Friday, May 20, 2016

The fear of always being the new kid.

You know from reading this blog you might get the idea that my childhood was this awful mess. The reality is my childhood was wonderful for the most part. I am SO lucky to have had two parents who loved me, supported me, and stuck together when the times got really rough. I have some of the most amazing friends that I do not even remotely deserve who have stood by my side even when I let them down and have believed in me when I had no hope left. I had a almost charmed lifestyle riding horses, traveling, and if I even went into my adventures in the computer world you might call me a liar. There is so much of my life that is so outrageous that I often say that if I wrote a book about my life they would most likely publish it as fiction. So much of my life was so good that it almost makes it more difficult for me to admit that I am not always the strongest or that I'm not always ok.

I had planned to make my next blog post about how I met my husband but I want to put brakes on that because for some odd reason this blog seems to be more about me working out my feelings about losing my dad and I can't promise any of you that the storyline to get me there will be in any particular order. That blog post was derailed as I got into this conversation with my best friend. Its his birthday today and though I may not be his best friend he has been mine for almost as long as I can remember. Having a "best friend" when you move as often as I have is at best a challenging prospect. The line in fight club about having single serving friends is the best way to put this.. I am a MASTER at making short term friends and I am a master at making a friendship in which I am a caregiver but letting someone in to the point that they might have to take care of my feelings it be both ways is nearly impossible. What got me thinking about this is I was talking about refinancing my house and I was trying to describe some improvements I wanted to make and I used a house I lived in as a child in TN as an example. He very clearly remembered the layout of my room and the things in it. I remember the things in it (as I also remember how everything I owned fit into boxes best) but I've had so many "rooms" that the layout sometimes gets a bit fuzzy. 

Now I'm sure you are asking where this is going as I've been a little long winded getting to the point. I am sure we have all experienced the moment at some time in our life of being the "new kid" be it having to stand in front of a new class at school telling them about yourself, going to a new job, a new college, ect. The fear is at times a bit overwhelming as you have no idea if anyone will like you. How imagine that on an epic scale. You are ALWAYS the new kid, you are always having to try to prove yourself or make friends or start over. I think I have done this routine so often in life that I never really stopped. I constantly feel the need to try to prove myself, and it's really hard for me to let anyone take care of me even on a very basic level. Believe me it's not that I do not need the help and I really have nothing to prove. I know logically in my head that I'm at a point in my life I have nothing left to prove and ironically the people I try to impress most of the time are already the people who are my friends. I also know I have nothing to prove.. I have great friends, I have an amazing husband who is nothing but supportive in everything, I have AMAZING kids, but yet i still act like a pitbull in a terrier's body. I also know that I am only one person and when friends offer to help I should take it but it's so damn hard as I feel like I'm admitting weakness if I even take small gifts.

I spent so much time trying to take care of everyone else and everything else that I tend to lose track of my own needs. Even in refinancing the house I agonize over every little detail on any improvements that need to be made and feel an overwhelming sense of fear over adding even $50 to my loan monthly as what happens if (whatever the crisis of the day is) needs me? I guess I've spent so much of my life having to figure things out by myself and being resourceful to get things done that it's sooo hard for me to let go and allow someone else to even take care of me on a basic level. I always just assume that if someone is helping me they want something out of me (as honestly that has been my experience 99% of the time). My way of coping with always being the "new kid" is to rely solely on myself and honestly to be controlled about my emotions. The problem is that now my life is settled its HARD to give up the control. I've spent my entire life taking care of someone else (my dad, my mom, my friends) that admitting I am not a super hero and allowing anyone else to "help" is sooo hard. I don't think I will ever loose my drive to protect and take care of my family and friends like a lion but I know I need to start allowing them to protect me as well. Instead of saying "I will do it myself." start saying "Thank you!!". 

More later.. much love!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Daily Adventures : Going away parties

Because our life is absolutely ridiculous at times I guess it seems only appropriate to start talking about our daily lives. This week is our friend Pep's last week before he PCS (Permanent Change of Station for you non military folks!) to another state. As always they do a going away party at a local restaurant usually over lunch. The last few PCS parties have been at our local Red Robin which honestly thrills me as I adore Red Robin's burgers and bottomless fries the problem is our local Red Robin just can't handle it.

