Saturday, November 29, 2014

I am forgetful sometimes, but maybe this time it was a good thing to forget.

This past Monday I was looking through my TimeHop app (If you don't have this app.  Get it) and realized that it marked three years since Nate's last seizure.  THREE YEARS.  This is AMAZING.  I always remember the day since it was on Thanksgiving, but forgot the actual date.
Totally forgot this year.

I posted a blob on my Facebook page about it and TOTALLY forgot to come over here. It is SUCH a huge thing and I forgot. I went and bought him a chocolate cake though. Funny thing was he had NO clue what we were celebrating. Doesn't remember a thing about them. I told him what it was for, still.  No clue. He takes meds twice a day and has no clue why. I guess that is a good thing?

I started this blog as a way to write about our lives and remember important things. Sometimes I forget that.  

With Thanksgiving, V's birthday, Christmas, I just forgot.  You know what? I guess I am thankful that I forgot about it. Hopefully once we get him off the meds he will do great and I can put this all behind us like my mom did with me.

This has been my mom guilt post. You can read my post about the actual day here

Happy Belated Three Year Anniversary to my Natey Naters.
(or as we called it when eating cake "Happy Healthy Brain Day!)

Monday, November 24, 2014

FEAR Loot Crate

I received a box in order to facilitate this review.  All opinions are my own.

 


It is the time of the month again....I LOVE LOOT CRATE!  If you read this blog, you should know about them already. If not, here is a little run down about what they do: 

Loot Crate is a monthly box for "geeks and gamers".  The starting price is $13.37/month plus $6 shipping.  So, about one grande latte a week.  Each box contains a $40+ retail value. Prices can vary depending on the plan you get. If you order a 3 month subscription you end up paying $12.37 plus shipping/month.  If you get a 6 month plan it breaks down to $11.37 plus shipping/month. You can sign up HERE.  

I love this box. You can read my other four reviews HERE(adventure), HERE(villains), and HERE (Heroes)
, HERE (Galactic)


Each month has a particular theme. Last month was Galactic.  This month...FEAR! Which is PERFECT since it was Halloween and my most favorite show ever came back on the air! Let's break this box open and see what is inside.
First things first...my shirt isn't in the box.  The reason, I took it out and threw it on.  IT IS AWESOME. Every single time I wear it I get compliments on it.  This REALLY made the box this month!

A photo posted by Sarah Dodson (@bumbleflies) on
A FREAKING KITTEN SKULL SHIRT! Can this get any more awesome? I don't think so. I actually have it on right now.  It is SO soft.  LootCrate seriously has the best tshirts.

So here are the rest of the goodies! 
 
 2 guesses what this is other than an awesome sledge hammer/saw hybrid...
 It is a Sledgesaw Hammer PEN!  WHAAAT?!?!  Awesome!  From those of you not in the know, this is from Dead Rising 3.

Super 7 and LOOT Crate gave everyone a Smite Gift Card.    Pretty cool!  I think I need to check it out.  As a bonus this month they threw in a piece of Toxic Waste candy.  I got apple flavor...YUM! Of course the pin is included. Onto my knitting bag it goes. I feel like they are my badges of honor. lol
 

You can't have October without The Walking Dead.  I look forward to the show every year. Eric, the hubs, is reading the comics.  This month I got a copy of issue 132. I LOVE how she(?) is wearing a LOOT Crate shirt! 

  
The graphics are fantastic!


I hated Meryl.  I was so happy to see him go. This print is fantastic. I need to remember to take it with me to the store so I can get a frame for it. Seriously love this. This would make an awesome tshirt!
 

Every month you get a guide explaining everything in the box.  This month it came in 3D! I am a sucker for 3D glasses.  I wish I could figure out how to show you the graphics inside with the glasses on.

You can't think of "fear" without bites and scratches! I got a page of temporary tattoos. I am thinking about sticking one on Eric when he zonks out on the couch one night...is that wrong?  If not, which should I do?  I am thinking the zombie bite on his arm.
 

If you haven't seen what I am about to write about, stop reading, go watch Sharknado, and come back.  I LOVED that movie.  It was so bad it was good.

This month you get the "How to Survive a Sharknado and other unnatural disasters" book.  The shirt alone made the box worth getting this month.  This pushed it over the edge.  AH-MAZING.
 

