Perfect Fall Travel Destinations In The South!

It’s officially Fall here in Georgia! Well, the season began on September 22. So, unfortunately, we aren’t cool enough yet to enjoy fall activities. But, that’s okay. Because football is already on TV. Pumpkin spice everything is already on the shelves. We’ll get our cooler weather, eventually. Then we can enjoy our boots, scarves, bonfires, and marshmallow roasting nights. But, if you are in a cooler area, you may want to escape to somewhere a little bit warmer. Maybe even come see us down here in Georgia?! If so, you have to check out some of the top fall travel destinations in the South!

I love the Fall. Some may shun me for this, but I’m not a huge pumpkin spice fan. I mean, I like it. But, I can live without it. That doesn’t mean I’m not in love with Fall. Because, I absolutely am. In fact, my whole family loves everything about fall. You can even check out our “Fall Bucket List” here. It includes fun things like bonfires and building a scarecrow! Plus, of course, we can’t forget jumping into a HUGE pile of leaves!

During the Fall, there’s so much to experience in the South. There are carnivals and hayrides. Plus, there are quite a few locations that have beautiful scenery. My family has visited many of these locations. Some of them several times. Then there are the locations you see and hear about. Of course, those are part of our Family Fall Bucket List.

Beautiful fall scenery is available worldwide. I can’t wait for the day where I become a world traveler. I’d love for my whole family to be world travelers. But, until that day. I’d love for ya’ll to fill me in on some of the best fall travel destinations. Because, until I’m worldwide, I’ll have to rely on pictures. 

fall travel destinations

Southern Fall Travel Destinations My Family Has Visited

Gatlinburg, Tennessee 

My family loves Gatlinburg! It’s not too far of a drive from our Georgia home. It takes us about 5 hours to get there. Give or take. Plus, the scenery is beautiful on the way, too. It’s situation in the Great Smoky Mountains. So, you’ll get to enjoy the fall foliage of the mountains.

Scenery isn’t the only thing that makes Gatlinburg great. The area is also family friendly. With plenty of things to do and see. With so many dining options, too.

We enjoyed all of the Ripley’s attractions, too. We’re not sure if we will be able to go this year. But, it’s a fall trip we try to plan every year.

Cherokee, North Carolina

fall travel destinations

Cherokee is another great option for a fall travel destination in the South. Plus, it’s a short drive from Gatlinburg, too. It’s the reservation home for the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation. The reservation seems to be quite active in the Fall. It’s probably because of the scenery and great choices of entertainment.

There are great local restaurants. We especially like the Pancake House across from the Harrah’s Casino. Plus, you can’t forget about Big Boy’s Restaurant. Which is situated in the heart of downtown Cherokee. The hotel accommodations are nice, too. There’s plenty to do, too. We love the museum.

Savannah, Georgia

Savannah may lack in the fall foliage department. That’s if you’re comparing the city to Gatlinburg or Cherokee. But, that doesn’t make the city anymore beautiful. Plus, in the Fall, the weather seems much more tolerable. But, since Tybee Island is so close, you can enjoy the beach, too.

Savannah is a historic city. The hotels are swanky and nice. They have nightly tours. Plus, a lively downtown area. You will have many dining choices, too.

When we visit Savannah we always make sure to eat at a new place downtown. We still haven’t tried them all! The options are endless. We love the candy shop. Plus, the ghost tours are cool. Savannah is supposedly the most haunted city in the country!

The Central Savannah River Area

fall travel destinations

I have to include my own city. That’s because there is so much to do here. I mean, if you’ve lived here a while, you may beg to differ. But, I’d like to think that happens everywhere. But, if you must do a staycation, there are things you can enjoy here! We have great fall foliage, too. Not to mention, we’re fairly central to all the other Southern fall travel destinations. The CSRA is about 2 hours from Savannah. Then about 5 hours from Gatlinburg and Cherokee.

The Augusta Canal is beautiful year round. But, especially nice during the Fall season. If you visit, a Riverboat tour is a must. That’s where you’ll see some great sights. You can even kayak. It’s a great place to work on your photography skills, too.

There are a lot of dining options, too. With a variety of small local businesses downtown. It seems as if the CSRA is big on supporting small businesses. Which is important. Downtown is currently in the process of being built up. Which I’m so excited for. There’s a civic center downtown, too. A lot of popular artists have visit the center. As well as popular traveling shows, too.

Phinizy Swamp is another breath taking scene, too. There’s ponds, wildlife, and so much more. The walking trails are beautiful. This is another great option for putting your photography skills to the test.

Greeneway Park in North Augusta, South Carolina, which is part of the CSRA, is also beautiful. It has a great walking trail, too.

Toccoa, Georgia

My family has never stayed in Toccoa. But, we have passed through on many occasions. Including during our Fall family trips. I must say, it’s a beautiful place! Especially in the Fall. The colors are vibrant. The city is just beautiful. Plus, it lays close to the Blue Ridge Mountains. Which is a place that is on my Fall Travel Bucket List.

We always visit Toccoa Falls when passing through, too. Toccoa Falls is a huge, beautiful waterfall. Definitely worth the visit.

I told ya’ll! I am far from a worldwide traveler. I need more experience. Traveling is something I definitely want to do. Bucket list goals, ya’ll. So, I use the internet to travel often. So, I have to tell ya’ll about these other Southern Fall Travel Destinations. They are bucket list worthy. They are on mine. I can’t wait to post about each trip as my family experiences it. 

Great Family Southern Fall Travel Destinations

Blue Ridge Railway

I love the concept of the Blue Ridge Railway. That’s why I think it’d be a great fall travel destination. A train takes you on a ride through the Chattahoochee National Forest. The trip is about 26 miles. It takes about 4 hours. But, has two stops.

