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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Laundry thoughts

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

Sign I saw at my aunt & uncle's house. I think I need it for my house, too. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Papio Fun Park Review and Summer Deal

A couple weeks ago, I posted about a Steal & Deal at Papio Fun Park. Since that time, my family was able to go use the EXTREME Wristband and have a day of fun. This locally owned and operated fun park has a wide variety of things to do. Lots of outdoor activities, but enough indoor to make it a rainy day fun spot. 

There are trampoline games (which I couldn't get photos of). My kids bounce faster than my shutter speed on my camera. I only have blurs.

Indoor Laser Tag. We played several games. Some against each other. Some as a family team against another family team. Lots of fun--but all that running wears this mom out!! Here's the only semi-decent picture I got in the laser tag area.

There is also a nice sized arcade with many different games. A nice selection that appeals to all ages. We didn't do very many games in the arcade, but they did enjoy a few. 

I was also pleased with their snack bar selection and pricing. I thought we'd be gouged for food and drinks, but the prices were reasonable and the sizes were good. You can get meal combos for $3.50-$4.00. Drinks were $1-2. I hadn't planned to eat there, but with the prices being so reasonable, we were able to eat and stay to play a little longer. 

Outdoor there is Go Karts (my favorite). I believe I rode something like 8 times that day. I love to go kart and being able to go an unlimited number of times is a huge benefit of the EXTREME Wristband. 

The miniature golf course is themed with different cities around the world. We had fun learning little facts about each place while we waited our turn to golf. 

Something we've never tried before is Water Wars. We saw some kids doing the water wars and decided to give it a try. Oh my! We had so much fun!! Two people go against each other inside a little outhouse sized structure. You get 4 water balloons each and you have a giant slingshot in your hut. Ready--aim--fire!

Andrew gets the best height on the balloons.

Nathan just had fun shooting. He didn't seem to care if he hit or missed.

Mom took a direct hit. I was still wet hours later!

I did my best to retaliate against Sean.

Rebekah's shots went the farthest when she'd
practically sit on the ground to launch.

 We planned to stay for only a couple hours. Almost five hours later, we left. We had so much fun as a family and made some great memories. In fact, we're trying to sneak in one more trip before school starts. 

Would you like to get an EXTREME Wristband ($22 value) anytime for the $15 late night price? Get your coupon here, good through the end of August. Enjoy all day fun with unlimited go-karts, miniature golf, laser tag, Spaceball, Jumpshot and Water Wars.  

Disclosure: I was given free passes from US Family Coupons and Papio Fun Park  in exchange for my review. No other compensation was given. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Cadbury Ice Cream Bars High Tea Party - Fun and Yum - #CadburyHighTea

I Scream, 
You Scream 
We all Scream 
 For Ice Cream!!!

 Remember that chant from summer when you were a kid? I do. Probably because while the world considers me an adult, I'm mainly a kid in a grown up body. I still love my ice cream! 

Cadbury has come out with some delicious ice cream bars! My friends and their children got to try Chocolate Ice Cream Bars, Dark Chocolate Ice Cream Bars, English Toffee Ice Cream Bars and Caramel Ice Cream Bars. Everyone had a great time and we loved the ice cream bars. I got to give away ice cream bars during my Cadbury High Tea event. We had very proper hats to wear and a tea set to use to have our tea. We got to play some games and everyone had a great time. The ice cream bars were so delicious. I could eat them all day long!

Here are some of the pictures of our fun event.

We made the boys put on a hat, too. 

 Disclosure: I received product from Cadbury and Mom Select in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Thursday, July 18, 2013

What is "Normal"?

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What does that word evoke in your mind? 
For me, the word Normal has migrated from a descriptive term in my life to a word that makes my pulse race and blood pressure rise when I hear it. 

This is a Blog Hop. So, hoppers: What do you think? What are the ups and downs of normal? What’s normal anyway? Do you wish for it or abhor it?
Normal was the life I grew up with. Although, even then, it was getting closer and closer to not-normal (I don't like the word abnormal). I was raised by two parents who have been married once. No step-parents, step-siblings, no half-brothers and sisters lurking in my family tree. Just me and a sister and two parents. My mom was a stay at home mom...but back then the term was housewife. And even then, it was more normal to have mom at home then working. I have memories of opening the door to our home after school and smelling cookies or brownies. Not an everyday occurrence, but it meant an AWESOME after school snack. 

Life moved on and I went to college, met a man, fell in love and we were married. 

Our lives rolled along in a 'normal' fashion. Then we had children. Three of them. Having a third child throws us out of the "normal" club because two kids are supposed to make you happy. Well, we wanted a third. So we'll make our brand of family that makes the 'norm' of having 2.5 kids work. We balance out a two kid family. In the midst of this transition pushing us out of the verge of normal came more not-normal. Nathan, our middle child, was diagnosed with autism. 

I had teacher training in college. I knew a certain amount about child development. I had an older son. I scoured books and resources and online articles with the first one to make sure every phase of his development was normal. When Nathan wasn't hitting certain milestones--but other milestones were being hit out of order--it made me search for answers among the experts. 

