The Final Countdown

Aug
2016
26

posted by on Uncategorized

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Here I am, 90 days away from my #FlatBy40 goal. Want to know how I’m doing? (you have to keep scrolling). Well, let’s just say the summer was a stalemate. I maintained, which is really good for a girl who has been up and down with her weight most of her life. Maintaining means that, I landed square in the middle of a plateau. No scale movement at all – so frustrating!

I didn’t blog when I did it, but I created a new Instagram Page to post all my health and fitness stuff and to document my journey. On that page a follow a ton of health professionals.  For me, I have e-met some of the most helpful people in the Instagram community.  So many people are willing to give advice,encouragement and share their stories.  I took the advice of a few strangers who willingly gave me some tips to get off my plateau.

  1. Drink all the water.  For real, as much as you can without living in the bathroom.
  2. Do less lifting.  If you know me in real life, I LOVE weight lifting, so doing less of an exercise you love seems counter intuitive, but it was effective.
  3. Do more cardio.  Specifically Fasted Cardio (google it)
  4. No bread or pasta.  Here’s why: the order that your body uses your food. It burns sugar, carbs THEN fat.  So, if you are eating sugar and carbs all the time, you never get to the stored fat. Simple, but hard to do.

That advice helped kick me off my plateau.

*Warning Naked Stomach Pics Below*

 

 

 

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This, my friends is where I started about a year ago, when I decided that Flat By 40 was the goal! This is post 50 ponds lost, but still yikes!

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Um, yeah. It doesn’t need a caption…

Here is where I am now.

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(Judge me if you want. Yes, my counters are covered with junk.  I didn’t really plan on posting these publicly.  They were just for my documentation, but I wanted to share my honest journey).

The “after” is better, right?! But not there yet.  My stomach is not flat and I am honestly not sure that it will be in the next 90 days, but I am going to work my ass off to get there.  I don’t know that it can be flat again with out some type of surgery. If stretching it out 3 times with babies, gaining 50 plus pounds each time I was pregnant wasn’t enough, getting to almost 300 pounds probably did me in.   I know I still have weight to lose and maybe when the weight goes down, the stomach will flatten and tighten more.  Maybe I will need skin removal surgery or maybe I will just live with it.

I have a specific plan for the next month of this journey, so look for another blog with an update on 9/26 and if you are on Instagram, you can search the hashtag #FlatBy40 to keep up with me!

Balanced Cravings

Jul
2016
30

posted by on activities, Give a Way, Mommy Blogger, review

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The following is a compensated post.  All thoughts, words and opinions are 100% mine.

You guys know I’ve been making a lifestyle change with my weight and fitness, but I find it hard to stay on track sometimes because of my hectic schedule.  I either do not eat all day and then get to the point where I am starving, so I grab the first thing for a quick snack, which is usually a candy bar.  I usually try to go from work to the gym, but don’t want to eat a meal before my workouts, so…

I was really excited when I was given the Balance Bars to try.  The original flavors come in full-size and for the first time, the new flavors come in mini bars. The 4 new flavors are Chocolate Caramel Peanut Nougat, Chocolate Peppermint Patty, Dark Chocolate Pecan Turtle and Dulce De Leche & Caramel.  If you know me in real life, you know I love dark chocolate, so the Dark Chocolate Pecan Turtle is my absolute favorite!  

When you are changing your lifestyle, a lot of times, you feel like you need to deny yourself anything sweet.  Instead of getting that candy bar that has been so easy to grab, I can now eat my chocolate in a balanced way.  On the way to the gym, if I grab the Almond Brownie, it has Fiber and Vitamins, so my brain gets the food it craves and I can snack smarter. 

Balance Before Yoga

Balance Before Yoga

Each bar is nutritionally balanced, 190 calories or less, contains 5-7 grams of protein and 5-6 grams of fiber. For me, between work and the gym, when I want to grab something quick before I workout, the Balance Bar is my new go to. Since I can get them on Amazon, I just add them to my cart when I order my coffee – so convient (read anything I can do to make my life easy)! 

Balance on the Go

Balance on the Go

GIVE AWAY!!! I’ve partnered with Balance to give you a change to #CraveFreely

To enter the giveaway:  Leave a comment at the bottom of this blog post.

