Archives for September 2009

Only in the Mountains #8

Can you get a Bible lesson while walking through the woods! That’s right – those are the 10 commandments on the side of a hill. And see the Bible at the top of the hill? Those are our friends standing up there. The view from way up top is spectacular!

This photo was taken on Sunday at a place called “Fields of the Wood Bible Park” – about 45 minutes from our house. I had completely forgotten that this place existed. I remember going there with my parents many, many years ago. This past Sunday, we went there to watch a very special young lady get baptized. The memories came flooding back – specifically the memory of all those stairs! I remember Daddy trying to make me run them. Today, that would probably kill me.

Not only do they have the 10 commandments on the side of a hill, they also have tons of other Biblical replicas. From Joseph’s tomb to Golgatha, there is so much to explore.

I am so glad we went on Sunday, and now I can’t wait to take the kids back. What a fun “Bible Field Trip” this would make!

Yo Gabba Gabba! LIVE US Tour

GROUNDBREAKING CHILDREN’S SERIES YO GABBA GABBA! KICKS OFF FIRST EVER U.S. TOUR:
YO GABBA GABBA! LIVE: THERE’S A PARTY IN MY CITY
ON SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 14 IN LOS ANGELES

Special Guests will join the party on stage, rocking their favorite “Dancey Dance” moves.

Advance Tickets for American Express® Cardmembers Beginning Wednesday, September 30. Public on-sale begins Friday, October 9th.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA & MIAMI, FL — (September 24, 2009) –W!LDBRAIN, the award-winning animation and entertainment company and S2BN Entertainment are proud to announce the launch of YO GABBA GABBA! LIVE: THERE’S A PARTY IN MY CITY, the first live U.S. touring show for the hit children’s program Yo Gabba Gabba!. The show will feature DJ Lance Rock, and everyone’s favorite cast of characters– Brobee (the little green one), Foofa (the pink flower bubble), Muno (the red Cyclops), Plex (the magic robot), and Toodee (the blue cat-dragon) as well as lots of surprise guests. The tour comes on the heels of the first YO GABBA GABBA! CD release YO GABBA GABBA! MUSIC IS AWESOME, hitting the shelves nationwide on October 20.

The tour will kick off in Los Angeles on Saturday, November 14, at the Shrine Expo Hall. YO GABBA GABBA! LIVE: THERE’S A PARTY IN MY CITY will also appear at the Beacon Theatre in New York City on Saturday, November 21, and the Rosemont Theatre outside of Chicago on Saturday, December 5. There will be two shows in each city — in LA and Chicago they will be held at 11 AM and 3 PM and in NY 11 AM and 2PM.

Tickets will be available to American Express Cardmembers from Wednesday, September 30, at 9 AM through Thursday October 8 at 9PM. There will also be a special pre-sale for Gabba Mail members on Tuesday, October 6th at 10AM EDT. The public on-sale will begin October 9 at 10AM. Tickets will be available via Ticketmaster.com and YoGabbaGabba.com.

A one-of-a-kind live event, YO GABBA GABBA! LIVE: THERE’S A PARTY IN MY CITY will feature music, animation, games, singing, dancing, and special musical guests. Favorites such as “Party in My Tummy” “Hold Still” and “Get the Sillies Out” will be featured in the show. Special guests will also join the party on stage rocking their favorite ‘Dancey Dance’ moves. Presented using state of the art production elements, YO GABBA GABBA! LIVE: THERE’S A PARTY IN MY CITY will offer audience members of all ages an unparalleled experience.

YO GABBA GABBA! LIVE: THERE’S A PARTY IN MY CITY – Dates and Times:

Los Angeles, CA
Shrine Expo Hall Saturday, November 14, 2009 11AM and 3PM

New York, NY
Beacon Theatre Saturday, November 21, 2009 11AM and 2PM

Chicago, IL
Rosemont Theatre Saturday, December 5, 2009 11AM and 3PM

YO GABBA GABBA! premiered on Nick Jr. in August, 2007. Since its debut it has garnered extensive critical acclaim including being hailed as one of the best new television series of 2007 by TIME magazine, winning the BAFTA for International Children’s Programming in 2008 and in 2009 it won the award for best children’s programming from the Television Critics Association. Currently the number one show in its time period among kids 2-5, YO GABBA GABBA! has also captured a broad appeal among parents, teens and adults who love the program with its contemporary musical appeal and retro feel. The hit show has featured a variety guest stars like Jack Black, Rachel Dratch, Jimmy Eat World, Melora Hardin, Jack McBrayer, Andy Samberg, Amy Sedaris, Amare Stoudemire, Tony Hawk, Elijah Wood and popular bands Sugarland, The Ting Tings, The Shins, MGMT and The Roots.

Wordless Wednesday: New Glasses

Ashley's New Glasses

If you’re participating in Wordless Wednesday, leave your link here:

Jace’s ENT Appointment

Yesterday, bright and early, we had Jace’s appointment with the ENT and the audiologist. To catch you up, at Jace’s 5 year old well visit, he failed his hearing test, and the doctor was concerned about all the recent cases of strep throat Jace has had. He needed a formal hearing test, and he needed a consult with the ENT.

We got their a few minutes early. I could tell that Jace was scared to death, so I tried to disctract him and assure him that everything would be ok. He didn’t believe me.

They called us back to the audiologist, and the tears started flowing. The audiologist was wonderful, and talked Jace through every single step. She showed him on the computer exactly what and how his ears were hearing. After several different hearing tests, she told me that she’d figured out what the problem was.

My heart sank. Problem? I didn’t want to hear about a problem. I wanted to hear that it was all a mistake and Jace’s hearing was fine. I think she sensed my fears, and she put me at ease right away. She told me that the problem is that Jace is shy. When the tests first started, he was trying too hard to hear properly, and actually causing things not to register right. As the tests went on, and he calmed down, he started having less trouble. But, she said, even with the problems at the beginning of each test, he still fell in the normal range. Thank heavens. She assured me that he was fine, and there was nothing we could do to fix this. It’s just who Jace is. We’ll just need to inform his teachers and such. I can handle that.

