Share what’s good with Welch’s

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Welch’s. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

When I was growing up sitting down together for a meal was something that we did every evening. Same time, same place. Together as a family we ate dinner and talked about our days. Today, I still do that with my family because I feel that it’s important to stay connected and have that time set aside to be together in person, especially when there is so much going on in everyone’s lives and we tend to rely on technology to communicate with one another.

I’m not alone in this either. Welch’s feels the same way & have a new campaign called Share Your Moments!

Welch’s believes in the magic of “kitchen table” moments, and has been helping families enjoy them for generations. In the time it takes to drink a glass of juice or share a sandwich, a special moment can happen. That’s why Welch’s just launched a new movement called “Share what’s good™” It’s all about sharing those special moments that occur each day with family, friends and loved ones – whether it’s at home or on the go. At you’ll find a variety of great content from fun family ideas to delicious recipes. You can share photos of your every-day moments and see how others are doing the same.

share whats good

As part of the Share what’s good campaign, Welch’s has launched the “Share Your Moments” photo contest! From 9/16 to 10/25 upload a photo of your favorite family moment for a chance to win $5,000! While there is only one grand prize, everyone who enters will get a $1.50 coupon for Welch’s 100% Grape Juice – or $2.00 if you share the news.

All you need to do is visit to enter! Actually, entering can be as easy as sharing a pic on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #sharewhatsgood.

How does your family connect around mealtime or at various times throughout the day?



This post has been swimming around in my head for a few days and I’m finally getting around to writing it. I’m not sure why it’s taken so long… I guess life and everything got in the way.

Anyway, here it goes.

When I was younger I would fight with my sister, do something wrong, irritate my mom, or whatever it is that kids do to get in trouble. My mom would yell, threaten, and eventually follow through with one of the threats. Worse yet… ground me (I hated being grounded). Chances are there were times that I actually deserved it regardless of the fact that I’m sure I was never at fault and it was always my sisters fault.

There were times though that nobody did anything wrong.

There were more times than not that I’d say to myself, ‘I will never do that when I’m a parent’ or ‘I won’t talk that way when I’m a parent’ or ‘I’ll never act like that when I have kids’.


Never say never.

As time goes by something has happened… something scary and something that I never thought would happen. I am turning into my mom and I’m finding myself doing all of those things that I always told myself that I would never do. I hate it. I hate ever single time it happens. The sad thing is that I don’t even realize that I’m doing it until after the fact and then I pause and want to literally kick myself.

I often wonder is it part of our genetic makeup that we will inevitably turn into our parents. Maybe behaviors are just part of who we are like the color of our eyes, the exact shade of brown hair that one of our parents has, or how you can tell that people are siblings. I question it all the time.

I didn’t have the best childhood and there is quite a bit that I don’t remember. Most of that time was before I moved out of my moms house and in with my dad and stepmom. I never want to act the way she did or treat my kids in a similar manner and I have gone out of my way (obviously not enough) to not be that person and to be a good mom, to give my kids everything they need/want, and to always be there.

I’ve made it a point lately to really think before I speak, to be more open, and make sure that when I do and how I act is me and not the way my mom acted. I won’t lie… it’s not easy, but I am determined to do this and not continue to turn into her.

Please, don’t get me wrong. I do love my mom and wish that she where here to be a part of my life as well as her grandkids, but sometimes life doesn’t go the way we expect it.

My kids will always be important to me, they will always know that I love them, and that I will do whatever I can to support them in what they do. I don’t want the their memories of me to be of them upset with them, yelling at them, or anything like that.

Do you ever find yourself noticing traits or actions that your parents did when you were a kid? Did you ever say that you’d never do something once you became a parent?

It’s a little late but I’m linking up with Shell for her weekly linky… Pour Your Heart Out. Stop by her place and see what others are talking about this week.


Memorial Day & Kings Hawaiian

Every year my entire family gathers together for a picnic over the Memorial Day weekend but this year they changed the date and sadly there was no picnic. It threw off our entire weekend because it’s the start of our summer camping season… we were able to turn it around though!

A new campground was found pretty easily and we set out with my husbands grandparents for a fun weekend together in a place called Turkeyville. Our summer camping season could begin and I was looking forward to getting away and enjoying our time together.