Cheaha State Park – Delta, Alabama

fall travel destinations

I have heard that the view at Cheaha State Park is stunning in the Fall. We hope to visit next year!

I have to add to my Fall Travel Destination list, too. So, if you know of anywhere – please let me know!

 

 

WaterWipes at Walgreens + Giveaway!

This post was sponsored by WaterWipes as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

Going out and buying baby products is exhausting. There are so many products on the shelves. If you’re a first time mom, you may feel overwhelmed. If you’re a second time mom, you may already have a product in mind. We want what’s safe for our little ones. Products that we can trust. Brands that keep us coming back for more. With my oldest, I only bought hospital recommended products. But, as she grew older, funds grew tighter. So, I just went with whatever I could. But, Dray is a bit of a different story.

Dray has suffered with sensitive skin since he was born. Almost every laundry detergent, baby wipe, and diaper causes irritation. So, buying necessities for him come off a little bit tougher. They have to be safe for sensitive skin. There would be so much regret if I purchased a product with a lot of extra chemicals in it.

Do you know if your little ones are suffering from sensitive skin? There are sure fire signs that will reveal if your baby has sensitive skin. The signs are easy to look for. 

Sensitive Skin Symptoms in Babies

  • A recurrent rash
  • Redness on baby’s bottom (diaper rash)
  • Itchy skin
  • Skin redness
  • Pinkish-red bumps that are small
  • Dry skin
  • Flaky skin

Sensitive Skin Causes in Babies

  • Bug Bites
  • Food Allergies
  • Detergent
  • Environmental Allergies (smoke, pollen, etc.)
  • Medications
  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Lotions
  • Body Washes
  • Shampoos & Conditioners

If you notice your baby has sensitive skin, you should consult with your pediatrician. But, to make sure that you protect your baby, you can make some changes at home. These small changes will help keep your baby free from irritated skin.

waterwipes

Helping Ease Sensitive Skin in Babies

  • Use fragrance-free products
  • Avoid antibacterial soaps
  • Use product that are truly “hypoallergenic”
  • For babies clothing, chose fabrics that are truly “natural”
  • Use detergent that is for sensitive skin
  • Change soiled diapers often
  • Use diapers that are for sensitive skin
  • Chose wipes that are natural and hypoallergenic
  • Use shampoos, conditioners, baby wash, and lotions that are hypoallergenic

waterwipes

There is one product that has won my family over. That product is WaterWipes. They were introduced to me at just the right time. Dray’s already sensitive skin had just begun becoming irritated due to his wipes. So, we needed to find a natural product for him fast. Allergies are not fun. Especially not for babies with sensitive skin.

waterwipes

Thankfully our local Walgreens carries WaterWipes. It’s convenient having a Walgreens so close. They just built one about 5 miles from my house. They carry a lot of products I need. Plus, they’re open 24/7, 365 days a week. Which is great for those late night family needs. Picking up a few packages of WaterWipes at Walgreens was a breeze.

WaterWipes Features

  • Chemical free
  • Contain only two ingredients: pure Irish water & grapefruit seed extract
  • Contacts 99.9% pure Irish water & 0.1% grapefruit seed extract
  • Durable
  • Effective
  • Safe to use on sensitive skin (even the face!)

There are a few things you should know before using WaterWipes.

  • Only 20% of WaterWipes are biodegradable.
  • WaterWipes are not flushable.

We’ve been using WaterWipes for a few days now. So far so good. They are durable and seem effective. The best part is, Dray hasn’t experienced any skin irritation with them. I guess that has a lot to do with the safe, natural ingredients in WaterWipes.

So, if you’re a mom that has a baby who experiences sensitive skin, give WaterWipes a try. You have more important things to do than spend hours scanning shelves for the right product. Go ahead and pick up a pack of WaterWipes for babies sensitive bum. You won’t be disappointed!

Win 1 of 5 $100 Walgreens Gift Cards

It’s your turn to experience WaterWipes. Enter below for your chance to win 1 of 5 $100 Walgreens gift cards! 

Prize: 1 of 5 $100 Walgreens gift cards

Dates: September 16, 2016 – October 7, 2016

WaterWipes Walgreens Giveaway

I-C will randomly select winners from all program entries and will facilitate fulfillment of the winning prizes (5 winners).

Dray struggles with skin irritants on a daily basis. We are always looking for products to help ease his sensitive skin. Has your little one ever fought with sensitive skin? What products did you use to help comfort them?

Baby, Baby Book Review! + A GIVEAWAY!

I received the “Baby, Baby!” book for free. In exchange, I’m providing my honest opinion. All opinions are my own and are n not influenced by receiving the product for free. 

Reading a baby book to your little one is important. Plus, it’s great bonding time. That’s why I love the concept of the “Baby, Baby!” book. It’s a great book that reminds baby how important they are. How lucky you are to have them in your life. 

I can’t believe that in two weeks Dray will be one. In reality, I feel like I was just undergoing the c-section to bring him into the world. He’s at that curious stage. He has to taste, touch, and understand everything. We are just so in love. There’s another thing that he loves. He loves when you read to him! Colorful pictures catch his attention. The rhyming words make him coo. He’s just amazed by books. Not a bad trait to have, huh?

baby book

That’s why we love the “Baby, Baby!” book. It’s a mirror book. This baby book has colorful images and easy to read words. Which grabs even my 5 year old daughters attention. Which is kind of odd. Because she is “too cool for school.” Plus, the mirrors in this book excite Dray to no end. He loves them!

