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How to Throw the Perfect Tailgate Party

How to Throw the Perfect Tailgate Party

How to Throw the Perfect Tailgate Party

Tailgate parties are a wonderful way to have a good time but only if you do them up right. Gathering your friends together to get ready for the big game seems easy enough, but it is actually rather easy to make some major tailgate party mistakes. Here are some tips to make sure your tailgate party is on point and the talk of the parking lot on game day:

 Know your location

A good tailgate party will need a good spot in the parking lot. Sometimes the crowds are too large to pick and choose and you simply have to take what is there, but generally you have some choices. Always pick a corner spot if you can. Spots along the side of the parking lot are good and especially so if they have a grassy area big enough for games like cornhole and horseshoes.

 Make sure you have sports fans

Although tailgate parties can certainly be fun for anyone, it is powered by sports fans. Make sure you have a few die hard fans to show up to get the excitement started. Everyone has a few sports fans like this, so invite a few!

 Assume bad weather

For whatever reason, a tailgate party is like a magnet for bad weather. Just embrace that and expect it so that you are always prepared. You need a few tarps, a tent cover and plenty of disposable rain jackets in case things go badly.

 Stock up on the stuff everyone forgets

Few people actually remember to buy cups, paper plates and silverware. Napkins are another basic staple as well as condiments. Buy these in bulk and make sure you keep plenty of them packed and ready to go during the season.

 Remember to make it a team affair

The whole point of a tailgating party is to have fun while supporting your team of choice. As such, decorate your setup with team gear and dress the part! This helps to get the party started and will show your team spirit to all who pass by.

 Buy the food…then buy extra

You can’t have too much food at a tailgating party. There is a better than even chance you will get passers-by and they will be hungry. In the spirit of team unity, you might want to share in the bounty. The bottom line is to never underestimate the food. Always buy extra because you will definitely need it and never waste it.

 Bring as much seating as possible

Tailgating is demanding work and after 10 rounds of cornhole and a couple of burgers, folks are going to want to sit down. While you can only pack so much, you should bring what chairs you have.

Simplify the menu

Don’t worry about being extra fancy with your setup or your menu. The bottom line is to find a quick and easy food that everyone loves like hot dogs, hamburgers or steaks and then do them up right. Putting your friends on notice to bring some of their own special dishes will accentuate your food choices.

Tailgating is really just a celebration of food, friends and sport. Mix the three up and you will have a successful one for sure. Happy tailgating!

Chromebook Sweepstakes!! #giveaway #backtoschool

I know – it’s waaaay too early to be talking back to school. I’m sorry!  BUT, when you see what is is being given away here, you just might forgive me.  You’ve probably seem me all over Facebook talking about what a blessing my Chromebook has been this summer as I take LJ to all of his different activities or you’ve seen me post Instagram pictures of me working at the lake.  Maybe you’ve even thought to yourself – hey, I’d like to have a Chromebook too.

Well, here you go!!

chromebook samsung

Welcome to the Back To School Chromebook Sweepstakes!

The Samsung 11.6″ Chromebook PC is a new computer that helps you get everyday things done faster and easier. It starts in seconds, has virus protection built-in, and runs your favorite Google apps plus thousands more. The Samsung 11.6″ Chromebook PC comes with leading Google products, like Search, Gmail, YouTube and Hangouts, so you can work, play, and do whatever you want, right out of the box.

One winner will receive a Samsung Silver 11.6″ Chromebook.

Giveaway ends August 14th 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. Contact if you have any additional questions or comments.

Community® Coffee – Supporting Our Military

community coffee

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting and Community® Coffee. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.

Many of you know that Jay served in the Marine Corps for 6 years and was deployed during the Gulf War. If you hear him talk about those years, one thing he remembers vividly is missing the comforts of home.  He’ll talk about how the chicken-a-la-king MRE (meals ready to eat) was his favorite because it tasted like a meal from home. (If you’ve never had the chance to try an MRE, let me assure you that you have to be really homesick to think one tastes like a home cooked meal!)

While average people who support the military always warm my heart, I am a big ole softie for businesses that step up and try to help out as well. I am one of those people who will go out of my way to patronize a business that gives back to our men and women in uniform and I love being able to tell you about them as well.

Community® Coffee is one of those businesses.

Anyone who knows me, knows about my love affair with coffee. I’m one of those don’t-even-talk-to-me-until-I’ve-had-my-coffee people.  Needless to say, we go through a lot of coffee at our house.  I haven’t been overly brand loyal – I have a few favorites that I bounce between depending on what I have a taste for that morning.  I will be adding Community® Coffee to my coffee collection and will be buying it as much as possible. Here’s why…

Four generations ago, Henry Norman “Cap” Saurage began Community® Coffee as a way to create amazingly good coffee for his surrounding community in Louisiana. Over the years, Community® Coffee grew and expanded, but never lost sight of its mission – great coffee for great customers.  As a way to show support for the military service members who are away from home, they created the Military Match Program.  Every time someone buys a Military Match gift set (that would be four 12 oz, 16 oz, or single-serve 18 count coffees) Community® Coffee will match that donation – plus they will include a free mug.

military match

Great coffee plus a great cause – that’s a win-win in my book!!

