The Struggle is Real — Learning to Overcome Where I’ve Failed Before

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

The struggle for weight loss is real. I know that if you have been around for a while….you have seen me do terrible. I have struggled with weight loss since Adeline was born. This past summer while we were in Colorado for our family vacation, I ended up struggling with climbing the Red Rocks Ampitheater. I made a promise to myself that day as I was on the verge of tears from pain, frustration, embarrassment, and shame that my weight and physical shape would never again hold me back. I will admit that I came back home and fell into the same old habits. I made a promise to myself that I was going to do better and be different in the new year.

 

On January 1st, 2016 I made a lofty goal to hit my goal weight by my 35th birthday (July 25, 2017) and knew that in 19 months it would be possible to lose the weight that I wanted to in a healthy way. I do not have a specific goal weight because I am not sure how my body has changed since having baby number 4. Instead what I have is a drawer full of tight “goal weight” jeans that I expect to be tight when I hit my goal. I also have a drawer of lose jeans that I want to be my comfortable every day/go to pairs. I am estimating that I will need to lose between 134 and 154 lbs to reach this goal.

 

Well, today I stepped on the scale and almost cried. I am down 26.5 lbs in the first 6 weeks of the year….not too shabby for someone who never thought that she could do it again. I am motivated and moving towards my goal of being healthy. The exciting thing for me is that we are going to Colorado again this September. This time it will just be my husband and myself but I swear that I am going to crush the Red Rocks!! That’s right, not only will I climb the stairs going into the amphitheater but I am going to walk up all of the steps in the amphitheater as well. I am going to do it and I am going to take a picture at the top!

 

For me, I believe that success comes from changing your mindset. I still struggle with things….like right now I really want more Pepsi (yes I had a small glass with dinner because deprivation leads to binging for me!)….but what I am drinking? Evian. It is the small steps that you have to celebrate. The small steps that lead towards the giant leaps. Do I think that it is always going to be easy? I know better! Has this been easy? No! There have really been quite a few little struggles along the way but I find that I do best when I brush myself off and work hard to be able to reach my goals.

 

So, I am excited to share this news with you and I am going to share some additional news and information along the way in hopes of encouraging you. If you are struggling and need some help please reach out to someone. I needed others to help motivate me and if you need others to help motivate you, you can email me at amandamillerwritingservices@gmail.com. I am not affiliated with any program and I am not going to try to sell you anything. I am just here to encourage you as I know that many of you have seen my struggle through the blog!

I also promise to share some before and after pics with you as soon as I hit that 30 lb weight loss!!

Combat Mission Accomplished — A Look Back at the November LootCrate

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

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There are few things in life that my 12 year old gets excited about….but with that being said, there are so many things that he has been in love with when it comes to LootCrate.  It’s kind of like Christmas each month when he opens his packages up.  For me the fun of LootCrate can not be compared because who doesn’t want to see their hard to please pre-teen excited about something?!?

So, since I have been ill and had so much happen at the end of last year unexpected….I am back to blogging with a vengeance and want to get all caught up with the amazing companies that I review.

November 2015…Combat

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I had not previously paid any attention to the Fallout series of games….I know, not a gamer personally, but with a gamer husband and son this was kind of fun to learn about.  Fallout is one of the most popular games at this time.  This means that this exciting LootCrate had all of the goods that my son wanted.

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Each month when you receive your LootCrate, you get a pin that features the month’s theme.

Of course, what teenage or preteen gamer is not going to enjoy a LootCrate that is filled with favorites from all of his combat games.

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One of the first things that I noticed with this LootCrate was that it had a fun Vault Boy bobblehead from the popular game, Fallout.  This little guy has been a permanent fixture on my son’s bookshelf since he received it.

 

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One of the things that my son is currently obsessed with is comic books. He even wanted to go to Comic Con last year for his birthday. So the fact that sometimes you get special edition comic books in your LootCrate is one of the reasons that he first asked for the subscription. I was pretty excited for him that our first month’s LootCrate had a special edition Street Fighter comic book included.

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Speaking of comic books, each month LootCrate features a book that is reminiscent of a fun comic book. The book leads you through all of the information about the subscription that month and introduces you to the items that are included in your shipment.

