Momma Told Me: 2017

Blog Archive

Pet Disaster Preparedness Tips + Upcoming Faceobok Live Event

The following content is being shared in partnership with the Nestlé Purina PetCare Company. All thoughts contained below are original and property of Momma Told Me Blog 2017.
June is National Pet Preparedness Month- Read these simple tips you might not have thought of!
Did you know June is National Pet Preparedness month?

More than half of U.S. homes have a prepared emergency evacuation kit in their home but most do not have a plan in place for their own family pet.

Having a pet, or multiple pets, in your home is much like having a child during an emergency. Unfortunately, while you can educate and practice escape routes and procedures with your children (especially as they grow) pets cannot benefit from the typical preparedness of such verbal skills. However, they can benefit from some advanced planning on your part, a little extra care and attention to emergency kits, and even from mock drills.

I recently had the chance to attend a YouTube live session with Dr. Kurt Venator, Purina Veterinarian, and pick his brain on safe practices, and what to expect, during an emergency with pets.
June is National Pet Preparedness Month- Read these simple tips you might not have thought of!
One of the first thing people think of when it comes to preparing their home and pets for an emergency is supplies- something we often leave out of emergency kits without a reminder such as this. It can be hard to know exactly what, and how much, to pack away for pets but Dr. Kurt Venator had some key insights to share:

-When it comes to water for your pets the general rule of thumb is to reserve 1 gallon of water for every 3 days for cats and dogs, compared to 1 gallon a day for humans. However you will want to research exact quantities for larger breed dogs, elderly pets, and medical issues, as they pertain to your family's exact furry composition.

-Always date pet food when stocking your family's emergency kit. Canned, or 'wet' food will keep longer than dry food and be less susceptible to spoil should they come in contact with water (say, in a flood.) Switch out the food in your pet's emergency supply every 6 months, or as needed by date for canned foods.

-Include a nylon leash and harness for your dog- you may not be able to, or thinking to, grab your pet's leashes and gear during an emergency. Keep a separate set inside your emergency kit just for this.

-Be sure to include any pet medications, enough for 5 days to a week. Your veterinarian should be able to write and fill an emergency prescription for this purpose, in advance. Be sure to put all pet medications in a bag that is clearly marked with the pet's name, dosing instructions, your contact information, and your vet's contact information. You never know if a neighbor, or first responder may be the one to initially handle your pet in an emergency.

-Store your supplies inside a hard shelled carrier with your pet's name and your contact information written in waterproof marker. If your pet is too large for a carrier a large seal-top bucket will often do. Don't forget to pick up an emergency litter pan for the cats- they make disposable ones that are intended for temporary use which work perfect in a pinch.
Gathering supplies is a great start, but not the only thing you should consider when preparing your pets for an emergency. Dr. Kurt Venator notes:

"Being able to help your pets transition and move in an emergency situation is really important."

Naturally the size, age, health, and temperament of your pet/s all play a big role in how well you will be able to effectively evacuate in an emergency. You will likely panicked, and animals are great at picking up on their owner's emotions. Remaining calm is the first key to keeping your pets calm and cooperative.

Keep small cats and dogs in their hard-shelled emergency kennel at all times while moving. Cutting a slot in the top of an old blanket so you can toss it over the crate and still carry your pet may help with some of the anxiety and confusion for your pet.

For larger dogs, you are unable to carry, always use a harness to avoid choking scared and disoriented pets. Make sure their ID is attached not just to a collar, but the harness as well. The more identification on your pet in an emergency, the better.

Elderly pets may be less mobile and require assistance in and out of buildings or cars. You can use an old sheet or blanket ran under your dog's hind quarters with a light lifting motion to help ease some of the weight off of dogs with joint and back problems. It's even better to have a lightweight ramp on hand.
June is National Pet Preparedness Month- Read these simple tips you might not have thought of!
Naturally knowing the types of disasters that are local to your area will help you best prepare for how to handle them. Natural disasters are just one form of an emergency to prepare for but you should always consider the potential for fires, terrorist attacks, and more.

Talk to your personal veterinarian about local disaster preparation and identify pet surrender facilities, emergency veterinarian contacts, and any special things you may need to watch out for specific to your breed or pet. If your pet is prone to panic attacks or high anxiety consider asking for an anxiety medication you can put in your emergency kit- just be sure to try the tranquilizer with your pet prior to an actual emergency so you can know exactly what to expect.

