Get The Very Best Personalized Gifts from Zazzle

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

Do you struggle with knowing what to get some of your friends and family for the holidays?  Do you find it hard to find the perfect gift for some of the people on your shopping list?  If so, you might want to check out Zazzle and all of the fun unique products that they have that you can personalize and make your own.

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The Perfect Unique Kids Gift

My youngest, Adeline, is three and ever since last Christmas when I was gifted a photo blanket she has been obsessed.  So when I was given the opportunity to review something from Zazzle again this year, I knew that I wanted one of the items to be a photo blanket.  After looking through the vast selection of photo blankets, I finally decided upon the Your Custom Fleece Blanket in purple.  Purple is her favorite color.

 

Now, I want to share the things that matter most.  The blanket is super plush and soft.  She loves cuddling with it and takes it everywhere with her.  In fact, she even used it recently for show and tell and shared it with her friends!  (Sadly I was unable to find a link to the exact blanket that I had made and even the link from my shipment notification does not work.  This leads me to believe that this exact blanket might not be available anymore!)

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She was so proud of the blanket and loved telling them all about it!  I love that it has other key features like the letter “A” on it for her name.  This has been great for her letter recognition and now she is writing her “A”s all of the time!

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A Great Simple Gift for Grandmas

Grandmas are a group of people that I find pretty hard to shop for.  I love giving my mom and my mother in law personalized jewelry with the kids’ pictures on it.  This year I opted for the Mother’s Children Photo Collage Necklace ($27.90).  I found this to be not only cute but something that my mom is certain to love since it displays all of her grandbabies on it.

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I was pretty impressed with this one when it arrived in the mail.  It is super high in quality which is nice!  It is so cute and the chain and everything look nice and definitely do not look cheap, which at the low price I was a bit worried about!

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A Gift for Mom

Finally I want to show you a little something that I picked up for myself, I know being Christmas that it is not really something that I should have done but I could not help myself because this was just too cute!

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The Photo Collage Custom Digital Picture Memory Box ($61.90) is just beautiful.  The wood is high in quality and I love that it has pictures of all of my favorites on it.  I use it to store all of the little things that I need and I have it proudly displayed on my living room shelf instead of tucked away in the bedroom.  I want everyone to see it!

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I have to admit that Zazzle offers all of my favorite custom gifts for the holiday season.  I just love everything that they offer and love that they have so many things to choose from.

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SkyZone Kansas City Offers You More for Your Holiday Party

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

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Sky Zone is the world’s first indoor trampoline park. We’re the inventors of “fun fitness” and the makers of trampolines as far as the eye can see. We give you one of the greatest workouts ever combined with awesome, healthy fun. We’ve been voted the number one “out of the box” workout and the “best party ever.” Experience WOW – the weightlessness of bouncing, flipping and landing in a pit filled with 10,000 foam cubes.

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We are dedicated to providing you with the pure joy that comes with flying. We are sky lovers, thrill seekers and people who believe that jumping is freedom. We believe fitness can be fun and play can be smart. We are healthy and bursting with energy. We fly high and keep it safe. We are Sky Zone. My Readers Save $3 Off Open Jump at Sky Zone and 10% Off a Supreme Birthday Party. Click on the Sky Zone coupon below for more information and to redeem.
http://kansascitykidsguide.com/coupon.php?regionid=31&bid=11879&dealid=1838

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But What if None of My Kids Have a Winter Birthday?

Why not get your child and their favorite friends together for a fun and exciting holiday party?  Choosing SkyZone for unlimited fun is going to be a great way for you to be able to enjoy the time together.

Easy Fall and Halloween Decoration Crafts with Oriental Trading

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

So we have been getting crafty here at the Walton house.  In fact we have been whipping up some adorable fall/Halloween themed crafts as teacher’s gifts and to sit out around our house (grandma and grandpa might have gotten a few too!).

Two Quick Crafts for Family and Friends

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Craft 1 — Candy Corn Jars

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These little candy corn jars are quite simple.  There is not much that you are going to need and you can get it all at Oriental Trading.

