Monster Moto Mini Bike Mania!

I received this product to review from MonsterMoto. This post contains affiliate links.

I’m going to be honest: When I started this blog, I never, ever thought I would be writing a post about mini bikes. Here I am, nine years later, writing a post about mini bikes! First, a little backstory…

For the longest time, my boys had little to no interest in riding bikes. As much as we wanted them to learn how to ride, they just didn’t want to, so our efforts were in vain. We let it go and let them enjoy other outdoor activities of their choice.

Then one day, our oldest just decided to teach himself. All those years of pulling our hair out trying to get him on that bike and in just a couple days, he was joyfully riding all on his own! He was incredibly proud of himself and now enjoys riding with his friends or down to get the mail.

Imagine his surprise when he came home from school one day and saw the box for a MonsterMoto electric mini bike sitting on our porch! I scored some MAJOR boy mom points with this one!

The timing had worked out so perfectly with him becoming comfortable and confident on a regular bike, but I still had some nerves about letting him try a mini bike. Thankfully, MonsterMoto is all about a safe experience and my husband is much braver than I, so he finished the assembly of the bike, charged it up, and took Big J out over Thanksgiving to teach him how to ride. It didn’t take long at all for him to get the hang of it!

A couple of important notes:

I took pictures of Big J learning to ride on the sidewalk in our neighborhood. MonsterMoto mini bikes are meant to be driven off-road and NOT on the street. We do not plan on having our children ride these on the neighborhood sidewalks on a regular basis, but because of our busy schedule, this was the best we could do right now! We made sure there were no other children on the sidewalks and he was supervised the entire time. Now that he knows how to ride, we can’t wait to find the time and the perfect open space for him to ride more!

Helmets are a MUST for any kind of bike riding. Big J is wearing his bike helmet in these pictures as that is what we currently have, but for further use, we will be purchasing a dirt bike helmet such as this one.

Now, for the fun part…

As I mentioned before, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was for Big J to learn how to ride the MonsterMoto E1000! He was able to maintain balance well (large, comfortable seat and sturdy construction) and learned to control his speed with no trouble.

Turning and stopping required a little bit of a learning curve (and one small mishap), but he figured out how to make turns slowly and carefully and mastered the hand brake. By the end of the day, he was confidently riding and loving every minute!

MonsterMoto places a priority on high quality and affordability in their line of mini bikes and go-karts for young riders. Between their gas-powered mini bikes, go-kart, and electric mini bikes, MonsterMoto has high-powered fun for everyone! I love this electric mini bike because we can just plug it in and get a full charge in six hours or less! A full charge is good for at least an hour of steady riding.

When making a big purchase such as an electric mini bike, it helps to know about the customer service and warranty available. I purchased our Monster Moto E1000 from Amazon (with free 4-5 day Prime shipping!), so I wondered about these very things. Well, I’m happy to report all Monster Moto products have a 90-day warranty, customer service is available seven days a week, AND there are over 600 maintenance/service centers across the United States who can work on Monster Moto products!

If you’re looking to add some fun, safe adventure to your kids’ lives, Monster Moto has the perfect thing for you! We’re looking forward to all three boys enjoying this electric mini bike for years to come!

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USA All the Way!

I received these shirts to review from Cents of Style. This post contains affiliate links.

One of my favorite things about the summer is the Fourth of July – the lake, the family fun, the fireworks! Our Fourth of July celebrations usually include a trip to my uncle and aunt’s lake cabin in Minnesota. It’s one of my very favorite traditions from growing up and now we get to take our boys there! With tons of family around and tons of things to do, the day just flies by and lots of memories are made. After tubing, jet skis, water skiing, front yard football and baseball, backyard badminton, and fantastic food, everybody loves to settle in around the campfire for stories and s’mores. It really is the perfect summer day!

There are two holidays for which I buy everyone in the family new shirts every year – St. Patrick’s Day and Independence Day! I just can’t help myself when I see all the fun new red, white, and blue apparel appear in stores and online. With the boys growing so fast now, they definitely can’t fit into their shirts from the previous year!

This year, I picked out the boys’ Fourth of July shirts from Cents of Style!

