The NASCAR Acceleration Nation app makes races even more exciting!

Disclosure: I was compensated for this post about the new NASCAR Acceleration Nation app. Learn more in my Disclosure Policy. As always, thank you for your support.

Me and Aiden at Bristol Motor Speedway NASCAR Acceleration Nation

I have a lot of fond memories from our time living in Upper East Tennessee. One of the best memories is the opportunities we had to attend NASCAR related festivities and races. Needless to say, living in the shadow of Bristol, the fastest half mile in the world, we had a pretty big NASCAR fan while we lived there.

Aiden in front of Bristol Motor Speedway NASCAR Acceleration Nation

Now NASCAR has created something I wish was around when we lived in the Tri-Cities: NASCAR Acceleration Nation! Available on Android, iPhone (click here to download), and the web, NASCAR Acceleration Nation has all kinds of great stuff for kids, including information about upcoming races, driver details, fun games, and learning materials about the science of racing!  Continue reading “The NASCAR Acceleration Nation app makes races even more exciting!”

Dear children, thanks for making me Dad

I have partnered with Life of Dad and Pampers for this promotion. You can learn more in my Disclosure Policy. As always, thank you for your continued support. 

An Open Letter to my Children #ThanksBaby #ad

It has been said that when a baby is born, a dad is born. Pampers believes that is true. That’s why this Father’s Day, and every day, they’re thanking babies for empowering Dad and empowering him to discover new roles as he journeys through this thing called Fatherhood.

That’s definitely true for me.

I had helped out at our church’s day care when I was in high school. I had also served in another church’s nursery shortly after Christy and I had gotten married. I’d even helped babysit some young children over the years. But when my son was born, everything changed.

Because being Dad isn’t babysitting. It’s not even close.

Me with the Kids #ThanksBaby #ad

When I held my son for the first time, my world changed. I had been warned that it would change, but I had no idea how much it would actually change. It’s unbelievable. You’re holding this little, tiny, itty-bitty human being and nothing else matters. Nothing. You’re responsible for everything. This baby is relying on you. Of course, mom’s part of the story, too. We’ve been partners in this journey since Day One. But when it hits you that you’re actually a Dad, it’s an overwhelming realization. It’s a beautiful thing. And it’s a scary proposition, too. You certainly become a new man when a child becomes part of your family.

Every one of our children has a completely different story about how they came into our family. And each journey has changed my life forever. For that, I’m grateful. So I’ve decided to write a brief note to each of them.

Dear Aiden,

Me and Aiden #ThanksBaby #ad

As the firstborn, you are the trailblazer. Everything is new. And I’m sure I’ve screwed up a lot over the years (still kicking myself for making you cry when I was coaching you on the baseball field).  And let’s not talk about the first time I changed a diaper. Let’s just say it was a comedy of errors.

I’m thankful that we’re blazing this trail together. I see your desire to help others, your natural leadership ability (on the field, at church, and in life in general), and your desire to make a difference with your life, and my heart explodes with pride, joy, and excitement. You’re going to do great things, my boy. In fact, you already are.

Even though we might disagree about which episode of Star Wars is the best.

Love,
Dad

Dear Weldu,

Me and Weldu #ThanksBaby #ad

I’m thankful that you joined our family last year. You filled the empty chair at our dining room table. You have made our family complete. Thank you.

I am proud to call you my son. I am excited to see you use your athletic gifts to the best of your ability, taking advantage of the opportunities that are before you.  Your English continues to improve and you are going to do great things wherever you are.

I may not be the biggest fan of soccer, but I’m your biggest fan. So I will continue to go to your games, even though I have no idea what’s going on half the time. Because you are worth it.

You always will be.

Love,
Dad

Dear Aly,

Me and Aly #ThanksBaby #ad

Oh, Aly.

Where do I begin?

You have always marched to the beat of your own drummer. I think you cried for the first 6 months, simply because you wanted to. That’s why some of our extended family still calls you “Waah-ly.” Thanks for growing out of that. Seriously.

Your love for animals, especially dogs and horses, is infectious. You have the biggest heart for others that I’ve ever seen. Ever. And your artistic ability? Mind-blowing. You certainly have an eye for photography.

Thank you for reminding me to explore new things and to make the most of every opportunity I have. You are our free spirit. But I hope you realize that wherever you go and whatever you do, you will always have a home right here in my heart.

