Friday, July 25, 2014

Spellbinders Celebrations review and giveaway

The spellbinders brand provided me with a sample of Spellbinders Celebrations collection in exchange for a product review. However, all opinions expressed ere are my own.

 In a world where you can send a message instantly, have we lost the art of handmade cards?  I really hope not. I have noticed that people do not send cards as much as they used to send cards, but why?


I do not know if you are anything like me, but I still enjoy receiving and giving handmade cards.  There is something to be said about how much time it takes to sit down and make a handmade card, write a note, address it, stamp it and send it in the mail. Think about all those steps. During each one of those steps that person was thinking of you. It is enough to make anyone feel loved, valued and cherished. So why don't we do it? 

Time!



It can take long time to make a single card, but what if I told you it does not have to take a long time to make a high quality card, just a few minutes. 



Thanks to Spellbinders Celebrations by Richard Gray , I was able to complete the two projects (pictured above) in under 5 minutes.  With Spellbinders Celebrations collection of dies, stamps,  paper ink and accessories all coordinated to work perfectly together, your creations are endless.    

You can customize your own card to create a one-of-a-kind gift. You can also make a scrapbook layout to fit your unique style.  


Now for what you have been waiting for....

The giveaway will be for : 



    • (1)  Spellbinders Celebrations "Many Words" Clear Polymer Stamp (SCS-004) (clear block not included) 


Here is how you enter:  
Mandatory:
  •  Follow me on Google and leave a comment stating you are following me.

Additional entrees:
 
  • Additional entrees: 
    • Share this Giveaway on your facebook page and leave a comment.
    • "Like" Nowamomof3's Facebook page and leave comment.   
    • Follow Nowamomof3's Facebook page and leave comment.
    • Follow Nowamomof3 on Twitter and leave a comment.
    • Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment.
    • Leave a comment on any other story on my blog for one additional entree. 
RULES: Maximum of 7 entries per person. The giveaway will end on August 8th at midnight.  I will randomly pick a winner at random.org on August 10th.  I will notify the winner by e-mail and posted winners first name or user name on my blog.  The winner with have 48 hours to contact me or another winner will be chosen.  You must be 18 years or older and a US resident to enter.  











Friday, July 18, 2014

SeaWorld Texas water park: Aquatica review


This summer my family and I attended Adventure Con 2014 hosted by SeaWorld / Aquatica (see my post on Sea World ).  As a mom with a child with special need I was a little nervous to take my Special Needs child to a water park like Aquatica, but since I check it out last year without her I was sure we would have a great time.

Since I was there for a Blogging Conference I was not able to spend the whole day in Aquatica, but we did make the most of the time we had in Aquatica.


First we ate lunch at Waterstone Grill. The sausage wrap and potato salad was really good and my daughter enjoyed eating the watermelon.  While we were eating, her favorite characters Shamu and a penguin mascots came out to visit with the kids.  She was so happy to see them and they both came over and hugged her.


Did you know Aquatica has animal encounters?
While our lunch settled we headed over to Roa's Aviary, in Loggerhear Beach of Aquatica. There were more birds than I was able to count. As you can see by the pictures the scenery is breath taking not to mention you can either walk among the tropical birds or wade through the waterfall.  Some of the birds in the aviary are considered threatened or endangered.  We were even able to feed the birds and see how amazing they are up-close.  Sea World educations are also there to answer any question we had about the birds.


Birds were not the only creatures we saw, we also saw turtles and stingrays.  We laid against a small wall and were able to feel the stingray as they glided passed us. They must like to be touch because they would come by us time and time again.  It was incredible to see the kids faces light up as they toughed the stingray. 

As a family we also took some time to float along Loggerhead Lane river.  The river's current pushes us along as we maneuvered through the different water obstacles. It was so much fun to get wet on a hot Texas day and see birds, turtles, and stingrays. 

They have some amazing ride too, but due to a medical emergency (my daughter had a seizure and we had to leave) we did not ride any ride this time.   However last year I was able to try-out all of the ride at Aquatica and they are amazing, thrilling rides. We will definitely be going back again this year.


Disclaimer I received discounted ticket to SeaWorld and Aquatic as well as quick queue passes and meal vouchers as part of Adventure Con 2014 Blogging Conference. However all opinion expressed her are my own.  


To learn more about Aquatica check out their website. http://aquaticabyseaworld.com/sanantonio/

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Keep Momming

“Disclosure: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Shire. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.”

