Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Curl up with a book, win a nook . . .

Anya Bast and Lauren Dane are working together to give away several books and even a Nook! I'd love to win one and I'm sure many of you would too. If you'd like to give it a shot head over to http://www.anyabast.com/2009/12/21/curl-up-with-a-book-and-a-nook/ , read the rules and post a comment. Good Luck!

Monday, December 14, 2009

My happiness . . .

As a mom, I would be lying if I said that my kids brought me joy all the time. In fact, there are times when they make life pretty darn difficult. However, even with all the added stress they sometimes bring to my life, they also bring me the greatest joy I've ever experienced. From the time they were born, my girls have given me something to live for, aspire to, and smile about. Their genuine smiles and laughter are absolutely contagious. The sincerity with which they appreciate the smallest things is uplifting. When I am smart enough to remind myself to pay attention to these amazing little people, my life is so much better.

Here are a few just a few examples of how my girls can make me so happy:
  1. Pumpkin needed turkey shaped cookies for school. Being a non-creative, non-artistic mom, I had every intention of going to the store and buying turkey cut-out cookies. Do you know that not one store within 30 miles of my home makes turkey cut-out cookies? I ended up having to try to make cookies that looked like turkeys and the picture at the top of this post is the end result. My sweet 4 year old woke up the next morning, saw the cookies and said, "They don't look like turkeys, but I love them mom! Thank you." and gave me a big hug and kiss.
  2. Peanut, my oldest daughter is 5 going on 16. She has somehow learned the fine art of the eyeroll and the sigh, but still knows how to make my day. She loves to learn and gets so excited about the tiniest things. She asks amazing questions and appreciates you taking time to give her answers. She's my ulta-observant child and will want to stop the car if she sees a rainbow to get out and just stare at it. She loves the simple joys of planting a garden and jumping in leaves. She truly appreciates the joy of nature.
This post was inspired by a contest posted here:
http://www.iambarkingmad.com/spotted_dick_and_other_mu/2009/12/barking-mads-crazy-christmas-300-target-giftcard-giveaway-.html What an amazing and inspirational idea, especially around the holidays. It is great to be able to focus on the good, rather than the bad in life. Thanks so much for the giveaway and the positive thoughts you are spreading by this contest.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

What does your child pick up from classmates?

Why is it that my kids only seem to pick up the bad habits of other children? First, let me tell you that I am well aware that my munchkins are not perfect. They have plenty of faults, but they also have some AMAZING characteristics. I'm sure that the other kids in Peanut's kindergarten class have wonderful characteristics too, but for some reason she only comes home with their bad habits. My daughter never used to roll her eyes . . . now it is an almost daily occurrence. At the beginning of the year she came home telling me about how another student in her class threw away his sandwich and just ate his snacks and dessert every day. "Can you believe it, mommy? Doesn't he know he has to eat his real food first?" was her response. When her grandparents would offer her a snack or dessert, she would politely say, "Thank you, I'll save this for after I eat my real food." I had her trained so well! This week, I've discovered that she's now throwing out her sandwich as well. Her first taste of independence and she isn't making good choices . . . What should I do?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Giving Back for the Holidays

While I should be more aware of the needs of others all year round (This might make a good New Years Resolution!), the Holidays always bring me a quick reminder. From the ringing bells of the Salvation army to the requests that come home from school for canned food, they make it easy to give during the holidays. In fact companies in general also seem to be much more generous during the holidays and often give you the opportunity to help. For example, on Facebook, several companies donated money to ToysForTots, or other charities for each of their new fans. There are companies that will match your donations or give a donation for each product that you purchase. One of these companies is Robeez. They are doing a "Season of Giving" promotion where they will donate a pair of soft-soled Robeez to KIDS (Kids in Distressed Situations) for each pair of soft-soled shoes that you buy through December 23rd. If you haven't shopped Robeez before, you really should take a look. I have LOVED them for my girls. Not only are they adorable, but they also have earned the Seal of Acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association. I love that they even have Holiday boots for the colder weather. My favorite pair of Robeez are the ones found here. They are so adorable and would match just about any outfit you might put your little girl in.

