I Survived The 2012 Polar Bear Plunge And Why I’ll Plunge Again

I Survived The Polar Bear Plunge

I was actually pretty calm on the morning of the Plunge. The drive to Seaside was uneventful. For those of you that have never been here and want to come watch the Plunge next year, (or look for the cast of Jersey Shore, if you’re into that sort of craptastic circus show), these are the signs you’ll look for once in the area.

Jersey Shore Seaside Heights NJ Polar Bear Plunge

Jersey Shore Seaside Heights NJ Polar Bear Plunge

I got there at 9 and I still had to park about 7 blocks away. Which seemed odd since it didn’t seem very crowded and the Plunge wasn’t until 1 pm.

This is what the beach looked like when I arrived.

Jersey Shore Seaside Heights NJ Polar Bear Plunge

Jersey Shore Seaside Heights NJ Polar Bear Plunge

Jersey Shore Seaside Heights NJ Polar Bear Plunge

It was cold, about 40 degrees, and there were winds of about 45 mph. I stayed bundled up in my coat up against a wall to get a break from the wind.

Jersey Shore Seaside Heights NJ Polar Bear Plunge

At one point I saw the Polar Bear. I had to get a picture with him!

Jersey Shore Seaside Heights NJ Polar Bear Plunge

By now it was flurrying. And getting a bit nervous.

At 12:30 it was time for everyone to move to the beach.

I had been a bit cold bundled up, but now that the Plunge time was getting closer it was time to lose the clothes. I took off several layers, until I was in just a bathing suit and tee shirt, and an old robe over that.

Jersey Shore Seaside Heights NJ Polar Bear Plunge

Five minutes before the Plunge started I ran into Tigger.

Jersey Shore Seaside Heights NJ Polar Bear Plunge

And then it was time. It was 1:00. It was crazy. Interestingly enough, at that moment it wasn’t cold anymore.

The folks from Special Olympics took a lot of pictures which you can see in the Special Olympics New Jersey 2012 Seaside Polar Bear Plunge Flickr set, and I happened to be in a couple. In this one I’m on the far right. The one with the green shirt and fat legs.

Jersey Shore Seaside Heights NJ Polar Bear Plunge
Photo credit Special Olympics New Jersey

I’m not gonna lie. The moment your foot touches the water it’s pretty shocking because it is absolutely freezing cold! some people got their feet wet and got out. I thought about it but in my mind that didn’t seem quite right. So I went in further, to my chest. Then I got out and went in search of my Mom, who had my towel, robe, clothes and coat. I must have moved down the beach after running into the water, because Mom was not where I left her. Or as it turned out, I wasn’t where I’d left me. I wandered around for more then 10 minutes in just my wet things looking for her. By the time I found her I was no longer dripping wet but frozen like a popsicle. We made our way off of the beach and headed out.

There were almost 6,000 plungers and 3,000 spectators, and more then $1.4 million was raised. For those of you that think that’s a lot, it is, but it isn’t enough. This week in Public Speaking I gave my first major speech. my topic was why fundraising through the Polar Bear Plunge is so important to Special Olympics New Jersey. I hope you’ll watch it. (If you do please ignore the fact that I couldn’t be still. After spending more then half of my life as an obese person I’m still working on breaking my mindset that I don’t want people to focus their visual attention on me. FYI, grades were posted for this speech this morning and I lost a lot of points for my fancy footwork.)

Not only does the Plunge raise money, it also raises awareness and community spirit. I’m planning on participating again next year.

As I mentioned at the end of my speech, the Plunge may be over but the need for funding is not. Donations are still being accepted online on my Polar Bear Plunge page.

Don’t forget that 03/21 is World Down Syndrome Day, and also that it’s never too late to help Spread the Word to End the Word.

My Daily Routine Has it’s Challenges. How About Yours?

Recently Team Noesis members were asked to share a brief description of a typical day – challenges, high points, etc. I summarized a typical weekday morning in this short four minute video. I’d love to hear your thoughts, and what challenges you face as a part of your daily routine.

