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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Still preparing for Christmas

It seems far away, but September starts tomorrow. Christmas may as well be next week. I've been mailing gifts to my family in Florida. A couple of my siblings are getting gifts that are geared towards fun in the summer. Everywhere you look, you might catch remnants of summer items being clearanced. I found these kites half off in Toys R Us. 
They had pool toys, swim gear, and bubbles as well. At least a couple aisles. I also found some micro kites in Half Price Books. Stock up now and be ready for summer! Or get creative and remind kids that the cold won't be here forever. Especially with as many toys they will get that will be broken by the time New Year's Day comes around. 
They also have backpacks and lunch bags on clearance. We picked up one for my girl at $5. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Lego Americana Roadshow

Another thing we did this weekend, was take the kids to the North Star Mall for the Lego Roadshow. It was a Saturday and Sunday event where kids and adults alike could participate in building a replica of the Liberty Bell as well as go on a scavenger hunt around the mall to various Lego replicas of historical buildings from around America.
These were amazing works of art that resulted from hours of dedicated building.
Once you completed the scavenger hunt, you were awarded a poster with fun information about American history with a Lego twist here and there. 
The Liberty Bell build was fun. We grabbed the parts they listed and took them home in bags to build later.
It will go nicely with my custom Lego museum. 
They have a couple more stops to make when they leave here on Labor Day. You can see where by going here

Bubba's 33 restaurant review

This past weekend, we were out running errands and decided to stop in for lunch. Bubba's 33 has just opened off the IH35 and Pat Booker exit. Its on the corner near the Forum. They boast Pizza, Burgers and Beer at this sports bar-type place. Wall-to-wall tv screens are all playing sports channels (except the one playing music videos). The music is more of the classics and country from the 70's to present. Not as kid friendly as I'd hoped. It is loud like Buffalo Wild Wings or Hooters. A little hard to hear each other.
For their first Sunday, they were stretched pretty thin. You'd think they would have had more people on hand. A new restaurant near the Forum? On the weekend? Yes, that should be a no brainer that it will be busy....
I'm giving grace to the waitress we had originally. She was in training that day. Our actual waiter was constantly running, but at least checked in. We just had a little longer wait than I think would be normal.
About the food... We ordered the onion ring appetizer.

They were really good. Fluffy and fresh! And I really loved the Bubba Sauce that came with them. I ordered the Bubba Bacon Burger.
Sadly, it wasn't well done all the way through. The edges were crispy and everything on it was fresh and good. Just could've cooked a little longer. 
My fiance enjoyed his 12" Meaty Meaty pizza.
A little too much pizza for me, but well cooked. His drinks weren't he greatest though. His tea was more like water, sugar and a slight hint of tea. Very watered down. He ended up asking for a strawberry lemonade. The first one was fine. His refill, however, was the strawberry lemonade and they added something carbonated. Almost like she accidentally started to put in Sprite and remembered what he really wanted and then added that? 
My daughter wiped out her mac-n-cheese, my oldest devoured his cheeseburger and my middle child loved his cheese pizza.
Just be careful of the kiddos with the shoestring french fries. 
They also advertise a free pizza for joining in their MVP program.
Could be fun for an adults-only outing. Just pick a better time when they have enough staff and attention can be paid to your service. 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Free Lego build at Toys R Us

I'm currently standing in line with my 3 munchkins at Toys R Us to build a mosaic of Captain America with Lego pieces. 
This event is free and is from 12-2 or until supplies last! We got here about noon and were at the table for our pieces by 12:30. 
And it's better to build in store in case you missed a piece you can go back and ask for it. 

