Monday, November 16, 2009

Miss E and the Diwali dance

Miss E. has been talking about her play and the Diwali dance for quite some time. Now until Miss E. shared this with me, I had no idea what Diwali was, much less a Diwali dance. thank you google... (Yes, I know - pretty sad that you have to google what your 7 year old is learning about in school).

Next week is the first performance and Miss E. is all set! After weeks of elusiveness, I have finally been shown the entire routine and love it. There will also be Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and Christmas routines - all of which Miss E. has ALSO memorized and performed at home for all of us. She was holding out on us!

Miss E.'s sisters, who hate to perform, are naturally talented. Miss E. .on the other hand is a little on the klutzy side (like her mom). So sad because she loves performing. Just her excitement alone is so cute. I cannot wait to see her and the other kids in full gear, singing and dancing up a storm.

I will post pictures next week. :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sentimental Silver - Review and Giveaway

I recently was very fortunate to be able to review a handmade, customized necklace from Sentimental Silver. I patiently waited and the day my package arrived I was so excited to open it up and see how the necklace turned out.

WOW. Super Wow. My necklace is GORGEOUS.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE my necklace. I received a Tiny Tags necklace similar to the one above with my girls names "monogrammed" (hand stamped). I was impressed with a few things:

- The necklace was super shiny - some sterling silver can be dull or darker - Not Sentimental Silver. This was very light colored silver with a high sheen. Probably because their products are made with pure (.999) silver!

- Even though the tags were very cute and tiny, the girls names were easily readable.

- The weight of the tags was perfect - they were not lightweight where they would be "floating" on the chain. Instead they hung nicely centered.

- Quite simply I love the fact that this is personalized with the names of my girls, my favorite people in the world!

Another product Sentimental Silver offers is their Sparkle Jewelery - this is the same as their other products but with a little bling bling. Very cute - why not add birthstones of you or your kids?

Check out just some of the categories below!






If you want to look at other Testimonials from satisfied customers, just click HERE.

Sentimental Silver had graciously offered one lucky Blogmania reader a personailized tiny tag (chain not included), a $35 value! To register tell me what your favorite item is.
* The Tiny Tag is approx 1/2 inch long by 1/4 inch wide and works best with names that are seven letters or less. In order to accommodate longer names, they will be stamped on the piece at a slight angle.

If you cannot wait and want to buy an item from Sentimental Silver, please use the code word "SALE" and receive 20% off of your order!!!

Main Entry: Tell me something you loved at Sentimental Silver.

EXTRA ENTRIES (please post a separate entry in the google form for each extra entry):

1 extra entry (each) available for faving on technorati, following me in blogger/google friends, sharing on facebook, subscribing or grabbing a button.

1 extra entry follow Sentimental Silver on Facebook

1 extra entry sign up for Sentimental Silver Newsletter

2 entries for following both Sentimental Silver and myself in twitter and tweeting this giveaway - please include @misaacmom and @SentimentalSilv in your tweet. Use the "share this" button for easy tweeting

5 extra entries for blogging about this giveaway.

* Giveaway starts Sunday 11/15/2009 and ends Monday 11/30/2009 at 11:59pm EST.
* Winner will be selected via
* Winner will be contacted via email
* Winner must respond to email notification within 2 business days or another winner will be selected.
* Email address must be posted in your blogger profile OR you must post it with your entry.
-Only residents of the U.S. are eligible to win
-No P.O. Boxes
- Sentimental Silver is responsible for prize fulfillment

Thank you to Sentimental Silver and Chic Execs for this review and giveaway opportunity. I did not receive any form of compensation for this blog post other than the product to review. For more information on this blog and my posting practices, please refer to the disclosure policy below at the bottom of this page.

What I did today that was gross

and disgusting....

I cleaned my carpets. Now I just cleaned the carpets about 1 and a half to 2 months ago. Not very long at all. I cannot believe how dirty they were so soon after cleaning prior. For the amount of vacuuming and housework I do, the dirty water should have been fairly clear.

With 3 kids, a dog, and various rodents (gerbils, guinea pigs, etc) I thought I had seen pretty much seen it all. Uh uh. Nope. Nothing rivals the water coming out of the steam cleaner. Besides the consistency and scent of the dirty "water", what was shocking was the fact that I did NOT get sick.....

I cannot believe my floors were that dirty. What is the worst is knowing that the girls are always crawling around and playing on the floor. While I was dumping the dirty water, aka tar, I was thinking 'my kids are playing on THAT?' I was so worked up that I actually also cleaned the doormat and kitchen mat.

Well, on the bright side all is fine and dandy as far as clean carpets go. For another month at least. Then I can get grossed out all over again.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 - your holiday greeting and gathering organizational tool

The holiday season conjures up many feelings - joy, nostalgia, sentiment, and the desire to carry on past traditions and create new ones.

