Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Mom Reviews is giving away a children's coat of your choice from Rothschild.

Holiday Wish List Meme

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

1. What 5 items are on your holiday wish list this year? a SodaStream home fountain pop machine, Flirt! perfume from Kohls, MukLuk slippers, anything from Tamar on etsy, and an antique lantern
2. What is your favorite handmade gift you have received? Either the homemade Cabbage Patch Kids my mom made me, or the dollhouse my dad made me
3. What handmade gift have you always wanted to tackle? I'd hoped to learn to knit gloves or mittens for this year's gifts but didn't get around to it.
4. What was the best Christmas gift you received as a child? books
5. What items are on your kid’s wish list this year? A gumball machine and Princess movies
6. What is your favorite holiday food? lefse
7. What will you be hand-crafting for the holidays? a scarf and a stocking
8. What is your favorite holiday movie? Elf! But I also love White Christmas, National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, and Home Alone
9. Favorite holiday song? O Holy Night
10. Favorite holiday pastime? decorating and wrapping gifts

Friday, November 27, 2009

Dev's Favorite Giveaways is giving away a gorgeous pair of pearl earrings from Lisa's Lovelies.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

...with a grateful heart

"Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name."
1 Chronicles 29:13

The girls and I did a project earlier in the week to focus on thankfulness...I had them each make a list using words and pictures of the things they are thankful for. Amelia's number one thing she was thankful for was Jesus! Every once in a while she says something that makes me think I'm doing an ok job at parenting her:) The rest of her list was: kitties, water, Spongebob *blush*, Mickey Mouse, and KaiLan. Adeline's consisted of three magazine pictures: waffles, a cat, and Mickey Mouse. If I were to do the same project, my list would include:
* my family...the last few months, while difficult, have created closeness on both sides
* our exchange student Sheila, who has truly become one of the family
* our home...while we haven't been able to do the remodels I originally considered essentials (due to B's job loss last year), I've found an ability to be content and joyful in my home just as is!
* good friendships, both old and new
* God's ability and promise to turn suffering and hardships into perserverance, character, and hope
* our ridiculous Suburban with it's missing knobs, wacky windshield wipers, and terrible gas mileage...without it we wouldn't be able to fit Sheila and her friends in our vehicle so I choose to be thankful for it, even when it drives me crazy
* my relationship with Christ...without which I couldn't make it through even one day
B Keeps Us Honest is giving away a pack of Bummas wipes for cloth diapers.
Etsy it Up is giving away a gift certificate for handstamped jewelry from RHB Designs.
Jolly Mom is having an incredible giveaway! Enter to win an HP Touchsmart Computer!
Sweeps 4 Bloggers is giving away a bath and body gift set from Earthworks.
Piece of Me is giving away a Lamaze Playhouse Gym. I just started watchign a 3 month old 4 days a week, and this would surely make my day easier.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sweeps 4 Bloggers is giving away 5 copies of the book Hollywood Moon, a Soda Stream starter kit (I want one of these soooo bad), an organic cotton top from Doie Designs, and a gift certificate for jewelry from Charitable Creations.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sweeps 4 Bloggers is giving away your choice of reusable bag from Reusable Bag Depot. I'd choose the gorgeous Green Rose print! You can also enter to win a tea set, including a gorgeous red teapot, from Golden Moon Tea. 3 readers will win a body scrub from 100% Pure. Or a cool neoprene oven mit from Built.
Katydid and Kid is giving away a holiday art set from Stubby Pencil Studio.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Wetbags are an absolute essential when cloth diapering. Enter to win one from PlanetWise at the Me and My Boys! blog.
Check out In Their Closet to enter to win one of two handbags they are giving away from Handbag Heaven!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Giveaways

Sweeps4Bloggers is giving away an an eco-friendly kid's art set from EcoKids USA, 5 copies of the book 9 Dragons by Michael Connelly, a gift set of Jericho dead sea bath and body products, 5 gift packs of quality Zebra pens, 5 copies of Run For Your Life by James Patterson, and more!

Monday, October 26, 2009

My Favorite Things...

1) "Chillin'" with my Danish daughter, and watching her play soccer



(Why is Adeline incognito? Because it's stinking cold out and she's burrowed in for warmth!)

2) Preschool projects every day: learning a letter a week, the Cubbies verse, and Firm Foundations lessons (that's the goal anyway!)

3) My rockin' playlist on Imeem, consisting of Remedy Drive, Group One Crew, Taylor Swift, Jordin Sparks, and Justin Timberlake...my day doesn't truly start until the playlist is in full swing.

4) "Prison Break"! Brandon, Sheila, my sis-in-law Julie, and I have been devouring seasons of this amazing show.




6) Daily quiet time: I've started the habit of having time in the Word and in prayer when I put Adeline down for nap, and it's been so satisfying.

7) "So You Think You Can Dance"...as soon as I'm done writing this, I'm heading downstairs to watch. I've been looking forward to it all day!

8) Fall colors: The leaves are gorgeous in Minnesota right now. The branches of my birch tree are laden with golden leaves, and the view out my picture window is amazing.



9) Women friends: I finally feel like I'm settling into some female friendships. I'm loving getting together a few times a month with my mom's Bible Study group, comprised of women with a lot more experience and wisdom than I. We really dig into the word, and have a blast visiting and going out for lunch after...My Friday morning Bible Study is reading "Youniquely Woman", which has been enjoyable and inspirational so far. We also keep each other updated on prayer requests via email... MAKS started again in September, and I'm finding it easier to connect with the other moms this year, especially as I see several of them every week at library storytime. I'm even hosting a playgroup for a few MAKS moms and their kids tomorrow, something I never thought I'd be brave enough to do!

10) Family: The last few months have been incredibly difficult for Brandon and I. We lost a much longed for baby in August, began hosting an exchange student the next week (which has been a wonderful experience so far), found out Brandon's dear uncle had aggressive liver cancer, buried said uncle not long after, and lost a long-time dear friend/future sister-in-law to a messy breakup, all in less than 3 months time. Through these circumstances, I've been so thankful for family that loves each other, isn't afraid to be honest and cry and be angry alongside you, reaches out with their time and shares their meals, and is always there with a listening ear, helping hand, or hugging arm. I'm so thankful God placed us where we are, a few blocks from all our family so we can support each other at a moment's notice when it's needed most.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Giveaways

Potamus Prefers is giving away an art smock/crayon roll set from O My Darlin.

Contest Corner is giving away the newest CD from Harry Connick, Jr.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

JuJuBeane Boutique

Frugal Mommy of 2 Girls is having a giveaway for JuJuBeane Boutique's hotslings, but I love their Stella Toddler bedding set, too!!!

Giveaways

Sweeps 4 Bloggers is giving away a copy of "Smoke" by Jeremy Chester, a tee of your choice from Fierce Organics, five copies of "Evenings at the Argentine Club" by Julia Armante, mineral eye makeup from Zosimos Botanicals, 5 copies of "A Separate Country" and more!
Leslie Loves Veggies is giving away lavendar bodywash from Russell Organics and cream perfume from the Cream Perfume Company.
My Organized Chaos is giving away a pair of Livie and Luca shoes of your choice!
Go Graham Go! is giving away a Britax Marathon car seat!
Prissy Green is giving away your choice of spa pack from Mermaid's Purse, as well as a combination pack of Yes to Carrots lip balms and glosses.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Life as a Family of Five

So we've had our exhange student for a week, and things are settling down into a routine. Sheila has turned out to be a fantastic fit for our family so far, and B is already talking about how to get her to come back next year! Sheila had hoped to be placed in a home with snow (be careful what you wish for), and with small children (again, be careful what you wish for). The girls adore her, and she is learning to say "no" so that her free time isn't monopolized by Barbies and Candyland. B has been trying (unsuccessfully) to learn a few Danish words. I've had fun laughing at his attempts, and wisely declining to join in the effort. I think it's impossible for an American to pronounce anything Danish-sounding. Anyhow, we feel so blessed to have the opportunity to be Sheila's family for the school year, and are looking forward to soccer games, choir concerts (not to mention the required choir volunteering in which we will certainly be the youngest as it is impossible for us to have a 17 year old daughter), cheerleading, track, teaching her to bake Christmas cookies, celebrating holidays with a mix of Danish and American traditions, and whatever else Sheila decides to take on this year. We've already conquered the State Fair and the first week of school, and can't wait to see what the next months hold for us as a temporary family of five!