After a few more minutes back in the waiting room, the ENT’s called us back to talk about what was going on. She was wonderful. Jace took an immediate liking to her, and she to him. After she and I finished talking, she handed Jace one of her business cards and said, “Jace, this is my phone number. I’m your very own nurse. If you have any problems, or you need me, you just call me.” I wish I had a picture of how Jace’s face lit up after that. It was so sweet. He tucked the card in his pocket. Then, we headed back to the ENT’s office.

Jace was fine until the doctor walked in. Then, he started crying. He was terrified that she was going to stick that dreaded popsicle stick in his mouth and jam that big long q-tip in his mouth. She was wonderful. She assured him that wasn’t going to happen, and if he could open his mouth wide enough, she would only need her little flashlight to see his throat. The entire time she checked him over, she talked on his level. She talked to him – not to me – and she put all of his fears at ease. It was wonderful.

After looking at his throat, she was certain that his tonsils needed to come out. They are huge, and so are his adenoids. She wants to take them all out at the same time. She talked about the surgery with him, and he actually got excited about it. After all, who wouldn’t want to eat popsicles and ice cream for a week? 🙂

We scheduled the appointment for November 10th. We’re heading back to Ohio at the end of October, and I didn’t want to have to worry about something happening during the healing process. So, right after we get back, we’ll go in.

I’m scared and glad all at that same time. This is the first surgery I’ve had to endure with any of my kids, but I’m praying that it means no more strep throat, fewer ER visits, and less illness for Jace.

I’m so glad we got some answers. Finally. And now we’re on the way to finally making my little guy feel better. Hallelujah!

Have your kids had this surgery? I’d love any pre-op tips you can give me. Anything I can do to help ensure Jace doesn’t get scared?

Introducing Zooni ConFEETi 3D Socks

Thanks to Parent Reviewers, I found out about an amazing website offering some of the cutest products I have ever seen. The company is called Zooni. Their products include fun children’s hats, mittens, and socks. All of their hats and mittens are handknit from custom-made yarns and lined with soft fleece or jersey. Each design is unique and full of personality.

Zooni is introducing a fun new addition to their line called ConFEETi 3D animal socks. They feature adorable pop-up ears, tails, and feet. Lucky me got to try a pair out on Parker, and I can’t wait to tell you about them. First, though, I want to share a little bit more with you about Zooni.

About Zooni
Here’s what you can find out about Zooni by visiting their website:

Zooni celebrates childhood — all of its individuality, laughter, and adventure! Our products protect little ones and bring smiles to all those around.

Zooni was inspired by the arrival of our own children. As moms, we are passionate about protecting our kids while simultaneously demanding quality, comfort, and style. We work tirelessly to guarantee that our accessories are functional and stylishly different.

Children can be demanding. Rest assured Zooni’s products stand up to being thrown, pulled, tugged, and stomped on. Each piece has been rigorously tested by our own babies and toddlers. A quick hand wash once in a while is all they need.

Zooni designs are 100 % original. We even developed our yarns! Each style offers a precious signature feature you won’t see anywhere else. Whether it be Puppy Love’s flouncy ears or Under the Sea’s whimsical clown fish, Zooni is guaranteed to turn heads!

Each piece is hand-made with love, quality craftsmanship, and care. We are committed to fair trade and donate a portion of our profits to local and international children’s charities.

My Review of Zooni ConFEETi 3D Socks
When I opened the package from Zooni, I couldn’t believe what was inside. Beautifully wrapped in cellophane and tied with bright, colorful curling ribbon, I found the cutest pair of monkey socks that I have ever seen in my life. Also included was a little pack of jelly beans that my kids went ga-ga over!

I couldn’t resist pulling the socks out and trying them on Parker immediately. They were a little big, but that’s because I requested the 1 – 2 year size instead of the 0 – 12 months. I wanted Parker to be able to wear them for awhile. Parker didn’t know what to do! He’s never worn a pair of socks or shoes before, so this was all new to him. He immediately noticed the monkey, and he wouldn’t stop touching it. It was adorable! After getting used to the socks, he would walk a few steps, and then stop to point to them. He absolutely loved them. When I took them off, he grabbed them, hugged them, and carried them around with him, everywhere he went. Obviously, he was smitten. Apparently the monkey-love runs deep around our house. Now, if he sees them, I have to put them on, and he just giggles the whole time! So cute.

I have to say that I am totally impressed by the quality of these socks. They are beautifully made, and they are absolutely the most original idea I have ever seen. It’s just too cute that the monkey head, hands, feet, and tail sticks out of each sock. Another great feature they offer is that the soles are rubber stamped to prevent slipping. This is a much-needed feature as Parker is just learning to walk. And they’re just so much fun to look at!

I have an obsession with socks myself – if I have to wear socks, they have to be fun socks. I love, love, love that I can pass that tradition on to my kids with the Zooni ConFEETi 3D animal socks! And the fact that there are monkeys on the socks? Well, it’s like the icing on the cake. It just doesn’t get any better!

The new ConFEETi 3D animal socks can be sold as individual pairs or in boy/girl gift sets. (The gift sets come in an interactive circus-themed box that is absolutely adorable!)

Head over to the Zooni website today and check out all of the adorable products they offer.

And don’t forget to follow Zooni on TWITTER & FACEBOOK!

Thank you to Parent Reviewers for allowing me to be a part of this blog tour, and to Zooni for sending me a pair of ConFEETi 3D monkey socks to get my personal review.

Infant & Children’s Tylenol Being Recalled

I just got a notice that Tylenol has recalled some of their medicine and I wanted to pass this information along to you!

Tylenol has voluntarily recalled 21 of their children’s liquid products {manufactured between April, 2008 and June, 2008} because they may be contaminated with Burkholderia cepacia (B. cepacia) bacteria.