Often times, holiday hosts will adorn their Thanksgiving tables with treasured family heirlooms like Great-Grandma’s gravy boat, Papa’s Silver Carving Platter, or China received as a wedding gift – each with its own precious memory.

Yet, many hosts also want to infuse their own unique personality into their celebrations and look for creative ways to make guests feel just as warm and welcome as the celebration itself., the leader in start to finish party planning, offers FREE online Thanksgiving invitations that will immediately engage the recipient and generate such excitement and anticipation, they’ll think they can already smell the turkey roasting! And remember, the etiquette pros always say to send invitations out a month in advance!

Here is just a small sample of the FREE online invitations for Thanksgiving:

Who wouldn’t love to receive a warm, welcoming online Thanksgiving invitation to join in the celebration?

A membership is absolutely free and offers a huge array of standard invitations templates and eCards for any celebration or occasion. They have everything you need from online invitations to party supplies, personalized favors and much more.
And online invitations save times, money, the environment, and, let’s face it, your writing hand!!

Here is a free recipe from

Cinnamon Apple Muffins for Thanksgiving Day Breakfast

Muffin or cupcake liners
1 ½ cups flour
1 ½ tsp. of baking powder

¾ cup of sugar

1.5 tsp. of baking powder

1 tsp. of ground cinnamon

½ of a cup of whole milk

1/3 of a cup of melted butter

1 egg

1 cup of peeled, cored and diced Granny Smith apples

1 cup of cinnamon chips

To make: stir the flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon together in a medium-sized bowl. Add the milk, butter, egg, apples and cinnamon chips next, stirring together until the mixture is smooth. Fill each muffin liner about 2/3 full, then bake in a 365 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Allow the muffins to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving them.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Today we went to the magnet school fair to look at high school options for Miss C. I REALLY did not want to go - I am pretty exhausted due to work and the kids being tracked out. My husband convinced me that we both needed to go and I am glad we did. The school we had in mind for Miss C. would not have been a fit. We are looking at a different school in which the odds of getting in are much better. We will have to wait until February to apply but are excited about the prospects!

Late this afternoon I just dyed my hair and did my nails. Going to the nail salon is too much coordination with DH so I usually do manicures myself at home. I hands looked bad all week but this is the first time I have had the time or energy to do something about it. Of course Miss N. and Miss E. had to get in on the action, so the bathroom is a mess - nail polish bottles everywhere. Of course Miss E. insisted on doing her nails herself and was also not satisfied with the results. I hate doing nails with her because it is such a production:
- Each nail a different color
- If the results are not satisfactory, you have to start over
- At least once she cries. Usually more than once.

At least all of the nail polish stayed in the bottles or on our nails. My nails look lovely if I do say so myself - I started with a barely black with a hint of shimmer (more of a midnight plum) and put on a coat of chocolate-copper frost. The result is a very deep, shimmery auburn-chocolate. I would take a picture but I have not cleaned up the sides yet so it looks rather sloppy.

I have a few reviews and 2 giveaways to post. I am going to be moving to my own website early December or January and was playing around with that. Unfortunately it is a totally different format and is going to take quite a bit of work to get the look and feel I want.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

My first Blog Award

I received my very first blog award. I have received the "Best Blog Award" from "NW Money Savin' Mama"!

Rules are:
To accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and his/her blog link. Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you have recently discovered and think are great! Remember to contact the bloggers you've awarded to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

Drum roll please....
Confessions of a Psychotic Housewife
Girl Get Strong
Green Earth Journey
Jenn Cooks
Lipgloss Break
Little Miss Heirlooms
Mother 2 Mother
My Wee View
Nerd Like
Pays To Live Green
Reviewin' It Up
Sweet Greens
Three Different Directions
tout est des roses
what's cooking at DD

Miss N. and her new email account

Miss N. has her own email address and is quite proud of herself. She keeps emailing me. I cannot remember the last time I received love notes. Look at what she has sent me:

love youSOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On Sat, Oct 31, 2009 at 8:27 PM, Miss N. wrote:

NO MATTER WAT U ARE MY MOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On Sat, Oct 31, 2009 at 8:21 PM, Miss N. wrote:

who knew u where a cuddle bug!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On Sat, Oct 31, 2009 at 8:18 PM,Miss N. wrote:

Dear mommy ily to.

On Sat, Oct 31, 2009 at 3:45 PM, Mary Beth wrote:

Hi N. ! I love you

Campus Quilt Company - Review and Giveaway

Campus Quilt Company is an organization that is dedicated to creating memorable keepsakes for people. When the company contacted me about doing a review, I immediately said "Yes!". I have seen these quilts in magazines and on reviews from other bloggers ; I think these quilts are a unique, thoughtful and wonderful way to preserve memories.