It took us three years of searching to finally get answers. I was told all kinds of things. He's a little delayed in areas, but he's bright and will catch up in his own time. His mother pushes him too hard. She needs to realize he won't ever be as smart as his big brother and she needs to accept him for who he is. (And, by the way, I still fight bitterness on this one each day. I try to forgive, but if I ever run into this school psychologist again, I'll punch her--fair warning. Second by the way--Nathan's IQ is at genius levels. Who's looking dumb now?!?!) After that barrage against me as a parent, I stopped fighting outright and went passive-aggressive. We moved. Public reason--we now have 3 kids and we are overcrowded in our tiny 3 bedroom home.
Private reason--I will never, ever, let that woman near my son who will start kindergarten next year. She's poison to him and I won't put up with it. He needs help.

Then, in our new school, the Kindergarten teacher--oh so gently--mentions at Parent/Teacher conferences that she has concerns about Nathan. He might be showing signs of autism. We laughed and told her we knew he was autistic, but nobody agrees. She helped us get the diagnosis and the help.

And now, the word "Normal" has morphed into a word with a bad connotation for me. Who gets to make the definition of normal? And what is normal? Patsy Clairmont wrote a book, "Normal is Just a Setting on Your Dryer" and I decided she's a genius. 

I spend a lot of time focused on making sure Nathan hits 'normal' achievement levels in school, in social settings and in contact with the outside world. But as the numbers keep changing for autism--down to 1 in 88 from the CDC--I'm a little baffled by the word normal. (Autism rates are expected to be lowered again by the CDC, probably next year...estimated to head towards 1 in 52 or 1 in 36 depending on the report.)

So I have come to loathe the word normal. Who gets to make the judgement call that Nathan's way of seeing the world is wrong (abnormal) while his peer is right (normal). Maybe we need to assess our values a little. It seems to me that my "abnormal" or "autistic" child has never bullied other kids, he feels deeply and will sit and cry with his friends when they are hurt. He has a deep spiritual conviction and prays for people all the time. He listens without judging and accepts you for who you are. And that's not 'normal'....but it's Nathan. Nathan is in his own world of Nathan-normal living in a crass, loud, judgmental, 'normal' world.

Maybe we need to be a little more Nathan-normal in this world. 

A normal kid

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Bloggers Wanted: $1000 Gift Card Giveaway Event

What's On Your Wish List Event

Organized by: Mom Powered Media

Prizes: $1,000 {visa gift card, amazon gift certificate or select your favorite store}
Event dates: 11/1 - 12/1
Open Worldwide
Referral prize: $50 Amazon E-Code or Paypal Cash

Requirement to join:
* No more than 2 blogs per person allowed
* Agree to post the giveaway html on the date the event begins and promote at least 3x a week

Bloggers: Sign Up HERE

And be sure to tell them Coolestmommy Robyn sent you. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

#Superbook DVD Review

We are so excited about the Superbook series that started on July 1st on ABC Family. This series is a fantastic exploration of the Bible that helps bring excitement about the Bible to the kids (and adults and families) of America. What's even better than a series on TV? A DVD Series you can order online either by the episode or on an automatic ship system. Superbook is available to purchase and I was able to review the DVD's you receive. 
Some of our favorite things were the Trading Card that comes with each DVD. Our children each claimed a few and trade among each other. We have been very pleased with all the episodes we have watched so far. The kids are engaged from start to finish and I even enjoy the characters and the stories. It's family friendly shows that are sound Biblical stories presented in such an entertaining way. 

If you are looking for a great way to pull your family together and have a fun time of learning about the Bible, head over to Superbook and check out the DVD subscription. If our family is an indicator, you won't regret the purchase. 

Disclosure: I received a copy of the Superbook DVD's for this review. All thoughts are my own. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Witch way did they go?

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

I've heard of cleaning fairies...but cleaning witches? Who knew?!?!

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Papio Fun Park Steals & Deals

For those of you in the midwest, USFG Bloggers has come up with a great deal for everyone. Keep reading for a special discount offer below. It's summertime and everyone likes to enjoy go-karts, golf, games and more. I haven't been in several years, but I'm going to be taking advantage of the offer below and then I'll post a little review for everyone. 

Create fun memories with your family and friends while enjoying go-karts, miniature golf, laser tag, Spaceball, Jumpshot, arcade games, batting cages and Water Wars---a water balloon game.  Come for a game of mini golf or stay to enjoy all the fun with one of the wristband packages ranging in price from $10-$22. Through Aug 28th take advantage of Mid-Week Madness and purchase an EXTREME wristband at half price----only $11.

My Readers Purchase an EXTREME wristband (regularly $22) at the Late Night Special pricing of only $15. Enjoy all day fun with unlimited go-karts, miniature golf, laser tag, Spaceball, Jumpshot and Water Wars. Click here for the coupon to get the special pricing. 
Take advantage of this fantastic offer while it lasts!

