Our Top 15 Family Movie Night Picks


I let my kids have pajama and movie days regularly. Because summer. But with two teens and a third grader, sometimes it’s challenging to find a suitable movie that everyone can enjoy. I can only do so many cartoons. That’s why I love a good family movie night at our house. Even though it often involves compromise, it’s a good excuse to spend time together. My kids love piling in my bed with extra blankets and plenty of popcorn.
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And if there’s popcorn involved, I’m there. I don’t know about you, but I’m always filtering, double-checking and monitoring what my kids are watching. We have kids zone brought to you by XFINITY, available with all X1 systems, is a great option that gives kids control of the remote and parents peace of mind. kids zone on the X1 operating system by XFINITY is a safe and secure destination for kids (2-12) to independently browse and watch their favorite movies and shows. They are branded age appropriate by Common Sense Media. Plus it’s completely customizable. It’s the safe way to let kids watch TV these days.

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The other day my three children were trying to decide (also called “arguing”) which movie to watch when I suggested the first movies that popped into my head: “What about Flubber? Sound of Music? or Hook?” They looked at me like I was an alien. “Mom, what is Flubber?”my son asked. You guys. It’s moments like these that I feel like a failure. I, mean, Flubber is a classic, right? “Is ‘Sound of Music Hook’ good? I’ve never heard of that one,” my second grader asked. Crickets. I quickly jotted down some of the older movies we have loved:

  1. Wizard of Oz
  2. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
  3. Inspector Gadget
  4. Sound of Music
  5. Lassie Come Home
  6. Tangled
  7. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
  8. Flipper
  9. Mary Poppins
  10. Hook
  11. Narnia
  12. Flubber
  13. Freaky Friday
  14. Finding Nemo
  15. Up

I think our movie days and family nights are planned for quite some time now. And I love that every one of these can be found on kids zone brought to you by XFINITY–plus another 6500 choices. Trust what your kids are watching. Sit back, relax, eat some popcorn and watch them fall in love with the movies you already love!

And Now, I’d Like to Talk About mmmmilk

We love milk at our house. I don’t know if it’s because we go to my in-law’s farm every chance we get… IMG_1148
I don’t know if it’s because we have a long history of naming baby calves…
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I don’t know if it’s because we eat grass-fed, fresh beef at least 3 times a week (thanks Nanny and Poppa)…
I don’t know if it’s because my kids like to dress like cows periodically…
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My kids have always loved milk.
And I’m always looking for natural, healthy choices that don’t compromise rich taste.
For a report at school last year, my youngest wrote a two page essay on her favorite snack (and how to make it): chocolate milk.
It was a riveting report and she actually got acknowledged for the most descriptive paper.
I have a deep affection for chocolate milk and writing, so I was obviously proud of this winning combo.

So, when we were asked to try Shamrock Farms on-the-go mmmmilk sold at Walmart, my kids sat at the dining room table like thirsty little people. I didn’t have to ask twice.

“Mom, this chocolate milk is delicious.”

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“The strawberry milk is so good.”

“Mom, show them how fast I can drink the whole thing and how loud I can burp.” (I will spare you the video).

“Mom, does this make me a milk model now?”

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You get the point. They loved it. And after dinner, they asked for more. (They also offered to pose for more pictures. Bless my shy children.)

These cute little 2% bottles of Shamrock Farms on-the-go mmmmilk come in 2% chocolate and strawberry and whole white milk and they are only $1 each at Walmart. Shamrock Farms mmmmilks are pure, fresh and nutritious with no added hormones.

And we think they are the perfect drink for lunch boxes or after school snacks.

(Plus, we love these healthy yummy summer snack recipes that go great with milk!)

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Shamrock Farms is having a great back to school giveaway where one lucky winner will receive nearly $5,000 ($4,999) in gift cards to stock up on back-­to-­school supplies, groceries and a new wardrobe. Enter online at www.shamrockfarms.net/walmart from now until August 20.

Win today! Answer this question: What do you like to pack in your child’s lunchbox? in the comment section. Each comment will automatically be entered to win a $100 Walmart gift card.  