Prize: 1 6-pack box of Balance in  Chocolate Caramel Peanut NougatChocolate Peppermint PattyDark Chocolate Turtle orDulce De Leche & Caramel varieties. ** I cannot guarantee flavor preference**

The low down on Balance Bars: Founded in 1992, Balance Bar®, one of America’s original nutrition/energy bars, offers the right ratio of ingredients and nutrients that are formulated to help keep you in balance, delivering the nutritional benefits to help you enjoy today while looking out for tomorrow.

For more information on Balance Bar products, visit www.BalanceBar.com.

Follow Balance Bar® for tips and nutritional information on Facebook® (www.facebook.com/BalanceBar), Twitter® (www.twitter.com/BalanceBar) and Pinterest (www.Pinterest.com/BalanceBar).

posted by on activities, Back to School, event, Mommy Blogger, review, summer

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My summer break has come to an end, as I headed back to my full time school gig this week. Fortunately, we had a chance to get in a weekend staycation at the Sheraton in Kansas City!

We checked in and headed straight to the roof top pool. The kids splashed and played for hours. If we weren’t planning to eat at the food trucks later, I would’ve taken advantage of the food and beverage delivery service that you can get at the pool.

Poolside Chill

Poolside Chill

Every summer Friday night, Crown Center features food trucks and movies on the big screen. This week’s movie was The Avengers, perfect flick for my 6 year old who loves super heros. Before the movie starts at 9pm,you can shop with vendors, but some glow in the dark fun items, eat and drink via the food trucks. Bring your chairs or a blanket and find a spot in the courtyard to catch the movie.Waiting for #Avengers to start

Sheraton is doing a cool thing for kids staying at the hotel, called “The Great Indoors”. They bring ‘s tent, sleeping bag and directors chair for the kids. Tent Life You can take full advantage of the camping experience with S’mores cupcakes and milk. The chef delivers them to your door, so you can enjoy the camp experience (without the bugs)! Note: be sure to order your S’mores an hour before you want to enjoy them, to give the chef time to create this fabulous spread.

S'mores

S’mores

My kids ate their S’mores and tucked in their tent for the night.

Morning brought gorgeous views of the city and breakfast buffet at The Brassiere.

Views

Views

Fueled and ready for the day, we headed to the Westin Kids Club for some crafts and games. Such a cool room for kids of all ages to enjoy. Children 8 and over can stay with the Kid’s Club attendant. Younger children need to be supervised by an adult.

Westin Kids Club

Westin Kids Club

A quick visit to Crown Center, a re-visit to the Mr. Potato Head exhibit and a little shopping to finish off our weekend staycation.

The Sheraton & Westin KC will definitely be our go to spot for a staycation and to recommend to out of town guest. Once you check in, you really don’t have to go anywhere else. Shopping, kids activities like Sealife Aquarium, Lego Land, Kalidescope and lots of food choices all in one place. IMG_20160723_111752

First Time Soccer

Jul
2016
06

posted by on activities, fitness, Mommy Blogger, review, summer

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My youngest (who is 6) has been asking to play a sport. This is his first time showing any interest in sports at all, other than watching his big brother. I wasn’t really sure where to start, since he isn’t really much for doing things without me. I mean, he stayed at home with me until kindergarten and there were days that I wasn’t sure we would survive his first school year with the puddles of tears he cried. 

Since there isn’t really a Mother/Son team, I started looking for something for first timers.

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I found Challengers Sports. This program was perfect for a nervous kid(and Mom). It is a beginner camp, not a team and pretty ideal for what we needed. When we arrived, I quickly realized that it included all ages angel and both boys and girls. They were also new to soccer.

Each participant received a size appropriate ball and a Tshirt upon arrival(included in the camp fee) . You could also purchase a jersey for an additional cost at sign up.

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The coach was friendly and welcoming, checking kids in and learning names. After checking in, the kids headed down to the field to get warmed up. All of the parents stayed and watched.IMG_20160627_190252

They did some drills, learned skills, played games and even did a little match at the end and this was just day 1!

I was very impressed not only with the coach’s knowledge, but how great he was with the kids. My son got a little hot and tired and started to cry. The couch was very patient and helped him calm down. He still wasn’t quite ready to rejoin the group, so I sat at the edge of the field until he was. The coach returned to run the camp and my son rejoined and jumped right into the game they were playing.

