Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Juicy Bunch

As many of you know, I am a member of The Juicy Bunch.  As a member I  provide feedback to Juicy Juice about their products, ideas, recipes, activities, etc.  In exchange for my feedback I earn points that I can use to "purchase" gift cards.  It is a perfect fit for me since I absolutely LOVE Juicy Juice.  I am a 100% juice mom with 100% juice kids!

As a Juicy Bunch member, I have two exciting pieces of information to share with you -
  1. If you have been to one of my recent Juicy Juice parties, you can provide feedback about the party in exchange for a coupon.  Yes, even though you received one from me in person, you can also now print one.  All you have to do is go here and tell them all about our shindig!
  2. If you think you might like to be a part of the Juicy Bunch community as well, you can apply here.  The community is expanding and you could be a part of it!
Here's what they have to say about their community:
"The Juicy Bunch is an exclusive and exciting team of highly influential and active brand advocates that help generate buzz about JUICY JUICE. As a member of the Juicy Bunch, you’ll have access to sneak peeks of new JUICY JUICE products and promotions as well as provide invaluable feedback that can help shape the future of our brand offerings. Once you’re in, you will use the site as a hub from which you can organize exciting social events and bring JUICY JUICE into your existing groups, clubs and social circles. Many of the tools and supplies needed to share JUICY JUICE will be provided."

Friday, June 25, 2010

Embracing Summer Reading

Twittermoms has a new blogging program this summer to find and share ways to keep your kids involved in reading this summer.  I can't wait to read the tips and tricks that other moms use to keep their kids engaged during the summer months.  Right now, I am fortunate to have two little girls that LOVE to read.  Reading is an integral part of their lives and has been since the day they were born.  Each night before bed we read a story (or two or three) to the girls.  Some of the books we read are silly, whereas others are more "educational" in nature.  No matter what we read though, the girls love to participate either by reading themselves or asking questions about the book and the characters.  Honestly, I don't think a day goes by where we don't spend at least 1/2 hour reading together.

My girls are happy to continue their reading during the summer months.  The problem usually comes in when I get busy or just too lazy to keep them on track.  During the summer, as the days are longer, and bedtimes get later, it is tempting to skip the story to get the girls in bed faster.   One way that I have found to keep myself on track is to sign Peanut and Pumpkin up for summer reading programs.  Most major bookstores have a program that simply involves reading books to earn prizes. Some of our favorites are:

Our local library has a summer reading program too.  This program has a list of different types of books to read in order to win various prizes.  For example, we needed to read 3 Caldecott books, 5 picture books, a biography, a book by an author whose last name begins with the same letter as our last name, etc.  It is like a scavenger hunt of reading.  It has encouraged us to select books we wouldn't normally read and expand our horizon a bit.  This is actually the best way we find to stay on track since weekly visits to the library are also factored in to your prize earning abilities.  Once we go to the library and pick out a book, the girls can't wait to get them all read. 

For other tips and tricks be sure to check out Twitter Moms Reading Channel.  You're bound to get some great ideas.  If you have ideas to share, the TwitterMoms community would love to hear them.  Check out their site to find out how to get involved.  I welcome your ideas and comments here as well.

*Disclaimer:  I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms blogging program to be eligible to get an "I Can Read!" book. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

I Can Read! BooksBecome an I Can Read! Member

Monday, June 21, 2010

Headboards, Cookware, and Toys - Oh My!


My bedroom is in desperate need of a makeover. We bought the furniture when we were first married over ten years ago.  Unfortunately, too many rooms are in need of repair to allow us to focus on just that one. The great thing about bedrooms though, is that simple changes can easily alter the entire look and feel of your room.   Headboards and comforters are two of the easiest and most inexpensive modifications you can make.  Upon browsing the CSN website I've found two styles that I'm leaning toward for our room.  I love the modern look of this headboard, but the storage aspect of this one is also very appealing.  I also fell in the love with the look of this headboard.  I think it would look perfect in a guest room with a coastal feel to it. 

The great thing about browsing a CSN site, is that  once you get an idea in your head for a new design or theme, you can find something for every room of your house.  After seeing this headboard, I started thinking about entertaining.  Right now, my cookware and serving dishes are a mish-mash of different colors and styles.  Wouldn't it look fabulous to have this Le Creuset bake ware in Caribbean for our picnics on the deck?  Nothing says relaxing vacation like this gorgeous shade of green-blue!

After eating a delicious meal, it is time to play.  We were just in the lake this weekend, so I started looking for some fun toys that the girls would really enjoy.  When I came across this fun water teeter-totter, I knew I had a winner.  I especially love that it is big enough for even adults to enjoy!