The “Baby, Baby!” mirror book is easy for baby to hold. Plus, it has an important message in it, too. It reminds baby how much you love them. But, also reminds them how much God loves them, too!

baby book

But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” – Luke 18:16-17

In order for you to really experience how awesome this baby book is, you have to see it! That’s why the authors of the “Baby, Baby!” book would love for you to have the chance to win this book.

baby book

“Baby, Baby!” Mirror Baby Book Giveaway

Want to win your own copy of the “Baby, Baby!” book? Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for your chance to win a copy of your own. I promise you won’t regret reading this timeless baby book to your little one.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck to everyone who enters! But, if you don’t win, head on over here and buy the book! It’s a great price, too. 🙂

4 Ways I Make Money Blogging

I wish I could say I have 100k page views a month. But, I can’t. Because it wouldn’t be the truth. My page views still have not hit 10k. I can still make money blogging. Because there is one thing I do have. That’s a loyal audience. A loyal audience that trusts me. I want to make sure my blog audience and social media followers can connect with me. So, I’d hope, that they trust my insight. So, my audience knows that if I recommend a product it isn’t just for the compensation. It’s because I truly believe in the product or service. 

There was a lot of research involved when I decided to monetize my blog. I wanted to make sure I went with trusted brands, brands I trusted, trusted influencer networks, and well known advertisement networks. During my search I stumbled upon many ways that claimed to help you make money blogging. But, only a few came through on that promise at a fast rate. Now, don’t get me wrong. There’s several networks I trust. But these networks in particular have delivered what they promised. They delivered it at a fast right. I trust these networks without a doubt.

make money blogging

4 Ways I Make Money Blogging

IZEA

IZEA (affiliate link) is a great way to make money blogging. But, you don’t even have to be a blogger. There are also influencer opportunities on social media. IZEA is easy to use. Plus, IZEA is proactive when you have low page views. They reached out to me for many campaigns. With all of those campaigns, I made $100 each assignment.

Opportunities with IZEA I Have Participated In

  • Tweets on Twitter

I have accepted many proposals that involved me tweeting a tweet on Twitter. Payment varies from $1 – $8 per tweet. Although, if your following is large, you may receive larger compensation

  • Editing Product Descriptions

An IZEA rep reached out to me personally via e-mail about a couple projects. They were simple. I just edited product descriptions. Most of the work and research was already done. These projects took about an hour a piece. Each assignment I made $100 .


Get Sponsored by Big Brands

Is IZEA Free?

IZEA does offer a free plan for Creators. But, they also offer a Basic and Pro plan, too. The free plan has a lot of great perks, though! I was with a free plan when they reached out to me about the product description projects.

Free Plan
  • You can up to 5 free bids a month
  • You must accumulate up to $100 to cash out. But, there is an option to pay $3 to cash out early.
  • 10 URLs for your ShareMonitor
  • 1 SocialShare Group
Basic Plan ($1/Month)
  • You get unlimited bids
  • You only need to accumulate $50 to cash out. But, you have the option to pay $2 to cash out early.
  • 50 URLs for your ShareMonitor
  • 2 SocialShare Groups
  • Your own vanity URL
Pro Plan ($5/Month)
  • Unlimited bids
  • Only $1 to cash out. But, you only need to accumulate $25 to cash out without an early cash out fee.
  • 250 URLs for your ShareMonitor
  • 10 SocialShare Groups
  • Vanity URL
  • Your issues always go to the top of the list
  • A neat banner showing your an IZEA Pro Member

One2One Network

You can read my rave review about One2One Network here. One2One came onto the scene when social media was just beginning to sprout. They debuted in 2008. They work with some popular brands, too. It seems as if their e-commerce reviews always come with a bonus Amazon gift card, too!

My biggest campaign with One2One Network was the Graco E-Commerce Campaign. I received a Graco Modes LX Travel System. My family named it the “Rollys Royce of travel systems” for quite a while. I also received an Amazon gift card as a thank you for my participation from the One2One Network Gals!

This network has exciting opportunities. They compensate you fast, too. I have no done a sponsored blog post campaign with them, yet. It seems as if the page views for these opportunities are in the 100k range. So, I’m not quite there. But, you can make money blogging with them, too.

It’s free to join the network. Plus, you don’t have to be a blogger to join. Being a social media influencer is just a nice as far as One2One is concerned.

Linqia

Linqia has 100K dedicated social influencers that are a part of their network. Plus, their reach in the United States is 244 Million! I recently accepted my first Linqia campaign. This a true, beneficial way to make money blogging. You earn money for writing for brands that match your blog. The setup is also a great way to spread the word that your blog exists.

Their payout is fast, too. Payout comes within 10 days! The average payout for each campaign is $200 . They also give you plenty of time to create your content.

Requirements to Join Linqia
  • 2,500 blog visitors or social media followers
  • Update your blog or primary social media channel at least once a month
  • Live in North America
  • If you’re a blogger, you must have a RSS feed

It’s free to join. They try to match you with a campaign within 3 months of you becoming a member.

Share-A-Sale

Share-A-Sale is an affiliate program. Pretty much, you apply for the opportunity to advertise brands on your website. Some of the brands require you go through a waiting process. This is so they can review your website. While others have an auto-approval system.

Each time someone clicks on one of your links or banners containing your Share-A-Sale affiliate link, and makes a purchase, you receive a percentage.

Some of the programs will even send you free products in exchange for your review on your blog or social media. Some even send out e-mails with blog post opportunities. Where they will compensate you for writing a blog post on a specific topic. Even if nobody buys anything.You may even find a few that pay for ad placement on your blog. Pretty sweet, huh?

