Author Archives: jessicalieb

About jessicalieb

Jessica is a family lifestyle blogger living in Raleigh, NC with her husband, four sons (8, 5, 3 and 1). Jessica started thebkeepsushonest.com in November of 2009, but has been blogging since 2003. Jessica writes about family life, recipes, travel and products for families. She is also a Work-from-home-mom who manages marketing and social media for a local accounting company.

Your Daily Dose of Cute bought to you by Scotties

Ted I’ll admit it, I’m not a cat person. Not by choice though. I’m allergic to cat dander, it’s a genetic curse I guess you could say. So, we’ll probably never adopt a cat. However, I do think cats are pretty rad.

Earlier this month, Scotties Facial Tissues partnered with animal rescue organizations up and down the east coast in an effort to get eligible cats and kittens into loving adoptive homes. Each organization – The Animal Protective Foundation (Albany, NY), Boston MSPCA (Boston, MA), and the Humane Society of Tampa Bay (Tampa, FL) all received $5,000 each to go towards the re-homing of cats.

All fees associated with adopting select felines were waived at participating locations. Initiated by Scotties in 2014, this ongoing effort to increase the number cats and kittens going to good homes has been a key focus for the brand. All adoptable cats and kittens are spayed / neutered, microchipped, screened for temperament, and are up to date on all shots and vaccinations. In the past four years, Scotties has found homes for more than 700 cats and kittens.

“Here at Scotties, we are delighted to see this program in its fourth year,” said John Robertson, Scotties Marketing Director, “We take great pride in helping hundreds of cats find the loving forever homes they so desperately need.”

From June 1st through the 7th during “Scotties Adoption Week” over 400 cats and kittens have gone into loving forever homes.

Now for your daily dose of cute, these are just a few of the cats that were adopted this past month…

Kittens Dash Donald Peanut older Peanut Tabby Torbie Twix The information has been provided to me by Scotties Tissues.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Weekend Adventures: Wet n Wild Emerald Pointe

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On Friday we took the boys to Greensboro, NC to meet up with some friends at Wet-n-Wild Emerald Pointe. We visited Wet-n-Wild last summer but I was excited this time because the boys are a bit older, better swimmer and more interested in the rides. My boys didn’t do too many of the big rides but Joe did get to sneak off for a bit and ride some of the bigger rides with our friends who had teenage sons.

We arrived shortly after the park opened at 10am and set up post at the Bayside cabanas right beside the wave pool. (You can rent a cabana for all day starting at $125/day.) The boys loved watching all the swimmers in the wave pool whenever we were taking a little break. I love the cabanas because they are sectioned off from the rest of the crowd and provide a bit of calm amidst all the crazy fun everyone is having. The cabanas in our section can hold 8-10 although they only really have seating for 8. We had 10 people in our group but the majority of them were kids and they rarely sat down. Each cabana comes with it’s own private locker for storing valuables and food service right in your cabana. You can of course go eat at any of the other food options throughout the park but I really liked being able to order food directly from the cabana.

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The weather was a little iffy the day of our visit, with dark clouds looming over us most of the morning. It actually made for a pretty nice start to the day, there weren’t a lot of people at the park and the hot summer sun was hidden behind the clouds. Around noon the sun came out and so did the rest of the people. Although, I will say, compared to our last visit which was on a Saturday it wasn’t nearly as crowded.

We started with a trip to the wave pool as it was calling all the kids, however we didn’t get any waves for some reason and decided to explore a little more of the park. The big kids rode, Cyclone Zone then we all rode the Lazy River. I always love a good Lazy River. The big boys did the Double Barrel Blast that goes way faster than I realized. Jude and some of the bigger boys also tried the Tropical Drop.

Then we headed back to the cabana for a little rest and some lunch. After we placed our lunch order I took all the boys right next door to the Soak Zone. This was probably my favorite place in the whole park. I love all of the fun water features they have for children of all sizes and ages.

