Lifestyle * Travel * Food

Nov 28, 2017

The Best DIY Gift From Black+Decker

It’s the most wonderful time of year!

Still looking for the right gift for the special people in your life?
As your “to-buy” list grows each year, sometimes you have to think outside the box. It’s important to give meaningful, yet useful gifts. If you’re like me, practical is often the way to go.

Black + Decker’s GoPak 4-Tool Combo Kit contains all the tools needed for small DIY projects around the house or fun projects with wood. You can't get more practical than tools!

This cordless tool set contains a drill/driver, detail sander, jigsaw, LED work light and GoPak battery to charge all of your tools. You can even charge mobile devices, so if you’re working outside and need to charge up your phone, this is perfect. While these cordless tools are not made for professional projects, they have just enough power to tackle those small tasks or DIY projects effectively.

My husband was thrilled to receive this GoPak. The timing couldn’t be more perfect! We’ve been doing some work on our back deck, and he was able to do the finishing touches with these tools. He used the sander to smooth out the handrails and the drill to install new solar lights so we can see at night. The sander was his favorite tool. Because it’s not as loud as an electric sander, our dog didn’t go ballistic when he heard it. The best part is that all of these tools are cordless, so no more dragging around those heavy extension cords. He plans to purchase an additional battery pack so that he always has an extra charged and ready to go. This means my 'honey-do' list will be growing every weekend.

The GoPak is ideal for the crafter in your life. Those who love doing small projects with wood will make good use of it. Whether it’s making wall art, or a side table made from a pallet, the possibilities are endless. As a matter of fact, this set is excellent for new homeowners, or as a housewarming gift for a first apartment.

Here is an overview of the features and benefits:

Battery: 2-in-1 GoPak Battery powers your tools and charges your mobile devices
Battery: 2.4 Ah USB output provides fast rate charging to phones, tablets and other USB devices
Battery: 4 LED lights provide battery state of charge
Battery: Compact lightweight design for on-the-go portability
Drill: 11-position clutch on Drill/Driver prevents stripping of screws and damaging materials
Drill: LED work light on Drill/Driver illuminates work surface
Jigsaw: Tool free blade release on Jig Saw for quick and easy blade changes
Jigsaw: Built in blade storage on Jig Saw for convenience
Sander: 3.5 in. triangle platen on sander to access corners and tight spaces
LED Light: 90-degree rotating head on LED Flashlight to access hard to reach angles

Where to buy: Lowes, Walmart, and Amazon. The regular price is $99, but is currently available at a reduced price of only $79+ tax. Not a bad deal for this 4-piece cordless tool set. Black + Decker has been a trusted brand in our household for many years. We are very pleased with our GoPak kit, and look forward to many years of use.

For more information about the Black+Decker GoPak 4-Tool Combo Kit, visit their website, and be sure to follow on their social accounts (Facebook, IG, & Twitter) for product updates and promotions.
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How To Throw An Amazing Kids Birthday Party

Even if your little ones are usually total angels, if their birthday party doesn’t go to plan you soon could have some tiny devils on your hands. Planning the perfect birthday party for your child can soon turn into an incredibly stressful event. Not only do you have to keep your children’s requests in mind, but also organizing entertainers, catering and gifts can soon turn into an expensive and stressful exercise. With so much to order, it’s no wonder that Moms feel overwhelmed before they’ve even picked up the phone. However, there’s no reason why you can’t have some fun too! Check out these tips to throw an amazing kids birthday party.
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Be sure to get your party invites out several weeks before your child’s birthday – kids have a hectic social schedule too! Kids are easy to please and will be happy with either a large party or a small gathering of just family and close friends. You could also consider hiring a party planner to help design and issue invites if time is a little tight.

This is where the fun truly starts, plus it encourages you and your kids to work together to deliver a memorable and magical birthday theme. From aliens to cowboys and Indians, or princesses and mermaids, make sure that you discuss any potential themes with the birthday boy or girl first. If you are on a tight budget, then why not get your kids involved in making homemade decorations and props to turn your living room into the surface of the moon or the bottom of the ocean? Check out your local dollar store and charity stores to pick up props and arts and crafts materials that won’t break the bank.
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Fun Food
When it comes to catering for your child’s birthday, keep it simple and colorful. Try chips and dips with some vegetable crudités. You could also create some mini hot dogs or hamburgers with homemade sides, to cut down on salt and sugar. Kids aren’t fussy when it comes to food. Just make sure that you don’t put out too much candy if you want to keep the day under control!