What You’ll Need

*DIY Ceramic Mini Flower Pots $14.50/12

*Paintbrushes (I like the Plaid White Nylon Paintbrushes $7.20/10 brushes of different shapes and sizes)

*Yellow Acrylic Paint $4.15

*White Acrylic Paint $4.15

*Black Acrylic Paint $4.15

*Orange Acrylic Paint $4.15

*Masking Tape

Steps to Create Candy Corn Jars

Step 1 — Tape he Middle Stripe

Take one jar and the masking tape and go around making a stripe in the middle of the jar.  I used two pieces of masking tape so that this middle stripe area was completely covered.

Step 2 — Paint the Bottom Stripe White

Have your child (or paint this yourself if you are doing them) paint the bottom stripe white.  Then set these aside until that stripe is dry.

Step 3 — Paint the Top Stripe Yellow

Next paint the top stripe yellow.  Then set this aside until the yellow tape is dry.

Step 4 — Untape and Tape Again

Next you will want to take the masking tape off and then retape along the edges so that your child can easily paint the middle section without messing up the stripes.

Step 5 — Paint the Middle Section Orange

Have your child paint the middle stripe orange now.  Then set this aside to dry.

Step 6 — Untape

Take the tape off of the jar.

Step 7 — Decorate

Now you can skip this step if you do not want to decorate.  We chose to paint the teacher’s initial on the jar.

Step 8 — Fill the Jar

You can fill these cute jars with anything that you want.  We are going to be filling them with mini erasers, pencils, and other things that teachers might need.  We also made one for a Secret Sister exchange for Girl Scouts and we are filling this one with candy corn.

Craft 2 — Easy 2 Step Ghosts

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These cute ghosts were so simple that you will love creating them with your children.

What You’ll Need

*DIY Ceramic Flower Pots $14.50/12

*Paintbrushes (The Plaid Paintbrush Super Value Pack is a great deal since you get 25 brushes for $7.20!)

*White Acrylic Paint $4.15

*Black Acrylic Paint $4.15

2 Steps to Create Your Ghosts

Step 1 — Paint the Jars White

Turn your jars upside down and paint them white.  Let this dry.

Step 2 — Create Fun Ghost Faces

Next paint on fun ghost faces with black paint.

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Both of these crafts are cute and fun.  Plus they both make great gifts.  They are so simple that you will enjoy creating them with your children.  Plus they do not create too much of a mess or a headache.

Having the Perfect Halloween with Costume Express

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

So we all know how difficult that it can be to find the perfect Halloween costumes for your kids.  If you are like me finding family costumes is even harder.  One of the things that I love so much about Costume Express is that they offer the best high quality costumes that you have been looking for.  They are known for having all of the most popular costumes that your little ones might be seeking out.

5 Tips to Find the Perfect Popular Halloween Costumes for the Whole Family

Tip 1 — Think About Themes

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One of the best things that you can do with Halloween is consider shopping in themes.  This year my daughter and I are dressing in theme together.  I have always wanted a Snow White and she would only oblige if I was willing to dress up too.  So I am going to be the Evil Queen.  I can’t figure out if my children love me in costume or love being able to call me “evil queen” without getting into trouble more!!

Tip 2 — Think About What is Popular

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While none of my family is dressing up as any of the characters from the Descendants, this is one of the most popular costume choices this year.  Thankfully Costume Express has you covered with tons of options from this popular and fun television show.

Tip 3 — Let Your Kids Pick What They Want to Be

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One of the things that I do is that I always try to let my kids pick out what they want to be for Halloween.  This year Huxley had his heart set on being the black version of Spiderman.  This was all that he asked for and guess what?!? That’s right, Costume Express had this one too.

Tip 4 — Think of Your Kids’ Personalities

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Adeline had her little heart set on being a My Little Pony.  She is a very glittery girly girl though so it was a challenge to find the right costume.  While we did not get Adeline’s costume from Costume Express, they did have one that she would have fallen in love with just as much.

Tip 5 — Don’t Forget Your Favorite Pet

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Finally when you have a favorite family pet, you have to make sure that you do not forget to pick up a costume for him.  For our favorite dog, Dexter we had to pick up the Star Wars Bantha Costume.  This one is just hilarious and makes me smile so much.  I can’t wait to see him running around with it on!

