Friday, August 29, 2014

Camelbak Relay Water Pitcher Giveaway - 3 Winners

I have been a long standing fan of Camelbak products.  I've had one of their hiking backpacks with the internal bladder systems for probably 15 years, in addition to other products.  I've found their water systems to hold up well under rigorous use over time.  Recently, they sent me one of their BPA-free Camelbak Relay water pitchers to try. 

First, I found that it is easy to use, and dishwasher safe.  Even Pierce, who is 7, is able to use the pitcher and refill it, as the lid is spill-proof and stays securely in place with side-locking latches.  Holding 10 cups of water, it has a slimline shape so it doesn't take up too much space in the fridge. 

On the top, there is a handy dial system to remind you of when you need to change the filtration system.  The filters need to be changed every 4 months - they last twice as long as the leading competitor.

Then, just flip the top to refill the pitcher.  I cannot stand to drink room temperature water, but I've found if I have cold water in the fridge at all times, I am much more likely to drink it throughout the day.  The filter removes 97% of chlorine, taste, and odor.
We've been very pleased with Camelbak's Relay Water Pitcher.  The water is very refreshing and tastes wonderful.  You can find out more about their products by becoming a fan of their Facebook site.  Camelbak Relay water pitchers are available at Target, Amazon, and 

Disclaimer:  I was sent a Camelbak Relay for review purposes.  I was not compensated in any other way for this post.  The opinions above are my own

Three lucky winners will receive a Camelbak Relay of their own!  To enter, just click on the Rafflecopter giveaway below.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Would You Eat a Scorpion?

I don't suppose you have ever asked yourself the question "Would I eat a scorpion?".  Certainly I haven't.  Would you eat one if you were starving to death?  What about if you hadn't had any food for weeks, and you knew it wouldn't harm you?  Or what about if you went to the beach with $20 "fun money" your grandparents gave you, and saw one in a sugary lollipop form?

In case you are wondering, scorpion lollipops will run you $3.99.  Not the cheapest sucker on the block. 
As for Reid, he marches to his own drummer.  He decided that rather than buy a scorpion lollipop, he would purchase a toy metro bus. 

Readers, who do you think was the wisest spender?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Bike Races

Paul has always been a big cyclist, and he made sure all of our boys were riding their bikes at age four.  The twins never even had training wheels, thanks to lots of time spent on one of those balance bikes.  When we went to one of those Jellystone campgrounds recently, they had a fun bike track, and the boys had a blast racing around it.

It did look very fun.  I would've liked to have given it a shot, but we ran out of room on the car bike rack.

So, instead I settled for taking lots of pictures.

Check out those serious faces.  Pierce was trying to pass Cort, and he didn't want that to happen!

Alas, Cort was no match for his dad, when he decided to pass.

Around and around they went.

A happy ending to the day.
Readers, have you been biking lately?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Blowing Bubbles with #JuicyFruitFunSide

Disclaimer:  This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Juicy Fruit and One2One Network.  The opinions stated below are my own. 

I have a house rule that no one chews gum until they reach the age of 5.  As the twins' fifth birthday approached, they grew more and more excited about the day that they would finally be allowed to chew gum.  And then one day, something magical happened.  A huge box showed up at the house, FULL of Wrigley's Juicy Fruit gum!  I pulled out package after package of gum, while Pierce quickly calculated on his watch how many total pieces of gum we had (380).

What did we do with all this gum?  Why we took it outside to enjoy the final days of summer as a family, and chewed to our hearts' content.  Some of us even wore our never-to-be-removed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costume. 

That's his big happy face, with a marvelous Juicy Fruit strawberry bubble gum smile. 

Pierce decided to learn how to blow bubbles.  It took some practice, but hey, we had lots of gum for practice.  It turned out that Juicy Fruit was the perfect gum for bubble blowing.  After a couple of pieces, Pierce had it down.  He said, "Mom, this is the best gum for learning to blow bubbles EVER!"

Sitting on the porch swing, practicing their bubbles.  It turned out that Juicy Fruit offered a great brotherly bonding experience.  The twins haven't gotten their bubble blowing down quite yet, but they keep trying, while Pierce encourages them. 

