#MothersDay Gift Ideas in my #eBayMom #travel & #cats @eBay collections! Curate your own & win $500! #ad

My blog post was written as part of my collaboration with eBay.

Is there someone that has made a great impact on your life? Someone that has taught you, advised you and inspired you? There is for me – my Mom. My Mom is one of the two sole constants in my life (the other being my Dad). She is her own unique person and I admire her greatly for that.

My Mom has always been there for me, for the good and the bad, the ups and the downs. My first journey to Washington, DC to lobby for the Down syndrome community? She was there with me, walking all over the nations capitol with her bad knees and all. That’s her on the far right, in the picture below with Congressman Jon Runyan.

Dc Runyan Group Shot 2012

That’s how she is. She does all that she can to support her family. No matter if she agrees with what we’re doing, she does her best to support us emotionally anyway – ready to cheer for us if we succeed and to help pick us up and get back on our feet if we fall. That why we kids made sure that we got a big family picture. Family is of highest importance on my Mom’s list, and we all knew the photo would mean a lot. It was great to have everyone that loves her all together to make it happen. That’s her in the middle in the red sweater by the way.

Christmas photo of whole family 2013

Mom’s all heart.

Mom with Ginny

I can’t imagine anyone else I’d rather call Mom. My Dad and my brothers sometimes call me “little Pat.”. I can’t imagine anyone else I’d rather be like if I had to be like anyone. She sticks to her guns when she’s right and stands up for what she believes in. She’s taught me a lot and I’m still learning from her even today, after more than 47 years.

I created some eBay collections inspired by my Mom.

EbayMom Loves To Travel EbayMom Loves Cats

One of the things my Mom loves more then anything is to travel.

EbayMom Loves To Travel

I created the Loves to Travel collection with Mom in mind. It contains all sorts of travel necessities. Sunglasses? Check. New totebag to put them in? Most certainly! Watch so she doesn’t miss her flight? Yep. Luggage and new luggage tags? You betcha! Travel alarm clock? Check. iPad and case for reading and taking notes? Absolutely!

EbayMom Loves Cats

Like me, my Mom also loves cats, which is why I created the Loves Cats collection.

Mom really enjoys tea, possibly almost as much as she enjoys cuddling with a cat or photographing one. So, I found a bunch of lovely teapots that all featured cats. Each one was a little different then the rest, just like my Mom is like noone else. But as different as they all are from each other, they’re all beautiful, like my Mom.

Curate for Mom and Win $500 Weekly

You can create your own #eBayMom collection and enter for a chance to win $500 to shop on eBay! eBay will be choosing weekly winners to receive a $500 shopping spree just for creating inspiring eBay collections. This fun sweepstakes started yesterday 04/14/14 and ends on 05/11/14. To enter visit the eBay Curate for Mom page and create a collection inspired by your Mom or other important woman in your life. Make sure to tag your collection with #eBayMom. You can create more then one collection to increase your chances to win. By the way. For each collection you create and share, eBay will donate $1 up to $25,000 to Bright Pink!

And if you need a little help deciding what to get the Mom in your life, be sure to check out the eBay Mother’s Day Gift Guide!

What is one thing about your Mom (or other important woman in your life) that has inspired you? I’d really love to know, so please leave a comment! Let’s celebrate Moms!

5 Steps To A Successful Summer Party – Glad Black Bag #trashcrashers @getglad

 

GLAD Logo

One of the things I am looking forward to about the nice weather and summer is spending time outside. along with just enjoying a nice day and nice weather, I love grilling season. Hubby takes the cooking outside and everything just tastes different when it’s made out there. Plus, it’s just fun hanging out in the yard enjoying good company, good conversation, good food and good music. We haven’t had a grill in two years as ours broke. A new grill is on the top of my list of things to buy in the coming weeks. So now that it’s finally stopped snowing here in Jersey (knock wood), people are starting to get ready for grilling season.

