I just received a Surf’s Up Vox Box courtesy of Influenster with more fun, new products to try out!

This time they sent me a sample of First Aid Shot Therapy which is a liquid pain reliever that you drink.  I had never even heard of this until I received it but I put it in the fridge to chill it so that it was ready for the next time I got a headache. (note:  it is Summer break and the kids are home for three months * a headache is inevitable).

Sure enough, yesterday I was ready to try the “shot”.  Here is what I thought:

  • the flavor I got was “Berry” and it tastes pretty good with no “medicine” taste to it
  • the liquid is clear which I thought was suprising * I thought it would be pink or purple or red
  • it worked well and quicker than I thought (the product does claim to work 5 times faster than aspirin)
  • overall I would give it two thumbs up!

I just checked on Amazon and it seems like there are two flavors available:  Berry and Peppermint.  I would love to see them come out with some other flavors.  I am not sure I would buy more of this anytime soon because it retails for about $2.50 a bottle which seems high to me (remember, I buy my ibuprofen at the Dollar Tree and a bottle of that treats 10 headaches or so for $1).

** I received this item compliments of Influenster for testing and review purposes

@Influenster  @firstaidshottherapy  #FASTrelief  #contest

 

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Warning….. this may be a long post and possibly boring to anyone who is not interested in the items mentioned in the title of this post!  LOL!

When I moved in with Dane, he had a satellite provider on one tv in the living room.  Thats it.  Nothing else anywhere in the house.  So, he called them and asked about hooking up the bedrooms.  It would cost an extra $200 for installation ?!?!?!?!?!?! and also be about $50 extra per month ?!?!?!?!?!?!?! and that does not include internet because they don’t provide that ?!?!?!?!?!?!  So, I had to come up with an alternate solution.

The kiddos have a Wii in their room so they get the Netflix streaming thru that, because I subscribe to Netflix.  That provides viewing options for them.  That left only our bedroom to find something for.  Enter the Roku.

I had wanted a Roku for a long time and now was the time to purchase one.  I bought the mid-grade one for $80.  It was easy to set up and now we get Netflix streaming along with a few other “channels” in our bedroom. All we had to do was purchase the box.  No monthly fee from them (but I still pay for Netflix, which I was paying for anyhow).  By the way I LOVE the Roku!

Now that Netflix has announced their price increases, I am rethinking my strategy.  We currently have the “2 out at a time plus unlimited streaming” plan which runs about $16 per month.  Soon it will be about $20 per month.  Which isn’t bad but I felt the need to examine my options.

This is how I figured it out:  Netflix at $16 per month was $8 for streaming and $8 for 2 movies out at a time (which for us was 2 per week = 8 movies a month).  That makes the movies about $1 each.  That’s okay.  The same price as Redbox rentals.  But NOW it will be $20 per month, $8 for streaming and $12 is for the 8 movies I get in the mail each month which makes them $1.50 each.  Not okay.  Not the same price as Redbox.  Enter Blockbuster Online………

For $10 a month, I can have one movie dvd out at a time, mailed to me, BUT I can take that movie to the Blockbuster store and turn it in for another movie while I wait for my next movie to be mailed to me.  This means that I will probably be able to get 4 movies a week (2 by mail and 2 in the store) which equals about 16 movies a month for $10!  That sure beats the 8 movies for $12 that Netflix would get me!  Plus no long queue waits for new release movies at Netflix!  I can just pick them up when I trade in my Blockbuster dvd at the store!

So, I think what I will be doing is keeping Netflix streaming for $8 a month and going with Blockbuster Online for dvds.  Total $18 a month.  I save a couple of bucks and I get more movies to watch.

This summer we finally tried Gamefly as a rental service for games for the Wii.  The premise is great!  The problem we had was that just about every game had a wait time.  There were very few “available now” games and that was just frustrating for the kiddos.  When we went to cancel our account, we were offered a “free month” so I accepted that and we will have to see how that goes.  I will say here that we have rented Wii games from Redbox at $2 a night and that worked really well for us!  It is a great way to see if you like a game before actually buying it.  A lot cheaper too!

I think that sums it all up.  Oh, and I went with the local cable provider for internet service because I have to have internet service for ANY of this to work!  LOL!

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So, summer is in full swing and it is HOT outside!  That means heat-rash is just around the corner!  Whoo Hoo!  Fun stuff!  Not.

Over the years we have tried a lot of different remedies for this situation.  The best one, and the only one that works for us, is plain old cornstarch.  Yep.  Even the doctors prescription powders weren’t working but plain cornstarch did the trick.