Here’s the list, straight from the Tylenol website:

Recalled Products – Full List
Lot # Product Description
SBM041, SBM067, SCM037, SDM027, SEM109 Children’s Tylenol Plus Cold MS Suspension 4 oz. Grape
SBM042, SCM015, SCM036, SDM034 Children’s Tylenol Suspension 4oz. Grape
SBM043, SBM044, SCM029 Children’s Tylenol Suspension 4oz. Bubble Gum
SBM045, SCM011, SCM030, SDM035 Children’s Tylenol Suspension 4oz. Strawberry
SBM064, SCM033, SDM020 Infant’s Tylenol Grape Suspension Drops 1/4oz.
SBM065, SCM005, SCM006, SDM032 Infant’s Tylenol Suspension 1/2oz. Cherry
SBM066, SCM068 Children’s Dye Free Suspension 4oz. Cherry
SBM068, SCM035, SCM070, SCM080, SDM005 Children’s Tylenol Suspension 4oz. Cherry
SBM069, SBM070, SCM081, SDM006 Children’s Tylenol Plus Cough & Runny Nose 4oz. Cherry
SCM012, SCM067, SDM007, SDM068 Infant’s Tylenol Suspension Drops 1/2oz. Grape
SCM013, SCM014, SCM069 Children’s Tylenol Plus Flu 4oz. Bubble Gum
SCM016, SFM024 Children’s Tylenol Plus Cold Suspension 4oz. Grape
SCM017 Children’s Tylenol Plus Cough/ST Suspension 4oz. Cherry
SCM082, SDM039, SDM040 Infant’s Tylenol Suspension Drops 1oz. Grape
SCM083, SCM084, SDM008 Infant’s Tylenol Dye Free Suspension 1oz. Cherry
SDM064 Children’s Tylenol Pediatric Suspension 1oz. Cherry
SDM038, SDM009 Infant’s Tylenol Suspension Drops 1oz. Cherry
SDM033 Children’s Tylenol Plus Cold/Allergy 4oz. Bubble Gum
SDM078 Infant’s Tylenol Drops 1oz. Grape
SCM034 Infant’s Tylenol Grape Suspension Drops H/G 1/2oz.
SDM028 Children’s Tylenol Suspension 4oz. Cherry, Hospital Govt.

Here’s what Tylenol has to say about this recall:

You may have heard that McNeil Consumer Healthcare (the makers of TYLENOL®) is voluntarily recalling certain lots of Children’s and Infants’ TYLENOL® liquid products that were manufactured between April, 2008 and June, 2008. All products manufactured met internal specifications. However, the company is implementing this recall because during this period, an unused portion of one inactive ingredient did not meet all quality standards. Therefore, as a precautionary measure, it was decided to recall all Children’s and Infants’ TYLENOL® liquid products listed below, which were made during this time.

Parents and caregivers who have questions or concerns should contact their child’s health care provider or our consumer call center at 1-800-962-5357 (available Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time). Consumers can find the lot numbers on the bottom of the box containing the liquid product and also on the sticker that surrounds the product bottle. The lot numbers of the affected products are listed below.

These actions do not apply to Children’s TYLENOL® Meltaways and Junior Strength TYLENOL® Meltaways. The voluntary recall applies only to select lots of Children’s and Infants’ TYLENOL® liquid products.

It’s better to be safe than sorry. We always have several bottles of infant and childrens’ Tylenol on hand, and I’ve already checked the lot numbers on the ones we have here, and they don’t match the lot numbers above – thank heavens.

Stay safe!

Homeschooling: Finally Going to Start the New Year!

As a homeschooling mom, I have some advantages that many other moms don’t have. For example, for the past few weeks, moms have been getting up early to get their kids ready for school and on the bus. I, however, have been enjoying a few hours to myself in the mornings, getting things done while my kids sleep in. After all, since we’re homeschooling, I get to decide when we start the school year.

Because we didn’t finish last year’s homeschooling session until mid-July, I wanted to make sure that my kids got some kind of summer break. It really wouldn’t have been fair to them if I had decided to start homeschooling in early August after just ending a few weeks earlier. So, while our entire area has been back to school for over 6 weeks now, we haven’t even started. But, man, have we been enjoying our break!

Soon, though, that will change. I’ve ordered the homeschooling curriculum, and we’re getting ready to start the new year. This is only our second year homeschooling, and I am really, really excited about getting things going again.

For Zander and Ashley‘s homeschooling curriculum, I’m going with Christian Liberty Academy’s CLASS program. I absolutely love this program. It’s what we used last year, and what I knew we’d go with again this year. It’s pretty pricey, at $760 for the 2 of them, BUT, it’s worth every penny. They do all the record keeping, grading, progress reports, and report cards. I just have to put together lesson plans, teach the lessons, and grade the daily work. I’m a busy mom. I needed a homeschooling program that would work with me, and this fits us perfectly.

For Jace and Lucy, I’ll be using Itty Bitty Bookworm’s BO curriculum. Technically, Jace is ready for kindergarten. But, in Georgia, kids have to turn 5 before September 1st before they can enter kindergarten. Jace’s birthday is on September 2nd. So, even though I’ve gone before the school board, they will not allow me to put him into kindergarten, or use a KG level homeschooling program at home. The only way I can fight it now is to take it to the Georgia Supreme Court, and I don’t have the money to hire a lawyer to help me fight. Looks like we’ll be doing preschool. But, I wanted a preschool curriculum that was advanced enough that it would help him start to learn to read, and one that I could advance as I felt necessary. I also needed one that would be easy enough for Lucy to catch on to. This one fits the bill on both levels. It’s advanced enough that I can get Jace on the right track for kindergarten next year, and it’s perfect for Lucy at her level as well. Plus, if Jace happens to outgrow this curriculum, I can still use it for Lucy – and I’ve got all of Zander’s Kindergarten materials from that I can use for him.

For Parker, I’ll be using the Itty Bitty Bookworm’s BAILEY homeschooling curriculum. While technically it’s for 18 – 36 month olds, and Parker will only be 12 months old next month, it’s simple enough that I can break it down into easier bites for him. Do I expect miracles to come from this homeschooling program? Will I be using every single part of this curriculum for my 12 month old? Of course not. But, I do want Parker to feel included, and to have something to do while I’m working with the other kids. It’ll be a great way to keep him occupied. (I hope!)