I think for a first time sports experience, this is a great option. It is just a week, everyone in the camp is new and the instructors are great for that. If you’re looking for a starter camp or intro to sports, check out  Challenger Sports for more information.
*Disclosure:my camp fee was waived as compensation for this blog post. All writing and thoughts are 100% mine.

 

 

Focus on Love

Jun
2016
30

posted by on beauty, Dating, Love, Relationships

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If you know me in real life or follow me on social media, you’ve gathered that I’ve found love again. 

What you may not know, is that I’ve been writing a book.  It started as a divorce survival journal, but it’s morphed into a journal about love, self love, hope and healing.

In fact, the opening reads,

 You broke me. I was broken into so many you pieces, I didn’t know how to make myself whole again. I thought it was truly the end.  What I didn’t realize is that the light could shine through my broken pieces. All of my pieces, now show light.  Thank you for helping me find my light.”

I decided to change the course of the book because I didn’t want my story to be about divorce or survival, I wanted it to focus on love.  Maybe because I’m more aware and open, but I see several of my friends finding love again, getting engaged for a second time and discovering that loving themselves is the fastest way to bring healing into their life.

There is this confidence that comes when someone truly loves as you are. It makes you want to be the best version of yourself. Not for them, but for yourself. Because you can see yourself through their eyes and maybe,  for the first time see how amazing you are. 

Love yourself, just as you are, even if you’re broken.  Let someone love you, just as you are, even if you are broken. I have realized that I didn’t need to be without pieces to let love in.  That love, just like light could come through the brokenpieces. b8d7cd42-9f1e-4d17-b0d1-11a8fdbeaa8b

posted by on activities, event, Mommy Blogger, summer

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It’s summer, you’ve heard I’m bored about a million times. There’s 7 weeks, 2 days and 12 hours until school starts… Not that I’m counting. Here’s a list a free stuff to do in KC to pass the time.

Marble making demo and Moon Marble Company. The kids can even learn how to shoot marbles and take a few home. Demos are usually given Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 10 or 10:30.

Cabela’s Fly Fishing Class
Saturdays from 2-3pm
Cabell also has Family Outdoor Adventure day, July 9th from 10-2

Saturday Evening Concerts at The Legends
Every Saturday at 5:00 until the end of July.

It goes without saying that the Nelson-Atkins Museum is a KC treasure and it’s free! It is closed Monday/Tuesday. Wednesday 10-5. Thursday/Friday 10-9 and Saturday/Sunday 10-5.

Scheels mega sports store in Overland Park. 16,000 gallon aquarium, Ferris wheel and more.

Kidscape at the Johnson County Museum. 6305 Lackman Road. Kids can play dress up, be mayor for the day and see the suburban streetscape design.

Crown Center Events:
The adventures of Mr. Potato Head exhibit is free 11-6 and goes every day until Labor Day.IMG_20160621_203030

Kalidoscope is free as well, visit www.hallmarkkaleidoscope.com for times.

Weekender on Friday nights from July 8-August 5 starting at 6. Local bands, food trucks and Free Flicks under the stars.

After a visit to Crown Center is the perfect time to stay parked a day ride the new Street Car. You can catch it across the street and ride it to visit the City Market.

Cool Off at a Spray Park: Here is a list of spray parks, be sure to check the recommended safety rules for each park before you go.

Kansas City Missouri Spray Parks:

Harmony Park: E. 10th St & Agnes Ave.

Jacob L. Loose Park: W. 52nd Terrace & Summit Ave.(Closed Wednesdays.)

Sunnyside Park: W. 83rd St. & Summit Ave.

Longview Tract: 7107 Longview Rd.

Golden Oaks Park: N.E. 46th Street & N. Antioch Rd.

Garrison Square: E. 4th St. & Forest Ave.

Central Park: Linwood Blvd & Bales Ave.

Nelson C. Crews Park: E. 27th St & Michigan Ave.

Douglass Playground at Grace Williams Nicholl Park: 2632 Jarboe St.

Independence Missouri Spraygrounds:

McCoy Park: 24 Highway & N. Delaware

Rotary Park: 24th & Hardy

Grandview Missouri Spraygrounds:

John Anderson Park: 4701 E. 135th Street

Liberty Missouri Spraygrounds:

City Park: 970 S. Highway 291

Ruth Moore Park: 401 N. Morse

Kansas City Kansas Spraygrounds:

Eisenhower Park: 2901 N. 72nd St.