I did receive a gift card as thanks for participating in this campaign. As always, the opinions reflected in this post have not been influenced by payment or sponsor in any way. Thoughts and opinions are 100% mine.

REVIEW – #Hexbug Nano Halloween Party

Hexbug Halloween Party

I recently received the awesome opportunity to host a Hexbug Nano Halloween Party. For those of you unfamiliar with the Hexbug, here’s the idea behind the product line.

By leveraging our robotics expertise, we entered the toy industry in 2007 with the launch of the HEXBUG Micro Robotic Creatures product line. HEXBUG was designed to give children a positive experience with robotics at a young age. Our passion for robotics, as demonstrated by our VEX Robotics program, was the main catalyst fueling HEXBUG’s inception. Hence, the brand was born! People are drawn to the HEXBUG brand for our products’ fascinating behavior, intelligent bug-like attributes and eye-catching packaging. Some of the products are so animated, they even fool cats, dogs and some humans into thinking they are alive!

We received EVERYTHING you’d possibly need to hold a Hexbug Nano Halloween Party including:

I thought it would be fun to celebrate Halloween by bringing all of the Hexbugs and accessories in to my youngest son’s school and having the party there. The kit I received contained far more then I could ever need, and there was just no way that I could pick one person to get more than another because every one of those kids is special. So I did something a little different – I decided to give most of the items to my son’s class, so that they can have something interesting to play with in school, as a reward, a part of group play or just some fun time.

These are the Limited Edition HEXBUG Nano Halloween Zombie bugs. Aren’t the coffin cases cool!

Hexbug Halloween Party Coffins

These are the Glow in the Dark Hexbug Nanos.

Hexbug Glow In The Dark Nanos

The Hexbug Nanos are really neat. They have little rubber feet, and move through the power of vibration. There’s a tiny switch on the bottom of each Hexbug, when you turn it on it makes the vibration necessary for them to move.

I had a little help assembling from Mr S, one of the staff in the classroom. He found the helpful little orange tabs that flip over and act as gates to keep your Hexbugs inside the track.

Hexbug Halloween Party Assembly

Here’s a better look at the track. See the orange things all over the place? Those are the gates I mentioned a moment ago.

Hexbug Nano Halloween Party Track

We ended up putting two of the Habitat Set tracks together, to make one huge track.

Hexbug Nano Halloween Party

And a better look at the track from above.

Hexbug Nano Halloween Party

The day was quite full, with storytime, the Halloween parade and the Hexbug party, so we decided not to assemble the Elevation Habitat until another day. This is what the whole thing would look like if it was assembled.

Hexbug Nano Halloween Party - Hexbug Nano Elevation Habitat Set

So. All of that white and yellow that’s on the Hexbug track? That’s what makes it glow in the dark. Many of the Hexbugs also glow in the dark. The kids in my son’s class are going to check out the track with the curtains closed to darken the room, to make it a super spooky Halloween!

This is a Hexbug Larva. It’s a bit wider then the track so can’t be used on it. The Larva senses physical obstacles that are in its way and change their direction on their own.

Hexbug Nano Halloween Party - Hexbug Larva

Adults, as well as children, had a great time checking out the Hexbugs and playing with them!

Hexbug Halloween Party Mom Helping Play

Here’s a short video from our party, showing the Hexbugs in motion.

What I like best is that this is an affordable and versatile toy for children. The track can be configured any way you want, or combined with other tracks – making each time you set it up different then the last. The sets also break down into small enough pieces that they could be kept in a container and easily brought over a friends house.

The only thing I wasn’t nuts about is that the removable exoskeleton on the Zombie Hexbugs came off quite easily while they were in the habitats. They’re really easy to put back on but it did get to be a bit repetitious putting them back on. This happened when we had a total of eight Hexbugs on the track. I don’t think I’d put many more on there unless the track was either larger or laid out differently.

I do not know yet how long the batteries last, since this is my first experience with them. The Hexbugs take small batteries similar in size to that of a hearing aid battery. A two pack of replacement batteries retails for $4.99.

