Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Purex Fabric Softener Sheets Review and GIVEAWAY!!!

Purex Fabric Softener Sheets Review and Giveaway!

I was given the opportunity to review Purex Fabric Softener Sheets!  I have to say, when I was younger, and broker, I never used Softener Sheets because I felt like it was just a frivolous act.  I didn't see the need.  As long as my clothes were clean, I didn't feel I needed them.  But as I got older and realized that #1....with boys in the house, my clothes need to be fresh.  Simply washing them doesn't always give them the freshness I desire.  My towels get this dingy smell even when I've washed them in my favorite Purex detergent.  Also, in the winter here in the midwest, static electricity is bad.  These Fabric Softener Sheets really help with that too.  My clothes and towels are also so much softer and manageable.  I hadn't found sheets that I REALLY liked, until these.  I happen to really love the Mountain Breeze one.  I've never been a big fan of Lavender, though it also smells good.

Have I piqued your interest?  Read on:

New, improved formula with 3X the fragrance!


Can't get enough of the Mountain Breeze or Sweet Lavender scent?  Try tucking sheets in your hampers, linen closet, drawers and even shoes to keep your entire house smelling fresh!  Who knew that one little sheet could do so much?

You can find Purex Fabric Softener Dryer Sheets at Walmart, and coming soon to other retailers!

*I was given no compensation for this post, only my honest opinion was asked after trying the product*
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Child Protect By DNA Test

Help us keep the next generation of kids more safe than the last generation!

This new technology is designed to help law enforcement keep kids safe! 

When we grew up 30 years ago, we all had our fingerprints taken to keep us safe.   Now technology has evolved where we can collect our GENETIC FINGERPRINT with just a simple cheek swab.

This is not kept in a database, but is kept solely by you.   In the case of an emergency, you can provide this profile to law enforcement who can compare it to DNA at a crime scene and speed up the process to bring your child back safely.  Be completely prepared to protect your child!

Here is what US Family Guide Bloggers Say about CHILDPROTECT by DNA

“I do not want to ever think that something could happen, but if it did I now have something that will save time in finding her.  It was super easy to do.  The instructions were simple enough, and discreet."  Rich in San Diego

“I would recommend this product to other parents who want to take the next step in protecting their child, but can’t implant them with a tracking chip.”  Gary Hoffman.

I have 4 children of my own, and nothing is more important to me then their safety.  I look forward to trying this out and having the peace of mind that if something DID happen, I can give it to the authorities and get their recovery moving quickly.

I am going to Share the savings!

A DNA profile which years ago was over $400 is now only $99.  But my readers will receive a limited time $50 off coupon by going to and using code USFamily50

Things to know:

  • ChildProtect by DNA is provided by DNA Diagnostics Center, the largest private DNA company in the world and #1 hospital recommended in the US
  • Over 800,000 children go missing every year!
  • Law enforcement agencies state the first 3 hours of a missing child’s search are the most important
  • A DNA profile is a Genetic Fingerprint and every person’s is unique
  • Every profile is signed by a PhD when it leaves the DDC laboratory
  • A DNA profile is used by police when they find an item (saliva) that contains traces of DNA. By having a DNA profile on hand, the police have something to compare against.  If there is no DNA profile, police need to collect DNA from the child’s home and send it to a laboratory to get the profile.

*I am being sent a kit to try for myself.  Once I receive it, I will post a review.  No money was exchanged for this post*

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Last Two Days in Estes Park, CO