I requested to have a "Wee Quilt" made out of my girls old baby clothes. I carefully went through the girl's old clothes and selected some favorite rompers, dresses, and accessories from their layette. I carefully shipped the items back in the bag provided and anxiously awaited my quilt.

Campus Quilt Company was very good about calling me through the process. They called if they had any questions regarding placements of the clothing, the background, sashing, etc. I admit that the first time I sent in the clothing, I did not send enough items in. The company rep quickly called me, I mailed some additional items in and my quilt was done very quickly. I could not be more impressed with the service I received or the quality of the quilt. All of my interactions with Campus Quilt Company have been excellent. How many times can you say that about a business?

My picture does not do this quilt justice! My quilt is absolutely gorgeous - My girls, husband and parents loved it. The quality was superb - the placement of the clothes was perfect, the loop quilting was precise and the sashing and background were pieced together perfectly. Here are better pictures and examples of the other items Campus Quilt has made. I am not the only satisfied customer! Check HERE for comments and praise.

Buy it!
With items starting as little as $95 this is an excellent gift. Who would a campus quilt be good for?
- college graduates - a T-shirt quilt or T-shirt Pillow make great a commemorative gift for those wanting to relive their college years!
- parents - kids grow so fast; preserve your memories with a wee quilt.
- those who have lost a loved one - what a lovely tribute to those we have lost. In addition to T-shirts and baby clothes, the Campus Quilt Company can also make quilts out of ties, old clothes, sports jerseys, etc.

Here are their 5 main reasons for selecting a Campus Quilt!

Win it! has generously offered one lucky Blogmania reader a $150 gift card!

* One main entry per person / email address.
* Giveaway starts Sunday 11/01/2009 and ends Monday 11/30/2009 at 11:59pm EST
* Winner will be selected via
* Campus Quilt Company is responsible for prize fulfilment.

* Winner must respond to email notification within or another winner will be selected.

Main Entry - Must be followed or no further entries will be considered
Let me know which of the quilts posted on their website or Flicker account is your favorite. Please post the URL here


EXTRA ENTRIES (please post for each extra entry):

1 extra entry (each) available for faving on technorati, following me in blogger/google friends, following me in twitter, sharing on facebook, subscribing or grabbing a button.

3 entries for tweeting - please include @misaacmom in your tweet.
Use share this for easy tweeting OR copy and paste the message below!

RT: ~~New giveaway!~~ Win a $150 Gift Certificate from Campus Quilt at Blogmania! @misaacmom

5 extra entries for blogging about this giveaway.

1 extra entry - post what you would like to have made into a quilt.

I received a quilt in order to do this review. I did not receive any other form of compensation. For more information on this blog and my posting practices, please refer to the disclosure policy below.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Miss C. (not that you would ever be able to tell....)

Miss E. and Miss N.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Magnificent Manicure Kit - Review

My girls were SO excited when our Magnificent Manicure Kit came in the mail. Promises were made to break open the box over the weekend and I found it to be a great incentive for the girls to be good all week
"if you don't stop arguing with your sister, you won't get to do the manicure kit!"

"clean your room or we will have to do the manicure kit without you".

Needless to say rooms were clean and arguing was at an all time low. All week the girls kept asking to open the box, play with the kit, do it before Saturday, etc. but I held out!

From the description: "Learn about cosmetic chemistry as you give yourself a magnificent manicure! Turn your hands silky soft with crystal mud and then soak them in a sea salt scrub. Create your own custom scent of lotion, buff and shine nails and much more!"

On Saturday the girls were ready to go! Ms. N., Miss E. and I had fun with this kit. It was very easy to set up and follow directions.

The kit had a series of scientific experiments that both taught kids about science AND gave a nice manicure! We laid out towels, set out all the ingredients and began. We did the first two activities:

Time to Get Your Hands Dirty! - Create a gel based soaking solution for your fingertips or toes. My girls LOVED this. You slowly added water to crystal mud "flakes". The flakes went from expanding to a sugar like substance (gritty, fine) to a gel solution to dip your hands or feet into to soften and moisturize. By adding a little water OR a lot, you were able to see the flakes turn from a solid to a liquid. We followed up with a salt bath and our hands were soft and clean!

Soften Up - We created lotion using a lotion base, fragrance and dye. We mixed everything up and tah-dah - Lotion we could use right away!

At this point my girls started wanting to play with the crystal mud and the pumice stone. I said Ok, don't make a mess, put the other items away and went upstairs to fold laundry. I felt confident that there were enough towels laid out that any spills would be contained.

15 minutes later Miss E came upstairs to the laundry room and said there was a "big mess in the kitchen". I came down and we had crystal mud ALL over the kitchen. Apparently the girls started arguing, and were pulling the bowl back and forth. The bowl won and went flying through the kitchen.

