Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pigeon Forge: Family Fun on "The Parkway"

Last weekend I spent some time in one of my favorite Southern getaways: Pigeon Forge. My family has been to Pigeon Forge a handful of times over my lifetime. We would go there for
vacations, on church trips, and for family reunions when I was a child. I remember being in awe of all of the sights and goings on driving down the Parkway through town. There has always been a little of everything and of course that makes for a family paradise!

This trip was no exception. We arrive into town and immediately stopped for some pancakes at Flap Jack's. If you love pancakes, you will be in heaven in Pigeon Forge. There are over 50 pancake houses and each one has their specialty.

Pigeon Forge Titanic Museum Attraction
When we got done stuffing our faces, it was time to hit the museums and attractions! There are tons of indoor and outdoor attractions which makes it the perfect place to take a break year round. There is horse back riding, whitewater rafting, and hiking trails galore in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park nearby for the nature enthusiast or go karts, mini golf, and arcades. There are museums like WonderWorks to keep your mind busy or plenty of shopping to let it wander. We did a little of everything. I think my personal favorite was either WonderWorks or the Titanic museum. Both of which were very educational in the most entertaining of ways!

Of course, a visit to Pigeon Forge is not complete without checking out some of the amazing dinner shows, which include comedy acts, skits, magic tricks and live music! The music shows are some of the most popular and feature a variety of different genres that include Broadway, rock n’ roll, bluegrass, country and gospel.

We went to the Lumberjack Feud the first night and it was a blast! Good, Southern food and lots of logging competition which was a lot more exciting than I had anticipated. The second night we went to the Hazzard County Hoedown based on the fun and characters of the show the Dukes of Hazzard. Judge me if you must but this was so much fun! The actors and singers were top notch and my closet Dukes of Hazzard fan self had a great time!

The one thing that we didn't get to, that I wish we had because it was a big childhood paradise for me, was Dollywood. Dollywood is one of the original anchors of Pigeon Forge and a definite must for families that love a good roller coaster! Hopefully we will have more time to visit next time we are up that way!

All around, we had a great time. Pigeon Forge is a perfect place to head with the family any time of year for some relaxation and family oriented good fun. From littles like mine to teenagers to big kids like me, there is something to do, something to eat, something to occupy your mind with! We can't wait to go back!

Thanks to the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism for facilitating our visit and reviews! We had a blast and all opinions are my own!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Summer Lovin'

It has been an awesome summer. The boys and I have gotten some good sun, some amazing food, and even more fun. We have ouspent more time outside this summer than we have been able to in the past and we are all both enamored and exhausted.

There have been the countless days spent in the water. We go to the "beach" at the lake and have spent the day swimming and cooking out and just generally relaxing and bonding and having great fun as a family. The boys have really enjoyed playing in the water way more than the sand, which was not something I expected. I really thought that Littles at least would enjoy building and crashing sand castles but they would much rather be floating around in the water.

We also spent some time checking out the local water parks. The county we used to live in opened a new aquatics center this spring and we have enjoyed going and splashing around. We checked out several of the local YMCA's pools and such too. Some better than others but definitely none as much fun as White Water.

This year was the first year that the boys have been able to go to White Water and they have absolutely fallen in love. The first time we went it was just D, a close friend, and me. D had so much fun riding all the rides and it wasn't busy so we rode most of them at least twice, spending about 5 hours. The second time we went, we took K. I have to say the littles completely had us stunned. He rode everything he was tall enough for and wanted to ride the ones he wasn't. I thought he would hate it but he had more fun than D!

Speaking of general kid fun, the boys also got to ride their first go karts this summer and they are hooked. Here again though, it was K that seemed to be more enthused about getting to do it. Baby loves him some speed.

