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Friday, July 29, 2011

Where the Heck is Wall Drug, SD??

If you've ever been in South Dakota, surely you've seen the signs. They are everywhere at the side of the road. They start some 400 miles away. They promote the free ice water, the 5-cent coffee and free donuts and coffee for honeymooners. It's--WALL DRUG!!!

In the main hallway, there are some folks who will pose for photos. Nathan chose a cowboy.

Rebekah chose to imitate the cigar smoking poker player.
Andrew chose not to be photographed in such a manner.

Out in the backyard, Nathan hopped into the saddle.

Rebekah wanted a turn.

I made the whole family pose by Mount Rushmore - the small one, from Wall Drug. (Anyone see Despicable Me???)

Sean chose to pick Abe's nose. Poor Abe!

Sean and the Jackalope. (Insert your own joke here.)

There's now a T-rex on display. And every 12 minutes, he billows smoke from his nose, rattles his cage and ROARS!!!

Rebekah & Nathan waiting for the dinosaur. They weren't too sure about the whole thing.

The back of Andrew's new Tshirt. The front is a picture of Mount Rushmore. The back are two buffaloes looking at naked bottoms. The first buffalo says to the second, "As far as I can tell, we're behind Mount Rushmore." As an added bonus, the rear-ends glow in the dark.

Ice Water has been free at Wall Drug since the Dust Bowl and Great Depression. It's still free today.

We all had to have a cup (or two or twelve) of free ice water on the day the temps hit 108.

Sean's new Facebook profile picture.

Review: The Lion's Deceit Book

Look out publishers, a new publishing house has opened with books for children. Village Life Books has a founder who grew up in Botswana, Africa and has very special memories of growing up in the rural village in Botswana. At Village Life Books, the goal is to bring together resources which share the positive aspect of growing up in Africa with the world by sharing some of the old stories that the village elders and grandparents shared with the children.

Storytelling in Africa is maintained by oral tradition. The stories play a very important role in the lives of the children. They help solve problems and teach moral values. Without grandparents and elders to tell the stories, the stories are often lost. Village Life Books provides a means to preserve these stories in a modern way.

In their debut book, The Lion's Deceit by Mpho Otukile, we learn about a very lazy lion who tries to deceive the animals into thinking his is sick. Then he eats the animals as they come to visit his sickbed. When the jackal figures out what the lazy lion is doing--look out! He rallies the other animals and they confront the lion. The lazy lion is forced into the jungle to work and hunt for his food.

It's a short story with great moral values for children (and adults). It has nice illustrations and is a quick read for youngsters. My kids liked the story and the pictures. I like the values being instilled through the story. My oldest (teen) wouldn't read it for himself, but he did read the story to his non-reading little sister. And while I thought the animals getting eaten (NOT shown in the pictures) might be a little much for my kids, they seemed to accept it as part of life and were not bothered by it at all.

You can purchase an autographed copy of the book for $10 through Village Life Books. It will ship to you from Canada. It can also be purchased at the Createspace eStore where the books ship from the USA. Use the coupon code 2LU4EXJM to get 10% off at the Createspace eStore.

For more information, you can follow Village Life Books on Twitter or Facebook. And you can purchase the book knowing that a portion of the proceeds to Books for Africa, in order that some books can be shipped to Botswana.

This is a MamaBuzz review. The product was provided by Village Life Books for this review. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mount Rushmore

If you ever have the opportunity to to go Keystone, SD (outside of Rapid City, SD)--DON'T MISS IT!!! Mount Rushmore is the most stunning place. I know it's a big carved rock, but when you learn what it took to make that rock, you will be amazed.

Trivia: Each eyeball is 11 feet across.

We went in the evening to see the lighting ceremony. No fireworks, no lasers, but we all agree it was one of the best ceremonies we've seen. The Park Ranger talks about the Lewis & Clark expedition and some of the history of Mount Rushmore. Then, there's a movie showing how it came to pass that Rushmore was built and the history of our nation leading up to this. As the movie finishes, the lights slowly but surely turn on and illuminate the faces.

The lighting turns on fully while everyone sings "The Star Spangled Banner". Then all of the veterans and active duty military are invited onto the stage. The colors are retired for the night and the veterans are thanked for their service to our great country. I cried at the simplicity, the beauty and the honor given to our nation. I'm a little jaded these days and don't feel that people respect our flag, our country or our military as they did in the past. This restored some hope to my soul and I was reminded that we are a part of the greatest nation on earth.

