Baby Marohn’s Holiday Gift Guide: Del Sol Coloring Changing Backpack Review and Giveaway

2015 Holiday gift guideChristmas is on it’s way, and fast.  I know this year I am completely unprepared, and I’ve only bought three gifts. To tell you the truth, it seems like everyone has so much that I don’t really know what to get them. I like to think outside the box, and get something that most people wouldn’t think about, and for kids, one thing I like to get for kids is stuff for school.

Now that the school year is halfway over, it seems that, even though parents try to buy things that last, the beginning of the year school stuff is starting to wear out. Backpacks are always a big hit with Goose and my sister’s kids.

Del Sol

Del Sol has come out with the cutest backpacks that I’ve seen in a LONG time.  In true fashion to Del Sol, the backpack changes color when out in the sun too.  Goose just loves that inside out of the sun, Minnie is black and white, but as soon as she goes outside, Minnie turns her normal colors, and she has secret designs hidden in the background that pop out as a surprise.

Not only are Del Sol’s backpacks SUPER cute, but they are also very comfortable to carry.  The shoulder straps, back, and handle are all padded, so that you don’t have to worry about the straps digging into your shoulders or the handle hurting your hand.

 

Del Sol 2015 Holiday gift guide

Goose has been able to fit quite a bit in the Del Sol backpack.  The backpack measures 15″ H x 12″ W x 4″ D.  As far as pockets and compartments, the Del Sol definitely doesn’t have the most I’ve ever seen, but how many does my 4 year old really need?  There is the main large compartment, an accessory pocket on the front, and two mesh pockets on the sides.  She honestly doesn’t need more than that, and if she did, I have a feeling things would get lost.

If Minnie Mouse is not your thing, they have Disney Princesses and a couple of Marvel characters that you can choose from.

Overall, Goose and I love this backpack, and Del Sol would like to give you all a chance to win one!!  You have until November 27th, 2015 at 11:59pm to enter.

 

If you don’t want to enter the giveaway (or have arrived late )’: ) you can still follow Del Sol on the following social media sites.

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AYL Soundfit Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker Review

ayl soundfit

As a parent, we always want to get products that are high quality, but worry about accidents around our kids.  I know we have a very very expensive bluetooth speaker that I’m afraid for Goose to even touch.

The AYL Soundfit speaker really offers all that my very very expensive speaker offers, but in a smaller package and with a few extra features I love.

ayl soundfit

First off, what the AYL SoundFit speaker offers…

  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Waterproof for accidental drops in water or for shower use
  • Ability to answer calls
  • 33ft working distance
  • X-Base
  • Dust-proof
  • shock-proof

AYL SoundFitThe waterproof/shockproof features is what really interested me in the product.  As a mom of a preschooler, I know spills and drops happen…a lot… and I have to say that the AYL SoundFit has stood up to the test.  I’ve even started taking the speaker in the shower so that I can listen to a little de-stressing music (thanks Foster The People) while I am showering.

AYL SoundFitThe sound quality of the speaker is pretty great too.  I don’t have a way to really test the sound, so what we did was turn the speaker on and played some music.  When we went into another room, we would see how good it sounded.  The AYL Soundfit, still sounded awesome a few rooms away.

There is one thing that really annoyed me about the AYL SoundFit speaker.  It starts off at FULL volume!!  Also the start up/shut down sounds are really really loud too.  Normally when I shower, Goose has just gone to bed, and her room is right beside my bathroom, so I try to be as quiet as I can; when this speaker’s sound effects are super loud, that makes things a little difficult for me.  I’ve started hiding the speaker in the towels to turn it on, and then turn it down right away. Of course when you reach the lowest volume setting, it plays a super loud beep, beep, beep to let you know.  Also a little annoying.

Overall, this is a pretty good speaker.  I hope that in future versions and models they do away with the loud sound effects and maybe have the speaker start out of half volume.

If you are interested in purchasing the AYL Soundfit Bluetooth Speaker, you can find them on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B014VJD6PQ  Right now (as of 11/3/15) the price is about $30, which is really not bad for what you get.  Well worth the cost.