Giveaways!

Sweeps 4 Bloggers is giving away a pair of Snuggle Luv baby legwarmers, a pair of Hyde yoga pants, a copy of the book "Spooner" by Pete Dexter, a Village Naturals bath set, a copy of Priceless by Lloyd Constantine, several Zevia natural diet soda packages, and Aphrodite's Feast facial restorative serum from Grateful Body.

Piece of Me is giving away a Relion touch thermometer, lingerie from Elle McPherson, and more.

Just For You...and Me is giving away a $40 gift card to circleline studio (wall vinyl), a handbag from amykathryn, a sodastream home soda fountain, any pair of shoes from musthaveshoes.com, and more!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Giveaways!!!

Sweeps4Bloggers is giving away 5 copies of the book In Cheap We Trust by Lauren Weber, a tea sampler from Two Leaves and a Bud, a gorgeous Fleur Di Lis filigree bracelet, 2 Safe Sporter stainless steel sports bottles from the trusted makers of the Safe Sippy, and lots more!!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Thankful "In" but not "For"

"pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
1 Thess 5:17-18

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.'"
Psalms 91:1-2

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Pampering Giveaway

Penelope's Oasis is giving away an awesome pamper prize package for her blogiversary, including items from Burt's Bees, Victoria's Secret, Belli Skincare, and more!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Giveaways

Sweeps 4 Bloggers is giving away a $100 gift card to Zutano for infant clothes and accessories, a soft and snugly muslin wrap for your precious baby from aden + anais, Spoiled Mama natural and vegan pregnancy bath and body care gift set, Heaven's Alchemy perfume set, a gorgeous enamel tree necklace from Zedana, and a copy of the book The English American by Alison Larkin.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Movie Review: The Time Traveller's Wife

I read the book The Time Travellers Wife about a year ago as part of a reading list I'm working my way through...I read a LOT of books, and because of the sheer quanity, not too many stick with me long enough to be recommended to friends and family...a year after reading this book, I'm still recommending it as a must-read. Not because of any philosophical message or deep spiritual content, but because the concept is so ingenious and the characters are so well-developed that they become part of who you are. I literally could not put this book down, and fell in love with both Henry and Claire and the unorthodox and challenging life they make together. So I was super-excited when I first saw previews for the movie based on the book...excitement quickly turned to anxiety. What if it didn't meet my expectations? Would it be a disappointment and forever taint the beauty of the book? After waffling on deciding to see or not to see, I took advantage of a rare kid-free day to see it with my brother's girlfriend...the verdict? I really liked it! Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams were Henry and Claire, and to the best of my recollection, the movie stayed pretty true to the book (of course, as a movie, things had to be left out or I'd be sitting in the theater still). However, I can't for the life of me figure out why the movie didn't end with the heart-warming and romantic final scene of the book!

Disclaimer: There is some rear-view nudity during time-travel, so don't see it if that's a deal-breaker for you. Because of this, I recommend the movie only for my older readers, even though it has a PG-13 rating. Also, it has been a while since reading the book, so if you read it and are offended by something in it, I apologize. I honestly don't remember there being anything objectionable in the book, but sometimes those details get glazed over with time...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Why I Love Being a Mom: Part 2

Conversations like this:

"Mom, I'll be really careful with my lunch in the living room."
"No, we do not eat meals in the living room."
"But Mom, I'll be really---" *splat*

End of Discussion...for some reason Amelia no longer felt she had a valid argument.

Or this:

"Mom, I really want you to have a good day today"

Accompanied by a Big Hug...

Sin-Eaters, Scrapbooking, and Smelly Garbage

I'm starting to put my week back together into a semblance of a mini-vacation...today I went to Bible study with The Ladies (aka my mom's 3 dear friends, also known as my surrogate mothers) at my parents', then we all went out to McDonald's. After a long lunch, I stopped and picked up five movies: The Last Sin-Eater (excellent, by the way. Everyone MUST see this movie, it really gives a unique picture of what an awesome Savior we have.), Catch and Release, In the Land of Women (not worth anyone's time), The Hulk, and The Duchess...and dropped the kiddies back at my parents'. I've made my way through three movies, scrapbooked my wedding album start to finish (impressed? because I sure am!), had Godfather's pizza with the inlaws (yay for living in the same town), planted onions and green beans (don't know if there's enough growing season left, but since harvesting gallons of carrots there's extra garden room so why not give it a shot?), cleaned out the kiddie pool, remembered to take the smelly garbage to the curb, weeded the driveway, and played a killer game of Farkle on Facebook. Tomorrow I'm excited to finally use the Day Spa gift certificate B got me "just because" a while back, and maybe check out a movie at the $3 theater. Also have plans to get together with my mom and my brother's fabulous girlfriend to watch movies later in the week. Poor B is stuck in 120 degree weather, sweating off all that yummy Chinese takeout. Sitting in his boss's guest room, missing his girls. Come to think of it, I'm missing my girls, too. Never mind that they'd be dead to the world right now, there's something about having your children snoring away in their own beds. Anyhow, wish you were here, babe....actually, I wish "here" was Fargo and we were enjoying the pool hot tub right now...but "here, here" would be great, too.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Disappointment City

B and I were supposed to be heading out tomorrow morning for a business trip/mini-vacation...it's been years since I've had a few days away just for myself...it would have meant a nice roadtrip with hubby, a few days in a hotel to scrapbook, read, watch cable, and visit the hot tub, evenings out together...I'd even struggled through two days of untangling all the babysitting details...and guess where B is right now...on a plane (solo) to Arizona for the week on a last minute job (as in 6pm phone call, 10pm flight). I'm trying to keep my chin up, but I'm soooo disappointed. I'm so glad my family lives in town so at least I won't be alone all week, but what a bummer!!!

Giveaways

Katydid and Kid is giving away a really useful, unique kid's drinking glass from Silikids. Silikids products are chemical-free glass covered in a silicone outer for protection. She's also giving away a bottle of Smelly Washer, a dye and fragrance free product designed to freshen your stinky washing machine. And a personalized name plaque from Annabelle at Home.

A Nut in a Nutshell (love that name) is giving away a gift certificate to Sew Much Fun boutique. I'd use mine to order customized art smocks for my girls!

Piece of Me is giving away a gorgeous tote from Kokopax.

Leslie Loves Veggies is givng away a six-pack of herbal flavored water from Ayala. I'm always looking for new ways to get my daily water in, and I love that these have flavor, but no artificial sweeteners.

Sweeps 4 Bloggers is giving away a set of Bummas cloth baby wipes.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Top Ten: Reasons I'm Proud Of Myself This Summer

My blog has been really boring lately, which is good as it means I've drastically cut back on my computer time, but I suppose I'd better throw out a little tid-bit before I lose all my followers...so here's a random top ten list:

Top Ten Reasons I'm Proud of Myself This Summer:

1) Stripping wallpaper and painting a whole room while B was gone for the weekend.