Now that I have a list a mile long of items I'd love to have from CSN stores, you have the opportunity to browse the site and find something you'd like.  One lucky winner will be receiving a $50 gift certificate to use as they wish on any of the 200+ CSNstore sites!  Here's what you have to do for your chance to win.

Mandatory Entry:  Browse any of the CSN stores and find an item that interests you (other than the ones linked to above).  Post a link to the item and a brief statement of why you'd like to win it.

Optional Extra Entries:
  1. Follow me on Twitter.  Post your username in the comments.
  2. Tweet about this giveaway using @rmgm and @CSNStores.  Post a link to your tweet here.  This can be done once daily.  You can use the shortened link
  3. Blog about this giveaway and post a link to your blog post here.  Your post must include the link
  4. Follow me publicly on Google Friend Connect and post a comment with your username.
  • Only open to US and Canadian residents
  • Winner will be chosen using
  • Giveaway ends 11:59pm ET on July 6, 2010
  • Include your email address in your comment if it is not available on your profile page.
  • Winner will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.
*Note:  This giveaway is sponsored by CSNstores.  I did not receive any compensation in exchange for hosting this giveaway.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  Others may have different experiences.

Happy Father's Day

Father's Day is a day to celebrate the great men in your life.  I am fortunate to have many great men to honor on this special day:

Dad - You are an amazing man.  You work hard, play hard, and love us with all your heart.  Over the years you've coached me in countless sports, taught me how to coach others, and showed me how to be a kind and generous person.  You've never met a stranger and generally believe in the good in others.  You have high expectations, but countless compliments when we accomplish the goals we set out to achieve.  Though we have argued over the years, I could not have asked for a better father.  I recently heard this song for the first time and immediately thought of you.  While all parts do not apply, you'll know immediately the parts that do.  Thank you for all you have done for me.  I love you!

Doc - You are an amazing father to our two beautiful little girls.  They look at you with love and admiration.  While they don't always appreciate all that you do for them, some day they will.  The time will come before too long when I expect  that I will lose some of my ability to talk to the girls without an argument.  I take solace in the fact that you will be there for them.  They will still be able to talk and laugh with you.  You will be my eyes and ears when I need them most.  The girls are very lucky to have you as a daddy!

Dad2 - In the father-in-law lottery, I think I won the jackpot.  You are easy to talk to and laugh with.  Your sense of humor makes any gathering more fun.  Your love for your family, while shown in different ways, is amazing.  While I love you like a Dad, I appreciate the fact that you seem to understand that I can't bring myself to call you that.  Thank you for all you do for us! 

Grandpa - A man of few words, a hug and the words "Hola Mija" can make my heart melt.  While you never have much to say, your presence alone tells me that you love me.  Thank you for being a part of some of the most important moments in my life.

Grandpa - It is hard to believe you have been gone now for ten years.  When I think of you I remember your sense of humor, your work ethic, your sweet laugh, and your penchant for falling asleep just about anywhere.  As a farmer, you worked long hard days, yet when you would come in you would always have a smile on your face (and often a box of crackerjack for me!).  You were proud of your children above all else.  The fact that I still miss you like crazy and am brokenhearted that my girls will never know you should tell you how important you were to me.

While this Father's Day post is a little late, I still felt it needed to be posted.  If you forgot your Dad or another important man in your life yesterday, please take a moment today to tell them how important they are to you.  Life is too short, and you never know what next year will bring.  To all father's out there - Happy Father's Day!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A lazy day

Yesterday, the sky was overcast and gray.  You could see that the rain was just waiting for the perfect moment to fall.  The lake was still.  It looked like you could put your ice skates on and glide across it with ease.   The girls and I waited all day for the guys to come and finish our kitchen.   I had waited to exercise, waited to shower, waited to run all our errands so that I would be available when they finally did show up - which they never did.  They were supposed to arrive at 8:30 am, but by 1:00 pm there was still no sign of them.  So, I put Peanut in her room and told her to rest quietly for 1/2 hour.  I put Pumpkin in her room and said prayers with her hoping for at least a short 45 minute nap.   It ended up being an amazing afternoon.  Pumpkin slept from 1 until 4 and woke up refreshed, renewed, and much happier than she'd been in weeks!  Peanut came out after 1/2 hour.   We sat in our favorite comfy chair and read a book together.  Then, we fell asleep while cuddling in that chair.  I slept for 20 minutes and she for about 45.   It was reminiscent of when the girls were just babies.   I remember holding them while they slept.  Knowing I should put them down in their cribs, but enjoying the sound of their breathing so much that I couldn't.   While the day was not what I had planned, it is a day that I will always cherish.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The first tooth

