Medieval Times Discount Ticket Code!

This post is sponsored by Medieval Times.

Ready for a trip to Medieval Times? I know we are! It's hard to believe it's been over a year since our first family visit to Medieval Times in Chicago. Medieval Times is seriously an absolute blast. If you've been there, you know what I mean. If you haven't I highly suggest going. You'll have the time of your life.


In fact, right now is a perfect time to book your trip to Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament since they're having a LIMITED time offer of a family four pack for JUST $128! Click here and book your trip today!


Ticket Pack includes:
Four Admission Tickets
Four Course Feast Fit for a King.. or Queen!
Two rounds of Select Beverages
Two Hour Action Packed Show
And Parking is ALWAYS FREE! 



Great for ANY occasion Medieval Times is the perfect place for Birthdays; this summer thru July 31st Medieval Times is hosting Knight Training- where kids can go down into the arena and train with the knights (http://www.medievaltimes.com/chicago/specialoffers/knight-training.aspx )   Large Groups can arrange to play their Team Building Game called ‘Storm The Castle’—and of course Medieval Times is always the best place for families, with something for everyone-  ages 3-93!

So, have you ever  been to Medieval Times? What did you think? Leave a comment below! :)

Why You Should Be Deleting Your Old Pins

I've never been a force to be recognized with on Pinterest. I currently have 906 followers, rather modest for a blogger whose main source of website traffic is Pinterest. The problem is that no matter how hard I tried, I just never could get the repins I was hoping for. Well, that is, until I stumbled across this article, "Bloggers: 9 Reasons Why You Should Be Deleting Your Pins". In a nutshell, Pinterest is all about who is pinning popular pins. If you have a lot of pins with no repins and likes, Pinterest thinks you're not popular, and doesn't show your pins to as many people.

Having nothing to lose, I decided to give this a try, and started deleting my pins with 0 repins and 0 likes. I nervously deleted 183 pins with no likes or repins, going from a total of 439 total pins down to 256. I hadn't pinned any new content, I just deleted the old stuff. I also deleted a few of my under-performing boards completely, and in the process lost 10 followers. Within days, something truly amazing happened.

  • My average daily clicks went from 352 up to 513. 
  • My average daily impressions went from 29,500 up to 38,400.
  • My average daily blog page views went from 165 up to 234.

Feeling on a roll, I decided to keep going, and delete pins with only 1 repin or like. 

  • My average daily clicks went from 502 up to 559.
  • My average daily impressions went from 36,800 up to 42,400.
  • My average daily blog page views went from 226 up to 259.
I'm continuing to declutter my Pinterest page to make it more appealing to followers. Getting rid of my under-performing boards completely felt like a huge step in the right direction. I'm also creating private boards for myself - things that I want to save as resources for myself, but don't fit into the niche I'm creating on Pinterest.

I'm looking forward to continuing to narrow down my Pinterest boards, and improving my popularity at the same time. My plan is to delete, wait a few weeks, monitor the success of my deletions, and then continue as long as I see improvement.

Do you have any tips on improving your Pinterest presence? Leave a comment below. As always, I read and respond to each and every one. :)










Remove A Splinter... Without Tweezers!

7-9-15 - With summer in full swing, I thought it'd be the perfect time to re-share this amazing tip on how to remove a splinter... completely pain-free!

The other day, Phoenix got a huge splinter in his foot. I tried to remove it with tweezers, but he was much too squirmy. There  was also no indication of where it entered the foot, so our best bet would have just been to break the skin. I didn't want to cause my poor boy any more trauma, so, I searched for another way to remove, and discovered this little jem!


  1. Get a small piece of bread. I used store-bought whole wheat bread, but any kind of bread should work. 
  2. Put the bread on a band-aid, and tape it on the splinter. 
  3. Let it set there overnight. (I put socks on Phoenix to help hold it in place.)
  4. In the morning, take off the band-aid, and you'll find the splinter on the piece of bread!
I know, it sounds completely crazy, but I was willing to give it a try... and you know what? It worked!!!