Mind you sure we brought quite a few people into the store all at the same time but most of us were sitting at our own booths and other than our party there wasn't a ton of people in the Red Robin at the time. It was no busy with us there than a typical lunch time and we were not in a huge hurry. The problem is though they handled most of the people with no issues OUR table was sitting there for an hour and no one had even taken our drink order. At one point half the people at our table actually got upset and CALLED in orders as takeout and got their food BEFORE we even got our food at the table.

Though if you think about it.. it was kind of funny sitting there eating lunch at a table where half the people at the table had take out orders. The not funny part of it is my husband ended up spending almost 3 hours in Red Robin by the time we got our bill for what should have been maybe an hour and a half. Eh. Honestly I just like spending time with our friends and having them held hostage at Red Robin trying to eat is just another excuse for us to be together. ;)

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Intro to having a father with PTSD.

When you tell someone your father has PTSD people automatically think in their head "OH! He jumps and acts crazy at loud noises? He's some crazy mumbling in the background about the war?". The truth is different for everyone affected with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome but the reality is its nothing like that. Sure at times my father was easily startled, sure at times he couldn't handle loud noises, sure at times he was very withdrawn and just wanted to be alone. The reality though of daily life is sooo much different. My father had PTSD as long as I knew him the problem is none of us even suspected that our issues as a family was because of PTSD. We never even got a diagnosis for his PTSD till well after he started to get sick long after I moved out of the house.

I think for most part our family either turned a total blind eye or thought we were making it up. My dad rarely if ever talked about it with anyone but me and usually then only very late at night when he couldn't sleep. The symptoms were so painfully obvious once we figured out the problem and progressively got worst the more ill he became. When my father was younger he was incredibly well spoken, intelligent, very even tempered and otherwise a very well liked man. Though people at his work often referred to him lovely as Little Napoleon (he was barely 5'1) I've never heard ANYONE speak an ill word about my father. As a child I was totally a daddy's girl (and still to this day am without question) but he wasn't around that often and always traveling for his job.

We moved often when I was growing up, sometimes as often as every six months and rarely lived anywhere longer than a year. I once had to list every location I have ever lived at for a security clearance and the list was so long it went on for page after page. I was commonly asked as a child if my father was in the military and my answer was always "he does military construction" which somehow was supposed to answer the question but certainly now that I look at it never really made any sense. My dad rarely raised his voice or got upset but the few times he did he would fly so wildly off the handle it was shocking and explosive. Most disagreements even at a early age in my life with my parents were handled through me. I was kind of like a mini messenger and mini counselor at times but honestly they were very rare. Honestly all in all I was VERY lucky as my parents were both married twice before meeting each other and my dad would often tell me "The third time is the charm!" and they stayed together for 38 years until his death late in the fall of 2015.

His PTSD diagnosis came shortly after getting ill and though I cant honestly remember it was at least 8 years before his death, I will revise this later with more info. He was working in Hawaii and was on a business trip alone. He was suicidal (not something we talked about openly while he was alive but I will discuss it with you guys in more detail as this blog unfolds as I think people need to hear this.) and he climbed up onto the railing of the balcony of his hotel room and attempted to jump. At that point he says he saw his mother and she talked him off the ledge. Shortly there after he was diagnosed with PTSD. Turns out all along all the moves we did when I was growing up was because the moment things started to get "good" with his job or life he felt guilty. The guilt was so overwhelming he would basically rip us up out or our lives and start over. I'm not so sure if it was always conscious and it wasn't a topic we broached often as he felt very guilty for constantly moving me growing up.

This is one of those topics I could go on for ages about and never hit the bottom but I wanted to address this early on as a lot of my stories and underlying driving forces in my life come back to this subject. It's not one of shame, and there is NOTHING even remotely to be ashamed about when it comes to PTSD. I am FIERCELY proud of my father and I strive to one day be even half the human he was... at times he was larger than life in my eyes. However with all that said he was human and every human has a story and all of us have some sort of pain though certainly some of us worst than others. I will share more about my fathers illnesses and PTSD as time goes on but so much of my own story revolves around his. I genuinely hope sharing our story will help other people not feel so alone as I did at times in my life and I know he did and to realize its OK to talk about it even though its really really really fucking hard at times. Its hard for the person suffering and sometimes its even harder for the family as the last thing you want to do is to make them feel guilty or worst.

Much love.. more later.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Just jump... starting the goal to blog authentically.

