Saturday, April 29, 2017

Why Bundles are Good Buys For Anyone Who Likes a Good Deal (Or Cheapskates Like Me)


I'm a cheapskate. I need a compelling reason to plunk down cold, hard cash. (Caveat: We once had a friend who refused to order cheeseburgers when eating out because he said the mark-up on cheese was too high. I think a love of cheese is a compelling reason to buy a cheeseburger.)


All that to say, if I'm going to suggest you buy something, I feel like I should tell you why it's a good deal. Case-in-point: this year's Ultimate Homemaking Bundle.

Now, I'm a little biased about the Bundle because my book is in there. So, there's that. But I do think it's a valuable resource. Let me explain why.


What exactly is a Bundle?
It's a collection of resources, grouped together. Think of it kind of like shopping at Costco: Because you're buying in bulk, you get a discounted price on these excellent resources. The Bundle is offered once a year, for a limited time. In this case, the sale runs through Monday, May 1st. 

What's in the Bundle?
It contains a lot of resources—A LOT —106 to be exact. It's ebooks, e-courses, audios, videos, printables, and summits. You can see the full list here


Why is it a good deal?
Many of the excellent resources in the Bundle individually sell for more than the Bundle's collective price. For example:
  • Cozy Minimalist Decorating Class by Myquillyn Smith (This sells individually for $39.00.)(I've been wanting to take this, now I'm going to.)
  • Productivity and Well-Being eCourse by Lisa Grace Byrne ($47.00)(I've been a fan of Lisa's work ever since I bought her book, and I've paid to take some of her classes before.)
  • A Mom’s Guide to Better Photos: A Beginning Photography Class for Moms With Any Type of Camera by Meg Calton ($99.00)


bookroo.pngCultivate What Matters, Faith and Family Bundle.JPGHope Ink | 3 Free Prints.jpg


Those are just a few of the resources. Now, let's talk about the bonuses that are included in the Bundle. Even if you wanted nothing else in the Bundle, the bonuses alone are worth the price. There are 10 bonuses totaling $250. For example: 

  • Free 1 month subscription from Kiwi Crate, $20 value ($15 off $50 shop purchase for existing customers)
  • $15 shop credit from the Cultivate What Matters shop
  • Free 1 month subscription from Bookroo, $18 value 
  • $15 store credit from Strawesome 
Personally, I'm ordering all the bonuses now and will dole them out to my kids over the summer, as needed.

Homemaking, really?
Please don't let the name of the Bundle turn you off. It sounds kind of grandmother-era-ish, but
isn't. It's all kinds of tips and tricks about finances, decluttering, meal-planning, parenting, working from home, and creativity. 

Isn't that an awful lot of, umm, reading?
It is! That's why you have one year to download the eBooks and printables and take the online eCourses, and everything you’ve downloaded becomes part of your permanent library. 

Also, you can gift the books you don't plan to use.  

What if I don't like it?
No problem. There is a 30-day happiness guarantee.

When does the sale end?
Monday, May 1st at 11:59 PM

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If you have more Bundle questions, ask them in the comments. Or you can also check out my awkward video here.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Exploring and Camping the Grand Canyon with a Wheelchair


When some friends asked us if we wanted to go camping with them in the Grand Canyon last year, we instantly agreed, only to then wonder how it was going to work with a power wheelchair. It went well - Grand Canyon National Park is surprisingly wheelchair accessible. 

Here are our field notes from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon:

Passes:  If you have a National Park Service Access Pass (a lifetime pass available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents with disabilities), you get in free! We didn't have one beforehand, but got one at the gate with a doctor's letter. 

Visitor’s Center: The Visitor’s Center is wheelchair accessible and has ample handicapped parking. The movie at the Visitor’s Center is a great introduction to everything you’ll see at the Grand Canyon. There are some great views of the canyon just outside the Visitor’s Center, but it’s very crowded here, especially at sunset.

Shuttle buses: Once you’re inside the park, you can ride the free air-conditioned shuttle buses. There are bus stops at the Visitor’s Center, as well as numerous other locations. The buses have wheelchair ramps and can “kneel.” However, the buses cannot accommodate wheelchairs larger than 30 inches wide by 48 inches long. For us, this meant that my daughter’s power wheelchair was a no-go on the bus. Motorized scooters won't fit either. 

