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Monday, January 25, 2016

Super Bowl Party? Let Pollo Tropical Cater!

Can you believe Super Bowl time is almost here? Are you having friends over for the big game this year?  Let Pollo Tropical help you out with their delicious food! 

    Game day favorites from Pollo Tropical include:


  • 50 Tropical wings with Pineapple Rum sauce for $35.50
  • 4 lbs. of Mojo Pork for $38 and a dozen sugar-cane rolls for $2.50 – perfect for homemade sliders when you add their Guava BBQ sauce.
  • Island wrap platter for 20 people for $63 – including the Chicken Caesar and Chicken Quesadilla wraps.
  • Fresh brewed mango iced tea, lemonade, fruit punch and PowerAde gallons for just $4.99.
  • FREE Sauce – all of Pollo Tropical’s signature sauces are complimentary! 


Call 1.866.769.7696 to place your catering order and use the code word “Football” to get 15% off!!


** I received no compensation for this post, just sharing information from one of our favorite places to eat! **

Sunday, January 24, 2016

A Perfect Resort close to Disney World!

Looking for the perfect resort in the Orlando area? Find out more about Terra Verde Resort in Kissimmee!




When planning our trip to Disney, my sister-in-law Lia and I started looking online for rental houses last winter, because we needed a large house.  One with a master bedroom downstairs for my Aunt, and we also wanted a pool for the kids to enjoy.  Of course we also needed to be close to the parks.  We wanted to find and book a place early on so we'd know how much to budget for our lodging costs in Florida.

We both searched sites like VRBO, Hotels.comFlipKey, and HomeAway.  Lia found the perfect home for us in a really nice gated resort community, called Terra Verde.   It was a little out of our budget, but my brother talked with the owner and was able to negotiate a better deal for our stay.  (It never hurts to ask - the worst that can happen is they say no!) 

Surprisingly, a house cost us much less than each of us getting hotel rooms, especially since we split the cost between us all. Rental homes with private pools are as cheap as $95 a night, sometimes less! Larger homes cost more, but we still paid less than $200 a night - so less than $50 per night per family!

My Aunt, David & I arrived mid-day Wednesday at the resort.  We had to show our confirmation email to the security guard at the front gate.  He gave us a card to use to open the gates when we re-entered the resort, and we headed to the club house to check in.  The staff there were very nice, and offered us a folder full of information about the area, and our rental.

Aunt Anne & David in front of our rental house.

We got to the house and it was on a very quiet street.  The three of us took our bags inside and settled in for the next week.  We had a great kitchen, so we took alot of our own food for several dinners, plus breakfasts and snacks while at the parks.


That first day, we made a quick trip to Walmart for things like coffee creamer, almond milk, eggs, etc.   It was about 10 minutes away - very convenient!

I chose a bedroom upstairs with a queen size bed.  David chose one with bunk beds.  Aunt Anne had the master bedroom downstairs. There were 7 bedrooms in all, so plenty of room for our group! This house was a perfect fit for our large group (consisting of four families).  Later that night Lia, her friend Jennifer, my four nieces and nephews, and Jennifer's daughter arrived at the house.  The kids all picked their rooms for the stay, as did Lia and Jennifer.  Since there are two master suites - one upstairs, one downstairs - this house is perfect for multiple families.

I took so many pictures on this vacation - over 1000! - but not many of the house itself.  Sorry the kitchen one above is so blurry.  But there are a few from the resort that I'll include here.



This was the view from my bedroom the first morning - what a gorgeous sunrise, right?

Like I mentioned before, we had a private (small) pool in the backyard.  David was out there every single day - he loves to swim!  There was a safety fence between the house and the pool to keep little ones safe. 


The garage of our house was converted to a game room - there was a pool table, air hockey and a comfy couch to sit on.  Upstairs in one of the boys' rooms there was a Wii game system with a few games for the kids to play.  The boys rooms were decorated with a Cars or Sponge Bob theme. The girls room was princess themed.  Our kids loved the house!

I also took David to the resort's pool several times while we are there. He LOVED it!  They had a huge pool, a hot tub, a poolside bar, and more outside.  Inside the clubhouse there is a nice lobby with seating, a gym, and a little arcade.  They had events for guests to participate in throughout the week, as well.



Being in secure, gated community (with a security guard on duty at the gate) made us all feel safe on our trip.  Everyone working there was so nice, and very helpful.  Sometimes you don't know if an area you will be staying in is "good" when you are going on vacation.  We never felt unsafe at all here!  It was in a nice part of town, close to everything we needed.