Heathwood Park: 10th & Parallel Pkwy

Pierson Park: 1800 S. 55th St.

The Money Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank is an experience that even your teen will like. It is also free and open to the public. Here you’ll watch millions of dollars in currency being processed at KC’s Federal Reserve Bank and see an impressive collection of coins. Walk-in and guided tours are available and all guests undergo a security screening. If you are over 18, you’ll need to bring your ID. Call 816-881-2683 for more information.

The Cave Spring Historic Site and Nature Center has over 36 acres of wildlife and native plants with walking trails, wildlife habitat, pond and a small cave for kids to explore. Amazingly enough, it’s in the middle of the city. Location: 8701 E. Gregory Blvd. Hours: 9 am to dark every day. The Nature Center is open 10am-4pm Tuesday-Saturday. The Center is free, but small donations are excepted.

Attend a free family fun night at Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop (Thursdays, 6:00-8:00). Enjoy a different theme of 1860s living history each week. FREE admission, stagecoach rides are $3/person ages 3 & up, some activities require an extra fee. 2016 Themes:
June 23 – 1860s Construction, June 30 – 1860s Mad Science, July 7 – 19th Century Fireworks, July 14 – Civil War, July 21 – Hit the Trail, July 28 – Kansas Wheat Harvest.

Head to the KC Power & Light District for Sprint Family Fun Days event the second Saturday of each month.

Twelfth Night at Shakespeare in the Park (For its 24th season, the Festival will present Twelfth Night; or, What You Will, Shakespeare’s hilarious romantic comedy set in romantic Illyria. The play explores love, loss and reunion along with ambition, madness and gender reversal — all with lots of humor. The production dates are June 14 – July 3, 2016, Tuesday – Sunday at 8:00 p.m. Signed performances for the hard of hearing will be Wednesday, June 22 and Sunday, June 26.  Festival admission is donation only).

Take a tour of  The Roasterie and learn about coffee. (this one may be just for me)!

Hike at Ernie Miller Nature Center.

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Visit the free National Archives of Kansas City and explore their free exhibits.

Build a free project at Lowe’s or Home Depot. Both offer free workshops on select Saturdays.

Explore the Central Branch of the Kansas City Library, because any library with a parking garage painted with classic books has been named one of the coolest libraries to visit in the country!

Take a free class at Burr Oak Woods Nature Center.

Imagine you’re in the Wild West at Antioch Park in Shawnee, Kansas with an old town set up.

Enjoy summer break, they will be back to school in no time!

posted by on Children's Mercy Hospital, event, Mommy Blogger, teens

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As you know, I’ve partnered with Children’s Mercy to showcase all of the wonderful things they do for children in KC and beyond. CMH Logo

Recently they introduced the “Small Change – Big Difference” campaign and I am taking this opportunity to teach my children about giving back.
Children’s Mercy has had a long history of the community helping by making donations. More than a century ago when the hospital’s founding sisters, Dr. Katharine Berry Richardson and Dr. Alice Berry Graham, wrote a list of needs on a chalkboard in front of the hospital. Neighbors and businesses donated everything from blankets to apples.

Although what it takes to operate a hospital has evolved in the last century, the Children’s Mercy mission and the need for community support remain the same. Every single dollar, every blanket, every toy, every well wish makes a big difference in the life of a child.IMG_20160617_104601

The Small Change – Big Difference campaign is an easy way to give back with the Power of a Piggy. For $35 online (or $30 at special events), you can purchase a bank to take home, fill up and start a new family giving tradition. Your small change can make a big difference for kids in Kansas City.

Recently, the piggy bank tagged along with me to the Big Slick press conference to see the how the celebs give back.IMG_20160617_102424

The Big Slick weekend is one of the hospital’s biggest fundraiser, but you don’t have to be a celeb to help. My children each got a piggy bank and every time we come home from an outing, they take all the change from the day and add it to their banks. Once they fill up, we will donate the change to Children’s Mercy – I will have updates on drop off locations soon, but the bank is yours to keep so you can keep refilling it! My kids are looking forward to when the bank fills up and they get to do something for kids who are sick. Not only does it teach them the importance of giving back, it also teaches them to be grateful for how healthy they are.IMG_20160617_104628

You can purchase a piggy bank for $35. Decorate it, fill it up and start a new family giving tradition today. Learn more about the Small Change – Big Difference Campaign .
I’d love to hear how you are encouraging your kids to give back. Use the #smallchange hashtag on social media to share your giving back tips.

