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You Never Outgrow a Need for Family: Adoption in the US

by Desiree Miller on December 1, 2016

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(Note to readers: This is a guest post I’ve agreed to share with readers on a topic very close to my heart. I come from a family of 10 children–5 biological and 5 adopted. I can tell you firsthand the difference you can make in a child’s life.)  

When you think about children what is the first thing that comes to mind? Smiling, laughing, hugs, happiness? Those are all great words to describe the way that kids make us feel. They make us feel loved, appreciated and needed.

But what about those kids who have never had that return experience of being loved, nurtured, needed and appreciated? Yes, as sad as it is, those kids are out there and there are thousands of them. They are the kids that are in foster care.

Most of these kids grow up never having a family to count on. They move from home to home, never knowing how long they are going to be in one place. Most of them develop the idea of the perfect family, something that exists in their mind, and something that they think will probably never exist for them.

The children who are in the foster care system are stuck. They need people who want to provide them with a loving, caring family. People who will simply bring them in and show them what compassion is. Someone who will give them a forever family, no matter how old they are.

There are 428,000 youth in the U.S. foster care system and 112,000 are waiting to be adopted. AdoptUSKids’ maintains a national photo listing service for children waiting to be adopted. Since the project launched in 2002, more than 26,000 children who were once photo listed on adoptuskids.org have been adopted and nearly 39,000 families have registered to adopt through the website.  Nevertheless, older youth are disproportionally represented – approximately 43% percent of children and youth photo listed on adoptuskids.org are between 15 and 18 years old, but only 17% of those adopted have been in this age group.

Adoptuskids.org is a resource to help you whether you’re just starting the process to foster or adoption, waiting for a placement, or looking for post-adoption resources. Most people may be eligible to adopt, regardless of marital status, age, income, or sexual orientation. You don’t need to own your own home, have children already, be young, wealthy, or a stay-at-home parent to adopt or foster.

There are many misconceptions about adoption such as cost, rules and regulations. Many of them are just not true. If you are serious about learning more about fostering or adopting, please be sure to get information from a trusted resource. If you need help connecting with resources or a local agency contact us. You can also contact the foster care program manager in your State or Territory.

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How to Adopt 

 

How to Foster 

 

No matter what their age, youth need the love and stability that a family can offer. I hope that you will take a few minutes and check out the Adoptuskids.org site. Look around and learn about fostering and adoption. Learn more about the success stories of those kids who have been adopted and how much of an impact it had on their life. Maybe today you can make a difference in the life of a child.

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Six Flags Over Georgia #HolidayinthePark–Time to Celebrate!

by Desiree Miller on November 30, 2016

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During the holidays, Six Flags Over Georgia becomes so much more than an amusement park packed with thrill rides. This time of year, the park itself becomes the thrill.

With millions of twinkling lights greeting you to your left, your right, even above your head, you can’t help but light up with holiday cheer, as well.

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And if that’s not enough, there are more than 15 holiday-themed sections, 7 live holiday shows and more than 24 rides and attractions.

We attended as part of the media night and barely had time to touch on a third of the fun.

We saw a show at the Crystal Palace—the annual performance of “Because it’s Christmas”—and strolled through ‘A Georgia Christmas’ with lights strung on trees and peach-shaped formations dangling from light poles. We took a ride on the North Pole Express and stepped inside a 15-foot snow globe for pictures with elves.
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We walked by Mistletoe Mansion (which is haunted the rest of the year), and Candlelight Carousel, covered in nearly 94-thousand lights and 1200 ornaments. We had to miss a stop with Santa at the North Pole…my crew was more excited about grabbing a few rides. And that was ok with me, because I got to see more of the park, from Rejoice to Peppermint Plaza to the tunnel of wonders—which I think is my favorite spot of all!

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You can see a lot of our fun in the video below. But I don’t think it does it justice. You really should schedule a visit to go see it for yourself.

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Heroes and Villains Fan Fest Comes to Atlanta This Weekend

by Desiree Miller on November 14, 2016

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There are two kinds of people in the world: those who love heroes and those who love villains. Ok. Maybe there’s a third group made up of those of us who love our fair share of both. 

No matter which group you fall into, you’re going to want to get to the Heroes and Villains Fan Fest (HVFF) this weekend at the Georgia World Congress Center (Nov 19-20).