In many cases micro-chipped pets will alert the veterinarian on file if found separate from their owner. Ensure that your microchip information is up to date annually and add an emergency contact (such as a friend or neighbor) to your personal contact list directly with your veterinarian.
June is National Pet Preparedness Month- Read these simple tips you might not have thought of!
One of my personal favorite pet preparedness tips applies to human safety as well- in an emergency do not rely on electronic communication, records, or maps. Make sure to keep a local map in your emergency kit, sealed in a waterproof bag. Write ON the map your pet's emergency contact and veterinary info, as well as points of interest such as shelter and surrender points.

Again, and I cannot stress this enough, make sure everything attached to your pet is clearly identified with contact information. While you may have a microchip do not rely on it to reunite you and your pet. It may be some time before your bet would wind up at a facility able to scan the chip and that's precious time in a disaster. Furthermore, add your emergency contact, when possible, as you may not always have a method of contact in the event of a disaster.
June is National Pet Preparedness Month- Read these simple tips you might not have thought of!
One of the things many of the participants of our YouTube chat felt strongly about was how to prepare for the event that pet and owner would be separated during an emergency.

Dr. Kurt Venator was quick to urge that not only pets wear and have several forms of emergency identification, but your home should as well. As scary as it may sound you may not always be home with your pets when disaster strikes. The ASPCA, your local veterinarian, pet supply stores, and more carry a variety of Emergency Alert decals to notify first-responders of your pet's presence. Display this decals in multiple windows around your home and be sure to check them regularly for fading and legibility.

Lastly, DO get your pets involved in your family's disaster preparation. While your pets may be unable to speak for themselves they CAN benefit from simple practices such as acclimating them to emergency carriers and harnesses. Involve every member of the family with not only building your pet's emergency kit but the evacuation plan and any special care/handling your pet may need to get them ready to go in an emergency. And remember, if your plan involves using a sedative for transport- do a trail run prior to an actual event so you know how your pet will react!
Naturally nobody can ever be truly prepared for a disaster but many of these steps can help you and your pet feel more calm and prepared should one hit. I really enjoyed picking Dr. Kurt Venator's brain during the YouTube live session and I'm especially excited to share yet another informative Purina event coming later this month. Join Purina and their veterinarian specialists on Facebook Live June 29, 2017 at 12PM CT, 1PM ET for a special discussion about calming pets during travel, tornado season,  fireworks, and more. Both Nora and Truffles are especially anxious over the 4th of July holiday so I'm quite looking forward to attending! Now, tell me a little bit about the disasters you might need to prepare for in your area.

6 One Day Summer Adventures To Take In Your Hometown

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CraftYourCool #CollectiveBias
#CraftYourCool with these genius 1 Day Summer Adventures to take in any hometown! #AD
Sometimes it can be hard to find your Summer.

For those of us who don't attend school, or work at a seasonal job, Summertime is still very much work time. While the weather has changed and the promise of fun lurks around every corner it's not always obvious how to claim those golden Summer moments. In the past we've taken entire weeks off for vacation and travel- this year we're 'adulting' more in an attempt to meet the financial and physical demands of home ownership. There's yard work to do, coupons to be cut, repairs and upgrades to be planned, and no shortage of work to do to finance them.

But all work and no Summer makes anyone a dull person. We, as humans, need Summer moments to fuel those 300+ days of the year where we cant be spreading our toes in warm sand and sipping Frappuccino®'s pool side.
Let's face it we don't all have a giant Pegasus (yup, we got that at Walmart) pool island (it's so big they don't even call it a floatie) to waste away the Summer afternoons on. Heck, most of us don't even have a pool. We certainly don't- that photo was snapped at my father's house. Haha!

But I have great news for all of you Summer-weary people out there. #1 You can bring a bit of Summer fun and flavor ANYWHERE thanks to Starbucks® Frappuccino® bottled beverages sold at Walmart AND even earn bonus stars for the Starbucks® Rewards Program when you buy 3 or more bottles in store now through July 10th, 2017! #2 Jay and I are planning 'mini adventures' all Summer long, from overnight trips up the coast to afternoons spent exploring our home town. We're going to share a few of our favorite adventures here with you today.
Stock up on your favorite Starbucks® Frappuccino® bottled beverages at Walmart now through 7/11/17 and get 35 bonus reward stars when you upload tour receipt! #CraftYourCool #AD
First things first- those stars.