So, what are you doing to give back for the holidays? Personally, I have donated blood and purchased lots of extra toys for ToysForTots. (I love finding good deals and can't pass them up, so knowing I can give them to a good cause gives me a reason not to.) At the end of the season when coats go on sale I always buy extras for Coats for Kids for the following season. If I happen to be carrying cash (a rare event) I will donate to the Salvation Army. In addition, with all the new toys that will be finding their way into our home this season (thanks Grandma & Grandpa - nothing too big please!), we find this the perfect time for the girls to go through their things and find items to donate as well.

*This post was inpired by Twittermoms and Robeez - who are not only giving to those in need, but also to mom bloggers. If I happen to be one of the first 50 bloggers to post I will receive a free pair of Robeez. If not, I may be lucky enough to win a Stride Rite GC or the Robeez Spring Collection.

Monday, December 7, 2009

My Most Surprising Gift

I just love twitter moms. As a new blogger, I love that they give me ideas to jumpstart some of my posts. There are days when I could write for hours and other days that I feel like writing, but don't really have any major inspiration. Today, they are giving a $100 target gift card to 10 of their bloggers that post about the most surprising gift they have ever received. So, feeling inspired, here is my post . . .

At the age of 18 I was blessed to meet the most amazing man. We began dating during my first and his second year of college. Throughout our relationship he has constantly surprised me with his thoughtfulness and generosity. The most memorable gift I can remember occurred early in our relationship - in fact, I can't quite remember the occasion. He simply told me that we were going on a trip and that he would do the packing for me. I fell asleep in the car, as I always do for long car rides (at least before I had kiddos) and woke to find myself in Traverse City, MI. I love Traverse City and always have. It has amazing memories from my childhood. We even stayed at the hotel I used to stay at as a child. It was a wonderful surprise that meant so much to me. The detailed planning showed me just how much he cares and what a great listener he actually was.

What are your five tips & tricks for getting your kids to bed on time and getting them to stay in bed?

Twittermoms is back again with another great opportunity to share great information and win prizes in the process. The prize they are giving away is a St Eve cozy. You can also go to http://www.dramau.net/ and try to win one there by submitting a story. Today their question is "How to you get your kids to go to bed and stay there?" I don't know if I've been very lucky or if my tips will work for everyone, but I've never had a problem with getting my little munchkins to go to bed and stay there (not including trying to get them to sleep through the night when they were babies). Here's what we do:

  1. Routine - We have a pretty strict bedtime routine. It really doesn't vary at all from night to night. The entire routine takes about 1/2 hour and includes going potty, brushing teeth, bath, pjs, stories, and prayers. We've been doing pretty much the same routine since my oldest was about 9 months old. She's now 5.
  2. Mommy/Daddy Time - As the girls have gotten older they spend more time away from home at ballet, preschool, kindergarten, etc. As a result they don't get as much one on one time. We try to make sure each girls gets ample time with one or both of us during the day/evening so that they aren't tempted to want to stay up all night to tell us about their days.
  3. Questions - After prayers, before I put the girls to bed for the night I sit with them for a minute and just talk. This is their opportunity to ask me any last minute questions they might have about what happened today or what is likely to happen tomorrow. This seems to put their minds at ease and prevent any late night questions.
  4. Midnight Kisses (and water) - The girls always want "one last drink" and "one last kiss" before I put them to bed. Since I don't want them getting up in the middle of the night to go potty I rarely give them water, but always promise to come in and open the door, give them a kiss and leave water on their night stand before I go to bed. Knowing that I'll be back and that they'll have the opportunity for water if they are still thirsty in the middle of the night seems to make them feel better. While I don't think they ever drink the water, I always take it in and give them their promised kisses. In the morning they know that I kept my promise because the door is open and they have their water.
  5. My last tip is that we try to do calming things at night before bed. On occasion my husband (the fun one) will get them all fired up with a game of chase, hide-n-seek, or something similar, but for the most part we try to use the evening for stories, board games and basic family time. It really seems to help calm them and ready them for their nighttime routine.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Fun Crafts I don't want to forget

I am a current subscriber to Parenting, FamilyFun, and several other parenting magazines. (All subscriptions were obtained for free from some promotion or another.) As a result I am always finding cute ideas for fun crafty things to do with the kiddos. Unfortunately I can never find them when I want to do them. Since this is my blog I am going to post two of those "recipes" here now so that when I want to find them later I can. Christmas break is coming soon and I'm sure I'll need some ideas for things to do to keep the munchkins busy. So, here are two I've found recently (not that I found them in the mags recently, but I've found the little pieces of paper that I saved from the mags in random drawers recently). Unfortunately I can't give credit to anyone in particular for these since I have no idea where they came from.