In order to have a successful BBQ there are five important things you need to do. Start by grabbing a box of GLAD Black Bags.

Glad Box

You don’t necessarily have to use the giant box, that happens to be what we buy because we love them and use them so much. Why do you want to use a black bag specifically? Because they are strong. Seriously. To have a successful BBQ, or any kind of party, you need some strong trash bags.

1. Clean up inside the house.

When you’re planning on entertaining, of course you want to clean up for your guests. Whether grilling outdoors or having game day inside, you probably clean up the inside of your house. Or, at the very least, certain parts of your house – the ones people see. We need the black bag in our house. Let me demonstrate why.

This is part of my couch. It’s old and unassuming, right? It’s got some artfully stacked pillows up there looking all nifty.

Couch

Move those pillows away and what do you see? Cushion and stuffing.

Couch

When I decided to wash the cushion covers a couple of weeks ago, one of the zippers broke. It cannot be repaired. The dog is fascinated by the stuffing. Every time I turn around he’s inside the couch taking out some more. We’re picking this up often.

Speaking of the dog. Dobby was 4 pounds when I rescued him in January. He’s now just over 26 pounds.

Dobby

Let it suffice to say that the bigger he gets the bigger the messes he makes are. We find little pieces of stuff everywhere since Dobby joined us. What messes he doesn’t make he manages to find. So we’ve basically always got a black bag going.

2. Clean up outside and get the yard ready.

Make sure your yard is presentable or guests. Turn on some music and bag up the junk and clutter that might have accumulated over the winter. And the dog poop. Then split your yard into different areas. If you have room and can make a separate area for games and activities that’s great. You’ll want to place strategically placed trash cans in a couple of areas around the yard and line them with black bags. Depending on the size of your crowd I recommend at least two to four cans. The more people you’re having the more cans you’ll put out. People never all gather in one place, so make sure you have plenty of trash cans. Use half of the cans for trash and half for recycling, leaving one of each in each area. You don’t want or need people traipsing through the house in search of a garbage or recycling can. Make it easy for them and give them a place to throw things away right away. Speaking of things to throw away.

3. Use disposable products.

Do you really want to wash all those dishes? Do I really need to say more? When we have a BBQ we use disposable plates, cups and napkins. Sometimes we use disposable silverware as well, depending on what we’re serving. I hate it when plastic tines break so if it’s something like steak we use real forks and knives. And lastly. Speaking of steak.

4. Serve good food.

Meat

No matter what food you’re serving, be sure that you’re serving good food. Do not serve the cheap junk that’s made of who knows what because it’ll save you 2 cents. Use quality meat. Use fresh vegetables. Nothing rocks more then fresh corn on the cob, it’s so much better then the frozen stuff. Prepare ahead of time. Marinate meat that can be marinated. Cut vegetables the night before or morning of. People will appreciate, and remember you, for the food you serve. It’s just how it is. If you serve bad food people will remember it and take that into account when deciding if they want to attend. If you serve good food they’ll remember that too. Have a chest of ice for beverages. Don’t have everyone going into the house for ice cubes.

5. Clean up.

Once the BBQ is over, turn the music back up and go around and collect the black bags. Don’t be concerned if they’re full. Remember from the beginning I told you, they’re strong. Like you shouldn’t use foo-foo meat, you also shouldn’t use foo-foo bags. Those cheap things break every time, and make more work then the dime they might have saved you. Tie the black bags up and dispose of them properly. It’s so much easier doing this instead of having all of the garbage in the house. And really, the bags can handle abuse.

Speaking of cleaning up. Have you heard about the GLAD Black Bag Trashers? They come to your place, and will entertain you and help you clean up afterwards. Check out this video.

Brought to you by Glad® Black bag. Glad® Black Bag is tough enough to take it all.

MORE INFO

Glad on Facebook

Glad on Twitter

Do you have a special dish or great tip that you use to make your BBQs successful? I’d love to hear it, please leave a comment!

