Monday, July 30, 2012

SAVE in San Antonio

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of SAVE for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Are you still looking for a place to get away this summer?  Be sure to check out San Antonio.  There are plenty of things to do and see - theme parks, water parks, ranches, zoos, and much more.  San Antonio is already known as one of the nation’s most affordable vacation destinations, but it's even better with SAVE – San Antonio Vacation Experience.  SAVE offers more than $600 in savings on theme parks, animal adventures, top shops and historic tours, plus great deals on hotels.  You can print coupons from the site or download the free mobile app and use the coupons straight from your phone.  Either way you can save lots of money on a great family vacation.
You know how much I hate paying full price for anything, and I rarely go anywhere without first checking online to see if there is any way to save.  This site makes it super easy to find all the savings available in the San Antonio area - without checking multiple websites.  If I had some time to get away to San Antonio, I'd definitely be checking out SeaWorld San Antonio, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, and the world-famous Schlitterbahn water park.  There are multiple discounts available at all of them, such as buy one get one free admission at Six Flags and the option to pay for one day's admission to SeaWorld and go back as many times as you want.  We've been to SeaWorld in Florida, and we liked it so much we would have loved to go back, but we didn't feel we could afford it.  With these kinds of savings, we could have.  SAVE gets you $2 off full-price admission to Schlitterbahn.

Something that might be a lot of fun would be to take a helicopter tour.  What a great way to see the area!  I'm sure it's not cheap, but SAVE offers 10% off Alamo Helicopter Tours.  And, of course, there are savings on hotels. SAVE rates at the Comfort Suites Alamo/Riverwalk range from $79-$189, and you get a suite room with free hot breakfast, refrigerator & microwave in room, free wifi, and even a free shuttle to downtown, so it looks like a great place to spend some time away.  And the Days Inn Seaword has SAVE rates starting at $59.

These are just a few of the many attractions in San Antonio and the savings that are available.  Be sure to check out the SAVE – San Antonio Vacation Experience site to see how much you can save on the attractions and accomodations you're interested in.  The savings are especially great for families because, in many instances, children's admission is free.  The Alamo IMAX Theatre Rivercenter is one of those places that offers free children's admission, and McNay Art Museum is another.  There seems to be something for everyone in San Antonio.


Besides the regular discounts and coupons available, SAVE also has many Limited Time Offers, so be sure to check the site right before you leave for vacation, or even better, while you're there - the mobile app will be handy for that - because you may be able to save even more or find a deal on something you really wanted to see or do but didn't think you'd be able to.  Be sure to follow @SAVEinSA on Twitter as well for all the updates on deals, limited time offers & ideas to help plan your trip to San Antonio.

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Riding the Big 'goggie'

Yesterday Jason got to ride a horse for the first time. Of course, no matter what we told him, all the animals were 'goggies' - but he really enjoyed seeing them and riding his cousin Jessica's horse.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Gone Visiting

Wearing Mammaw's shoes
First we went to visit Cory in Door County - where we had a wonderful time - and then I had one day at home and left to visit my parents (and brother, sister-in-law, and nieces nephews) in Kentucky.  So, I haven't been around much or had time to blog.  And I have so many things to share!

But, I don't get to see my family more than about once or twice a year - so I'm going to spend time with them.  I'm going to sit on the porch swing on the screened in porch.  I'm going to watch the hummingbirds, and I'm just going to enjoy hanging out with my mom and dad,  And I'm going to enjoy spending time with my brothers - both the one who lives here and the one who lives in Illinois and came down with us.  I'm going to read books with the little niece and nephews.  I might even go walking in the woods with them again.  And, of course, I'm going to enjoy my grandson - and enjoy watching him playing with his cousins.  Last summer when he came to visit, he was just a baby.

