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On Being Brave at Knott's Spooky Farm

Halloween time at Knott's Berry Farm has become a yearly tradition for our family. And if you've been reading this blog for even a little while, you'll notice how much we love Knott's. Steeped in tradition and history, Knott's Berry Farm is a family friendly Southern California theme park located in Buena Park, CA. Knott's Spooky Farm is this year's theme for everything family friendly at Knott's Berry Farm during the month of October.

It feels a bit strange to be creating a "new normal" with our family and walking the theme park without worrying about Luke catching a cold from a sniffling passerby took some getting used to. We were missing my daughter, so he didn't have his best bud and roller coaster partner with him - but he had a great time. He's a 10 year old boy, so he loved the spooky pumpkins in the Spooky Hallow Maze in Fiesta Village.

and the creepy crawlies in the Creepy Crawly Cabin. You can touch real live (splendidly gross) worms. He went back to that table more that once.

 Inside the Creepy Crawly Cabin at Knott's Spooky Farm is a whole wall of dead insects and reptiles....so creepy and cool.

What To Do With Little Kids At Knott's During Halloween Time:
This year, Knott's has scattered the spooky Halloween fun all around the theme park. We loved this, because as Luke is mid-elementary and loves roller coasters, we could enjoy the family friendly halloween fun as we went about our day. 

Trick-or-Treating in Ghost Town: 
Scattered throughout Ghost town are a cast of playfully ghastly ghouls who are not-so-scary and handing out candy for trick-or-treating. And don't worry about bringing a bag for trick-or-treating. Those are handed out to families as they enter the theme park.

Snoopy's Costume Contest and Dance Party:
Does your little munchkin love to dress up? Costumes for little ones is encouraged at Knott's Spooky Farm and there is even a costume contest and dance party to celebrate the season. Come to Camp Snoopy Theatre located inside of Camp Snoopy to join in the fun. Times vary, so check with Knott's for the times.

"Monsters Are Coming, Charlie Brown!" Show:
Also located at the Camp Snoopy Theatre is the Halloween Kid's Show at Knott's titled "Monsters Are Coming, Charlie Brown. This is a cute show and a great way to take a rest in the midst of the day's fun.

Creepy Crawler Cabin:
The Creepy Crawler Cabin is located near the Pony Express ride towards back of Ghost Town and features, as we show above, some creep-i-lious fun. 

Spooky Hallow Maze:
More "area" than maze, the Spooky Hallow Maze located in the Fiesta Village and is a great photo op for parents. The pumpkins are a little on the scary side for younger kids, so if your little one scares easily, you might want to avoid it. 

You can follow along on social media through the tag #KnottsSpookyFarm

Of course, roller coasters were a part of our day at Knott's Berry Farm. It's no secret that Luke loves roller coasters and during this year's trip to Knott's Spooky Farm, Luke decided it was time to brave the most intense and scariest roller coaster I have ever seen - The Xcelrator! Blasting off at an increible 80 miles an hour - the coaster car shoots to the top of an insane climb (shown below) and spirals down and around. He rode it alone! My heart was beating out of my chest, and I didn't even ride the ride! -but after his year - I couldn't say no to him riding it! It was a moment for both of us to be brave. Of course, he loved it. Thanks, Knott's, for making our day!

Disclosure: I was invited to a Knott's Spooky Farm media event last weekend which included admission to the theme park. It's no secret I love Knott's and not because I get invited to events but because Knott's Berry Farm is just plain awesome.


Photo Diary of Luke's Bone Cancer Journey - Mid Treatment

It's become a little easier to look at photos of our experience through Luke's cancer. During mid-treatment, my husband was still able to be with us dying many of the days. What a blessing that was. It helped Luke so much to have his Dad around. 

I never missed an opportunity to hold him. I didn't care what anyone thought. Or how many times he needed me in a day.

Luke loves to smile and laugh and joke. Even in the treatment room, right before his bone scan.

Every week, before his in-patient protocol, Luke saw the doctor to make sure his body was at it's best for chemo. I can tell by this photo that this was post surgery and maybe our first chemo back after surgery? Whatever the case, I remember one of the doctors on Luke's team being so gracious while Luke watched videos on his iPad. He was so patient and kind

Oh the dance parties...Luke loved to dance his way through treatment. We'd try to have a dance party every week in his room. He still loves to dance.