Remember that any entertainment has to match your theme. From a home screening of their favorite movie to getting a professional entertainer to visit your home, the entertainment can be as lavish or extravagant as your budget. Party games cost nothing and are a great way to tire out energetic little people.

Remembering a special day
The candles and cake are long gone, so how do you remember your child’s special day? Consider using a birthday collage maker to turn all those happy memories into a work of art. This is a great way to keep the day alive for many years to come.

Once you’ve planned the day, sent out the invites, sorted your theme and arranged the food make sure that you enjoy the party too! No one likes a stressed host, so be sure to remain calm and relaxed and enjoy the birthday mood.
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Nov 27, 2017

How To Create A Cozy Atmosphere During The Holiday Season

Oh man, there is quite a nip in the air as we inch closer to the holidays. Everywhere you go has glittery, festive decor hanging from every corner. There's a whole lot of hustle and bustle going on as the streets are cluttered with travelers, and holiday shoppers. As much as we love the holiday season, we also love being home away from it all. We love making our home feel warm and inviting, especially during this time of year.

DIY Network host and Pine Mountain spokesperson Jason Cameron, has put together a go-to checklist for parents.   

Some of Jason’s tips include:

  • Make a festive snack – Everyone loves making sugar cookies and gingerbread, but the best part is eating your creations! While snacking on cookies, wash it down with some hot chocolate or warm apple cider.
  • Light a fire – A fire is a great way to create a sense of warmth and bonding. Using a firelog such as the American Home™ by Yankee Candle® Balsam Fir Firelog is a great way to make your home smell of pine and eliminates the need to cut firewood.
  • Watch a holiday movie – From Frosty the Snowman to Elf, we all have a favorite holiday movie. These movies provide a sense of nostalgia for adults, and offer hours of entertainment for kids.
  • Decorate your home – Setting up holiday decorations in your home is a tradition that many families across the country have. Play some light music in the background and chat about your favorite holiday memories to make the activity more festive. 

Our home is fully decked out for Christmas, and our fireplace is ready for those cold evenings. We keep a stock of regular firewood on hand every year, but also love keeping a few firelogs that are ready to go with no fuss. The American Home™ by Yankee Candle® Balsam Fir Firelogs are our favorite! They smell like a freshly cut Christmas tree before you light them. That alone makes our home have that festive fragrance. 

They have a 3-hour burn time and easy lighting. All you do is place the log with the wrapper intact on your fireplace grate. Then you light the tops of the paper where the arrows are printed. Once the paper burns off, the log takes around 10 minutes to fully take off burning. 
From there, you can enjoy the radiant light and gentle warmth of a lovely fire. It burns cleaner than ordinary cordwood, producing up to 75% less particulate matter and up to 80% less carbon monoxide. It is so pleasing to have a fire that took little effort to start. No poking or adjusting logs is necessary with an American Home balsam fir firelog. My husband loves that part since he accuses me of messing with the fire way too much. Ha! 

If you have a wood-burning fireplace, you definitely need to pick up a case of American Home by Yankee Candle Balsam Fir Firelogs. They are sold at Home Depot, Walmart, Kroger, Amazon, True Value, Walgreens, and ACE Hardware stores. They are so nice to have available for if you are expecting guests over. It really makes your home feel super cozy. 

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Nov 22, 2017

What to Do if Your Furnace Short-Cycles

You most likely already need to use your furnace, at least occasionally. Hopefully, you performed the annual furnace maintenance. This kind of maintenance is very important for proper functioning of the heating system throughout the heating season.

Your furnace was dormant for the better part of the year, so it definitely needs some attention prior to everyday use to prevent breakdowns. If, however, you do experience problems with your furnace, you need to act quickly. You don’t want to be left without heating when proper winter sets in. Contact a professional and experienced heating service like One of the most common problems with furnaces is short-cycling. So, what is short-cycling and how do you recognize it?