2) Going a whole summer without air-conditioning.

3) Back on a bike after ten years of fear following an accident.

4) Figuring out how to manage a small business.

5) Finding ways to fit extra expenses into the household budget.

6) Giving up my favorite DirectTV channels to save some money.

7) Successful vegetable garden.

8) Deciding to host a foreign exchange student after several years of considering the possibility.

9) Learning to be more content with what I have: staying out of the mall and not tuning in to makeover and style shows helps!

10) Spending more quality time with my children, and less time on the computer and on household chores.

A Bloggy Birthday Party!

Jolly Mom and Go Graham Go! are hosting a blog party starting August 24th. Head on over there today to find out how you can earn extra entries into each and every giveaway!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Why I Love Being a Mom

Comments like this: "Mudder, I'm crabby. I stayed up too late. That not been a good idea." Followed my much tears...so honey, while it was awesome that you took Amelia out for some daddy time at the hockey game, we are all paying for it today;)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Why I May Name My Firstborn Son "Dyson"

About a month ago, I pulled my vacuum cleaner down on my head. Well, to be more specific, my upper left arm and shoulder. This left me with a nasty bruise and an essentially non-functioning vacuum, and a little dilemma: purchase a relatively inexpensive vacuum and run the risk of having to purchase another one in a few years when I began experiencing the famous "loss of suction". Or blow all my hard-earned garage sale money on the raved-over Dyson. As you can probably guess, we went for a Dyson, the decision being tipped by a well-timed 30% off Kohl's coupon. So here's why I love my new toy:

1) My much-vacuumed living room carpet resulted in a full canister of crud my first time through. All that lurking in my carpet?

2) I can stand at the bottom of my stairs and thanks to the super-long and stretchy hose, reach the attachment all the way to the top...I have a 4-story house, which amounts to 7 separate staircases to vacuum. I can vacuum them all in about 15 minutes, as opposed to 30-45.

3) Super easy to empty the canister, and I don't have to touch any dirty filters.

4) The carrying handle is placed in a really comfortable spot...it's not so awkward to lug up and down those 7 sets of stairs.
5) The gorgeous vacuum cleaner lines criss-crossing my newly rejuvenated carpets.

6) It has a 5-year guarantee, and you can bet that if I do experience "loss of suction", that guarantee will be coming in handy.


And the Winner is....I Don't Know, But it Sure Hasn't Been Me!

The Shopping Mama is giving away a really cool PishPosh Mommy purse organizer.

Annie's Home is giving away Skoy reusable paper towels. These are so cute and colorful, and do away with the waste and expense of paper towels! Plus, they work better. No more ripping and tearing!

MomStart is giving away a ringsling from Keiki Kuddlerz.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Pick Me Please!

Sweeps4Bloggers is giving away:

5 copies of the book Fixer-Upper by Mary Kay Andrews. We're in the midst of remodeling ourselves, so I'd love to take a look at this book.

Organicare Fresh Fix hydrating facial spray, with the scents of lavendar and green tea.

5 copies of the fun chic-lit book Italian for Beginners.

Haircare or Bar Soap from Save the World

Etsy it Up is giving away a key fob from Sweet Irie.

Piece of Me is giving away your choice of Hapari swimsuit.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I Heart Giveaways!

A Pocket Full of Buttons is giving away adorable and practical reusable snack bags from Birdy's Boutique on etsy. A reusable snack back is basically a fabric zip-lock bag, usually closed using Velcro. I love ours because they aren't the suffocation hazard that plastic baggies are, and they also work great for other small items, like hair ties and crayons.

Buy By Mom is giving away a chic bottlecap necklace by On a Whimsy. They also offer really cool monogrammed market totes.

Two of a Kind, Working on a Full House is giving away a booster seat from Mutsy.

Gobs of Giveaways is giving away a pack of Bummas cloth wipes. Our cloth wipes have gotten a lot of love, so we could really need some new ones.

Delaney's World is giving away a copy of the book Julia and Julia.

"Big Kid Room Blog Party"

I love blog parties, especially when fun prizes are involved. I'm super excited about Jolly Mom and Go Graham Go!'s upcoming Big Kid Room Party, as we're in the process of redoing Amelia's room to better fit her "big girl" personality. I can't wait to check out all the giveaways and ideas! Check out the button on my sidebar for the link.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Giveaways

Sweeps 4 Bloggers is giving away 5 sets of Putty Buddies swim plugs. I'd love to try these on Amelia, as she always has earaches after swimming.

Jamie's Precious Peas is giving away a necklace from one of my favorite jewelry sites, Twisted Silver. Their jewelry is unlike anything I've ever seen before, and is always on my wish list.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Giveaways of the Day

Barefoot Mommies is giving away a wet bag from Planet Wise. Wet bags are great for cloth diapers, but also for wet swim suits, dirty clothes, etc...

Piece of Me is giving away a Maddison Ave soy candle. I love that their essential oil candles can be used as lotion or massage oil.

Pays to Live Green is giving away a really cool compost bin from Earth Machine. I already have a compost bin, but this one is sooo cool and easy to use. You can always use another composter, right?

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Caution and an Inspiration

I periodically receive emails from the culture review site Plugged In, and the one they sent out today really grabbed my attention. Each email newsletter reviews new movies and video games, and features culture-related quotes to help its readers understand trends in culture that pertain to Christ and morality. I find the newsletters really handy when I'm planning a movie night with my youth group girls, as they go through movies step-by-step, pointing out positives and negatives along the way. Anyhow, today's featured the new movie Bruno, follow-up to the grossly vulgar Borat (which I have not seen, but the TV previews alone were sickening). Apparently, in Bruno, a real life youth pastor is duped into thinking he is counselling a homosexual man interested in finding a way out of the lifestyle, when he is in reality being filmed for the movie, in hopes of catching some humiliating footage. Plugged In conducted an interview with this youth pastor, Jody Trautwein, that I found really inspiring and hopeful. It seems that "Bruno" didn't get any footage that could be used to mock either Trautwein or Christianity; rather, the producers were amazed at Trautwein's patience and kindness, and the message of salvation comes across loud and clear in the clip. A thrilling example of God using for good what was meant for harm! While I do NOT recommend anyone see this movie, especially after reading Plugged In's review, I am excited about the possibility of millions of people catching a glimpse of the true Gospel in a completely new and unexpected context. I do, however, recommend you read the interview and pray for protection for Trautwein as he has been placed in the public eye for standing up for Christ, as well as for the hearts of the movie-goers going into a movie looking to fill their minds with filth, but surprised by a ray of truth.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A few Giveaways

Sweeps 4 Bloggers is giving away 5 copies of the book The Film Club, a memoir about an unusual strategy an unemployed film critic takes to teach hi s son. They're also giving away copies of the book on CD Swimsuit. Also, Faces by Martina Cole.

Frugal Mommy of 2 Girls is giving away an adorable kiddie-styled cool air humidifier from Crane. I'd love to get the pig or frog for my girls!

Mom Reviews is giving away a B is for Bob reggae-style kid's CD.

Where Have I Been?

1) Praying about hosting a foreign exchange student this year, then making phone calls and filling out paperwork in order to qualify for said exchange student! The whole family is super-excited to hopefully welcome Sheila from Denmark into our home next month. Amelia keeps asking when she's coming, and asked me when we were at an auction on Saturday whether we were in the "country" where Sheila lived...because we were out in the country.