Label Daddy review

School has started. Each of my children has labels on their backpacks and pencil boxes. I'm determined to stay organized and keep their things recognizable by anyone at school as belonging to my children and not free game. Even better is that I got them from Label Daddy!
Washable labels that peel easily and stick strongly. They have made it so much easier for me. Plus they came in character packs my kids love.
I usually go with the medium packs. They have just the right sizes to label everything I send with the kiddos. Save 25% on Label Daddy name labels for Back to School -Use code USFG25 Best deal! Just go here
Plus you can join their email list or follow them on Facebook to keep up with all their latest promotions
Label Daddy makes it simple and fast for those of us who need our time for other important tasks. There are a couple things that bother me. Even with a promo code that made my order free, I had to submit credit card information. And even though I clicked the submit button for the promo code, it wouldn't update the amount until I went to the next part of the ordering process. Just keep these in mind. And every time I finish my order completely, it takes me to a 404 error page. But the order did submit. Always check your email account before trying to place another order!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Smead product review via Shoplet.com

As you have heard me say many times before, being organized is a big deal to me. Everything has a place, everything in its place. With my herd of kids, it's even more important. That's why I loved getting the Smead folder products that Shoplet sent me for reviews. Shoplet.com is the largest e-tailer of office supplies.
This time I received the 3-in-1 SuperTab Section Folders and the Organized Up Vertical Expanding Files. 
The Organized Up Vertical Expanding Files folder stands vertically. It expands as you add into it. There are 12 pockets with SuperTabs that are 90% larger for your labeling convenience. They also include the blank labels so you have a fresh start for making the labels. If you go to Smead.com, you can download the free printing template to print the right sizes on the labels to keep them beat and legible. There is a security flap and cord in the front to protect your documents from falling out. 

The 3-in-1 SuperTab Section Folders are another thing I love.
I use them to organize important papers. One of them works well for the medical documents that I have to take from one doctors office to another. I keep my children's medical records in another one. It also helps that they come in different colors. So you can separate your filing system by color. Whether you need to organize your kids school stuff or your office desk, they are a great pair of products! 

Shoplet doesn't just offer the largest selection in office supplies. They also have cleaning supplies, medical supplies, and office furniture.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Finding time for Family

In this fast paced age, we are too often on the go. I struggle to balance work with spending time with the kids as well as keeping a clean home. I've had to get creative and keep things fun. Like asking the kids to sweep or vacuum with/for me. I have them each pick a task and tell them that the rewards for doing them are to help mommy, who has pain. Or that once we finish, we can do something fun together. And quicker than if I do it all myself. One of those fun things has been going to the bookstore. My daughter had money from her birthday and they each had completed the Half Price Books summer reading program. 
So they got to pick out books and movies they wanted. Plus my daughter bought a book. 
Tonight, I made a point to take a break from the usual chores to play instead. We took a couple Lego sets out and began to build with the kids. 
We also had smoothies and apple slices with caramel to sweeten the evening activities. They had a blast! 
I had them help me with getting the baby mobile ready for the little lady on the way.
The help we received from my future mother in law, my mother, and the kids made quite the beautiful addition. 
These little moments are swift in passing, but so sweet while they last. I think everyone should make a point to do something fun. Just every so often. And don't forget the bedtime story! 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Fun day at the bookstore

Being a lover of books, Half Price Books is a place I love going to. Even better, is that I'm raising three mini book lovers as well. We are a family of nerds! And they make me proud with their outgoing attitudes. Today, they all wanted to dress up. 
No prompting on my part. They asked if they could wear their costumes and quickly got into them when I gave my approval. We went to trade in books and scoured the clearance racks. I picked up a book for each of them, one for myself, and a handful of mini kites. Everything except my book was $1 each! 
The kites, I plan to hold on to for park adventures.
A couple of them I will be putting in gift bags with other fun things for Christmas gifts to some kids on my list that are difficult to buy for. A sort of fun pack. 
Now if I can just remember to bring their summer reading pages in next time I go....

Free Lego Marvel build event!