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After lunch of chicken fingers, burgers and gluten free pizza we headed back to the wave pool to catch some waves. The wave pool is intense and I’m very glad they make smaller children wear life vests. I want to take a moment to commend the wonderful lifeguard staff at Wet-n-Wild, they were all very attentive and responsive. I witnessed a few times the guards had to respond to a swimmer in distress, thankfully no major rescues. I’m always very watchful of my children around water but it’s comforting know that if one of them gets out of my sight for just a moment there is someone making sure they are safe. Photo Jun 16, 12 46 47 PM

After the wave pool we took the little ones to the Happy Harbor and Kiddie Wave Pool. The boys love the Happy Harbor slides, Simon (4) loves rides but is just a little too short to ride some of the bigger slides so this was a welcome opportunity for him to “ride” some slides. While we played at Happy Harbor all of the big boys ran off to ride some of the more exciting slides like Dr. VonDarks Tunnel of Terror, Runaway Raft, Riptide Racer and maybe a few others. I don’t think anyone was brave enough to try Daredevil Drop, Twin Twisters or The Edge.  Photo Jun 16, 3 57 35 PM Photo Jun 16, 3 58 17 PM

We finished off our afternoon at Shipwreck Cover and Leisure Lagoon. We changed out of our wet clothes in the Locker Rooms before heading home. We had such a perfect day and we look forward to going to Wet-n-Wild again very soon.

SAVE WHEN YOU BUY ONLINE!
Purchase tickets during the regular 2017 operating season and use the special promo code to save on admission to Wet-n-Wild Emerald Pointe.

Special Wet-n-Wild Emerald Pointe Discount

Or use the Promo Code: Bkeepsushonestsblog17

CONNECT
Like Wet-n-Wild Emerald Pointe on Facebook
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Disclosure: I received free media passes. The opinions expressed in this post are my own and not influenced by the company.

Weekend Adventures: Mud – Walnut Creek Wetlands

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On Saturday we took the boys to a special program at the Walnut Creek Wetlands Center in Raleigh called, Mud: A Celebration of Wetlands. Some of the families from our Scout Troop met up to enjoy the muddy fun.

There were several different stations where kids could explore, play and learn about mud, wetlands, wildlife and the environment. The boys particularly loved the fort building station which was equipped with bamboo sticks, rope, cardboard and tarps.

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We got to meet several turtles from the NC Museum of Natural Sciences and some Salamanders, frogs and other creatures that you might find in the wetlands.

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There were several stations that taught kids about native plants, storm water, pollution and other elements that impact the wetlands.

Photo Jun 03, 10 32 28 AM Photo Jun 03, 11 03 01 AM Photo Jun 03, 11 25 21 AM The big boys and Joe went on a creek walk where they got to a guided tour of the Walnut Creek Wetlands.

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And of course there was mud. Lots of mud to cook with, paint with, and play in.

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It was fun and muddy day and we can’t wait for the next adventure with the Raleigh Parks.

Things I’m Loving

I’m not a really trendy gal but I have style preferences, they might not always fit in with what is currently on-trendy but I like it so that is all that really matters.

I’ve decided to make a little collection of a few things I’ve been crushing on lately. Some of them are things I own, some are things I want to own, none of them are sponsored.

  1. Vertex Earring from Ash Jewelry – I just ordered these and they should be arriving at my house sometime today! I love the simplicity and uniqueness of these earring and pretty much everything else from Ash Jewelry.

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2. Felted Soap from Good JuJu Herbal – I just ordered this too so I haven’t tried it yet, but I love the idea of felted soap and I really love the ingredients. All of the ingredients are 100% natural. Also check out the dead sea clay face mask!

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3. Azure Necklace from the Flourish Market – I bought this as a birthday present for myself and I love it. It’s from Purpose Jewelry and is handcrafted with love by young women rescued from sex trafficking in Mumbai, India.

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4. Lilyette by Bali Women’s Minimizer Bra – If you are well endowed this is a great bra for a great price! I own this bra in 2 different colors and plan on buying a few more.

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5. Women’s Cap Sleeve Knit Front Woven Back Tee by Jillian Nicole – This shirt has been hanging out in my Target cart for a few days, I just need to go ahead and pull the trigger right.

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6. Glossier Boy Brow – This is my number 1 make up pick right now. It’s just perfection.

