Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Most Triumphant Outlet Shopping Story

My oldest daughter, Peanut, is currently 5 going on 16. She will actually be celebrating her 6th birthday in May, but based on her wish list, you'd think she was much older. When my sister called to ask what she wanted and I told her, she was shocked. Her response was, "What?!?! She doesn't want any toys?" Nope! Peanut wants only clothes and shoes for her birthday. This morning we just had a meltdown because she couldn't find anything that matched and looked cute (according to her standards). While I have no idea where she got her fashion sense from (I'm a jeans and sweatshirt kind of girl), I now have to deal with it. So, outlets here I come . . . again!

The last time I experienced the joy of outlet shopping was when I was in college. I was nearing my graduation and definitely needed a new wardrobe. Being a science rather than a physical education major meant I wouldn't be able to wear yoga pants and sweatshirts to work. A friend and I set out for the outlets. We hit Gap, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor and Jones New York. In one day we each had a full wardrobe and a not completely empty wallet. Since that time I hadn't really needed to upgrade my wardrobe again. Who knew that the next time I'd experience the joys of outlet shopping, it would be for my daughter.

This post was inspired by this discussion at TwitterMoms, Gap and Banana Republic. Here is some additional information that they have provided.
"More About Gap Outlet
Gap Outlet provides Accessible Style, Exceptional Value, and is much, much more than just a Factory Store.

More About Banana Republic Factory Store
Banana Republic Factory Store offers Banana Republic Style at brilliant prices.

Gap Outlet Offerings
Gap Outlet is offering up to 50% off on select Summer Styles from April 23 until May 6th! Also, Gap Outlet is offering an exclusive coupon code to the TwitterMoms community for an additional 15% discount on all purchases, with a minimum spend of $75. This exclusive additional discount is available to all TwitterMoms friends and family from April 26 through May 10.

Banana Republic Factory Store Offerings
Banana Republic Factory Store is offering up to 50% off all women's clothes from April 30 until May 19th! Banana Republic Factory Store is offering an exclusive coupon code to the TwitterMoms community for an additional 15% discount on all purchases, with a minimum spend of $75. This exclusive additional discount is available to all TwitterMoms friends and family from April 26 through May 10, so hurry to your closest location today."

Gap Twitter Discount
Exclusive Gap Outlet and Banana Republic Factory Store Savings

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Gap Outlet blogging program to be eligible to get a $20 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Win It Wednesday

As a bit of a pack rat, I have an odd collection of "stuff" at any given time on my desk. Some of my treasures are gifts from friends and family. Other items are freebies or promotional gifts. Periodically I like to go through my collection and regift items that don't serve a purpose for me, but are likely to find a good home elsewhere. Today, I have decided to give these items away to you, my loyal (or new) readers.

  1. $10 Canadian itunes card (Scratched) I received this from twitter party only to learn that you can NOT use it if you do not have a Canadian itunes account.
  2. $10 Canadian itunes card (Unscratched) I received this from twitter party only to learn that you can NOT use it if you do not have a Canadian itunes account.
  3. Lucy's Cookies (2 boxes)
  4. Lucy's Cookies (2 boxes)
  5. Elizabeth Grant The Socializer Bright Lights & Late Nights (ARV $40)
  6. Akhassa Amala Foot Therapy (ARV $40)
  7. Earth Mama Angel Baby Organics Pregnancy Pampering Kit (ARV $40)
  • All prizes are new.
  • Some of the boxes do show some wear since they have been on my desk or in my cabinet for some time.
  • You can win more than one item
  • You must leave a way for me to contact you if you are the winner. If your email address is not available on your profile, then please leave it in your comment.
  • Winners will be selected by random.org
  • #3-7 Open to US residents only
  • Giveaway ends Wednesday May 19, 2010 at 11:59 pm EST
How to win (Leave a comment for each entry):
  • MANDATORY - Post a comment telling me which item(s) you are interested in winning in order of preference.
  • Follow me on twitter and leave a comment with your twitter name @rmgm
  • Tweet about this giveaway using @rmgm and this link http://bit.ly/a4XaDq Post a comment with the link to your tweet (one entry per day)
  • Publicly follow my blog with Google Friend Connect and leave a comment with your username
  • Go to Facebook.com/csnstores and click on the events tab. Leave a comment that you are voting for #13 to vote for my girls to win the Imagination Nation Contest. Leave a comment here with your initials telling me you voted.
Good Luck!

