Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Our Thanksgiving . . .

I am far from a perfect mother, but when my kids are home from school, I really do try  my best to give them some attention.  We play games together (but not pretend ones, because I'm really bad at those).  Sometimes we'll watch a movie together.  We'll even cook and clean together.  Over the holidays you will see periods of absence on my blog.   Those are times when I am traveling, visiting with family and friends, or playing with my kiddos.  While I do enjoy blogging, I enjoy living my life with my family even more.  As you know, I'm not a review blogger.  I do post reviews and giveaways when they come my way and I think they are something you might like, but I do not answer to anyone on this blog.  It is mine.  I post what I want, when I want.  Thanksgiving happened to be a time when I didn't want to take the time away from my kids to post.  We were having too much of an amazing weekend.  Here are a few highlights:

My kids didn't have school on Wednesday, but Doc did have to work.  Peanut, Pumpkin and I thought that would be a perfect opportunity to go Christmas shopping for Doc.  Originally, they wanted to get him a dog, but eventually decided that maybe he wouldn't appreciate that gift.   (I don't know if I've mentioned it in the past, but Doc is very anti-pet . . . it goes along with his neat freakishness)  Eventually, each girl was able to find something that he needed in a style that reflects their own personalities.   I think he'll get a chuckle out of what they finally selected

On Thanksgiving, we went for a nice family walk followed by lunch at that fancy schmancy restaurant I was telling you about.  After lunch we went to see Tangled (Thanks MyBlogSpark and General Mills).   Doc had never been to a movie with the girls, so it was definitely a fun experience.  He had never seen the kids snack pack before, and actually wanted one of his own.  :o)  Pumpkin is a girl that laughs out loud during movies.  I couldn't help but steal a glance and a smile at Doc each time she'd burst out laughing - too cute!  The only problem is that she is now having nightmares about the "mean girl" in the movie.  Ugh!  Have I sheltered them too much?

Friday, Saturday and Sunday were filled with Christmas preparations.  We decorated, baked, wrapped and even went to our local tree lighting ceremony.  We had such a great time!  I didn't even get upset when the kiddos spilled stuff all over the kitchen while helping bake cookies.  I don't think I can't count the number of times I said, "It is okay.  Baking cookies is messy." with a smile on my face and a broom, mop, rag, in my hands.   If I haven't mentioned it before, I am probably pretty low ranking when it comes to the list of moms with patience.  I'm also a bit of a control freak.  This weekend was so relaxing that I didn't even care that one of our teddy bear cookies had three heads while another looked more like an elephant.  I didn't make the kids decorate the cookies the way I would.  I didn't say a word (because I didn't mind) when they mixed the peppermint sprinkles with the chocolate chips, and nonpariels.   This was supposed to be a fun family weekend, and it was.  We might have just created a new Thanksgiving family tradition.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Take Time for a Family Fun Night (Giveaway)

As you may have read here, my family is doing something a little different for Thanksgiving.  Instead of making it a huge holiday celebration, we are making it the calm before the storm.   We are making it a time to be together and enjoy each others company.  We are going to relax, unwind, and take a break from life as we know it in order to appreciate the people we love - the people that see us at our worst and still love us.

Our time together will include dinner out, a movie, Christmas decorations, baking cookies, and a board game or two over the four days of our Thanksgiving break.   We'll probably read together and go for several walks if the weather allows.  What would you do if you had a couple days of unscheduled time to spend with your family?

If your family enjoys movies, then I highly recommend you check out your local stores for sales on General Mills cereals. 
Starting in November, you can receive a free movie ticket when you purchase two specially marked packages of Big G cereals including Honey Nut Cheerios® (17 oz.), Cinnamon Toast Crunch® (17 oz.), Lucky Charms® (16 oz.), Trix® (14.8 oz) and Reese’s Puffs® cereal (18 oz.).