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The next thing in the LootCrate box is something that I absolutely fell in love with. It was a Cute But Deadly figure and it is so cute! I know that this is not what my son would use to describe this figure but I can’t help it! These characters are fun and I love that the small action figure was featured.

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Another Cute But Deadly feature in the November box was these awesome special edition magnets. My son instantly exclaimed with how cool they were and that he could use them anywhere, even inside of his locker at school.

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Then there were these awesome pair of Shredder Shades. While my son is not in love with everything in his crates each month, there are many months where he is. These were a miss for him, but thankfully he has a six year old little brother who thought that these were the best things since sliced bread!

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Now, even though I am not a gamer that does not mean that I am not a bit of a nerd as well. In fact, I love reading and I read books from all genres. I enjoy many different types of sci-fi and a recent favorite of mine in the past few years has been the Hunger Game series. While it was not love with the movies, the books were definitely something that I fell in love with! This pin is pretty cool and I liked that it was not too big where no one would ever wear it, but also that it was not too small where no one would ever notice it. It is a nice sized pin and one that I think both my son and I were excited to see in the box.

A Few Favorites About LootCrate

LootCrate is a favorite in our house of the monthly subscription boxes. We have been subscribers to a few recently, either for review or on our own and this is certainly one that ranks in as a top rated choice. If you are unsure if this is something that you would love, then you can sign up for the first time with a one month plan for just $13.95/mo. If you sign up for 3 months, it is just $13.25 per month. With a six month subscription you save even more and it will only cost you $12.95 per month. Then if you decide to go with the one year subscription, it is just $11.95 per month and you even get a free t-shirt!

Now here is here I am going to really brag about LootCrate for a minute.  One of the things that I like the most about this subscription is that it features a little bit of something for everyone.  Plus, it has a mixture of fun items, unique things that you won’t find anywhere else, and practical items.

 

Comfortable Mom Style for Everyday with LulaRoe

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

Have you heard of LuLaRoe? If you haven’t then you are truly missing out! This amazing company has set out with the mission to provide women everywhere with a beautiful, colorful, affordable, and comfortable wardrobe. I know that these things might not sound like they could really be achieved with one brand but I have to tell you that they are wrong!

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One of the favorite things that I was sent in 2015 were my adorable new clothes from LuLaRoe. These exciting pieces are so comfortable and they look nice too. Plus, they are items that I get complimented on every single time that I walk out my door. I am seriously in LOVE with the clothes and with the new addiction that I have, I see a lot of LuLaRoe in my future (as soon as I am buying clothes again when I hit my weight loss goal)!

A New Addiction to Leggings

If you know me personally, you know that I already have a problem when it comes to leggings. I seriously LOVE them! I am obsessed with how comfortable they are and how great they look – even though I am few sizes bigger than I would like to be.

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Well, LuLaRoe has stepped up the leggings game. They offer a great thick yoga band waistband that is so comfortable and also very flattering. I actually feel more confident in these leggings than any other that I own….even though they are quite a bit brighter than colors that I normally wear.

The Irma – It Might Be My Favorite Tunic of All Time!!

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(**sorry that I do not have a picture of myself wearing this Irma with the leggings….I will update soon.  My laptop recently crashed and I lost a TON of pictures and work!)

Now another thing that you would know if you were a personal friend of mine is that I LOVE LOVE LOVE tunics! I wear tunics all of the time…whether it be with leggings or jeans or other types of pants! I love the Irma. Now I was first sent the Irma in a size small (which actually fit so that was a shock but it was more like a fitted shirt than the flowy tunic it was supposed to be) and then later I received one in the correct size a large and it is so flowy, roomy and comfortable. However, I still wear them both because the materials are great and they feel so good!

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(This is the Irma in small on!)

So if you like comfortable clothes….let’s face it, what mom doesn’t!….or if you have a tight budget for clothes then you have got to check out LuLaRoe! One thing to keep in mind is that these clothes are available through consultants. Phil and Danielle are wonderful to deal with and were a joy to work with for this review. I would highly recommend checking their shop out and showing them a little bit of your shopping love!

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As you can tell I have the LuLaRoe bug and I can’t wait to be able to purchase some more to enjoy!!!

5 Homeware Trends You Have to Take Note of in 2016

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

Do you like staying on top of the most current trends?  Do you read fashion magazines for fun?  If so, there is no reason for you to continue living in an old and outdated home.  Instead, you can make sure that you stay on top of current trends with your décor.  In 2016 there are some fun trends that I personally can not wait to check out!