We decided to stay two more unexpected days in Estes Park.  We just couldn't help ourselves.  There is SOOOO much to do there, and honestly 4 days just didn't seem like enough.  I didn't go anywhere knew though, so I have no featured posts to make....but I will tell you that I am being 100% honest when I say, there is SO much to do there.  Things that cost money, and things that don't cost money, things that could cost money, and things that never cost money.  Yes....Estes Park CAN BE expensive....but if you play your cards right, it doesn't have to be.  Lodging will always be a bit more up there....but honestly, as long as you have a week pass into the Rocky Mountain National Park, you don't need much more...well...other than gas or food, but you don't have to do things that cost money.  If you aren't into hiking, biking, fishing, scenery, etc...then yes, you will spend a little bit of money doing the other things we did...the jeep tours, horseback riding, etc.  But the point I am trying to make is there is SO much to do there.  You will not lack for excitement, or in my kids' case, wonderment.  There is something for everyone.  We spent an extra two days there.  The first day we drove around The Rocky Mountain National Park and went site seeing.  We were looking for animals, hiking, fishing in the little creeks beside the road, etc.  Late we fished in Lake Estes while the little two people and I went swimming and sitting in the hot tub.  The last day we were there, we went to the other side of the mountain and fished and hiked at Grand Lake.  They have a GREAT waterfall only .3 miles from the boat dock called Adam Waterfall.  It was so pretty.  Next year we plan on fishing in the water above it. Great place to fly fish!  We have so many plans for next year already!  We were always really busy, and there is STILL so much we didn't get to do.  Our plan is to get into better shape this year so we can hike the harder mountains!  We may have high expectations....but we had so much fun!  We also went to the top of the mountain to the Alpine Ranger Station.  We hiked from the station up to about 12,000 feet.  It was beautiful up there....but I knew my lungs were lacking oxygen!  :-)  We had a fantastic couple of days.
Here is Jeff and I at Bear Lake.
 Fly fishing down some river off the road.
 Here is MaKenna and I on top of the world!
 Major on top of the world.

 Nice Elk!  My boys wished they had a bow and arrow!  Boogers!
 My first Moose I've ever seen in the wild!
 MaKenna feeding the wildlife...I think you get like a $500 fine for that!
 MaKenna's first fish of the day!
 A doe up by Adam's waterfall.
 Adams Waterfall.  So much prettier in person!
 More elk.
 I think we wore him out.....
On our way out of town yesterday we FINALLY saw Big Horn Sheep!  Here are two females and a baby!

We only had a room for 4 nights at the Rodeway Inn....but then they were booked.  So in order to stay two more nights, we had to hope that someone had a room available.  Right across the street from Rodeway Inn was Murphy's Resort.  They had a vacancy, and they were able to give us a decent deal.  They were doing renovations, and we were lucky enough to get a room that had new mattresses, TV, etc.  It was really nice.  Very quiet, the pool was outside, but heated so they kids loved it even when I thought it was too cold.  Their hottub was wonderful.  It was huge, like a swimming pool, the kids thought that was great too...and they had a playground as well as grills that helped with our need to eat in.  Our room had a refrigerator and a microwave too.  It was close enough to Lake Estes that the boys walked down there for night fishing each night, and we could even watch them.  It was truly perfect.  Their breakfast was light, but it was enough to get us going in the mornings.  They also have DVD's that you can "rent" for free while you are there.  The staff was also super nice and it seemed like they would bend over backwards to help us out.  I would definitely stay there again, and may look into it when we go back.  We'd like to go back for Christmas!  I think it would be beautiful to go up there in the winter!  If not for Christmas then, for sure next summer....or maybe spring break.  Who knows!  Whenever we get the itch I guess!

Thank you Estes Park, Colorado, Rhonda Sharp and US Family Guide for one of the BEST vacations I've EVER had!

*I was paid nothing for my post....all of the thoughts in this post are my own*

Guest Post by Heather Von St. James, Mesothelioma Survivor

Today we have a little change of pace.  I have a guest post written by Mesothelioma Survivor Heather Von St. James.  Be sure to visit her website at

Let Heather and I know your thoughts in the comments section.  As someone who lost a mother to Breast Cancer, Heathers story is incredible to me.  I am interested in your thoughts too.  Pay Heather a visit and write her something encouraging in the comments of her or my blog. - Hugs and blessings, Tonya, Nebraska Hockey Mom

Motherhood and Mesothelioma

As soon as I learned I was pregnant, I began preparing for motherhood in order to avoid any surprises. I read books, ate healthy foods, and saw my doctor on a regular basis. During the day, I planned out how I would spend my time with my new baby. In a sense, my life already revolved around my baby. When I saw my daughter for the first time nine months later, I felt as if I were the luckiest person in the world.  My life was filled with enjoyment. 