We went back the next day to get a few brighter photos and Nathan & Rebekah were able to get their Junior Ranger badges. Every National Park has a Jr. Ranger program. I encourage you to have your children participate. It gives them activities where they actively learn about the park--without sounding like a school lesson--and as the kids learn, so will you. Then when they complete the required activities, they get a Junior Ranger badge.

Now for our funny kid moment at Mount Rushmore. When asking our kids which part of Rushmore is their favorite (meaning which president), Rebekah announces, "I like the elephant the best."

Excuse me--did she just say elephant?

Oh yes, yes she did. Then she proceeded to point out to us and describe the elephant. Guess what--she's right. There's an elephant in Mt. Rushmore. (Click on the photo to enlarge it to a bigger photo.)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Life is not measured
by the number of breaths we take,
but by the moments
that take our breath away.

Got to see Mount Rushmore. It was breath taking.

I've never gotten to the back side to see George's Profile before.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tips on Tuesday: Super Star Speech Review

Do you know of any children who have difficulty with certain speech sounds? I had one of those children. Nathan had a terrible time with the "L" and "R" sounds. It was cute when he was little, but by the time he hit the 2nd grade, it wasn't really cute anymore.
We felt there was no other option available to us and we turned to speech therapy. While it worked like a charm and in about 10 months, he fully mastered the "L" and "R" sounds; I never knew I had options for some home therapy. When I was given the chance to review the Super Star Speech program, I knew I had to go for it.

Since Nathan battled the entire school year last year to get those sounds mastered, I thought this would be some great review for him. I (of course) selected the Super Star R & L book to review. It's a 61 page instructional including lesson plans to help correct the R & L sounds.
I appreciated the opening pages where speech therapy is explained. It gives you good information about what would happen at a therapist's office so you can simulate that environment at home. There are some hints on proper pronunciation and instructions on how to make the sounds. Then there are pages and pages of games and activities.

I believe this was created to be part of a homeschool curriculum, but could be used by any parent who wants to help improve the speech and diction of their child. I noticed that many of the exercises in the book (and many of the games) were the same ones we had done at speech therapy.

Overall, I think these books are an incredible resource for parents. You can get them as ebook downloads or a spiral bound printed copy. There are four titles in the series. I would caution anyone that the other books would be sounds that are considered 'easier' to correct than L & R. I learned from the professionals that R is the hardest sound to correct in speech. While I recognize the tools in this book are the same ones we used in a professional setting, I would urge parents to take their child into a professional if you are not getting desired results.

If you are interested in purchasing Super Star Speech, mention the coupon code "mamabuzz" and receive a 20% discount on your purchase.
 For more information, please visit the Super Star Speech Facebook Page.

This is a MamaBuzz Media review. The product was provided by Super Star Speech for this review.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

DaGeDar Review & Giveaway

For those of you who haven't heard of DaGeDar, don't worry. You're not far. But, I've got a prediction that DaGeDar will be one of the hottest toys this Christmas season. DaGeDar are colorful balls (really ball bearings) that have amazing spin and can get great speed. The first thing my kids noticed was, "These are cool like the Kung-Zhu characters." In all of 10 seconds, they nailed who the brains behind the toy is. DaGeDar is brought to you by the makers of ZhuZhu Pets.

We received some DaGeDar packs, a launcher, a spinner and a track. I was hunting everywhere for the directions on how to play the game. I found nothing. My boys and the neighbors and even my daughter were totally engrossed and playing all kinds of games. They were cheerfully making up games and rules as they went. I went to the website and searched wanting to find out what the "real" rules were for this new game. Guess what?!?! There are no rules!


Reading further, this toy is a throwback to the good old-fashioned days of marbles and other games where you use your imagination to create whatever you want. Mind you---we had just gotten a new electric drum kit and the kids quit drumming to spend HOURS playing DaGeDar. They came up with games and ideas and used other toys and had a great time.

I asked all the kids in my house some questions. Here are a few of the best questions/answers:

Q: What's your favorite thing about DaGeDar?
A: Finding out who they are online and seeing them battle.It's awesome! It's a game that brings out true creativity.

