Friday, April 20, 2012

Big Bob Discovers Dog Toys


My recently adopted greyhound is discovering toys for the first time. Racing hounds aren't given toys in the kennels. So this really is his first time having toys of his very own and its taken him a few weeks but he is finally starting to realize they are kind of fun!  Its like having a 95lb puppy...


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

$1 Frozen Yogurt at Cowlicks!



To celebrate its one-year anniversary, Cowlicks Yogurt & Floats offers one-dollar yogurt at both Atlanta-area locations on Tuesday, April 24. From 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., guests can enjoy a sweet treat as Bella celebrates one year of sweet success. As a thank-you to the Atlanta community, Cowlicks’ friendly mascot invites families to create their favorite yogurt treats, with all the toppings, for just a dollar.

Big Game Brands, formally Raving Brands, announced the newest addition to its ever-growing family of concepts, Cowlicks Yogurt and Floats, in April 2011. The self-service, frozen-yogurt-and-float concept features a variety of frozen yogurt flavors, premium toppings and favorite fountain sodas to offer countless customizable combinations.

Since its inception, Cowlicks Yogurt and Floats has evolved to meet the needs of its community by developing family-focused programs, including story times, movie nights and more. Cowlicks also offers unique catering options to suit any occasion from bat mitzvahs to pool parties and beyond. For those special days, birthday parties at Cowlicks Yogurts and Floats provide fun ways to celebrate. With affordable, personalized options, onsite birthday parties offer bottomless toppings, endless fun and more.


WHAT: Cowlicks Yogurt & Floats One-Year Anniversary Celebration. Guests can enjoy their favorite frozen treats for $1 at Bella’s first birthday bash.

WHEN: Tuesday, April 24, 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

WHERE: Cowlicks in Vinings
               2460 Cumberland Parkway
               Atlanta, GA 30339
               770.433.9008

               Cowlicks in Dunwoody
               1100 Hammond Drive
               Dunwoody, GA 30328
               770.913.0190




For more information, please visit www.cowlicksyogurtandfloats.com

Monday, April 16, 2012

Meet Bob. Just Bob.

This is Bob:

Bob is a retired Greyhound formerly known as Bob's Stay. We decided to stick with Bob. Just Bob. It suits him.

Bob is a big boy. Big even as a Greyhound.


He is the most gentle dog I have ever seen. A true gentle giant.


Bob is also lazy. 

Very Lazy.

He has quickly become a big part of our family though. You can't look at his sweet face and not fall in love.

Bob came to us from the races in Birmingham, Alabama by a rescue organization called Southeastern Greyhound Club (aka SEGA). I found them through one of my close friends (Thanks, Lisa!). You can read more about Greyhounds and why they make such amazing pets on her blog and "meet" Bob's buddy Ari. 

If you are thinking of getting a dog, please adopt. I highly suggest a Greyhound but if they are not suited to your situation, try your local animal shelter. There are so many loving animals out there that just need that second chance.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Alive! Expo (Win Tickets!)


Alive! Expo is coming to Atlanta! At the Georgia World Congress Center April 28th-29th, Alive! is a one weekend, two day event that is packed with interactive demos, live health lectures from industry leaders, workshops, and kids activities that the whole family can enjoy! Each year over 25,000 Atlanta consumers attend the Alive! Expo to learn how to integrate health and wellness into environmentally responsible, green living and to create a positive impact on the world as a whole. Attendees get a chance to experience all the newest and best natural, organic, green and eco products for your home and their entire family, even the pets!