This year instead of the family fish fry we roasted hot dogs over an open fire, homemade potato salad (my husbands favorite), and all the other picnic favorites like s’mores. I have to say that it was just as fun and there is nothing better than a hot dog roasted over an open fire. Well, nothing better than eating that hot dog on a Kings Hawaiian bun because these buns are amazing! Super soft, sweet, and someone was a genius when they came up with the idea to split these buns right down the middle instead of the side! Not a single bun broke or crumbled.

memorial day

I have to say that after giving these a try that we won’t be switching back to regular buns any time soon. Seriously… these are amazing.

enjoying Kings Hawaiian

Hmmm… maybe you can’t tell by her expression but she really loved them. She just didn’t want me to take her picture while she was eating I think… oops. She’ll probably like it less that I’m sharing it with all of you too.

King’s Hawaiian® wants to know how you bring people together.  Reply below for a chance to win a $200 gift card!  Sweepstakes Rules.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Kings Hawaiian. The opinions and text are all mine.

15 Reasons

This week is all off because of the holiday on Monday and so in honor of keeping things off around here I thought that I’d do one of Mama Kat’s prompts this week. The first one is easy peasy… 15 Reasons You’re Awesome and it’s kinda fun because the other day I wrote about 15 things then too! The real test will be if I can come up with a 15 list for Friday!

Honestly, I’m wondering if I can even come up with 15 reasons I’m awesome… then again I could just make things up and hope they sound good.


1. I am a mom. That alone is pretty awesome because it’s no easy task being a mom.

2. I am awesome because I finally stuck with a weight loss plan and am now starting to make better choices for myself. It’s no longer a weight loss plan… it’s a life style! One that will keep me in shape and hopefully in better health.

3. I am awesome because after deciding that I was done having kids before my 30th birthday I went out and did it again. That probably just says that I’m crazy instead of awesome, right?

4. I am awesome because I survived alcoholic parents & an abusive step-dad.

5. I am awesome because I finally decided to go back to college while working full time and having 3 kids at home. It was important to me that I did it and proved that I could do. What it proved, besides those two things, is that college is freakin’ expensive and that I’d go to school and listen to lectures forever if I could.

whew… this is getting hard! Listing reasons why I’m awesome… maybe I’m not as awesome as I thought I was!

6. I am awesome because I can watch Jeopardy and get the majority of the questions right. Yes, I am the queen of useless knowledge!

7. I am awesome because I am a blogger. That alone should be at the top of the list, right?

8. I am awesome because I can sit here and write this post while answering one of the kids, watching Jeff Dunham, and pondering dinner. #multitasker

Wow… look at that! I’m over half way done with this list.

9. I am awesome because my teen is painting my 3 yr old son’s nails and I’m letting her. My husband on the other hand won’t like it that much and we can’t hide it because the toddler is pretty damn proud of his pretty nails.

10. I am awesome because I’m not all hipster cool like that and I haven’t degraded far enough yet to wear mom jeans. But I do have mom hair.

11. Speaking of mom hair… that’s another reason I am awesome. Not everyone can rock mom hair…. maybe I’m wrong about that. I probably am.

12. I am awesome because I “rescued” a dog while out on my bike ride last night. The dog was following me so I pulled off on to a side road so neither of us would get hit by a car. The dog didn’t have a collar or anything that would help find his family so we waiting until my husband & toddler came to get us in the truck. We spent the next hour driving around, stopping at houses in the countryside looking for his home, and we never found it. So, we took the dog home, gave him a bath, and let him in the house. He was a super friendly dog and you could tell that he was used to being in the house and around kids…. I hope that he gets back to his home.

13. I am awesome…. I’m outta things

14. I am awesome because well, #12 should be enough to count for the two that I skipped.

15. I am awesome because I’m the mom and I said so.

There are millions of reasons why we are all awesome! It seems that I could  have come up with a better list than this… oh well.

Now it’s your turn! Tell me why YOU are awesome!


Starting Over

Some people have their lives well planned out like when they’re going to have kids, how many, how many years apart, and all that stuff. I’m not one of those people… I’ve been more fly the seat of your pants and see what happens when it came to having kids…. until recently that is. That is what this story is all about.

This is #1…. this is an older picture because I can’t find a newer one she’d like. Anyway, she’s 17.


This is #2 and this is a recent picture. She all dressed up looking pretty for the end of the year Spring Fling dance at school. Born in 1999… that always makes me want to break out in song! You know… that party like it’s 1999 by Prince?

Natalie - Spring Fling

This bored one is #3…. and she was born in 2002 and the year that I turned 30. She was supposed to be the last baby because my goal was to be done having kids before I turned 30.

Bored Lauren

This… well, this is #4. He’s the youngest and the most planned baby ever… and my last baby and he was born in 2010.

Andrew - bubbles

And this is where the starting over story begins… I’d love for you to read more of it too! I’m over at Sippy Cup Mom’s place today sharing my story about becoming a mom again after your kids are half grown and self sufficient.

