Nickerbacher, The Funniest Dragon

click image to head to Amazon to order
click image to head to Amazon to order

I would like to thank the author for allowing me to read his story in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Knickerbacher is unhappy. He spends all his time guarding the princess Gwendolyn, but that is not the life he wants. He wants to be a comedian! Gwendolyn thinks he is funny and tells him to follow his dreams, but his father thinks all dragons must guard princesses. So he practices his jokes and he watches the princess and he wishes for more. One day a prince shows up to battle Knickerbacher for the princess. The young dragon tries to scare him, but his heart is just not in it and it shows. The Prince and dragon chat and eventually both realize they have bigger dreams to chase. Knickerbacher decides to leave to pursue his dreams and the prince rescues the princess then decides he is better off playing baseball than battling dragons. The night of his first show, Knickerbacher is a hit, afterwards his parents come back stage to tell him they are proud of him for being true to himself because that takes real bravery.

This is a wonderful story perfect for kids from birth to 10. I read it to the 3 year old I watch and my 11 year old son and they both loved it. Knickerbacher, the Funniest Dragon is a story all about following your heart and believing in yourself. The illustrations are so beautiful and the kids loved the bright fun colored dragons. I read the story using multiple voices and exaggerating the jokes and the kids giggled through the whole thing. We had a ton of fun with this book and you probably will too.

Thanks for sticking with us,


I may have received this product free or at a discounted price in exchange for a review, this does not influence my review. This post contains affiliate links, for full disclosures go HERE.


Vintage Style Milk Bottles With Straws

Click image to go to Amazon and purchase
Click image to go to Amazon and purchase

What they say

  • ➤CONVERSATION PIECE: No matter how you use them who wouldn’t want to get their beverage served the old fashioned way? It will get the conversation started and delight your friends and family. Vintage style milk bottles add interest and flair to your special occasions.
  • ➤VERSATILE: Got Milk? Well that is the perfect beverage to serve but who says you can’t serve water, tea, shakes, smoothies, lemonade and juice. If you can slurp…it works! Its 10 ounce capacity is just right for lemonade, milk or any drink you choose. Reusable and dishwasher safe!
  • ➤EASY TO DECORATE: Decorate them according to the theme of the party or celebration. Add different color straws, give it a bow, a hanging tag or label.
  • ➤GUARANTEE: Fear not! Buy one for you and one as a gift. You have nothing to risk so indulge yourself! We backed it by our no hassle, no questions asked guarantee. Don’t be fooled by lower priced alternatives.
  • ➤RECOMMENDED USES: These are perfect party decorations. Fill them with candy, straws, flowers, pencils and more. Depending on the theme you will find a use for them. They are gift boxed and make great gifts for any occasion. These are perfect for: Christmas, Hanukkah, Birthday Gifts, Wedding Party, Groomsmen, Valentine’s Day, Bachelor and Bachelorrette Parties, Anniversary, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Housewarming, Retirement, New Years, College Graduation, St. Patrick’s Day, Congratulations, Job Promotion, New Job, Stocking Stuffers and Secret Santa Gifts!

What I think

These bottles are ridiculously adorable.  I just love them. They are about the size of a single serve milk bottle you would buy at any store. So they fit in little hands easily. The kids love them and look so cute drinking out of them. The bottles are made from a thick glass, so I feel safer letting the kids use them because they are less likely to shatter if dropped. They came with some cute straws that fit that vintage look, the straws are paper though so you will want to find a source to get more. I am fairly certain you can find reusable milk caps for these to make them into lunch box bottles too. I love the way they look and they really fit with the country chic vintage vibe that is so popular right now.

So flipping cute!
So flipping cute!

I think these look awesome as is, but you could put chalkboard labels on them and maybe a jute bow and use them for a country party. I have just the two kids but then I have my two kids I do care for here alot so having four of these works for us. I may do the labels just so they can tell their drinks apart. They all want to use these at lunch every day.  So this is a definite DO, as they are requested EVERY SINGLE DAY! 🙂

Manic Monday Loves,


Be sure and take the time to see some of my other blogs. We have an open contest for the month of September, click here!

I may have received this product free or at a discounted price in exchange for a review, this does not influence my review. This post contains affiliate links, for full disclosures go HERE.

