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Legoland and Brick or Treat

Legoland and Brick or Treat

Last week we here in the NerdFamily were so blessed to receive some passes to Legoland and their annual Brick or Treat party! Brick or Treat is a special after hours event that every Saturday in October and a few Fridays. 

We love Legoland! We try to go at least once a year and the kids still love it! Not only do we love LegoLand, we also love the people who work there. This isn’t just a random group but a very geeky group of employees;). I had all my kids in their Doctor Who shirts and they had no less than a dozen different employees engage them in real conversations about their shirts!

This year we did their Mindstorm Mr. Heartbeat class for the first time and the kids loved it! Totally worth the 45 minutes. We also did the 4D Chima movie. I am so glad they did a current series that my kids love.  And we did all the fun normal rides like the Dragon and the Lost Treasure ride.

Brick or Treat was the big event and we had never done it before. 

This is an action packed event that runs from 5 until 9. There is a costume competition that is open to everyone and then there is a stage show where the award winners. There are a ton of concerts and dance parties going on all night.There is also a Brick or Treat trail where kids trick or treat. And of course there are rides that are open! 

So onto what we thought;). It was very crowded for the actual Brick or Treat events. The rides, on the other hand, were a dream! We barely had to wait for any ride except the cruise. They had a fabulous night cruise that had a letter hunt and was ran by different costumed employees with different stories and accents. The cruise was gorgeous but it was quite a long wait.

The buzz kill for me in the whole evening was the crowd. There are limited amount of tickets that are available but… Half the park is shut down but it feels like you still have 3/4 the crowd. So when you went to take the kids on the Brick or Treat path the lines were really long. At one point we were in line for a station (that was giving away a commemorative brick) and there was over 200 people in line. So we only did a couple stations. Luckily we were told to hit Treat Station 10 first and they had great Chima sets! But we only did 3 other stations after that and the kids got thing like apples and juice packs. 

Even though there are a lot of people there, if you are into Halloween it is really fun. Between all the skits, costume competitions, dance parties there is a lot of Halloweenie fun to be had. 

Thank you to Legoland California for the tickets, we had a ball. And even though we were given some of our tickets all thoughts and opinions are still mine! 

Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus Saving Clothes on the Go!

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I admit it, I was raised an ironer… When my husband and I got married I was mortified that he didn’t own an iron or an ironing board. An issue we quickly rectified. Then I continued to iron his wrinkle free pants and shirts because they weren’t wrinkle free enough. And I continued ironing mine and Jeremy’s clothes. Then I had my 4th kid.

No, I really didn’t stop ironing until the 4th kid was born. Since then, the iron only comes out for special occasions or more accurately special materials. I didn’t really try much with whole world of Wrinkle Releaser, I would just toss something in the dryer and shake unless it is a fancy material I can’t iron. Then I go straight to the Downey Wrinkle Releaser Plus. With the new Plus version the mist is so fine that I haven’t had any problem knocking out the creases in dry clean only materials. But other than that it was dry and shake. Except when I travel.

WP_20140818_13_48_50_ProTraveling is inherently hard on your clothes. Things that can normally just be tossed in a dryer or shaken out in order to rid yourself of wrinkles… well that doesn’t work when you travel. Even when you roll shirts you can avoid some of the wrinkles but those that are there create creases. To deal with those I have been known to drag out the hotel iron.

But no more… Last year I was at a conference and I had a new favorite shirt. I was smart and turned the shirt inside out to iron it. And I turned the iron to medium low and then started to iron. Immediately the lining burned right off… I was in tears and calling the husband. Luckily, you can’t really tell from the outside for the most part.

Flash forward…. Same shirt with similar wrinkles. I gave it a spritz with Wrinkle Releaser Plus! And by the time I put my makeup on the shirt was ready. I am never risking a piece of clothing I love to an unpredictable hotel iron!!! I am forever going to bring my travel Downey Wrinkle Releaser Plus!!!

(Disclosure: This is a compensated piece. The subject has been paid for but the words and thoughts are mine!)

Freedom in My Blog


I just finished watching August: Osage County. It made me feel all these emotions and thoughts about my family. And not in the “at least my family isn’t that bad” way. But more in the “Holy crap, that could be a version of us in the future” way. I thought about how if I was constantly around it, how would it affect me versus how it already has…

I had all these thoughts running through my mind. Including that I can’t be the only one in this type of crazy situation, I just watched a movie about it. Knowing I am not alone, my thoughts turned to blogging to sort out the jumble in my head. Not only to vent but hopefully my chaos would help someone else in their own chaos.

And then I stopped short.

Why? I don’t really blog about the crazy that is my family situation, my mom or any emotions/thoughts about it. I don’t allow myself to write about anything to do with anything remotely related to my family and the effect on my life. I know for my mom, anything I write about any emotional processing or facts about my family will be an attack on her. Even if it isn’t about her. So I didn’t write about it for a smattering of reasons.