Love,
Dad

Dear Mihret,

Me and Mihret #ThanksBaby #ad

You opened my heart, helping me realize that family is so much more than just blood. When it was time to leave you that first day, I had to put you back in your crib and go back to our Guest House. You cried when I put you down. It took all that was within me not to reach back down, scoop you out of your bed, and promise you that I will never ever leave you again. Ever. You broke my heart that day, but your smile makes my heart grow every time I see it.

You are the most determined little girl I’ve ever met. I think you’re the most determined little girl anyone has met.  And you have such a joy for life that it’s absolutely contagious. Thank you for challenging me with your determination. When you keep on pushing, never accepting “no” for an answer, you encourage me to have that same fighting spirit. You light up the room with your smile. And that laugh of yours? It just makes everything better. Thank you for being you and for inspiring everyone around you. You certainly inspire me.

Love,
Dad

None of my children are babies anymore, but I’m still grateful that each one of them call me Dad. It’s an honor that I do not take lightly.

I’m also thankful for companies like Pampers, who honor dads for simply being dads. They recognize dads for all of the amazing things they do – both big and small – to help little ones have a better, loving, and more fulfilling life.

OK. Now it’s your turn.

What do you have to say to your baby? What are you thankful for?

Share your gratitude on twitter by using the #ThanksBaby hashtag!

3 signs that Bella might be too bright for her own good

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BrightMind #CollectiveBiasBella Close Up #BrightMind #ad

Well, 30 days on the Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind formula (plus 7 days of transitioning to the new food) have come and gone. And it’s clear that Bella really likes her new food. And I think we’re starting to see some changes in her alertness.

Purina Pro Plan #BrightMind #ad

That’s a very good thing. Because that’s the purpose of Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind. It was designed with older dogs in mind. And of the 87 million dogs in the US, it’s estimated that 44 per cent of them are seven years old or older. So there’s a large population of “Man’s Best Friend” that can benefit from the Bright Mind formula. And right now, if you spend $10 on any Purina Pro Plan Dry Dog or Cat Food* at PetSmart by October 4, you can save $10 on your next Purina Pro Plan Dry Food purchase of 14 pounds or more, on or before November 1 (*subject to availability. Transaction total is after discounts and before taxes). That’s a great deal!

Bella was already a pretty smart dog. In many ways, she was already too smart for her own good. Sometimes, she winds up getting herself into some trouble because she was a bit too smart.

Here are 3 ways Bella might be too smart for her own good:

Bella at the top of the steps #BrightMind #ad

 

1.) Bella is an alert watchdog.

She sits atop the steps whenever someone leaves and patiently awaits that person’s return. And if she hears any movement from anyone – human or dog – outside, she’ll bark out the window until she has successfully scared away the potential intruder.

2.) Bella has “trained” us to feed her in a special way.

Bella loves to eat. And she especially loves to eat the Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind formula. Of course, she can’t merely eat her food out of a bowl. That would be too simple.

That’s right. Bella insists on being hand-fed her food.

Mihret feeding Bella by hand #BrightMind #ad

And not only that. She wants us to throw it to her.

Throwing food to Bella #BrightMind #ad

Although this makes Bella’s dinner time last twice as long as it really should, it’s a win-win situation for us. When Mihret feeds Bella, she’s able to get in some extra occupational therapy in by picking up the individual pieces of food. And Bella gets some extra exercise by chasing down the morsels.

Like I said, it’s win-win.

3.)  Bella is an expert at hiding bones.

Bella loves rawhide bones. In fact, she loves them so much that instantly tries to hide her bone whenever you give her one. We don’t have any other dogs, so I guess she’s afraid the kids are going to steal it from her.

So she wanders through the house with her bone in her mouth, whimpering at the top of her lungs until she finds the perfect hiding place.

Bella hiding her bone #BrightMind #ad

 

More often than not, it’s buried between the cushions of one of our couches. I’ve also found bones in our closets and hiding under piles of dirty clothes in the Laundry Room.

As you can see from the picture below, she’s an expert bone hider. It’s really hard to see that bone in the couch cushions (unless you know to look for it).There is the bone hiding in the couch #BrightMind #ad

In fact, Bella’s so good at hiding her bones, that she forgets where she hid them! And then she whimpers and whines as she searches the house in a desperate attempt to find the bone she had just buried.Bella looking for the bone she just hid #BrightMind #adIs Bella really too smart for her own good?

