What to expect when expecting – Birth Story edition!

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There is a profound realization shared by all women who experience pregnancy: ‘I am growing another human-being inside of me’. Quite literally, we are harvesting a parasite and our bodies take on the role of host. Despite any anxiety or natural uncertainty about this responsibility, we seem to find a humbling comfort in it. I know I did. As your stomach begins to grow, so does your smile. As you’re getting closer to meeting your precious bundle of joy, feelings of anxiousness, fear and worry take over. Fear of the unknown. Well, the KNOWN, actually;

An understanding that “what goes in, must come out”…

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Sahara Sams Oasis Indoor Family Waterpark

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My family and I had the chance to visit Sahara Sams Oasis Indoor & Outdoor Water park this past weekend. Yes, we went to a water park in New Jersey in late January. I have to admit, it took a lot of courage to utter the words “Do you want to go swimming” to my 6 year old and 2 year old, knowing the answer would undoubtedly be “YEAH!”. The thought of entering a swimming pool when it is under 40 degrees outside was scary, but I am so glad we did it.

The drive there from my hometown, which is just off of exit 10 via the turnpike was an hour and 15 minutes. It was an easy drive, and the kids kept occupied in the back the entire time with the exception of a few “Are we almost there?”s thrown in. Sahara Sams is located in West Berlin, NJ right off of exit 4 on the NJ Turnpike. Had I known there was this amazing family retreat so close to home, I would’ve gone a lot sooner!

When we went, Sunday January 25th, it was a perfect day out. 44 degrees, and blue-grayish skies above. We were bundled up tight with our winter coats and hats on and our bathing suits on underneath, with our beach bags by our sides carrying beach towels and changes of clothes. I know… it felt just as silly as it sounds. We arrived at just about noon and there was ample parking throughout. Parking is free, first come first serve.

When we entered into the place through the front doors, our whole atmosphere totally changed. You can feel the slight burst of heat hit your face, and see all the fun games ahead of you with bright colored lights and sounds. There is a worker at a table directly in front of the door waiting to check through ALL of your bags to ensure you aren’t carrying any weapons, or any outside food or drink because it is not permitted in the park. He did let us keep 1 bottle of unopened water, and the “check in” went pretty quick as there wasn’t a long line at this time. Be prepared – you need to bring an ID card to the check in counter. There are signs stating this prior to reaching the check-in desk as well.

Another ‘know before you go’. My youngest son is only 2 years old, and children under 2 are FREE. If you have a child under the age of 3, make sure to bring proof of age if you do not want to pay for them. Yes, they said they needed a birth certificate or anything proving age. I do understand this because of the issue of people trying to get over and pass their older children off as 2 or under, but I believe it should be stated somewhere in the ticket purchasing section or online somewhere “Children 2 and under FREE with proof of age”. The gentleman at the counter was nice about it though. He also explained they may go to a height restriction instead for the free ticket – such as any children under 34″ free” or something along those lines. To be safe, just make a copy of the child’s birth certificate and bring it with you prepared to show it if younger then 3 for free entry.

They have the option of purchasing a locker for a fee, or you can rent a private Cabana which looked really cool for $85. Cabanas must be reserved in advance which can be done over the internet.

OK, so onto whats INSIDE! It is an understatement for me to say that once we walked into the actual Indoor water park section, I immediately felt like I was on vacation somewhere beautiful and definitely NOT in NJ in January. Did I mention it is a steady 84 Degrees in there? It was so great to be so relaxed and WARM! My 2 year old was initially scared of the giant bucket that dumps tons of water down, but eventually he forgot about it. My 6 year old, on the other hand, was ecstatic to see that giant bucket!

One thing I must note, is that for ALL of the attractions, the life guards were on their “A” game. They were extremely attentive, and did their jobs well. It made me feel so comfortable with my 2 young children there and other children all over as that can sometimes feel overwhelming.

The first thing we did is head over to the CONGO BONGO which is essentially a lazy river. They provide tubes for you to use and float around a winding path filled with tropical surroundings and fun sporadic sprays of water and waterfalls. It was not crowded at all when we were in it, although later in the day it did get a bit more crowded. We went on this 3 times. Once, and then another 2 times consecutively around. That is one of the great things. It is a “free for all”. You can go around as many times as you’d like without being kicked out. I’d imagine there would have to be some type of limit if it was overly crowded, but that wasn’t the case this day.

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Then, we headed over to the LIZARD LAGOON which is an area geared toward toddlers. My 2 year old had so much fun going down the water slide, and on the tiny bungee swings. My 6 year old even had a blast in this area going down the water slides helping his brother. It was such a safe area and so cute. You have to just watch the stairs, because they are wet, and there are many toddlers trying to get up them at once. There is a lifeguard at the top of the stairs, and the bottom of the slides as well.