1/2 an hour and 24 towels later the mess was clean......You have to take blame where blame is due.

Do I recommend this toy: Yes! The girls and I had a great time.
Do I recommend this toy without supervision? No.
Is that anyone else's fault except for mine? No
Would I buy this toy again? Yes, absolutely!

What I did like best as although this was fun we really were learning while using it. this is also an activity that can be done in a morning or an afternoon on a rainy day. This toy is so fun and educational that it actually won Creative Child Magazine's Toy of the Year Award in the Educational Toys category.

This Magnificent Manicure Kit is part of Elmer's Science Explorer product line. This toy is recommended for 8 - 12 years old. You can see a full listing of products HERE. You can purchase the Magnificent Manicure Kit ToysRUs stores and at for $19.99. What a great deal!

This blog post was done in partnership with TeamMom. Outside of receiving a product to review I did not receive any other form of compensation. For more information on this blog and my posting practices, please refer to the disclosure policy below.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Shabby Apple - Review

Shabby Apple has the most darling clothes! They offer upscale clothing and accessories for little girls, teens, and women in affordable prices. Shabby Apple's speciality is their fabulous dresses. For little girls the clothes are available in baby, toddler, normal childrens and preteen sizes. For women the clothes are available in junior/misses and plus sizes.

Some of the clothing is very vintage in style. Others are classic and some are modern. All of their items are beautiful - unique and trendy. I have mentioned before on this blog that I am the worst shopper ever. I love shopping and can take all day making a decision. I love comparing items and finding that PERFECT item. Because of this lovely trait of mine, I am sure I drove the nice people at Shabby Apple just a little crazy. I have to say though that they were professional, courteous and accommodating when trying to help me pick the perfect dress.

At first I wanted to pick something for Miss. C. As a teen, her taste and mine don't really mesh. She is also more of a tomboy than a girlie type, so I decided if we were going to get this fabulous dress to review, I wanted to be the one to get it as I would appreciate it more. Unfortunately I could not make up my mind on what I wanted. I finally decided the easiest thing would be to get a dress for the little girls - they would both appreciate it AND wear it.

I debated whom to order for. I showed the girls the Secretary Dress and both loved in in blue. We (I) decided Miss E. could get the dress Initially I intended for Miss E. to wear the dress as her birthday is coming up. Because of the size I ordered a size up. I have a bad habit of worrying things will be too small and ordering a size up. The bad thing is my kids often walk around with baggy shirts that have sleeves a tad too long. I should not have done this with this dress - the website actually tells you if the size of the item you are ordering runs small, true to size or big. Of course old habits die hard - I ordered a size up and it was too big for Miss E. but fit Miss N. (she is small so it is slightly large on her). Of course this did not go over too well with Miss E. - crying, whining, etc. - but Miss N. was thrilled. I explained to Miss E. that she would get the dress when Miss N. outgrew it.

As you can see Miss N. LOVES her new blue dress - this is actually more of a blue/green patina turquoise. Instead of wearing the bow in front, Miss N. prefers to wear it like a scarf. (if she turns you can see the scarf). It is a soft cotton and looks cute with boots. As she grows this will also look great with leggings.

After all the painful decision making I am pretty happy. Miss N. looks darling and between the two little girls, we are sure to get a couple of years use out of this dress.

Shabby Apple is looking for a fabulous designer - possibly you. In their Dare to Design competition, artists and designers can post their idea of a beautiful Spring dress on their personal blog. The 15 top designs will be featured on their blog and be voted on by Shabby Apple blog readers/visitors. The winning design wins! Details can be found HERE.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday was not a day of rest today

So much for taking a break today. I cleaned the kids rooms and it took ALL day. We went through Miss E's dresser. Miss E. has a growth spurt and outgrew over half her pants. I have a HUGE box of clothes that no longer fit or that she just won't wear. I also vacuumed, cleaned up Miss C's room and headed to Miss N's room. That was the beginning of the end. Miss N's room looked like a tornado landed.

4 hours later I emerged with a sore back, a sore attitude but a feeling of victory. We took the barbie house out of Miss N's room and put it in the loft/playroom closet- it's new purpose being to store toys, games and puzzles. We then took Miss C's beaten up old dresser and put in Miss N's closet. The dresser now houses belts, purses and a multitude of plastic toys. By the time everything found it's home, we were able to actually put Miss N's clean clothes away. Miraculously the clothing in her dresser in her room were in good order.

During Miss N's room organization project, my mom took Miss C and Miss N to the mall. Miss C spent a ridiculous amount on clothes at Hollister. (I refuse to shop there or at Abrocrombie unless there is a great sale, but my parents and in laws will buy her gift cards).