Chances are you have heard about this problem associated with air conditioning units, but it can just as easily happen to the heating systems and for the same reason. Namely, short-cycling happens when your furnace starts and stops too quickly and too often.

There are several possible reasons why this could happen. In most cases, you should able to identify the problem, but fixing it is probably out of your hands, and you will probably need professional help.

Your Furnace Is Oversized 

This problem should be evident from the first time you turn on our new furnace. You may think that bigger is always better, but it doesn’t really apply to furnaces. You don’t want the biggest thing on the market, you want something appropriately sized for your home. If you have miscalculated and gotten a furnace which is too powerful for your home, the result is short-cycling.

Essentially, your furnace is too effective at heating your home. However, that comes with a drawback. It means that your furnace will not be as economical doing it. It will expend too much energy in a short time, then stay inactive for a period, and then repeat that process. A more economical setup is an appropriately sized furnace which will work continuously. Not only will it be more economical, but it will also help with reducing the wear and tear, so your furnace will serve you longer and it will be less likely to break down.

Overheating Issues

Another reason why your furnace keeps turning on and off so frequently may be due to overheating. Your furnace may be shutting down automatically to prevent any more severe damage. One of the biggest concerns with this issue is carbon monoxide leaking into your home. Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, so the only way to figure out whether it is in your environment is to have a carbon monoxide detector close to your furnace.

The main cause of overheating is the restricted airflow, whether it is a dirty air filter or a blockage in the vents. This will trap very hot air near your furnace and cause some physical damage to your heat exchanger, leading to the problems listed above.

Thermostat Issues

Maybe your furnace is not to blame, maybe it is getting confusing inputs from your thermostat. The thermostat tells the furnace when to start and how hot it should run, so if the problem lies in the thermostat, your furnace can experience a whole range of problems, including short-cycling.

You can test this by setting your thermostat to different temperatures and monitor the changes. However, ultimately, you will need a skilled professional to come and take a look at the problem.

Short-cycling is not only a nuisance, it could be an indication of much more serious problems, which is why you should treat it seriously and consult your heating technicians as soon as you determine that there is a problem.

To contact Action Air Conditioning & Heating of San Diego
4455 Murphy Canyon Rd Suite 100–5,
San Diego, CA 92123, USA
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Nov 20, 2017

Be Prepared For Those Holiday Germs + $25 Visa GC Prize Pack Giveaway

This post has been sponsored by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare. All thoughts and reviews are my own.

The holiday season is officially here! Many of us are busy shopping, and getting our homes prepared for entertaining. It's a hectic time of year, that's for sure. It's also that dreaded time of year again-- cold and flu season. It seems like your child can go from being perfectly healthy and energetic, to feverish and sniffling in a matter of minutes. I have seen this happen way too often over the years, and have learned to do all I can to prepare for those moments.

We always keep some cold and flu supplies on hand year 'round. To help relieve some of those symptoms, we include these items in our cold & flu survival kit:
  • Digital thermometer
  • Extra toothbrushes so you can toss the old one out 
  • Vaporizer  
  • mentholated rub, clean washcloths, flexible ice packs stored in freezer 
  • books and movies for entertaining your sick little one
  • a washable plush toy and blanket 
  • paper drinking cups that are disposable so germs don't hang around 
  • extra tissue boxes around the house
  • A variety of children's *medications including: Children's Advil, Children’s Robitussin DM Day/Night Pack, and Children's Dimetapp. *Remember to follow instructions on packaging for correct dosage. 

Children's Advil Suspension does the trick when this little guy gets a fever, or feels a bit achy. It's good for kids as young as 2 and up to 11. Children’s Advil comes in several great-tasting flavors, including: Sugar-free Dye-free Berry, Bubble Gum, Grape, Blue Raspberry, Fruit and Dye-Free White Grape flavors.