Eric is from West Virginia and we always joke about the Mothman Prophecy.  Now, thanks to this book I can be prepared next time we head up that way.
 

All in all, again, LOOT Crate knocked it out of the park. This would be an AWESOME holiday gift for a geek or gamer in your life.

Thanks again Loot Crate for an amazing month!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Homemade Vanilla Tutorial aka, fantastic homemade holiday gift for a baking friend.

I.Love.To.Bake.

Love love love.

I ALSO love to find the perfect gift for others around this time of the year. It always gives me the warm fuzzies to give something that I know people love. If I can get the recipient crying, even better. 

Years ago I can remeber my stepmom having a bottle of homemade vanilla extract and though it was the neatest thing. With the holidays quickly approaching I have been trying to figure out gifts and thought I would give some homemade vanilla extract bottles a shot.

For this, you need three things.

Vodka.
Vanilla beans.
A bottle.


 
I used a mid-grade vodka. Remember, you won't be drinking this. Well, you COULD, but I wouldn't recommend it.

Vanilla beans. I got "B Grade" beans. I paid roughly $20 for 1/4 lb off Amazon.

The glass bottle. You want an air tight bottle.  Again, I got mine off Amazon. I did see they had some at Hobby Lobby that work as well.

To make 8oz of vanilla:
Cut 4 beans in half length wise.
Take those 8 pieces and with a sharp knife, Slit the bean in half length wise. It will end up looking like a wishbone. 
Put them in the bottle.
Pour 8oz of vodka over the beans. Make sure the beans are submerged.
Close bottle and shake.
Keep in a cool, dark place. 

Every day: Shake Shake Shake. Shake Shake Shake. Shake your vanilla! Shake your vanilla!

Do this for about 2 months. At this point, you are good to go! Get your bake on! Feel free to take out the beans. The longer they remain in, the deeper the flavor. Same thing with the amount of beans. Want a stronger flavor, add more.

They say the vanilla beans are "used up" after about 6 months. If they aren't already out, take the beans out. You can replace with more and fill it up again!

If at any point you use enough extract that the beans aren't submerged, add more vodka to the bottle!

Happy baking!


FYI, this picture was taken after 24 hours. I thought the ombré of the bottle was gorgeous. Now that I shook it up, it lost the pretty gradient. Make sure to get a picture of yours!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Do you love taking selfies? If so, step on in here.

Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time I was approached by a company to do a review for the game Selfie.  I was heading out to my friends house across the country and I call her the selfie queen, so of course I said yes.  I figured we could set something up and play there.  I did not think about 12+ hour work days making me tired.

They did.

So the game and supplies came home.

THEN I set up a time for a bunch of friends to come over on a week day.  They are moms.  Guess what happened.  Mom life.  Get together cancelled...again.

FINALLY (and over a month later) I went over to a friend's house.  Between me, her, my husband, her husband, and her OLDER kids WE HAD THE PARTY!!

First off, the game is SUPER cute.  In the box you get 360 cards, a frame, and the rules.  So TECHNICALLY you could throw the cards in your bag and take it with you. You just need a phone or tablet.


Quick description of how to play:
  • Everyone draws 7 cards.  
  • The person whose turn it is chooses one of their cards to "make a selfie of" You hold up the frame and make your face through it correlating to the card.  (or take a picture and show everyone)You do NOT let the people know what the card says.
  • The other players look through their cards and find the card that best describes the look on your face.
  • The selfie maker chooses the best card, based on closeness of answer or funniest. The person who played that card gets a point.
  • Discard the cards, everyone gets new cards.
This continues until someone gets 5 points.
 We decided to play with a tablet instead of the frame.  The girls did have fun making faces through the frame though! 
A photo posted by Sarah Dodson (@bumbleflies) on
  Now.  Let's talk cards.  This game is for 13+.  Some cards are SUPER tame.
Some are questionable.  I do not have a 13 year old at this point, so I can't judge what it will be like when I do.  I try not to talk about passing gas with my kids now, they still do though. Not too sure about the potty humor.
Then you have cards like these. I DEFINITELY don't want my kids thinking about this.  The mom and I were ROLLING laughing when we were pulling out these cards.  

