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John and I are going on a trip!  This will be the farthest we have ever traveled without our kids, and only the second time I can remember that we’ve ever traveled alone by plane.

We are going to San Francisco!  Obviously, we are going because Teddy is there, and we will arrive on his birthday.  But that weekend is also the anniversary of our becoming a couple (31 years!) which we always celebrate (but usually by going out to dinner, or on a good year, with a weekend in Gatlinburg).

I went to San Francisco with my godfather and his daughter in May of 1981.  It was my first time on an airplane and my first trip away from my family.  I fell in love with the city and have wanted to return ever since.

But we are not exactly world travelers, y’all, and Teddy will be working a lot while we are there and we are going to have to find things to do.  I’m always a little nervous finding my way around in a new place.

So when U.S. Family Guide offered me the opportunity to go on an Urban Adventure Quest, I was very excited to see (as I expected) that San Francisco was one of the cities included.  In exchange for my (future) honest review, John and I will be able to go on a quest that will be a fun way to explore part of San Francisco!

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Here is what I know so far:

Turn the city of your choice into a giant game board with this fun scavenger hunt adventure. Combine the excitement of the Amazing Race with a three-hour city tour. Guided from any smart phone, teams make their way among well known and overlooked gems of the city, solving clues and completing challenges while learning local history. Play anytime during daylight hours. Start when you want and play at your pace. Great Family Fun!

Here is an offer for my readers:  Save 20%- Only $39.20 for a team of 2-5 people after Promotion Code: FGBLOG.

You can see what cities are available (local readers, note that Nashville and Asheville are on the list!) and sign up at www.UrbanAdventureQuest.com.  I’ll be back here with my review at the end of February.

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Do you like board games?  Do you like silly physical challenges?  Do you like laughing hysterically?  If so, you are probably going to like this game, which I received free as a U.S. Family Guide blogger in exchange for my honest review.

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So Watch Ya’ Mouth, Throwdown Edition, is a game that makes use of mouthpieces, which judging from a recent trip to Walgreens, is apparently a thing.  Who knew?  I don’t watch t.v., y’all, and my kids ask for things like statues of Egyptian gods and rare stuffed animals from eBay, so I’m not exactly up on the trends. 🙂

You can get more information about the game, and even see a video of it being played, on my original post.  I’m going to share a more detailed explanation of how it works in this post.

So first of all, I’m kind of misspeaking when I call it a board game because there isn’t a board.  There are cards, and balls, and mouthpieces, and straws, and party horns, and a timer.  Plus you may need some common household items like spoons or tissues.  But don’t worry–if a particular challenge calls for something that isn’t handy, you can improvise.  In fact, improvising and having house rules are encouraged in this game, which doesn’t take itself too seriously.  This isn’t Trivial Pursuit, y’all.

Without going into too much detail, when it’s your turn, you roll the die to determine who you are challenging, then both of you insert mouthpieces and perform the challenge on the Throwdown card.  Whoever succeeds first wins the card. There are several possible categories of challenges.  In the “Picture Perfect” challenges, players must draw objects by holding pencils in their mouths.  The “Ping Pong Pop” challenges involve passing balls around on spoons held in mouths.  “Suck It Up” challenges use straws to–yes, guessed it–suck things up.  This is only a very small sampling of the challenges provided.

In addition to the Throwdown cards, there are Phrase cards which are used in some challenges.  For example, in the “So Much Drama” challenge, players must recite a phrase from a Phrase card in a particular emotion.  Other challenges simply involve guessing the phrase, not super easy to do when considering both the mouthpiece and the obscurity of the phrases, for example: “Bar Soap Bubbles Up” and “Fairy Flower House.”

In case you were wondering, a game lasts four rounds, a round being complete when every player has had one turn.  Whoever has the most cards at the end wins.  You can see the game in action below:

So now what you’ve all been waiting for:  my honest opinion.  The game has lots and lots of cards with many creative options and a wide variety of challenges.  You won’t do them all in one sitting and then get bored.  If your family likes this kind of game, then you will enjoy Watch Ya Mouth Throwdown Edition.

Me, I don’t like this game.  But it’s not the game’s fault, it’s mine.  It’s just not the kind of thing I enjoy and if I’d been paying more attention on the front end I would not have asked to review it.