Takeout/Delivery menus were in the folder provided by the resort, so one night we ordered in Chinese food.  The rest of the time we either cooked, or picked something up on our way home from the parks.  The kitchen was stocked with most every thing we needed to cook meals.

We had plenty of towels for the bathrooms and the pool.  Our house had a laundry room, so we brought our own detergent and dryer sheets.  We also brought dishwashing tablets, spray cleaner for the kitchen, paper towels and toilet paper.  (There were a few rolls of toilet paper provided, but no paper towels.)  The house was also stocked with hotel-sized soaps in each of the three and a half bathroooms.

Our house was located just a few miles off Hwy 192 which has restaurants, shops, attractions and more! So much to do, and just a few minutes away.  We were about 12 minutes from the entrance to the WDW parks.  It was an easy drive, and traffic wasn't bad at all, even though there was construction right outside the resort. (I am sure that is probably finished by now!)  One of our favorite places we found: Abracadabra Ice Cream!

We had such a wonderful time on this vacation, and I'm happy to share information about our rental home and the resort with y'all.  I am not receive any compensation for sharing it - just wanted to hopefully help someone else who is planning a trip to the area!

If you plan to visit the Atlantic Coast for some beach time, please check out my review of Ormond Beach's Coral Sands Inn.

I also have a review of Orange City, which is halfway between Orlando & Daytona Beach.  It is a nice place to stay if you are doing a day at the parks and a day at the beach!

We will definitely look for a home in Terra Verde on our next Disney Youth Education Series trip in 2017.  It will probably just be three of us next time, so we won't need a home this large.  Luckily, they also have townhomes and smaller homes in Terra Verde.

Have you ever rented a house on vacation? Which do you prefer: house or hotel? Let me know by leaving a comment below this post! Thanks for stopping by!












Saturday, January 23, 2016

Giveaway: LEGO® FRIENDS: GIRLZ 4 LIFE on Blu-Ray

**Warner Bros. Home Video provided me with some of the materials I used in this Blog Post/Giveaway. The opinions I share are my own.**

True Friendship in the Glamorous World of Pop!



There are few things as important in life as your friends. No matter how old you are, your friends are there to help you when you’re down, support you when you make mistakes, and be your rock when the going gets tough.

The new movie, LEGO® FRIENDS: GIRLZ 4 LIFE, is all about friendship, trusting yourself and standing up for what’s right no matter what the cost. All set to an awesome rock soundtrack you’re going to love! Join Olivia, Stephanie, Emma, Mia and Andrea as they learn that fame isn’t important, it’s your friends that count!

LEGO® FRIENDS: GIRLZ 4 LIFE brings to life (in animated form) the LEGO construction based toy LEGO® Friends. LEGO ® Friends invites girls into a universe, Heartlake city, and inspires them to use their imagination to build and role play their own stories with fun-loving relatable characters.

Join Olivia, Stephanie, Emma, Mia and Andrea, as they learn about friendship, fame and pop star fun in Heartlake City.

The girls’ friendships are tested when mega pop star Livi comes to Heartlake City. When our friends’ hit song “Girlz” is stolen by Livi’s manager, it’s time for a cunning plan.

As the girls try to tell Livi the truth about her latest hit single, they all learn that fame isn’t everything and sometimes friendship is the most precious thing in the world.

Own LEGO® FRIENDS: GIRLZ 4 LIFE on digital HD 1/19 and on Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD 2/2

Also be sure to visit the official L2M website to stay updated with all things L2M!



• Grab your pop star microphone because it’s sing-along night! Click the play button to watch the special sing-along music video for Girlz by L2M.
• Listen to the song High Tops by L2M and click to watch the “Meet L2M” video that introduces the next girl-pop power sensation.
• Download the “Girlz 4 Life” Activity Pack and to unlock your inner pop star! Kit includes Selfie props, a “Spot the Difference” game, making the Band DIY pop star instruments, Friendship Card and more!
• Click on LEGO® FRIENDS: GIRLZ 4 LIFE Blu-ray Combo Pack for a link where the film can be purchased!

