A Mouth-Watering Taste of Georgia from Discover Our America

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Disclosure:  I received a free sample Discover Our America box for purposes of providing this review.

Have you heard of an awesome subscription box service called Discover Our America?  What?  You haven’t?  Well, you are in for a wonderful surprise!

Discover Our America is a subscription box service delivered right to your doorstep.  This amazingly cool service brings the traditions and flavors of each state for you to experience first-hand!  With this service, you will receive one Discover Our America subscription box containing 5-7 products from each state for you to savor just as my family and I did over the past several days!  Also included in this box is a booklet about each product as well as an informational booklet about the state itself. Now, tell me…isn’t this a GREAT teaching tool for kids?

The box I received was from the state I was born in and lived in from 1979-2004 – Georgia.  When I saw it was from my home state, I got very excited, and a little curious, to taste the products and experience my home state’s traditions and flavors once again. This box was FULL OF FLAVOR!

As a Georgia native, I couldn’t have been more pleasantly excited to try all of the products from my home state.  My family and I had such a great time tasting all of the products.  Here’s what was included in my Georgia Box:

Discover Our America Georgia

A pamphlet is included that describes all of the items included in the box

State of Georgia Informational Booklet

My box included:

  • Vidalia Onion Grits Bits
  • Blackberry Patch Peach Cobbler Jam
  • Southern Breeze Sweet Tea
  • Georgia Grinders Peanut Butter
  • Vinegar Barbeque Sauce, Georgia’s Sauce

Let’s start with the Vidalia Onio Grits Bits:

The Vidalia Onion Grits Bits were so good, my family and I devoured them in less than 30 minutes.  They taste just like cheese grits I grew up with in Georgia.  So good!!!

Vidalia Onion Cheese Grits Bits

And now for the Blackberry Patch Peach Cobbler Jam!

Blackberry Patch Peach Cobblrer Jam Net Wt. 10oz (283.5g)
Blackberry Patch Peach Cobblrer Jam Net Wt. 10oz (283.5g)

My wife and I were overwhelmed with how good this jam tasted!  She had such a great idea to stuff the jam inside a cupcake and the result was awesome!  Here’s how she stuffed it:

It wouldn’t be Georgia without Southern Breeze Sweet Tea, Ya’ll!!

Southern Breeze Sweet Tea

My wife brewed up some of the Southern Breeze Sweet Tea today and it tasted just like sweet tea should taste….and I should know, right?  We MAY have let our 2 year old have some??

Southern Breeze Sweet Tea

The Georgia Grinders Peanut Butter tasted so fresh!  I could tell such a difference from a product made local to Georgia vs other name brand peanut butter.  We tried some on pretzels, and of course, my kids had a PB & J!

Georgia Grinders Peanut Butter

And last, but definitely not least, the Georgia’s Sauce – Vinegar Barbeque Sauce

You can’t live in or visit Georgia without good old fashioned vinegar barbeque sauce!

Vinegar Barbeque Sauce

What better time of the year to use the sauce than tonight – Memorial Day weekend!!  So, I threw some chicken on the grill and then topped it off with the sauce.  The result was amazingly flavorful!  Yummy!

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Overall Review

Wow, wow, wow!  I am blown away at the quality of these products.  Being from Georgia, I came to quickly identify with all of the goodies in the box.  The Vidalia Onion Cheese Grits Bits were so good and were my favorite of all of the items in the box!  My family devoured them in a matter of minutes!   This box is so amazing!!  I highly recommend any family with kids in school to try the subscription to learn more about our great country and the great products that make our states wonderful and unique!   The Discover Our America box also makes a wonderful gift!

How Much Does Discover Our America Cost?

  • Subscription plans are $39.95 per month.
  • Plans automatically renew each month with the option to cancel for FREE at any time.
  • Shipping is FREE!
  • You can also order a single box without the subscription plan for $39.95, but this option does not include the free shipping.

Discover Our America Makes a GREAT Gift!

  • Options come in six, nine and 12-month durations

Check Out Discover America at the Links Below!

 

Why the “Terrible Twos” Aren’t So Terrible After All

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Hey guys!  So, we have a 2 year old in our midst now and only 5 days removed from the 2nd birthday and all of the wonderful things that go on with this cute age are starting to quickly present themselves!  You’ve heard that the age of 2 is also known as the “Terrible Twos,” but I’m going to talk about how I don’t think this age is terrible at all. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Kids are constantly learning.   They watch mommy and daddy, grandma and grandpa, kids at school, “role models” on television, and the list goes on.  Learning by mirroring others is something all of us do as humans, but it’s so much more prevalent in kids.

Two year old toddlers are still developing at such a rapid pace.  If you have more than one kid like I do, and those kids are older in age, it’s easy to get frustrated with a toddler who is screaming bloody murder, throwing things, writing on the walls, and throwing his food. These tantrums are most commonly associated with two year old kids so people often associate this age with the age that most tries a parent.  I disagree because I was once a teenager and am sure my parents were much more frustrated with me at that age than when I was a baby.