Peanut, my oldest daughter, has recently experienced several milestones.
  • She celebrated her 6th birthday!
  • She graduated from Kindergarten!
  • She learned to ride a bike without training wheels! (Yeah, I know I should have done it earlier, but I was a little lazy.  It was a daunting task.)
  • She lost her first tooth! :o)
As soon as she lost her tooth I knew that I wanted to get her something special to celebrate this grand occasion.  I was thinking that I might be able to find a nice tooth charm that I could have engraved with the date she lost the tooth.  As I searched, I came up empty-handed.  Most of the charms were not very attractive to me - but then again, I guess it can be hard to make a tooth cute.  I even found one place that takes your lost teeth, preserves them, and plates them in gold or silver.  While the resulting product is kind of cute, I also found it to be a little creepy.  I was also worried about Peanut losing the necklace which would be her actual first tooth.  Even though I don't know what I'm going to do with that tooth, I prefer to know that it is still safe with me.  While Le Knockout wasn't for me, it might be just right for some of you.

Eventually I happened upon The Ultimate Tooth Fairy.  It is a site that has tooth fairy gifts and letters for girls and boys.  As soon as I saw the Girls Tooth Fairy Memory Locket, I knew I had to have it.  From the website:
This personalized locket is the perfect way to remember that special day your little one lost their first tooth! Personalize the outside with your child's name and on the inside stamp the date they lost their 1st tooth.
A freshwater pearl hangs in the center as a magical reminder of that 1st tooth. The sterling silver locket (not physically locked) measures 3/4" in diameter (size of a nickel), then domed to cup the "tooth". Strung on a sterling silver 16" ball chain.
At $39, I found the necklace to be very reasonably priced.  I was also very happy with how quickly it arrived.  The necklace came with a drawstring bag, polishing cloth and directions on how to take care of it to keep it looking new as long as possible. 

Since receiving the necklace Peanut and I have received countless compliments from people that have seen it.  Several people have asked where I found it so that they can be prepared when their daughter's lose their first tooth.  In fact, I have already bookmarked the site so that when Pumpkin loses her first tooth I can order one for her as well. 

*Note:  The product was ordered from The Ultimate Tooth Fairy and came from MagPie Designz.   If your child is past or not yet ready for the first tooth stage, I recommend you check out her site for some other gorgeous jewelry in different designs.

*Note 2:  The image was taken from The Ultimate Tooth Fairy website with permission from the owner.

*Disclaimer:  I did not receive any compensation for this post.  All opinions and experiences are my own.

Get Dad to the Doc

With Father's Day fast approaching, I know that I am scrambling to decide what to get for Doc, my Dad, and my Father-in-law.   None of the men in my life really need anything else to add to the pile of unused and neglected gifts from years past.  However, we want to make sure they all know how loved and appreciated they are.   When I received an email from Global Influence describing their latest campaign to promote Men's health, I knew that it was an activity that I wanted to participate in.  While my father is pretty good at maintaining his health, my father-in-law and Doc are not.  They need to be reminded to take care of themselves - if not for their own benefit, for the benefit of those who love them. 

This Father's Day give the men you love the best gift of all - the gift of a healthy future.

Did you know that new research has found that men are 31 percent less likely than women to have visited a doctor within the past year?  In fact, men report making fewer routine health care appointments compared with women (56.5 percent vs. 73.8 percent).

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Ad Council are launching a new movement on behalf of their national public service advertising campaign designed to encourage middle-age men to learn which preventive medical tests they need to get and when to get them. 

What can you do to help encourage the men in your life to stay healthy?
  • Send them this ecard for Father's Day:
  • Have them take this health quiz to see what they should be doing to take care of themselves right now.
  • Visit and encourage the men in your life to visit which provides recommended ages for preventive medical tests, a health care quiz designed to test knowledge of preventive health care, tips for talking with doctors, a glossary of consumer health terms, and links to online resources to find more medical information. 
*Disclaimer: All information was provided by Global Influence.

Have you heard of Zestra?

