September 29, 2014

Our day at the movies: The Hero of Color City Review

*We were offered complimentary tickets to the screening, but were not required to share our thought in a post. No compensation was offered for this post. All opinions are honest and my own!

This past weekend, I loaded up the kiddos and took them to a screening of The Hero of Color City, an animated film geared toward a Pre-K to Kindergarten age audience. After I booked the tickets, I showed the kids the movie trailer and they immediately started smiling and begging to go! 

Can you tell how excited they were?

The kids really enjoyed the movie and have been taking about it ever since. Memaw, my mother in law, came with us in order to keep the ratio of kids to adults balanced- thank goodness for that! It was also good to have another adult to discuss the movie with. We agreed that it was perfect for kids up to about 1st grade- as it is a very simple plot line, but it might be a little juvenile for kids over 7.

Peanut sat still through the entire movie! (Sorry for the grainy photo- it was dark in the theater!)

The Hero of Color City was a lot like Toy Story- but with crayons and different celebrity voices. I could pick out Wayne Brady, Christina Ricci and Owen Wilson... but there are quite a few other big names in the credits. 

Something that I really liked about The Hero of Color City is that the "villain" wasn't super scary at all! He was just misunderstood and was not a threatening character- much better for the younger kiddos in the crowd. 

M was thrilled that she was given a poster to bring home!

The movie will be in theaters October 3rd. I know that you are probably thinking, "Yeh... my Pre-K kid is not going to sit through a movie!" You can also watch The Hero of Color City On Demand or download it on iTunes the same day- problem solved! 

For your viewing pleasure... the trailer that put my kids through the roof!

Hope you get a chance to watch it with your kiddos!

Have you taken your kiddos to a movie recently?

September 28, 2014

24/7 Frenzy Fall Fashion Giveaway

*Disclaimer: I was not compensated for mentioning 24/7 Frenzy to my readers. All opinions are my own. The Puzzled Palate is not responsible for the delivery of the prizes. Contest is void where prohibited.

I know that I am not even close to being a fashion blogger... but I do love a good giveaway! Today, The Puzzled Palate is honored to be partnering with Erica Start Walking, a wonderful blog packed with everything from fashion to crafts to recipes. 

FIVE lucky winners will receive a $50 e-gift card to 24/7 Frenzy, an online clothing store. The winners will be contacted once the giveaway is over via email. For a sneak peak at the type of fashions they have, take a glimpse at the picture below and then pop over to their website! She is the most adorable pregnant woman I have seen- but keep in mind, 24/7 Frenzy offers clothing for everyone! Without further ado...let's get this party started! 

Good Luck!

What is your must-have for this autumn?

September 25, 2014

Things that drive me crazy #SpectrumProblems

Today, I wanted to share some of my biggest pet peeves from my experiences with my autistic daughter. I have other random and weird personal pet peeves... like when people blow their noses at tables- because it is just nasty- but this is a list of things that annoy me on behalf of my daughter. As the proud mom of a child on the autism spectrum, I have created a safe zone for my daughter at our home. However, when we are out in public, there are some things that I just can't help but get irritated about. I am not trying to be all Negative Nancy or suggest that the world change for every person's sensitivities. This is just MY short list of things that drive me crazy when I am taking M out of the safe haven that is our home. (Yes, we know that most of them are restroom related.)

1. Automatic bathroom fans. M hates bathroom fans. I hate the ones that are connected to the light switch and they prevent us from being able to take her to the bathroom without getting her all in a tizzy.

2. Hand dryers with no paper towel alternative. Those things are loud! I was thinking about starting to bring a stack of paper towels with us when we go out. Either that, or I can just continue to let her dry her hands on my pants...

3. Automatic flushing toilets. There is nothing worse than a sneak attack on a child with sound sensitivities! Over the years, I have learned to drape a bit of toilet paper over the eye of the sensor until she is safely off the toilet. 

4. Fast food playgrounds that ask kids to remove their shoes. M does not like having her shoes off in public. As soon as we get home, she wants to kick off her shoes. I don't know why she is like this, but it took us 3 weeks of gymnastics to convince her that being barefoot there was okay. Nothing I say will convince her that it is okay to take her shoes off in a restaurant. Honestly, the thought of my kids walking around on those nasty floors with bare feet makes my skin crawl- so I don't mind that she likes to keep her shoes on there! 

5. When servers are in such a hurry that they get frustrated when I am walking my daughter through placing an order. I know that they are often busy. But I am sure that their other tables would be totally understanding if they noticed that we were trying to help her learn a life skill. Ordering her own food is more than just relaying information. When M orders her meal, it means that she is having a social interaction with someone outside of her normal circle of family and friends. It is important- no matter how trivial it seems to the outsider.