Friday, April 23, 2010

10 Little Things that Lead to a Happier, Healthier You

Trop50 Little Things for Happy, Healthy Living
1000 Little Things for Moms from Trop50

Twittermoms is at it again. This time they are teaming up with Tropicana Juicy Rewards to promote a "Spring Renewal" blogging program. This program is designed to help you to live a healthier, happier life by focusing on the little ways you can live better each and every day. For a sample of some other bloggers' ideas check out The Thousand Little Things page that TwitterMoms has up. There are some amazing bloggers with great ideas out there to help us all live better. Being a (sometimes) blogger myself, I've decided to contribute my top 10 little things as well. Enjoy!
  1. Smile - The Facial Feedback Hypothesis essentially states that smiling actually makes you happy. While I don't know that smiling muscles send a message to my brain to make me happy, I do know that when I smile, others often return the favor.
  2. Breathe - When I'm stressed I often find myself unconsciously holding my breath. I don't know if I'm the only one that does it, but if I remind myself to breathe I can often relax and think more clearly.
  3. Laugh - Sometimes my kids do something hilarious. I used to try to keep myself from laughing because I didn't want to encourage their inappropriate behavior. Now, I laugh! Life is too short! (Though being a responsible parent, I still explain to them why they shouldn't do it again.)
  4. Play hooky - Now I'm not suggesting that you don't take care of your responsibilities. I don't want anyone to get fired from your job, but there are plenty of occasions where you can play hooky. My kids are 4 and 5. We have skipped ballet because it is too beautiful outside to be in a studio. Enjoy life!
  5. Eat dessert - . . . in moderation. You have to make smart and healthy decisions regarding food, but don't torture yourself. If you want a piece of chocolate . . . eat one! I personally favor dark chocolate because I can rationalize that choice more easily, but whatever your food "vice", enjoy it. Savor each small bite and don't make yourself feel bad about indulging once in a while.
  6. Get moving (but don't call it exercise) - For some reason the term "exercise" feels like work to me. I love to go for walks, play DDR, play T-ball with the kiddos, bike ride, etc. Find what you love to DO and DO it.
  7. Learn something new - My kids are ALWAYS asking me questions. Sometimes I know the answers, but sometimes I don't. When I don't, we like to find the answers as a family. Usually we'll just google it, but sometimes we'll do an experiment (it is the science geek in me). I love to learn new things, discover new ideas, and encourage my kids creativity.
  8. Look through the eyes of a child - Take time to enjoy the amazing aspects of life. Marvel at the serenity of the water, the vivid colors of the flowers, the beautiful songs of the birds. Take a minute to look at the shapes in the clouds. There is so much to enjoy in life if you allow yourself the opportunity. When you are stressed out, look around you and pretend you are seeing your surroundings for the very first time.
  9. Make a list - Sometimes I feel like I work all day and don't get anything done. If I make a list, then I can see all that I've accomplished. I make lists for items I want, goals I have, places to visit, movies to see, books to read, etc. Personally, lists give me motivation and keep me focused.
  10. LOVE - Love life. Love your family. Love your job. If you don't have anything in your life right now that you love, then find something. Do you like to paint? Take a class or just buy supplies and paint. Do you like to read? Join or start a book club. Even if you feel like you're too busy right now, make time. Doing something you love will make you happy. I've found that being happy makes everything in life seem just a little bit easier.
For taking the time to read my list, I am able to offer you a one time use code for Tropicana Juicy Rewards - TWMOM-READR. This one-time use code (worth 1 pt) is valid for new accounts ONLY. Must be entered within 6 hours of creating your account. Limit one new account bonus code per new account. All accounts must be created and all codes entered by May 7, 2010 at 11:59 PM EST.