ARTacts Synthetic Face Painting Brush Set

Click on image to go to Amazon and purchase
Click on image to go to Amazon and purchase

What they say

  • • 12 DIFFERENT BRUSHES – This face painting kit includes a brush for every artistic occasion including: brushes that taper to a fine point for detail work and fine lines, square-tip brushes, fan-shaped brushes and more!
  • • HIGH-QUALITY SYNTHETIC BRISTLES – We’ve used a special blend of high-quality non-toxic synthetic fibers for these bristles so they hold more paint, allow you to apply it to faces more evenly, and are easier to clean up!
  • • BUILT TO LAST – Hold your ARTacts Synthetic Face Painting Brushes between your fingers. Feel the solid wood handle balance comfortably in the palm of your hand. Marvel at the gorgeous matte black finish of the handle and the luscious chocolate brown bristles. We’ve designed these brushes to give you years of face painting fun!
  • • IDEAL FOR KIDS OR ADULTS, BEGINNERS OR EXPERTS – Use it for school events, church events, fairs, parades or any time you feel like putting a smile on someone’s face!
  • • LIFETIME GUARANTEE! – We’re so confident in the superior quality of our ARTacts Synthetic Face Painting Brushes we gladly offer them with a 100% Satisfaction Lifetime Guarantee!•

What I think

I enjoyed testing these brushes out. The kids were all more than happy to help with that. So we had a limited color palate to use and had to get creative. I got out the face paints and the brushes and some paper towels and the kiddos picked out what they wanted.

The tiny person was easiest he just wanted some balloons. So we got to work. Now the face paint kit I used is like a Halloween monster man kit so it is the hard thick stuff not true face paint. This made me worry that I wouldn’t be able to get a good idea of the brushes abilities.  I worried for nothing. The fact that it was a bit harder to get started did not affect how well the brushes worked at all.

balloons for the tiny person
balloons for the tiny person

I had to work the paint a bit to get it easier to spread and after that it wasn’t so bad at all. The brushes worked very well. They were all very soft and did not irritate the kids in any way.

Butterfly for little miss
Butterfly for little miss

There was no problem with shedding bristles. Not on the kids skin, nor in the paint and for sure not when I was wiping the paint off with paper towels. I really gave some good tugs too. Shedding bristles is a pet peeve of mine so it is one thing I rigorously test out on any kind of paint brush.

Gamer ghost for the little dude!
Gamer ghost for the little dude!

The selection of brushes is a great beginner or standalone kit. You have the perfect sizes and shapes to meet all the needs. From some thick brushes for filling in large spaces to a very fine tip for delicate lines. These will of course work better with better face paints but they did a great job with what I had on hand too.

This company is great too and they want you to love your product so they offer a lifetime satisfaction guarantee. That is pretty awesome. We obviously had a great time, so this goes in the DO column.

With all the love I can muster on a Monday morning,


I may have received this product free or at a discounted price in exchange for a review, this does not influence my review. This post contains affiliate links, for full disclosures go HERE.

Personal post. Autism is rough, can you help this family?

Click image to head to site and order.
Click image to head to site and order.

So this is a personal post. My friends are doing a fundraiser. They are having trouble getting anyone to notice it. They are running low on time and if they do not meet goal, they won’t get the funds.

This is a legitimate website, they collect the money and they send the shirts. So you have no reason to fear you are being ripped off. I know this family. Their boys are my dudes best friends. Autism is a big part of our lives.  Let me share their story.

Whiskey and his boy!
Whiskey and his boy!

Their oldest boy had a service dog, Whiskey. They were together from when he was 4 until last month. They had to let him rest. He was the most loving and loved dog. He spent his last days with his family being pampered and spoiled and they were devastated when the day came for him to cross the rainbow bridge.

Whiskey boy's mama spoiling Whiskey by hand feeding him steak and eggs in his last days.
Whiskey boy’s mama spoiling Whiskey by hand feeding him steak and eggs in his last days.

Whiskey’s boy has been heartbroken. The family has been able to get him a new puppy. Whiskey’s boy has decided to name the new puppy Chance, because this will be his second chance. Chance will need extensive training to help his new boy. A lot of work goes into making a dog learn to calm a child and help them live a fuller life. This family does not have a lot of money and so instead of giving up, they are fundraising in beautiful ways.

