Tips for Family Tailgaiting…Even When You Aren’t a Football Family (Giveaway!)

Thanks to Bojangles’ for providing gift cards for review and for giveaway. All thoughts and opinions are my own, as always! 

I was born and raised in Alabama, taught to be a fan of the Crimson Tide before I even knew what football was, and have participated in many a tailgate in my day.

And between us, the only part of it that I ever really cared for was the food.

We are deep into the tailgaiting season, but my family doesn’t have to miss out on the fun of it all just because we aren’t watching a game. We decided this past weekend to take advantage of the absolutely GLORIOUS weather in Chattanooga, and also take advantage of the Bojangles’ Tailgate Special. We loaded up our car with our family and our picnic basket, and let Bojangles’ take care of everything else.

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Bojangles’ is a regional quick service chain, so you may not have one in your area (check the locations to see if there’s one near you!). They are currently offering a great delicious way to get your family to the next tailgate, family reunion or picnic. We tried out the 12 piece meal that came with fried chicken, awesome biscuits, iced tea, and 3 sides. It also comes with plates, cups, napkins and sporks so that all you have to do is pick it up and you are ready! Word of advice, though: double check your order before you head out…we were missing cups and sporks which meant we had to swing back by our house because we didn’t notice before we left!.

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So…how was the food? It was SO good! Everyone in my family was quiet for the first 10 minutes of our picnic. No words were exchanged other than, “more biscuits, please!”


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Everything from full of flavor, and Tim and I both really appreciated the break from the kitchen. It made it really easy for us to have an afternoon of fun together with our girls.

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In fact, since we didn’t have to prepare or do dishes after our meal that afternoon, and since we were able to head to the park for a picnic, we were also able to do a quick change while we were there and get into our costumes, as a trick-or-treat event was taking place that evening at the park. We got great spots in the line because we were already there having fun! It was truly a fantastic day, and it was a good reminder to me to really take advantage of those days when the weather is just perfect, and that might mean that you need to leave the meal prep up to someone else. Bojangles’ is a great option, in my opinion!

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An Easy Way to Make Trick-or-Treating More Fun at Your House

#spon: I am in a partnership with Intel. Through this partnership I gain access to content, product, or other forms of value.

If you are reading this blog post, then you have some sort of a computer. Even those of you on mobile devices probably have something with a larger screen at your home. And if you do, then I’ve got a super simple idea to help you make all those little Elsas and other characters who show up at your house tomorrow night smile when you open the door.

Not talking about having candy, because I’m assuming that you’ve got that. Otherwise, you will have some seriously upset munchkins on your hands!

I’m talking about creating a fun ambiance without having to go spend $100 on decorations or even a costume for yourself (though bonus points to you if you have a costume! Kids love it when the grown ups dress up!).

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I’m bringing my Intel All-in-One (AIO) computer over to our front entrance area tomorrow night. It has a beautiful, large screen which makes it perfect for showing eerie photos. I actually downloaded this set of 15 spooky images and set my computer to show a different one every 10 seconds. My girls already love it and I know the trick-or-treaters will like seeing it in the background, too.

I’m also going to have a playlist of kid-friendly Halloween music playing. You can find great sets of music on Youtube and just minimize the page so that your eerie photos are being displayed instead of the Youtube page.

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And finally, I’ll dress up the screen just a bit by adding some spiderwebs for an extra spooky effect. Our computers are such an integral part of our lives; why not get them more involved in our festivities? :-)

My Intel AIO is the perfect device to move all over the house to wherever it can be put to best use because it is so easy to tote around. There’s no tower to connect it to, and no cumbersome cords. All you need is right there on the screen. I just love it! For more details about my experience with this Intel device, check out my Intel AIO review.

And if you’d like more information on Intel AIO products, definitely check out Intel All in Ones as they come in a wide range of options!

Turning the Tables on Hunger Starts with Something Simple: Share a Meal

Friends, could I ask for 4 minutes of your time to watch a powerful documentary short? Unilever Project Sunlight has just released it, and it showed me something I REALLY needed to see:

The face of hunger doesn’t always look like what we think, does it? A hungry child might be sitting right next to your own child at school, or might live in the house next door to yours. Hunger is penetrating every city and even every neighborhood. You can never be too sure about what other people might be going through, even if everything seems on the surface to be just fine.

