The Sharks have Arrived to SeaLife Michigan {PLUS a GIVEAWAY}

Disclosure: I am a SeaLife Michigan ambassador and I have been given complimentary tickets in return for sharing my personal point of view on this exhibit. 
#ambassador Sea Life Michigan
Photo compliments of SeaLife Michigan

 As we pulled up to the Great Lakes Crossings Outlets, it was easy to tell that things are moving along quickly to get ready for the grand opening of SeaLife Michigan later on this month.

Opening January 29, 2015


While outside the temperatures are dropping, inside things are really starting to warm up. Let’s take a look at the progress!

#ambassador Sea Life Michigan Sharks Arrive

On Wednesday morning, six sharks, a few smaller fish, and a whole crew of caretakers left sunny Florida in an unmarked trailer and headed on their way to their new home in frigid Michigan. Luckily for them, even though the temperatures outside are bitter cold, inside it’s like a tropical paradise.

#ambassador Sea Life Michigan Auburn Hills

As each shark was brought in, one by one on stretchers, the crowd of kids with their parents cheered! The staff, attentive to their marine creatures, were careful to watch each fish’s movements as they entered the tank to make sure that each and every one of them were healthy and happy after their long trip to their new home.

#ambassador Sea Life Michigan @Sealifemichigan

From where we stood, we could see into the largest tank with a birds eye view. This location will not be open to the public, but will give the Sea Life Michigan staff easy access to the fish for regular check up’s and feedings.

#ambassador #SeaLifeMi @SeaLifeMichigan
#ambassador Sea Life Michigan Giveaway

From down below, life is going on as normal. All of the beautiful fish are getting accustomed to their new homes and ready for the public to start visiting and learning from them.

#ambassador @SeaLifeMichigan #giveaway

Are you ready to finally visit the new Sea Life location opening this month in Michigan? We have a great opportunity to get you there! Enter below to win:

  • Family 4 Pack of SeaLife Michigan tickets (must be used in one visit)
  • 4 tickets to a behind the scenes tour (see the kitchens, the tanks and the aquarium from the caretakers point of view)
  • 1 souvenir Guidebook
  • 2 gifts from the gift shop. 
Good Luck!! 

How to Set Goals & Reach Them : Using Lessons Learned Through Blogging #BioSport

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BioSport #CollectiveBias
#BioSport #CollectiveBias #ad 6 Lessons Learned Through Blogging

This year, my goal for 2015 is to be healthier. This goal does not only mean that I want to loose weight, however. Yes, loosing a few pounds would be nice, but for me, I just want to feel better and I want to gain energy that will last the day (because seriously, what mom doesn’t need that?!). Plus, you see, over the last few years I have had some annoying medical issues, some of which were related to diet. So this year, I decided that I was going to take action, eat better, exercise more and not give up (like I’ve done every other year). This may be a difficult task though because I think the only goal that I haven’t given up on shortly after starting was my blog. So if I want to actually make this goal work and give myself opportunity to succeed, then I need to find out what makes my blog dream different than any other dream I’ve had. To do this I sat and wrote down a couple of key lessons that I thought were important and useful in helping me reach my blogging goals over the last few years and then thought about how these lessons could be implemented to help me stay on course with other goals that I choose to start in my life.

Here is what I came up with:

Life Lessons Learned Through Blogging

#1 Set Goals

This is an important step. After all, we don’t know what we’re working towards unless we set some goals, right? However, setting goals can be difficult for some people. I mean, you don’t want to set your goals too low and not push yourself far enough, but on the other hand, what if you set them so high that they are impossible to reach? Is there a good spot to set them? Personally, I don’t actually set definite goals, such as a target weight or distance traveled. I set my goals by what I want to accomplish, an end result. For this scenario, my goal is to feel better overall and everything else that comes along with that, from exercise and better eating, is just a benefit. Doing this helps me to stay looking straight ahead (at the big picture) instead of down at my feet where I might stumble on the rocks (the details).

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#2 Have the Right Tools

For my blog, obviously I need to have a computer and a way to access the internet. That is the basics of what I need to do my job. However, as I began to enjoy blogging even more, I started to look for other tools that could make what I do even more enjoyable or save me time from having to do the same task repetitively. Just like there are many tools to help me along the way as I grow as a blogger, there are also tools that can help me on my way to a healthier lifestyle.

For me, I love to exercise to music. It motivates me and helps me get into “a zone”. Without music, I have a tendency to loose interest quickly or become distracted by shiny things around me. . or a squirrel (SQUIRREL). So, one of the fun tools that I picked up for this journey is the new Intel SMS Audio Biosport earbuds. Yes, I do already have a pair of headphones that I use to listen to music on my phone (the basic tool) however now that I am starting to run and enjoy it, I wanted to upgrade to something that would make my job more enjoyable or provide me with an added benefit.

One rule of thumb, however, before I buy anything I make sure that the tool I am looking at will actually provide me with an added benefit that I need. If it doesn’t or I don’t think I can figure out how to use it, then I don’t buy it. There is no need to waste my money just to buy something.