I keep a shaker container (like the glass ones for parmesean cheese) full of cornstarch in our bathroom.  That way whenever anyone has a heat rash issue, it is ready for use!    Just sprinkle some on your hand and pat it onto the rash and it seems to clear it up in no time.

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My younger kiddos know that when summer rolls around, public school is out.  They also know that we still have school at home over the summer. 

Because of Ben’s autism, I just cannot let three months go by with no type of education.  Losing a quarter of a year is too much time to lose.  He does not qualify for traditional summer school because they feel that there is no chance of “regression over the summer”, so it is up to me to keep the ball rolling.

In order to come up with a plan, I go thru his IEP and make a list of goals the teachers have for him.  Then I look at a special chart I was given that shows what a child should be able to do by certain age groups (like tying shoes, zipping up a coat, helping set the table, taking a bath by themselves, etc – personal care skills and social skills).  So I end up with a master list of goals to work on. 

This summer we are also doing sight-word flash cards (I got a list of these from the internet by searching “first grade sight words”).  We also have a handwriting sheet that has all of the alphabet letters in upper and lower case and the sheet of paper is laminated so he can use a dry erase marker on it and it is reusable.

An important goal we are working on is having Ben memorize our phone number.  I know that once I get it in there, he will remember it!  One fun thing I do to sharpen his memory is I will spray shaving cream all over our dining room table (it is glass topped) or on our tile floor.  We spread the shaving cream out and “write” our phone number or sight words or whatever, in the shaving cream.  He loves this and always has fun making a mess!  Shelby enjoys this too (but she won’t admit it 😉

I play a lot of board games with the kiddos .  This helps keep skills sharp and encourages them to use new ones.  This summer we have played Uno Stack, Twister, Operation, I Spy, and some other new ones too.  I get the games at thrift stores for about $3 or less each.  I always make sure to check for all the pieces before I buy them.  One recent trip, I drove the lady at the cash register crazy because I insisted on checking to make sure all 60 pieces were there to a  wooden Melissa and Doug dinosaur puzzle.  Who wants a puzzle that is missing a piece????

Shelby is neuro-typical (not disabled).  She plays the games with us, but I have her do extra reading over the summer as well as practice her times tables.  There is always something for her to be brushing up on.  Extra practice never hurts!

Obviously I balance out all this “work” with fun times too.  One day a week is water day.  We go to the public pool, bodysurfing at the beach, tubing at the springs or to the local lake to go swimming.  Sometimes we go to the library and it always seems the kiddos meet up with some of their friends there (or in Ben’s case, make some new friends over in the video game area!). Several times each week we go to Blockbuster so they can trade in their “Camp Wannawatchamovie” movies for new ones (Blockbuster is running a plan that is about $5 per month for one family movie out at a time or $10 for two out at a time, plus the kiddos got free Disney mini-backpacks!) .  Of course we go bowling with the “Kids Bowl Free” program I mentioned in an earlier post (you can use the search box on the right to find it if you haven’t read it yet).  Then there is always the “dollar theatre”  where movies are 75 cents per person to get in on Tuesdays.

I would say that all the extra practice takes maybe an hour out of our day.  It goes by a lot faster than you would think!  It is nice to be able to spend quality time with my kiddos and to know that I am helping them get a head start on the next school year too!  The fact that we always follow it up with something fun, encourages them to get it done 😉

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We go thru a LOT of ice cream here at our home.  Even more so in the summertime (we are in Florida and it gets very hot!).  It is difficult for my kids to realize what a “portion” of ice cream is (note to my children:  it is not the whole container, or even half of the container). 

Last year I noticed that WalMart carried boxes of Blue Bunny brand ice cream items.  Each box comes with 20 ice cream treats in them.  We buy the Orange Dream bars (like Creamsicles, on a stick) and the Big Star bars (vanilla ice cream on a stick coated in hard chocolate).  They run about $4.50 per box and I almost always have $1 off coupons on hand.  This makes it about $3.50 for 20 servings (about 18 cents per bar, after coupon) – which is a GREAT deal considering the price of ice cream! 

There is never any arguing over who got more because everyone gets the same serving (one bar) and Blue Bunny ice cream never fails to disappoint!

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Here in Orlando there are a lot of things to do (besides the theme parks!).  We have a Science Center and nearby in Sanford there is a Zoo.  We also have a lot of museums and cultural attractions.  Since there are usually four of us going to any one event, the prices tend to be a little high once it’s all said and done.  That is why we usually end up purchasing the “Family Membership”  when we go to an attraction. 

