Citi Private Pass Youth Sports Clinic with Henrik Lundqvist #ClosertoPro

This is a guest post from my friend Rob.  He and his wonderful wife agreed to attend the Citi Private Pass Youth Hockey Clinic with Henrik Lundqvist for me and cover the event for my blog.  
“Best camp ever!”  Those were the words from my 11 year old as he got undressed out of his goalie gear after an intense 7 hour Citi Private Pass Youth Hockey Clinic with Henrik Lundqvist at New York City’s Chelsea Piers Sky Rink.  Brian had been put through his paces along with a large crowd of other youth skaters and goalies by a cadre of experienced hockey coaches…all under the watchful eye of the main attraction:  New York Rangers star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. He had a day full of wonder at the clinic with Henrik Lundqvist.
henrik lundqvist
The Citi Henrik Lundqvist ProCamp was open to boys and girls from grades 1 through 10 and all levels of experience.  The boys and girls seemingly never stopped as they were briskly moved through drills and learning stations between the two rinks.  The hockey coaches were all top notch and my son (no novice to hockey camps) felt as though he was able to get some very good feedback that will improve his game.  The real draw though was #30 himself.  Henrik was a constant presence on the ice.  As opposed to the fly-bys that you might of hear of from other pro camps, Henrik was on ice all day actively seeking out all of the kids for their brush with hockey greatness.  In both group discussions, as well as in small groups and one-on-one interactions, Henrik was engaging and supportive; giving campers hints on ways that they can continue to hone their craft.
The highlight of the day was when the campers competed against each other to see who amongst them would be crowned skater and goalie of the day from amongst their peers.  A few lucky goalies even got the chance to stop some shots from #30 as he showed that even Olympic goalies like to take their chance as shooters now and then. An autograph and a picture with “King Henrik” were all part of a goodie bag that Brian now sit proudly amongst his other prized sports memorabilia.  We cannot wait until next year!


The Citi Private Pass, which offers Citi credit and debit card customers access to the best in sports, live music, dining and family entertainment through special presales, access and VIP experiences, was what made this special day for Brian possible.


For sports fans, Citi Private Pass offers hundreds of opportunities annually for kids to train and play alongside the pros – a great way for cardmembers to be recognized as heroes in the eyes of their children. You can learn more and view a schedule of upcoming events at



Thanks to the folks at Citi Private Pass for inviting us (Brian) along for the camp.  Certainly a highlight of his young life, and what a thrilling experience for all of the kids involved!  We can’t wait to see what’s next! 

Build a Boxtroll and Win! #BuildABoxtrollSweeps #TheBoxtrolls

With just under a month until The Boxtrolls comes to theaters (9/26), the kids decided they wanted to make their OWN Boxtrolls.  We saved some shipping boxes (the kids wanted to make themselves Boxtrolls, I decided we should start on a smaller scale…). Really, what you need are some cardboard boxes and your imagination.  Maybe a few other odds and ends and craft supplies, too.  After that? make-own-boxtroll   Then, let your  imagination run wild. My kids are really, REALLY into duck tape lately so… when we show you our final Boxtrolls next week- you’ll notice there’s duck tape on them all! boxtroll-american-girl

Create your own Boxtroll and enter to win a trip to the movie premiere!

build-a-boxtroll-sweeps-#buildaboxtrollsweeps Prizing

An all-expense paid trip for 4 to the L.A. movie premier of The Boxtrolls How to enter Make a totally awesome Boxtroll Snap a pic Share your photo on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the #BuildABoxtrollSweeps hashtag That’s it!! Legal and Official Rules  No purchase necessary. 18+ years old. 50 US States + District of Columbia only. 8/4/14-9/5/14. 

What will YOUR Boxtroll look like? 


This post is part of an ongoing partnership with The Boxtrolls and SocialMoms.  Opinions are my own.

Messes aren’t always a bad thing #HappiMess #DeltaFaucet

You know those days, when you look around your house and want to cry, because there’s just messes everywhere you turn? But then, when you take a step back, you realize, that a lot of that mess is actually a HappiMess, and a feeling of gratitude washes over you?

