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Families in Fall {Photo Session Opportunity}

Posted by casey on October 2, 2013 in Contests & Giveaways, Snapshots

T-Minus Three Days
Until This ADORABLE photo session!

It has A Boho, Shabby Chic feel that lends itself so well to fall colors and family magic!  Ashley Lansford of Southern Mae designs is offering this sweet, styled session to you this Saturday, October 5th for $125 which includes 25 minutes of relaxed fun for 7 edited images in return.

** Bonus?  If you bring 5 canned goods for donation you can receive an extra TWO images!!!

** Extra Bonus?  If you go ahead and book your session with her and then come back and comment or e-mail me that you did so, you will be entered to win a free print!

Contact Ashley@southernmaephotography.com to snag the last few spots, spend your Saturday enjoying this dreamy set, get a charitable donation in and knock your family portraits out early this year!

 
5

Makes Sense {Giveaway}

Posted by casey on July 11, 2013 in Contests & Giveaways, Life as I Know It

When Caden was a baby, we did the Gymboree classes for awhile as something for he and I to do together, something out of the house, and another new learning environment.  I had some reservations about the purpose and a really hard time swallowing the price for what we got, especially on how far away the nearest one was for us to take advantage of open gym time.  It was really only affordable because we asked for giftcards for holidays to there to help.  Once I had Everett it was near impossible to get there, properly interact with him and the class instructions while carrying a screaming, sick infant in a Bjorn or carseat every time.  When we finally were at a place to be able to go, I was going to have to pay for both of them full price.  So we took a hiatus. Forever.

We have tried lots of places over the past seasons, bounce house gyms, gymnastics gyms, a million parks and the list goes on.  I am always looking for something new for the boys that feels safe, clean, fun and educational. (plus the added bonus of physically wearing them up – long naps anyone?)

I found it!

Sense-Able Gym

It was on my summer bucket list to get to as I knew it had newly opened and my teacher’s heart had already fallen in love based on their website and general description of the gym’s purpose, goals and abilities.  You must read about it.

A couple of weeks ago we finally made it there, and are hooked. One of the things I really loved about the environment is how many options it gives kids in a relatively small, controlled space.  It feels free roam for them but is greatly watched over, spaced out and blocked off where needed.  When you walk in (which you have to ring a bell as the door is always locked, love this safety element) there is a “classroom” immediately on your left.  It serves as another playspace when individually therapy or lessons aren’t going on but also as a place for a pre-school aged group to meet, learn and gather.  There is the glow-light table for magnetic blocks and other light-up fun, a large dollhouse, kitchen playset, table for tasks and toy buckets a plenty.  You will notice that my boys have made themselves right at home in most pictures.

As you continue down the hallway there is a room on the left that the doors stay closed to just so that everything is in there – the i-Pad room!  What a great way for kids to have the experience to start learning and seeing some of this technology if they don’t at home or another space for older kids while younger siblings are in a different room etc.  Directly across from this is the Art Alley.  I have a hard time saying “my favorite” when it comes to this gym, so I will say this concept is my favorite.  I love that they have taken all of these different nooks as areas for the kids to have different options of tasks to tackle when there.  So, every time we go we play, climb, learn and take on a quick art project in an easy-to clean up, everything is right there for you environment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They are completely open to this space, place and everything in it being open to and for your kids. So, they always have an art project prepped for that week that you can do (this was fireworks with dot paint) but you are able and allowed to use any of the wonderful supplies they have their for you so nicely organized and labeled in all of the buckets. (teacher brain going crazy in here).

Straight down the hallway is the gate to the main gym.  This is the only area that is gated off to keep the play and therapy that is going on in there, well, in there.  But it isn’t any old gym.  Just as with out front, the options of things to do add-on every direction you look and my favorite part?  It all serves a sensory purpose.  Designed as a place for all children and children who may have some sensory difficulties to be able to learn how to take those head on, everything is a texture, sound, sight, physical, fun, relaxing learning opportunity waiting to be had.