If you've not heard of it, Zestra is a product that is used to increase a woman's feelings of desire and arousal when applied topically.  Clinical studies were done on many different types of women including:
  • Women experiencing different stages of menopause
  • Women taking oral contraceptives
  • Women taking anti-depressants
  • Women with medical conditions affecting sexual feeling 
  • Women without any sexual complaints
Of the women that participated in the trial, 70% reported improved sexual satisfaction which was achieved over multiple uses, indicating that Zestra worked each and every timeFor those of you that are concerned about using products with hormones, you can feel good knowing that Zestra is made of botanical oils and extracts and is hormone-free.  The botanical ingredients in Zestra include PA-free Borage Seed Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Angelica Extract, Coleus Forskholii Extract, Theobromine, and the Anti-Oxidants Vitamin C and Vitamin E.  

In addition, there are many women who claim that it has done wonders for them.  You should take a minute to check out some of their testimonials here

If you are interested in trying Zestra for yourself,  Flair media has provided the following coupon code to my readers: ZBONUS5 will give you $5 off a Zestra 12-Pack or 4-Pack when purchased at  This code expires 8/11/10.  

Disclaimer:  All information was obtained from the Zestra website.  I did receive a sample in exchange for sharing information about this product. 

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Girls From Ames - A Review

Red book.

I was recently fortunate enough to be asked to read and review The Girls from Ames by Jeffrey Zaslow.   You might recognize the author's name if you also read The Last Lecture, as Jeffrey Zaslow and Randy Pausch were coauthors on that book.  To begin, I will give you a little information about the book, taken from the site
From the coauthor of The Last Lecture comes a moving tribute to female friendships, with the inspiring true story of eleven girls and the ten women they became.
Karla, Kelly, Marilyn, Jane, Jenny.
Karen, Cathy, Angela, Sally, Diana.
Meet the Ames Girls: eleven childhood friends who formed a special bond growing up in Ames, Iowa. As young women, they moved to eight different states, yet managed to maintain an enduring friendship that would carry them through college and careers, marriage and motherhood, dating and divorce, a child’s illness and the mysterious death of one member of their group. Capturing their remarkable story, The Girls from Ames is a testament to the deep bonds of women as they experience life’s joys and challenges — and the power of friendship to triumph over heartbreak and unexpected tragedy.
The girls, now in their forties, have a lifetime of memories in common, some evocative of their generation and some that will resonate with any woman who has ever had a friend. Photograph by photograph, recollection by recollection, occasionally with tears and often with great laughter, their sweeping and moving story is shared by Jeffrey Zaslow, Wall Street Journal columnist, as he attempts to define the matchless bonds of female friendship. It demonstrates how close female relationships can shape every aspect of women’s lives – their sense of themselves, their choice of men, their need for validation, their relationships with their mothers, their dreams for their daughters – and reveals how such friendships thrive, rewarding those who have committed to them.
The Girls from Ames is the story of a group of ordinary women who built an extraordinary friendship. With both universal insights and deeply personal moments, it is a book that every woman will relate to and be inspired by.
I can honestly say that I truly enjoyed reading this book.  The chapters were well divided, which made it easy to take a break and return to the book when I had more time.  As the book began I thought that there would be chapters about each girl individually.  While several girls were highlighted, I appreciated that the author didn't try to give each girl a feature chapter.  Obviously, some of the girls have had lives that were more eventful or at least events in their lives that were more central to the theme of female friendships.  Another aspect of the book that I really appreciated were the statistics presented to demonstrate how strong female friendships can really improve your quality and length of life. 

In terms of how this book made me feel, there were times while I was reading that I loved the girls and times that I really didn't like them at all.  Regardless of how I felt about each of the girls, through it all I still wanted to know what would happen to them and what they would do next.  I found myself sad when they were going through difficult times.  I asked myself what I would say or do in the different situations they experienced.  I was angry with them when they were mean or insensitive.  Unfortunately, I haven't ever had a good and stable group of girl friends, so I couldn't really relate to their experiences.  I did feel a bit jealous while reading this book.  It made me want to try to reconnect with past friends or work harder to make some new ones.   It is definitely a book that will make you think about your current relationships with other women in your lives.  Perhaps you will begin to appreciate your friends even more, or perhaps you will be motivated to find and become a better friend yourself.

*Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Another plea for Votes - It is HOT outside!

On this post here, I told you all and MomDot why I wanted an inflatable water slide for my girls.  Well, I was selected as a finalist, so I have a 1/15 chance of winning, but I need your help.  The highest vote "getter" will win this AWESOME slide.  So, I would love it if you could go here:

and vote for #11!  Thanks so much.  I'm a bit of an underdog since I'm not nearly as "networked" as some of the finalists, so please vote and ask your family and friends to vote as well! 

Thank YOU!

*Note - One vote per IP.  Voting ends on 6/3 at noon.