This post is sponsored by Aflac. I was compensated for writing it, but all opinions are 100% mine.

Imagine that one day you are going about your normal routine as a large animal vet. Your wife is at home with your four kids. One minute you are doing a procedure on a camel and the next minute you are in the hospital. In the blink of an eye, everything has changed. This is exactly what happened to one local family. Pat, a former large animal vet, experienced a stroke, which led to other health problems and the end result was that he was no longer able to work and support his family. Now, he and his wife Heather are on a fixed income and currently he has experienced new symptoms that are sending them back to the hospital for more tests. So what does this story have to do with my blog? A lot, thanks to Aflac.

Aflac Holiday Helpers #ad #AflacHolidayHelpers

Aflac offers various solutions for businesses and families. You can learn more about Aflac and the company’s supplemental insurance products by visiting them online. This holiday season, Aflac launched a program called #AflacHolidayHelpers and asked me to be part of it. In my 5+ years as a blogger, this is my favorite moment ever. Aflac Holiday Helpers #ad #AflacHolidayHelpers

Aflac provided me with a grant to help a local family in need that was going through a health crisis. Since my husband and I are foster parents, I reached out to our foster care caseworker. She and a team worked to identify a family. Pat and Heather are foster parents and in addition to their four biological children, they also have a foster daughter with them whom they intend to adopt!

Aflac Holiday Helpers #ad #AflacHolidayHelpers

When looking into what their needs might be, one need was abundantly clear. This family of 7 had no dishwasher! Immediately we knew this needed to be one of the items on our shopping list.
We arrived at their home and surprised them with the following:

 A gift card to purchase a new dishwasher! We even provided dishwasher tabs.

 Paint rollers and supplies so they can paint their son’s room (it’s currently pink and as a teen, he is horrified at this color).

 We were able to provide a month’s worth of groceries.

 And then for fun, we are sending their family to a huge indoor waterpark! We were able to include an overnight bag, snacks for the road trip, a gift card for gas and a funds for them to treat their family to a dinner out.

Aflac Holiday Helpers #ad #AflacHolidayHelpers

Pat and Heather were speechless. Heather’s hands were trembling as she accepted these gifts. She cannot wait to have a dishwasher installed and their son is anxious to say goodbye to his pink walls.
Thank you Aflac for helping Pat and Heather and giving me my #1 blogging moment of ALL time!

Aflac herein means American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus and American
Family Life Assurance Company of New York.

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Kristen: Kristen is a wife, mom, blogger and Brand Ambassador. She has four children; 2 boys and 2 girls. Kristen enjoys her role as a stay-at-home mother. Her oldest children are home-schooled. Her interests include gardening, coffee, reading, cooking and finding new ways to be eco-friendly. You may contact Kristen at mudpiesandtiaras at gmail dot com. Click here to meet Kristen

Product Guide 2017

Welcome to our 2017 Product Guide

Several great bloggers have collaborated to bring you the best product guide for the New Year. Take a look below at the products we recommend. Stop by and visit our sponsors!

Want to be featured in our Product Guide? Find out more information here and then email me to get started!



Kristen: Kristen is a wife, mom, blogger and Brand Ambassador. She has four children; 2 boys and 2 girls. Kristen enjoys her role as a stay-at-home mother. Her oldest children are home-schooled. Her interests include gardening, coffee, reading, cooking and finding new ways to be eco-friendly. You may contact Kristen at mudpiesandtiaras at gmail dot com. Click here to meet Kristen

This post is sponsored by Aflac. I was compensated for writing it, but all opinions are 100% mine.

#Duckprints #ad

The words childhood cancer have the power to strike fear in the heart of any parent. My husband and I have been abundantly blessed. We have been happily married for over 15 years and have four healthy, amazing kids; Kayla, Grace, Benjamin and Jack. Cliff, my husband, and I are a great team and usually feel that as long as we are together we can weather whatever comes our way. But the thought of having something happen to our children, brings us to our knees. Because of that I have always tried to support organizations that are helping in the fight against childhood cancer.

It may surprise you to learn that Aflac has been helping in the fight against childhood cancer for more than 20 years. Aflac is inviting all of us to join them in the fight against childhood cancer and we can in the easiest of ways by simply playing a game. Aflac has a new online game called, “Build Your Own Balloonicle.

I’m sure you’re asking (as I was), “What is a balloonicle?” A balloonicle is part balloon and part self-propelled vehicle, so there are no strings tying it down. This year Aflac will have one of three balloonicles in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

#Duckprints #ad

Back to the game, simply play the “Build Your Own Balloonicle” game. It’s really fun! You pump up the adorable Aflac Duck and deck him out for the parade. Collect a few coins and you’re done! At the end, you will get a pop-up screen inviting you to share your balloonicle with the hashtag #Duckprints. Go ahead and share it and then just like that you’ve earned two dollars that will be helping in the fight against childhood cancer. For every #Duckprints game related social media share, Aflac will donate $2 (up to 1.5 million) to the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, in support of childhood cancer treatment and research.