I’m really excited about getting back into our homeschooling routine. My kids aren’t. They’d like to stay on “summer break” all year long. But, once we get back into it, and now that we’ll have all of the kids on their own level curriculum, I think this year is going to go GREAT.

Now, I just need the homeschool curriculum to get here!
Adapted from this post on my WTE blog.

Smucker’s Uncrustables – One of our Favorites! (Review)

As a homeschooling mom who is always on the go, I am constantly looking for meals that are wholesome, convenient, and quick. Uncrustables are one of those meals that I am often turning to. As an added bonus, Smucker’s Uncrustables are now being made with whole wheat bread, and I can feel great about giving them to my kids whether we’re on the go or at home.

Uncrustables also come in lots of great flavors like Peanut Butter & Grape Jelly – our favorite! – and also on whole wheat bread; Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jam – also on whole wheat bread, Grilled Cheese, Peanut Butter & Honey on Wheat Bread; and plain Peanut Butter. There’s something for everyone to love – no matter how picky they are!

Our Review of Smucker’s Uncrustables
Mom Central recently sent me a coupon for a box of Smucker’s Uncrustables to try out with my kids. Uncrustables are already a favorite in our house, so I was hoping to use the coupon to try a flavor. Unfortunately, in the area we live in, we don’t have many options for groceries. After checking both the grocery store my husband works at and our new Walmart, and not finding any of the new whole wheat bread choices, we decided to get our faithful favorite – Peanut Butter and Grape Jelly. I did talk to the store manager at the store my husband works at and tried to convince him that they need to bring in more of the great flavors of Uncrustables that are available. Let’s hope he listens!

Back to my review – I love Uncrustables for lots of reasons – they taste great, they’re super easy to fix (pull ’em out of the freezer and let ’em thaw), and my kids love them. Plus, since there’s no crust, I don’t have to worry about any wasted food. My kids love PB & J, but they can’t stand the crust. I get so tired of seeing those brown strips of bread in the trash can. With Uncrustables, I don’t have that problem.

Smucker’s Uncrustables are also great as an afternoon snack or as a meal. And they’re perfect for on the go or while sitting at home. Whatever the case may be, Uncrustables are a staple in our house.

Here’s what the kids have to say about Uncrustables:
Ashley: “They’re good. They have just the right amount of Peanut Butter and Jelly. I could eat the whole box! The only thing I wish is that they were a little bigger, because one is good for a snack, but I need two for a meal. It would be good to have different sizes available for different times of the day.”

Zander: “I think they’re good because they don’t have crust. I hate crust.”

Jace: “I just like them! They have no crust and they’re my size!”

Lucy:Uncruffables? Mmmmmm. I love Uncruffables. I need one Mom. Get me one!”

So, there you have it. My kids definitely love Uncrustables.

More Information & Get Your FREE Uncrustables

In an effort to give Moms an “after school snack break,” The J.M. Smucker Company will give away 80,000 Smucker’s Uncrustables sandwiches, a wholesome after-school snack that provides the protein our kids need and the great homemade peanut butter and jelly taste they love.

Starting Monday, September 28, parents can register for a free 4-pack box by logging on to www.uncrustables.com and sharing a helpful time-saving after-school organizational tip.

Because my kids are homeschooled, we have a little different procedure for “after-school” around here, but the same basic principles can be applied: Keep the clutter to a minimum. If your kids are coming home from school, immediately empty all the bags – lunch bags, book bags, etc. Get rid of what’s trash, and separate what’s homework, papers that need to go back to the teacher, and keep what you need for your own reference. With my kids, at the end of the day, we put everything into our big “homeschooling cart” and wheel it off into the office. That way, there’s no clutter in the kitchen, and we can eat our meals without the hassle of moving around books, papers, and school supplies. I’d love for you to leave your after-school organizational tip here, too!

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Smucker’s Uncrustables and received a sample to facilitate my candid review. In addition, Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Follow Friday: Week 13

This week, our follow worthy blog is Lori of Prim ‘n Purdy. I’ve gotten to know Lori quite well though MUIB, and she has become a dear friend to me. I know that whenever I need a friend, someone to talk to, or someone to pray about something, I can go to her. She gives of herself to so many others, and never asks for anything in return. She truly is an amazing woman.

Here’s what Lori has to say about herself:

“A work in Progress” – Jeremiah 29:11-13. I am a wife for 24+ years to my best friend, mom to 4 wonderful children, 2 daughter in laws, 1 son in law and Mamaw to 3 beautiful granddaughters. I am a Christian Homeschooling Mama to our special needs daughter. I am a creative person who loves the flexibility of running a small corporation while also being able to help others realize their potential and reach their dreams. I love to make and sell gift and home decor products through Prim ‘n Purdy. Prim ‘n Purdy is the Country Shoppe filled with Handmade Treasures. You’ll love our Back to Basics Style with a Cherish your MOMents Attitude! I am a maker of HandMade Primitives, Bath/Body Products and SoyLites and Primitive Candles. I blog about All Things Primitive and Country, Small Towns and Midwest Living. I am a Collector of Country and Primitives and I love a really good Latte or Starbucks Iced Caramel Macchiato.”

Not only do I think you should follow Prim ‘n Purdy’s blog because Lori is such a good friend of mine, I think you should follow it because of what she has to say. She is an excellent writer, and pours her heart and soul into each post. This month, she has started posting some fall-themed posts, and she’s actually the one that inspired me to create a new fall theme for my blog. Her posts got me so excited about fall that I decided I needed to do something.

So, go check out the Prim ‘n Purdy blog and see what Lori inspires you to do. And if she does inspire you, take a moment to become a follower. You’ll quickly become a fan of Lori and all that she stands for.

Lori – thank you first of all for being such a wonderful friend. You mean the world to me. And secondly, thank you for your inspiring, uplifting, and just plain wonderful posts. You’re an inspiration. You are more than welcome to put this button on your blog if you’d like!


If you’re participating in Follow Fridays, leave a link to your post here:

Frigidaire’s New Celebrity Mom

I always love announcing big news, and today, I get the opportunity to tell you that Frigidaire has just announced that Jennifer Garner is their new celebrity ambassador! How cool is that? Jennifer is gorgeous, and such a down to earth mom. She’s such a great choice as the “face” of Frigidaire!