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Clorox via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Clorox.

Three Great Egypt Tourist Attractions

This is a partnered post.

I’ve always wanted to travel, both domestically and internationally. When I was about 13 I went to Great Britain. I’ve always hoped to go back. But there are a lot of other places I want to go too. Egypt is on that list. The idea of seeing the pyramids fascinates me.

Have you ever traveled internationally? Where did you go? I’d really like to know, please leave a comment!

Egypt Pyramids

Egypt is a North African country that was once home to one of the world’s most powerful civilisations. The dry, desert heat means that many of their buildings and art can still be seen today. Egypt’s well-preserved historic sites draw millions of visitors, and the country also has a wealth of natural beauty. Here are three of its top tourist attractions.

The Pyramids

The three giant Pyramids at Giza are often used a symbol of Egypt, and are among the largest man-made structures on Earth. Many tourists fly into nearby Cairo Airport, where last minute holidays to Egypt can bring significant savings to holidaymakers who want to enjoy the beauty and wonders that Egypt boasts of. The Great Pyramid of Khufu, or Cheops, is the tallest of the three Pyramids. Nearby is the Great Sphinx; a massive, four-thousand-year-old sculpture of a lion with a human face.

The Red Sea

The eastern coast of Egypt lies on the Red Sea, and resort towns such as Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada are a good base for visiting this lovely and unique coastline. The offshore waters have thousands of fish and other marine species living among the miles of coral reef, and the region is perfect for diving, snorkeling and photography. For those who prefer to stay ashore, the Red Sea Riviera is lined with many beautiful beaches.

Luxor

Luxor was once the ancient capital of Egypt, when it was called Thebes. It lies on both banks of the River Nile, about 300 miles south of Cairo. The East Bank is where the modern town lies, and is home to many historic sites, including the Temple of Karnak and Luxor Temple. On the West Bank, reached by a short ferry ride or by a road bridge, is the famous Valley of the Kings. This is where the ancient Pharaohs were buried in tombs carved out of the desert rock. Many of these can be visited today, and have spectacular wall paintings and carvings.

From tombs and temples that are many thousands of years old, to modern holiday resorts by the ocean, Egypt has countless, unique attractions. As well as the three described here, there are many other things to see, including desert oasis towns, hilltop monasteries and medieval castles. From the Mediterranean coast in the north to the Sudanese border in the far south, Egypt is full of fascinating experiences.

Why Do We Buy Certain Toys?

With sons ages 18 and 14 I have bought  many toys over the years. And I’ve certainly seen far more then I’ve purchased. Sometimes I buy a toy for the educational value, because I think it will help teach something , or reinforce a skill. And then sometimes I just buy a toy because I think the child will enjoy it and have fun with it. If I had to say which I did more that would be touch. The ratio is pretty close, possibly almost 50/50. Here’s an article on one popular toy that I found interesting. Links to third party sites have been included for the audiences reference.

When purchasing toys for your child what do you consider? I’d really like to know, please leave a comment!

Child Playing With Legos

The Building Blocks of Childhood — Educating Kids With Lego

As kids begin their developmental journey, we as parents want to provide them with toys that aren’t simply a means of whiling away a few hours with no real return on their efforts. Of course you don’t just lock your kid up in a room with a pile of books (though some kids quite happily take to their rooms for hours with a decent book!) and tell them to get studying. Instead, you’re more like to consider the educational value of the toys you buy them.

There’s a huge range of toys on the market nowadays, but some have lasted for generations. Lego is a great example of this. The colorful, interlocking bricks we know and love today came about back in 1958, following a range of prototypes, and since then the world’s favorite toy has triggered additional product ranges, such as Lego Duplo. But just what’s so appealing about this simply designed toy product?