It's virtually impossible to keep our kids away from germs, especially during the holiday season, but they can get some relief with Pfizer Pediatric medications. You can visit the Sick just got real™ site for cold and flu relief tips, as well as product information and money-saving coupons. You can even use their helpful "Sick Sense Relief Finder" to search your child's age, and specific symptoms to find out which medication they need.
One lucky Mom Files reader will win a prize pack including: a $25 virtual Visa gift card and (1) Children's Advil® Suspension (various flavor), (1) Children’s Robitussin ® DM Day/Night Pack and (1) Children’s Dimetapp® Cold & Cough. Enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
This giveaway is open to U.S. Residents only and ends on November 302017. Must follow rules in Rafflecopter. One winner will be chosen randomly. Mom Files is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes. Good luck!
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Bedding Styles for Winter 2017

Sleeping well is one of the most important and influential factors in our lives. From well-aired, pleasant sleeping room, to a comfortable, spacious bed, super comfortable, anatomical mattress and pillow, all these elements play an important part when it comes to our sleep quality. You can learn more about that here

Of course, don’t forget the bedding, which should be made of good material, but also well designed. If you’ve seen to the health and comfort aspects, you’ll probably want to pay some attention to aesthetics and make sure your bedding in is in line both with the rest of your interior design, but also with the latest trends. After all, knowing everything is perfectly matched will probably help you sleep tight. Here are a few suggestions for this season, so hopefully, some of them might fit in with your current style. Or if you’re reinventing your bedroom experience completely, they might inspire you and give you ideas for other parts of your home.

All White

This is an ever-green classic, no way you can make a mistake with this. Whether the bedding is just another element in the all-white room, or just set as a contrast to the environment, it will look good anyway. In the first place, it invokes peacefulness and cleanliness, what’s cozier than falling asleep in white, clean, soft, fresh-smelling sheets?

In case we’re talking about all-white surroundings, make sure to use different nuances of white, different patterns, textures and materials to prevent a too sterile, hospital-like appearance.

In case white bedding is used as contrast, it’s really difficult to make a mistake there. For instance, you can try using the monochromatic palette to get a classic aesthetic. One thing is sure, it will bring lightness and vivacity into your bedroom and will fit in well into both modern and more vintage designs.

Ordered Chaos

If you’re more into eclectic style, you’re probably more than happy with this year’s fashion trends which suggest mixing and matching patterns, and which applicable not only when it comes to clothes, but also when it comes to bedding.

If this is your thing, you’re probably already a master in mixing patterns, however, you’re planning your first design experiment in this direction, here are some basic rules. First of all, do not mix more than three patterns, everything more than that is simply considered too much and can hardly look good.

Next, follow the golden ratio of 60/30/10, meaning you choose one dominant pattern which should cover 60 percent of the surface, for instance, you can use it for the quilt, then the second one which should take up around 30 percent, and finally, the third, boldest option for the remaining 10 percent, which you can use for throw cushions and similar details. Be sure to avoid repetitiveness by choosing patterns that vary in scale and type.

Also, make sure to incorporate this explosion of patterns and colors into a monochrome environment. A consistent color palette in the patterns can also help match them more smoothly. 

Clean Lines

A clean contemporary style is another trend that came back both in fashion and interior design. It can be seen in sleek lines of duvets and covers. It might seem like a completely opposite of the above mentioned pattern mixing, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be.

Main traits of contemporary style are sharp edges and high contrasts, but also using geometric patterns. So the major difference between the two styles lies in visual lines they create. In order to follow contemporary style, choose bedding that features solid color or sharply defined shapes with clear edges. 

What’s more, this trend might work best if your furniture is of similar design with similar angles, so you can have these lines somehow echo through the interior.

Hopefully, at least one of these styles can at least give you direction what to try and explore to bring a new life into your bedroom, and definitely into your life as well.

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Four Reasons Teaching Can Be A Great Career Change For Moms

If you're a mom who has chosen to stay at home with the kids during the early years, it can be quite tempting to consider retraining so you can have a new and better career once you do return to work.

The availability of online degrees that can allow you to study from home, full or part time, has made it very easy for moms who want to find a new career path to get qualified while they're at home with the family, but what career should you choose? With anything from accounting or an MBA, nursing or hospitality management available from online colleges like the University of Cincinnati, you really do have a wealth of options.