When Ryan woke up from sleeping (night shift this weekend) I proudly showed off our accomplishments. what was his response? "The kids need to get rid of toys". Um, excuse me, I moved a huge barbie house, AND a solid wood dresser by myself, filled one bag with trash, another with good will toys and a huge box with hand me-downs. I think he does not realize that one day we will miss the toys in the house. Probably not the constant mess though....

When mom and the girls returned, my mother helped me with the last bit of vacuuming and laundry and I hit a much needed shower. She then treated us to Miss C's choice - IHOP. I ate more than I should, my appetite quite large from all the physical labor.

Now I am ready to chill out. I will post my blog giveaways tomorrow after work. Tuesday is grocery shopping, Wednesday is a night off, Thursday is gymnastics and Friday Ryan has the weekend off so we can actually relax at home and at the pool.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

we've been busy!

We went to Seattle for about a week and a half to visit my husband's mom and step-dad. We left on a Monday and returned Wednesday the week following. By the time we got home it was early Thursday morning. I caught a few hours of sleep and went to work that same day. Friday of that week (one day later), my husbands dad and stepmom came to stay with us for a week. They just went home this morning and I was pretty tired all day today. My mom comes in next weekend and my girlfriends from college are coming in for a visit 2 weeks following that. After Labor Day we should be ready to settle into a normal routine again.

Through it all the girls have had a blast during trackout and are ready to start school again on Monday. I am very behind with reviews and giveaways but hope to catch up by tomorrow!

Be on the lookout for a few posts soon :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Harry Potter and the obsessed fan

Over the weekend Miss C. and I saw the new Harry Potter Movie - Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I am not sure who was looking forward to it more - me or Miss C. I love HP so much that I insisted she have a Harry themed party instead of a Pokemon one for her 10th bday. I have attended most of the Barnes and Noble parties (kids in tow), read every book, watched every movie, and am so sad this magical road is coming to an end.

For Half Blood I worried less about the movie staying true to the book, missing or underdeveloped, characters, missing "chapters", etc and just enjoyed the movie.

For a quick refresher Miss C and I watched Movies 4 and 5 before going to see number 6. I must admit that it was helpful - it has been a while since I read the books and I needed to brush up on who's who outside the muggle world. (Our favorite part in 5 was is the public, classroom rebellion, led by the Weasley Dynamic Duo complete with fireworks, destruction of school property and insubordination).

In The Half Blood Prince it was great to see Harry, Ron and Hermione. I missed my favorite antagonists such as the Dursley clan, and "he who shall not be named" but we got our loathing fix via Team Draco. There was plenty of evil Malfoy action abrewin'. Helena Bonham Carter was superb - As Bellatrix Lestrange she was beautifully creepy, evil and horrid, taunting and ridiculing Harry at every turn.

A few other brilliant Brits magically appeared. Alan Rickman brought Snape to life again as only Rickman can. We also had the wonderful portrayal of Horace Slughorn by Jim Broadbent (aka Bridgit Jones' dad) - he showed us a quiet, subtle wizarding opportunist with a conscience but an opportunist nonetheless. Slughorn apparently is not as flamboyant or unethical as Kenneth Branagh's Gilderoy Lockhart for example, but was just as enjoyable.

Movie Number 5 was more action packed so Miss C. was expecting more mayhem than was given in Half Blood Prince. The subtle (and not so subtle) humor was there though, as it has been all along. Oh, and Romance - can't forget that. There is a little snoggin' going on too. Actually a lot. These are teenagers with raging hormones after all. Jessie Cave deserves a standing ovation, or at least some one on one time with Ron, for her hysterical, teen-angst driven portrayal of Lavender Brown. Despite the snogging, Half Blood Prince was a little darker, deeper and much more depressing, laying the groundwork for the finale(s).

Yes, the final movie will be split into 2 parts and I am thrilled. We can stretch this out just a little longer.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Back to School already.

A few updates.....

The girls are already in their new grades. Miss E is in 2nd, Miss N. is in third and Miss C is in her last year at middle school. Even though we have been on the year round schedule for years, I still cannot get used to starting school in July. We track out the end of July and will be traveling, having visitors, and moving right back into Fall schedules in the middle of August.

All of my girls are doing so good in school. Miss C. struggled through middle school - my parents even helped us get a tutor for her. it was not until we switched to middle school that she started to do well and even excel - I she responds less to sitting in one classroom all day. The structure of middle school is what she needed. I cannot believe in 1 year she will be in high school.