Each year Alive! Expo events draw over 300 national and local companies representing many industries including:
  • Natural & Organic Foods
  • Natural & Organic Personal Care/Natural Beauty
  • Vitamins & Supplements
  • Alternative & Herbal Medicines
  • Natural & Eco Pet Products
  • Green Home & Eco Household Products
  • Eco Fashion & Accessories
  • Books/Videos
  • Sportswear
  • Health/Fitness/Gyms and Yoga/Pilates Studios
  • Natural Spa Products & Services
  • Recycled Products & Environmentally Friendly Products
  • Hybrid & Electric Cars

Among the exhibits, the show additionally features:
  • Healthy Cooking Demos
  • Interactive Fitness and Yoga Demos
  • Live Lectures by Industry Experts
  • Eco Auto Showcase and Test Drives
  • Metro Atlanta Farmers Market Showcase (New!)
  • Free Massages
  • Free Health Screenings
  • Kids Eco Fitness Center "Recycle on the Run" with Ovie Mughelli, Atlanta Falcon Fullback
  • Healthy Food Sampling & Cooking Competition and Wine Tasting (in our VIP area)
  • PLUS you can Buy & Sample Your Favorite Natural Products and Receive Free Product Samples

Alive! Expo also benefits a charity organization called Project Green whose mission is to protect green space in the Southeastern United States, as well as a "Back to Basics" Summer Camp to benefit underprivileged children and teens.


The expo is at the Georgia World Congress Center and will be from 11:00-7:00 on Saturday and 11:00-6:00 on Sunday (VIP is 1:00-5:00 both days). The tickets are available for purchase on the Alive! Expo website. Adults are $10 for a one day general admission pass. VIP passes (21 and up) are $25 for one day and include alcohol and food sampling in the VIP area. Active duty military as well as 16 and under are free.


*Attendees are also being asked to consider bringing a donation of four or more non-perishable food items.*

Want to win a pair of tickets to this years Alive! Expo? Just use the Rafflecopter entry form below! Good luck!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Day Out With Thomas: Mystery On The Rails Tour 2012!



Its almost that time again! Last year, we headed up to Chattanooga to the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum to have a fun and exciting "Day Out With Thomas" and this year we are doing it again! The boys are so super excited to see their big blue train friend again!

This year we are going to help the No. 1 engine find the clues and solve the mystery! Thomas the Tank Engine™ is pulling out of the station for Day Out With Thomas™: Mystery On The Rails Tour 2012! Presented by HIT Entertainment and sponsored by MEGA Brands, a leading toy company, Day Out with Thomas is a fun-filled and exciting way for children and adults to enter the world of Thomas & Friends.

Of course our favorite part past year was getting to ride Thomas the Train but the boys also had a blast exploring all of the super cool activities set up for us to enjoy as well! Day Out With Thomas provides an opportunity for kids to take a ride on a 15-ton replica of Thomas and have their pictures taken with Sir Topham Hatt, the controller of Thomas' railway. The tour provides a unique, interactive family experience at every station, offering a variety of entertaining activities that reflect the local flavor of each stop. Different forms of entertainment - from petting zoos, miniature golf, and bounce houses to face-painting and magic shows - make each Day Out With Thomas event special.

In addition, every location has a Thomas & Friends Imagination Station where you can Build with Mega Bloks® and participate in other Thomas-themed activities including stamps, temporary tattoos, hands-on arts and crafts, and a Thomas storytelling and video viewing area.

Of course our favorite part past year was getting to ride Thomas the Train but the boys also had a blast exploring all of the super cool activities set up for us to enjoy as well!

Ready to look and see when Thomas is coming your way? You can check the full U.S. Schedule HERE! Check out HIT Entertainment's Events site HERE to see what all is in store for you when you meet Thomas the Tank Engine at the depot! Ready to buy your tickets? Check out Ticket Web and get ready to ride! Then check back in a few weeks to get a peek at our visit!

 Day Out With Thomas™ Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends™ Based on The Railway Series by The Reverend W Awdry. © 2012 Gullane (Thomas) Limited. Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends, Thomas &Friends and Day Out With Thomas are trademarks of Gullane (Thomas) Limited. Thomas & Friends and Design is Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off. HIT and the HIT logo are trademarks of HIT Entertainment Limited. © 2010, MEGA Brands Inc. & TM MEGA Brands Inc.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Halloween Mart: Its Never Too Early!



For the last three years, D has worn the same Halloween costume. Its battered and torn but he still loves it and talks about wanting to wear it again this year. I, however, am determined to get him into something new, that actually fits him, for Halloween this year so I started my search for costumes early!