I'm not sure how or why, but the splinter was somehow drawn to the bread. When we took off the band-aid, it did take off the a tiny bit of the surface skin above the bread, but my son didn't seem to mind.



We'll never use tweezers to remove splinters again :)

So... did you try it? Did it work? Leave a comment - I'd love to hear from you! :) 

Our Plan For The Zombie Apocalypse

The other day while Ken and I were driving in the car to visit go to my nieces birthday party in Columbus, we had a conversation that I think most couples have at least once. Well, at least those who watch The Walking Dead. Yup, we talked about the zombie apocalypse.

After much discussion we decided that our quick plan for a zombie apocalypse is to get to an island as soon as possible. Since we live close to Lake Erie there are a couple of islands there that would make a good location for our future escape. 

Why in island? An island is the perfect place to escape zombies. Zombies are notoriously dumb. They can't even swim... let alone be able to get a boat to an island. So once we're on the island the plan is to get rid of any zombies  that are there and hopefully have enough friends and family with us to be able to start our new civilization. And, yes, there's bound to be other people on the island... we'll just have to deal with that when it comes time.

The land around Lake Erie is really known for its wineries so the islands will likely have a lot of vineyards, which is a plus. I'm also hoping that the islands will have more fertile soil than the mainland. Most farmers here just grow the inedible GMO corn that's used to make high-fructose corn syrup. So, I'm hoping the islands will have better soil, and we will hopefully be able to bring enough seeds with us and grow our own food.

I know winters in Ohio will be rough, but if the Indians could do it for his long as they did, then I'm keeping my fingers crossed that our crew will be will to figure something out. It will be especially helpful if Ken's family joins us. From hunting, gardening, navigation, health care, mechanics, and even engineering, they pretty much all the basic survival skills covered. So I'm hoping I'll be on board with our zombie apocalypse plan. :)

I still have a lot of work to do as far as actually preparing for a zombie apocalypse. I still have to pack my "bug-out bag" and figure out everything I'm in a be packing in it. In fact, in addition to writing this apocalypse plan, packing a bug-out bag is also on my list of 101 goals in 1001 days. Hopefully I'll get my bug out bag packed soon, and I can start moving forward with a few more preps. Sure, there are some hard-core preppers out there, but I'm certainly not one of them. However, I do think that everyone should have some sort of a disaster plan... a few preps included.

So what about you? Have you talked about what you are going to do in the case of a zombie apocalypse or any sort of disaster scenario? let me know! Leave a comment below, and feel free to share your thoughts on my own zombie apocalypse plan. :)


PS - I'll keep working on my 101 Goals in 1001 Days, and I'll be updating them at http://lisabrowndesign.blogspot.com/2013/02/101-goals-in-1001-days-list.html. Feel free to check them out. :)

A Summer Of Chaos & Change

A clean house like this took about 6 hours to accomplish
with two little ones running around
The Big Move
This summer has certainly been one like I've never experienced before... full of big changes for myself and my family. After living in our home for the past 12 years, we decided to put our house up for sale to move into something a bit bigger. My life instantly became consumed with keeping our house as clean as possible, which proved to be nearly impossible with a 3-year old and a 6-year old.

We had a lot of people stop by, but no bids. It was rough after putting in 5-8 hours cleaning only to have people show up and leave after 5 minutes... or even worse, not show up at all.

About 6 months later, right as we had given up hope, and had come to terms with the face that we would just make the most of our home... it actually sold.


Immediately, our weekends became consumed with finding our new home, and within a few weeks, we found the perfect home for our new, expanding family. We put in a bid, and it was accepted. Everything was falling into place. Sort of. The people we were buying the house from needed some time to find their own home, so we build in a lot of cushion time into our bid to give them time.