Kool Aid Playdough
1 c flour
1 T veg oil
1 pck unsweetened Kool Aid
1/4 c salt
2 T cream of tartar
1 c water

Mix flour, salt, cream of tartar and Kool Aid in a medium saucepan. Add water and oil. Stir over med-low heat 3-5 minutes. When mixture forms a ball in pan, remove. Kneed until smooth. Put in a plastic sealed bag. Enjoy.

Crayon Craft
Heat oven to 300
Place foil liners in muffin tin
Fill each liner with crayon pieces
Bake until just melted 5-8 min (don't let wax bubble)
Let cool until wax is soft but not liquidy 5-10 min
Remove foil liners and peal out wax
Press cookie cutter into wax (hearts, clovers, wreaths, etc)
Push out shape
Poke skewer through shape and leave it in until wax hardens
Remove skewer and thread ribbon through the hole to make a necklace

Just to simplify I'll probably add to this post if I find any of the other craft recipes I've been saving for a rainy day.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Sam's Club is Giving Money Away for the Holidays!

It seems that money is tight for just about everyone I know around the holidays. As a SAHM, I try to find fun an unique ways to give gifts that help save our family money. The girls love crafts, so I have them make gifts for people that I know will treasure them. For others, I find amazing deals by using coupon codes from retailmenot.com and following the hot deals section of fatwallet.com and slickdeals.net. I also am sure to check bing, ebates, upromise, and now boxtops for cash back for me or my girls' school. Another method I've recently discovered are blogs. Who knew that bloggers could get and give away so much?! In fact, I have noticed an abundance of Sam's Club giveaways on many of the mommy blogs I follow. It works out perfectly since I happen to LOVE Sam's Club. (I know, I know - Most of you are already aware of my disdain for Walmart. I know they are the same company, but for some reason the people at Sam's club have treated me 1000x nicer than they ever have at Walmart.) So, I've been entering these blog contest for Sam's Club GCs, hoping to get some money to buy Doc something nice for the holidays (Shhhh - Don't tell him!). As a favor to my few loyal readers (and as a way to get some bonus entries for myself), I'm going to keep a list of these contests with links so that you can enter and hopefully win too. Maybe you'll even buy me something nice with your GC as a "thank you". ;o) So, here they are . . . Good Luck!

She currently has 4 giveaways going on right now for GC from $25 - $75. Keep checking back because she may add more!

She also has had several amazing giveaways running at any time.

I think she adds a new giveaway just about daily!

I highly recommend you subscribe to the three blogs listed above to stay up-to-date. I'll let you know if I find more.

Found another http://outnumbered3-1.blogspot.com/search/label/Giveaways



Monday, November 23, 2009

Earn money for your school by shopping . . .

I have to start this post by telling you that I am fortunate to be a member of "The Juicy Bunch", a group of moms that provide feedback to Juicy Juice by answering surveys weekly. While I earn points for answering these surveys, I was not given anything by Juicy Juicy or "The Juicy Bunch" to post this information. I was just excited to learn about this program and thought I would pass it on to others that might find it interesting.

I have always been (or tried to be) a savvy shopper. I search for the best deals, use coupon codes (I LOVE retailmenot.com), and often use cashback sites to do my online shopping (ebates, bing, upromise, and fatwallet are some of the most common). I was shocked to learn that I can now shop through http://www.boxtops4education.com/earn/marketplace/Default.aspx to earn money for my school. You might think that I wouldn't like this idea as much because the money doesn't go directly into my pocket, but I do!!! Here's why . . . My husband "G" and I despise fundraisers for the munchkins. Really, would you pay $10 for a small roll of ugly wrapping paper if it were at Target or I asked you to buy it, knowing that you wouldn't even receive the item for 2 weeks to a month (or more)? I know I wouldn't, but we send out our cute little chubby cheeked kids and you cave in, spending way too much money on things you don't need (or even want). So, anything I can do to help my kids' school earn money without sending them to beg at the doors of friends and family sounds great to me.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Holiday Shopping