The relationship that exists between mothers and daughters is unlike any other. It has many unique moments, memories, and yes, even challenges along the way. The relationship dynamic can be even trickier when your daughter is in those tween-age years. What can be even more difficult is when some people dismiss certain behaviors as “typical tween girl behavior” when those behaviors can be symptoms of something more serious. Research suggests that girls are more likely than boys to report having mostly inattentive Attention- Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms. Since inattentive symptoms can be less noticeable than hyperactive and impulsive symptoms, it is important that moms know what to look for.

I’m proud to be joining forces with Shire, CHADD and Holly Robinson Peete to announce the launch of keep momming, a new public service initiative geared towards the moms of tween girls to raise awareness of ADHD.

The campaign is anchored within a new digital hub, KeepMomming.com, where you’ll find tips, tools and other go-to resources for moms, including a checklist to help recognize the symptoms of ADHD – inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity – and then encourages moms to talk to their daughter’s doctor. The keep momming initiative can help moms learn about ADHD and provide ideas on how to spark a conversation and stay connected with their tween.

Don’t miss Holly’s message about the keep momming initiative, and be sure to check out the website at KeepMomming.com.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

10 reasons you should take your special needs child to Sea World Texas.

Disclaimer I received discounted ticket to SeaWorld and Aquatic as well as quick queue passes and meal vouchers as part of Adventure Con 2014 Blogging Conference. However all opinion expressed her are my own.  My hopes are this post will help caregivers to make the most of their SeaWorld San Antonio adventure with a Special Needs Child.  Please keep in mind each child is unique and will respond differently. 

This summer my family and I attended Adventure Con 2014hosted by Sea World (see my post ).  As a mom of a child with Special Needs I was a little nervous to take my Special Needs child to a busy amusement park like SeaWorld, but since I check it out last year without her I was sure we would have a great time.


Sea World is an ADA compliant park, and they have gone above and beyond to help families with special needs enjoy their experience.  That is why I wanted to share how we navigate Sea World Texas with a special needs child. ( check out my other blog post Easy Tip for Special Needs Kids at Sea World San Antonio, Texas


1.  They have an Accessibility Pass.  Before you go to the park check out their website for information on their Accessibility Pass.  Then when you arrive at the park go to guest services and ask for the Accessibility pass.  There is nothing like being able to get your child as close to the rides as possible so you can transfer them from their wheelchair to the ride.  The Accessibility pass will allow your child and one guest to ride with them on a ride (on some rides more than one guest can accompany the child).  If your child has a stroller that acts as a wheelchair they have a red stickers that will help you from being stopped every time you try to go into a show and being ask to park your stroller in the stroller parking. 

2. You can purchase the Quick Queue.  If you don’t mind paying a little extra and want to ride thrill rides, I would recommend buying the Quick Queue.  In a nut shell it allows a person to go to the front of the line at Sea World’s most popular attractions. Checked out SeaWorld's website to learn more.

3.  The Rides

Dress for the Weather!  This summer has been unusually cool so far, but most summers in Texas are hot and humid.  Bring lots of sunblock.   Next to Sea World is Aquatica (click here to see my post on Aquatica) so it is a good idea to wear your swim suit underneath your clothes. Many shows and rides will get you drenched so bring a towel too.


Rio Loco The rides at SeaWorld are amazing.  My daughter’s favorite ride was Rio Loco (my youngest was not tall enough to ride, so daddy had to stay with him).  With the accessibility pass you have up to 5 guest ride with your special needs child.  This ride is a great way to cool down in the Texas heat, because you are most likely going to get drench on this ride.
 Journey to Atlantis.  I was shocked to find out my 3 year old was tall enough to ride Journey to Atlantis.  It takes you up so high you can see the whole park. It is part water ride, part coaster.  You are going to get wet on this ride.   I know my little guy was a little nervous to ride this ride, but when the ride was over he was glad he gave it a try.
For the younger kids or the kids at heart head on over to Sesame Street® Bay of Play®.  Here you will find rides like:
Shamu Express.   My youngest was able to ride his first “mini” rollercoaster, Shamu Express.   From the screams and laughter I heard from the kids I knew they loved it .
 Abby Cadabby’s Rockin' Wave.  It rocked us back and forth and even sideways as we squealed with delight.
You can also try: Elmo’s Dolphin Dive, Grover's Round-Up, and Big Bird’s Spinning Reef.  If you want your little ones to get wet try Little Bird's Splash, where you will be squirted with geysers and watch out for the dumping buckets.   
You might even meet some of the Sesame Street characters we saw Cookie Monster and Zoe.

