Reviews, giveaways and memes - Jumpin Beans

13.8.11

@MyCokeRewards Summer #Giveaway!


I heart Coca Cola.

Always have and for sure, always will!
I have tried the others and there is just nothing better than a nice REFRESHING COKE!
Lucky for me (and for those that drink coke) they have the My Coke Rewards Program.
For the longest time, I never saved them.
I thought it was like the "look to see if you won a free drink."
I had no clue that it was to actually add up to cash in for rewards!

I started saving them and we have a nice little collection going right now!
It really is simple, you just enter the codes at www.mycokerewards.com .
Also, the reward points are on 15 coca cola brands, so no matter if you drink Coke, Barqs or Dasani, you can enjoy!!!

At the My Coke Rewards site, they are celebrating the 125 year of Coca Cola by having a summer long program...
(Summer is almost over, so head over soon!)

What all is going on?
Well, you can click on their fun interactive map.
Once there, you can see Coca Cola Recipes, tips for summer travel, vote for your favorite park and even play their instant win games!!!

To help you enjoy the last bit of your summer
(and who are we kidding? Fall = Football Season = Time Outdoors!)
Coca Cola is giving one lucky reader the chance to win a Park Kit!

What you will win:

Each ‘Park Kit’ is valued at $50 and will include:

  • Coca-Cola tote
  • Sunglasses
  • Sports Bottle
  • Sunblock Kit
  • LED lamp (for nights when you’re just not ready to go inside)
  • Football
  • Frisbee
  • Reversible ball

Mandatory Entry:
Tell me, what did you do this summer?
(Please leave your email address if not visible in your profile.)

Extra Entries -
Tell me what Coke Product is your favorite - 1 entry
Follow my blog, must be a public follower – 1 entry
Subscribe by email – 1 entry
Follow me on twitter – 1 entry
You can tweet daily, linking back to this post - 1 entry per day

Want to spend a day at the park but missing the essentials?
@MyCokeRewards has the answer! Enter here http://tinyurl.com/3la27yy #CokeSummer


Follow me on Networked Blogs – 1 entry
Like my facebook page – 1 entry
Comment on any REVIEW from past 60 days (non-giveaway) - 2 per review, limit 3
Enter any active giveaway - 1 per giveaway
Place my button on your blog (leave link) - 2 entries
Blog about this giveaway, linking back to this post (leave link) - 5 entries

Contest will end August 28 at midnight.
Contest for US and CANADIAN residents, 18 and older.
Random.org will select the winner.
Winner will have 72 hours to respond to winning email or a new winner will be selected.

FTC Compliant Review Policy: The product(s) featured in this review were provided free of cost to me by the manufacturer or representing PR agency for the sole purpose of product testing. Opinions expressed are my own and are NOT influenced by monetary compensation.

The prize was provided by The Coca-Cola Company but The Coca-Cola Company is not a sponsor, administrator, or involved in any other way with this giveaway. All opinions expressed in the post are my own and not those of The Coca-Cola Company.

How to Talk to an Autistic Kid - Review


A friend of mine has a child who is Autistic.
I hate to say it, but I never really thought much about it.
I know it is hard having an Autistic child, but I never thought about how others reactions may make them feel, or anything like that.
Not being mean, just uneducated, I guess.

The whole thing started when I read a poll in the paper.
It asked how parents felt about other adults stepping in and correcting a kid in public.
One lady said that it actually helped with her, as she had reprimanded her child and he still acted out, so a complete stranger stepped in and simply said that he needed to mind his mom, as he was being disrespectful.
Turns out, the child acted right and then had a long talk with his mom that night about the fact that he didn't realize how bad he was until a stranger called him on it...
That was when another parent said it should be a case by case situation...
As her son was autistic and it would just make things worse in her case...

That made me think, what did she actually mean?
So, I was so happy when Free Spirit Publishing gave me the chance to review a book:
How to Talk to an Autistic Kid by Daniel Stefanski.
The best part?
He is autistic!!!!

In the very beginning, it is explained in a way that I like:
"Not all people with autism are exactly alike, just like not all kids or teenagers are exactly alike."

You see, Daniel was diagnosed with Autism when he was 9.
He wrote this book, not only to help everyone know how to talk to a child who is Autistic, but also to help people get along better.
I never really gave it thought, but kids can be cruel.
Sometimes not even meaning to be that way, but it happens.

After reading this book, I think that all libraries should carry it, and it should be read...
If only to open the eyes to more people!
Actually, when Daniel talks about how the fact that when they are interested in something that they learn everything that they can...
How awesome would that be to have a friend that can know so much?!