The time for holiday shopping is already upon us and I am proud to say that I'm almost done! I, like most of you, have people that are easy to shop for and those that are not. Sometimes the easy ones give you a list, or you just know them so well that you see something while browsing and know that it is just perfect! The difficult people can be difficult for a variety of reasons. Either they already have everything they could want or they are really picky. Regardless of the reason, the easy ones on my list are done (and I keep finding more that I know they'd love), but the others are still there - driving me crazy trying to think of something just right. If you're stuck like I am, then I have a couple of suggestions for you.
  1. Create something fun and unique - This is especially good for grandparents, godparents and other family members that have everything already. Some ideas are: painting pottery, creating a fun holiday rug, making a unique ornament, or creating a photo gift like ones from Shutterfly and Kodak. Check out your local art store to get some more ideas.
  2. Give an experience - This is great for people with limited space and time on their hands. My mother-in-law is very difficult to shop for, but she loves to paint and spend time with her grandchildren. A great gift for her is something like, lunch and a trip to the zoo with her grandchildren, or a local art class and some art supplies. You can also find "fancier" experience gift certificates online from sites like http://www.xperiencedays.com/default.asp and http://www.cloud9living.com/ . *NOTE: I've never used any of these sights, but they might be good to use to get some ideas.
If neither of those ideas will work for the loved one you have in mind, then you might just need someone else to give you some suggestions. If so, I highly recommend http://www.coolmompicks.com/holidaygiftguide09/. (You can click my button on my sidebar to take you right there) They have the gifts arranged by the person you're hoping to buy for and they are just adorable! They even include some coupon codes at the bottom of the list to save you some extra money. Speaking of saving money, before you buy online, make sure you check out retailmenot.com for even more coupon codes.

*Note: The information written below was added as result of my time spent on twittermoms.com. I was inspired to write it because of the following link: http://www.twittermoms.com/forum/topics/share-tips-for-saving-time .

Unfortunately, living in a small town we actually don't have a Staples nearby, so it has been quite a while since I've actually shopped there. However, upon looking at their website,
I've decided that it may well be time to check them out again next time I'm internet shopping or taking a trip to the "big city". Besides, we're definitely in need of a new computer and Staples is even giving you the chance to win one here http://staplesdailytechgiveaway.dja.com/
(Be sure to read the rules before entering)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thanksgiving Traditions

I was recently browsing around twittermoms.com when I ran across a post asking, "What three favorite family Thanksgiving traditions have you passed or will pass on to your children?" and it really started me thinking. So far, we haven't done a great job of passing on Thanksgiving traditions. My excuse is that is has been so busy since the kids were born. Also, my children are fortunate enough to know 3 sets of great-grandparents, which is amazing, but also adds 3 more houses to the holiday itinerary. However, seeing as how I fondly remember the traditions of my childhood, I decided that I'd better get started. So, here are my plans (which I fully expect will change since rarely do my plans work out quite as I expect):

  1. Holiday Decorating - As a child we would always begin our holiday decorating on the weekend of Thanksgiving. We weren't much for shopping on Black Friday, but we still celebrated the fact that Christmas is just around the corner by digging out some of our favorite decorations.
  2. Being Active - Before having children we would always eat our Turkey, then go outside and play football as a family. It was never a rough and tumble game, but we all got out and enjoyed the fresh air with a bit of friendly competition. While I don't know if we have enough in our immediate family to play football, we will definitely pick up an outdoor activity we can use to celebrate the day.
  3. Being Thankful - As corny as it may sound, each year at Thanksgiving dinner we used to tell each other one thing that we are thankful for. While the answers are usually pretty standard - "my family" "good food" etc, it is a great opportunity to take the time to think about all that we have. We have been very blessed and it is important that we all take the time to realize and acknowledge those blessings.
Note: This post was inspired by the above linked post at twitter moms. I'd like to thank twitter moms and Target for making me think about such a great topic.