How much cushion time? Well, pretty much the entire summer break. A few dates are still up in the air, but as of now, our last possible move in date 5 days before my son starts 1st grade. And 1 month before baby #3 is due. So, things are a little stressful for the "nesting" department. In the meantime, most of our stuff is in storage, and we're residing in my husband's hometown, a small rural town in Ohio with a population of around 2,500. It's not uncommon to drive buy an Amish buggy while driving to one of the bigger towns in the area. Living here is unlike any place I've ever lived before, and I'm still trying to get accustomed to the rural life.

A Friday afternoon out at the local bowling alley.


Working On Baby #3
On the pregnancy font, so far everything is going great. I passed my glucose test last week, which was a huge relief, since I almost didn't pass the 1 hour test when I was pregnant with my little girl. My weight gain is currently on track, which is certainly a first for me. With both of my other children, I gained way too much weight, putting the health of myself and my baby at risk. So, it feels good to be right on track. I'm at the higher end of the track, but still on track, nonetheless. I have also yet to have swelling this pregnancy, which is also a first. It feels great to be able to still wear my wedding ring at 27 weeks, and not wake up with chubby, numb fingers. I credit my diet for these wonderful changes.
27 Weeks Pregnant
While I'm certainly far from being perfect, I have been eating a lot healthier this pregnancy... more fruits and veggies, and a lot less junk. I try to keep focused on eating to grow a healthy baby, and not "eating for two" through extra junk food and sweets. Sure, it still happens, but it's not happening on nearly the scale it did with my other two pregnancies.

I've also started practicing my hypnobirthing childbirth meditations. Yes, my birth experience was so wonderful after using it during my 2 1/2 hour labor with my 2nd child, that I've decided to do  that again for baby #3. For those unfamiliar, it's a childbirth technique that works to promote relaxation and eliminate (or greatly reduce) fear, which is what causes pain during birth. By focusing on relaxing, childbirth happens faster, and with considerably less discomfort.

So, that has been my summer so far. What has yours been like? Leave a comment below. As always, I read and respond to each and every one. :)


Free Printable Check Register :)

If you're like me, you keep track of every single expense in a check register. But, with everything done online, who writes checks anymore? Certainly not me! So, what to do when you've run out of space in your checkbook register? Well, you come here & print out my printable check register! The check registry I designed below already sized to print just the right size for your checkbook. Just click the photo below & print! Don't forget to flip it over & print one on the other side too. I sized it perfectly so you can print it double-sided. Enjoy!

If you found this to be helpful, please consider pinning it for others to enjoy. :)
If you decided you'd just rather have a regular check register, check out the ones below. :)



If you enjoyed this post, get FREE updates by email.
And, don't forget to bookmark this page so you can easily print out more in the future. :)


Looking for a blogging prompt?
Are you inspired by this post? Leave a response on your own blog, and link back! 

My Baby Bump At 25 Weeks PLUS A Look At First Response

I participated in a Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for First Response. I received product samples as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

My baby bump at 25 weeks pregnant
I'm officially 25 weeks pregnant, and I'll admit, it's still hard to believe at times. I have an ultrasound appointment scheduled later on this week, so I'm certainly looking forward to that. Ultrasound appointments certainly make a pregnancy feel real. So do those constant kicks I've been getting lately! But, I suppose the first time it ever felt real was the day I took the pregnancy test that came back positive.

I remember taking a pregnancy test as soon as I possibly could to find out if I was pregnant. I'm still amazed at how far pregnancy test technology has come. From analog to digital tests, and detection after your missed period to before, the advancements have been numerous. 

That's why I'm excited to have partnered up with First Response for this blog post. They have completely redesigned their advanced Early Detection Pregnancy Test in a way that will diminish those awkward and troublesome moments that come with determining pregnancy. 

I remember when I took my first pregnancy test when I was pregnant with Phoenix. On movies, taking a pregnancy test was always so nicely portrayed. What I realized? There's nothing glamorous than peeing on a stick to see if you're pregnant.

