Embracing a Healthy Family

CUJO Smart Internet Firewall Scores a Win in Providing Peace of Mind for Myself and Children

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

Safety in today's world expands not only to the exterior life outside of home but with technology, we have to be diligent to what occurs inside our home.  Threats are never ending if you are connected to the internet and when you add children into the equation, it's even more imperative to install protections that will aid in their safety.  It's really confusing as to what you should have installed to protect your family and your children and now that I've discovered CUJO, a smart firewall that connects all our devices in our home, I feel more secure.  It's a business level security system but within my own home. Its convenient with one device that connects to my WiFi router and provides protection by detecting and blocking malicious sites, hacks and viruses on all my devices.  It's a great piece of mind knowing it's providing antivirus protection for my entire network and as a bigger bonus, CUJO allows me to also control what my kids are accessing online further protecting them.

CUJO has another feature I love that allows me to access and control CUJO with my smartphone app.  With it's build in 1GB ethernet, it provides blazing fast speeds catching all those tricky viruses and hacks before they can cause havoc.  Installation was easy and although I had some issues setting it up, the CUJO support team was phenomenal with wanting to help and I have a good sense that they are merely a video call/phone call away should I ever need assistance.  User error in setting it up was my only issue as I found out!  I was able to activate and get it moving along all on my phone.  Note, the threats detected photo was taken right after I connected so there would be no threats found at that point.

This screen quickly alerted myself that all was ready and I could proceed.

The menu allows you to access all the features via your Smartphone which is convenient and great!

This screen allows me to see all the devices that CUJO is monitoring.

If you do have children, you will like features such as:

  • easy parental controls for all devices
  • internet filters to allow you to control what your children access
  • time limits equate to no more monitoring and tracking time
  • social media monitoring because we know this is a growing issue with bullying and more
  • pause internet capabilities 
  • alerts and reporting
  • remote administration for those times you can't be home or near where your children are
  • user profiles and settings

Overall, I found the CUJO easy to use, quick to set up and activate and I feel more confident that our personal information is safe from hackers and our children can play online without fear of malicious viruses, hacks or even unsafe information they might find.  Being able to control time online, content and more is truly a blessing for myself.  Even though I found the CUJU face cute, my grandchildren were a little afraid of the cute little glowing eyes at first. It's easy to just turn it around so they won't see the glow.  Given it's small appearance, it blends in anywhere and the cords are good lengths to allow it to be plugged into the wireless router and electrical outlet.  I highly recommend the device.

Enter to Win $20 Amazon Gift Card - Ends 10/15

Halloween is upon us and even though the gift card isn't a large sum by any means, it might help purchase a special Halloween costume or even some candy for your trick or treaters.  Keep checking back as more entry options will be added!

Note:  I do verify entries prior to using Rafflecopter's picking a winner feature so please be honest.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

New Advanced Smartwatch @Garmin Vivoactive 3 is Now Available @BestBuy #ad

Disclaimer:  This is a sponsored post and I will be compensated for my participation in this campaign.

Ready to save time and maximize the use of technology?  The new advanced Garmin Smartwatch Vivoactive 3 is now available to help you and can be purchased at Best Buy!  It is is compatible with select iPhone® models, Android phones and Windows 10 phones.  It has 15 built-in sports apps and can provide fitness monitoring, stress tracking, GPS and even has mobile payment capabilities.  No more carrying around wallets and other fitness bands to help keep you remain efficient.  Here are some other features:

  • Calendar, SMS and email notifications
    • Keep you updated on day-to-day happenings.
  • Garmin Pay mobile payment service
    • Lets you pay for purchases with your watch.
  • Water-resistant design
    • Defends your smartwatch against submersion in up to 164' of water.
  • Side Swipe™ interface
    • Provides quick scrolling and swift navigation of menus and widgets.
  • Stainless steel case
    • Along with a silicone watch band ensures durability and an elegant look.
  • Wireless connection to your device
    • Bluetooth 4.0 technology provides a reliable wireless connection.
  • More than 15 preloaded GPS and indoor sports apps
    • Including yoga, running, swimming and more so you can choose how you like to get fit.
  • Built-in lithium-ion battery
    • Offers up to 7 days of use on a full charge in smartwatch mode and 13 hours in GPS mode. Charge easily using the included charging cable.
  • Connect IQ store
  • Personalize your watch with thousands of free watch faces, apps and widgets.