 

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Amazing Birds Adult Coloring Book Review

Amazing Birds

When I was little I loved coloring books.  There was something enchanting about bringing animals, characters, and landscapes to life in color.  Now that I am older, I kind of miss it, and to be honest, the kids coloring books that my daughter really do not offer the challenge that I like.

I’ve been hearing a lot about adult coloring books, and I really wanted to try them out.  I was able to get the Amazing Birds developed by Tali Carmi coloring book for free in exchange for my review, and I was so excited.

Amazing birds

I was not disappointed in this coloring book at all.  The whole book is full of beautiful of exotic birds from all over the world like the cockatoo.  Other birds include the hummingbird, swan, hawk, and more.

amazing birds

My first coloring was the cockatoo.  I didn’t have any of the fancy colored pencils or markers that a lot of people are using to color these adult coloring books, but I did have some pretty nice Crayola crayons. I have to say that I had a blast coloring this picture.  It’s actually oddly relaxing to see the bird come to life in the colors I want it to be. I just let my imagination run wild.  My daughter even spent more time coloring her own picture since I too was coloring.

Over all I loved the Amazing Birds coloring book, and I am excited to see what other coloring books they come out with for adults.

If you would like to see about getting your very own Amazing Birds adult coloring book, you can find it on Amazon and their website. Weather the book is free or $20, it is really worth the cost, and a great stress reducer.

You can also connect with the makers of the Amazing Birds coloring book on the following social media sites:

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Our House Gluten Free Baking Mixes Review

Our house

Gluten issues is something that has been going on in our family for a while now, and it always amazes me how bland and tasteless the products are that are available.

all-purpose-baking-mix-323x454

Recently, my sister and I got to try the Our House baking mixes.  We honestly had never tried to make anything out of gluten free all purpose flour, but decided there was no better time like the present. our house

The recipe for biscuits was a lot different than what we normally do. The recipe called for:

  • 1 ½ cups Our House Gluten-Free Baking Mix (228 grams)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp vegetable shortening
  • ¾ cup milk (or milk alternative)
  • 1 large egg (or 1/3 cup applesauce)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

OUR HOUSEWe also are used to cutting out the biscuits, so we went ahead and did that.

Baking was about normal, and they looked just like normal biscuits when they came out of the oven.  The texture at first was a little different though.  You could tell they were a little different than normal biscuits. It almost felt like we had added a little bit of finely ground cornmeal to the mixture.

OUR HOUSE

Overall, I think our biscuits made from the Our House Gluten Free All Purpose Baking mix turned out really well.  You could tell there was something a little different about them, but the biscuits were very good.

bread-mix-323x454

My next adventure is to try the Our House Bread Mix, which can be put in the bread machine (kind of excited about that part).

If you are interested in purchasing any of the Our House mixes or flour, you can find them on their site https://ourhousegf.com.  The prices are really not all that bad compared to other gluten free products out there, and well worth EVERY penny.

Our House also has several really awesome gluten free recipes on their website for things like blueberry cobbler, peanut butter cookies, and so many more.  It’s worth checking out if you are one of the many who are not able to eat gluten.

If you would like to connect with Our House, you can do so on the following social media sites:

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Breastfeeding Accessories Review

Breastfeeding

Warning:  If you are easily offended or have issues with seeing babies eating, then this is not a post for you.

breastfeeding

Awe breastfeeding.  That journey for Nora and me lasted about 2 and a half years, and it was was a whirlwind of emotions and feelings. One minute I am feeling like I want to rip my breasts off and call the whole quits, but then I would turn around and be so proud of the way I was able to feed my child.  Breastfeeding was hard and at the same time easy, it was also frustrating but rewarding.  I would not give back that time with Nora for anything.

Since Nora and I had that 2 1/2 years, I because quite an expert of things that did work and things that didn’t or wouldn’t work. Here are a few of my favorite breastfeeding must haves.

A VERY comfortable nursing bra!

Nursing bra

I love this Nourish By BeliBea breastfeeding bra.  Not only is it super comfortable, but it’s also like a three in one bra, it would be great for maternity, pumping moms, and breastfeeding moms.