Q: Which character is your favorite? (Note: Use these numbers to check out their favorites at
A: 01007, 06109, 01001, 05086

Q: Where do you think would be the most fun place to play DaGeDar?
A: Anywhere. I want to experiment with different places. (And they have.)

Here's some information about DaGeDar from the website:
In Dimension 33, there live characters called DaGeDar. Powered through their emotional charge, DaGeDar break the veil from Dimension 33, which captures the DaGeDar spirits into a supercharged ball form.

Each character has a distinct personality trait; different motivations drive their races. They might use elemental powers of strength, cunning or their trader’s wit in their drive for victory.

Where to buy it:
DaGeDar toys and accessories are now available at select Walmart and Toys R Us stores in Phoenix, AZ. The website says they will be going nationwide on August 8. Look out because I predict they will be the hottest toys on the market in a short time.

Would you like to own a set of DaGeDar
ball bearings of your very own?

**Mandatory Entry**

Head over to DaGeDar and tell me what your favorite character or product is.
PLEASE NOTE: You do not have to be a blogger to enter this contest, but you must leave a way for me to contact you. Use the anonymous comment form to enter and leave an email.
*You MUST do the mandatory entry! All bonus entries will be deleted if it's not done first!*

**Bonus Entries**
{Leave separate comments for each entry}
1. Follow me publicly on Google Friend Connect (current followers, too) {1 entry}
2. Subscribe to my blog {1 entry}
3. Follow me on Twitter {1 entry}
4. Follow me on Networked Blogs (Button on right sidebar) (1 entry)
5. Follow me on Facebook (Button on right sidebar) (1 entry)
6. Follow DaGeDar on Twitter {1 entry}
7. Follow DaGeDar on Facebook {1 entry}
8. Add my blog to your blog roll/sidebar {1 entry}
9. Email three friends with the link to this giveaway inviting them to enter. Remember to cc me at coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com {2 entries}
10. Tweet about this giveaway {can be done once per day} {1 entry per tweet} You can use this:

@Coolestmommy @DaGeDar has a #giveaway of #DaGeDar cool new toy you can #win. Ends 8/8

•Giveaway ends Monday, August 8, 2011
•Winners will be chosen via Random.Org. and contacted by email
•Winners will have 48 hours to respond to the email or another winner will be chosen
• Open to addresses in the United States.

This is a MomSelect review. All products are provided by DaGeDar for this review.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Life is not measured by the
number of breaths we take, 
but by the moments that take our breath away.

What a fashion statement....

We're not sure what it says, but I'm afraid the fashion police might come for us.

Purple Barbie shoes, a red outfit (her real one for the day), a yellow tutu, a pink fuzzy headband worn as a necklace, Party Princess head piece, Hello Kitty purse and a smile that lights up our whole world.

I love that kid!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tips on Tuesday: Our Summer To Do List 2011

For those of you who have been following my blog for a while, this won't be anything new to you. But, if you're new to the blog, my family started creating a seasonal "To Do" list. We started one summer to keep ourselves focused and so we could look back at the end of summer and say, "Wow! Look at all the cool stuff we did this summer."

We have carried the idea forward and tend to create a Fall/Winter list, a Spring list and a Summer list. We ask everyone in the family to give input and Dad & Mom retain ultimate adding or deleting power. This year, I had each person make a list of the 5 things they most wanted to do this summer. After deleting get a dog and have a garage sale, I put everything else on the list. One of my wonderful children even picked going to the library so library and reading were sort of selected by child this year (it always makes the list--hmmm, wonder how that happens?).

Here's the list:

Out of the 23 things listed, we have already achieved 12 of them. I see the fourth of July as the halfway point so I think we're doing a good job. Not everything will be able to be crossed off the list, but we sure do focus on trying to get as many things as possible off the list. I knew we wouldn't be able to make it to the fossil beds this year, so I did leave Dino Digging off. I usually put that on for me because I really want to do that sometime. Perhaps it will appear next year...

Hope you are making memories this summer, too. We're having a blast. I'll keep you posted as we reach fall, but it looks like we just might make almost everything on the list. At least that's what we are hoping to accomplish!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Flash Mob for America

I don't care if it is past the Fourth of July. We should be proud to live in the USA and celebrate our wonderful country. Here's a flash mob that did just that. Enjoy!!!

Monday, July 04, 2011

Happy 4th of July!!!

Happy Birthday, America!!
Our family dressed for the 4th at church yesterday and got this photo.

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