The campaign website also gives you information on upcoming events at Deanna Rose Farmstead where Children’s Mercy will be on-site to share the Small Change – Big Difference fun:

Saturday, June 25: Fishing Tournament
Saturday, July 30: Chicken Run
Saturday, August 13: Safety Day

Visit the Children’s Mercy Mom’s site for more helpful content.  Connect with Children’s Mercy on Facebook  or Twitter for more everyday parenting tips.

Kansas Girl

Jun
2016
17

posted by on activities, event, Mommy Blogger, review, summer, teens

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I’m a Kansas girl, born and raised. I’ve lived within a 30 mile radius my whole life, but last week I learned about parts if KCK, they I didn’t know about.

A few bloggers headed out on a tour and first up was the Agricultural Hall of Fame.

IMG_20160606_103355It is full of so much history. Persevered farm house, kids learn and play area as well as their own bee hive.IMG_20160607_221441

The property has a barn, that’d be great for a wedding and a train! Needless to say that the train was my favorite part!IMG_20160606_105336

We loaded up and headed to Moon Marble Co. 2016-06-06 11.43.34What a cool place, full of vintage toys and a marble play area, where kids can learn how to shoot marbles.

IMG_20160606_122108We watched a demo of how the marble is made, learned how Moon Marble came about and we got to pick out a tube of marbles to take home!

Pretty hungry by then, so we we off to lunch at T-Rex Cafe.

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The food was good, reasonably priced and the portions were as big as the dinosaurs.

We walked off lunch with a fun scavenger hunt at The Legends. You can also download your own on their website and choose your level of difficulty. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone, but the wall behind me may or may not be a clue!IMG_20160608_215607

Cooled off with Coldstone, which is just one of the many stores and restaurants you can visit.IMG_20160606_144436

After a short rest, we spent the evening at the T-Bones baseball game. The park is ideal for families. Most tickets are priced below $10 and with their various promotional days, you can really get up close and personal. IMG_20160606_184920Kids can run bases, meet players on the field and see fire works. Checkout their schedule for specific promotional days. It is definitely family fun – well done!IMG_20160606_194830

With so much stuffed in our day, it was almost time to call it a night, but not before we grabbed our families and checked into the Great Wolf Lodge for the night. The kids jumped in their suits and headed in to the water for some fun! The indoor Park has something for all ages and sizes.IMG_20160606_171729 There’s even an outdoor swim area and miniature golf that is open through the summer. My kids could’ve spent a week there, but they made the most of their night. Magic quest2016-06-06 21.42.23

dance parties2016-06-06 21.18.19

and stories under the clock before bed. With all the water fun, they were sound asleep by 9:30!

Giod thing they got some rest, because we conquered Schlitterbahn the next day.IMG_20160609_141843

So, I am a chicken, there, I admit it! I did not ride the world’s tallest water slide, but loved seeing (and hearing) the other bloggers take it on! If thrill rides are your thing, then this is the place to be. 264 stairs up and then 15 seconds down!

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Be a useful I’m not a thrill ridder, I spent most of the day in the wave pool with my boys,while the girls did the slides. We floated around the park on the lazy river and the Rapids. You can ride around the whole park and never get out of your tube! We will definitely make a trip back before the end of summer.IMG_20160607_150947

I was so impressed with all the fun things you can do. Take a visit to Kansas City, Kansas , you will not be disappointed!