Share-A-Sale Merchants That Offer Paid Blog Post Opps Paid Ad Placements

Do you monetize your blog or social media? If so, how do you make money blogging? Or how do you make money using social media? I’m always looking for new ways to expand my reach. I love helping people out!

Fall Activities: My Families Fall Bucket List

We’re just a few days away from the first day of Fall. Do you and your family enjoy fun fall activities? We live in Georgia. So, we beg for fall to come every year. Because, while we love summer, it gets humid here. Humidity is far from comfortable. I think Fall temperatures are right on point. So, during the season my family loves doing fun activities together. 

The season Fall is right around the corner. I can’t tell you how excited I am. I’m ready to bust out the boots, hoodies, leggings, and scarves all in one day. Plus, Fall means were right around the corner from exciting holidays, too! My family can now officially say Fall means “Back To School,” too. Because, my oldest started Kindergarten this year! What an exciting time, that’s for sure.

Fall Activities: Your Family Fall Bucket List!

fall activities

Are there any fall activities you family just has to do in the Fall? Let me know! I love finding new ways to get my family out and about. Especially during the Fall. We love watching the leaves changes, too!

Free Blogging Tools: 5 I Can’t Live Without

It’s not an understatement when I say I love blogging. Especially since I started the “dogs + kids” blog. That’s because I’m combining my three passions. My kids, the pet industry, and writing. It’s true when they say if you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life. But, my blog would never flourish if it was just my knowledge compiled in it. Because when I began blogging, I had not freakin’ idea what I was doing. That’s why I am thankful for some timeless free blogging tools. 

So, if you’re a new blogger, you know how time consuming blogging can be. Some may think that it’s a piece of cake. Sure, play on the internet, write about your life. All that’s easy, right? WRONG! As a blogger, you want your audience to trust you. So, you edit your blog post a million times. It may even take you a few days to write a post. You take a gazillion pictures. Then you learn Photoshop or use a few cool photo editing tools (you’ll find a few below!). You spend so much time perfecting your blog layout, pages, posts, sidebars, etc. But, if you’re spending all your time doing this – how will you ever create another honest blog post?

That may seem like a silly question. But, it isn’t. When I first began blogging, when I was blogging tools stubborn, I spent hours perfecting one blog post. While I am spending time behind a screen, I’m missing out on some major post opportunities. In order to create content, you have to be able to experience life. Once I began noticing how blogging was taking over my life, I had to find a different way. Because, now I wasn’t creating content. I was too focused on making sure my layout was perfect. But, nobody was coming to my blog to check out my layout. They were coming for content. Content I barely updated. All because I was too wrapped up in my blog to find content opportunities outside of the computer screen.

I had to find a blog/life balance. So, I began looking up ways to maximize your time as a blogger. Well, it worked. I discovered so many handy free blogging tools. Tools that would help me create better content but, at a faster pace. Goodbye working on a blog post for days! (While this still happens sometimes, I do have an 11 month old and 5 year old, it isn’t as often.) I did run into a few tools that were duds. I mean, they didn’t benefit my blog. But, who knows, they may benefit another blog. But, then there are a few blogging tools I fell in love with.

So, bloggers and soon-to-be bloggers, don’t you want to create trustworthy content? Well, in order to create content, you have to experience content. So, get ready for less screen time. All thanks to the amazing blogging tools. I’m being honest when I say stay way from being blogging tools stubborn. These 5 tools are going to save you time and enhance your content. The best part? They all have a free option available!

free blogging tools

5 Free Blogging Tools I Can’t Live Without!

Hemingway Editor

The Hemingway Editor is a great editing tool. It makes sure your content is user friendly. It does this by making sure your blog post is easy to read. Life is busy. We all know that. So, you want to make sure you blog posts are easy to read. People don’t have time to try and translate every blog post they read.

So, what are all the features of the Hemingway Editor? Well, there are many.

  • Two different modes to compose your blog post in. Either “Write” or “Edit”
  • Readability Scale
  • Word Counter
  • Paragraph Counter
  • Sentence Counter
  • Characters Counter
  • Letters Counter
  • Read Time Counter
  • Shows sentences hard and very hard to read
  • Shows alternative phrases. Phrases that have a simpler alternative.
  • Points out adverbs that need to be removed
  • Shows when you’re using passive speech. Plus, lets you know how often you should use a passive voice.
  • Available Desktop App. But, you can use the editor without a download on your computer or smart phone!
PicMonkey

PicMonkey is a great blogging tool to help you enhance your blog post images. Plus, you can create blog post images with the program, too. It’s drag and drop so it’s easy to use, too. I have the Royale option. It’s a paid option. But, the free option offers plenty of great features, too. But, I must say that Royale is worth the price. Plus, they offer a free 7 day trial of Royale. PicMonkey offers great features, too.

  • Easy upload. You can upload pictures from your computer, your PicMonkey Hub (a new feature!), Facebook, or OneDrive.
  • There’s an app for PicMonkey, too! It’s even available on Android. 😉 The app is super convenient. Plus, it’s easy to use.
  • You can do basic edits to your designs/photos.

Basic Edit Features

  • Crop
  • Canvas Color
  • Rotate
  • Exposure (Auto adjust option!)
  • Colors (Auto adjust option!)
  • Sharpen
  • Resize

There’s also other great features that PicMonkey offers, too.

  • Effects
  • Touch Up
  • Text
  • Overlays
  • Frames
  • Textures
  • Themes

So, if you’re far from a graphic designer, like myself, you’ll appreciate PicMonkey!

