K’Nex K-FORCE Build and Blast! New Toy Idea for Tween Boys This Year

2015 November 3

Review: we were given a Mega Boom Blaster Kit at no charge as part of the Knexeprt Program via K’Nex.

K Force Build and Blast!

K'NEX K-Force Build and Blast review stop motion videoK’Nex Brand has created a new line of ‘Blasters’. Using sponge darts kids first create one of 3 different types of blasters: A Dual Cross, A Mega Boom (See Stop Motion Below) or a Double Draw. Plus each of the blasters (cost between $45-$50 depending where you shop) can be found in smaller version kits from around $15 each.

I JUST REALIZED!! The Mega Boom Kit is on MEGA sale today. #Afflink.)

Several other K’Nex K-Force Build and Blast kits are on sale today as well!


Watch this 2 Minute Stop Motion Video…

My kid building the Mega Boom K-Force Blaster. It took him a little over 90 minutes with a lot of stopping and

watching a family movie.

WARNING: The blasters REALLY do shoot 75 feet. And they are very fast. Getting hit with a dart isn’t very painful, but I would stay FAR away from shooting at anyone’s face, for sure be careful of eyes. Think goggles, m’kay? Either plan to head outside once your blaster is built or warn the whole house (including the dog!).

Be careful with dart guns around pets and people's eyes!

K’Nex rates these building kits at age 8 and older. In my opinion K’Nex sets can be built by an 8 year old but be prepared to HELP a lot. The instruction manuals are mandatory to create the intricate design and still function. However in our experience by the time my kid was about 9 and a half he magically had the patience to read through the manual, understand the instructions and build his kits piece by piece by himself.

K'NEX K-Force Build and Blast review stop motion video

{NOTE: The manual included only describes how to build the largest blaster. You will need to download instruction manuals from the website for the other blasters in the kit.}

We always start with several bowls to hold all the little pieces, because if any get lost you are kind of in trouble for completing the piece. There were exactly 3 pieces left over when he completed the Mega Boom—which is the largest blaster in the kit. The kit makes a total of 6 designs, however you can’t make all 6 at once.

Later he created a smaller blaster and the target set. And I think he had more fun with the target set and the smaller blaster than the full sized double blaster.

Are the large K’Nex Build and Blast sets worth the $45 price tag?
We think so! I’ve had a really hard time finding age appropriate gifts for my very science minded tween boy. He has run home from school for a week now to work on his blaster, alter the configuration and set up ‘target practice’.
The crazy sale price right now is DEF worth it. HALF OFF!

If you miss the sale and $45 is too steep, I suggest purchasing a smaller blaster with the target set: The K-20x Build and Blast (with a small target) is normally $25, but on sale today as well for only $12.50!


– K’NEX can be found on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.

We were not compensated for this product review. Our thoughts and opinions are our own. There are Amazon Affiliate links in this post. We are part of the KNexperts Program.

Vocal Hygiene? What’s that? Why Keeping Mom Hydrated = Healthy Kids with the #PureLifeRippleEffect

2015 October 13

Thank you to Nestlé ® Pure Life® for sponsoring this blog post.
All opinions are my own.

Vocal Hygiene.

I know. Stay with me. It’s a thing.

I haven’t been very ‘vocal’ about this chapter in my life (see what I did there?) but over the summer I had a polyp removed from my vocal fold. —In case you don’t know, voice therapists will correct you if you say ‘vocal chords’. Apparently they are vocal folds… now you know.

Carissa Rogers Blogger GoodNCrazy.comAnyway, it was a very minor surgery and I did joke about it via Facebook, referencing the scene from Pitch Perfect where the girl was very stressed about announcing to the world that She. Had. NODES!

I’m still recovering and my voice is hoarse several months later and I have been in vocal therapy as well.

The one thing that stands out to me as surprising is just how strongly, as in… INSANELY vehement my therapist is about how much water I’m drinking. Like… she gets downright angry if I confess to less than the optimum GAZILLIONS of ounces of water per day.

But dang, I’m not very good at drinking water.

I wrote a WHOLE post about my… er… extreme dislike of water. And 10 ways to incorporate MORE water into my day especially because I don’t like the taste of it. Does that even make sense?

After reading up on the #PureLifeRippleEffect project, I realize my issue with hydration affects more than just me and my vocal hygiene, it also affects my kids! Makes sense though, kids follow what you do WAY more than what you say right?

Back to my therapist, the whole vocal hygiene thing is important for avoiding nodes in my future as I’m now more likely to have one re-occur. UGH. Slowly losing your voice when you are… um… talkative(?) is seriously one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through. Geez TOTAL understatement. I’m not talkative, I’m loud and annoying and once talked 15 hours straight with another blogger on a roadtrip to BlogHer. But that’s another story.