Meanwhile, Paul headed off to mow the yard with a piece of Juicy Fruit bubble gum himself.  Later, he reported to me that this was the best bubble blowing gum he'd had since he was a kid.  He reported that he was blowing huge bubbles while mowing the acreage, and it made the time more fun. 

My favorite was the sugar-free Fruity Chews strawberry (just introduced last month).  It has great flavor, and good longevity.  Now the only question that remains long does it take for 3 little boys to go through 380 pieces of Juicy Fruit gum?
Readers, are you gum chewers too?  Would you like to try Wrigley's Juicy Fruit?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

We Stayed in A Yurt

I don't know why - but I have always wanted to stay in a yurt.  So when we looked at sneaking off for a little weekend trip, I googled places where we could stay in a yurt.  We decided on a Jellystone campground in Tabor City, NC.  Our yurt was called Fox Den.  It had a large porch (behind) and a picnic table and fire pit. 

While the yurt did not have a bathroom, we had our own private bathroom in a bathhouse.  The yurt offered a/c and a ceiling fan, so it was nice and cool.  The inside was roomy enough for beds and chairs.

And on the day we had a massive two hour storm, we were nice and cozy in the yurt, where the boys watched a dvd on my laptop until the weather let up.  The thing they liked best about the yurt?  Plenty of space outside to ride their bikes in circles around the yurt.
Cort wore his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costume over his clothes the entire time.  When you go camping, you should always bring your ninja gear.

How about you, readers?  Would you like to stay in a yurt?

Monday, August 18, 2014

A Bucket List Item - Medieval Times

Paul and I have wanted to go to Medieval Times for over twenty years - since we first heard tales of the one in Dallas when we were in college.  The cost always put us off.  The day the twins turned 5, we were spending the day in Myrtle Beach, and we finally decided it was the perfect time to have a big splurge and take the family.  After all, the boys and I had spent the whole summer studying the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.  With all this fresh in their minds, we wanted to experience the time period first hand.
 From the moment we sat down at our tables, we were enchanted.  There were no eating utensils - pewter cups, plates and bowls were it.  Our waiter was a squire, who told us a bit about what to expect.
 The first course was a tomato bisque (which you had to drink from your bowl, since there were no spoons), followed by a garlic bread. 
 Meanwhile, I couldn't take my eyes off these gorgeous horses.  Why can't every meal involve such entertainment?  They really knew how to have a feast back in the day!
 We were in the section for the blue knight, so we were to cheer for him, and boo all the others.  Cort really got into the drink toasts, and all evening kept wanting to click glasses.
 Our next course was half a roasted chicken - we were served a lot of food!  Eating chicken with your fingers was interesting.  After that, a roasted potato and bbq ribs followed.  I missed having something green, but understood that this was in keeping with the Middle Ages.  Dessert was an apple puff pastry.
 The food was all very tasty.  The king and queen were gracious and their speech and behavior was in keeping with the day.
 The horses showed off with a few airs above the ground.

And then the falconer came out.  As the falcon soared over our heads while we ate our food, the entire thing felt surreal.

The king was quite impressed with his falconer, and thanked him graciously.

There was much sport after that.
Relay races and the like.
We had fantastic seats - bottom row on the end.  So I was in a prime spot for photos.

The boys were all very impressed with all the jousting.

And when one knight got knocked off, he'd get up and continue the battle on foot.

Sometimes a sword fight was the only way to settle the matter.
I have to say - Paul and I decided after the show that it was worth every single penny.
One of the most fun dinners we have ever had.
As for the boys - they are still asking if the 'bad guy' is still locked up in the dungeon.
And - they want to know when we can go eat in a castle again. 
If it were up to me, we'd dine in castles every night of the week!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Touch A Truck - Just a Few More Pictures

I've already blogged about the ghost truck, and the foam pit the boys enjoyed at Touch A Truck.  I have a few more pictures that I wanted to share from this fun, yearly event.  Imagine a huge field full of buses, trucks, boats, tractors and construction equipment - and you can climb on them all and honk the horns.  All sorts of local agencies come out to educate kids about what they do. 

