Awesome Day Trips for Summer Part 1: Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokey’s

welcome-to-gatlinburgRipley's Aquarium of the Smokeys
This past weekend we decided to take a little day trip, and headed up to Gatlinburg, TN.  I have lived my entire life in East Tennessee, and I am still not tried of the beautiful montian views that Gatlinburg supplies.

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Goose LOVES the aquarium up there and I love the mountains, so our plan was to go there, then see how much time we had left, and then maybe go to the national park.  However, the traffic and weather had other plans.

Like I said, I have lived here my whole life, and I continually forget how bad traffic can get in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.  The trip took us at least 45 more minutes than it normally does just to get to Gatlinburg,

garage closed When we got to the Ripley’s Aquarium, there is supposed to be parking beside the facility, however, the garage was full.  We had to go up the mountain, find someone’s driveway and turn around, then wait in traffic again to find another place to park.  By then, Goose was getting very very tired of being in the car, so Michael dropped the Goose and I off near the aquarium, and went to park.

silly goose

If you ever have to wait or just need a place to rest outside the Ripley’s Aquarium, there is a little area beside the creek that is beautiful.  There are cute little ducks, lots of seating, and a concession stand where you can purchase snacks and drinks. Ripley's

Inside Ripley’s aquarium, there are plenty of things to do and see.  Most of the fish and animals are saltwater, but there are a few freshwater animals to be seen as well.  There is a hands on learning area for kids after you go through the underwater tunnel.  Goose doesn’t care too much for it, but she is not a normal child.  I love looking at the clownfish, puffer fish, and horse shoe crabs in that area. The doctor fish and penguins are also among our favorite places to visit while at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokey’s.  Here are a few videos that I took.  One is from this visit and the other is from a visit earlier this year.

Other than the traffic/parking hiccups, my family and I had a blast, and we plan on visiting again soon.  If you would like to check out Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokey’s for yourself, I have a special saving you can use.  If you go to http://usfamilycoupons.com/coupon.php?regionid=75&bid=10276&dealid=1704 and enter coupon code: USFAMILYGUIDE you can get $2-$3 off of kids/adult admission.  This a great deal if you do not have any other coupons or deals to use.

Have Some Fun This Summer$3 Off All Ripley’s Attractions in Tennessee

Ripley's f your kids are already bored out of their minds this summer, I have some help for you.  I’ve found a $3 off adult passes and $2 off kids passes promo code that you can use off of all 8 of the Ripley’s attractions in Tennessee. All you have to do is go to http://usfamilycoupons.com/coupon.php?regionid=75&bid=10276&dealid=1704 and use online promo code: USFAMILYGUIDE

8attractions1Experience eight unique attractions including Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium, our 85,000 sq ft Aquarium of the Smokies, a 5D Moving Theater, our bone-chilling Haunted Adventure, the mind-bending Marvelous Mirror Maze, and our two fully themed mini-golf courses!

Must purchase online. Guinness World Records Museum, Ripley’s 5D Moving Theater, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Odditorium, Ripley’s Davy Crockett Mini-Golf, Ripley’s Haunted Adventure, and Ripley’s Marvelous Mirror Maze
http://usfamilycoupons.com/coupon.php?regionid=75&bid=10276&dealid=1704 @usfg #gatlinburg #ripleys

 

Dancing Pet Best Groomer’s Pet Shampoo Review and Giveaway

First of all, I need to wish Sophia a very happy “Gotcha Day”.  Sophia has been with us for a year now, and I have to say that she has changed so much in that time.

Sophia 2014When Sophia came into our home, we right away had some issues that we knew we were going to have some trouble with.  For one, she was not potty trained.  Maltese are hard to potty train anyway, but Sophia had an addition problem; she was already 2 1/2 years old.

Sophia was also very very afraid of grass and dirt.  We right away knew that she was not going to be the one digging in the yard, but it also made it very challenging for potty training.  It took Michael and I weeks of picking her up and placing her in the grass or gently leading her into the grass to get finally get Sophia to walk unassisted into the grass by herself.

IMG_0775 IMG_6612Another problem we had was, the previous owners I guess didn’t know what they were getting into when they bought Sophia, and the poor dog’s hair was matted down to her skin in places.  Her first haircut I gave her, she was awesome.  I had to cut the hair all the way down, and she never once complained.

Betta Bridges Pets Eye Tear Stain Remover

 

Over the past year, she has obviously overcome that fear of grass (dirt is a whole other issue), we are constantly working on getting her to pee and poo outside.  She is doing so much better, but there are still days where she has accidents inside, so we have just learned to watch where we walk and the best ways to clean up the mess.

