Monday, February 23, 2015

Ice Castles: Walk Into Your Fairy Tale Dream

This post is  my honest review of a product received via US Family Guide.

Grab your bucket list.  Right now, go and grab it.  Now, somewhere close to the top-let's say in the #1 spot-add "Explore an ice castle."  There, you've added it.  Next step-do it...as soon as possible! There's still time this winter even, if you hurry.


With four life-size ice castles to choose from across the United States, I know you'll be able to find one in a destination you've always wanted to go.  Here in Utah this year we are having a beautifully warm winter.  Unfortunately, spring temperatures in February aren't ideal for keeping an ice castle frozen.  Ours this year was only open for 2 short weekends.  I guarantee this isn't the case for anyone back east though.  The ice castles in Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Vermont are still open, still taking visitors, and still enchanting.  


To tell you what to expect when you make your ice castle pilgrimage, I want you to close your eyes and picture yourself in the middle of a magical icy fairy tale.  Designed to feel like you're in an old European village square, there are ice, water, and fire features around corners in every direction.  To the right, slides and tunnels to climb up, crawl through, and amble down.  To the left the romance of a double spouting water fountain.  Straight ahead slot canyons and narrow passageways to explore and get lost in. It's a child's paradise, for young and old alike.

 

As a parent taking my four young boys to this winter wonderland, safety was a big concern.  Ice, obviously, can be very slippery.  I was so impressed that throughout the ice castle, there is staff positioned to quickly and unobtrusively break up the ice as it gets packed down and starts to become slick.  Even more than knowing my kids wouldn't fall on the ice, it assured me that I myself wouldn't be taking an embarrassing spill to the ground in front of half the population of the Wasatch Front.  


The crowds were thick the night we made our visit, but it was the opening weekend, and as I said, here in Utah the ice castle was only open for two weekends.  I've read that the other 3 locations do have heavy traffic on the weekends, but I imagine as it gets later in the season, the crowds are dying down.  Even with the crowds, though, we felt comfortable to spread out and let the kids roam a little way away from us without fear of losing them.  We got to explore everything we wanted to with only one short line to wait in for one of the slot canyons.  If I had anything negative to say, it would be a caution to any non-Frozen lovers:  the soundtrack is appropriately playing at full volume for all hear to hear.  


 I know when I posted before, so many of you said, "I've heard of these and want to do it some day!"  I'm telling you, it's something worth doing right now!  If you have one within driving distance, why not make it a weekend adventure and spend time exploring in the area.  I promise you won't regret it. The castles in Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Vermont are scheduled to be open through March 7.  If you do plan to go, make sure to check their website for updates, but with all the snow the east has been enjoying, I'm sure they will be open until that day.


Want to save on your admission?
Use code "AwesomeIce" to receive 20% off admission! 
Book online at www.icecastles.com.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Random Something or Other #3

Holy cow-where did the last 7 days go?  You'll hopefully be happy to know that I did finally get my laundry done...well, to be accurate, my uber-amazing husband finished the laundry sometime over the weekend because I was way too busy and the kids were running around in their skivvies.  But that washer-load I was sitting on?  Totally finished that one...

This is what I did today...


I'm joining White House Black Shutters in her "40 Bags in 40 Days" de-cluttering challenge and took my first LARGE donation to the thrift store today.  It's not to late to join us, the challenge officially starts on Wednesday.  You can track my daily progress on Instagram-the pictures can only get better after you've seen my mismatched feet!  Speaking of Instagram,

This was my favorite pic this week...
I got to see my favorite author live in person at RootsTech on Saturday. Are you curious who it was?


These are the posts I'm working on...

~The pictures & review of our trip to the Ice Castle (Breathtaking!)
~My latest furniture projects
~The lessons I learned at RootsTech
~An introduction to the craziest "endurance" race you've ever seen!

What's your random something for today?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Random Something or Other #2

I haven't posted this feature in awhile, but it's a super stressful week in my neck of the woods and I can use a little break from the heavy thinking!  It brought a smile to my face to go back and read Random Something or Other #1.  For today, here we go...

This is me today...
random, laundry, socks
Yes, I'm wearing mismatched socks and, yes, I'm writing this blog post on the washing machine.  I'm positive if I walk away, I'll be re-washing this forgotten load of laundry for the 3rd time this week.

This was my last tweet...

These are the books I'm reading.... 
The Signature of All Things
by Elizabeth Gilbert

Ancient Histories
by Peter James & Nick Thorpe

This is what I'm thinking...
It'd be fun to turn this Random Something or Other feature into a weekly link-up...

What's your random something for today?

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Beatrix Girls Valentine's Day Giveaway

Enter to win the a Valentine's Day bundle from

The Beatrix Girls!!!



What's included? One lucky Diva will have a chance to win the Ultimate Valentine's Day Prize.
  • Printable Beatrix Girls Valentines Day cards
  • Custom Beatrix Valentines Day candy
  • Posters Stickers
  • The Beatrix Girls CD Tactic Activity Books
Simply fill out the form below to enter:
Entry
-Form
*Disclaimer:This giveaway is sponsored by Old Spice and is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or associated with Facebook. Giveaway will end on 12/19/2014 at 11:59 PM PST. You will have 24 hours to claim by replying to the announcement in our newsletter”the Giveaway Lounge” or replying back to your congratulation letter. A winner will be randomly chosen and will be announced in a blog post and newsletter. This Giveaway is open to USA . Please allow 6 to 8 weeks for prize shipment. click the link to subscribe to the giveaway lounge newsletter http://goo.gl/lWK2W5 If you are a business and would like a campaign created like the one above please email Kathy King @ me {at} mrskathyking {dot}com

"After" Book Giveaway

This item was provided during a promotional campaign.
Thoughts & opinions provided are mine, honest & true. 