One key point:
Say hey!
That seems pretty simple, no one likes to be ignored!
Also, he reminds you to be patient.
He gets twisted in his words when he is talking... You know we have all been in that situation before, so just be patient!!!

I was appreciative when he said that those with Autism take everything you say literally.
I had no clue, but now I do!
Once again, I did not know that those with Autism were not that great at team sports, but individual sports were good for them.

It seemed like every page I turned, I learned more and more...
Not only about how to "talk" to someone who is Autistic, but to also relate...

Daniel even points out, "It's easy to be a good friend to an autistic kid. Ask about my life."
Hmmmmm...
Something to think about!

So, how did Daniel sum up talking to an autistic kid?
"Respectfully, Kindly, Compassionately, Eagerly, Thoughtfully, Helpfully and Patiently!"

I am glad I was able to read this and learn...
If you know anyone with autism, this might have been common sense for you, but for me, it was educational.

As I said, I think this is a great addition to all libraries.
Also, if you have a child that has been diagnosed, I think that this would be a great book to read with your family to know what to expect.

FTC Compliant Review Policy: The product(s) featured in this review were provided free of cost to me by the manufacturer or representing PR agency for the sole purpose of product testing. Opinions expressed are my own and are NOT influenced by monetary compensation.

12.8.11

I'm Ready to go back to the Creative Discovery Museum! It was so fun!!!

Day Two:

Broxton loves Bob the Builder.
I love how they all work together to get the job done and at times, the machinery reminds me of little kids how they let their minds wander...
I was so excited to hear that the Creative Discovery Museum in Chattanooga had a Bob the Builder Exhibit going on while we were there.
Of course, I contacted them to see if I could come check it out and in turn, share it with you...
Luckily for all of us, they said YES!!!!
As if the playground looking atmosphere up on the roof doesn't call you to come check it out...
I know that the different sculptures out front will!
Just look at Broxton's excitement!
I had a huge grin on my face when I walked in to see a Big Belly Bank!
(You know we love them, remember my review on Buddy?!)
When you first enter, there is just so much in every direction!
We let Broxton choose where to start.
We first started with the water.
They had boats and ducks.
You could pour the water or squirt it!
There was so much to see and do, but I knew he was going to LOVE the dinosaur area!
I even enjoyed it and I am normally bored!
It is so cute and so hands on, I see why kids love them now!
At the museum, you can see a Dino skeleton.
You can also listen to how they sound.
The coolest to me was the sand area.
In this area, you had where you could brush away to find dinosaur fossils and what not!
(Oh, also in each area, they have where you can dress up to pertain to that area. In the water area, it was smocks. In the dinosaur area, it was a beige vest type like you would expect a paleontologist to wear!)
After playing in that area...
(That wasn't even half of what there was to do there, but I do want you to get to go and experience the excitement like we did, not just tell you EVERYTHING now...)

We moved to the art area:
They had origami, playing with clay, stamping, coloring, rubbing, you name it...
They had it!
We then ventured to the music area.
This area had every single type of musical instrument you could think of represented.
From drums to guitars, pianos to weird things I have never seen!
Broxton and Marc had fun in the studio.
They worked on a song and (yelling) and then got to play it back to hear them:
If music isn't your thing, you can also take place in making your dreams come true of being on the stage...
Or recording your own puppet show!

After the music and entertainment...
We had to go back to the art area...
That was when I was able to capture this:
Marc doing face painting on Broxton!
I think the end result looks pretty cute!
Now guess where we headed!
To see Bob and Wendy and the gang!!!!
When you first walk into the exhibit, you are greeted by Bob.
At this point, you can check out where he lives and even sit to watch a few clips from his show!
After visiting with Bob, you can either head over and help Wendy in her garden, or you can choose to go and hang out with the gang.
Each one has where you can press a button to hear them talk!
If the smaller version is more your speed, you can surely stop and play around there for a bit!
We then went to venture outside to see what was all on the roof.
Broxton and Marc had so much fun playing with all the different things to see what they did.
They even worked a pulley that allowed Broxton to sit in a chair and be lifted up!
As you can imagine, I am just highlighting a couple things here and there...
I really want to go back so that we can spend the day there!
I know Broxton would love more time to explore!
His favorite out of everything?
The air and the different balls.
In this one, you pressed a button and it blew air out of a tube.
Broxton would then throw the ball in to the air passage and the air would keep it up in the air, versus dropping back to the ground!
He did this over and over with all sorts of different sizes!!!!
Right before we left, we had to swing by the Check In Station...
Broxton has decided that his calling is in medicine!
Doesn't he make a great looking doctor?!
I loved this place!
They even have a play area if you have a kid that is younger and just not into all of this yet!
We had so much fun and as I mentioned, we will be back!
The fact that there is SO MUCH to do and it is learning too!!!
Can't be beat!!!

