Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Healthy New Year's Resolutions for your Dog

With 2016 finally here, I've already been planning about how to make this new year the healthiest one yet. 

Although there are numerous ways I could improve myself and my health, what if I could also get my family involved including my furry family members, too?

Milk-Bone (the makers of my pup's favorite dog treats) recently conducted an original survey of 3,000 pet parents nationwide to find out which healthy habits families are pledging in the new year. 

See the results below:

Of course, old habits die hard -- which is why Milk-Bone has also fetched the best ways to make sure these resolutions stick. 

Top Tips for Keeping New Year's Resolutions

 1.  "I will spend more time with my dog."  52%

According to the survey, 44% of pet parents say that having a dog brings a family closer together.  Whether it's taking Fido to a new dog park or adding a few minutes to your daily walk, you can easily increase quality time with your pup.

2.  "I will help my dog to have better health and wellness."  42%

In addition to plenty of play and exercise, consider providing your pup a daily vitamin supplement, such as Milk-Bone Good Morning Daily Vitamins, which promote well-being, longevity and overall good health. 

 3.  "I will take my dog on more trips with me."  34%

Taking your pup on vacation not only adds fun, but it also alleviates the worry of not knowing what's happening wth him while you're away. Be sure to bring his favorite toy or something he loves to keep him calm during travel. 

 4.  "I will brush my dog's teeth regularly."  31%

Weary about brushing your canine's canines? Start a new daily routine and try a dental chew, such as Milk-Bone Brushing Chews -- which clean teeth, remove tartar and fight dreaded doggy breath. This daily dental treat also comes in a new 'Fresh Breath' flavor (in stores Feb. 2016) for an even tastier clean. 

5.  "I will help my dog get more essential vitamins, nutrients, and supplements."  30%

Vitamins provide beneficial nutrients not found in regular dog food -- which is why it's a good idea for both of you to start the day off right with a daily vitamin supplement. Milk-Bone Good Morning Daily Vitamins support your dog's immune system, brain, heart, and digestion. 

6.  "I will help my dog become less anxious and stressed."  29%

If you have a timid dog, the key to reducing his stress is by building his self confidence. Start by teaching him to respond to basic commands -- it will make him feel more comfortable in his environment. 

7.  "I will not feed my dog food from the dinner table."  25%

Every dog loves (and often begs for) tasty table scraps. Next year, resist the urge and provide tasty pet treats instead. These Milk-Bone treats are ones that not only taste good but are (actually) good for them. 

 8.  "I won't leave my dog home alone for quite as long."  23%

If you can't leave work early, consider providing a new furry companion for your pup.  Or perhaps you can arrange for a friend's dog to make a house call. 

 9.  "I will help my pet lose weight."  21%

Just like us, some pups could stand to lose a few pounds. Next year, make Fido your accountability partner and commit both yourselves to eating healthier, along with plenty of play and exercise. 

10.  "I will take my dog to dog training class."  15%

Experts are experts for a reason. Accredited dog trainers have tons of experience in teaching both pets (and pet parents) positive reinforcement techniques that are safe and effective.

Riley's New Year's Resolution for 2016

Of all these resolutions, the one that resonates with me is 'brushing my dog's teeth regularly.' According to the survey, 40% of dog parents do this... and I'd love to do this more regularly.

Of course, brushing your dog's teeth is one of those things that's a lot harder than it sounds.  Thanks to Milk-Bone Brushing Chews, however, I don't have to lift a finger.  (Well, maybe that's all I have to lift.)  Basically, the Brushing Chew does all the manual labor in keeping my pup's teeth clean and breath fresh.  Double win!

What resolution are you planning to make for you and your dog in 2016?

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Lego Kids Fest is Coming to North Carolina!!


We are a LEGO family. It started with my husband when he was young and has grown from there. After bringing home thousands of LEGO™ bricks from his childhood, we started adding to the collection. We love putting LEGO™ kits together. At first it was just me and my husband that would assemble them but now our youngest enjoys the challenge. Christmas and Birthdays usually consist of at least one or two boxes of Lego™ bricks. Can you imagine how many we have?  We probably have an entire set in our couch cushions!

Last year was the first year we had heard of LEGO™ Kids Fest but we missed out on getting tickets. They sold out super fast. But this year we have been given the opportunity to go and we are so excited! We haven't even told the kids yet (a video might be in order). 

The LEGO KidsFest national tour stops at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, NC, from February 19 - 21, 2016, for the very first time, bringing all of the creative hands-on, minds-on fun of LEGO™ building and experiences together in this three acre activity- and entertainment-packed family event. 
LEGO™ KidsFest is for children of all ages and builders of all skills and interests. 

What can you do while you are there?

* LEGO™ Model Museum: life-sized models made entirely from LEGO™ bricks 
* LEGO™ Master Builders: live demonstrations and activities from the crew who get paid to play 
* Race Ramps: build a custom car, then race it down the ramp against friends and family 
* LEGO™ Star Wars: build and display a Star Wars model
* LEGO™ Disney Princess: create a princess scene to add to a LEGO™ story book 
* LEGO™ Super Heroes: pose with a life-sized Spiderman model and more
* LEGO™ DUPLO: younger visitors can explore imagination through building
* LEGO™ Retail: purchase LEGO merchandise and official KidsFest tour goods
* LEGO™ Friends: build for the five empowered friends from Heartlake City 
* LEGO™ Ninjago: spin the way to being a Spinjitzu member 
* LEGO™ Mindstorms: build and program robots and snakes 
* LEGO™ Technic: get hands-on with the cool, realistic vehicles at the booth
* Creation Nation: build your own creation to add to a custom map of the U.S. 
* Brick Pile: a gigantic pile full of LEGO™ bricks for creative play and enjoyment
* Monochromatic Builds: bricks of a single color foster group creativity

 I would like to encourage you to buy your tickets in advance. Tickets go so quickly for this event. LEGO™ KidsFest tickets can be purchased at Tickets are $19 for the Friday and Sunday afternoon sessions, and $22 for both sessions on Saturday and the Sunday morning session.