After purchasing two participating cereals, visit generalmills.com/moviecash to enter the unique code found inside each box of cereal and print your free Movie Cash certificate (good for one admission of up to a $12 value at participating theatres). To find a participating theater in your area, log onto http://emoviecash.com/dis_locator/.
Right now, Kroger has several of their Big G cereals on sale for $1.49 when you buy 4.  If you combine that with printable $1 off 2 boxes of Big G cereals and coupons that you can load directly to your card,  then you can get 4 boxes of cereal and 2 movie tickets for $4 or less!   Cereal for dinner and a movie out with the family sounds like a fun, easy, and inexpensive way to reconnect.

So, who wants to win a Family Flick Night prize pack from General Mills and MyBlogSpark?  Your prize will include two boxes of cereal and four Movie Cash Certificates. 

Here's what you have to do to win (mandatory):

  1. Tell me your current favorite General Mills cereals that you are planning to purchase to get your movie cash.
For additional entries you can also do the following. Be sure to leave a comment for each additional entry.
  1. Follow me on twitter (leave your twitter name)
  2. Like me on facebook (leave your initials)
  3. Follow me on Google Friend Connect (leave your username)
  4. Tweet about this giveaway. You may do this once daily. Be sure to include @rmgm #myblogspark and a link to this post (leave a link to your tweet)
  • Only open to US residents
  • Winner will be chosen using random.org
  • Giveaway ends 11:59pm ET on December 6, 2010
  • Include your email address in your comment if it is not available on your profile page. If an email address in not in the comment or on your profile page another winner will be chosen. I will not contact you through Twitter or Facebook.
  • Winner will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.
  • Prizes will be sent directly from the sponsor. I am not responsible for prizes that are lost or damaged during shipment. If you win a prize and do not receive it, please let me know.
Disclaimer:  I was sent a Family Flick Night prize pack from General Mills and MyBlogSpark to post about this program.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Our Thanksgiving Plans

Thanksgiving is the beginning of the holiday rush.  The eating, traveling, visiting, laughing, playing, partying, fighting, cooking, rush.  Most years we travel - between 2 and 4 hours - in one direction or another to visit with family.  This year we are doing something different.  We are staying home.  No one is coming.  The four of us are going to a late lunch at a fancy schmancy restaurant that hosts a Thanksgiving buffet.  We are following it up with a family movie.  (We'll probably go see Tangled.)  The rest of the weekend will be spent putting up our Christmas decorations and starting our holiday baking and cards.  Right now, to me, it sounds a bit like heaven.   It isn't that I don't enjoy seeing family and friends.  I do!  It is just that our life has been so busy lately that it feels like we haven't had time to be a family.   Between school, ballet, soccer, work, birthdays, concerts and programs, we are over scheduled.   I am thankful that we are able to participate in all those activities.  I am thankful that we have friends and family that we love (and love us).  I am thankful for so much about my life.  It is just that I want to have the time to truly appreciate the minutiae of it.

Even if you're not ready to cancel your Thanksgiving plans, I really think that now is the time to slow down and make sure that you are enjoying your spouse, your children, and your life.  Take a day out to just be a family without worrying about all the other things going on around you.   Eat cereal for dinner and play board games when you would normally be doing the dishes.  Let your kids help you pick out the menu for a night.  Shop together, cook together, and clean up together - not worrying if there is still a piece of cheese stuck to the plate.   Turn off the phone.  Turn off the computer.  Remember what it is like to be with those that you love.  Remember why it is that you love them.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Are you thoughtful? - Try to win $500 from itsThoughtful

Have you heard of Its Thoughtful?
itsThoughtful is a vibrant social shopping community focused on gift shopping. Its a forum for people to share and discover the most popular, creative, thoughtful, unusual, funny, unique (we can add more adjectives but you get the idea) gift ideas in the world.
Right now, if you sign up for the site, you can submit ideas for thoughtful gifts.  If your idea is voted to be the best idea, you can win a $500 Amazon gift card.  I've got my thinking cap on and am trying to come up with some thoughtful gifts of my own.  You might want to give it a shot too!

Even if you don't have any thoughtful gift ideas to share, you might want to check out the site to see if you can borrow some ideas from others.  Everyone definitely appreciates a thoughtful gift more than a thoughtless one.   Personally, I love how you can search by occasion or recipient and even sort by price.  I haven't used the site to pick out gifts yet, but I will definitely check it out when I'm stuck on a gift idea.

