(Giveaway!) I Found a (Safe) Home for My (Thousands) of Digital Photos

Thanks to The Motherhood and MiMedia for partnering with me to make today’s post possible. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. I only promote awesome, so get ready for a big helping of just that! ūüėȬ†
Where are your photos stored? If you are like most people, the answer is some combination of the following: in physical photo albums, on your phone, on your computer, on a computer that’s dead and that you need to revivie in order to collect those photos, on Facebook, on Instagram, on a cloud service of some sort, and on an external hard drive.
All of the above is true for where my photos live. This is nuts, because my photos are some of my most¬†prized precious possession. Not only is there no rhyme or reason to where I’m storing stuff, but also in many cases, these photos are currently at risk. All I need to do is lose my phone, for example, and most of the photos I’ve taken for the past 9 months would be gone, just like that. Why am I “organizing” my treasures in such a haphazard, and frankly, dangerous manner?
The answer is because I haven’t known what else I can do. Until now.
For the past few weeks I’ve been using a new cloud storage service called MiMedia, and I finally feel as though I’ve found the right home for my digital files. I understand the platform, I trust the platform, and I am VERY pleased with the performance of this platform that is designed to house all of your digital files (photos, videos, documents, and even music).
One of the fun perks of getting my photos uploaded to this service is that I’m¬†spending a lot of time rediscovering photos that were stored away but long forgotten. MiMedia has quickly and efficiently filed them away in chronological order for me. This makes it shockingly simple to take fun strolls down memory lane and find sweet pictures of my little ones when they were babies. Here’s a photo I just rediscovered over the weekend of my oldest, taken the first fall that we lived in Chattanooga. It was so fun to see this again!
MiMedia is also developing the ability to collapse similar photos. Sometimes I’ll take 5 or even 10 photos in very rapid succession. MiMedia will soon be able to recognize this and then collapse those together so that your viewing experience while browsing your photos isn’t compromised, but so that you can still easily closely examine those photos if you’d like. And on a related note, MiMedia will not upload duplicates, so no worries if you have the same photo stored in 2 or 3 different places now. There will just be one copy on MiMedia!
And since I do take a large number of photos, it was important to me to know that deleting photos from MiMedia is easy, and it is! If I upload 15 pictures of a recipe I made, which is not an uncommon thing for me to photograph as a blogger, I can easily delete 14 of them and just keep my favorite.
Another feature I love, love LOVE is how easy it is to share content privately. Sometimes I take the most adorable pictures of my kids, but I don’t want to put them on Facebook simply for privacy’s sake (especially if the kiddos aren’t fully clothed). Through MiMedia I have the ability to share with select persons. In many cases, they don’t even have to have an account to view what I have invited them to view. If they’d like to leave a comment on the photo, they will need an account but as you’ll learn about below, MiMedia has a free account version that will do the trick just fine! People you select can also get notifications any time you have new content to share. This is pretty much the best news ever for any friends and family (like grandparents) who might not live nearby but who love to keep up with you.
And speaking of comments, this is a feature I LOVE!!! You can capture the comments of friends and family on your photos right here on MiMedia so that they aren’t lost in the Facebook shuffle, only to be rediscovered when they pop up on your memories. Facial recognition is also on the horizon for MiMedia, so you could set up a filter, for example, so that any time a photo is uploaded of one of the grandkids, the grandparents get notified, and you don’t even have to remember to send them a link or even to tage the kids. Three cheers for making life easier, MiMedia!
The tagline for MiMedia is “the personal cloud you’ve always wanted.” After using the service for a few weeks, I would say that they are true to their word!¬†At a recent online briefing, I listened¬†to CEO Chris Giordano talk about why he as a parent with a digital mess on his hands created MiMedia and what his vision is for it moving forward. I can say with confidence that the people behind MiMedia get what’s wrong with digital storage now, and they get how to fix it, and they get the importance of continuing to listen to what would make it even better, and to innovating again and again. Already MiMedia is an amazing tool, and it’s only going to get better.
There are SO many great things about MiMedia, and I’m leaving out several things in the hopes that I don’t lose you by writing a novella here, but I’ve just got to tell you one more super cool thing: MiMedia is device agnostic! That means that if you’ve got an Android or an iPhone, a Mac or a PC (or like us, a combination) it doesn’t matter! MiMedia can work with whatever you’ve got! It also means you can access your photos (and other files) from any device, too. You are not locking yourself or those you share with into one format, which is awesome.
How to Get Started
If you’d like to test the waters with MiMedia before making a commitment, you can try the free package (not free for a certain amount of time, but honest-to-goodness FREE), which includes 10GB of storage. This is enough to store some combination of the following:
  • ¬†2,500 photos
  • ¬†125 videos
  • ¬†2,000 songs
  • ¬†10,000 documents
The Basic plan, which is what I have, comes with 500GB of space can costs $85 annually (or you can go monthly for $7.99). That amount of storage can hold some combination of the following:
  • ¬†125,000 photos (!!!)
  • ¬†6,250 videos
  • ¬†100,000 songs
  • ¬†500,000 documents
We have used up about 1/3 of the storage but we still have a fair chunk of uploading left to go from all our various sources. We are definitely going for the Plus plan next. It’s only $15 more a year at $100 annually (or $9.99/month) and you get 1TB of space, which is pretty much INSANE! That can hold some combination of the following:
  • ¬†250,000 photos
  • ¬†12,500 videos
  • ¬†200,000 songs
  • ¬†1,000,000 documents
Additionally, MiMedia is offering a very special perk to my readers who want to try MiMedia at any level. Use code THEMOTHERHOOD2016 at checkout  for VIP treatment. Anyone who uses this code is going to get special promotions, information on contests (storage space giveaways!) and exclusive access to try new features through an opt-in program as MiMedia continues to grow and evolve, day by day.
Win it! 
What a PERFECT Mother’s Day gift this would be! One lucky Stuff Parents Need reader will win the Basic 500GB MiMedia plan for a year!