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Tropicana Trop50 blogging program to be eligible to win 6 free Juicy Rewards points and a $30 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Top 5 things that would make volunteering easier

To give a little bit of history, I went to a Catholic grade school and high school. Because of that, I was required to do community service. We had to complete 100 hours in order to graduate. I volunteered in schools, nursing homes, soup kitchens, at sporting events, and countless other places. Thinking back on those times, I have fond memories. It always made me feel good to give back to my community, and often times I enjoyed myself as well. I interacted with some amazing people, heard some great stories, and became a more well-rounded person as a result of my time volunteering. Now that my children are getting a bit older, I would like to expose them to the benefits of volunteering as well. As I've tried to arrange times, dates and places for us all to volunteer, I've run across many frustrations. If companies, schools, and non-profit organizations really want more people to volunteer, they need to make the process a little bit easier.
  1. Limit Paperwork / Pretesting - I realize that it is important to make sure that I am not a criminal when working with people, especially children. In fact, in order to volunteer in my kids' classrooms I needed to be fingerprinted. As a SAHM, I didn't have a problem getting to the school (during school hours) 2-3 weeks in advance to get that done. However, working parents might have a hard time with that. Knowing that it is a requirement, perhaps the school should make it available at "Openhouse" or some other after hours event. Also, other schools in the area require that you take an evening or weekend course about volunteering in order to be able to volunteer. Some people only have an hour or two to spare to volunteer. Making them take additional time will definitely detract from their desire to help.
  2. Stick to a set schedule - While donating blood is not technically "volunteering", it still involves taking time out of your day to help others. As a blood donor, I sign up for a time slot. It is frustrating to arrive at my scheduled time only to find that I have to wait in line behind others that signed up for different times, but decided to come early or late.
  3. Be flexible - I know that it is easier if you have only have to train one person to work the ticket booth, but one person may not want to (or be able to) volunteer for 8 hours. If you have to, divide up the time so that no one feels obligated to over-extend.
  4. Accept help from everyone - At Peanut's previous school, they sent home a note asking who would like to help with xyz. I returned the note stating that I would love to participate. I was never contacted. I don't know if they didn't need me, or if they didn't like me, but I felt rejected. If they had sent a note or made a call to tell me that they had too many volunteers, then I would have felt better. I would have been more likely to volunteer again. You never know when you will need extra help, so don't burn any bridges with your volunteers.
  5. Be nice - When I volunteer, whether it is to give blood or work in a classroom, I like to feel appreciated. You don't have to give me an award, a gift, or a round of applause. I just want to feel like a person. While I am happy to do whatever it takes to make the event, day, etc go as planned, I am not your servant. Please treat me with respect, say "Thank you!", and I am much more likely to help out again in the future.
This post was inspired by Twittermoms. and Jooners

This post is part of a blogging contest from the TwitterMoms community. There is a chance this post could be randomly selected to win a $50 Amazon gift card, so wish me luck! For more details, you can view the contest page here (http://icomp.ly/volunteer).

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - A reminder

This is one of my favorite pictures of me and my girls on Halloween night many years ago.

