Year in Review 2018

2019 is in full swing, and I am remiss to not post a year in review for 2018. So, here goes! 2018 was better than 2017, but like 2017, we struggled with family, work, life balance as my husband’s job stayed in the same industry. But, the good news is that he was back home with us, and not going to North Dakota, which was great news! But, he only had one weekend off a month, so that made things tricky. The juggling act continued. Health-wise, things got a bit nuts for me in Summer 2018, as I was diagnosed with vestibular migraines, a rather debilitating condition that still persists today. It made matters worse to be active duty military during said diagnosis, and trying to recover. But, as I learned, I have a great community of friends and neighbors who really helped us out when we needed it most. We are blessed! It was an interested second half of the year, attempting to conquer this new disease, and try to juggle work, life, and the kiddos and all their activities.

I coached 3/4 girls’ basketball for our local rec center. What an experience, but certainly exhausting, and trying. My daughter loved that I did it, but December through March was consumed completely by basketball, and weekend games, and dealing with the things that come with competitive team sports for kids. But the kids had fun, so that is great! My great friend Maddie came to visit for my Birthday and St. Patrick’s Day this year and it was so awesome to have her. I wish I lived closer to all my friends.

Travel-wise, in April, we had a nice trip to Orlando, for my convention, and as a result, had a blast at a super cool resort. It was a relaxing trip. We went back to Florida in June, and this time to celebrate my niece’s 1st birthday in Miami. We had an amazing stay in Coconut Grove, and then took a side trip to Playa Largo resort to check out the Keys- Key Largo was amazing! We attended a family wedding in September and took it easy the rest of the year. We hope 2018 brings more travels.

Blog-wise, I took part in some activities, enjoyed a Juice Plus tower garden, but I scaled back a lot so I could manage my health and stress. Work-wise, I approached the final year of active duty tour, and I am grateful for the opportunity, but ready to get back to a shorter commute, and more flexibility in my work schedule. Going active duty has been quite the experience, especially with kids and a long commute, but I am ready to go back to the Reserves and have a more normal schedule.

Here we are, in 2019, approaching some cross roads and changes in life, and we hope it is a great year for you all and we hope for the same. Happy 2019, everyone!


Tower Garden by Juice Plus – a review

I had the pleasure and opportunity to grow food in a soilless, aeroponic tower garden by Juice Plus (c) at my house while my friend was out of town this summer.  I got to start the garden from scratch – planting seeds in rockwool cubes (shown as pictured below), and once the sprouting started, I planted them into the tower.

As this informative website shows, it’s easy, space efficient (can be kept indoors or outdoors in good weather), and is low maintenance.  Every week, I would check for pH balance of water, and add nutrients or pH increase or lower as needed.

The best part was harvest time.  Any time I made indian food, I could grab a handful of cilantro.  I already have as a basil, but you can grow basil very well in this tower.  Lettuce varieties and herbs grew the fastest.  Tomatoes took a while so I only saw small ones by October, and now my friend will get to see some peppers and tomatoes.  We did manage to get three cucumbers, and they were tasty.  You can’t plant root vegetables like carrots but you can try things like peppers, squash, and cucumbers, and broccoli.  Spinach and kale grew readily and I loved having that for my fresh smoothies every morning.  I always add Juice Plus to my smoothies, so it’s fun to have ingredients from my garden too!

The garden was nice to have, and my neighbor always commented how when she sat out, it was a relaxing water fountain too!  It waters on a timer system that you set up, so it will run without you having to run out there and watering it.  You can also get extras like the tomato/vine holder you see in the pictures above- since some plants will grow a bit more than others. My daughters enjoyed the garden too, but they seemed to enjoy the seed planting part and then eating the food more than anything, which is fine with me, as it is healthy, and grown in our backyard.

You can get your own tower garden as well, and check out my friend’s website on it, along with her Juice Plus+(c) journey.  Happy, no mess gardening, and yum! Eating!