6. When people question me about M's gluten-free diet in front of her. She may not act like she is listening- but she is. The amazing transformation that she has experienced is worth every single time I have had to say, "Sorry sweetie, it does have wheat. Let's find you something else." It drives me CRAZY when somebody says, "I don't really get the gluten-free thing" or "I am sure that she misses cookies!" Please- she is 5, mommy is still gonna get her a cookie- but it will be GF!  But thanks for making me look like a jerk for doing what is best for my daughter. 


Phew! Ok- glad that that is out. I know the world can't change for M. In most cases I am not sure I want it to. She is an amazing child and I just want her life to be as carefree as it can be. I have told people this many a time. My goal is not to remove all of the distractions and sensory overload sources from her world. I am looking for ways to teach her to overcome the obstacles that hinder her.

The only other thing I can do is spread autism awareness and hope that it will turn into acceptance. So, next time you see a parent struggling with a child having a meltdown in public... remember that they may still be thrown off balance for something as "little" as the fan being stuck in the on position. 

Me with the girl I go crazy for!

Do you have any pet peeves?

September 23, 2014

Don't Let Bugs Crash Your Party! *Free Printable

*Disclaimer: I was provided with a bottle of BUGS BEBARE for the purpose of this review. 
No other compensation was provided. All opinions are my own.

Here, in the South, the sweltering days of summer are coming to a close and the days are just now becoming tolerable. The nicer the weather, the more time we spend outside and nothing is worse than unwanted party crashers! If you are hosting an outdoor get together, relaxing in the yard or exploring the outdoors with your kiddos- nothing can ruin the fun quite like mosquitos and their other biting buddies!

With that in mind, I have put together a few quick pointers to NATURALLY keep the bugs away. You all know how much I love lists:)

Our family loves Bare Belly Organics, we used their organic sunscreen this summer instead of the chemical laden big brands. I was so excited when they came out with a bug spray- I would rather get bitten than smell like traditional bug sprays. The ingredients for BUGS BEBARE are all natural and smell wonderful!


Recently, my sister threw a huge birthday bash for her husband's 30th. Their yard is known to be quite the "skeeter" hang out. She designed these adorable signs and attached them to beach pails. The bug spray was easy for her guests to find and it prevented many a bite!

My sis was kind enough to share her design with The Puzzled Palate readers as a FREE PRINTABLE! We suggest laminating the sign for repeat use!

Our party crasher sign is formatted to print as a 4 X 6. If you don't have a printer, you can right-click to save the file to your computer and upload it to your local photo center!

If you are interested in getting 10% off of your order, click here and scroll to the bottom of the Bare Belly sunscreen review!

Are you a mosquito magnet? 
What are your tips for keeping the bugs away?

September 17, 2014

{Almost} Wordless Wednesday: M's VIP Status

This past weekend, M and Peanut were invited to a birthday party for one of their good buddies. Normally when we head to a social gathering, we tend to pack M a gluten-free lunch and treat. The day before the party, the party's hosts contacted us to find out what kind of crackers M could have. They were already on a gluten free cupcake search! 

Yep- we have a pretty awesome group of friends. Our group of buddies will always be there to help and support one another- that is nothing new. However, the fact that our friends are going out of their way to make our girl feel included... that leaves us speechless and humbled.

Thank you to all of our friends and family for supporting us while we make changes for our daughter. It feels amazing to know that other people are seeing the change that M's new diet is making for her.

"M approved chips"

Our little artist.

Super excited to have her very own GF cupcakes!

What left you speechless this week?

How to Save Cash on Prescriptions #LowestMed

Times, they are a changing... and so is my insurance! With all of the changes in healthcare recently, many people are having to pay out of pocket for prescriptions. A few of my friends have actually told me that they have to pay towards a deductible for their scripts! So, when I heard about this often overlooked money saver, I knew I had to share it with my readers! I thought that it would be best to show you my savings first thing.

If you want to know how to save on your family's meds, you will need to agree with the following statements:

#1 You like to save money!
#2 You have a crazy busy life!
#3 You have a smartphone- either iPhone or Android!
#4 You spend money at pharmacy- with or without insurance!

Here is the skinny on the FREE mobile app from LowestMed! 

LowestMed is the first pharmaceutical price-finder app that offers free discount cards instantly on your smart phone. You don't have to worry- they do not ask for any personal information at all. LowestMed has created relationships with the nation’s leading supermarkets and pharmacy chains.

LowestMed is the first free mobile app in the industry to provide consumers with the ability to view and compare prescription drug prices. The app compares prescription prices through leading supermarket and pharmacy chains in the consumer’s neighborhood. It’s available on iPhone, Android and Windows phone devices.