In January I introduced you to Anna Todd's newly published book "After", the 1st in a 4-book series.  If you'll remember, she wrote this book entirely through the Wattpad app on her phone and has found huge success!  

Here is a brief synopsis of the story...
There was the time before Tessa met Hardin, and then there’s everything AFTER... Life will never be the same. #Hessa
Tessa is a good girl with a sweet, reliable boyfriend back home. She’s got direction, ambition, and a mother who’s intent on keeping her that way. 
But she’s barely moved into her freshman dorm when she runs into Hardin. With his tousled brown hair, cocky British accent, tattoos, and lip ring, Hardin is cute and different from what she’s used to. 
But he’s also rude—to the point of cruelty, even. For all his attitude, Tessa should hate Hardin. And she does—until she finds herself alone with him in his room. Something about his dark mood grabs her, and when they kiss it ignites within her a passion she’s never known before. 
He’ll call her beautiful, then insist he isn’t the one for her and disappear again and again. Despite the reckless way he treats her, Tessa is compelled to dig deeper and find the real Hardin beneath all his lies. He pushes her away again and again, yet every time she pushes back, he only pulls her in deeper. 
Tessa already has the perfect boyfriend. So why is she trying so hard to overcome her own hurt pride and Hardin’s prejudice about nice girls like her? 
Unless…could this be love? - See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.com/After/Anna-Todd/The-After-Series/9781476792484#sthash.wugZVSpt.dpuf
Sound like a book you'd love to read?  Today, we are offering a super simple giveaway of a copy of the book.  Please enter through the Rafflecopter widget below, and good luck!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Flash Giveaway: RootsTech2015 3-Day Getting Started Pass

This giveaway is being provided by RootsTech.
Freemples will provide winner registration information only.

The time is getting very close for RootsTech 2015 to begin.  We here at Freemples want to give our readers one last chance to attend the conference, learn the latest ways to connect you and your children to your ancestors, and be inspired by the leading experts in family history.

Here's a sampling of the 30+ classes available to attend with the Getting Started Pass:
*Family History on the Go Using Phones and Tablets
*Brand New, What Do I Do?  Getting Started with FamilySearch.org
*Family, Food, & Fun: Making a Family Cookbook with Stories
*Introducing Your Grandchildren to Your Grandparents
*A Dozen Ways to Jumpstart Your Research

With your pass you'll have the option to register for free tickets to attend the social and keynote speaker sessions with a guest.  The Friday morning session features former First Lady Laura Bush-you definitely won't want to miss her! 

In addition, your pass will include access to the expo hall filled with exhibitors sharing products related to every aspect of researching, story-telling, and technological advances.  Two vendors I'm particularly looking forward to visiting are:

A company with a lofty goal of scanning 100K family pictures
 during the conference (so bring yours to share)

Live Long, Learn A Little, Laugh A Lot
 A new story-telling book hoping to jog your memories,
 leave room for jotting notes, and an option to  receive an audio recording of your personal stories. 
I hope you want to go.  I'll be there and would love to meet up with you!  The giveaway entry form can be found below.  But, if you don't want to wait to see if you win, you can still register at RootsTech.org.  If you happen to win after already buying tickets, a full refund of the Getting Started Pass price will be given to you.  Hope to see you there!

Read more about Roots Tech here

RootsTech 2015 (with Giveaway)

Sponsored post in conjunction with RootsTech. Thoughts are honest and mine. 

How much do you know about your family history?  Your ancestors?  The people who came before you?  As a little girl I remember my mom and her sister spending hours and hours writing out family charts and going to the genealogical society library to scan through rolls of microfilm looking for even tiny clues to help them connect us to a line of people that had been forgotten.  Such important work, but painstaking and time-consuming.

How incredibly the times have changed!  All of that paperwork now available with a few keystrokes from anywhere in the world.  Government records are being digitized at amazing speed and viewed with ease.  The boxes of black and white photos people used to have under their beds can now be scanned and shared with everyone in the family.  All the family tree charts that used to take up binders and binders are on the dining room bookshelf are now simply contained in online files for easy reference, sharing, and documenting.  These advances in genealogical technology are what RootsTech is all about!

A 3-day conference held annually in Salt Lake City, UT, there are classes and seminars available for researchers of all interest and skill-level.  This year's events range from an Innovators Challenge, where the world's top app developers compete in creating the most useful new technology solving a family history need, all the way down to classes on simply how to get started with your first ancestral connection.  And if there opportunity for learning and getting deeper into your own family history isn't enough, the conference brings in top-notch speakers and entertainment each year as well.  Last year, Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman) was a keynote speaker.  This year the line-up includes Olympian Noelle Pikus Pace, singer Donnie Osmond, and former First Lady Laura Bush with her daughter Jenna.  It will be hard to walk away on Saturday feeling uninspired.

I'm excited this year to be going for my first time! Will I see you there?  Tickets are still available-take a look at the class schedule and the list of exhibitors who will be in attendance.  I think you'll find something on at least one of the 3 days to intrigue you and make the trip in to Salt Lake City worth your time...


Click on the banner to enter...

(already have tickets, but still want to enter? A full refund is available if you win)

2 Giveaway Winners!

Congrats to Dee P and Cheryl K
on winning the Upcycle Queen prize packages

Thank you for all the positive thoughts and encouragement during this frightening time for our family.  Braydon came through his surgery so tremendously and is already at home beginning his recovery.  During the procedure they did discover some additional health concerns that they will now add to his long list of upcoming procedures and therapies, but for now he seems to be doing well.  

Check back soon for new pictures of our adorable little boy!