Monday, October 17, 2011

Explore: Olympic Game Farm in Sequim!!!

Haven't you always wanted to come THIS close to wild animals? Face to face, and stare straight into the eyes of a buffalo? 
If this sounds like your kind of fun family trip, then you better hightail it over to the Olympic Game Farm in Sequim, WA!  It's on the Olympic Peninsula, kind of in the middle of nowhere, and wow, such a hidden gem of a place!  I have been to a lot of different Zoos in my life and honestly never did anything as cool as this.  It's a complete RIOT and your kids will have a blast!
So you drive your vehicle into the Game Farm, and tell your kids all the animals are going to come right up to the windows and they can help feed them!  You can buy loaves of bread right where you buy your entrance tickets for $2 a loaf, or you can come prepared with lots of even cheaper bread from the grocery store.  Bring more than you think you will need!  Trust me, these animals LOVE bread!  {If you do bring your own, make sure it's wheat bread.  White bread isn't allowed}.

You can't get out of your vehicle while you're in the park (for obvious reasons!), but we quickly realized that the real fun comes when you let your kids sit on your laps in the front seat and help you feed the animals.  Their reactions are priceless!  And you're moving sooooo slow through the park, so the kids are safe.  Natalie was squealing and laughing and had the best time ever feeding the animals bread! 

You get to feed all kinds of animals!  Mostly llamas, deer, elk, caribou, yak, and buffalo.  We even got to feed zebras! 

And you can feed their BEARS too!  The bears don't come up to your windows, but they actually do tricks for you to get the bread!  I read online that the bears do tricks, but wasn't sure if I believed it.  They really do!  It was so cool!  Just hold up the bread and wait for a minute, and they'll do tricks for you!

So if you're squeamish, you'll want to sit in the backseat with the windows rolled up.  These animals are NOT shy and will shove their noses in your windows as far as you'll let them!  We kept our windows about halfway up so they couldn't get their entire heads inside the car!  Yes, their noses are slippery and you will get slobber all over your car.  Prepare to drive through a car wash afterwards.  :)

Now get ready for the most disgusting part of the day... the buffalo's long, black tongue, which he will stretch into your car to grab the bread.  Gross!  Kirsten was scared of the buffalo and retreated to the back of the van and even Stephen was disturbed, but I thought it was hilarious!

The buffalo baby was a bit cuter though...

After you pay the entrance fee ($12 per person, and kids 5 and under are free) you can stay in the park as long as you want and drive through as many times as you want.  We kept going until we ran out of bread! 

It was amazing to pet and feed such beautiful animals!  Seriously, where else do you get to do something like this???  And it's only a few hours' drive away from Seattle!

The Olympic Game Farm also has a big cats section you can drive through with tigers, lions, cougars, etc.  The cages are a little sad, since the animals really don't have a lot of space to roam around.  And then they have another area you can walk around in with a big aquarium, some goats and sheep you can pet, and some cute caged raccoons.  My kids loved being able to stretch their legs after driving around so long, and they were mesmerized by the fish!
It was an unforgettable and completely unique experience!  You need to take your family and GO!  Any animal lover would have a great time there, but it's especially fun with kids!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fabulous Finds...Mohawk Home Rug Review & Giveaway!!!

I am completely addicted to my new area rug.  COMPLETELY.  It's gorgeous, soft, and makes me embarrassed that I lived with the nasty carpet that is my living room for for such a long time.  I always toyed with the idea of covering up the cheap-o carpet with a nice rug, but wasn't sure if it was necessary.  So I was thrilled to be able to review a rug from Mohawk Home, and I picked out a cuddly, creamy white Shag rug.  Wow, what a difference it makes in my home!  I actually find myself wanting to get down on the floor and play with my kids now.  I put this rug in our main living area where we spend most of our time, and now it's hard to imagine how the room looked and felt before I got this rug.   

{Hard for a picture to do a large rug justice, but this is the rug I picked!}
 Mohawk Home offers a HUGE variety of rugs in all shapes, sizes, colors, and styles!  And one of my lucky readers will WIN their own area rug!  Their rugs are stain resistant, durable, and easy to clean.  {I have yet to test out the validity of this statement, since I have now implemented a strict "no food or juice on the rug!" policy that has been working pretty well so far!}

Mohawk Home is the largest manufacturer of area rugs in the US, and their commitment to the style and quality of their rugs really shows bright and clear!  You can browse all of their different products at a whole bunch of major retailers here.  Their rugs are sold at Home Depot, Bed Bath and Beyond, Kohls, Lowes, Target, Sears, Walmart, and more!  

Here's the really exciting part... The winner of this giveaway will get to choose ANY rug you want, as long as it's 5x8" or smaller (a nice, big size) and with a value up to $150!!!

It's sooooooo easy to enter using this Rafflecopter widget, and you'll want to take a couple extra minutes for the extra entries for this one!  Good luck!!!

More winners!

Giveaway winners!  Ready?  Here we go...

The two winners of the $25 gift certificates to HDMedia are. . .#14 & #3!
Kim and Corey Nasfell said... Your button is on my blog
Dan and Michelle said... I liked HDmedia on facebook.

Winner of the Laurie Berkner Band DVD is. . . #1!
Mommydoll13 said.. follow you gfc

Winner of the $25 gift certificate to is. . . #9!
Jessica Holman said... I follow you via GFC!

Thank you to everyone who entered!  All winners have been emailed and have 48 hours to respond.  :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Crawling, Scooting, Climbing, and 11 Months Old!

