Maryland Mommy Blogger | Mommy 2K

Friday, August 29, 2014

Trash to Treasure: Step2 Company Adjustable Sand & Water Table #thriftstorefind

I cannot stress the importance of outdoor play. With Fall just around the corner, I am trying to capitalize on these remaining beautiful, Summer days by taking Liam outside for added fun and exploration time. He enjoys the simple freedom of being able to walk and run around the yard, discovering the hidden treasures of nature and getting into just about anything.

Liam  is obsessed with blowing the seeds from a dandelion, playing in dirt and often drenches his outfit with water from a bucket. He doesn't need any toys to hold his attention. However, I cannot pass up on the great finds that I come across at the local thrift stores. Not only are these toys classics; they are also affordable.

Just this week, I found a Step2 Company Adjustable Sand & Water Table outside at the thrift store. I raced to get Liam out of the car and into his stroller before anyone else got their hands on it. As I got closer to the table, I noticed it was a bit faded and extremely dirty. To most people, this would be an absolute deal-breaker. But, I'm not most people. In fact, I love it when I see an item at the thrift store that needs a little bit of tender loving care. It becomes an instant project to me.

There was already a price tag on it. It read, "HAI $8". The "HAI" stands for Help Association, Inc. It is a local thrift shop in a city a few minutes from where I live. I frequent this spot and love the quaintness of the tiny, white building. I have found a lot of treasures here and I have also donated several items as well. Perhaps this cycle of give-and-take is creating some positive karma, allowing me to stumble on these great deals and finds.

I hesitated to purchase this sand & water table at first. Surely Liam did not need another thing to play with. He already has enough stuff. Then, I thought about how this particular piece would add excitement to our days of being outside, combined with his love of playing in the dirt and water. It was a no-brainer – this was coming home with us.

I handed over the money to the sales associate. As I was doing so, another customer walked by and smiled. She stopped and told me how great of an item the table is and gave me kudos for such a great score. I am pretty frugal, but even I thought $8 was reasonable. The Step2 website is asking $74.99 for a brand new one. That's almost a savings of 90%.

We made it a family event (well, Daddy did most of the work) and cleaned of the table yesterday.

After getting a bath, the Step2 Adjustable Sand & Water Table looked brand new. It was missing a sticker, a few of the toys for the inside and a few minor tears in the umbrella. Other than that, it was good to go.

We filled the table up with water on both sides. Liam already has a Little Tikes Turtle sandbox (that I also purchased from the thrift store, for $5), so I was in no rush to add sand to the table.

He was splishing and splashing in no time. Water was everywhere...including on his face.

Want to know the funny thing about children and their toys? They usually could care less about them. They go for everyday items, like water buckets. Ha!

I would tell you to stop spending ridiculous amounts of money on "stuff" for these busy bodies. However, it's YOUR money. And if you can find great deals like this one, I say go for it. Even if you cannot use it, consider making a donation to a local church or organization for young children. I am sure they will appreciate it.

Tell me, what great find or deal/bargain have you found recently? It can be anything. Leave a comment below.
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Saturday, August 16, 2014

5-hour ENERGY® Yummification Video Contest {sponsored}

Motherhood is hard. In fact, I am typing this post up while my boys are getting a good night's rest. This is the only time that I actually experience complete silence, no distractions and have the opportunity to cross a few items off of my to-do list. Ironically, I am using a shot of 5-hour ENERGY® to put a bit of pep into my step (well, my fingers are doing most of the walking for now). I haven't nodded off once. I would say, "mission accomplished"! Well, almost.

Before my head hits the pillow and I begin counting sheep, I wanted to share with you this amazing video contest that 5-hour ENERGY® is hosting. It's the 5-hour ENERGY® "Yummification" video contest and it requires some creative juices, both figuratively and literally. There are a lot of cash prizes involved as well (think dream vacation, paid debt, shopping feel me?!). Here is what you need to know.

Information about the “Yummification” Contest:

The makers of 5-hour ENERGY® announced the launch of the “Yummification” video contest, where entrants can win a share of $100,000 for creating a video of their favorite way to mix a 5-hour ENERGY® shot with an everyday beverage. The contest will be judged on the creativity of the video and the taste of the creation

· Drink creations must follow the approved/non-approved ingredients guidelines (i.e. no caffeinated beverages or alcohol)

· To enter the contest, visit and follow the instructions to complete the entry form; “Like” 5-hour ENERGY® on Facebook, then create and submit a video that is no longer than 60 seconds showing an original combination being made, tasted, and named (creativity counts!)

