Lifestyle * Travel * Food

May 26, 2016

Graduation Gifts Ideas for the Super Hero in Your Family

Today's conversation is sponsored by Cross & Marvel. All opinions are my own.

It's college graduation season and we have so many graduates in our family this year. We have several cousins graduating from all over the country. We also have two very important soon-to-be graduates living under my roof. Both my older daughter and my husband will graduate from college this year. As a matter of fact, their ceremonies are three days apart! Aside from all of the planning that goes into any type of celebration, figuring out what to gift your favorite graduate can be a difficult task. There are so many very typical gifts you can give, but I believe in giving something thoughtful and memorable.

I recall more than 20 years ago when I first became a mother, an old friend of mine purchased a Cross pen as a gift for Mother's Day. It's not necessarily a gift you might expect for that occasion, but it really meant a lot and reminded me of the fact that I was a brand new mom. It came in a blue leather case and the pen had sea shells etched on its shaft. To this day, I still have that pen. I've purchased ink refills over the years and it has always been a special keepsake for me.

This story gets me to thinking about my daughter and husband, and their upcoming celebrations. They have both worked so hard in college to earn their degrees and I want to honor them with a timeless gift. Cross has come out with its Marvel Super Hero Special Edition Collection line of writing instruments, so you can mark epic moments with larger-than-life writing instruments featuring Captain America, Spider-Man and Iron Man. These striking collectibles are designed to inspire Marvel fans of all sizes.

In the Cross Century® II Marvel Collection, heroic design meets legendary performance in three stunning luxury collectibles. Also, the Cross Tech2™ Marvel Multifunction Collection features dual-powered pens that flip to transform from a pen to stylus in a flash. And last, but certainly not least, there's the Cross Classic Century® Collection. Perhaps the most well-known pen, the Cross Classic Century® is an icon of American design and innovation.

Each of these pens offers the superior quality you expect from the Cross brand. How cool would it be to gift your real-life super hero with such a unique item? Think of all the documents they will have to sign as they go out into the world looking for new opportunities and ventures. The Marvel Super Hero Special Edition Collection pens let your loved one channel some of the most popular super heroes: Spider-Man, Iron Man and Captain America.

Check out the the Cross Tech2™ Marvel  Multifunction Pen in the Captain America design:

This pen is absolutely perfect for your college graduate. It has a beautiful finish and writes like a dream. The stylus is a plus since we are living in a touchscreen world. It is compatible with most touchscreens so your graduate can go from writing on paper and switching over to their smartphone or tablet in an instant.

This pen comes in a Marvel themed gift box and has a lifetime mechanical guarantee. My husband was all smiles when he was gifted this pen. My personal Super Hero deserves this amazing pen!

You can't go wrong with the specially formulated Cross ink that flows flawlessly for a superior writing experience. This pen includes one black medium ballpoint tip and retails for $45.

Another favorite is the Cross Classic Century® Medalist ballpoint pen. This exquisite writing instrument captures the classic style of Cross pens. The two-tone finish adds such elegance and sophistication. This is a pen that you will keep for a lifetime. It writes so smooth and you can refill the ink in your choice of color or point. I can see my daughter signing big contracts with this beauty.

The Classic Century® Medalist is a classic that offers the patented twist-action barrel as well as a lifetime mechanical guarantee. It comes in a premium gift box ready for gifting to that special person. Any college grad would love this piece. It retails for $65.

Any of these fine writing instruments would make an outstanding gift for your favorite super hero—your college graduate. You can find the pens at Cross.com. Do you have a future college graduate in your life? If so, which pen would you love to gift them?
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May 25, 2016

How To Make Downsizing Easier

Downsizing is necessary for a number of reasons; whether you’re making the switch to a smaller place due to money issues, a desire for simplified living, or moving to a new city, moving your family into a home with a much smaller amount of square footage isn’t always the easiest of tasks. Make the transition easier on you and your kids by following these downsizing guidelines.