I can update this blog later.  When I'm home.  Alone.  (and that's another update I need to make)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Make it a Brighter Year

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Astrobrights Papers by Neenah Paper for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I bet you've noticed that Back-to-School supplies are already in the stores, and I also bet the kids are not to0 happy to see them.  Like one little guy said on the news, "School's not ready for me yet; it's summer."
But soon it will be time to go back to school, and there's just something special about getting all those brand-new school supplies - whether the kids want to admit it or not.  To make it even more fun, try buying some AstroBrights Paper this year.  AstroBrights Papers come in 23 bright colors, and they're sure to make any school project stand out from the crowd.   AstroBrights is about creativity and getting noticed, and the kids may find themselves itching to get back to school so they can start using it.  There are so many possibilities - Summer vacation scrapbooks, book reports, art projects, etc.  Moms can even get involved by creating an after-school chore chart using AstroBrights.  I wonder if that will make the kids more apt to do their chores without complaining?  Probably not, but at least it will look good hanging on the wall or refrigerator.
AstroBrights is also giving you a chance to support your local elementary school by entering the "Give a Brighter Year" sweepstakes. You can win a cash prize and school supplies valued at $30,000 for the school of your choice.  If you've got kids in school you probably know that teachers often buy a lot of school supplies for their classrooms out of their own pockets, so this prize would be so great for your school.  Even if you don't have kids in school, please consider entering for your local elementary school.  They would very much appreciate it, and you could be helping the future leaders of your community.  At the very least, you'll be helping to encourage creativity and a love of learning - and that's a good thing.  To enter, visit the AstroBrights papers Facebook page and click on the "Give a Brighter Year" tab.  You'll have to Like the page and use the Sweepstakes app to enter your info.  Sweepstakes ends on September 10, 2012 at 11:59:59 p.m. ET. and is open to legal residents of 50 U.S./D.C. and Canada (excluding Quebec).
For some fun - and prizes - be sure to check out the "Make Something Astrobright" design challenges on the Facebook page.  The current challenge is to find something amazing that could be made even better by using  AstroBrights papers, and there are new challenges coming on July 30, August 13, and August 27.  You could win a Visa gift card, and at the very least you get to make something.  I'm not even artistic or crafty, and they've got me wanting to make something!  If you create something awesome, be sure to enter the contest and use the hashtag #goastrobrights when you share it on Twitter, Pinterest, or other social channels.  Be sure to share with me, too because I'd love to see it!  And, yes, you can search that hashtag on twitter or hang out on the AstroBrights Facebook page for ideas and inspiration.
So what are you doing?
  1. Buying AstroBrights papers when you do your Back-to-School shopping.
  2. Entering the "Give a Brighter Year" sweepstakes for your local elementary school.
  3. Making something awesome and bright for the "Make Something Astrobright" design challenges.
Now, go!!  (Good Luck to you and your school)

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Going to See Some Shakespeare

and our son!

We haven't seen much of him this summer.  Why?  Because he's 4 hours away having the time of his life.  As you know, he's a theatre major.  This summer he's had the amazing opportunity to be an intern with a theatre company in Door County - Door Shakespeare.  He's one of the lords in As You Like It as well as understudy for a couple other parts.  And he's an understudy for the other show, The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged)

Besides rehearsals and performances, they've got workshops and readings going on, and it sounds like he and the other interns, who happen to be his friends from school, are learning a lot and gaining tons of experience this summer.  As well as having a ton of fun.  Thankfully he's got a day off, so we're going to go and spend some time with him.  I think he misses us a bit!  And, of course, we miss him, too.  

So we'll get to spend some time with Cory, and we'll get to see As You Like It, which should be really good.  I would love to see the other show too, but we won't be able to; they're not performing it when we're going to be there.  And, we will finally make it to Door County.  15 years in Wisconsin, and everyone always talks about how nice Door County is - and we've never been.  Now we have a reason.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

No More Teenagers

It's hard to believe, but as of this moment, I am no longer the mom of any teenagers.  My precious darling son - my youngest, my 'baby' - is 20 years old!


It just doesn't seem possible.  How does the time go so fast?  Here's what you need to learn from this - if you have little people in your life, enjoy every single minute with them!  Take the time to sit down and snuggle and read books and play.  Listen to their silly stories and the dreams they have.  Laugh with them.  Enjoy them.  Because, next thing you know, they'll be all grown up.

And then?  Well, I guess continue to enjoy them, while celebrating the fact that they're all grown up and should be able to take care of themselves.  Though it's nice when they still need you.  And miss you.