I live with Lego bricks all over my living room.  Every flat surface is covered with Lego creations- done by my son, my daughters, my husband- or any combination of family members.  My kitchen currently looks like a packaging center, because the kids have been working hard after school to create their own Boxtrolls in celebration of the movie coming out in a few weeks. messes-arent-always-bad-thing Sometimes I look at kitchens (and baths) in magazines and sigh, wishing for such a pristine environment. But really, that’s not what I’d want. Yes, I like a clean house, but I’ve decided that some messes are meant to be embraced- because they are signs of life being lived. Yes, there’s a mess in my kitchen, there’s a project half completed. But it’s a sign of the kids and I doing crafts together, to go along with a book we’ve been reading together all summer…and we’re having FUN doing this together.  Those Lego brick creations that are everywhere are things made by my kids, my husband- even me. That puzzle sitting out on the table is 1,000 pieces. It’s the biggest one we’ve attempted. We’re all working on it together. Family time.  That’s what the happimesses are about for me.  Memories made, fun being had, life being lived. puzzle-happimess   The folks at Delta Faucet agree with me that messes aren’t always a bad thing- and they make products to help make the cleanup of our happimesses easier.  Share your own messy moments through the Delta #HappiMess social media sweepstakes, which kicked off August 11. You could win a Delta Faucet kitchen & bath prize pack worth over $2400! delta logo Why do people treat mess like it’s a bad thing? It’s actually the evidence of a life well lived. When you’re out there making, creating, doing and playing, embrace your #HappiMess and let Delta kitchen and bath innovations help clean up so you can do it all again tomorrow.”   Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Delta via Mode Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Delta.

5 ways to keep active kids healthy #HorizonB2S

My kids have spent the last few months swimming, diving, playing tennis and running around like crazy. Most of the time they are in the water, either here at home or at the swim club. The rest of the time? My girls can usually be found upside down, doing cartwheels, really, any gymnastics skills. My son and younger daughter love to play baseball and soccer, and both love to swing. My oldest will go across the monkey bars a dozen times a day- until she’s blistered and they start to pop… then she’ll stop. Summer for us means nonstop movement, and we love it. My only concern is keeping active kids healthy when they are that busy- although keeping them healthy while active is also key.

Five Ways to Keep Active Kids Healthy


1. Nourish

Around here, we like to refer to foods that are good for our bodies as healthy grow food. Silly way to say it? Yes, perhaps. But the kids “get” the meaning and understand it. They know they can have all the healthy grow food they want, whenever they want. Balanced meals at home and on the go are essential.

I find, as many do, that if the snacks available are healthy, kids will eat them. We have a snack bin in the pantry and in the fridge that I try to stock up on Sundays, and the kids can choose from that for snacks, lunches, etc. They feel in control, I know they are having good for them foods.


2. Plan Ahead

Plan out your week ahead of time. The first few years I had kids in activities, I didn’t “get” the planning thing and too often I was throwing a quick meal together last minute or, a few times, stopping for fast food in desperation to get them fed. Take that time to look at your week- use leftovers or a crock pot to make sure you are having a balanced meal no matter how busy your week is. I honestly ended up cooking dinner in the midmornings or early afternoons on many, many occasions last school year. I had to, or we’d be scrambling (more than eggs…) to figure out a balanced meal.

3. Team and Organized Group Activities

As your kids find activities they are interested in, look for teams or groups to join. This way, they’ll be able to enjoy their activity with others who also enjoy it, but being part of a team or group also helps teach them a lot of life lessons. Coaches offer instruction to further their skills.

Make sure that your child has the proper equipment for whatever activity she or he is participating in. Footwear should fit properly, and they should wear the proper clothing/sports gear for that sport. If they are playing a sport that requires shinguards, make sure they always wear them, so that it becomes a habit to keep their shins protected.

4. Rest

No one can be truly healthy without proper rest. Set a bedtime and stick to it whenever possible. My oldest is in fourth grade this year- 10-11 hours of sleep is the recommended amount for her age. We try very hard to get that amount for her. We actually put our kids in bed at the same time, but the older two can read for a bit before they fall asleep.
This will be a challenge for my family this fall, as my oldest was invited to XCEL Team for gymnastics- practices are until 8:15 one night, and 9pm the next. My kids are normally in bed at 7:30, lights out by 8. We’ll have to figure out a way to adjust around those days to make sure she’s not getting too tired.

I also need to make sure I’m getting enough sleep. I’m working on it!

5. Unorganized Activities

These are some of my favorites. Go for a walk in your neighborhood. Make up a scavenger hunt for your family- grownups included- and have an adventure. Pick a local spot, pack a picnic, and play tourist in your own area. Some of my favorite family memories are from days we just decided to take a family walk, or visit a local state park- unplanned, unstructured, but very active. This way, in the off-season, you’re still keeping the kiddos busy and active. It’s great for us parents, as well!