The Hexbug Habitat Set tracks retail for $29.99 each. The Limited Edition HEXBUG Nano Halloween Zombie bugs are currently available for purchase at Radio Shack for $9.99, hurry before they’re all gone! The other Hexbug Nanos are available to purchase for $7.99 online at hexbug.com. Kids will love collecting all of the different bugs. They’re affordable, small and easy to use so they’d make great items to collect, trade and gift, and would make terrific stocking stuffers.


Hexbug on Facebook

Hexbug on Twitter

The product(s) featured in this review was provided free of cost to me as a member of Mom Select for the sole purpose of product testing and review. This review has not been monetarily compensated and is based on the views and opinions of my family and/or self. Please note that the opinions reflected in this post have not been influenced by the sponsor in any way.

REVIEW – My Two Minute Tour Of The Chevrolet Equinox AWD Crossover SUV – With Video

That was my two minute video tour of the Chevrolet Equinox AWD Crossover SUV.

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the She Streams Conference in New York City. The conference was great – I had fun, learned a lot and met some great people. My SheStreams fun actually started before the conference began, as I received the opportunity to do a five day test drive of the Chevrolet Equinox AWD Crossover SUV.

Here it is being delivered.

Chevy Equinox review

And then in my driveway, as I wanted to be sure it stayed safe.

Chevy Equinox review

Chevy Equinox review

I didn’t really get to put the vehicle through all of its paces, as three of the five days were spent at the conference in New York. I would have loved to have it a bit longer, so I could have drove it under my usual conditions. Nevertheless, I enjoyed driving it tremendously and was impressed. Since the SheStreams conference was all about growing forms of media including video, it only seemed fitting that I give a quick tour of the Chevy Equinox showing you my favorite features.

The features include:

  1. The Equinox is an AWD Crossover SUV that seats five. It drives more like a car then a truck or typical SUV. The ride was smooth, and bouncy like I expected.
  2. The Equinox has memory drivers seat and mirrors. No more adjusting tings every time you get in the vehicle after your spouse drove it.
  3. The Equinox has thick, sturdy controls on the steering wheel that control wipers, lights and sound. Easy to reach means convenience and less distractions while driving.
  4. The in dash gauges in the Equinox include tire pressure monitor and engine oil life. Invaluable for people like me that forget to check tire and oil pressure.
  5. The Equinox has a driver information center that includes touchscreen radio, navigation system, built in bluetooth, mp3 playback and a rearvision camera.
  6. The Equinox has a rear seat entertainment system that folds up and down easily and discretely. This keeps the occupants of the back seat busy on long trips.
  7. The rear seat of the Equinox is able to split in half or fold down completely. This offers great flexibility for travel and shopping and moving things.
  8. The Equinox has a power liftgate. One touch of one finger is all that’s needed to open or close the power liftgate.
  9. The storage compartment in the far back of the Equinox has a cargo cover. I think this is a great safety feature, so people won’t know what you’ve bought.
  10. The Equinox has an 18.8 gallon gas tank that gets 23-32 miles per gallon. Can you say great fuel economy?

I was pleasantly surprised with my test drive of the Chevrolet Equinox AWD Crossover SUV.

What features do you find important in a car?


Chevrolet on Facebook

Chevrolet on Twitter

The vehicle featured was loaned to me for five days, free of cost to me, for the sole purpose of product testing and review. This post has not been monetarily compensated and is based on the views and opinions of my family and/or self. Please note that the opinions reflected in this post have not been influenced by the sponsor in any way.

REVIEW – iHome iP15 LED Color Changing Stereo System For iPod And iPhone – With Video

iHome iP15 LED Color Changing iPod Stereo System review

One of the things I remember most clearly about my childhood years, especially my teens, was listening to music in my bedroom. When the time arrived that we decided to give my oldest, then 12 years old, a stereo, my husband took it upon himself to go buy something a bit more powerful and more expensive then I would have gotten for a 12 year old. His reasoning? He needs to be able to enjoy his music. (Translation – he needs to be able to blast it and be deaf like his father.) Earlier this year I decided it was time for my youngest to have something to play his music. He’s got an iPod but why should he have to always have headphones on to enjoy music. I took over this time, as I wanted to be sure my youngest ended up with what he actually needed. My youngest has Down Syndrome and is developmentally delayed, so I didn’t want anything super complicated. He doesn’t need an alarm clock. He doesn’t need a radio. He simply needed something that would let him play his music through a speaker and also charge his iPod. I thought the iHome iP15 might be a good fit for him.