Next Saturday, I want to take the kids to this event. They can build a Captain America mosaic from Lego!
And its free. Can't get better than that... okay it could if there weren't long lines. But let's face it, every Lego event has them. A line all the way to the back of the store. And yes, my kids do have complaints about standing still and waiting their turn. But they enjoy taking home Lego pieces or building there if that's the case. So if you are looking for something fun, maybe taking the kiddos to the Toys R Us nearest you is worth the trip. If you have a partner with you, one can stand in line with one kid while the other takes another child around the toy aisles and then swap out. Just an idea if you have more than one. Just go here to find out more!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The future of driving?

I remember looking forward to hover boards and time travelling cars in my future. Now we don't have that technology, but we have self-driving cars. Tesla is one of the bigger names that has produced a vehicle that can drive itself by use of cameras, computer software, sensors and radar. I'm wary of such. Mainly because a machine of such might not make last minute decisions which could save a life. And now, there is a story of the first fatal crash involving a self-driving car.
In today's economy and with the clamor to have oil control, gas prices are driving people to find cars that are able to go without gas. Tesla is one company creating such. They took it a step further and sought to make cars that can also drive themselves. For the self-driving cars, reasons to want them vary. They could be safer than human drivers. The car won't fall asleep at the wheel. Everything is scientific. It is believed they could be less prone to errors in calculations. A car won't be drinking while it drives. But are they really safer? This recent accident will be investigated. And I'm sure that there will be regulations and maybe laws made as to what is acceptable. But is this where we want the future to really go? What do you think about a car that can take you places while you take a nap or make a phone call? 

"BMW said the goal of the new collaboration was to develop cars that would eventually allow them to take their eyes off the road." (https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/jul/01/tesla-driver-killed-autopilot-self-driving-car-harry-potter) Why is our importance to create technology that takes our focus away from the road? I get that it allows us to. Things happen. Can't tell you how many times my kids have made choking noises in the backseat or that a spider has made its appearance near me and I've just about crashed.

On the flip side, having computer-based programs in cars adds to the dangers. These fancy cars run the risk of being hacked. OnStar-equipped vehicles can be stopped by OnStar with just a phone call from the police department. Or even my van - a 2010 Chrysler Town and Country - glitched and caused my accelerator to stop functioning properly. It is a computer-based function. If something like that can't be trusted, how much less these high tech vehicles?

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Paper Mate review via Shoplet.com

Back to school is in full swing. From those starting pre-K to those going back for another semester in college. It's time to prepare and stock up on all those supplies that you can find listed as "needs". Shoplet.com could be a great resource if you want to avoid the hustle and bustle that office and school aisles are crowded with. Everyone is looking to get those folders, pens, paper, etc that you are looking for. Shopping online eliminates the need to be among those crowds. You can shop from the comfort of your pajamas and office chair. Shoplet is the largest e-tailer of office supplies.
Shoplet sent me some cool products by Sanford to review. Products they provide include Sharpie, PaperMate, Expo, uni-ball, Dymo and Rubbermaid.  
PaperMate is a wonderful brand. I received some unique mechanical pencils, ball point pens and the Liquid Paper that will help hide mistakes. 
The PaperMate Mechanical Pencils are triangular in shape to be easier to hold.
They boast less breakage and do not have to be sharpened. This makes them great for all those standardized tests that kids are being put through. It also has a smudge resistant eraser. And lastly, they are refillable. At $2.44 a pack, they are a decent price too. 
The PaperMate Correction Tape (Liquid Paper) is one of my favorite items.
I don't like messy mistakes. So editing until it's perfect or covering it up are a must. This makes doing so all the easier. No wet brush. It has a swivel tip too. Its easier to hold and handle with the sleek design and comfort grip. 
I love that it is made from 60% recycled materials. It applies dry so that you can start rewriting immediately. The tape is strong enough to be tear-proof. 

I loved using the limited edition Electro Pop Sharpie Markers.
I used them to work on the notebook designs I have for preparing for my baby girl due in November. 
The ultra fine tips allowed for the finer details. The colors are bright and live up to their names; Optic Orange, Techno Blue, Nano Blue, Electric Pink, and Ultra Violet. I don't use something like this often enough to want to pay $5.32 a pack though. This is geared more towards creative use. 
Lastly, they sent some PaperMate (InkJoy) Pens. This pack comes with a wonderful assortment of colored inks. I love the grips that enable comfortable writing. They don't smear either thanks to their quick drying. 
They come in 8 packs for $3.87. 
What is your favorite product?