I hate the school year starting so soon - the good sales literally start 1 - 2 weeks after they are already back in school. I can wait on the clothes sales but not on the supplies ones. The kids had to have the supplies and sales had not started yet so we went to Walmart. We were not the only other parents that had this idea - it was a mob scene. It took three lists of supplies, three kids, 2 parents and 2 carts to get the job done. The majority of the list for my elementary school kids are items to share with the other kids because some families cannot afford supplies. We spent about $250 last year and spent the same this year.

A new year brings new schedules - new teachers, new activities, new plans, new struggles, new accomplishments. It also means I have to start preparing for the holidays. With three kids, 4 nieces and nephew, 3 sets of parents/grandparents and 4 grandparents/great grandparents it takes some planning and creativity.

Hope everyone is well and enjoying the weekend! Thanks for visiting. While you are here, make sure you check out the current giveaways posted at the right. There are also some great summer end / back to school sales posted.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Oscar Mayer and my family

I had promised to do a video log for Oscar Mayer as part of a blog tour with Mom Blogger's Club. Well that never happened....
1) I am bad with using a regular camera. I am hopeless with a video cam. (hoping to eventually a newer idiot proof one ...)
2) I kept buying the Oscar Mayer all beef hot dogs and my hubby and kids kept eating them!

So instead of a great post with video and pictures you get to hear that my kids love them so much I cannot keep them stocked in my fridge....

Tomorrow is Miss N.'s half-birthday party - she is a holiday baby so we do the kids party in June. Tomorrow morning we have to clean and get the house ready. I wanted to make something easy tonight. I thought "this is perfect - I can finally take pictures or try and video log the hot dogs.". Well, Miss E. who currently hates anything and everything we are having for dinner said she didn't want hot dogs. I did not want to fight the daily food battle with her tonight and figured I would serve up the hot dogs on Sunday. see below for details on the food battle:

If I make mac and cheese on Monday (normally one of her favs), she will hate it and say she wants chicken nuggets. If I make chicken nuggets on Tuesday, she no longer likes them and will want hot dogs. I will offer to make a hot dog and she will change her mind and decide she wants Mac and Cheese. It is like that with EVERY dinner lately and she used to be my "good eater".

So back to the hot dogs. Didn't want to fight the good fight with Miss E. and figured she could snack tonight, I could make soup, raviolis, or something that she would request (demand). During the food battle, Miss C. decided she was going to make dinner and cooked up the hot dogs. Another lost opportunity to film, photo or something... something other than eat the hot dogs again...

Anyhoooo we ended up eating the hot dogs. Miss E. complained the entire time - the bun didn't taste right, the ketchup was watery, she hated hot dogs. FINALLY she asked if she could eat just the hot dog, but not the bun and not with ketchup. When I said yes, she started eating. By the time Miss E. STARTED eating her hot dog, Miss C., Miss N. and I had finished ours. Of course Miss E. loved it and why shouldn't she? Hot Dogs have always been one of her favorite foods - when we go out to eat she usually wants to order a Hot Dog! So long story short. Everyone, yes everyone, LOVED their hot dog (even the impossible to please Miss E.).

Oscar Mayer is and always has been one of my favorite brands . I grew up with Oscar Mayer and now my kids do too. I am really picky when I buy Hot Dogs - I only buy what I consider premium brands and Oscar Mayer is one of those that regularly makes my shopping list.

- I don't buy anything that looks like it was marinated food dye before being packaged up. If you have seen the RED hotdogs, you know what I am talking about. There is more food dye than dog.

- I don't buy hot dogs that look, (and usually are) cheap. If they look that bad before cooking, what will they look AND taste like after being grilled up. If only the cheapo hot dogs are on sale, I will spend full price for the premium brand.

- I don't buy hot dogs that I am not sure what is in there - With Oscar Mayer you know you are getting quality.

Visit Oscar Mayer and check out the videos (Alas, I am not on there!) They are fun to watch and and see what you have in common with the other Oscar Mayer lovers!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

I survived!

I survived and shock of shockers - actually had a great time.

Milestone birthday - made it through without disappointment or drama. (Much unlike my LAST milestone b-day where I pouted and carried on the entire day).

It was much more enjoyable to have a good time then to be depressed about the inevitable! My only regret is that I ate WAY too much. All day I kept saying "It's my birthday!" as an excuse.

My friend Susan took me out to lunch for sushi and pot stickers. Before we headed back to work we stopped at the candy store. I was thrilled to see that they carried Sponge Candy, (although at this store it was called "Sea Foam" candy). Apparently calling it sponge candy is a Northern thing. Sponge candy is my ALL TIME favorite chocolate candy. I have not had it in years. In my excitement over my "find" I ate enough to make up for the years I was deprived of my favorite treat. After work we had end of year gymanastics competition 3 and went out to eat afterward. I just got home and am going to veg out on the couch until I get tired and go to bed. With all I ate I don't have the energy to do much of anything else.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Tonight Miss E and Miss N had their end of year gymnastics competitions. 4 hours at a gym sitting on a folding chair - fun.... My butt and back are a little sore. It was fun watching the girls - I cheered extra loud when it was their turn - it is just SO loonnnng. The program lasts 1 1/2 hours and you have to get there about 1/2 hour early. Miss E. was at 4:30 and the Miss N. was at 6:30 so tonight was a McDonald's night. Tomorrow Miss C. has her end of year competition so guess what? Back to the gym..... Not the way I planned to spend my milestone b-day.