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Like I said, none of this is sponsored these are all things I bought or am seriously considering purchasing.

 

What happened to May?

I knew going into this month it would be a busy on but I didn’t realize I would blink and it would be over. We celebrated 2 birthdays, went on vacation and wrapped up our final days of school and poof, here comes June.

It was fun filled month and I tried very hard to live in the moment and savor each special event.

I’m a planner and I like to think a few steps ahead while I’m working which is great for my productivity but not great for the every day. As a stay-at-home mom who also homeschools every day can seem sort of mundane as we work throughout our daily duties but over the past few years I’ve been working on being intentional with things during each day. I’m trying to remember to put down my phone and to-do list and take a mental snap shot of my family as life is happening. I’m not great at it yet but I think my intent of being intentional will eventually work it’s way into a routine of being intentional. *fingers crossed.

So with that being said here are some literal snapshots of our past month, primarily our trip to Charleston, SC… Photo May 25, 12 31 17 PM Photo May 25, 10 36 15 AM Photo May 25, 10 33 52 AM Photo May 25, 10 33 24 AM Photo May 24, 1 08 25 PM Photo May 24, 1 04 30 PM Photo May 24, 12 53 17 PM Photo May 24, 10 59 12 AM Photo May 24, 10 56 50 AM Photo May 24, 10 53 15 AM Photo May 24, 10 51 21 AM Photo May 24, 10 42 17 AM Photo May 24, 10 32 43 AM Photo May 23, 9 21 57 AM Photo May 23, 9 14 19 AM Photo May 23, 9 04 55 AM Photo May 23, 8 55 34 AM Photo May 23, 8 51 32 AM Photo May 23, 8 51 09 AM Photo May 23, 8 50 13 AM Photo May 23, 8 48 32 AM Photo May 22, 1 05 37 PM Photo May 22, 11 07 20 AM Photo May 22, 10 45 50 AM Photo May 21, 4 00 57 PM Photo May 21, 3 54 22 PM Photo May 21, 3 19 16 PM

 

Gearing up for Cars 3 with Juicy Juice

Disney Pixar’s “Cars 3” is cruising into theaters on June 16th, so to prepare for the racing excitement the boys and I took a little trip to the NC Museum of History to learn about the history of auto racing in North Carolina.

We aren’t big NASCAR or racing fans but North Carolina’s racing history dates back to the 1930’s and is currently a billion dollar industry in our state. So we felt obligated to learn more about what makes it such a popular sport. We got to see champion driver Richard Petty’s stock car and other popular racing memorabilia.

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The boys were rather disappointed that none of the cars had eyes or could talk like the one from Cars but they are very excited for the upcoming “Cars 3” movie.

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Juicy Juice has launched a limited-edition “Cars 3” product featuring beloved characters like Lighting McQueen. Juicy Juice “Cars 3” 100% juice will be available in 8-pack juice boxes in Apple, Berry, Fruit Punch and Grape, and multi-serve bottles in Apple, Berry, Fruit Punch, Cherry, Kiwi Strawberry and Strawberry Watermelon. Look for these specially-marked packs, find your code, go to juicyjuicegame.com and enter to win awesome prizes such as movie tickets, toys and activity sheets.

Head to your grocery store to buy limited-edition Cars 3 Juicy Juice and while you wait for June 16th to check out this fun Piston Cup Race Maze.

CONNECT

This post has been sponsored by Juicy Juice. All thoughts and reviews are my own.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Movie Review

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For months Joe has been talking about seeing the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie for his birthday. Almost every year we go see the latest super hero movie for his birthday since they are usually released in May so I knew Guardians of the Galaxy would be up this year for his birthday. To say he was excited when we went to the screening on Monday night would be an understatement.

To be honest I fell asleep during the first Guardians of the Galaxy, not because I wasn’t interested but because we were watching it in the comfort of our living room and I was spending most of my nights up with a new baby. But I was very excited to see this movie even though I didn’t totally follow the plot because I missed most of the first movie. (Now I will have to go back and re-watch it.)

