Lifestyle * Travel * Food

Aug 22, 2017

We Are Officially Back-To-School

School is officially back in session around these parts. William is entering his third year of home education. He is well prepared for 4th grade and so far he has picked up where he left off. I admit I did not really push him super hard to do school work all summer long. We both really needed a break and now we're ready to get back to learning. 


I have to adjust my schedule a little bit to accommodate his lessons, especially after having three months off. I enjoyed my non-schedule all summer long. It's back to business and I will be sure to update with William's progress and share any resources I come across that can help others.

Are your kids back to school yet? Wishing all parents and students a fabulous 2017-18 school year. Thanks for stopping by today!
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Aug 20, 2017

Does O'Keeffe's Foot Cream Really Work?

Have you ever seen a commercial for a product that is marketed in such a way that you really want to try it out for yourself? I have seen the commercials and online ads for O'Keeffe's foot cream for a couple years now and I've been so curious about if it actually works. O'Keeffe's is supposed to be for extremely dry, cracked feet so I wanted to see if it would help these overworked tootsies since I am constantly on my feet. I am almost always barefoot or in flip-flops or sandals, so I finally decided to give it a shot. I ordered it on Amazon a couple weeks ago (after adding it to my wishlist 2 months prior) and have been using it daily for about 9 days now. 

It comes in a small jar and I was expecting a super thick cream, but it's not like that. It is a bright white color and does not feel greasy or heavy and is completely odorless. It absorbs quickly and you can walk barefoot or put on shoes right after applying without feeling like you're slipping or sliding. I noticed a difference in the appearance of my feet as well as the feel after the first use. Even my daughters tried it and noticed instant improvement. My husband gives me a foot rub every night and he's amazed at how soft my feet feel. 


The product makes like a barrier around your skin that keeps it from drying out and it holds the moisture all day long. I'm used to applying lotion or cream up to three times daily, but only use this once a day. I don't know what took me so long to try it, but I am glad I did! The bottoms of my feet feel like I go and get a pedicure every day. It's awesome and I really do recommend it to anyone. You can find it here for under $10 and for an even better deal, you can get both the healthy feet and working hands cream combo below. It works out to less than $15. If you have Amazon Prime, you can get FREE shipping.

Seriously, if your feet are in need of some real help, you have to give O'Keeffe's for Healthy Feet a try. This one goes on my top 5 beauty must-haves list. If you decide to try it out, let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by today! 

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Aug 19, 2017

Luster Premium White's Summer of Smiles Sweepstakes & Giveaway

I wanted to share the Luster Premium White's Summer of Smiles Sweepstakes & Giveaway with you all. It is currently running and goes through until September 30, 2017.

Here's a little info about Luster Premium White products:

Daily Teeth Whitening Maintenance
Luster believes teeth whitening should be more effective, use safer ingredients and not cause tooth sensitivity. So that's exactly the kind of products they've created. They have carefully sourced the best ingredients to make each product as safe and effective as possible. These daily maintenance products are exactly what you need to whiten then maintain your bright, white smile. All of their toothpastes contain Fluoride for everyday oral health, so you do not need to use a separate cleanser and whitener. Luster products are all-in one whitening and cleaning solutions.


Sweepstakes: Win up to $4,000 in prizes!! The Sweepstakes consist of 10 unique drawings to award one  prize in each drawing. Entry in the Sweepstakes does not constitute entry into any other promotion, contest or sweepstakes. Enter at www.lustersummersmiles.com.


How to enter:
  • Once on the site, you will be presented the Sweepstakes calendar of prizes.
  • Click on an unlocked prize(s) and complete the entry form with all required information which may include: your full name, complete home address, mobile telephone number, age, and valid email address
  • Complete your entry by agreeing to the Official Rules. Once you submit your entry you will receive one (1) entry into the unlocked prize Sweepstakes drawing. NO entry is carried forward to any remaining unlocked prize Sweepstakes drawing (if any remain). To enter all unlocked prize Sweepstakes you must visit the Sweepstakes site and register each time a prize is unlocked from the Sweepstakes calendar. 

Giveaway: Win an additional $500 in prizes! Upload a photo of yourself on Twitter or Instagram with any Luster product using the hashtag #LusterContest, and a caption of why you LOVE Luster!