Trend #1 — Texture

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The first trend that you are going to notice in 2016 is texture.  That’s right, there are many different textures that are popular this year.  I love that you can mix and match textures for a unique look.  I have to admit that even at my age I love bling.  I am currently obsessed with the fun Aviva Stanoff Design Mermaid Sequin Pillows.  I love all of the different colors that they come in too!

Trend # 2 — Gold

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Since I love bling it is probably no surprise to you that I love gold.  I have to admit that lately I have been on a bit of a gold kick.  I have a gold planner, a gold iPad case, my iPhone is gold, and so is my iPhone case!  That’s right….I jumped on this trend quickly.  When it comes to the home there are a few ways that you can quickly add some gilded love to any room.  I am currently wishing for some gold lamps and lighting in my own home.  I found the World’s Away Westin Lamp in Gold Leaf with Acrylic Base and fell in love with its fun and unique style.

Trend #3 — Sustainable Living

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I have to admit with my own passion for thrift store finds that sustainable living is a trend that I can certainly stand behind.  I personally try to find unique pieces at thrift stores or on eBay that are fun and will stand out or mesh well with other trends that I like.  I really love a vintage vase like this one could look amazing next to a new trend like the gold lamp above.

Trend #4 — Artisan Goods

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Hand made Artisan good are one of the biggest trends for this year.  One of the things that I love for the home is a beautiful handwoven rug, like this one from NOVICA.  The best thing is that it is hand made and available for you to make a difference in the artist’s life.

Trend #5 — Bold Colors

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It seems that bold colors are the rage this year.  This is certainly one trend that is going to be a lot of fun in your home. One of my favorite ways to use a bold color is in one statement piece of furniture and a few basic accessories throughout the room. I love this cute hot pink chaise lounge and how it could be styled in any room. The biggest thing to remember with bold pieces is to keep other pieces in the room neutral and muted.

Creating Your Dream Home with IKEA

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

I have to admit that I am a HUGE fan of IKEA.  In fact, many of my favorite pieces of furniture have come from there.  One thing that I have noticed is that people seem to think that IKEA furniture is not the same quality as others, but I think that they are dead wrong.  Yes, I have purchased inexpensive furnishings in the past from other retailers that was cheap made and did not have a lot of quality to it, but when it comes to my purchases from IKEA…I have been nothing but pleased.

Simple Tips to Create Your Dream Home Without Breaking the Bank….Thanks IKEA

Look for Pieces that Match Your Natural Style

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Do you have a preference for style?  Most of us do and one of the things that I love most about IKEA is that you can find items from a wide range of styles.  I have a bit of an obsession with mid-century modern furnishings and there are definitely some pieces that I will be picking up in the near future.  I am currently obsessing over this Regissor Coffee Table ($149).  It reminds me of all of my favorite mid century modern pieces.  The best part for me is that it looks like something that I would be spending quite a bit of money on but it is reasonably priced which is always nice when you live on a budget.

Look for Small Ways to Add Big Style to Your Room

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Another thing that I love is color but I prefer just splashes of color with overall muted tones.  I love this IKEA PS 2014 Storage Table ($69).  I plan on purchasing two of these for our living room and I love the added bonus that it provides some basic storage.

Look for Comfortable and Fun Seating

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When it comes to living room seating, comfort is important.  The Strandmon Wing Chair ($279) is not only comfortable but it is another piece that will make a big statement in your space.  Another great thing about this chair is that it has a ten year warranty.  You won’t have to worry about it no longer working for you in just a few years.  Instead you are going to be able to have it for years to come.

Find Pieces That Fit Your Needs

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We don’t have a separate toy room for our kid’s toys.  This is so frustrating!  So I have had to try to maximize style and storage with the shelving units that I choose.  The fact that these Kallax Shelving Units ($199) are so high in quality makes them even better!  We have had some for over two years now and they continue to look new even with the abuse my children put them through.

So when it comes to shopping you do not have to break the bank.  You can have a creative fun space that is completely your own on a budget.

Don’t Let Bladder Leakage Stop You!

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

This is a sponsored post but all opinions expressed are my own.