The idea of a 13 year old girl having to make a face like she just found out she was pregnant...I don't really want them to think about that, you know?  If you are playing with kiddos and are overprotective like me, weed the cards out.  There aren't a TON of these, it won't take long.
Then there are blank cards to make your own.
This game is super fun and we all had a blast.  Know what would make this even better? Girls night, all the cards in the deck, and margaritas. I can really see this as a fun "adults only" game. Ohhhh....after dinner while kids are playing?  That could be fun. We have Eric's brother and his partner coming over next week for Thanksgiving! This will be PERFECT to pull out!

I'll give you two guesses as to who won...

(I want her hair)
A teenage girl. lol.  I would have NEVER guessed that a teenage girl would be the best at selfies! (please note the sarcasm)

If you are interested in checking it out, they sell online and in stores!
USAopoly
Toys R Us
Books A Million
Calendars.com
and of course  Amazon

USAopoly game me copies of the game in order to facilitate the review.  All opinions are my own. :)
 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Have you SEEN the adorableness at The Children's Place this holiday season? #bigfashionlittleprices

Back in 2006 I found out I was pregnant with a boy. Not surprisingly that was the same year that I realized that boys don't have a good selection of clothing at most stores.  That was until I discovered The Children's Place. Before we get into the cuteness of the clothes this year (they are ADORABLE), lets discuss the deals that you are about to get and my tips for greater savings.

First: Sales.  There are ALWAYS sales.  If there isn't,wait a few days.  Something always pops up.

Second: GET A STORE CREDIT CARD. I know,I know, credit cards are "bad"  down with credit. Yadda yadda yadda. Now. The reason WHY you need to get this card is SAVINGS. If you have a card, BAM. You save 5%.  You ALSO get coupons in your bill envelope.

Third: My Place Rewards.  For every $1 you spend you get 5 points. Earn 1,000 points, get a $5 GC .  They have, apparently, 3 levels. Regular, Gold-where you get 6 points/$1, and Diamond. I JUST learned about that because I am at that level!  See, I shop there a lot.  Three kids equals lots of clothing. Now I get 7points/$1

Fourth:  You get all these coupons in the mail, email, the discount for using your card, and YOU CAN STACK THEM.  

Say you go into the store right now.  They have a HUGE sale going on for the Holiday time.  Everything I picked up the other day was on sale for 30% off AT LEAST.  THEN I had a coupon from my email, spend over $60, get 30% off.  THEN I had the coupon from my card.  THEN I had a $5 GC from the My Points.  All of that I combined.

CHECK.THIS.OUT.
Yep.
Now, my friend's husbands say "But you didnt save anything because you still spent money." To which I reply "WHAT EVER."  Your kids can't walk around naked.

Let's check out some of the items I bought, shall we?

V picked out this dress in the store. This will be PERFECT for her birthday party in a couple of weeks!  Originally $34.95  After all my discounts $15.07  I can't WAIT for the party to show you her in it!  SOOOO CUTE!!  I have a friend with FIVE daughters.  She just used these dresses for their Christmas card.  ADORABLE.

The SECOND V saw this shirt, she had to have it.  She refused to put it down.
Originally this outfit would be $46.90. I paid $20.22

The boys got a few things as well.  They each got an amazing fleece pull over, a new jacket, and a shirt.  HUGE winners this year with lightening bolt designs! Nate LOVES them!

The sweater was originally $29.95, I paid $12.91 The pullovers,originally $16.95.I paid $4.92.  Yep.  $4.92. They were on sale for $8 to begin with.

So yeah....it is awesome. I LOVE The Children's Place and have been a HUGE supporter for years.  This holiday season if you are looking for some great fashion at amazing prices head over there! (and sign up for emails before you go...COUPONS!)

I received a gift certificate in exchange for this review.  All opinions are my own.  I have been obsessed with them for YEARS. Ask anyone who gets my hand-me-downs!

Monday, November 17, 2014

#TheAmazingZhus Magical Meet Up!

I swear. Kids these days have AWESOME toys.  I had the opportunity to host an Amazing Zhu's party and jumped at the opportunity.

The kit came filled the brim!  The main "pets" are the Magician Zhu and two stunt pets.  The stunt pets we received were the pink one named "Piccadilly" and the grey one named "Kardini" V LOVES Piccadilly.  Her tail is a heart.