How to enter:

  • You must submit an original photo of you smiling with a Luster product and in the caption telling the Judges “Why you LOVE Luster” along with the hashtag #LusterContest (“Eligible Entry”).
  • Your Eligible Photo and caption must comply with these Official Rules and may not contain any of the Prohibited Content set forth below.-Partial or incomplete/piecemeal submissions without the hashtag #LusterContest WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED AS CONTEST ENTRIES and shall not be eligible for any Prize.-All submitted photos will be reviewed by the Sponsor for compliance prior to being judged. 
  • Alternate Means of Entry: If you do not have access to the Luster product you may artistically draw a Luster product and in the caption telling the judges “Why you LOVE Luster” along with the hashtag #LusterContest and upload to your Instagram or Twitter social media account.
  • Entries will be automatically populated to the Luster’s Summer of Smiles landing page at www.lustersummersmiles.com. All entries will be reviewed by the Sponsor prior to the judging. 
  • Limit: You may enter one (1) unique photo as often as you like.  

Good luck! 

Disclosure: I was provided with product samples in exchange for sharing this special sweepstakes/giveaway. 
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Aug 15, 2017

Be Last-Minute Guest Ready With A Bestway Airbed

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Bestway and BraVoMark. All opinions are mine.

I am sure many of you have dealt with last-minute guests or pop-up trips that can stress you out. With the upcoming holiday season approaching in a few short months, many of you might be entertaining guests. Not everyone has an extra room for guests, but you don't want them to have to spend a fortune on a hotel either. One of the smartest items you can invest in is an airbed. It can be stored away in a closet while not in use and easily taken out at the last minute when needed. I'm not talking the $30 air mattress though. Remember that kind? We had one for years and it felt like you were sleeping on the floor because it would lose air throughout your slumber.

There is a great solution for keeping your air mattress inflated and comfortable at all times. The Fortech Queen Airbed with with an AlwayzAire Pump from Bestway is one of the best higher quality airbeds you can find. Here are some details:

What makes this airbed better than others? 

  • This queen size Fortech airbed measures 80in. x 60in. x 17in. (2.03m x 1.52m x 43cm). Includes built-in 110-120V- electric AlwayzAire pump (ETL approved) which continuously monitors and maintains air pressure. It inflates in just 150 seconds. 
  • It is made with strong puncture and scratch resistant material 
  • The pump has an easy, one click operation with 3 options for airbed firmness.
  • Once you choose your preferred firmness, the pump automatically engages to inflate bed silently as you sleep. 
  • Comes with a carrying back for travel and storage
  • It has raised edges to help prevent roll-offs
  • Great for indoor use, with canvas-feel fabric top, sides and bottom. 
  • Costs $139.00 plus tax. This is a small investment for something you will use for years to come.

Right now Bestway is having a big Facebook giveaway:


• Purchase an ALWAYZAIRE bed from Walmart.com or Walmart here 
• Take a photo of yourself using the bed or next to it. (Be fun and Wacky)
• Post your photo under the comment section of @BestwayUs Facebook page contest post to be entered to win a SaluSpa Miami (retailed at $369.99)
• Bestway will be picking 5 Winners September 15th

I want one of these airbeds especially since we travel often. I can see us bringing this along on our family road trips. It's perfect for if you have a larger living space where you can inflate it in no time. It will give you a sense of sleeping in the comfort of your own bed. Man, I wish we had this one years ago! Get all the details about the Bestway airbed here and be sure to enter their Facebook giveaway

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Aug 14, 2017

Summer Giveaway- Win $100 PayPal or Amazon

It's hard to believe that the summer is slowly coming to a close. We start school a little later this month and aren't ready quite yet. How about you? Are you and your kids fully prepared for back-to-school? I've teamed up with a group of amazing bloggers to bring you this last-minute summer giveaway. Just in time to put some extra cash in your pocket. Whether it's for school supplies, shoes, clothes, school fees or maybe to prepay on lunch accounts, I'm sure $100 can be a big help. Check the details below on how to enter and good luck! 


How to enter: There are 10 Instagram accounts. Follow one or all, but the more accounts you follow the more entries you’ll receive. If you’re already a follower of an account, claim that entry! This giveaway starts August 15 at midnight EST and ends August 31 at 11:59 PM EST. Entrants must be USA residents and at least 18 years old. One winner will be randomly selected from all qualifying entries and contacted via the email they provide. The email will come from joannegreco at gmail. The winner has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. The prize is $100 in Paypal or Amazon online gift card, winner’s choice.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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10 Common Phrases & What You Can Use Instead

I thought I'd share this because I found it interesting. Enjoy!
  10 Common Phrases & What You Can Use Instead (Infographic)
Source: www.grammarcheck.net
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Aug 13, 2017

Go Back To School With Mamma Chia (Giveaway)

It's officially back-to-school season and parents everywhere are scrambling around to get things in order for their families. Buying supplies, shoes, clothing, and backpacks are just the beginning. You have to think about making sure the kids (and YOU) have a nutritious breakfast each day so they can be ready for a full day of learning. Mornings can get really hectic and time seems to be non-existent.

