The Busy Giffs: January 2017

January 31, 2017

New Hampshire Ice Castles

Disclaimer: My family was provided admission to facilitate this review, however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

For the past two years, we've been saying we wanted to go check out the Ice Castle sin New Hampshire. Since a certain snow queen came to a Disney movie, both of my children have been obsessed with it, and these castles seemed like the perfect family trip for us!

Our schedules are crazy so when we realized we both had a Monday off together, we decided to capitalize on it! We woke up bright and early and made the 3 hour drive to Lincoln, New Hampshire. I love the scenery on the ride up; it's just gorgeous.

The Ice Castles themselves were very cool as we pulled in-- towering 10+ feet tall. Getting in was a breeze. Pre-purchased web tickets are timed in 30 minute increments and they scanned us right in. We did have to sign a waiver of liability before we could go in. Tickets are $18/$20 for adults and $12/$15 for kids (weekday/weekends).  You can enter at anytime during your 30 minute window but once you leave there is no re-entry.

I could have spent hours looking at the ice formations- each one was enthralling.  I really wish I knew how they were made and how long it takes to make them... the really is just awe-inspiring.

In addition to the icicles, they have a couple of ice slides and tunnels for the kids to crawl through.

A video posted by Heather (@heathgiff) on

The kids sized slide was perfect for the two little ones, but the larger slide was fun for all of us! The wait was not fun, it was almost 20 minutes of wiating, so we only went down once but the kids loved it!

When we finished hanging out, about an hour and a half, we grabbed some cocoa ($4) from a little cart near the entrance.

While the place was awe-inspiring and whimsical, I wish there was a place to sit to enjoy our cocoa, more to "do"- like a meet and greet etc, and a warm place to sit for a bit. It was chilly when we went and we needed someplace warm to take off the cold edge.

It's one of those really cool bucket list places to visit so if you're local to Lincoln, NH, you have to check it out! Don't forget: My readers get to save off admission! Use Code USFamily17 and Save 15% off admission on

January 19, 2017

24 Organizations to Support so America is Great for Everyone

I don't get political all that often. I like to believe that the government works towards the common good but it seems like the country no longer knows what the common good is...

We are such an absolutist, hyperbolic society now. I can't say " I like peanut butter and jelly" without someone attacking me for not liking Fluff, and honestly, it's a bit ridiculous.  When did every day become "the worst ever"? When did we start attacking people for saying they support something and assume that it means they are against something else?

It is no secret that I lean to the left.  I went to public schools. I grew up having everything I needed, and much of what I wanted, but I knew how much my parents worked for it. I went to a state college and used Federal and Private loans to finance it. I got a job working in a public school.  For years, I worked multiple jobs. Weeks before my daughter was born, my husband and I needed assistance after a series of unfortunate events and found ourselves changing from a couple who had 2 full time salaries and a savings account to a family that needed WIC and SNAP.

Maybe I'm a bleeding heart liberal. Maybe I understand how important these programs are because I know how quickly life can change and how you may not have ever expected to use them, but they end up saving your, or your child's, life. Maybe I just know what empathy is.

I will not be watching the Inauguration  I respect the office of the President.  I respect our government and our flag, but I do not respect the ideals that have been spewed during this election. Instead of watching the Inauguration, I'll be making lots of donations to lots of organizations that have been attacked in the election. I don't make a lot and I won't make a huge difference but I'll be able to show these organizations that they still matter, at least to me.

If you want to follow suit and make some donations today, I invite you to check out the following organizations that need support, now more than ever.

If you care about education, might I suggest making a donation to one of these organizations?
Network for Public Educationdonate here.
Peace Corps Let Girls Learndonate here.
The NEA Foundationdonate here.

To continue supporting for equal rights regardless of who you love, check out these organizations:
Human Rights Campaigndonate here.
The Trevor Project , Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention for LGBTQ: donate here.
National LGBTQ Task Forcedonate here.

Think that women should be treated as equals and allowed to take control of their own bodies? These organizations could use your support:
Planned Parenthood: donate here.
Center for Reproductive Rightsdonate here.
Know Your IXdonate here.
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)donate here.
DOVE (Domestic Violence Ended)donate here.
End the Backlog (of untested rape kits)donate here.

Agree that climate change is a real thing? Donate to these:
The Natural Resources Defense Funddonate here.
Greenpeacedonate here.
EarthJusticedonate here.
National Resources Defense Councildonate here., a climate focused campaign: donate here.
Citizens Climate Lobbydonate here.

Want to support all US Citizens, even those who may not have been born here, or are working to become citizens? Look at these organizations:
National Immigration Law Centerdonate here.
American Civil Liberty Uniondonate here.
Feeding Americadonate here.
Families USA, which fights for high quality healthcare for all: donate here.
International Refugee Assistance Projectdonate here.
Race Forwarddonate here.

There you go! 24 amazing organizations that need your love and support, now more than ever.

If these 24 organizations are not enough, or maybe too much, but want to keep making a difference, every month the amazing people at Effing Fight will pick a different organization to donate to so you can continue to support those who need it most!

And if you're looking for a souvenir, might I suggest grabbing a Less Hate More Love Tee ($19.99 - 15% of proceeds donated to the Orlando Victims Go Fund Me) or a Feminist AF Tank, only $30 - and there's also a matching mug (only $15)! Seriously, go buy anything from the Human Rights Campaign, like their braided bracelets or the new Hate Won't Make Us Great shirts, because anything bought from HRC directly supports HRC's fight for LGBTQ equality.