SEO Programs

Do you want your blog to be noticed? If so, you’ll need some amazing SEO. What is SEO? It’s “Search Engine Optimization.” In order to reach a broad audience, you’ll want search engines to pick up your blog. A few great, easy tools help you with that.

Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO is a great SEO tool built for WordPress. There are free and paid options. It’s easy to optimize each of your blog posts with this blogging tool, too. The program give you tips on optimizing your posts for search engines. The tips are simple things to do. Such as picking a focus keyword, adding more keywords in the post, and much more. I can only speak for the free version. But, I feel like it has helped me immensely.

SEO by SQUIRRLY

SEO by Squirrly is another great SEO post optimization tool. They also offer paid and free options. I can only speak on the free option. It’s easy to research trending keywords. Plus, SQUIRRLY even finds you images that match your keyword that you can use on your blog. This blogging tool also gives you simple tips to better optimizing your SEO.

Google Analytics Dashboard for WP

This is another great blogging tool. With the Google Analytics Dashboard you can easily see that stats for your WordPress blog. You can see how many visitors you get, where they are coming from, and a lot more.

Canva

Canva is another great tool. With this easy to use tool, you can create blog post images or even create infographics. It is a drag and drop builder, so it’s easy to use. There are a lot of freebies included with Canva. But, if you see something you like that isn’t free, each option is only $1! So, affordable, too. Similar to PicMonkey with different options.

These are my top 5 blogging tools that I love! Do you have any tricks on minimizing your time behind a computer screen as a  blogger? Please let me know! I’m still learning. So, any tips or tricks are appreciated. 

 

 

 

 

Top Toy Picks: Dray’s Top 5!

Over the past 11 months, Dray’s top toy picks have varied. I have bought him some cool toys. Well, I thought they were cool. But, for the most part, I wasted money. Because, Dray’s toy expectations are not the same as mine. He enjoyed toys that I may have not picked. This experience has opened up my eyes. If I knew what I know now, money would have been saved. But, you live and you learn. Plus, let’s be honest. I may be guilty of purchasing, over the top toys in the future. Expensive toys that he will never be interested in. 

I’m that mom. I love the look of expensive wooden swing sets. The look of technology savvy toys for tots. But, I have to face reality. I’m not rich! If I noticed this reality earlier, I may have saved some money. I can’t tell you how many times I purchased an expensive toy for my children because of its popularity. Just for them to throw it to the side. What a bummer. Although they are small, children are little humans. They know what they like.

Haley wasn’t/isn’t quite as toy picky as Dray is. Dray’s top toy picks are different than my toy expectations. Ya know, the expensive ones. The ones I shouldn’t buy. So, I wanted to help those moms out there like me. Moms that may want to save a dime or two. I compiled a list of Dray’s 5 top toy picks. Ones that were unexpected.

** Disclosure: The links below are affiliate links. Dogs + Kids is a member of the Amazon Affiliate Program. Which makes I may make a small commission if you make a purchase from one of the following links. 

Dray’s 5 Top Toy Picks

VTech Learn & Dance Interactive Zoo

This little toy is packed with fun for little hands. Dray absolutely loves this toy. It has fun sounds and light. Plus, it’s not big at all. Meaning less room it takes up.

Melissa & Doug First Bead Maze

I don’t remember Haley being a fan of these. I think that’s because they are popular in pediatrician offices. We spent a lot of time in pediatrician offices when she was younger. But, Dray on the other hand, loves them. It’s nice that they sell smaller ones that you can use at home.

Vtech Turn and Learn Driver

This toy was a bit unexpected. He’s not too into gadgets. But, I guess he made an exception for this. He loves the VTech Turn and Learn Driver. Plus, it’s affordable, too!

VTech Adora-birdie Rattle

I don’t know what it is about this toy. But, Dray loves his VTech Adora-birdie Rattle! It doesn’t cost that much either.
Fisher-Price Go Wild Jumperoo
top toy picks

Of course, the Fisher-Price Go Wild Jumperoo is on the higher end. But, if you’re looking for an activity jumperoo for your little one, this is the way you should go! Dray absolutely loves his.

Are there any toys your little one loves? Let me know. I’m always looking for new activities to introduce Dray to! 

One2One Network: Connecting Influencers With Brands!



I’m a member of quite a few influence communities. But, one of my favorites, without a doubt, is the One2One Network. They have sent me quite a few Amazon gift cards for participating in their campaigns. But, there is one campaign that I loved. The Graco E-Commerce Campaign. The One2One Network and Graco sent me a Graco Modes LX Travel System (Cadet). The travel system came right in time. I had just gave birth to Dray around the time this campaign launched.  So, I owe One2One Network and Graco a HUGE thanks for sending me the Modes LX Travel System. 

Do you own a blog? Do you influence your friends on social media? If so, get rewarded for that with One2One Network. It’s free to sign up. Influencers sign up for free here and connect with brands.

The beginning of June I got an exciting e-mail. It was from Brittany with One2One Network. Previously I applied for a Graco E-Commerce campaign. Brittany was informing me I was selected to be part of the campaign. I was ecstatic. Dray had just came into the world. We had a travel system for him. But, I have to be honest with you. I purchased it at a yard sale when I was pregnant. Funds were tight. I needed something reliable but affordable. Plus, it was a Graco product, too. But, it was older. When I got the e-mail from the One2One Network, it was perfect timing.