Scenic Drive Accessibility Permit: Instead of taking the shuttle, we got a Scenic Drive Accessibility Permit and used our personal vehicle on the restricted roads. In the flurry of activity, we neglected to get our permit at the entrance station but that wasn’t a problem because the permits can be obtained at the in-park hotels and visitor’s centers. Permits need to be displayed on your dashboard and aren’t a substitute for a handicap placard when parking.

Having this permit is a boon. The buses, while a nice service, are crowded and they operate on a set schedule. With this permit, you can come and go at your leisure, all while listening to the soundtrack of your choosing.

The Grand Canyon offers what it calls “windshield views,” which are views of the canyon that you can see from your vehicle. Apparently, many, many visitors experience the Grand Canyon this way. They ride the scenic routes, grab a few photos and then call it a day, having come and seen and conquered. But to experience the sheer vastness and power of the canyon, you need to be able to see it up close.  Get out at the different viewpoints and explore!

Hiking:  The Trail of Time is a 1.3-mile trail between the Verkamp’s Visitor Center and the Yavapai Geology Museum. It’s wheelchair accessible, as are many of the exhibits and informational placards along the way. Parts of this hike are in the shade and parts are in full sun, so plan accordingly.

The Greenway Trail is also wheelchair accessible. You can hike from Monument Creek Vista to Pima Point to Hermit’s Rest on paved trail. Monument Creek Vista to Pima Point is 1.7 miles and Pima Point to Hermit’s Rest is 1.1 miles.

Mather Campground: You can reserve a wheelchair accessible campsite, although know that all the spaces in the Grand Canyon fill up quickly, accessible or not. We made our reservations six months in advance and didn’t reserve an accessible site. Our campsite itself was on fairly compact dirt, but the wheelchair did kick up some dust. This wasn’t a problem, until someone was cooking. Even food cooked outdoors shouldn’t be dusty!

The bathrooms were nearby our space and handicap accessible. The road to the bathrooms is gravel, not paved, which may present problems for some wheelchair users.

Camping is a lot of work, but it was work well worth it. For us, it meant smores and corn hole. It also meant some not-so fun things, like ravens who knocked over anything left on the picnic tables and divebombed our Styrofoam coolers, shredding them to bits and feasting on everything inside (they literally ate everything, including raw eggs and grapes). While Mother Nature foiled us in the form of the ravens, it also awed us. We saw mountain lion tracks in the dirt not too far from where we pitched our tent. Because it was so brutally hot, mule deer came into the camp site multiple times a day to drink from the water spigots.

Laundry and Shower Facility: The showers were about a 10-minute walk away. They are located in the same building as the washers and dryers, and it was often busy in there. The first night we walked to the showers, but it was very, very dark trek, even with headlamps and flashlights. The remaining nights we drove because that felt safer than trying to navigate the wheelchair in the pitch black (even if it was beautiful to see the stars). There is handicap parking in front of the building.

The general shower facilities are paid, but there is family room that is wheelchair accessible and, bonus, it’s free. It’s a fairly large single room containing a toilet, sink, and shower. The shower has a fold-down bench inside of it.  The floor is tile and it gets slippery in there. 

You need a key to access the family room, so you’ll need the employee on duty to unlock it for you. The attendant also provided us with a clean bathmat and towels each time we went. We brought our own personal towels for bathing, so we used the provided towels to sop up the water on the floor.

Many people were charging their cell phones in this building (I’m not sure why as the cell phone coverage was spotty), but we used the outlets to charge the wheelchair.

Lodging: Even if you’re not a camper, all of the lodges have wheelchair-accessible rooms. We didn’t stay in the lodges, but we did go to several of them to eat and the dining rooms were also wheelchair accessible.

Resources
Wheelchairs can be rented from Bright Angel Bicycles, located next to Grand Canyon Visitor Center; 928-814-8704



If you're looking for more special needs resources, allow me to suggest my book, Beautiful Paradox: Musings, Marveling and Strategies of a Special Needs Parent.($4.99)

Or you can get the book along with 105 other resourceslike Abby Lawson’s eCourse on going paperless, Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Bullet Journaling for Book Lovers eCourse and the What’s 4 Dinner Challenge Meal Planning eCourse—in this year's Ultimate Homemaking Bundle

The Bundle is selling for $29.99, for a limited time. It has a 30-day happiness guarantee. If you try it out and you’re not satisfied, just ask for a refund within 30 days.