I miss you

I miss you…

I didn’t realize just how much I really missed you until I was in the store shopping for Easter gifts for the kids and a lady walked by me. She reminded me of you in so many ways, but the first thing that got me was her perfume.

The perfume she was wearing is one that you wear or wore at one time. It lingered around every corner and aisle that I walked. As soon as I got away from it she was just around the next corner and it the familiar scent was back pulling at me… my heart… and my memories of what was.

She was probably close to your age. She too was shopping for the upcoming holiday…. maybe for her grandkids.

She was shorter than you but a similar share and she styled her hair like you did when it was shorter. She had her face fully made up… just like you. Never leaving the house without makeup.

There was so many things about her that reminded me of you. So many memories came back… it was good to remember and at the same time it was painful because you’re not part of our lives like that.

I miss you. More than you will probably ever know.

For a little while I had you back there with me and it was like we were shopping together again for the kids like we did once so many years ago. Funny thing… it was for Easter too, right after Lauren was born. 11 years ago.

It was an emotional shopping trip and I did what I could to hold my emotions in check and move on with what I was there to do. I was sort of glad when the lady left.

She left, but the memories are still there.

I wish you’d come back.

I wish you were a regular part of my life…. part of my kids lives.

Do you miss me?

Do you miss your grandkids?

I miss you.

I’m linking up with Shell from Things I Can’t Say this week for Pour Your Heart Out. My intention was to start sharing some of the pictures and all that from our week in Florida & time at the Disney Parks but I just couldn’t come up with anything. Not with this pulling at my heart. It’s hard when your mom isn’t part of your life… it’s hard when you know that she is out there living her life. It’s even harder when you have no idea why you’re not part of her life anymore… whether you did or said something wrong. No matter how old you get your mom is important… mine is important. I just don’t know how to mend things… especially when I don’t know what’s broken.


East or West?

Well, my vacation is over and today we’re leaving warm, sunny Florida and heading back to cold, gray Michigan. As with any vacation I think I need a few day… maybe a week to recoup from my actual vacation! 

Today I have the wonderful Kate from Mommy Monologues here today to about an incredible spontaneous vacation that she took with her family. To me this sounds perfect! 

Thank you Kate for guest posting today while I’m off enjoying my vacation!

As far as awesome trips go, one of the best ones I went on was when I was 18. I am the oldest of 5 children (at the time we were 18, 16, 14, 12, 9) and my parents sat us all down, told us we were going on a 14 day trip, to pack 7 days worth of clothing (we would find laundry mats on the way), to prepare for everything, and we had no idea where we were going!

The next day, we literally loaded my parents brand new minivan with suitcases, toys, pillows, blankets, and every other thing a family of 7 could possibly need for a huge trip. Then we all climbed into our assigned seats (yes, assigned seating is a must with 5 children!) and as my father made it to the stop sign at the end of our road, he said to my mother, “Jane, are we going east or are we going west?”

She had two piles of travel books in her lap, on her left, she had books for travelling the western side of the United States & on her right she had books for travelling the eastern side. She looked down at the books, made up her mind, & said, “WEST!”

And west we went!!! We drove over 4,000 miles, went to 9 states, & drove for 14 days. We saw Mt. Rushmore, the Badlands, Native American Reservations, the Grand Tetons, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, Custard’s Last Stand, Wall Drug Store, and so so much more.

You would think that with 5 kids & 2 adults in the car that there would have been major arguments? Nope. Disagreements over what to do? Nope. Parents stressed about how much money they were spending? Nope. It was quite literally some of the best times that I have ever had in my life.

How many people do not plan a 14 day vacation until they are on said vacation & just plan it as they go along? I only know of my parents doing it and it was awesome!

That trip is always a great reminder to me to never get so caught up with making plans, because sometimes the best events in life happen when you aren’t spending all your time planning them!

Are all your trips planned or are they more spontaneous?

Kate is the mom to two little ones and is the author of Mommy Monologues! You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, and of course Pinterest.

What makes a great vacation? The road less traveled.

Well, my vacation is close to ending and I’ll be honest… I’d much rather stay on vacation for another week than go home. Today is a down day for us and we’re hanging out by the pool.

Today I have Jill here to share what she thinks makes a great vacation and you know what…. I agree with her on so many points! Being able to just take off and explore can be so much fun.

Thank you Jill for guest posting today while I’m off enjoying my vacation!

“Vacation” is a different idea to every person. Some want mountains, some want beach, some want a reunion of epic numbers and some want to be alone. Some want desolate. Some want city. Some want electricity and running water. Others don’t.