Time for another giveaway!  Enter below via Rafflecopter to win your own copy of this 
Blu-Ray!
Thanks for taking time to stop by my blog!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Giveaway: Captive DVD #CaptiveMovie #FlyBy


“A Powerful Story of Faith Over Fear.” - Dick Rolfe, CEO, Dove Foundation

Based on a miraculous story about the power of faith, Captive is an "amazing, inspiring" drama about the spiritual collision of two lost souls, Brian Nichols (Golden Globe Nominee David Oyelowo), on the run from police and desperate to make contact with his newborn son, takes recently widowed mother Ashley Smith (Kata Mara) hostage in her own apartment.  Fearing for her life and desperately hoping to see her daughter again, she turns to Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life for guidance. Ashley and her captor face a crossroads where they discover hope and light in the midst of despair in the moving film that Dick Rolfe, CEO, Dove Foundation hailed as "powerful."

Living in metro Atlanta, I vividly remember the day this event happened.  I sat glued to my living room tv as the events played out live.  Brian Nichols, on trial for rape, escaped from a deputy in the Fulton County courthouse downtown.   He killed several people, including the judge presiding over his trial. Local news ran on tv all day, as the police desperately tried to find Nichols.  I remember thinking he was surely out of state by the end of the day - why on earth would he still be in the metro area, right? Well, everyone was surprised the next morning, when he was found in Duluth, GA. (only about 15 miles from us).  As the story of the evening unfolded, and we learned about the girl he held hostage for hours in her apartment, it became obvious that it was a miracle she was still alive!  This story stayed with me for years. I read Ashley Smith's book several years ago, and now I've seen this movie.   It is definitely not for children - it is very intense and has content that is for adults only. When I got this DVD in the mail and realized what it was about; I was not sure how I'd feel watching it, it brought back that day and how scary and sad it was.  Afterwards, I was glad I did.  It's inspiring and has a good message.   ~ Aimee 



This DVD was released on January 5, 2016, and it is 96 minutes long.  It's rated PG-13 (for mature thematic elements involving violence and substance abuse)

There are over 30 minutes of bonus content on this DVD including Journey Through Darkness: Filming Captive and Faith and The Purpose Driven Life.  Also included with this DVD is a Digital HD copy that can be instantly streamed and downloaded.

And now I get to give away a copy of this DVD to one of you!

All you have to do is enter via the rafflecopter widget below.  There is always a mandatory entry, so be sure to do that first, then enter using any other optional entries that you would like to as well!

Thanks for taking time out of your day to stop by and enter.  I appreciate you!


Thursday, January 14, 2016

CD Giveaway~Passion Salvation's Tide is Rising #PassionSTIR #FlyBy

It's a New Year - time for some great new Music!



Looking for some inspirational music for your commute, or while taking the kids to activities? Check out the newest album Salvation's Tide Is Rising (releasing on January 29, 2016) from the Passion Conference and sixstepsrecords/Capitol CMG.  Rooted in the confession of Isaiah 26:8, Passion exists to glorify God by uniting students in worship, prayer and justice for spiritual awakening in this generation.

From its start in 1995, the Passion Movement has had a singular mission--calling students from campuses across the nation and around the world to live for what matters most. This yearly conference uses live worship music and teaching to encourage young people to live for the glory of God. In 1998, Passion decided to document the musical portion of the annual conferences via live worship recordings -- raw, in-your-face praise songs with an alternative edge.

This brand new Passion album contains new studio recordings from best-selling artists Chris Tomlin, Crowder, Matt Redman, and Kristian Stanfill.  It features new songs written specifically for Passion 2016.

Track List:
1.  Salvation's Tide is Rising - Passion featuring Kristian Stanfill
2.  My Victory - Passion featuring Crowder
3.  Remember - Passion featuring Brett Younker & Melodie Malone
4.  God & God Alone - Passion featuring Chris Tomlin
5.  Simple Pursuit - Passion featuring Melodie Malone
6.  I Turn to Christ - Passion featuring Matt Redman
7.  Your Grace Amazes Me - Passion featuring Christy Nockels
8.  All We Sinners - Passion featuring Crowder
9.  Surrender - Passion featuring Jimi Cravity
10. Good Good Father - Passion featuring Kristian Stanfill

About The Passion Movement:
The Passion Movement and the messages of founder Louis Giglio have marked the lives of millions of people around the globe, calling people everywhere to live for the glory of God.  From its inception, the movement of Passion has birthed new anthems of worship, influencing countless churches and helping to define the current worship climate and establish artists Chris Tomlin, Crowder, Matt Redman, Christy Nockels, Kristian Stanfill and others.  Louie Giglio is the pastor and founder of Passion City Church in Atlanta, GA.

