Sunday, September 7, 2014

Review: Blauer 6'' Clash Tactical Boot

About a month ago I was contacted by Blauer to gauge 374's interest on a review for a new line of tactical boots they were rolling out. For anyone not familiar, Blauer is a company that has been offering uniform garments for law enforcement, fire and EMS professionals since 1936. We were more than willing to partner with them for this review, their products are high quality and well known. We appreciate their offer, and are happy to have the opportunity to provide this review for them and our readers!

We chose to review the 6" Clash Waterproof Boot in black. The boot is constructed of a full grain polishable leather, suede and nylon outer. After a month of wear on countless fire and EMS runs, as well as 374 wearing them a few times to his full time day job constructing ambulances, these boots held up nicely and still look brand new. Any dirt or wear is easily polished off and their new out of the box shine and appearance is restored. The nylon allowed for his foot to breath nicely in our humid summer climate.

The sole of this boot offers a non-slip rubber and hybrid traction tread that offers superb stability and grip on just about any surface. 374 ran them through their paces with gravel, dirt, muddy ditches, and car fluids leaked on pavement at accident scenes - just to name a few scenarios these boots found themselves in. 374 reports they are very light weight and easy to maneuver in. Most notably he appreciated this when lifting patients on EMS calls when your concentration needs to not be on your feet, but on the task at hand.

The Clash boots hugged his feet providing confidence in every step he took. This was provided by the heel patch on the back of the boot as well as the polyurethane foam insoles and heel cup. The one comment I heard over and over was he felt like there was never a "break-in" period - from the get go these boots felt like they were molded to his feet to provide the utmost comfort. One of first few days after receiving the boots, he wore them to his full time day job to really test their comfort. He runs around a plant on concrete floors assembling ambulances - crawling in, out and under them for hours on end. When he came home at the end of a nine hour day he enthusiastically reported the Clash boots were far more comfortable than his regular athletic shoe he typically wears.

One of the main features of this boot is the Boa™ lacing system. The Boa™ lacing system features steel laces, nylon guides and a mechanical wheel that allows for a glove like fit. 374 found it easy and quick to slide his foot into the boot, and turn the wheel to tighten the boots to his desired fit. In a volunteer firefighter profession, seconds are crucial in their response time to the station. He found himself getting out the door quicker with these boots. Removal is just as easy - pop the wheel out and the laces let go and loosen. No knots to untie, no laces to pull out.

Another feature to note is the waterproof membrane that allows your foot to stay dry in the elements. While 374 did find himself out in some rain, it was no where near enough to really test this feature. We are very interested in seeing how these boots hold up this winter in our snowy area. Given the quality of all the other features offered by Blauer on this boot, we are sure his feet will stay dry and we won't be disappointed.

After experiencing the ease of use and comfort of the Clash boots, 374 has retired his previous tactical work boots he previously wore. He is very happy with their performance and quality. At a price point of $144.99 you really get a lot of bang for your buck. He would gladly buy these boots for himself. As much as he'd like to have some constructive criticism for these boots he finds himself at a loss for anything negative about them. Blauer has produced a great qaultiy boot with some top notch features. If you or your firefighter are in the market for a new pair of boots, we highly recommend checking these out!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Bubby's Duck Dynasty Birthday

Over the winter, Bubby decided he wanted a Duck Dynasty party for his birthday this spring. With all the Duck Dynasty merchandise you can find in stores, I thought it might be a bit easier to come by supplies for this party. I didn't have much luck in our local stores, and everything I could find online was more than I cared to spend.

Again, I hit Pinterest. Seriously, how did I function before Pinterest?!? Bubby sat with me at the computer a few times, and we compiled all our favorite finds. I think this party was one of my favorite ones we've done.

For his paper items, I found camouflage themed stuff at Walmart. We used the cake sized plates, table cloths and birthday banner. I like to use regular paper plates for the food at our parties because it's so hard to fit much on plates from the party isle. I found a poster of Uncle Si on eBay that read "Hey Hey it's party time Jack!" which I ordered and we used for his banner over the present table. A "Duck Commander Buck Commander" sign even hung on the outside door, just like at their office.

Speaking of food, this was one of my favorite parts of this party. We did themed food this time -- using meals or foods that have been featured on the show. On the menu was Miss Kay's Mac n Cheese, Miss Kay's Baked Beans, Miss Kay's Boudin Sausage Bites (Little Smokies in the crockpot with BBQ sauce and grape jelly), Ham Sammiches, Chips and Yuppie Dip, Uncle Si's Sweet Tea, Phil's Lemonade and More Pretty Yuppie Food -- the cake!

Like always I made the cake. The inside was camouflage (brown, tan and greens all mixed in together). I decided to make my own buttercream icing this time. It was amazing. I won't admit to how much I ate from the bowl as I was assembling the cake. I also tried my hand at the Duck Commander logo, which I think turned out pretty good for my first time with anything like that.

Other additions to the party was a Willie pinata from the lady who did the Llama Llama pinata. Like Sassy, Bubby requested Willie not be used as a pinata, so he stood guard over the party as decor. I ordered iron ons for the girls' custom shirts which read "I ain't no yuppie girl Jack!" and they had custom Duck Dynasty hair bows as well. Bubby wore a Duck Dynasty shirt as well as his hat.

The favors consisted of Duck Dynasty cups, with beards I made from card stock and popsicle sticks, homemade duck calls from camo duck tape and whistles, ducks and bucks tattoos and of course some candy. These were a big hit!

