Monthly Archives: June 2014

The Marriott Rewards Member Experience {Video} + Year Of Surprises Giveaway

The Marriott Rewards Member Experience {Video}

Mom Central Consulting Marriott Rewards Marriott Rewards

Lately, I don’t know which end is up.  Not generally speaking, but around my house.  When the kids are out of school I sort of lose my mind between trying to work, entertain my youngest, be a mediator between the kids, and keep up with the dishes and brain turns a little mushy in the summer.   Given that, I like to get away from home as much as possible in the summer.  Away from the dishes, laundry, and yard work.  I actually enjoy my job though so I take it with me wherever I go. 🙂

I’m always on the lookout for fun places to take the kids and recently got enough points through the Marriott Rewards® ambassador campaign I’m participating in to take my daughter and one of her friend’s on a girl’s trip to Marriott’s Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville.  I could make a long story short by telling you that Madelyn wants to live at Opryland, or any hotel for that matter, but I want to tell you why our experience at Opryland and other Marriott hotels we’ve stayed at this summer, has been so great.

When my daughter, her friend, and I arrived at Opryland after the from Atlanta, we were thrilled to see that there was a line for Marriott Rewards® Platinum Elite members… a SWEET reward after driving for 5 hours and hauling way too much luggage for three people, through the hotel.  Hallelujah!  The receptionist talked to us like she knew us and when she told us that our room was upgraded and gave us a $10 voucher to spend at the hotel, Marriott Rewards® Platinum Elite member perks, Madelyn just about “fainted”.  She rolled her eyes back and her jaw dropped.   I think she thought $10 was more like a million dollars. 😉

Our room was gorgeous.  It had a balcony and a view of the atrium.  The girl’s could have spent the entire trip on the balcony but after they learned that there were two pools, tons of shops, a frozen yogurt shop, and a boat ride, they practically ran out of the room.

Marriott Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, TV

During our stay at Opryland, a Marriott property we received excellent service.  I had to call the front desk a few times to ask about the indoor boat ride schedule and pool hours, and later about late check-out and each time I called I was greeted by name and overall pleasantry.

Opryland pool

The Marriott Rewards member perk I appreciated the most during our stay was late checkout.  The girls and I stayed up pretty late swimming, shopping, and wandering around Opryland and it was really nice to know that we didn’t have to wake up early and rush to shower, eat breakfast and pack the morning of checkout.  You’ll definitely enjoy this perk!  As a Marriott Rewards® Platinum Elite member you’ll also get 48-Hour Guaranteed Availability, Platinum Exclusive Elite offers, dedicated Platinum reservation line, free wifi, and select Marriott properties offer Platinum Elite members free breakfast during their stay.

Watch my video below to hear about my experience as a Marriott Rewards® member


Go to to become a Marriott Rewards® member today, free!



Now that I’ve shared some of the benefits of being a Marriott Rewards® member with you I want to tell you about the Marriott Rewards® Year Of Surprises giveaway that is going on right now.  Marriott Rewards® is celebrating their 30th birthday with the Year of giveaway contest, during which you can nominate someone who deserves a vacation.  If the person you nominate wins, Marriott will throw them a huge surprise party/vacation!  Creative submissions are a must, so plan ahead!  The third round of nominations begins August 1st and ends August 31st, 2014.  Read more about the Year of Surprises contest and the rules.

Enjoy earning points and rewards during your next Marriott stay!

– Alicia


Mom Central Consulting Marriott Rewards Marriott Rewards
Bikes for kids learning to ride a bicycle

4 Kid’s Bikes for Kids Learning to Ride + 7 Bike Safety Tips

Learning to ride a bike is an essential part of childhood for most kids.  For some kids learning to ride a bike is a breeze and for others, like my second child, learning to ride a bike isn’t easy at all.   If there’s one thing I’ve learned when shopping for bikes for my kids, it’s that there are a lot of different bicycle options for kids.

Below are some great bicycle options for kids learning to ride a bike  along with tips on making the bike-riding experience fun and safe for kids.