I have to tell y'all - this music is amazing!  I have been listening to this awesome worship music for the last three days while David works on his school assignments and I am doing housework, or working on things for the blog. It's also nice for driving! One of my favorite songs is Good Good Father, and Passion's version is so good. My Victory and I Turn to Christ are also among my favorites here.  Some of these songs we already knew from church, so it's great to turn this on in the car and sing along. This CD will not disappoint! You can find it on iTunes here.

I'm excited to give away a copy of the CD to one of you! There are easy entry opportunities via the rafflecopter widget below.  Good luck!



Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Giveaway/Review: The Plans I Have for You Devotional & Journal #FlyBy #PlansIHave



Hey y'all! I sure hope the New Year is off to a fantastic start for you and your family!

Now that the holidays are behind us, it's time to get back to our routines.  One thing we're working on this year is for my son and I to be better at taking time for reading devotionals, our Bibles, and journaling.  (gratitude, prayers) We tend to become distracted and get bogged down with school, family stuff, and just plain old busy-ness, and forget to spend enough time with God.  Today I get to tell you about a really cool kids devotional and coordinating journal that encourages kids, sharing that God has a plan and a purpose for each us, and inspiring them to learn more about that purpose! It makes me so happy that these two books will make it easy and fun for David to spend time with God every day.

I appreciate how these books speak to the child reading them.  They reach out and ask questions, inviting them to respond, pray and learn about God's plan for them. I especially love the colorful and whimsical illustrations in the devotional, and the thought-provoking questions found in the journal. These will be outstanding additions to David's library, and I can't wait for him to dive into these two books! Here are a few pics from the books, and then some more information from the publisher.




About The Plans I Have For You Devotional:
The devotional is an illustrated 90-day devotional written by bestselling children's book author Amy Parker and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton, teaching and inspiring kids to dream about their future, to focus on faith, love, and joy, and recognize that God has a plan and purpose for each and every one of us.

Hardcover; 160 pages
Age Range: 8-12 years

About The Plans I Have For You Journal:
The journal prompts creative thinking and exploration of the talents and personalities that make us special, and then helps explore how God may use our unique traits to spread love and joy and make the world a better place.

Stationery; 208 pages
Age Range: 11-14 years


About author Amy Parker:
Amy Parker has sold more than thirty books for children, teens, and adults.  She has also collaborated with authors ranging from New York Times bestsellers to her very own son.  Two of these collaborations are recipients of Christian retailing's Best Awards, and she has also won three Mom's Choice Awards.  But Amy's greatest reward is being a wife to Daniel and a mom to their amazing sons, Michael and Ethan.



About illustrator Vanessa Brantley-Newton:
Vanessa Brantley-Newton is a self-taught illustrator, doll maker, and crafter.  Her passion for children's books began when she came across The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats as a child in the 1960s.  Growing up in a musical family who love to sing, Vanessa's illustrations are as fun and whimsical as a beautiful melody.  Vanessa currently makes her nest in Charlotte, NC with her husband of 20 years, their daughter, and a very rambunctious cat named Stripes.


Zonderkidz is sponsoring a giveaway of both of these books to one of my readers! Y'all know I love being able to share things with you that I think you will love too. Well, these books are a treasure!

So, you know the routine - I use rafflecopter for my giveaways, and I like to give you a few options to enter.  Of course, you only have to complete the mandatory entry to be eligible to win, but some of you (like me!) want to have more than one entry in a good giveaway!  So enter below (if you don't see the giveaway automatically, you may need to click the link) and I'll be drawing a winner next week!


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

New Trim Healthy Mama products available!

Trim Healthy Mama has three new products out! Read Pearl's announcement below:

"A tad excited!!! Announcing three new Trim Healthy Mama products.
Organic Oolong tea (which I am sipping on now and finding it hard not to brag on the flavor and quality of this stuff... I guess I just did).
And...
To go packets of your favorite sweeteners! We've had hundreds of requests for these and they're finally here. Now you can take packets of Super Sweet Blend and Gentle Sweet with you! My purse is currently full of them because I love a squeeze of lemon and some sweetener in my water wherever I go (especially sparkling water) but great for tea and coffee too!
Also...
Doonk spoons and Pure Stevia Extract have been turned back on."

Visit this page to order yours! So excited to try the THM Oolong tea - it supposedly revs up your metabolism....vrooom vroom!  I have been able to find it at Big Lots occasionally, but I am on my last box of tea bags so I'll be ordering from THM soon! 