*Disclaimer - Information about the site came from the site itself.  If 15 people sign up using my link, I am eligible to possibly win a $25 Amazon Gift card.  I haven't used the site yet, but do like the idea of it.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Carmex Coupon (and a Giveaway Announcement)

For everyone that entered my Carmex Giveaway, but unfortunately didn't win, I have some good news.  If you still want to try the new Carmex Cream and/or Lotion, you can get a coupon for $2 off here (WSL).  Also, I will be hosting another giveaway from Carmex next week.   This time it will be for one of their lip products.  My lips are already getting chapped, so you'll definitely want to be on the lookout for this giveaway.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Norah Jones - Featuring

The new Norah Jones CD, ...Featuring, is being released today, November 16, 2010.  Norah Jones is one of my favorite artists, so I am extremely grateful to One2One for providing me with an advance copy to listen to and review.   Before I get into my review, I'll give you a little taste of some of the songs as they are described in the trailer for this new CD.

In this little tidbit from Norah Jones's YouTube Channel, you can hear what I love most about this CD - it has tremendous variety.  From Outkast to Dolly Parton, Norah sings with artists from just about every genre of music.  While I can't say that I loved all the songs, I can say that a few of them are pretty high up on my current list of favorites.  I think I could listen to Norah and Willie Nelson crooning Baby It's Cold Outside for the rest of the winter.  Each time it plays, I want to curl up in front of the fireplace with Doc and a mug of coffee and Irish cream.  It is just that relaxing.   If you're looking for a good CD, with a bit of everything, then I definitely recommend you check out ...Featuring on Amazon.    While you're there, take a minute to preview each of the songs and see what you think. 

*Disclaimer - One2One provided me with a copy of the CD for review purposes.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

CardsDirect Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to bmom76 for winning the CardsDirect Giveaway! Thanks to all who entered.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Life You've Imagined by Kristina Riggle - Giveaway

I was looking through some of my previously read books and noticed that I still have my copy of The Life You've Imagined by Kristina Riggle.  The copy I have isn't in the greatest condition, but all the pages are still there.

From the Harper Collins website:
Is the life you're living all you imagined?
Have you ever asked yourself, "What if??" Here, four women face the decisions of their lifetimes in this stirring and unforgettable novel of love, loss, friendship, and family.
Anna Geneva, a Chicago attorney coping with the death of a cherished friend, returns to her "speck on the map" hometown of Haven to finally come to terms with her mother, the man she left behind, and the road she did not take.
Cami Drayton, Anna's dearest friend from high school, is coming home too, forced by circumstance to move in with her alcoholic father . . . and to confront a dark family secret.
Maeve, Anna's mother, never left Haven, firmly rooted there by her sadness over her abandonment by the husband she desperately loved and the hope that someday he will return to her.
And Amy Rickart—thin, beautiful, and striving for perfection—faces a future with the perfect man . . . but is haunted by the memory of what she used to be.
Kristina Riggle's The Life You've Imagined takes a provocative look at the choices we make—and the courage we must have to change.
The author took the book on a different path then I expected, but I do have to admit that it was an easy enjoyable read.   If you would like me to send you my copy, just let me know by leaving a comment here with your email address if it is not available in your profile. 

The Holidays are Coming! - Fitness Friday is Back

Yeah, I know, it has been a while since I've updated anything about my fitness. Please don't yell at me though (that is actually why I quit doing my Wii Fit . . . I didn't like the way it "talked" to me when I missed too many days). Well, I've reached my breaking point again. The point where I have to adjust the waist of my pants when I sit so that it is either above or below my stomach or I'm just not comfortable. I am pleased to say that I am not back where I was when I first did the Power 90 program. So, that's something, right?

If you're the devil on my shoulder, I know what you're thinking. "Why start now, right before the holidays? It will be hard to be good with all the comfort food and baked goods that people will be serving. How will you get through the holidays with family without a drink or two? Why don't you just wait for a new start to the new year?" I've been thinking all those things myself. However, my thought is this - If I can just be good and aware of my decisions during the holidays then I hope not to gain weight. If I lose some, even better! Don't you worry, I will be tasting a bite or two of my faves, and indulging in a drink or two as well (I'm not crazy!).