On top of things like this, Shoplet provides cleaning supplies, office furniture, and medical supplies.


Everyone who knows me, knows that I love getting deals on printing photos or making photo books. I give these as gifts to my Mom and other loved ones. Saving memories in high quality photo gifts is the best way to give a gift that will keep on giving. AdoramaPix has once again teamed up with US Family guide to get the word out about a great deal on photo books. These make great Christmas gifts!

Your memories deserve more than a lifeless screen! Breathe life into your photos and turn them into beautiful keepsake photo books that will last for generations. Adoramapix's custom books are high quality and display your images in rich detail. Choose from gorgeous linen, hardcover and leather covers as well as 6 stunning paper finishes. Stop swiping and start printing your family memories with AdoramaPix photo books!

Shop Now: http://www.adoramapix.com/app/customize-book/

15% off photo books. Use code: PhotoBook15. Sale ends 11/05/2016 11:59 PM EST

PosterMyWall promotion

I love posters. Whether making them or buying them, I love showing off my interests to those who visit my home. Recently US Family Guide sent out the invitation to share and possibly review a great looking company that offers you the ability to create and make your own posters. *squeals* The ideas are endless with this one! If you need to make a fundrasier poster, team encouragement poster, something *ahem nerdy* for your walls or just want to get the word out about something, this is a perfect way to do so! I like it because it cuts down the mess of making my own. Plus they have templates for those, like me, that aren't as good with creativity in the hands-on realm. My stick figures and lopsided faces are more like Picasso than reality. Hardly the type of things I want to share with the world. PosterMyWall is the perfect place to go to save money but get the posters you need and want. I love that its free to use and create. 

Label Daddy back to school promotion!

Back to school is in full swing. Everyone is stocking up on school supplies. But those supplies are often the same as everyone else's. So how do you make sure that your kids backpacks, pencil boxes, lunch boxes, sports gear, etc. doesn't get mixed up or lost in the crowd? Label them! Each of my kids have labels from Label Daddy.
I LOVE them! I pick characters that my kids love, add their names and possibly my phone number. Then if someone misplaces something or picks up theirs by mistake, it will be easy to see who it really belongs to. Now is a great time to order as Label Daddy has partnered with the US Family Guide bloggers to host a promotion code. Use code USFG25 at checkout to get 25% off your order. These labels are good for other things as well. Label your office supplies at work, get shoe labels to know which shoes belong to which kid (if your kids are like mine and wear the same kind). They also have zipper tags that clip onto zipper pulls. They labels are also washable. Be sure and use the link posted to get the discount! 

Get ready for school and save 25% on Label Daddy peel and stick custom name labels! Label Daddy is the number one solution for labeling your belongings! No ironing or sewing . . . just peel and stick. Their exclusive laminated coating gives labels an extra layer of protection and is a must for school! Remember to label all clothing, books, bags, sports equipment, electronics, and other personal belongings your kids bring to school, camp, sports leagues, day care, vacation, and other places Label Daddy labels keep them from getting lost or mixed up with others. These convenient labels are great for adults too! -- Put them on your sun glass/eyeglass case, phone, camera, sports equipment, tablet, e-reader, hats, clothing, and more.

These labels are super durable peel-and-stick washable labels -- they're washer/dryer safe, microwave safe, dishwasher safe and UV resistant! Label Daddy labels are also fun and attractive. You design your own labels! Pick from tons of colors, sizes and logos, including Disney characters, MLB, NBA, and NHL team logos, other sport and fun logos, and more. These labels are made in the USA and shipped directly to you worldwide. 