So when you want to find the perfect Halloween costumes for your whole family, you’ve got to shop at Costume Express.

5 Facts Every Mom Needs to Know About Sprint #SprintMom #sponsored

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Sprint.  I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

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First off I have to admit that I have been a customer of another cell phone company for over ten years.  I  am honestly going to be switching to Sprint in the next month.  I just have to line up details on our new phones, etc before doing so.  I was so impressed with Sprint that I came home with a strong desire to learn more about the new technology in my area and in Chicago.  There is a ton of interesting and fun stuff happening in Illinois with Sprint.  If Sprint can change my mind and make a new customer than I am sure that they can change yours too!

There was so much that I wanted to share with you that I am sure that you are going to see more posts in the future.  However for today I wanted to share 5 facts that every mom needs to know with you.

On Tuesday I traveled through traffic early in the morning to reach the Sprint office in downtown Chicago.

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I managed to park better in reverse than I do going forward…not quite sure how this one happened.

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Enjoyed a nice espresso and chia shot when I was waiting for it to be the right time.

And then headed up the elevator to attend this special blogger event.

Fact #1 — Sprint is Making Leaps and Bounds with Service

Sprint is becoming a leader in service in the Chicago area.  They offer a new technology called carrier aggregation that is available in Chicago.  This means insanely quick speeds!

In the central Illinois area, where I am from, there used to not be service available.  Well since I have received my phone I have found that it works just fine.  In fact in some places I have been the Sprint service works better!  I have been completely happy with the service  the entire time.  While I was attending this exciting event I did learn that 51 new sites were bought from US Cellular in my area.  Only 9 of these needed to be built.

Fact #2 — Sprint Has Options For Every Family

While Sprint service might not be the right choice for everyone, there are a number of pre-paid services that are owned by Sprint.  Did you know that Sprint owns 4 different lines of pre-paid products?  I did not know this before I traveled to the Sprint Chicago mom blogger event.

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Sprint prepaid plans are perfect for those who want Sprint service but have credit issues.

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After 9 months of continued service, you can graduate to the right service.  This will help you to get where you want to go.

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Boost Mobile really got going in 2008 as one of the first companies to offer full service to families who needed to cut costs with a prepaid plan.

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Plans are priced at just $35, $45, and $55 per month.

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They also offer the only prepaid WiFi Hotspot.

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This means that you can use it for traveling and then not use it again when you are at home.  All of this is able to be used without penalty or additional fees.

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The Virgin Mobile Data Done Right line is a new special line that is only available at Wal Mart.

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This is the perfect prepaid plan for families.  You can actually assign different levels of data and other things per line.  This allows you to be able to decide who deserves data and how much everyone can have.  The pricing for this is also great in that 2 lines with unlimited talk and text and 6 GB of data is just $55 per month.

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The Virgin Mobile Plans are like the ones from Boost Mobile and Sprint which are available at the three tier pricing of $35, $45, and $55.

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Fact #3 — You Can Get EVERY SINGLE NEW iPhone!!!

Another thing that you should know is that Sprint offers you a new plan that allows you to lease your iPhone instead of buying it.  This might sound like something that would be expensive but instead it is something that just costs a reasonable $15 per month.  So if you are getting a new iPhone every year it is cheaper than buying one!  Plus it means that you never have to skip a generation of iPhone like I currently do now with my current plan.

Fact #4 — You Can Get the Latest Technology

You are going to be able to take advantage of the latest technology with the newest phones!  The LG G4 is one of those phones.  I have been checking this phone out for the past few days and I am enjoying it.  I am especially enjoying the beauty of the design on this phone.

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The handcrafted leather is really exquisite.

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The camera is pretty amazing and the colors are great.  The camera even allows you to have a flash with your selfies.  This has been a ton of fun to play around with and check out.

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Everything is crystal clear and the phone is easy to use!  Even as a die hard iPhone fan I am having a great time checking out the LG G4 phone with my the amazing Sprint service.