The ever changing breast size that comes along with pregnancy and breastfeeding can be hard.  You find a bra that you think would be great for all day comfort, only to realize latter in the day that it’s too tight.  I know that right before Nora was about to eat, my bra would feel like it was trying to squeeze me to death. With the BeliBea, you don’t have to worry about that.  The fabric the bra is made out of is almost like that material tights are made out of.  Stretchy but supportive. It’s also soooo soft, and that helps with those tender nipples.

breastfeeding

For pumping moms the BeliBea turns almost any pump into hands free.  Here I have the shield for the Medela Freestyle (which I love by the way), and it fits perfectly into the hole provided for the shield.  So any pumping session can now be very convenient and comfortable.

When it’s time to nurse your baby, all you have to do is undo all the clasps, and you are ready to go.  I personally hated this part when I was breastfeeding.  The cups of my bra would always get in Nora’s face, and I felt like she was very uncomfortable.  With the BeliBea bra, you don’t have to worry about that.  The cups fold down nicely, and if that still doesn’t work for you, the padding in the cup can be removed.

I know some moms like to breastfeed and pump at the same time.  BeliBea makes that easy.  You can have the pumping panel up on one side and down on the other where baby is.

Here are a few more things you can expect from the Nourish By BeliBea nursing bra:

  • The BeliBea bra line combines the best of traditional maternity bras with both an improved fit and design for better comfort, with the Nourish by BeliBea style also providing the ability to hold pump shields in place for hands-free convenience.

  • Nourish by BeliBea includes dual panels in each cup that allow mothers to keep the garment in place while breastfeeding, pumping and during what often seems like the few moments in between. The inside panel fits to and holds a breast shield in place for hands-free convenience while pumping, or both panels can be lowered to easily breastfeed. 

  • The hands-free convenience of Nourish by BeliBea not only makes the individual tasks of breastfeeding and pumping more manageable, but it also allows mothers to do both at the same time – saving even more of your limited and precious time.

  • The BeliBea bra line has a v-neck scoop and center ruching to maintain a feminine shape – no sports bra “uni-boob” here! Nourish by BeliBea also comes with removable pads between the cup panels that offer extra support, comfort and shape. 

  • Nursing mothers demand a new maternity bra that is comfortable but affordable, flexible and durable, simple yet clever – this is the bra line for nursing mothers everywhere. 

  • BeliBea bras incorporate specific design features to ensure every mother’s all-day comfort, including a seamless stretch fit, plush-lined adjustable straps and a ribbed band to provide flexible support. 

  • BeliBea also offers gift cards of any amount. From baby showers to push presents, a BeliBea gift certificate is the perfect gift for any nursing mom or mommy-to-be.

The BeliBea Nourish Bra really is one of the best that I have seen.  They can be found on BeliBea’s website listed at the bottom of this post.

Comfortable Nursing Pads

When it comes to giving advice to others about breastfeeding, I tend to get asked the same question a lot; “what kind of brand pads do I recommend”. To tell you the truth, I don’t have a specific brand that I absolutely love, but I do have a type.  I hate the disposable nursing pads, and here is why.  With the disposable ones, you have something sort of like a maxi pad on your breast.  That in itself is not comfortable at all, not to mention it’s not eco friendly.

The reuseable nursing pads are awesome and I love them.  The reusable ones can come in almost any kind of fabric that you find comfortable.  I know that I have seen them in organic cotton, microfiber, bamboo,minky, and a few others I think.

nursing pads

I recently got some of the My Newborn nursing pads to review.  And they are great!  They come in white and pink.  The side that goes against your breast is made from organic bamboo.  Now, if you have never used fabric made from bamboo or hemp, you don’t know what you are missing.  These are some of the softest and most absorbent natural fibers you can get. So you can be comfortable while your milk supply is regulating, and know that these will take a lot of leak through. The best part is when they do get milk or something on them, just throw them in the wash, but be sure not to use fabric softener on them.

Now these are just a few of the items I would recommend.  I know I didn’t get into creams, bottles, and pumps really, but if you are planning of breastfeeding, these two products are almost a must have.

If you are interested in the Nourish by BeliBea bra, you can find them on their website http://www.beliebea.com, you can also connect with BeliBea on the follow social medias

The My Newborn nursing pads can be found on Amazon.  They come in pink or white and in packs of 8.