It’s hosted by the guys who founded the Walker Stalker Con (which is wildly popular among zombie and horror fans). Essentially, the event is created to get fans close to celebrity guests. Whether it’s for a panel, an autograph signing or photo session, diehard fans will be able to come face to face with popular actors from shows such as Arrow, The Flash, Gotham, Aquaman and Once Upon a Time.

There will be interactive hero-style games on the convention floor, making it fun for the entire family.

Cosplayers will roam the event floor and vendors will sell unique products that fans won’t be able to find other places.

One of the best parts of Heroes & Villains Fan Fest is the chance to meet and hear from stars from popular shows. In Atlanta, attendees will be treated to sessions with:

  •  Stephen Amell (also star of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2), John Barrowman, Katie Cassidy, David Ramsey, Willa Holland and more from the Arrow series
  •  Jason Momoa from Game of Thrones and Aquaman
  •  Dave Bautista, Michael Rooker, Gregg Henry and Sean Gunn from Guardians of the Galaxy
  •  Milo Ventimiglia (The Ogre, Gotham, Heroes and other popular shows)
  •  Matt Ryan (Constantine)
  •  Stars of shows including The Flash, Gotham and The Walking Dead

The full lists of guests is on the Heroes & Villains Atlanta website, where you can also go to buy tickets.

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Little House on the Prairie Laura Ingalls Doll and Giveaway

by Desiree Miller on November 7, 2016


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As a child, my sisters and I would count down the minutes until the next “Little House on the Prairie” would come on TV. My mom and dad would be sitting in the living room in front of the one television set we owned, and my sisters and I would be lined up, just outside the room, waiting for the opening music to start, so that we could time it to run across the living room in the same order that the Ingalls girls would run across the prairie on TV. First, I would go, just as Laura ran across the screen, my smile matching hers. I’d usually braid my hair to match hers, too. Then, my older sister, who was as pretty as Mary, with long blondish brown hair, would run out as Mary ran. And finally, my little sister would come running across the living room just like Carrie did, having to tumble every single time, because that’s what Carrie did in the open (you’ll see what I mean in the video below). This is just one of many of my favorite #LittleHouseMoments.

We loved Little House. Their Pa was like our dad. Hard-working. Reliable. Capable of making anything he set his mind to.

Heck, I even named my dog after Laura’s dog Bandit.

Our life wasn’t nearly as tough as theirs, but we knew about struggles, so we could appreciate the hard times they went through, and always survived.

We all had an annoying Nellie in our lives.

And we really wanted to find our Almanzo.

Well, I can’t help but live it all over again a little with the newly released character doll now available.

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I was sent the Laura Ingalls 18″ Doll from Queen’s Treasure for a review and have to admit, I felt like a small child again when I saw the package.

Certain things just take you back to where you’re from, and Laura Ingalls will do that for me every time. Heck, my dad often called me Half Pint, just as her father called her, and hearing the phrase still makes me smile.

This doll makes me smile.

You can get your own at the Queen’s Treasures website. There’s a whole collection there that you can buy, or just head over to Target.com.

And if you want a real walk down memory lane, check out  www.littlehouseontheprairie.com. It has tons of clips, images and suggestions for helpful and educational resources about Little House on the Prairie. There’s even a historical timeline (http://littlehouseontheprairie.com/history-timeline-of-laura-ingalls-wilder/) and many histor
y articles (http://littlehouseontheprairie.com/history-index/) as well as fun crafts, recipes and more (I’m not even a pie person and I want to try Almanzo’s Apple Pie).

The officially licensed Little House on the Prairie Laura Ingalls 18” Doll is exclusively made by The Queen’s Treasures.  The Laura Ingalls 18” Doll is available online at TheQueensTreasures.com and Target.com for $99.99.  A full-line of accessories is available at this link.

There’s also a contest you can enter to win the complete collection ($700+ value) as well as the complete Little House on the Prairie DVD set ($100+ value) and Laura Ingalls Wilder documentary ($20+ value)!

Here’s the info if you’d like to enter from our site:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Meantime, feel free to peruse our collection of the books in my office. I told you I was a big fan. 

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Macy’s Pink Pig: Atlanta Holiday Tradition

by Desiree Miller on October 27, 2016

Patients from the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta enjoy a ride on the Macy’s Pink Pig at Macy’s Lenox Square Mall in Atlanta, on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016. From its debut in the ‘50s as a children’s ride, five generations of Atlantans have ridden the Macy’s Pink Pig into the holiday season. (John Amis/AP Images for Macy's)

Patients from the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta enjoy a ride on the Macy’s Pink Pig at Macy’s Lenox Square Mall in Atlanta, on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016. From its debut in the ‘50s as a children’s ride, five generations of Atlantans have ridden the Macy’s Pink Pig into the holiday season. (John Amis/AP Images for Macy’s)

There are certain things about living in Atlanta you just come to embrace: shows at the Fox, direct flights to anywhere in and out of Hartsfield Jackson Airport, and the Macy’s Pink Pig during the holidays.