I love these baseball raglan tees so much and so do my boys! While are July days are usually quite hot, the nights can get quite chilly, especially at the lake, so these are a great option for layering as we head to the campfire!

The classic baseball raglan tee is perfect for any age because it never goes out of style! And these lightweight tees let my boys still be active without getting too hot! They even wore them for our newest favorite activity: shooting hoops in our driveway!

Gosh, I love being a boy mom! This new basketball hoop by our driveway has been the BEST thing for our active boys – I can’t get them to come inside!

 

Now, about those shirts…

Cents of Style has all kinds of fun and festive kids’ shirts on sale this weekend only! Use the code KIDSTORY to get 50% off all kids’ shirts – some will be as low as $5! Shipping is free, too! This deal ends Sunday, June 18th, so don’t miss out!

Which shirts will your kid(s) be sporting from this awesome collection?!

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Ending the School Year Strong!

We did it! We made it through our first non-homeschooling year of school for the boys!

Last Day Mom Boys

It was an incredibly successful year of transition for us – not perfect by any means, but full of great learning experiences for education and life. Friends were made. Conflicts arose and were resolved. Homework was forgotten, but not much because that lesson was learned fast! They went on field trips, competed in the spelling bee, brought lunch from home (except for pizza days), celebrated birthdays, and so much more. They had wonderful teachers

We are all very pleased with how the year went and know God was with us every step of the way, as He always is. The kids loved school, but they are also equally ready for a summer break!

Whether your school year has ended yet or not, a lot about how the school year ends for our kids can be impacted by our behavior as parents. The way in which we end a school year can help our children see the big picture of how they grew over the past nine months as well as help them to actually look forward to the next school year, even if summer is all that is on their mind!

I have a few fun ideas for ending the school year strong as a family and you can use them whether your kids were out a few weeks ago or still have a few weeks left! Find three of my favorite ways to end the school year strong over on the Tommy Nelson blog!

How do you celebrate the end of the school year as a family?

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Back to School with OshKosh B’Gosh!

I participated in a Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for OshKosh B’Gosh. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

You may recall how my boys fell in love with OshKosh B’Gosh clothes this summer. They seriously love shopping at OshKosh B’Gosh and wear their OshKosh clothes all the time. The active clothes and graphic tees have been their favorite!

We headed back to our local OshKosh B’Gosh outlet store to do some back-to-school shopping and we were not disappointed!

OshKosh Back to School

Back-to-school season is completely different this year as we are sending our boys to school for the first time. They are going to school in style with the great shirts they picked out from OshKosh’s new Black, White, and Indigo collection!

OshKosh Little J #1 OshKosh Little J #2

Little J is in second grade and is a big fan of this glow-in-the-dark baseball tee. It is a great piece to transition to fall – long-sleeved but lightweight and super fun – just like my Little J!

OshKosh Big J #1 OshKosh Big J #2

Big J just started fourth grade and he likes to look sharp. I think he looks very handsome in this dark denim shirt that pulls from the OshKosh jeans tradition but with a modern twist. OshKosh B’Gosh jeans are well loved and always in style. I think we can say the same about this shirt!

OshKosh Double J #1 OshKosh Double J #2

Double J is home with Mommy and loving the one-on-one time, but he didn’t want to miss out on the back-to-school styles! He went with glow-in-the-dark like his big brother. This another great fall piece with a little more warmth than the baseball tee and lots of fun details!

OshKosh Crazy Boys

All three of these fabulous shirts are from the Black, White, and Indigo line which also includes jeans and comfy pants. You’ll want to head to your local OshKosh B’Gosh store to check out this line as well as the B’Gosh Blue Jeans and the World’s Best Overalls! And you can save while you shop with this 25% off coupon that is good through the end of September!

OK_Fall15 Blogger Coupon

OshKosh B’Gosh is going beyond great clothes for kids in their stores this fall. The B’gosh Jeanius Campaign is all about providing kids in need with all the back-to-school essentials – everything from clothes to books to school supplies!

