Sunday, June 23, 2013

Easy Tip for Special Needs Kids at Sea World San Antonio, Texas

As a mom with a child with special need I am nervous to take my child to a busy amusement park like SeaWorld. So when I was asked to attend Adventure Con 2013 (see my post). I decided to leave my family at home. As a mom of a special needs child I was worried about her in an amusement park in the Texas heat. Not to mention how others would respond to all her needs. Like other special needs kids, her moods can be unpredictable and out of control when she is over stimulated.  I know the park is ADA compliant, but are the employees truly accepting of people with special needs? I felt like this would be a great chance for me to check it out for myself (we had taken her to SeaWorld San Antonio before when she was 7 and I was a mom of 2) . When I was at Sea World, I asked many questions. I asked people will all kind of assistant devices their opinion of the park. I asked moms of special needs kids, and I asked the employees at different events in the park too. I also made friends with some special needs adults and asked them their opinion of the park.

Tips for Sea World Texas with a Special needs child:

Be Prepared
1. Weather! You are in Texas and if you do not like the weather here, just wait a minute, because it is bound to change.  During the summer it is hot and humid here so bring sunblock.   There are also many shows and rides where you will get drenched and Sea World also has a new water park, so be prepared and bring your swimsuit. It is worth checking out!

2. Lost Kids: You are in an amusement/animal park and kids can easily get lost. Some parents write their name on their clothes, but some people would not check the clothes of a lost child. I have heard of some parents writing their phone number on their child's arm in permanent maker so it will not wash off in the water. Sea World also has an ID tag vending machine. It is located by the Bay of play. The IDs are cute, come in many different designs, and it engraves your child's information onto the tag.

3. Lost Parents: Look at the map on-line and familiarize with the park. When you get to the park they will also have paper maps there. You can also download a SeaWorld app to help give you the inside information about the park. 

4. Routine: When Traveling with a child with special needs you will want as much of the same routine as possible. I know it is impossible to have exactly the same routine, but keep the basics. Try to eat your meals at the same time you normal do. If they have a favorite snack, bring it and give it to them. If your child takes a nap at the same time every day make sure you go back to the hotel and let them take a nap. Keep there bedtime as close to the normal bed time as you can. 

As a mom of a special needs child I know you are already use to being prepared for everything. Remember just because you are at Sea Word does not mean you do not have to be prepared.

Medical stuff
1. First aid. 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. Don't forget to keep your medical supplies with you, essential life saving equipment needs to be with you at all times. 

2. Restrooms. All restrooms are wheelchair accessible. There is a "companion restroom" called a family restroom located at Sea Side Landing across from Dolphin Cove. There is also a restrooms inside the first aid stations. If you need an adult changing table they do have a private nursing room with a bench. It would be a great place to tube feed your child and change their diaper too! 


1. Ride some rides: SeaWorld has a Ride Accessibility brochure. You can pick one up at Guest Services, located at the Main Entrance of the park. They ask you different questions about your child's ability and print out a list of rides and attractions your child may enjoy in the park. 

2. Use the Accessibility Pass. Don't be ashamed to use the Accessibility pass! Lets face it, we do not get many perks for having a special needs child, so take advantage of this perks. As soon as you get to the park visit guest services and ask them for the pass. They will give you a wealth of information. It's nice not to be confined and overwhelmed by people crowding your child in a long line. If you get awkward stares, just smile, or use it as a teachable moment. There is nothing like being able to get your child as close to the rides as possible so you can transfer them.

3. Show Accessibility: At each stadium and theater there is seating for guests using wheelchairs. Shamu's stadium has seating at the top of the stadium. Azul has seating available at the top and bottom of the stadium, but recommends sitting at the top so you can see the whole experience. Also watch out for the "Splash Zones" these are place to sit in the shows where you will most likely get wet. The theater also has accessibility seating in the middle of the theater.

4. Up close 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. Every encounter is wheelchair accessible, but some have cross-sloping areas. If you keep you eyes peeled you might see an Animal Ambassador walking around with a animal you can touch.

5. Slow Down. When we went to SeaWorld with my daughter, we were not able to see everything, but that was alright. We had a much happier family when we slowed down and took our time. Most special needs children do not like to be rushed so if you can slow down, you may not see as much of the park as you want, but it will make your vacation worth it in the long run. The best tip for us was to hit the park when it opened, then at about 12am we would go back to the hotel for lunch. I would take the her and put her (and myself) down for a nap. My hubby and our oldest would take a swim. When the she woke up from their nap around 3pm we would head back to the park again.