The first big reason is I want to respect my mom. I do love her and I don’t want to make her angry. I keep thinking at some point in the future she won’t be angry at me for the fact I have boundaries and that I can’t romanticize our past (because it angers and hurts me) and I don’t want a blog to be the one reason she won’t speak to me. But since I moved out on my own and got married, since I drew boundaries on how she could treat me, since I cut the strings she carved me out of the family. Why would a blog make the difference?

Another reason I never write about it all is a little shame. For years I despised myself. What kind of person am I that my own mom doesn’t love me? It took having kids for me to emotionally realize that is all more about her than me. But there is still a fear that others will judge and despise me for the same reasons I did.

The last reason is a ridiculous fear. My mom always made sure I knew that I was a horrible person. She had lists of stupid things I said and bad things I did (and they were bad). These things all served as evidence to show what a bad person I truly am. And if I aired what she considered to be her dirty laundry or embarrassed her…. Well, she would destroy my image and reputations. Everyone would know me for the despicable person I am. And yes, I lied and snuck around and did a whole bunch of crap that I am not proud of. But know what else? That was all before I was 21. Yup, before I was 21! That can’t define the person I am no. And I don’t think that I would want to be around any small minded people whom all that could effect.

Now that I have come to terms with the stupid thing that have prevented me from writing about my family situation, this isn’t going to become a mom bashing blog. But it does mean I am going to be free.

Free to write about missing my siblings. Free to write about questions on how to deal with my emotional issues. Free to share the epiphanies that have given me freedom from pain. I really can’t know what all it means but I do know that it isn’t actually about my mom but a freedom to be about me…. 

The 4th and Final week of the #LivingNowFoods Challenge!

I really can’t believe that it is the 4th and final week of the #LivingNowFoods Challenge! It has been a great month trying out the #LivingNowFoods gluten free products and coming up with some new recipes that will all be posted soon! I am so grateful for the paid Ambassadorship through Mamavation and Living Now Foods that has taken me on this fabulous journey! But the journey isn’t really over because on July 2nd at 6pm – 9:30pm (pacific) there will be a twitter party for the #LivingNowFoods campaign! I hope you all also entered the giveaway for a giant box of Living Now Foods gluten free products! But first, here are some of my gluten free adventures for the week!



My first adventure this week is with another quinoa dish! I made BMT Quinoa! It is quinoa with bacon, mozzarella cheese and grape tomatoes. That is seriously just about all there is too it. Quinoa is still a new dish to my kids but the bacon has totally won them over!


My next dish may not be the prettiest girl at the ball but it was tasty! We are mid birthday season here in the NerdFamily so I decided to make my first gluten free cake from scratch, well actually… NerdDad made it;). We used Barefeet in the Kitchen’s Gluten Free White Cake recipe using Living Now Brown Rice flour. It didn’t look like her’s when it was done cooking but was great! In reality it was probably just over mixed. But now we know and they all can’t work perfectly out the gate!


My last dish was a huge hit and a totally experiment! I recently saw someone say on Facebook that you could use quinoa as a meatloaf binder and that gave me some inspiration! Last week I had a child request my Turkey Bacon Spinach burgers as a birthday dinner. When I make those, I only use half of the meat mixture for burgers and free the rest. Well, I decided to make like a meatloaf muffin! I took the remaining half of the meat and mixed in 2 cups of quinoa. Then baked them off in little silicon muffin tins. They were so good. My kids said they didn’t even taste the quinoa and the family devoured all of them! The nice thing about making them in muffin cups is that you can lift the meatloaf out of the cup and leave all the grease behind. I think I will be making a big batch of these next time so I can freeze some to have on hand and ready.

Well, that brings this adventure almost completely to a close. Make sure to pop over to last week’s wrap up to enter the Rafflecopter for a giant set of gluten free supplies and to join the #LivingNowFoods hashtag for a great twitter party!

(Disclosure: This is a compensated post but all thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone!)


#Ad 15 Minute Gluten-Free Spring Chicken and Grits

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.


Life is busy for everyone so dinner can’t take very long. But being gluten-free, it can be hard to find pre-made or quick recipes. When I walk through stores like Sam’s Club I tend to see a lot of pre-made and frozen food that I just can’t eat because it isn’t gluten-free. Even pre-made meats often have gluten in the seasonings. So I was stoked to get an opportunity to pick up some of Tyson Gluten Free Grilled & Ready Chicken Breast Fillets in the freezer section! And I developed a super yummy and super quick gluten-free recipe to go with them. It is super easy but there are a few things going on at one time. But hey, you gotta multi-task if you want a fabulous and nutritious meal on the table in 15 minutes. This is also a great meal to bring the kids in to have help you!