Do you have a smartwatch?  If so, leave a comment on what you like the most about the features of this one compared to yours.

Apple, the Apple logo and iTunes are trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. iPod is a trademark of Apple Computer, Inc.

Our Michigan Roundtrip Winery, Lighthouses and Shoreline Hotel Overnight Excursion

The one day travel trip caught me again and I was rearing to go but this time to Michigan and it was worth every mile!  Our first stop was in Baroda, Michigan at an original 1912 round barn tasting room and estate called Round Barn Winery.  The estate as you drive up the long country road to enter was beautiful.  Michigan is full of vineyards that are meticulously cared for.  It was a beautiful site to see and we must have picked a perfect day to visit because it wasn't busy either.  Granted we did peruse the entire barn and stuck within the confides of the tasting room and store, but it was lovely, quaint and cozy.

We chose a Muscato and I'll have to return and provide an update to how it tasted later. I have been to other wineries that had a larger selection but it was just enough to give you a taste of what Round Barn had to offer.  We weren't greeted when we entered like many other wineries do but the customer service person was friendly and very cordial.  Overall, it was worth the few miles that it took to arrive given the beauty of the grounds and barn.  The outside areas were equipped for their food truck on the weekends and during the warmer months, they had events that would appeal to any wine lover. Speaking of food, they even have some delicious looking recipes on their website.

Our next stop took us to St. Joseph North Pier Lighthouse where a wedding was getting underway next to the beach entry access site.  It was a beautiful beach and a bit chilly to enjoy the water but the views were amazing.  The $10 parking fee was a bit much especially for an off day of not being able to soak up the rays but overall, it was worth the pictures and memories.  The outer lighthouse is a round, cast-iron plate 35-foot tall tower topped by a round watch room and a 10-sided lantern room located on Lake Michigan on the north breakwater at the mouth of the St. Joseph River.  The pier will provide one with a long workout but worth the walk.  The weather was perfect in exploring in that it wasn't too hot but a light jacket helped with the windy chill.

We continued our trek up Lake Michigan and found a surprisingly good BBQ restaurant and sadly, we came across a horrific wreck that we later learned claimed the life of a 26 year old man.  It was a beautiful day outside and the progressing evening was only proving to be a great day to travel.  We drove over to the South Haven South Pierhead Light but continued onward as I wasn't as impressed with the size of the lighthouse.  We opted out of Holland Harbor House Lighthouse after reading the catwalk was inaccessible due to renovations so on we cruised to the Grand Haven Lighthouse in hopes of catching the sunset in Muskegon.  

Even though we did not take the catwalk to see it up front, we had the most beautiful views of the sunset moving in.  We parked near the US Coast Guard and ventured down the beach until we found the perfect spot as you can see in the photographs.

We finished our night at the Shoreline Inn in Muskegon.  It was a beautiful hotel on the shore, obviously and had nice amenities if one wanted to pay more such as a whirlpool tub and a fireplace.  We did reserve one of those rooms and it was quite nice.  We opened the 7th floor balcony and sadly, there were tons of spider webs weaved around every railing causing the most spider phobic person, me, to immediately turn around and go inside while locking the doors immediately!  As dark came upon us, the two enormous spiral spider webs outside the other windows by the bed would make any Halloween veteran envious of the display except it was real.  That was a big downer for me as I expected more for an almost $200 a night room.  The rest of the room was nice and clean in spite of the spider that was crawling on the bathroom floor.  