OshKosh B’Gosh, alongside K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers, Inc., and DonorsChoose.org, gives you as the customer the opportunity to donate a new pair of jeans or make a cash donation to a students in need this school year. All jeans donated through September 16, 2015, will be delivered to local children in need through K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers, and all cash donations will be dsitricbuted to local DonorsChoose.org.

That’s not all! The Carters Charitable Foundation will match all cash donations up to $50,000 and all denim donations with a new item of clothing. Isn’t that amazing?! Give kids a leg up and donate a new pair of blue jeans or make a cash donation at the register when you head there to shop for your own kids! You can read all the details about the B’gosh Jeanius Campaign here.

OshKosh Huddle OshKosh All Three Running

OshKosh B’Gosh made back-to-school shopping a breeze for my boys and I know you’ll love everything they have in the store for your kiddos, too! Grab that 25% off coupon and run to your nearest OshKosh store!

Have you been to OshKosh B’Gosh recently? What OshKosh clothes do you love for your own kids?

 

 

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First Day of School 2015!

We did it! We made it through the first day of school outside of our home!

First Day of School 2015 3 Boys

If you ask the boys how it went, you will hear the same thing from both of them: AWESOME.

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Getting ready in the morning went pretty well. Actually getting to school was a little hairy since I had no idea what traffic would be like! They were at school on time (barely), but we left earlier and took a different route this morning and that will be our go-to plan.

The boys talked pretty much nonstop from the time I picked them up and these were a few of my favorite quotes:

First Day of School 2015 Little J

Little J (very first thing he said to me): “My first day of school was AWESOME!”

First Day of School 2015 Big J

Big J: “I played kickball at recess for the first time!”

Me: “Did you eat your lunch?” Little J: “I could only finish my cheese and half my sandwich.” (That eating lunch quickly thing is going to take some practice!)

Big J: “My favorite part of the day was interviewing my teacher!”

First Day of School 2015 Double J

Double J: “Let’s go on a date to the children’s museum!”

I only cried once, right after we dropped them off. I blame The Hubby for making me emotional. But he made up for it by taking the little guy and I to Caribou Coffee to celebrate!

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It was a day of new things for all of us and I’m incredibly thankful it went so well. I thought I would be annoyed by the driving time there and back, but we’re making the best of it by praying, singing, and sharing our days. I kind of love it already. And I got some pretty big hugs when the day was over. I cherished every second.

I’m sure I will have many more thoughts on this whole going-to-school adventure, but today I just want to celebrate surviving and thriving on the first day!

How is back-to-school going for all of you? Any good stories to share?

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Changes at Home + School

I have included affiliate and referral links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

Change has abounded for us this year. Big change and little change, making life more complicated, but also better in so many ways. I’m reading a fabulous book by my friend Kristen right now called Girl Meets Change and it could not be more timely. I’ll be sharing a full review when I finish it up, but I remember this quote from her from a blog post a while back that goes perfectly with the book as well as my life circumstances:

“The old thing may be familiar, but the new thing may be fantastic.” – Kristen Strong

That’s what I’m holding on to this week because this is happening:

School Change 1

After four years of homeschool, our older boys are going to school for the first time (other than preschool). It is a big time of transition, but I am so thankful to say God has our whole family on the same page and we’re very excited for this new season! How big and handsome do they look in this pic?! This was taken at the school open house when they met their teachers and brought in all of their school supplies and I got a million papers to deal with!

There was a time when The Hubby and I knew God wanted us to move in this direction and the kids were less than excited about the idea. But God… He led us to a school we all fell in love with and we are so grateful. I know every school decision comes with its own challenges, but it also comes with new opportunities for adventure. Shopping for school supplies and planning lunches both count as adventures for Mom, right?!

School Change 2

As we get ready for the first day on Wednesday of this week, I’m focusing on the joy of a God doing a new thing in our family! And it could not be more perfect that I have a post up today over on the Tommy Nelson blog about embracing the joy of back-to-school. It’s for anyone and everyone starting up the school year – homeschool, public school, private school. I hope it will be a blessing to you and your family! I know I will be praying these verses with and for my kids throughout the year.