Fact #5 — Sprint Will Come Direct To You

One of the coolest new services that Sprint offers is Direct to You.  This service includes delivery of your new device to you at a preset time.

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Then you get the advantage of a technician that sets everything up for you.  Best of all, this service is completely FREE!!!  So you are getting an amazing customer service experience at no cost to you at all.

As you can tell I really loved being a part of the Sprint Moms blogger event.  I learned so many great things and got to connect with amazing bloggers from the Chicago area.

Isn’t Life Hard Enough??

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

We as moms have it tough.  In fact, while many non-moms won’t agree, I would say that we have the toughest job that there is.  We are completely responsible for making sure that our children are well cared for and that they have everything that they need in order to grow into healthy and successful adults.  One thing is for certain, mom bashing needs to end.

I don’t usually make posts about this stuff but lately there seems to be more and more mom bashing from moms who are supposed to be on our side.  Seriously, if you can not stand up for other moms then how the hell do you expect us all to make it through the day.

Earlier this week, a Florida ICING store manager was caught mom bashing in the worst way.  She posted a picture of a mom babywearing her child and then blasted her for her choices as a mom.  I personally do not feel that the mom has a need to defend herself.  I have a 7 year old who I still occasionally wear sometimes when she is tired.  However this mom was wearing her 5 year old and had her toddler in a stroller.  The manager did a few things that I feel are completely unacceptable.

She posted a picture of someone else’s child online on social media without her permission!!!

That’s right, she took it upon herself to snap this picture which was distasteful.  However when she chose to post that picture on a social media website without the mother’s permission it went in a completely different direction.  I am seriously appalled by this happening and it freaks me out to think about someone posting pictures of my children without my permission.

However that is just the start of this.  She used very crass language and demeaned the mom for her choice.  Then she admitted to being a step parent.  Isn’t being a step parent hard enough?  Why would you ever question or judge another mom’s decision to raise a child.

Can’t We ALL Just Get Along!!

I will admit that I have a diverse group of mommy friends.  I have friends who are far harsher than I am.  I have a tough love approach sometimes that might seem harsh to other moms.  I have mom friends who vaccinate and those who do not.  I have mom friends who breastfeed and those who could not.  I have mom friends who babywear and those who choose not to.  I have mom friends who cloth diaper and those who think that cloth diapering would be gross.  I have mom friends who stay at home and those who work full time.  I have mom friends who feed their children only organic foods and those who often feed their children processed and/or fast food.  I have mom friends who pierce their infant’s ears and those who never would.  I have mom friends who had natural unassisted home births, those who have had c-sections, those who have had minimal medical interventions, and those who have had the full treatment with meds and epidurals in the delivery room.  I have mom friends who are devout Christians and choose to take their children to church each week and those who do not believe in God.

You know what the beauty of this is?  That we can all get along.  I do not have to worry about my mom friends chastising me for how we are different.  In a world that seems to pray on differences, my mom friends and I have found a support and love for each other based on the common grounds that we are moms.

So let’s rally together.  Let’s stand together as moms in love and admiration rather than choosing to chastise and treat one another poorly.  In a world where there are few things good going on, let’s be a light to one another and stand in the amazing sisterhood that brings us together as mothers.  We are all just trying to be the best that we can be and if we work together that is only going to help us all to be a bit more successful in the end.

Grilling With The NEW Char-Broil Kettleman Grill

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Char-Broil for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

I’m so excited for the spring and summer months because it means more time outside and more evenings grilling with family and friends.  We grill out at least once a week if not more and 90% of the time we have someone over.  For our family and friends, our house is known as the place to stop on Saturday night if you want a bite to eat and hang out for a bit.

Dinner time is the one time we’re together as a family, so we do our best to make it as memorable as possible.  Which is why we start grilling as soon as the weather allows.  

Grilling makes family time lasts that much longer – dads grilling, kids are jumping on the trampoline, and lucky mom gets to run back and forth to make sure everyone has everything they need, and the kids are being good.  Which is why I’m excited to tell you about Char-Broils New Kettleman 22.5” Charcoal Grill, it’s the perfect centerpiece for your family grilling experiences. 