Here, we take a look at why a really good choice can be getting an online masters in education and becoming a teacher:

Match Schedules with Your Kids

In most jobs, it can be hard to find a good time to do things like take vacations as a family, as getting time off work during school vacations can be something of a battle – everyone wants it!

However, as a teacher, your schedule both on a day to day basis and when it comes to vacations will be fairly similar to your school age kids, making arranging family time much easier.

Learn to Teach Your Own Kids in New and Interesting Ways

Not all learning happens in the school environment, and as a parent you are sure to want to be able to teach your children interesting things and get them excited about learning. As you study for a masters in education, you'll gain some great insight into how kids learn, and be able to use this at home as well as in the classroom.

Use Your Existing Knowledge

Depending on what age group you want to teach, there is demand for all kinds of specialisms. This means that whatever your existing background and first degree are in, you can use that knowledge combined with what you learn in doing your masters in education online to become a specialist teacher in your original field, for instance science, IT, language or even things like art and music.

This means that while you are retraining, you are not losing the benefits of your past studies or experience.

Make a Difference to Children

As moms, we tend to empathize a lot with children and want to help and nurture them – even the ones who aren't our own! As a good teacher, you can inspire and motivate children, help those with difficulties at school, and become an important role model for them. Not all kids have good people to look up to and teach them, and so this is something you can take on as a teacher.

If you are looking for a career change that is rewarding, interesting and also has some practical benefits now that you have started a family, then teaching can be the perfect choice, and getting qualified has never been easier!
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Nov 16, 2017

Spread Some Holiday Cheer With William Chris Vineyards Wine

Looking to spread some cheer this holiday season? One of my go-to gifts every year is the gift of spirits. Wine is a great choice and is always very well received. Me and my husband are still exploring different wines and trying to figure out what we really like. When two bottles showed up from William Chris Vineyards, we knew we had to do the right thing and give 'em a try. 

We received a bottle each of the 2015 Enchante and 2016 Roussanne varieties. The Enchante is a beautiful red blend containing 73% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Petite Verdot. It has complex berry flavors, and goes so well with the pasta dish we had that night for dinner. We drank this one at room temperature, because we feel like you can get a better overall taste that way. 

We enjoyed it a whole lot and I know any red wine lover would give it high praise. The plus for us is that it didn't taste like an oak barrel with a touch of fruit like many reds can. This Enchante is definitely a must try for wine lovers and wine-curious people alike. It retails for $45 and is everything you would hope for at that price point. My husband mentioned how great this would be as a corporate gift. I agree! They offer some very nice gift sets.

The Roussanne is a lovely white wine that we enjoyed chilled. It has a light floral, honeydew taste. I really loved it a whole lot. It was one of those wines that made me feel cheery and happy. Seems like a great choice for holiday gatherings, or a girl's night in. I give my next door neighbors wine every year during the holidays, and I know they would love this one! I read on the website that this wine would pair well with Shellfish, Lobster,  Bouillabaisse, Mashed Potatoes, Turkey, and Rich Pureed Soups.

Getting to know William Chris Vineyards

At William Chris Vineyards, they focus on low impact 100% Texas grown wine. Owners and winemakers, Bill Blackmon and Chris Brundrett, knew each other, but it wasn’t until they sat down together at a Hill Country bar one night that they discovered they shared a similar philosophy for winemaking.

They believe that the way to put Texas on the map as a respected wine region is to promote wines made exclusively from Texas grown fruit. Wines that make California and France recognizable come from the unique terroir and growing conditions of each region. They believe that for Texas wines to distinguish themselves, they also should represent the terroir and growing conditions of the Lone Star State.

Not only did they believe that the grapes needed to be Texan, they also believe that to grow the best fruit, much time among the vines is required. So walking multitudes of “footsteps in the vineyard,” Bill and Chris carefully inspect the fruit of every vintage.

Although this Thanksgiving pack might not make it on time, it sure would be great for Christmas or New Year's. Click the image for pricing and purchasing info.