3 ½ months later, I faced a crisis for which I could never have prepared. My doctor diagnosed me with pleural mesothelioma cancer. Without immediate treatment, I would only have 15 months left to live. I knew at that moment I would do everything I could in order to beat this so I could raise my daughter. 

My husband Cam and I decided that it would be best for me to receive treatment 1200 miles away in Boston, MA from top mesothelioma doctors The days I planned spending with Lily were now being spent trying to survive.  In Boston, surgeons removed my left lung as well as the lining of my diaphragm and heart. For the remainder of Lily’s first year, I underwent the rest of my treatment, which included both chemotherapy and radiation. During this time, Lily stayed with my parents while I was busy fighting for my life. Luckily, I have a caring husband who supported me throughout this trying time. 

When I finally returned home, I was determined to spend my time with my daughter. We took walks, went to the park, and arranged play dates during those times I had enough strength.  There were times I didn’t have enough energy for these activities but we were still able to be together. 

It’s been eight years since Lily’s birth and it seems as though not much has changed. Cam and I still love her more each day. She is a beautiful and optimistic young girl who has a great appreciation for life. She may not remember what we battled during the first year of her life but I will never forget.

Looking back, I am now able to see all the positives that have come out of such a difficult battle. Our family is now closer than ever and we learned to never take anything for granted. I share my story for those facing life’s great challenges in order to provide hope and to let them know that they are not alone. 

Would you like more information about Mesothelioma?  Click or click

Thank you Heather for sharing your very inspiring story!  You are a true inspiration!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Estes Park Day Four, Featuring, Cowpoke Corral, Rocky Mountain Gateway Restaurant, Dorothy's Catering and Green Jeep Tours!

What a fun and exciting...yet tiring, day we had today!!  This whole week has been SO jam packed with things to do!  I can't see how anyone can take a mere four days to spend here.  There is just TOO much!  So...we are hoping that someone will have room tomorrow night too!  Just ONE more day......actually I could spend a lot more than one more day, but since we're here....  :-)

The day started with us going to Lake Estes and renting a pontoon boat at the Lake Estes Marina.  They are very helpful there.  We've gone to the lake everyday since it is right across the street from our hotel, and everyday we've been in the marina for something or other, and they've always been super friendly!  Anyway, we rented a pontoon boat for an hour.  The adults and older child would have liked to have gone longer....but the younger ones, an hour was more than enough.  No fish...not even a bite...but they all had fun just trolling around the lake.  I particularly liked looking at the scenery and enjoying God's GREAT creation.
 After the pontoon boat we headed back in and rented more things.  Jake and Jeff took out a Kayak, as his arms weren't hurting from yesterday, but mine were since I was climbing a lot of rocks.
 MaKenna, Major, Cam and I took out the Paddleboat since my legs didn't hurt!  It worked out perfectly, except MaKenna pooped out way too soon...which then MADE my legs hurt...and Jake pooped out on Jeff too soon too...which made his arms hurt....making both mom and dad hurting all over!

 After Jeff and I felt like Jello....we walked back to the hotel, got our things and headed out to the Rocky Mountain Gateway, Trailblazer Restaurant.  It is just outside the gates to the National Park.  It was a short drive there, but a beautiful drive.  The Rocky Mountain Gateway had an incredible two story store also.  They also have a visitor center and stables too!  Lots of great things to look at, and attached to the store was the Trailblazer Restaurant.