No.

But I’m glad we’re able to encourage her to be mentally sharp with Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind’s enhanced botanical oils that promote attention, trainability, and memory.

 

Effortless Apple Nachos for an effortless meal

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #EffortlessMeals #CollectiveBias

Apple Nachos Recipe #EffortlessMeals #ad

I don’t know what it’s like at your house, but Fall is the season of controlled chaos around here. Well, I hope it’s controlled. Our three kids are enrolled at three different schools and their events seem to be stacked on top of each other. I’m working two jobs and Christy’s job requires a lot of prep at home. Homework demands, doctor appointments, and church commitments keep us on our toes. And in our free time, we’re usually taking Aiden to and from something football related. Yes, our lives are hectic. Sometimes it even feels like Christy and I are expected to be in three different places at the same time. In the midst of our family’s hustle and bustle, we still try to make sharing a meal together a top priority. That’s why I’m glad Walmart has effortless meals that are quick and easy. They’re the perfect meal for busy families like ours. Continue reading “Effortless Apple Nachos for an effortless meal”

7 must-have apps for international travel

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Walmart Family Mobile. All opinions are mine alone. #Tips4Trips #CollectiveBias

7 Must-Have Apps for International Travel #Tips4Trips #ad #cbias

As mentioned earlier, a lot of moving pieces finally came together at just the right time in just the right way in order for Christy to be able to meet “W,” the teenage boy we are in the process of adopting. Late Sunday night/early Monday morning, I drove Christy to the airport. Nearly 18 hours later, she landed in Ethiopia. There were times where I wasn’t sure if we were going to be able to pull the whole thing together. With my full time job, Christy’s responsibilities at her school, and taxiing the kids to and from sports practices, church activities, and camp, it just felt like too daunting of a task to get together all of her necessities plus a bag full of donations in less than two weeks’ time. I honestly don’t think we could have done it without our unlimited talk, text, and data/web from Walmart Family Mobile.

Ethiopia or Bust #Tips4Trips

If you’re looking for the lowest priced unlimited plans with access to a network that covers over 280 people, Walmart Family Mobile is the place you should look first. Their Unlimited Talk, Text, and Data service plan starts at $29.88 a month for the first line. In addition to unlimited talking and texting, you also get access to up to 1G of 4G LTE data per month. Plus, they have a variety of phones available at some pretty incredible prices, including the Alcatel One Touch Pop Astro for only  $64.88.

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 link or your local Walmart for current pricing.

#Tips4Trips Store Collage at Walmart

While we’ve taken several vacations in the States, I think it’s safe to say that we’re no world travelers. And we definitely haven’t made a habit of jet-setting around the globe. So when it was finally decided that Christy was going to make this trip by herself, life became a bit more hectic. And life was already hectic with the kids’ activity schedules.

We had travel agents to call. And social workers to call. And our adoption agency to call. We had to make sure my work schedule was arranged in such a way that I could be home as much as possible. We had doctors to call. We had family to contact. We had to collect items – diapers, wipes, educational supplies, DVDs – that we were going to donate to the Care Center. The to-do lists kept piling up, adding more and more chaos to this whirlwind.

You know what we didn’t need during this mad rush to get everything done and ready for Christy to get on a plane? A phone service that dropped all of my calls. Or a phone that was so slow that it would be easier to send documents via passenger pigeon or the Pony Express. Been there. Done that. Not going back.

Ever.

Luggage and phone at the airport #Tips4Trips

That’s what I love about using Walmart Family Mobile. I don’t have to worry about wonky Internet connection. And I can be confident that I’ll be able to have an actual conversation on my phone without worrying about how many minutes I’m using. That’s pretty important when you’re in a time crunch.

And the phones are pretty cool, too.

In preparation for this great journey, I discovered some pretty cool apps. I think these are some tools that every traveler should have in their digital suitcase. They’re very helpful. And they’re free, although some can be enhanced with in-app purchases.

7 must-have apps for international travel:

Android Apps SmartTraveler #Tips4Trips

SmartTraveler

Provided by the U.S. State Department , SmartTraveler gives a plethora of information about countries around the globe, including local customs and laws, political climate, and the location of the U.S. embassy. It also keeps you up to date on travel alerts and warnings that have been issued by the State Department.