We ended up going downstairs to the bar and couldn't get waited on at our table so my husband had to go to the bar and get our drinks.  The bartender finally came around but only to the table next to us and never stopped to wait on us so we left.  Since the hotel sold craft beers at the front desk, we opted for that and were greeted by a very friendly and jovial front desk man.  He made up for the bartender and assured me he would note the spider webs, offered to have them taken care of immediately and apologized.  He definitely made up for the minor issues.  Around 3 a.m. I did find some mysterious bumps on my leg that are still healing.  The shower was perfect as I'm very picky about shower heads but this one was spot on and the shower and bath areas were huge.  Some hotels make you bump up against the toilet to get the door shut but not this one.  It also had an exhaust fan which is beyond me why a hotel would not install them in the guest bathrooms.

The fireplace was perfect in the amount of heat it emitted and made for a romantic night.  The whirlpool tub was clean and the hotel had bath salts to add to the night.  Check out was quick and easy.  

Overall, the overnight Michigan trip was absolutely beautiful and serene.  I'd recommend Michigan to anyone and can't wait for our next travel adventure.

Homeschool Field Trip to County Line Orchard in Hobart, Indiana

We officially started off the school year and already had our first field trip.  I think it's important to have the children engage in hands on activities to supplement their learning schedules.  The County Line Orchard in Hobart, Indiana was not our first trip to an orchard but surprisingly, it was the first time we actually picked from the many apple varieties and had the kids pick their own apples.  They were excellent apple pickers and even had a chance to learn which variety was good for snacking and baking.  

We started out taking a tractor ride to the sunflowers but much to our dismay, they were either not in bloom yet or perhaps picked over already.  It was one of the things we were looking forward to.  We continued on past the maze which looked very inviting and had a Chicago Cubs theme.  On the short ride over, we made it to the rows of apple trees.  After we filled our bags, we made our way back to the inside barn and purchased an apple pie, apple doughnuts, pumpkin doughnuts and a couple of single cookies.  My youngest, 10, devoured two pumpkin doughnuts and proclaimed they were the best doughnuts ever!  My oldest said the apple pie beat out the local bakery we thought was the best. 

We were told by a couple of other customers that not all of the activities were open as the County Line Orchard is a big weekend gathering for people.  They have many activities:

    • U-Pick Apples
    • U-Pick Pumpkins
    • Bee Yurts that houses hundreds of bees
    • U-Pick Sunflowers
    • Barnyard Jams
    • Corn Mazes
    • Moo Choo Train
    • Gift Store and much more!

Overall, we had a fun time and did manage to learn a bit about apples.  We're not done yet as next will be baking with apples which utilizes math and life skills.  Stay tuned!

Cave Tools BBQ Grill Light Lights Up Our BBQ & 15% Coupon Code

Disclaimer:  I did receive a complimentary product in exchange for my review.  The opinions are of my own.

I know it's closing in to the end of summer but if you are like me, it's always the right time of the year for a BBQ.  We bought our son-in-law a smoker for his birthday and couldn't wait until October to give it to him for obvious reasons.  We're heading into the second week and we've already enjoyed amazing southern BBQ.  Between the grill or the smoker, he can keep our appetites satisfied as if we were back in Texas or Georgia.  With a smoker, sometimes you end up smoking in the dark or with the days becoming shorter, we will be grilling under the nighttime sky.  The Cave Tools BBQ Grill Light is perfect for this!  The light is portable and with the easy to use with the upgraded handle mount that fits both square and round bars.  The touch on/off switch is perfect for hands that are full holding utensils or sauce and the three brightness settings is ideal for any amount of darkness.  Other pro's about the light include:

  • Heat and water resistant so no worries about it being too close to the grill nor leaving it out in the rain.
  • Comes with 25 professional recipes with step by step instructions.
  • Limited satisfaction warranty.