I made a promise to Sophia after that first grooming, that I would never let her get that matted again.  I try to completely shave her every three of four months, but in between that those total cuts, I use detangling shampoo.

Dancing Pet Review

Recently, I’ve been using the Dancing Pet Best Groomer’s Pet Shampoo. It’s great for dogs that are prone to tangles and dry skin.  Which is definitely Sophia.

I love this shampoo because it’s an all Natural Formula – no harsh chemicals, there is no oatmeal to irritate – only a grain-free alternative to soothe, no alcohol to dry or damage skin, no tea tree oil to sting or leave greasy residue, no hydrocortisone to break down the skin, no toxic stuff like MEA’s or DEA’s, it’s eco-friendly, all plant-based naturally-derived ingredients, and the biggy Doesn’t Deactivate Topical Flea Treatments.

Sophia 2015

I also love the the Dancing Pet shampoo because it leaves Sophia so soft, fluffy, and makes her hair super white. It also smells great.  The shampoo has a very fruity smell, and deodorizes great, there was no “wet dog” smell after her baths.

Overall, I love this shampoo, and I would recommend it to anyone who has a dog with long hair.  If you are interested in purchasing a bottle for your dog, you can find it on Amazon here.

Goose and Sophia

You can also enter to win a bottle for yourself.

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Titan™ Genuine Military 550 Paracord

Recently, we received Titan™ Genuine Military 550 Paracord for a blog review. Most people would look at paracord and not think much about it since it doesn’t look very impressive, but in this instance appearances are very well misleading. Currently it is $15.99 on Amazon and is available in various colors including neon pink.

So the first question is always, what can you do with it? Well unlike most ropes or cords paracord is extremely versatile, light weight, and strong. You can even use paracord to make bracelets such as:

Paracord Bracelet
Paracord Bracelet

This allows you to have not only something that looks rather nice, but can be used during hiking, camping, fishing, and other outdoor recreation activities. When its always handy to have a few feet of strong rope or better yet paracord. I know some people are already thinking that they cannot do it that is why the Titan™ Genuine Military 550 Paracord comes with two free ebooks on uses for the paracord.

So not only do you get a great product, but you can get access to information that allows you to realize some of the potential of this great product. For more creative designs you can mix and match different colors that way you can personalize it instead of just having a clump of bulky rope.

As I mentioned before I love to take paracord hiking because it is properties, everything holding your gear together to making a quick shelter is easily done with paracord and you don’t have to worry about it holding up because of the wind or rain. And unlike most rope or twine, paracord doesn’t fray as easily so it makes it easy to untie complex knots.

If you are looking for a Father’s day gift this would be a great item to consider, since not only does it make a great gift on its own, but you can get creative with it and pair it with other outdoor activities to make a very special gift.

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Betta Bridges Pets Eye Tear Stain Remover Review

betta bridges tear stain remover

To me, keeping our pets safe from unwanted chemicals is almost as important as keeping those chemicals away from our children, and when we got Sophia last year, I knew we were going to have some challenges, but I never imagined we would have problems with face stains with her.

betta bridges tear stain removerWhen I first realized that were were going to have issues when Sophia and her tear stains, I looked into products at the pet store.  I was really concerned about some of the ingredients that claim to remove the stains.  Some had hydrogen peroxide, which you as you may know, should NEVER be used in or around the eye, and others had antibiotics that could cause problems of their own and has to be ingested.  When I first saw Betta Bridges Pet Tear Stain Remover I was very pleased to see that this tear stain remover contains nothing that will harm your dog. You should always avoid the eyes when using Betta Bridges tear stain remover, but it really makes me worry less since I know that the ingredients are all natural and non-toxic.

Betta Bridges Pets Eye Tear Stain RemoverThe best way to use Betta Bridges Pets Eye Tear Stain Remover is to take a cotton ball and pour 1/2 a cap full on it.  Dap gently around the eye and muzzle or anywhere there is staining. Sophia doesn’t mind really anything, so I am able to just sit her on my lap and just gently rub that area with the cotton ball.

Betta Bridges Pets Eye Tear Stain Remover
Before we started using Betta Bridges Pets Eye Tear Stain Remover.
Betta Bridges Pets Eye Tear Stain Remover
After we’ve been using Betta Bridges Pets Eye Tear Stain Remover for two weeks.

As you can see there has been quite a bit of change we started using the Betta Bridges Pets Eye Tear Stain Remover two weeks ago.  I think the more stained areas are just going to have to grow out and then be cut off.  I am going to finish this week of using Betta Bridges Pets Eye Tear Stain Remover everyday and then next week start with the once a week thing.