This morning we had way too much attitude and sass while getting ready. After I dropped off Peanut I needed to come home and remind myself of all the other stages (some easy, some difficult) we've made it through successfully. Five going on 16 is a tough one!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Weekend Review - Balancing Acts by Zoe Fishman

I recently finished reading the book, Balancing Acts, by Zoe Fishman. From the Harper Collins Website:
"Book Description

A poignant debut novel about the transformative powers of yoga and friendship for four women on the verge of realizing their dreams

With beauty, brains, and a high-paying Wall Street position, Charlie was a woman who seemed to have it all—until she turned thirty and took stock of her life, or lack thereof. She left it all behind to pursue yoga, and now, two years later, she's looking to drum up business for her fledgling studio in Brooklyn. Attending her college's alumni night with fliers in tow, she reconnects with three former classmates whose post-graduation lives, like hers, haven't turned out like they'd hoped.

Romance book editor Sabine still longs to write the novel that's bottled up inside her. Once an up-and-coming photographer and Upper East Side social darling, Naomi is now a single mom who hasn't picked up her camera in years. And Bess, who dreamed of being a serious investigative journalist a la Christiane Amanpour, is stuck in a rut, writing snarky captions for a gossip mag. But at a weekly yoga class at Charlie's studio, the four friends, reunited ten years after college, will forge new bonds and take new chances—as they start over, fall in love, change their lives...and come face-to-face with haunting realities."

Overall, I really liked this book. Once started, it was definitely a book that I had to keep reading to see what happened. I found it easy to relate to the characters and their struggles. I think that Zoe did a good job of drawing the reader into the lives of these four friends. I would definitely recommend it to women in their 20s-40s. I think that the book gives women the opportunity to think about their lives; their successes, their failures, and what they have yet to accomplish.

Unfortunately, I did have two issues with the book that bothered me. First, I didn't really like the ending. Perhaps the author was trying to leave the book somewhat open ended so that she might continue the book at a later time. I can see her trying to create a series about these women and the progress they make as life goes on. Perhaps she didn't want to give a concrete ending so that the reader might feel empowered to create their own ending - in the book and in their own life. My other frustration was not an "author" issue, but perhaps more of an editing issue (or maybe even my own reader issue). There were two times in the book that I had to reread a page or two to determine which character was being talked about. The book said, "Naomi", but I am almost certain that they were talking about Charlie. I wasn't reading an ARC, so I wasn't expecting to struggle with issues like that during this book. Even though I know I make oodles of my own mistakes in my blog and in life, for some reason I like the books I read to be perfect. I know that it is hypocritical, but it is what it is.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Fitness Friday - Update

So, you may be wondering how I am doing with my Sensa journey. The truth is, it was a short lived journey. I tried Sensa for a while and found that it definitely helped to control my hunger. Unfortunately, I am not a person that eats because I'm hungry. I eat when I'm bored, lonely, tired, sad, happy, to celebrate, to mourn, etc. Even though I didn't feel as hungry while I was using Sensa, I continued to eat . . . which actually made me feel a little worse about myself. So, I stopped using it.

On another note, I just got a Wii Fit and DDR (which is way too much fun!) and am finding that I am enjoying getting off my butt and moving a bit more lately. I set up the Wii Fit yesterday and discovered that my age is 43! Yikes! Now I have some goals and the motivation to get started. I hope to do something every day. If it is nice, the girls and I will go for a walk or bike ride. On gloomy days, we'll play Wii. Wish me luck on this endeavor. I'm hoping to find a new lifestyle that I can enjoy and will make me and my family healthier!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - What does he want???

For the past two days, this same bird has been trying to get into our house. For hours at a time he will repeatedly run into the window . . . Does anyone know why?

He's starting to really annoy me. Between the constant tapping on the window and the obscene amounts of poo he's leaving on the munchkins sandbox and my window, he is no longer welcome here!

Why won't he just turn around and fly the other way!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Do you have a mental block?

Is it just me, or do you have a mental block when it comes to something completely random too? For some reason that is completely beyond my comprehension I can NOT remember how to turn on my fireplace. It is a gas fireplace and there are two (or is it three) separate switches and knobs that you have to click, hold, turn, spin, push, pull, etc in some specific order to make it work. No matter how many times Doc shows me how to do it, the next time I want to turn it on again, I just can't remember. Luckily, I have never urgently needed it, because I'm pretty certain I would freeze to death before I was able to figure it out.

