Love, Juliebug: July 2014


Kid's Academy is all about helping children learn verbal, writing and math skills in an easy and fun manner. Apps such as 123 Tracing and Bingo ABC have been top-50 educational apps in the App Store, and Kid’s Academy has also brought the well-known stories and nursery rhymes The Three Little Pigs and Five Little Monkeys to life with interactive apps. The simple interfaces of the apps allow children to take the reins and play on their own, but the sing-a-longs and other activities are perfect for parent or teacher engagement, as well. Research has shown that singing along with nursery rhymes has cognitive and physical benefits for children. Not only are children learning new words and the context in which to use them, but strengthening tongue and mouth muscles at an early age will help with pronunciation skills.






Kids Academy is hosting an awesome giveaway!  Head over, download the app, and write a review in the App Store.  At the end of August, Kids Academy will randomly choose 2 lucky winners who will each win a $100 Amazon gift card!  Sweet!

CONTEST RULES:
2. Write a short honest review on the iTunes App Store. If you have already reviewed this app, simply update your review and you will be entered!

Good Luck!
We finally managed to drag ourselves out of the house today. I had forgotten how horrible it feels to be home bound for so long...like in winter. Abby was sick. I'm still not sure what was going on. She had a fever of about 103 degrees for 3 days straight. Poor girl. 
Today we celebrated her wellness by going to play at the new bounce house in town and getting a membership at the YMCA. Believe it or not, I didn't take any photos. I know! This coming from the woman who photographs nearly everything. What can I say, I'm out there living life. It feels good. That's not to say I'm putting away my camera...oh no! I just maybe don't need it every moment.
The bounce house is brand new (maybe 1 1/2 weeks old) to town and everyone loves having someplace nearby to take their little ones to jump around getting energy out. Do you have anything like that near where you live?


Welcome to the Back to School in Style Sweepstakes

I'm so happy you have found our giveaway. We have joined up with Mom Powered Media to bring you an awesome sweepstakes. How often do you find a giveaway with 10 winners nevermind with one thousand dollars in gift card prizes? All of us parents will have to deal with back to school at some point. My own daughter is going into Kindergarten this year. Time flies! 

Mom Powered Media wants to show you how much education means to us and the future of our wee ones and are personally sponsoring a Target and American Eagle Gift Card!

Aloetree is a brand new organic children’s clothing line with a mission to give back to kids and raise funds to prevent child trafficking. This clothing line is not only gorgeous and perfect for any little one in your life but it has special characters that tell a special story of a different eco-system and unique and positive quality.
Rachel Florio-Urso is the Founder of Celebrity Baby Trends, a Television Producer, On-Air Personality, CEO of Rachel Florio PR and a Mother of six as well as a humanitarian that loves to give back. Rachel is an expert in the Parenting industry and knows what's hot for tots and their family. We {HEART} Celebrity Baby Trends and you will too!

Ibiley Uniforms & More celebrates the sense of community, education and progress through the development of refined dress codes for your organization! At Ibiley, you can find high quality, comfortable and easy to care uniforms, corporate wear, scrubs and more! Serving customers nationally make sure and check out their fantastic selection!

The Ultimate Green Store provides a collection of many of the finest environmentally friendly products for you, your home, office, kids and even your pets! The Ultimate Green Store carries products from many of the world’s leading manufacturers and designers of sustainable, natural, organic, recycled, eco-friendly goods- products that are made with your health and the health of our planet in mind.

Yala is about making simple, elegant clothes from the heart, for the planet. Living well is always in style. Proudly welcoming the dreamers, the believers and the seekers. Come stand with us. Facing the warm sunshine. True clothes you can live in. Elegant. Sustainable. Comfortable. It's that simple.


Forever 21 is the authority on fashion & the go-to retailer for the latest trends, must-have styles & the hottest deals. Shop dresses, tops, tees, leggings & more. Now also carrying plus sizes!



Tea Collection carries the best modern, designer children's clothing for babies, girls and boys in sizes newborn to age 12. Kids and baby clothes for little citizens of the world. Shop their worldly collections today.


