Sunday, May 27, 2018

Memorial Day FREE Activities

There’s always a long list of restaurant deals and freebies for military members and veterans, and you probably already know what those are in your area.  So this year, I wanted to share a list of the FREE activities for military members and veterans.  Links to details are provided below.

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Get out with your families and share some fun!  And thank you to all those who’ve served in the military, both past and present, and those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Costco – Good to Know!

If you are a current Costco member or are considering becoming one, then you’ll want to know about this tip I just discovered today.  I’ve only been a member since last summer when we moved to TX, so all-things-Costco are still relatively new to me, since I was a BJ’s and Sam’s Club member when I lived in VA.

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Last weekend, I saw they had Clorox Xtra Blue Pool Shock in a case of 24 for $65.  Now that’s already a great deal, because I usually pay about $25 for a box of 6 at Walmart, and even when Walmart has it on sale, it’s still $21 for a box of 6.  So I happily grabbed a case and took it home.  Then on Wednesday, Costco put it on sale for $55 in time for the holiday weekend, and that’s nearly too good to be true, making them just $2.29/bottle…almost half price!

I noticed the sale when I went today, and I happily picked up another case.  After all, it’s not going to go to waste, and it’s the one thing I have to use consistently…at least 2 bottles per week, plus extra when we have heavy rain.

When I got to the checkout, I mentioned to the cashier how I was stocking up, but it was a shame I had just bought some last weekend right before the sale started.  She told me to go to customer service and have them look up the transaction, because Costco has a policy where they will give you a price adjustment if you purchase a sale item within 2 weeks of it going on sale.  WOW!  I was super excited, because I’d also noticed that the Finish dishwasher tabs had also gone on sale for $4 off the regular price, and I just bought some about 2 weeks ago and hadn’t even opened the package yet.  So I marched right over to customer service, and wouldn’t you know I got a credit back on my credit card for over $15?!?  Gotta love that! 

I know this has happened to me before, so I sure wish I’d known about this policy sooner.  I figured it was worth mentioning in case you weren’t aware yourself!  They also told me at customer service that if the item has a permanent price drop and not just a sale, then you can get a price adjustment within 30 days!  Awesome. 

Just another reason to love Costco!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Mother’s Day 2018

So this was my first Mother’s Day in Texas.  It actually turned out pretty nice!  The night before, I ran into Steve and Haylee at a different Walmart than the one near our house.  I had left to go to Costco, but I arrived right after they closed, so I turned around and stopped at Walmart instead.  So funny to sMother's Day 2018ee them there.  They were acting all guilty.  I said, “hey, did you guys see the beautiful bouquets of flowers at the entrance that came in a vase with daisies in them?”  (Gerbera daisies are my favorite flower, followed by regular daisies).  They tried to blow it off like “Oh, really?!?” But they were hiding around corners with their cart, and there was a bouquet in their cart!  Too funny.  I ran into them in two different places in the store.  So when we all arrived back at home, they gave me the beautiful bouquet in a pretty purple vase.  Lovely!  It had so many yellow daisies mixed with white roses and pink irises. They also gave me a box of my favorite herbal tea…Sleepytime Peach…and a box of my favorite K-Cup iced tea…Snapple Diet Lemon Iced Tea!!!  That iced tea is so wonderful all fresh-brewed, but I never buy it because it’s just too expensive.  They had given me a box for Christmas, but of course, it was already gone.

Also, my sister had sent me a surprise package from Amazon earlier in the week, which contained a beautiful brooch for Mother’s Day.  We lost our mom 4 years ago to lung cancer, so she and I had taken to sending each other little things for Mother’s Day instead.  It’s a really sweet gesture.  We always sent each other cards before anyway, just because we’re extra close like that, so it only seemed natural to sort of adopt each other for the holiday after our mom passed away.

So on Mother’s Day morning, Steve and the kids gave me lovely cards, and I made everybody breakfast before we headed off to church.  I put the pretty new brooch on my jacket, and I took a quick photo wearing it with my flowers in the shot and sent it off to my sister to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day.

After church, Steve had planned to get me my favorite iced tea from Kung Fu Tea, but since he needed to mow the lawn and I was going to drive right by it headed to Costco anyway, I said I’d just get it myself.  So I grabbed my Peach Oolong iced tea on the way and nearly had it finished by the time I got there!  After Costco, I stopped at the local mall so I could use the Mother’s Day reward in my Auntie Anne’s app.  It was for b1g1f pretzels.  So after grabbing some treats there, I walked around a bit.  I had $5 in rewards I needed to use in Children’s Place, so I browsed through there.  I ended up treating myself to a new dress!  It was so pretty, and a girls’ size 16 from there fits me perfectly.  The belt was missing, so I got even more off the markdown price plus my rewards, and it was almost free!  I also walked through Sears on my way into the mall and grabbed myself a new pair of white summer sandals, which I’ve been needing for ages since mine had broken.  They were on sale, too, and I also had Show Your Way points to redeem, so I got a great deal on them.

So I headed home with all my goodies and found everybody in the pool.  I had brought home a late lunch/early dinner from Costco, so I served that up to everyone outside with a pitcher of cold orange drink.  Steve had inflated my new deluxe pool lounger, so after we ate, I changed into my bathing suit and spent the afternoon floating around the pool.  It was so relaxing in the afternoon sun!

After that, I soaked in the tub for a while and finished reading my book.  While I was doing that, Steve brought me a cup of hot Sleepytime Peach tea to enjoy while Haylee headed off to the kitchen to bake me some brownie cookie bars.    And between them, they cleaned up afterwards so I didn’t have any dishes to do that night.  Aaaah!  Very peaceful.

It was quite a relaxing day, indeed! 