Sam's Club Freezer Section

Before we jump into the recipe! The Tyson Gluten Free Grilled & Ready Chicken Breast Fillets comes frozen but is already seasoned and is so good! It is in the freezer section at many Sam’s Clubs right now. If you want to try it out before you buy it, you may have an opportunity! Many Sam’s Clubs are doing a sampling of Tyson Gluten Free Grilled & Ready Chicken Breast Fillets March 6, 2014 and March 8, 2014. You can check to make sure your Sam’s Club is included.

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Spring Chicken and Grits
Serves: 6 Time: 15 minutes
6 Tyson Gluten Free Grilled & Ready Chicken Breast Fillets
16 oz Sliced Mushrooms
1 lb Asparagus cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tbl butter
1 tbl olive oil
1/2 tsp paprika
2 cloves chopped garlic
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
7 servings Quick Grits (according to package instructions)
1 cup of shredded cheese


Ok, this seems like a lot but I am going to walk you through, step by step, getting this all on the table. So we are going to basically have 3 streams of action going but I promise, you can do it!

1. Put 3 Tyson Gluten Free Grilled & Ready Chicken Breast Fillets on a plate and cover them with a paper towel. Put them in the microwave for 4 1/2 minutes.

2. Put 1 tablespoon of both olive oil and butter in a skillet. Turn the heat to medium and drop your sliced mushrooms in, stirring every 45 seconds or so.

3. Turn on the water and salt in a pot for your instant grits and bring it to a boil.

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4. After the mushrooms are cooking for about 2 minutes dump your asparagus in. Stir it frequently.

5. About this time take your plate of chicken out of the microwave and put in your second set of 3 Tyson Gluten Free Grilled & Ready Chicken Breast Fillets. Cover with a paper towel and microwave as the last set.

6. Now the water should be boiling and dump your grits in, stirring as you do it. Cover, reduce the temperature to low, cook for 5 minutes while stirring as needed.

7. While your mushrooms and asparagus are still cooking, cut up your chicken into cubes.

8. We are almost done, hang in there! Toss 2 cloves of chopped garlic (or 2 teaspoons of the prechopped stuff), 1/2 teaspoon of paprika, 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt into your mushrooms and asparagus.

9. As soon as your grits are done slowly stir shredded cheese into them.

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10. Stir your chicken into the asparagus and mushroom mixture.

11. Serve by placing grits on the plate and top with the chicken mixture!


(Disclosure: This is a paid post but all opinions and recipes are mine! Thanks #CollectiveBias for the opportunity to create this #CookItGF recipe! #Cbias )

Doing Real Life Shopping on Black Friday: 5 Things to Look For

reallifeblackfriLast year I talked about some common sense Black Friday Shopping Strategies and this year I wanted to delve a little deeper into how I do Black Friday Shopping. I always talk about the stuff I really shop for on Black Friday aren’t presents but things for real life.

Since a lot of the Black Friday ads are already out you can already start looking at ads and making lists. There are 5 things I recommend that you look for every year that you need in real life!

1) Gift Cards! Yes, these could be presents but they also are great to use for budgeting tools! Walgreens is giving away a $15 gift card with the purchase of 2 $25 gift cards. That is just 1 example of a great gift card deal!

2) Denim! Every year I find great deals on denim for the kids and usually I can find some great deals for me too! Walmart is advertising $8 jeans for both boys and girls this year and only $9.50 for men.

3) Bedding! Walmart has 700 thread count sheets that are going to be $25 and Target has the big fluffy blankets for $20.

4) Pajamas! I don’t just mean Christmas ones either. This is the time to get all the pj’s you will need for the year. Both Target and Walmart are advertising pj’s for the whole family ranging from $4.50 to $6!

5) Drugstore steals! Walgreens and CVS always have a ton of deals that are free after coupons to use next time. They are things like shampoo and tooth brushes! They may have run out of them by the time you get there but there will probably still be many freebies to have!!!

A Guide to Shopping Portals

I love shopping portals! I have been a member of Ebates since 2000 (I am an early adopter;) but when I reccomend sites like this to friends they seem unsure how they work! So here is a basic step by step! Then sign up for all the sites!

Why use a shopping portal? Well, in the last 2 weeks I have shopped online at Crocs and booked airfare on Travelocity. I got back $2.80 on my bargain clearanc Crocs. I also got back almost $17 from my airfare on Travelocity! Just for clicking through a site!

How Shopping Portals Work:
1)Sign up with the site
2)Go to the portal
3)Put chosen store into search bar
4)Shop like normal, even using coupons on the sites. But make sure to use the same email that you signed up with
5)After your order ships you will receive a credit in your account
6)Once you hit the threshold they will send you a check or Paypal you!

Remember that the % back varies by shopping portal for each store. So sign you can sign up for more than one and compare. And Ebates has at least one store that has double cash back every day so always look! These are my 2 favorites and the ones I check and use all the time!

Shopping Portals:

 Ebates is the original shopping portal! This is the first one I ever belonged to and use it all the time! I love that they pay directly to Paypal!
 is a little newer on the scene but has still been around a few years. The are very competitice in their rates and pay be check.