It offers free and confidential pharmacy savings in the palm of your hand, and never asks for personal information.

LowestMed is useful to everyone, because not all prescriptions are on the formulary list.

To test out this app, I went through the simple process of pricing M's Aerochamber for her inhaler. Our insurance will not cover the additional chamber that she needs for school- so we will be paying for it out of pocket. Our insurance is through Kaiser- so we are restricted to using their pharmacy or paying completely out of pocket. 

*All of the following screen shots were taken from my iPhone. Some of the images were altered for security purposes.

First step- I downloaded the FREE LowestMed app to my phone.

The only information that the app will ask you for is your location.
If you choose to skip this step, it will ask you for your zip code.

 I chose the "search" option at the bottom screen and entered the name of the product I needed. Keep in mind, you must have a valid prescription from your doctor to have any script filled.

The app prompted me to enter the quantity. In this case, I only needed one chamber for M's inhaler.

LowestMed took just a split second to search for the best price for the product that I entered. It provided me with prices at 20 different pharmacies.

Once I selected the pharmacy that I wanted to go with, I clicked on the red map tag beside it and it pulled up the locations closest to me! Another thing you probably did not know: you can fill a prescription at Costco without a membership!

When I head to the pharmacy, all I need to do is click on the "Discount Card" at the bottom of the screen and show it to the pharmacist or pharmacy tech when I drop off the prescription. 


To be sure that the price that LowestMed quoted me was actually a discount, I decided to do a spot check and called one of the pharmacies on the list. They quoted me a "cash payment" price of $27.09. LowestMed's price at that pharmacy was $22.03. So yes- they are for real!

*This discussion was sponsored by LowestMed. All opinions are my own- I was not required to give them a positive review. However, I did because this is an awesome resource!

What is your go to money saving app?
Have you ever tried the LowestMed Mobile App?

September 14, 2014

Spotlight on: Just Another Mom "The A Word"

The A Word
Shared with permission from Just Another Mom

If you’ve never thought that one simple word could change your world, I invite you to read my story- just one of many where it concerns parents of loved ones on the autism spectrum.
My middle child is non-verbal and severely autistic. She has autism. The A word that I never wanted to think about before she got her diagnosis and the A word that I still sometimes don’t want to hear. It doesn’t matter how I word it- autism, autistic, autism spectrum, classic autism; there are times that I still don’t want to hear it. I say this not because I’m ashamed of her, far from it. I say that because it’s just a part of who she is. Her autism does not define her, but it does explain some of her quirks. Her autism will not go away, there is no cure- and I’m okay with that. Autism is a part of who she is, but it’s not all that she is.

She was born six weeks early, and spent approximately one month in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) for jaundice and low birth weight. Once she was able to maintain her temperature and eat regularly, she was allowed to come home. Because of her prematurity, she qualified for Early Intervention Services through Albany County. Initially, those services were for low muscle tone and to help with fine motor skills. Eventually, she also began receiving speech therapy at home in addition to special education services. Having already been on a similar path with my first born, the revolving door of therapists was nothing new.
She developed somewhat normally given her prematurity, I say somewhat because she was delayed in her fine and gross motor skills, in addition to speech. However, I didn’t think too much of it and thus continued our journey. It wasn’t until B was closer to her 2nd birthday that we really began to notice problems. She stopped making eye contact and then she stopped all signs of speech. Both were pretty tough to take, though the loss of speech in particular for me (as Mama was one of the few things she would say). Eventually, it would be her physical therapist who would suggest getting B evaluated for Autism spectrum disorder. And while I didn’t really want to hear it, deep down inside- I was thinking it.
I can still remember sitting in the office of the developmental pediatrician in 2004, answering questions diligently, recalling moment after moment that at the time seemed trivial, and watching my precious B go through evaluation after evaluation. With each passing moment, I was regretting the words that would come out of the doctor’s mouth, but, at the same time- I desperately wanted answers. Ultimately, she confirmed what B’s physical therapist suspected- sure enough, B was on the autism spectrum. To be exact, the developmental pediatrician told us that B was exhibiting signs of autistic disorder, later we would also associate ‘classic autism’ and ‘severe autism’ with what she had. My heart broke and my dreams were dashed. Gone were thoughts of PTA bake sales, Girl Scouts, school concerts, and graduation days. I didn’t quite know what to expect next, but I knew I was reeling. Even though there was a word for what my B had; I was devastated. I was also furious, angry, sad, and guilty.

But, at least with a definitive diagnosis, we knew where to proceed from there. It was agreed upon (by her team of therapists, myself and B’s father) that we needed to take a new course of action to help B as much as possible. No longer would she stay at home with me and have her team of therapists come to her, but instead she would begin attending preschool for special needs children.