There are several parts to vocal hygiene including not whispering? That one is just weird, and I looked up why, Google just says they don’t know why for sure but it’s harder on your folds than talking quietly. No singing is another one, I was explicitly told to lip synch during church hymns for example, as singing is one of the most stringent things your folds can do. Not good if there’s a polyp in the way. No yelling either.

But the one thing that makes a huge impact is simply drinking a LOT of water (and laying off the caffeine). I don’t drink coffee, but I do like diet sodas that contain caffeine. My therapist didn’t care where the caffeine came from, just stop drinking it and go grab a water bottle!

Mom Selfie with 3 teens & tween


As a mom of 3 tweens and teens I wish I could say I’m the best role model and always show my kids a healthy attitude and willingness to change my habits and increase wellness in my lifestyle.

YNestle #pureliferippleeffecteah. No.

It doesn’t work that way. I wish I was better at the water intake game. I’m working on it. I AM! I always order water when at a restaurant, and encourage my kids as well. With Lemon? Yes Please! I make it a challenge to see if I can drink a whole glass before my meal comes.

I keep bottled water around the house at all times, because my husband is more likely to grab one on his way to super early morning bootcamp, and my daughter who runs cross country in the extreme Southern heat needs water not just after her runs but throughout the day in order to build up her body’s hydration enough to deal with her workouts in the heat. And I place one at my desk each day where I’m much more likely to grab it than to walk, you know, ALL THE WAY over to the pantry to grab one.

I PLEDGE to take better care of my vocal hygiene.

I still can’t sing at all… okay I couldn’t sing well before, but at least I could croak? I have to be reminded not to raise my voice—I have a killer whistle—and try to whistle a lot at running meets. And believe it or not, whispering is surprisingly hard to stop. (Confession: I totally whisper to myself while writing and in the van alone… am I the only one who does this?)

TODAY I pledge to drink more water every day.
Not just for my health, but for my kids (and their kids) too!


The #PureLifeRippleEffect

I was asked by VolunteerSpot.com to take a look at some surprising statistics and results from a recent survey* about inadequate hydration and am inspired by the efforts of Nestlé® Pure Life® to bring awareness to this study with a campaign they call the #PureLifeRippleEffect.

“To help your family Drink Up and be a part of the Ripple Effect – a movement to keep kids hydrated – visit: PureLifeRippleEffect.com and share your tips for healthy hydration using #pureliferippleeffect.”

A few results that most concerned me (and I struggle with as well):


  • Moms don’t give regular water reminders. Barely half of moms (52%) regularly remind their child to drink water.
  • Drinking water is one of the biggest “healthy habit” struggles moms have with their kids (38%), even more than struggles like “eat your fruit” (29%), “get enough exercise” (23%), and “eat your breakfast” (19%).
  • Between water, milk, juice, and soda, moms say water makes up 67% of their daily beverage intake, but it makes up only 48% of their kids.
  • 84% of moms say bottled water is a convenient way to ensure their child is drinking water.
  • Kids who drink less than 4 glasses of water a day are more likely to request soda, juice, and sports drinks (76%)
  • 25% of kids age 6-12 choose soda as their preferred drink, while 23% choose water.
  • Kids are most likely to choose a drink other than water at restaurants (54% soda) and celebrations (58% soda).
  • Water consumption is higher among both Hispanic moms and kids compared to non-Hispanic moms.


Bottom LINE:

If mom is drinking more water and encouraging her kids to drink more, everyone will benefit!

A recent study* stated that 54% of all school-aged children are inadequately hydrated. This shockingly high number alarmed Nestlé® Pure Life®, and they’re creating efforts to reduce it. Partnering with After-School All-Stars, Nestlé® Pure Life® has committed to provide nearly one million 8 ounce servings of water to kids this school year through After-School All-Stars an organization that strives to keep children safe and healthy through afterschool programming. Additionally, they’re helping consumers keep their own families hydrated with information and tips on the site pureliferippleeffect.com.

*Source Prevalence of Inadequate Hydration among US Children and Disparities by Gender and Race/Ethnicity: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2009–2012. Erica L. Kenney, ScD, Michael W. Long, ScD, Angie L. Cradock, ScD, and Steven L. Gortmaker, PhD Am J Public Health,2015.


*Nestlé® Pure Life® conducted an online survey in June 2015 of 1,077 moms of kids ages 6-12 overall, including 254 Hispanic moms of kids ages 6-12. 1,077 kids ages 6-12 from the same household were also surveyed, including 254 Hispanic kids ages 6-12.

Nestlé® Pure Life® has committed to provide nearly one million 8 ounce servings of water to kids this school year through After-School All-Stars.   

Information source – At over 20 participating schools in select markets across the country.


Disclosure: I am working with VolunteerSpot.com. My stories are my own as are my vocal fold issues.

#BrightSchools Competition Your Middle Schooler Could Win a $5,000 STEM Award!