Beautiful sights clench it for me. Which is why one of my very favorite places in the world to visit is the San Juan Island in Washington state. The photo above was taken on Orcas Island and there is no ugly to be found there. Nowhere.

I like all types, but I need two things to make it great. Family and beautiful. Although, I could easily be tempted into believing that a solo vacation could be super awesome, as long as my kiddos are still at home, I may not be taking a solo vacay anytime soon.

We usually only take vacation once every two years because it takes me a while to save up the $$. But when I do plan out a vacation I like to think of how my kids will remember the vacation. Will they remember it as amazing? Will they want to take their own family and make those same kind of memories? Will we see/do things that we may never do again? Those “road less traveled” things.

I like to explore, to jump in the car, drive around and find beautiful. I also like to leave a trip largely unplanned because I want to find the free or cheap stuff that the locals tell me about because that is where the magic happens.

Taking the road less traveled most usually offers up the most memorable adventure.

The photo of the sail boat above you won’t find that location just anywhere on the island, you won’t find it in town, you won’t find it at the ferry dock. Although you can find some pretty other docks around, you will have to get in your car and explore to find this one.

In 2011 we took a 10 day road trip to Arizona for my sister’s wedding (family). We drove through New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and back to Colorado (beautiful). I had ideas of what we would do on the way, but didn’t have the trip planned out aside from which day we needed to arrive where.

On our way to Sedona we stopped at the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest in Arizona. Ah-mazing! After the wedding we drove through the Grand Canyon, we went to the Rainbow Bridge, toured Antelope Canyons at Lake Powell…

But when we were coming out of the Petrified Forest on our way to the wedding I saw a sign for Route 66 and followed it just so that we could say we had been on Route 66 and then we came up on a place that looked like the Cozy Cone in the movie Cars and it had an old red tow truck sitting out front! I can’t say if it’s the real place modeled in the movie, but it was pretty darn cool!

While at Lake Powell, I asked one of our servers “what do the locals do? where should we go?” And he told us about a beautiful beach – I can’t remember the name of it now but we went. And we got stuck in the sand and had to be towed out of it.

The boys thought that was so cool! A little nerve wracking in a rental vehicle, but memorable!

On our most recent family vacation to the San Juan Islands in Washington we took a ferry over to Friday Harbor for a few hours and we mozied (sp?) on into a bbq restaurant and had the best bbq I have ever had. We didn’t choose the big restaurant on the main street, but we did get the best food around!

Anyway, I asked the server there what we should do – rather than the normal tourist things. She gave us a few ideas and then told us about Popeye, the well-known one-eyed seal that some of the locals fed down at the harbor.

The stars aligned that day because when we walked down to the harbor, wouldn’t you know it? Popeye was down there getting fed by some of the local crab fishermen and they offered to let the boys feed him. Now this is no Sea World and they did warn us that he is a wild animal and to be careful, but feeding a seal out of your hand like this? Was one of those things that the boys won’t ever forget!! And not one of the other tourists on our ferry that day can say that they got to feed Popeye too.

Oh, yeah and the other most memorable time that we’ll have from that AZ road trip that I mentioned earlier. I took a wrong turn somewhere in AZ and we ended up in Monument Valley, UT. Yes, I know that Monument Valley is in the middle of nothing so it would seem like it would be hard to take a wrong turn, right? Don’t judge me. Off the beaten path, remember? I gave my kids something they’ll never go see on purpose. 🙂

Do you ever take the road less traveled on vacation? What is your best experience?

Jill is a single mom raising three boys (18, 17 and 9). Somehow she finds the time to run an amazing blog and work!

You can find her on her blog, Facebook, and of course Twitter!

Tips for traveling with a baby

Hi! Well, I made it through Animal Kingdom and today I’m off to Disney Hollywood Studios!

Today I have the amazingly talented Erica here and she is sharing some of her tips for traveling with a baby. I’ll admit that I never traveled with my kids as babies until I had Andrew and it’s no easy task that’s for sure.

Thank you Erica for guest posting today while I’m off enjoying my vacation!

This is the time of the year most of us start dreaming of vacation. And, if you are like me – a working parent with 2 kids – vacation cannot come soon enough.

For us, tips for traveling with a baby include one thing: Know where every hospital and / or emergency room is.

This story is how I came to that learn that gem.

Our 7 hour-ish car ride to the Outer Banks, North Carolina, began with an overnight stop in Chincoteague, Virginia.

We were bored with the downtown within 5 minutes enjoyed the small town quaintness of Chincoteague. I scarfed down many blue crabs while getting my hands covered in Old Bay Seasoning We had a lovely dinner at the local crab shack. And managed so see some of the famed ponies enjoying the natural beauty of the island. Oh, and we had the crap bitten out of our legs by mosquitoes, which, of course, is expected in Chincoteague.