Paint Your Own Pottery with the Kids

As a non-artistic mom with two kiddos that love crafts I am always trying to come up with fun new ideas for them. (I'd prefer that these ideas include crafts that I won't be tempted to throw away. Yep - I'm the bad mom that throws away a good percentage of the art projects that come home from school on a daily basis. Seriously, those of you that keep them, where do you put them??? They would take over the house if I kept them all.) Anyway. . . recently, a nearby paint-your-own pottery studio offered a class for kids to make a Thanksgiving plate using their handprint. In addition to the handprint turkey, the kids were allowed to either paint freely or use stamps to create even more designs on their plates. The kids had a blast and the resulting plate is something I will treasure forever! So, if you are looking for a fun treasure to make for yourself or a gift (grandparents would LOVE this), then check out your local paint your own pottery place and see what you can find. It was actually so much fun that I want to go back without the kids and paint a serving platter for myself. Even though I lack artistic ability, I think I might be able to create something cute if I use stamps too!

Wedgits - One of the coolest toys ever!

How many of you have ever heard of Wedgits? Well, I can honestly tell you that I had never heard of them until my daughter Peanut went to preschool at a new school last year. I was helping out at the Halloween party toy table (I'm not artistic enough to do the facepainting table!) and I saw these strange shaped building toys. There was a constant flow of kiddos to my table to play with these unique toys. While I really wanted to try them out, I didn't think it would be right to take them away from the 4 year olds just to satisfy my own curiosity, so I waited patiently. When circle time came and all of the munchkins were otherwise occupied I was free to play - so I did! What a fun toy! I've always liked building toys, but these really take the cake. The way that they are weighted allows you to build up, down, and side to side - in ways you wouldn't expect. They were such fun that I immediately came home and looked up their website http://www.wedgits.com/ Unfortunately, like most building toys, they are a little bit pricey. So, I've been waiting patiently until I am able to find them on sale (or win some!). I've yet to see a sale on Wedgits, but I did finally come across a giveaway for them here http://www.moodymamasays.com/giveaways/glamma-toys-review-giveaway/ THANK YOU moodymamasays and Glamma toys! This may finally be my chance to get the girls some Wedgits.

Note: Though now that I've seen the Glamma toys site I have to admit that those CitiBlocs looks pretty cool too. Now I need to find someplace where I can try those out. Maybe Pumpkin's preschool will get a set of those I can play with! :o)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mama’s Holiday Wish List

Mama’s Holiday Wish List Meme
TodaysMama and Provo Craft are giving away a sleighful of gifts this holiday season and to enter I’m sharing this meme with you.

1. What 5 items are on your holiday wish list this year?
  • For me??? This is hard . . . When I try to think of a list it is always stuff for Peanut and Pumpkin. So I guess the first would be a happy stress free holiday
  • A blu-ray player
  • An ipod touch
  • New paint throughout my house - It is too dark in here!
  • A dishwasher that works! Handwashing dishes is getting old.
  • (I know this is a 6th/7th, but I must admit that I've secreting been longing for that Madsen bike and a Dyson for several months now. I saw the bike in an email newsletter I received and bookmarked it to look at on occasion - though we could never afford to buy such an adorable extravagance)
2. What is your favorite handmade gift you have received?
  • Peanut made me a gorgeous reindeer holiday mat using her footprint when she was in preschool. It still makes me want to cry whenever I set it out. :o)
3. What handmade gift have you always wanted to tackle?
  • I've always wanted to be able to build things out of wood. I think it would be fun to make the kids a table/chair set, hubby a desk, and other fun stuff for family and friends. Why didn't they offer wood shop at my high school???
4. What was the best Christmas gift you received as a child?
  • The best Christmas gift I received as a child would probably be . . . shoot why can't I think of anything? I guess I shouldn't obsess over presents for the girls when I can't even remember what I got. :o)
5. What items are on your kid’s wish list this year?
  • They want Barbies, a Barbie doll house, a Barbie car ... notice the pattern here? :o) Where did this come from - I NEVER played with Barbies when I was little.
6. What is your favorite holiday food?
  • My favorite holiday food is COOKIES! Nothing tastes better than homemade kid-decorated cut-out cookies with messy frosting everywhere.
7. What will you be hand-crafting for the holidays?
  • Does it count that I make my kiddos make all my cards for me? They love to make crafts and I hate to throw them away, so I have them make cards for the family. I help cut out the shapes. :o)
8. What is your favorite holiday movie?
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas - the old cartoon version. It is classic!
9. Favorite holiday song?
  • TransSiberian Orchestra - Christmas Canon Rock
10. Favorite holiday pastime?
  • Does cuddling with the kiddos in front of the fireplace while watching a Christmas movie, eating popcorn and drinking cocoa (with marshmallows, of course) count?
So, those are my answers. Feel free to head on over to TodaysMama and try to enter for all this good stuff for yourself (or not - I like my odds better if you don't). LOL! (Text below taken from http://www.todaysmama.com/exclusives.php )