2015 October 5

This post is brought to you by VolunteerSpot & The Bright Schools Competition.

There is a new Middle School STEM competition coming your way.  It’s called the Bright Schools Competition.

Think about that name for a second. Bright? Well of course, because my new middle schooler is a bright kid, right? (I’m sure yours is too.) Plus he’s all things STEM so I’m intrigued about this new competition.

But there’s also a second play on the word bright here, because the competition specifically asks kids to learn and test how light affects student’s sleep and vice versa. Especially as sleep and light affect their daily school performance and overall health.

Think about it like a science fair competition specifically on one topic:

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) have joined together to inspire student achievement in science through the new Bright Schools Competition; a STEM competition targeted to students in grades 6-8. The competition is a new learning experience created to help students, parents and teachers explore the link between light and sleep and how it influences student health and performance.

#BrightSchools Competition with VolunteerSpot and NTSA NSF how light affects sleep STEM

Raising a Science Nerd, Takes One to Know One!

My little boy (okay he’s a not-so-little 11 year old 6th grader) but back when he found out his older sisters in Middle and High School had WHOLE classes devoted just to science and separate teachers and projects he was excited –and jealous! As early as Kindergarten he began to express interest in science topics.

He knew I worked in a research lab back in my former life before kids. And that was enough for him to begin dreaming about one day becoming a scientist himself. Lately his favorite subject is physics; be careful what you ask him about buoyancy BTW—he won’t let you walk away until he has shown you exactly what he means. Soaking my whole kitchen in the process!

#BrightSchools Competition middle schoolers STEM Contest with VolunteerSpot and NTSA NSF


When he was barely able to read he would only bring home what he called “Project Books” from the library. He literally checked out every single book of science experiment projects on our small-town library shelves.

Fast forward a few years. My older teenagers’ busy lives have taken over. No one gets enough sleep… well maybe the dog? Between cross country practice and meets, marching band insanity (don’t get me started), Little League and oh yeah… that funny thing called homework… I’m watching my Freshman turn off her bedroom light way more often than I would like after midnight. She stresses about grades (bless her) and wants to fit in social time as well as varsity Cross Country as one of the youngest girls on her team.

Overdoing it all a bit, ya think??
Try telling my kids that. GOOD LUCK.

I would be interested to see where the link between LACK of sleep paired with lack of sunlight fits into the health of my active tween and teen? And who better to create a science project out of that question than 6th, 7th and 8th grade middle schoolers?

 #BrightSchools Competition with VolunteerSpot and NTSA NSF 2

The Bright Schools Competition is designed for students in grades 6-8. Registration is now open and the submission deadline is January 29, 2016. For more information on the competition, including eligibility requirements, visit www.BrightSchoolsCompetition.org.

A Few more Points about the #BrightSchools Competition

  • Lack of exposure to natural light and other forms of short-wavelength light during the day has been shown to shorten sleep time for school-aged children. Without the recommended 9-11 hours of sleep, students are more likely to experience behavior problems, from rule breaking to depression and anxiety. Students who are well-rested experience are more creative, have more self-control and perform better in school.
  • Sponsored by the National Sleep Foundation, in partnership with the National Science Teachers Association, the Bright Schools Competition will also give students the opportunity to receive a positive and enduring Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) experience.
  • The Bright Schools Competition is designed for students in grades 6-8. Registration is now open and the submission deadline is January 29, 2016. For more information on the competition, including eligibility requirements, visit www.BrightSchoolsCompetition.org.

BrightSchoolsCompetition.org—Click to Learn more about the Competition, timing and goals. Then go tell your middle school science teachers!


#BrightSchools Competition with VolunteerSpot and NTSA NSF

Prizes? Well yes!

The Bright Schools Competition is pleased to share that the following awards are given to students of the winning teams.

All students receive an entry certificate to acknowledge their hard work in the competition.

  • First Place: each student on the winning team receives a cash prize of $5,000
  • Second Place: each student on the winning team receives a cash prize of $2,500
  • Third Place: each student on the winning team receives a cash prize of $1,500


Disclosure: Thoughts, opinions and sleep-deprived kids are all my own.

Senior Portrait Theme Ideas | Sports or Instrument

2015 September 7
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SNECK Travel Pillow for Big Kids $14.99 – GoodNCrazy Review

2015 September 7
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Win One of 4 $1,000 Fundraising Kits for your School or Non-Profit from See’s Candies!

2015 September 1
Win One of 4 $1,000 Fundraising Kits for your School or Non-Profit from See’s Candies!

Sponsored by VolunteerSpot.com, your Online Sign-up Sheet Solution!   Don’t miss your chance to win BIG for your favorite school or non-profit! See’s Candies is giving 4 lucky winners $1,000 in delicious product to sell at 100% profit – ENTER TODAY and spread the word! Ends 9/15/15. *** Locating a REALLY great fundraiser for your […]


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