Can you find Pierce in this picture? 

For my three little boys, it is one of the highlights of summer.

The line was too long for the zipline this year, but we did enjoy the tow truck belt swings.

You can get them going pretty high.

Pierce, inside a monster truck's wheel:

I didn't take many photos of the boys climbing in the trucks because I had a telephoto on my camera (for foam pit purposes) and it isn't so good for shooting close range.  But needless to say, there was a lot of horn honking and crazy wheel driving.  We look forward to returning next year!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Upcycled Bird House with #Idelight

We always love to find ways to appreciate nature at our farm, and we spend large amounts of time on our covered porch. I thought it would be fun to share delight by repurposing an International Delight iced coffee carton into a charming birdhouse. Even if you aren't artistic, I kept the d├ęcor simplistic enough that even children could be successful with this creation.

You will need:
1 empty International Delight coffee carton (August is National Coffee Month, and this is a great excuse to enjoy some iced coffee!)
Sharp knife
Spray primer
Spray varnish
Assorted paints
Permanent Marker

First, rinse out your carton and allow to dry. Using a small circle (a 50 cent piece or a child's medicine cup works well), trace the circle for the hole on the carton. Carefully cut this out with a knife (kids, let your parent do this part). Then spray your carton with primer until it reaches a solid white. You may need more than one coat.

Once the primer is dry, decorate your birdhouse. You can paint it in any way you'd like. I used the same children's medicine cup to trace circles to make the bodies of birds flitting about the house. Once your paint is dry, you can use a permanent marker to add contrast to the edges of the birds. Allow to dry completely.

Coat birdhouse with a layer of spray varnish. This will help protect your birdhouse from the elements. Allow to dry. Now the last step is to make a small hole in the top for a ribbon (I used an awl for this), so you can hang your masterpiece.

And now, your birdhouse is ready for the birds to move in! 

If you have a moment, click here to sign up as a member of the International Delight community, where you can find other inspiring ideas for your family and delicious recipes!  Plus, if you sign up this month, you get an instant coupon and are have access to exclusive giveaways, like a chance to win a tablet.

Disclaimer:  This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of International Delight. The opinions and text are all mine.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Back to School with Mabel's Labels

It happened.  All three of my boys started school yesterday.  It's hard to believe the twins are old enough for kindergarten this year.  They have the same teacher that Pierce had, so I know they are in good hands.

The past couple of weeks we've been getting ready, and one of the things I love to do in preparation is label everything with Mabel's Labels.  I've been using these labels on the boys' possessions for a couple of years now.  I can say that they are very durable - they can go through numerous washings and there is no sign of wear - they retain their vibrant colors, they don't come off, and they do not fray.

They offer various packages, but we like the Ultimate Back to School Combo.  It comes with 3 different styles of labels, plus a couple of metal hang tags that are perfect for backpacks and winter jackets.

You can pick your colors and a small image for your labels.  Since Pierce is so into robots, it was an easy choice for him this year.
I stick them everywhere - lunchboxes, pencil boxes, water bottles, paint shirts - they go on pretty much everything! 
Yes, readers, I had all the school supplies in order, and everything neatly ordered.  The only thing that wasn't prepared to watch these boys get on the bus and head off was my heart.  I hope they all have a wonderful school year!

Disclaimer:  I received a set of labels for review purposes.  The opinions above are my own. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Foamy Situation

When we went to Touch A Truck in Salem, we went prepared.  Each boy wore a swimsuit and sunscreen. 

Because by far, the highlight of Touch A Truck is the massive pit of foam provided by the fire department.

I mean, when you're a little boy, is there anything more inviting than a pit of foam on a steamy July day?

And the foam just keeps coming, from the big foam shooter.  Every few minutes, waves and waves of foam.

A foam sea.

Yes, folks, I almost wish I was 7 again.

Muttonchops Cort:

The world's biggest bubblebath.

Afterwards, you can go under the firetruck mister to rinse off.

I use the term "rinse off" very loosely.
Mud dance, anyone?
Why, oh why didn't they have foam pits when I was a kid?