MiMedia Personal Cloud Storage for a Year (500GB) ($85 value)

Be sure to enter my other current giveaways, found on the right sidebar of the blog page.

Babies and Toddlers at Legoland – At what age is it worth buying a pass?

by Alanna Peters

The first time I ever went to Legoland Samantha was about 3 months old. I knew we wouldn’t be buying passes anytime soon but, since I was fortunate enough to use¬†a friend’s guest pass, it was a great opportunity for me to see what Legoland¬†was all about. Even after that visit though,¬†I really had no idea at what age it would start being fun for her. We ended up going¬†back again on another guest pass when¬†she was somewhere around 15 months¬†old. That was it, guys. We ended up staying all day long¬†and absolutely loved it! She could only go on a couple of rides but, between those rides, the play areas and the water park, we had a blast. I took her occasionally over¬†the next couple¬†years, whenever friends had guest passes to share with us. I think a pass would have been a great purchase at that age but sadly it wasn’t in our budget yet.


Then I had a second baby. Again, I figured we would eventually get Legoland¬†passes but I still had no¬†idea when since I was still in the fog of adjusting to life with two kids. We tried it again¬†when Katrina was a newborn. That’s when things really got tricky! Samantha wasn’t big¬†enough to go on many rides by herself and I couldn’t go on them with her because I had an infant that couldn’t ride. I ended up sitting in the middle of the Land of¬†Adventure area while Samantha rode the same two rides over and over again, all by herself. (Of course she didn’t mind…but it wasn’t fun for me and didn’t seem worth the money. And that only worked out for us because it wasn’t a busy day at the park.) The water park was definitely the highlight of that¬†trip. Again, I couldn’t go on any slides¬†with her and she couldn’t swim on her own, but the wading area was perfect for her to splash and play in while I wore Katrina in a wrap. It was still very stressful for me though since¬†I wasn’t fully free to dive after Samantha in the case an emergency should happen. I decided it still wasn’t the time for us to get passes.


A year later, Samantha was turning 5 and Katrina was about 15 months old. I had a feeling this would be our year! We ended up buying Samantha (and me) passes for her 5th birthday and it has been WELL worth the money. We used the monthly pay option which is AWESOME, so we paid the down payment and were then able to split up the cost of the pass on a monthly basis. It has worked great for us, being on a limited budget!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

So, what do we do at LEGOLAND?

My kids are pretty tall and, at age 5, Samantha was definitely tall enough to go on several rides by herself. Katrina was also big enough to go on a few rides too! And of course, the water park was a huge hit for everyone all summer long.