This weekend we actually celebrate Miss N.'s b-day (more fun to celebrate at her age than at mine). Miss N.'s actual b-day is in the Winter and we celebrate with family then, but do a 1/2 b-day kids celebration in the summer. We are doing a Hannah Montana theme with manicures, pizza and make your own sundae festivities. Not sure how manicures and pizza and ice cream will work together but we will find a way.

The next weekend I head to NY to see my family, eat great Italian food and go gambling (thank god I live no where near a casino or I would be broke ALL of the time).

I am glad I got caught up on my blogging this weekend. While you are here, there are a few new giveaways posted and hopefully more coming..... Make sure you enter :)

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Generation Cures and Game for Good challenge

Are you looking for a new, less time-consuming ways to support your traditional family fundraising initiatives?.

Generation Cures is a non-profit organzation that was founded by was created Children’s Hospital Boston, a global leader in pediatric research.  The goal was to find an innovative way to educate kids from 8-12 about caring and compassion.  The other primary goal is to raise money for pediatric research.  Kids represent 20 percent of the U.S. population, but only a fraction of the US national research funding is allocated to pediatric illnesses. There simply isn't enough government funding AND overall funding to find cures and better therapies for illnesses, and particularly pediatric illnesses. 

Children's wants to change this - Through Generation Cures they have created a safe online experience that offers free, educational digital content to kids and their families. The goal is to teach kids the importance of caring and the importance of making a difference in “kid terms”.  The site is designed to be fun and in lingo kids understand and think is "cool".  It also teaches kids about science and medicine (future doctor in anyone's family possibly?)

Here are summaries of the digital content on the site:

· Zebrafish: Animated webisodes tell the story of a quirky group of kids who join a band. Each child joins for personal reasons, but when one of the band members falls ill, the kids are united by a common goal.

· Caduceus: Transported to the mythical land of Alterica, children play a series of online puzzle-adventure games in their quest to find a cure for a deadly virus. Assuming the role of healers, players explore what it’s like to be both a research scientist and a doctor. At the same time, they test their skills of logic, reason and creativity.

· Kid Vids: Generation Cures gives tween viewers an inspiring glimpse into the world of real-life kids who have been successfully treated at Children’s Hospital Boston. Directed and produced by the kids, these videos give a real face to childhood diseases and the patients who overcome them.

· Family Features: Parents can track their child’s progress through the site's stories and games.  The “Parent and Email Option" provides optional email alerts with details about the site's philanthropic, scientific and medical content and suggested questions to spark a healthy family dialogue.

Generation Cures also recently launched the nation’s ever Game for Good game-a-thon. (runs through 06/14/2009).  The 8 week game-a-thon gives participants the opportunity to raise money for pediatric research by playing Caduceus. Just like securing sponsors for each mile completed in a walk-a-thon, participants in the Game for Good challenge can raise money for each Caduceus level completed (five in all).

Generation Cures also currently has a fun poster contest for kids.  Miss (As I call her) is registered and ready to have fun! 

Monday, May 25, 2009

school today and quiet around here

Normally it drives my crazy when the girls are running around and screaming. I am constantly using phrases like "tone it down", "no running in the house", "go play in the sunroom" and in desperation "Be Quiet!.

I had every intention of not sending the girls to school today on principle. Yes, it is ridiculous that school is OPEN on Memorial Day but Miss E. and Miss C. have missed too much this year because of colds, the flu and nasty ear infections. It would not be fair to keep Miss N. (who rarely gets sick) home, so off to school they went.

They will be home in 3 - 4 hours and for better or for worse the house will liven up again!

Memorial Movie Day weekend....

I am a movie buff. During the winter I primarily watch TV. In the summer I read, watch movies and do crafts with the girls. The last truly "great" movies I remember seeing were "Pride and Prejudice", "The Last King of Scotland" and "Atonement".

On Saturday the girls rented "Hotel for Dogs". I won't comment much on that movie as it was a typical corny, fun kids movie. My girls loved it though and watched it twice. My husband and I later watched "Wanted" a thriller with Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman and James McAvoy (who I love from Atonement), which for a thriller actually had an interesting plot.