Sassy's Llama Llama Red Pajama Birthday

If you've followed my blog for any length of time, you've probably come to realize my kids ask for themed birthday parties every year. Usually the theme isn't something that I can go out to the store and pick up supplies for. This post, and the next post, will attest to just that. I know it's been quite a few months since Sassy birthday, but I still want to share her theme as well. I spend hours scouring Pinterest to help with ideas for their party, so afterwards I like to pin some of my favorite things from the day in hopes of helping someone else out.

For Sassy's sixth birthday she requested a Llama Llama Red Pajama birthday. She LOVES Llama. She has all the Llama books and a stuffed Llama from the Kohls Cares line. I knew at some point this theme would present itself, she loves her Llama so much.

From the start of planning, Sassy and I decided it would be fun to find her a pair of red pajamas to wear to her party, in true Llama fashion. Then, Bubby decided he wanted to wear pajamas too. We decided it would be fun to inform guests on their invitations that if they wanted to attend in their pajamas they were welcome. I think just about every kid did show up in their pajamas!

In the planning process I came across a local lady who makes pinatas. I decided to message her about a llama pinata. I figured it'd be a long shot - after all a llama isn't something simple. I sent her a picture of Llama Llama in his red pajamas and she said she would see what she could do. A week later she sends me a picture of a completed Llama, in red pajamas, complete with his own "Fuzzy Llama" -- Llama's own llama stuffed animal from the stories. When I met her to pick up the pinata, I was amazed. He was nearly as tall as Sassy, and looked just like Llama! I was so excited to have him, he really would be the only Llama decoration we had. When I brought him in the house, Sassy declared we could not use him as a pinata, she just didn't want to destroy him. Instead we used him as a decoration. I also cut Llama tail shapes out of brown card stock and he doubled as our game -- Pin the Tail on Llama. The kids had a blast trying to get their tails closest to his bum.

Because decor was hard to come by, we decided to go with a blue and red theme from the cover of the Llama Llama Red Pajama book. At the time of the party, Sassy had all of the books in the Llama series by Ann Dewdney so we used them as the centerpieces for the tables. Some of her guests were older family members who wouldn't be familiar with the theme or who Llama was, so we decided they might enjoy leafing through the pages of the stories to meet Sassy's favorite character.

Overall the party was a hit. The kids enjoyed the game and the decor. I made red velvet cake and cupcakes. It was just what Sassy wanted. I enjoy putting time into my kids' parties. I want them to look back and remember these special days and know that I loved putting smiles on their faces. Here's a few more from her party. I can't believe it's almost time to start planning her SEVENTH birthday!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

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Also on Instagram! LifeBetweenTheTones!

I Never Win Anything...

But last week I won a sticker pack from Fireman Up on Facebook. I chose the Couples Pack. I have been eyeing these for a while now. 374 likes to collect fire related stickers on his toolbox at work. Not only does he work for an ambulance company, but a lot of his co-workers are volunteer firefighters and EMS members.

Obviously his half of the sticker pack went to work with him today. He even swiped the cartoon that came with the stickers! Mine will eventually go on my car -- if I ever have time to wash it.

When we were at FDIC in April, my friend Heather and I stopped and chatted with the Fireman Up booth. I really enjoy Darrell's cartoons - my favorite being the Twerking one. If you've ever spent any time on a fire or training scene, you fully understand the little dance they do to quiet their PASS Device.

Fireman Up is not all about being the biggest, the best or the most popular. They are about quality products. Much like the attitude of a firefighter. Fireman Up offers a number of apparel items, hats, as well as their stickers. You can also purchase prints from Darrell as well. Check out all their amazing products on their Fireman Up website.

374 snapped a couple pictures of his toolbox at work this morning. He loves his stickers! I think they look great on his box. Thanks to Darrell and Candy for the chance to win!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Nutty Friend

We have a grey squirrel who hangs out around our house all year long. He's usually in our back yard in the big shade tree, or eating acorns on our back deck. This was one of the first times we found him hanging out in the front yard -- and we quickly figured out why. He has a whole stash of acorns buried in my empty flower bed on the end of the house. I *ALMOST* planted some flowers in that bed, now I'm glad I didn't. I caught some cute pictures of him munching away... he stuck around for quite a while.

The Dress Hunt Begins...

Every Labor Day is our little town's Homecoming celebration. It's a little "festival" of sorts that the entire community pulls together to put on. There's food stands open all weekend, small rides and games for the kids, various games like Price is Right, a scavenger hunt, and a photo contest just to name a few.

One of the biggest events is the pageant. The pageant is broke down into categories for Little King and Queen for Kindergarten, First Graders and Second Graders. There are girls only categories for older girls. It's just the girls in nice dresses with their hair done. Nothing over the top like spray tans, fake nails, etc. Just about every kid that has ever lived in our town has done the pageant one year or another. I can remember seeing pictures of my mom and other family members on stage all fancied up.

Last year was Sassy's first year in the pageant. She was so excited to pick out a dress, and find a boy to escort her. It was an obvious choice, her best friend M was excited to join her. They were absolutely adorable together. I found the PERFECT dress for her. It wasn't huge and poofy and over the top like some kids wear. The pageant is always done under a tent and Labor Day is always hot and humid. I had visions of her melting into a puddle in a dress that was drowning on her. We got so many compliments on her dress, it was exactly a "Sassy" dress.

Now that it's summer, I've started the dress hunt for this year. M is accompanying her again this year. My fear is we loved last year's dress so much we won't find another. What a problem to have, right? #firstworldproblems I've been looking with the same company we bought her dress from last year. I found one that is just similar enough that I really like it, but it's also different enough that it won't seem like she's wearing the same dress just in a different color.

Here are a couple pics of her from last year. Sassy and M took first runner up, and of course she had to take a picture at the station in her sash. #firekidproblems -- right???