**this is an affiliates link and your ordering from this link means I will receive a small commission from your purchase.***

Friday, January 8, 2016

Perfect Beach Hotel in Ormond Beach, FL

                                                    


Looking for a quiet spot on the Atlantic?  Read more about Coral Sands in Ormond Beach!


So, it finally got cold here in Georgia, and I'm dreaming of the beach. Which reminds me of the fun we had on vacation back in September.   My son, Aunt & I went to Florida for a 9 day whirlwind trip to the beach, Disney and Kissimmee! I have so much to share with y'all.  Here in Georgia, a trip to Disney is only an eight hour drive away.  I grew up going to Disney & other Orlando-area theme parks fairly often, as my Grandparents lived in Orlando.  It still makes me so incredibly happy to visit the magical world that Walt Disney created.  This was our first trip in 8 years, so I wanted to enjoy it and make lots of memories!

I've mentioned before that my son David is homeschooled via k12.com.  That means we have a little more flexibility than most families, and can easily take vacations throughout the school year.  This trip was actually planned by another K12 mom and wow, did she ever do an amazing job!   It was a Disney YES (Youth Education Series) trip, and because it included a Disney class for our kids at the park, we were able to take advantage of some amazing ticket prices.  We each got the four-day park hopper pass, and the cost was what you would normally pay for two days at one park only - wow!!  I will tell you more about the YES class, Disney and other parts of our trip later, but today I want to focus on our quick stop at the beach.

We drove over to Alabama early Tuesday morning to pick up my sweet Aunt Anne.  She was going with us to Florida, and at the last minute we decided to leave a day early so we could see the ocean. The beach is probably my favorite place in the world.  The sound of the waves, the smell of the salt air, the breeze - it's my happy place.  Being so close and not seeing the beach would have been SAD!
So we picked her up, then came back through Atlanta to take I-75 South to Florida.  We stopped for meals and breaks, so it was almost 11 pm when we pulled up to the motel I'd found on hotels.com.
(I am still using swagbucks and I like to use hotels.com for my reservations so I get cash back via gift cards from Swagbucks.)  This room was only $80 using a $5 off coupon I found online.  I wasn't expecting much for that price - just a view of the beach, and probably a long walk to get there.

Despite the late hour, we easily checked in to the Coral Sands Inn in Ormond Beach, Florida, and took our luggage up to the room, which was on the 5th floor.  As it was pitch black, and there were no lights (it was turtle hatching season), we couldn't see the beach, but we sure could hear the waves.

Night view from the balcony in front of the room.

The room was nice - nothing fancy, and a honestly, little dated, but perfectly fine. We even had a little fridge, microwave and sink, plus a little counter space for our cooler.  We all collapsed into our beds and slept very well!  In the morning, I opened the curtains and happily discovered this view:

Stunning view of the beach - totally worth $80, right?! 
We quickly got dressed and headed to the beach to let David play in the surf and collect a few shells.



I took this picture standing in the waves, looking back at the motel.  

Picking up shells...

After about 30 minutes on the beach, we headed out to get breakfast to bring back to the room.  Ormond Beach is a SMALL town, so we didn't have a lot of choices.  We ended up visiting House of Donuts, just down the street from the motel.  They have a wonderful breakfast menu: everything from donuts - fancy or regular, to breakfast sandwiches, juices, coffee and iced coffee.  David chose the oreo donut, I got a bavarian cream, and we picked a key lime pie donut for Aunt Anne.  Everything was fresh and delicious!




David really wanted to take a quick dip in the pool, so off we went....




Then it was time to grab a luggage cart and haul our stuff back down to the car.  Checking out was easy and fast, and it took just about 1 1/2 hours to get to our rental in Kissimmee once we left here.
Ormond Beach is lovely, and I really can't wait to get back down there and explore the area a little bit more! And of course we will plan to stay at Coral Sands!  I can't believe I'm sharing this hidden gem but it was such a great value that I had to tell y'all about it too!

FYI: I didn't receive any discount, incentives or anything from the hotel for writing about it, I just love it! :)  If you are heading to the Atlantic Coast or central Florida, I hope you'll make a stop at Coral Sands and enjoy the view, the pool and that amazing beach!  Such a relaxing place to stop and unwind for a night or two!  Then come here and let me know what you think about Coral Sands!

Leave a comment below with your favorite beach in Florida! I'm always looking for a new place to visit!