Saturday, June 23, 2012

Summer Sizzle Giveaway {$25 US/Can}

Welcome to the Summer Sizzle Giveaway Hop hosted by Mom With A Dot Com!  Over 65 bloggers have got together to give you a chance to win some amazing prizes to keep you entertained throughout the summer!

Summer Sizzle will begin June 24-June 30th. As you are hopping around, I hope you find some prizes that you love and may be even win! Each giveaway will have a prize valued at $25 or more!

Mama Bucks is giving away a patriotic bandana (ARV $10) created by SocialWalker CreationsSocialWalker Creations has a passion for creativity and can work with you to create a custom one of a kind piece. You can read my review here.

We are also giving away some patriotic signage and magnets created by Vincelli Designs and Decor (ARV $9). Your online home for beautiful, unique, and personal gifts. Read more about Vincelli Designs and Decor here.

 We are also giving a Patriotic Bottle Cap Necklace.  Crafted by Mossy Creek Market(ARV $6).  A Group of Savvy Enterpenurs that love to dabble in creativity while adding to their college savings. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Vincelli Designs {Summer Sizzle Sponsor}

We recently purchased some name signs from Vincelli Designs and Decor.  We had received a Vincelli Designs and Decor Name Sign for Baby Brooke as a baby gift so some of the other children wanted one, too!  Vincelli Designs and Decor is able to customize a name sign in pretty much an color you may be looking for.  Prices start at $4.99.  Amy, the talent behind Vincelli Designs and Decor, began making signs for herself, because she loved the creative outlet it provided her.  Soon others were wanting her handmade creations and her business began from there.  She has many varieties of signs and other personalized gifts and decor to choose from on her site.  Try her on anything not listed as she is able to come up with most anything you may be looking to purchase.

Vincelli Designs will be giving away a Patriotic sign and magnet prize pack as part of the Summer Sizzle blog hop beginning 6/24.  Stop back then to enter!

Friday, June 22, 2012

SocialWalker Creations Summer Sizzle Sponsor Spotlight

SocialWalker Creations is a creative Mama that crochets many amazing pieces.  The first item I ever purchased from SocialWalker Creations was this awesome Husky hat (the Husky is our High School mascot) for my baby girl. 
SocialWalker Creations is able to customize many hats, bandanas, purses and other accessories to your liking.  You can find her albums of work she has done here.
Most recently we were able to review this patriotic bandana.  It arrived just in time for Daddy's Flag Day birthday party!  My daughter is already planning on wearing her bandana for the 4th of July as well.  She loves it!
This is SocialWalker Creations stars and stripes bandana.  It features stripes in white and red with a blue star and a white button attached.  It ties at the nape of the neck. 

SocialWalker Creations can tailor your bandana in any color combination and embellishment.  The bandanas retail for $10 in any color with embellishment and $8 in solid colors with no embellishment.
SocialWalker Creations will be giving away a blue embellished patriotic headband in the Summer Sizzle Giveaway beginning on June 24th.  In the meantime, she is offering my readers 20% off any order of $20 or more or free shipping with the code MamaBucks.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer Coth Diaper Giveaway Hop {$100+ Prize} (US) #Summer Cloth

Welcome to the Summer Cloth Diaper Hop Giveaway hosted by Mommy's Favorite Things.

This hop features all cloth diaper themed giveaways.  Almost 50 blogs have linked up to bring you many exciting cloth diaper giveaways. Enter my giveaway below and then hop to the other blogs listed at the bottom of this post to enter their fluffy giveaways as well! Each blog has a cloth diaper prize valued at $25 or more and many blogs have prizes worth over $100.  This event will end June 30th at 11:59 PM EST.

Mama Bucks is giving away a $100 gift certificate code to Mama's Emporium:
Mama's Emporium's strives to help budget minded mamas find high quality baby essentials, and extremely useful baby luxury items, at affordable prices.

We are also giving away a fleece soaker from Wahm-ie Panties ARV $7.  Read my review here.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to visit each blog below for more great prizes!