Graco and One2One Network sent me the Graco Modes LX Travel System in Cadet. Months later, we are still using this travel system. Even my daughter Haley loves it. This travel system has a lot of great features. Vince calls it the “Rolls Royce of Travel Systems.” That says quite a bit. He’s technical, and quite picky, to say the least.

one2one network

One2One Network Graco E-Commerce Campaign

One2One Network and Graco sent me the Graco Modes LX Travel System in Cadet, free of charge. In exchange I provided a honest review on the Graco website. This travel system is awesome. But, getting a free product in exchange for my review does not effect my review. All opinions and thoughts are all my own. 

Graco Modes LX Travel System (Cadet) Features

  • 3-in-1 feature: infant car seat carrier, infant stroller, and toddler stroller
  • SnugRide®35 Click Connect™ Infant Car Seat
  • Toddler seat has 3-position leg rest
  • Click Connect™ technology
  • InRight™ LATCH system
  • Standing fold that is one-handed
  • Storage latch that is automatic
  • Holds up to 50lbs
  • Adjustable height handle bars (for us shorty’s!)

 

one2one network

One2One Network and Graco thanked me even more for my honest review on the Graco website. They sent me an Amazon gift card, too!

While Graco E-Commerce Campaign was my favorite, I also participated in some more.

What I Love About One2One Network Campaigns

  • You get to connect with amazing brands. One2One Network helps brands connect with influencers. Yep, ordinary people like you and I. Ever had a friend ask your opinion on a product? If so, you may have influenced their decision to buy or not buy. Making you an influencer.
Brands One2One Network’s Members Have Worked With
  • Graco
  • Johnson’s Baby
  • Dove
  • Barilla
  • American Heart Association
  • Care.com

and many, many more!

one2one network

 

  • Simple tasks to complete. When you’re accepted into a One2One Network Campaign, you have tasks to complete. These tasks are simple. You may have to post a tweet, pin on Pinterest, write a creative blog post, share on Instagram, or share the news with your Facebook audience. Most campaigns have many posts that are pre-written. But, One2One encourages their members to let their creativity shine.
  • The variety of the possible opportunities. One2One offers many different opportunities to connect influencers with brands.
Possible Opportunities
  • Blog Ambassadorships
  • Local Event Coverage
  • New Music Reviews
  • Social Sharing Projects (My favorite!)
  • E-Commerce Reviews (Another favorite of mine.)
  • Twitter Parties
  • Special Events
  • Social Media Conference Coverage
  • Surveys

 

  • The Rewards – Although I have yet to be accepted for a sponsored blog post, I know the compensation is decent. A sponsored blog post may earn you $150 and up. Sharing campaigns on social media will earn you Amazon gift cards. The products they offer you to review are nice, too. Most are from well known brands. Plus, most of the time, they’ll throw in an Amazon gift card, too.
  • Processing Time – If One2One Network chooses you for a campaign, you will usually get your product and/or compensation rather quickly. Once I was approved for the Graco E-Commerce Campaign I received the stroller within 2 weeks. Amazon gift cards have came within a month. Others campaigns may take 3+ months before you receive compensation.
  • Low Audience Size Needed. With a lower an audience size, your payout may not be as big. But, there are still campaigns available for influencers who lack the 10k+ followers range. My total follower count is about 6k+. But, I was accepted into campaigns even when my total count was around 1k+. They don’t descriminate! One2One offers campaigns for all sized influencers.
One2One Network Campaigns I’ve Participated In
  • O2O Member Love Campaign (This blog post is part of that campaign!)
  • #SuaveBodyWash Social Media Campaign
  • Graco E-Commerce Campaign
  • #ENDALZ Social Sharing Campaign
  • Gwen Stefani Album Review
  • Gwen Stefani Make Me Like You Social Sharing Campaign
  • Hallmarks #CareEnough Social Sharing Campaign

So, do like sharing your opinion to your friends, family, and social media followers? If so, why not connect with cool brands and earn from it, too?! Signing up with One2One Network is totally free. You’ll never need to spend a dime.

Click here to join the One2One Network for free!

Cool Facts About One2One Network

  • The network was founded in 2008. Which is right about the time social media started becoming popular.
  • One2One is composed of 20k+ influencers.
  • There is a campaign for everyone. They have campaigns that focus on food, beauty, lifestyle, parenting, health, fitness, social good, and so many other categories.
  • The network began as a network only for women. But, now men are influencers for One2One, too.
  • They were one of the first networks to invite influencers who didn’t blog.
  • Since 2008, One2One Network has payed out an excess of $1 Million dollars to their influencers.
  • They support their influencers and believe in them. They share and feature influencers to show their continued support.

As you can see, I’m quite fond of the One2One Network. I’m always looking for other influencer networks to discover. If you have a favorite, let me know. Even better, leave it below in the comments section. I’m sure there are other influencers out there that may be interested, too!

10 Gerber Lil’ Bits Easy DIY Baby Food Recipes

I remember when Haley was little. She was scarfing down solid foods at 6 months old. Dray is a constant reminder that not all babies develop at the same pace. He’s 11 months old now. He still chokes on solid foods. At 11 months old Haley was indulging in waffles. Dray, not so much. I even expressed concern to his pediatrician. She ensured me that everything was fine. That he seems to be turned off by texture. Which, the same goes for his daddy, too. His daddy is texture funny, too. But, teaching him to chew was important. She told me just to keep trying. So, I did. I needed a way to introduce him to different textures. Without posing a choking hazard. That’s when we found our new found love for Gerber Lil’ Bits. Gerber 3rd Foods With Lil’ Bits is great alone, but you can make great baby food recipes with it, too. Lil’ Bits are also a great food for teething babies, too.