Nate is pretty much the most adorable magician EVER.



There were all kinds of cute little extras in the kit like "fortune telling fish", decks of cards,  and word searches. I think the magician hats and wands made the kit though! Lots of little magicians running around. The fortune fish were ok.  They all seemed to roll up!  I think all of us must be the same temperature.




Bit of advice....when opening the pets make sure you have a TINY screwdriver handy.  The mice come attached to the packaging with little screws.  I miss the good 'ole days of twisty ties!
 

We got to try out two toy kits.  The first being the High Dive. (Which I TOTALLY forgot to get pictures of the kids playing with it)  It took a bit of practice for the kids to get it to work.

The most loved toy was the Shell Game.  That one MUST be used with the Magician Pet.  The kids LOVED it.  You hide a nut under a shell and the magician magically finds it every time.


Along with the Magician Pets finding the nut, it also follows the wand!  If you have to get one pet this season, go for this one.

 

It is the most interactive and makes the kids the happiest. Plus, he wears a hat. So,you know, he is fashionable.  He comes with some cards that he magically reads AND a wand!

The kids are already asking for more pets.  Maybe I can chat with Santa about it.  :)

If you are interested in seeing the complete line, check out The Amazing Zhus page.  It does take a bit to load and has music playing. If you are planning on gift buying and trying to be secretive, turn off your music first!  I think the kids need the Cereal Box and maybe the train cars!  TOO CUTE.  As of right now at posting everything is available to Pre-order at Walmart. Currently it says delivery by December 1st.  Get those orders in!

Thanks to The Amazing Zhus and Mom Select for this awesome party!

Here is a bonus video for you.


 
I was given the toys in order to facilitate the review. All opinions are my own and the joy is all my children's.

I have been on this Earth for 36 years and had no clue how to clean these...until now.

Twice a year a local heating and cooling specialist comes to the house and services either the furnace or the AC unit.  When he was here, we were chatting and I mentioned that I needed to change the filter.

He said "No. It just looks like it, but that is the cover. You can just take it off and wash it. The filter is fine." 

Imagine me saying in slow motion "Whaaaaaat?"  Then he took off the metal cover and HANDED IT TO ME.  Did you know that you could do that?  Those grate covers come off EASILY. (And yeah, it seemed a bit harsh when he said that, but these things are NASTY)

The previous homeowners were smokers and the downstairs had a layer of "funk" on things.  The windows were covered in a thin layer of soot when we moved in.  I think they fried a lot because the cabinets were sticky.  Just icky gross things I have had to scrub down. The downstairs grate cover was much nastier than the upstairs ones, but I figured there was nothing to be done about it really until he handed it to me.

Now, you might be thinking, "Sarah.  Mine are on hinges. They don't come off." THEY DO.  Unhook it so it hangs down, then SLIDE it back.  Just trust me. Well, mine did. Of course I don't know your house, but it is worth a check!

Ok. This part is embarrassing. NO JUDGEMENT!!

Here it is before I cleaned it. I actually think this is the upstairs one.  It looks too clean to be the downstairs grate. See the hooks on the right?  That is where they slide off.
 

The AC man told me I could take it into the shower and clean it off super fast.  First,I didn't want to hop in the shower while he was there and I wanted to clean it that instant.

Second, I didn't really want to stand in the gunk. (We have a standup shower in the master bath and in the kids bathroom it has a sliding door.  It would be awkward not to get in there)

Third, it was cold outside. I couldn't take it out there and use the hose.

So, off to the sink I went.  Here is the before and during shot. BLARG.


That brown is STICKY. I think it is smoke buildup.  Every time I vacuum, I vacuum off the grates.  This is NOT dust. It is totally gross. I can't believe I just posted that picture.

I just used normal dish soap and a scrub brush. (Since thrown away)  IKEA has dish brushes for less than $1 that I am addicted to. Every time I head there,I buy a hand full.  

So, I scrubbed and scrubbed. Then I put them out back to dry in the sun, and Eric placed them back up.

IT LOOKS SO GOOD. There are a few stained spots, but pretty much they look amazing!(minus that one bent grate)
 
 
It is a bit tricky taking a picture of the vent in place. Tiny hallway + bad lighting = lame pictures.

If you have family or friends planning a visit soon for the holidays and yours are embarrassing like mine, take a minute and see if yours come off as well!