Lets Eat

1. Food allergy. if your child has a allergy there are many places in the park that can accommodate special diets. Use the Chef Card, it is a downloaded card you create that outlines the foods you need to avoid. You hand the card to the chef for review and they will prepare your meal according. Click here to get more information and to download the Chef Card. Polar Parlor and Sweet Treats is the best place to go for an allergy free sweet treat or snack! 

2. Bring Snack. The park also allows you to bring in a small 6-pack cooler filled with snacks. This is a great way to bring your child's favorite snacks

3. Tube fed child. If you child is tube feed (like mine) they do have a private nursing room with a bench. It would be a great place to tube feed your child and change their diaper too! 

4. Where to Eat. If your child is not on a special diet, you can still make the most of you dining experience. Eat at a dinner near a stadium during the show because there will be less people and noise as everyone's watching the shows. 

Have Fun.

Extras: If you are traveling with other people be realistic about what they can expect from your family and your child. Most people are not trying to be rude or condescending, they just don't get it! They have no idea what it takes to care for a child with special needs. Be as specific as possible about what could and will happen to your child if he or she is overwhelmed, and how you will handle the situation. For example if your child has a melt down, what will you or your spouse do? What do you want them to do? When people are informed and communication is open it makes for a happier time for everyone involved.

Special Encounters

1. 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 friend and I were able to meet two animals, a Lemur, Alena and an Armadillo, Wilson (see photo below).

2. See what goes on behind-the-scenes. Up-close tours like their Behind the Scenes and Seafari Tour can be fun.

3. Interactive tours. Click here for information on a amazing interactive marine life experience specially designed for students with mental and physical challenges for a fee.

If 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: This is my own opinion about how to make the most of your Sea World San Antonio adventure with a Special Needs Child. Each child is unique and will respond differently.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Adventure Con 2013: My 1st blogger conference at Sea World

As a humble blogger, I never thought I would attend a blogger conference, but when a fellow blogger friend was chosen to attend Adventure Con 2013, a conference for blogger in Texas hosted by Sea World San Antonio, and asked me to accompanies her,  I knew I could not say no.  This is one of those opportunities a blogger cannot pass up.

I was nervous about attending.  I mean I was way out of my league.  These people were the top bloggers in Texas and I was just a little blog with a humble following?   Would they stop me at the door after they saw my blog, would they respect me as a blogger?

We arrived at the Marriott hotel Friday evening, and checked into the official hotel of Sea World,  followed by a meet and greet with fellow bloggers.  The bloggers were so friendly and shared a wealth of information about their blogs.  There we met with some of the Sea World team members and even took our photo with Shamu ( I did not want the penguin to get jealous so I took a photo kissing them too).

On Saturday we met at Sea World in the Seaside landing for the conference. We had speakers on many different topics.  I have to admit a few topics were over my head.  I had to wait and ask my 14 year old the meaning of some of the terminology.  Don't get me wrong the topics were amazing and I have a wealth of information to share with you (as soon as I figure out what they are talking about).  On Father's Day SeaWorld team members toasted the fathers with root beer, what a great way to honor dads.

Most of the bloggers brought their families.  I decided to leave my family at home,  As a mom of a special needs child I was worried about her in an amusement park in the Texas heat.  Not to mention how others would respond to all her needs.  I know the park is ADA compliant, but are the employees truly accepting of people with special needs?  I felt like this would be a great chance for me to check it out for myself.  When I was at Sea World, I asked many questions.  I asked people will all kind of assistant devices their opinion of the park.  I asked moms of special needs kids, and I asked the employees at different events in the park too.  I even made friends with some special needs adults and asked them their opinion of the park (see photo below).  To learn more about their answers check out my blog post: Sea World Texas with a special needs child.

During our  conference we had a few hours during session and after the the sessions where we could go and check out SeaWorld.  I have to say if you have not been to SeaWord in a few years, then you are in for some big surprises.  The have kept the best parts of  SeaWorld the same while adding some new additions and adventures.

The first show my friends and I had to see was Shamu.  I don't care how many time 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.