One of the best things you can do to help ease the crazy mornings is to prepare in advance. Pick out a week's worth of outfits for the kids and have them hanging in the closet ready to go. Have the kids get their backpacks set out in a designated place along with their shoes so there's no last-minute searching. Involve the kids in making choices about lunchbox items. Eventually the kids will be old enough to do most things completely on their own (yay!)

Don't let being short on time take you away from eating in the morning. Mamma Chia makes a line of super nutritious foods and beverages that are all organic and convenient to grab and go. The Mamma Chia product line includes their Chia Squeeze pouches, granola, chia vitality and energy beverages, and of course chia seeds.

Chia seeds are very versatile and can be incorporated into salads, smoothies, and baked goods. They are filled with fiber, omega-3's, and protein. Chia seeds are a great way to sneak added nutrition into your everyday foods. Mamma Chia Granola Clusters is another delicious way to get your body fueled up for the day. You can enjoy it by the bowl with milk or yogurt, or plain as a snack. This is perfect for a lunch box or after school snack.


The Chia Squeeze Vitality Snack is a great solution for kids as a breakfast option. They are a blend of organic fruits and veggies along with chia. There's no added sugar, so that is a plus! These are perfect for the kids' lunch boxes and even for us moms.


My personal favorite is the organic vitality beverage. If chia seeds freak you out a bit, I recommend using a straw to drink this. It has such a great fruit flavor without being sweet. I like that it is lightly sweetened using organic agave nectar. This beverage is very satisfying and fills you up. It only contains 120 calories per bottle.


All Mamma Chia products are packed with those all important Omega-3's, fiber and are lower in calories when compared to many other "healthy" breakfast foods. I have found Mamma Chia items in most stores like Kroger, Whole Foods, Target, and Publix. You can even grab a coupon here while supplies last. Do you want to try Mamma Chia out for yourself? Enter our giveaway to win a prize pack filled with healthy and delicious Mamma Chia goodies.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
This giveaway is open to U.S. Residents only and will end on August 31, 2017. Please follow all rules in the Rafflecopter widget and be sure to use a valid email. One winner will be selected and contacted via email to claim prize. Please be aware that Mom Files is not responsible for any lost, stolen or damaged prizes. Good luck!

Disclosure: Products and giveaway provided by Mamma Chia. All opinions are my own as always.
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Aug 7, 2017

8 Housewarming Gift Ideas Under $20

*This post contains affiliate links


If you are trying to figure what to give someone who is getting a new apartment or house, it can be a challenge. You don't always know a person's specific taste, color schemes or overall style. I like giving and receiving practical gifts that people will actually use. I have put together a list of great ideas that all cost under $20.

1. A cast iron skillet- I say it all the time that every person needs one of these in their kitchen. It's versatile and can be used to saute, fry, broil or bake just about anything savory or sweet. You can even include of of these silicone handle covers

2. Kitchen towels and dish cloths- You can go with neutral colors or even holiday-themed designs depending on what time of year you buy them. Anyone can use kitchen towels and I feel like you can't ever have enough of them. 
3. A baking sheet- If you are buying for someone who bakes and cooks often, this is a must have! My favorite one that I have 2 of is the commercial baker's half sheet size. It's perfect for baking cookies, pastries, fish, chicken, and roasting veggies. I cover mine with foil and parchment for less clean-up. 

4. An automatic soap dispenser- It can be used in either a bathroom or kitchen and is touch-free. 

5. Stemless wine glasses- These are a no-brainer for your wine-loving friends. They come in different colors, shapes and sizes. 

6. Wine cork holder- I have one of these and love it! It serves as a cute decoration for any living or dining area. Since they are affordable, you can even grab an inexpensive bottle of wine to go with it. 

7. Glass storage containers- These are a better alternative to the plastic ones and can be used as storage for leftovers or even to take lunch to work or school. 
8. A cutting board set- I love having a few different sized cutting boards for cutting specific items by group. One for meats, one for veggies, and one for fruit. 

