July 26, 2012

Not Blessed Mama's Unwanted and Unsolicited Product Review: Do You Have $3?

I swear that this is the best three dollars I EVER SPENT IN MY WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE.

So- water balloons. My Spawn love water balloons, of course. Who doesn't? I don't. I freaking hate water balloons. They take 5 hours to blow up and the kids pop them all in 30 seconds. They always break when you try to force them on the faucet. My fat little fingers get sore trying to tie them. I just really, really hate them. They're way more of a hassle than they're worth. My kids just have to go without. And I don't even give a shit.

Until about a month ago. When I bought the most amazing thing that 3 dollars could ever buy. This. This glorious piece of plastic- The Kaos Tie Not Water Balloon Filler.

This thing is genius. IT'S GENIUS. You stick it on your garden hose, stick a balloon on it, fill up the balloon and twist it around the contraption- then you pull it off and the balloon is tied. It's tied. If you don't think this is amazing, let me tell you: the first day we got this, my 5 year old sat still for over half an hour and filled up a whole tub of water balloons himself. By himself. Quietly, with no supervision from me. All 3 of my Spawn have been using this thing all the time- they love it. They have water balloon fights with the neighborhood kids and have an awesome time- and best of all, leave me alone while they do it. That alone is worth way more than three bucks. I got mine at Wal-Mart. They're available on-line, but they're more expensive. 

We've had this over a month now and it's still going strong. I can't believe that a tiny piece of plastic has brought me such joy. Well, I can believe it- but it only cost $3 and I didn't have to lock the bathroom door. So it's a win.


I am not affiliated with Kaos and their fine water balloon products. But if I did see them, I'd probably kiss them on the mouth. This stupid thing is that goddamn awesome. I am telling you!

July 13, 2012

Chuck E. Cheese Is Not The Evil Hellhole You Think It Is

I'm always seeing parents complain about how much they hate Chuck E. Cheese. And I'll tell you a little secret- we love it there. Totally love it. Even I do. We usually go every year for birthdays (sometimes even mine), so I'm an old pro now. I'm going to share my tips for making CEC actually enjoyable.

1. NEVER GO ON A WEEKNIGHT OR WEEKEND (or holiday). And when I say never, I mean never never never never ever ever ever. CEC on a weekend is a massive hellhole. One Friday night we tried to go and couldn't even get in the door. We always go on a weekday, and we go as early as possible. Check your location's hours- ours opens at 9. And guess what? When we go that early on a weekday, IT'S EMPTY. There's never been more than 10 people that early. Often, we've had the whole place to ourselves. Also, check out how late your CEC is open. Ours can be open as late as 10- and one weeknight we did go around 7:30-8, and it was manageable.

That one other kid in the background? She was with us. 
2. Get your paperwork in order. Damn that CEC pizza is expensive (and it's not even that good). A few days before your trip, sign up for the mailing list to receive some great coupons. The mailing list coupons are always better than what you can print out from the website (and your first set of coupons is usually extra great), but I would never encourage you to sign up with multiple e-mails to get the best deal. I would never do that. Make sure you enter your child's birthdate- they'll get free stuff for their birthday, and you can use more than one coupon at a time. There's also usually a game on the CEC website you can play to get tickets for prizes- do this for all your children! Have no shame. Walk proudly through that door with your fistful of coupons. They'll get your money one way or another. You might as well get the best deals possible. 

3. Plan your strategy. Ok, you've got your coupons. You've picked a time when you don't think it will be too crowded. Now- are you eating there? Do you have coupons for pizza? Will you be buying soda, or bringing water bottles? Are you bringing snacks and skipping meal time? (I could never do this- the kids love that mediocre pizza. I always plan to eat there, and I get either the cinnamon or apple dessert pizza or the salad bar. French fries are an inexpensive option but aren't very good.) How much money do you want to spend? Do your kids have socks to go in the play equipment? Are you wearing something with pockets to hold tokens and tickets?

AND YOU ARE READY. I have gifted you with all of the knowledge from my many years of experience at Chuck E. Cheese. I know it seems like a lot for a silly CEC trip, but just keep these tips in the back of your mind. I promise that you and your kids can actually have some fun, and it won't even cost you your sanity. 

I don't think I need to say that Chuck E. is not affiliated with this post. I doubt they'd like the name of their establishment paired with "hellhole" in a blog post. 

July 7, 2012

Damn Those Bath Salts

I'm sure you've all heard of the horrific bath salt related attacks lately. And you may have heard that some people are joking that bath salts are the precursor to the zombie apocalypse. Which is silly, of course. But last night as I was laying in bed, I started to think- what if this was it? What if this really was the start of zombie attacks? What if our world became like The Walking Dead and we had to steal food and hide and protect ourselves from flesh eating monsters? How would I take care of my kids? How would I get enough food? What would I use to protect the windows? Would we need to go in the attic? And what if we ran out of food? What if we had no where to go and I felt like I was running out of options? And I really started to get upset thinking about it all.

Obviously, I have a problem.

My paranoia used to be much worse. When Spawn#1 was just 2 years old, I was laying down for a nap with him. I heard a train whistle, reasonably close by- and I thought, what if there are circus animals on that train? What if that train crashed and the animals escaped and a tiger was in my backyard? What if a tiger was in my laundry room? How would I protect my Spawn? And on, and on. Because really, isn't it totally rational to be mentally prepared for circus animal or bath salt zombie attacks?

You may think I'm joking, but I'm totally serious. I go through these crazy scenarios in my head, and make a plan of action and decide what I would need to do to protect my kids. Driving over bridges, going to the zoo. Intruders breaking into the house, going on rides at the fair, falling over the railing on the second floor of the mall. I need to be ready for the worst possibility. Why? I don't know.

My contingency plans are fewer and farther in between these days. I think that I'm just too busy to let my brain idle. Which is good- while they've never limited or impacted our lives, I'm sane enough to realize that this kind of thinking is not exactly... normal. Once, when I casually mentioned a thought to my sister about a bridge we were driving over, she went quiet and looked at me with wide eyes. I'm sane, ok- just not normal.

So, are you worried about the upcoming bath salt zombpocalypse? Or do you have some prescription drugs to share with me? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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