Chance and his new boy!
Chance and his new boy!

This tee-shirt is gorgeous and perfect. Know that with the slim cost of your tee-shirt, you are contributing to a life changing partnership for one of the most brilliant and beautiful boys I have ever met.

Please give it a look and help if you can.

Just a share, a tweet can make s difference.

All love,


Chalktastic Liquid Chalk Markers, 8Pack

Click image to go to Amazon and purchase.
Click image to go to Amazon and purchase.

Product Description

Endless possibilities and tons of fun – Your ChalkTasticTM Liquid Chalk Markers let your creativity come alive!

Tear open the cardboard shipping box your ChalkTastic Liquid Chalk Markers arrive in and marvel at the bright neon colors of each liquid marker.

Choose a liquid marker in your favorite color. Shake well. And let your creativity soar!

Note how your ChalkTastic Liquid Chalk Markers work great on any non-porous surface.

The colors are vibrant and beautiful; the super-concentrated liquid chalk glides on with no running; cleanup is as quick and easy as wiping your creation away with a damp cloth!

You’ll love these liquid chalk markers as a gift for the creative youngsters in your family; as a fun and reliable education tool (is anything worse than losing the attention of your classroom because all of your liquid pens have dried out?); as an easy way to attract customers to your restaurant, bistro, store or business; and so much more!

Backyard fun, thumbs up!
Little Dude says backyard fun, thumbs up!

And now for the fun part!! I received this product at a discount in exchange for an honest review, this is that honest opinion.

When I ordered this product, we were very excited for it to come. Little Dude likes to doodle and this looked so fun. So we trooped outside with my friends kiddos and tested these bad boys out. I figured since they were a form of chalk that they would be fine on the sidewalk.

kids giving them a go on the concrete.
kids giving them a go on the concrete.

We did learn that they can make a much prettier picture on smooth surfaces. The rough concrete also could shred the tips if pressed to hard. So we moved to the smoother part of the walk, my steps.

Pretty art from my friends 8 yr old.
Pretty art from my friends 8 yr old.

This section worked much better. The flow was smooth and our little artists were able to get more creative and add more depth to their work. Next Little Dude asked me to put his favorite, a creeper from Minecraft, on his bedroom window. So we tried that out and it was fun too.

Scary Creeper face.
Scary Creeper face.

We all agreed there were a couple things we would change about this product. We really wanted a black one and the caps are designed in a way that if you do not put them on carefully, they can damage the tips. So we would love to see that changed so that the younger kids with less dexterity won’t have as much trouble recapping them.

An amazing drawing by our little artist.
An amazing drawing by our little artist.

So the basics are, this item is a ton of fun. The kids loved them. They were easy to prime and the color flowed out well. The reversible nib made it so they could be more precise or broad, depending on what they wanted. They clean up as easy as chalk but are much more versatile. Little dude and his friends all agree with me that this is a great product.

So we say in unison, this is a do!

Always, (oh that one brought on the HP feels in this geek girl)


This post contains affiliate links, for full disclosure go HERE.

My baby made it, guess he isn’t a baby anymore.

Rio baby

19 years ago today was when the best thing that has ever happened to me occurred. River was born a tiny little perfect person. Pink fingers and white hair and blue eyes that everyone said would change when he got older. It took us years to figure each other out. Me the stupid 17 year old kid who definitely didn’t have shit together and the baby that never liked  much. We couldn’t figure out breastfeeding, I couldn’t figure out how to do it all. His tummy seemed to always hurt, we still haven’t figured that part out. He cried and cried and cried, unless I popped in some social distortion and bopped around the apartment. He changed every moment of my life and every fiber of my being.

River has fought tooth and nail for most of his life. From the horrible “colic” he had as a baby, to the inability to connect with other little kids at 3, the getting constantly penalized in kindergarten for questioning the teacher, getting kicked out of first grade, 2nd grade and third grade for elopement and shutting down. Arrested at 8 because of abusive teachers aides who shouldn’t have had a job with children. It just kept going and going and he just got so lost under autisms weight.