"Our “sleigh” is a Madsen Bike filled with gifts and goodies from Provo Craft to help you create those handmade projects including a Yudu screen-printing machine, a Cuttlebug, a Cricut Expression Machine, a Your Story thermal book binder, and a Knifty Knitter loom set. That’s not all - we’ve got treasures galore - a Dyson Blueprint, an Easy Walker Sky stroller from MamaBargains.com, two Sidekick baby carrier bags from Kemby and an Amber Alert GPS unit and a full year of service."

Click here to see an example.

Send them a link to your post via email with “Wish List Meme” in the subject line. You can even tag a few friends to participate in the meme. (Spread that holiday cheer!)

Thanks to all of their generous sponsors that helped make Mama’s Holiday Wishlist possible!

Sponsor List
Want to see those prizes in more detail? Click here.

The deadline to post and send them an email is Sunday, December 13th. They’ll annouce the winner on Monday, December 14th. Good luck!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Cold & Flu Season

Wow! It seems like Cold and Flu season really hit hard and early this year. With all the hype about H1N1, there's never been a better time to focus on all the little things you can do to keep yourself and your kiddos healthy (FYI - These are only my opinions based on past experience. I am not a health care provider, nor do I play one on the internet). Here's the list of things I tell my kiddos. First things first . . . WASH YOUR HANDS! Wash them frequently and wash them well. Use plenty of soap and warm water. When you are out and about I like to carry a hand sanitizer with me. From Purell to Bath & Body Works just about everyone makes their own version and they all seem to work fine for me. DON'T TOUCH YOUR FACE. When you touch your face with germy hands you are giving the germs direct access to the rest of your body. Even if you think your hands are clean it is always better to be safe and keeps your hands away from your face. EAT RIGHT & DRINK WATER. Keep yourself hydrated and healthy by eating right and drinking plenty of water. If your body is already in prime operating condition it seems less likely to me that you will get sick. GET PLENTY OF REST. This goes right along with eating right and drinking water. Give your body plenty of rest so it has time to recover from any possible germy invaders. Now, here's to hoping that this works for me and my family this year. Cross your fingers for us . . . Like I said, I'm no doctor and I'll even resort to superstitions to keep my family healthy. :o)

FYI - While trying things to stay healthy I'm going to give Boiron a shot too. One2One is providing me with samples for linking to this coupon (upper right hand side of the page). I've not heard of it before this opportunity, so I'm not endorsing it, but hopefully it will work for us.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Harry Connick Jr.'s "Your Songs" have become mine!

My love of Harry Connick Jr. began in high school with his album "Red Light, Blue Light", so when One2One asked me if I wanted to review his "Your Songs" album I jumped at the chance. When I received it in the mail I looked at the songs on the CD and was a little disappointed. I don't generally like when people do cover songs, but thought I should at least listen to it before casting judgment. I am more than happy that I did. Since receiving the CD approximately two weeks ago it has not left my kitchen CD player. Whenever I'm cooking, doing dishes, helping my kiddos with homework, or working on the computer it is playing. The smooth sounds of Harry Connick Jr. make some of my favorite old songs even better. It is relaxing and somehow seems to relieve the stress I normally feel while doing my daily stay-at-home mom work. I often find myself humming and dancing a bit while I put the dishes away. Even better, my kids don't complain when I have it on. If a CD can make my entire family listen without complaining, then it must be great!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Accepting your children for who they are . . .

I have always considered myself to be fairly open-minded and accepting of my children. While I grew up in a home where it was expected that I would go to college after high school, I have decided that it doesn't matter to me if my children go or not. If they find a job they love that doesn't require a college degree, then I will be happy for them. If they spend 4+ years in college pursuing a degree to get them in a job they want, then that is fine too. My main goal is their happiness.