I remember holding it as far back as I could to avoid getting any pee on my hands. Because... just eww. The stick seemed way too short. And, holy crap, how the heck do I manage to hit that little target anyways? Girls don't have as much pee target practice as our male counterparts do. And, even when you hit the target, how do you know you're even getting enough pee on it? Yes, I was certainly a bit grossed out by the whole process. First Response must have known about this horrible awkward feeling, and recently redesigned their Early Result Pregnancy Test to have a curved shape, 50% wider tip, and longer handle! 

First Response Early Result Pregnancy Test Basics
For those of you taking a pregnancy test for the first time, here are a few key things to know. The FDA-approved First Response Early Result Pregnancy Test works by detecting all forms of  hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) throughout pregnancy... and as early as 6 days before your missed period. Within 3 minutes, you'll have your result, which is 99% accurate from the day of your expected period. Two pink lines mean you're pregnant. You can purchase an First Response Early Result Pregnancy Test at all major drug stores, mass, and grocery stores for around $8.99 - $15.99.

Do you have a story to share about finding out when you were or weren't pregnant? Leave a comment below. As always, I read and respond to each and every one.  

Raising A Young Athlete & Fueling Up With BodyArmor

I'd like to thank RoleMommy & BODYARMOR for sponsoring this post.

When my son was 3, we signed him up for taekwondo. He spent a good 3 months doing his best, but I could tell that his heart just wasn't in it. As a mom, I never wanted to push him to do a sport he didn't want to do, so he ended up leaving.

Now, at age 6, he has shown interest in taking taekwondo lessons again. To my surprise, he came back strong and eager to learn. It was like he was a whole new kid, and the transformation that occurred within him over his 3 year break was tremendous. He absolutely loves class, and has told us numerous times that he's never going to quit.

Every day there's a class, we ask him if he wants to go. He almost always says yes. I think that allowing him to choose to be there has certainly helped him to develop the love he now has for taekwondo.

Currently, he's a yellow belt, and has been taking 1-2 classes a day for about 5 days a week.


As a mom with a son who's serious about taekwondo, I know how important hydration is. While water is usually our go-to method for hydration, I've found it's fun to switch it up every now and then with a sports drink. But, it can be tough looking for a healthy sports drink. That's why I'm thrilled to have found a more natural sports drink, BODYARMOR.

What Is BODYARMOR
BODYARMOR has more potassium-packed electrolytes than any other sports drink, coconut water, and vitamins and is low in sodium and contains nothing artificial (unlike other sports drinks on the market).  Many of the top professional athletes have chosen BODYARMOR over all other sports drinks, including Andrew Luck, Richard Sherman, Mike Trout and James Harden – and Kobe Bryant is a major investor in the brand.  It’s time to educate all athletes and their parents that there is a better for you sports drink out there!

Now, as you know, the most important thing when choosing a food is to flip right to the ingredients list. So, let's check out what you'll get in my favorite flavor of BODYARMOR, tropical punch.


Available In 7 Refreshing Flavors
Fruit Punch  -  Orange Mango  -  Strawberry Banana  -  Tropical Punch
Grape  -  Lemon Lime  -  Mixed Berry


My son and I were able to sample a handful of BODYARMOR in different flavors, and they were all amazing. I noticed that, while sweet and absolutely delicious, they didn't have an overpowering sugary taste I've noticed other sparts drinks on the market can have. My son? Well, he loved them as much as I did... maybe more! 


Where To Buy
Interested in hydrating up with BODYARMOR? Check out this store locator to find where you can find some near you. Here in the Cleveland area, they're available at Giant Eagle. Plus, be sure to download this coupon for $1 off 2 bottles of BODYARMOR. And, when you're done, be sure to follow BODYARMOR on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram


What's your favorite way to hydrate after a good workout? Leave a comment below. As always, I read and respond to each and every one. :)


Selling Our Home {PLUS: Win A $50 Gift Certificate To Petitti Garden Center}

I'd like to thank Petitti Garden Center for sponsoring this post!

We live in a small home by American standards. And, while 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 1092 square feet was perfect when our family consisted of just Ken and I, things started getting smaller when we had our boy. And, smaller yet when we had our girl. When we decided to have baby #3, we knew we could make our small space work, but it would be less than ideal. So, 5 1/2 months ago, we put our house on the market... again.