So I did my research and by doing my research on Intel SMS Audio Biosport earbuds I found:

  • SMS Audio Biosport earbuds come with a built in heart rate monitor and can track my intensity levels. 
  • These earbuds have a IPX 4 rating to protect against sweat and water.
  • These earbuds sync with my RunKeeper app and work with leading fitness apps. 
  • No battery required. 

Excellent. These were all qualities I was looking for in a new set of headphones and for me, these will offer an added benefit.

#BioSport #CollectiveBias #ad Intel SMS Audio Biosport earbuds FREE MONTH RUNKEEPER ELITE

#3 Know How to Use Your Tools

Having all of the right tools or even the most expensive tools won’t do you any good if you don’t know how to use them, right? Luckily for me, these earbuds were pretty much a click and go. I could easily just plug them into my smartphone jack and start listening to music or I could pair them with my RunKeeper app and start tracking my heart rate and other stats. There is also a cute little button on the strings that allows me to easily turn on and off the heart rate monitor, click through music tracks or pause/play music without having to pull out my phone repetitively.  Plus, this cute little button also works as an inline microphone for answering calls while the earbuds are plugged in (to use the phone mode, simply switch off the heart rate monitor). I loved that with minimal set up time, I was ready to start using this new tool. 

#BioSport #CollectiveBias #ad Intel SMS Audio HOW TO


#4 Ask for Help

Through blogging and this fitness journey alike, I understand that I sometimes need to ask for help. There are always people who know more than me and who can help me through times of struggle. Don’t be embarrassed to seek these people out, either to ask questions or simply for support. For this journey, my husband and I are leaning on each other for support and are walking this road together. 

#BioSport #CollectiveBias #ad


#5 Know Where You Stand

Trust me, no ones starts off blogging with an amazing blog and lots of followers. Just the same, no one starts off a fitness journey in perfect shape. We all have to start somewhere. For this reason, I think it is important to know where you stand and where you started. Comparing yourself to someone who has been doing this a lot longer than you isn’t a fair comparison and will only cause discouragement. 

#BioSport #CollectiveBias #ad Goals


#6 Believe in Yourself

Pretty self explanatory right? Then why is this the hardest lesson of all to learn? To be honest, I struggle with believing in myself and my goals sometimes too. This is something that I am still working on because I believe that it is important. 

So there you have it. After sitting and writing down a few key lessons that I believe have helped me reach other goals in my life, I am ready to take these same goals and implement them into reaching my fitness goals over the next year. I hope that you will follow along with me as I record my updates throughout the year. 

Are you taking up the same challenge this year and looking at purchasing the same Intel SMS Audio Biosport earbuds? Let me help you out with a COUPON CODE:  

Offer code for 20% off SMS BioSport Headphones on SMSAudio.com is BioSport20, it is for the US only. Expiration date: 1/31/15.

Plus, every purchase of Intel SMS Audio Biosport ear buds comes with one free month of the RunKeeper Elite App!

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Have any suggestions for me? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section. 

Banana Pudding Trifle {Recipe}

Disclosure: This post was inspired by BzzAgent who sent me free coupons to the Sara Lee Pound Cake Slices. #GotItFree
Banana Pudding Trifle #gotitfree #recipe

Many of you know that since the beginning of January I’ve been working towards a healthier year by working out and managing what I eat. So far, I’ve been doing pretty well. Tonight, however, I am ready for something sweet! During my last shopping trip, I made sure to pick up lots of fruits and veggies to snack on, so I already had tons of berries on hand to make this sweet little fruity trifle (and I really need to start to eat up all this fruit before it goes bad. <— I generously over estimated my fruit snacking abilities.) So in all, it’s a win/win.

We all know what goes well with fruit and that’s pound cake. Luckily for me, I also had some Sara Lee® Pound Cake individual slices in the freezer just waiting to be used. One thing I loved about these frozen slices is that they were individually wrapped and I didn’t need to make an entire cake. Just one quick sweet treat and I was done . . until next week. . . maybe.

#Banana Pudding #gotitfree

In order to make our trifle true to it’s name, it needed a “custard” filling. We decided to use a banana pudding instead. Hey, it worked well with our fruity theme and it actually tasted great paired with the other fresh fruit and cake pieces. Success!

So, while this recipe is super easy to do, here are the instructions anyways. <3

P.S. We made our trifles in individual serving cups, but this could also be done on a larger scale in a trifle dish.

Banana Pudding Trifle

Ingredients

Sliced Strawberries
Raspberries
Blueberries
Sara Lee® Pound Cake Slices
Whipped Cream
1- 3 oz Box Banana Pudding
Milk for pudding recipe

Directions

Thaw pound cake needed for serving size according to directions. Meanwhile, prepare banana pudding according to box and set to chill in the fridge. Once cake is thawed, slice it up into chunks. Spoon a thin layer of banana pudding into a serving dish, layered next with pound cake, then more pudding, fresh fruit and top with a dollop of whipped cream. Refrigerate or serve immediately.