Several years ago back when I was struggling with my eyesight and shortly after the blog changed names I was at the height of my blogging success. I was making enough money that I could have reasonably lived on (though very frugally) my earnings from the blog and we were running so many contests that my house looked like a mini warehouse. I was at that point though at my lowest point in blogging history. I was VERY unhappy both in my personal life and in my writing. My marriage was at a breaking point, I had two young children, I was doing 10+ blog posts a week all of which I was very upbeat, very positive, and constantly trying to find something awesome to say about every product I was writing about.

The problem was I was dishonest... Dishonest in the fact that the face I was showing the world through writing was NOT my own. I was so scared to write in my own genuine voice about topics that really mattered to me because I was scared to upset my dad, disappoint my readers, and mostly look unprofessional. Well in the process I fell horribly behind on my reviews, and I was literally running out of things to say. Ever have to write 5000 reviews and never say anything but something positive? Its not possible... at some point you start sounding like a broken record. I felt like a broken record spewing out the same tired old shit every other second. I felt disingenuous because I was being dishonest. Dishonest with the reader about who I really was and about how I was really feeling. I got burned out.

My life was a shambles, I was having panic attacks, I was depressed, and I felt like a worthless human being. Kinda hard to project this perfect family for a blog when there is nothing at all perfect about it! I would write these incredibly snarky genuine emails to several of the PR people I was blogging for all of which would beg me to write that way on my blog and all of which I would deny because I was scared. Well It took me a few years but I think it's time I finally start sharing this with you guys. My real life, my struggles, my successes and failures, because honestly I think I need to do this for myself but I think there are more of you out there like me who feel trapped in this reality that is just not real.

The crazy thing is the more you worry about what others think of you the more mistakes you make and the more unhappy you become. A wise man and my most trusted friend once told me that sometimes it takes a long road of trying to be someone you are not to realize that all along your 14 year old self was your most genuine moment. That may not be true for all of us but I will tell you that my 14 year old self was incredibly dorky, loved video games and anything scifi, read more books than watched tv, was fiercely loyal to herself and her friends, and was ready to take on the world. I had this amazing group of friends who later became literally my family and foundation when shit hit the fan and that person IS the person I want to become again.

What does this mean for you guys? Well first of all I refuse to write another word that isn't 100% honest. I still want to do reviews but I want to also just blog about my life. The struggles of moving so often growing up that I can barely remember more than two dozen people from my childhood I went to school with. Living in a world that was almost purely digital as the only sort of long term relationships you can have when you move every six months are with people online. Learning to cope with my dad's PTSD and end of life issues. And learning how to grow as a blended family and learn to be a family all over again. I hope I can connect with other step moms out there as well! I swear some days I need a support group just to deal with the challenges of being a step mom, and don't get me wrong its amazing and I LOVE having another kid in the house but navigating co-parenting and building family moments is a challenge at times. I'm 100% down for the challenge though and I look forward to all our adventures as a new family.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Hope you have a Gnoment to appreciate the people you love over the holidays.

What are Gnoments? Gnoments are an adorable tech friendly relationship building tool!

Ever since I started accepting review requests again for this blog I wanted to focus very heavily on tech and geek sector items. I actually made a joke to my partner when the review request for Gnoments hit my email box comparing them to the "elf on the shelf" of romance. Once they arrived however we realized they were so much more!

Gnoments are a set of two plush gnomes. There is a boy and girl gnome both weighted so they easily sit on a shelf or can be positioned where you need them to be and also have a magnet in their hand (As gnomes like to hold hands!) and you can use them in so many cute ways!  You can use your gnomes to leave messages for your significant other as well as small trinkets as each gnome comes equipped with a small backpack for storing items, as well and quite possibly the most exciting part for me is that each Gnome can also has a NFC tag embedded inside of the plush. A NFC tag allows a user with an NFC enameled phone to scan the Gnome and leave small digital messages (messages, maps, ect) for a really unique experience. You will need a NFC enabled phone (currently only andriod phones support this) and need the NFC tools app. Sadly we could not test this feature as both me and my significant other use iPhones which are as of yet not supported. Gnoments also come with a very nice illustrated book which tells their story as well as makes suggestions as to how to use your gnomes.

Gnoments are an adorable idea and in a world where so many of us spend so much time with our technology and phones its actually rather nice to have a physical tool to use in your relationships. Gnoments are not only for couples, you could easily use them to leave notes for your kids! Honestly I think our children are as fascinated or more by the idea than we are! Check out the video below to get a quick overview of how to use the NFC chip as well as see the other videos to learn more about Gnoments. You can visit the Gnoments webpage as well to purchase or read more about these adorable plush gnomes!