The staff is kind, caring and 100% there for you and your child.  I was so impressed with how each of them interacted with my children in a patient, educational and yes, protective way.  Such a pleasant and positive adult interactive experience with someone other than me.  Speaking of me, yes, I was in there with them going from thing to thing, but, if you see that large window in the top right of the climbing wall picture…that is the window from the parent room, yes, the parent room.  If your child is doing fine and you are comfortable you are welcome to sit in the nicely decorated with a “you’re at the beach background” parent room to read/work etc. at bar table set up for just you while overlooking your child work and/or play in the gym! (you can see the two windows in the swing picture below too on the blue wall)

Each child gets to be there own and take on things how they would individually. You can see that Caden likes sitting on this board swing, while Everett lays on it and some even stand.  In the background can you see the man holding that large black bag?  It is actually a very stretchy, thick cocoon swing.  Caden LOVES it.  He didn’t try it his first time but now he is always in and out of it.  I think its great that even for a child that doesn’t have specific sensory issues/needs this gym exposes him to feelings he might not know otherwise (tighter spaces for example) in a fun way that lets him get used to that.  For some kids maybe it is not liking the texture of things like rice, that the rice table exposes them too.  Maybe it is a bumpy or massage feeling, that the foam slide helps with.  Regardless everything in there can serve as a learning purpose or a soothing purpose for a child who might need that or for any that just want to play!

During open gym play time you can go anywhere and do anything.  You can also sign up for individual therapy by the hour with their certified therapists that will help your child with any individual needs or evaluations.  You can read more about that and the staff on their website.

Tell me this room doesn’t look awesome.  When I was reading about Sense-Able gym on their site this room really struck my teacher’s heart.  As a teacher who taught children with Aspergers & Autism and worked in a school with a higher population of students on that spectrum I saw many of my students loving this room and wishing my school had one just like it.  The quiet room is always dark with all of these various glowing elements.  Some like the wall and the top corner are great for texture, touching, pulling and pushing.  Others like in the bottom left corner are sound equipped so each time you step on a color square it lights up on the board and emits a different sound (depending on what it is set on this could be animals, music, vehicles etc).  Notice the jellyfish glowlight behind that with a beanbag in the corner for sitting, staring, relaxing and soothing a child. So, perfect.  There is a bubble tube that the kids can change the color of and of the sphere lights and a projection screen to keep images on the walls.  It sounds like a lot, but it is all purposeful and peaceful.  If you just need a break you can cozy up on their bean chairs with weighted blankets and settle in for a bit of calm.

Now what you are really in for, the giveaway.

Shauna, who works tirelessly to add to the gym and keep everyone excited and enjoying themselves has gifted my $25.00 to give to one of you!  Let me just say that this is a great steal.  A month unlimited visit membership runs $65 for up to two children, (another steal in this summer heat for us) or you can use it towards individual hours…but don’t worry, your first visit is FREE! So, you have one week and a few ways to enter.

1. Leave a comment telling me the age of your kid(s) and what you think you would like most about the gym from what you have seen in just this post, or their site.

2. Add Sense-Able gym on Facebook as a friend and leave me a comment telling me you did so. (updates about the gym, hours, etc. get posted here)

There is so much more to enjoy at Sense-Able then even I was able to show.  I have continued to be further impresses with each visit back and the boys start giggling and wiggling as soon as we pull in as I hear “Mommy, I love this gym.”  There is your reason we keep on going right there. (and their sweet hearts are opening an hour earlier this summer just for us early risers and our little ones since it has been busier with “out-of-schoolers”.)

Giveaway Over: Congratulations to Christy! Thanks to everyone who entered by commenting and e-mailing.  We had a great turnout and Sense-Able has had many new visitors!  Be sure to let me know if you stop by and love it and tell them who sent you their way!

 
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The Morning After

Posted by casey on March 2, 2011 in Caden, Contests & Giveaways, Family, Snapshots

I Give You….Caden’s Birthday Morning
The Morning After His Party

Someone Partied Too Hard
That Didn’t Stop Him From Being Adorable in His Birthday Space Jams Though!
(The full one year reflection and birthday post is in the works…patience.)