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Juppy Walker "Momentum" Review

Have you ever seen a Juppy before? I know I hadn't seen one, but I wish I had this when my kids were small. Remember how you became the hunch-back of toddler-ville? You have to stoop over for seemingly days on end to help give a 'grip' for your pre-walking child. What if you could safely help your child learn to walk and cruise around without the back ache and strain? Well, that's what a Juppy does!!

From the manufacturer:

The Juppy "Momentum" is a solution to a previously recognized but unsolved challenge for parents of babies beginning to walk. Babies strong enough to begin walking but not strong enough to walk alone. The Juppy builds confidence in your baby and teaches balance while you maintain your natural posture, eliminating the grueling task of hunching over while teaching your baby to walk. The Juppy has easily adjustable straps that accommodate your height whether you are 4'11" or 6'11". The Juppy comes standard with soft hand grips that are strategically placed to provide optimum benefit for your hands; a color matched state of the art zipper is located at the rear of The Juppy for the purpose of safety, easy access and exit. You will find two Velcro straps that overlap the back zipper which again shows our commitment to providing you the safest and most practical baby walker on the market. Unlike traditional baby walkers The Juppy is a parent assisted baby walker which eliminates all of the dangers of walkers with wheels. The unique design eliminates the problems associated with similar products for example other parent assisted walkers do not have the crotch piece which is essential in keeping your baby from involuntarily lifting its arms. No more falling down stairs or reaching for dangerous objects because The Juppy requires your assistance at all times- One size fits all (baby weight not to exceed 35lbs). Made from 100% cotton that is machine washable.
I was so excited to get mine. I have a friend who is having a baby and I got this for her shower. Since she doesn't know if she's having a girl or boy, I went with gender-neutral black for the Juppy. Also, since I didn't know the name, I chose to have Cruzin' embroidered on it. Everytime I see a Juppy in action, I'm humming the song "Cruising" so it seemed like the logical choice. We tried it out on another friend's son and it worked really well. We all agreed it was easy to use, easy to adjust for our adult heights and all of us had fun walking the little guy "B" around. 

Here's a video to give you a better idea of how the Juppy works:

If you like The Juppy, be sure to check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Happy Independence Day!!

From our family to yours, may you have a Blessed and Happy Independence Day!!

Please remember the service men and women both past and present who are willing to give their lives to keep America the land of the free. 

Monday, July 01, 2013

Belated Last Day of School

I realized today that I had taken all these pictures on the last day of school and I never remembered to post them. The boys are 'too big' for a last day of school photo. But, missy model thought photos would be a PERFECT way to end the year. 

She wanted to show off the cute back
of her new sundress. 

After school, we took the kids out for a special end of year celebration. They picked the Italian restaurant near our house and we stuffed ourselves on pasta. 

Rebekah wanted just ONE BITE of her noodles. 

All three kids had excellent years. We are pleased with their grades, their citizenship and their kindness and caring. They are shining examples of showing God's love in their every day lives. Andrew, Nathan and Rebekah--never doubt it. Dad & Mom love you!!

Unique Natural Products Review

Do you like using all natural and organic cleaners? I do. I prefer not to bring any more chemicals into my home if I can avoid it. So when I was given the chance to review Unique Natural Products, the name said it all to me. They are uniquely natural and in doing my research, I found they are also safe products for your home and for the environment.

From the Manufacturer:
Unique Natural Products safe, effective and affordable line grew from pet stain removers to grease removers, drain openers, wine stain removers, boat and RV holding tank cleaners and carpet shampoos. Don knew that safe, green and clean was the future. But unlike most green products available, he knew most of all that his products had to work! After decades on the road, hundreds of thousands of miles, several new RV's and countless conversations with store buyers, Don, now over 80, continues to visit stores nationwide and regale them with the kind of stories that only a salesman of 60 years could possess. Don's amazing ability to remember every store on every street and every buyer that he's ever visited has made him hundreds of friends and thousands of customers. Unique Natural Products has had a heck of a run and the future looks brighter than ever!
 I received five products to try. The Wine Stain Eater, the Unique Complete Odor and Stain Remover, Super Digest-It (Safe Drain Opener), Carpet Shampoo and Stain Remover and Grime Eater. I am loving spot cleaning my carpets and have added a good carpet shampooing with our carpet machine to Sean's honey-do list. I'm loving each of the products--the Grime Eater did wonders for my grill. But, wait until you see cherry kool-aid removed from my daughter's new top. 

OK--when she spilled red kool-aid all over her shirt, I forgot to take a photo of the 'before' stain. She spilled and I thought it was just on the table....she failed to mention her shirt was soaking with red dye...and she finished her lunch. When she was up and playing after lunch, I suddenly see a big red spot on her shirt and it's already dry. I went straight to work with the Unique Complete Odor and Stain Remover. It was in between the tulips above the crease in the photo below. 

And take a look at the shirt now.

The stain was in between the tulips. There is barely any left and I believe one more application will completely remove the stain. It was a thrill to save a brand new shirt!! I highly recommend all the products at Unique Natural Products

Disclosure: I was provided some sample products to try in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 
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