I would like to once again thank my sponsors.  You have been very kind to me during my down time, and I appreciate you all willing to work with me.

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Babywearing A Little About Now and Then

Recently, I have been hearing a lot of people say that babywearing, or carrying your baby in a device strapped to your body, is a new fad.  In fact, babywearing has been around since ancient history. Native Americans (North, Central, and South), Africans, and pretty much all cultures across the world have had some sort of babyway wearing in their history.

 

The type of babywearing that we have now days is new.  There are so many types of carriers and choices of fabric.  You can buy carriers that are super cheap not ergonomic and do not hold the baby in the most comfortable position and you can go all the way up to carriers that are are hundreds of dollars and made with hand woven fabric that is more like the first kind of babywearing. In this post, I will show three different kinds of carriers that are available to parents now days.

IMG_1215Stretchy Wrap

These wraps are normally made from a t-shirt like jersey knit and are very stretchy. The wraps like the Baby More Co.’s -like I am wearing in the photo above- are best for newborns and infants. The carrier says that it can be used up to 32lbs.  However, I have found that with these types of carriers, that at about 15lbs you will want to start looking for a new carrier because this one will not last much longer.  The stretchy wraps are awesome for inward facing front carries, but should not be used for back carries or forward facing carries.

IMG_6134The Baby More Co. wrap was really nice.  I am a plus size woman, and I was able to tie the carrier on my back with with a little fabric to spare.  I wish it was a little wider, but it worked for the doll I was wearing and my 7lb dog (don’t judge, the dog loves it haha).  The Baby More Co. wraps are found on Amazon, and come in three colors; Grey (Like I have), Black, and Pink.  These wraps are super soft, and are machine washable.

Please excuse the blurriness of the photo.  My 4 year old took the picture.
Please excuse the blurriness of the photo. My 4 year old took the picture.  Also, sorry for the crazy hair.  This summer has been very humid.

Ring Sling

Ring slings are among one of my favorite carriers.  A ring sling is a long piece of fabric with two rings sewn to the end.  The fabric is threaded through the rings in a way that creates a pocket for the child to sit or lay in.  They are super easy to use, very versatile and can come in a variety of fabrics, prints, and other options.  I’ve actually used a ring sling to help keep Goose near me in public places.

There are so many carries you can do with a ring sling.  I am doing a tummy to tummy with the doll above, but there are so many more.  You can do cradle hold, clutch hold, kangaroo carry, snuggle hold, hip carry, and so many more.  Just check out this YouTube search for more carries. 

The ring sling I am using above is the Mamaway Ring Sling.  Once again, it’s found on Amazon, and they have so many options it’s unreal.  Mamaway

First of all, I LOVE that this Mamaway ring sling folds up into it’s own little pouch.  That way it fits neatly into diaper bags or purses.  I also really like that part of the rails are a little padded, so they are a little more comfortable on your baby’s legs without causing a huge bulk in the sling.

The Mamaway is made from fabric that feels a lot like a bed sheet, however, some other brands of ring slings can come in woven, linen, mesh, or even silk.

ZirakiSoft Structured Carrier (SSC) or Buckle Carrier

Soft structured carriers are also among my favorite carriers.  If you think a ring sling is easy to use, the SSC is so much easier.  This is a backpack type carrier that does not have an ridged parts other than a the buckles.  

IMG_6365I got the Ziraki carrier to review.  I was so excited because the description on Amazon says that it fits up to 55″ waist.  I was really disappointed with I tried it on though.  The carrier does not fit me at all.  I had someone else try on the carrier who wears about a size 16 womens clothing, she was able to get it buckled, but it was not comfortable.  I’m not sure if the company sent me the wrong one, or what happened. The carrier is beautiful, looks to be very well made, and has wonderful pockets, and an awesome hood.

I hope that I have explained some of the modern day carriers a little more.  I really liked the Baby More Co and the Mamaway carriers.  I cannot say if I liked the SSC since I was not able to use it.  Disclaimer

I would like to say a huge thank you to my sponsors for this post.  I have been suffering through “blogger block” (writer’s block).  There was also a death in the family and some other personal problems.  I really appreciate these three sponsors for being patient with me and understanding.