I've recently discovered that I'm not as open-minded as I thought. My oldest daughter, Peanut, is very shy. She interacts with others in class, sports, etc, but won't play with others if given the option. She'd much prefer to just play alone. When I see her play alone, I assume she must be lonely. I assume that she'd be happier if she was playing with others. She loves to play with her sister, so she must want to play with these other children too, right? Well, I have spent the past month trying to "fix" her so that she will play with others, only to come to the realization that I might be wrong. Perhaps she does just enjoy playing by herself. Just because I enjoy interacting with others more often than not doesn't mean that she is the same. So, now I must try to change all that I previously believed - to accept my daughter as she is. She is a beautiful, intelligent, fun, kind, sensitive child that enjoys some time to herself. She is perfect just the way she is.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Anyone having a baby?


Okay, I don't know if you all have ever seen the Tripp Trapp before, but I must say that it is a must see! If you are having a baby then you have to get over to momcentral to try to win one. I'm not even having another baby and I want once (hence - this post). I'm getting ready to repaint my kitchen (yellow, I think) and guess what?!?!? It comes in yellow! Check out the cool colors and you'll want one for yourself. If you don't want one, even better. Go enter and if you win you can give it to me! :o)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Staying Fit Together


Disclaimer: I am a member of the Juicy Bunch and may receive points for posting about this article.

In December of 2008 I decided that I really needed to lose weight. I was getting ready for my cousin's wedding and nothing (literally nothing) in my closet that was wedding appropriate fit me. I hadn't realized that I had put on so much weight until that moment. I tend to wear loose fitting and baggy clothes since staying home with my kiddos, so it was easy to just add weight slowly without paying attention. After the wedding I came home and researched exercise/fitness programs that might work and be financially and logistically feasible. I ended up choosing Power 90 and was happy that I did. I lost weight, dropped two dress sizes, and just felt better all around. After I had finished my 90 day cycle though I was bored with the program. I just didn't want to do the same exercises anymore. At that point I decided to just try to maintain the weight loss on my own through diet and exercise. The diet is fairly easy (but would be easier if my kids would eat all their food and I didn't still hear my mom's voice telling me "there are starving children in Ethiopia"). The exercise was more of a challenge. Every time I put a DVD in the player one of my kids undoubtedly needs a drink, a snack, to go potty, etc. Finally I decided that if I want to exercise then I need to include the kids in on it too. Now, we bike together, walk together, play tag outside together and more. The girls love it and so do I! What a great way to take care of both myself and my girls! If you need some tips and ideas, the article from juicy juice has some good ones on how to get started.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Back to school . . . Tears or Cheers?

As a mom of two little girls, 3 and 5. I have been looking forward to back to school time most of the summer. The girls have been fighting like crazy and I thought they just needed a break from eachother (not to mention the break I kept asking for!). Well, today was my oldest daughter's first day of Kindergarten and I am shocked to say that I couldn't have been more sad. :o( I missed her, I worried about her, I cried when I dropped her off, and I kept staring at the clock hoping it was time to pick her up. Her sister missed her like crazy too. She kept asking when E would be home. She said how lonely she was. She really just moped around the house all day. Instead of cheers, it was definitely tears at our house. Now I've already started dreading the day 2 years from now when "S" will be going to school all day every day too. It almost makes me want to have another baby . . . ALMOST!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What is wrong with people?

On a recent trip to Pat Catans I became very disheartened by an interaction I saw between a customer and associate and actually wrote a letter to the company. (Though it has been almost a month and I have not gotten any response from them.) Here is the summary (though names have been changed to protect their identity):