As parents, we should embrace all that this ages brings.  Especially for those of us who won’t be having any more kids.  Two is such a wonderful age to sit back and watch.  Our kids are going through so much development during this time and learning how to properly express himself or herself really becomes crucial during this age.

My two year old has most of the traits that a normal two year old has.  He throws fits, screams a lot, says “no” to everything, launches projectiles left and right, but I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.  We parents have the responsibility to help guide our kids to responsible output of behavior.  This includes coping with being told no. I think at this age, my 2 year old says no just for the fun of it.  If I ask him if he wants to watch Elmo or Teletubbies, I know he wants to, but he usually says “no.”

Yes, it can get frustrating as parents when a child runs off all over the place, starts screaming in a public location, or just simply acts like he or she needs an exorcism.  But, I don’t think these times could ever be called “terrible.” In fact, these are some of the most wonderful times in a child’s life. Our little man is learning how to experience his surroundings and how to deal with things just like we do as adults.  It’s fun to watch him grow and learn how to react to things.  The baby talk is starting to turn into more coherent sentences and he is learning how to ask for things using “please” and “thank you.”

Being a daddy of 4 kids, I’ve experienced some of the looks from strangers when my kids started misbehaving in public.  They give us the stare as if we dared to bring them out of the house.  As if I was going to keep them locked away from the world and prevent them from experiencing life.  Whenever I get those stares, I usually just ignore them.  If I don’t ever let my kids make mistakes and learn from them, they will never learn anything.  Let the stares continue.  I always think to myself “My kids are so beautiful these strangers can’t keep their eyes off of them!”

I’m grateful to have experienced 4 toddlers.  I wouldn’t change it for anything!  Twos aren’t terrible. They are wonderful!  They are “terrific twos!”  Do you have any experiences you’d like to share?  Let me know in the comments below!

Dear Kids

Dear Kids, Volume 17

Dear Kids,

I just love our weekends together!  We have so much fun!  This weekend was Cason’s last basketball game of the season!  He scored 10 points and his team remained undefeated!  I am so proud of you, Cason!  You are really blossoming into a wonderful basketball player! Carlee, you had a wonderful softball game last night!  I’m so glad that the weather was perfect for the game.  You had 2 hits and were so good playing catcher, 2nd base and center field.

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This weekend was your 2nd birthday, Cooper!  We started off going to Chuck E. Cheese’s, but was so crowded that we left and went to Magic Castle.  You love running around playing with the games!

Guys, this is the last week of school.  I can’t believe how fast time has flown by this year. You all have done such a great job and have learned so much!  It’s hard to believe it’s already summer time!  I look forward to all of the fun summer activities we have in store.

Have a great 3 days of school then it’s summer break!  I love you guys!

Love,

Dad

5 Helpful Tips When Traveling With Kids

Traveling with kids of any age can be a challenge.  With my big family of 6 – 4 of them kids aged 9 and under, traveling for us has now become an official art form.  I’ve listed 5 helpful tips below that I’ve discovered make a world of difference in traveling with kids. I’m interested to know if you have any other tips. If so, share away in the comments!

#1: Pack Plenty of Movies

Our van has the built-in DVD system and it gets used all the time.  If you have this system, you should know how much of a life saver it can be on long trips.  Just make sure you pack plenty of movies.  Sure enough if you pack 2 or 3, the kids will either have watched all of them quickly, or will have decided they don’t want to watch any of them. So pack a bunch! To be fair, let each kid have his or her own turn to pick out the next movie – and then change order on the return trip home.  Check out my earlier post on my 30 favorite movies to watch with my kids. This list will give you many good ideas on which movies are the best to bring along for the trip

#2: Pack Plenty of Snacks

Nothing is more frustrating than going 30 minutes down the road only to hear the kids say that they are hungry or thirsty.  We buy snacks especially for the trip and only hand them out at certain points in the trip.  If we know we are going to be in an area with limited good exits, we will limit the amount of drinks that we give the kids.  Pulling over to the side of the road for a bathroom stop just doesn’t scream safety. I recommend not getting sugary snacks as your kids will soon be bouncing around in their seats.  Get wholesome, healthy snacks that don’t make much of a mess in a car.

#3: Stop Overnight During Long Drives

We’ve always found that breaking up a long trip in half makes all the difference in happy kids vs screaming, exhausted and tantrum-throwing kids.  Plan an overnight stop in advance to help break up the trip.  We always like to book a hotel with an indoor pool so that the kids have a chance to stretch their legs and release some energy.  Everyone gets a good night’s sleep (hopefully!) and wakes up refreshed the next day ready to go the rest of the way.  Always pick a hotel where you can earn points, and one that has a free breakfast!