It makes a great gift for that person who loves to grill out.  When my son-in-law first saw the light, he gushed about how he could even use it at work as he works in systems repairing and replacing fire systems under grills at restaurants.  He definitely loves the light and plans to continue using it all season long into winter, spring, next summer and beyond.

Click on the link to learn more about the Cave Tools BBQ Grill Light.  Use code BBQLIGHTS15 to enjoy 15% off!

Caught the Keto Craze Yet?

I have found the fastest way to lose weight for my body type is watching my carbs and eating more fats and protein. My son-in-law actually lost over 50 pounds just by following a keto influenced diet. The best part of a keto diet is the fact that you can eat good healthy fats with the protein and gain energy while losing the weight.  I've looked up many recipes trying to optimize taste with the ensuring the benefits of losing weight on an accelerated manner in which I've grown accustomed to. I know health experts state that losing weight fast is never the ideal path to take and without having some sort of a maintenance plan, you are doomed in gaining it all back and then some in some instances.  I've been a yo-yo dieter mostly because I'm a stress eater.  When I do stick to a keto type diet, I do lose weight and I am more energized.  When I look for recipes, I want a quick way to satisfy my hunger without having to buy a cart full of ingredients.  It can be difficult trying to find an easy to read and comprehensive guide to keto dieting.  I have bought many keto-inspired e-books, downloaded guides, books and more and was quite pleased with this quick and easy guide with links to other recipes from FitnessCrest.com.

One of my favorite keto recipes are called keto bombs.  They are easy to make and are perfect for these sweet tooth cravings you have from time to time.  If you decide to try a keto diet, the guide from Fitness Crest is perfect with ideas on achieving the keto diet as well as links to recipes and ideas ranging from zero preparation to sweet snacks to savory snacks as well as cookies and smoothies.

You can read more about 120 Keto Snacks for Your Enjoyment here.

Pantry Perks: Fund Your Passion & Earn Cash Back on Natural, Organic and Natural Food

I received a $75 credit to purchase items from PantryPerks.

I was just introduced to PantryPerks and was quite surprised in what they have to offer.  Not only do they have a great assortment of items ranging from supplements to food to health and beauty products but you get money back as well as the ability to donate 1% to a group of your choice.  It was so easy to start using Pantry Perks and I was able to set up an account, peruse through many categories of product, add to my shopping cart and check out in about 30 minutes.  I will admit that I did not check out every category but they have so many great products to choose from.  

PantryPerks has natural, organic & specialty brands with so many items from grocery, wellness and household items.  There are over tens of thousands of Gluten-Free, non-GMO, 100% Organic, Kosher, Vegan, Fair Trade Health, Food and Beauty items. Searching is easy and intuitive as you can select by attribute from their menu or simply refine search results - its as simple as that!

Through their multi-tier Refer-A-Friend program, you can earn multiple cashbacks, month after month. There is no fee. All you need to do is buy a minimum of $60 of the brands you love on PantryPerks every month, and start seeing the cashbacks roll in.

Click the link above and I'll provide an update once I receive my order!

Summer Fun Enhanced by Walmart Family Mobile $49.88 PLUS Plan

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser, Walmart Family Mobile. All opinions are mine alone. #SummerIsForSavings #CollectiveBias #WFM3

Summer time is my favorite season and with taking a hiatus from working, finding ways to eliminate expenses is crucial.  When you haven't had to worry about a budget in some time, it's easy to stack up unnecessary debt.  As I was trying to find ways to eliminate some bills or to reduce bills, the first place I looked was my cellular phone.  I didn't want to pay $175 a month any longer so I turned to the $49.88 PLUS Plan from Walmart Family Mobile, powered by T-Mobile as my sister told me about the price and quality.  It took me awhile to be convinced of the quality and savings but I am glad I took the jump.  