Yum....that is all I need to say about this restaurant!  We sat outside because we have always found that when the weather is nice, with the kids, it is best to sit outside because they don't seem to bother the patrons as much!  :-)  The kids love to be outside, and we had a spectacular view!
 There was also a neat telescope thing that cost .25 cents.  I gave each child a quarter and that kept them busy until the food got there!
 The food was VERY tasty!  Cam had the Mountain Man burger, which has every type of meat imaginable!  Deer, Elk, Moose, Bison, you name was in it!  He loved it!  Everyone else gobbled up their food very quickly.  The service was great too.  I had a nice chat with our waitress.  It seems that most people I have spoken to are only here seasonally.  Our waitress was moving on after the season too.  They were all very friendly though!  Our bill was a bit high, but with the service, the scenery and the type of food, it was well worth it.  But with a family of 6, plan on spending around $80 with the tip.  Be sure to like them on facebook here!  Then go have a burger!!  A MOUNTAIN MAN BURGER!!  :-)

After Trailhead Restaurant, we headed toward Cowpoke Corner Corral for horse back riding.  MaKenna LOVES riding horses.  I used to...and still do, but it has been quite some time since I have ridden.

Of course I get the horse that is gentle and has NEVER spooked to the knowledge of the tour guides...and what does he do?  He spooks.  We aren't sure what he saw...but he saw something he didn't like.  That was only a blip though.  The rest of the ride he was wonderful as were MaKenna and Major's horses.  The guide, Sara, was perfect.  We couldn't have asked for a better guide for us.  She was very sweet and was very interested in all of us and very concerned at our well being like a good guide should be!  She was another one that was only here for the summer.  She will go home in 4 weeks time.  Since major is so young, he had to be tethered to her...but he was just THRILLED beyond belief to get to ride a horse alone...and not in just a circle!  :-)  We also chose the mountain terrain which was a little bit more difficult....but they did fantastic.  It was an awesome trail, fantastic guide, well kept stables, the horses all looked healthy, clean and happy, and all of the workers were incredibly helpful and friendly.  In fact, we got lost and called 10 minutes AFTER we were supposed to be there.  I felt so bad....but we got there right at 3, and we were supposed to be there at 2:45, but we missed the turn off a couple times.  Anyway, they held the other riders for us so we wouldn't be left behind and they were incredibly helpful in getting us going quickly, but safely.  I have been on many trail rides, and never has a guide stopped to check our saddles.  It was an hour ride, 30 minutes up, 30 minutes down.  When we stopped at the top, Sara got off her horse and checked everyones saddles to make sure they were tight.  This was great customer service in my opinion, especially since my two youngest babies were on the two big horses in front of me.  4 thumbs up!  Wait....I don't have 4 thumbs. get the idea!  Make sure you like them on Facebook here!  And then go check them out!!!

After the horses, we headed back downtown where I was meeting my "boss" for US Family Guide.  Her three boys, herself, myself, my husband and our four kids were going on the Green Jeep Tours!!  But first, we had to eat a little something.  Dorothy from Dorothy's Catering, was nice enough to help us out with our hungry bellies!  She fixed up a meat and cheese tray for us!  It was very yummy.  So we had a little picnic dinner before our Green Jeep Tour!  I must say the cheese on the tray was very soft and fresh, and the meat was also very fresh and it tasted wonderful.  The tray was also very nicely put together!  No complaints here!  It filled most of our bellies.  Some of the kids were too excited to go on the jeep to eat!  Of course they were  hungry when we reached our summit though!  :-)

As soon as we were done eating we all climbed into a nice green jeep!  There were ten of us, so it was tight, but well worth it!

Bob was our guide.  Let me tell you, Bob knows his stuff.  He was very knowledgable and I learned quite a lot from him about Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, animals, everything.  He was lucky enough to have me sit in front with him!  :-)  Lucky...or unlucky!  :-)  I have a tendency to talk a lot and ask a lot of questions.  He may have wished one of the kids had set up front!  :-)  Bob took us to the Stanley Hotel first.  The history of that hotel is outstanding.  Stephen King actually stayed in one of the haunted rooms, and left after only 3 hours, as well as Jim Carrey (when they filmed Dumb and Dumber).  The Stanley Hotel was not the location of the Shining, but it WAS the location of the Shining Mini-series.  They wanted to film the Shining there, but they couldn't get Safeway out of the picture.  Dumb and Dumber WAS filmed there though!  :-)
Next we headed toward the park.  Bob would take several pit stops along the way to explain things to us.  Very interesting things.  I won't share all the details here because you need to go yourself.  Very worth it!  We saw some Elk and Deer, I was hoping for a BigHorn Sheep, but I didn't get that lucky.