And now for some cuteness:

He was awful cute, wasn't he? 
(I don't have the baby Cory pictures scanned in, so this is from when he was about 2)
Happy Birthday, sweet son!  I love you very much!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Review: TRESemmé Naturals

Last September I got my hair cut - shorter, layered, really cute.  My hair was in pretty good shape then, or so the stylist told me.  Not too long after that, I started using TRESemmé Naturals shampoo and conditioner.  The people at the haircut places always try to encourage me to buy the products they sell.  Are they really that much better than what I can get in the store?  I couldn't bring myself to pay that much, so I decided to look for some better products at the store, and I decided to try the TRESemmé Naturals.

These products are:
  • Formulated with USDA certified organic extracts like Aloe Vera and Avocado, your hair is incredibly soft and more manageable.
  • Hypoallergenic, dye-free and color-safe, this gentle conditioner is great for all hair types.
  • Protects your hair from damage and breakage with naturally derived polymers.
  • Leaves hair looking shinier and feeling 10X stronger after just one use*.
  • Now get natural benefits along with the gorgeous style you trust from TRESemmé.
The bottle says - Lower Sulfates, No Dyes, Used by Professionals, Nourishing Moisture.

I figured these products would be a step up from what I had been using, usually whatever was on sale and I could get the best deal on.  Well, guess what - these supposedly professional-quality products are not a step up.  What this 'Nourishing Moisture' shampoo and conditioner has done is dry my hair out completely.  Last time I got my hair cut, the stylist mentioned it, and I thought it was really odd - because just a few short months ago my hair had been fine - and now I was using better products and even conditioning my hair regularly, something I had never done because I never had problems with tangles, so I figured I didn't really need it.

So I didn't pay close attention to what she'd said, except to be sure to continue using the conditioner every time I washed my hair and sometimes when I didn't wash it.  Then yesterday I went and got a trim and the girl who cut my hair this time also told me that it was extremely dry - so dry with so much breakage that she asked if I put it in a ponytail a lot.  Uh, no - my layers aren't long enough for me to get it into a ponytail.  Blow drying?  Nope, never blow dry.

I hate to say that a shampoo and conditioner that are supposed to moisturize my hair and protect it against damage and breakage, leaving it healthy, soft and vibrant, actually caused damage to my hair - but since my hair was in decent shape before I started using them and now it's so bad, I can't help but come to that conclusion.  At the very least, these products did not deliver on any of the promises implied by the bottle and/or the TRESemmé website.

I bought the Cost Cutter products yesterday.  They were buy one get one 50% off, so they weren't too bad.  My stylist said they're good, and she uses them every day.  So I'll be using them, and we'll see what they say next time I go in to get my hair trimmed.  I will NOT by buying TRESemmé products again.  In fact, I have at least one unopened bottle of conditioner around here - I'll be taking that one back for a refund.

Note: this is not a paid review, neither did I receive any free products.  I actually bought and paid for these products.  I am disappointed.

Is it a Business?

I just read a blog post that said, "Blogs aren’t just online journals anymore, they are small businesses."  That got me to thinking - is that what I'm doing with my blog?  Is that what I want it to be?

If it's a business, I'm not doing so good.  Sure, I sell the occasional ad, and I write the occasional paid post, but that's just it - occasional.  And this year the opportunities have been quite sparse, as compared to past years.  Is it because I'm not devoting the time required, because I'm not really treating it as a business?  Or is it just the economy?

The problem I've found is that I'm also not blogging regularly about the everyday things - the real reason I started this blog - so my blog isn't really an online journal anymore, either.  Does anybody know anything that's going on around here?  No, you don't, because I never get around to blogging about it.  I have good blogging intentions, but I just never seem to get to it.  I feel like I'm always trying to 'get there' but I'm stuck treading water in quicksand and not getting anywhere.  And, at the end of the day, when I finally get to a point where I can sit down, my mind's either a complete blank or I waste all my time on Facebook!  (Hush! You know you do it too!)  I'm sure the lack of personal posts and content contributes to the lack of paid opportunities, too.

