week went on, I noticed that instead of constant reminders and cajoling to get the kids to brush, floss and rinse twice a day, they both knew that this new routine was for the best and happily dubbed using mouthwash as "swishing." I love that this simple addition was like putting a magnet into their mouths to grab any particles left from brushing and that they were happy to do it in the morning or at night!

kids mouthwash

By the time the three weeks ended, it was clear that Listerine 21-Day Challenge had made enough of an impact on our lives to be a permanent part of our routine.

Little Sister B's class has coincidentally been discussing oral health recently and I happened to be volunteering in the classroom when the kids were giving suggestions on how to have healthy teeth... and my little girl confidently raised her hand and said We need to SWISH!

And don't even get me started on their disapproval when the bottle gets low!

Listerine kids
Do you not SEE that the bottle is empty, Mom?

Overall, I'm glad that we were able to participate in the Listerine 21-Day Challenge to improve our oral health in such a fun and easy way. I will definitely be buying more Listerine Smart Rinse, as I hope that having shown the importance of the brush-floss-rinse-twice-a-day process with my girls still so young that it will continue on with them through childhood and into adulthood.

As for me, my teeth, gums and mouth have never felt healthier!

At the same time that our oral health was improving, I appreciated all of the ways that Listerine Brand helped make the process more fun as well as more informative. Each day I received an email checking in to see if I had rinsed the day before and a chance at the instant win game...

instant winner

...as well as great tips and fun facts.

I chose to receive a daily tip from Cassey Ho, fitness expert (other options included an organizational expert and a healthy eating/nutrition expert), and was happy to read the great information that she shared as well. If I can improve other areas of my life along with making my mouth healthier, why wouldn't I jump at the chance?

health tips

If you haven't already joined the Listerine 21-Day Challenge, head over to their website to sign up today!

Then be sure to stop by your nearest Walgreens, as they offer a wide range of wellness products that can get you stick with just about any healthy habits you may be incorporating into your life. Even better, you'll want to head to Walgreens next week (the week of March 1st) as Listerine Antiseptic will be priced at $4.49, perfect to help keep you going with your continued rinsing.

Here's to a healthy mouth for all of us!

I received LISTERINE® Brand products and a Walgreens gift card from Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Products Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc. and The Motherhood as part of my participation 21-Day Challenge. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Add Flavor to Spending New Year's Eve in Times Square by Dining at Maria Pia! {#ReviewCrew}

2015 Review Crew Blogger Badge
Being as family-centric as we are, my husband and I tend to involve our children in just about all aspects of our lives. From going out to eat to taking a vacation, it's all four of us, all the time.

Except... for those few select times when the two of us manage to steal away by ourselves for a moment or a meal or a couple days of not having to worry about anyone else but each other. After all, it's good for the soul to take time out of our crazy, hectic schedules and simply spend one-on-one time with the one you love!

Even better? When we can save some money doing just that by using a Restaurant.com certificate on our visit to Maria Pia while hitting up New York City for New Year's Eve!

New York City New Year's Eve

Who knew that we were so adventurous, right? If you have the opportunity to experience the chaos, crowds and boisterous fun of New York City around the holidays and Times Square for New Year's Eve, I highly recommend it as a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that you'll never forget!

However, while you may be content with spending a fortune, traveling a long distance or getting your meals from a cart on the street corner, we opted to head to Maria Pia during our NYC visit and couldn't have been happier with the choice.

Maria Pia NYC

Located only steps away from Times Square in the heart of the theater district in New York City, Maria Pia is a quaint, one-room restaurant (there is also an outdoor seating area in warm weather) serving delicious Italian fare for lunch or dinner. No matter if you arrive on your way to a Broadway show or simply for a night away from cooking, the warm, home-like atmosphere and friendly staff will ensure that you're comfortable and happy before leaving full.

Upon our visit, we were immediately greeted, seated and started perusing the large menu filled with mouthwatering option after option.

Maria Pia menu

After we finally made our decisions, we were treated to a basket of delicious fresh bread...

Maria Pia bread

...followed by a Pear & Gorgonzola salad that was equally as stunning to look at as it was to eat!

Maria Pia salad

Following the bread and salad, our entrees arrived and it was time to dig in!

I was thrilled with the sweet, rich goodness of my Butternut Squash Ravioli...

butternut squash ravioli

...while my husband happily munched away on his serving of Rigatoni pasta.

Rigatoni pasta

There are times when Italian dishes can end up a bit too heavy, but these from Maria Pia were just right. There just isn't anything better than a plate of pasta that is flavorful bite after bite and leaves you perfectly content!

Whether you select from their full menu or opt for a Prix-Fixe lunch or dinner (they also have plenty of room at their full bar), be sure to put Maria Pia on your Places to Visit list for the next time you are in New York City. Although the prices might be a bit more than if you were to dine at a chain restaurant, the warm atmosphere and delicious offerings make it well worth it.

Not to mention that purchasing a Restaurant.com certificate easily lowers the bill to an even more reasonable and affordable amount!

For more information about Maria Pia, visit their website and connect with them on Facebook and Twitter. To find out about all of the money-saving options that Restaurant.com has to offer in your area (or in an area that you are planning to visit), head over to Restaurant.com as well as on Facebook and Twitter. Bon appetite!

As a member of the Restaurant.com Review Crew, I have been provided gift cards and compensation in order to facilitate my reviews. However, all thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.