I love dramas, and WWII dramas in particular. Last night after the girls went to bed I rented "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas". The film is centered around a German boy who idolizes his father, a high ranking Nazi officer. The boy's father is promoted and newly stationed at at a concentration camp. The boy and his family move to new home that looks more like a business office than a home.

At first the boy is homesick and dislikes his new living quarters. Through his window he notices a "farm" with strange farmers wearing striped pajamas. His mother is appalled he can see the "farm" and is very firm that he is only to play in the front of the home, not the back, which is locked and gated.

Where his sister and father take what they are being told on faith and pride in the Nazi party, the boy and his mother question what they is being told against what they are observing. This is ironically aligned to the relationship the family has with the maternal grandparents - the grandfather who openly supports the Nazi movement and his grandmother who, not quietly enough, does not.

The boy finally escapes to the woods behind the house and develops a friendship across a barbed wire, electric gate with a small boy his age. The friendship results in horrific consequences based on the best of intentions.

The other great movie I had the pleasure of viewing was "The Reader" with Kate Winslet, set in post WWII Europe. Kate's character is an odd, introverted, structured, regimented individual who befriends a teenage boy. The movies touches a plethora of controversial issues, including pedophilia, illiteracy, and war crimes. This film repetitively captures how any decisions and actions, no matter how insignificant at the time made, could have a significant impact in the future.

If you like dramas, I highly recommend both of these films.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

school on memorial day

My kids are in year round school and are supposed to go to school on Monday. Usually Columbus day they have to go to school and I am OK with that. Same with Presidents day. We have snow makeup school days on Saturdays and I send my kids to school for that. Memorial Day? No way - it is a day to honor our veterans AND a day to spend with family. I have off of work that day and I want to spend it at home with my family.

so my kids will be playing hooky on Monday.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Time to brag a little

After entering the past few years I am thrilled to finally have won a prize from the Happily Homemade giveaway! I was a winner through Midnightsky Fibers. I was the lucky winner of basket number 13 found HERE! I love the concept of this giveaway - a melding of works from indie artisans / crafters / designers / shops.

If you did not win this year there is always next! In the meantime you can visit one of this years sponsors found HERE.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Family Day fun and plans for next weekend.

Just finished working and thought I would stop by and post a bit as most of my recent posts have been for sponsors and partners. Most of my current giveaways are winding down and I am hoping to post a few new ones in the upcoming weeks.

This weekend was my company's family day picnic and the girls LOVED it. Of course we ate a ton of food. I had a veggie plate and while the girls had fried chicken and hush puppies. Because I am trying to do a more veggie centric diet , I passed up on the hot dogs, burgers and Carolina BBQ...... Of course that did not stop me from partaking in sampling the other goodies - fried dough, ice cream, Italian ice roasted corn and cookies. They had a little Candy Shoppe set up where the girls went by and filled up their bags with goodies like sour patch kids, candy apples, colored popcorn, ring pops, jelly bracelets and peanuts.

While we were there, Miss N. and Miss C. kept taking off to play the games and Miss E. hung out with me for a while. She decided she wanted to ride one of the ponies. There were 4 ponies - all adorable as could be but Miss E. decided she HAD to ride the white one because it was the "prettiest". As luck would have it she was the 4th kid in line and the three in front of her all picked other ponies. She was grinning from ear to ear the entire time. That is when I remembered that I forgot my camera again. Out of all the years I have gone I have remembered to bring my camera one whopping time. Pitiful, I know.

Although they had a ton of activities, the big attraction for my little girls was the carnival games We arrived with empty bags and arrived home later with not only candy, but also about 30 new stuffed animals. My oldest daughter played Bingo for a couple of hours and because of the heat, I joined her for the duration.. My friend Jason watched the little ones and his daughter. He has more energy than I do!

The last activity we did was some sort of extreme tug-o-war. Miss N and Miss E were harnessed into this big inflatable trampoline thing. They were having a great time until Miss N. took a face dive. Now of course her face only hit a big air mattress for the most part but you would have thought she hit concrete from the way she was carrying on. After that it was time to go home.

In the 10 years I have been with the company I have only missed 2 picnics - one the year my friend Susan married her husband and the year we went on a family trip to Disney. It is fun to see everyone outside of work and meet everyone's families. I always have a fantastic time at Family Day but I think that this may be the last year the company is sponsoring it. There is usually an art festival in my area going on the same weekend that we always miss because Saturday we are at the Family Day Picnic and on Sunday we are too tired from Saturday to do anything else! So although I may be saddened to see Family Day go away, I can go to the festival next year as an alternative if it is not offered.

Next weekend the pool should open and I know where we will be hanging out. I refuse to go to the beach as it will be a nightmare getting there and back. Looking forward to a 3 day weekend and the beginning of summer. Time for picnic food, longer days and, (because of my vitamin D deficiency), some guilt free sunbathing!

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