Well, it encourages children to think outside of the box and imagine a world that’s bigger than the one they inhabit. Stimulating the imagination bolsters the development of their social and expressive skills, which has been one of Lego’s appeals to many a parent (no one wants their kid to be the ‘weird one’ at school!). The possibilities are near endless, allowing your child (and you!) to build and re-build as many different things as many times as they (or you!) want to. Not only that, but the human figures can be used for role-play purposes, which help to develop children’s interpersonal skills.

Unlike other modern toys, which are built to do a sole job or guide their users through the game, Lego is designed to get kids thinking for themselves. With Lego, there’s never a dead-end; you’ll always have a way to carry on the game and add something new to it. And no matter which Lego set you buy, you can mix and match your bricks for endless hours of enjoyment.

There are also some fantastic movie tie-in toys that allow kids to play along with their favorite characters, including Harry Potter and the Star Wars gang. There are also tailored sets for age groups and gender, although Lego is largely an inclusive toy — outside factors of nature don’t matter because every game is different. Lego places kids in charge of their own little world. You can just sit back and let them amaze you with their creative scenarios.

Lego has been with us for more than 50 years and shows no signs of disappearing fast. It can help with the development of counting, color and spatial awareness and fine motor skills. The fact that the adults can have just as much fun with it as the kids makes rare the family household that doesn’t have some sort of Lego set in it. Now, what are the odds that you’re anxious to scurry off to the toy box right now? Away you go, then, you crazy kid!

Jeannie Hargrove is a mom of five and unashamed Lego addict. She also enjoys a good puzzle.

Image by oddharmonic, used under Creative Commons license.

Easter Outfit Memories And A $400 @Coupons #EasterDealsHunt #Giveaway #ad

This is a Fashionista Event and a promotional item was provided to me by Coupons.com. Hosts for this event are Still Blonde after all these Years and ModlyChic.

I have many great Easter memories. As a child my parents always made Easter morning a fun adventure. After Church we’d have an egg hunt in the yard. And we always got a basket with a huge chocolate bunny, seriously they were like 2 feet high. Hmmmm. I miss those bunnies. Anyway. Of course, on Easter my parents always had us dress up. It was not a question, an option or a discussion. Mom always got a dress for me, and sailor suits for my younger brothers. I never liked being made to dress in certain things, and swore I wouldn’t submit my children to such torture.

T with Easter Bunny in 2001

That photo was taken back in 2001. At that point my oldest son was going through this phase where he just didn’t like certain articles of clothing. He loved being in sweatpants. He’d wear jeans but always preferred the sweats. And tops with zippers, like the quarter zip top he had on, well you can see how happy he was about that. I’m not into fancy dress, so thought jeans and coordinating nice tops were perfectly reasonable. My son did not. It took about 10 tries before I got a picture of the boys with the Easter Bunny without my son looking miserable. Why was he smiling? Because that was the moment my other son decided to take a nap. Foiled yet again!

Easter 2001 photo of boys with bunny

We did finally get a good shot with both boys awake a little later that day. Unfortunately I can’t find it anywhere so only have a tiny image I scanned years ago.

Boys with Easter Bunny in 2001

That was one of my favorite photos, and I’m really bummed I haven’t found it yet.

So I guess you’ve noticed the similarity. I put my son in clothes he didn’t like just like my parents did to me and my brothers. What horrible parents we are!  Big meanies! As a child I didn’t get that my Mom just wanted us to look nice because she was proud of us. And I didn’t appreciate the lengths she went to to try and have us looking nice without breaking the bank.

Mom’s still at it by the way. Take a look at my nephew.

Alex in sailor suit for Easter

You can see he’s really enjoying his new sailor suit! That was just taken this weekend.

When I was a child my Mom would start shopping early in order to find the best deals. That was work for her and it required watching ads, going to stores and talking to sales people, since there was no internet yet. Mom delighted in our lovely Easter clothes. We were less then delighted. Fast forward to 2001 and computers were no longer high tech things of the future. But they were still pretty pricey, so not a lot of people had them. I got a deal because I sold computers back then, so I had one. But, I didn’t know something back then that I know now. I didn’t know about coupon codes.