Frigidaire is also introducing a whole new line of appliances designed to give time back to busy moms. To kick off their new line, they’re asking moms – and everyone who believes in the power of moms – to use the time we get when we turn the clocks back on November 1st, to make CHANGE for children.

Save the Children created the CHANGE program (Creating Healthy, Active, and Nurturing Growing-up Environments) to promote healthier lifestyles for children living in poverty by providing nutritious snacks and regular opportunities for them to be physically active.

Starting today, every day you raise your hand with a pledge to make CHANGE for a child, Frigidaire will donate $1 to Save the Children. As an added bonus, for every pledge you make, you will be entered for a chance to win a time-saving new Frigidaire Professional double wall oven.

Want another chance to win? Mom Central is also giving away a Frigidaire Professional double wall oven to one lucky member of their community.* To enter to win, simply go to http://www.momcentral.com/reviews/frigidaire-giveaway-and-celebrity-ambassador.html and tell us about your pledge and how you would give back your time to children in need. Mom Central will pick one lucky winner in a random drawing from all entries received!

What would you do to impact CHANGE in a child’s life if you had an extra hour? I know whenever I ended up with extra time around here, I’m always spending it with my kids. It’s so important to me that they know that I will be here for them, I will love them no matter what, and they can always come to me. Whether we read a book together, play a board game, take a walk, play catch, or just sit and snuggle on the couch in front of a family movie, my kids know that I will always have time for them. Always.

Stop by Frigidaire and make your pledge today. And then head to Mom Central and enter to win again.

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Frigidaire and received a gift certificate to thank me for taking the time to participate.

* All taxes, including but not limited to federal, state and local taxes, and any other costs and expenses associated with prize acceptance are the sole responsibility of the winner, including any costs of installation.

My Little Pony Twinkle Wish Adventure Coming Soon!

On October 13th, a brand new DVD will be released: My Little Pony Twinkle Wish Adventure

To celebrate, the new release, I wanted to share a new clip with you. Click here to watch: Rainbow_Dash_Balloon-512K.movhttp://www.shoutfactory.com/av/mlp/twinkle/MLP-Rainbow_Dash_Balloon-512K.mov

I know Lucy is really looking forward to the release of this DVD – and so am I!

More information will follow in the weeks to come. Stay tuned!

Oh! Also, you can preorder the DVD on Amazon for just $8.99! WOW!!

Fun Facts from Strong as Steel’s Hank & Lisa

Sure, you may not have known that your kitchen could get you in great shape, but maybe you know this one: How many seniors does it take to change a light bulb? It only takes one! But, it can be a lot more rewarding if it takes two – a senior and a youth, an oldie and a newbie, an acorn and an oak…

Intergenerational activities increase cooperation, interaction and exchange between people of different generations, according to Generations United- an organization that began in 1986 and is the country’s only membership organization promoting intergenerational public policies, strategies and programs, www.gu.org

According to the EPA, these activities can prevent unnatural age segregation and apply the strengths of one generation to meet the needs of another. For youth and children, these activities can enhance social skills, improve academic performance, decrease drug use and increase stability. For older adults, these activities can enhance socialization, stimulate learning, increase emotional support and improve health.
www.epa.gov/aging/ia/benefits.htm

And when the two generations team up to help the environment, it’s a win for everyone!

Don’t forget to enter the Strong as Steel sweepstakes! It’s super easy to enter, so there are no excuses. You can do it right here from my blog. Just enter your email address over there to the right, and you’re good to go. Come back every day and enter to win now through November 15th. For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, you can read the original post here.

Does it Feel Like Fall in Here?

I’ve been working so hard on other clients’ blog designs that I’ve neglected my own blog. I’ve been desperate for a new look for months, but wouldn’t just take the time to implement it.

Last night, I couldn’t take it any more. I had to do something! So, I decided to give my blog a fresh new fall look.

I love fall… everything about it. From sweaters and jeans to the changing of the leaves. Fall is my absolute favorite time of year.

I hope you like the new look. And I promise to keep the design updated more often!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the new look.

Disney’s Baby Einstein: World Animal Adventure (Review)

On September 29th, Baby Einstein will release their newest DVD: World Animal Adventure.

First, I’d like to share a little information about Baby Einstein and the new DVD with you before getting to my review.

About Baby Einstein:

Baby Einstein offers a wide range of developmentally appropriate products for babies and toddlers. What makes Baby Einstein products unlike any other is that they are created from a baby’s point-of-view and incorporate a unique combination of real world objects, music, art, language, poetry and nature — providing you an opportunity to introduce your baby to the world around them in playful and enriching ways. This simple principle is the foundation for The Baby Einstein Company and its products.

About World Animal Adventure:

Babies love animals, and now you can bring animals from the seven continents home to your baby. Meet dozens of exotic animals including Asian pandas, Australian kangaroos and Arctic snow monkeys…all filmed in their beautiful, natural habitats. Rhythms and songs inspired by faraway lands have been orchestrated especially for little ears and encourage your baby to sing, dance and play to the world beats. You’ll laugh together at the funny puppet shows featuring moms and their baby animals. It’s an exciting world for you and your baby to discover together.

My Review of World Animal Adventure
I have been a fan of Baby Einstein since Zander was a baby. I received my very first Baby Einstein DVD as a gift at my baby shower. It quickly became one of my favorite times to sneak in some cuddle time with him. He wasn’t a cuddly baby by any means, but he would sit on my lap and snuggle while we watched the DVDs together. I loved that with him, and I’ve carried on the tradition with each of my kids.

Lucy still loves the Baby Einstein DVDs and asks all the time to watch them. And I really don’t know who loves the new World Animal Adventure DVD more – her or Parker. They both get so excited every time it comes on!