Disclosure: I was given a sample Gnoments for review, we were not compensated for this post in any other way. My opinions and comments on items we review are always my own and are never influenced by sponsors.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Halloween Hounds: Milk-Bone Study Shows Dogs Are Ultimate Trick-or-Treaters

  • 44% of NY pet parents have dressed their dog in costume versus 28% of California pet parents
  • 38% of NY pet parents have greeted trick-or-treaters with their dog while 18% of pet parents in California have
  • 18% of Texas pet parents have given their dog extra treats for Halloween and 16% have taken their dog trick-or-treating.
  • Big dogs like Dobermans and Great Danes prefer “real meat treats”, while most small ones (Pomeranians and Pugs) choose “soft and chewy” snacks – like Pup-Peroni
  • Soft and chewy treats are also the all-time favorites of terriers (58%), and toy dogs (59%)
  • Biscuits and crunchy treats (like Milk-Bone) are the clear favorites of hounds (53%), herding dogs (56%), and sporting dogs (57%)
Because dogs are the ultimate tricksters, Milo’s Kitchen brand dog treats wanted to uncover, for the first time, which tricks dogs are best able to perform. The nation’s most popular doggy tricks are:
#1: Sit (77% of dogs can do this on command)
#2: Shake paws (58%)
#3: Lay down (57%)
#4: Stay (50%)
#5: Give a kiss (44%)
#6: Beg (31%)
#7: Roll over (27%)
#8: Speak or bark (26%)
#9: Spin (14%)
#10: Play dead (10%)

For wacky DIY doggie costumes, ideas on how to treat your pet, or for downloadable decorations to show your neighbors you’re celebrating with your pup, please visit this special Howl-o-ween website, from Big Heart Pet brands’ Milk-Bone, Pup-Peroni, Canine Carry Outs and Milo’s Kitchen.
For a chance to see your dog’s Halloween photo in the Milk-Bone Halloween website and social channels, tag it on FB, Instagram or Twitter with #TreatsForAll.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Maybe it's time to make a change.

I know I quit you guys cold turkey. The last few years have had so many ups and downs I just couldn't continue. Not the way I was going. This blog started out as a way to find my voice when I first found myself a mother rather unexpectedly... except I felt this overwhelming pressure to conform. Why? I honestly have no clue! In the end I just started feeling like a machine. There are only so many words in this world to write and I literally felt I had used them all up.

I've always tried to keep the tone on all my blogs as purely professional which always seemed to me as being so in genuine. In all reality I'm snarky, I'm sarcastic, I have a bit of a warped sense of humor and I'm not always as upbeat as my posts made it seem. In the end between some personal issues I had in my life and this overwhelming feeling of being vanilla I just couldn't continue. In the end I let a bunch of my sponsors down as I promised that I could never find the words for and in the end I spent literally months staring at a blank blog entry with nothing to write. If you write outside your own "voice" there comes a time when you literally feel like you have written the same thing over and over again and it all tends to run together.

I want to start again.. I'm not so sure if it will be with this blog or another one but without question this time it will be fully authentic. The last few years have been joyful watching my boys grow but as well being some of the most trying years of my life. I've lived what feels like an entire lifetime in the last five years. I met one of my biggest life goals by starting my own horse farm. I reconnected with friends who I thought were long gone and lost some friends who turned out to be just in it for whatever they could get.  I've learned there are just some things you cannot fix no matter how hard you try. I've gone from being very outgoing to a bit of a recluse. I honestly think this change is for the better.

I still have so much to learn! Writing has always been a way for me to work whats going on in my head and I started this blog purely to reach out to other people who felt the same way. I really want to go back to that and I want all of you to join me. Can we start again?

(The photo included is Connor's "Batman" mask he made out of tinfoil. It seemed appropriate for this post.)

Friday, November 7, 2014

Morris the cat speaks out about proper "cat petting" techinique!

You know until recently I was not a cat person. I've been a loyal #chihuahua and #minpin survivor for almost 20 years.  However, since the creation of Blue Pony Farm in early 2013 I have to say my cats are certainly working their way up the food chain. Recently 9Lives sent us a package of cat food to sample and I have to say my cats were overjoyed at finally getting some real "awards" that they deserve around the farm. Morris sent along an article I think you'll enjoy that pretty much sums up what its like living with a cat on a daily basis!