Check out Shamrock Farms on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Entry Instructions:

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You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
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This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher.com email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 7/27/15 – 9/4/15.

Be sure to visit the Shamrock Farms brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

9 Things We Love About Dad

Lightening lit up the midnight sky and I squinted in the dark to see the clock. 3 A.M.

My husband’s normal spot in bed next to me contained a drooling second grader, arms and legs sprawled.

I could see his shadow as he stood next to the window and watched the rain. “She was scared of the thunder,” he whispered. “The yard is flooded. I’m going to stay awake for awhile and make sure it doesn’t get worse.”

It’s just like him to stand guard over our home and family. To watch and wait. To protect and provide. To give up his warm spot in the bed, to get up at the crack of dawn to make sure the Mercy House warehouse roof isn’t leaking water on our precious fair trade product.

It’s been raining for 30 days here in Texas and the ground can’t hold much more. But I turned over and went back to sleep with an 8 year old’s knee in my back. Because I knew Dad was on duty.

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He’s often the last in bed, locking up and turning out lights and the first up, shaking tired teens awake for school. Many mornings, by the time I’m awake, he’s made lunches and has breakfast in the oven. Yeah, I know. He’s for real.

My husband rocks.

My Husband Rocks

So does their Dad.

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We work together every day and that means sharing car line and dinner duties, after-school practices and late night accounting, travel and speaking engagements. But I think it’s too easy to take the good in our lives for granted. So, I thought we should share 9 things the kids and I love about the man of our house:

9 Reasons Why Dad Rocks

  1. He doesn’t step over the hairball in the kitchen floor or pretend it isn’t there. He picks it up. (And sometimes chases the kids around the house with it).
  2. He puts the family’s needs and dreams in front of his own.
  3. He always make us laugh by singing silly songs, making up goofy words or holding us down and tickling us to Level 41 (and sometimes he embarrasses us. But only when he wears his cowboy hat to school activities).
  4. He protect us. We have never felt afraid with Dad in the house (Mom, on the other hand, is a big chicken).
  5. He can grill anything. And he enjoys it.
  6. He talks to our kids about hard things– past mistakes and hopes for the future.
  7. He is the Master Looker in the house. Nothing is really lost on his watch. (Except for Mom’s keys at the beach on Spring Break. But we all know they are somewhere).
  8. He cherishes his wife and gives his kids a darn good example of what committed love looks like.
  9. He carries pictures of his family where his money used to be.

We love our Union28 shirts! Tell the world the man of your house rocks with “My Dad Rocks” kids shirts and “My Husband Rocks” t-shirts just in time for Father’s Day and get 15% off with coupon code: u28WATF15

We Had The [Groupon] Time of Our Lives

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Groupon Getaways for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” – Anonymous
Just like you, we live crazy busy lives. And sometimes we need to getaway…not from life, but so that life doesn’t get away from us.
Traveling to new places is a gift. Sometimes traveling with kids can be the challenging gift we give ourselves.
Thanks to Groupon, our family was able to mark two trips off our Family Getaways Bucket List and not only was it painless, it was delightful. Groupon Getaways made it easy to book our family of 5 in hotel rooms in Austin, Texas and Washington D.C. Not only did we have non-stop flights and discover delicious food, we had a lot of fun.
Making memories on the road or in the air, is one of the highlights of our family. We are always dreaming of the next place to explore.
Our favorite moments in Austin, Texas were definitely the food and funkiness. We loved the mix of old and new architecture and visiting the Capital in the state we live in was so informative and educational.
Washington D.C. offered us so many amazing moments. That first glimpse of the White House through my 8 year old’s eyes, the Presidential motorcade and viewing the epic treasures at the Smithsonian were among our trip highlights. Oh, and trying new kinds of food. Always the food.
Here are the 3 reasons why I highly recommend using Groupon to book your next Getaway:
1. Groupon takes the hassle out of trip planning. From booking hotels to flights to all-inclusive packages, Groupon makes this part of travel easier. There are so many options to choose from, based on price, locale and the type of trip you’re looking for. With just a click of the mouse, we were able to quickly and easily plan our trips.
Click here to continue reading why I recommend Groupon for your next getaway!