 

Medication Free Pain Relief and Reviews

babymarohnEver since I was a child, I have suffered from scoliosis back pain, and recently, my knees have started acting up.  I hate taking NSAIs because of the side effects, and I just don’t like to put drugs into my body.

For a long time, I would just have Michael massage my back when it started acting up, but since he is now working full time and going to school, it’s been hard to get any relief for my back.  Then a few months ago, my mom broke her ankle and had to start going to therapy to help get motion back.  They used a machine in her therapy called a Tens unit. This is basically a machine that has electrodes that attaches to whatever body part is tense, and uses electric pulses to stimulate the muscles. I knew right away that is what I was going to need for my back.

(Video and photo coming soon)

I ended up getting the PM-120 tens unit from Santamedical on Amazon to review.  This is a pretty cool little unit.  It has 6 stimulation modes, each imitating a different massage type.  The strength of the electric pulses is easily and gently changed with the buttons on the front.  One of the best parts is you can attach up to 4 electrodes to the unit.  That means more area of the muscle can be stimulated at one time.  I personally like to use two on my back, and if my knee is bothering me, I put the other two on my knee. There is also a self timer on the unit.  It has a default setting to 20 minutes, but it can be changed from anywhere from 10 to 60 minutes.  The very best part of the whole unit is how small it is.  It is about the same size as a small MP3 player (or like the 1st gen iPod nano), so it would easily fit in a travel case or purse if you needed to use the tens unit on the go or while traveling.  If you want to read more about the PM-120 tens unit from Santamedical, you can find it on Amazon here.

natural pain relief

For my knee that I have been using two different compression sleeves. One I reviewed a few months ago here, and my new one that I got to review is an Tourmaline infused compression sleeve that emits infrared pain relief from Tayere.  I, honestly, don’t 100% understand how this works, but here is the jist of it.  The tourmaline is a semi-precious mineral, and it has been shown to produce a weak electrical charge, giving it magnetic field properties, which is what enables it to produce and emit Far Infrared Rays and negative ions. That somehow causes a warming effect that is supposed to penetrate deep into the muscles and tissues. I know that the compression sleeve feels great when I put it on my knee.  I love how the sleeve fits nicely under pants and shorts.  It will wick away moisture so you don’t have to worry about becoming over warm wearing it. However, I can’t wear it long because it’s a little too tight on my thigh, which makes my leg hurt after I wear it for a long time. If you want to read more about all the awesome features of this knee compression sleeve, you can check it out on Amazon here.

Overall, I do love both the tens unit from Santamedical and the knee compression sleeve from Teyere Therapeutics.  They offer medication free pain relief, which is completely AWESOME.  I really enjoyed reviewing these two products, and I hope to find more natural ways to relieve pain soon.Disclaimer

Coosh Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor Review

CooshRecently, my doctor noticed that my blood pressure has been creeping up over the past few years.  I tried to tell her that it was because of the long wait to see her, and the fact that I have a preschooler at home.

The doctor didn’t like my excuse and wanted me to start taking medication for my blood pressure.  However, my blood pressure was not too much above normal and I hate some of the side effects that the medication was going to cause, so I talked the doctor into just checking my bp regularly at home.

When I got home I started looking at all the different blood pressure monitors on the market right now.  I became very overwhelmed very quickly. There are a ton of features that the monitor can feature, and I wasn’t sure that I wanted a multi-user blood pressure monitor.

The two I ended up getting (actually I was able to review them so that really worked out for me) are from Coosh. The models I got are the CBPM002 and the CBPM001.  I love them both, but there are a couple of differences.

Coosh

The Coosh CBPM001 has a large backlit display, which I LOVE.  It is so easy to see, and very user friendly.  This model also stores up to 90 readings, so you or your doctor can view your results and trends.  This model also comes with a carry case.

Coosh

The Coosh CBPM002 is smaller, which is nice and makes it easier to carry around because it doesn’t come with a carrying case.  It stores 60 results, which is very nice if you are not having to monitor your blood pressure as closely.

Both monitors are approved by the FDA, and they both have a WHO classification indicator.