 

Android Apps iBlueButton #Tips4TripsiBlueButton

You never plan on having a medical emergency while traveling. But just in case the unforeseen does happen, it’s a good idea to have iBlueButton. It keeps all of your medical information and medical history in one place so you can access it with just the swipe of your finger.

 

Android App Google Hangouts #Tips4TripsGoogle Hangouts

This was pre-installed on our Androids, and although it’s gotten some negative press in the past, Christy and I have been using it to communicate over the the thousands of miles between us. You can use it to send text messages. You can also use it for free video calls via wifi, too.

Christy checking the phone at the airport #Tips4Trips

Android Apps iTranslate #Tips4Trips

iTranslate

With over 90 languages available on this app, you can translate words and phrases in a matter of moments. With an extensive dictionary library, you’ll be able to discern contextual clues and dialects. It’s easy to use and essential for a world traveler.

 

 

Android App Google Goggles #Tips4TripsGoogle Goggles

Let’s say you’re overseas and you see a landmark some 30 miles away but you don’t have any idea what it is. It looks important, but that’s about all you know. With Google Goggles, you can take a picture and search the web with that image. This app has some serious potential.

 

Android App FlightAware #Tips4TripsFlightAware

FlightAware was the perfect app for me to use while Christy was up in the air. No matter where I went that day, I could check the app and track her flight. And if you’re using it while traveling, you’ll be able to keep up to date on the flight schedule and which terminal you have to go to. That’s amazingly helpful if you have a short layover.

 

Android App XE Currency #Tips4TripsXE Currency

You can keep up to date on the exchange rates with this app. It’s a great way to make sure you’re getting the most out of your currency.

It’s also helpful if you’re trying to plan and budget your trip.

 

There are so many apps available that are related to travel. I’m sure I’ve missed some good ones. Now that Christy’s begun her journey, I can start planning for my trip to Ethiopia, which should happen within the next few months.  What apps should I add to my list? Leave your suggestions in the comments below.

#Tips4Trips Phone and suitcase

 

Here’s what happened at SoFabU OTR in Cincinnati

This grant was  provided to me by Collective Bias, Inc. All opinions are mine alone. #SoFabUOTR #CollectiveBias
SoFabU OTR in Cincinnati name tag

I love it when I leave a leave a conference feeling equipped, encouraged, challenged, and inspired. That’s exactly what happened at SoFabU On the Road (“OTR,” for short). Here’s how it happened…

On the Road Again

I hopped in my car before the sun came up a few Saturdays ago. I gassed up the car and hit the open road, headed east towards the Land of Seven Hills, the home of the Reds, Graeter’s Handcrafted Ice Cream, and Ahalogy. It was also a stop on the SoFabU On the Road world tour.

OK. It’s not really a world tour. But they’re definitely hitting all regions of the contiguous United States. And that’s pretty cool!

SoFabU OnTheRoad attendees in Cincinnati
Image via SoFabU OnTheRoad

 Ahalogy was a gracious host

For the morning session, we met in the offices of Ahalogy. They’re experts about marketing on Pinterest. They know their stuff. Not only did they welcome us to their amazing facility, but they also dropped some serious Pinterest knowledge on us. Continue reading “Here’s what happened at SoFabU OTR in Cincinnati”

Our family is ready for The Avengers! How about yours?

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #AvengersUnite #CollectiveBias

My family of Super Heroes #AvengersUnite

Have you heard? Of course you’ve heard! The Internet has practically exploded with each movie trailer release over the past few months. A huge impact has already been made on the international box office.

MARVEL’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron is almost here!

Super Heroes Assemble Screenshot #AvengersAssemble
Check out the Super Heroes Assemble app for exclusive MARVEL’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron content!

I’ve done my best to turn my family into a gaggle of geeks, and I think it’s starting to pay off. We are super excited about this super hero movie. To help us get ready for the coming blockbuster, I downloaded the Super Heroes Assemble app (available via Google Play and iTunes) and discovered tons of great stuff about MARVEL’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron.

With this app, you can unlock all kinds of cool features like character bios, featurettes, special behind-the-scenes features, a tour of the Hulkbuster facility, and other great content by heading over to Walmart or Walmart.com and scanning specially marked displays.