Love Springfield

Jun
2016
02

posted by on activities, event, holiday, Mommy Blogger, review, summer

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We went and we did – We love Springfield! We checked into the Holiday Inn Express – Springfield  and before I could sit down, the kids were changed and headed to the pool.  Indoor and heated and just the right size.  My littles had the pool to themselves majority of our stay and enjoyed every second of it.  They were also supper excited about the free breakfast each morning.  The staff was so welcoming and accommodating when I needed to change my reservation.  Lots of families staying there, it was close to all the attractions.  I will definitely put Holiday Inn Express on the top of my list for our family travel.  After their swim we picked up a quick dinner at Braums – one of my favorite places to eat, less than a mile from the hotel and since we don’t have it in Kansas City, we went there a couple of times while we could! sgf1

After our free breakfast the next morning, we headed to the Dickerson Park Zoo  and it was amazing.  Small, but in all the best ways.  sgf10

The animals were close and easy to see, there weren’t huge crowds to fight and space to walk around, but not so much that you felt like you had to walk through Africa to see the animals in Africa.  The trainers were around and willing to answer questions.sgf17  We timed it just right and had a chance to see Patience the elephant do a few tricks and take a bath.  All of the kids at the exhibit even had a chance to give her a treat.  sgf12

The peacocks were roaming free and put on quiet the show.sgf16

My favorite part, by far, was feeding the giraffes.  They are such beautiful animals and being able to be that close was great experience. sgf13

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We only had a few days, so after the zoo we headed straight to Fantastic Caverns.  We learned a ton of history, like Missouri is the Cave State and that this is the only drive thru cave in America. sgf5

It was a much needed cool down in the 60 degree caves after walking around the zoo and a few drips of water from the formations took the kids by surprise.sgf6 sgf8The tour took about an hour and guess what?! There is Starbucks coffee before you board the tram! Oh,yeah! That totally made this tired Mom’s day. At the beginning of the tour, you take a group pic and you can purchase at the end of your tour for a souvenir (notice the coffee in my hand). sgf9

Cleaned up and headed to dinner.  Lambert’s “Home of the Throwed Rolls” is not to be missed! We had a 40 minute wait (it was Memorial Day) but boy was it worth it. Honestly I can taste the butter and molasses on the rolls right now as I type. Soooo good! sgf7

Back to the hotel and of course, back in the pool they went for our last night.  Before we left town, we made a quick stop by Askinosie Chocolate and it smelled amazing!!! We were a little to early to tour the factory, but we got lots of samples and it’s the best dark chocolate I’ve ever had! They have a really cool story and how they support the farmers that their cocoa beans come from.  “100% traceable from bean to bar.”chocolate

Before we got on the highway to head home, we stopped by Bass Pro.  It’s one of the many free activities you can do in Springfield.  If you have a kid who loves fishing and hunting they will be amazed at the super store! sgf14sgf3sgf15This trip to Springfield is what I call a 1 tank trip.  From where I am in Kansas City, it took just about 2 1/2 hours to get there.  It’s an easy all highway drive, with plenty of rest stops on the way, but hopefully you won’t need to stop.  You could also make it a day trip and just go to one of the attractions, dinner and head home.  The kids and I are already planning a trip back before they go back to school in August. If you go, you will LOVE Springfield!

posted by on Mommy Blogger, review, summer

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Ever wonder what happens to the boy bands that you were obsessed with as a pre-teen? Well, from my view point it looks like NKOTB have found new life – on a boat! Yep, a boat of all things.  Pop TV is following the boy band on their sold out cruise and you can see all the fun on Season 2 of ROCK THIS BOAT on Thursday, June 9th at 8:00pm, ET/PT. This season, fans will get up close and personal with the addition of 360 degree and virtual reality video.  Live performances from the band’s perspective, selfies with Donnie, surf lesson with Joey and Jonathan and more.

Over the past eight years since reuniting, the ever popular NKOTB has played to countless sold out arenas and since brought back their wildly popular cruise, which first set sail in the 90s, as an exclusive experience for their fans. NKOTB bandmates, Donnie, Danny, Joey, Jordan and Jonathan, make the cruise one of those can’t miss annual experiences with up-close and personal interactions with fans, theme parties and special live music performances.  With numerous sold out tours and multiple #1 hit songs, the band’s annual party cruise has sold out eight years in a row!

Check out the trailer and see just how close you are getting to NKOTB on ROCK THE BOAT – SEASON 2!

Seeing this brings back ALL the memories.  Singing into my pretend microphone, learning every dance step to “Hangin’ Tough” and wishing I could go on tour with them.  I can’t wait to check out the show and relive my teen days…maybe even torture my daughter while she watches me dance!

 

 

*Disclosure: This post was sponsored by the Role Mommy Writer’s Network.  All opinions are 100% my own.*