Do you want to know something crazy?  It’s been more than 65 years since Char-Broil brought the first charcoals grill to the market.  As many of you are away, Char-Broil has done amazing things over the years by introducing an outstanding series of innovations that we now consider standard among the modern grills. 

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Char-Broil wants to make our family cookouts, camping trips, and gatherings even more enjoyable for those of us who LOVE to barbecue. 

Char-Broils New Kettleman 22.5” Charcoal Grill (MSRP $139)

Have you heard about the New Kettleman 22.5” Charcoal Grill?  From the sounds of it Char-Broil out did themselves, yet again.  Check this out all the great features this updated and improved for kettle-style grill that is even more efficient and easier to use grill has –

Temperature Control – I love the super-sized cool to touch damper on the Char-Broils New Kettleman 22.5” Charcoal Grill lid, which makes heat management easy.  Ther is events around the body of the kettle to allow the air to feed the fire from all sides.  It provides an even heat for the cooking surface.

Flare-Up Control – A porcelain coated no-fall-through grate allows charcoal flavor through while keeping flames away from food. Wood chips can be thrown on the great and small foods like shrimp or asparagus will never fall into the fire.

Charcoal Control – Yepie, this bad boy is designed to grill twice as many burgers.

Ash Control – Who doesn’t want a grill with Ash Control?  This grill has a slide-in porcelain coated ashtray that’s tight against the grill to make cleanup and maintain easily. 

Stability Control – What’s not to love about the wide stance, easy mobility, heavy-gauge steel legs add stability. There’s a bottom shelf, which doubles as a holder for the grill’s cooking grate and other accessories. 

Hinged Latching Lid – The Kettleman also has a hinged latching lid; it will never need to touch the ground while you’re grilling which makes things easier than before.

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Price – This impressive grill can be purchased for only $139.00 from Lowes or Charbroil.com.

You can grab The NEW Char-Broil Kettleman Grill from your local Lowes, by visiting Charbroil.com and learn more about the Kettleman grill by watching the below video.

Visit Sponsors Site

Looking for Answers — A Bit of What Has Been Happening in My Life

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

So as you might have noticed, things have been a bit slow around here at Simply Shawn N Jenn.  Well I have been struggling with how to talk about what all has been happening in my life.  There has been a lot going on and seriously I feel like parts of my world are crumbling around me.

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While we were in Kansas City over spring break Althea, my 6 year old, passed out and was unresponsive for a full 2 minutes.  She was with her grandma and her aunt as she had stayed the night there the night before.  Of course my husband and I left the hotel right after getting the phone call and drove to her.  We took  her to a prompt care and were told to take her to the children’s hospital to the ER, which is where we went.

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They ran a few labs and told us that she was dehydrated.  Then sent us home.  This did not sound right to me so I took her to her doctor when we got home.  He ran some further testing, again with everything looking okay but we still had concerns based on a few things from her medical history so we were sent on for more testing and to see more doctors.

This past week was pretty busy with these appointments.  We went to see a pediatric cardiologist on Tuesday and then she had an EEG, MRI, echocardiogram, and was fitted for a 24 hour heart monitor test on Wednesday.  We have received results from the EEG and the MRI and it looks like everything is good from those.\

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The biggest concern for me came after she saw the cardiologist.  She told me that she does have a slight murmur which alone is nothing to worry about.  However, she then told me that she was very concerned that something was wrong and that we were just not catching it.  So that was the reason for all of the heart tests.  I guess the waiting game is going to be pretty stressful because I am so worried about my little girl.

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I am posting to say sorry if I have seemed a bit distant lately or like I am not interested in posting for you all.  I also wanted to share with you so that you could say a few prayers and maybe share with some friends so that they will be praying too.  We appreciate all of the prayers that we can get at this time and I will keep you all updated as things progress.

The photos are the amazing Mother’s Day gift that Althea brought home from school.  Her 1st grade teacher is also the amazing photographer behind Sara Mathre Photography and I just love these and thought that I would share them with you!!