Many people do like this game very much, including Toy Insider and Amazon.  Throwdown Edition was already been awarded Top Holiday Toy of 2017 by Toy Insider and was selected for the 2017 Amazon Holiday Toy List.

So if you are like those people and not a boring party pooper like me, and you want a hilarious family game to play during the holidays, your search is over. Just click here and use code 15WYM for 15% off!

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Anyone my age remembers with what joy and excitement they greeted the arrival of the Sears Wish Book.  My sister and I would sit on the floor, catalog open on the coffee table, feasting our eyes on the offerings and circling things in pen as we paged through.  Next would come the yearly tradition of writing letters to Santa to tell him what we had chosen, letters hopefully dropped into the mailbox with aspirational addresses like “Snowy Lane, North Pole.”  The only answer we expected was the hoped-for gift under the tree.

But what if your children could really get a letter from Santa?  THEY CAN!

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As I’ve mentioned before, I am a U.S. Family Guide blogger and therefore get to share special offers with you in exchange for my honest review.  Today I’m offering you a discount on a very special Christmas experience for your child.  Here’s what the company wants me to share with you:

Start a new and memorable tradition this Christmas with PackageFromSanta.com, the ONLY Santa memory service that does it ALL! Personalized LETTERS, PACKAGES, CALLS and VIDEOS from SANTA! 

Do you want to see your children’s face light up in amazement when they get a personalized letter from Santa Claus? Of course you do! This not just a letter from Santa. It’s an amazing experience – it’s joy, memories, wonder and happiness in a box! You can choose a specific letter theme and then customize it yourself to include details that only Santa would know! 

Every package also comes with a FREE personalized CALL and VIDEO FROM SANTA that can be scheduled any time. 

PFS has an A+ Rating with the BBB due to their unmatched high-touch customer service so you can be confident that you are making a wise purchase. They have real people on the phone ready to help answer questions. 

Click here to see a video to learn more about this very special Santa memory service that will be a part of my family for years to come! 

The Silver Package ($24.95) comes in a red box & includes:

Personalized Letter from Santa
BONUS! Personalized Video from Santa (retail $9.99)
BONUS! Personalized Phone Call from Santa to a cell phone OR land line! (retail $9.99)
Personalized Nice List Certificate
Autographed Santa Claus Photo
Autographed Rudolph Photo
Genuine North Pole Stamp
…and so much more!

It also comes with a 60-Day Money-Back Guarantee. Wow! They are THAT confident your child will LOVE it! 

There are 3 different packages offered, so you can choose a price point that works with your budget.

I will be receiving the Silver package, which I will be receiving for free in exchange for offering this information to you and posting an honest review after my package arrives.

My readers can save with this offer, either now or after you read my review: Order for your child at at PackageFromSanta.com and save 25% OFF when you use FAMS17 at checkout.

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I know I always used to like to pretend to be one, trying to swim with my legs together at the pool in the summertime.  Too bad this was not a thing back then.

Yes, you now have the opportunity to make someone’s mermaid dream come true!  Now, before I go any further, let me remind you that I am a U.S. Family Guide blogger, and in that capacity occasionally promote products on my blog.  I usually get a product in exchange for my honest opinion.

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You’ll be seeing more of these posts for awhile because it is now Christmas shopping season and companies want you to see what they for offering.  Here’s what Suntail Mermaid wants you to know:

Make your little girl’s dream come true! Sun Tail Mermaid has created the world’s best swimmable mermaid tails and mermaid flippers. Their mermaid tails are soft, comfortable, and come in a wide variety of designs and colors. They are made of high quality swimsuit fabric with 4-way stretch.

Sun Tail Mermaid’s monofins are extremely comfortable and virtually unbreakable. Their patented monofin is several steps ahead of everyone else in engineering, durability, comfort, and functionality. The propulsion and control is exceptional. The monofins come in a wide range of beautiful colors, so you can match your mermaid tails or look amazing wearing it alone.

My readers can get a 10% discount by using this coupon code: BestGiftEver.  And I’ll be back in a few weeks to give you my opinion after trying out my very own mermaid tail and fins!

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Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post, y’all.  But as always, compensated or not, my opinions are my own.