I'm thinking that I'm just not disciplined enough to run my own business, or maybe it's just that I have a hard time setting priorities.  I'm home all day, so my priorities tend to be about cooking, cleaning, paying bills, and doing laundry - and various and other sundry duties.  Actually making blogging a top-level priority?  Doesn't happen.  While I love being able to be home - and wonder how everything I do would get done if I wasn't - I think I need to be away from all the home stuff if I'm really going to accomplish something else.  Either that or I need to realize and accept that should I go out and get a job - doing what? I have no idea, I've been too busy being a wife and mom all these years. How do I use those skills? - then all those things aren't going to get done anyway.  So, if I can stay home and still earn some kind of income, it's OK if the floor doesn't always get vacuumed, the dishes don't always get done, and the laundry doesn't get folded for a day or two, right?  Right?  Maybe I just think those things need done and nobody else really cares?

Yeah, I'm not ready to look into small company lending, but with the kids all grown up, out of the house, and able to take care of themselves (HA!), I suppose it's time for me to figure out what comes next.  It would help if I had something I'm really interested in, something that I really wanted to do.  What do I want to be when I grow up?

Friday, July 06, 2012

Legoland Sweepstakes from Atlantic Luggage

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Atlantic Luggage for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.


You'll want to enter this sweepstakes!  I know I do, anyway.  Atlantic Luggage is giving away a 2-day vacation for four to Legoland Florida.   I grew up playing with LEGO, and my kids grew up playing with LEGO - doesn't everybody?  And you know you imagined being one of the little LEGO people and living and playing amongst your creations, right?  Legoland lets you do just that!  Seriously, I've been checking out the park's website - - and the whole park really is like a super-size LEGO experience with rides and games and attractions for all ages.  There are roller coasters to ride, LEGO cars to drive, amazing LEGO models to see, and a brand-new waterpark with a wave pool, water slides, and the opportunity to build your own LEGO vessel to float down the lazy river.
Sounds awesome, doesn't it?  AWESOME!

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The winner will receive:
  • 2 adult 2-day tickets and 2 children's 2-day tickets
  • Hotel room for 2 nights (one 4-occupancy room at a 3-star or better LEGOLAND Florida Bed and Brick property in Winter Haven, Florida)
  • Rental car for three days
  • Meet and Greet with a LEGOLAND Master Model Builder
  • AND a free set of Atlantic Luggage!
Atlantic Luggage is affordable, durable and lightweight and comes in many styles and sizes.  I've been wanting one of those rolling duffels for a while.  I think the design is brilliant!  We don't need any luggage right now, but I'd take that if I win.  We could get rid of the old stuff for some of this nice Atlantic Luggage.
All you have to do to enter the Atlantic Luggage and Legoland Sweepstakes is fill out the online entry form.  You can enter once per day per email address, and all entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. on August 1, 2012.  The Grand Prize must be used between September 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012
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Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Too Hot for Fireworks?

Fireworks (Photo credit: bcmom)
We always go to the fireworks on the 4th of July.  Except for that year they shot them off on the 3rd, and we didn't know they'd changed the date until we showed up on the 4th, only to find the place deserted.  But other than that, we always go.  We really enjoy watching fireworks.

This year we decided not to go.  It was just plain too hot.  The temperature in Milwaukee got up over 100° today, with very high humidity.  The highest previous temperature on the 4th of July was 98, back in 1990.  Yeah, on a day like this, even someone like me who doesn't usually appreciate air conditioning can be thankful for it.  It hasn't been that hot in Milwaukee, on any day, for 17 years.  It hasn't been this hot since before we moved to Wisconsin.  Summers in Wisconsin are usually very very comfortable. 

We just couldn't find the energy or motivation to leave home to go sit outside in the heat, with no shade (until the sun went down), and wait for the fireworks.  So we stayed home and watched fireworks on tv.  They're not quite the same.  OK, they're not really the same at all, but we didn't have to go anywhere.  We watched both the New York City show and the Boston show.  They were both good, but I like Boston's the best.  New York had Kenny Chesney performing on a rooftop though.

While we're talking about fireworks, here's a video I put together last year - when we saw fireworks both on July 3rd in Milwaukee and July 4th in Waukesha.  These are the Milwaukee ones.

Fireworks (Photo credit: bcmom)
It turned out to be a good thing we didn't go to the fireworks after all.  The show had to be stopped because of a grass fire - so we wouldn't have been able to see the whole show if we had gone.  That would have been just plain frustrating.

Anyway, I hope you all had a great 4th of July, whether you stayed in and chilled like us or picnicked, partied, and enjoyed your local fireworks.  Happy Birthday, America.

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