Overall, I have been very please with how well Betta Bridges Pets Eye Tear Stain Remover has worked for Sophia.  I have never had to deal with tear stains with any of my other white dogs, so this was a whole new experience for us.  I am so glad that I found Betta Bridges Pets Eye Tear Stain Remover.

If you are battling tear stains on your pup, I would really suggest looking into Betta Bridges Pets Eye Tear Stain Remover.  You can find them on Amazon (PRIME!!!), right now, one 8oz bottle is about $20.  Yes, I realize there are less expensive products out there, but with how little you use, and how well it works, I feel the cost is justified.  Disclaimer

 

Argan Oil – 100% Pure & USDA Organic Review

argan oil

I’ve been reading and hearing a lot about the benefits of argan oil.  I figured it would be another one of the passing trends, but when I kept hearing about it, I wanted to try it for myself.

First of all, it’s always nice to know what the product is and where it comes from.  Argan oil comes from the seeds of the argan tree in Morocco.  It is pressed into an oil, and traditionally has been used in foods and to treat skin problems in that culture.  And I have to tell you something, I think they are on to something.

I have been using the GoPure Argan oil for a few weeks now on my hair.  I was having some real problems with dry hair with split ends.  To use, I just take a quarter size amount in my hand and massage into my hair, I wait about 5-10 min and rinse.  I’ve read that if you leave the oil in loger, the benefits are greater, but I’ve really seen a difference in the amount of time I’ve been using it.

argan oil

My Nonna (grandmother), also helped me out with this review.  She has been using the GoPure Argan oil on her hands, arms, and face as like a sort of lotion.  She reports that she has noticed that her skin has not been as dry, and looks and feels more hydrated.

Overall, I think I will keep using the GoPure Argan oil on my hair.  I am really loving how it’s working for my needs.  As for my Nonna.  She loves the Argan oil too, and has been asking me if I can get her some more (hahaha I think she is addicted to it). We both love that it is all natural and free of any dyes and chemicals.

If you are interested in purchasing some GoPure Argan oil, you can find it on it on Amazon (PRIME!!!) or the GoPure Naturals website.  My bottle was sent via Amazon, and I had no problems with it.  The box was very sturdy and arrived right on time.

 

 

I have to apologize.  I have photos of my hair after I started using it, but my computer is pitching a fit tonight.  So, when it decides to act like an adult, I’ll upload the photos. Disclaimer

Amber Crown Flea and Tick Collar Review

Amber Crown flea and tick collarWe’ve talked about the benifits that Baltic amber has for babies and kids this week, now it’s the furbaby’s turn.  How could Baltic amber help your dog or cat?  Would you believe that it may actually help prevent fleas and ticks?!  I must admit that before I applied to review the Amber Crown Flea and Tick Collar, I had no idea either.

We’ve been using Frontline/Advantage/Advantix for years and years to help prevent a flea infestation again, they worked really well, but I always worried about the chemicals I was putting on my dogs.  I worried for their safety and the safety of the chemicals around Goose and the rest of us.  We really didn’t think we had a choice though.  I knew from my years of working in vet clinics that the “all natural” topical flea products from the store just didn’t work.

Amber Crown Flea and TIck CollarYou are probably asking yourself, how does a rock help prevent fleas and ticks. Well, according to the people at Amber Crown, the Baltic collars work like this.  Baltic Amber is a tree resin that has been fossilized for millions of years.  When the raw Baltic Amber rubs up against your dog or cat’s fur, it causes aromatic terpenes to be released, thus repelling fleas and ticks.  Another way that it works is causes static electricity, fleas and ticks do not like this and let go of the animal.

Amber Crown Flea and Tick COllarSophia doesn’t mind the collar at all.  She has been wearing it for almost a month now, we’ve not seen any ticks.  I have seen some fleas, however, we have been taking the collar off while she was playing with the other dogs or my sister’s dog.  The two fleas we found was when she wasn’t actually wearing the collar, and the fleas were moving really slow so I believe they were dieing.

Amber Crown FLea and Tick Collar

 

The Amber Crown flea and tick collar has a really nice leather closure.  I was really impressed with the quality of the clasp and the leather.

 

Amber Crown Flea and Tick CollarThere was one little adjustment that I made to the collar.  The leather strap that closure does not have anything that holds the extra strap down.  I added a small rubber band just to keep that piece down.  It never bothered her, but it irritated me I don’t know how, but it did.

Overall, I am really surprised how well the Amber Crown flea and tick collar has worked.  I may not completely give up using Frontline/Advantage, but maybe not quite as often.

If you are interested in the Amber Crown Flea and Tick Collar, you can find them on Amazon (PRIME!!!).  They are currently about $31, but that is not a bad price considering they do a 100% guarantee for 100 days, and if it works for you then you will have about a year’s work of flea and tick protection in one collar.