· One grand prize winner will receive $50,000, and the following prizes will also be awarded:

o Second Prize (1): Thirty Thousand Dollars ($30,000)

o Third Prize (1): Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000)

o Fourth Prizes (10): One Thousand Dollars ($1,000)

Entries must be received by August 19, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. EDT to be eligible. No purchase necessary. US residents only. 18 years and up.

To enter, visit and follow the instructions to complete the entry form or “Like” the 5-hour ENERGY® page on Facebook at and follow the instructions to click the contest tab.

· For official rules, visit

I was sent a complimentary variety pack of 5-hour ENERGY® shots with assorted regular strength flavors to try out. This was perfect for me because I am not a huge coffee drinker. I need something that will deliver the same punch, and 5-hour Energy does just that. I was also given a gift card to purchase mixers to create a yummy drink (and enter the contest if I wanted to). I had no clue where to begin, so I just went with something simple and came up with this:


I chose this name because I used all citrus fruits. Get it? CIT(rus). The emphasis is on those few letters. veloCITy. Corny, I know. Whatever. Also, this drink gives you a boost and keeps you going, making you pick up the pace and gain some speed. No stopping this energy. Boom!

This is all I used: 
  • 1 CUP of Grapefruit Juice (you can squeeze or use it straight from the bottle)
  • 1/4 CUP of Lemon Juice (I like to squeeze the lemons because the taste is better)
  • 1 Bottle of 5-hour Energy ORANGE flavor
I wanted to use affordable and common items that most people have available at home. Nothing too fancy. You need to be able to duplicate this easily. You can increase the ingredients and have a pitcher ready. Just add the 5-hour ENERGY® shot.
    This is how I used it all:
    • First, squeeze/add the grapefruit juice into a cup, dish, whatever.
    • Then, cut a lemon or lemons in half. Remove any seeds, if desired. Squeeze/pour the juice into the grapefruit juice. 
    • Lastly, add the  5-hour ENERGY® Orange. 
    • Using a different cup, preferably a Mason jar for added coolness, fill with ice. Transfer the mixed beverage to the container. 
    • Sip through a straw. 
    • Enjoy.
    **There is a list of approved drinks for this contest. Be sure you follow the rules.

    You should also know a little information about 5-hour ENERGY® shots:

    · 5-hour ENERGY® shots are dietary supplements that provide hours of energy and alertness
    · Contain a blend of B-vitamins, amino acids, and essential nutrients
    · Helps people feel alert and energized for hours
    · Zero sugar, zero carbs, zero herbal stimulants and 4 calories!
    · Caffeine in a 5-hour ENERGY® shot is comparable to a cup of the leading premium coffee
    · May consume up to 2 bottles of 5-hour ENERGY®, spaced several hours apart. For moderate energy, drink ½ bottle of 5-hour ENERGY®

    5-hour ENERGY® is not an energy drink or intended to be mixed with alcohol. It is not intended for children, women who are pregnant or nursing, or people with medical conditions. It does not increase physical performance, dexterity, or endurance and does not treat or cure any disease or medical condition. Do not drink more than two per day, do not drink more than one at a time.

    I'm a sucker for creative contests and giveaways. I like it when you have to come up with an idea instead of being chosen randomly. It makes winning that more special. I decided to enter and submitted my video. I guess we'll all find out who the chosen finalists are together. Good luck to you all. Here is my video entry:

    I'll follow up with more information on the winners. I can't wait to see the different combinations that people come up with . For now, follow 5-hour Energy on Twitter, @5hourEnergy, for updates.

    Thanks to my veloCITy creation for helping me complete this post. I didn't think I would make it.
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    Disclosure Information
    The 5-hour ENERGY® samples, gift card, information, and additional gift pack have been provided by the makers of 5-hour ENERGY®. All opinions and views are my own.

    Friday, August 15, 2014

    FRESH Premium Frozen Yogurt in Dunkirk, MD + $25 Gift Certificate Giveaway {sponsored}

    FRESH Premium Frozen Yogurt. Such a bold name to take on when serving anything that pertains to food. It requires that you deliver newness with high value and quality each and every time, without compromising the integrity of the business. I believe FRESH, located at 10072 Southern Maryland Blvd. in Dunkirk, MD in the Country Plaza shopping center, is serving up a recipe for success.