The little guy, Double J, is only three and will still be home with me. He says we’re going to go on dates to the children’s museum when the boys are at school. He also says he is going to marry me. Cue the heart melting. I haven’t been home with just one kid since the summers when I was a teacher and Big J was super little, so this will be very interesting! I know we will have tons of fun.

And now I’m diving back in to figuring out schedules and lunches and all the things…pray for me.

Talk to me about your kids and school! When did/do they start? What grades? How can I pray for them and you this school year?

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The Baseball Experiment

Our boys tried out several different sports and many of them have been through our local YMCA. They have an excellent fundamental program for many sports that allows kids to learn the basics of a particular sport before trying it in a team and game setting.

Big J has tried out soccer and basketball in this fundamental format and went on to play on a rec basketball team this year. We love the low-pressure opportunity to try out a sport before they commit a lot of time to it  – and it keeps them active!

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This summer, Big J decided to give baseball a try. For eight weeks, he has gone to clinic-style practices every Saturday morning, practicing the proper form for throwing and hitting and learning all about the fundamentals of America’s pastime.

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This past Saturday, they wrapped up the program with a scrimmage game that was both great for practice and hilarious to watch. When you have about twenty boys ranging from first grade to sixth grade who are just learning the game of baseball, the first time they play a real game is full of chaos and excitement. I loved it.

2015 Baseball26 2015 Baseball18 2015 Baseball25

This scrimmage game was also the first time the boys tried to hit a thrown pitch from the coach. Big J got a single on the second pitch and ran the bases hard each time a teammate got a hit! He also had some good fielding plays in the outfield.

2015 Baseball16 2015 Baseball19

He really enjoyed his time playing baseball, so this experiment was a success! I think he makes a pretty handsome baseball player, don’t you?!

What sports do your kids play in the summer? Did they try any new ones this year?

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All the Feelings

Our sweet, squishy, super-energetic and super-loving Little J turns six today.

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Our confident, independent, way-too-old-already Big J left for three nights at church camp yesterday.

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And Double J…well, he’s two, so…you know…

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Excuse me while I have all the feelings today.

*****

I’ve been floating around to different places on the web lately! You can check them out here:

The Making of an Affiliate Marketer – My podcast debut over at the Declare Conference!

Deep Breaths – one way I embrace motherhood in the middle of chaos at Thrive Moms

 

 

 

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10 Days for M’Dai: Restoring the Joy of Motherhood

Big J will be eight next month and I still remember the day he was born like it was yesterday.

Big J birth_opt

I had gone in the day before for my regular OB appointment where they determined my blood pressure was higher than they would like. A phone call was made to the hospital to let them know we would e coming over for an induction. This was the day before he was due anyway, so we felt as prepared as first-time parents could be and gathered up our hospital bags to go meet our firstborn son.

I was placed on one form of drug to induce in the early evening and another later in the night while also being hooked up to monitoring devices. Other than feeling somewhat crampy and nauseous most of the night, no contractions ever really kicked in, and by the time the doctor came to check on us for the second time the next day, it was decided he would break my water to get things moving.

Now, we had planned on as natural a birth as possible, but I wasn’t prepared for going from no contractions to strong, piggy bank contractions and within in an hour I was begging for an epidural. Well, Big J wasn’t going to allow for that to happen because, as I shifted position in the hospital bed in an attempt to get more comfortable, his heart rate suddenly dropped. We tried to move me back to where I had been to help him out, but within a few minutes I was being raced down the hallway to the operating room for an emergency c-section. Big J was out of me and in the care of great doctors with his daddy’s watchful eye in no time at all. And, although he was a little blue when he first came out, he was otherwise perfectly healthy. We all sighed with relief and went about our lives as new parents.

I shudder to think of what could have been with Big J had we not been under the care of such skilled doctors and nurses. While any number of factors could have resulted in his low heart rate, had I not been hooked up to a monitor we may not have know he was in distress. Had we not been at a hospital with a doctor who could perform an emergency c-section at a moment’s notice…I don’t even want to think about it.

But I AM thinking about, this week in particular, as I’m learning the stories of mothers around the world losing babies or even their own lives during childbirth because they lack adequate obstetric care and the basic knowledge and needs that should accompany motherhood.