The next morning we planned to wake up early for a beach stroll before beginning the second leg of our journey down to the Outer Banks.

Then my daughter fell face down off the hotel bed. Face down.

We. Were. Terrified|Horrified|Panicking.

She. Was. Crying|Screaming|Bleeding|Throbbing.

She had to go to the hospital. I called down to the receptionist.

“Um, hi, my daughter just fell off the bed and we need to go to an emergency room.”

“Well, the closest hospital is an hour away.”

An hour? Where the heck were we anyway??? Oh yeah, Chincoteague.

Why didn’t someone share with us tips for traveling with a baby and let us know we needed to stay within 15 minutes of a hospital??

Our daughter was finally calmed down, and we packed the car to go to Nassawadax, which, by the way, looks exactly like you would picture a town called Nassawadax, Virginia to look like. Chicken farms and boarded up gas stations.

She checked out fine… of course. Any change in behavior, we should come back.

She had a shiner, and some rug burns, but other than that… she was good to go.

Until 2 am… See, when she woke up at 2 am screaming and inconsolable, our first thought was, “Change in behavior! Concussion! Back to the hospital!”

So back we went. This time, to Nags Head Hospital, which was a bit more thorough. The doctor asked us a question that caught us off guard…

“Have you given her Tylenol for pain? She might have a headache.”

“Um, no. No one told us that was something we should do… hmmm…Can we have our Parenting Award of the Year now too?”

We got our discharge instructions and I, in my typical fast-northern talkative fashion asked the nurse who was letting us go…

“So, is there a 24-hour pharmacy, or someplace we can get Tylenol?”

“Well,” in a slower southern drawl…”Nothing’s open on the island 24 hours… ‘cept Harris Teeter.”

Um… great, thanks… yeah, the 24-hour grocery store will probably have what we need. Awesome. Can we go now?

We were also told it’s good luck for your child to fall off the bed before she is a year old. I guess this happens often enough for a wives’ tale about it.

So, it was an awesome start to the vacation…

SO… what has your kid done to make you scare the heck out of you? What toddler moment sent you to the ER?? What tips for traveling with a baby would YOU include?

Erica Voll is a freelance writer, blogger, and social media consultant. She writes a parenting blog, No Sleep ’til College, and is co-founder of Girls’ Lunch Out. Erica rarely sleeps.

Check out Erica’s favorite blog posts at No Sleep ’til College:

The Post In Which I Judge Other Moms

Hold Your Baby

My Toddler is an Awful Photographer

Letters to my Kids – Dear Caitlin

Welcome to the first Letters to my Kids link up. I hope that you will join me in this new bi-weekly meme about well… letters to my kids. There is always so much to say to our kids and sometimes it’s easier to write it out. It’s a great way to vent, create memories to share later, talk to your child in a way that you can’t do in person, or maybe share something that they might not understand now but will later. Whatever the reason I hope that you’ll be inspired to write whether you’re a mom, sister, aunt, grandma, or just someone who has a child in their life that they want to share a letter with.

letters to my kids


Dear Caitlin,

I decided to start this series with you because you’re my oldest. My first baby… the one that I learned on as I went along on this journey called motherhood. When they handed you to me my life changed in so many ways and I knew that being a mom was what I was supposed to do.

First and foremost, I want you to know that I love you more than you’ll ever know. You will always hold a special place in my heart as will your sisters and brothers. Yes, I meant that to be plural because at one point Danny was mine and circumstances changed that.

Sometimes it’s hard to talk to you and I so want to be your friend as well as your mom. I know that some say you can’t do that but I think it’s possible. I want to be there for you when you need someone to talk to, someone to vent to, someone to laugh with, and someone to just listen when things aren’t going right.

Maybe it’s because we alike in so many ways… scary, huh? But I see it in the things you do or say once in awhile and it’s then that I realize why we don’t always get along.

I will also admit that I’m not that easy to get along with… I’m not sure why this is. I guess it’s just the way I am. I can be cranky I suppose and that is the result of stress which I don’t mean to take out on you. For that I apologize deeply.

I also know what it’s like to be a teen and talking with your parents isn’t always at the top of your list of things to do. You have to believe me when I say that I’ve been there and that I understand. Probably a lot more than you realize.

Caitlin, I want you to know that I am very proud of you and all that you’ve done. You’ve worked so hard and I know because of that you will succeed at anything that you put your mind to.

I have much more to share with you but I’ll save it for another letter or two.

I love you,