Today when I’m looking for coupon codes I know to hit Coupons.com. For parents searching right now for the perfect Easter outfit for their children, they’d be smart to look for Easter deals at Coupons.com. I found a ton of deals on great deals for kids clothes. There was a coupon code for $10 off $30 at Kohl’s, that’s awesome! There was another for an extra 15% Off Easter Dresses and Dresswear for Baby & Toddler at Sears! And if you’d prefer to shop for something else, say Easter decoration, well they’ve got coupon codes for that too! There’s a coupon code in there to save 50% Off Holiday Inspirations Easter decor & entertaining at Jo-Ann! I know not everyone celebrates Easter. If you don’t, there’s still tons of deals in there for you, at stores like Target, Bath & Body Works, Macy’s and Sears.

Check out Coupons.com. You might find a coupon code that just makes you so happy you feel like hopping!

In the mood for a giveaway? Four people will each win $100 Amazon Gift Code from Coupons.com. The giveaway runs until April 21, 2014. You can enter the giveaway using the form below. Good luck to all!

Did you have to wear special outfits for the holidays when you were growing up? Did you enjoy it? I’d really like to know, so please leave a comment!

PS. You might want to use this image to answer a few fun questions in the Rafflecopter below!

Scavenger Hunt Game

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Free Two-Day Shipping With Shop Your Way Max – Free 90 Day Trial #ad

This is a sponsored post. I am a Shop Your Way blogger and all opinions are my own.

Shop Your Way Max

Do you shop online? I do. I shop online a lot. I find online shopping to be very convenient, and to save a lot of money. Of course there are a few things that I keep in mind when I shop online besides price. They are the cost of shipping and how long it will take the item to arrive. If an item costs an arm and a leg to ship I won’t buy it online. Free shipping is something I usually look for. And if an item can’t get here as quickly as I need it I’ll pass on that purchase as well.

Well, there’s a new player in the free fast shipping game – Shop Your Way MAX. Shop Your Way MAX  offers free two-day shipping on Sears and Kmart merchandise for just $39 per year. Shop Your Way MAX is available to members of Shop Your Way. If you’ve been reading Mom Knows It All for a while then you probably remember that Shop Your Way is a program that offers you points back for every $1 you spend on qualifying purchases at Sears and Kmart, as well as at Lands’ End, and mygofer. Add free shipping on to that and Shop Your Way MAX is just PRIME for the taking.

It’s PRIME TIME to become a member of Shop Your Way MAX – it’s free for 90 days! Sign up and activate free two-day shipping for just $39 per year!

What’s the biggest reason you prefer to shop online or in a store? I really want to know, please leave a comment!

Shop Your Way Max - free shipping

Check Out @SaharaSams 200lb Popsicle! Will It Melt Before @DiggerlandUSA Opens? #NJ #popsiclewatch

This is a sponsored post. The info about the contest was provided by Sahara Sam’s. The excitement at the prospect o a 200 pound popsicle is all my own. Please note that, as always, any personal opinions reflected in this post are my own and have not been influenced by the sponsor or compensation received in any way.

Sahara Sams, NJ 200 Lb Popsicle

Over the past week or so, about 75 minutes west of me in West Berlin, NJ, something cool has been going on. Ok not cool, cold. The folks at Sahara Sam’s Oasis have been crafting a 200 lb popsicle for a contest. The popsicle (made up on a custom stick, custom container [for freezing], Kool-Aid and 23 gallons of water) is frozen and will be displayed out front of their Rt 73 location on Friday. That’s today!!!! Doesn’t that sound cool! If my day wasn’t packed I’d totally drive the 75 minutes to see it first hand. Why are they doing such a thing? I know! Of course I know. Mom Knows It All, remember! LOL.