I don’t buy many things for me or for my home.  Losing everything when my house burned down forced me into a minimalism that I’ve found hard to shake.  But as we move closer to buying the house we’ve been renting for almost six years now, I find myself wanting to add a few touches that reflect my own taste and personality.

I hate going shopping and buy almost everything online–and so I’m excited to have learned about Uncommon Goods, a company that can supply all my decorating needs.   I love candles, and so my first purchase is going to be one of their Literary Candles.  I also love the Homesick Candles (although there isn’t one for Tennessee yet!).  And I think the various tea light troughs would look great on my mantel.  Actually, I love almost everything in this section and if you like decorating with candles you will too.

Now let’s talk about their collection of decorations for the garden.  It’s no secret to anyone who reads this blog that I love gardening!  My eventual plan for this yard is to go full on cottage garden with no grass in sight.  So I will be needing more garden art in the future and now I know where I can find some unusual conversation pieces.  I’m especially captivated by the sea serpent and the octopus, and the gnome be gone tickled my fancy as well.

Finally let me say a little about decorative accents for the home, of which Uncommon Goods has pages and pages (and of which my actual home has very few).  Here I found myself captivated by the various bookends and fanciful switchplates.  The choices really are uncommon, and you can tell just by looking that they are well made.

Which brings me to an interesting point–who makes the products we choose to spend our money on?  Uncommon Goods products don’t come from big factories or giant corporations but rather from artisans and small business owners.  In many case you can click to read more about the actual person who crafted the item you are bringing into your home.  Uncommon Goods really is an uncommon company with values that are incorporated into its business model.   The company strives to be environmentally friendly and socially responsible.  They offer health insurance to all full-time (and most part-time) team members and provide a fair wage.  They  feature products that contain recycled components and sell only products that do no harm to people or animals. They give back by allowing customers to select a non-profit organization to receive a $1 donation at checkout.  You can read more about the company and its mission here.

I feel really good about recommending Uncommon Goods to you, and I am excited about purchasing some of their products in the future.

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Oh, y’all, I feel so bad about this.  I received this product in exchange for my honest review, and somehow I did not get around to writing the review in a timely manner.  Now it appears that the company may have suspended operations.

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And I hate that, because not only did I like the product, but it’s a Knoxville company (something I didn’t learn until after the fact).

This much of the website is still up and you should take a look.  If you are from Knoxville you will probably see some places you recognize in the promotional video.  If you find the product interesting you might want to follow the company on Facebook in case they make a comeback.

I received two carriers to try, and I gave one to my son who is always doing things like hiking and caving.  He was especially impressed with how strong it was.

I keep mine in my car for hiking.  I’ve used it to carry my phone and my water bottle.  The website suggests tons of other uses.  It is very versatile and yes, quite strong and secure.  I didn’t have any fears that my phone would drop along the trail.

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The company was still operational as late as November so I am still hopeful they will reopen.  Keep your eyes open for Kangeaux products in the future.

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Before I even give my usual disclaimer let me tell you that I LOVE LOVE LOVE my crabpot tree!

Yes, I received said tree for free in exchange for my honest review of it here, in my capacity as a blogger for National Family Guide.  But it’s not even stretching the truth a little bit to tell you that I love this thing and I would like to own many more of them.

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First of all, the details the company wants me to share: Crab Pot Christmas Trees are remarkable, perfectly shaped trees that are pre-lit, fold flat for storage, sparkle from EVERY angle and are easily set up. What makes these holiday trees so unique and the MUST HAVE of the season for home decor? Crab Pot Christmas Trees are made from the very durable PVC Coated Crab Pot Wire which withstands all that Mother Nature throws at it.

You can see the company’s pictures and their explanatory video on my first post here.  But let me tell you about my personal experience.

This thing comes folded flat in a triangular box.  It takes literally two minutes to set up, tops.  We set it on our front porch for instant festiveness.  It came with anchors for putting it out in the yard if we had wanted to do that.  I was a little worried it might blow over in the wind but it never did even though we have had strong winds and rain, too, and our porch does get wet when it rains.

I have one complaint only which is that the cord is a little short.  It would be perfect for an in-floor or in-ground outlet but we had to attach ours to another strand of lights to reach the wall plug.  No big deal but just one detail that could be improved upon.

We love this tree and would buy more of them.  They are having a sale right now if you want to get your own–check out their site right here!

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