And then contact your representatives and let them know what you feel and who and what they should and shouldn't be supporting.  Their job is to fight for their constituency; you need to tell them what you want them to fight for (I promise their information is easy to find!).

I don't know what the next four years hold for this country, but I know in my heart what I support and will continue to.

January 11, 2017

Bringing My Elsa To New Hampshire's Ice Castles!

I feel like Frozen has been around for ever at this point, but it hasn't stopped my kids from being completely in love with it.  I honestly think Tyler is more in love than Emmalee at this point. He spends hours a day running around shouting "Ehh ahh GOOOO!" His language delay prohibits him from the actual words, but oh man, I promise you know what he's saying! Check it out!

We brought him to Disney on Ice last week and now we're planning on visiting the Ice Castles in New Hampshire!

Located in Lincoln, NH, it's an easy day trip for us! It features amazing ice features including archways, tunnels, slot canyons, ice slide, caverns, glacial waterfalls and a frozen throne. It's a little Elsa, a little Narnia and so perfect!

Natural blue, frozen ice tones during the day; colorful LED-lit ice set to music at night. There is over an acre of frozen ice walls, tunnels, towers, archways and more! They've been open since December but haven's announced their final day yet, since it's based on temperature.  We absolutely want to get there asap!

And lucky for you, my readers get to save on admission! Use Code USFamily17 and Save 15% off your admission.

I can't wait to share our pictures and see yours! 

xo, Heather

January 7, 2017

Oh What A Night! New Years Eve at Foxwoods!

Disclaimer: We were invited as guests to the event, however all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

I can not believe it's already the 7th! A full week of 2017 has already gone by!

I posted my goals for the year and I'm already working towards them! One of my big ones is to go out with David, just us,at least once a month.  It doesn't need to be anything fancy or crazy, just the two of us.  Our schedules are so crazy that we literally go months without having time for just us.  We've only spent 2 nights together away from our children and Emma is closer to 6 than 5 now!

Knowing how much we're both going to be trying to make time together a priority, we were thrilled when Foxwoods Resort Casinos invited us to their Red Carpet Hollywood New Years Eve Party! Foxwoods is only about an hour drive from us so it's an easy destination.  Far enough away that we are away, but close enough that we can get home quickly if needed.  I love Foxwoods Resort Casino anyways (check out my Holiday shopping day on Instagram!) so I figured it was the perfect place to kick off the New Year, focusing on time with just David and I.

We walked into the most gorgeous setting-- perfect Old Hollywood Glamour. Pretty much everyone who knows me, knows my obsession with the Great Gatsby, and I even looked at David and said "I think we stepped into one of Gatsby's parties!" Huge chandelier, large white plume feathers, red roses, movie reels... it was breathtaking...

The live band was absolute perfection...

And dinner... oh my gosh...

I honestly expected a very "wedding/function" type of meal, seeing how many people they were serving, but again, Foxwoods Resort Casino blew me away. I mean, check out our gorgeous four course dinner...

The shrimp was delicious and the filet was cooked so well, I used a fork to cut it. Perfectly medium rare... seriously, I could have taken a nap after eating it!

Thankfully, Foxwoods had some amazing dinner entertainment for us, so falling asleep really wasn't an option! A Frank Sinatra impersonator, Marilyn Monroe (again, a perfect impersonator), and a slightly burlesque performance!

They were amazing and just what we needed to get out on the dance floor too!

As always, I was wowed by Foxwoods Resort Casino.  Their event was gorgeous, and over the top, and so much more than I ever could have expected! It was such an amazing way to ring in the new year and really the perfect way to start a year focused on each other.

xo, Heather

January 3, 2017

Goals for 2017

I don't really like resolutions because let's be honest, most people flake out on them.
A couple years back, I started writing goals instead.

So I give you my 10 goals for 2017:

1. Log 250 miles of walking/jogging/running on the treadmill or at events (5Ks, etc).
2. Go out with my husband 1x a month.
3. Read 26 new books.
4. Post to my Blog Facebook at least 2x per week.
5. Participate in a Blog Round Up, once per month.
6. Write a blog post at least twice a week.
7. Create a true crafting area and a gym area in the basement.
8. Keep my car clean and get it detailed at the beginning of the season.
9. Have less stuff.
10. Stop comparing myself to others.

I've been putting together a 40 by 40 after having such an amazing time with my 30 by 30 so that will be popping up next month as well!

What are your goals for 2017?

xo, Heather

January 2, 2017

Styling Your Fitbit Alta

A lot of people seem to have new Fitbits to show off as they work on losing some pounds.
Personally, I love Fitbit and their customer service is top notch. Seriously, I lost mine along 7th Ave somewhere in New York and they replaced it for me! Love.

I just upgraded to the Alta and have seen so many gorgeous bands for it. I wanted to share a few of my favorites! [aff]

Other than replacement bands, Etsy offers so many gorgeous ways to wear it otherwise!
Update your current band with the Classic Stack from bytten, hide it completely with a bangle from FUNKtional Wearables, or have it transformed into a pendent with Blingtec!

I'm also anxiously awaiting the Tory Burch announcement planned for 2017.

Did you get a fitbit as a gift during the holidays?

xo, Heather

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