Gymboree has been dressing children since 1986. The brand's fashionable clothing and accessories are designed and crafted to withstand rugged play while letting kids be kids in outfits they love to wear. Gymboree currently operates more than 600 stores in the U.S. and Canada, as well as an online store at www.gymboree.com.

This BTS event was organized by Mom Powered Media and special guest Conservamom. Stop by and say hello to our co-hosting bloggers: Monica's Rants, Raves & ReviewsMy Mommy BrainFinger Click SaverBarbara's BeatMemoirs of a Clueless WomanA Medic's World and Iowa Mom.

Ten winners will receive one of the following $100 Gift Cards: Aloe Tree, AMEX, Ibiley, The Ultimate Green Store, Yala Designs, Forever 21, Gymboree, Target or American Eagle.
Giveaway ends August 19 at 11:59pm, open to US and Canadian residents, ages 18+. Excludes Quebec. Only one entrant per household, per address. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. Enter using the giveaway form below. Good luck!



Disclaimer: The participating bloggers were not compensated for this post. No purchase is necessary to enter. One entrant per household, per address. Void where prohibited by law. Winner(s) will be contacted by email and have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. The sponsor(s) will be responsible for product shipment to winner(s) of this sweepstakes. This event is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by, or associated with, Facebook and/or Twitter, Google, Pinterest. Contactteri@mompoweredmedia.com if you have any additional questions or comments.


Abby has started using big words. Things like "perhaps". It makes me giggle to hear her use words like that. I think of her as a baby so often but there are moments that scream "She's growing up!!" and this is one of them. The other day she even said, "Would you be a dear and put my flip flops in the closet?" Dear? Where does she get this stuff? She cracks me up.

Once a year we have a festival in town called Frontier Days. It's a big one - 9 days or so - and makes this city feel more country than it is already. Horses, parades, cowboy hats, boots, buckles, bulls. Oh, and did I mention a carnival? Yes! 
Now, I am not huge on rides for a couple of reasons. The first is I tend to get dizzy very easily as it is. Secondly, I've always been too large for the majority of the ride restraints. Painful to admit but it's true. I'm all about letting the light shine on the painful stuff now. Or, trying to be all about it anyway. I don't even get in lines anymore due to being turned away at the last minute or trying to stuff myself into a restraint and having to admit defeat. Note: I'm on the road to changing that part of it. Thank the Lord.
The other day we went to the carnival. Seeing the joy on Abby's face was precious. I wish I could have actually captured it. She's such a joy. Also, she was beyond brave. After riding some kiddie rides, like a small roller coaster, she looked up and said she wanted to ride the swings. You know, the swings that go up in the air spinning around and around. Those swings. I tried to tell her they might be too grown up for her. Nope. Cause the thing is...she is tall enough for any ride in that place. Honestly, she's not even quite six yet and she is at 48 inches tall. So, this happened.

I'm not sure I breathed the whole time she was up into the air. My friend and I watched her face intently. It seemed that every other time around she was smiling. The off times she looked unsure. I thought I was going to have to calm down an upset child when the ride stopped. Instead, she ran toward me and hugged me telling me 'Fun, fun, fun!" Um, wow. She is so much more than five right now. She really is almost six. She's growing up despite my desire for her to stay small. 
Later that night we went back to the carnival with my husband. He was shocked at her braveness too. In fact, she was braver that night than earlier. This child wanted to go on this.


And, she did with her Daddy. Not Mommy. No, Mommy learned  her lesson a long time ago about this ride. So, she rode it bravely and did not like it at all because it was too high. It's not the height that bothers me near as much as the sudden drop.
One of the things I have always hoped is that our daughter wouldn't act like I did as a kid. I was the shy child trying to impress everyone. The child who got picked on and left out. The child that was afraid of everything and worried all the time. So, I love that our daughter's braveness is coming through. Love it. 
I have officially hit thirty pounds lost. This is more than I've ever lost. Seriously, ever. It's a great feeling. I can finally see the light. I have a way to go to where my goal weight is. However, I have never, in my adult life, been at a "normal" weight so I'm not sure how low I truly will end up going. I want to be healthy, not a certain weight. I want to be fit. Strong. 