We’ve talked about bladder leakage several times in the past, but I know there are probably some of you who want to know what is light bladder leakage caused from?     It’s caused from a variety of things – pregnancy to age there are a number of reasons a women would get light bladder leakage..  Yes, it’s embarrassing, but there isn’t a whole lot one can do about it other than laugh it off, but be careful you don’t want any leaking lol.  OMG, yes it’s happened to me I’m a mommy!

JENN THE LUCKIES MOM EVERThings have gotten better for me over time but here we are planning yet another baby, and I’m sure that is only going to mean I’m going to have to deal with it yet again.  BLAH bladder leakage, but, this time, I will know to get some Poise panty liners.

They are specially designed for the whole light bladder leakage problem so many of us suffer from and are embarrassed about.  They also stay 3X drier than leading brands of regular size feminine care panty liners. Not to mention that they lock away odor and wetness to keep you feeling dry.  If the Poise Very Light Absorbency Liners are too light you can always get Poise Maximum Absorbency Pads.

Are you embarrassed of light bladder leakage?  If you haven’t had it yet, do you plan on having children?  Many women get it after pregnancy, it’s a part of life.  This is why I choose to openly talk about such issues, they’re normal, tons of ladies suffer from light bladder leakage.  It’s not something we should be ashamed about.  We should talk about it so other women know they’re not going crazy when it happens to them and they know what to do.

It’s nice they are the thing so you don’t feel like you are walking around with a dip on lol.  The next time you need protection that a traditional panty liner can’t offer you be sure to check out Poise.  Not only do they have their panty liners but they have a variety of products specifically for light bladder leaks ago.

I recently picked up some Poise Liners from Sam’s Club for my sister-n-law who just had her little boy, my nephew, Gavin.  He is such a cutie pie, I just want to squeeze him.  I went to Sam’s Club because I love Sam’s Club!  It’s by far my favorite place to shop because I can stock up on items like Poise Liners.

20160110_032210_resizedDo you have a Sam’s Club Membership?  If not be sure to check them out, especially if you are like me and don’t like going to the store all the time so you buy in bulk.

Learn more about the Sams’ Club Membership here,  Poise Very Light Absorbency Liners here, and Poise Maximum Absorbency Pads

Oriental Trading Make Teacher Gifts, Classroom Projects, and Craft Days Easier for Moms

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

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I have to admit that I am addicted to shopping with Oriental Trading. I am constantly ordering from there even when I am not doing a review. There are so many wonderful things that you can create with your children when you are shopping at Oriental Trading.

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This winter I have been working on a few crafts. Sadly, I am posting this review way later than I had planned because of illness and a near hospital stay for myself, I ended up crafting with my kiddos last minute and finishing these up tonight.

Snowman Jar Craft

One of the best winter crafts that I was able to come up with were these adorable snowman jars. The greatest thing about them is that these were done by my four year old! I am actually using this as the classroom craft for the two classrooms that I am volunteering and making crafts for.

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I also used it as a teacher gift by filling it with candy and gift certificates to a few local places (coffee and a candy store/lunch place).

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This was really easy to create and you only need a few things. Now I will admit that I had high hopes for these Ceramic Mini Flower Pots ($14.50/dozen). I wanted to paint them white and then create the snowmen out of them. Instead they were left plain because after my illness I just did not have the time to do what I wanted to. The great thing is that they are still adorable and this made the craft so much easier.

Basically all that you need is acrylic paints in black, orange, white, and red (price varies) and q-tips. Yes, simple q-tips help the kids to get the circles right and make it possible for them to do everything else. Plus, if you are like me and don’t want to clean paint brushes after a class is done, then you can just toss them.

Adorable Hand Made Books

Another thing that I love is these cute handmade books that we were able to create for the kids’ teachers. We made them into “10 Things I Like About Mrs ____” but there is really so much more that you could personally do with them. We are thinking about making them for grandparents and other family members if we have the time.

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All you need for these are crayons or markers, an ink pen, and the DIY Board Books ($7.50/3 pieces). Here are a few of my favorite pages from the books that my littles were able to create.