Samantha is now tall enough to ride most of the rides at Legoland. Unfortunately, Katrina can’t ride all¬†of those rides or, if she can, we would need an additional¬†adult (or taller friend)¬†in order to ride with us. It’s great when we have¬†Daddy with us so we have one adult per kid, or at least one adult to stay with Katrina while the other goes with Samantha on a ride.¬†Now that Katrina has¬†hit the 36″ mark she is¬†able to ride more rides, but we still have the limitation of sticking to rides that allow two kids per adult.¬†Once Samantha hits 48″ she will be able to ride most rides on her own so our world of ride options will grow exponentially!


There are still plenty of things for us to do in the meantime though. Here are some of our favorite attractions¬†that we visit¬†on a regular basis when it’s just me and the girls. We still¬†regularly¬†ride the all ages¬†rides, and keep adding more as the girls get taller! We tend to start at the Explorer Island side of the park and move around clockwise. The attractions for the smaller kids are concentrated on this side, and as you get around to the other side you find more and more rides for bigger kids. There are definitely attractions for all ages spread throughout the park though!

All Ages (No height restriction to ride with an adult):
Fairy Tale Brook
Coast Cruise
Cargo Ace (Must be able to walk)
Mia’s Riding Camp¬†Carousel

Preschool (36″+ can ride alone):
Beetle Bounce
Dune Raiders
Cargo Ace
Royal Joust

Our Favorite 34″+ Rides That Require One Adult (or Bigger¬†Sibling) Per Child:
Safari Trek

My girls also love the play areas. Not only are there no size restrictions, but there are also no lines. Win/win!


1) The DUPLO Playtown is a big hit with the little ones. It’s the first play area we get to so we often stop there¬†for quite a while. It happens to be right next door to Heartlake City (mentioned below).
2) There is also¬†the Dig Those Dinos area in Explorer Island¬†for digging fossils…if you don’t mind sand. (Not my jam.)
3) Now that Samantha is a little bigger, she loves the Hideaway at Castle Hill. (Katrina and I love climbing on the wooden bridges and going through tunnels, too!)
4) Our other favorite is the Pharaoh’s Revenge in the Land of Adventure. The little kids love loading the cannons with foam balls and the big kids love blasting them while climbing through the play structure.

On warm days there are also splash play areas. And let’s not forget about the shows! I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve sat through the LEGO Friends show at Heartlake City. “Best friends forever, forever and ever…” anyone with me?!


We also love the SeaLife Aquarium for quick morning visits when I’m not in the mood for walking around the entire park, but I want to take the kids out for something fun. We usually breeze through it pretty quickly so I can get on with my day, but the kids feel satisfied that we got our adventure for the day.

There are SO¬†many other attractions than what are listed here – these are just our personal favorites! Check out the Legoland website for a full list of activities. I guarantee you’ll find something that your toddler (or big kid!) is interested in!

So to answer my initial question, at what age do I recommend buying a pass (or even making a one-time visit!)? It really depends on your budget and what you are hoping to get out of it, but I would say somewhere between 15 months and 2 years old is a great time for a first visit. If you live close enough to visit often a pass is great because you can go play for an hour or two and not feel like you aren’t getting your money’s worth. We’ve had our full-day Legoland¬†marathons but I honestly love our quick end-of-the-day one-hour visits even more.

We are super excited to check out the new NINJAGO World, which opens on May 5th.¬†And don’t even get me started on the Legoland Waterpark. I cannot WAIT for some warm summer weather! I’ll save our waterpark adventures for another post. Stay tuned, friends!



How I’m Getting Ready for Swimsuit Season

Disclaimer: I am sharing my own personal experience, but I am not offering medical advice of any sort. Please take great care when deciding whether or not to ingest essential oils, and if you decide to do so, carefully research the brand you choose. Please consult your physician should you have any questions or concerns. Essential oils have not been tested by the FDA.  Affiliate links included. I love promoting what rocks my world! 

I’m 21 days away from spending an entire week pretty much only in a swimsuit.

Yup. 21 days.