My husband and I went on a date last night. It was impromptu. We saw Brad Paisley, thanks to his boss. This was a show I truly have been wanting to see for years. He looked amazing in his Wranglers, cowboy hat, and boots. I dug a pretty plaid shirt out of the closet that hadn't seen daylight in a long time. It was gaping at the buttons last time I tried it on. I wore it last night and it was loose. I wore a cute denim skirt that used to be stretched across my belly tightly. It too was getting loose well, while standing more than sitting. I like this feeling. The concert (and date) were so much fun!


Oh, and just a reminder, if you are losing weight you should go through your clothes (namely underwear) every so often before wearing them. Otherwise, you may be in public with your knickers falling down. Waaaay down. Don't ask me how I know. Just take it on faith. ;)

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See the full review at The Stuff of Success. And right now you can win your own Custom Canvas Print from CanvasHQ by entering the Giveaway Tool below. Must be aged 18 or older to enter and reside in the US.  
Disclosure: The prize sponsor will send prize to the winner. The Stuff of Success and this blog are not responsible for prize. If you have any question please send an email to thestuffofsuccess@gmail.com. All entries are optional, if you do any of the tasks you can collect the entries.

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Welcome to the Strider Sport Balance Bike Giveaway! 
Hosted by: Momma Lew Co-Hosted by: A Life In Balance 

Do you have a child who is struggling to learn to ride a bike? Did you know that a Strider Sport Balance Bike can help a child as young as 18 months learn to ride a two-wheeler? You can read Momma Lew's review here to find out all about this great bike to help your child gain the balance and confidence they need!

One lucky reader is going to win their own Strider Balance Bike (ARV: $119) in the color of their choice! To enter, follow the steps in the giveaway form below. This giveaway is open to US residents, 18+, one entry per household. Giveaway will end at 11:59pm on 8/6 EST. Good luck!

  Disclosure: Momma Lew and participating bloggers are not responsible for prize fulfillment. Participating bloggers did not receive any compensation for this giveaway. If you would like to have your product featured in a giveaway such as this, email Momma Lew at reesa@mommalew.com
The winner has been selected and emailed for the RIO 2 giveaway. I am just awaiting a response so check your emails! The winner is....

Kathryn S.

Please contact me asap at lovejuliebug (at) gmail.com because you have 48 hours before a new winner is chosen. Congrats!! 

To everyone else, keep your eyes peeled for more giveaways and fun content!

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Although I'm fairly certain the phrase is catching on, I thought I should share what I mean by "dating my husband". The hubs and I were married for 11 years before Abigail came along. We had lots of alone time. Lots of sleep in time. Vacation time. Time in general. Then, came this precious girl who we adore beyond belief. She is a sweet, funny little time sucking machine. I wouldn't change it for the world. But, we all know that kids change things. 
I think it's important to set aside time to spend just with your hubby. It's more than letting him know you still love him. It's about reminding yourself why you still love him. When you spend time together doing anything you see each other clearly again. 
Some people have date nights once a week, once a month...whatever works for you! My hubby has a new job keeping him busy, as well as ministry that we are both involved in so date night is not as frequent as I'd like. Here are some things that we try to do:
1. Schedule it. Just like you would a doctor's appointment. Keep that appointment or there will be penalties in time. 
2. Put your phone down. This is hard for us to do, I'm not gonna lie. We have those darn cell phones glued to our fingers and eyes. But, I want him to know he is more important to me than this text or that game or Facebook even! Because he is.
3. Alternate on who plans the date. That way you are both getting to do things you love to do. Unless, of course, you love to do the same things all the time...not likely in my opinion but I could be wrong!
4. Try to talk about something other than bills, kids, or work. There have been nights where we didn't stick to this and the evening was just another stress. That's the last thing you need!
5. If you can, try to have a night away from the kids every once in a while. A whole night. One night where you don't have to worry about someone walking in your bedroom. One night where you can stay up late with your honey without fear of having to wake up early. 
These are just things that we try to do. Would you add or take away any of these? 
I think I underestimate my daughter. They say that kids are always listening and that must be true. Today we were using our Wii Fit and Wii Sports for fun and exercise when she dropped a word bomb on me. "I need to keep exercising because I'm fat." Ouch. She is five. 