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Our Favorites in Washington D.C.- Part 2

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of

We were regular tourists in Washington D.C. (We love Groupon Getaways!) We just couldn’t help ourselves.

. All opinions are 100% mine.

We were regular tourists in Washington D.C. We just couldn’t help ourselves.

We walked a mile to stand at the gate of the White House and get a picture. What you can’t see are the hundreds of people around us. We cropped out the crowd.

Our 8 year old has a small obsession with the grand place and this was definitely a highlight for her.

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The rest of us couldn’t get enough of the museums and historic sites of the city. It was a rainy day, so that made it even better. We got in a huge line to take a tour of the Capital. The lady in front of us turned around and told us it was her third time to try and visit the Capital, but they’d sold out of free tickets every time.

We took our chances and we were in the building in 30 minutes. They handed us the fancy headsets and a guy named Pete (who loved his job very much) talked in our ears for the next hour. Every room and history lesson accompanying it was fascinating.

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The view of  Washington Monument from the Capital.

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This was a special moment. Our family loves Lincoln and there was a sacred hush at this Memorial, with some of the beautiful words he spoke etched on the walls in marble. There was also a really old and cool corner bookstore with everything Lincoln. Terrell was drawn to this book and once we got home he ordered a used copy off of Amazon. He can’t put it down.

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I think one of our favorite places was the Library of Congress. It’s connected to the Capital building. It was gorgeous. It also reminded us of one of our favorite movies: National Treasure 2. I dared my son to ask the librarian at the Information Desk to show us where the President’s Book of Secrets was hidden.

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He did not let me down.

The librarian said, “Oh, it’s here, but I can’t tell you.”

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I think my son totally believed her. I might have, too.

Another highlight and sacred moment was visiting the Vietnam Memorial. People were searching for names and leaving flowers. My husband found a soldier with our last name and we took away his name to remember his sacrifice.

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The two museums we spent the most time in were the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. My husband was as excited as the kids. We saw the Wright Brother’s and Amelia Earhart’s planes and learned so much.  I really loved the Museum of American History. I mean, you can see Julia Childs kitchen, the first American flag and a display of Dorothy’s rube red slippers from Wizard of Oz.  I love America.

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Another highlight was walking everywhere (says the family who goes everywhere by car in Texas). The weather improved and we loved looking at the row houses and architecture everywhere we went.

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And while Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum isn’t the Smithsonian, we got free tickets when we bought a

And while Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum isn’t the Smithsonian, we got free tickets when we bought a Groupon earlier in our trip and walked through it. It was really fun!

earlier in our trip and walked through it. It was really fun!

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Washington DC, you were a knockout!

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Dear Washington D.C.:

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Groupon Getaways for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

It might be too soon in our relationship to tell you this, but I just can’t keep it in:

Our family loves you.

When Groupon  gave us the opportunity to choose a getaway destination, there were so many choices. We thought about snow-capped mountains and isolated cabins and exotic destinations.

But you did not disappoint!

(And kudos to Groupon Getaways for a straight-shot flight and adjoining rooms with a king and two double beds at a gorgeous hotel in the shadow of the nation’s Capital!)

Our hotel was in the center of the city with access to all the major tourist spots.

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We loved sleeping under the lights of the capital. And making silly faces, apparently.

v9iUHOLe7wPaofxxZt9HG-bGqc8OHRSXXvf3PVixCJgWe love your food. Within walking distance of our hotel, there were dozens of restaurants and honestly, it was hard to choose.

Who knew the family would take Asian Fusion food so seriously (it was delicious) Who knew my kids will literally try anything?

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Or that Chinatown restaurants known for their duck entrees, really have them hanging in the window. And that sort of changes your mind about what you’re going to order. Get the dumpiness, always the dumplings.