Next we headed to Auzl.  If you can only see one show a SeaWorld this is one you will not want to miss.  It was breathtaking.  There were Beluga whales, dolphins, synchronize swimmers and comedy relief.    I suggest you sit above the water line of this show or you will miss the excitement.  You will also want to arrive at least 20 minuets before the show starts to get a good seat, this show tends to fill up fast!

A new show, Pets Ahoy, just opened this month.  It was adorable, seeing all the pets showing off their skills.  I was impressed when I found out the pets are from local animal shelters.  A few times during the show the pets lost their focus and had to be redirected, but I think it added to the show.  One of the dogs walked to a corner and started sniffing, the animal trainer had to walk over to him and he said, " nothing is there that was not there yesterday."  The crowd roared with laughed.

I also went on a few rides.  One mistake I made was to go on Rio Loco with my cargo shorts, socks and shoes.  Don't get me wrong the ride was so much fun.  I however was drenched from head to toe.  I had my swim shorts and flip flops with me, I just did not realize how wet I could get.  You will also want to bring quarters because they have lockers at the rides where you can put your things while you are riding the rides (I wish I would have used the lockers) .

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 friends and I were able to meet two animals, a Lemur, Alena and an Armadillo, Wilson (see photo below).  

 We also had some time to explore Sea World's new water park Aquatica, but that is another post.

You can also download the SeaWorld app to your smart photo to get the most out of you adventure.  It has a wealth of information.

As you can see from the Photos we had a great time a Sea World San Antonio.   There was so much to do and see.  If you are looking  for a place to take your kids that is not just another amusement park, but is also an educational experience, head over to Sea World San Antonio and book your trip.  The memories you make will be priceless.

Make your dishwasher work for you with platinum cascade

Disclosure:  I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Cascade.  I received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

I have been using Cascade since I starting using a dishwasher.  I did not know how spoiled I had been by Cascade until one day when my hubby brought home the generic brand.  When I went to unload the dishwasher I though to myself was this run?  There were so many pieces of food on the dishes.  What is the point of spending less on dish washing liquid, if you have to use twice as much?  That was all it took for my hubby to say, "we will only buy Cascade from now on".  The next day he came home with  a bottle of Cascade. We have tried Cascade liquid and Cascade pacs.  I prefer the pacs because they are so easy my kids can put them in without making a mess.   It's a great way for my 2 year old to help with the household chores!

This weekend I went out of town leaving my hubby home with kids and a Cascade Platinum Pacs.  I figured if I was going to leave him home alone with three kids I had to do all I could to make his life easier.     

Cascade Platinum Pacs deliver the most powerful clean available from Cascade while simultaneously helping to maintain the sparkling look of your clean dishwasher interior.

Cascade Platinum Pacs feature an advanced triple action recipe that is specially designed to leave dishware virtually spot-free and help prevent build-up of hard-water film on dishwasher walls. 

No pre-rinse, fights grease , rinse aid action  Phosphate free.

Some of the dish care benefits are: 
  • Delivers Cascade’s best clean with a premium, advanced triple action formula that helps prevent residue on your dishes, and even filming on your machine.
  • Scrubs away tough 24 hour stuck-on food.
  • Eliminates the need to pre-wash dishes.
  • Helps maintain the look of new dishwasher and helps prevent additional  hard water film build up
  • Delivers exceptional dishware shine
  • No pre-rinse because it has a rinse aid action, and it fights grease too.
  • Phosphate free.
Cascade Platinum Pacs are available in Fresh and Lemon Burst Scents at a store near you.   For more information on all Cascade products Click Here.  

Dishes before Cascade Platinum 
Dishes before Cascade Platinum 

Gail Simmons  partnership with Cascade
Now, more than ever, people eat with their eyes, and the evidence is all over sites like Facebook and Instagram. With that in mind, Top Chef judge and editor of Food+Wine magazine, Gail Simmons, has partnered with Cascade to discuss why presentation is just as important as preparation.

Learn more about Cascade's partnership with Gail Simmons by checking out the Cascade Facebook page and Cascade YouTube page.

Cascade Platinum Contest with Instagram

Cascade has a "My Platinum" contest on Instagram!   For four week fans are encouraged to upload photos related to the weekly contest themes.  Now is the time to show off how sparkly Cascade makes all your pots, pans and plates!