See The Best Things To Do In Town Courtesy of Vimbly

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

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This is a sponsored post in conjunction with Vimbly and a campaign with Sverve. Regardless, all opinions are still 100% my own.

I have a camera. The hubby bought it for me a few years ago. It’s all fancy and can take a whole bunch of fancy kinds of pictures. I know how to turn on the flash and press the button to take a picture.

The husband has a lot of painting stuff. An easel and brushes and acrylic paints and canvases and tape. He makes all straight line paintings that he has taped off. It looks like stained glass

I would love to be able to prepare a 4 course meal in 20 minutes like Bobby Flay. What I can actually manage is hot dogs and mac and cheese.

I’d love to learn how to play Dungeons and Dragons. Epic adventures. Sweeping battles. Vanquishing evil foes.

Just kidding on that last part. That’s totally the hubby that wants to learn that. I think he played once like 20 years ago but he still goes on about his Dwarf character and his enchanted axe that spoke Elf. Blah blah blah. Ahh. My dork husband.

Well, if you want to do any of these things and you happen to live in one of the cities that Vimbly.com is in, you are in luck. In addition to awesome ideas for tourists, Vimbly.com is also filled with tons of local classes you can take. Photography, painting, cooking, riding a bike, even playing Dungeons and Dragons. These are all things you can sign up for on Vimbly.com. Find it. Sign up. Show up. Soon you too could be a painting, picture taking, cooking, battle-hardened dwarf warrior.

Now I just need Vimbly.com where I live.

ABOUT VIMBLY

Vimbly shows open time slots for activities, classes, & date ideas by different businesses on a single page and lets users book directly.  These activities include dance, cooking, glassblowing, pizza making, wine tasting, intro to cigars, learning to DJ, improv, scotch pairing, samurai sword fighting, persuasion class, and thousands more.

Vimbly currently operates in 18 major US cities and expects to establish a national presence in 2015.

CONNECT WITH VIMBLY

WEBSITE   |   FACEBOOK   |   TWITTER

This is a sponsored post in conjunction with Vimbly and a campaign with Sverve. Regardless, all opinions are still 100% my own.

Gearing Up for Holiday Break with My Family!

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

Well it is official…it is holiday break time around here!!  And that means holiday break which means a few weeks of having all four kids home with them all out of their routines.  If I said that I was not nervous I would be lying to you because I am a bit nervous and worried about things.

However there is so much to be thankful for this time of year that I am gearing up for our break and am going to work my hardest to keep the kids entertained and enjoying every moment of it without having them enjoying too much or having it be too busy for them.  So here are my plans for this week….I’d love to hear what you are up to!

**A Special Trip to the Reindeer Ranch

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Tomorrow is going to be a very exciting day.  We are gearing up to head to Rantoul IL to check out the Reindeer Ranch.  I have to admit that I might be just as excited as my kids about checking out the ranch and being able to pet and kiss the reindeer.  I even allowed my daughter to bring a friend along with her.

**Some Holiday Memories and Fun

Tuesday is the day that we celebrate our Christmas Eve with the kids because Andrew goes to his dad’s for Christmas.  I am excited to be able to celebrate with some special happenings during the day.  I plan on finishing up our card making (Adeline and I had worked on some of these before.), decorating some cookies, and maybe even baking some treats with the kids during the day.  Then at night time we will open our annual Christmas Eve gift and then we will read books before the kids go to bed in preparation of Santa Claus coming.  I am just so excited for it all.  This year though our Santa will be stopping by twice…once with big brothers presents and the little ones’ stocking stuffers and again on Christmas with their big gift.

**Family Times

On top of our fun at home we will be headed to my parents on Christmas Eve to celebrate with them.  Then on the 26th we will be getting together with my whole family to celebrate with them.  We were then supposed to be traveling to my mother in law’s to see her but since she has been ill we will likely not be making that trip.  I am praying for her and I am sure that she would appreciate your prayers as well so that she has a speedy recovery.  I know that the kids are going to be devastated if we do not go so we might be traveling to see my grandpa instead.

 

The best thing about all of this though is that I am going to be able to create some amazing memories with my family and the ones that I love the most in life.