 

Congratulations to Michelle D. for winning our “Ode to Snacks” Giveaway!
Some of the recipes for my favorite snacks (and yours) will be coming soon. Get your tummies ready.

 
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An Ode to Snacks

Posted by casey on February 25, 2011 in Caden, Contests & Giveaways, For Your Funny Bone, Home

Oh Snacks….


We Love You.

For the boost you give us.

For the independence you allow us to have.

For the new paint you give our tables.

And even the new paint you give our eyes.

Plus the new moisturizer you give to our hands.

Thank You Snacks.

We’ll even share.

_______________________________________

In honor of Caden’s upcoming first birthday in two days and snacks, let’s have another giveaway from CSN Stores!  Leave a comment telling us what your favorite snack is and why or heck just leave a comment about my mess of a son.

You have until Monday (the day after all of the birthday festivities) to make us hungry with your favorite and then you just might win a gift from them to use on anything from lights to maybe a new sofa for me that won’t have cake on it.  I’m just saying.  I wouldn’t turn it down.

 
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Love, Answered

Posted by casey on February 14, 2011 in Contests & Giveaways, Life as I Know It

This just might be the first Valentine’s Day in my entire life that I truly enjoyed. I normally am not one to like surprises.  Since I am a planner I don’t react well to surprises which then makes me feel guilty because I didn’t have an extraordinary reaction to a surprise.  I know, relax…it’s a surprise!  Well, this year I involved myself in several surprises for a few Valentines in my life which allowed me to realize that I love surprises- when I am on the giving end.  So, I gave to my love, and I gave to my son and I gave to my friend because I love them all and if I am not buying into the “hallmarkiday” of it all, I will buy into the importance of love.  Plus, you know you want to read my answers and see my latest sugar cookie creations.  You just can’t help yourself.

1. Who is one person in your life that you would say you love and why?
There is the obvious, and there will always be the obvious answer.  However, it is my friends.  I am fortunate to have the friends in my life who I can trust and who are there for me through and through.  This past year I have undergone a lot of changes through pregnancy, leaving my job, and started my most important role as a mother.  Naturally, those changes have caused my life , my schedule flexibility and me to change.  Those wonderful friends though have adjusted right with me.  They understand when I have to cancel because Caden desperately needs a nap or when I make a last minute date with them because I desperately need a drink because Caden didn’t nap.  I love my friends. 

2. Why does love “stink”?
Love stinks because it forces you to apologize, forgive or admit your wrongs when you really want to be stubborn and dig your heels in deeper.  Those moments when you so desperately want to just be right and you know you are being irrational and realize you are going to have to say you’re sorry because you love them and well…you want to go to bed, but they are are in the bed so in order for you both to feel comfortable going to sleep you have to dig-out your heels.  Sure, you could say that is the “right thing to do” or that it is actually making you a “better person” but be serious, sometimes that stinks.

3.  What has love done for you?
The love I have in my life has allowed for me to grow, change and become the latest version of me with the safety and comfort of a constant support being behind me.  Having someone to watch your back as you come into your own does wonders for your ability to truly evaluate what your wants and needs in life are.

4.  What is the material item you love the most right now?
I never thought I would say this. NEVER.  I hated them when they came out years ago.  I thought they were hideous, would be around for only one season and that would be it.  Well, I was wrong.  They didn’t go away and this year for Christmas I bought myself a pair.  My Uggs.  They make my feet feel like they are on clouds and since I am on my feet chasing a toddler all day I love them. Love.

5.  Share one creative way you could tell or show someone (friends count too!) that you love them
A mixed tape, I mean CD never gets old.  Maybe not that creative but it can be personal, or just fun and who doesn’t enjoy getting to hear some songs they haven’t listened to in awhile?

