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Weekend Wonder – Harvest Balloon Festival!




FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – On Oct. 16-17 Sterling on the Lake, located at 7004 Lake Sterling Blvd. in Flowery Branch, Ga., will host the new “Harvest Balloon Festival,” two full days of fun in the sky and on land, with proceeds benefitting Challenged Child and Friends and the National Military Family Association.  The festival will celebrate all things fall with exciting balloon adventures, great food, games, music and activities for the whole family to enjoy.  For more information, visit

The festival’s sky-high adventures will include balloon rides, competitive races, tethered balloon rides and a balloon glow.  Pumpkin carvings and paintings, a costume parade, hay rides and a special Saturday night concert will provide plenty of excitement on the ground as well, in addition to food vendors, carnival sweets and a bake sale.  Guests also will have the opportunity to check out the new homes and models at Sterling on the Lake, a premier planned residential community by Newland Communities.

“There’s no better way to celebrate fall than time spent outdoors enjoying magnificent hot air balloons, festivities and entertainment,” said Jennifer Landers, marketing director for Newland Communities, the nation’s largest privately owned developer of planned communities.  “This festival is about sharing a fun weekend experience with family and friends, while lending a hand to two very worthwhile non-profits.”

Admission into the Harvest Balloon Festival is free, but money raised through purchases and parking fees will benefit the National Military Family Association (, which provides support to families of the military, and Challenged Child and Friends (, an organization serving children with disabilities.  Proceeds will be contributed to these two charities through Sterling on the Lake’s not-for-profit community support organization, Sterling Life.

For directions, information or to reserve a spot on a balloon ride, visit or call (770) 967-9777.

About Sterling on the Lake

Developed by Newland Communities, Sterling on the Lake is a premier planned residential community located in Flowery Branch, Ga., approximately 50 miles from downtown Atlanta.  The community is situated on nearly 1,000 acres with 200 acres of open space, lakes and parks.  Designed as a true lakeside village, the community provides a variety of affordable and luxury homes with extensive community amenities including tennis courts, a clubhouse, fitness center, private movie theater, boating and walking trails.  When complete, Sterling on the Lake is planned to have about 2,000 homes and 6,000 residents.  Home prices start in the high $100’s.  For more information, visit or call (770) 967-9777.

About Newland Communities

Newland Communities is the nation’s largest privately owned developer of planned communities.  Newland believes it is their responsibility to create enduring, healthier communities so people may live life in ways that matter most to them.  Headquartered in San Diego, Calif., Newland is developing or managing about 40 projects located in 14 states.  More at

About Sterling Life

Sterling Life is a not-for-profit organization whose purpose is to provide programs, activities and services to enhance life in Sterling on the Lake and the community at large, while achieving a legacy of sustainability.  More at


Rain and Fire in Sedona



Ange Alex

A rainy day in Sedona? What are we going to do. Everything we have planned is outdoors. I am pretty sure that is why people come to Sedona, for the beautiful OUTDOOR activities, like hiking, biking, Jeep tours, viewing the red rocks and photography. 

What to do, what to do.

Oh, I know. I had the privilege of meeting some great artists that work in fire and glass! The perfect indoor activity when your outdoor plans are washed away!

The Melting Point in Sedona, conveniently located across the street for the Whole Foods (two birds with one stone, yeah!), is a group of artist focusing on creating and teaching others how to create as well.

When we entered the facilities, it was like entering a fine arts gallery. So many beautiful works of glass art. Jordan Ford is the general manager and one of the Artists. He came out of the workshop and told us the rules, then brought us into the fold. 

We were about to become glass blowers! 

Jordan had a love for the natural world from a very early age. He went on to study geology in college but that is when he discovered glass. He currently has Bachelor’s Degrees in both Earth Science/Geology and Visual Arts/Glassblowing.

Jordan says , “It’s the process of blowing glass that drives me. I find the physical act of making glass so overwhelmingly fascinating. I approach most of my work with a consideration for the more classical techniques – it’s the framework that I use as a jumping point for experimentation.”