Did I just change your life?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Best Buy has a dream gift of mine for this holiday season...an LG OLED TV

When you are at Best Buy, do you ever find yourself standing in the TV section dreaming about TV's?  I know I do! TV technology has advanced SO much over the years. 

Last year, I did a holiday gift guide, primarily focusing on kids.  This year, it is all about me. I am going to be featuring some items that are on my dream Holiday List.  First up, an LG OLED TV. This TV is AMAZING.


One of the things that I still find amazing is the thinness of TV's today.  Time to feel like an old fogey "Back in my days it took 2 people to carry a TV across the room"  Not because of the length,but because they were huge and heavy.  The LG OLED TV at its thinnest point is 0.21" thick. That is amazing.  Want a visual?  Get 4 quarters and stack them on top of each other.  That is thicker than the thinnest part of this TV.

The LG OLED is also curved. A couple cool benefits of this are: your eyes are equal distance from every part of the TV creating a deeper immersion, you can angle the TV to create less glare (my husband would LOVE that), and let's face it...a curved TV is definitely a conversation piece.

The picture quality is fantastic!  Most TV's are made of red, blue, and green pixels. LG added white pixels.  What this does is it creates more vibrant and more realistic colors!  They also have "Infinite Contrast" That means your whites are whiter and your blacks are blacker.

This is a Smart TV that has a new webOS* platform that is quick to learn and fun to use. It puts together all of your entertainment choices and organizes your recent viewing history, what's on live TV, and what you might like to watch next. Kind of cool, huh? I think the suggested viewing is pretty interesting. 

If you want to check it out for yourself in person, head on over to Best Buy!   If you want to read more about it you can check it out here:   LGOLEDatBestbuy.com

LG  55EC9300 SKU# 7846019 – OLED TV
Best Buy’s everyday price of $3499.99 (save $500)


The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free

The holidays are coming SOON. Want to start a new tradition?

When I was growing up around holiday time we traveled a lot.  We lived in North Carolina, but traveled to Connecticut to be with family. Once we even spent the weekend in the mountains (and had a disastrous stomach flu Christmas).  One thing that always came up was "How does Santa know where we will be?"

Growing up, you know that Santa comes to YOUR HOUSE and leaves gifts.  What happens if he doesn't know where you are? What if you are in a hotel?

Whether or not you are traveling, how are you sure that Santa knows where you are?  What if you are in an apartment, busy neighborhood, or just moved?  That doubt is exactly what spurred author Patricia Cardello to write "The Magical Tale of Santa Dust-A Christmas Tradition".

Patricia and her family were living in an apartment in Manhattan, and they were discussing whether or not Santa would be able to find them.  This is when Santa Dust was  created.

I will give you a VERY brief summary of the book because I don't want to ruin any of the story! This is a cute story about a family living away from the big town with a house surrounded by trees.  They seem to be a less fortunate family and have never been visited by Santa.  On Christmas evening, they hear a noise outside and they end up getting magical dust everywhere. That night, Santa sees their house for the very first time and delivers gifts to the family.

I really like this story.  I love how it gives you a way to inform your children that Santa will know where you are and won't be skipped.  I know I was always worried of that happening! Something about it being written down makes it seem more official.  Parents can say something, but as a child, there is a real power in the written word.  Books help to create magic in someones life and a book about Santa and the magic surrounding him, to me is a winning combination.

The book is available with or without the dust. With the dust MSRP is $24.95, without the dust $20.95. The dust can be purchased on it's own for $9.00.

Honestly, I would get the book with the bag of dust. The bag is SUPER cute and can be hung on your tree.  It comes with a little bag of "dust" inside, which depending on how crazy you go with it, could probably be good for one or two holiday seasons. Plenty of dust to sprinkle so Santa can find you!
 


The book is illustrated by Italian illustrator Mannela Soriani.  Every page is brightly colored and is full of fantastic images to get you to and your child engaged.


The Magical Tale of Santa Duse is available on their own website to purchase, or if you are like me and an Amazon addict, it is available there as well. On their website there is a store locator, so if you want to pick up one up locally, check it out!

I can't wait to show the book to my kids and start the sprinkling tradition with them!

I was given a book in exchange for my honest review.  All thought are my own.