6. What is one other blog that you L.O.V.E??!!
I always enjoy seeing what The Pettijohn’s are up to!  Nat and I went to high-school together and stood next to each other on our dance team’s kickline as well.  If only you knew the hours of mumbled chit chat that you try keep at a level that can’t be detected when you are on a drill team and you stand next to each other.  Her and her sweet husband have two precious babies that are 13 months apart.  So, that should tell you why a lot of her blog is entertaining right there.  More than anything though, Natalie keeps it real.  She admits it when she has been in her jammies all day (which is fine because she still looks gorgeous) and that she buys Walmart makeup.  That is true love.

Contest Winner!  I even forgot about our contest until my calendar reminded me I had to answer our L.O.V.E. questions today so you might have too. Luckily, we had a couple entries by comment and a few by e-mail so there is still a lucky winner out there! Random Number Generator surprised me this week picking on #1 as our winner.  That means that my long time friend Jordy is now a first time winner!  You can see her answers to the above questions here!

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone.  I hope that you are able to think of a few things, people and pets that you love today and tell them.  Yes…I am talking to my Uggs right now. Judge me.

 
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A L.O.V.E. Giveaway

Posted by casey on February 9, 2011 in Contests & Giveaways

It is that time of year for what may be your favorite, or least favorite “Hallmarkiday”…I mean holiday.  I find myself somewhat impartial but do enjoy any day that reminds you to tell those in your life ( friends, spouses, pets, roommates, Starbucks barista) that you love them.  Everyone says it is important to do that, but we all seem to fall short on the follow through.  So, I am teaming up with CSN Stores again just for you for a little Valentine giveaway and to try to help you get in the mood whether you are attached or single. Love is love. 

With “love in the air” and yadda, yadda, yadda I thought we should go with it.  Here are some little topics you can choose to answer.  Each one is a separate entry and you can do as many of them as you like it separately entered comments.

One entry: Who is one person in your life that you would say you love and why?

One entry: Why does love “stink”?

One entry: What has love done for you?

One entry: What is the material item you love the most?

One entry: Share one creative way you could tell or show someone (friends count too!) that you love them.

Two entries: What is one other blog that you L.O.V.E??!! ( please share the link and leave two comments with it so that you are entered twice)

Extra entry:Blog, Tweet or Facebook about this giveaway with the URL back to it. http://www.caseyandcolter.net/?p=2993 Leave a comment saying that you have done so and you will receive an extra entry for each!

One lucky winner will receive a gift card courtesy of CSNStores so that you can put it towards anything from an office desks to maybe some wine glasses for a date night! 

I am even going to throw in a Starbucks gift card as a little Valentine treat.  Ready, Set, Go!

Deadline is Monday, February 14th  at noon of Course!
You must check back on the 14th to see the winner and my answers to the questions

 
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Santa, Captions, And the Winners Are…

Posted by casey on December 17, 2010 in Add the Caption, Caden, Caden's Chronicles, Contests & Giveaways

After admitting to being MIA, I asked you to guess as to whether or not Caden was a cry-face when he met Mr. Claus.  You tell me…

Congrats to Emily for being one of those to correctly guess whether or not Caden boo-hooed his way through his greeting! 
Slightly concerned? Sure. Who wouldn’t be concerned when placed on a stranger’s lap.  Cry-face? No way. Not my boy!  He spent most of the time looking quite chubby and green with envy of Santa’s hair.  One day Caden…one day. Colter’s reaction?  “How did you fly to the North Pole and back in one day to meet the real Santa?”  Ol’ St. Nick at Northpark is the real deal and has been filling kids with excitement there for twenty years!  He is a professor of Educational Psychology at U.T. and a professional storyteller so in addition to his lap-time duties as Santa he hosts a story-time for the kids several times as well.   Caden better hope he continues this long enough for him to experience it and remember it because I don’t know if you could ever find a better Santa who has been featured on as many shows and news programs as him!