In Cambodia, 1.7 million people lost their lives at the hands of the Khmer Rouge from 1975 to 1979. While this may seem like a long time ago, the effects of this genocide are still staggering. The closest to my heart are the mothers. They are women who grew up with no older women to teach them the ways of a healthy pregnancy. They are women who had no health professionals to monitor their bodies and babies because the Khmer Rouge killed all the doctors and educated people they could find. No role models existed to teach them about nutrition and personal hygiene.

The cycle has continued since then, and this cycle has resulted in a fear of childbirth and motherhood among the women of Cambodia, especially in the remote villages where no aid has been provided, no relief offered, no cycle broken. A pregnant woman in the Kratie province of Cambodia is 10 times more likely to die in childbirth than in the United States. Babies in their first month of life have the highest mortality rate in the country. One out of every 12 children doesn’t even make it to the fifth birthday.

The likelihood Big J would have survived birth in these conditions is very small. Like I said, I can’t even think about that.

But we need to think about it and we can think about this because there is hope, provided in the form of help from Samaritan’s Purse and 10 Days for M’Dai.

1406CB Maternal Child Health Cambodia

M’dai is mother is the Khmer language

Samaritan’s Purse started a Maternal and Child Health program in Cambodia’s remote Kratie province in 2013. The goal is to reduce the mortality of mothers and their young children by improving obstetric care, teaching essential nutrition practices, and increasing access to quality healthcare.

1406CB Maternal Child Health Cambodia

In the first year of the program, 5,745 people in 20 villages were reached, 255 health volunteers were trained, and 40 local pastors were equipped to reach out to their communities.

1406CB Maternal Child Health Cambodia

Women are being taught the importance of holding their babies. Nutrition classes and cooking demonstrations are training women to properly nourish themselves and their families. Churches are coming alongside these women to offer support and the hope of our Savior.

For these 10 Days for M’Dai – March 16-25 – you can be a part of restoring the joy of motherhood to the women of the Kratie province of Cambodia by praying and giving in the following ways:

  • $12 provides a healthy cooking demonstration for a village.
  • $64 equips a local church leader to reach out to a community with practical help and spiritual counseling.
  • $76 trains and equips a volunteer to perform maternal and child health promotional activities.

Moms, we know the challenges of pregnancy, childbirth, and raising children…and we do it all in safe, healthy conditions. Let’s take the fear out of motherhood for the women of Kratie and join hands to restore the joy.

He gently leads those that have young. ~Isaiah 40:11

 

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Kid-Created Lego Snowboard Course!

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The boys would build with Legos non-stop if we let them. They may make a huge mess, but I LOVE the creativity that comes out in their Lego building!

Big J watched some of the X Games a few weeks back and caught snowboard fever. He’s never snowboarded before, but between the X Games, watching YouTube videos of Shaun White, our study of the upcoming Olympics, and the Disney movie Cloud Nine, snowboarding is totally on his mind. And it has showed up in his Lego building as well!

Check out his Lego snowboard course…

Lego Snowboard Course

Lego Snowboard Course Full

Lego Snowboard Course Side

The boarder is a storm trooper, obviously, because he looks like he’s wearing a snowsuit, mask, and goggles.

Lego Snowboard Course Boarder

And that’s his white, green, and red snowboard underneath him, sitting atop the course waiting for the go signal! I love all the details he added, like the flames as spotlights for night competition!

Lego Snowboard Course Boarder Side
There are also reporters on the course, a special second course, and a special snowmobile taking reporters around the course! I just had to share this and Big J was pretty excited when I told him I was blogging about it! I think it’s like an extra fist bump 🙂

If you couldn’t tell, we’re TOTALLY ready for the Winter Olympics around here!  My friend Stef and her son are ready as well with these AWESOME Lego Brick Olympics creations! My boys are so excited to try them! They already love the Winter Brick Activities ebook – perfect for these cold, snow days!

Are your kids excited about the Winter Olympics? Which Winter Olympic sports interest them most?

*This post and creation is not affiliated with, sponsored, or endorsed by The Lego Group or The Olympics.

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