Finding a New Place

When you’re hunting for a new place, especially if you’re going to be renting, make sure you don’t jump on an apartment just because its square footage is smaller. Make sure the limited space is designed well and conducive to your living habits, especially if you have children. Often downsizing is due to money limitations, but signing your name on the lease simply because it fits into your price range is not advisable, especially if you want to make downsizing as painless as possible. Use listing sites like LiveLovely.com that allow you to input various filters so you can narrow down your choices. Don’t let desperation to find a home let you speed through the process; view multiple homes, and don’t land yourself in a terrible landlord situation (or fall for scams) just because you’re anxious to move—if something feels off, it probably is. Something to keep in mind during this process: if a landlord asks for sensitive information, always request he or she use a service like MySmartMove to ensure your SSN and bank info doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, and make sure you have enough money in a savings account to cover the rent for the first few months.

Perform an Inventory

It’s going to be an extensive and time-consuming process, but the first thing you need to do is take a detailed inventory of everything in your current home. Go through the new apartment or house you’ve found and take exact measurements of the floor and wall space. Compare it to the dimensions of your current home, and determine how much you’ll need to get rid of. You need to have a comprehensive understanding of all of your belongings, and determine the things that will be coming with you to your new, smaller space, and the things you can leave behind (by selling, donating, or throwing away). Make three different lists: one of the things you can get rid of, the things you can hypothetically live without, and the things that must come along with you. The things you decide you can get rid of can be sold in a garage sale, donated to a worthy cause, or find their way into a local dumpster. You’ll want to refine these lists a few times; it’s simply amazing how much of an emotional attachment we can have to physical items, but simplifying your life means getting rid of items we might have previously thought were absolute necessities. Look at your list of must-haves again and again, and see if the essentials are actually necessary for your life and your new space.

When it Comes to Selling

If you do decide to sell off the belongings you decide you don’t need, you will find yourself with an excess of cold hard cash that you wouldn’t have had otherwise, especially important if your downsize efforts are due to monetary concerns. You can decide to host a good old-fashioned garage sale, post your items on a common website like Craigslist, or use eBay to get rid of the things you no longer need. If you’re looking to sell designer items, use a site like Tradesy, where you can find buyers willing to spend quite a bit on any designer pieces that are still in great condition.

Make Smart Storage Choices

When it comes to working with limited space, organization is your best friend. Before moving in your new space, nail down which storage solutions you’ll take advantage of. Use vertical storage options to take up the least amount of floor space possible, purchase furniture with hidden storage containers, and utilize space under the bed and behind other furniture pieces to keep your belongings sorted. Stick with decorations that incorporate clean lines to avoid the appearance of clutter, and intersperse sentimental items sparingly throughout the house to incorporate personality without causing decorative chaos.
If you’re facing a downsizing transition, make it easier on yourself and your family by incorporating these tips into your moving process and learn how to live with less—it will change your life in a more positive way than you could have ever imagined.

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May 24, 2016

$100 Amazon GC Giveaway

If you're an Instagrammer, you should stop by and enter this fun giveaway for a chance to win a $100 Amazon GC. You've got to be in it to win it! Enter here and good luck. Details below....

10 awesome Instagrammers have teamed up to give one lucky follower a $100 Amazon GC! 👍🏽👍🏽Here's how to enter: Follow me -----> @Momfiles and comment on this photo for one entry. Go to -----> @thedenverhousewife to repeat these steps for another entry. Repeat at all ten Instagrammers = 10 entries for you! Details: Instagram Loop Giveaway starts 5/23 at 7:00 PM EST and ends 5/30 at 7:00 PM EST. Your profile must be set to public during the giveaway. USA, 18+ . One winner will be randomly selected from all qualifying entries. The winner will be notified and announced on Instagram after the giveaway has ended. The winner has 48 hours to respond and provide their email address for prize delivery or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by or associated with Instagram. #loopgiveaway #giveaway #win #entertowin #instalike #instagood #instawin #instagiveaway #contestalert #loop #giveawayloop
A photo posted by Shelly 🇬🇾💞 (@momfiles) on
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Father's Day Gift Giving With Jord Watches