While I was initially excited to have a garden this year, I didn't want to put too much into landscaping that I wouldn't be able to take with me. So, instead of our typical mulching, weeding, and garden-starting this year, I decided to get some nice pots, flowers, and a cute bird feeder we could take with us.

We headed to Petitti Garden Center, which is the most beautiful, artistic garden center I have ever seen. Sure, I know they do it up for Christmas with amazing trees and displays, but I had no clue that they take just as much care and creativity putting together displays for spring!










After looking around all that Petitti Garden Center has to offer, I decided that the best thing to do would be to buy some nice pots to grow some flowers in as well as a new bird feeder.


Everything will look great on our front porch as well as be easily transported to out new home. 



Yes... new home. Recently, we received and accepted an offer on our house! If everything goes according to plan, we should be moving within the next couple of weeks.

Your Chance To Win!

Have you ever been to Petitti Garden Center? If not, you're really missing out! They have locations throughout northern Ohio in Avon, Bainbridge, Strongsville, Mentor, Oakwood Village, Tallmadge, Boardman, Middleburg Heights, and Richmond Heights.

Enter to win a $50 gift certificate to Petitti Garden Center below. :)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

I'm 22 Weeks Pregnant! PLUS: How Much Does Genetic Testing For Pregnancy Cost?

I'm officially 22 weeks pregnant, and this time around, things are a bit different. While I've always tried to eat healthy, I feel like I'm doing a much better job at eating healthier foods this time around. The kids and I have been working on eating less sugar as well as eating a fresh fruit or veggie with every meal. I'm also back to being an omnivore, so that has also made a major difference in my diet. I'm also working out regularly, doing kickboxing 4-5 days a week, though it's getting tough! Kickboxing will be put on hold soon, and I'm planning on focusing on more weightlifting and prenatal workouts.

NOW: Baby bump - 22 weeks pregnant with baby #3
 
THEN: 21 weeks pregnant with my little girl.
  This is also the first time I've had a high risk pregnancy - in my case, due to "advanced maternal age" of 35. As part of managing my pregnancy, it was suggested multiple times that I have genetic testing done to test for various abnormalities as well as chromosomal disorders.

At age 35, I have a 1/378 risk of down's syndrome and a 1/192 risk of a chromosomal abnormality.



I'm currently waiting back for my test results. But... what I did want to share with you today was the cost of having genetic testing done. After spending 2 weeks working with my insurance to see what was covered, I now have an answer.

I had all of the genetic testing done that was offered at my doctor's office. The verifi® test by Progenity is a non-invasive prenatal test that detects:

  • Down syndrome (Trisomy 21), which is caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21
  • Edwards syndrome (Trisomy 18), which is caused by an extra copy of chromosome 18
  • Patau syndrome (Trisomy 13), which is caused by an extra copy of chromosome 13
The test can also detect abnormalities of the sex chromosomes:
  • Turner syndrome (Monosomy X), which is caused by a missing X chromosome in females
  • Klinefelter syndrome (XXY), which is caused by an extra X chromosome in males
  • Jacobs syndrome (XYY), which is caused by an extra Y chromosome in males
  • Triple X syndrome (XXX), which is caused by an extra X chromosome in females
Today, I received an explanation of benefits in the mail with a breakdown of the cost for all of the testing I had done. The total cost for the genetic testing before insurance was $2,100. After my insurance company negotiated prices, the cost came down to $254. 

And, for those curious, here's a chart that shows your chances of getting pregnant by your age. This was a surprise, as I always thought it was common and easy to have a baby in your mid-30s to 40s, but it's actually not that common at all.



I'm hoping this information will be useful for other women looking for more detailed information about how much genetic testing for pregnancy costs as well as other info relating to having a baby when you're a bit older.