2) Supervising the painting of our house...our painters surely don't need supervision, but I'm not missing out on the opportunity for adult conversation for a few short weeks! We decided to paint our old "farmhouse" light blue with white trim, and I'm loving it so far.



3) Outside in the kiddie pool enjoying my girls and the sunshine and trying to keep cool with no air conditioning.



4) Biking! I finally got back on my bike after a ten year break following a serious biking accident in high school. B and I have enjoyed biking around the lake and to Dairy Queen, taking turns pulling the girls behind us.



5) Various road trips...little county fairs, auctions, etc...in the summer I just get the bug to go driving!



6) Gardening...we have a huge yard, which means huge weeds. I've spent a lot of time on my knees in the backyard lately, it's never-ending. We also tried a vegetable garden again this year, and it is growing out of control! I'm so excited to soon be picking the tomatoes, peppers, and squash that are ripening as we speak, but I think the girls are most excited about the carrots and onions.



In the midst of all that, I've not been online much, which means that my life is pleasantly full of more important things...I'll try to post a little more often, but we'll see...

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tuesday Truth: Kites?


Have you ever read the book "The Kite Runner"? I read it several years ago, and the thing that struck me was the glass-embedded kite strings. In America we look at kite-flying as a fun, carefree leisureactivity... in the Middle East, it's a vicious competition to cut down your opponent's kite by slicing through their string with yours. This results in slashed and bloody hands as the string plays through your fingers...as I was lying in bed with my daughter tonight, waiting for her to fall asleep next to me, I was mulling over how I felt about my life lately. Rather than feeling like the typical "mom" analogy of the juggler who can't keep all the balls in the air, I feel like the kite-flyer, except I'm fiercely holding onto dozens of tangled up strings, each one cutting into my palms as I grip them tighter and tighter in a futile effort to keep my precariously balanced life afloat. Each one threatening to slice through any of the others in an effort to reign supreme in my life. What I realized tonight is that while I'm the one gripping the bloody strings, God is the wind keeping the kites afloat, and Christ is standing behind me, also holding those same strings, trying to guide me into cutting the superfluous or inherently harmful kites loose. If I were to let go of the tangled mess, He would be there to untangle the lines and release me from the pressures I put on myself. Not only that, He's waiting in the wings to be my personal kite-runner; when I cut loose the wrong kite, He's there to run it down and bring me back the kite that He has restored and made new. The only way for me to untangle the mess is to hand over the strings, all of them, so that He can guide them into the breezes God has prepared for me. All I really need to do is grab on and run behind as He flies the kites ahead of me. Easier said than done...but I know I'm ready to loosen my grip.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Giveaways Around the Neighborhood

Prissy Green is giving away your choice of adorable maternity shirt from Chicken and the Egg.

Sweeps4Bloggers is giving away a copy of the book Willow, and 5 copies of the book I'm So Happy For You. Also, Try Fear, a thriller/suspense/Christian book that I'd love to try!

My Organized Chaos is giving away a gift certicate to the clothing company Happy First. They have gorgeous, real-world wearable clothing that I would love to add to my closet. Also, a gift certificate the wall art company Belvedere Designs. There's a spot in my dining room, right above my computer nook, that I've been looking for a Scripture-based wall vinyl for, and Belvedere has the best Scripture selection I've found so far.

Musings of a Fat Chick is giving away a gift certificate to Auntie's Beads.

Jamie's Precious Peas is giving away your choice of child's skirt from Laken and Lila.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Boldly Going Where Everyone Had Already Been

I am a huuuuuuuge Star Trek fan, have been since I was in elementary school and watched the classic reruns with my mom and my uncle. I have about 75-100 books based on the classic series, I've been to a convention, met Scottie and got his autograph, and have most of the original episodes, and all the movies, memorized. All that to say....I was the absolute last person in my family to actually see the new movie. I was hesitant at first because I wasn't sure I'd be able to handle the new actors playing my beloved characters, but was assured by my mom that they did a great job and that the movie was excellent. So I finally went yesterday afternoon with my mom....and I LOVED it! By the end of the movie, I was thoroughly convinced that I was truly watching a young Kirk, Spock, Uhura, Bones, etc...In fact, it's borderline supplanting X-Men as my all-time favorite movie. I'll have to give it a few more views to see if it stands the test of multiple watchings (my husband is skeptical that any movie will ever replace my coveted X-Men), but I highly recommend this movie. If you are a classic Trekkie, you will love the subtle mannerisms that so closely match the original cast. If you're not, you'll still love the special effects, action, and storyline.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Giveaways at Etsy it Up

The longer I've been a mother of girls, the more girly I seem to get myself. Case in point: fancy hair clips...I used to think they were ridiculous, but I've lately become rather obsessed with them. My girls have the typical bow clips, which are super adorable, but tonight I came across a giveaway for the cutest and most creative I've ever seen. Check it out at Etsy it Up! They're also giving away a beautiful pendant from the Pretty Peacock.

WW: First Parade of the Summer

B and Adeline


Hmmmm...is this full of candy yet?

Yep, they're both mine.

Hoping the rain holds off (it did).













Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tuesday Truth: Movie Review

B knew I had a raging headache today, so he brought home a movie to watch after the girls went to bed. I've been bugging him to rent "New in Town" since it came out on video, and he's been less than enthused, but he made the sacrifice and rented it for us. I've been excited to see it as it's set in a town I used to visit often as a child with my grandma, and as a Minnesoootan, I love to watch movies set in my home state.

"New in Town" follows a Miami executive (Renee Zellweger) sent to a New Ulm, Minnesota factory to downsize the workforce and increase productivity and profit. While there, she battles equipment delays, freezing temps, culture shock, distrustful workers, and the gruff union rep (Harry Connick, Jr). Against her will, she is dragged to local festivities and enthusiastically befriended by her scrapbooking, tapioca-baking secretary.

We just finished watching it, and I have to admit, I'm left with the warm fuzzies. Some Minnesotans may be offended by the obvious stereotyping of local culture, but B and I found it humorous and were able to laugh at ourselves as seen through the eyes of "outsiders". Our quirks were definitely magnified, but we could recognize the underlying truths there, and enjoy glimpses of life growning up in rural Minnesota. The movie had multiple laugh-out-loud moments, a heart-warming (if somewhat corny) message, and very little foul language/sensuality/etc...earning my hearty recommendation, and amazingly, my husband's as well! While it may not prompt the rest of the world to want to vacation here, I think everyone longs for the kind of connection and community portrayed, and made me proud to say that yes, I am a Minnesotan, I do have an accent, a trip to Walmart is like a family or high school reunion, and I am surrounded by people who care about each other and our town. Head out to your local Red Box today, but before you go, google Red Box codes to get your rental for free like we did!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Make It Monday: Green Honey-Ginger Drink

Last month's All You magazine included a recipe for a 90 calorie morning drink designed to reduce bloating and puffiness due to water retention. I thought that sounded like a good idea, and I've been looking for something refreshing to replace my morning Diet Coke, so I decided to give it a whirl. Due to the parsley, it has a really unique flavor, but it has a nice refreshing bite to it that helps to replace the fizzy carbonation I'm used to in the morning.

Blend ingredients until very smooth (you don't want any little parsley bits floating around).

1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley (leaves and stems)
1/4 cup pineapple (fresh, frozen, or canned-no sugar added)
2 tsp honey
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup water

I also like to throw in a few ice cubes to make it really chilled. I prefer it sipped through a straw, since there may still be some floaty parsley bits that go down better through a straw.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Cleft Palate Check


"Oral-facial clefts are birth defects in which the tissues of the mouth or lip don't form properly during fetal development. In the United States, clefts occur in 1 in 700 to 1,000 births, making it one of the most common major birth defects...