4.  The shows

We watch One Ocean in the “splash zone”.  I don't care how many times I see Killer whales; I never seem to get tired of watching them perform!  They are beautiful majestic creatures.  Their performance is a dance of motion in the water.   I cannot go to Sea World without seeing Shamu. Yes this show entertains but it also meant to educate and inspires us to save these killer whales.
Auzl.  This show was breathtaking, it is where Beluga whales, dolphins and synchronize swimmers are combined with some comedy relief.    My family did not get a chance to see the show, but I did see it last year. 

5. Close encounters with Animals: This is the amazing part of Sea World. The Penguin Encounter, Sea Lion, and Sharks/The Coral Reef allow your child to get up close and personal with the animals. At the Dolphin Cove your child could even get a chance to physically touch a dolphin.   As my husband was holding our daughter over the edge to watch the dolphins, the trainer tossed a Frisbee to a dolphin informing the crown a dolphin will pick someone to bring it to.  YES! The dolphin picked my daughter and brought her the Frisbee (I wish I had a picture, but we were all so in the moment).  Every encounter is wheelchair accessible, but some have cross-sloping areas.


6.  Animal Ambassadors. As you are walking around the park keep your eye open for SeaWorld Animal Ambassadors. They walk the park at different time with animals from the park. My family and I were able to meet some animals.  We were able to see an American bald Eagle, she was young so she was still brown, but soon she  will lose those brown feathers and become covered with white.  We also met a few Lemurs.  

7. They have accessible restrooms.  All restrooms are wheelchair accessible. There is a "companion restroom” located at Sea Side Landing across from Dolphin Cove. There are also restrooms inside the first aid stations. If you need an adult changing table some restrooms have baby changing stations and a private nursing room next to it with a bench. It would be a great place to tube feed your child and change their diaper too!
In case of an emergence know where the first aid station is located. It is located behind Guest Services at the Main Entrance.  Any SeaWorld team member will be happy to help you get to the first aid station.


8.  Great Foods for your diet.Special Diet: Did you know Sea World has a Chef Card for guest will allergies?  The Chef Card is a valuable tool for any guest suffering from food allergies.  Click here to learn more about the Chef Card. If your child is not on a special diet, you can still make the most of you dining experience. Eat at a diner near a stadium during the show because there will be less people and noise as everyone's watching the shows. 


9. You can bring Water and snacks into the park. The park also allows you to bring in a small 6-pack cooler filled with water and a few snacks. This is a great way to bring your child extra water because you are going to need it. One thing to keep in mind it there are no straws allowed for the animals safety.


10.  You'll have FUN!  You and your family will have the time of your lives.



You have any questions about traveling to Sea World Texas with a special needs child, especially one with Rett syndrome, please feel free to e-mail me or post a comment below.



Disclaimer I received discounted ticket to SeaWorld and Aquatic as well as quick queue passes and meal vouchers as part of Adventure Con 2014 Blogging Conference. However all opinion expressed her are my own.  My hopes are this post will help caregives to make the most of their SeaWorld San Antonio adventure with a Special Needs Child.  Please keep in mind each child is unique and will respond differently. 











Monday, July 7, 2014

10 reasons to attend Adventure Con blogging conference


This summer I attended my second blogging conference, Adventure Con 2014.  Adventure Con 2014 is a conference for bloggers in Texas hosted by Sea World San Antonio.  One of the reasons why I love this conference so much it that it is limited to the top Texas blogger which cultivates an intimate setting for optimal learning. The other reason why I love this conference is that it is at Sea World and the whole family can attend.  Attending Adventure Con 2104 was one of those opportunities a blogger like me just cannot pass up.

1. Marriott Hotel
We arrived at the Marriott Hotel in San Antonio Friday evening.  The courtyard at San Antonio is the official hotel of Sea World.  After we check into our room and we settled into our room we, went swimming in their amazing pool.  (to read more about the hotel review click here).

2. Meeting Other Bloggers
The first night we had a meet and greet with other bloggers and their family.  The bloggers were so friendly and shared a wealth of information about their blogs.  My kids and I were even able to meet with some of the Sea World team members and even took our photo with Shamu.