#Duckprints #ad

This year the 90th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will start at 9 a.m. in all time zones on NBC on Thursday, November 24th. Tune in and watch for the Aflac Duck balloonicle. Meanwhile leave YOUR footprint in the fight against childhood cancer and visit www.aflac.com/parade today to build your own balloonicle! And don’t forget to share it with the hashtag #Duckprints and help Aflac as they fight against childhood cancer.

#Duckprints #ad

Aflac herein means American Family Life Insurance Company of Columbus and American Family Life Insurance Company of New York.

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Kristen: Kristen is a wife, mom, blogger and Brand Ambassador. She has four children; 2 boys and 2 girls. Kristen enjoys her role as a stay-at-home mother. Her oldest children are home-schooled. Her interests include gardening, coffee, reading, cooking and finding new ways to be eco-friendly. You may contact Kristen at mudpiesandtiaras at gmail dot com. Click here to meet Kristen

Welcome to our 2016 Holiday Gift Guide

#2016HGG

16 bloggers have collaborated to bring you the best gift guide for the 2016 Holiday Season. Take a look below at the products we recommend. Stop by and visit our sponsors!

Want to be featured in our Gift Guide? Find out more information here and then email me to get started!

#2016HGG



Kristen: Kristen is a wife, mom, blogger and Brand Ambassador. She has four children; 2 boys and 2 girls. Kristen enjoys her role as a stay-at-home mother. Her oldest children are home-schooled. Her interests include gardening, coffee, reading, cooking and finding new ways to be eco-friendly. You may contact Kristen at mudpiesandtiaras at gmail dot com. Click here to meet Kristen

Disclosure: I received a gift card to let our family experience these new Wood Fired Salads at Applebees.  All opinions are my own.

We live in an awesome location.  Our backyard is made of woods and we have a zipline there along with a swing set, tire swing and a firepit.  We are surrounded by pine trees and it feels very secluded.  But we are walking distance to many cool places including our local Applebee’s.  Tonight we got a chance to visit and try their new Wood Fired Salads.

WoodFired Salads At Applebees #WoodFired #Ad

They have four wood fired salads.

  • NEW Southwestern Steak Salad: Hand-Cut Wood Fired USDA Choice Top Sirloin Steak paired with chimichurri, pico de gallo, corn and black bean salsa, cheddar, crispy tortilla strips and a creamy house-made cilantro ranch dressing.

 

  • NEW Grilled Watermelon and Spicy Shrimp Salad: Mixed greens, cucumbers, feta, almonds and house-made creamy mint-Greek yogurt dressing. Also available with Spicy Blackened Chicken.

 

  • NEW Spicy Blackened Grilled Chicken, Avocado and Grapefruit Salad: Mixed greens, pickled in-house red onions, cilantro leaves and house-made champagne vinaigrette.

 

  • NEW Crispy Chicken ‘N Spicy Cornbread Salad: Mixed greens, made-in-house jalapeno cornbread croutons, grape tomatoes, shredded cheddar, applewood-smoked bacon and buttermilk dressing.

They all sound amazing! But we went with the Southwestern Steak Salad and it was AMAZING!

WoodFired Salads At Applebees #WoodFired #Ad

The dressing was the best part.  It tasted so fresh and was a bit spicy, but not hot.  Everything was so fresh and it was very filling.  Of course, we ALL enjoyed our meals and even got a little dessert to share too.

WoodFired Salads At Applebees #WoodFired #Ad

And Jack wanted to let you all know a little secret….

WoodFired Salads At Applebees #WoodFired #Ad

Applebee’s is inviting guests to submit their favorite salad recipes via photo or text on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtags #WoodFired and #Sweepstakes for a chance to win a $100 Applebee’s gift card.*

How awesome is that!! If you were to win a $100 gift card to Applebee’s, what you order?  Leave a comment and let me know!

 

 

 

 

 

*See details and official rules at www.beesmeetup.com. No purchase necessary.  Void where prohibited.  Sponsored by BTC Revolutions, 304 Arlington Rd., Brookville, OH 45309; Cohn & Wolfe, 200 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010; and Applebee’s International, Inc., 450 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale, CA 91203.  This Sweepstakes is offered and open to persons who are: (a) legal residents of the United States (includes Washington DC); and (b) at least 18 years of age or older on the date of entry in this Sweepstakes. Employees and directors, and their immediate family members, of the Sweepstakes Entities, and their parents, affiliated and subsidiary companies are not eligible to participate in this Sweepstakes.

 

Kristen: Kristen is a wife, mom, blogger and Brand Ambassador. She has four children; 2 boys and 2 girls. Kristen enjoys her role as a stay-at-home mother. Her oldest children are home-schooled. Her interests include gardening, coffee, reading, cooking and finding new ways to be eco-friendly. You may contact Kristen at mudpiesandtiaras at gmail dot com. Click here to meet Kristen