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Onto the SAMS SLAM DUNKER pool! The boys, including my husband, had a blast shooting some hoops in the pool. The pool was 3-4ft deep and it was so warm. We actually kept coming back to this throughout the day to just hang out. It did get crowded at times, but still fun. The only concern I had with this, is they use REAL basketballs. 3 of them.They are heavy in my opinion to be tossed around above heads of others including young children held by their parents. It would be much better if the used pool balls or something lighter like a small beach ball. They had a blast in here though.20150125_123943

My 6 year old couldn’t get enough of going on a real, big water slide by himself in the TIM-BUK-TU area. It is the same area with the giant bucket. It has a smaller park like slide for younger children, and some do-it-yourself spray sections that kids can control the spray bursts on each side. I got hit a few times with water unknowingly, but it was all in fun.

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The CROCODILE FLATS is an area sectioned off from the slam dunk pool that has lily pads for kids to try to walk across while holding onto a net above. Unfortunately, my 6 year old isn’t a great swimmer yet, and wasn’t tall enough to really reach the net yet, so he couldn’t try it but it looked really fun!

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My favorite part, the ADULT ONLY Warming pool. Hubby and I had to take turns going to this because it’s 18+. That is what makes it so great. A little retreat to what feels like a giant tub. You have a view of the Congo Bongo, and can just kick back and relax with no kids splashing around. It isn’t a Jacuzzi, because the water is the same temperature as the rest of the pools, but because it is much smaller, it feels a lot warmer, hence the name “Warming pool”.

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Across from this is the adult pool-side bar on one side, or the doors to the food court on the other side.

The FLO-RIDA section looked really cool. It is a simulation of surfing, but we didn’t get a chance to try it this visit because the kids are too small and wanted to keep busy with other attractions. I definitely plan on trying this one out my next visit!

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There are some additional attractions we did not try out due to once again, the kids wanting to be on the other attractions, but they’re geared more towards older kids and adults. There are also outdoor attractions including a splash area, some more giant water slides, and a RIP-N-ROLL wave pool I can’t wait to try!

After the water attractions, we wanted to dry off a bit and let our hair dry before going back out into the cold so we got dressed and hit up the Arcade. The arcade is all digital. You load money onto a card, and then use that for the price of each game. The tokens also load onto the card as well and can be redeemed at the reward counter which is much easier then carrying around a handful of tickets.

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I am definitely planning to visit again this Summer so I can check out the outdoor section and their neighboring Diggerland (a construction site with sand for kids!) My 6 year old already proclaimed that he is having one of his birthday parties there in the future.They have a great birthday party package that include an annual full year membership for the birthday child! We had such a blast and miss it already. I highly recommend it to everyone!

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DO Bring your own towels

DO NOT BRING floatation devices or pool toys

LIFE VESTS ARE PROVIDED FREE OF CHARGE

Check out their website to see details about each attraction and more pictures and videos – SaharaSams.com including their current SALE on annual membership for ONLY $69.95! You can even decide to upgrade your day pass to membership by paying the difference that day.

Reblog of my original write up for The Liberty Science Center Infinity Climber with Melissa Gorga on “Lady and the Blog”

Reblog of my original wri

te up for The Liberty Science Center Infinity Climber with Melissa Gorga on “Lady and the Blog”

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The Liberty Science center has a lot to offer young minds. Now with the new addition of the Infinity Climber, there is also something to add to the physical imagination. The Infinity Climber is located on the 3rd floor next to the rock climbing and animal exhibits.

Approaching the Infinity climber for the first time is a little overwhelming. It is much bigger in person then you can imagine and looks a bit intimidating from the outside. Parents may be skeptical to let their young children enter this maze that is suspended in the air, but kids of all ages cannot wait to get inside and explore once they se eyes on it. It is structurally sound, and once you take the first step inside, you immediately are put at ease as far an any safety concerns go because of the stability. It does not sway or budge at all, in fact up to 50 children and adults can navigate the exhibit at once, allowing school groups and families to get moving together.

It consists of 64 petal-like platforms for children to climb on. They all lead to different sections of the climber, and appear as a maze inside. “It’s like an extreme version of the touch tunnel” at a whopping 21,000 lbs – a fun fact to share with your little ones! It is surrounded by 19 miles of hand-threaded wire that forms a protective mesh to prevent climbers from falling and it feels very secure when you’re inside.

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I have to say, from personal experience, it is a bit hard to contort your body to fit through some of the sections, but as long as you’re flexible, you should be OK. I went in with my 6 year old son, and overall, we were inside for a good 15 minutes. I got out after 10 minutes, and he stayed in to conquer the top section of the climber which is just level with floor #4. I thought he may be a little scared of the height, being that it is 35 feet above the floor, but he didn’t mention it at all and flew through the “maze” inside. He was all smiles!