Pet Therapy. He always looked forward to the pet therapy dogs coming to visit. Animals are his love language.

In many of the in-patient rooms there are these beams that run across the windows that create alcoves that are perfect for climbing. Even with a bunch of tubes connected to his body, he managed to climb up there to be with his sister.

Always smiling.


Celebrate National Shake Month with Johnny Rockets

The endless summer here in Southern California means milkshakes are the perfect treat year round. So when we were invited to sample and get a sneak peek at some of the new milkshake flavors that Johnny Rockets is featuring this fall- we were too happy to oblige. On September 21st, well loved all-american restaurant  Johnny Rockets introduced a Reese's peanut butter milkshake and a signature Oreo-Hershey's syrup milkshake inspired by the upcoming movie "Goosebumps".  The Reese's Peanut Butter was my personal favorite (made with vanilla ice cream, delish reese's peanut butter sauce), while the kids loved the Goosebumps themed Johnny Rockets Milkshake.

While Johnny Rockets in an international chain of restaurants, there are 42 Johnny Rocket's locations across California and more in over 30 states nationwide. If you are visiting California, it's definitely a fun restaurant to take the family while on vacation. The atmosphere is relaxed and fun. See the Johnny Rockets website for more information on a location nearest you.

She occasionally will join in on my silliness. While our whole family was able to sample the milkshakes, it turned into a really sweet time for my daughter and I.  Especially in light of this season in our lives. 

Thank you Johnny Rockets for letting us in on the sneak peek of the new flavors. Disclosure: I was invited to a private media event and not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.


A photo diary of our first few weeks after #osteosarcoma diagnosis.

While we are months from those first few weeks of treatment, I thought I would share some photos from our first few weeks after surgery. I was going to share some of the photos from the first few days  before surgery - but they are too painful for me to look at right now - when I think about how close we were to some severe permanent physical changes like vision loss and eye loss and cognitive function loss I am overcome with humility for God's goodness and faithfulness to us.

Post biopsy/tumor resection.

Christmas Day in the hospital...this was a really tough day.

Get well cards from his classmates.

Shaving his head with the whole family there to support him.

Luke is so full of light. I am humbled daily by his ability to laugh and smile. 

 Still smiling.

 Post surgery scans. He calls it the "donut scan". 

To me, he is the bravest boy in the whole world.


My 10 Year Old Son Has Cancer

A lot has been going on behind the scenes of this blog in the last several months. I have started and stopped this blog post so many times, but I know I need to share.

In mid December of last year,  my son was diagnosed with cancer in an extremely rare part of his body. He has Osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer in the boney area near his sinus, nasal cavity and skull base and he has been undergoing chemotherapy treatment since Christmas Eve. It is very rare to have this kind of cancer in this area in a pediatric patient. We've been on this journey now for somewhere around 4 months with a few months left to go. I am writing this to share with you where we are right now, how things might change on the blog and how I want them to stay somewhat the same.

I feel compelled to share our journey through this very difficult time. So, I am bringing back more personal posts. I will write about cancer again. Some of you know I had cancer when I was 29. I haven't written about it in a long long time. I think I didn't want cancer to define me. I just wanted to be me. Now cancer is an even bigger part of my story and I am not afraid to have it be a significant part of my life. My son is walking this incredibly hard path and I would gladly wave a cancer banner high above my head if it brought more awareness to a pediatric disease that only receives 4% of all federal cancer funding.

With the diagnosis of my son, also came the diagnosis of Li-Fraumeni Syndrome. Li-Fraumeni is a genetic pre-disposition to get cancer at an early age as well as additional primary cancers through out your life. There is a 1 in 20,000 chance of getting Li-Fraumeni. A child without Li-Fraumeni has a 1% chance of getting cancer before the age of 30. A child with Li-Fraumeni has a 50% chance. Luke is confirmed to have it. I most likely have it, given that I also had sarcoma before 30. Even with this new diagnosis, we are fully surrendered to God's plan for Luke's life. God has been so faithful to our family to not only comfort us, but to also bring along side of us some incredible family and friends.