    My boys and I had the pleasure of visiting FRESH the other day. It wasn't our first visit there. We have stopped in a few times before, but never took the time to really get to know all that FRESH has to offer. The kind people at FRESH gifted us with a certificate so that we could try out some of their frozen yogurt and variety of toppings. We kindly took them up on the offer.

    Before I share our experience, here is a little background on the business, taken from their website (

    Our Story
    FRESH Premium Frozen Yogurt started as just a guy with what he thought was a pretty unremarkable idea - to provide the best frozen yogurt with the best ingredients. It sounds simple, right? We thought so, too. And this is why we want to change what you expect from frozen yogurt.

    Well, as it turns out doing things the right way isn't necessarily the easiest way. Countless trips to farms, sourcing ingredients, and then tasting again and again (OK that part isn't really hard) only reinforced that we were on to something.

    Fresh, natural ingredients just taste better. There's no amount of added sugar or unpronounceable preservatives that make up for farm fresh quality. We believe that if we source the freshest, brightest flavors, we can't go wrong. This philosophy is what FRESH Premium Frozen Yogurt is built on, and why we think you'll keep coming back.

    Upon entering FRESH, you will notice how bright the place is. The walls are covered with a vibrant green and orange color. There are white chairs and seating options to accessorize the place. The tiled wall where the frozen yogurt machines are housed is a great addition to the space. A huge chalkboard is nicely decorated with a little "FYI" for customers to get a glimpse of immediately. There is a lot of openness and cleanliness. It is reFRESHing to the eye.

    The process is simple to get your hands on this frozen yogurt goodness.

    (1)Grab it!
    You can sample the flavors before making your decision. The sample cups are located beside the other cups. You can opt to put your frozen yogurt in a waffle cone for an additional amount.
    (2)Fill it!
    I believe there are 12 flavors available. You can choose to enjoy them separately, or mix them for a great combination of flavor. FRESH recently introduced Judy's Blue Daiquiri Sorbet. It. Is. Tasty. Both Kaden and I mixed it with Watermelon Sorbet.
    (3)Top it!
    The toppings are plentiful. There are over 30 of them to choose from. Sometimes, I want to put them all on top of my frozen yogurt, but I practice restraint. I always get the classic sprinkles. But FRESH offers cool options like Mango Juice Poppers and Fruity Peebles. Try saying that three times, really fast. You can also go for the gooey goodness and add caramel, hot fudge, etc. Toppings are a great way to be creative and allow the little ones to have a choice in the process. They'll love this.
    (4)Weigh it!
    Depending on how carried away you got, this is the simple part. Just place your cup on the scale and wait for your total. If you have a cone instead of a cup, there is a plastic holder to weigh it. The frozen yogurt costs $.47 per ounce. As you can see in the picture, Kaden's cup came in at $4.77. I always strive to get a in the five dollar range when we visit. I also got a cup that day. Mine was a little lighter. Our total for this trip was just under ten dollars. Not bad for a delicious treat.

    I guess the final step in the process would be to EAT IT! This took no convincing at all. Just look at Liam give his frozen yogurt a lot of love.

    Amanda was the associate helping me for the day. She was beyond pleasant. If I had a question, she responded with an answer promptly, and gave me some back information. She said that FRESH has a lot of things in the works. They include:
    • seating that is child-friendly
    • hosting events that benefit the community and local school
    • offering more discounts, incentives to customers
    Their upcoming Back To School Night event is scheduled for THIS SUNDAY, August 17th from 3-9 PM. It's for the entire family – crafts, games, activities and a frozen yogurt contest. Also, students wearing their school's colors will receive a 10% discount on frozen yogurt. Other guests can bring a donation of a school supply and earn $1 off of their frozen yogurt. Sounds like a night of fantastic fun...and froyo!

    FRESH Premium Frozen Yogurt is always finding away to give back. They support local, just as I do. I think that is why I love this place. Not to mention the fact that it is a good break in the day and a chance to relax with your family and friends. If you are in the area, you have to stop by. Tell them that Keonté sent you. It may not mean much, but at least I'll know that you visited my blog. Ha!

    Any place that can tame my toddler, is one worth visiting. And because I love my readers so much (and FRESH was so generous to offer), I would like to give one lucky person a $25 gift certificate to redeem at the Dunkirk, MD location. FroYo on me! Enter the Rafflecopter form below. 

    If you cannot see the form, enter here.

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    Disclosure Information
    I was provided a gift certificate for my family and I to try out FRESH Premium Frozen Yogurt. The opinions and views are my own.  

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