Pictured is Ghost one of our awesomeness barn kitties!
How to Pet a Cat (or Dog if Your Must)
By Morris the cat (9Lives)

One thing I've discovered throughout my years of living well is that more than a few humans could really benefit from cat-petting instruction. Frankly, I’m surprised it’s not a lesson they teach in school.

Although every cat is different and has a unique set of purr-worthy zones, us felines usually have some common petting preferences. So put down your smart phone. Fasten your seat belt. Make sure your seatbacks and tray tables are in their fully upright and locked positions. It's time to learn some life skills, people!

To bond with your cat — and receive a happy purr or friendly head butt, if you do it right -- follow my specific steps for these 9 must-learn and must-do cat petting techniques:

1. The Chin Chillin'

Purpose: Activate scent glands, assist with grooming
Popularized by: Jay Leno, Marlon Brando

Step 1: Locate the underside of the chin where the jawbone connects to the skull.
Step 2: Take one hand and scratch rapidly like your fingers are doing "The Riverdance."
Step 3: Listen for a Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. (Congratulations, you're doing it right!)

2. The Swedish Earmuffs

Purpose: Stimulate glands, release tension
Popularized by: Abba, Vince Vaughn

Step 1: Place your thumb and forefinger behind our ears.
Step 2: Rub them back and forth like Johnny Manziel after scoring a touchdown.
Step 3: Watch us melt into a purring ball of cuddles. (Hint: Drool is good!)

3. The Booty-O-Vator

Purpose: Therapeutic relaxation, triggering kitten memories
Popularized by: Jennifer Lopez, Sir Mix-a-Lot

Step 1: Locate your cat’s rear muscles, right above the tail.
Step 2: Squeeze your hands in and out like you’re kneading dough.
Step 3: Go slow and steady… this isn’t the latest Vin Diesel movie.

NOTE: When we position our rear towards you, it is an offer of camaraderie—much like a posterior Facebook “friend request.”

4. The Neckasaurus Rex

Benefits: Stress relief, cat-human bonding
Popularized by: Keira Knightley, Gweneth Paltrow

Step 1: Feel the spot at the base of your cat’s skull where the head meets the neck.
Step 2: Use your finger and thumb to create a circular motion for 1 to 2 minutes.
Step 3: Watch your cat rub his face against you like a little furry windshield wiper.

5. The Brain Hurricane

Benefits: Stimulates creativity, tends to end in napping
Popularized by: Natalie Portman, Danica McKellar

Step 1: Put your thumb and index finger on the top of your cat's head.
Step 2: Pretend you are a large lobster and gently pinch your thumb and index finger back and forth.
Step 3: Your cat will likely blink and nod in approval (and lucky you for having opposable thumbs!).

6. The Smooth Operator

Benefits: Muscle relaxation, back alignment
Popularized by: Marvin Gaye, Boyz II Men

Step 1: Place one hand in a flat position on the upper portion of your cat's back.
Step 2: Swoop your hand down the entire length of your cat's back saying “smooooth” as you do it.
Step 3: You may feel us stretch out our limbs and paws in kitty delight.

7. The Lumbardi Party

Benefits: Helps release toxins and chemicals, relieves the stress of chasing red laser dots
Popularized by: Rihanna, Vince Lombardi

Step 1: Put down your smartphone and place two hands on our lower back and sides.
Step 2: Position your fingers to form a cat-ready fine-tooth comb.
Step 3: Move your hands to and fro, pausing every so often to let us ask for more.

NOTE: I highly recommend pairing this petting experience with a follow-up nap in a nice sunny spot.

8. The Get Cheeky

Benefits: Social bonding, marks you with our scent glands
Popularized by: Angelina Jolie, Gisele Bundchen

Step 1: Locate your cat's temporal gland on the upper cheek between the eye and ear.
Step 2: Keep your fingers relaxed but firm and give your cat a nice scratch.
Step 3: Much like an NFL football player, you may become the recipient of a friendly head butt.

9. The Shoulderific

Benefits: Therapeutic massage
Popularized by: Michelle Obama, Ashley Greene

Step 1: Place two hands on your cat's back, one on each shoulder blade.
Step 2: Press inward with your palms and use soft circular movements (but don't press on the spine).
Step 3: Feel great about your rapid accumulation of positive kitty points and good cat karma.

Wanna know exactly what a cat sees? 

Check out my first 'catventure' where I am outfitted with cutting-edge wearable technology straight from Silicon Valley:

>>  The 'Cat's Eye View' Experience 

(Take two minutes to try "Cat's Eye View" ... you'll be laughing like crazy.)