Be sure to follow Creative Discovery Museum on facebook so you can see when they release information about their new exhibits!
Bob the Builder is only there until September 11.

Have you ever been to a place like this?!

***** We received complimentary passes. All opinions (and photos) are my own.******

11.8.11

We saw an UNDERGROUND Waterfall @visitlookoutmtn Ruby Falls

Continuing on with my post of Chattanooga, it's time to tell you about Day Two!

Now, my mom can not remember if we went there before...
I could have sworn that we had, but now...
I am not so sure...
Either way, we went and it was pretty awesome!
Once again, if you want to read all about it (and you know you do) head on over to visit their website after you read about our adventure.

I will just tell you, Ruby Falls is an UNDERGROUND waterfall!
How cool is that?!

We got there and immediately got in line to go down.
You take an elevator all the way down and then work your way around the cavern!
Oh and get this...
It is always 60 degrees down there!!!
( I did read on their site that although it is always 60 degrees, the humidity can make it feel like it is 70 degrees, either way, pretty cool versus the 100 degrees outside!)

So,on to our adventure:
You take an elevator down...
Oh, let me tell you something you might just want to know...
This tour is not for those with a stroller or those in wheelchairs.
The pathway is just not able to accommodate.
Also:
We took the elevator down and when we get out, we were greeted by photographers ready to take your family photo, just like they did at Rock City.
Then, you wait for the rest of your group to get down the elevators...
(They ended up having 3 elevator loads in our group)
This was perfect for a quick photo shoot with Broxton:
Once everyone is there, you start your journey towards the waterfall and you see several different rock formations.
Now, Mr. Brent (our tour guide) gave us the right terminology to use, but I have forgotten...
This is when the tour first starts...
You can see Mr. Brent if you look really close:
This was looking at how the rocks grow from both the top and the bottom:
It was so neat seeing all the different rock shapes.
Add to it, they had some pretty creative and imaginative people working when they named them...
This here is FISH.
They also had Tobacco Leaves, Meat and Potatoes, Bacon and several other names!
(Do you see it resembling a fish?)
As you walked and looked at all the different rocks, you would occasionally come to beautiful area's like this:
(Not sure what it was called)
Then you get to it.
That amazingly beautiful waterfall.
Mr. Brent said that when we looked at our pictures, we would see water droplets.
He informed us that it was not water on the lens, but rather the flash hitting the water molecules in the air:
We turned off the flash and look:
Mr. Brent also let us know, the lights come on for 8 minutes.
During that 8 minutes, you walk around the circle (it is on the path) and can see the waterfall from all different angles.
Once the 8 minutes is over, sure enough...
Pitch black!
This is the shot that Marc got as we went under/behind it:
I thought it was really cool that they have 8 minutes of lights...
That they change the lights all different colors just makes it that more interesting.

I do wish that they had a photographer at that point for family photos!
I sure enough would have bought one if they did.
Kinda hard to get one of the three of us and the waterfall.
I did notice Mr. Brent took a couple pictures for people, but Broxton wasn't really cooperating at that point, so I did not even try!

Once you see that beauty, you continue the rest of the tour.
They have more rock formations with crazy names...
They even had an area that was called "Atlanta!"
It looked like the skyscrapers in Atlanta.

The best part was the end for Broxton.
He was excited when Mr. Brent mentioned that once the tour was over, you could go and play on the playground!!!
Wooo Hooo!
So, we took the elevator back up to the top and while Marc went to the observation area:
This was the view he saw:
Broxton and I went to the Playground:
They had a really cool play area.
While there, you could also buy a bag of dirt and go gem stone panning!

With so much to do, you know you want to head over and visit!!!
Just remember to follow Ruby Falls on Facebook and Twitter.

***** We were given complimentary passes to Ruby Falls.
All opinions (and photos) are my own!*****

9.8.11

We slept in a train car @ChattChooChoo

Please click on the photo's to enlarge them. All other posts should be better to view.
Thanks!
Day One: Lodging
Chattanooga Choo Choo

If you have been visiting my blog the past couple days, you have read about our trip to Rock City and to the Tennessee Aquarium.
Well, guess where we stayed?
When we went up to visit for the day, we of course had to stop and visit the famous Chattanooga Choo Choo!
Once I saw it, I thought it would be an amazing and unforgettable trip if we could actually spend the night in one of their Victorian Train Cars!