I prefer to spend my time daydreaming about how much fun my family is going to have and minimizing the amount of time I spend feeling uncomfortable about how my body currently looks in a swimsuit (it looks like it needs a lot more exercise, to put it simply). I’m not going to look like a cast member of Baywatch three weeks from now, but I am taking steps to shed a few pounds by making some healthier eating choices between now and then, by upping my water intake and by doing some exercises that offer maximum impact in mimum time.

Additionally, I’m making good use of my essential oils to help me feel energized and to offer support for healthy metabolic function. I have a pill I take every morning that makes a BIG difference in how I feel throughout the day (see ya later, 2 o’clock slump!), and for me at least, in how tempted I am to reach for snacks mindlessly. That might be one of the areas where this trio of oils that I use makes the biggest difference. I simply don’t feel as tempted to snack, which means I’m not loading up on pointless calories.¬†I wish I could credit my awesome discipline with my habit change, but I have no discipline when it comes to snacking. I’m a grazer, people. It’s what I do. So the whole not snacking thing is a pretty big deal.

swimsuit ready with oils 6

So let’s take a closer look at this powerhouse trio of oils that helps support a healthy lifestyle regimen and helps kick cravings to the curb! I take this trio of oils in a pill form, and I make a fairly large batch in one sitting to be efficient with my time. Here’s how it works!

How I Mix My “Swimsuit Ready”Trio


  • ¬†Young Living Lemon Vitalityessential oil
  • ¬†Young Living Grapefruit Vitality essential oil
  • ¬†Young Living Peppermint Vitality essential oil

(Here’s more about why I use and trust Young Living essential oils. And here’s a direct link to the website to purchase them, though we’ll talk more about ordering later on.¬†) Please know that I would personally never recommend ingesting any other brand of essential oil, and that 98% of essential oils on the market are not safe to be ingested. Putting something in your body is serious business, so I don’t recommend choosing something based on the cheapest price, folks.

The ratio of coconut oil to each essential oil is 2:1. So for every drop of essential oil, I need 2 drops of coconut oil. One capsule needs 2 drops of lemon, 2 drops of grapefruit, 2 drops of peppermint and 12 drops of coconut oil. If I were to make every capsule by measuring out each oil, I would want to hurt someone. But there’s an easier way! :-)
swimsuit ready with oils 4

Since I already knew the ratio of essential oils to coconut oil, I started measuring by glass dropper fulls of oils. In a small glass container I added 2 dropper fulls of lemon vitality, 2 of peppermint vitality, and 2¬†of grapefruit vitality (and a dropper full for me is when you put the glass dropper into the essential oil container with the top of the dropper squeezed, then let go so that it naturally fills…that point at which it fills on its own is 1 dropper full. Make sense?).

essential oils for weight loss 5

Now that my essential oils are all combined, it’s time to put them together in the amber vial. I didn’t make very much since I wasn’t sure if I would like it or not, but next time I will make a large amount so that I have my essential oil blend mixed and ready in this amber vial any time I want to make a new batch!

The next step is to heat the coconut oil to the point of melting. This time of year where I live, you can accomplish this just by putting your container of coconut oil outside for a bit (I believe the melting point is somewhere around 82 degrees). I don’t recommend using the microwave because many folks contend that the microwave zaps the health benefits of the oils. A stove top will work just fine and should not take long. No need to measure the amount of oil right now; I’ll do that when we add it. And whatever you don’t use you can pour back into your container, as it will become a solid again in a few hours. Here’s what melted coconut oil looks like:

essential oils for weight loss 3

Since coconut oil is solid at room temperature,  I did not add it to the essential oils blend that I put in the amber vial. That would result in quite a mess later on! So best to keep the carrier oil and the essential oils separate for storage.

swimsuit ready with oils 3

Now it is time to fill the capsules! I removed the small end of the capsule, and took the glass dropper and filled it with my essential oils blend. Each capsule should have 6 total drops of essential oils added. Then I took another glass dropper (I bought a set of vials and just borrowed one) and filled it with coconut oil. Each capsule should have 12 drops of coconut oil added. 

I was able to make 25 capsules with this amount of essential oils. I put the capsules in the freezer. I don’t fear them going bad, as Young Living essential oils (other than citrus) don’t go rancid, and even that takes a long time. It was more about safe keeping. Also? I think they go down easy when they are cold! But perhaps most importantly, I’ve learned that if the capsules aren’t frozen once made, they will quickly start to break down the veggie capsule shell and leak. So if you want to make a large batch ahead of time, freezing them is a must. The other alternative is to keep your essential oil blend on hand and make your capsules every day. The only pain point there is ensuring that you have melted coconut oil daily.