As we near the end of May, I'm reminded that June is the kick-off to summer and more importantly, Father's Day. My husband has been a father for over 2 decades and we make certain that he is celebrated to the fullest. This year we wanted to give him an extra special gift to show our appreciation for all of his hard work providing for our family, and for always being there for our children in any and every way he can. His dedication to our children is above and beyond what I've seen from many fathers in this time. One item I know he would love is a new watch. He is one of those men who must have a watch on his wrist at all times. I browsed watches online and came across some very unique ones from Wood Watches by Jord. Their watch bands are made out of wood, giving them a different look and feel.


I presented my husband with his early Father's Day gift and it brought a look of surprise to his face.


I'm pretty sure he said, "WOW" at least a dozen times. His first thoughts after getting over saying wow was that the watch was very different. He said that the wood finish was very nice and something that would be noticed. This was the first time either of us has seen a watch like this so there was a lot of admiring, and oohing and aweing going on. The little boy in him loved the see-through face that lets you see the mechanisms inside move. He was like a big kid! I admit, I was completely obsessed with it too!



This wood watch is packaged beautifully and is ready for gifting. His Jord Watch came in a wooden box that is perfect for storing, along with a cloth for keeping the watch face clean. Seriously, isn't it beautiful?


This particular style is from the Dover Series in Ebony & Redwood. The colors are so rich and go well with either dressed up attire or dressed down. I know my husband though, he will only want to wear this one with his suits dress outfits.

These wood watches from Jord are an exquisite choice for Father's Day gift giving. The prices and selection ranges to suit your budget and taste. The ordering process is so simple and they have a handy printable sizing guide to ensure you order the correct size. The actual shipping is super fast so there is plenty of time left to get that perfect gift. 

Follow Jord on social media- Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest & Twitter. You should take a look around their site. I love all of the beautiful styles and color options. I am totally eyeing one for myself! 

Jord Watches provided me with a product sample, but all opinions are my own as always. 
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May 18, 2016

13 Reasons Why Home School Works For Us

We are wrapping up our first (almost) full year of virtual (home) school with William. I have to say, if you have ever questioned if you should do it for your child, you should give it a shot. It has been the best decision we could have made and plan to continue all the way through high school. I got to thinking about how much we don't miss public school. Even William shudders at the thought of ever going back. I came up with a list of reasons why our choice to home school works best for us.


  1. No being on PTO or PTA. No meetings, no stress about school activities, and no planning school activities or fundraisers. Yes, NO FUNDRAISERS! 
  2. No volunteering. Although I really enjoyed it, sometimes you become the default parent who ends up helping with EVERYthing. This leads to a severe case of burnout. 
  3. Your kid doesn't get invited to 29,452 birthday parties. That's money saved. 
  4. No car pick-up/drop-off line. I have been able to get back a good hour+ into my life each day. It also saved on gas from sitting in the cold with the heater on or the heat with the AC on. Again, money saved. 
  5. We have recess any time we want and as often we would like. P.E. is not longer a once or twice a week activity. It's daily. 
  6. No dress code. We can do school in pajamas or anything for that matter. 
  7. No outside influences. 
  8. Freedom to go on field trips or travel any time we want. School can be done anywhere as long as we have a wifi connection. 
  9. No distractions! This is a big one for us. William could easily slip away into dreamland if he gets bored. Being at home allows me to bring him back to focus easily. 
  10. No stress. This has been the most stress-free school year we have ever had. William is having a positive school experience that goes according to his learning style and pace. 
  11. I get to know all of the details of assignments. Being hands-on allows me as his teacher/learning coach to really understand what he needs to learn. This makes it easier for me to teach lessons and for him to really learn and retain information. 
  12. Time. Having time is priceless. We can do our work on our own time. This makes life easier when it comes to scheduling doctor or dental appointments or travel planning. 
  13. William has become very social! Yes, a child who learns from home can be extremely social. If you give him the time of day, he will chat you up for hours. 
William got to meet and chat with our county Sheriff, Leon Lott. Sheriff Lott was quite impressed with William's ability to speak confidently. 
Honestly, I could go on even more about how great homeschooling is for us. I never thought it was something I would be capable of doing for my child, but here I am! William will finish second grade with straight A's. This makes us know we are doing the right thing that is working for him. He is having a great school experience and has a thirst for learning. His favorite subjects are math and social studies. He is a history geek. We plan to do some enrichment activities over the summer to get him prepared for third grade. Thanks for reading and feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions. 
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May 9, 2016