It blows me away that Brooke is almost 1 year old! Didn't I just have her???
It's so awesome and fun to see her grow and learn, and she already wants to follow her sisters around and do what they do! At the same time, I'm really sad that she isn't a little baby anymore. Still a baby, but almost a toddler really! And Brooke was the sweetest little baby. And now that stage is gone... Brooke will never again be a little baby. {Sniff!}

But no more sad stuff... Introducing Brooke at 11 months old!!! 

*She's always been my smallest baby.  Brooke is in the 80'th percentile for height (both of the other girls were always in the 90's) and she's only in the 20'th percentile for weight.  She's 18 pounds!  Still easy to carry around.  Except... she never wants to be held anymore!  Just wants to be down on the floor exploring the entire world!
*She's always on the move!  Crawling!  Scooting around!  Exploring!  So much that she doesn't really want to go to bed and has a hard time falling asleep.  She usually only takes one nap each day, and it's less than two hours.  Doesn't seem like enough to me!  But she goes to bed around 7:30 and sleeps through the whole night!

*Brooke has a really unique and funny crawl.  She started scooting around at 9 months, and she has kept up the same scoot-slide style.  She looks like a baby seal pulling herself around, especially when she's headed toward the water at a lake or beach the way she loves to do.  She's gotten fast at it too!  She can crawl the regular way and sometimes switches off between the two, but she seems to prefer pulling herself around rather than crawling.  It really looks funny!

*She goes NUTS for water.  As long as she sees water, no matter where it is, she goes for it!  She loves baths, swimming pools, absolutely anything, and she'll splash and squeal and just have a total ball!When it comes to water and just trying to dive right in, that girl has NO fear!  It's a little frightening!
{Brooke the baby seal!}
*Diapers- Size 3
*Clothes- She's kind of in between sizes.  She still wears 6-12 month clothes but also fits into 12-18 months.  She's just now starting to wear the Carters 12 month outfits.  Pants tend to be too big and will slide right off her while she's crawling around.
*Shoes- I really don't put shoes on my babies until they're walking.  So I don't know her shoe size.

*She's still a very social, happy girl!  She loves to make eye contact with people, and she laughs so easily.  She's still easygoing as well, and doesn't have stranger anxiety.  She likes exploring the baby childcare area at the gym, and isn't afraid of babysitters.  Score!  :)

*Her new favorite trick is... climbing ALL the stairs, bottom to top, over and over again!  She automatically heads for the stairs every chance she gets.  And she climbs them fast!  She gets really excited while she's climbing and makes funny babbling noises.  She also pulls herself up to stand while holding onto things, and then cries because she thinks she's stuck and hasn't figured out how to get back down.
*She loves car rides and still loves being in her infant seat!  Pretty sad that she only has about a month left in it, because she calms down quick if she's upset and then gets put in her infant seat.  She's always quiet and good in the car.  SUCH a blessing!

*Brooke loves bathtime, of course!  Now that she sits up on her own so well, all 3 girls get to take baths together.  It's a party in that tub, that's for sure!
*She's started becoming fascinated with all the food we eat.  She wants to grab everything and try it herself!  So far she only eats soft things like crackers, bread, bananas, stuff like that.  And still lots of baby food!
*Brooke finally had 2 teeth break through (her bottom teeth) just a couple of weeks ago.  So she was almost 11 months old before she got any teeht at all!  She's working on the top teeth too now.  She's a much calmer teether than Natalie was!
{Me & my baby!}

She hates. . .
*Being left all alone in a room.  She doesn't want to miss any of the action!
*Getting her hair combed, especially after a bath {sigh... it never fails.  All my girls hate having their hair combed.  I'm getting tired of it!}
*Too many kids getting in her face.  A baby boy kept giving her kisses at a playdate a couple of weeks ago, and she wanted nothing to do with him.  She cried every time he came close to her.  It was pretty funny!
*Not being able to climb something she's just dying to climb.
*She sleeps with a binky most of the time, but never uses it during the day at all.  Each of my babies is becoming less binky-obsessed than the one before!
*She's very independent, confident, and not much of a cuddler.  She doesn't want to be held very much, and is always on-the-go.  Kirsten thinks she can carry her around because she's "so strong!" (her words, not mine!), so she'll pick Brooke up under the arms and carry her short distances.  You can imagine how thrilled Brooke is by this!
*She gets annoyed with having things on her head.  She pulls hats right off, and tries to pull off hairbows, ponytail holders, and bibs.  I have to use the bibs that snap, or they're gone quick!
*She's a photogenic baby, that's for sure!  It's easy to get her to smile and laugh and pose for photos!  {Wouldn't it be great if that lasted???  By the time Natalie was 18 months old, she was done smiling for photos!}
*She has a total blast on the swings at the park!  Doesn't want to get out!  She'll crawl around an entire playground, just exploring it all, and she always sees the swings and heads straight for them.  Unless there's water at the park, and then it's a whole different story!  We had such a nice summer of the older two girls playing at the playgrounds while Brooke sat on a blanket with me and I chatted with friends.  It's a good thing summer's over, because I sure do have to keep a close eye on this little one now!
*Fun fact: When Natalie was the same age as Brooke is now, I was already pregnant with Brooke!  That seems so crazy, I can't even imagine being pregnant again now!  I was a little freaked out when I found out the two of them would be so close in age, but Brooke has been such a blessing in our family.  From day one, we love her and need her so much!  Can't imagine life without her!