We began Dray on the same baby food we trusted using with Haley. So, we stocked up on Gerber baby food. I was excited to start him on the Gerber 1st Foods. Also, there was no hesitation starting him on Gerber 2nd Foods either. Then we began him on the Gerber 3rd Foods. The Gerber 3rd Foods Lil’ Bits to be exact. Once we began that journey, I was excited. Because, he tolerates the Lil’ Bits well. Even that’s an understatement. Dray loves Gerber Lil’ Bits.

The other great thing about the Gerber Lil’ Bits is that they come in in 20 different flavors. That means they’re perfect for breakfast, lunch, a snack, and even dinner. With all the different flavors, it’s easy to introduce Dray to different textures. The variety also lets me create different recipes. Which helps mix things up for Dray a little bit, too. There are so many great DIY baby food recipes online. I haven’t tried them all, yet. But, I feel like I’m close. I even created my own simple baby food recipe. It adds a little bit of fun to the Gerber Lil’ Bits Island Fruit Blend.

Gerber Lil’ Bits have so many great features. So, in reality, a fancy recipe isn’t necessary. While recipes are fun, the Lil’ Bits are great all by themselves.

Gerber 3rd Foods Lil’ Bits Best Features

  • Has perfect, bite-sized pieces of fruits or vegetables. Plus, each bite is soft.
  • These pieces are perfect in helping your baby learn how to chew.
  • Every ingredient in the Lil’ Bits must meet Gerber’s high quality standards.
  • There is no added starch, artificial colors or flavors.

Gerber 3rd Foods Lil’ Bits Flavors

  • Apple Banana
  • Apple Blue Berry
  • Banana Apple Mango
  • Banana Apple Strawberry
  • Butternut Squash & Potato
  • Island Fruit Blend
  • Mixed Carrots, Corn, and Butternut Squash
  • Orchard Fruit Medley
  • Pear Apple Berry
  • Sweet Potato Apple Carrot and Cinnamon
  • Autumn Vegetable & Turkey Dinner
  • Carrot Peas & Corn
  • Chicken Itty-Bitty Noodle Dinner
  • Garden Vegetable & Beef Dinner
  • Herbed Vegetable, Pasta & Chicken Dinner
  • Mac & Cheese Dinner
  • Roasted Vegetable & Chicken Dinner
  • Broccoli Carrot & Cheddar Cheese Dinner
  • Farmers Market Vegetable & Turkey Dinner

Dray’s favorite Gerber Lil’ Bits flavors are Island Fruit Blend & Apple Blueberry. He’s a huge fan of fruit. Always has been. Must be why I craved fruit so often when I was pregnant with him. So, of course I added my own touch to the Island Fruit Blend. Simple ingredients, but adds a touch of fun to the already fun baby food. 

gerber lil' bits

I wanted to add fun to the Gerber 3rd Foods Lil’ Bits. So, I started searching for DIY baby food recipes online. Specifically those that used the Lil’ Bits. There are so many great baby food recipes out there that are easy and creative. I even created my own little fun touch to Dray’s favorite Gerber Lil’ Bits flavor. The Island Fruit Blend. We named our blend the “Island Fruit + Brown Sugar Applesauce Blend.” It’s not too adventurous. Since Dray is turned off by different textures, we went simple.

DIY Island Fruit + Brown Sugar Applesauce Blend

gerber lil' bits

Ingredients

gerber lil' bits

gerber 3rd foods lil' bitsMix 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar with 1/3 cup applesauce in a bowl. Slowly add the Gerber 3rd Foods Lil’ Bits Island Fruit Blend into the bowl. Mix all ingredients together until you reach your desired texture.

gerber lil' bits

gerber lil' bits

 

 

 

 

 

10 Easy DIY Baby Food Recipes with Gerber 3rd Foods Lil’ Bits

Apple-Blueberry Yogurt Cubes/Pops

Head over to Bailey’s blog, Everyday With Bay, for a yummy cubes/pops baby food recipe. Perfect for a hot summer day!

Baby Led Weaning Quinoa Cakes

That Mama Gretchen shares a great recipe for quinoa cakes. The best part is you can use any Gerbers Lil’ Bit flavor to make this easy baby food recipe.

Toddler Tropical Fruit Smoothie Bowl

gerber lil' bits

Photo Credit: Our Little Everything

Dray loves fruity flavors. If your baby is the same, this baby food recipe will be a huge hit. Go visit the Our Little Everything blog and find the recipe there.

Frozen Yogurt Bites

gerber lil' bits

Photo Credit: Adventures of a Cavemom

These Frozen Yogurt Bites is a great food choice for teething babies. Jess over at Adventures of a Cavemom has the recipe here.

Pumpkin Pops

gerber lil' bits

Photo Credit: Busy Little Izzy

This Pumpkin Pops recipe that Busy Little Izzy shares with us comes just in time. Fall is finally upon us. That means pumpkin everything. That’s no exception for Busy Little Izzy’s Pumpkin Pops.

Apple Blueberry Yogurt Parfait

Metro Detroit Mommy shares a great Apple Blueberry Yogurt Parfait baby food recipe. Plus, it includes one of Dray’s favorite flavors, Apple Blueberry.

Mommy & Me Yogurt Parfaits

Gerber Lil' Bits

Photo credit: Bellissimi Bambini

You’ll love Bellissimi Bambini’s recipe for delicious Mommy & Me Yogurt Parfaits using Gerber Lil’ Bits! Plus, being able to add the optional cool mom cool whip is a huge hit!

Mommy & Me Fruit Smoothies

Kerry over at xo kerry has the right idea to adding Gerber Lil’ Bits to a recipe. You can see her awesome Mommy & Me Fruit Smoothies over at her blog.