To find out more about the contest rules and how to submit your photos click hereIf you not signed up with Instagram you can sign up now, just follow the link.  Each week, two contestants will be selected to receive a brand new Whirlpool dishwasher.  Additionally, one lucky grand prize winner will receive a Platinum kitchen.  In order to win, you have to both register and upload a photo with the #MyPlatinum hashtag and tag @MyCascade.  

Each week will have a 6 days entree period with a theme for your Instagram photo.

Week 1: My Platinum Plate (Entry Period: 6/3-6/9) Show us your best dish styled from the sparkling plate up!
Week 2: My Platinum Bite (Entry Period: 6/10-6/16) Show us your best bite and most creative use of sparkling silverware!
Week 3: My Platinum Clink (Entry Period: 6/17-6/23) Show us how you serve up creative concoctions in sparkling glasses.  Cheers!
Week 4: My Platinum Table (Entry Period: 6/24-6/30) Show us your sparkling tablescape for your most special celebrations!
Grand Prize Winner (Entry: 6/3-6/30)

Top tips  with John Powell on how to load your dishwasher to get optimal clean:

If you are tired of pre-rinsing dishes, it is time to switch to Cascade Platinum Pacs.  If you do not want to worry about spots on you dishes it is time to switch to Cascade Platinum Pacs.  If your dishwasher needs a good clean, it is time to switch to Cascade Platinum Pacs.    Don't take my word, go and try Cascade Platinum Pacs out for yourself. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

You might be the mom of a Special needs child if...

  This is just a fun and harmless way to vent some of the frustrations I go though have a daughter with special needs.  I adore my daughter and would not change her for the world.  We believe she is a blessing from God and we thank God everyday for her talents.    This is in no way meant to harm or insult anyone.  This is a adaptation of Jeff Foxworth's comedy skit "You might be a red neck if..."  I hope you enjoy reading and it bring a smile to your face!

You might be the mom of a Special needs child if...

You have a hospital bag ready and you are not pregnant.

You have your child's doctors on speed dial.

You have more medical contacts in your phone than friends. LOL

Instead of driving to soccer practice you drive to OT, PT and Speech and language.

Your bathroom looks like a pharmacy. (mine does)

You know more about your child's medical condition then their doctors do. (most of us do)

You know the route to the hospital by heart.

Most of your friends are nurses (and you are not a nurse.)

You use words like G-tube, IEP, and PRN.   (and people look at you like what does that mean)

You keep medical equipment in you purse.

You have every yelled a someone for parking in a handicap parking spot and not having a handicap place card.

If you every felt like no one understands what you are going through.

I am sure, if you are a parent of a special needs child you have felt at least one of these statement to be true.  Sometime it is nice to know you are not alone in your feelings.  Feel free to add your own "You might be the mom of a Special needs child if..." statement.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Top 5 Dad blogger sites you must read

Today is father's day, a day for honoring dad.  So why just one day?  We should be honoring our fathers every day, I know we honor my husband everyday.  Why has the world changed so much from the respectful father sitcom of the 1980s The Cosby's show to the wimpy dads of today sitcoms.  What happen to the thought of Father knows best? What happen to moms lifting up their husband and showing their children how much they love and respect them?  I am not sure, but some how in today society we have lost the respectful, confident, loving father figure in most media.  However, his type of  respectful dad  is not completely extinct.  There are some media outlets where he still prevails, and some new ones too, blogs.  I have found a few blogs honoring and uplifting to dad.  So in honor of all dads today I wanted to give you a list of my top five dad bloggers.

In no particular order here are my top 5 Dad blogger sites you must read:

If you find an amazing dad blog let me know about it.  I would love to add it to my list.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Help your child stay on task with a magnetic schedule

Children need routine.  They like it when things are organized and know what to expect.  However, many children lack the skills to do it themselves.  So what's a mom to do?  Get a little help with Flourish's Magnetic Schedule.  Whether you are a teacher, special needs mom or a moms that wants more routine in your life, I have a product you need, it the Magnetic Schedule Kit.
   The Magnetic Schedule keep kids and mom on the same routine.  No more telling your child what they need to do next over and over again.  With the Magnetic Schedule your child can go by themselves and look to see what activity is happen next.  This product is great for special needs moms too.  The Magnetic schedule can give your child a sense of independence as they figure out for themselves what they need to do next.     
These Magnetic daily schedule kits helps kids track their own daily routines.  This kit includes a 2-sided Fold and; Go Board (Apple Tree design on one side, Daisy on the other), plus 18 amazing, colored, durable magnets (perfect for little hands) that you can use on your fridge, kitchen door, or pocket chart.   Kids feel organized and safe when they can track their routines like bed time or after school or plan their whole day!  The kit is portable too so they can take it with them where ever they go.  Set is made with 70% recycled materials. This set retails for only $24 (price subject to change). 