Add excitement and color to your music with the iP15. Reson8® speaker technology with a passive subwoofer provides great stereo sound. Perfect for parties or setting the mood while listening at home. A line-in jack allows you to play any audio source.


I received an iHome iP15 LED Color Changing Stereo System. The unit requires no assembly and simply plugs into the wall. The iP15 has four buttons – power, volume up, volume down, and color. The iP15 plays music from many generations of iPods and iPhones (adapters included), and it charges the device through a universal dock as well. While the iPod is in the charger you can see album overs on the display.

Ihome IP15 With Ipod Playing

The really cool thing about this system is that it changes color. One button lets you choose from five color change settings – slow fade spectrum, favorite color, pulse to music, fast change spectrum, or no color. My son’s favorite is favorite color but he sometimes uses the others. I rather like the slow fade myself, the changing of the colors is at a nice and easy pace. Here’s a picture of it glowing green.

Ihome IP15 Glowing

The Reson8 speaker chambers are concealed inside of a milky white rounded translucent cabinet. There’s an auxiliary in jack on the back, in case you wanted to connect another source for your audio such as a CD player or other MP3 player. I was surprised at how clear the sound was. And it can get pretty loud too, as we soon discovered. Here’s a 1 minute video of the iHome iP15 playing some music, and me changing the color settings. (Turn your volume down, or mute if you don’t like rock n roll or Papa Roach. LOL.)

The iHome iP15 is so easy to use that it’s been perfect for my son. He now has the freedom to listen to his music. Sometimes we get the privilege of listening to his music as well, when he turns it up. Just like his brother. just like his father. Just saying. I recommend the system highly. This is the perfect system for a tween or young teen that needs a simple stereo system to play music from their iPod or iPhone that’s easy to use, sounds good and won’t break the bank when you buy it.

iHome iP15 LED Color Changing Stereo System For iPod And iPhone retails for approximately $69.99 and is available for purchase online.


iHome on Facebook

iHome on Twitter

The product featured was provided free of cost to me for the sole purpose of product testing and review. This post has not been monetarily compensated and is based on the views and opinions of my family and/or self. Please note that the opinions reflected in this post have not been influenced by the sponsor in any way.

How Do You Say That In New Jersey VLOG 3

How Do You Say That Vlog Hop

Annie over at Mama Dweeb came up with a fun VLOG hop. Basically she gives a list of words and questions and people make a brief vlog with how they pronounce the words and their answers to the questions. I’ve been wanting to do more video and this looks like fun, so here goes!

The Questions/Words

Pillow, Exhausted, Governor, Entrepreneurial, Calm, Milwaukee Wisconsin, Bagel, ambulance, aqua, femoral, address, rural, hypocrisy

What do you call a store where you buy alcohol?
What do you call it when you blow on a baby’s tummy and make them laugh?
What do you call batting your eyelashes on someone’s cheek?
What is another way of saying, “to deceive,” or “swindle?”
What is a funny way to say someone is not smart? (one fry short of a happy meal?)
Another name for butt?
What do you call it when you drive through mud. Lots of it, often fast and pray you don’t get stuck?


I filmed this myself with my camera so please forgive the fact that I’m reading from my monitor and not looking at the camera half the time! Also, I look quite the mess, maybe next time a little makeup might be in order….

Wisk With Stain Spectrum Technology Laundry Detergent

Wisk Logo

My kids can be hard on their clothes. You know how kids are. Some of them are just oblivious to what splashes or spills on them, or what they fall in or land on.