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KG Baby Amber Teething Necklace

Baltic Amber necklace

 

When Goose was a tiny baby I learned about the AMAZING effects of Baltic amber on pain and inflammation.  I was quick to try it because she was starting to cut teeth, and she needed something to help with the pain. I don’t know if it was a mental fix or if the Baltic amber really helped, but when a few days she was no longer crying in pain or drooling as much as she was.

Baltic Amber NecklaceGoose wore that necklace for the next year and a half.  Only taking it off to bathe and then when I took her to the doctor (I’ll admit it, I was trying to avoid a fight with her doctor about the effectiveness of the necklace).

In case you don’t know how Baltic Amber works, Here is the best article I’ve seen recently about everything Baltic Amber.

Baltic Amber NecklaceSo, recently Goose started complaining about growing pains.  She would tell me that her legs or knees hurt.  I remember that from when I was little, and I remember how uncomfortable it was. I instantly reached for our old trusty Baltic amber necklace, only it was no where to be found.  I don’t know if it got lost in the move or if maybe its still in a box somewhere, but it was obvious I was going to have get a new one.

KG Baby was kind enough to let me review one of their Baltic Amber Teething necklaces, and I honestly really like this Baltic Amber necklace better.  The beads of Baltic amber are bigger, which makes me believe that Goose is getting more skin contact with them.  I also like that each bead is knotted twice.  This keeps 1) the beads from going everywhere if broken, and 2) keeps the necklace from becoming as much of a choking hazard.

Baltic Amber NecklaceThe clasp itself is something very special.  The clasp is a screw clasp, so babies cannot undo the necklace and chew on the beads.

So far, the KG Baby Baltic Amber necklace seems to be really helping Goose and her growing pains.  I know that she hasn’t been complaining as much about her leg hurting, well, not until it’s time to pick up her toys or help with her chores.

If you would like to purchase a KG Baby Baltic Amber necklace, you can do so on their website or on Amazon (PRIME!!!).  The current price is $15, and I have to admit that is a TON less than what I paid for Goose’s first baltic amber necklace.

There are two different sizes you can get the Baltic Amber necklaces in on Amazon.  I got the 12″, and it fits Goose very well, and she is 4 years old. Also, if you go on KG Baby’s website, you can choose between a multi colored stand and a honey colored strand.  Both are very pretty.

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Cranberry Baby Diaper Bag Review

Cranberry Baby Diaper Bag

 

One thing you learn soon after you have a baby is, for as little of a person they are, they really require a lot of crap when you leave the house.  I was honestly very surprised how much stuff we had to take with us when we took Goose anywhere, and she was a breastfed baby!  I couldn’t imagine having to cart around formula, bottles, and water for formula fed babies.

I absolutely hated our diaper bag too.  It was so hard to find anything in.  The bag was deep, but really narrow. When Goose was about 3 months old, I ditched that one, and carried the backpack I used in high school.

Cranberry Baby Diaper Bag Review

Recently, I got to try the Cranberry Baby diaper bag.  I really do wish I had known about these diaper bags when Goose was born.  I love this bag.

First of all, I love that the bag comes with 4 pieces.  You have the main big bag, two smaller bags that could be used for a wet/dry bag or bottles.  You also have the changing pad. When Goose was a baby, I didn’t use a changing pad, just a blanket, only because I hated trying to pull the changing pad out and then trying to put it back in.  This one is a lot nicer than the one I had, and I think I would use this one.

Cranberry Baby Diaper Bag  Review

Another thing I like on the Cranberry Baby diaper bag is the fact you have 8 pockets and two zipper pockets to hold all of the baby stuff.  The main compartment has a zipper too which is really nice, but I’ve not used it since I’ve been using this bag.

Cranberry Baby Diaper Bag Review

When you have a baby, it really matters how much stuff you can take with you.  In the Cranberry Baby diaper bag, I was able to put the following: 3 onsies NB pjs, 3 pairs of NB pans, 4 NB shirts, 9 hemp/microfiber diaper inserts, 4 prefolds, 4 cloth diapers, and ring sling. Plus the bags and changing pad that came with the diaper bag.  I was very impressed.  I probably could have fit more too if I had organized it a little better.

Overall, I have loved carrying this bag.  I have loved the super cute leopard print and leather accents.  I’ve actually been using it as a computer case to carry my 13″ laptop. It has worked great, and I have places inside the bag for the power cord and all the accessories.

If you would like to purchase your very own Cranberry Baby diaper bag, you can find them on Amazon.  The current price is $34 (PRIME!!!), which I think is less than what we paid for the crapy one that we had when Goose was born, and I like the Cranberry Baby one a ton better.

 

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