And guess what? I'm now on social media. That's right, I can tweet and hashtag like the best of them (#YOL9 !!). So what are you waiting for, follow me back!

Disclosure: I was given a a copy of sample package of 9lives cat food for review, we were not compensated for this post in any other way. My opinions and comments on items we review are always my own and are never influenced by sponsors.

Friday, September 9, 2011

DVD Review : Barney Mother Goose Collection

Barney Mother Goose Collection is one of my favorite Barney DVD sets of all time. Barney and his friends visit Mother Goose's world and sing and act out so many of the favorite nursery rhymes and songs such as London Bridge, Humpty Dumpty, Hickory Dickory Dock and so many more. I was almost embarrassed to learn that Connor really didn't know any of the songs included so he had a great time watching the show and learning all the nursery rhyme songs! Also included on the dvd is a sing along that features fifteen of the songs included in the dvd and a rhyme a long that includes 17 of the rhymes. Connor almost prefers the sing along to the dvd itself! What we really really love about this set though is the fact that it comes with a music cd that you can take along with you in the car of Barney and his friends singing some of the favorite songs included on the dvd! Also included is an activity book that you can take along with you in the car or just enjoy at home, it's fairly small so you can easily tuck it in your purse or diaper bag for a quick activity on the go!

You can purchase your own copy of Barney Mother Goose Collection on dvd right now on Amazon!

Disclosure: I was given a a copy of Barney Mother Goose Collection for review, we were not compensated for this post in any other way. My opinions and comments on items we review are always my own and are never influenced by sponsors.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Review & Giveaway : Zippies - The coolest ID tags!

Connor is four, with four comes all sorts of new challenges but the biggest one we have been facing lately is him taking his brother's stuff and trying to pretend it was his in the first place. Today they practically drove me nutty at the barn. I gave them two water bottles which soon multiplied into six water bottles (someone ran back and got more out of the fridge) and the worst part is by the end I had no clue who's water bottle was whose.. and even worst which one was mine! Poor Dylan got the short end of the stick as pretty much any water bottle he claimed his brother came in and stole it pretty quickly and switched him out the less full one he was carrying. When I got home I realized, today would have been a great day for some Zippies.

Zippies are some of the coolest ID tags we have ever seen. First of all they are super heavy duty rubbery animal faces which won't fall apart, bend, or break on you in the first use. Most of them are pretty non gender specific and they come in a variety of different animal faces from bunnies to lizards to toads (my personal favorite) so there is bound to be one your child will like. Though all that aside that is not at all what I love about them. What I really love is their genius way that they hook on to your stuff, or should I say the several ways they can hook on to your stuff. The first and most obvious way is they come with a very heavy duty elastic cord and tightener which is great for hooking over the top of water bottles, hooking to backpacks, looping over small stuffed animals, and even attaching to your child's door knob or dresser knob so you can easily find your Zippie on the way to school. The second is a ring that is slightly under the draw string that opens up almost like a little key chain clasp which can be used for a key chain, hooking onto loops, belts, or really anything you can clip something on. The last way is you can actually take the Zippie off the ring itself and hook it onto a necklace, bracelet, or put it on your own ring, loop, or snap. Needless to say how you use your Zippies is totally up to you!

I have a Zippie on each of the boy's backpacks, and I try to remember to put them in my purse to identify our drinks as even though my boys are not reading yet they can still identify their animals to find their own drinks or even toys. You can learn more about Zippies as well as check out all the different designs on the Zippies website.

Now here comes the fun part!

Zippies has offered to give a set of five Zippies to one lucky reader!

To Enter :

  • Leave a comment on this post. Just check out the Zippies website and let us know which Zippie is your favorite!
  • Make sure there is a way for me to contact you - if your email address is not on your profile or you are not a blogger you may leave it in your comment or email it to me directly (angelaandconnor at gmail dot com) We have had to disqualify a lot of potential winners as of late as many people do not have emails available in their profiles or leave anonymous posts without any way to contact you.
  • Please US entries only.
  • To get extra credit :

    • For an extra entry - Please post each extra entry in a separate post  :
    • Blog about this contest and leave me the link on your comment, or add my button to your sidebar and let me know its there. (please note if you have our old button on your sidebar you'll need to update the link/image) 
    • Subscribe to my mailing list/RSS feed and earn another entry!
    • Let people know about the giveaway on Twitter with a link to the giveaway! 
    • Join our Facebook Page
    • This contest will end September 22nd at midnight! 