Walmart Collage #AvengersUnite

You can also unlock content on the app by scanning specially marked packages. And starting today, you can unlock a special digital comic book thanks to Dr. Pepper. All you have to do is scan a Dr. Pepper sign at Walmart. Or you could scan any Dr. Pepper 12-pack that has The Avengers on its package. It’s a pretty cool feature and it’s the perfect tool to help you and your family to get ready for MARVEL’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Product Shot #AvengersUnite

There’s even an opportunity to use the app to “suit up.” Our family, however, decided to take that whole suiting up thing one step further. It’s really only the next logical step – especially for a gaggle of geeks like mine. Right?

My family the Avengers
So watch out, world! I grabbed these masks and other accessories from The Avengers at our local Walmart. So now our family has suited up and is ready to take on any foe that may come our way. You might find us walking the halls of an upcoming convention. Or you might even find us roaming downtown dressed as these heroes. Just for the fun of it.

We didn’t choose these heroes in a willy-nilly fashion. Each of these characters from MARVEL’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron has a connection with each of our family members. That’s right, friends. There was a method to our madness. Here’s how characters from The Avengers universe connect with my family:

Christy as Captain America #AvengersUnite

Christy as Captain America

Captain America has a strong moral compass. He stands up for what is right with little concern for any personal gain or profit.

That’s my wife. She has an inner strength and compassion that compels her to act on the behalf of others, giving a voice to the voiceless and remembering the forgotten. She is always helping others and trying to make the world around her a better place.

Aly as Thor #AvengersUnite

 Aly as Thor

Thor, a visitor from another realm, has a strong connection with the natural world. Thor can control the weather and has the ability to call down lightning from the heavens. He alone is worthy to carry his hammer, which focuses his power.

Aly can’t call down lightning from the sky, but she has a deep connection with the world around us. When she was little, she said the animals would talk to her. I don’t know how, but there were times where it sure felt that way. She is in tune with the nature around us. It’s almost superhuman.

Aiden as Hulk #AvengersUnite

 Aiden as the Hulk

Bruce Banner is smart. He’s super-smart. His alter-ego, the Hulk, is a giant mass of muscle and is misunderstood by most people. The Hulk possesses superhuman strength and can smash just about anything.

Aiden is smart. And as a teenager, he’s often misunderstood. And much like the Hulk, Aiden is a man of few words. He has been working out with the high school football team for the past six months. He’s become a lean, mean, muscular machine. Because of his strength, he has been called upon several times to help move furniture.

Aiden SMASH #AvengersUnite

Mihret as Iron Man #AvengersUnite

Mihret as Iron Man

With the help of sophisticated technology, Tony Stark can suit up in a powerful set of armor to become Iron Man. Much like Dr. Banner, Mr. Stark is very smart. And his creativity knows no bounds. He’s a determined person whose Iron Man suit helps him accomplish his dream of protecting the world.

Mihret’s nickname at school is “Miss Determination.” Much like Mr. Stark, she won’t take “no” for an answer. Although she requires the use of mobility aids in order to walk and get around, she is always using her creativity to find new ways to achieve what doctors have suggested she wouldn’t be able to do. She always has on her “armor,” ankle and foot orthotics that help her walk. She is able to use the assistive technology available to her to help her achieve her goals and accomplish her dreams.

Our family is united

When you watch the trailers for MARVEL’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron, it’s apparent that, once again, the world needs these heroes to unite together in order to defeat a powerful foe. Working together as a team isn’t always easy. It requires sacrifice, humility, honesty, and teamwork. It can be messy. But when they work together, they can accomplish much.

That’s not unlike our family. Sure there are personality clashes at times. And we a little rough around the edges. Life together can be messy – both physically and emotionally. But we’re united. And when we work together, we can accomplish much. Who knows? We just might end up changing the world.

I know what you’re asking. What about me? Which members of The Avengers am I? Well, he’s really not an Avenger, but I think I might relate the most closely with Nick Fury, who gets things done in the background and does his best to help the rest of his team succeed.

How about your family?

Why not check out the MARVEL’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron section at Walmart.com and find the perfect snacks and equipment for the super heroes in your life? I’d love to hear which members of The Avengers are most like your family members.

Feel free to share those connections in the comments!