Monday, April 12, 2010

10 Tips for Managing and Organizing My Family

If you ask my husband if I am an organized person, I can be fairly certain that he will laugh hysterically while trying answer that with a resounding "NO!". However, that is simply because his definition and mine generally vary quite significantly. Doc's organization is very methodical. If you were to walk into his office you could probably find just about anything you needed quite quickly. His organization is patterned and has an obvious structure to it. My organization is also quite clear . . . to me . . . in my head. I doubt that anyone else could walk into my "space" and find anything. I, on the other hand, can find things quite easily. While methodical organization is not typically my strong suit, I do realize its importance. In fact, after the arrival of my munchkins I began to realize that it is not only important to be methodically organized, but vital to my survival. If other people can't figure out your pattern of organization, then they simply can't help, which means you don't get a break. So, here are my "disorganized mom" tips for managing and organizing my family:
  1. Plan Meals: I'm definitely not the perfect mom, and we probably eat out more often than we should, but generally we know exactly what (or where) we'll be eating for the week when it starts.
  2. Plan Clothes: Check the weather and pick out your clothes the night before. When you start in a rush, it sets the tone for the day.
  3. Plan Cleanup: Personally we like to do all of our laundry in one day. While other families might choose to do one load a day, we like to get it out of the way. Either method is fine, but make sure you know when you're planning to do each of your weekly chores so that you don't feel overwhelmed as undone jobs pile up.
  4. Give everyone a job: Divide and conquer! Give everyone a job they can handle and make it the norm. My girls never complain about matching socks or folding towels because those are their jobs. When I'm cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, the girls vacuum the floor before they can play. It is just what we do.
  5. Stick to a schedule/routine: While it will be necessary on occasion to deviate from a set schedule, it is very important to have one. Making sure you and the kiddos are getting enough sleep, having enough free time and giving yourself enough time to get your daily work done is vital to keeping everyone healthy and happy.
  6. Prioritize: Not everything will get done every week. Sometimes things come up that will throw off all your best plans. Decide what is most important to you and don't worry about the rest. Life is too short.
  7. Create written goals: This is important for children as well as adults. Know why you're doing what you are. If you can't see the reason for a particular task, you are less likely to feel motivated to get it done.
  8. Pare down: Sometimes when we really take time to evaluate our lives we find that we have too much, are doing too much, or are wasting too much time. Evaluate your written goals and get rid of those activities, jobs, and things that are unnecessary.
  9. Have fun! Stress is the biggest issue in our family for making us feel disorganized. If you can, have fun while you're getting work done. In addition, make sure you have plenty of fun time built in to your week.
  10. Re-evaluate: Periodically you need to reevaluate your plans, lists, goals, etc. As any good manager knows, when goals change, plans must also.
This post is part of a blogging contest from the TwitterMoms community. There is a chance this post could be randomly selected to win a $50 Target GiftCard, so wish me luck! For more details, you can view the contest page here (http://icomp.ly/IconApps). You can also find more information on IconApps here.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

I'm Melissa, a wife and SAHM to two gorgeous little girls. Peanut is 5 and Pumpkin is 4. The girls, Doc and I live in a cozy little house on Lake Erie. We love the water and the gorgeous sunsets. I'm new to blogging, so this will be my first UBP. Generally, I just blog about whatever it is I'm doing. I love to read, so you'll see plenty of book reviews as time goes on. As a SAHM, I also talk about my kids - a lot! Other than that, I'm trying to find my way. I think I might want to go back to work when both girls are in school. The problem is that I don't know what I want to do. I'm hoping that blogging about life in general will help lead me to wherever it is I'm supposed to be after this. One thing I'm pretty certain of, is that I'm not meant to be a monetized blogger. While I love to write, I don't write well. Writing here is just a way for me to think out loud. So, I will apologize for any grammatical and/or spelling errors you encounter during your visit. Thanks for stopping by!