Walmart is one of our Summer headquarters, we're there at least once a week (if not, and usually, more) to stock up on all of our must-haves for the season. Since we like to take our Starbucks® with us the Frappuccino® bottled beverages are a convenient way to indulge on the go. Those icy, tall, glass bottles and that happy-moment 'POP' sound the second the cap twists off for the first time are the hallmark of great Summer memories waiting to be made. Best of all there's a huge variety of flavors lining the aisle at our local Walmart so we can both choose our favorite flavors- like the NEW Starbucks® Bottled Dulce De Leche Frappuccino® coffee drink.
This NEW Starbucks® Frappuccino® flavor comes in larger than standard 13.7oz bottles so it's not sold in 4 packs like the classic Mocha and Vanilla flavors. We're fine with that because we like to have extra Frappuccino® flavor when we're out wreaking havoc creating memories. And now, through July 10th, 2017 Starbucks® gold star rewards members can take advantage of an exclusive Walmart offer to receive 35 bonus stars when they upload a receipt showing a purchase of 3 or more Starbucks® bottled products. You'll definitely want to take advantage of that offer so be sure to learn more here.
Stopping into Walmart is more than a routine or necessity- it's plain fun. We love exploring the aisles for the latest flavors of our favorite drinks and snacks, as well as the newest fashions and gadgets. We can't go past the toy aisles without Jay touching everything- and I cant pass by the housewares without looking for new decorative plates or fawning over the rainbow of bath towels. We always find exactly what we're looking for, and we always leave with more than we went in to find. Heck, shopping at Walmart should be considered a Summer adventure!
#CraftYourCool with these genius 1 Day Summer Adventures to take in any hometown! #AD
But let's get down to business. How about those Summer adventures? 

Today we've rounded up 6 of our favorite things to do around our home town, that pretty much anybody can enjoy- The exception being those living in highly rural small towns. As a general rule of thumb, if you have a Walmart within driving distance you can likely do all of the following. And, worst case scenario, anybody who is reading this blog right now can enjoy #4.

So, let's get to it, shall we?
#1- Discover hidden treasures.

I don't think I've ever visited a city that didn't have some form of farmer's market or swap meet. In fact it's one of the things we check community calendars for when planning a trip to a new (to us) city. Whether you plot a route through old downtown to plunder thrift stores or enjoy the afternoon at an open air flea market you're sure to find an endless array of curiosities, not to mention delicious eats.

Our local fairgrounds has a swap meet every Wednesday that is free to attend and takes hours to walk through. We find the most amazing things, with the most amazing stories behind them. We also meet the most fascinating people. A local swap meet is different every time you attend and a great way to discover a little local history, whether you're treasure hunting or not.

If you don't have a swap meet/flea market in your area then you probably have a farmer's market. Farmer's markets usually feature more than fresh produce and flowers. Many community farmers markets feature local food trucks and bakeries, or even handmade artisan crafts and gifts.

Lastly, if the above two options are nil in your hometown why not hunt down local thrift and antique stores and plan an afternoon route. Just one 'booth' style antique store could have hundreds of vendors with each space packed full of amazing and rare finds. Best of all, these types of stores usually allow you to shop and browse without any pressure from sales reps!
#CraftYourCool with these genius 1 Day Summer Adventures to take in any hometown! #AD
#2- Geocaching

This one I'm fairly confident ANYONE can do in their hometown. Even if there aren't many geocaches in existence near you it's fun to spend an afternoon creating, hiding, and registering a cache of your own.

What is geocaching? Well it's a real life treasure hunt which relies on geographical coordinates and written clues to locate small treasures known as caches. You can geocache as casual or intense as you choose- simply printing out a few points of interest before you leave the house, or using a full blown companion application with real time community updates.

There are several guidelines as to what can be a cache and where people can hide them, so you don't have to worry about getting into anything illegal (like trespassing or vandalism). While geocaching is often considered a hobby it's something anybody can do with no prior experience and minimal to no preparation. So, while you might not pick it up as an interest it's definitely something worth exploring for an afternoon.
#CraftYourCool with these genius 1 Day Summer Adventures to take in any hometown! #AD
#3- A dog's day out.