Free Music Downloads from The Voice and Clear

UNI_RA_-ClearTheVoice_Asset1B[1][3][1]Being someone who loves music, I love all of the singing competition shows that have sprung up in the past few years.  It’s so much fun to follow someone along from their first audition to the final competition and watch their growth.  It’s these type of shows that our whole family likes to watch together.  I began to get a little uncomfortable with the way one show in particular was focus a lot on negative, borderline rude feedback and mocking people auditioning who weren’t the best singers.  I wouldn’t want any child of mine acting like that and felt like a hypocrite sitting down to watch the show with him.

I saw an interview with Mark Burnett where he talked about a new kind of singing competition show he was working on.  The focus would be on giving the contestants positive feedback and encouragement. Burnett said when he pitched the show he was told that “no one would watch a show like that”.  I for one was thrilled to watch a show like that and have been a huge “The Voice” fan ever since!

If you are also a fan of “The Voice”, you’ll definitely want to take advantage of a promotion at your local Rite Aid with CLEAR SCALP AND HAIR™ through the end of the month:

Hit a high note and let your hair shine! CLEAR SCALP & HAIR THERAPY™ will give you the confidences you need to feel, look and perform at your best! CLEAR SCALP & HAIR THERAPY™ makes your hair beautiful and resilient by deeply nourishing your scalp. So head into Rite Aid and find the CLEAR SCALP & HAIR THERAPY™ product that is right for you.
And now in partnership with The Voice, get 2 free song downloads from your favorite The Voice performers, when you purchase any CLEAR SCALP & HAIR THERAPY™ product at Rite Aid from 7/1/14–7/31/14.

 This post is part of sponsored campaign in partnership with Global Influence.

Make a Difference with the #SummerofGiving

I’ll be the first to admit that I love all the blogger perks that come with this job: getting to try new products, see movies and TV shows before they are released, and travel to places I wouldn’t be able to get to on my own.  I really can’t complain (so I won’t!).  But one of my very favorite parts of being a blogger is when I have the chance to use my influence to help others in some way.

I’ve loved being able to provide school supplies to children who might not be able to afford any otherwise, helping out local communities after natural disasters, and I especially loved my most recent project.  I was thrilled to partner with Champions for Kids (again) and Walmart along with sponsors Tyson, Birds Eye, and State Fair brands for the Summer of Giving Project, to help provide 5 million meals to hungry kids.

champions for kids intro

I received a donation to put toward helping out my local food bank.  I contacted them and asked about their ability to accept frozen foods and what specific needs they might have at the moment.  I was told that they usually do not accept frozen foods unless they are from a store or corporation because of the concerns about whether they had been kept frozen the whole time.  When I spoke with the director and explained what I wanted to do, she was very accommodating and said they would be thrilled to accept my donation. Yay!!

Before purchasing or donating any perishable foods to your local food bank, always call and check to find out what their policies are.

LJ and I headed to our nearest Walmart Superstore and checked out what we might want to donate.  We found tons of options:

champions for kids 1

Lots of Birds Eye veggies for growing kids!

champions for kids state fair

Fun State Fair corn dogs and other treats.

champions for kids tyson

Lots of healthy Tyson Chicken choices.

I had received a $100 Walmart gift card to purchase items to donate.  We threw in an additional $50 donation and set out to see how far we could stretch it.  The director of the food pantry had let me know that they really needed meat, so we concentrated mostly on finding lots of great Tyson chicken options.  We picked out a combination of nuggets, breasts, and tenderloins hoping to have something for everyone.

We got the best cashier who worked really hard to pack the chicken in nice and tight so we would have fewer bags to carry.  She managed to fit $150 worth of frozen chicken into 3 bags!  We headed right over to the food pantry to get the chicken in their freezers before it defrosted!

champions for kids pantry sign

We arrived at the food pantry 10 minutes before it opened and there were already people waiting outside to get in.  The volunteers were thrilled with our donation and told us several times how much they appreciated it and how it would go to great use.  LJ had a HUGE smile on his face the whole time and I loved that he was such a big part of this whole experience.  He’s a great kid, but even great kids can use the occasion reminder that not everyone has all of the things he takes for granted, like a home and food.

Did you know that 10 percent of U.S.children live in food insecure homes? That’s millions of children who don’t know when, or if, their next meal is coming. This is especially true during the summer months when school meal programs are no longer in effect.  Champions for Kids is stepping up to help, but they can NOT do it alone. You can help by hosting a food drive in your area, volunteering at a local food bank, or by learning more at (Hey – you can even win $25,000 for your local school or community organization! And that is on top of the awesomely great feeling you get just by helping.)

I participated in this program on behalf of Champions for Kids and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.