"As a regular shopper at your store I have always been pleased with the excellent customer service I have received both in store and over the phone. Your associates have been kind, friendly, and willing to help me resolve any questions I have had. Unfortunately, yesterday I found myself at a crossroads in determining whether or not I should continue to shop at your store. This was not due to the actions of an associate, but the actions of "JOE", their boss. Due to the liquidation of the store, people were able to purchase a "cartload" of merchandise for the set price of $25. Customers and associates were all told that the cart had to be level with the brim to receive that price. Any merchandise above the rim would be purchased separately at 75% off. Many people grumbled a little, rearranged their stuff, or left merchandise at the counter when it wouldn't fit, but all complied with this rule. As my daughters (3 and 4) and I were bagging our own items, a couple in their 50s or 60s came to the front of the line. The associate politely told them that they would have to remove the items above the rim and pay for them separately OR get another cart and fill that for an additional $25. The man began yelling at her and telling her that "JIM" said it was okay. She replied by telling him that she was only doing what her boss told her, and that Jim wasn't her superior so unfortunately, she couldn't do anything with what he said. He then went into a horrible rant and began insulting and degrading her. He called her stupid and said that she hadn't worked there long enough to know what she was talking about. She said that she would ask her boss, but that they would have to wait because he was on an important phone call. The entire time they waited he continued to insult and berate her as she just stood there. It was very uncomfortable. JOE came in after a while and must have heard the end of that rant because he immediately walked over to that register . . . and told the associate that he was fine and to just ring him up for $25 because he knew him! While you might think I am upset because of the inequity in pricing, that is not my concern. I know that I got a good deal and am happy with my price regardless of the fact that someone may have gotten a "better" deal. I am livid because I then had to go outside and try to explain to my young children why anyone would treat someone else like that and not be held accountable in any way. I have worked in customer service and have managed other people as well. As a manager, I feel it is your job to reprimand your associates if they do something wrong, but it is also your job to protect and defend them if they are mistreated simply for following YOUR rules. The idea that "The customer is always right" has long passed and while you should do your best to make a customer happy, if someone behaves in that manner then they would not be welcome in my store. So, my question is this . . . Is this the norm in managerial policy at Pat Catans? If so, then I unfortunately can't continue to support a store that allows its employees to be treated so badly. When I looked at that young girl I could only think of my daughters. While I know that they will be exposed to rude and uncivilized people throughout their lives, I expect them to be supported and backed up by their bosses (when they are in the right).

If you do nothing else as a result of my comments, please at least find out who the girl was and let her know that I apologize for not saying something to the gentleman or at least expressing support of her when I had the opportunity. I should have! I would have wanted someone to do something for my children."

So, my question is this . . . Why hasn't Pat Catans responded to my concern? Also, when did people begin to think it was their right to insult another human being for doing their job. I am not completely naive and innocent. I have gotten upset with customer service at various locations. I have asked to speak to a manager. I have raised my voice. I have NOT berated and insulted the person standing in front of me doing their job and upholding a policy that they've been given.

Sorry Pat Catan - you have lost my business. Not simply for hiring people that might have made a mistake in judgment (since that happens to us all), but for not even having the decency to respond to my concerns.

Monday, March 23, 2009

First Trip to PIB


The ferries are running, so we took our first trip to PIB this past weekend and had a blast. The sun wasn't shinning as brightly as we had hoped, but the girls still really enjoyed the park and seeing their Granny. They continue to ask about Mona the turtle though I doubt we'll see her again this year - the budget cuts prevented her from appearing at the hatchery last year and I expect the same this year. Not much is open yet, but we're looking forward to more visits and more fun in 2009! Maybe they'll even catch another fish! (My avatar is a modified pic of their first!)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Recent Calorie Counter

As a recent calorie counter I am finding myself a little obsessed. Who knew so many foods had so many calories? You know those cute little "fruit slices" . . . I know you know the candy I'm talking about. It looks like fruit so you can convince yourself it is okay to eat, but in reality there is not one fruity thing about it. Did you know that just one of those little fruit slices has 50 calories!?!?! Yikes! No wonder I wasn't losing any of my baby weight . . . nevermind that my baby is now 3 years old.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New Year New You

After a long crazy holiday season I am back. I have been on a mission lately to get back in shape and live a healthier life (like so many others during this "resolution" time). However, I feel different this time. I am not just doing it for me . . . I am doing it for my kids. They really like healthy food and to get out and exercise. I feel like I'm holding them back and teaching them the wrong way to live by having junk in the house and sitting on the computer too much. So, 15 days down for my new lifestyle and I think I might just make it. Losing weight would be a great benefit, but the main goal is to live healthy, be healthy and teach my kids that taking care of themselves is one of the most important things they can do for themselves and those they love!