Disclosure: I was given a set of Zippies for review, we were not compensated for this post in any other way. My opinions and comments on items we review are always my own and are never influenced by sponsors.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

DVD Review : Fanboy & ChumChum Brain Freeze

I'm praying for fall as soon as possible but in the meantime you and your kids can cool off watching Fanboy & Chum Chum Brain Freeze out on DVD. Connor is absolutely obsessed with this wacky super hero duo and I can't blame him as they are pretty silly and like Connor it seems they are always getting themselves into trouble. This dvd is purely dedicated to Fanboy and Chum Chum's favorite treat, the coveted Frosty Freezy Freeze! All seven episodes are about the drink and what the boys will do to get their hands on one!

Episodes included :

  • Brain Freeze - Fanboy and Chum Chum discover that their favorite Frosty Freezy Freeze flavor, Berry Pink, is about to be discontinued.  Determined to have as much as they can before it’s gone forever, they end up with a massive brain freeze.  The next morning, Fanboy and Chum Chum wake up with no memory of what happened and their signature tighty-whiteys are missing.  They must retrace their steps to find out how their crazy night unraveled so they can find their precious underwear and restore order.
  • Berry Sick - During a summer heat wave, the boys discover the Frosty Freezy Freeze machine is on the fritz.  It’s up to Fanboy and Chum Chum to get the Berry the Ice Monster, the machine’s operator, back in good health. 
  • Refill Madness - Lenny and Boog learn that Fanboy and Chum Chum have a valuable cup that entitles them to endless free refills at the Frosty Mart.  The two decide to work together to try to steal the cup.
  • The Frosty Bus - Fanboy and Chum Chum are waiting for the Frosty Bus to buy a Frosty Freezy Freeze.  Unfortunately, Boog is driving and torments them by always keeping their beverages just out of reach. 
  • Jingle Fever -When Fanboy and Chum Chum find out they can win a million Frosty Bucks by writing the new Frosty Mart jingle, Lenny does everything in his power to stop them.
  •  Back from the Future - After Fanboy and Chum Chum show Lenny that Dollar-nator is a time machine, he decides to use him to travel back in time and prevent Fanboy and Chum Chum from ever tasting a Frosty Freezy Freeze. But despite his greatest efforts, the boys somehow always end up discovering Frosty Freezy Freeze. 
  • Norse-ing Around - Fanboy and Chum Chum discover a frozen Viking in their icebox and decide to help him “achieve glory” so he can get into Valhalla.

Connor especially loves the episode where the Fanboy and Chum Chum get the brain freeze and loose their underwear. He will watch it over and over laughing hysterically each time. At first I really did think the show was a little on the silly side but compared to some of the other kid's programing these days I'd much rather see my kids laugh and enjoy a show verses put something on the tv that has too much violence or adult topics. Fanboy and Chum Chum is purely just good fun.

You can pick up your own copy of Fanboy & Chum Chum Brain Freeze on dvd right now at Amazon!

Disclosure: We were given a copy of Fanboy & Chum Chum Brain Freeze  free of charge, we were not compensated for this post in any other way. My opinions and comments on items we review are always my own and are never influenced by sponsors!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I am one lucky mom...

How can I not feel incredibly blessed... my boys are my life, my love, and my entire world. I can't resist bragging a little that they are pretty amazing and beautiful to boot.

I love them!!

If your curious Dylan is wearing a Picaflor Kids romper and a pair of Umi Tadpole baby shoes. Both of which were previous reviews and hand me downs from Connor. 

These pictures were taken by the amazing and very affordable Jessala White Photography.. tell her we sent you!

Disclaimer : No one paid me for this post, Dylan's outfit was given to us almost two years ago for review, and we still love it. Jessla's pictures were purchased and I highly recommend her.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

DVD Review : Shaun The Sheep : The Big Chase

Shaun our favorite sheep has a brand new dvd out that is sure to thrill all your little sheep lovers in the house! I've said this before about Shaun but it never fails to marvel me that a show can be so incredibly entertaining to have absolutely NO words. Shaun and his friends are sheep.. they don't exactly talk much. Though there is never any doubt as to what the sheep are up to or how incredibly funny their antics become.