$100 Walmart Gift Card Giveaway

Hello, everyone! I hope you had a great Mother's Day weekend. I am so excited to share the latest giveaway that is co-hosted by me along with 8 other fabulous bloggers. You can enter for the chance to win a $100 Walmart gift card. Think about how much you can do with this prize. Maybe you want to spruce up your garden, bathroom or kitchen? Perhaps simply stock up on groceries and household items. Think of all the fun possibilities! Enter below and good luck! 

Leave me a comment telling me how you would spend the Walmart gift card if you are the lucky winner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
This giveaway starts May 10 at 12:00 AM EST and ends May 23 at 11:59 PM EST. USA, 18+. One winner will be randomly selected from all qualifying entries and contacted via the email they provide. The winner has 48 hours to respond. The winner will be announced after they have responded.
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May 2, 2016

What Rocco Thinks About The New TRU harvest® Treats For Dogs At Walmart

Sponsored post by Lunchbox. All opinions are my own.

If you are a dog parent, I'm sure your pup loves his/her treats. Our fur baby, Rocco, is very important to us and we give him the best we can. When it comes to treats, we go with healthier varieties that benefit him and not his waistline. There is a new premium line of treats available at Walmart called TRU harvest® with Ancient Grains. The Ancient Grains include: Barley, Spelt, and Quinoa. 

They come in varieties like:
  • Chewy Bars Chicken, Cheese, & Tomato Flavor
  • Wavy Strips Turkey & Pumpkin Flavor
  • Chewy Bars Turkey & Cranberry Flavor
  • Wavy Strips Turkey & Pumpkin Flavor

Sounds really healthy, but would a dog actually want to eat that? We tore open a bag of the Chewy Bars with turkey spelt, and quinoa. Rocco was very curious and snatched the Chewy bar out of my son's fingers and ran away to the other side of the yard to enjoy his treat. He didn't want anyone to get in the way of him and his delicious snack! He ran back over for more with those big puppy dog eyes. 


I always share treats with my neighbors' dogs and tossed over a couple of the Wavy Strips their way. Duke and Sherlock gobbled them up and look at what they did afterwards. Ha! They sat perfectly still in hopes of getting just one more. Of course, I indulged them. The loved their treats and since sharing with them, they take naps close to the fence on my side of the yard. You know, just in case I walk out with the treat bag. 

Look at Duke's tongue! 

The great benefits of TRU harvest® dog treats are:
  • These treats are made with Ancient Grains: Barley, Spelt, and Quinoa. Ancient grains are naturally low in fat and contain more nutrients than common grains.
  • The very first ingredient is REAL meat.
  • Treats contain NO corn, soy, wheat, artificial colors, artificial flavors or poultry by-products.
  • Each treat has either chicken or turkey as the primary meat source with a mixture of real fruits and vegetables, such as tomato, cranberry, sweet potato, pumpkin, and or carrot.
  • Wholesome goodness found in ancient grains that have been unchanged for millennia with a good source of lean protein as well.
  • Product is simply made.

You can feel good about feeding your dog TRU harvest® dog treats. You should let your dog try them out with this $1.00 off coupon from Walmart. My pup loves them so much and I'm glad we found a treat that is better for him. If you get these for your dog, let me know what he/she thinks, although I'm sure I already know the answer. Have a great week! 

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