Saturday morning my family slept in while I attended the conference in the Alamo room at the Hotel.  It was fun to see bloggers I had met last year and to met new blogger too.  This conference is jam packed full of great information for seasoned bloggers as well as newbies.   I am a newbie when it comes to social media so I decided to takeaway one statement from each of the presentation and share it with my readers as well as use it myself.  

3. "How to think like a reporter"
From Randy Escamilla @RandyEscamilla I learned "How to think like a reporter".  I learned that emotion is the common thread to all stories.  The best stories are the ones that are authentic and real.  Anyone can ask questions, but it’s best to use a follow up question, for example , “what do you mean,”  to gain a deeper understand.  

4. “How to be a Great Media Source”
The panel consisted of top blogger; Sue Patterson as @socialnewsara, John Pacini as @superjohn, and Carrie Pacini as @carriepacini.   The best tip I learned was the media loves original content and they want you to be loyal to them and available when they need you.

5. Aquatica
Around noon we all headed to Sea World, Aquatica to be exact.  In Aquatica we ate lunch at Waterstone Grill. The sausage wrap and potato salad was really good.  My daughter enjoyed eating watermelon.  Her favorite part was when the shamu and the penguin mascots came out and hugged her.
While our lunch settled we headed over to Roa's Aviary, in Loggerhear Beach of Aquatica. There were more birds then I was able to count. As you can see by the pictures the scenery is breath taking not to mention you can either walk among the tropical birds or wade through the waterfall.  Some of the birds in the aviary are considered threatened or endangered.  We were even able to feed the birds and see how amazing they are up-close.  Sea World educations are also there to answer any question we had about the birds.

6. Special Encounters
Animal Ambassadors. As you are walking around the park keep your eye open for SeaWorld Animal Ambassadors. They walk the park at different time with animals from the park. My family and I were able to meet some animals.  We were able to see an American bald Eagle, she was young so he was still brown, but soon she  lose those brown feathers.   We also met a few Lemurs.


7. Sea World
Before we watch One Ocean We sat down with the Killer Whale (Orcinus Orca) trainers for a special Question and answer session.   We were able to ask any questions we had about Sea World.  There were many questions asked by all the blogger, the trainer was very informative and answered all of the questions. The trainer spoke of her love for these orcas and what a privileges it was to be able to work with them.  She spoke of the positive reinforcement they use with them and how if they don’t want to do something for a show, they don’t have to do it.  She also assured us they are feed whether they perform or not.   I could tell how much she really loved working with these mammals. 

After all questions were answered we stayed in our seats at the “splash zone” and waited for the show One Ocean staring Shamu to start. I don't care how many times I see Killer whales; I never seem to get tired of watching them perform!  They are beautiful majestic creatures.  Their performance is a dance of motion in the water.   I cannot go to Sea World without seeing Shamu. Yes this show entertains but it also meant to educate and inspires us to save these killer whales. 
On Sunday we met at Sea World in the Seaside landing for more information on Blogging.

8. Community Storytelling
Fran Stephenson from Step in Communication (@FranSteps) spoke on telling a great story.  The best tip I learned was the power of a good story invokes imagination, it is part of our history and tradition.   I learn to tell not just everyday stories but stories that will define a generation by creating empathy and action.

9. Flip the Pin
Stacy Teet of Kids Stuff World (@stacyofksw) spoke on Pinterest and Flipboard .  I learned that you must give credit where credit is due (just like I am doing in this blog post). She also gave great ideas for sharing on Printrest by keeping your boards to about 40-60 and changing your board cover often.

10.Secrets of Google plus
Jamie Dorobek of C.R.A.F.T. (Creating Really Awesome FreeThings) who is a Google+ expert helped me to realize a profile is better than a page and to use a picture in link to blog post.


When Adventrure Con  2014 was over I took some time to take some photos with some of the bloggers I met. I also wanted to thank Kami (@kamiChat) for her hard work and dedication to organizing his amazing event for us blogger.

If you have not experienced SeaWorld or Aquatic and are a blogger you will want to join us next year for another amazing adventure. 

Disclosure: I recieved discounted ticket to SeaWorld and Aquatic as well as queue passes and meal vouchers as part of Adventure Con 2014 Blogging Conference.









Saturday, July 5, 2014

Why my family stays at Marriott: Courtyard in San Antonio


When we travel we always stay at Marriott hotels. The reason why is simple, they are are always able to accommodate our family’s needs. 

Last Week I attend Adventure Con blogging Conference at Sea World (to see my post on Adventure Con 2014 click here).  Our family booked a room at the Marriott Courtyard at San Antonio Westover Hills.  They are located about two mile from Sea World and provide a shuttle bus from the hotel to Sea World. 