Okay, so for this one you have to have a dog- or maybe a leash trained cat (we don't judge).

But if you DO have a dog then there's a plethora of adventures to be found in any home town. In fact you'll find several phone applications designed just for networking with fellow dog parents- one even lets you map your regular walking route, share snapshots of daily walks, and meet nearby dogs and their owners.

Truly, though, to have a dog's day out you need to commit to spending the entire day doing dog friendly things. This will vary on your location and how dog friendly your community is but could include participating in a charity run/walk, visiting a restaurant with a dog friendly menu/patio, chasing ducks down by the local park's pond, taking the long way home with the windows down all the way, hunting down a new dog park, chasing squirrels, visiting a pet store to shop with your dog, and so much more.

Our only rule for a dog's day out? Make sure you bring plenty of water- sadly they don't make Starbucks® Frappuccino® bottled beverages for dogs quite yet.
#CraftYourCool with these genius 1 Day Summer Adventures to take in any hometown! #AD
#4- Virtual museum tour.

This one doesn't even require you to leave your house- but, perhaps, we can suggest you enjoy it at least out in the beautiful weather on a patio with an ice cold Starbucks® Frappuccino® at your side?

Many people talk of wanting to expand their intellectual capacity over the Summer but few have the time, or budget, for worldly travels. Even more disappointing is the fact that so few people know you can visit some of the most amazing, prestigious, museum and art galleries online, absolutely free. Hundreds of historical and educational facilities across the globe have interactive online tours that anyone with an internet connection can access 24/7. And some of them are impressively interactive with 360 degree camera rotation and 'click on' exhibits. You'll find guided tours, video content, and more at your fingertips without ever having to leave the house or pay a dime.

You're welcome.

Check out some of these great online tours here:

#CraftYourCool with these genius 1 Day Summer Adventures to take in any hometown! #AD
#5- Get creative.

While I'm sure you can pick up some art supplies on your next trip to Walmart and plan an entire craft-fest in your living room I do really want to encourage you to get OUT for some mini-adventures. The truth is you hometown is likely covered in hidden beauty in the shape of art installations, murals, and even graffiti. Why not plan an afternoon exploring the cultural value of your hometown and share some of those finds on Instagram or Facebook for your friends and family to see?

If you're feeling really brave you might be surprised to discover some local events, and even locations, which offer a little creative inspiration year-round. I'm not talking about community college classes- though those are always great for extra-curricular skill building. I'm talking about attending a 'paint night event,' local home and garden store DIY class, or ceramic studio.

Did you know many local ceramic galleries and studios, as well as major craft stores, often offer instructional classes as low as $15. These events and classes typically include all of the materials needed to create a work of art, as well as as much (or little) instruction/teaching you desire.

Jay and I spent 4 hours painting our own ceramics at a local gallery last week and I was surprised to walk out hearing Jay chime 'That was actually really fun!' Look for locations/events during the week days if you want some down time, or shoot for weekend evenings to really explore night life and meet some new people.
#CraftYourCool with these genius 1 Day Summer Adventures to take in any hometown! #AD
#6- Take shelter.

Lastly, and this is hands down my absolute favorite one-day Summer adventure, visit or volunteer at/with a local shelter or rescue organization.

I cannot stress enough how enjoyable and fulfilling it is to spend the afternoon at our local shelter- and it's absolutely free.

I don't want to hear about how you can't take the site/thought of the animals without homes and how you'd never be able to leave without taking an animal home. Believe me, I've been there- but there's something that simply washes over you when you realize you are making (if even just) one animal's day better for even a few minutes spent visiting with them.

So, let's break it down- what your local shelter offers will vary. Our local county shelter has 3 areas where animals are not caged and allowed to interact with visitors with no supervision of fuss. As long as you sanitize your hands on the way in and observe safe door practices you're allowed to walk into these areas and interact with the animals inside as long as you please. Where we live the areas feature a Senior Cat room, Well Behaved Puppy room, and Rabbit room. If your local shelter doesn't have the room for spaces like this they will often be more than happy to allow you in to 'recreate' kennel bound dogs for a few hours with no fancy commitment or certification.