Oral clefting occurs when the tissues of the lip and/or palate of a fetus don't grow together early in pregnancy. Children with clefts often don't have enough tissue in their mouths, and the tissue they do have isn't fused together properly to form the roof of their mouths...
A cleft lip appears as a narrow opening or gap in the skin of the upper lip that extends all the way to the base of the nose. A cleft palate is an opening between the roof of the mouth and the nasal cavity...

Kids with a cleft lip or palate tend to be more susceptible to middle ear fluid collections, hearing loss, and speech defects. Dental problems — such as missing, extra, malformed, or displaced teeth, and cavities — also are common in kids born with cleft palate..."

--information taken from kidshealth.org

What does this have to do with me?

Our oldest, Amelia, was born with a cleft palate (soft palate only). We had no idea she had any health issues until two days after she was born and had been struggling with nursing, her pediatrician discovered a tiny hole in the roof of her mouth, way in back by the throat. This meant pumping and feeding the milk to her in special bottles, as she couldn't create a vacuum to suck on a regular bottle. It also meant lots of trips to pediatricians and specialists in the cities. It was decided that she needed to have it repaired, which she had done at six months. The surgery lasted a few hours, and included ear tubes. She spent a night in the hospital, and a few weeks recovering, which meant being fed by dropper, no bottles or nuks. Since the repair, she has had two more sets of ear tubes put in, and is in speech therapy for related speech issues. She also has to see a team of specialists once a year to evaluate her entire ear, nose, throat, mouth area. We had her latest appointment last week, and want to share the most recent info with our friends and family.

1) Although speech therapy has made a huge difference in her sound placement and ability to pronounce consonants, the speech therapists were able to notice air escaping through her nose when it shouldn't be. This most likely means at least one more surgery within the next 2 years to further close off the throat from the nose. As we had been told from the start that she would most likely be done with surgeries after the initial repair, this was extremely discouraging news.

2) She's been battling a double ear infection for 3 weeks. The first round of antibiotics took care of the right ear, but a second round has still not cleared up the left. She has fluid built up in her tube, and is now on drops 3 times a day to try to flush it out. The poor girl is play-acting ear infections on all her stuffed animals now...

3) She has a cross-bite, which will mean a palate expander within the next few years, along with braces.

4) A flap of skin between her two front teeth needs to be snipped out at some point. Right now it gives her an adorable little space between her front teeth, but I suppose she can't have that forever.

5)The hearing specialists would like to have her hearing tested twice a year.


All in all, it was a very long day, starting at 6 am to drive 2 hours to the cities, 3 hours of meeting with a dozen specialists, a 2 hour break for lunch on a college campus with nothing for two small children to do, another half hour waiting for our evaluation meeting, then sitting through an explanation of all that is to come. After running errands in the cities, we finally got home at 6 pm.
I'm trying really hard to be positive, and recognize that we are lucky not to be going through multiple surgeries for a cleft lip or hard palate, but I still hate to think of my girl going through more poking, prodding, surgeries, etc...not to mention the expense now that our health coverage is definitely lacking. For now, I need to focus on continuing to work with her on speech, and worry about the rest when the time comes. I also get so tired of talking to people about cleft palate/cleft lip and the comments about how "gross" "disgusting" "ugly" etc. that is. Our daughter could so easily have had a cleft lip as well, and it would be heartbreaking to know that people thought those things about our precious girl. So please remember that a child with cleft lip is just as loved and cherished as one with a "perfect" face.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

So Easy Babyfood Kit Giveaway

Shop Annies is giving away a So Easy Babyfood Kit, everything you need to quickly and easily make your own healthy and nutritious baby food. I'd really like to make my own baby food next time around, especially now that I'm figuring out this gardening thing, and this kit looks like the way to do it!!!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Weekend Wasn't So Bad After All....

So Brandon was away all weekend on his annual "man trip". I admit, I wasn't feeling really gracious about it...for one thing, why does he get to automatically go away for a long weekend every year? Besides the fact that he'd be going to movies I want to see, and I'd love to have him all to myself for a whole weekend. Why does a group of guys get that privelege while I sit at home caring for our girls. Thankfully, despite my lousy attitude, the weekend has been pretty great.

Thursday: Took the girls to the library (after seeing B off packed into a mid-sized car with three other guys, four computers, and assorted luggage and snacks), and to speech in the afternoon. Excited to find four books waiting for me at the library, and the girls enjoyed picking out new books and playing on the computer. Speech is going well enough that her teacher decided we can take a break for summer! It'll be great to have Adeline's Thursday afternoon nap uninterrupted for a while, but the girls will miss playing with the dollhouse there...Thursday night I finished stripping wallpaper from the entryway. Couldn't get the sprayer open, so I had to use the dinky little spray bottle to douse the walls. Carpal tunnel, please forgive me. At least the paper came off pretty easily.

Friday: Watched Grant, and the girls had a blast helping me take care of him. While he and Adeline were sleeping, I taped the plethora of woodwork. Took two rolls of tape. Finally weeded the vegetable garden. The green beans, squash, carrots, lettuce, and herbs are all up! For supper, we went to B's parents for his dad's birthday party. Ice cream cake! When we got back at 9, I put the girls to bed and went to work painting. Coincidentally, Lifetime was playing a movie based on a book I just read and loved, so I watched/listened to that while painting. It took longer than I expected because of the textured walls, but I love the color. Finally fell into bed, exhausted, around midnight.

Saturday: Opened my eyes at 6 a.m. to find myself in a stare-down with small curly-haired girl. Headed over to B's parents again to help them get ready for a garage sale. The girls had fun playing with their aunt's hairless dog and with the garage sale toys. Had leftovers for lunch, then headed home to put Adeline down for a nap. The girls weren't happy to go to sleep that night, I can tell they miss their dad....after finally getting them down, I did the final coat on the walls and put the room back together. Celebrated the accomplishment of my first ever solo room makeover with a hot shower, a Diet Coke, and a disappointingly uninteresting book.

Sunday: Decided it wasn't worth it to haul two small children half hour to church, so I attempted to sleep in. Attempt foiled by another six a.m. wake-up call from charming curly-haired girl, accompanied by charming eighties rocker-haired girl. By ten a.m we were all bouncing off the walls and each other, so called my parents for back-up and lunch. Went to McDonald's for nutricious lunch consisting of two Happy Meals and a Big Mac meal, then headed to a nearby town to buy plants. (Bonus stop at the local bait and tackle shop to find several of my dad's lures had sold!) Picked up the rest of the vegetables for the garden, and a trunk-load of flowers in yellows, apricots, and purples. While making dinner, threw together a quadruple batch of Calico Beans for freezer meals. Girls went down better, and I finally had some time to relax! Which is being spent chronicling my weekend solo flight.

Hmmm....someone crying...gotta run!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Weekend Giveaways

The Giveaway is giving away a $50 gift certificate to Vincent shoes, a great source for unique European-style children's shoes. I would use my certificate on the sporty Lottas for Adeline.

Jolly Mom is giving away a Potty Tots potty-training kit. We are gearing up to work with Addie on the potty, so I'd love to try this system out.

Katydid and Kid is giving away the Kiss My Face complete kid's line. Amelia loves the detangler for her curly hair (and I do, too). It makes her hair smooth and shiny, and as a bonus makes her smell like oranges!

My Organized Chaos is giving away a $25 gift certificate to Lu Kels boutique. Spend it on yourself, or on a cute outfit for your kids!