Monday, June 18, 2012

What Animals Make Me Nervous and Jumpy? #NaBloPoMo

Snakes definitely make me nervous and jumpy.  It doesn't matter what kind or what size. Snakes make me feel nervous and jumpy all the same.  Even so, I still can't resist a visit to our local Reptible Amphibian Discovery Zoo.  If you are ever in Owatonna, MN a visit to the RAD Zoo is a must. There you will find home to over 150 kinds of animals from all over the world exhibited in naturalistic recreations of their native environments. Gaze upon “Big Al” the monster 12 foot-long alligator and “Bella” the 14 foot-long python. They even have a snake of Justin Bieber's named, "Johnson". They, also, offer a daily “Everglades Encounter” show focusing on the animals of the Florida swamp.

If you go:

yacare caiman

RAD Zoo Hours

Summer Hours
Saturday – 9am to 6pm
Sunday – 12pm to 5pm
Monday thru Friday – 9:30am to 5:30pm
10am to 5pm (during school year)
We can open earlier for school groups


Kids (age 0-2): Free
Kids (age 3-12): $6.50
Teens & Adults (age 13-64): $9.00
Seniors (age 65+): $6.50
Military (with ID): $6.50
Minnesota School Teachers and Librarians (with ID): Free
School Groups/Day cares:
Teachers are always free at the zoo
Students: $5 each
Extra Chaperones: $6 each
Group Discounts (10 paying people or more)
Must schedule in advance
Kids: $5 each
Teens and Adults: $6 each

Friday, June 15, 2012

Is the glass half empty of half full? #NaBoPloMo

Is my glass half empty of half full?  With littles (and bigs) it often depends upon the day.  For example, today was a glass half full kind of day.  The kids and I crafted bottle cap necklaces and then they sold them from a stand at the end of the driveway.  They were quite the persuasive salespeople.  It was wonderful to see them practicing their math skills.  The joy on their faces was priceless.

Last week, however, was a glass half empty week as we ran our 8 year old to the Emergency Room for stitches after a random fall in the driveway.  It was the culmination of a week were every child in the house (and there are 5 of them) was sick at least one day or more.  We had fevers, nausea and rashes.  There was not much sleep to be had.  It is during these glass half empty days that I really have to try hard to look out for my needs, too.  Here are 5 ways to survive the glass half empty days:

1. Make healthy food choices.  When we are low on sleep and high on stress our body's tendency is to crave carbs and sugar.  But this depletes us of the very nutrients we need to stay healthy.  Also, it can make our mood turn sour quickly.  Try to choose snacks of almonds, bananas or protein shakes.  Also, I try to make sure I am drinking half of my weight in water each day.

2. Make sleep a priority.  I know from experience that this old adage is easier said than done.  But Mama is not going to be of help to anyone else if she doesn't refresh herself, too.  Sometimes the thing we must do is just listen to our bodies.  Don't we try and teach our childrent to do the same?  It is amazing how much a little rest can turn a glass half empty moment into a glass half full moment. 

3. Get some exercise.  What I mean by this is simply get your body moving for a bit.  It may be a simple walk around the neigborhood or kicking the soccer ball in the backyard.  Sometimes all it takes is fresh air or a bit of new scenery to brighten up our mood.

4. Make sure the kids are clothed and fed.  On days that your glass is about as half empty as it can get make feeding and clothing the kids the one and only goal for the day.  If everyone is feed and clothed then your job is getting done.

5.  Be grateful for one thing.  It sometimes helps to put into perspective your glass half empty days.    We often find the things that are emptying us may not be as bad as we originally thought. 

What about your glass?  Is it half empty or half full?

*I am participating in NaBloPoMo which stands for “National Blog Posting Month".

NaBloPoMo June 2012

Handmade with Care By KellyLynn Review and Giveaway

Handmade With Care By KellyLynn sent me Honey Oatmeal Soup, Coconut Lemongrass Lip Balm and Coconut Lemongrass Body Butter to review.

I was immediately impressed by the care in KellyLynn's packaging.  She uses muslin bags and green recycled paper wrap and even included a hand written note.  All of her ingredients are organic and she takes great care in making each item herself.  She started making her own body products for her children ages 9 and 5 months, because she was sick of all the bad ingredients used in the store bought products. 

The fragrance that came out of these containers are amazing!  I am seriously addicted to the Coconut Lemongrass Body scrub.  I can not get enough of that scent!  I smells so yummy you almost want to eat it!  It is that good!  It really absorbs and moisturizes nicely into my skin.

I love applying the Lip Balm at bedtime.  Handmade With Care's Lip Balm is amazing!  It's moisturizing effects last the entire night.  I love waking up to soft, supple lips. 