The World Animal Adventure offers parents 2 new ways to watch:

  • Select a Segment – This allows parents to completely customize your DVD experience by selecting from shorter segments in addition to the full length DVD. These segments are great for using throughout the day when baby isn’t interested in sitting for long periods of time and watching. We’ve used this feature several times to entertain Parker long enough to allow me to make lunch, take care of the laundry, or load the dishwasher. I absolutely love this feature, and the segments are perfect for keeping him happy and occupied.
  • Grow with Me – This stage is really cool. You have two different viewing modes. You can either enjoy the music and the visual portions, or you can add more to it by using viewing mode 2 which adds language along with the visual and music. This has been great for both Lucy and Parker and is a great way to introduce a love for reading to kids at a young age. Even Zander (my 6 year old) gets excited about reading the names of the animals on the screen. I love that all of my kids can enjoy this part of the DVD together. Viewing Mode 2 also has some extra puppet shows that my kids just flipped over. I wish I had thought to record Lucy’s laughing during the puppet shows. She just thought they were the funniest thing.

My kids have always loved Baby Einstein, but this takes it to a whole new level. This goes beyond just the impact of the visual and the music portions of the DVDs and incorporates learning and proper development. If my kids are going to be sitting in front of the tv for any length of time, I want to know that they can learn from what they are watching. Baby Einstein DVDs are a great way to do just that.

I also wanted to note that this new DVD, World Animal Adventure, states that it’s for ages 12 months and up. Parker is just a few weeks shy of 12 months, and as you can see in the picture in this post, he absolutely loves it. I really think that even though this DVD is geared toward the older baby age range, it will still be a great investment no matter what your baby’s age.

We really enjoyed this DVD and look forward to lots of new fantastic stuff from the Baby Einstein Company. Thanks to Mom Central and Baby Einstein for allowing us to review World Animal Adventure.

Get the Inside Scoop on Baby Einstein
If you love Baby Einstein as much as I do, you’re going to want to get the scoop on the latest happenings. Here are a couple of ways to do just that:

And be sure to enter the Baby Einstein Sweepstakes where you could win $250 in Baby Einstein products. Woohoo!!

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Baby Einstein and received a World Animal Adventure DVD to facilitate my candid review.

Too Many Doctor Visits!

On Monday, Ashley had an eye doctor appointment. She’s been complaining about headaches and blurry vision when she reads, and I knew it was time to get her into the eye doctor. After searching forever to find one that would actually take our insurance, we spent the day driving to and from the eye doctor’s office.

They eye doctor was wonderful. He looked just like Howard Cunningham from Happy Days. So incredibly nice, and made Ashley feel comfortable right away. After just a few minutes with her, he discovered that she has an astigmatism in both eyes, and it’s causing her to strain her eyes to focus. He put her in some test glasses, and she couldn’t believe the difference. She didn’t even want to take the hideous things off because they helped her so much. He had her try on some frames and she settled on some simple copper wire frames. They’re totally cute, and they’re perfect for her. Plus they look great with her new hair cut. We’ll drive back out that way later this week or early next week to get them. She can’t wait.

Lucy had her 3 year well visit yesterday. I was actually really looking forward to this well visit because I wanted to show off how much Lucy has improved over the past year. She sings, dances, jumps, kicks, and chatters at super speed and hasn’t stopped since she finally figured out how.

Lucy was really nervous about this visit. She kept saying, “Mama, I not sick! Why I need to go to the doctor?” Poor thing cried and pleaded with my not to take her. But, once we got there, she was just fine. She put on a show for everyone in the waiting room, and had one lady laughing so hard that I thought she might pee her pants!
Back in the room, she was more than happy to show the doctor how much she had learned. The doctor went over her notes from last year’s well visit, and she’s like, “Wow. Is this the same kid you had in here last year?” I told her that it wasn’t 2 days after we left the speech therapist that Lucy started talking – and she hasn’t stopped since. The doctor was quite impressed. I just beamed with pride. 🙂
One thing I do need to work on with Lucy is her fine motor skills – specifically her writing and drawing skills. Lucy doesn’t like to just sit down and color or draw. She’s one that has to be up and moving all the time. Actually getting her to sit down long enough to put a pencil in her hand is next to impossible. But, the doctor mentioned at this well visit that she should be able to draw lines and circles – or close, and Lucy’s nowhere near ready for that yet.

So, all in all it was a good well visit. It was an easy well visit for sure, and that is always a good thing.

On Monday, I’ll take Jace to the ENT for his hearing test and to talk about his recurring strep throat. Next month we’ll have Parker’s well visit, and then I’m hoping we’ll be done with doctors for awhile. I’m exhausted – and so is my car! So much driving!

I’ll be sure to post pictures of Ashley’s new glasses as soon as she gets them.

Wordless Wednesday: Bed Time!

That’s how I found the boys last night when I went to kiss them one last time before heading to bed myself.

If you’re participating in Wordless Wednesday, leave your link here!

Let’s Talk Potty Training

As a mom of 5, potty training is one of the topics other parents ask me about most. After all, I have successfully potty trained 4 of my 5 children, (the youngest is only 11 months old, so we’ll give him some time), and I worked for many years in the 2 year old classroom of a daycare center where the children had to be completely potty trained before they could move up to the 3 year old class.

Obviously, I have worked with many, many children through the years, and not one of them was wearing diapers to kindergarten! (Even though I was certain that some of them just might!)

I’d like to share some of the tips and tricks that I have learned over the years for potty training even the most stubborn child.

First, the child will let you know when they are ready to potty train. Every time my kids were actually successful with potty training, it was when they told me they were ready, or all of the signs were there. I had a mom recently tell me one that she was potty training her 1 year old. WHAT? The mom has 3 kids and is tired of changing diapers all the time, so she wants her youngest potty trained now. I kept from rolling my eyes and busting out laughing. I asked if her little one is showing any interest in the potty yet. (After all, Parker is almost 1, and the only interest he is showing in the potty is trying to see how many GI Joes he can get in there before I catch him. Definitely not ready for potty training!) Her response to me was, “Well, no, she doesn’t really get it, but she will. I’ll just make her get it.” Good Lord, woman. You can’t make a 1 year old get potty training. Geez. Point Number 1: Wait until the child is ready. They may not be ready until they are 3, and that’s ok. Really! Can they potty train early? Of course they can. My oldest was completely potty trained – day and night – before she was 18 months old. It can happen, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to. Ashley was in a daycare class (mine) with 11 potty training 2 year olds and she wanted to do what they did. I got lucky. My other kids were all 3 or almost 3 before we had any success with them.