The Funky Monkey is giving away a personalized necklace from the Pretty Peacock.

Mama's Money Savers is giving away a copy of Faryl Smith's cd and a Tot Clock to teach children when it's time to sleep and when it's ok to get up.

Not Entirely British is giving away 2 CD's from award-winning vocalist Jessie Clark Funk.

Rockin Mama is giving away a sunflower kit from Potting Shed Creations.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Walmart Deals

Print coupons from coupons.com and Kraft, and get ready for some great deals this week!!!

Coke 12-packs 2.98 (down from 4.98)

Oscar Mayer deli meat 3.00
*use 1.00/2 coupon from coupons.com and 1.00 off Kraft cheese when you buy Oscar Mayer

Velveeta Shells and Cheese 1.50
use 1.00 coupon from coupons.com and Kraft

Triscuit, RitzBitz, and Wheat Thins on sale for 2.00
use 1.00 coupons from coupons.com and Kraft

Kraft dressings 1.58
use 1.00 coupon from coupons.com and Kraft

Kraft BBQ sauce .98
use 1.00 coupon from coupons.com and Kraft

Bagel-fulls on sale for 1.88
use 1.00 coupon from coupons.com and Kraft

Digiorno Flatbread pizza on sale for 4.75
use 1.00 coupon from coupons.com and Kraft

Daisy sour cream on sale for 1.50

1-pound Velveeta 3.46
use 1.00 coupon from coupons.com and Kraft

Shick razors 1.97
use 2.00 coupon from last week's paper

Kid's band-aids on sale for 1.98
use 1.00 coupon from last week's paper

Check the shoe section. They have Croc-style slippers and sandals for 1.00

WW: Yesterday's Trip


This is a $60 shopping trip! Now to be fair, I used 2 WIC vouchers, but I also saved $25 in coupons.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Frustrated!!!!

I am getting so frustrated with giveaways. As I've mentioned before, I seem to be pretty lucky, and win quite a bit. However, it seems a significant portion of my winnings never make it to me. I don't know if it's mail screw-ups, dead-beat company sponsors, or flaky bloggers running the giveaways, but I'm sick of it!!! And what I really hate is how communication suddenly stops as soon as I have a problem. Are my emails going out to some black hole somewhere, never to be seen again? Here's what I've never received, for whatever reason:

-a set of natural hand sanitizers
-sunglasses for Amelia
-set of Stila lipgloss
-$25 in jewelry of my choice (this one is killing me)
- beaded bracelet

This is all from between January and April. Am I wrong, or is this ridiculous?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Giveaways

Feisty, Frugal, and Fabulous is giving away a Steamboy Floormop. It works on hard floors and carpets! My carpets could use a good cleaning!

My Organized chaos is giving away a $25 gift certificate to Dali Decals. Good luck choosing what you would get if you win!

I would love love love to win this camera from A Daily Dose of Toni. It's a really cool hard-disk camcorder that doesn't use tape. You can download right to your PC and burn a DVD. It would be so easy to share those special memories with friends and family.

Eighty MPH Mom is giving away a rug set from Flor. They have several patterns and styles of carpet squares that can be put together any way you choose.

Win a fun and versatile Skuut ride-along toy from Seeryus Mama. Supposedly, after learning to "ride" this bike, there's no need for training wheels to transition to a big-girl bike.

Visit MomStart for a chance to win Lightcrafts photo-editing software. MomStart is also giving away a pair of glasses from EyeBuy Direct. I really need some new glasses, and have run across this mail-order company before. They have great prices and an awesome selection of trendy frames.

MarieLynnBoutique is giving away a gorgeous Princess Dress.

LadyBug Soup is giving away the ENTIRE Pure and Potent face care line from Kiss My Face. I love their kid's detangler for Amelia's hair, and would love to try some of their facial products on myself.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

WW: Happy Anniversary Honey!

Last night B and I celebrated our 8th anniversary by putting the girls to bed early and making ourselves a Surf and Turf dinner. While B grilled steak outside, I snuck a mound of King Crab legs into the oven to surprise him with. Our favorite show to watch together is Deadliest Catch, and we always set aside Tuesday nights to watch it together. B loves King Crab, and always complains that the show makes him want some. So last night I had a blast watching B dig into his plateful of King Crab, while watching our favorite ships haul in their catches. Happy Anniversary to us!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Huge List of Printable Coupons

I printed off a ton of high-value coupons yesterday for items that are pantry staples around my house. Check out the website and print your own to save big bucks on this month's grocery bill!

Tuesday Truth

It's 9:30 am and the girls and myself are still in our jammies! I've been really struggling lately with getting the day started. Yesterday I did great. I got up with B in the morning, had breakfast with Amelia, and had most of my daily chores done by noon, including a workout and a shower. It felt great, and I had so much energy the whole day. Then I sabotaged myself by staying up too late reading "Eclipse", and am really dragging this morning. Which of course leads to guilt for being lazy, which leads to more dragging. I'm trying really hard to get back to my New Year's plan of getting to bed on time, and starting my day on the right track. I've struggled with mornings my whole life, but especially now that I have kids and tend to stay up even later to get in some "me time". So that's my dirty little secret for the day...What's yours?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day

I know the subject of Earth Day can be a touchy subject in Christian circles. As can being "green". There can be a fine line between caring for the world we live in, and worshipping Mother Earth.

I live a fairly "green" lifestyle. My main motivation is Genesis 1:26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." Biblically, ruling over something in a Godly manner has involved a great deal of responsibility. I feel we are responsible for practicing good stewardship with the earth that God created for our use and pleasure. But I also feel the verse above gives us permission to use the earth for our benefit. Our post-fall earth was not intended to last forever, just until Christ returns, and the advent of the "New Earth". For example, while I am concerned about air pollution for health reasons, I'm not worried about global warming. I trust Christ will return before our world falls apart or self-destructs in any way. Or...I eat meat and knit with wool yarn, but I try to buy "cruelty-free" whenever possible.

That being said, here are some do-able ways I've found to take care of the earth:

1. cloth diapers...the less poo that goes into our landfills and groundwater, the better! Did you know that when using disposables, you are supposed to dump the poo into the toilet as our landfills are not equipped to safely deal with it? Not to mention the difference in my wallet from not buying bags of diapers every month.

2. reusable shopping bags....the manufacturing of plastic bags is very hard on the environment, not to mention the amount of plastic bags that end up in landfills. According to the Wall Street journal, Americans go through about 100 billion plastic shopping bags each year, costing retailers $4 billion dollars. Perhaps if we all started using reusable bags, the savings for retailers would trickle down to us?

3. recycling...I have 4 plastic bins in my pantry (plastic, paper, aluminum cans, and glass/metal). When those fill up, I transfer the contents to various garbage bins and bags in the garage. They in turn get thrown into the back of the truck and taken to the recycling center about every 3 months. Doing this on our own rather than paying the garbage man to do it saves us money each month.

4. reusable towels rather than paper towels...they work better and have helped me trim the fat in my household budget. I cut up old dish towels, and they work fantastic.

5. home-made cleaning supplies...I make my own from vinegar, water, and tea tree oil. I add essential oils for additional fragrance. Not only can I feel good about cleaning the bathroom without fitting my kids for oxygen masks, but this also cuts back hugely on household costs.

6. stainless steel water bottles...Cuts back on garbage, and on energy to produce and ship bottled water. I also don't have to worry about harmful chemicals leaching into my family's drinks. My 4-year old has a Foogo, and she loves it. I love that it has a flip-top straw that is covered when not in use.