As with all of my postings, if you want to learn more about it...
(And you should!)
Head on over to their website and read all about the history of the Chattanooga Choo Choo!
I will tell you that Terminal Station was erected in 1908 and that it came to be the Chattanooga Choo Choo in 1973...
When you pull up to the Choo Choo...
You are greeted with a humongous terminal station.
Once you park to go register...
These beautiful doors await you.
Step inside and the main area is just breathtakingly amazing!
As I said, we had the chance to stay in one of their Victorian Train Cars!
This is just amazing.
Once you are "all aboard" you open your door to this:
Okay, this isn't technically what you open your door to, but this is what your room looks like.
You open your door and there is this wall (it divides your door entry way from the bathroom.)
You walk down a small hallway (the length of the bathroom) and then you see your room.

Oh, I had to ask....
Do all train cars come with a TV, an air conditioner and a bathroom?
Hey, I would rather ask and know for certain versus risk it and find out one of my necessities was missing!
(The answer to all above: YES!)

BUT - I will tell you...
The train car is HOT.
Okay, the temperature outside was 99, I think...
No telling what the heat index was, but it was hot as anything.
We got to the room and first things first, turned that air down to get it cold.
It was hot in there...
Think about it, it is a metal box.
(I would SO LOVE to go there during the winter!!! I LOVE cold!)
So, we headed back out to sight see and to let the room cool down.
When we got back, it was still hot.
Okay, it wasn't sweltering, but it was hot to me...
It was registering 81 degrees.
We stopped by the front desk to see what was going on.
They told us that they would send maintenance to check it out, but that it should cool down once the sun went down.
When we got back to the room that night, it was at 75 degrees.
I was so worried that it would not cool down... I can not sleep in heat.
Well, sure enough...
It cooled down!
We woke up to it being 60 something degrees!
It was perfect! I like to be cold and snuggle up in my blankets and that was how I was awakened.

So, back to the room.
If you noticed the picture, there is a daybed (that also has a trundle under it.)
There is a cute little sitting area with a table and two chairs.
Also, there was a desk, of course the TV and a dresser.
The bed had a night stand on each side.

The cutest thing to me was the lights.
If you look at the picture again, you see the luggage rack going around the top?
There are also lights under it, just like how they were on the original train!

Broxton could not understand why he was not able to "ride" the choo choo...
He kept wanting it to move.

We did go out and explore more around the hotel property.
They actually have the Victorian Train Cars, but they also have 3 hotel buildings as well.
We went for a swim in the indoor pool.
(They have one indoor pool and two outdoor pools.)

Also on the hotel grounds, they have a beautifully landscaped courtyard.
Some have ponds, some have flower gardens, some have fountains.
Each are perfect!
We enjoyed the night and then the next morning, we headed to one of their restaurants, The Garden.
That is where they serve a breakfast buffet until 11.
They had a bit of everything, eggs, sausage, bacon, fruits, cereal, muffins...
It was delicious!
Get this, they had scrambled eggs on the buffet, but if sunny side up is more your thing, all you had to do was ask your server and they would get them made for you!!!!
(Bonus points, they gave Broxton a Choo Choo coloring page!)

Also on the grounds is the Model Railroad Museum.
Marc enjoyed that, as he was familiar with the area with his job.
Broxton enjoyed it...
Because they even had Thomas!!!!
Right up front!
I enjoyed looking at all the scenes that they had created!
See that?
It's the Chattanooga Choo Choo Terminal!
Of course, you have to have one of the Rock City Barns!!!
Now, I would not stay in the Train Car for a long time, but I would love to stay at that property again.
I think the ideal situation would be, stay for a night or two in the train car, then get a room in one of their buildings.
Get the best of both worlds!

Besides the beautiful landscaping and layout...
They also offer shopping all right there together!
Top it off, you can also do one of those old fashioned photo's and cool down with a nice scoop of ice cream!
(I do want to go back to check out one of their restaurants, They sing during the dinner service!) So, lodging, food, entertainment, shopping...
All right there at the train terminal!
Wow!!!!

I can not wait to see how they decorate everything for the holiday season!

Have you ever been to the Chattanooga Choo Choo?
Have you ever slept in a train car?
Don't you want to now?
Don't forget to follow Chattanooga Choo Choo on Facebook and Twitter!

***** We were given a discount on the room rate for the Victorian Train Car at the Chattanooga Choo Choo. All thoughts and opinions (and pictures) are my own!*****

Love Aquariums? Check out @TNAquarium

Day One Part Two:
Tennessee Aquarium

While we were in Chattanooga, we were thrilled for the chance to go and check out the Tennessee Aquarium! They are always advertising it on the Atlanta channels, so to have the chance to go and check it out was something we were really hoping we had the chance to do!