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Aug 4, 2017

South Carolina Is The Hot Spot For The 2017 Total Solar Eclipse

In a couple short weeks, school will resume around these parts. My middle girl will begin junior year at the University Of South Carolina, the husband will be in grad school working on his MBA, and the littlest one will start fourth grade in his third year being a home schooler. We are all so sad that the summer break is coming to an end. We are planning to have one last hurrah by having an Ismail Party of Five-Total Eclipse Party. Okay, okay, it's not as fancy as I'm making it sound. We will be here at the house waiting in anticipation of viewing the eclipse. It will be the perfect time for the five of us to hang out and witness what will be a historical event.

It turns out that Columbia, South Carolina is one of the top spots in the country where the view is slated to be at 100%! Our local news has estimated over 1 million people will make their way to our state to partake in seeing the eclipse. Hotels are sold out everywhere and they say traffic will be crazy all over. That's a great thing for South Carolina businesses, for sure. If you aren't sure if your area will be able to catch any of the action, you can check here by entering your zip code.

The most important thing we did to prepare for the eclipse was to first purchase eclipse safe glasses, which we did a month ago. Little William was listening to a news report in regards to viewing the eclipse safely and insisted we must have the proper eye-wear. Here are the ones we got. Lucky for us, they came in a pack of 5. Perfect for our family!
Since we purchased them early, they were very inexpensive. I have noticed a big rise in the cost all over. I guess people are recognizing how dangerous it can be to your eyes if you get too much exposure to the direct sun. Let's hope these glasses work because when you put them on, you can't see a thing! Of course William had to be the first to try them on. 


We are so excited to have the opportunity to view the total solar eclipse together. I hope that you live in an area so you can catch a glimpse, too. Now we will keep our fingers crossed that the weather will hold up! Will you be participating in this big event? 

*This post contains affiliate links. Any purchases made gives me a little pocket change. 
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Aug 2, 2017

Why We Are Loving Crate Space!

I think most any American family can agree on on thing: we all lead extra busy lives. With kids in school, work for adults, sports/activities, family time, and everything in between, time is a valuable commodity. Fitting shopping for groceries and household goods can be a big chore for many. I recently tried out a new service from Crate Space where you can purchase those everyday household items in an easy way.

What is Crate Space? It's an online service with one simple goal. Making buying the things you normally would much easier. You simply pick any 5 items and pay a fixed price of $29.99 with no shipping costs or membership fees. They offer 6 categories of products including: Household, Bath & Body, Cleaning, Skincare, Kids, and Health. Crate Space automatically lists the most commonly purchased items so you don't have to scroll through dozens of varieties of one basic thing. If you are the type to only shop for what you want specifically without having to search through a bunch of what you don't want, Crate Space is for you! No nonsense shopping is what they are about.

I ordered my first Crate Space package and here is what I got: 6-roll pack of Bounty paper towels, 12 double rolls of Charmin toilet paper, 160-count plastic drinking cups, 40-count box of Glad kitchen trash bags, and a bottle of Palmer's Shea Butter Lotion.
I was happy to see that the lotion was sealed to help prevent potential leakage. I also received a voucher for $5 off my next package. I am happy with all of my products because they are what I buy anyway. The fact that I didn't have to leave the house is a big bonus!

The actual ordering process is so fast and easy. I think not having so many choices of a particular product is a time saver. I can see this service being a monthly thing for my household. The shipping is not the fastest, but I am okay with it since I didn't pay a shipping fee. I love FREE shipping, all day, every day!


Shop Crate Space online and follow on Facebook and Instagram for updates. As a matter of fact, you can enter the code: MORESPACE for $5 off your first purchase. Try Crate Space out for yourself!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary code for a Crate Space box to try for myself. All opinions are my own as always. 
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Jul 28, 2017

4 Other Ways You Can Earn Money Out of Your Blog Outside of Ads

While displaying ads is one way of monetizing your blog, it isn’t always the best option for profit. Ads don’t guarantee a stable income because they rely on your blog readers to click on them, which they don’t always do.  If you’re trying to make more money off your blog, there are other options you should definitely consider. In this article, we will show you the different paths you can take to do so.



  • Sell Merchandise

Selling your very own product is another method to increase revenue coming from your blog. Before anything else, you have to decide on your first product. When you have decided and know who your market is, it is recommended to test the product with a pre-sale strategy. This allows you to gauge the potential of the product without putting you in financial risk.

Make sure that your merchandise in line with what your blog is all about. For example, if it is based around sharing recipes and cooking, selling kitchenware would be a great fit.


  • Sell Digital Products

Thanks to the advances in technology, digital products are now more convenient to make. If you are considered an expert in a certain field, writing about it and compiling it in an e-book is another way to gain income. It is likely that your loyal readers would want to know what else you have to say.