All in all, its been an amazing kind of Summer break. Soon, D heads to Kindergarten though and everything is going to be a whole lot different. I'm sad that our Summer is coming to a close but I am also ready to move on into birthday season and all the fun that Fall has to offer.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Talking Safety with SANUS TV Mounts and Safe Kids Worldwide

Lets face it, safety is our number one priority as parents. It starts the first moments our little ones are brought into this world and it never ends. As a mother with two very active boys, staying one step ahead of their thinking can be a challenge. The solution: childproof everything. Including the flat panel TV!

For many Americans, a flat panel TV is a great way to enjoy family time and entertainment. However, most parents are unaware of the safety risks that flat panel TVs pose for kids. Honestly, it was not something that even crossed my mind to begin with.  Due to increasing size and new ultra thin designs, today’s flat panel TVs can easily tip over when bumped or pulled, toppling off of furniture and causing injury or even death.

Bringing this risk to the forefront, SANUS, the leading designer and manufacturer of flat panel TV wall mounts, has partnered with Safe Kids Worldwide. By educating consumers on the risk of unsecured flat panel TV’s, SANUS and Safe Kids Worldwide offer safe solutions for families across the nation by reducing TV tip-over related injuries and fatalities.

It makes sense, right? With TVs getting thinner and more top heavy than ever, we can be lulled into a false security.

A 2011 US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) report on flat panel TV safety revealed:

· A child is killed every three weeks from an unsecured TV
· Every 45 minutes a child visits an emergency room due to a TV tip-over related injury
· Between 2000 and 2011, 215 fatalities have resulted from TV tip-over
· An estimated 17,000 people each year, the majority of which are children, are treated for injuries from TV tip-overs
· Reported cases have increased almost 25% from 2006 to 2010, and over the last 10 years, injuries have increased by 31%

SANUS TV offers these Mounting Tips:

  • Easy 1, 2, 3 installation with a wall template to ensure even placement
  • Online video walk through of simple installation available at any time
  • No additional tools necessary – all required installation hardware is included in package
  • Live customer support available 6 days a week

*This is a sponsored post written on behalf of SANUS but all opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Movie Fun! #WW

Turbo! In Theaters Now!

Feeling the need for speed? Today is the day that that the fastest snail in the world races into theaters and in the hearts of children (and the child like) all over!

Turbo is a snail who dreams of being the greatest racer in the world. His obsession with speed has made him an oddity and outsider in the slow and cautious snail community. Turbo desperately wishes he could escape the slow-paced life he’s living, and he gets that chance after a freak accident leaves him with the power of incredible speed. The newly turbo-charged Turbo embarks on an extraordinary journey to achieve the impossible: racing against the best that the Indianapolis 500 has to offer. Joining Turbo is his dedicated pit crew of racing snails – a ragtag group of trash-talking adrenaline junkies tricked out with shells that look like mini-street racing cars. Turbo is the ultimate underdog who achieves the impossible by refusing to let his limitations get in the way of his dreams.

My family's take:
We had a chance to check out Turbo before it theaters this week and the boys are in love! They were glued to the screen watching Turbo transform from a regular garden snail to a world class racing snail in 96 minutes. We all had a good time and laughing out loud in our seat at the fun along the way. Perfect family entertainment!

The official skinny:
TURBO (20th Century Fox)
Release:              Wednesday, July 17th
Rating:                  PG
Run Time:           96 Minutes
Cast:                      Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Michael Pena, Luis Guzm├ín, Bill Hader, Richard Jenkins, Ken Jeong, Michelle Rodriguez, Maya Rudolph, Snoop Dogg, and Samuel L. Jackson
Turbo is in theaters now, so be sure to take the family to check it out and see what all the buzz is about! To save time, pick up your tickets on Fandango!

*I was invited to check out Turbo a few days early in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own! 

Friday, July 12, 2013

TURBO Taco Truck at the Atlanta Street Food Fest This Weekend!! #ASFF13

Do you need a TURBO charge?