They’re doing it to celebrate the opening of their new theme park Diggerland USA this summer. Diggerland USA will be the first US-based construction theme park. Gearing up for its grand opening this summer, a unique promotion has been placed on display outside of Sahara Sam’s Oasis. In front of the indoor and outdoor water park you can see a 200 pound popsicle being hoisted by a 330 skid steer. The giant popsicle is part of a contest. If you can correctly guess how long it takes the popsicle to melt, you can win a family four pack of tickets. To participate, go to Sahara Sam’s Facebook page and submit your guess on the Freebie Friday post. Entries should include the day and time of when you think the popsicle will be completely melted. The winner of the prize will be chosen from the submissions with the closest answers.

If you live in or around New Jersey, be sure to hit the Sahara Sam’s Facebook page and enter! Actually, if you’re planning travel in or through New Jersey over the summer, wouldn’t a nice pit stop at a waterpark be refreshing? Enter and if you win use the tickets then!

Here’s the weekend forecast for West Berlin, NJ, which is where Sahara Sam’s and the 200 pound popsicle are located.

West Berlin NJ weekend forecast for Sahara Sam's popsicle contest

Let’s have some fun. How long do you think it will take the 200 pound popsicle in front of Sahara Sam’s to melt? Leave me a comment and let me know how long you think it will take for the popsicle to melt!

MORE INFO

Sahara Sam’s website

Sahara Sam’s Oasis on Facebook

Sahara Sam’s on Twitter

Diggerland USA website

Diggerland USA on Facebook

Diggerland USA on Twitter

Summit #NJ Woodhouse Day #Spa Pampers Pregnant Women w/ Specially Designed Package

This is a sponsored post. Please note that, as always, any personal opinions reflected in this post are my own and have not been influenced by the sponsor or compensation received in any way.

How did your body feel when you were pregnant? All in all I was blessed through both pregnancies. I had no morning sickness or nausea. I had two things that bothered me with both pregnancies. I had heartburn. And the muscles in my neck, back and feet were always sore. And they stayed sore. I had no massages, that’s just not hubby’s style. My best relief was a heating pad, and that didn’t usually help much.

The Woodhouse Day Spa of Summit, NJ recognizes that while motherhood is a miraculous time, it’s also a time of great physical discomfort for many. And for some, even mentally stressful. They have created package of services just for mothers-to-be. Here’s more about the treatments.

Woodhouse Day Spa

Mothers-to-be await the most miraculous gift as a human; giving birth. However during this special time, extreme discomfort, and a whirlwind of emotions take full control, creating feelings of hopelessness. Many of these women seek specialists, others get lost in remedies, and most involve themselves in countless activities to either completely avoid or cope with their pain, inadvertently adding more stress to their everyday lives.

Woodhouse Day Spa Massage

In December of 2013, The Woodhouse Day Spa in Summit, New Jersey, opened its doors offering many different treatments, but one in particular designed for the purposes of pregnant women. Since opening, the spa is pleased to invite these women in to find the relief they have been looking for. The package is called the “Mother-To-Be,” a series of spa services specially designed to carry pregnant women through the pains of pregnancy.

The Prenatal Relief Massage is the first service they provide, which alleviates muscular stress one has through each trimester. The following treatment is known as the Woodhouse Introductory Facial, where the esthetician cleanses the face, leaving the skin with a natural glow. Lastly, the Organic Sugar Scrub Pedicure, promotes rejuvenation while quieting and soothing swollen and tired feet.

Woodhouse Day Spa Aromatherapy

After the treatments have been performed, women are directed to the Quiet Room, another unique feature of The Woodhouse Day Spa. The Quiet Room is a tranquil and inviting space, where guests are encouraged to continue their relaxation. In this room you will find guests sitting on couches in luxurious robes, sipping on tea, while natural aromas fill their senses and bask in the air. The Woodhouse Day Spa in Summit invites in women to experience “Mother-to-be,” the new way to cope with the pains of pregnancy.