Bikes for kids learning to ride a bicycle

1 – The Radio Flyer EZ Fold Stroll ‘N Trike is helpful for you and your toddler. It is designed to fold quickly and can be pushed with its unique handle. It also offers a canopy, 3-point harness, back seat and foot rest. It is made to accommodate kids at up to 5 years.
• $139 at Radio Flyer

2 – The Y-Volution YBike Balance Bike, available in blue, green, pink and orange, is made for kids aged 2 to 4 years. For those just starting out it offers a great way to learn balance and coordination. The wheels are designed to offer a large turning circle without falling and to reduce the chances of running over their feet.
• $58-79 on

3 – For a lightweight and portable option the Smart Gear Kid’s Wooden Balance Bike features its own carrying handle. It is made to assist in adapting to a 2-wheel bicycle.
• Approximately $75 on

4 – The durable Novara Firefly 12” Bike features removable training wheels, back pedal brakes and a full-length chain guard. For the adventurous biker the handlebar is made in a BMX style and comes with a bag and cheerful bell.
• $139 at REI and

Provide your child with the right bicycle for their age, height, and skill level, and they will get fresh air and exercise and possibly even make new friends to ride bikes with!

Safety Tips For New Bicycle Riders

  • Always wear a helmet: The first step to bicycle safety is to keep a helmet securely attached at all times to protect the head in the event of a fall or collision.  I point out to my kids that professional riders (bicycle, skateboard, etc) wear helmets and I think that helps them realize that ‘the cool kids wear a helmet’, even though some of their friends don’t.
  • Check your child’s bike for loose components: Before your child gets on their bike, make sure each part is securely bolted or screwed in place to prevent loosening that could result in accidents or injury.
  • Check the brakes: Before letting your child ride away, make sure the brakes work properly so he or she can quickly stop as necessary.
  • Check tires: Don’t forget to check your child’s bicycle tires for proper pressure. Tires that are too full or tight may suddenly burst while riding and those that are not fully inflated may affect your child’s ability to steer.
  • Wear bright clothes: Wearing bright clothes makes your child more noticeable to passing motorists.
  • Ride in a safe area: For kids learning to ride a bike, stability is key. Keep them in a flat open area preferably away from the road.
  • Learn hand signals: When your child must ride their bike on the street, knowing and using hand signals helps motorists know which way your child plans to take go to avoid guessing or accidents.

Enjoy the adventure that is teaching your child to ride a bike!

– Alicia



Tumble Leaf, an Amazon Studios Original Series, Entertains & Educates Preschool-Age Children & Older!

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Amazon Studios. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and promotional item to thank me for participating.

Amazon Studios has a brand new show for preschool-age children called Tumble Leaf.  I’ve been an Amazon Prime member for years and buy more than 50% of our home goods on through my membership and didn’t realize Amazon Studios existed.  I’m really excited about it!

Here is a snapshot of the show.  Aren’t the characters adorable?

Tumble Leaf Amazon Original Preschool Series

My husband and daughter and I watched Tumble Leaf during breakfast the day after we received the screener DVD and even though Tumble Leaf is geared toward preschool age children, my 8-year-old daughter was fascinated by the colorful, vibrant show.  Within 3 minutes, she was engrossed in the  amazingly smooth stop-motion animation  and after the first episode I realized that she found the suspense of what special object Fig the Fox was going to find in his ‘finding spot’ next, too much to pass up.  I had to go to my office and work while she and my husband continued watching the series downstairs.   Poor me.  Apparently my daughter and husband found the rest of the episodes very funny because they were laughing out loud.

Tumble Leaf Amazon Series

About Tumble Leaf:

Each episode of Tumble Leaf follows a day in the life of “Fig the fox” who lives in a wrecked schooner ship by the sea and his best friend “Stick,” a caterpillar who lives in a tiny basket strapped to Fig’s forearm, as they discover adventure, friendship and love around every bend.  At the start of each day, Fig and Stick are eager to play and discover new things about his world, with his eyes, ears, mind and heart open to inspiration. By playing with an  object that he finds in his “finding place” in each episode, he learns about science, critical thinking and the world around him.

Watch the Tumble Leaf trailer


Tumble Leaf encourages critical thinking.  The star of Tumble Leaf, Fig the Fox, has a friend who happens to be a curious crab who places a simple object in Fig the Fox’s finding place every day.  Fig the Fox then brings the object on adventures with his friends and observes how the object works and how it can help solve problems.

Tumble Leaf, like all of Amazon’s children’s programs, is designed to inspire creative thinking through play. To ensure series are created to engage children while supporting educational goals, Tumble Leaf and all other Amazon kids preschool programs are developed with the support of an expert board of advisors led by Dr. Alice Wilder, one of the world’s foremost experts in educational and child psychology. Dr. Wilder is most well-known for her work as the producer and director of research and development for Blue’s Clues and Blue’s Room.

Watch the First Episode of Tumble Leaf FREE!