7. composting-less into landfills, more nutrients into my vegetable garden. I keep a cute Rachel Ray garbage bowl on my counter for scraps and dump it into the bin every few days. And no, it doesn't smell or attract flies, so far anyway.

As you can see, there are many small ways we can do our part to care for the earth, and that often translates into caring for our wallets as well! If you're feeling overwhelmed by all the "green" options, I was given the advice to choose one at a time to master. Then move onto one more, etc.

Now get outside and enjoy this beautiful day, and take a moment to thank He who created it!


WW: MN Musky Expo


Monday, April 20, 2009

Dad blogs playset giveaway

Dad blogs is giving away a fantastic playset from Kids Creations. My girls are finally both old enough to enjoy a larger playset, and we've been searching the classifieds for one, but they get snatched up so quickly! While curbing the other day, we got the components (slide, swings, ladder) for one, but we'd much rather win this terrific set than have to build our own!!! Head on over to Dad blogs and try your luck!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday Giveaways

Just for Me...and You is giving away a wall decal from CircleLineStudio. I've been wanting to try these, and this etsy store has the most unique I've seen so far.

The IE Mommy is giving away a beautiful handmade Kaleidescope necklace from Savvy Girl and Company.

The Greer 5 is giving away 5 copies of Mrs. Meyer's Clean Home book.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

More Giveaways

Shop Annie's is hosting a Piggie Paint giveaway. My girls love to paint their nails, and I've been itching to try out these truly non-toxic paints. Even so-called "kid's" polishes have that nasty odor that can't be good for anyone's lungs...Piggie Paint also offers unscented, nontoxic polish remover. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's been bowled away by the scent of the trash even days after removing my polish.

I've recently discovered the joy of the straight-iron, and Jamie's Precious Peas is giving away your choice of hair dryer or straightener from T3. Also, an item of choice from No Mommy's Perfect. They offer an adorable line of mom and baby clothing. I would choose the tank with the logo: No Mommy's Perfect...Every Mommy's Priceless tank. Or Kidde Kapz to convert almost any bottle to a toddler cup. Finally, she's also giving awaya set of 10 Purse Hangers. I currently hang my purses on regular hangers, but these would work so much better. By the way, I just won a jewelry giveaway over at Jamie's Precious Peas last week. So a huge thank you! I can't wait to receive my prize.

Gone Curbin' and Other Events

The last few weeks have been really busy, thus the sparse blog posts. It started a few weeks ago with the MN Musky Expo. As I've mentioned before, my dad has started his own fishing lure company, which I help him manage. We ran a booth at our first expo two weekends ago, which entailed a LOT of prep work. Especially since the week of, we finally got fed up with our bank and switched over all our accounts. (There's a certain well-known bank which is now considered a curse word in my house!) Anyhow, after the prep work, I drove up with my dad to help him set up and man the booth, along with my uncle and a few shareholders. We didn't sell a whole lot, but we made lots of great contacts, and had a blast. I am not a fisherwoman, and about as far from "redneck" as you can get, so I was pleasantly surprised to find how much I enjoyed the atmosphere and people at the show. As soon as I can find my camera, I'll post pics of the event.

I've also been babysitting my friend's little boy Monday, Wednesday, Friday, which leaves little time for the computer on those days. But it's so fun to have an infant in the house again. My girls both adore him, and provide plenty of entertainment for this so-far only child.

Last weekend, I was virtually computer-free because of a nasty virus my laptop try picked up. Beware of a pop-up that looks like it's from Windows Security! My darling hubby spent hours first trying to fix the poor thing, then backing up all my files and programs so that he could wipe the computer and start over. I'm so thankful my husband is handy in so many different ways. He's pretty convenient to have around...

And finally, last night was the kick-off for my favorite hunting season, Curbing! For the past several years, my husband and I, the inlaws, and often our friends, head out in our trucks and vans and trailers to troll the streets during scheduled curb-side recycling in the more affluent neighorhoods of the Cities. Our first haul of the season was a doozy, including: a brand-new ergonomic desk chair, playset components (slide, swings, ladder, etc), covered sandbox, Little Tikes slide, Little Tikes standing kitchen playset, Polly Pocket set, dollhouse furniture, jogging stroller/bike trailer, 3 strollers, a shoe shelf, an antique quilt, several basketballs, Lego castle set, Hooked on Phonics kits, 5 bag chairs (including 3 Eddie Bauer w/footrests), Barbie car, Cabbage Patch doll, several wooden puzzles, and last but not least......


A (nearly working) MOTORCYCLE!!! Pretty much like this one...



So I'd like to know, what's the best thing you've picked up off the side of the road? Or am I the only one out there who gets a thrill out of this?

Just a Few Weekend Giveaways

Sandier Pastures is giving away an adorable vintage cut-out from 5 Gardenias. I spent some time browsing her etsy shop, and found several cute vintage items I'd love to have.

Visit Green Your Decor for a chance to win an amazing "green" prize pack, included the Bissel Little Green carpet cleaner.

Just in time for summer sand boxes, Funky Monkey is giving away a sand toy set from Green Toys.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tip of the Day

Something semi-useful from me for a change...more coming tomorrow or Thursday on why I've been MIA...


When your hand soap starts running low, add some water, shake it up, and prolong the life. This works with shampoos, body washes, etc as well. It's amazing how much longer you can use a product when you add a little water to the bottom of the bottle!




Thursday, April 9, 2009

Oliver's Labels: Coupon Code


I recently wrote a review for Oliver's Labels. I've been using their labels on everything from shoes and coats to sippies and stainless steel water bottles. I think I'm addicted and need to order more! Speaking of ordering more, they are now offering my readers a 10% discount...simply enter the code Oliversfriends upon checkout. Thanks, Oliver's Labels!!!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Friendly Reminder: Car Seat Safety


I'm a car seat safety freak, and with perfect road trip weather on it's way, I wanted to remind everyone of some key car seat safety points.


1. Of course, always always always use your car seat. Whether you're going down the street, across town, or 500 miles...Auto accidents are by far the leading cause of death for American children.


2. Keep your child rear facing as long as comfortable (within the weight limits of the seat). Rear facing is safest for a child of any age. Even adults would be safer rear facing, but it would be a little tough to drive that way.


3. Please, do not purchase your car seat at a garage sale or secondhand store. Minor accidents may not outwardly show, but they weaken the car seat, making it likely to fail in an accident. Not to mention pieces may be missing, it may be under recall, or could be expired. Car seats grow brittle with age, so make sure yours is less than 10 years old, preferrably under 5. Many seats now include an "expiration date".


4. Don't move your child out of her car seat or booster too soon. Children should be in a 5-point harness until they are 40 lbs, and in a booster until they are 4 feet 9 and 8 years old.


5. Keep the harness tight and straps un-twisted. You should barely be able to fit your fingers under the straps. Remember when you first brought your precious baby home from the hospital and were so careful to have the straps tight and perfect? Also, keep bulky clothing to a minimum, as in an accident, bulky clothing can compress and allow your child to slip through the straps.


6. Do not use any accessories that didn't come with the seat. This includes head rests, strap covers, and buntings or car seat "slipcovers". These items have not been crash-tested and may affect the car seat's function. The "slipcovers" are especially dangerous, as they don't allow the straps to fully tighten, causing children to slide out during a crash when the cover compresses and the straps become loose. (I'm not talking about the covers that go over the seat to keep baby warm, but the ones that fit under the straps, that the child sits on top of. I don't know if I'm explaining this very well..)


7. If you don't have a vehicle with LATCH, make sure the shoulder strap is always locked. If your vehicle's straps only lock in case of a sudden stop, use a locking clip. See your car seat manual for instructions.