Mark your calendars, because on Saturday, July 13, the second-annual Atlanta Street Food Festival will roll into Piedmont Park from noon to 8 p.m. Kids 12 and under receive free admission and an individual adult pass is only $10.50. With over 25 food trucks, local merchants and artisans, and live musical entertainment, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

There will be one very special food truck in attendance: 20th Century Fox will debut Dos Bros, the taco food truck from the new DreamWorks Animation film Turbo. Dos Bros will be slinging tacos for the first 500 fans and posing for photo-ops with visitors throughout the day.

Great news is that the event is FREE, but if adults purchase the $10.50 ticket they have the opportunity to try out a FREE Turbo taco as well as a few other perks (cocktail anyone?). Kids 12 and under are free anyways so they can enjoy a Turbo taco regardless. We do have limited supply, but we are ready to feed 500 peeps with free tacos!

Purchase your tickets in advance and receive a discounted wristband at the time of your arrival. Your wristband will allow for one dollar off of each menu item over six dollars. In addition, wristbands are good for one free cocktail from Bombay Sapphire, the exclusive spirits sponsor of the Atlanta Street Food Festival. Even better news, a portion of the ticket sales benefits the Atlanta Community Food Bank!

To purchase tickets and to view more information on the Atlanta Street Food Festival, please visit www.atlantastreetfoodfestival.com. You can also stay up to date with the latest information about the Festival on the Facebook page, www.facebook.com/AtlantaStreetFoodFestival and by following @StreetFestATL and using the hashtag #ASFF13.

Don't forget, TURBO hits theaters NEXT WEDNESDAY, July 17th! Its sure to be a no miss!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Rain, Rain, Go Away

The rain in Atlanta this year has been absolutely unreal. Its almost gotten to the point where I may have forgotten what it is like to not have it rain for 24 hours. Completely ridiculous. It does this constantly.

If that did give you and idea here is a more blatant case in point:
  • The usual rainfall in Atlanta for the month of June over the last 5 years: 2.5 inches.
  • The rainfall recorded for Atlanta in June 2013 alone: 9.6 inches.
It's coming a flood! That's almost 4 times the rain average. I feel like we are floating away and July, so far, has seemed worse than June as far as rainfall. 

Of course that also means two things for us. The mosquitoes are ridiculously large and are coming in ridiculous quantities. I have seem more mosquito swarms this year than  I can ever remember. You can't step outside and not get bitten all over. Usually the mosquitoes don't even bother me, but this year they are out for what ever they can get. My poor, sweet tasting Monster is getting eaten alive this year.  It really surprised me to hear the other day that we are just now having our first West Nile virus case in Georgia with in the last week. Those little buggers are angry this year. 

All the rain also means we have had really great air quality this year too though. We haven't had a smog alert in 2013 at all yet and that is almost unheard of. I'd love to say that we could tell a difference in the air quality but between the rain and the mosquitoes we are never outside long enough to actually breathe very much. Sad but true. We also moved a mattress

I am hoping that all this cooler weather and rain will mean we will actually have a cold winter this year though. Maybe some good snow? Too much to ask from you Georgia? Probably. Last year we totally got jipped on the Winter front. It was warm til Christmas and we only really had a few days where we needed a coat of any kind. 

Its okay though. We have had some awesome sunny beach days and we have learned to just make the best of the rainy days. This weekend we went to White Water. In the rain. Where we got wet on top of our wet. No harm, no foul. This time.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Bunk Beds!

Last week, the boys took a big step. Well, okay, a big step for me anyway. They upgraded to bunk beds! It was a half surprise from a loved one, half letting them pick out the bedding type of a deal. Needless to say, they are mad excited.

They have actually done a lot better about sleeping in them than I would ever thought they would. I figured that D especially would have a hard time adjusting because he usually does when anything changes. He has done great so far though. He is loving being the big boy and climbing up into bed where his brother can't reach him to pester him. K on the other had regularly falls asleep in the floor/ in the yard/ wherever he stops, so I knew he would be fine. 
Of course, K has already gotten "stuck" up on the top bunk once already by climbing up there and being to chicken to climb back down. At least Captain Clumsy knows his limits? His brother has tried to help him figure out how to go up and down the ladder but its only half hearted at best because he really doesn't particularly want him up there. Which I can't blame him for. Everyone needs their own space. 