Watch the first episode of Tumble Leaf free HERE!  The first six episodes are now available for unlimited streaming on Prime Instant Video and an additional seven episodes will become available later this summer.   Prime members can watch Tumble Leaf on their iPad, iPhone, Amazon Fire TV, Kindle Fire, Roku, Xbox, PlayStation, Wii, and other connected devices.   If you are a member of Amazon Prime, you can watch the rest of the Tumble Leaf series.  If you’re not an Amazon Prime member, click here to get a 30-day free trial membership and get access to free two-day shipping on thousands of products, free shows and movies on Prime Instant Video, one free Kindle download every month, and more.

Tumble Leaf Android App ScreenshotGet the Free Android Tumble Leaf App!

Your child can play with the show’s characters in the free Tumble Leaf Android app featuring six games inspired by objects and activities from the show. Get the Tumble Leaf App now and start having fun!

More Amazon Studios Children’s Series Coming

Keep an eye on Amazon Studios for other children’s series coming this summer when Prime Instant Video will debut two more children’s series: Creative Galaxy on June 27, an interactive art adventure for preschoolers created by Angela C. Santomero (Super Why!, Blue’s Clues, Daniel Tigers Neighborhood), and Annedroids on July 25, a live-action adventure series for children ages four through seven about a brilliant scientist who just happens to be an 11-year-old girl created by JJ Johnson (Dino Dan) that stars AddisonHolley (Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood) and Adrianna Di Liello (Stage Fright).



ProFlowers flower bouquet

Win 6 Months of Flowers From ProFlowers & Evite – #PartyBlooms Sweepstakes

Disclosure: This is part of a sponsored campaign with ProFlowers and Shari’s Berries. However, all opinions expressed are my own. 

I love when my garden starts to bloom in the Spring.  Our backyard is painted with beautiful pink, purple, blue and yellow flowers from daisys to lantana to roses.  My daughter loves to go to the flower garden and help cut the flowers, bring them inside and made a floral arrangement.  It’s a special time for Madelyn and I to bond and needless to say, 90% of the time, at least one arrangement we make ends up in her room.  That’s ok with me though.  Flowers make us feel happy and when she wakes up in the morning I love that a gorgeous bouquet of flowers greets her with a colorful, warm welcome to the new day.

ProFlowers flower bouquet

Flowers are not only a great pick-me-up in your home, but a wonderful gift idea, party hostess gift, and party decoration.  I’m the first to blow-up a zillion balloons for a party but a splash of natural color from a flower arrangement is a fabulous way to pretty-up a party too!  Flowers make any occasion more memorable.  The Deluxe All The Frills Bouquet shown above is the perfect bouquet for any occasion.

ProFlowers flower delivery

At my daughter’s first dance recital, when she was four, one of the other mother’s presented her daughter with a rose after the recital.  I felt bad that we didn’t bring Madelyn a flower and have not forgotten to bring her a flower since then.  In fact, we brought one dozen roses to one of her recitals and 6 sunflowers to another to that girl’s whose parents didn’t think to bring flowers (like us in the past) got a flower too.   Flowers make any girl feel special, no matter what occasion or age!  ProFlowers is now our resource for flowers for recitals, parties, and other special occasions.  Ordering flowers on ProFlowers, before my daughter’s recital, is as important as getting her costume.  ProFlowers is offering my readers 20% of their purchase with coupon code: PARTYBLOOMS 

Celebrate Her Beauty Bouquet from ProFlowers

The Celebrate Her Beauty bouquet shown above is a great party hostess gift or centerpiece for an outdoor summer party.

ProFlowers flower bouquet

The sweet little bluebird in this bouquet is sure to put a smile on everyone’s face!

We invite family and friends to our daughter’s dance recitals and an after-party and discovered a fun and free way to send invites is through  The invitation image below is a sample image I created so you can get an idea of what can be done with Evite.

Evite Party Invitations


If you want some sweet treats for your summer party, or dance recital after-party, look no further than Shari’s Berries, a division of ProFlowers, and order the 4 Caramel Pretzels & 6 Cocktail Strawberries gift set – available at ProFlowers.  Along with the beautiful flowers shown above, these were a great treat during our recent Florida vacation.  These cool, crispy, fresh treats proved to be just what the kids needed on a hot Florida day after a swim in the lake.

Shari's Berries pretzels and chocolate covered strawberries

Enter the #PartyBlooms Sweepstakes To Win 6 Months of Flowers from ProFlowers & Evite!

There are two ways to enter the #PartyBlooms sweepstakes.

1. Take a photo of flowers and Tweet + Instagram them using hashtag #PartyBlooms.

2. Host a party on by 6/30/14.

Visit for #PartyBloom Sweepstakes official details.


The Pinterest board below includes some pretty options for party decorations, recipes and more.