A perfect date night thanks to unlimited talk, text, and data/web

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Walmart Family Mobile. All opinions are mine alone. #MyDataMyWay #CollectiveBias

Perfect Date Night #MyDataMyWayI’ve talked before about how Walmart Family Mobile’s affordable plans help keep our family connected. It’s the only way we can juggle everyone’s schedules. With their unlimited talk, text and data/web plan, I’m able to use my data my way. And in the process, make a few memories with my wife. How cool is that? We live in some pretty amazing times.

Walmart Family Mobile store display #MyDataMyWay

The Walmart Family Mobile plan is extremely affordable and reliable. They also have a great selection of phones. Their Unlimited Talk, Text and Data service plan is only $29.88 a month* for the first line. This plan includes up to 500 MB of 4G LTE data. Their coverage is pretty great. You can check it out here if you don’t believe me. Access to unlimited talk, text, and data/web helps me plan and execute the perfect date night. That’s how I use my data my way.

To Do List #MyDataMyWay

With all the apps available for phones like the Alcatel Fierce 2, you can customize your data experience to fit your needs. I know a lot of people use their phones to play games, but my phone has replaced the old-school day timer and Personal Digital Assistant. So I like to use apps like Evernote or OneNote to write down my thoughts, save articles to read later, create to-do lists, and basically keep my life organized. As you can see, I have a notebook specifically for planning date nights. I probably have more ideas than opportunities to execute them, but that’s OK. It helps keep my creative juices flowing.

For one simple date night, Walmart Family Mobile’s lowest priced unlimited plans help me stay on track. I can use the data to search the web for a great recipe. For example, I found a simple one for shrimp scampi.

Shrimp Scampi recipe screenshot #MyDataMyWay

I can easily add the ingredients to a shopping list on my phone and head to a nearby Walmart to gather the ingredients that are not already have on-hand. While shopping, it is easy to double-check with my mother inlaw to make sure she’s still planning on taking the kids away for an evening. I can also check with area florists to see if they are running any specials.

Shopping Cart #MyDataMyWay

I can access a music service like Spotify or Pandora and listen to my favorite songs while driving to and from the store. Once I’m home, I can update my playlist to make sure the atmosphere for the evening is just right. And if I have any questions about how to perform a certain cooking technique, like deveining shrimp or how to properly place a table setting, I have that information right at my fingertips.

Date Night Music #MyDataMyWay

Using my data my way helps me get stuff done. It helps me keep track of what I need to do. It helps eliminate surprises so I can focus on what really matters: spending time with my wife and making memories with her.

Do you realize how far we’ve come in just a few short years? Think about it. In 1943, the chairman of IBM had this to say about the future of computers:

“I think there is a world market for about five computers” – Thomas Watson

I know. It sounds pretty short-sighted. And it probably was. Because 70 years later, computers are everywhere. But I can’t pick on just the chairman of IBM. I once said something that turned out just as myopic. It was at the beginning of the Internet revolution and a professor of mine declared that we were soon going to have computers in every room of the house, including the kitchen.

“You’re crazy,” I thought to myself. “There’s no way anyone would ever need a computer in their kitchen.”

Yeah. I was wrong. But in my defense, smartphones and access to unlimited talk, text, and data/web were only available in the realm of science fiction. But those dreams are now reality. Like I said, these are some pretty amazing times. I use my phone, which is really just a hand-held computer, in every room of the house, but especially in the kitchen. Using this technology to do what I can to sweep my wife off her feet: That’s how I use my data my way.

What’s your favorite date night idea? Leave your idea in the comments and inspire someone else!

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 link or your local Walmart for current pricing.

Connect with those you love with Hallmark Value Cards

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for #CollectiveBias and its advertiser. 

Hallmark Value Cards

While I have not been the greatest at keeping track of people’s birthdays and getting birthday cards sent out on time, I am a firm believer in the power of receiving a physical greeting card. Even the most simple of creative card ideas can communicate volumes to the recipient. In a world where technology can bring us together in the blink of an eye, the act of receiving a card can bring joy to someone’s face. I know this is true because it’s a key aspect to the story of how Christy and I fell in love…

Although we’d known each other for the better part of a year before making it “official,” Christy and I started dating at the end of our Sophomore year at Milligan. A few weeks later, I moved away for the Summer. To New Mexico. Living in the mountains. With limited access to the modern comforts of life. Including phones.

Don’t get me wrong. I loved my job that Summer. I worked with a phenomenal group of guys. It really was my dream job. But I was also head-over-heels crazy about Christy. She was constantly on my mind. I wanted to talk to her, to be with her, to share my life with her. So I did the only thing that made me feel connected to her while we were separated by half of a continent.