This past weekend we went to the Orlando Science Center.  If we had just paid for the four of us for a day, it would have been about $65 plus $5 for parking.  Since we bought the membership for $125 we can now use the pass until July of 2012.  This pass included 4 extra tickets (valued at around $100) for us to use for friends and family to go to the Science Center for free!  Our membership also includes unlimited Imax movies at the center and of course unlimited free visits to the center and free parking too.  This summer they are running lazer light shows too.  We also get a 10% discount on items we purchase there.  As long as we use the membership twice, it will more than pay for itself!

One of the neatest things about “family memberships” is that in recent years, certain attractions offer “reciprocal free admission”.  That is, if you are a member of one place (like the Science Center), there is a list of other places that will let you in for free just because you have that membership!  This is especially great for travelling.  You can get into other attractions free while travelling, as long as you have your membership card!  Talk about savings!

We plan on taking a few roadtrips this summer to see some new places that we now will get free admission into because of our Science Center membership.  If you have kids you know how much of a savings this can be.  Check out your local museums and cultural attractions to see if you have any hidden savings where you live.

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Not sure how many people out there know about the Kids Bowl Free program that is being offered this summer.

You go to the website below, and “find a center near you”.  Then you can sign your kids up to get two free games of bowling per day (during the week) all summer long!  The bowling center we go to even includes free shoe rental. 

We did buy the summer pass for $24.95 so that we can bowl with the kids.  That $24.95 pays for us to be able to bowl two games per day (during the week) with the kids all summer long and it also includes shoes for us too!  Not a bad deal!

We went this past week for the first time.  They email you your coupons to use for the week on Sunday.  Just print them out and hand them to the people working the counter.  It was very easy!

Apparently each bowling center has it’s own details about using the passes so be sure to read the fine print.  Here is the link:

http://www.kidsbowlfree.com/

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Summer is here and the kiddos are out of school. Here at our house, brightly colored drinks are not the norm. I refuse to put food colorings and additives into my childrens bodies because of the behavior they cause and the health issues they pose. I am also aware of the fact that other countries have banned certain additives and colorings that we still put into our foods here in the U.S. Ugh!

Obviously my kiddos would not be happy drinking just water so I had to come up with some viable options. These are the drinks that we keep in our fridge on a daily basis:

2% milk * better for you than whole milk

Water * we have two water containers in the fridge * I fill the jug with faucet water and put it in the fridge OPENED with no lid. Once it has “aerated” and the chemicals have dissipated for about 24 hours, then it goes into the jug we drink from. This really does work to give it a nice clean taste and get rid of the chemicals and the need for buying bottled water!

A gallon size bottle of Great Value 100% juice (either punch blend or apple juice) * these are 100% juice and NO artificial colorings * sometimes there are other juices in our fridge too, but none with colorings and always 100% juice

Sweet Tea * a southern favorite * I brew my own using 6 regular sized tea bags and about 4 cups of water * bring it to a boil in a pot on the stove top * once it starts to boil, turn the burner off and let it sit for about an hour or so * then I pour it into a one gallon pitcher and add 1 and 1/4 cups sugar * stir until dissolved * then fill the pitcher up the rest of the way with cold water

Lemonade * again, homemade * the mixture I use is 1/2 cup bottled lemon juice, 3/4 cup sugar and 8 cups of water mixed together in a pitcher * my kids LOVE this * for them it takes the place of drink mixes


We do have soda on Friday movie nights, but it typically is not in our fridge on a daily basis. If we are going out for the day to the pool, lake, park, etc. I pack some Capri Suns for them. Having all of these options on hand all the time is not difficult or time consuming, it is just a matter of getting into a routine. We spend VERY little on beverages compared to most families (even including the milk and juice). I buy my lemon juice and tea bags at the Dollar Tree and try to buy my sugar on sale with coupons (I recently found 4 lb bags of sugar for $1.49 each).

Another thing I do with the kiddos is they use a “sippy cup” or “sports bottle” for their drinks. That way I ALWAYS know whose is whose and less drink is wasted. It also cuts down on the number of glasses I have to wash and they can take their drinks with us if we are out running errands. Sometimes if there is still a lot of drink in the bottles at the end of the day, we put them into the fridge for tomorrow (you can see Ben’s orange cup in the picture of my frige above – lol!)

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