We have traveled with our kids to their grandparents’ house 8 hours away so much we have memorized which exists are the good exits and plan ahead to stop there.  They usually have the good restaurants nearby (because mommy needs wine and daddy needs a Manhattan after being stuck in the car). Another good idea is to stop in an area where other family members may live.  Stop by to say hi and enjoy dinner while the kids play.  If the family members let you spend the night, there’s hotel money saved!

#4: Know Where You Are Going

This may sound obvious, but never plan a long trip without knowing how you are going to get there. With modern technology of built-in GPS systems or Google Maps, getting lost can’t be an excuse any longer!  Most newer GPS systems can also navigate you around construction or traffic. The last thing you want is to be stuck in a long time of traffic with screaming kids! My preference is to stay on the interstates as much as possible because you have more options to stop for food, gas, restroom, etc.  Sometimes I’ll take a scenic route if I know the route well, or if there is traffic clogging up the highway.  Google Maps is EXCELLENT for navigating around trouble areas just by looking at where you are on the map and finding nearby roads. We navigated around a really bad traffic jam last year by using Google Maps which saved us at least an extra hour that would have been added to our trip!

#5: Bring Along Fun Activities

When my brother and I were kids, it didn’t take much to entertain us on the road.  Back then, we tried to make semi-truck drivers blow their horns, played I-Spy or read books. Today, kids have iPad, Kindle, and other electronic devices to keep them occupied.  If you are going to bring those along, DON’T FORGET BATTERIES AND CHARGERS!  Most newer cars now have plugs to charge devices.

There are also opportunities to play fun games as a family.  Be creative!  Pinterest is a great resource for fun ideas and impromptu games that make road trips more enjoyable!


As we gear up for the summer travel season, may your travels be FUN, RELAXING and most of all, MEMORABLE!  Have a great summer!

Check out some of my other travel-related posts!

My Fascination With London

My Fascination With London

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I had the opportunity to travel to London when I was 14.  That was nearly 23 years ago! Ever since that trip, I have been fascinated with everything to do with London.  I LOVE the architecture, the people, the food, the way of life – everything!  I will often watch movies solely because they are set in London.

My goal is to be able to take my whole family on a long vacation to London so that we can all experience what I experienced 23 years ago. The price of airline tickets make it nearly impossible for a family of 6 to be able to afford to fly. So, it’s a long-term goal requiring a lot of planning and saving.

London can be very touristy at certain points of the year – particularly during the summer. Be prepared to wait in line and fight crowds to get to where you want to go. I’m more interested, for the second time around, to explore less-traveled sites in the city. I want to experience pubs (was too young to drink in 1994!).  I want to take a drive outside the city and explore nearby areas.

1994 Trip to London

Flashback to 1994.  I was 15 and about to embark on my first trip overseas with my family. I was a little nervous as it would be my first flight.  We flew out of Atlanta direct to London – Gatwick Airport.  Once we arrived, I could barely contain myself with excitement.  I was about to step foot on foreign soil for the first time and experience the magic and wonder of London.

My parents decided it would be best to rent a car rather than take public transportation. Boy, was this a mistake!  This was before the age of the smart phone and GPS, so my parents were trying to navigate from the airport to the hotel.  Needless to say, my dad forgot that cars travel on the opposite side of the road as what we do here in the USA.  We ended up going the wrong way around a roundabout.  Luckily, my younger brother had the camera rolling!

We finally arrived safe and sound at our hotel.  Imagine, if you will, a family from the South trying to speak to the hotel receptionist who probably had never heard of a Southern accent before.  Heck, I can’t even understand it now that I’ve lived away from it for 12 years!  We found our room and quickly decided to get something to eat.  Since London time was 5 hours ahead of Georgia time, we tried to accustom ourselves to the new time zone and headed out to explore the city.

Throughout the week, we saw Big Ben and Parliament, the Tower of London and the Crown Jewels, Buckingham Palace, Wimbledon, Westminster Abbey, and Windsor Castle.  These world-renowned landmarks were AMAZING to see in person.  TV only does them so much justice.  You absolutely MUST make it a goal to see these amazing buildings in person! We also spent nearly a full day in Harrod’s – something I’ll NEVER forget!

Although things look similar to the way they do here in the USA, many customs and daily ways of life are vastly different.  Don’t go into a fast food restaurant expecting them to know what sweet tea or “refills” mean.  Take a dictionary with you. Although English is the primary language, it is filled with different words with different meanings.  Example:  Mail (USA) = Post (UK).

The people of London were so friendly and accommodating!  Asking for directions, general questions, getting advice on where to eat were all so simple to do in London.  You must take a double-decker bus ride through the city!  It is amazing!  If you have the opportunity to make British friends, do it!  They are extremely nice and welcoming!

Whenever I get the opportunity to make a return trip to London, I can’t wait to be able to take my wife and kids to the sites that I visited along with making new memories at places I didn’t get a chance to see last time.

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