8. Finally, make sure your car seat is installed tightly. There should be no more than an inch wiggle room on any side. When installing my children's seats, I kneel in the seat to compress them and allow for a tighter fit.


For more safety tips and how to avoid common mistakes, visit babycenter.com.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Oliver's Labels:Review


A while back, I was contacted by Oliver's Labels. They offered to send me some of Stick-eez no-iron clothing labels to review, and I enthusiastically said "YES!" I actually won some of their original labels a few months ago and am loving them, so I was really excited to try out their new product. They have a huge selection of designs. I let Amelia choose her favorite, Nature. When the labels came, they sent me a sheet of clothing labels, plus a sampler of their other products.

My favorite feature is that the labels are fully washable. The original labels go through the dishwasher, no problem. I've labeled all our sippies, and they've gone through the dishwasher nearly every day for the past month. They look good as new.

When I received the clothing labels, I immediately labeled Amelia's coats and ran them through a desperately needed wash the next day. I was skeptical that the labels would last, but they came through perfectly. It's almost like they become one with the fabric.


Another great feature is the "Found It" code. Amelia's labels came with a code that, if lost, whoever finds her item can enter the code on the website and Oliver's Labels will send me an email. Oliver's Labels acts as an intermediary, so I never have to reveal any personal information in order to get her item back. The best part is, the "Found It" option is totally free!

Visit Oliver's Labels to browse their full collection of labels. They'd be great for labeling your kids' stuff for camp and sports, baby gear, shoes, etc. And they're not just for kids! They have a fashion line for hip adults, as well as solid colors. I use the solid labels on my spendy stainless steel water bottles.

Thank you, Oliver's Labels, for the opportunity to try your fantastic products!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Make Something Monday



Better late than never....a few weeks ago, the girls and I made bird feeders for the returning birds. I don't know if robins even eat from feeders, but when I saw the first one, I was so excited I had to do something for it! I bought bulk birdseed at Pet Expo and looked for recipes using peanut butter, since I have a lot stocked up from coupon deals and WIC. I found one using day-old bread, peanut butter, bird seed, and yarn...all things I have around most of the time.

Cut bread into shapes with cookie cutters; the larger and less complicated the shape, the better. Don't forget to poke a hole with a straw towards the top. Then let the bread sit out for a few hours to dry and get hard. Spread both sides with peanut butter, and dip in bird seed. Finally, thread yarn through the hole to make a hanger.

It's suggested that you hang the feeders near other branches to give the birds something to perch on. We waited for a warm-ish day and scouted out the perfect locations for our little feeders. They were gone within 2 days, whether the birds or the squirrels got them, I couldn't say. And honestly, we regularly feed squirrels here, too!

Cabin Fever

B was gone last week on business, which the girls and I are starting to get used to. Instead of acting out, they tend to verbalize that they miss him, which is good. And with a new vehicle, I feel I have more freedom while he's gone. However...this last trip, B accidentally took all the vehicle keys with him, leaving me stranded for four days. Which meant lots of phone calls that went something like this:

"Hi, this is Naomi. Sorry I can't make it to (fill in the blank). B is out of town on business and took all the keys with him, so I have no transportation."

or

"Mom, can you pick up (fill in the blank) and drop it off for me?"

or

"Mom, can you pick up supper for us?"

or

"Mom, can you do (fill in the blank) on your way to/from work?"

Thank the Lord we live in the same town as family, and not at the Arizona branch!!!!

Although I was really disappointed at first, especially to miss youth group, it turned out to be a blessing. I watched my friend's baby on Wednesday and Friday, and by the time 7pm rolled around Wednesday, I was ready to crash, and glad that I didn't have to drive home with the kids from youth group at 9. And I ended up catching a cold, so it was nice to be able to relax a little more on Thursday before having Grant again on Friday. My friend Amber was able to visit on Thursday, and without having to be at speech by 3, she was able to stay and visit after our workout. Blessings aside, I was still frantic to get out of the house by the time B got home Friday night.

I forced him to take me out to eat on Friday, and Saturday morning I was still feeling cabin fever, so we decided to take a road trip, somewhere...anywhere!!! We decided to visit friends we haven't seen in a while. It was a beautiful sunny day, and the drive was relaxing. I read aloud the Deadliest Catch book my brother bought for B (it's even autographed to B), so the drive was filled with plenty of laughter. We had a fun visit with our friends, went to Menards to look at bathroom fixtures for our upcoming remodel, and got home around 9.

Sunday was a little rockier. We were both feeling the effects of a long week, and we had a full day ahead of us. We got to church late, then had to rush off afterwards so B could get his hair cut while the girls and I ate in the car. Then home to pick up a birthday present, then drive to a birthday party. After the party, we had to make a Walmart trip for much needed supplies. I was cranky, finding it hard to adjust to having B back home. While I miss him when he's gone, the girls and I quickly get into a fairly smooth routine, and I have complete control of our days. With B back, I have to get used to working around and with someone else. It can get a bit bumpy, but we got through it, and after crashing early last night, I'm looking forward to having him home this week. Especially to cuddle up with and watch some long-overdue Bones episodes.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Maternity Jamboree


Life Starring Ellie and Eve's Maternity Jamboree is still going on! I've been enjoying the pregnancy tips and reviews, and looking forward to someday being able to apply them. She has some new giveaways up, including a chance to win a Belly Band to cover up that growing belly when your shirts start getting too short, and a pair of chic Citizens of Humanity maternity jeans, worn by your favorite celebrities. Or a Nursing Mom Package from GlamourMom, including a nursing tank. She's also giving away a gorgeous Babydoll top from DeadWorry, perfect for the pregnant and non-pregnant alike, and a Bravado Nursing Tank in aquamarine, the perfect color for summer!

She's got lots more giveaways going on! I plan to head back over later today and enter for more great prizes. I hope you will, too! And while you're there, give some comment love on her fun pregnancy and baby-related posts.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Monster List

Piece of Me is giving away a car seat or stroller sunshade from Protect-A-Bub, a company specializing in unique and functional products to protect your family from the damage of sun exposure.

My Organized Chaos is giving away a gorgeous handbag from Nest. I love that it's large enough to fit a few baby essentials in it, without looking at all like a diaper bag.

Barefoot Mommies is giving away a Pamper Pack for new moms from Rosy Glow. Barefoot Mommies is one of my favorite giveaway sites: I have one two prizes from them, including a car seat!

Everything Up Close is giving away a pendant from Lincoln Christian. I've been wanting to try a tile pendant, and these are gorgeous. She even offers a collection for just Twilight fans.

Thrifty and Chic Mom is giving away an organic spice set from TSP. They come pre-measured in tsp. servings, so you never have to worry about your spices getting old and losing their flavor. She's also giving away Piggy Paint, non-toxic nail polish made especially for little girls, and personalized note cards from The Note House.

Sandier Pastures is giving away a beautiful Jade and Copper bracelet from Designs by Cher.

A Giveaway Addicted Mommie is giving away 2 packs of Boogie Wipes for little noses.

Mama's Moneysavers is giving away a Bum Genious diaper. I'd love to try one of these for nighttime. She's also giving away a 1-year subscription to the online menu-planning service Relish!

LadyBug soup is giving away your choice of vinyl wall art from Visions in Vinyl. I'd love the "Together Forever" for my bedroom wall.

Parents Gear is giving away soap from Save Your World.

For those of you who are knitters, enter at FatChick to win a Ball and Swift Winder to wind your yarn into center-pull balls. If you are new to knitting, a center pull ball is amazingly easier to work than the alternative.