Removing him from school and teaching him at home was a break through, though I could never have gotten my son back without the help of the amazing people at The Childrens Guild Easter Seals therapy program in Salem, OR. I hear they had to close their doors due to budget cuts, which breaks my heart. The program of intensive therapy for River, Me and us as a family unit was what saved us. Teaching me how to help him, teaching him how to help him. All the tools we needed were delivered. No, it was not a cure. We know he will always struggle, but the tools they taught him gave him the ability to live in a world that is unaccepting, unforgiving and gosh darn loud.

2014-05-23 11.11.07

I was told once that I should institutionalize my son. That his aggression would make him a danger to everyone around him. That he would never function as an adult, they said he had no chance of finishing school. They were wrong on all counts. River completed his last final of the year today. He is graduating High School on Thursday.

River still battles his autism. He still takes things rather literally and still has tics that appear when he is stressed. He is more sensitive than other kids at times and he can rarely fly off that handle when pushed. But now, he has the tools to confront those stressors. he knows how to slow his breathing and calm his bodies. He knows that home is safe and always will be.


River volunteers every week at the local food bank and thrift store.  The experience he has gained from working there has helped him grow immensely. He goes in and works like it is a normal job. They understand him and his needs and they support and encourage him. He is corrected firmly and kindly when he struggles. He has learned how to handle the stress of a job, which gets him pretty close to other 19 year olds maybe even past some in my opinion.

Today, my baby boy. The child who saved my life, turns 19. He may not be ready to leave home and take on the world, but he proved all those jerks wrong. And that is pretty dang cool in my opinion.


So thank you to Easter Seals. Thank you to the amazing teachers at LRA. Thank you to The Action Center. And thank you to every single person who has impacted our lives. We love you and we thank you.

Now if you are in the area and know us, come party at the park with us Saturday. This boy deserves to be celebrated.


Where did we go?

miss me

So, I wrote up a big post about how I wasn’t going to let people get to me. I said I was going to bring back my blog. Then I didn’t post again. So here is the deal.


The day after I wrote that, my landlord showed up and informed me he was putting the house on the market. So I was once again preparing to be forced to move and find a suitable home for me and the boys. Of course I was devastated. As I covered last year, moving and uncertainty and autism do not mix. Plus River was devastated as he is graduating this year, this week now. I also did not want to bring all of that back onto the web and receive more criticism for the way I live.


Recently my landlord changed his mind and asked us to stay. He asked if we would be willing to have a small rent increase if he pulled the house off of the market. I of course jumped on that. We can pay a little more each month, it won’t add much difficulty to our living situation. I am employed now and we are getting by.


Choosing to live a life and share it with strangers is difficult. You open yourself up to criticism. I don’t have a thick skin. When things started falling down again, I pulled back. But we are back to good and that is where we shall stay. So thanks for sticking around and reaching out to those who asked after us. I will be here again. In fact I am writing a second blog as I write this one. 🙂 so…… Stay Tuned!

stay tuned

Hello Strangers

Hello again. I know it has been a long time. The last seven months have been busy, emotional, wonderful and stressful. Ok so basically they have been normal. 🙂

We have settled into lives in the new house. The kids love the space and being so close to school and friends and the park. It has opened up more opportunities for our family and that has been nice. I have been so busy that half of what we own is still packed in the garage though.

Sky and I being goofy.
Sky and I being goofy.

I am going to be perfectly honest. I haven’t updated the blog in months mostly because of the wonderful commenter who tried to shame me. She failed in making me feel ashamed of asking for help. She did, however, make me want to pull back from opening myself to it happening again. That attitude was letting that persons poison win and I no longer want to do that. I need this blog. I need to be able to share my feelings, fears and pride with the world. Even if noone reads it. I need a place to put it. There is so much more to our lives that I can’t express at home.

So, moving right along. This is where we are.

River is in his senior year of high school. This has so many mixed emotions involved in it. He is struggling with realizing the school year is coming to an end. He loves his school and hates change, so I know how hard the end of the year will be. Also involved in this is preparing for public engagements.

River at the Vancouver Menorah lighting for Chanukah. The last time he had a highly successful public outing.
River at the Vancouver Menorah lighting for Chanukah. The last time he had a highly successful public outing.