Exchanging paying bills for fun is a goal I have for myself and my family.  I think memories are vital to life and I'd rather be out and exploring new places than being chained home to too many bills.  The Walmart Family Mobile plan allowed me to not spend a lot of money on a good quality phone.  It was truly an easy decision to make and with the money saved, it is allowing our homeschooling family to do more such as visit the Indiana National Dunes Park.  Just this month, we were able to visit the beach several times and the savings we realized for switching plans paid for the parking, drinks, snacks and suntan lotion! Disclaimer: All prices for phones and plans included in this post are accurate as of the date of posting; however, these prices are subject to change. Please refer to this page or your local Walmart for current pricing

 The benefits of switching to the Walmart Family Mobile $49.88 PLUS Plan really adds up:

  1. No contracts with Walmart Family Mobile.
  2. Clear concise monthly plans with no hidden additional fees.
  3. Choices are plentiful from picking the phone you want to picking a plan.  
  4. Activation either online or via telephone is quick and easy.
  5. You can keep your own number even if you are switching providers!
  6. Another clear choice is no activation fees or late charges.
  7. Most important to me, more data (on most plans)!

I have to admit initially, I was concerned about the coverage especially since I live in a very rural area. With T-mobile, the coverage is nationwide and I've had no issues to date. I also no longer have to worry about my data usage with the hefty 15GB of 4G LTE data. I can use my LG L59 Grace all the time and take endless great pictures to post as well!  Due to having a limited data plan on my home internet, I utilize the 15GB of 4G LTE data on my phone to ensure I don't garner an overage on the home usage. It's been a great experience to date and I love the phone especially the great window size and ease of use.

That's not all in the savings area!  We are a VUDU◊ family and each month we renew our Walmart Family Mobile $49.88 PLUS Plan, I will receive a VUDU movie rental credit valued at $7.00!  It's truly a win-win across the board so make the change today and save money too!  My eldest daughter did as well and loves the plan and her phone!


*Please always refer to the latest terms and conditions at myfamilymobile.com.

†To get 4G LTE speed, you must have a 4G LTE capable device and 4G LTE SIM Card. Actual availability, coverage and speed may vary. LTE† is a trademark of ETSI.

◊Limited time offer. Available for lines active with the PLUS $49.88 plan only. VUDU enabled device and account required for digital viewing. Customers must be 18 years or older to open a VUDU account. Movie rental only available in the USA. Free movie rental provided in the form of a movie rental code to the value of a $7.00 VUDU credit. Movie rental code allows for selection from available movies for rent. May not be readily redeemable on all new releases. Code will be delivered within up to 24 hours of the effective account renewal date. Must be used within 30 days of receiving code. Offer is non-transferable. Limit 1 per customer. Additional terms and conditions on VUDU's website: http://www.vudu.com/termsofservice.html

$25 Amazon Back to School Gift Card Giveaway - Ends 9/11/17 - Daily Entry Options

Can you believe it's already time to go back to school?  The summer just flew by and I've noticed the older I get, the faster time moves on.  This year, again, I'm sticking to homeschooling as I like the time flexibility coupled with the ability to teach what is important to me such as religion.  We've tried many different curriculum and I still haven't found the one that reaches out to me.  

This is an easy giveaway as everything is just a click, a comment or a share.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Inspiring A United Kingdom is now available on Digital HD & on DVD and Blu-ray on June 6th

Disclaimer:  I received a party pack and a free digital code to watch A United Kingdom.  I did end up purchasing my own code on my selected digital movie source because the movie trailer appeared to be one that I would want to watch again.  

This weekend was the perfect weekend for brunch with family and friends to catch a flick together.  Being half British, I love nearly all British themed movies but I must admit that A United Kingdom left me a disappointed with the late 1940's British government.  Actors David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike portray Sereste and Ruth Khama in the film and deliver a beautiful chemistry of love, anguish and hope.  Based on a true story, Sereste is a king of Botswana in Africa seeking higher education in Britain while his uncle remains regent king. He meets and falls in love with Ruth during a time when apartheid reigned in South Africa and overlapped in other British controlled/influenced areas.  The film continues with their romance, trials and tribulations and then the final outcome of the resistance they endured by all around them.  It's a very moving, thought provoking story that doesn't disappoint.  I can't give it all away now can I? 