Second, once you commit to big girl or big boy undies, stick with them. No going to diapers at night or during nap time. And, I’m just going to say it: Pull-ups are diapers. They are NOT underwear and should not be treated as such. Worried about night-time or nap-time accidents? Invest in some thick potty training underwear and plastic covers. Yes, accidents can be frustrating, but in the long run, potty training will go much faster if you stick with underwear and lose the diapers completely. Get the diapers out of the house and don’t look back.

Third, don’t put your child in clothes that are impossible to get out of. Overalls, onesies, snap-crotch shirts, and belts should all be outlawed while potty training. You need to make it as easy as possible for your child to pull down their underwear and go, because I promise you, they will wait until the very last second before they tell you they have to go.

Fourth, rewards are wonderful, but they can become a major problem. If you promise your child an M & M every time they pee on the potty, they are going to start expecting rewards for other things they do. And there will be fights, screaming fits, and temper tantrums when you decide to take the rewards away. A great way to avoid this problem is to implement a different kind of reward system, or maybe not even use one at all! If you feel that your child would do better with tangible rewards, try using a sticker chart. Then, once they fill up their sticker chart (after 1 week, 2 weeks, etc), allow them to pick out a small toy at the store. This tactic worked great with my our oldest. She was thrilled just to put the stickers on the sticker chart. Or, if there’s a larger item that they’ve got their heart set on, consider a bargain – “If you go 3 weeks without an accident, you can get that toy.” We did this with my second child. He had his heart set on a Spiderman blanket. After 3 weeks of no accidents, we surprised him with that blanket. It’s been 3 years, and he’s still never had an accident and still sleeps with that same blanket every single night. In all honesty, though, kids really don’t need rewards. Praise, cheering, and admiration by their parents, peers, and teachers, are enough to make them want to go on the potty.

Last, be patient, expect accidents, and don’t give up. As frustrating as potty training may be, you have to stick to your guns once you really decide to start. Always keep an extra outfit (or two… or three) with you when you go out. Plan your day around bathroom visits. Don’t attempt to go to stores that don’t have a public restroom if you’ve got a potty training child with you. Don’t let it keep you from going out, but don’t attempt to take a 14 hour drive with a potty training child, either.

Potty training is tough stuff – for both the child and the parents. But, with some time, patience, and a whole lot of laundry, your child will get it down and you will be thrilled with the result.

Good luck!

Breastfeeding Cost a Mom Her Job

There was an article posted on CNN by Campbell Brown about a breastfeeding mother fired after being caught nursing at an “unscheduled time.” As a breastfeeding mother, I just had to give my 2 cents on this article.

The article states:

During the job interview Allen informed the company she was a new mother and would need accommodations: “I did go to the hiring supervisor and ask her, if there was somewhere that I can pump because I was breastfeeding my son. She called me and let me know it would be 11 o’clock in the bathroom”.

Ok, first of all – WHAT? In my opinion, the company is basically saying, “Ok, you can pump your breast milk, but you’re going to do it at 11 o’clock, and you’re going to do it in the bathroom.”

Ummmm….. would YOU want to eat food that had been prepared in a bathroom? Really? Because I sure wouldn’t.

Or how about this part of the article:

Allen felt desperate and she decided to take matters into her own hands. “I watched people for three or four weeks take bathroom breaks and smoke breaks but no one ever said anything to them about that so I don’t see what the problem was with me taking the same 15 minute break,” said Allen. She started going to the bathroom an hour earlier, she asked her team leader to cover for her and took about fifteen minutes to pump. After two weeks on this schedule a supervisor walked into the bathroom and confronted her.

“I said just give me 15 minutes, I will work through my lunch, I said. But I need to come to the bathroom earlier to pump my milk because it was hurting my back so bad,” according to Allen. That same day Allen was fired.

My heart goes out to this woman. I saw this all the time in the workplace. (Yes, I have worked outside the home!) Smokers could go take a break as often as they wanted and get their “needs” fulfilled. To force a breastfeeding mother to sit there, engorged and in pain, and not be able to pump on demand is a problem.

I think this part of the article sums it all up:

Allen sued Totes/Isotoner and took her case all the way to the Supreme Court of Ohio. She lost—the courts ruled this case was only about unauthorized breaks. There are 24 states with laws addressing the issue of breastfeeding moms in the workplace. Ohio is not one of them. “I just don’t think it’s fair that we have to lose our jobs in order to feed our kids” she said in an interview with CNN.

CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin said the court’s decision was narrow. He explains: “Even if they ruled against LaNisa they had a chance to say, this is a form of discrimination. It may not have taken place in this case, but firing a woman because she is nursing is a form of discrimination. But they didn’t say that. And Congress hasn’t said it yet. And one thing that the Ohio Supreme Court and Congress have in common is that they’re mostly men. And men are made uncomfortable by this issue.

WHAM. (That’s the hammer hitting the nail right on the head.) Did you catch the last two sentences in the quote above?) Men are uncomfortable with this issue. No man wants to talk about breastfeeding. Even my husband, who has supported and encouraged me in breastfeeding the 4 children we have together, doesn’t like to talk about it. I get that. But that doesn’t make it ok. Especially when a woman is losing her job because she decides to make a healthy choice for her child.

Men, let me tell you something: Women were not given breasts simply for your pleasure. Really. It isn’t always about you.

Now, not all men are uncomfortable with breastfeeding, but how often do you hear them speaking up?

Something needs to be done. More states need to step up and protect the rights of breastfeeding mothers.

Congress is finally starting to “get it”:

In Washington, Congress is also getting involved, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) is working to pass “The Breastfeeding Promotion Act.” If passed, her bill would protect breastfeeding in the workplace under civil rights law and ensure women cannot be fired or discriminated against for pumping during lunch or breaks. Maloney’s bill would also require employers to provide break time to pump and make a reasonable effort to find a private place for a new mom to do so. Employers would receive a tax credit for up to fifty percent of their related expenses.