Today he had a practice presentation for his senior project. He has to talk about volunteer work he did this year and its impact on his life. He came directly home from school very upset after his presentation. Instead of staying for the day of open studies, he made the choice to walk home and let himself decompress. Seeing him so overwhelmed is very hard. Public speaking is never going to be easy for him. Upside, he got through it. He said he broke down in tears a few times and got flustered, but he made it through. So this week I will be drilling him on it all week to get him really ready for the official presentation next week.

River has been going to youth group at the church on Wednesdays too. Which he chose to do on his own. He enjoys it, but admitted to me this week he doesn’t really talk to anyone there. I hate that he still has no friends no matter what I do. He just doesn’t know how to approach people or how to interact with people who approach him. He tries though and I couldn’t be more proud.

Mr. Man turned 18 last summer, so he got to vote.
Mr. Man turned 18 last summer, so he got to vote.

Sky is flourishing. He loves going to school and being with his friends. He has taken up writing fanfic and creating his own Minecraft skins and artwork. Sky joined 4H and is raising guinea pigs. He loves animals and enjoys getting to be around other kids. He is thinking about joining scouts with his best bud too.

Little dude got a new hair cut.
Little dude got a new hair cut.

Little dude still has alot of anxiety though. His health is still a problem that we are working on. That will probably always be the case though. The kid is tough though and I know my little fighter will come through it all.

As for me, I am still continuing my schooling. Getting good grades and trying not to get burned out. I am providing childcare full time for my friends two kids and that is alot of work.  I also am involved with my book club Fangirls Read It First. I review books, edit other members reviews and help run the public Facebook page. It is fun and a good outlet for me that has nothing to do with my kids. We all need something like that.


So I aim to have this back up and regular. our little family will continue its growth. We won’t lose sight of our goals even when autism, money issues and life in general kick us down. We are fighters and we keep going.

Having a night.

Feeling pretty defeated right now. The house hunt is not going well and time is ticking away. We had a place where the guy made me feel like I was going to get it but then tells me there is an applicant ahead of me and he approved them. I feel toyed with. And considering how I got into the house hunting situation that isn’t a great feeling.

2014-06-28 17.13.01
Our littlest Thalia will be going to her new home this week 😦 🙂

Our situation just sucks. It is near impossible to find someone who accepts cosigners. Apartments really don’t like it. I just don’t make enough money to do it alone though. I am starting to get really scared and desperate. We will probably end up living in the camper. That isn’t a horrible thing, except the age of the camper means parks wont accept it for monthly stays. So again we have to find somewhere to park it.

Eph getting tired with his pup Lovely waiting on a house viewing that didn’t work out.

I am struggling to stay positive. The kids are having a hard time too. Ephraim has been crying off and on for the last hour and I can’t even figure out why. Today was pretty easy for him, he just hung out with Grandma, but now he is an emotional wreck headed for meltdown city.

Which is only going to get worse over the next few days. We are starting to thin the herd here. Yesterday I put word out to rehome our tortoise shell kitty and a friends grandma is going to be giving her a new home. Tonight, I have to put it out there to rehome Ephraim’s kitty stormy. He is not thrilled by this as you can guess. Every conversation we have had about that has gone very badly.  My parents are taking on the chickens, so that is at least one worry that I don’t have to deal with now. Eph was not a fan of getting rid of them wither. I hate having to break my kids hearts over and over again.

these two have been near inseparable since we got her.

This whole thing just sucks. In less then a month, we will most likely be homeless. That is how it is looking right now. I am bouncing back and forth between anger and despair. This is not how children should be raised.

537432_4855780751004_1928495710_n (1)
Eph is pretty angry at me about having to let her go 😦

We had River’s social security review today. The transition over to his own file now that he is 18. I was pretty nervous about that, but it went well. Now we just have to wait and see if they are going to decide that because he is 18 his disability has suddenly disappeared, because yeah, that is how autism works didn’t you know.

We are still trying to figure out Ephraim’s disability and we just started the process of getting me approved to provide childcare for a friend. If that all goes smooth, I will actually have some money coming in and wont be so stuck. but of course I can’t make any of that happen before the deadline for moving is here. So it doesn’t really help right now.

oh yay

I am tired of crying. I am just so tired. My birthday is in less the 2 weeks. So hey universe, could you please cut me a break.

Always Love,