The great thing about Chattanooga is that they have free shuttles!
We just parked our car at the hotel (more on that tomorrow) and then we took the shuttle to the Aquarium!
Once we were dropped off (the shuttle station is like half a block from the Aquarium) we were first greeted with a "Southern Belle" welcoming us to Chattanooga!
I totally wish I would have taken a picture of her, but we were so excited to get to the Aquarium, we didn't get one!

We went to the ticket building and were told to start our journey!!!!
The Tennessee Aquarium is actually in two buildings!

We started out by going to the River Journey.
Oh, let me tell you...
The Aquarium is a multi-level attraction.
You get there take escalators to the top.
Once there, you work your way down on these ramps...
(Great for Wheel Chairs and Strollers!)
The windows to view everything are large enough that several groups of people can look at the same time.
One thing that Marc and I both noticed?
Each level is also a different "river" with different fish in it.
Once you move to the different river, the music they play when you enter is in relations to that area...
(Mississippi Delta had Zydeco Music, Tennessee River had Blue Grass Type.)

Okay, there was so much to do, so don't hold me to it that each of my statements are in order...
Please :)
But, when we got to the River Journey...
You first walk in and there is the room where the "Ranger Rick's Backyard Safari" is located.
They also have one of those cute photo ops where you can stick your head in the thing to make it look like your head is in the tank with the fish!
Of course, all kids loved that... INCLUDING Broxton!
See my little fish?
While we were in the Ranger Rick area, one of their staff members came out.
She had a snake and the kids LOVED it!!!
Broxton of course wanted to go over and have a look.
Marc was showing him how he could pet it.
The lady even squatted down and was telling Broxton all about the snake!
I had to laugh, as every time he would pet the snake, he IMMEDIATELY had to wipe his hands off on his shirt!
A major PLUS for me?
Whenever there was an exhibit where you touched the animals, they always had a hand sanitizing area!
So, after being down there and looking at all of that, we hit the escalators to start our journey.
It was so neat!
I have never seen an Aquarium like this:
It was not just fish tanks everywhere...
They incorporated the actual surroundings for some of the areas!!!!
They even had birds flying around!
You can click here to see all the different animals that are at the Aquarium!
What?!

We got to see the otters!
They were playing and until then, I had never noticed just how fast they were!
Also, it was at the otter station that I noticed the Audio Tour.
You can call from your cell phone and put in what stop you are at (the otters are number 2) and it tells you about the exhibit!

Marc was having fun taking pictures of the barracuda and all the big ugly fish!
Broxton was on a mission to find Nemo and Dory...
I was so excited to see the turtles and frogs!!!
They even have the Worlds Largest Turtle Shell there!
But, can you imagine my excitement to see these?
Once you walk out from one of the buildings, heading to the next...
You have tons of water space to enjoy along the way!
Broxton saw all the kids playing, so he wanted to take a quick break before going into the other building...
As if the first building wasn't enough excitement...
When we headed to the other part of the Aquarium...
You got to touch the stingrays!
Broxton was determined to touch one, pretty much trying to dive in there to attempt a better reach!
Once you left that area, they had hand dryers for you to dry up..
IN THE design of a SHARKS mouth! :)
They also had plenty of hand sanitizing stations...
We then headed to the butterfly area.
They constantly warn you to watch for "hitch hikers" when you leave that area, as they like to try and hitch a ride out of there!
There was this beautiful blue one that I really wanted to get a picture of...
Of course, it lands on Marc and then would NOT open its wings...
That thing wanted to come home with us...
As Marc walked around and everything trying to get it to fly off...
With no luck!
Broxton was just confused trying to figure out why he could not touch it...
After the beauty of the butterflies, we then went to visit the penguins!
They were all having naptime or something, since none of them wanted to play or anything, but since we enjoy watching Happy Feet, Broxton enjoyed watching them sleep.
That was just the half of it...
There were all sorts of things and we had a blast!!!!

Then, for all kids...
The water play area out side the Aquarium!!!!
There are steps that have water running down them:
That ends up in a covered pool type area.
That looks out over the water!
It seems as though this is both a great place for tourists, as well as locals!

We had such a great time there...
The problem is, if we had to pick a favorite Aquarium, we would not be able to!
It is so different from anything we had ever been to!
I mean, the whole atmosphere of it all was just amazing!
If you are in or near, try to make a stop there to check it all out!!!

Have you ever been to the Tennessee Aquarium?

Please follow the Tennessee Aquarium on Facebook and Twitter!

***** We received complimentary passes to go and visit the Tennessee Aquarium.
All opinions (and pictures) are my own. *****
 
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