If your blog is about a topic where it would be easier for your readers to listen or watch (music and make-up tutorial blogs, for example) rather than read, you can also create audio and video content for you to sell.


  • Add Affiliate Links in Your Content

Utilizing affiliate marketing is another way to increase your blog’s passive income. You can do this by making your readers aware of outside products that would be relevant to them. When using this method, you earn a commission whenever you readers make a purchase from your links. When marketed correctly, this can be very lucrative. Usually, these links are combined with ads, but you can add them to your content such as product reviews as well.


  • Do Product Reviews or Partnerships

Another way to generate extra income via your blog is to review products relevant to your target audience. This method works hand in hand with affiliate marketing. Since in affiliate marketing, you are informing readers about products that aren’t your own, you can do reviews to show them the products of companies you are affiliated or have partnerships with.

When making the review, it is important that you be honest – even mentioning the negative points that product has. This will make you seem more authentic to your readers, encouraging them to trust you. Taking pictures of the product is also important as it shows your readers that you are actually using it.


Your blog can be a great source of income when set up correctly. Remember to always strive to connect with your readers as this makes them keep coming back. As lucrative as reviews and affiliate linking can be, it shouldn’t be the only content in you blog – no one wants to read a blog that only has that.

Informative, compelling, and creative posts are what will keep your readers glued. That, combined with what was taught here, is a good way to make money out of your blog without ads.
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Jul 27, 2017

SCE&G’s “The Peanut Gang” Celebrates 25 Years of Service at Camp Happy Days’ Annual Summer Camp


Earlier this month, “The Peanut Gang”, a group of South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G) employees and retirees celebrated 25 years at Camp Happy Days’ annual summer camp in Summerton, South Carolina by serving over 275 children their signature peanuts.

From July 2 – July 8, South Carolina children battling cancer and their siblings attended Camp Happy Days’ summer camp at Camp Bob Cooper. The entire week was filled with new and exciting adventures that allowed campers to escape the trials of battling cancer for a week and simply be a kid.

On Wednesday, July 5, campers and counselors got a special visit from SCE&G’s very own "The Peanut Gang." The group served five bushels of boiled peanuts and cold soft drinks to more than 275 children.

“Camp wouldn’t be the same without a visit from The Peanut Gang," explains Cindy Johnson, Director of Camp Happy Days. "They add something a little extra special for the kids during the week, and we couldn't be more grateful for their continued support." The group has also raised over $31,000 for Camp Happy Days this year.

The group of SCE&G employees and retirees first brought their peanuts to Camp Happy Days’ summer camp in 1994. “Seeing how much good camp does for these kids and the smiles on their faces is what keeps us coming back,” explains Bill Ellis, member of The Peanut Gang. “They have an absolute blast, and it makes us all feel good to be able to do something for these kids and Camp Happy Days.”

For more information about Camp Happy Days, please visit CampHappyDays.com or find them on Facebook at Facebook.com/CampHappyDays.
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Jul 26, 2017

TurfMutt’s Tips For A Pet-Friendly Family Yard


1. Consider your pet’s needs.
Dogs love being in your family yard. Most pets need a place to romp and exercise, relax in the shade for an afternoon nap and take bathroom breaks. Your yard should have a fence to keep your dog safely secured.

2. Look for “dog-proof” ground coverings.
Grass is one of the best options for your yard because it can handle the wear and tear that comes with pets and children. Bermuda and buffalo grass are especially hardy. Check your climate zone to select the best option for your area.

3. Avoid plastic grass.
Plastic grass, also known as artificial turf, gets too hot for humans and pets, especially in summer months. A Brigham Young University study revealed that synthetic-turf surface temperatures were 37° higher than asphalt and 86° hotter than natural turf. That’s too hot for pet’s paws and our bare feet to enjoy the outdoors!

4. Select plants for your climate zone and your pet.
Be sure to check the ASPCA’s list of toxic and non-toxic garden plants before choosing flora and fauna. For areas near garden paths, select plants that have soft foliage, but are still sturdy enough to withstand a little canine “ruff-housing.” Save delicate flowering plants for patio containers when dogs are in the picture.

5. Plant for pollinators for other wildlife.
Fido isn’t the only one who uses your family yard. Keep pollinators (bees, butterflies and hummingbirds) and other wildlife in mind when selecting climate-appropriate plants, trees and shrubs. Remember, nature starts in your backyard!
To learn more about how the family yard benefits people and pets and for more tips on taking care of your living landscapes, visit www.livinglandscapesmatter.com.

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