Win, win.

Get yours now, before the sale ends.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Please Don’t Tell My Daughter She’s Special and Other Thoughts On Talking About Disability


As a parent of children with some noticeable physical differences, my family frequently draws attention in public. Some of that attention is welcome; a lot of it, not so much.  As in, if you get out your phone and try to video my kid, we’re going to want to punch your lights out, no questions asked. And, yes, that’s happened. (To be clear, the video part happened, the punching people part was wishful thinking.)

If it feels like parents of children with visible differences harp on the subject of talking about disabilities with kids ad naseum, there’s a reason for that. For a lot of us, the comments and staring don’t feel non-stop, they are non-stop.  You know that one time your child asked in the loudest voice imaginable, “Hey! Where’s her other arm?” That situation is a common occurrence in my world.

Sometimes I just want to stand at a store entrance and shout, “We come to buy toilet paper in peace! Please leave us alone.” If it’s exhausting for me to deal with the questions and the comments as a fully limbed adult, think of how much more frustrating it is for a child to constantly have someone remarking on her physical appearance. To paraphrase Popeye,“She is what she is, and that's all she is." (For the record, we are darn tootin' proud of who she is.)

Dealing with people—both big and little—and their questions is a work-in-progress for us. But here’s what we’ve learned so far: 
  1. Appreciate children’s curiosity.  Kids are naturally curious and uncannily forthright about pretty much everything. When a child sees someone who is different, they often want to talk about it. Children who ask respectful questions deserve respectful answers.
  2. Tackle things head on. Often parents try to ignore their child’s questions or stifle their inquisitiveness with a loud “shhh.” Not only is this ineffective (a curious child can not be deterred and the shush is only likely to draw more attention to the situation, not less) but it also implies that there is something to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. There is nothing shameful about physical or mental differences.
  3. Be forthright and matter-of-fact. When a child asks a question or makes an observation (which frequently is an implied question), answer forthrightly. Often the subject will then become a non-issue. For example: Where is her other arm?  She just has one arm. Just one? Yup, just the one. Why? That’s just how she was born. Oh, okay.
  4. Don’t downplay the difference. Often people try and explain differences by “normalizing” them. You don’t need to do this. Except perhaps for the very smallest children who have no other frame of reference, it is unnecessary and lame to explain that a person having one arm is like another person having brown eyes. Blond jokes aside, no one's hair color ever kept them from being able to open a door. Different isn’t abnormal; it’s just different. Adults may have a hard time grasping this, children don’t.
  5. Find common ground.  Children have so much in common, but sometimes they need a little nudge in the right direction to help them realize that. Ask kids their ages, their grades in school, their favorite subject or tv show.
  6. Don’t say: It's because she’s “special.” Special often gets used as some kind of euphemism for different, but it’s not. When a child repeatedly hears that they are “special” because of their looks, it reinforces the idea that their value is in how they look, not in who they are. My daughter is special not because of her limbs but because of the wonderful person she is.
If you're looking for more tips on talking to children about disabilities or just special needs in general, I'm delighted to let you know that my eBook, Beautiful Paradox: Musings, Marvelings and Strategies of a Special Needs Parent is part of this year's Ultimate Homemaking Bundle


This year's bundle is chock full of good stuff. It has 106 products (including  2 summits, 21 eCourses, 51 eBooks, 1 membership site, 2 videos, 2 audios, 14 printables, 13 workbooks). Because all of these items are bundled together for this special sale, the price of the bundle is much less than what the items sell for individually. 

Here are just a few of the things that might interest you: 
  • Cozy Minimalist Decorating Class by Myquillyn Smith 
  • A Mom’s Guide to Better Photos: A Beginning Photography Class for Moms With Any Type of Camera by Meg Calton
  • Bullet Journaling for Book Lovers course by Anne Bogel 
  • Clean Mama’s Just One Page Kit by Becky Rapinchuk 
  • Clutterfree with Kids by Joshua Becker 
  • Stretched Too Thin: 10 Days to Overcoming the Hustle and Thriving as a Working Mom by Jessica Turner 
The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is $29.95 and available for just 6 days. Check out the bundle here.