K picked Cars.

D picked Spiderman.

The best change so far? D is obsessed with keeping his bed made. Loving it!

Up next is a little paint and some decorations to match their choices of bedding. Luckily they are both pretty much the same color scheme. Here's to growing up!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Check Out the #DeliveryManMovie Trailer First! #The533

What does family mean to me? My family has always been a mixed bag of complete hilarity. We all have our quirks and our issues but when it all comes right down to it, there is nothing that could keep up from helping each other through it all.

This fall, in Delivery Man, Vince Vaughn plays an affable underachiever looking for his purpose in life, when he finds out he’s fathered 533 children through anonymous donations to a fertility clinic 20 years ago.

Now, he must decide whether or not to come forward when 142 of them want to meet their biological father. The way he accepts the challenge is heartwarming and hilarious.

I was invited by Disney to be one of 533 bloggers to debut the exclusive trailer for Delivery Man. Check our this exclusive trailer just for Render Me Mama readers:

Looks awesome, right? I am looking forward to the rest of the movie and finding out how he completes his mission. Will he find them all? Will they ever find out who he really is?  Love it.

DELIVERY MAN opens in theatres everywhere on November 22nd. Until then, you can LIKE the movie on Facebook or FOLLOW the movie on the Twitter, Pinterest, or instagram!

What do you think? Will you check it out?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Outdoor Summer Fun With @BJsWholesale

Summer is in full swing here in Georgia. Like it or not, the mercury is rising and the need to get out and have some fun in the sun is overwhelming. Its been a close to 90 during the day here for a few months and in the last couple of weeks its been not only hitting it but going over it. Come July and August, we are going to be roasting!

This year though, we are making an effort to find more fun ways to stay cool in the sun. Of course, money is always tight which makes things kind of interesting sometimes. However, BJ's Wholesale Clubs have a ton of outdoor entertaining options that met our limits and I'm sure they do for you too!

Of course you know we have been spending a lot of time exploring Georgia's beaches this summer already and we have had a blast doing it but sitting on the sand in the sun for hours at a time just isn't my cup of tea. When I get out of the water, I want a place to sit and relax. Maybe have a cold water and just chill. The boys share that affinity. So, when we saw the Tommy Bahama Portable Beach Hut at our BJ's Wholesale, I may just have been a little too excited. D thought I'd lost it right there in the club.

We purchased the beach hut and headed to the lake the very next day. We spent 7 hours at the lake that day compared to our usual two or three! We spent time splashing and swimming around then relaxing in the shade by the waves. Then we cooked out and went back to the Beach Hut to relax until it was time to go splash some more. It was nice to have a shady place to store all of our coolers and chairs too. Plus, its super easy to put up and take down.

Did I mention that I got the Tommy Bahama Beach Hut for $30? A total steal considering on the Tommy Bahama website its listed for $88. That's a 66% savings over retail!

In general BJ's Wholesale clubs offer a savings of more than 30% off supermarket prices and accept ALL manufacturers’ coupons, plus BJ’s own coupons which makes the savings even more outstanding. Which makes it the perfect place to save on all of your "day at the beach" or "neighborhood cookout" needs. BJ's also offers "beyond–the–Club" savings on vacations, new and rental cars, insurance, home improvement and more in addition to the BJ's Optical and BJ's Gas at selected locations. BJ's Wholesale is the perfect place to get geared up for summer fun!

Want to learn more about all that BJ's Wholesale clube has to offer? Check out the Membership Features page! Don't forget to go ahead and print a free one day pass while you are there! Looking for the nearest BJ's Wholesale Club? Check out their online locator!

*I was provided compensation for this post but all opinions and photos are my own.*


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