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And don’t get me started on this epic restaurant:

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(Friends of Mercy House own The Portofino, a family-owned authentic Italian restaurant, in Arlington, Virginia and sent us a gift card for our family to dine with them. I highly recommend it! How fun is that?)

We loved walking everywhere.

We loved catching taxis when we couldn’t take another step and meeting drivers from Ethiopia, Iran, Turkey and well, all over the world).

We loved your free museums. I can’t wait to tell you our favorites.

We loved your presidential bobble heads.

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We loved your cherry blossoms. Seriously, everywhere.

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Most of all, we loved your history. With 17 museums a part of the Smithsonian, that all have free entrance, how could I not?

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We loved the way the city shuts down for the presidential motorcade (okay, not really. But still, cool).

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Washington DC, you had us at hello.

We can’t wait to return. (And share more fun details about our trip with you!)

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Getaway: Austin, TX – Part Two

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Groupon Getaways for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

I love old things- buildings, architecture, furniture. You name it.

I was excited to explore some of the history of Austin on our Groupon Getaways several weeks ago. The Capital did not disappoint.

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It was grand and it was so fun seeing it through my kids eyes. They had so many questions. My husband and I were born and raised in Texas and even though we spent the first ten years of our marriage in other states, we got back here as fast as we could.

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This was the view standing in the center of the room and looking up. Spectacular.

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The grand building took six years to build and completed in 1888. It cost $3 million dollars way back then. And that star in the picture above? It’s 8 feet in diameter.

We spent a lot of time exploring the old building, the basement, antique staircases and unlocked doors. We probably broke some trespassing laws. Oops. My girls took my phone and did a spontaneous photo shoot.

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They are so shy and timid. It’s funny because when I tried to get a great shot of my children on these epic courthouse stairs, this is what I got.

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After we finished our mostly legal exploring, we rolled down the great green hill in the front of the state building. And by “we” I mean my husband and two of my kids. My teenager and I are way too cool for that. We ended the day at Magnolia Cafe and ate our weight in gingerbread pancakes.

We headed back to the Omni Barton Resort and spent the last few hours of our getaway at the beautiful pool. It was a great, relaxing weekend away. Thank you, Groupon!

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Getaway To Austin, Texas: Part One

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Groupon Getaways for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

We picked up our kids straight from school at 3pm and hit the road for our local Groupon getaway.

It’s a little less than a 3 hour drive to Austin and our son was shooting the Texas Indoor Archery Championship at University of Texas at 6pm.

That’s how we roll.

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We  sat in the collegiate range for a couple of hours and he shot his personal best! A couple of people down from Olympian Vick Wunderlee. It was awesome.

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While the boys shot day 2 of the tournament, the girls and I explored this beauty in Austin. The Omni Barton Resort we found on the Groupon Getaway site is a sight to behold:

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We explored the vast and spacious property, ate delicious breakfast burritos and drank cappuccinos in the quaint on-property coffee shop. It was the perfect leisure morning.

When the guys returned by noon, we were ready to explore more of Austin. We found a food truck park and everyone split up and tried something new. I had spicy thai noodles, Terrell and Madi ate different versions of tacos, our youngest had a hamburger and the archer ate his fill of wieners. It was a breezy day and perfect outside eating weather.

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We spent the rest of the day exploring local thrift stores. There are dozens in the city and they definitely add to the funky feel of the city. We were hunting for some small fixtures for our new Mercy House warehouse and found a couple of good deals. But the antique chicken coop wouldn’t fit in our car. But we tried.

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We also visited the cool Tom’s store on the main drag and got a lot of great display ideas, including this huge chalkboard wall map. We spent a lot of time on South Congress, one of the main roads in Austin. One of our favorite stores was Ten Thousand Villages, which offers fair trade product from all over the world…right up my alley. We also enjoyed Uncommon Objects. Talk about weird.

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We ended the night eating at a local hotspot and ate fancy. It was a restaurant featured on the Food Network. We always check the app in whatever city we’re in and try to discover delicious unique food.

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We might have even cropped our kids out of the picture and pretended we were on a date. Don’t all moms and dads do that on Groupon Getaways?

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