As you know having a child with special needs can make traveling really hard and unpleasant, but not if you are staying at a Marriott. When we informed the staff of our daughter's special needs they were more than willing to accommodate her.  They went out of their way to make our stay as pleasant as possible.  

When we arrived at the hotel I was greeted with a smile and a sweet note from their staff welcoming our family to Adventure Con 2014.   They informed us they offer complimentary on-site parking and we were glad. 

All their accessible guest rooms have a 32 inch wide opening. Our room was so clean and spacious; we were able to turn our daughter's wheelchair all the way around with ease.   Our room had two queen beds, a sofa pull out bed and another couch that was perfect for lounging. 


 Our room had Air conditioning, Coffee maker/tea service, and Individual climate control.  The mini kitchen has a microwave and Mini fridge too.  The Luxury beds were perfect for a restful night sleep.  The mattress had the perfect match between firm and soft topped with custom comforters and some fluffy pillows. Since we have three kids our room was also equipped with a pull-out sofa bed.  The kids were kept entertained with the big screen television and their many different channels.



We also loved the food at the hotel Bistro.  They provide breakfast, Lunch and dinner options with a variety of beverage and Starbucks® coffee.

Now my family and I love to swim and even more so when we are on vacation.  This hotel pool is one of the coolest we have seen. All pool entrances are all accessible, but it does not have a chair lift.   It has both an indoor to outdoor connected swimming pool and an indoor and outdoor hot tub.  It even has a wave pool bar with refreshment to cool you off while in the pool. ( I wish I had taken photos of the pool  but we did not bring our camera down to the pool because we did not want them to get wet.) 

If you would like to know more about Marriott hotels or the Marriott Courtyard at San Antonio Westover Hills where we stayed check out their website.


Disclosure:  Our family received a discounted rate to our room for staying at Marriott for Adventure Con 2014. However we were not asked to blog about our stay and all opinions expressed here are my own. 








Tuesday, June 3, 2014

To the parents of the class of 2021, why graduation picture are hard to look at.

As we get closer and closer to the end of this school year, I cannot help but notice all the post about kids like my daughter that are going into middle school next year.  I see all the picture with the quotes, "class of 2021" for a moment I get excited.  I almost commented "my daughter too", but then I realized that may not be true. No, I do not plan on her being held back in any grades, but what I mean is special needs kids have the option to  stay in school until there twenty-first birthday. Which means she maybe class of 2021 or 2022 or 2023.  

My daughter is also in a life skills class and has little interaction with the kids in the general education classes so will the kids even know her?  Will she even be able to walk across the stage at graduation? ( I hope so, or will we have to fight the school for that honor.)  I also wonder if she will be able to get a High school diploma or a completion certificate.

And during her senior year while all the other parents and teens are contemplating what college their child will attend, I will be terrified as to what to do with my daughter when school is over.  I will not longer have the comfort of an IEP (individual education plan) to make sure her goals are accomplished.  I will have to say good bye to the "me" time I have while she is at school.  She will have to attend ever single event I attend including doctor visits, running errands, and lunches with friends etc. 

The problem is when I see these pictures of moms with their daughter at their six grade completion ceremony, it just reminds me of all that I will miss out on doing with my daughter.  It reminds me of how we should be picking out an instrument for her to play in the middle school band or decided what sports she wants to play or  helping her decided what clubs to join. It reminds me how different our life really is from a family with only "typically" developing kids. It reminds me in all that we will miss out on doing with our daughter. 


I try not to think about all of this but it's hard not to think about it.  I know I only have three years of middle school and four years of high school and this will all be reality, weather I want it to or not. I do not want to sit around worrying about it, I want to be proactive and prepare myself for it.  

Don't misunderstand me, I am looking forward to spending time with my daughter.  I love the mother/daughter events we attend together.  I love doing girly things with her.  I love taking her places with me and just hanging out with her.  I like talking to her while driving in the car and seeing her sitting next to me in the passenger seat.  I am happy to be moving into another stage in my life.

The problem is when I see these pictures of moms with their daughter at their six grade completion ceremony, it just reminds me of all that I will miss out on doing with my daughter.  It reminds me of how we should be picking out an instrument for her to play in the middle school band or decided what sports she wants to play or helping her decided what clubs to join.

No matter what the future holds for my daughter we are thankful she is here with us and we are able to share this journey with her.