That is where Halloween Mart comes in. They have an endless selection of Halloween and everyday costumes. Ranging from the typcial hippie adult Halloween costumes to the most amazingly adorable baby costumes, they have something that fits every budget! My personal favorite and the one that I am hoping that D will agree to for this year has to be the "Ahoy Matey Pirates Costume" because "oh my, this would just be the cutest thing on him. You have to love the detail in the costume for the low price too!

In addition to Halloween costumes, Halloween Mart carries a variety of club wear for those that like to party or just light themselves up a little. They carry everything from wigs to flashy clothing and jewelry for anything from Carnival to the night time clubbing scene.

Halloween Mart also carries a wide variety of super cool Halloween decor. Big or small, cute or creepy, they have something for every nook and cranny. I am a huge Halloween decorator, so I was super excited to see that they carried so much. Talk about a one stop shop!

*Disclosure: I was compensated for this post but all opinions are my own. Logo and photos courtesy of HalloweenMart.com

Adventures in Egg Dying #WW

The prep:


The Dunk:

The Grand Result:
The Tasting:


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

5 New, Simple Uses for 5 Desk Items You Already Own

A couple of weeks ago, I shared with you 5 Simple Uses for 5 Kitchen Utensils You Already Own. People seemed to really enjoy it and I know that I enjoyed thinking of new uses for ordinary items. So, of course, that brings us to today's "new uses" list! This one was a tad bit harder to thing up but in the end, I am excited about all of the recycling possibilities!

Paper Clips:
  • Bra strap holder. You can join your straps in the back for a T neck or even make the band just a teeny bit bigger. Not ideal but works in a pinch.
  • Use a bigger one to clean out the bath tub drain. Just be prepared for the gross that is going to come out of there.
  • Replace the zipper pull on a broken zipper. Not particularly attractive maybe but it works!
  • Book page marker. Duh, right? You can add some pretty ribbon too to make it less utilitarian. 
  • Place a paper clip at both ends of a roll of wrapping paper to keep it from unrolling when not in use.
Binder Clips

  • Chip bag closer to keep your chips from going stale/ keeping the office rat out.
  • Bundle cables together to make your desk, or your TV stand, a little more tidy.
  • A small, portable wallet. Just clip any cash or credit cards with your ID and the loop your car or house key through the little handles. 
  • Clip a group of matching cloth napkins or linens together. That wayyou are never searching for that one pillowcase.
  • Picture holder. Simple enough, just slide your picture between the little handles and display where ever.
Tape
  • Use clear tape to label things that you might need to relabel later. For example, I use it for my kids sippy cups when they are at school. 
  • Use electrical tape in bright colors to decorate your child's furniture or even a vase. Brighten up or black out anything it will stick to. Which is pretty much anything...
  • Use double sided tape to keep your blouse or belt tail in check. Just apply a strip where you need to be sure nothing goes awry.
  • Use opaque tape to label cords so you aren't searching for the right end every time. Perfect for the back of the TV or computer.
  • Slide a pice of regular or double stick tape between the keys on your keyboard for a quick, crumb catching dust.
Pencils
  • Use the eraser off the end as an emergency earring back. Lets face it, we lose those things more than we'd like.
  • Glue the eraser to the back of a picture frame to prevent nasty scratches on your wall.
  • Rub the writing end on a stuck zipper to help release the teeth. 
  • Stop a key from sticking in your lock by rubbing both sides with the writing end of a pencil to lubricate it well. Graphite is an excellent lubricant.
  • Use two (or more) as a quick way to restrain your crazy hair day. Twist hair into a bun and skewer or come up with your own funky version.
Shredded Waste Paper (Not glossy newspaper!)
  • Per bedding for small pets. Perfect for a hampster or bird cage.
  • Use it pad and pack your breakables. It can be your Christmas ornaments or your finest china.
  • Weed guard in your garden. The shredded paper will shade the roots of your plants and act as a weed barrier to rival the more expensive, garden store variety. Plus, compost!
  • Paper mache your little heart out. Mix a little white glue with some water and make something fun!
  • Dry paper makes the perfect kindling for a fire. Of course you should use caution but twist a bunch into a "log" and use it to kickstart a stove or fireplace. 
How many of these have you used yourself? Have you ever used a desk item for something other than what its intended for? I think I may have to invest in a new paper shredder myself.. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Sculpture in the Garden at @AtlBotanical

The Atlanta Botanical Garden unveils some of the largest sculptures ever shown at Midtown’s urban oasis May through October with a group exhibition of internationally acclaimed artists never before presented in the Southeast.