Handmade With Care By KellyLynn's Honey Oatmeal soap provides you with natural cleansing power.  I love its pure feel.  It is gentle, but the oatmeal adds just the right amount of exfoliating.  Click here to see her body products and use the coupon code review20 to receive 20% off through Sunday(6-17)  KellyLynn is celebrating 100 likes with a giveaway below. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Food Should Taste Good Chips give me intense joy to eat!{Giveaway}

 Food Should Taste Good sent us several varieties of  their chips to try. 

We served both chocolate and Kettle Corn at our annual driveway movie.  The crowd fell in love the Chocolate Chips (everyone thought that "Chocolate chips" sounded clever, too).  The adults, especially loved this flavor as chocolate just leaves you feeling good.

My family's new found love is the Kettle Corn variety.  These chips just give us intense joy to eat!  I'm not sure where they have been all my live, but they are here to stay.  They are just the right intense blend of salty and sweet.  We are addicted and have already replenished our pantry with them. 

Food Should Taste Good Chips are all natural and made from real simple ingredients. For example, the Chocolate variety are made of: Stone Ground Corn, Sunflower Oil or Safflower Oil, Semi-Sweet Chocolate Powder, Evaporated Cane Juice, Corn Bran, Dutch Cocoa Powder, Vanilla Extract and Sea Salt. Food Should Taste Good Chips are free of cholesterol, preservatives and trans fat, and do not use genetically modified ingredients (GMOs)

These chips are certified Kosher and Gluten Free, lower in sodium and are a good source of dietary fiber.

On the back of each bag are fun suggestions on what you could serve your chips with.  The Chocolate variety suggests:  Peanut Butter and Banana Slices, Vanilla Ice Cream, gently heated and salsa.

Food Should Taste Good is giving one of my readers a Sample Box of 5 bags of chips:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What makes you heart leap? #NaBloPoMo

Tomorrow is my husband's birthday (Flag Day!) and after being married for 13 years he still makes my heart leap.  I am lucky to be married to a man that is so patient and forgiving of all my many faults.  I man that is passionate about his work, but still makes time to coach sports or simply push the kids on the swing in the backyard.

I am lucky to have a husband that still looks at me with the same sparkle in his eye he had on our wedding day.  A man that both encourages and compliments me.  A man that tells the best bedtime stories each and every night to a huddled group of kids.

Honey, remember when we first met & would talk for hours and hours about the future...about being in love forever?  We still are.  Happy Birthday!
*I am participating in NaBloPoMo which stands for “National Blog Posting Month".

NaBloPoMo June 2012

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Where is your Favorite place? #NaBloPoMo

Do you have a favorite place?  For me that place is the Mississippi River.  The Mississippi is a place that fills my soul with rest and relaxation.  It is a place that has provided me with wonderful memories and sheer joy. 

I grew up a River Rat.  Camping every weekend each summer with my family and extended family along the Mississippi River's sandbars.  It is here that we were modern day Huck Finns.  We could often be found floating down the shore in our life jackets or transforming an inner tube into a teeter totter trying our best to bounce each other off.  And there were many afternoons spent water skiing or knee boarding in our very own rendition of a water ski show.

Camping on the river was always an adventure where the only electronics were a battery operated boom box.  We survived a tornado, leaky tents and sometimes even had to bail water out of my Uncle Jerry's boat.

Highlights of the summer would include spotting the Mississippi or Delta Queen steaming down the waterway as the Calliope played in the background.  You could just envision the grand ballroom that must be inside.  The barges were always a hit, too, as they could often be seen hauling grain down the river.

Nightfall would always bring a campfire.  Food just tastes better when roasted around a campfire.  There were many a hot dog, smore or pie iron pie devoured each summer.  Sleep would usually come quick as the waves of the river crashing on the shore would lull us to sleep. If I listen closely I can still hear the waters swirling in their banks. 

What cherished memories Old Man River has provided me.  How about you?  What is your favorite place?

I am participating in NaBloPoMo which stands for “National Blog Posting Month".

NaBloPoMo June 2012

Monday, June 11, 2012

What Makes Me Jump for Joy? {Vison Therapy} #NaBloPoMo

What makes me Jump for Joy?  A Vision Therapy success story!  That is what makes me jump for joy.  My oldest (who looks less than thrilled in this picture) received the Presidental Academic Excellence Award for the second year in a row.  But it was 5 years ago that school, particularly reading and gym, were a source of utter frustration for him. 