With the Schedule Magnets you will receive a different label for each: Get Dressed, Make Bed, Breakfast, Brush Teeth, Pack Backpack, School, Lunch, Clean Up, Homework, Nap Time, Family Time, Play / Free Time, Lunch, Dinner, Wash Hands and Face, Bath Time, Bed Time, one blank customizable magnet

My little man uses the Magnet Schedule to plan his day and to keep track of the next activity.
To learn more about this product and others like it click here

Disclosure:  I am a independent consultant of Flourish

Monday, June 10, 2013


I have switch my daughter's shampoo from "kids shampoo" to a Aveeno Nourish and Dandruff control.  She has a very sensitive head and because of her Eczema her head is always itching.  She also had some small flaks of dandruff too. We have tried it for a few days now and we love it.  Her hair smells so nice, and clean.  She no longer has dandruff and her head does not itch anymore!


Friday, June 7, 2013

New must have product for moms: Crayon Bungee

Have you ever sat at a restaurant table with a 2 year old as his crayons rolled off the table onto the floor.  As he dove for the crayon you could not help but yell "No, the floor is filthy, just leave it."  Or maybe you wipes his hand and the crayon with a sanitize wipes.  Those days are over! 

The other day I tried this product, Crayon Bungee and it was just what I always needed for my kids.  What is a Crayone Bungee? It a new product from Flourish.  What does it do?  It keeps crayons from landing on the floor and easy for kids to reach.  It fits most regular sized crayon.   It is made out of non-toxic plastic so it is easy to wash.  The straps have the alphabet on them so your child can practice their ABCs too.   You can also loop it around a high chair, stroller, or anything you need. It is portable so you can bring it with you where ever you go!

To learn more about this product and others like it click here

Disclosure:  I am a independent consultant of Flourish

Saturday, June 1, 2013

My Atkins House Party

As  I add more and more photo to my blog I am staring to really notice the change in my weight, and not in a good way.  That is why when I heard about the Atkins House party, I jumped at the change to learn more ways to lose weight safely.  

Just like me many of you have probably heard of Atkins, but never really know exactly what is entails. Some of you, like me may think it is all about giving up all carbs but its not.  

What is Atkins ? 

"Atkins™ is the original leading low-carb weight loss plan that provides quick, effective, satisfying and balanced weight loss based on an extensive body of scientific research. The Atkins Diet is designed to “flip the body’s metabolic switch” from burning carbs to burning fat. Graduated carb introduction limits blood sugar and insulin spikes, which cause hunger and cravings, and result in overeating and weight gain."

How does it work?

"The Atkins plan consists of four phases, with gradual increased carb intake for each phase. The plan allows an individual to find his or her perfect carbohydrate balance that is ideal for their personal weight loss or maintenance. Atkins dieters are motivated to change and maintain their eating patterns with delicious and healthy food options."

To find out more about Atkins click here. 

   The New Atkins for a New You Cookbook: 200 Simple and Delicious Low-Carb Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less.  Pictured above is the Spinach Dip recipes I made was from the Atkins cookbook.  It is simple to make, healthy to eat and taste as good as it looks. 

Atkins also offers a variety of nutrition bars and shakes which can serve as a convenient meal, snack, or treat. These products are indulgently sweet but low in carbs – so Atkins dieters can indulge their sweet tooth while managing hunger all day.

You are not alone at you will find an online community and resource center. has many recipes and menu plans for each phase of the Atkins plan all at no cost.  Once you  registration, you can have all the information they need to get started in a  quick-start kit mailed to you for free.  

Above is a photo of my Atkins Party.  Each guest receive a blue tote bag full of goodies.  Thank you to Atkins for giving each guest coupons, a memo pad of paper and 3 Atkins snack bar samples to take one home.   

Disclosure:  Do not start a diet without the approval of your doctor.  I received free products for me and my guest courtesy of Atkins brand through House Party.  Quotes taken from Atkins or Houseparty website.