Independent Visions: Sculpture in the Garden, presented in collaboration with the Marlborough Gallery New York, features 19 contemporary works by artistsMagdalena Abakanowicz, Chakaia Booker, Red Grooms, Clement Meadmore, Michele Oka Doner, Beverly Pepper, George Rickey, Kenneth Snelson, and Manolo Vald├ęs.
Longo Monolith by Beverly Pepper

The exhibition continues the Garden’s tradition of presenting fine art by some of the world’s most renowned artists set in nature, including the work of Dale Chihuly, Henry Moore, and Niki de Saint Phalle.

“The Garden has become the Atlanta venue to see the best in contemporary art outdoors,” said Mary Pat Matheson, the Garden’s executive director.

The nine artists each have produced significant bodies of work and are renowned for their singular, independent vision. Collectively, their work spans the breadth of 20th- and 21st-century sculpture. “The exhibited works, though diverse in character, exemplify the individual artists’ shared commitment to physicality and to the object as their preferred sculptural medium,” said Dale Lanzone, the exhibition’s curator.

Yvonne II by Manolo Valdes
One of the most exciting aspects of the show is not only the wide-ranging diversity of the artists, their work and mediums but also how the sculptures are placed in the Garden. Some of the pieces are monumental, with two of the sculptures extending beyond 24 feet. But because most of the sculptures weigh less than those of previous shows, the placements are more radical, creating stunning and unexpected views. An example is Key City, a 24-foot-by-24-foot sculpture of stainless steel rods by Kenneth Snelson spanning the Aquatic Plant Pond.

On Thursday evenings, visitors may experience the exhibition theatrically lit duringCocktails in the Garden and Fest-of-Ale.

Independent Visions: Sculpture in the Garden is presented with the support of the Fulton County Arts Council and the Forward Arts Foundation.

The mission of the Atlanta Botanical Garden is to develop and maintain plant collections for display, education, research, conservation and enjoyment. The Garden is located at 1345 Piedmont Ave. NE and open April-October from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and until 10 p.m. on Thursdays, and from November-March from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is $18.95 adults, $12.95 children 3-12, and free to children under 3 and Garden members. For information, call 404.876.5859 or visitatlantabotanicalgarden.org.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Loss

8 weeks ago this Saturday, I lost a baby. A baby I didn't know I was pregnant with but was rather far along with. I won't go into all of the details but it was hard on my heart. Hard to think about, hard to talk about, hard to fathom. Hard enough that I am just now beginning to really open up about it. Losing a baby is something you will never understand and all you are left with is the empty feeling and regrets over every move you have made in the last few months. I cried non stop for three or four days to say the least and then I just tried not to think anymore. Easier said than done. Especially when you are dealing with this kind of thing alone.

This week though, I can across this poem and wanted to share. I am not a particularly religious person of sorts but this really spoke to me.


I thought of you and closed my eyes, 
And prayed to God today. 
I asked what makes a Mother, 
And I know I heard him say: 
A mother has a baby, 
This we know is true. 
But, God, can you be a mother, 
When your baby's not with you? 
Yes, you can he replied, 
With confidence in his voice. 
I give many women babies, 
When they leave is not thier choice. 
Some I send for a lifetime, 
And others for a day. 
And some I send to feel your womb, 
But theres no need to stay. 
I just don't understand this God, 
I want my baby here. 
He took a breath and cleared his throat, 
And then I saw a tear. 
I wish that I could show you, 
What your child is doing today, 
If you could see your child smile, 
With other children who say: 
We go to earth and learn our lessons, 
Of love and life and fear. 
My mommy loved me oh so much, 
I got to come straight here. 
I feel so lucky to have a mom, 
Who had so much love for me. 
I learned my lessons very quickly, 
My mommy set me free. 
I miss my mommy oh so much, 
But I visit her each day. 
When she goes to sleep, 
On her pillow's where I lay. 
I stroke her hair and kiss her cheek, 
And whisper in her ear. 
"Mommy don't be sad today, I'm your baby and I'm here." 
So you see my dear sweet one, 
Your children are Ok. 
Your babies are here in My home, 
They'll be at heavens gate for you. 
So now you see what makes a mother. 
It's the feeling in your heart. 
It's the love you had so much of, 
Right from the very start. 
Though some on earth may not realize you are a mother, 
until their time is done. 
They'll be up here with Me one day, 
And you'll know that you're the best one! 
~Author Unknown  (From GrievingParents.com)