Getting him to read was a constant battle.  And he was experiencing sudden unexplainable behavior problems as well.  Sad to say the school was less than helpful.  They wanted him diagnosised with ADD or ADHD.

My motherly instints told me otherwise and I went to our local optometrists office, Horizon Eyecare.  I had once heard Dr. Beth Gilthvedt speak about the correlation between vision/reading/behavorial problems. I figured if nothing else I would rule things out.  Sure enough she was able to determine that his eyes were not focusing correctly and she gave us a referral to MN Vision Therapy Center

At MN Vision Therapy Center our son was put through many different vision exercises and tests.  It was determined he had convergence insufficiency. That's a visual disorder where people -- even with 20/20 vision -- can't focus on the words they're reading.  He was seeing doubles.  This diagnosis also explained his troubles in gym glass were he would often see more than one ball coming toward him. 

For almost two years he was required to do at home exercises that involved focusing on words and letters placed far and near. The exercises were done to retrain the eye how to focus -- resulting in clearer vision and better hand-eye coordination.  He also made weekly office visits to a Vision Therapist to track and monitor his progress. 

The therapy was not covered by insurance and was pretty expensive, but we would do it again in a heartbeat.  The benefits have been amazing. I can't believe how far he has come. He was truly able to unlock his full potential and this makes us all jump for joy!

I am participating in NaBloPoMo which stands for “National Blog Posting Month".

NaBloPoMo June 2012

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Have you wanted to try cloth diapers, but are afraid of the commitment? {& Cloth Diaper Giveaway}

Click here to visit Mama's Emporium If you have wanted to try cloth diapers, but are afraid of the commitment, why don't you consider renting?  Mama's Emporium is one such retailer that offers Mamas the chance to rent cloth diapers. Here is how it works:

Trial/Rental Period (in days): Varies anywhere from 30 days-6 months
Deposit: Varies upon which diapers is selected and the quantity of diapers, but is give all back to you in cash.
Bonus: If you decide you would rather have store credit, you will get an extra $20 credit to use toward anything in the store.
Trial/Rental Fee: The fixed rental fee depends upon the length of the rental. 
Bonus Freebies: Detergent sample pack.
Products that are available for rent:
*Rumparooz One Size CoversRumparooz One Size Diaper Cover Rental (New Covers)

*Cloth Diaper Accessories Rental (customizable & can include: wetbag, wipes, rash cream, detergent, liners, doublers and extra inserts)
Cloth Diaper Accessories Rental (All New In Package)
*EcoPosh Newborn Fitteds
EcoPosh Newborn Fitted Diaper Rental (New Diapers)
*EcoPosh One Size Fitteds
EcoPosh One Size Fitted Diaper Rental (New Diapers)
*EcoPosh Recycled Training Pants
EcoPosh Recycled Organic Training Pants Rental (New Trainers)
*Rumparooz One Size Pockets
Rumparooz One-Size Cloth Diaper Rental (New Diapers)
*Lil Joey Newborn All-in-One

Lil Joey Newborn All In One Cloth Diaper Rental (New Diapers)

Mama's Emporium will be Sponsoring a $100 gift certificate for our Summer Cloth Diaper Hop June 21-30.  Also, join her Facebook group to help determine what products she carries in her store here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Immuno-Viva Renew Anti-Aging Serum Review/Giveaway

When I first received the bottle of immuno-viva renew Anti-Aging serum, the first thing I did was look at the list of ingredients: cranberry seed oil, red raspberry seed oil, sunflower seed oil, black cumin seed oil, mixed tocopherols (fat soluble anti-oxidants), rosemary extract and natural fragrance.  It was so refreshing to see a list of ingredients that I could not only pronounce, but actually knew.

When I first opened the bottle of immuno-viva Anti-Aging Serum, I was struck by the wonderful aroma.  You could just smell the goodness of nature waifing out of the bottle.  It smelled so organic.

I applied the serum both AM & PM.  The instructions say you can do one or both.  After applying the immuno-viva renew Anti-Aging Serum I immediately felt my skin soaking the serum up.  It had instant hydrating effects.  After using the immuno-viva renew Anti-Aging Serum for a week I could visibly notice the evening of my skin tone. Some other uses of the immuno-viva renew Anti-Aging Serum are: wrinkles, scars, stretch marks, uneven skin tone, dehydrated skin and under eye dark circles.  I was a little nervous about using a serum, but was happy to find that it left no greasy residue and left my skin very supple.