I don't remember using that word ever but clearly she has connected the dots somehow. I can't tell you how much that hurt my heart. Yes, she is 63 lbs but she is also 47.75" tall at just under 6 years old. She's a solid, tall girl. I told her she is not fat and asked her why she said that. To which she simply jiggled her belly in her hands. 

Another ouch. Honestly, I wasn't sure what to reply. So I simply said that we are eating better and exercising to be healthier. It's the truth. I can't tell her I haven't worried about her weight. That would be a lie. But, now that we are eating differently and exercising more, I am less worried. 

I haven't talked about my weight loss journey much so far. Partly because I wanted it to be real. I wanted to know I was sticking with it before sharing it with the world. I feel I can safely say that now. I am at a loss of 28 lbs from my highest weight. More than that, my attitude has changed about myself, my relationship with food. My energy is up. We are walking 2 miles at least 3-4 times per week.

One reason, of many, that I am excited for these changes? Seeing these new habits taking root in my daughter.



It seems like every day I get an invite to one of those parties. I make it sound like a dirty word, don't I? To be fair, it's not always the same kind of party. Oh no, we've got an abundance of choices; Pampered Chef, Scentsy, Tupperware, Perfectly Posh, Origami Owl, Tastefully Simple, ItWorks Wraps, Noonday... 


It's not that I hate these companies or their products. In fact, I love some of them quite a lot. I have a necklace from Origami Owl, lots of Pampered Chef products in my kitchen, and Noonday jewelry in my jewelry box. My problem is the sheer volume of them. I have about 400 friends on Facebook (which is another matter entirely) so if even half of them have a party & invite me, I'm screwed.

#1 I don't have the money for this stuff. Ever. Especially now that we are eating healthy. Those fruits and veggies can be costly! If I bought something from every party - well, let's face it, I couldn't! I can't be the only one who has this issue. In fact, I know I'm not! 

#2 It feeds my materialistic side. Most of us struggle with this but I really do. I begin to want, well, everything! I don't have the house or budget (see #1) for that. And, on that note, do we really NEED this much stuff? Am I the only one who buys things I need only to be getting rid of it at a yard sale a year or two later?

#3 It seems to be the only time I see these people. This makes me sad. I have a lot of friends and acquaintances that I want to see but life gets in the way. Honestly, how can we have time to plan a party for one of these companies and not have time to grab coffee and chat? One word. Priorities. I'm one of the worst offenders of this. 

Now look, I don't want to be uninvited to every party or be blacklisted for being a party pooper. I'm also not saying that people who choose to do these parties are bad in any way. All I am saying is...let's have a little balance. I don't know, have a party for the sake of friendship (and wine) instead of exchanging dollars for products every once in a while.


**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

A Summer Pairing: Necklaces and Necklines with Stella & Dot


A sunny day and a road trip in a convertible, lazy afternoons and a shady hammock… some pairings are just obvious, but when it comes to fashion, trying to find the right style, as well as add your own personal touch, gets a little more complicated. Check out the summer style suggestions from the stylists at Stella & Dot, where pairing the right necklace and neckline is fun! Meeting your boyfriend's parents for brunch on Sunday? What about that navy strapless sundress with the Stella & Dot Sardinia Pendant ? Heading out to the summer concert series in your spaghetti tank? Rock it out with the Stella & Dot Medina Bib Necklace. Bangles, bracelets and bold earrings… whatever your style, and with all of your summer wear, Stella & Dot has put together everything to make sure that you are the hottest thing out there this summer. 