I wrote letters. I sent cards. If a telegram had been available, I probably would have sent one of those, too. Every time I thought of Christy during that Summer, I wrote to her. And she would write back.

We must’ve thought of each other a lot because we have shoeboxes full of cards, letters, and notes from that Summer. I firmly believe that the experience of practicing the art of letter writing gave us a solid foundation upon which our relationship could grow.

Writing a Hallmark Value Card for my wife #shop #CBias

Today, in the age of modern technology, we’re able to keep in constant contact with each other. If I think of something I need to tell her, I can just shoot her a text or a facebook message. It’s easy. But I don’t think this can replace the power of the written word. There’s something special when you can hold something tangible like a card in your hands. The connection you feel when you’re holding something that someone else wrote to you is almost magical. I’m definitely a believer in the power of even the simplest of creative card ideas. So I try to share cards with my wife as often as possible. I usually have a small stockpile of cards hidden away so I can give one to her whenever I feel moved to do so.

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That’s why buying Hallmark Value Cards from Walmart is so great. From funny to serious to everything in between, they have a wide variety of affordable cards so you can send your greetings for almost any occasion.

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At $.47 or $.97 each, these cards are tough to pass up. I recently went to Walmart to stock up on some cards because my reserve of cards had begun to run low. I also made sure to pick up the perfect card to send to my mom for her upcoming birthday.

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With prices like these, there’s no reason to wait for a special occasion to send someone a card to let that person know you care. But the value doesn’t stop there. The Hallmark Rewards Program includes a really cool app that allows you to scan the barcodes of the cards you’ve purchased. For every five cards you buy, you earn a free greetings card!
Hallmark Rewards app screenshot
How cool is that? Believe me. It’s super cool!

With the Hallmark Value Cards section at Walmart, you don’t have to wait for a special occasion to give a card to someone  you care about.

Be sure you check out and sign up for Hallmark Rewards to see great content from other bloggers. You can join in the conversation by using the #ValueCards hashtag on Twitter!

Celebrating the Power of Dad

Life lesson Keep your eye on the ball

Dad has taught me a lot of things over the years. One of the most important things, however, comes from the years he coached me in baseball.

Keep your eye on the ball.

Me the Little League player

That’s a pretty important lesson when it comes to baseball. But it’s also pretty important when it comes to life. Keep your eye on the ball. Focus on the things that matter.

Faith. Family. Friends.

Keep them front and center. Stay focused on them. If you do, your life will be full of joy. You’ll be rich in ways that most millionaires dream.

That’s what my Dad taught me.

Oh, and if you happen to catch a few fish along the way? Well, that’s even better.

I have tried to pass this lesson along to my kids. Keep your eye on the ball.

Dad was my baseball coach. I’ve tried following in his footsteps as a coach, as a mentor, and as a friend. I’m doing my best to pass along what he has taught me – especially when it comes to priorities. That’s the power of Dad, after all.

Faith. Family. Friends.

Keep your focus on them. And don’t forget to have some fun while you’re doing it.

Oral-B understands the influence that dads can have. And I’m happy to be partnering with them this Father’s Day. In a society where the impact of involved dads is getting short shrift, it warms my heart to see companies like Oral-B creating commercials like this. They truly understand the power of Dad.

See? Oral B gets it. They understand the power of Dad. And they’re even taking it another level. Oral-B has teamed up with March of Dimes and Eli Manning to honor dads everywhere. Pretty cool, right?

It gets even better, though. Since fatherhood is full of moments that make a dad smile, Oral-B wants dads to take care of their teeth. To help ensure that dads everywhere have healthy smiles, Oral-B is offering a special $7 off coupon for their Oral-B 7000 BLACK, their most sophisticated and technologically advanced brush yet. Not only is it engineered to perform, but it’s stylish, sleek, and precision-engineered, featuring 8,800 oscillations per minute and 40,000 pulsations per minute. It’s the perfect gift for the gadget-obsessed guy in your life.

Celebrate the power of Dad in your life this Father’s Day. Smile about the little things. Marvel at the amazing things. And remember to keep your eye on the ball.

Disclosure:
I partnered with Oral-B and Life of Dad, LLC for the #PowerofDad Father’s Day promotion and was compensated for my involvement.