Wisk recently introduced a new detergent – Wisk with Stain Spectrum Technology. This detergent is designed especially to remove stains from the three major stain groups – carbohydrates (milk chocolate), proteins (grass) and oils (peanut butter), as well as other stains including those from the Bio (blood), bleachable (coffee), particulate (dirt) and synthetic (ink) groups.

With my youngest as my lab assistant (complete with lab coat and goggles of course), we did a little home lab experiment to see how well Wisk worked on stains. Take a look.

The table was very clean too, for those of you wondering.

One 50 fluid ounce bottle that cleans 32 loads has a suggested retail price of $5.99.  Visit Wisk.com for more information, as well as download a $1.00 off coupon. You can also visit Wisk at www.Facebook.com/Wisk.

This post is part of a campaign for Wisk and the new Stain Spectrum Technology and I will be compensated for my time. As always, the opinions reflected in this post have not been influenced by the sponsor in any way. Thoughts and opinions are 100% mine.

Oreck XL Gold VS Food Ground Into The Carpet And A Giveaway Update

We are loving the Oreck XL Gold. We knew the vacuum did a great job on regular vacuuming but wondered how it would be on something a little more challenging. Check it out.

For those of you that want to win one you’ll be glad to know you’ve got a little more time to enter because I’ve decided to keep the giveaway open for another two days.


Leave a comment on the Oreck XL Gold giveaway post naming

  • one song you heard in the video
  • how much weight I’d lost when I shot the video
  • one food that we crushed into the carpet

Feel free to leave a comment for each answer you’ve got.

Video Tour And Review Of The Oreck XL Gold Vacuum With Giveaway

oreck xl gold vacuum

I put together a little video tour of our new Oreck XL Gold Vacuum. The video also contains some of the reasons we love it.

  • The outer bag of the vacuum has 5 layers. Underneath that there is a 4 layer hypo-allergenic inner bag. Between the two bags 99.9% of dust particles are eliminated. Inside the bag there’s a compartment where you can place a Fresh Air Tab, which helps neutralize odors. Since you’ve never been in my house just trust me that this is a much needed feature.
  • The vacuum has 2 speeds and the speeds are controlled up in the handle. On all of my other vacuums the speed was controlled on the vacuum itself so you had to stop the vacuum and bend over to switch it when you wanted to change speeds.
  • That handle I mentioned? It’s a “helping hand” handle. That means it requires no squeezing to use it so even people with arthritis can use it without problems.
  • The vacuum weighs only 9 pounds. I could easily move it from room to room or carry it up and downstairs if I had to. Fortunately for me I don’t – the Oreck XL Gold Vacuum is part of a Power Team which also includes a portable canister (which I’ll be reviewing in another video).
  • The vacuum has a direct suction system. That means the motor and hoses are aligned for maximum efficiency, causing 102 MPH suction and 6,500 RPM revolutions. These two things are what made my carpet stand back up after laying flat for a couple of years. This is what we love about it. To be blunt, this vacuum really sucks – and I do mean that in a good way. It picked up dirt in the carpet that our other vacuum left behind. It picked up the fibers in the carpet too, making it look much nicer! We’ve had a number of vacuums and none of them had enough suction to do this.
  • The Oreck XL Gold Vacuum comes with a 5 year warranty and 5 free annual tune-ups.

The Oreck XL Gold is part of a Power Team. I’ll be going over the high points of that portable canister in another post. Another secret way to enter the giveaway will be in that post as well so check back tomorrow.

There’s still time to enter to win an Oreck XL Gold Vacuum for yourself. CLICK HERE TO ENTER TO WIN AN ORECK XL GOLD VACUUM.

My Dirty Little Disney Habit

Here’s my dirty little Disney habit.

I bought just about every Disney mini beanbag plus that came out over the period of a couple of years. If I couldn’t get them locally I’d have them shipped. I stopped buying them after CJ was born to save money. I’m still going through them. I’m keeping all of the Pooh characters and all of the Mickey characters. Do you think I had a bit of a problem?

Anyway. They’re all dusty because they’ve been sitting on shelves for years. I know I can’t run them through the washing machine. Does anyone know how to clean these things?