How to Order The “Swimsuit Ready”¬†Trio

The best way to get all 3 oils is by ordering the premium starter kit from Young Living Essential Oils. I can only speak to the effectiveness of Young Living Essential Oils. That is what I choose for my family! Lemon and peppermint essential oils both come in the premium starter kit, which I talk about in detail here. It is the VERY best value in the entire catalog, and purchasing gives you automatic wholesale customer status, which means you can order anything else for a 24% discount (now, later, whenever!). The grapefruit oil is not in the kit, but if you have a wholesale member discount, you can get it for $7.50 plus tax and shipping.¬†I also like to gift my new members a 15ml bottle of grapefruit oil (retail value $20.77!) when they sign up under me, so reach out if you’d like me to do that for you! :-)

If you aren’t ready to commit to the premium starter kit, I do offer folks new to Young Living the opportunity to try it out by joining in on the order I place for myself once a month. The downside to placing an order as part of my monthly order is that it will take a bit longer to get to you as it will ship to me first, and then come to you later. But I am totally happy to do it for you, if you like.¬†Email me at stuffparentsneed@gmail.com if you want in on my monthly order, or if you need help getting signed up as a wholesale member!¬†

Before I Commit, How Expensive Is It Per Capsule?

So glad you asked! I’m not a big math person, except for when it comes to figuring out how much stuff costs, and then I whip out the calculator with glee! $23.75 gets you 3 bottles of oils that each contain 85 drops of oil. Each capsule requires 2 drops of each oil. So you have enough oils in each container for 42 days of weight loss capsules, which is almost 6 weeks. This breaks down to just .56/day. I think that’s a smokin’ hot deal for a natural, drug-free source of support for your energy and your cravings.¬†Please note that this figure does not take into account tax, shipping or any other supplies you may need beyond the oils.

swisuit ready with oils 1

If you are looking to make a few lifestyle changes to help you feel more confident before you hit the beach or the pool this summer, I think you might really love what this trio can offer. Always keep in mind, of course, that essential oils are amazing, but not magical. They don’t take the place of making healthy choices like drinking your water, moving your body, and fueling up with good foods.

Dry Cracked Elbows: What Works to Eliminate Them

In the winter months, one of the parts of my body that seems to handle the colder temps the worst is my elbows. I know, seems random. But by the end of winter they are SOOOO dry and are often even cracking. It is nasty, but forgiveable because I can cover it up with long sleeves.

Today’s high is 84 degrees here, so as you can imagine, long sleeve weather is gone. I’ve tried every lotion in my cabinet on my elbows without success. I had some success using my essential oils, but had not completely healed them as of a few weeks ago.

dry cracked elbows 1

Zim’s asked me to try out their Max Crack Creme and since I had THOSE ELBOWS to contend with, I decided to go for it. Two of the main ingredients in this 100% natural product are arnica extract and myrica oil. I’ve never used either (to my knowledge) and I love trying natural products, so this seemed like a good fit. Nothing to lose but gross elbows, right?

I knew this product was a winner after my very first application, y’all.

dry, cracked elbow 2

The consisistency is much like the carrier oils I use with my essential oils (almond oil, avocado oil, jojoba oil, for example). You only need a small amount for each elbow. I typically apply it twice a day, though sometimes I forget an only apply it once. It absorbs quickly and for me, I could notice a difference in how soft my elbows were immediately. This particular line has a few different products you can try (including stuff designed for cracked feet) but the original liquid formula is my personal favorite. My elbows look totally hydrated and healthy, now!

If you have dry cracked elbows then you are absolutely going to LOVE Zim’s Max Crack Creme. The best part? The price! It retails for $6.99 (couldn’t find it at all on Amazon, but Drugstore.com currently has it for under $5! Buy 2 at that price, y’all)!

(Giveaway!) Small Changes Can Make Big Differences: The Supplement I’m Taking Daily and Why

This post was sponsored by Nature Made¬ģ as a part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central.¬†These statements have not been evaluated by the Food¬†and Drug Administration. The product is not intended to¬†diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any diseases.