You can truly taste the 'fruits of their labor' and love that goes into their products. To learn more about William Chris Vineyards wines, check out their website. If you happen to live in the Hye, Texas area, you can register to attend wine tastings. Oh how I would love to do that! You can also follow their social accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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Nov 15, 2017

Crown Reef Resort & Waterpark Myrtle Beach Is Your Off-Season Family Vacation Destination

Although the weather is cooling down quite a bit, it never stops my family from traveling to Myrtle Beach. The beach is my family's happy place, and not matter the weather, you can find us there numerous times throughout the year. Our favorite months to visit are between November-March during the off-season. Most people assume because it's colder during that time, that we are nuts. What they don't realize is that Myrtle Beach has so much to offer year 'round. 

Our latest Myrtle Beach adventure landed us at the Crown Reef Resort & Waterpark. When we first pulled up to the resort, we were in shock by how enormous the property was. Check-in is done across the street at their conference center. The process was very quick, and the staff members were quite friendly and happy to answer all of our questions. We received our room keys, wristbands for the pool and waterpark, as well as a much needed map of the property, We headed back across the street to their oceanfront property to park in the covered garage. 

We stayed in the third building on the eleventh floor. It was the perfect spot that offered amazing panoramic views of the entire beach! As we entered our oceanfront suite, we were greeting with a lovely beach bag filled with some goodies for my family. It was such a nice, personal touch! We immediately noticed the pretty towel swans that were placed on both of the queen beds in the bedroom. 

The bedroom was spacious and had plenty of storage space for our clothing and personal items. It had a flat screen television, as well as its own heating and air conditioning unit. There were ample pillows and extra blankets for the living area beds. 
As you leave the bedroom, you walk into the kitchen area with a full bathroom on the opposite side. The bathroom was a good size and it had ample vanity space, light, and a  separate door for the toilet/shower area. I wasn't sure how 5 people were going to share the one bathroom, but we managed just fine. There were plenty of fresh towels available for us. 

We really loved the full kitchen. It helps a lot when you are traveling with a larger family since eating out can really add up. We brought some of our own groceries and made good use of all the appliances. It comes equipped with all of the basic pots, pans, dishware, utensils, and drinkware. It's like having a piece of home on vacation, and is such a great convenience. 

Once you exit the kitchen, you enter the living and dining area. The space was large enough for all of us to gather, yet had a warm and cozy feel. The sofa bed and murphy bed were perfect for extra sleeping space. This unit could sleep up to 8 people. Once you were up in the morning, all you had to do was push the bed back into the sofa and the murphy bed back up in the wall. Makes me want a murphy bed in my own house, because it is such a space saver. 

Let me tell you, the views are incredible. You can't get any better than standing out on your private balcony taking in the sights and sounds of the beautiful Atlantic Ocean. It's the best thing ever! Life has been so stressful lately, and just sitting out there looking at the moon at night and the sunrise in the morning was therapeutic.  

We didn't come all the way to Crown Reef Resort just to sit in our room, we came for some family fun. Having two adult children with their own busy lives, it's not often we get to all come together for some family time. We ventured around the property to check out all of the amenities, and were blown away. There is SO much to do to a point where you really have no reason to leave the resort at all. Crown Reef has so many beautiful pools, whirlpools, sun decks, and the longest lazy river in Myrtle Beach. I wish I had my waterproof cover on my phone so I could have taken some video while we were in there. It was awesome! 

During the warmer months, they have a walk-up poolside bar offering a variety of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Whether you want a frosty hurricane or just a simple diet cola, they've got you covered. So as you're sipping on your beverage, you can listen to the sounds of the ocean while relaxing. If privacy is more your thing, you can head up to the sun deck and enjoy the oceanfront views from above. 

The pool areas were all so beautiful and very well kept. We noticed a lot of friendly staff members everywhere we went. You can tell that a lot goes into running that place. They had so many patio chairs so there was ample space to accommodate a lot of people. I could totally see having birthday parties, graduation parties, or other big events there. It is very family friendly, so that is a plus.

These two boys were so excited to hop into every one of the pools!

One of the favorites of Crown Reef is the waterpark. The Crown Reef Resort Waterpark towers nearly 40 feet above the ground and features a 278-foot long two-person tube waterslide, a single-person 302-foot long waterslide and an 8-foot tall 20-foot long slide for the little ones! We put in a lot of steps that day making it up the stairs so we could slide over, and over again. The adults all felt like big kids. We all laughed ourselves to tears because we were having so much fun!