Save 25% on your entire Label Daddy order - this is the best discount available anywhere. Use code USFG25 at checkout. http://www.USFG25.labeldaddy.com/

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The struggles are real

It is hard to feel sympathetic towards others in pain when you, yourself are suffering. Especially on a daily basis. I feel bad for those with pain. For those with deformed spines particularly.
I know only too well the hardships they face doing the simple things in life. Everyday is a process. Pushing myself to keep going. Striving to get things done. Being pregnant has not made this easier. I've sought help from several doctors in the past several months. My OB-GYN, a chiropractor that specializes in pregnant women, and then back to my spinal specialist today. All three have told me, in not so many words, "There is nothing I can do to help." The spine specialist - the one whose practice revolves around back problems - gave me the final straw today. I already knew I had a double curve scoliosis. I already knew that the bones showed signs of early arthritis. That was a byproduct of the spinal fusions. If my research is correct, the proper term is spinal osteoarthritis. Towards the end of last year, I was informed that I had a slipped disc in the lowest part of the spine. This caused pressure on the surrounding nerves.
Today, I was told that 2 other discs are degenerating. Degenerative discs are when the discs in the spine are under pressure and begin to "dissolve". I know it runs in the family as my aunt had to have a rod put in to support her lower spine. Ultimately, once I have the baby and if pain persists afterwards, he wants to try laser surgery to remove what is causing the pinching of the nerves. If that doesn't do enough, he will move to the more invasive insertion of rods in the lower spine. Either of those should diffuse the pain and take away the numbness I've been having lately. As for my neck...
We didn't even bother covering his solution of that. The pressure from the fused bones beneath are causing the muscles to tense up and stiffen the neck. This causes dizziness, ear pains, migraines/headaches and soreness through the shoulders and in between. I have 4 months or less to struggle through before we see what changes and what will linger past my daughters birth.
I've depleted my PTO at work. Between child care, vehicle issues, pain and inability to walk... I feel like a disaster zone most days. 

I'm tired of the life that means telling my kids, "Mommy can't right now." I'm tired of not wanting to socialize because I don't like those pitying looks or "poor you" comments. I'm tired of seeking answers and coming to dead ends. Of wanting relief and finding only more pain. I've tried the Epsom salt baths. Unfortunately, I can no longer sit in a bath as it hurts too much. I've tried the heating pad and ice pack revolutions. I get relief. But only as long as I keep it there. I move or stop it, the relief ends. I take Ibuprofen daily. At this rate, I'm worried I might end up with liver damage. Or would it be the kidneys... I stretch, walk, alternate sitting with standing. But some days, it doesn't matter what I'm doing. The pain persists. Even laying down to sleep hurts. Reclining has become the one way I find a touch more comfort. I combine that with an ice pack when I'm at home. I haven't figured out how to control the numbness or the loss of muscle control in my legs yet. Climbing the stairs is a workout that used to be a breeze, but now makes me feel old. 
For all of you out there who have back problems - I feel your pain. I understand every ache. I know what you go through daily. It doesn't get easier unless you take drugs or have surgery. No. It gets worse. Every day it gets harder to roll off the bed. To stand and wash those dishes. To kneel and bathe your kids. To lift that bag of groceries. To sit at a computer for 8 hours. To smile at those you pass and pretend you are okay. But we can't stop. As much as I want to give up or as often as I question, "Why me?" I have to remember that I'm needed no matter what. I have to keep trying and be patient. As my fiance reminds me, we have to wait on God and His timing. Its hard. Very very hard. I'm usually very patient. More so than most. But I do struggle daily.This is one wait that I have to fight not to take the wheel. 
Keep on trying. Don't give up. Answers will come. Whether they are what what you want to hear.... that remains to be seen, 

Monday, August 1, 2016

This weeks penny deals

Every week at Office Depot, there are penny deals. We have been stocking up for next years school needs. This past Sunday, we were able to get 3 composition notebooks, 3 bottles of glue, and 3 packs of erasers each. 
These are things I know will be on the school lists. Best part is? This whole lot cost .20!