How do you keep your active kids healthy?

This conversation is sponsored by Horizon Organic. The opinions and text are all mine.

Drive Safe Today Day #DriveSafeToday

Drive Safe Today Day is an event that shows Progressive’s human side — an observable pursuit outside of providing innovative insurance. The purpose is  to affect driving behavior and make the roads a little safer for everyone.



I have 3 kids. If you’ve been around here at all, you’ve likely seen photos  of them.  They are my world, along with my husband.  My precious cargo, so to speak.  They motivate me to drive safer, slower, and more deliberately. I can’t imagine knowingly putting any of my little family in danger.

precious cargo

But what I realized years ago- not enough years ago, but better late than never, I suppose?!- what I realized was that even if *I* don’t have my precious cargo (family) in my car with me, someone else does.


That realization changed my driving habits years ago.


We all need to be more aware and take steps to be safer.  We all have family and friends who care about us.  Just because our precious cargo isn’t in the car with us doesn’t mean someone else’s isn’t.


Drive Safe Today Day is a day meant for all of us to put down the lipstick, the coffee, the phones…the bagels, the pet boa constrictors… and whatever else strikes your fancy…

and take a pledge to make a big effort, for one day, to drive a little bit better.

So leave five minutes early. Keep those angry fingers DOWN if someone cuts you off. Drive the speed limit.

Put your makeup on at home, or at the office. Stop lights are for stopping ;) and not for makeup application.

Let the person waiting to turn onto the road go.

Imagine what the roads would be like if we all took a pledge for Drive Safe Today Day?


I’m officially inviting you to join me in pledging. Right here, right now.  The big day is 9/3. Chosen for a reason- having your hands at 10 and 2 while driving isn’t what’s recommended anymore.  Hands should be at 9 and 3. So…

let’s do this…

Let’s get our safety on and make the pledge to cap that lipstick, sip our coffee when the car is NOT moving, and use our fingers to help us steer, and not to send messages.

On 9-3, let’s turn the key on Drive Safe Today Day, invented by the folks at Progressive. Why? Because we could all do with a little reminder to drive a little safer.  Yes, even you. And me. Definitely that girl who’s always on her phone shaving on the highway…. and absolutely the guy applying lipstick and drinking coffee heading in to work.


Over 30,000 too-close-for-comfort-accidents occur every single day- often because of unsafe behaviors. WE can do something about that.  We- all of us- can do it.  Let’s start with one day. Just one. 

What will YOU pledge for Drive Safe Today Day?



 I’ve teamed up with Progressive for their Drive Safe Today Day initiative. Although I’ve been compensated for my post, the thoughts and ideas are my own.

The little things

This post brought to you by Huggies and Kleenex. All opinions are 100% mine.

As I sit here listening to the kids playing (nicely) together, hearing my husband putter away upstairs on a project, it’s striking me how powerful the little things are in life. The big things are, for sure, also important, but so often, it’s the little things that seem to matter most, and make the biggest impact. Impulsive hugs, sticky kisses from the kids… giggles…

This morning, our little one came into our bedroom and gave us a huge smile, saying “I’m so glad you are home today with us, daddy!” Little things.

Leaving little notes tucked into lunches, to be found later… arranging the food on their plate to make a face, or a silly image.


Tomorrow, I’ll be holding a whole box of KLEENEX® Ultra Soft Tissues when all 3 of my kids get on a school bus together for the first time.  And, for the first time in 9 years, I’ll be alone for my days, all 3 kids will be in school full day. It’s a big milestone, for all of us, but the day will be filled with little things for each of the kids…and for me.


Given my propensity for crying at every milestone, each birthday, each first day of school… the kids insisted we not buy a few boxes and instead head to Sam’s Club where we could be sure to have plenty of Ultra Soft Tissues on hand for mama’s tears.  So we got a 12 pack bundle- we were already in store, but KLEENEX® Ultra Soft Tissues can be purchased using FREE Online Order Pickup for convenience.  Funny kids that they are, they’ve also mentioned a daddy bucket (5 gallon) for my tears when they pull away on that big school bus in the morning.


I think I’ll tuck a few tissues into their backpacks.  Maybe they’ll sneeze, or get a little smudge of something on their hands on the bus.  Maybe it’ll just remind them that mommy’s still thinking of them, even when they are at school.