Valentines Pudding Trifle #GotitFree @Bzzagent

The kids and I enjoyed this little treat so well that I have decided to save the remaining slices in the freezer and make this recipe again for our valentines day dessert. And, in case I forget to tell you when the day rolls around, because I am horrible at remembering this day, Happy {early} Valentines Day! 🙂

Valentines Day Treat Idea via @raisingdickjane #gotitfree

Do you do anything special for valentines day, either as a family or a couple or alone? I mean, I think a nice spa day by myself would be A-OK! Tell me about your plans in the comments.

A Walk Through Hell, MICHIGAN

Visitors Guide to Hell, Michigan

It’s true, this place does exist. In fact, it’s easily found only 3 miles southwest of Pinckney, on Patterson Lake Road in Livingston County, Michigan. To find it, just follow the ever winding road around through rows of trees until you see the sign welcoming you to Hell.

Welcome to Hell, MIchigan

The Beginnings of Hell, MI

Hell, MI was settled by George Reeves in the 1830’s. Upon moving to the area, he purchased a sawmill and the 1,000 acres surrounding it. After learning that the area was prosperous in growing wheat and grain, Reeves took advantage of his luck and opened a distillery on his property in order to produce whiskey. Reeves also built a ballroom, racetrack and general store on his acreage in which he used to sell his whiskey to local roadhouses and stores. Soon after Michigan gained statehood, Reeves was asked what he wanted to call this area that he had helped to settle and rumor has it that his answer was “You can name it Hell for all I care.” and the name stuck.

Greetings from Hell, Michigan

To this day, Hell, MI has become a hot spot for travelers who want to be able to say to their friends that they have visited hell. Need to prove it? You can still stop by the general store any day of the week and purchase souvenirs such as t-shirts, stickers and even coffee mugs.

Coffee From Hell, Souvenirs from Hell, MI

What is There to Do in Hell, MI?

Depending on what season you visit, Hell, MI has various things for you to see and do while you’re there. You could cross through the gates of hell to play a spirited game of putt putt, you could enjoy an ice cream cone from the Screams Ice Cream and Diner, you could mail a letter to a friend to have it postmarked from Hell or you could simply rent a canoe and head out for some rest and relaxation on Hiland lake.

Things to Do in Hell, MIchigan

So next time you decide to tell someone to “Go to hell”, you might want to think about joining them.

For more information on visiting Hell, MI go to www.gotohellmi.com. 
* Historical information found via http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hell,_Michigan

Fun Dates to Remember in January 2015

Fun National Holidays for January 2015

Did you know that January 14th is National Dress Up Your Pet Day or that January 8th is National Bubble Bath Day? <–You can thank me later for that one. If you’re into having fun themed days, then you are going to love this list. So go ahead and pull out the whipped cream for your coffee this morning. It’s time to celebrate!

January 1 – New Years Day

January 2 – National Cream Puff Day

January 3 – National Fruitcake Toss Day

January 4 – National Spaghetti Day

January 5 – National Whipped Cream Day

January 7 – Orthodox Christmas Day

January 8 – National Bubble Bath Day

January 11 – National Milk Day

January 14 – National Dress Up Your Pet Day

January 15 – National Strawberry Ice Cream Day

January 19 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day ALSO National Popcorn Day

January 25 – National Opposite Day

January 27- National Chocolate Cake Day

January 28 – National Blueberry Pancake Day

January 29 – National Puzzle Day

January 31 – Inspire Your Heart with Art Day

Not Your Momma’s Meatloaf Recipe

Growing up, I hated meatloaf and for some reason it always found a way to weasel it’s way onto our dinner table at least once per week. I can still remember running to the table after a long day of playing outside with my friends, feeling famished and facing that moment of sheer disappointment for what my mother had made.

My poor mother. Looking back, I feel bad for my whining. Especially now that my kids give me the same grief after coming to the table and finding some of my home cooked meals. They don’t even care that I spent hours in the kitchen making it for them!

It’s funny how things have a way of coming around.

This meal, a meal that was once a day ruiner, has also seen a full rotation in time and is now a form of comfort food for me. It’s something that I actually look forward to eating. Although, I can’t say that this is the exact same recipe that my mother used to make. Over the years I gave it a few upgrades, one being a spicy salsa topping!

This meatloaf may remind you of your momma, but it is definitely not your momma’s meatloaf.

Spicy Salsa Meatloaf

Ingredients

2 lbs. hamburger
1 packet of meatloaf seasoning
2 eggs
1 container of fresh sliced mushrooms
2 cups oatmeal
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 cup milk

1-2 cups of salsa

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients together (except the salsa). Mix until well blended. Coat a large 9 x 13″ baking dish in nonstick spray and place the ingredients in the center. Don’t pat it flat, but form a long loaf in the center of the dish. Cover the dish in 1-2 cups of salsa and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 60 minutes or until internal temp reaches 175 degrees *.

We like to serve our meatloaf with a side of red skin mashed potatoes and boiled broccoli.

*Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness, especially if you have a medical condition.

Do you have a recipe that you hated a child that you now love? Share your favorite once hated comfort foods with us in the comments below.