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As you can tell, Oriental Trading can really make your life easier when you are trying to do it all and be a great mom. There is so much that you can offer and so much that you can do when you are trying to create the perfect personalized gift! Plus Oriental Trading offers the best prices that I have seen on these types of items

Make Personalized Gift Giving Simple with Zazzle

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

If you have been around Simply Shawn N Jenn since I have been here then you have probably seen some of the amazing gifts that I have been able to create with Zazzle.  This year is no different.  I LOVE Zazzle and have been obsessed with everything that I have purchased.  The quality is the best, the products look amazing, and you really get what you are looking for.  Plus when they have sales the prices simply can’t be beat!!  Recently I was looking for some personalized gifts for our upcoming holiday gift guide, so of course I reached out to Zazzle to see if they would be willing to work with me for a review again.  I was so excited to be able to find gifts for those hard to shop for people that you have on your list.

The Best Gifts for Your Hard to Shop for Family Members

A Great Fun Personalized Gift for a Child that You Love

 

The Perfect Gift for Your Kids to Give to Grandma

 

The Gift Every Mom Wants This Year

 

Get The Very Best Personalized Gifts from Zazzle

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

Do you struggle with knowing what to get some of your friends and family for the holidays?  Do you find it hard to find the perfect gift for some of the people on your shopping list?  If so, you might want to check out Zazzle and all of the fun unique products that they have that you can personalize and make your own.

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The Perfect Unique Kids Gift

My youngest, Adeline, is three and ever since last Christmas when I was gifted a photo blanket she has been obsessed.  So when I was given the opportunity to review something from Zazzle again this year, I knew that I wanted one of the items to be a photo blanket.  After looking through the vast selection of photo blankets, I finally decided upon the Your Custom Fleece Blanket in purple.  Purple is her favorite color.

 

Now, I want to share the things that matter most.  The blanket is super plush and soft.  She loves cuddling with it and takes it everywhere with her.  In fact, she even used it recently for show and tell and shared it with her friends!  (Sadly I was unable to find a link to the exact blanket that I had made and even the link from my shipment notification does not work.  This leads me to believe that this exact blanket might not be available anymore!)

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She was so proud of the blanket and loved telling them all about it!  I love that it has other key features like the letter “A” on it for her name.  This has been great for her letter recognition and now she is writing her “A”s all of the time!

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A Great Simple Gift for Grandmas

Grandmas are a group of people that I find pretty hard to shop for.  I love giving my mom and my mother in law personalized jewelry with the kids’ pictures on it.  This year I opted for the Mother’s Children Photo Collage Necklace ($27.90).  I found this to be not only cute but something that my mom is certain to love since it displays all of her grandbabies on it.

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I was pretty impressed with this one when it arrived in the mail.  It is super high in quality which is nice!  It is so cute and the chain and everything look nice and definitely do not look cheap, which at the low price I was a bit worried about!

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A Gift for Mom

Finally I want to show you a little something that I picked up for myself, I know being Christmas that it is not really something that I should have done but I could not help myself because this was just too cute!

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The Photo Collage Custom Digital Picture Memory Box ($61.90) is just beautiful.  The wood is high in quality and I love that it has pictures of all of my favorites on it.  I use it to store all of the little things that I need and I have it proudly displayed on my living room shelf instead of tucked away in the bedroom.  I want everyone to see it!

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I have to admit that Zazzle offers all of my favorite custom gifts for the holiday season.  I just love everything that they offer and love that they have so many things to choose from.

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SkyZone Kansas City Offers You More for Your Holiday Party

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

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Sky Zone is the world’s first indoor trampoline park. We’re the inventors of “fun fitness” and the makers of trampolines as far as the eye can see. We give you one of the greatest workouts ever combined with awesome, healthy fun. We’ve been voted the number one “out of the box” workout and the “best party ever.” Experience WOW – the weightlessness of bouncing, flipping and landing in a pit filled with 10,000 foam cubes.

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We are dedicated to providing you with the pure joy that comes with flying. We are sky lovers, thrill seekers and people who believe that jumping is freedom. We believe fitness can be fun and play can be smart. We are healthy and bursting with energy. We fly high and keep it safe. We are Sky Zone. My Readers Save $3 Off Open Jump at Sky Zone and 10% Off a Supreme Birthday Party. Click on the Sky Zone coupon below for more information and to redeem.
http://kansascitykidsguide.com/coupon.php?regionid=31&bid=11879&dealid=1838

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But What if None of My Kids Have a Winter Birthday?

Why not get your child and their favorite friends together for a fun and exciting holiday party?  Choosing SkyZone for unlimited fun is going to be a great way for you to be able to enjoy the time together.