So, there you have it. Our encounter with the A word. Not a bad word, by any stretch of the imagination, but a word that changed my life as I knew it. She was still my B, the same mischievous, playful, and loving child I always knew. But now, there we had a word. The A word.

September 10, 2014

Unbelievably Gluten Free Brownies

I am a brownie snob and all brownies are NOT created equal! I am a sucker for a delicious fudgey brownie with just the right amount of crisp to the edges. After M went gluten-free, I struggled to find a brownie mix that was decent- forget finding a fudge brownie! Many of the GF brownie mixes just fall flat and have a weird after taste- they did not pass any of the taste testers at our home. It was just sad. Enter Sevierly Good Gluten Free- my go to for all things mixes!

This month, I actually received a sample of Sevierly Good Gluten Free's organic brownie mix in our Send me Gluten Free subscription box.  I was thrilled to try another product from Sevierly Good. I first met the wonderful couple behind the mixes at the GFAF Expo back in May and have been a fan of their mixes ever since! We even used their organic sugar cookie mix to make treats for her teacher last year.

*The mix has a alternative prep instruction for those with egg allergies!

Sorry that there are no cute pictures of M helping me make the brownies! She did help with the measuring, pouring and mixing- but it took all of 2 minutes and I wanted to enjoy the process of baking with her rather than be her paparazzi. So just imagine a cute mommy and daughter moment!

As soon as they came out of the oven, we all tried a bite. Oh my goodness- they are really good. Not "good for gluten free," just really good brownies in general! *I suggest warming the "left overs" up when you go back for more and experience the "fresh out of the oven" taste over and over! 

If you would like to see the other mixes Sevierly Good GF has to offer, click here!

*Note: This is NOT a sponsored post! I am sharing this product because I love it! 
There are Amazon affiliate links- if you order through one of them... I might get a few pennies.*

When it comes to brownies, are you an "edger" or an "insider?"

September 9, 2014

3 Reasons to Fall for Medieval Times *Coupon Code and Ticket Giveaway

Recently, we took our kids to a castle... right here in Atlanta! One of the most exciting experiences that we have had with our kiddos was when we took them to see the show at Medieval Times

The day of, M got all dressed up in her let me give her a renaissance inspired hair style.

My sweet kiddos waiting for the show to start!

"Hubs" from Redhead Baby Mama snapped this one for us! I think Peanut was star-struck!

M was super excited that our knight tossed her a flower!

And you know we had to take a silly selfie!

With the Fall break sneaking up on us, we have decided to skip the stress and have a simple staycation. We are looking to take advantage of the fun at Medieval Times! If you are looking for something to do with the kids over the break, check out all the *discounted* fun you could be having at the Atlanta castle!

Junior Knight Training
This Fall Break, bring your kids to train to become knights of the realm at Medieval Times.
Children ages 5 through 12 will enjoy  watching an exclusive weapons demonstration by our knights and the weapons master. They will be invited to follow through the basic battle stances with personal attention from the knights of the realm. They will also learn about the grueling training that it takes to become a knight. Upon completion of their training, your children will be knighted by His Majesty King Carlos in a group knighting ceremony.

This special Knight Training Class is only available prior to the 5:00 PM Sunday shows in September. Training will begin promptly 1 hour prior to the show. Space is limited and training is available on a first-come, first-served basis for the first 100 kids per show. Training is open to both boys and girls. Closed-toe shoes and admission to the show are required to participate.

Homeschool Day
Unlock the Secret to an Unforgettable Field Trip!
Medieval Times, Atlanta is proud to announce our very first Homeschool Day. Join us for the 11:00 AM matinee show on Wednesday, September 24, 2014.
Enjoy a special matinee show that includes a 30-minute educational presentation, our exciting tournament show, and lunch. We are extending our exclusive group rate to homeschool groups of all sizes. Call (770) 225-0495 or email for more information.

Fall Break Special
Fall break is right around the corner! Plan a staycation that your kids will never forget! Join us at the castle for any show in September and take advantage of our special Fall Break discounts. Adults are just $32.95 and kids are just $29.95 for every show through the end of September. Book with code 3229GC to secure your discounted tickets today! Each ticket includes the two-hour live tournament and four-course medieval feast. 

*Medieval Times is gluten-friendly and also has a vegetarian offering! 
Just let your serf or wench know if you need to modify your meal!*

Grab an entry to win your own Family 4 pack of tickets here!
Winner will be able to choose from show times on 9/21 and 9/28.

*Full disclosure: I am a proud member of the Medieval Times ambassadors team. I was offered 2 complimentary media passes for sharing the promotions with my readers. No other compensation was provided and all opinions in this article are my own. The pictures of our family at MT were from a recent visit- we had a blast!*

Good luck Lords and Ladies!