For more information about the “Mother-to-Be” package or The Woodhouse Day Spa in Summit, New Jersey, visit http://summit.woodhousespas.com.

I tend to carry all of my stress in my neck, back and shoulders. I’ve only had one massage and enjoyed it greatly. I’d really like to get another. When I went they asked me questions about types of massage, I wasn’t quite sure what to answer. Hot stone, deep tissue, Swedish, and a few others too. Guess that means I’ll have to save my money and try them all to find out which is my favorite…

Have you ever had a massage? Was it for aches or pains, or maybe stress?  Did it help you feel better? Any tips for people who haven’t had one or maybe have had a bad experience? If you haven’t had one, what’s holding you back? I’d really love to know, please leave a comment!

Help Silence The Bullying Epidemic With mSpy Smartphone Monitoring @mspycom

This is a sponsored post. Information on the app was provided by mSpy. The info about how I was bullied is all real. Please note that, as always, any personal opinions reflected in this post are my own and have not been influenced by the sponsor or compensation received in any way.

mSpy logo

I’ve mentioned before that I was bullied when I was in high school. I was much younger then most of my classmates, two to four years younger. Even the nerds didn’t like me, and I was in all of their classes. Basically I was either ignored, or picked on mercilessly. Most days I prayed to be ignored, as lonely as that was. Their abuse was never physical. It was mental, emotional and verbal. Back in those days, bullying wasn’t called bullying. Teachers and administration never called it that. Back then there were “misunderstandings”, “exaggerations” or “things being blown out of proportion”. Nowadays it’s even easier to bully someone, because there are more places to do it. Bullying for me ended most days when I left the school. Today, even computers are being cast by the wayside as more and more people turn to their cell phones for online activities like email, chat and surfing the web. This means they run the risk of being cyberbullied.

We see mentions of cyberbullying in the newspapers and on television. There used to be a line between the bullies and those being bullied. That line has become virtually transparent now that cyber bulling is reaching epidemic proportions. parents need to do all that they can to help battle this problem head on and keep their children safe.

As much as 70% of teens hide their online behavior from their parents. While 33% of U.S. teens admit to being cyber bullied, only 7% of U.S. parents admit to being worried about cyber bullying. Bullying is never a subject that can go ignored, not in real life and not over the computer. If bullying remains undetected it can literally mean the difference between life and death. But what can parents do?

There’s no single one right answer to that question, except for “everything they can”. One good measure to take is to learn more about the activities your child engages in on their mobile phone. Of course parents want to be sure that their children aren’t indulging in any aggressive or solicited behavior harmful to themselves or others. Software such as mSpy makes that possible.

mSpy Smartphone Monitoring mSpy Smartphone Monitoring

mSpy is highly advanced smartphone monitoring software designed to provide a safer and more controlled smartphone experience at home or in the office. It captures an impressive range of data from Android and iOS mobile devices, allowing users to monitor and track call logs, emails, text messages, browsing history, social networks, multimedia content, and location.  In addition, mSpy can record keystrokes, restrict calls from undesired numbers, block access to programs, websites and apps, lock devices and more. mSpy offers 24/7 customer support and has a large network of international online partners. Silver winner of TopTen Reviews 2013, mSpy was created by MTechnology LTD.

Some parents would prefer their children not know that software like mSpy is running. Others are very comfortable making it known they’re going to be using it, but run into questions about phone compatibility or obtaining physical access to the phone. As a response to customer feedback on these and other issues, mSpy has made things even easier by announcing the release of four popular smartphone models preloaded with mSpy monitoring software. The bundles announced this past week include the first-ever consumer ready smartphones with advanced surveillance technology preinstalled.