Autumn Vegetables, Turkey, & Potatoes Dinner

Over at Thinking Outside The Sandbox you’ll find a great dinner recipe using Gerber Lil’ Bits Autumn Vegetables & Turkey.

Banana, Apple, + Strawberry Greek Yogurt Popsicle’s

gerber lil' bites

Photo Credit: The Sometimes Glam Wife

Brandi over at The Sometimes Glam Wife shares great tips on transitioning baby to solid foods. Plus, she shares a recipe for amazing Banana, Apple, + Strawberry Greek Yogurt Popsicle’s.

Ensuring Dray gets proper nutrition is important to me. That’s why I have trusted Gerber foods with him and Haley. Plus, I love that I can make fun recipes with Gerber Lil’ Bits, too. I’d love to hear some of your favorite baby food recipes, too. I’d love to see how your #GerberBabies enjoy Gerber baby food.

To learn more about Gerber Crawler Nutrition, make sure to check out their website here.

Essential Oils Case Review + A GIVEAWAY!

** Soothing Terra provided me with a free essential oils case in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Have you jumped on the essential oils bandwagon yet?! If not, you should. Essential oils are natural. Plus, they have many benefits. They can be used as a mosquito repellent. These natural oils can even clean pans with burnt on gunk on them. If you’re a fan of essential oils, you know they come in many different varieties. Soothing Terra has came up with an excellent way to store your essential oils. Plus, their products are affordable, too.

I love essential oils. They have many benefits, come in many varieties, and are safe to use. But, due to the variety of them, they take up space fast. Soothing Terra has found a solution to neatly storing your essential oils. With their essential oils cases your oils will be safe in a durable case. Soothing Terra offers many different varieties in their essential oil cases. They’re affordable, too. Starting as low as $9.99!

But, what if you’re new to the world of essential oils?! Then you MUST check out the benefits they offer. Plus, they do so many other cool things, too. They will benefit you in so many different ways.

Essential Oils: The Benefits

  • Treating Skin Problems
  • Healing Bruises, Cuts, and Skin Irritations
  • Soothe Psoriasis
  • Reduce Acne Scars
  • Relaxation
  • Increases Mental Accuracy
  • Soothe Minor Cuts and Bug Bites
  • Eases Depression
  • Helps With Inflammation
  • Boosts Immunity
  • Antibacterial Support
  • Increases Focus
  • Increases Concentration
  • Antiseptic Properties
  • Clear Sinuses
  • Soothe Achy Muscles
  • Ease Congestion

essential oils

Essential Oils: Options

Each variety serves many purposes. So, I’m going to try to not sound like an hoarder. But, having quite the variety may be helpful. Especially if you’re looking for a safe, natural way to keep your family well.

  • Eucalyptus
  • Frankincense
  • Lemon
  • Tea Tree
  • Chamomile
  • Lavender
  • Peppermint
  • Calendula
  • Oregno
  • Grapefruit
  • Cypress
  • Basil
  • Juniper

Plus, many, many more. Have I peaked your interest in these oils? I sure hope so. If so, you’ll want to go ahead and invest in an carrying case. With the large variety available, you’ll need a safe storage option. Soothing Terra offers just that.

essential oils

Soothing Terra Essential Oils Case Review

I received Soothing Terra’s Soft Essential Oil Carrying Case. I chose to receive the case in turquoise. Because, well, that’s my favorite color. The shipping was fast. I received the case within days. Which is nice especially if you’re impatient like myself.

Features
  • Holds up to 10 bottles of essential oils
  • Can hold 5 ml, 10 ml, 15 ml, or 10 ml roll on bottles
  • Protects oils from deterioration

They also offer their cases in a variety of colors. I think that’s awesome. Because, well, I like choices.

Color Options

  • Dark Purple
  • Pink
  • Purple
  • Turquoise
  • Orange
  • White
  • Light Blue
  • Black Tan

These cases from Soothing Terra are durable with a strong zipper, too. Plus, the extra padded size help ensure your essential oils are safe. I think Soothing Terra may be on to something in the essential oils business.

But, ya’ll now I’m not greedy. So, I want to share the awesomeness of Soothing Terra with one lucky person! 🙂

win essential oils

Soothing Terra Essential Oils Carrying Case GIVEAWAY

Soothing Terra has been nice enough host a giveaway. That means one lucky “dogs + kids blog” follower will win their very own Soothing Terra Essential Oils carrying case. This carrying case is awesome, too.

Win A Soothing Terra Essential Oils Carrying Case!

Soothing Terra has an amazing carrying case for your essential oils. One that I’d like for one of you to win so you can start your obsession with these safe remedies, too! The carrying case up for grab holds up to *16* (yep, 16!) essential oils. Plus it can carry 5ml, 10ml, or 15ml vials OR roll-ons! It’s a pretty snazzy case. Plus, whoever wins, gets to pick their own color, too. It’s a win/win situation. You’ll be all ready to start your essential oils hoarding collection.

  • Stores up to 16 essential oil bottles
  • Storage pocket
  • Carrying handle
  • Softly padded
  • Double foam insert

Use the Rafflecopter tool below to enter for your chance to win your very own Soothing Terra  case. Come on, with all the benefits, why wait to jump on board?! This case will help your prepare for your new obsession.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is hosted by dogs + kids blog. The giveaway is sponsored by Soothing Terra. Soothing Terra is responsible for delivering the prize to the winner. Soothing Terra will cover all costs, including shipping and handling. The winners information will be shared with the dogs + kids blog and Soothing Terra. Winner will be notified within 48 hours of sweepstakes end via e-mail. This sweepstakes is in no way affiliated with Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media platform. Any questions in regards to receiving the winners prize should be directed to the company Soothing Terra.