Any love or positive thoughts or stories are appreciated. However, if you have any questions about mine, please feel free to send me an email at amy@rendermemama.com. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Mountain Train Ride @StoneMtnPark





As always, click the picture for a larger view. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sheep to Shawl @ATLHistCenter (Win Tickets!)



Looking for an awesome way to kick off your family's springtime adventures? Check out the Sheep to Shawl event going on at my all time favorite place in in the ATL, the Atlanta History Center! Blacksmithing, candle dipping, open-hearth cooking, and sheep shearing are just a few examples of fun and immersive and educational activities.

The journey from sheep to shawl begins Saturday, April 14, 2012, 10:30 AM – 4:30 PM. at Smith Family Farm, where you are transported to the 1860s to explore the lifestyle of a nineteenth-century Georgia farm. At the Smith Family Farm barnyard, learn the importance of shearing sheep’s wool each spring as you observe shearing demonstrations at 11:00 AM; 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00 PM.  Children receive a handful of wool as a keepsake before taking part in a variety of entertaining hands-on activities and demonstrations that illustrate the process of wool being washed, sorted, carded, spun, dyed, and woven into a shawl – literally, from sheep to shawl!
Sheep to Shawl Atlanta History Center
Images courtesy of Atlanta History Center

While at the farm, interact with a variety of costumed living history interpreters presenting authentic demonstrations of blacksmithing, pottery, candle dipping, woodworking, open-hearth cooking, and other crafts and chores.  Listen to Southern folktales spun by Betty Ann Wylie and enjoy the sounds of traditional bluegrass with Cindy Musselwhite and Friends on the front porch of the Smith farmhouse.  Take a guided tour of the Smith farmhouse and explore the living quarters of the Smith family.  Most important, don’t forget to stop by the barnyard for the petting zoo.

Steps away from the farm, enjoy guided tours of the Atlanta History Center's Historic Quarry Garden at 11:15 AM and 1:15 PM., and discover the beautiful springtime blooms and plant life in the state’s largest collection of native Georgia plants.

At the Mable Dorn Reeder Amphitheatre at 11:30 AM, 1:30 and 3:30 PM visitors can enjoy a performance of Clay: Palm to Earth, the story of Dave Drake.  Born enslaved in 1801, Drake – traditionally known as Dave the Potter – was taught to turn pots and learned to read and write, often signing much of his pottery and inscribing them with poems. After the performance, step inside the museum to admire the work of Dave the Potter on display in the Atlanta History Center's Southern folk arts exhibition, Shaping Traditions.

Guided tours are available at 12:30 and 3:00 PM.   Hear musical performances by In Town Down Home Band in the Garden Overlook at 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM.

Sheep to Shawl is sponsored by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners under the guidance of the Fulton County Arts Council and supported by the Poppy Garden Club. This special program is included with the price of general Atlanta History Center admission; free to members.  For information call 404.814.4000 or visit www.AtlantaHistoryCenter.com/S2S. Girl Scouts can purchase a special Sheep to Shawl patch for participation in the day’s activities. For a group rate for Girl Scouts call 404.814.4062.

Want to win a family pass to visit the Atlanta History Center? Good for up to two adults and four kids, these passes are good for all day fun, any day you choose! All you need to do is leave a comment below telling me what part of the Sheep to Shawl event your family would enjoy the most! I will contact the winner via email on April 10th! Good luck!

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