What I didn't realize is that we were going to the very top on Falls River Road.  It is a one way road, that has no guard rail, is dirt and is VERY steep on one side.  LONG WAY DOWN in other words.  Very exciting!  The kids weren't sure what to think!  It made for a beautiful drive though!  As we got closer to 13,000 it got colder and colder.  We finally put the heat on in the cab....a lot of that had to do with the fact that I had given up my hoodie for the kids who were in the back of the jeep freezing though.  They had jackets too...but it got chilly up there.  Bob said the temperature at the top has NEVER gotten above 63 degrees....I think that was the number he gave me.  We talked a little about lightning too and I was floored to find out that there are 22,000 lightning strikes up there a day!  YIKES!  So....if you see a storm rolling in and your up those mountains....RUN!

If you are anywhere near Estes Park, you must take this tour.  Worth every penny!  Be sure to like them on facebook here!  Then head up the hill and check them out yourselves!

After that, we were tired.  We made it back to the hotel with enough time to swim for thirty minutes before the pool closed.  Everyone fell asleep while the Disney Channel was on, which is outrageous.  Apparently they had a very tiring day!

Thanks to all of the businesses that allowed us to check out what you have to offer your community and visitors!

VISIT ESTES PARK!  It won't let you down!  

*No money was exchanged for these posts.  I was given discounts and deals in exchange for my honest opinion.  All of the opinions in this post are mine*

Thursday, July 25, 2013

July is National Park and Recreation Month!!!

July is national Park and Recreation Month and your local parks are encouraging everyone to come out this month and experience all the wonderful aspects of parks and recreation.  Nationwide, recreation departments have organized events and activities to help families spend quality time together, enjoy nature and get active. This provides a great opportunity to not only make the most of the beautiful weather, but also to take a stand against the obesity epidemic and technology trends that consistently keep more kids indoors and living less active lifestyles.

As part of Park and Recreation Month, the National Recreation and Park Association is encouraging everyone to show the love for local parks and recreation and wants everyone to answer the question, "I Love my Parks and Recreation Because..." They have a fill in the blank social media poster that can be filled in and shared, and a fun month-long weekly photo contest that encourages everyone to show and share the LOVE for local parks!The NRPA website includes information on all of the above initiatives, free downloadable resources as well as a calendar of events scheduled nationwide.

With kids out of school, the vacation celebration includes bouncing off the walls and fighting over the TV, tablet and computer screen.  Think about your summer days as a kid - spending time outside hunting for salamanders, playing kickball with neighborhood friends, exploring the trails and woods, fun summer camp days at your local rec center, and swimming until your fingers shriveled. Many of us have so many happy memories from summertime and want our children to have those same experiences too.

While we can always tell them of the fun we had as kids, it is so much better to show them. And you know what, you don't have to go far to have these enriching experiences that make lasting memories - you just have to head to your local parks and recreation. There are great places right in your community to go have some family fun all summer long!

Pictures from the first 2 days at Estes Park....I got my computer working now!!!

I had some trouble uploading pictures over the last few here are some now!  Enjoy!!

Our hotel and view.

 We had to stop and visit the horses....
 Not sure what is going on here...

 Littlest and Biggest brothers....
 Major, MaKenna, Cam and Jake
 Downtown Estes stop...
 At Caffe Collage.
 Checking out the little river...

 Downtown Estes Park

 Major at Caffe Collage
 MaKenna at Caffe Collage
 My attempt at a necklace.  It is really pretty too...but I didn't make it big enough for my MaKenna gets it!

 Dinner with the Price's at their condo.

 Walking along the river towards downtown.