Have you had children? How old were you when they were born? Feel free to leave a comment below. As always, I read and respond to each and every one. :) 

The Science of Raising Happy Kids

The other day as I was scrolling through Pintrest, this little gem caught my eye. I immediately thought I just had to share it here. So, enjoy!


 What do you think is the most important aspect of raising a happy child? Feel free to leave a comment below. As always, I read and respond to each and every one. :) 

Is It Safe To Put Tupperware In The Microwave?

I've been on a journey to inform people about BPA in Tupperware. But, that only addresses one concern about Tupperware. What about putting Tupperware in the microwave? Is it safe?

For questions like this, I get my information from the Environmental Working Group. They're an American environmental organization that specializes in research and advocacy in the areas of toxic chemicals, agricultural subsidies, public lands, and corporate accountability.

I'd like to err on the side of safety, so while corporations may have their own statement on microwaving their containers, they have a vested interest to sell their product. I'd rather get my information from somebody not interested in helping the corporation in question make a profit.


While the smaller question is "Is It Safe To Put Tupperware In The Microwave?" the bigger question is: "Is It Safe To Put Plastic In The Microwave?"


There is some evidence that some molecules - phthalates in some flexible plastic, and another chemical plasticizer DEHA - can migrate into high-fat foods such as meats or cheeses. And that's not just if you're microwaving plastic. Many environmentally conscious Web sites tell consumers to avoid wrapping high-fat foods in plastic altogether for fear that you'll end up eating minuscule plastic bits.


Step 1 - Is Your Plastic A Safe number?

First, determine if your plastic is safe for food. Here are the numbers deemed as safe for food:
#2, HDPE, a usually opaque plastic used for milk jugs, detergent bottles, juice bottles, toiletries and the like.
#4, LDPE, used for things like plastic bags, food storage, bread bags, some food wraps, squeezable bottles.
#5, polypropylene, used for a wide variety of applications such as yogurt cups, medicine bottles, ketchup and syrup bottles, and straws.

If your item doesn't have a number on it, assume the worst, and throw it out. Better safe than sorry.



Step 2 - Is Your plastic In Perfect Condition?


The container must be completely free of scratches, dents, and bubbles. All of these things cause chemicals to leach out, and likely contaminating your food.

If your items pass both of these steps, then it is technically safe to microwave. However, if you're microwaving things often, I recommend using glass. That way, you know it's safe. You don't have to constantly inspect it for scratches or bubbles. 




There Are Many Alternatives To Plastic Food Storage


Looking for food storage alternatives? I like to go with good old glass. I store anything and everything in mason jars & a few Glasslock Snapware Containers. I love they they don't stain, don't hold odors,  are easily washable, and can even be thrown in the dishwasher. :)



I'd love to know what you think about this post. Leave a comment letting me know.  

PS - BPA isn't the only toxin we're living with either. Be sure to check out my posts about toxic makeup foundationtoxic nail polish, as well as the harmful toxins found in hair dye





Why I'm Removing My Kids From The Internet

Since my son was born, I've been blogging about him. I've always used his name, shared stories and photos about our life. When my daughter was born, the same thing happened. I thought parents who used code names for their kids were being a bit paranoid. And those who wouldn't share photos of their kids? Interesting, but certainly not for me.

Today, that all changed. I received a rather inappropriate comment about my 3-year-old daughter that has made me re-evaluate everything I've been sharing, both on this blog and on social media. So, I've decided to remove my kids from the internet. 

I know I have a huge task ahead of me, but I'm looking forward it. I also realize I've developed quite a few "friends" online that I'm simply unable to see out in the real world. Just send me an email... we'll work something out so you can continue to see my family grow. :)

I also realize now how this is a violation of their privacy. To be honest, I guess I've always known, I just decided to look the other way. There are so many bloggers who post photos of their kids online, it can be hard to see why it is "wrong". My new rule of thumb to ever post a photo of anyone without their express consent. If they are too young to consent, then don't I post their picture.

What are your thoughts about photos and names of children on the internet? Feel free to leave a comment below. As always, I read and respond to each and every one. :)