I think this is just what breastfeeding moms in the workforce need right now.

I want to hear from you. Are you a breastfeeding mom in the workforce right now? Have you ever been? Has it been difficult for you? Did it discourage you and cause you to quit breastfeeding sooner than you wanted to?

I’ve never had a job outside the home while being a breastfeeding mother, so I can’t really say that I have personally had a problem with this. But, I do think that breastfeeding is best for baby, and I think a mom should be allowed to pump on the job as she needs to. As long as she isn’t taking advantage of the situation, of course.

Chime in! I want to hear your thoughts on this important issue.

And before you decide to just flame me, I want to tell you a couple of things:
1. My first daughter was completely formula fed. She is healthy and happy. with Jace and Lucy, I supplemented formula in the first few months and switched to formula completely before they were 1 year old. (My 2nd child was and Parker is exclusively breastfed only because they wouldn’t ever take a bottle.) I will support formula feeding mothers just as much as I support breastfeeding mothers.
2. This is my blog. If you can’t discuss this topic while being professional and kind, your comment will be deleted. I’m totally ok with you disagreeing with me. I understand that not everyone agrees all the time. I’m not ok with harrassment or just plain rudeness.

Now that that’s out of the way….. give me your thoughts!

Medium is Moving to CBS! (Announcement & Review)

That’s right! Medium is making a move to CBS, and I can’t wait! On Friday, September 25th at 9pm, you’ll be able to catch the premier episode.

Don’t know what Medium is all about? Here’s what the CBS website has to say:

MEDIUM is a drama inspired by the real-life story of research medium Allison Dubois, an extraordinary young wife and mother who, since childhood, has struggled to make sense of her dreams and visions of dead people. Emmy Award winner Patricia Arquette stars as Dubois, a strong-willed, devoted young wife and mother of three girls who has gradually come to grips with her extraordinary ability to talk to dead people, see current events and the future through her dreams and read people’s thoughts. Dubois works as a consultant to District Attorney Manuel Devalos, using her psychic abilities to solve violent and horrifying crimes that baffle Phoenix police and others within the criminal justice system. Assisting her crime-solving endeavors is Detective Lee Scanlon, her longtime ally in the local police department. Meanwhile, at home, Dubois’ husband Joe, an aerospace engineer, is a supportive husband and father who is also busy launching his own scientific engineering company. Their daughters, Ariel, Bridgette and Marie all seem to have inherited their mother’s abilities to varying, expanding degrees. Last season, after experiencing headaches and other symptoms, Allison was diagnosed with a brain tumor, but after she postpones her surgery, she suffers a stroke and is in a coma.

Begins its sixth season, and first on the CBS Television Network on September 25.

I received a copy of the very last episode from last season of Medium to review. I had actually already seen the episode, but it was wonderful to have a “refresher” of what exactly happened. After all, summer is crazy, and it’s impossible to remember how every season finale of every show one loves ends.

Patricia Arquette is brilliant as Allison Dubois. I have loved her since she first started in this role several years ago. I just couldn’t see any other actress portraying this character. And I love the character. Allison is a mom – and while I can’t call her a normal mom, (after all, she does see things that this normal mom would never want to see), she still goes about the day-to-day duties of being a mostly-normal working mom.

I’m really excited to see what happens when Allison wakes up from the coma. Will the brain tumor affect her “gift”? Could it make her give even stronger than before? Will the dreams be longer or more intense?

Medium is the perfect ghost-story drama for grown ups. I am not a fan of horror stories, but I do love to be spooked. Medium is the perfect balance of scary, dramatic, and downright awesome. I can’t wait to see the new season this fall on CBS!

If you’d like to know more about Medium, here’s a great video to introduce the show to you, or click this link to learn more.


Catch Medium Fridays this Fall on CBS.
Season Premier Friday, September 25th at 9pm

Silly Dogs & Crazy Cats (Book Review)

I recently had the opportunity to review two wonderful books by Gandee Vasan: Silly Dogs and Crazy Cats. Both books are super-silly, crazy-cool, see-me, touch-me, play-with-me books for kids of all ages.

My Review of Silly Dogs & Crazy Cats

First of all, I have to say that I almost cried when I opened the envelope containing these books. When I pulled the books out of the envelope, Crazy Cats was on the top. There, on the front cover, was a cat that looked just like Hunter – our beloved cat that we just lost. I couldn’t believe how much it looked like Hunter, but I knew that I was going to love the book from the first moment I saw it.

And I really did love it – I loved both of them. I love books that the kids can interact with. It’s great for Parker (almost 1 year), because he’s starting to explore the world and everything in it. He knows what cats and dogs are, and these books are a great way to teach him that a kitty’s fur is so soft, a doggy’s tongue is smooth and sticky, and so on. And, this way, you don’t actually have to touch a dog’s tounge to feel that it’s smooth and sticky. 🙂 Parker also really loves the pages with the peek-a-boo flaps. We’ll sit for hours and “peek” at Traveling Joe in his little carrier.

Lucy also loves the books. While she can’t read, Silly Dogs and Crazy Cats are a great way to get her excited about reading. She’ll sit and play with these books over and over again. She keeps them in her little purse and they go with us to church, the grocery store, just about everywhere! I had such a love for books as a kid, and I get excited when my kids show the same interest that I had.

Even the older kids love these books. Right away, all the kids noticed how much the cat on the cover looked like Hunter. Then, they all had to take a turn looking at the books: touching each page, lifting the flaps, spinning the wheel. Zander has read the book out loud to Parker many, many times over, and I’m really not sure who loves it more!

Silly Dogs and Crazy Cats have been a fantastic way to get all of the kids excited about reading, playing together, and just keeping them quiet. (What mom couldn’t use that?!)

Overall, these books are a HIT in my family, and they’ve made the perfect addition to our home library!

Want to Get Your Hands on These Books?
Head to Amazon and grab your copy of Silly Dogs and Crazy Cats. At just $7.99 each, they’re a steal!

Thank you to aMomEntrepreneuer for sending me a copy of both books to get my opinion and review on them.