If you really love this sort of adventure you can also volunteer your time (a commitment as small as 15 hours a month is usually required) to help out at a shelter as volunteer staff- OR connect with a local foster or rescue organization to socialize pets on a schedule that works better for you.

No matter where you live there are organizations like this and animals that can benefit from attention and love regardless of whether you have the means or intent to adopt. Animals in places like this benefit not only from the immediate perks of receiving attention and love for a little bit during the day but also from the character building of being around new people which will ultimately help them find their forever homes.
So, there you have it- 6 amazing Summer adventures to enjoy in pretty much any home town.

I hope I've inspired you to take charge of your Summer and find your own adventure. Whether you're jet-setting across the globe this Summer, or planning a Staycation in your own home town, Summer moments matter. Make time to enjoy them, regardless of your budget or schedule. Stock up on all your Summer adventure needs at Walmart (even make shopping an adventure) and grab your favorite Starbucks® Frappuccino® bottled beverages now before the 35 bonus star limited time offer ends. Now tell me what's one adventure, big or small, you plan on having this Summer.

Create A Website, Poolside, In Less Than An Hour- FREE GoCentral 1 Month Trial

A promotional item was provided to me for today’s discussion. The host for this event is Still Blonde after all these Years.
Summer is an interesting time.

For me it means my schedule fills with recreational commitments while my regular, work schedule, doesn't budge. Essentially I have to find the time to live 2 lives within the timeline of one. Unfortunately, as my family and friends will attest, I'm one of those people who typically let's responsibility outweigh elective invitations. That is to say I most often have to be drug kicking and screaming from my home, or computer, during the Summer. Even the thought of upcoming vacations and road trips expand my anxiety bubble.

So, when one of my close friends asked me to help her build a storefront for her new business online I was quick to offer my help and equally immediately felt regret. While I had the skills to make her an amazing website the idea of chipping into my precious free time coding and fighting with domain hosts didn't exactly excite me.
Then I came across one of the ads for GoDaddy's new GoCentral Website Builder, much like the one above. It promised to help me build a website in under an hour with easy code-free skills. Even better new users could start a FREE 30 day trial** with absolutely no credit card information. I'll admit, I'm one of those people who instantly tabs out the second I see I need to secure my credit card for something 'free'- so this was a huge motivator for me to log on and check it out. And, while Momma Told Me has been hosted by GoDaddy for 5 years now, a previously existing GoDaddy account is NOT necessary to take advantage of the trial.

***The Free Trial is an opportunity for you to use a GoDaddy Product free of charge for one (1) month, beginning on the date that you accept the Free Trial offer.  The Free Trial will expire one (1) month from the date you accept the Free Trial offer, regardless of whether or not you use the Product during the Free Trial period. No credit card is necessary. The free trial is now available in all markets we sell the product.
Helping build my friend's website was something I'd pushed off for over a month, but I was finally convinced I could tackle the task without giving up more than an hour of my precious Summer. In fact, having now used the GoCentral website builder platform I'm thrilled to know that the service is so user-friendly and non skill reliant that she will be able to maintain, edit, and build her website entirely on her own in the future! For anyone ever dubbed 'that techie friend' you can certainly sympathize with how big a win it is to assist someone with setting something up and the sheer relief of knowing they will be able to handle and maintain it once you hand it over.
So let's take a look at the GoCentral, powdered by GoDaddy, website building process, shall we?

You'll start by logging into GoCentral with your existing GoDaddy information OR by setting up a free GoCentral account in just a few painless questions. No payment information is required or requested to set up an account or start your trial.

Next you'll want to choose a category for the type of website you want to create. The GoCentral platform will auto-populate a website template with some general styles and elements based on your response, but you won't be locked into anything. In my case I set the website category as 'Jewelry Designer' and titled the site after my friend's shop name, 'The Lovely Stones.'
Next I was taken to a pretty generic front page mock-up. I did note that GoCentral had auto-populated some jewelry themed graphics into the backgrounds and buttons as a nice touch. Stock images are available at no extra charge and can really help website builders get their site up and running for utility purposes, immediately. Since GoCentral is a living breathing website building wizard (tool) you can easily hop on and make edits to your live site without a disruption of service. If you really want to get a site live in a matter of minutes you truly can thanks to the easy to use templates.
I wasn't a fan of the initial layout theme so I browsed some other options and chose one that worked for me. In addition to the physical layout/presentation of the main page I had the choice to choose accent colors, font styles, and more to really mold the page to my brand/topic.