Not only is Jordan incredibly talented, he is really personable and extremely funny. He made everyone in the room feel at ease and we all often irrupted in bouts of laughter.

Another artist that was helping us is Austin Littenberg. Austin became interested in the art of glass blowing at age 16 after watching a documentary. He spent over 12 years developing his craft and learning the technical precision needed to work at this level.

Austin views the many ways Art presents itself and is in tune with it all, and it shows.

Clearly these two artist love what they do, and I for one am grateful for their expertise and their willingness to show the world their art.

They worked with us to create a beautiful cactus, complete with three flowers, one for each kid, and a Sedona rock like base. We loved the patience they showed and the skill to make us feel at ease. We never felt like  we were about to do something we just couldn’t. It felt like we had been doing this before. That is the measure of a true instructor. 

Our work of art was complete and we left there feeling accomplished and quite honestly, amazing! 

Both Austin and Jordan have remarkable skills but also wonderful comedic timing. They were a absolutely pleasure to meet and I look forward to keeping up with their art in the future.

If you find yourself in Sedona and want to meet some really wonderful people, stop by The Melting Point and say hello! While you’re there, blow some glass!

How could I forget one of them most important things; They have a studio dog! Austin brings his sweet baby girl to work with him and she is an angel! We loved her! Make sure you give her some love when you visit!

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Family Fun

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents Legends!



Behold the living legends! Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey brings the unbelievable to Children Of All Ages in an all-new show – – Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents LEGENDS. Experience unimaginable family fun as amazing performers from around the globe perform awe-inspiring feats of daring, spectacles of strength and thrills of wonder to summon the mythical and the mysterious visions that have only existed in your imagination and now materialize before your eyes: the Unicorn, Pegasus and a Woolly the Mammoth! Join us for an unforgettable family night of legendary proportions at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents LEGENDS!

Free to all ticketholders, the All Access Pre-show allows circus fans to learn juggling and balancing skills, meet the performers of The Greatest Show On Earth, get autographs, take photos and enter to win a one-of-a-kind Pachyderm Painting.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents LEGENDS SM, playing Amway Center January 14-18, 2016. Save $4 off tickets using promo code 4MOM. Live tweet to us while you are there! @RinglingBros #BestGiftEver  @BackstageBeat



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Family Fun

NEW Children’s Museum of Atlanta Re-opens December 12!



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Families will soon experience more STEAM-style activities and exhibits when visiting the newly renovated Children’s Museum of Atlanta, which re-opens to the public on Saturday, December 12. This iconic downtown attraction, which has been busy renovating since August of this year, now features targeted science, technology, engineering, arts and math education programming woven through almost every aspect of the enhanced space. Whether children build and shoot their own rocket launcher in the new “Gateway to the World” exhibit or design their dream home in the enhanced “Tools for Solutions” exhibit, the increased focus on STEAM learning enables the Museum to further prepare young children to be problem solvers and lifelong learners.

We got a sneak preview this week and I can honestly say it was the most fun my kids have had in a long time! They amount of things there are to do is mind boggling!

One of our favorite areas was Tools for Solutions – This enhanced, multi-layered zone reaches all ages and explores the science of building through four learning environments: the giant ball machine, Built-It Lab, Construction House and City Blocks. Using six simple machines, visitors can move balls through the Museum’s beloved giant ball machine. Children can also learn how to use real tools and materials in the new Build-It Lab, which will feature building workshops and more. This lab will also house a “Maker Space” to empower young children to harness their own ideas to build inventions and artistic creations. The Construction House, designed to showcase what is “behind the walls,” features a solar panel and incorporates activities on how to attach make-believe wires, connect pipes and insulate walls. City Blocks enables children to create skyscrapers and design the city of the future. Through this revitalized exhibit space, children can hone early and more complex math skills, as they learn the importance of processes and sequencing. They also utilize creativity, social emotional and gross and fine motor skills, while discovering that even the most intricate problems can be solved step-by-step with a solid strategy and through the use of tools.

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