Unfortunately, Hayden was scheduled to work after church, and as it turned out, he got called in on his day off the following day, so it kind of spoiled our plans.  But he says he plans to take me out for a foot massage as his Mother’s Day gift to me as soon as we’re both home during the day.  I guess that’ll probably be this weekend!  Sounds lovely to me!  I’m very much looking forward to it. 

In addition, I always get a subscription to the symphony for the following season as my big Mother’s Day gift, but I had to cancel it last year since we moved from VA right after we renewed it.  I really missed it this season.  So now I’m all set up to start going to the Fort Worth Symphony this fall for both the Pops and the Classics series.  I’m really excited, and it gives me something to look forward to on Sunday afternoons from September through May.  Yay!

I hope all the moms out there had a wonderful and relaxing Mother’s Day!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

FREE Cone Today @ Haagen-Dazs!

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Today is FREE Cone Day @ Haagen-Dazs!  Stop by between 4-8 PM for a refreshing mini cone in your choice of flavors.  Find a location near you!

Celebrate Free Cone Day By Supporting the Buzz!


Wednesday, May 2, 2018

REVIEW: Media-Enhanced Digital Books by Weigl Publishers

We were very interested in trying out a few of the unique, media-enhanced, digital books from Weigl Publishers!


I received 3 e-books:  Glaciers, A Lion’s World, and There Once Was a Cowpoke Who Swallowed an Ant from Weigl Publishers


All of these books included a code that can be entered on a website in order to unlock media-enhanced digital content for the books.  Basically, you can read the straight-forward e-book version, but you can also access the enhanced version.  We much preferred the enhanced versions! 

These are not subscriptions…once you purchase an e-book, the included access code will allow you to access the digital content for that book for an unlimited period of time.

There are many series of books to choose from that appeal to children in grades K-8.  In fact, there are over 1,800 media-enhanced titles available!

Try out a live demo of the book I Am an Elephant to see what kinds of enhancements you can expect.


The Glaciers book is from the Lightbox series on “Earth’s Water.”  This book is for grades 3-6.  I was surprised at the extent of information included in this book!  There’s so much to learn that even I found it fascinating and learned some new facts! 

Each turn of the enhanced digital page allowed us to unlock additional links.  We could have the page contents read aloud with just a click of the mouse.  That worked out great for both of us so we could concentrate on the illustrations and photographs on the pages while we listened to the text.  The only thing I didn’t like about the audio was that it was a very computer-generated voice and not a natural speaking voice.  But I got over that pretty quickly by focusing on the content instead. 

Glaciers Illustrations

Some pages included an additional internet link that took us to more information on the topic from another source.  Some links opened up related videos that really added a lot to our understanding of the material.  Some links gave us printable worksheets to complete to check on what we learned.

Glacier Worksheet Cowpoke Story

And at the end of the book, we had a quiz that we could even take online, and it was automatically graded.  Holden surprised me by scoring 80%!  That’s not bad for a kid with ADHD who has trouble sitting still for too long.  And there was also a quiz on the vocabulary terms from the book.  Both were an excellent way to check for student comprehension.  And there were even instructions on the last page for an optional related experiment.

Glacier Quiz Results Glacier Key Words Quiz

There was so much rich content in this book that I could honestly see using it as the basis for a unit study.  You could easily split up the content over a period of days, perhaps completing a two-page spread with all of the included links and extras each day until the book was completed and then wrapping up your study with the quizzes and the experiment at the end of the book.  If I were going to use more of these books at this level, I would definitely split it up over a school week so Holden could soak it up better and not have to sit for as long.  We spent most of an hour on this book alone using all of the enhancements!  We particularly enjoyed the videos.  They were truly fascinating!  One of them showed us the largest calving event ever captured on film.  That’s where icebergs break away from a large glacier.  It was awesome to watch the churning of the water as the ice chunks rolled and pitched into the water en masse!

Holden’s finishing up 4th grade, so the other two books that were for grades K-2 were definitely beneath his level, but we enjoyed them just the same.

The book A Lion’s World is from the “EyeDiscover” series.  It was actually pretty cool!  The e-book had beautiful full-color photographs, but the enhanced version was definitely a step up with video animations of each page.  Instead of a photo of two lions nuzzling, for instance, you got a looped video clip of them nuzzling each other for several seconds as the story was being read aloud.  The video clip of the male lion roaring was breathtaking!  It’s hard to imagine how loud and imposing that must be from just a photograph, despite the story explaining that the lion’s roar can be heard from 5 miles away, but the audio of the roaring in the video clip makes it much more real!

Lion's World Roar

The whimsical storybook There Once Was a Cowpoke Who Swallowed an Ant is from the fiction series, and it was actually very funny!  We giggled together about how silly it was for the cowpoke to be able to ride his horse into his own mouth and into his stomach, much less to do so in order to retrieve an ant!  The audio voice was of a woman reading the story with feeling.  We enjoyed that a lot.  It was like having a bedtime story read to you.  With that book, you had the option of reading it on your own or having it read to you.  If I had very young children, I can see where having a collection of these kinds of stories would be a wonderful addition to your bedtime story library.  It would give your children the benefit of using the computer or tablet on their own, having the story read to them, and having the opportunity to follow along to assist them in their own emerging reader skills.

Cowpoke Swallowed Himself

Overall, we enjoyed these stories very much.  This is the first time I’ve seen books with so much media enhancements added to them.  The variety of books available with such rich educational content means I could find just about anything I needed to enhance our school studies.  I’m already eyeing a number of them for topics we plan to study in the coming school year!  With content ranging from science, social studies, language arts, visual arts, sports, and biographies, there are plenty of opportunities to supplement our learning!

Take a look at what other Crew members have to say about these awesome media-enhanced books from Weigl Publishers by clicking the banner below.