I’m a maximizer by my nature, and that means that if I’m going to add something to my daily regimen, I need to feel confident that I can reap quite a lot of of benefit from it.

There was a period of time, for example, when I got off the maximizer path and started exploring all sorts of vitamins, minerals and supplements, purchasing random items here and there, until my daily pill box of wellnes supplements was too full to shut. And that’s when I realized that I was going about my “maximizing” of wellness support the wrong way by just adding more and more stuff. This, by the way, resulted in me skipping taking my supplements altogether because there were so many it made me feel kind of sick to take them all. Instead, I needed to cut way back on what I was choosing to take and focus on what would provide maximum benefit.

One of the pills that made the cut for daily intake was magnesium. Are you currently taking a magnesium supplement, friend? Let me share with you why I think it’s absolutely worth my time and energy to incorporate this supplement from Nature Made into my daily regimen.

Magnesium is a mineral that your body needs every single day, and that your body uses to help support all sorts of important things, like nerve, muscle and heart function, healthy bones and teeth, and converting food into cellular energy†. In fact, magnesium assists in over 300 metabolic functions in the body. So you are certainly getting a lot of benefit by incorporating some magnesium into your daily wellness regimen!

I don’t know about you, but every last item on that list sounds pretty darn important. In particular for me, I’m interested in helping support good bone health as I age, and my understanding is that magnesium is quite excellent for supporting strong bones!

nature made magnesium

I picked up a nicely priced twin pack of Nature Made Magnesium at my local Walmart. Nature Made is the #1 Pharmacist recommended supplement brand in 9 categories** and is the nation‚Äôs #1 best-selling brand for quality vitamins, minerals and supplements* to help support nutritional gaps. I love that Nature Made Magnesium is completely free of preservatives and artifical colors, as well. And the price is right at Walmart, for sure. No need to wait until there’s a sale!

Additionally, I learned in the last month that my beloved coffee can actually be a magnesium leach, so I have to be extra conscious of making sure that I give my body plenty of magnesium for optimal function. I’ve also cut back a bit on the coffee to further help ensure that the magnesium going into my body stays put! I’ve been swapping it out for¬†yummy spring water, making sure I have a few tall glasses of it (ice cold, of course!) throughout the day. These are small steps that I’m taking, but I know they are making a difference.

nature made magnesium 2

Do you have any health and wellness goals you are working on? Did you make some at the beginning of the year and get off track? I want to encourage you not to give up because there’s still more than half of the year left to make positive changes for your health. Every small step in the right direction counts, friends!

Nature Made wants to help you achieve those health and wellness wins, too, so be sure to check out the Daily Boost inspirations that can come straight to your email. It’s like getting a daily dose of Vitamin Do. :-) Signing up is free, naturally! You can also follow Nature Made on Facebook for additional health and wellness education.

I want to encourage you to do your own research and what support your body needs to function optimally. For me, that means taking Nature Made Magnesium and getting plenty of water in my body every day. It might look the same for you, or you might have some different health and wellness goals that you’d like to focus your efforts on. Either way, Nature Made can help you turn those goals into realities through their Daily Boost inspirations, as well as their product offerings, which you can find at Walmart.


Win it!

There’s a contest happening right now and I want you to get in on it before it closes on 4/26! TWENTY lucky entrants are each going to win a $50 Walmart gift card. This will be so helpful in jump starting your health and wellness goals or continuing on the path if you are already making progress in these areas of your life. See below for full details. Good luck! I-C will randomly select 20 winners from all program entries and will handle fulfillment of the winning prizes.

Nature Made Wellness 6

*Based in part on data reported by Nielsen through its Scantrack Service for the Vitamins Category for 52-week period ending 1/02/2016, for the xAOC Market. Copyright © 2016 Nielsen.

**Based on US News & World Report ‚Äď Pharmacy Times Survey, Nature Made is the #1 Pharmacist Recommended Brand in Nine Categories ‚Äď Letter Vitamins, Omega-3/Fish Oil, Coenzyme Q10, Flax Seed Oil, Herbal Supplements, Cholesterol Management-Natural, Garlic, Diabetic Multivitamins and Mood Health Supplements