I decided to start this program this week, so I'm officially on Day 5. Here are the changes I've made:
  • Water Only 
  • Making smarter choices - Okay, I'm not perfect and my family (as much as I love them) doesn't help.  I will eat pizza - though not as many slices.  I will not finish the leftovers on Peanut and Pumpkin's plates (Curses to whomever it was that brainwashed me with the importance of the clean plate club and eating all my food because there are starving children elsewhere!)
  • Exercise - Here's the deal:  I don't really like to exercise.  I like to play sports.  I like team activities.  I have a short attention span.  I get bored really easily.  I live in a small town with very little opportunity for organized physical fitness.  Knowing all that information about myself, I will exercise.  I will put it on my schedule.  In fact, so far I have been doing Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred.  In 30 days, I'll let you know what I think.
So, wish me luck!  If you'd like to join me on my journey to get in better shape and make healthier decisions, let me know.  I definitely do better work when someone is holding me accountable.

Jingle Bells Are Ringing . . . Can You Hear Them?

It is November!

I am typing that more for my own benefit than anyone else's.

How has time passed by so quickly this year?

I had such great intentions for the year.  With Peanut in school all day every day, and Pumpkin in school for 2.5 hours every day, I was going to have so much time to get things done.   Where did my time go?

I planned to get family pictures taken.  I planned to send out my Christmas cards before Christmas this year.  (Actually sending them out at all would be make me a step ahead from last year.  Oops!)  I even had the cards picked out.  Well, my cards might not arrive as early as I'd hoped, nor have the pictures I'd imagined, but it will get done.   Thankfully, the quality of Shutterfly's cards means that they'll look good even if they aren't "perfect".

In the past I have ordered at least one photobook from Shutterfly every year.  I have also ordered calendars as holiday gifts for grandparents.  I have even ordered Thank you cards.  (I love to create thank you cards with images of the girls on them.  Inside I type a standard thank you greeting leaving a blank space for the girls to fill in the item they received.  I also leave plenty of space for them to add their own note of appreciation or a drawing of them using the gift.)   Each time I place an order, I always ended up being more than happy with the results.  While I haven't ordered Christmas Cards in the past, based on all my other experiences I have to believe that they would be amazing!  From cards with one photo to an entire collage, the selection is extensive.   Now, if only I could find a nice picture . . .

*Disclaimer - I wrote this post as part of a Shutterfly promotion to receive 50 free cards.  You can also apply to participate by going here.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thankful Thursday - A Gorgeous Fall Sunset

While I absolutely adore the sunsets in the summer, nothing can compare to the amazing colors we see after a fall sunset. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

(Never) Wordless Wednesday - The Final Temptation

Over the past month we have celebrated the birthdays of my niece, my dad, my sister and Pumpkin.  Between that and all the Halloween goodies, treats have been calling my name, just asking me to eat them.  This past weekend we gave all our Halloween candy to our neighbors.  This lone cupcake is my final temptation in the house. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Carmex Review & Giveaway - WINNER

Out of 56 entries, random.org selected comment #4 as the winner of the Carmex Giveaway. The winner has been contacted. Thanks to all that entered!

Also, I know that I promised you a final product review at this point, but I really don't have anything to add to my previous review.  Silly me, thinking that the weather would get colder as we progressed into November.  It is in the 60's today, so suffice it to say, my furnace hasn't been doing much heating (and drying the air) lately.  I promise to update if/when I have more info to share though.  :o)

Monday, November 8, 2010

With a card sent here and a card sent there . . .

Here a card.  There a card.  Everywhere a card, card. :o)

Beginning in late October, my to do list is filled with purchasing, writing, and mailing out cards.  Between Pumpkin's birthday and the traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays, we fly through stamps at our house in November and December.   From invitations and holiday greetings to the thank you cards that follow them up, we are always looking for new, fun, and creative products that might catch the eyes (and hearts) of our family and friends.

