Take Action Against Domestic Violence with the Verizon Wireless Hopeline Program #VZWBuzz



I love when companies do good. I especially love when companies that I LOVE do good. It makes me respect them even more. That’s why I’m a proud supporter of the Verizon Wireless Hopeline program.


What is the Hopeline program?

Verizon is committed to helping the nearly one in four women, one in seven men and more than 3 million children in the United States affected by domestic violence. Verizon collects no-longer-used wireless phones and accessories and then turns them into support for domestic violence organizations  nationwide. Through HopeLine, they have donated hundreds of thousands of phones and awarded millions of dollars in cash grants to their partner agencies.

Wireless phones and technology serve as a vital link for all of us. They’re also an especially safe and reliable way for domestic violence victims and survivors to reach emergency or support services in times of crisis and stay connected with employers, family and friends.

Hopeline Phones

HopeLine phones are refurbished phones that are equipped with 3,000 anytime minutes of airtime and texting capabilities. They come with Verizon Wireless Nationwide Coverage, Call Forwarding, Call Waiting, 3-Way Calling, Caller ID, Basic Voice Mail and texting. HopeLine phones are available to survivors affiliated with participating domestic violence agencies.

How YOU Can Help

There are so many ways you can get involved to help the Hopeline program!

- You can donate no-longer-used phones and accessories in any condition from any wireless provider at any Verizon Wireless Communications Store, through a HopeLine® phone drive, or through the mail.

- Host a HopeLine phone drive! Verizon partners with companies for events and ongoing collections and teams up with community groups and dedicated individuals like you to host drives across the nation. College campuses can also get involved through our UHopeLine program.  Verizon can help you plan and provide a ton of materials too.

Verizon Helps in St. Louis

In St. Louis, I was so excited to see the Verizon Wireless Kansas/Missouri Region President Brendan Fallis present Sylvia Jackson, Executive Director of The Women’s Safe House and Susan Kidder, Executive Director of Safe Connections each with a $20,000 grant on behalf of HopeLine.

Verizon Wireless HopeLine Grant Presentation

You can learn more about about the Verizon Wireless Hopeline Program and see how you can get involved by visiting their site.

Disclosure: As member of a pretty cool team of influencers, I have received some great items from Verizon Wireless. No additional compensation was provided nor did I promise positive feedback.  All opinions are my own.

Making Summers Memorable with Your Kids #MomTrust



A few years ago, I shared on my personal Facebook page a photo that said – We only have 18 short summers with our children. Make them count. I had a lot of friends comment that they were in disbelief when you think about it that way. Now, I’m hoping that my children would like to spend their summers with us when they are in their twenties and beyond, but I won’t kid myself. But when I think about it, I only have 12 summers left with my son and 17 summers with my twin girls. That’s why it’s important to me to make those summers count. Whether it’s going on a family trip, throwing a backyard camp-out or having a family movie night, I try to make these summer days and nights as memorable as possible.

Below are 5 fun things we have done this summer…with more to come!

Family Vacation

LegoLand Discovery Center

We actually spent most of June traveling. I never traveled much growing up so I have always wanted to make sure that my children do. I want them to look back and have great memories of summer vacations. In June, we visited Branson, Missouri, Louisville, Kentucky and Kansas City Missouri. We had fun spending the day at Silver Dollar City and Ride the Ducks in Branson, visiting family in Louisville and exploring the Legoland Discovery Center in Kansas City.

Silver Dollar City

Picnic in the Park

We’ve been to the park, we’ve brought snacks to the park but this summer I successfully brought all three kids to the park by myself for a picnic! We even had an actual picnic blanket and while friends sat at picnic tables, Hayden insisted on sitting on the grass. It was so much fun to see my three kids eating together and then playing together.

Picnic in the Park

Summer Under the Star Reading Party

All three of my kiddos love to read, so we had a fun Summer Reading Under the Stars Party, where we brought the outdoors indoor! We all had so much fun hanging out in the tent, eating snacks and reading books. The tent has stayed up ever since now and it’s become their little reading hideaway.

Reading Party

Exploring Our Town

We have pretty much done everything there is to do in St. Louis, but it’s always different with each age! We have had fun this summer taking my son to Star Wars Night at the St. Louis Cardinals game, the St. Louis Zoo, Grant’s Farm, museums and more!

Around St. Louis

Fun at Home

Some days, you just want to stay at home and relax. As much fun as I like being on the go with my kids, I also think we have a lot of fun and make memories just being at home. We have had fun play dates, spent time in the back yard, had fun movie nights and just played.

Fun at HomeWe definitely have had a fun-filled summer so far…and we still have less than a month before school starts. I’ll be thinking of more fun ways to make summer memorable and fun for my kids.

If you’re looking for ideas, tips and advice from real moms, check out the Playtex Baby Mom Trust tab on Facebook. Along with some other bloggers, I’m over there sharing reviews on the best Playtex Baby products and life with three kids.


Disclosure: I am a member of the 2014 Playtex Mom Trust Panel. I have been compensated for my time but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Sponsored Video: On the Journey to the Extraordinary There is Always a Holiday Inn Hotel



It can drive my husband crazy sometimes, but I’m a people watcher. When we are traveling, I love watching interactions between families and striking up conversations with new people. Everyone has an interesting story or journey that they are on. I’ve met families in hotels that are staying there while a loved one is in a nearby hospital or while they are waiting for their house to be built. We’ve met people that are on their first family vacation or are in town to run their first marathon. Everyone has a story and we just may not know it yet.