Welcome to the Blue Man Group Giveaway!
Hosted by
Disclosure: Blue Man Group invited My Best of Both Worlds to be their guest and experience their awesome show. the tickets were provided compliments of the Blue Man Group in order to facilitate a review. No other compensation was provided in exchange for this publication. All opinions expressed are true and my family’s own. The blogs that are participating in promoting this giveaway have not been compensated.

My Best of Both Worlds is super excited to host the Blue Man Group Giveaway!!!
One lucky reader will win a family four pack of tickets to see the show in New York City at The Astor Place Theatre.   Haven't seen the show? You can read my review of the show Blue Man Group is a Must See Show!
Blue Man Group is a Must See  

You will really ENJOY the show!
Your family will be all smiles like mine was!
  The Blue Man Group  
This giveaway is open to US & Canada 18 year and older. The giveaway ends on 8/2/14 at 11:59 pm. A winner will be randomly chosen, once the winning entry has been verified, an email notification will be sent to the winner from My Best of Both Worlds. The winner will have 24 hours in which to respond to the email to claim their prize. If there is no response within the 24 hours another winner will be randomly selected then verified.
The prize will be sent via US postal mail. By entering this giveaway, you release participating blogs and their owners from any liability whatsoever, and waive any and all causes of action, related to any claims, costs, injuries, losses or damages of any kind arising out of or in connection with the giveaway or delivery, mis-delivery or acceptance of any prize.
GOOD LUCK!!
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If you are interested in having My Best of Both Worlds
review or promote your products or services~
please contact Kathleen@mybestofbothworlds.com
Disclosure: Blue Man Group invited My Best of Both Worlds to be their guest and experience the show in order to facilitate a review. No other compensation was provided in exchange for this publication. All opinions expressed are true and my family’s own.
The blogs participating in this giveaway received no financial compensation of any sort in exchange for this publication and they are is not responsible for prize shipment. This event is in no way associated with, sponsored, administered, or endorsed by Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google, and any other social media are not affiliated with this posting or giveaway. This disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.


Rio 2 is flying to DVD and Blu-ray on July 15th!

Get ready to shake your tail feathers! Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment takes you deep into the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest for the most fun you’ll have all summer, as RIO 2 debuts on 3D Blu-ray, on July 15th. The cast of the animated hit comedy Rio returns — along with a new flock of all-star voice talent, including Bruno Mars, Kristin Chenoweth, Andy Garcia and more — in this high-flying sequel for the whole family. Rio 2 is entertaining, and just as educational. Although Blu is originally against visiting the Amazon, he soon realizes all it has to offer! Here we will take you through some fun facts and also, common misconceptions about the Amazon!

1.      The Amazon covers A LOT of the earth’s surface. The Amazon in Brazil covers 3.5 million square kilometers out of the 6.5 million that is the entire Amazon.


2. Anteaters, like Charlie, have tongues that can be as long as two feet!



3. Another name for a Blue Macaw is a Spix’s Macaw.



4.  More than two-thirds of the earth’s living species come from the rainforest.




5. Dart Frogs, like Gabi, can be very tiny. They are sometimes less than 1.5 cm.


What animal would you most like to see if you visited the Amazon?

Personally, I'd love to see any monkeys especially the Capuchin Monkeys. They are so cute! And now, on to our giveaway! One lucky reader will receive a copy of RIO 2 on Blu-ray combo pack, which has both the Blu-ray and DVD in it! Oh and don't forget to download your FREE printable coloring pages and activity sheets HERE.

**THE WINNER HAS BEEN PICKED AND ANNOUNCED HERE.**



As a Fox Home Entertainment Insider I often get things to share with you all. This time it is in the form of FREE activity and coloring pages for the new movie Rio 2! This fun movie will be released on Blu-ray & DVD on  July 15th. So, below I have them linked for you. Simply click on the link to go to a download page and enjoy! And, keep your eyes peeled in the next day or so for a GIVEAWAY related to the movie!
COLORING PAGE 1
COLORING PAGE 2
BACK 2 SCHOOL LABELS & STICKERS
FINISH THE LYRIC ACTIVITY SHEET
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