We couldn't possibly be the only people in this situation, right?   Some of my readers have to be in need of cards too, right?  If you are, then it might just be your lucky day.  Global Influence approached me on behalf of CardsDirect to get the word out about all the products they carry as well as to host a giveaway for a code to be redeemed for 25 cards (up to a $50 value) from CardsDirect. 

CardsDirect offers the very best in personalized greeting cards for business or personal use. Over 2,000 card designs are available in categories that include holiday cards, birthday cards, thank you cards, photo cards, baby shower invitations, birth announcements and many more! With free personalization and custom imprinted verse, CardsDirect offers an easy online ordering process and top quality cards with the best selection, customer service and pricing found anywhere.
While I haven't used CardsDirect yet, it looks like it is a great site for personal use as well as for a business owner.  While looking through the Christmas Cards, I was surprised at the selection.  There are several cards that allow you to put your company name on the front of the card as well as personalize the inside.   In the Holiday Cards, you can find Thanksgiving, Hanukkah,  New Year, and even Earth Day Cards.  I might not have a specific need for those cards, however some businesses might find that Thanksgiving is a better time to thank their customers for their loyalty.   While browsing the Baby Announcements, I thought back to when Peanut and Pumpkin were first born.  Why didn't I send some adorable announcements like those?  Honestly though, I spent most of my time browsing the Photo Cards.   With so many to choose from, how am I supposed to decide which one I really want?

I may not know what I'm going to order yet, but you shouldn't be concerned about that.  You need to be thinking about what you want to order.  If you want to win a code for 25 cards (up to $50), here's what you need to do.

  • Browse the CardsDirect site and leave a comment here telling me which card you'd choose if you won. Be sure to leave your email address in your comment if it isn't visible on your profile.
For additional entries you can also do the following. Be sure to leave a comment for each additional entry.
  • Follow CardsDirect on twitter (leave your twitter name)
  • Follow me on twitter (leave your twitter name)
  • Like CardsDirect on facebook (leave your initials)
  • Like me on facebook (leave your initials)
  • Follow me on Google Friend Connect (leave your username)
  • Tweet about this giveaway. You may do this once daily. Be sure to include @rmgm and @CardsDirect as well as a link to this post (leave a link to your tweet)
  • Only open to US residents
  • Winner will be chosen using random.org
  • Giveaway ends 11:59pm ET on November 15, 2010
  • Include your email address in your comment if it is not available on your profile page. If an email address in not in the comment or on your profile page another winner will be chosen.
  • Winner will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.
Disclaimer:  I will be receiving some cards in exchange for hosting this giveaway.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  Quoted information came from CardsDirect via GlobalInfluence.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Winner - Operation Purple Giveaway

Random.org selected ABW as my winner in the Operation Purple Giveaway.   The winner notification email has been sent out.  Congrats ABW! 

Always on the lookout for new blogs

As a frequent blog hopper, I'm always on the lookout for new ones (whether they are new in general or just new to me) with good content.  Thanks to my dear friend at Monkey Mayhem! I was introduced to the blog Sensible Cents, which hosts great giveaways and seemingly honest reviews.    In fact, right now she is hosting three amazing giveaways for Bubble Talk, a Rubik's Slide, and HINT Water.    For an extra chance to win, I'm telling you about them.  Just in case random.org doesn't pick me as the lucky winner, I'd love for it to be one of my readers.  Good luck!

Happy Birthday Pumpkin!

Five years ago this morning I gave birth to my Pumpkin . . . my Halloween baby that has been full of a few tricks, but mostly treats.  :o)  With beautiful brown eyes and a smile that reaches all the way to her soul, I thank God every day for giving this precious gift to me.   Happy Birthday Pumpkin!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Nobody Reads My Blog . . .

Too funny!

I was browsing slickdeals today (like most mornings) and came across their daily giveaway. I had to laugh when I clicked on the link and saw that Tanga was selling these shirts.

I just love amusing shirts . . . even if they are only to amuse me. :o)

They have several others that crack me up too.  You should check out the second chance deals if you want a little chuckle on this Tuesday morning (and your sense of humor is similar to mine).

*Disclaimer - I did not receive any compensation for this post.  While the linked image came from Tanga, all thoughts and opinions are my own.  I have never purchased shirts from Tanga, I just like to browse them.