Below is a video of Scott Rigsby, a man who became handicapped at a young age and who suffers from depression. He somehow ended up staying at a Holiday Inn for years and years. The kindness of the staff turned his depression around and he started to look upon the brighter side of life. Now, he’s training for a race – the Ironman – and has a lust for life – thanks to that one, prolonged, holiday.

I was so touched by Scott’s story and how he came to be a man that was down to this extraordinary man who is an inspiration to all. On the journey to the extraordinary there is always a Holiday Inn hotel. Holiday Inn isn’t just like any other hotel chain – they make the extra effort for their guests because they also know that everyone has a story and everyone is on a journey. 

Connect with Holiday Inn online and by following them on Facebook and Twitter!


Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Holiday Inn, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Summer Reading Under the Stars Party #SummerReading



I have had so much fun this summer watching my son participate in the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge. Now in it’s 8th year, the program is dedicated to stopping that “Summer Slide” kids can get by encouraging them to read during the summer months by providing fun weekly challenges and the chance to earn digital rewards.

Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge Logo

This year’s Summer Reading Challenge theme is “Reading Under the Stars” and is powered by EVEREADY®. Throughout the summer, kids will read around the galaxy and unlock star constellations as they log reading minutes. Each day, Hayden logs onto the site with me and enters in his minutes. In a little over a month, he has logged 420 minutes of reading time!



And as of today, kids around the world have read 188,222,929 minutes for the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge – already breaking the 2013 world record! Way to go kids!

For even more fun this year, I decided to have a Summer Reading Under the Stars party. Well, after a minor accident and then thunderstorms, we had to move our party inside but it was even more fun and cozy!


While the kids were upstairs, I got everything ready for our Summer Reading Under the Stars party. Armed with a small tent, EVEREADY® flashlights, books from Scholastic and yummy snacks, the party was ready to start!

Reading Under the Stars Party Setup SR

Summer Reading Under the Stars Goodies SR

Everready Flashlights for Summer Reading Party SR

Bookmarks SR

Summer Reading Under the Stars Cake Pops SR

After loading up on some snacks and picking out their books, the kids grabbed their EVEREADY® flashlights and we turned off the lights for the reading fun to begin! I’ve always been a huge fan of reading so I am glad to pass this on to my three kids. Every day, they are looking through books so I was excited to have this fun experience with them.

Olivia SR

Stars in Tent SR

Reading in Tent SR2

Our Summer Reading Under the Stars party actually lasted a few hours, which I consider a HUGE success! The kids kept running to get more and more books to bring into the tent. This is definitely going to become a summer tradition for our family.

It’s not too late for you to throw your own party! Click on the invite below to save for yourself to send to friends – and hopefully you got a few ideas from our party too!

Summer Reading Under the Stars Party Invite

I know it can be hard for some kids to stay focused and continue to read over the summer months but luckily Scholastic makes it fun with their Summer Reading Challenge! Thank you so much to EVEREADY® and Scholastic for a successful party!


Stay Connected

- Like Scholastic Parents on Facebook

- Follow Scholastic on Twitter - On Mondays, follow the hashtag #MondayMinutes to see how many minutes kids have read to date!

- Follow Scholastic on Instagram

- Follow the Summer Reading Challenge Pinterest Board - Each Friday there will be a new collage of summer books!

- Like the Summer Reading Challenge YouTube Playlist

What do you think of a Summer Reading Under the Stars Party?

Disclosure: I was compensated for the above post but all thoughts and opinions are my own. Reading + Kids is a passion of mine and I love what Scholastic does to encourage it. 

The Secret to No More Burned Popcorn! #PerfectPop #GoodbyeBurnedPopcorn



A few months ago, we took a long weekend to this fantastic resort in Missouri Wine Country. We had a house to ourselves and I looked forward to a few relaxing days with just my family. We love sharing a bowl of popcorn in the evenings while we watch a movie together, so I made sure to pack a box of Pop Secret along. Since we were only there a few days, I packed a box of 3. That was a big mistake. In an unfamiliar kitchen, I totally winged making the popcorn for us. The first time, I failed. The second time, I failed. The third time? You guessed it…I failed! I wasted all three boxes in one night. My son was disappointed and the house stunk like burnt popcorn!

If only I knew then what I know now! These days, I use the Pop Secret Perfect Pop App!

The Secret to No More Burned PopcornEveryone can relate to the frustration of burning popcorn, so Pop Secret decided to solve the problem once and for all, so you can spend more time enjoying movies and less time worrying about burned popcorn!

The Secret to No More Burned PopCorn App

With your iPhone 5+ on iOS 7+, download Perfect Pop (“Perfect Popcorn”) for free on the App StoreIt’s so easy to use!

1. Put a bag of Pop Secret in the microwave and enter suggested cooking time from the packaging. Note: Perfect Pop is optimized for the deliciousness of Pop Secret popcorn only.

2. Turn up the volume on your iPhone. Point the phone’s speaker towards the microwave and keep within 3 feet.

3. Start the microwave, and then start the app.

No more relying on the popcorn button or guessing how many seconds in between pops. Pop Secret is serious about perfect popcorn, so the less you have to worry about, the more time you can spend enjoying movie night with your friends & family. Perfect Pop listens to the pops, waiting for the precise moment to let you know when your popcorn is perfect.

I mentioned before that my son LOVES the addition of Pop Secret popcorn to our family movie nights, so he thinks this app is so much fun! He says it’s like magic!

Family Movie Night

Do you have any burned popcorn horror stories?