The immuno-viva renew Anti-Aging Serum is made by utilizing the Cold Press ProcessThe Cold Press Process gently presses & separates the plant seeds into oils without the use of heat or chemicals thus retaining the serum's ingredients in the most pure natural form. 

To learn about this and other immuno-viva products click here.
Follow immuno-viva on Facebook here.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, June 8, 2012

How do you feel about new people jumping into your life? #NaBloPoMo

I love when new people jump into my life.  I feel so blessed to have made so many new connections in the last 9 months with so many other amazing moms.

This school year many new moms have joined my circle of friends.  I have forged friendships due to children the same age, or children with similar interests.  Also, some of these friendships have formed out of remarkably similar life experiences.  Coincidence--I think not!

The one character flaw I have about meeting new people is I am slow to warm up.  What I mean by slow to warm up is that it will take me some time before I will feel comfortable enough to invite you to my home.

I am not a natural born hostess.  I feel too inadequate and self conscious.  My mind always asks:  What would we eat, what would we do, what would we talk about?

I'm going to try better to jump out of my shell of self-consciousness.  Please do not take offense if I haven't invited you over for a playdate, yet.  I'm working on it because we Moms need other Mom friends.

NaBloPoMo June 2012
I am participating in NaBloPoMo which stands for “National Blog Posting Month” and is a blogging challenge created by the team at blogher.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Do you look before you leap? #NaBloPoMo

Good or bad I am a person that doesn't look before I leap.  I can't say that I totally close my eyes and jump. I like to think at the very least I look out of my peripheral vision.  That I make sure there aren't any obvious dangers before I make the jump.

Take for example, the very blog you are reading.  I started this blog before I knew all the ins and outs of the blogosphere.  I am learning so much daily, more than I could have ever imagined I would need to know. I truly feel that if I would have totally looked (and I mean really, really looked) before I took the big leap, I never would have started blogging. 

For me personally the true reason I do not look before I leap is that I would talk myself out of just about any and everything.  I think sometimes the best thing we can do is trust our instincts and rely on faith to carry us through.

What about you look before you leap?
NaBloPoMo June 2012

I am participating in NaBloPoMo which stands for “National Blog Posting Month” and is a blogging challenge created by the team at blogher.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

What would I like to Jump into if I had more time? #NaBloPoMo

Are you on Pinterest? If you are like me you pin & pin, but never make time to complete any of you pinning projects. I have so many pins I would love to attempt, but up to this point I have not found the time to try any of them. Well, things are changing here at Mama Bucks. Starting this week I am going to jump right into attempting one pin each week. I promise to share my successes and failures with you. Being creative is something my mind craves. And we as mother's need to take care of ourselves, too. I will post a link up so we can jump into this venture together. Will you join me?

NaBloPoMo June 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Berry Picking

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How I feel about starting new projects #NabloPoMo

Our bookcase refinishing project
Sometimes starting new projects in our house can seem very overwhelming.  It seems we have more projects to complete than hours in our day.  In order to complete these projects, I have started focusing on the 5 following steps:

1. Breathe first.  I don't know about you, but my mind is always racing with thoughts.  Thoughts on what, how & when to get things done.  I sometimes just need to remember to breathe in order to slow down and hone in on where to begin.

2. Focus on the task at hand.  It is easy to get sidetracked by emails, phone calls, mindless TV or any # of things.  Decide what you are going to be working on and stay on task. 

3. Think in 15 minute increments.  In our home it is often hard to find a full hour to concentrate solely on a project, but we can usually find a few 15 minute time slots throughout the day.

4.  Enlist the help of your kids.  This is dependent on age, of course.  Can they give you tools, help you paint or wield a hammer?  After all, how else will they learn how to do a task unless you show them?

5.  Set realistic goals.  Again, if you are like our family you may not even get one project completed in a day's time let alone 5. Break your project down into baby steps.  For example, maybe I can't get my bookcase completely painted in one day.  But, I might be able to get it sanded today, primed the next and painted the following day. 

How does your family find time to get your projects completed?

NaBloPoMo June 2012