Win 2 tickets to LEGO™ Kids Fest!!!!

One of MY followers will win (2) tickets to for the opening night session on Friday, Feb 19, 2016 (4-8:30pm). I encourage you to LIKE and Follow LEGOKidsFest on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram for all the latest ticketing updates as this event has been selling out in prior cities. Must be 18 to enter, 1 entry per day allowed. 

Winner will be randomly chosen by US Family Guide on Tues Jan 15 and announced on my Blog and notified via email,

Hope to see you there!!!!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Carolina Renaissance Festival

I am warning you right now this post will be picture heavy.  A few weeks ago, I mentioned that we had the opportunity to go the The Carolina Renaissance Festival and last weekend was our time to go. Despite the chill in the air we had a blast!

There were many opportunities to enjoy the wonderful relaxing music of the time period.

The Carolina Renaissance Festival

The Carolina Renaissance Festival

The Harpist was my absolute favorite! Isn't her costume gorgeous???

With having kids on the spectrum I wasn't sure that some of the shows would go in there book. But the boys laughed and were so engaged. Even our shy one ran up front to be apart of the show!  This guy was so engaging and funny. We enjoyed every minute of it! 

The Carolina Renaissance Festival

There were jugglers, Irish Dancers, Hypnotist, Sword Fights, Jousters and so much more!

I always encourage my kids to try something at least once. You never know, you might enjoy it. So the decided they would try there hand at Bungee Jumping. To my surprise they both enjoyed it! This momma was cringing inside since that high off the ground. 

The Carolina Renaissance Festival

The Carolina Renaissance Festival

The food is fantastic! We each tried something different, There were Bread Bowls, Turkey Legs, Stake on a Stake , crepes, pizza,etc.  and don't get me started on the dessert!!!  

The Carolina Renaissance Festival

The back drop in the woods, the falling leaves, the music, the crisp cool air just puts you in the mood to meander the streets of this town of yester-year. And Meander we did, to petting zoos, shopping, more entertainment. Over all we had a blast and would love to go back again next year. I love that the boys learned a lot about that era in a fun interactive environment. 

The Carolina Renaissance Festival

The Carolina Renaissance Festival

The Park is open for two more weekends, so get your tickets now! Visit the US Family guide and get free admission for one child! I promise you , it will be be so much fun! 

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Chicken Pot Pie Made Easy

It's that time of year for bonfires, hot chocolate, boots and comfort food. My husbands favorites are Beef Stroganoff, Baked Ziti, Chili, and most of all Chicken Pot Pie.  For a while we were buying our pies from the Moravian Bakery in town. Although they were mouth-watering, it got kind of pricey as we needed two pies because we love this dish so much!

Chicken Pot Pie Made Easy

I thought that making Chicken Pot Pies from scratch was going to be time consuming and difficult. And when you have hungry boys in the house you can't do time consuming and difficult. Then a friend taught me how to make my own for super cheap and it was so easy!!! I made one for dinner last year and it clearly wasn't enough for my ravenous family.  We are a two Pot Pie family!!!

Here is how you make your own without all the kneading and tons of prep work:

Chicken Pot Pie Made Easy

Just a few ingredients a little bit of cooking time and your family will thank you. No peeling and cutting potatoes and carrots. Believe me this is super easy.

Ingredients per pie:

1 can of Cream of Celery Soup
1 can of Veggies
1/2 a can of Chicken Broth
Pie Crust (store bought if you want it to be fast)
4 - 6 Chicken Breasts (we like lots of chicken in ours)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 drop Rosemary Essential Oil 


1. First things first you need to boil your chicken. I boil it in chicken broth, salt and pepper, celery seed. Boil it till it's no longer pink and it's tender. You can now shred it with your Kitchen Aide or cut it up in chunks with your Kitchen Shears.  It just depends on your preference.

2. In a Pot, add your Cream of Celery Soup, Chicken Broth, Veggies, Salt and Pepper. Personally, I love the taste of Rosemary with chicken so I add a drop of  Rosemary Essential Oil to the mixture. A little goes a long way . Essential Oils are concentrated so you don't want to add too much or it will overpower your meal. Let that heat up on medium for about 5 minutes or so. Just till it's hot.

Chicken Pot Pie Made Easy

3. Add your chicken.

4. While that's heating up on low. Get one of your pie crusts out and place it in the bottom of your pie plate or plates if your family is like ours. Using a fork. Poke a few holes in the bottom crust to ensure even cooking.

Chicken Pot Pie Made Easy

5. Pour your veggie/chicken mixture in your pie pan and place your second pie crust on top. Taking care to press it all together.  Cut slits in the top for the steam to escape.

Chicken Pot Pie Made Easy

6. I add an egg wash to the top to make it pretty and golden brown.  Bake it at 350 for 30 minutes. Let it sit for about 10 minutes after you take it up. If you don't, the pie slices will fall apart. I'm speaking from experience (see first picture).

Chicken Pot Pie Made Easy


To find out more about essential oils please visit Naturally Essential. There you will find information on benefits, uses, and how to get your own!