Required Disclaimer: I did not receive compensation or a free tower garden in exchange for this post, but was able to use my friend’s garden to learn about tower gardens and write this post, in order to promote her business.  The opinions expressed are my own.


Urban Adventure Quest – Review of the Quest

We had the opportunity to do an Urban Quest in Denver- we picked Lower Downtown, near Coors Field, Confluence Park, etc., and had a blast, but were all exhausted by the end of it.  I posted previously on the promotion, and we finally got to do it on a great fall afternoon in Denver!   Like the post states, the game turns the city into a giant game board.  It is a scavenger hunt, which my kids enjoy immensely.  What they didn’t enjoy was walking around for almost 3 hours, and we had to make a lot of pit stops, and water stops.  If you have younger kids, bring a backpack with sustenance, and plenty of water.

We had so much fun seeing sights, and things we never would have discovered driving in a car.  Another option is to get those bikes/scooters you can get throughout the city and ride those vice walking, or mix it up, so the 3.5 miles plus go by fast -)   We used my smart phone to navigate and submit clues, and found some hidden gems.  There was construction near Coors Field so missed those clues, but you can skip over questions, and we had to skip two because of construction fences.   The cool thing is you start when you want, end when you want and play at your own pace.  It was good family time!

Remember, you can save 20%- Only $39.20 for a team of 2-5 people after Promotion Code: FGBLOG. Sign up online at, and for a list of available cities, visit their website. 

Required Disclaimer: I was compensated with a free urban adventure quest for my family in exchange for promoting the quest.  All opinions expressed here and in subsequent reviews are my own.  


Urban Adventure Quest- Family fun in a city near you!


Turn the city you live in, or visit into a giant game board with this fun scavenger hunt adventure!  Our kids love scavenger hunts- either at home or on the road, so this is a great way to see sights! Combine the excitement of the Amazing Race with a three-hour city tour. Guided from any smart phone, teams make their way among well known and overlooked gems of the city, solving clues and completing challenges while learning local history. Play anytime during daylight hours. Start when you want and play at your pace. Great Family Fun.

And you can save 20%- Only $39.20 for a team of 2-5 people after Promotion Code: FGBLOG. Sign up online at, and for a list of available cities, visit their website. 

Required Disclaimer: I was compensated with a free urban adventure quest for my family in exchange for promoting the quest.  All opinions expressed here and in subsequent reviews are my own.


Winc Wine Product Review

I initially posted about being chosen to promote Winc Wines here, and since then, have created my account, taken the survey, and received my four wines.   The entire process was easy from start to finish.

The Winc website is easy to follow, and the survey questions are designed to help you get the best of your subscription.  You can choose 2 white/2 red, or change it to suit your taste.   You can get a special offer on your first order from U.S. Family Guide – make sure to get your code here.  This website helps you save $22 off your first at:

The four wines they chose for us were perfect!  I ordered 2 reds/2 whites, and one the whites was a sparkling white and was the winner of the night.  That California sparkling wine was called “Finke’s Widow.”  Simply yummy.  The two reds were Chop Shop and Tempo Vero.  They were smooth, and sweeter than most reds, and perfect for my palate.  The white we all loved was a Central Coast California Wine called “Zwicker.”  I also had credit and ordered an extra white called “Brethren of the Road” Riesling but because they did not choose it for me, I found this Riesling to be very dry and not sweet.  Lesson learned– let them pick the wines for you based on the survey you take at the beginning, because it helps narrow it down and send the best wines for your palate.

All in all, I was impressed how quick the wines were shipped, and delivery, although they said I needed to sign for it, and I did not, so don’t get alarm by the FedEx E-mail.  And I did not have to go out to shop for wines that would suit my palate and dishes we cook – it came right to my door!   The prices at Winc are very reasonable and shipping is free if you do your monthly delivery of 4 wines.  It’s a great deal and I enjoyed the four wines picked for me.  You can cancel Winc subscription at any time.

Don’t forget to enter your promo code for $22 of your first month, my readers simply go to:  and get  started on a fun flavor adventure!    Cheers to you all!