Even with all that is going on, I am still a creative person and creativity and writing are therapeutic for me. So, don't be surprised if you see recipes or artsy, crafts posts and think "How does she have time for that when her child is going through treatment?" The truth is I don't know how I will have time, but I do know I want to share our journey and how God is weaving a tapestry of surrender, trust and humility through the fabric of our days.

If you want to follow along on our daily osteosarcoma cancer journey, you can through Luke's Facebook page Luke The Brave.


Netflix's New Original Series For Kids All Hail King Julian

We are always looking for new shows to watch on Netflix Streaming. Did you know Netflix is releasing yet another We love Dreamworks' Madagascar movies and all the crazy fun spin-offs like The Penguins of Madagascar and of course that hilarious "Lord of The Lemurs" King Julian. Get a sneak peek at the all-new Netflix original series All Hail King Julian. 
King Julien 003 S1E2

Can't wait for Dec. 19? Me Either.

Get ready for the holidays with King Julien's friends from Madagascar...Merry Madagascar is one of our favorites! King Julian and his "Merry Julian-uary" antics make us laugh every time!
...or cuddle up with a few other holiday favorites for younger kiddos:
Curious George
in search of santa

New Year's Eve Mocktails

Celebrate the New Year with these two "mocktail" recipes. Make your own chocolate chip cookie stick (hello!) for a cookies and milk toast, or keep it traditional with sparkling cider (My kids love sparkling cider!). Click here to learn how to make your own.
*Disclosure: I am a member of the Netflix "Stream Team". I was selected to share what's new and what's awesome for kids on Netflix Streaming each month. We've had Netflix since 2002, long before I was a stream team member. 


Easy Cupcake Liner Snowman Craft For Kids

This Snowman Craft for kids is easy to make. All you need is mini cupcake liners, construction paper, markers, glue, a smudge of paint and glitter (Oh, and a few small buttons).

  • Start with a piece of blue construction paper.
  • Tear a piece of white construction paper in half to create the snowy landscape. Glue it to the piece of blue construction paper.
  • Flatten out 3 mini cupcake liners. Glue them top to bottom onto the construction paper.
  • With a black marker draw eyes and  mouth.
  • With an orange marker, draw the nose.
  • With the black marker, draw arms out from the middle cupcake liner.
  • Glue three small buttons to the middle cupcake liner.
  • Optional Using the eraser top of a pencil, dab in white paint and stamp white snow dots all over the blue part of the paper.
  • Add glue around the rims of the mini cupcake liners and sprinkle with translucent or fine white glitter.

There you have it! A cute cupcake liner snowman craft for kids to make.


All New Netflix Original Veggie Tales in the House

My kids love Veggie Tales.

They've been watching Bob and Larry since they were very little. We love that you can watch so many Veggie Tale classics on Netflix streaming. As part of the Netflix #StreamTeam, I just learned that Netflix has teamed up with the folks at Veggie Tales to bring you an all new Netflix original series called "Veggie  Tales in The House." Bob, Larry and the whole gang show up for fun. Each episode has two 11 minute stories centered around an important life lesson. In the very first episode, Larry the Cucumber and Laura the Carrot learn about responsibility when they want to earn money to get a puppy and become PFF's (Puppy Friends Forver). Even though my kids are a little bit older, they still loved this first episode.

Here's a little more about what to expect from Veggies Tales in The House on Netflix Streaming:

What's new:
  • The opening song is different, but still catchy and fun.
  • The graphics are colorful and bright, and awesome. The kids noticed that right away.
  • Instead of Bob and Larry telling a story, all they veggies interact in a community set in the kitchen itself complete with houses and shops. 
What's the same:
  • All your favorite Veggie Tale friends are there.
  • There's still the same silly musical interlude.
  • There is still a bible verse at the end and a great wrap up of the "moral of the story". 
  • The veggies all still mysteriously have no arms and legs. ;-)
And look at this cute veggie tales themed craft!

Want to make your own Veggie Tales prints? Click here to find out how.

If you like Veggie Tales, or haven't yet introduced your kids to the world's most famous cucumber and tomato, we are pretty sure you will fall in love with Veggie Tales in the House on Netflix Streaming.

To find out more about Netflix and all the services they offer visit Netflix.com

Disclosure: I am part of the Netflix #StreamTeam sponsored monthly campaign, as such I share a little bit about what's going on with Netflix Streaming including upcoming new shows, news, and more. My opinions are 100% my own.