It’s part of a beloved holiday tradition for several decades in Atlanta. It debuted in the ‘50’s as a children’s ride (the old version was a cart suspended in air and now hangs at the Atlanta History Center as part of the Atlanta in 50 Things Display).

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Priscilla – the original Pink Pig – began as a monorail along the ceiling of Rich’s, giving children the experience of “flying over” the toy department. Later, another pig – Percival – was added and they became known as the Pink Pig monorail twins. Years later, the monorail was relocated to the roof of the department store and the “monorail twins” took passengers on rooftop rides viewing downtown Atlanta and circling the Great Tree.

In 2003, The Pink Pig was unveiled again, back on track beneath a 170-foot, 1950’s themed Pink Pig Tent at the Lenox Square Mall upper-level parking deck near Macy’s.

It’s fun and festive and completely fabulous for the under 10 set. Or, for those looking for a ride down memory lane.

It’s one of those things you did as a kid, and one of those things you will probably take your own children to do if you live in the ATL.

It’s been around so long that now, five generations of Atlantans have ridden the Pink Pig into the holidays.

But it’s more than fun. A portion of proceeds from each ride benefits Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. So far, Macy’s has donated more than $735,000 to CHOA.

The ride officially opens to the public this weekend, Saturday, October 29, 2016 and will run through January 1, 2017. Each ride costs $3 and repeat rides have a special discounted price (2 rides for $5.50, 3 rides for $7.50).

Here’s video from our ride a few years ago.

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SHAKEN: Tim Tebow Tackles Life’s Hard Times in New Book

October 25, 2016

You know him on the football field. You know him for his faith. Now, Tim Tebow wants you to know him when life has him shaken, literally. And he wants you to know it happens to all of us. In life, there are going to be a lot of highs and lows, and eventually, everything around you will be shaking, so what will you have to hold on to? It’s a question Tim Tebow poses in his newly released book, Shaken, and it’s something that you’ll be faced with more […]

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Love The Walking Dead? Get to Walker Stalker Con #WSCAtlanta

October 21, 2016

If you are like me, and much of the rest of the world, and LOVE The Walking Dead TV series (it is the #1 TV show, after all), you really, really don’t want to miss the Walker Stalker Con. Walker Stalker Con, or just Walker Stalker if you’re a regular attendee, like me, is a three day event that covers all things zombies—and more. It’s where you can get up close and personal with Rick, Daryl, and the rest of The Walking Dead characters, along with players in several other hit […]

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How to Boo Your Neighbor–and Boo with the Best: #AtHomeStores

October 12, 2016

Halloween can be super fun–and not at all scary–if you choose to take the ‘friendly ghost’ approach with your celebrations and decorations, as we do each year when we ‘boo’ our neighbors. This is a holiday tradition that dates back decades. Never heard of it?  Well, it’s simple and fun to do.  You just put together a little goody bag of candy and/or fun for your friend or neighbor, typically with a Halloween theme, along with a paper that says they’ve been booed, giving them instructions to boo someone else, […]

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Six Flags over Georgia #FrightFest: Yes, It Will Scare You

October 11, 2016

  As a child, my brothers used to get a kick out of scaring me, telling me stories about the Boogie Man and jumping out from behind the next corner, and being at Six Flags Over Georgia for Fright Fest is like being surrounded by those brothers times one thousand. It’s going to scare you. I promise. Especially if you set foot anywhere near Bloodbath Bayou or Mummy’s Curse. Being that I’m such a scaredy-cat, I really don’t enjoy the fun that is Fright Fest, but my kids do, especially my […]

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Panama City Beach, Florida: What Not to Miss (VIDEO)

October 5, 2016

Watching from shore, my toes happily sifting through the sand, it was hard not to laugh at the kids in the surf about 20 feet in front of me. Two eleven year olds and a dad. A dad who clearly found his kid mode again, attempting handstands in the water beside the girls. His form was far from perfect, but he was impressive, holding the handstand for a good two seconds, and from his grin when he was upright again, appeared to believe was worthy of an Olympic medal for […]

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