When my family and I make donations to our local food bank, I try to involve my children as much as possible. When my oldest asks why we are giving food away, I explain it like this: everyone on this planet needs some kind of help from other people at some point or another. Maybe the help needed is money or food. Maybe it’s love. Maybe it’s a certain set of skills. Whatever it is, we all have to rely on others somewhere along the way. Right now, it’s our turn to give because we are able to do so. Tomorrow, it might be our turn to ask for help. I want her to understand why giving is so important, and I also want her to understand that the truth is, none of us are very many tragedies away from being in dire need.

I want to encourage you to take a moment to share a meal, in whatever form that might take for you. It might mean calling up your local food pantry and asking what they need donated. It might mean volunteering in a community garden, or even committing to teaching yourself a bit about gardening so that you can grow some of your own food, and also share your harvest with neighbors. It might mean getting involved in a great organization that works to end food deserts in communities, like the Junior League of Chattanooga (I’m so proud to be part of this amazing group of women!). We are partnering with other great organizations to ensure that people all over the city can have fresh produce. You’d be shocked to realize just how many people in most communities cannot get access to fresh fruits and veggies on a regular basis.

Or perhaps you can just commit to getting to know your neighbors a little better in the coming weeks. You may learn about some struggles that you didn’t know were going on, and then you may be better poised to help out in some way.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Unilever. The opinions and text are all mine.

Fun, Quick Treat Seek & Stash Game (Great Purina Prizes Up for Grabs!)

This post brought to you by Triad. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Stuff Parents Need.

Need a little afternoon pick-me-up? Switch gears by heading over to the #SeekandStash game and try your hand at slashing some ghosts while getting lots of Purina® treats in your bag. This cute game only takes a minute to play, but it’s a fun little distraction, and unlike Candy Crush and other online games, you might actually win something when you play this game!

 photo purinaseekandstash_zps4ce740fd.jpg I didn’t seem to have the magic touch when I played, but I’ll try again tomorrow. It only takes a minutes, it’s totally fun to swipe at those ghosts, and after all, doesn’t Miss Hattie deserve a special treat from Purina®? And wouldn’t mama love to win it for her?

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I’m actually headed to Walmart tomorrow, and since I know that Purina® treats are plentiful there and also quite affordable, I’ll just add them to my list. Everyone else in the house is getting plenty of treats this week with Halloween headed our way. I shouldn’t leave the cats out of all the fun! But maybe you’ll have better luck than me and get a FREE treat for your pets!

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New Books for the Charlie Brown Fans, Featuring Heroes, Explorers and Adventurers

Books provided for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own, as always.

Attention all fans of the Peanuts gang. Charles M. Schulz has just released a trio of books that help children learn about important figures in American history.

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The books each have a story involving the characters we all know and love, and a little bit of information about different figures in American history are woven into the stories (sometimes in a very seamless way, and sometimes it’s a bit clunky, though to be fair, it’s hard to work all that info into a short story!).

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At the back of the book, more detailed information on the 5 figures is highlighted so that kids can get a clearer picture of that individual’s importance in history.

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Of the 3 sets of books, the one I personally like the best is the Great Heroes book, because of the diversity of individuals highlighted. As a mom of girls, and as a woman, myself, I’m sensitive to opportunities to include women and their accomplishments, and I was pleased to see 3 of the 5 people profiled in this edition to be women who achieved great things (Rosa Parks, Clara Barton and Susan B. Anthony). In contrast, I was a bit put off by the Great Inventors book, as only 1 woman was profiled, and that woman invented the chocolate chip cookie. Now, let me be VERY clear…this invention was a gift to the entire world, to be sure. But the inventor of the cookie was a woman, and the inventions produced by men included the airplane, the telephone, the automobile and the light bulb. Seemed a little lopsided, in my opinion, and like an all-around poor choice for the one female inventor’s work to stem from the kitchen.

Still, it’s a nice set of books for any child who is starting to get into history, as the Peanuts gang helps introduce some pretty cool new characters in a way that is easy to understand.