This video cracks me up. For some reason I thought I'd be cooler online too, but I'm not. I'm still just me. :o)

Oops! I almost forgot . . . here are the prizes I'm hoping to win:
  1. GRAND PRIZE at the Ultimate Blog Party 2010 is a Toshiba Satellite L505D-ES5025
  2. #39 -Be My Guest certificate ($250 value) for one lucky winner, (2 night stay for a family of four) at any Hilton Garden Inn.
  3. USC 17 – With the upcoming release of their iphone app in the next few weeks, CmomGo is offering up a $200 Apple Gift certificate. For moms that do not currently have an AT&T contract and have wanted that Iphone this will cover the cost of a 16Gig 3GS iphone with the signup of a 2 year contract with AT&T. For our moms that already have an AT&T contract with a different phone this can be used towards the purchase of a new iphone or it can be used for anything else at the Apple store! Our friends from CmomGo sure hope you use it for an iphone though!
  4. Cash & Visa Cards (#37, 100, 104, USC35, USC39)
  5. Amazon GCs (#31, 52, 55, 73, 74, 87, 88, USC8, USC36, USC37, USC40, USC44
  6. Target GCs (#32, 107, USC3, USC15, USC32)
  7. #70 – $25 Kroger Gift Certificate
  8. USC 21 – $25 Gift Card to Cinemark Theaters
  9. USC 25 -$25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card-online or in store, never expires!
  10. USC 41 – $25 Gift Card to Macy’s
  11. USC 60 – For one winner a $200 gift certificate for any Wall Slicks vinyl wall decal of your choice. DIY decorating made easy with Wall Slicks wall stickers.
  12. #75 – $100 Gift Certificate to SummitCampingGear.com
  13. #84 – One $25 Gift Certificate to Shutterfly.com.
  14. USC 13 – $100 gift certificate to Kay Jewelers
  15. #50 – Win a $50 Gift Certificate to Froggy Girl Designs!
  16. #40- One winner will receive a 3 day 2 night stay from Holiday Inn Main Gate East in Kissimmee, FL (less than 2 miles from Disney World) a value of $250
  17. #101 – One lucky winner will get this $450 Human Touch Foot and Calf Massager that is being given away by Still Blonde after All These Years!, a blog for women over 45.
  18. #22 – One winner will receive a fun Beach themed gift basket filled with an assortment of hair bows and clippies from ribbonrockstar hairbows. (Prize Value: $50)
  19. 83 – Disney Mickey 5-in-1 Tasty Baker by Pop Art. An all in one table top appliance that bakes pancakes, cakes, quickbreads, biscuits and donuts and more into 6 bite sized shapes (Mickey mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy and Pluto) in about one-third the time. It can even cook eggs.
  20. Since it is obvious I need a new blog design I would also be happy with one of the design packages that work with what I have. Sadly, knowing nothing about blog design I have no idea what I really need or can use.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Painted Nails

My silly sister-in-law allowed my little girls to paint her nails! They did a splendid job, right? ;o)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

My bar stools are here!

Recently, you may remember that I was contacted by CSNstores to host a giveaway on my blog. They were the very first company that I worked with, and the experience was great. Before that giveaway, I didn't really have an opinion about the company, good or bad. I hadn't purchased from them before. You may also remember on that giveaway post that the only reason I agreed to work with them was that I had contacted them about some bar stools that I saw on the site, and the CSR I dealt with was very kind and helpful.

Well . . . flash forward to today. . . MY BARSTOOLS are HERE! As promised, here is my update on CSNstores.com (specifically allbarstools.com).