We even brought boxes of the Kleenex Ultra Soft Tissues to each of the kids’ new classrooms at the meet and greet today. You can’ t have too many tissues in a classroom! Plus, just like here at home, we use tissues for so many more uses than blowing noses.  Removing glittery eye shadow, applied by a five year old in dark lighting? Check.  Mystery ‘stuff’ on cheeks… little spills, wrapping newly-lost teeth so they don’t get lost… picking up no-longer-alive-spiders-and-other-creatures that may need to be removed from the classroom…making ghost lollipops with Tootsie Pops… the list goes on and on.  Again- they can be used for lots of little things, these super soft KLEENEX® Ultra Soft Tissues.

The little things mean so much.


What ways do you celebrate the little things? And how do you use KLEENEX® Ultra Soft Tissues?

Visit Sponsor's Site

9 Tips for benefit concert donors

For over forty years, the benefit concert has served as one of the most easily recognizable forms of aid for charitable organizations.


It all started back in August 1971 when George Harrison called a few friends – Ringo, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, to name a few – to play at the world’s first benefit concert.  The Concert for Bangladesh played from Madison Square Garden with ticket and recording sales helping to raise $18 million. These stars likely didn’t realize they were forever changing charitable giving in time of a disaster.  Concerts are now a popular vehicle for causes around the world to raise visibility and funds.


“Music is a universal pleasure that cuts across cultures and backgrounds,” says H. Art Taylor, president of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance.  “Music is a unifying experience – it’s a natural choice for charities to turn to benefit concerts as a means to raise funds.”


Before you buy your ticket, here are 9 tips for benefit concert donors:



  • Check out the benefit concert charities.  Do they meet BBB Charity Standards? Visit for the latest BBB Wise Giving Alliance evaluation information on national charities.
  • Will gifts be restricted for a special disaster or event?  Don’t assume unless specified.
  • Do the charity sponsors have the skills and experience to carry out the promised charitable activities?
  • If the benefit concert tickets are being sold at their fair-market value, then none of your ticket purchase will be deductible. See IRS Publication 526.
  • Don’t assume merchandise sold at the concert (e.g. t-shirts, etc.) will benefit the participating charities unless they are authorized and specify otherwise.
  • Watch out for ticket scalpers. The inflated ticket prices they charge will not provide more benefit to the sponsored charity.


For more information on how to donate wisely, including evaluations completed by the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, visit



This post is brought to you by the

Back to school safety #LifeLockUltimatePlus

It’s back to school time again, and a common subject that comes up is that of safety. While that’s always something to worry about (especially when you’re a parent), back to school time brings up a whole bundle of concerns in itself.

 Back to School Safety

How will your child get to school?


Can they walk to the bus stop alone?


Can they be trusted to stay home alone?


Can they be trusted with their own house key, or should a neighbor let them in?


This and many other issues are things that you must consider during the fall. Safety is important, especially when it comes to children. While there isn’t any easy button for parents to magically keep your children safe (trust me I’d be the first investor), there are logical steps that you can take to prevent as many hazards as possible.


Same rings true for your household, and your identity.


That’s why, if you haven’t already, you should include LifeLock’s identity theft protection to your back to school list. The LifeLock Site offers an entire suite of products tailored to fit your individual needs. Purchase as much, or as little protection as you need for your family.

lifelock logo

Here are some of LifeLock’s newest features:


Traditonal LifeLock Standard is still just $9.99 and includes all the create features it always has.


In addition to the standard version, you have a few more options; LifeLock Advantage at $19.99 and LifeLock Ultimate plus at $29.99. Both of these products include personalized activity alerts on credit card, check, and savings account transactions.


The LifeLock Ulitmate Plus product also includes activity alerts on member’s investment accounts adding more peace of mind against identity theft. Want to protect your children as well? Of course you do. LifeLock offers a junior product for children alont with the adult membership. This gives you an alert anytime someone is looking for your childs info for credit and services. If something is found, you’ll be alerted by text, phone or email.


LifeLock covers the bases for your entire family. Hop over to and use the promo code “LifeLockSafety” to receive 10% off your purchase with LifeLock.


It’s back to school time again, and a common subject that comes up is that of safety. While that’s always something to worry about (especially when you’re a parent), back to school time brings up a whole bundle of concerns in itself.


How will your child get to school?


This post is brought to you by our friends at LifeLock. Opinions are my own.