There are seven episodes included on this dvd :

  • The Big Chase
  • Bitzer From the Black Lagoon
  •  Zebra Ducks of the Serengeti
  • Bitzer’s Basic Training
  • The Magpie
  • The Boat
  • Hide & Squeak
Connor especially loved the title episode The Big Chase! Timmy decide to steal the farmers brand new four wheeler and the sheep have to find a way to chase him down. I had to laugh as honestly it's exactly the kind of thing that Connor would do himself if given the chance. Plus anything involving Timmy is always a good laugh.

I've always highly recommended Shaun the Sheep dvds for friends going on long car trips. They are perfect for sticking in the portable dvd player as they are not as distracting as other movies I've found and my kids can't keep their eyes off of them. Even Dylan finds Shaun super funny!

You can pick up your own copy of Shaun The Sheep - The Big Chase right now on dvd at Amazon!

Disclosure: We were given a copy of Shaun The Sheep - The Big Chase  free of charge, we were not compensated for this post in any other way. My opinions and comments on items we review are always my own and are never influenced by sponsors!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Umi Shoes, Connor's favorite sandles for summer!

Anyone who knows me and Connor will tell you that we wear sandals just about everywhere. So much so that it's not uncommon to see one or both of us sporting sandals in the winter. Though I love shoes, I just am a sandal girl always have been. I think I picked the habit up growing up in the south and from my mother who is just as guilty as I am. So needless to say the first thing Connor asked for when summer came was a new pair of sandals.

Though Connor loves flip flops, just like his mom, they just do not hold up to all the running and jumping that boy does. So we needed something that would hold up to all that jumping and running and still look great. Umi Shoes has been one of our long term favorites for tennis shoes and dressier shoes and when I saw the Nyoni I knew we had his new sandals for the summer. These sandals are as well built and have the same sort of sole and insoles that you would expect from a tennis shoe. What I really love though is the fact that the straps and heel strap are all padded. We've had some real problems in the past with sandals rubbing holes in Connor's heels and these ones show no sign of that happening and I know his feet will be well supported. They also feature very heavy duty velcro straps which will take the abuse that young children put on velcro shoes.

I especially love the color choices offered this year. We went with the ocean color in the Nyoni which has a green accent that runs all around the shoe. Most of Connor's wardrobe falls within blue and green and they match nicely to just about everything in his wardrobe. Though if I bought a second pair we'd get the chocolate for his dressier outfits. Don't worry girls they come in pink too!

Umi Shoes offers really exceptional shoes that hold up great and look even better! Connor has several pairs that he will be passing down to Dylan and they still look awesome. If your headed over there and are looking for a great looking pair of tennis type shoes I highly recommend you check out the Oleson as well. I've been drooling over them for weeks!

Visit Umi Shoes to see their entire selection!

Disclosure: We were given a pair  of Nyoni sandals free of charge, we were not compensated for this post in any other way. My opinions and comments on items we review are always my own and are never influenced by sponsors!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

DVD Review : IMAX Hubble

First of all I need to tell you guys that I absolutely love anything related to NASA and missions in space. This has alot to do with the fact that in the years before my grandfather died most of our conversations went around the current mars mission and listening to NPR together to get all the current updates. My grandfather was fascinated and his excitement was nearly impossible not to wear off on you. Plus I grew up on National Geographic and documentaries. While most kids watched cartoons I couldn't keep my eyes off any sort of learning or nature show.

With that said the release of some of the most breath taking nature and earth dvds in the last few years have had me in total awe and practically drooling on the cases. Though the IMAX Hubble release hasn't gotten as much press as some of the other dvds that have come out in the past year or two it should not be ignored and images alone makes me really wish I would have caught this one in all of its IMAX glory in the theater.

The documentary follows the 2009 crew that was sent to rescue the Hubble Space Telescope. You follow the crew of the Space Shuttle Atlantis as they set out to rescue the oldest and very well known telescope. It takes five space walks and a pretty risky maneuver with a mechanical arm to fix the Hubble but the images and video captured during the mission is breathtaking to say the least. I wish they would make more such documentaries as I really think if people payed even a little bit of attention to the space program they would be as fascinated. Maybe a little more recognition and more people would realize just how important our space program and NASA truly is.

I can't say enough great things about IMAX Hubble and regardless if you have kids or you just want to watch something that will take your breath away it's an awesome video and I promise you will want to watch it more than once.

IMAX Hubble is available on dvd and you can pick up your copy at Amazon!

Disclosure: We were given a copy of IMAX Hubble free of charge, we were not compensated for this post in any other way. My opinions and comments on items we review are always my own and are never influenced by sponsors!

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