Currently available on the HTC One, Nexus 5, Samsung Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5s, consumers worldwide no longer have to worry about smartphone compatibility with the software or obtaining physical access to the target phone. The bundle includes a one-year subscription to the premium mSpy software, capturing a wide range of mobile data, including calls, emails, SMS, keystrokes, Viber, WhatsApp and Skype chats, location and more. Pricing for the bundle varies and includes the price of the phone plus the subscription to the premium package. As a key player in the growing space of monitoring, mSpy is planning on expanding their offerings to include more smartphone models and additional surveillance features.

“The mSpy software bundle is in direct response to the feedback we have been receiving from our customers,” said Andrei Shimanovich, COO of mSpy. “For the first time, people can now purchase a top-of-the-line smartphone which is preinstalled with a multi-functional cell phone tracker. It’s a perfect solution not just for individuals, but also for businesses.”

Originally designed as a parental control tool, mSpy runs in stealth mode without interference to the targeted device’s daily operations. mSpy aggregates the activity in a cloud-based, password-protected control panel, where users can perform remote commands like blocking access to certain programs, websites and apps, restricting incoming calls, locking the phone and more. The software bundle also offers benefits for small business owners seeking a cost-effective monitoring program for company-owned devices. Given that 40% of mSpy customers use the software to track their kids, individuals wishing to keep tabs on their significant others may find such an offer increasingly appealing as well.

mSpy Smartphone MonitoringmSpy Smartphone Monitoring

Click to view a demo of mSpy mobile monitoring software. To learn more about mSpy, or to purchase the software, visit mspy.com.

Have you ever worried about or discussed cyber bullying with your child? What do you feel is a good age to start having conversations about bullying? I’d really like to know, so please leave a comment!

New Interactive AARP #Travel Site Seeks To Simplify Vacation Planning

This is a sponsored post. Please note that, as always, any personal opinions reflected in this post are my own and have not been influenced by the sponsor or compensation received in any way.

Aarp Travel

I remember when I was growing up if you wanted to plan trips you usually had to see a travel agent. (Remember, this was back in the day before so many of us had internet access.) So you’d pay someone to gather up your research and help you make the best arrangements possible. Then came the internet. People started doing their own research.

You’re probably done your own internet research at one point or another. Surfed through thirty sites to find the best pricing. Bookmarking every link, or keeping them in a notepad, email or Word doc along with your notes. Returning another day to find bookmarks didn’t work or prices had changed. You know what I mean. Researching things can be a lot of work, and it isn’t always easy.

The new AARP travel site is hoping to change all of that. AARP Travel (travel.aarp.org/welcome) offers exclusive interactive travel tools and features to make confusing research a thing of the past, and to help people plan, book and share their trips with little to no effort. The site is a free-to-use one-stop online experience for those planning a vacation. The site also offers an extensive library of articles and travel tips, as well as trip planning tools like Trip Finder and Map Explorer. The site was designed with people age 50 and over in mind, in order to consolidate and streamline the vacation planning process.

“The features we’ve launched today, along with new content and tools we’ll add to AARP Travel as the service grows, reflect the simplicity, ease of use and convenience people want all under one roof,” said Sami Hassanyeh, Chief Digital Officer for AARP. “Whether it’s a weekend family trip or the vacation of a lifetime, we want to enable people to travel intelligently, enjoyably and economically, anywhere and anytime.”

Another popular feature will surely be tips shared by noted travel expert and AARP Travel Ambassador Samantha Brown.

“I travel for a living, and on any given trip, most of the fellow travelers I meet are older,” said Brown. “People tell me how much they love the travel effect on their lives, health, and relationships, but they’re not in love with the sometimes confusing do-it-yourself research and planning process. With AARP Travel, they’ll have an easy-to-use resource to seize the trip and have fun in the process.”

The site looks like it could be a great resource on destinations everywhere, enabling visitors decide where to go, how to get there, and what to do once they’re there. Boy wouldn’t that be helpful!

Have you ever encountered planning or booking a trip? I’d love to hear, please leave a comment!