In other news, we have an Add the Caption winner as well!  You know when you ask people to pick a number between “___ and ___”  & they always go for the first or last number?  Well, our last entry lucked out this time because #7 was picked! Congratulations to Gloria who so loyally enters Add the Caption and leaves comments on most posts!  Just in time for the holidays you will have a Starbucks gift card heading your way!

Winners, e-mail your addresses to lifeofthekazmanns@gmail.com to claim your prizes!

 
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Tis’ the Season to Be…MIA?

Posted by casey on December 10, 2010 in Contests & Giveaways

Yup, this is one of THOSE posts.  I’m sorry. I have neglected you.  I have neglected myself in making time to write.  I have even had a list of subjects I wanted to write about floating aroung in my brain. Alas, it hasn’t happened.  Busy, busy, busy! I swear though, they are coming…

– Caden’s 9 Month Post and Pictures (which he is now 9 1/2 months)  Just a bit late.
– Holiday Card Reveal
– Christmas Recipes and Sweets (Peppermint Pretzel Bark Anyone?)
Meeting Mr. Claus
- Caption Contest

Until then, you guess and comment. 
When he met Santa, did Caden cry or did he not?  There just might be a special prize for someone who guesses correctly!
Winners Can Be Found Here

 
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Add the Caption – Special Edition !!!

Posted by casey on November 1, 2010 in Add the Caption, Contests & Giveaways, Snapshots

Today is your lucky day!  You may be familiar with CSNstores, which a company that has everything from a dining room table, to home decor and even schmany cookware! Why are you lucky you ask?  CSNstores has asked to team up with me to do a giveaway just for our readers and I thought that it would be the perfect jump start to your week!

Since it has been awhile, I also thought you might like to combine this with a little thing you know as “Add the Caption.”  To enter to win the gift certificate you must…

1. Add a caption to the picture below in the comments section.

2. Leave your email address in the comments section below your caption or e-mail it to me at lifeofthekazmanns@gmail.com if you do not want it to be seen publicly.  This is so you can be contacted if you win!

The winner will be chosen at random in one week. You have until Monday, November 8th at noon to enter!

A little while ago I shot some family portraits where there happened to be no potties. No potties + small children = adorable & hilarious brotherly moment. Enjoy adding the caption to this snippet of childhood!

You may receive an extra entry by….

– Blogging about our contest and linking this post in your blog entry.
– Tweeting about the contest.
– Leaving a link and comment to the contest in your Facebook status.
– Becoming a new subscriber!

If you choose to do an extra entry, please come back and leave another comment with links to your blog and/or your twitter name so I can verify your entry!

 
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Read With Me II Promotions Contest!

Posted by casey on September 7, 2010 in Contests & Giveaways, On My Nightstand, Read With Me

We are steadily growing our Read With Me group for our second book together, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” by Stieg Larsson.  Our first reading assignment will be posted this coming Friday, but just like last time I thought we would take a little time to work and promote our group!  We have a nice group growing, a bit larger than last time by both comments and emails, so let’s get some more opinions thrown in our discussion mix. :)  By helping to promote our Read With Me II group (in multiple ways) you will be entered to win a Barnes and Noble  giftcard a whopping four ways. (remember there is another gift card on the line at the end of our group discussion over our novel) . 

1. Change your facebook status to

Read With Me and Get Rewarded
http://www.caseyandcolter.net/?p=2554

2. Tweet about our reading group with a link to the site.  When you comment to tell me you did this, leave me your twitter username!

3. If you have a blog, make a quick post about our group with a link back to it. 

4. Send an email out to your friends that might be interested and BCC lifeofthekazmanns@gmail.com so I can see that you did it!

Remember, you don’t have to be reading with us to promote it and be eligible for this gift card (but I sure wish you would).  Once you have advertised us well, come back and comment and tell me what you did.  Leave me your twitter name and your blog site if you chose those options as well!  If you promote us one way, you will be entered one time, four ways = four times!  Don’t forget you are always more than welcome to email lifeofthekazmanns@gmail.com if that makes you more comfortable than commenting!

Contest Ends Friday, September 17th at Noon

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