It was easy to swap the stock background image for one of our own, with a built in sizing/cropping tool and the option to add logos or extra action buttons. Because my friend's business had initially began on Facebook (since she had no startup or method of creating a physical online storefront) I added an action button which would direct new customers to her Facebook Group from the main page. It was as simple as giving the button a title and pasting the destination link into the template on the right of the screen.
The template I'd chosen offered a free scrolling site layout with a cascading page organization at the top. I could easily add pages/tabs to the website then choose from 'section' templates which would auto-fill various dummy elements based on the section's theme. These section templates suggested everything from a blog format or interactive calendar widget to a photo gallery and eCommerce features.

The first thing I knew her site needed was a Contact Us section, which was conveniently auto-populated as a page, thanks to the 'Jewelry Designer' category I had chosen initially. Since she operates her business solely online I dropped the physical business hours and put another shout-out to her original Facebook sales group.
Next, since it's an online storefront, I had to add some sort of inventory. For eCommerce features I was given 2 initial options under the 'Sell Online' section, 'Online Store' and 'Paypal Button'. I wanted to look a little into the 'Online Store' functions but this was classified as an upgrade and prompted me to cal GoDaddy to upgrade my trial.

Instead I used my friend's existing PayPal information to set up basic listings for her items, each item housing it's own PayPal button. I could easily add a product image, title, cost, shipping cost, and description to each section. Because this was so easy, and took less than a minute for each product, I was also able to create different tabs/pages for each category of product to better organize her inventory for easy shopping.
I hadn't really thought of everything I wanted the website to have so it was especially useful to have the 'Section' categories suggested by GoCentral.Under the Content tab there was a mention of an FAQ page- something every business should have. I especially loved how easy it was to select and integrate into the website. I played with a few templates at first, which I didn't like, and found it very easy to delete entire sections, elements, or make edits on the fly.
GoCentral is very user friendly in it's website builder platform but still offers the clean structure of initial templates to guide you towards a better website. One of the things I've always found overwhelming with website building in the past was the lack of guardrails- I could put anything anywhere and that often ended up looking quite over-crowded and messy. GoCentral allows for a distinct voice and style while still maintaining a professional face on the internet. Best of all, you don't ever have to touch coding.

Once I had The Lovely Stones designed about how I wanted it I could preview both the mobile and PC versions. With my own blog I had to pay someone to come in and code my mobile site so it would be easy to navigate on phones and tablets. GoCentral has worked this right in- your site will automatically be user friendly on mobile!

The 30 day trial will allow you to maintain your new site, and the attached web address(at for the entire 30 days but your site will be disabled at the end if you do not choose to subscribe. To be quite honest, if I'd had the GoCentral platform when I began blogging I would have happily paid the GoCentral subscription price for the ability to easily transform and personalize my living website without the fuss and expenses of professionals and coding. Everytime I want something changed on my blog it costs me money and down time. With GoCentral users can instantly tinker with their content with no disruptions or extra fees.

You can even purchase a unique domain name for your GoCentral website, if you want to ditch the URL.
So you want to see the finished product?

I have to admit my friend was quite impressed. I believe the words she used were 'that's freaking awesome' and 'it's so professional!' We have a few back end things to work on (taking photos that are larger resolution for display on the computer, for example) but the website functions as a living breathing storefront and gives a clear impression of her and her business. Check out The Lovely Stones, thanks to GoDaddy's GoCentral!
So there you have it- I created a storefront website with eCommerce features in less than 40 minutes, poolside. Even better I've made some edits and tweaks on the go through my phone! While the service and platform are here to stay the FREE Trial Offer is not so be sure to take advantage of your 1 Month Free Trial with GoDaddy's GoCentral Website Builder before the deal ends on August 11, 2017! GoCentral's website builder really is something you have to experience to understand how easy it is to use, and there is no credit card or payment required to get you on and playing with GoCentral today. Now, tell me, do you have a website of your own? If not, what would your website be about if you did?

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