The Infinity climber could not have come to life at a better time. Children of all ages are in love with Spiderman, and with this exhibit, they’re as close as they can get to being Spiderman in his web.

“The World’s First Suspended Climbing Play Space of its kind.”

That is no small feat. We had to test this out ourselves to see just what was to offer. The Exhibit is 35 feet off above the atrium floor, so the children can look down on onlookers who are watching them climb as well, adding that special feeling of everyone seeing them doing something cool. The wire mesh is there to secure the climbing exhibit but still allow the children to feel that they’re suspended in the air. From within the climber the children can see multiple levels of the science center which is a plus!

As always with the Liberty Science Center, the NYC Skyline is just a step outside of the door. This is true with the Infinity Exhibit as well, you can go right through the doors a few feet away and check out the sky scrapers to take a break once you’re done climbing!

We really enjoyed the Infinity climber and I would recommend it for anyone with children who love to climb (what child doesn’t?). It will certainly keep them entertained for as long as you let them stay in there.

 *This post was written by Cheryl Kosinski from Just For Moms.

Original Blog post on Lady and the blog;

You can’t compare Apples to Opals!

What is an “Opal Apple”? Via BzzAgent;

YOU CAN’T COMPARE APPLES TO OPALS®

They may not be available year round, but from November until March, bright yellow Opals® are the apple of our eye. We love them for their flavor and texture (sweet and tangy, with just the right crunchiness), but the fact that these non-GMO apples are naturally non-browning is what makes Opals® truly incredible.

  • Opal® Apples arrived in the U.S. in 2010 and are grown exclusively in Washington at Broetje Orchards
  • Known as the apple with a purpose, a portion of Opal® Apples’ sales goes to their Youth Make a Difference grants, which support youth-led non-profits involving food, nutrition and agriculture
  • While Opals® are amazing in any kind of recipe, we prefer them raw (why mess with a good thing?)

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I am so in love with the juiciness of these Opal apples. At first, I couldn’t find them at my local grocery store. I hadn’t remembered ever seeing them before, and thought it may be a lost cause. I was so excited when I went to do my regular grocery shopping trip, to see a small batch of single Opal brand apples just sitting there for sale. I grabbed 2 of them because I wasn’t sure on the price. They said”$2.99″ and it wasn’t followed by an ea or a per lb. I has my $5 off coupon, and headed to the register when I was done shopping. It winded up that they were $2.99 per lb, and I only winded up paying $2 for the 2 of them. I shouldn’t have let my entire $5 off go to waste by using it for a $2 purchase in hindsight… but I did. When I got home with them, my 6 year old was so happy to see yellow apples. He immediately asked me to cut them up to eat, and of course I did. I couldn’t wait to try them either to see what the difference was. The difference is, they are AMAZING and addicting. I immediately regretted only getting 2 of them, and was planning my trip back for some more. We ate the 2 of them in 1 sitting and my son keeps asking when I am getting some more. They are just so juicy and have a perfect sweet balanced taste.They aren’t bitter like red or green apples, and the skin is just perfect as well. It didn’t get stuck in our teeth, it wasn’t hard, and we both enjoyed eating them WITH the skin on. I used my apple slicer, so I didn’t notice the seeds in it, but I did notice it doesn’t have that rough section in the middle like other apples do. I always hated biting into a cut apple to have a hard section, yuck. I know these are mutated so they do not brown as quickly as others, which is a big plus because my kids refuse to eat brown apples (which seem almost immediately to turn brown). Overall, I wish these were sold year round. I cannot wait to use my $1 off coupon to go buy MORE before they’re gone and I suggest you do too!!

THERE’S A LOT TO LOVE ABOUT OPALS®
They may be just fruit, but there’s plenty to tell Twitter followers about extraordinary Opal® Apples. So much that you probably can’t keep it to 140 characters or less. Instead, pick your favorite fact from the juicy list below to help pique your friends’ interest:
Opals® are naturally resistant to oxidation — which means they don’t brown after cutting
They’re the first U.S. apple variety sold fresh to receive Non-GMO Project verification
Discovered in Europe in 1999 and new to the states as of 2010, Opal® Apples are grown exclusively in Washington at Broetje Orchards
A portion of Opal® Apples’ sales goes to the company’s Youth Make a Difference Initiatives, which support youth-led non-profits involving food security and politics, nutrition, agriculture and education.

I did receive this item from BzzAgent for Free #GotitFreein exchange for my review however the opinions expressed in this post are all my own.