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MY THOUGHTS
I thought it was a very fun (I literally laughed out loud several times) movie and a great touching story. There was action, romance, comedy and drama. Toddler Groot was adorable and Drax was hilarious. I loved Kurt Russel as Ego. And the soundtrack was super fun.

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JOE’S THOUGHTS

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a lot of fun, accessible enough for casual fans, and has lots of cool details for nerdy super-fan types like myself to freak out over for days.  It is very well written, brings a surprising amount of depth to its’ supporting characters (looking at you, Yondu), and adeptly switches between heartbreaking and irreverent much the same as its’ predecessor.  Baby Groot, a character-development choice that had the potential to Jar-Jar-Binks up the film or even the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, instead pays off in spades as he steals all of his scenes with  adorable, 100% accurate ass-faced toddler behavior.  Chris Pratt delivers another solid performance as a now-grown-man taken from earth before he learned that He-Man stopped being cool at age 13, who continues to deal with a complicated family history exacerbated by the unexpected arrival of his absentee biological father (Kurt Friggin’ Russell).  Also he saves the galaxy some more too. So to sum up, this movie is what a summer blockbuster should be, and also what a movie should be, and also should probably win some awards or something if they gave awards to movies for being enjoyable instead of being pretentious.  Also Kurt Russell is in it.  I guess I probably could have just said “Kurt Russell” and stopped there.   Kurt Russell.

In Theaters Friday, May 5th

I received passes to the featured event in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions are my own.

NC Zoo Dino Bus

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The North Carolina Zoo has a new exhibit called the Dino Bus which takes you on a brief tour of robotic dinosaurs that are only accessible via the Dino Bus. Since our boys are really into dinosaurs right now we decided to try out the Dino Bus tour on our most recent visit to the zoo. We have a membership to the zoo which gives us the opportunity to explore small sections of the zoo each time we visit.  This time we decided to explore parts of North America and the Dino Bus.

The Dino Bus has 3 pick-up and drop-off point. There are actually 2 separate Dino Bus routes for which you have to buy two separate tickets. To ride both routes you pay $4 per person. We bought our tickets at Junction Plaza. We parked in North America and walked straight through only stopping at a few exhibits until we reached Junction Plaza (which is about a mile walk). Then we ate lunch and bought our tickets for the Dino Bus. We had to wait a good while for the bus to arrive (probably 20 minutes or more). Our first tour took us through the dinosaur exhibit in Africa. There were about 5 dinosaurs on that route and our driver was very friendly and shared as much as he knew about the dinosaurs, he was very up front stating that he wasn’t a dinosaur expert and most of the kids would probably know more than he. We were dropped off at the entrance to Africa where we then had to catch the shuttle to the entrance of North America. We waited another 15-20 minutes for the shuttle and were dropped off right outside North America. We then waited another 10-15 minutes for the second Dino Bus that took us through North America to Junction Plaza where we started. This drive of this bus wasn’t as talkative and really only told us the names of each dinosaur as we stopped to look at them. We only saw 4 dinosaurs on the North American size but there was a dinosaur that spit water at you so that was fun! On each tour we were taken behind a gated area of the park probably employee only access areas to see the exhibits. It felt a little like Jurassic pack as the drive pushed the remote to open the large barb-wired fence.

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Overall, it was a fun experience but a very lengthy process, we probably spent at least and hour and a half (or longer) with our Dino Bus experience. The boys had a great time seeing all of the dinosaurs, especially the one that spit water! If you have a kid that loves dinosaurs (of if you love dinosaurs) I’d recommend that tour if you have time to spend waiting for all of the different buses. However, we probably won’t do the Dino Bus again as it was very lengthy and we didn’t really learn much about the dinosaurs on exhibit.

We did learn from our first driver that the NC Zoo is planning a huge expansion over the next 5 years which will include 3 new continents. The NC Zoo is already the largest natural habitat zoo in the United States, so I’m excited to see how they develop the new exhibits. Being the largest zoo means a lot of walking, we probably walked over 3 miles on our most recent trip and we only saw North America, not Africa. This is why we have a membership, even though the zoo is over and hour away it’s so huge it would be impossible for our family to make it through everything… plus the membership is a great deal for larger families.