There are a couple of things I didn’t like.  One is the cuff size.  The cuff says that that it can be used for someone with a 8.7″-12.6″ bicep.  I am a plus size gal, and this cuff is a little uncomfortable on me.  I luckily had another cuff that goes with another bp monitor that works perfectly.  The second is that I cannot find any user manuals online for either of the monitors.  Maybe I’m not searching for the correct keywords.

If you would like to purchase one of these awesome blood pressure monitors, you can find them on Amazon.  Here are the links CBPM001: http://www.amazon.com/dp/b00vvs7ada and CBPM002: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VVSXS4U?psc=1.

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Little One’s Pillow Review

little one pillow

 

When our kids are infants, we constantly hear no pillows, no blankets, no stuffed animals, so I’ve always been a little apprehensive about giving Goose a pillow to sleep on.  She has been a co-sleeper since she was a few months old, and during the night she’s has always creeped her way onto my pillow.  So, when she started sleeping in her own bed a few months ago, I was really confused about if she was supposed to have a pillow and what kind of pillow she should have.

After some research I found that you could start introducing a pillow at about age 2, but I always tend to err on the side of caution.

I knew when I did chose to introduce a pillow it should be small. That’s why I decided to go with a toddler pillow. I know the amount of toddler pillows on the market can be very overwhelming. One of the best toddler pillows that I’ve come across is the Little One’s Pillow.

little ones pillowI love that it is made with organic cotton that is grown and woven in the USA. Some other great things are the pillow is only 13 in x 18 in, hypoallergenic, and can be machine washed. That’s a huge plus in my book. Goose LOVES how soft and fluffy the pillow is, and will not sleep with any other pillow now. 

If you would like to purchase the Little One’s Pillow and Pillowcase, you can find them on Amazon, and you can read more about the set on their website http://www.littleonespillow.com/. The pillow is a little expensive at about $26 (7/1/15) and the pillowcase is about $20 (7/1/15). It’s still a great investment, and they have a guarantee if you do not like the pillow.

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Awesome Day Trips for Summer Part 1: Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokey’s

welcome-to-gatlinburgRipley's Aquarium of the Smokeys
This past weekend we decided to take a little day trip, and headed up to Gatlinburg, TN.  I have lived my entire life in East Tennessee, and I am still not tried of the beautiful montian views that Gatlinburg supplies.

gatlinburg-169145

Goose LOVES the aquarium up there and I love the mountains, so our plan was to go there, then see how much time we had left, and then maybe go to the national park.  However, the traffic and weather had other plans.

Like I said, I have lived here my whole life, and I continually forget how bad traffic can get in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.  The trip took us at least 45 more minutes than it normally does just to get to Gatlinburg,

garage closed When we got to the Ripley’s Aquarium, there is supposed to be parking beside the facility, however, the garage was full.  We had to go up the mountain, find someone’s driveway and turn around, then wait in traffic again to find another place to park.  By then, Goose was getting very very tired of being in the car, so Michael dropped the Goose and I off near the aquarium, and went to park.

silly goose

If you ever have to wait or just need a place to rest outside the Ripley’s Aquarium, there is a little area beside the creek that is beautiful.  There are cute little ducks, lots of seating, and a concession stand where you can purchase snacks and drinks. Ripley's

Inside Ripley’s aquarium, there are plenty of things to do and see.  Most of the fish and animals are saltwater, but there are a few freshwater animals to be seen as well.  There is a hands on learning area for kids after you go through the underwater tunnel.  Goose doesn’t care too much for it, but she is not a normal child.  I love looking at the clownfish, puffer fish, and horse shoe crabs in that area. The doctor fish and penguins are also among our favorite places to visit while at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokey’s.  Here are a few videos that I took.  One is from this visit and the other is from a visit earlier this year.

Other than the traffic/parking hiccups, my family and I had a blast, and we plan on visiting again soon.  If you would like to check out Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokey’s for yourself, I have a special saving you can use.  If you go to http://usfamilycoupons.com/coupon.php?regionid=75&bid=10276&dealid=1704 and enter coupon code: USFAMILYGUIDE you can get $2-$3 off of kids/adult admission.  This a great deal if you do not have any other coupons or deals to use.