Rosamund Pike first caught my attention in Pride and Prejudice and I loved her in A United Kingdom as well.  A treat was seeing Lady Edith from Downton Abby as well as Ruth's sister.  David Oyelowo was superb in his portrayal of Sereste.  The film provides beautiful glimpses of Africa and the people of Botswana along with the cultural ties that bounds this small African country.

This is what my guests thought:  "A very good movie!" "That was surprisingly good." "I must watch it again."  "I had no idea. It was such a good movie."

Watching movies is always fun but when you add something "extra" to it, it makes for a memorable occasion.  For our brunch, I channeled some British recipes that my mum has mentioned in the past as well as recipes I've watched on other shows.

We started out with an old fashion tea served with English Tea Cakes and Scones:

Our brunch consisted of pork tenderloin pie although I altered it and served it warm as my mum said it's served cold.

After we ate, we gathered around the television and watched our digital copy of A United Kingdom.  It made for a wonderful Saturday afternoon!

 It's now available digitally and can be purchased via DVD/Blu-ray on June 6th.

#AUnitedKingdom  #BrunchandaMovie

Homeschool Trip to the Battle of Gettysburg National Park in Pennsylvania

As we embarked on another homeschool field trip, we decided to make the most of a road trip to Gettysburg by watching movie and movie as well as documentaries to have the girls fully appreciate what the The Battle of Gettysburg was all about.  Along the way, we saw a closed old asylum that was in operation for many years before closing its doors only to be reopened years later as a ghost tour business.  We didn't go in but the view on the outside really magnified what some poor old souls possibly went through while locked up.  We finally reached Gettysburg and was in awe at the size of the battlefield.  The Battle was fought July 1–3, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, by Union and Confederate forces during the American Civil War. The battle involved the largest number of casualties of the entire war and is often described as the war's turning point.  Union Maj. Gen. George Meade's Army of the Potomac defeated attacks by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, ending Lee's attempt to invade the North. It was truly a moving experience to appreciate what so many endured and the many lives lost over the course of that battle.

Summary of our trip:

The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, subsequently the Weston State Hospital, was a Kirkbride psychiatric hospital that operated from 1864 until 1994 by the government of the U.S. state of West Virginia, in the city of Weston.
Built by architect Richard Andrews, it was constructed from 1858-1881. Originally designed to hold 250 people, it became overcrowded in the 1950s with 2,400 patients. It was forcibly closed in 1994 due to changes in treatments of patients. The hospital was bought by Joe Jordan in 2007, and is opened for tours and other money raising events for its restoration. The hospital's main building is claimed to be one of the largest hand-cut stone masonry buildings in the United States, and the second largest hand-cut sandstone building in the World, with the only bigger one being in the Moscow Kremlin. As Weston Hospital Main Building, it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1990.

Gettysburg Battleground National Park

We opted to venture out alone and visit the battleground at our own speed.  Watching the documentaries and movies ahead of time really helped us understand the layout of the battleground and the different battles that occurred.  The Visitor Center provides the opportunity to pay for one on one trip guides to add to the visit, you can purchase a vehicle guide that allows you to have a narration of each key point along the way or do like we did and go alone.  After we finished, which I recommend a full day or more pending how interested you are in the history of the battles, we went to downtown Gettysburg which was such a treat.  We ate at a small Irish pub and although the food white whiskey chili was delicious, the rest of the food was mediocre and it was very expensive.  It's a quaint town worthy of a walk through and don't forget the numerous ghost tours available which we did not partake in.  It's really a great family vacation destination and I'd recommend at least two days to get the full impact of the historical significance this played in American history.