#ElfBirthday Twitter Party August 27 8-9pm ET

You may have one or you may have seen them around but no doubt about it, The Elf on the Shelf is most definitely a holiday tradition for many families. It’s another way to add some fun and excitement to holiday time (and if you know me, you know I LOVE holiday time…) We love the elves in our house and look forward to their arrival on Thanksgiving night every single year.



The Elf on the Shelf® is a scout elf sent from the North Pole to help Santa Claus know who is naughty and who is nice. Elves typically appear in their families’ homes around Thanksgiving, but the book indicates “holiday time.” On Christmas Eve, the elves typically return to the North Pole with Santa Claus. Scout elves are available in boy or girl versions, with a light or dark skin tone.

Did you know that Santa loves birthdays, too? Now in addition to Christmas, your child can also see their favorite on their birthday with The Elf on the Shelf®: A Birthday Tradition.



In Santa’s Christmas village at the North Pole, the scout elves have their own special way of celebrating birthdays—a tradition that goes back many generations. Now, Santa has given special permission for his elves to share that tradition with the families who love them. The Elf on the Shelf®: A Birthday Tradition tells the little-known story of how Santa’s finest helpers celebrate birthdays at the North Pole—and how you can invite your scout elf to share that tradition with YOU.

Each kit includes special instructions for inviting your scout elf for a birthday visit, and a festive birthday outfit for your scout elf to slip into before the big day. Also available—the Birthday Countdown & Game and the Birthday Chair Decoration Kit.




Please join us this week to learn about an all new family tradition that brings back your child’s beloved Christmas Elf on the Shelf® for a special birthday visit.


@elfontheshelf & @StacieinAtlanta

along with panelists @brettbmartin @crissy @kellystilwell


#ElfBirthday Twitter Party


Wednesday, August 27, 2014 from 8-9PM


Twitter with the #ElfBirthday hashtag


There will be three (3) fabulous prizes during our one hour event. Prizes include:

1 @elfontheshelf, birthday book & outfit, a countdown calendar, chair decorating kit & $50 AmEx gift card {2 WINNERS}

1 @elfontheshelf, birthday book & outfit, a countdown calendar, chair decorating kit & $100 AmEx gift card {GRAND PRIZE WINNER}


Make certain to leave your name on the RSVP linky below so that we know you will be there and to be entered to win prizes!

This is a sponsored post.

Verra good reasons to watch Outlander #Outlander #OutlanderDay

As if anyone needed a reason….Outlander is a HOT new show and while it’s probably not one to watch with the kids, it’s definitely one to make sure you don’t miss an episode of!

Verra Good Reasons to Watch Outlander

1. Jamie Fraser. 2. Claire and Jamie 3. Dougal 4. Kilts. Verra brawny men in kilts, to be specific. 5. Scottish accents They are all verra good to listen to, aye? 6. Jamie Fraser I am a woman obsessed. It might be the Scottish in me (my maternal grama was born in Scotland, and my maternal grandfather was also Scottish)… but oh, have I fallen head over heels for Outlander. I had a sneak peek at episode one weeks before it aired. I insisted my husband watch with me. While he’s not quite obsessed, he’s definitely enjoyed it as well. We also got to sneak a peek at episode 2, weeks ago- which was fabulous, got me hooked, and left me wanting more, more more!! Alas, I had to wait until this past Saturday to view episode 3…and we’re now left waiting for another Saturday night to see 4… it’s going to be hard to wait a week between our beloved Highlanders. Hard, but not so bad for me, because I ordered books 1-7 of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series for my kindle after episode 1. I’m halfway through book 5. I can’t get enough! The scenery in this series is simply amazing. The costumes are stunning, and I have a feeling we’ll be seeing many, many knitted cowls this fall and winter as we see Claire wearing them all through this season’s episodes. With episode 2, we’re getting to know a little bit about Castle Leoch, watching Claire learn to maneuver through life as it was 200 years before her time, and seeing the beginnings of story lines we’ll be following for a long while. Dinna fash, friends. While you wait for a new episode, read the books (or re-read them)….and check out the Outlander Sweeps on Facebook!

Outlander Scotland Sweepstakes

Outlander Sweepstakes presented by TWC Entry Method: Facebook  Dates: 8/1-8/30 Eligibility: TWC Customers 18 or older Prizing: Airfare for two to Scotland Country Roads of Scotland Tour (6 days, 7 nights including hotel) Private Outlander Tour $1000 Spending Money 1 Year Starz Subscription


Outlander’s on Saturday nights on Starz at 9. I’ll be watching- will you?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Time Warner Cable. The opinions and text are all mine.