And if the pools weren't enough, the arcade at The Town Center gave us even more giggles. They had so many fun games for all ages. My family enjoyed shooting some hoops, doing a little target practice, and some fun classic games like air hockey and skee-ball. There is a kiosk in the front of the arcade where you can load a game card right from your credit/debit card or by using cash. The girls stopped by the Swirl Ice Cream And Sweet Shop for a couples scoops of their favorite ice cream.
If you're hungry and need a bite to eat, they have you covered for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The Loco Gecko Beach Shack offers oceanfront dining for lunch and dinner. They have plenty of choices including burgers, sandwiches, salads, and wraps. They have a full bar, and even flat screen televisions where you could watch the game and feel the cool ocean breeze at the same time. They have these cool clear doors that can be lowered or raised like garage doors if it gets too chilly. The fact that they are clear does not obstruct your ocean views.

You can grab breakfast at the Grab n’ Go Grill and Coffee Bar. They have quite a spread with plenty of choices to satisfy everyone's taste. The service was excellent, and the staff was so friendly and attentive. It was so nice to enjoy my morning coffee and breakfast while looking out at the beautiful beach. Again, you really don't have to leave the resort if you don't want to. We stayed put our entire stay. Everything we needed was on site. They even offer laundry facilities, and have a little store where you can purchase snacks and other items.
Crown Reef Resort gets 5 stars from my family and here is why:
  • Family-friendly and clean environment 
  • The entire resort is oceanfront, including dining areas
  • Courteous and helpful staff
  • Excellent location, and close to attractions and activities
  • Rooms and suites offer many conveniences of home
  • Parking and elevators weren't a problem
  • Great value for the rates they charge
  • Plenty of amenities, and the best pools we have ever seen at Myrtle Beach
  • The beach access was much nicer and easier to maneuver compared to other places we have stayed. 
  • Reasonably priced food and drinks
If you're thinking of a beach destination for an off-season vacation, Crown Reef Resort in Myrtle Beach is an excellent choice. The weather is a lot better than the northern states, and you will have to beach all to yourself (or so it feels). If you are a Groupon member, you can find some amazing deals for Crown Reef, so be sure to check it out. We were not disappointed with our stay, and look forward to going back early next year.

Be sure to stop by the Crown Reef Resort site so you can book your vacation. Follow on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Be warned: seeing all of the beautiful photos from the property will make you want to hop in your car and GO! 

Disclosure: Many thanks to Vacation Myrtle Beach and Crown Reef Resort & Waterpark for hosting our family. All opinions stated are my own. 
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Nov 13, 2017

Give Books That Are More Than Books This Holiday Season

If you're in the beginning stages of your holiday shopping for the kids, make sure you don't forget to grab some new books to add to their library. I know that we live in the technology era, but nothing can compare to a physical book. This year, my son is the lucky recipient of books that go beyond actual books. These books offer a more in-depth way to learn about animals, science, and people, and not just with words and pictures.

The first set of books are called the Creature Files which includes: a necklace with realistic looking animal teeth or claws. Your kids will love learning about reptiles, dragons, dinos, and predators. Next, are the Amazing World  books that come with glow-in-the-dark stickers for your child's walls or ceiling. They all have vibrant photos along with plenty of fascinating information. These books are perfect for kids who are real animal-lovers, like my child is.

The other collection of books are called Inside Out, and happens to be our favorite. These books take you inside sharks, mummies, the T-Rex, and the human body. It is so fascinating to flip each page to reveal the different layers inside of each subject. It is a great teaching tool for a homeschooling mama like myself. I admit, the three-dimensional feature of the Human Body book captivates grown-ups as well.
What's even better about the Inside Out collection is that you can even see the back of each layer. Although it is well made, I'd still recommend keeping these away from smaller children since they can tear the edges if they tend to be rough.

These books from Quarto Kids books are available to purchase from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. They all retail for $14.99 and are recommended for ages 8-10. Competing with technology is hard, but these books really do capture a child's attention. My son is enjoying his books, and that makes me so happy!

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