In early February I was contacted by CSNstores to host a giveaway. As part of the process, I was browsing Allbarstools.com and ran across some bar stools that I wanted to get for my kitchen to replace the rickety old ones we currently have. The bar stools I was interested could be custom made into one of oodles of colors. I called and spoke to a very nice CSR. She ordered several sample swatches for me and had them shipped to my home. When they arrived, Doc and I were (shockingly) able to agree on the same swatch. The only problem was that the swatch had the name of a fabric that wasn't listed on the site. Since the CSR I first spoke to was kind enough to give me her direct line, I called her (3x) to see if I could clarify which fabric I needed to order. Unfortunately, she was never available when I called and never called me back. Finally, near the middle/end of March I called the standard 1-800 number and spoke to a different representative. She was just as kind and helpful. We spent nearly 1/2 hour on the phone trying to track down the color sample and figuring out how to order it since it wasn't on the drop down list. She placed the order for me via phone and then I waited for a ship notification. Approximately one week after the order was placed I received that notification with a tracking number. I contacted the shipping company to schedule delivery and received the boxes today. All of the bar stools required a little bit of "easy assembly" (per the website). Unfortunately, the stools did not come with assembly instructions. One would think that it would be easy. There are four bolts and four holes - insert the bolts into the holes and Voila! bar stools, right? Well, the stools I ordered are swivel stools and I couldn't figure out how to make them swivel so that I could put the bolts into the holes. After trying to figure it out myself (and cutting my hand three times), I called the company again to see if I was missing something. I was transferred to someone who was able to walk me through the entire process (with a warning not to touch the swivel thing without the cardboard or a rag because it was so sharp . . . a little late!). He was very patient with me, which I appreciated. I think he realized my lack of knowledge of tools when he asked me if the bolts were screws or bolts and I didn't have any idea. I am not generally an assembly kind of girl, but Doc is having a VERY long day at work today so I thought I'd give it a shot. Anyway, after taking Pumpkin to school, I sat down and assembled all 6 of the barstools. They look great, feel comfortable and are PERFECT!

So, to make a long story short, I would DEFINITELY recommend CSNstores for your shopping needs. Overall I had a really great experience. I did run into a few glitches and problems, but all were resolved quickly and easily. The customer service is top-notch. Personally, I wouldn't hesitate for an instant to do business with them again.

*Note: I did not receive any products or compensation for this post.
All opinions are my own and are based entirely on my own experiences. Others may have different opinions based on different experiences.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Have you heard of FashionPlaytes?

FashionPlaytes is a site where young girls between the ages of 4 and 12 (ish) can design their own clothes. I believe that the site is marketed to girls 6+, but my girls are 4 and 5 and were able to use the site and wear the clothes as well. The clothes are quite reasonably priced, especially with the coupon codes that are available. While the site doesn't allow total freedom of design, it does allow for a child to use a significant amount of creativity in designing.

My girls both chose to make "The Cassidy" for themselves for Valentine's Day as a gift from us. They really enjoyed the designing process and were each able to create a dress that reflected their own personalities.

When we received the dresses, I was thrilled, except for the fact that both dresses had Pumpkin's name on the tag. After a quick call to the company, the problem was resolved. They even expedited shipping on the dress to make sure that it would be received before Valentine's Day. Peanut and Pumpkin love these dresses. They are soft, comfortable, and self-designed. I think they would probably wear them every day if they could.

I actually have no idea how I first heard of FashionPlaytes, but I sure am glad I did. With top-notch customer service and high quality clothing, they make shopping for clothes a fun experience for us all!

*Note - All opinions are my own. I did not receive a product nor any other compensation for this post.

I'm back!

After an amazing (but exhausting) week with the kiddos, I am back. Overall, I have to say that this spring break was pretty amazing. I was able to spend time with my friends and family as well as arrange play dates for Peanut and Pumpkin. We kept busy, didn't get bored, and enjoyed the gorgeous weather. We were even able to take our first trip of the year to Granny's cottage on the island. Now that I feel rested and rejuvenated, I'm ready to take on my massive list of posts. So, here goes . . .