Archives for May 2011

99 Cent Father’s Day Cards at Tiny Prints!

Tiny Prints is the perfect place to shop this Father’s Day. They offer a great selection of customizable Father’s Day Cards, and allow you to create individual personalized cards with photos, custom text and even embedded gift cards and have cards for every father in your life – your dad, your grandfather, father-in-law, brother,  and/or son. In just a few moments, and with just a few clicks of the mouse, you can create personalized Father’s Day Cards and have Tiny Prints mail them directly to you or, if you prefer, to the recipient. Instead of sending a generic run-of-the-mill card that anyone could send, search Tiny Prints for a selection of unique cards that are humorous, sentimental, show appreciation or customize one that’s perfect for the dads in your life.

From now until June 6th, Tiny Prints is running a special promotion offering customized Father’s Day cards as low as $.99. Just use the code GC99 at checkout.

 

$15 for $30 Worth of Photo Collages on Plum District

I have been wracking my brain, trying to come up with the perfect Father’s Day gift for my husband. He always makes me feel so special on Mother’s Day that I want to do the same for him when Father’s Day roll around.

I think I finally found the perfect gift!

Plum District is having a deal right now where you can get $30 worth of Photo Collages from ScrapWalls.com for just $15. PLUS, if you use the code thanks2u, it takes an additional $3 off, so you only have to pay $12!

They have a super cool “Dad” shape to put the photos in. Perfect, right? I’m totally getting one for my husband!

Hurry and grab this deal! It doesn’t last long, and I don’t want you to miss out.

Click Here to get this Deal

Scrapwalls

Happy Memorial Day!

I have many friends serving in the Armed Forces, and I know quite a few who will be leaving for Afghanistan in the coming weeks. They will leave behind family and friends to defend our country.

No words expressed could ever say Thank You enough to the men and women who fight for our freedom every day. Whether they’re on the front lines, or working behind the scenes, it doesn’t matter. Every person in any branch of the Armed Forces deserves our gratitude, honor, and respect.

Thank you to those who have served, are serving, or have a family member in the Service. Your sacrifice, dedication, and willingness make you pretty darn amazing.

Today is for YOU. Thank you for all you do for us.

Happy Memorial Day, my friends! Thank a soldier today.

BENGAY Pain Relief + Massage {Review}

bengay pain relief massage gelI simply cannot be old enough to be testing out BENGAY and posting about it. When I hear the word “BENGAY” the first thing that comes to mind is old people. (No offense to old people or BENGAY, that’s just what comes to mind.)

I am, however, in my 30s now, and I’m feeling every year. (Having six kids will also do that to you, I suppose.) My back hurts, my neck hurts, and ever since my nasty fall a few weeks ago, everything hurts just a little bit more.

BENGAY has really come a long way!

For the past several weeks, I’ve been using BENGAY Pain Relief + Massage gel for all my aches and pains. And I’ve got to tell you, this stuff works! It does smell like menthol when you first apply it, but the smell disappears after a few minutes. But the relief that it provides to my back, neck, and shoulders, is definitely worth putting up with the scent for a few minutes. It has a no mess applicator that is really easy to use: just snap off the top, squeeze, rub on to the affected area, and recap. The applicator has bumps on it so that it actually massages the area as you apply it. The gel provides instant cooling relief, and I immediately started to feel better. Plus, I don’t have to worry about everyone being able to smell the BENGAY and knowing that I really am getting old. I love that the scent disappears.

I probably shouldn’t admit how much I’ve used the BENGAY Pain Relief + Massage gel lately, but it’s been a lot. A whole lot. When you find something that works so well, why not use it as often as you need to?

So, if you’re like me and don’t want to admit that you’re getting old, but you really need something to help with the every day aches and pains, I would highly recommend BENGAY Pain Relief + Massage gel.

To learn more about BENGAY products for all your aches and pains, check out the BENGAY website. You can purchase it at your favorite food, drug, and mass retailers nationwide for around $7.79 for a 3 ounce tube.

Disclaimer: I was contacted on behalf of BENGAY and received a sample of the product named above to facilitate my review. Opinions expressed are 100% my own. I was in no other way compensated for this post.

 

Finally Got Some Pictures!

I finally got some pictures of my sweet baby boy! I can’t believe how long I’ve put this off. It really does get harder the more kids you have. Much harder.

Here are a few of the shots we got… I won’t bore you with all of them!

Baby Gage
Baby Gage
Baby Gage
Baby Gage
I love his eye lashes in that last one. They’re so long they actually curl!

Thanks for letting me share my sweet little guy with you all!

If you really want to see more, click here: Baby Gage

Please Keep an Eye on Your Kids!

child safety signKids are fast… and it takes just seconds for them to disappear. A few weeks ago, I had something terrifying happen, and I want to share it with you in hopes that it will remind you to always have an eye on your kids.

A few weeks ago, I had a friend over to help me with a rather large craft project. The only kids I had at home were Lucy, Parker, and Gage, and they were all in and out of the house along with my friend’s children.

After a little while, I suddenly realized that I didn’t know where Parker was.

My heart started racing. Where was he?

I searched the house, room by room, but he wasn’t there.

He wasn’t in the basement, either.

So, I went outside. We live in an area that is completely surrounded by woods. While this is typically no big deal, we have a bear that has gotten way too friendly with our trash cans.

I went outside, screaming Parker’s name. Where on earth was he? Why hadn’t I been watching him more closely? Why was I so enthralled with this project that I had allowed myself to be distracted from my children?

Tears streaming down my face, I screamed his name over and over.

And then we found him.

He had climbed into my friend’s car and shut the door. Luckily, summer hadn’t hit yet, and it wasn’t hot, plus she had cracked her windows.

He was fine. Thank God.

My heart still pounding, I pulled him from the car, and clung to him. I told him over and over again that I was so sorry I hadn’t been watching him better.

He grabbed my face with both hands, looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Mom, I was just driving to Walmart.”

SIGH. I still cannot believe that I allowed this to even happen. The “what if’s” are enough to make me sick to my stomach.

Now the doors are locked on any car parked in our driveway. Always. Parker is no longer allowed outside unless someone is right there with him. And I will never, ever again get so focused on anything that it distracts me from where my children are or what they are doing.

Summer is here, and there are far too many ways accidents can occur. I’ve already heard of 3 accounts of children being run over by an adult backing out of the driveway. Last year, 49 children in the United States died from heat stroke while left unattended in vehicles – making it the worst year on record. This is a significant health concern because there are an estimated 250,000 cases of children trapped in cars every month, with 2,000 of the nearly fatal.*

Please, please, PLEASE keep an eye on your children this summer. Know where they are at all times. It’s easy to say, “It will never happen to me.”

But what if it does?

It’s always better to be safe rather than to be sorry later.

*Heat stroke statistics courtesy of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

The Royal Wedding: William & Catherine {Review & Giveaway}

This giveaway will end Thursday, June 9th at 11:59pm EST.

The Royal Wedding on DVDI was brokenhearted when my tv went out on Friday morning, April 29th, 2011. It was the day that so many had been waiting for – Catherine Middleton, a commoner was about to become a princess.

And I missed it.

Now, I am not obsessed with the Royal family in any way. I just find it fascinating that a normal, every day girl was becoming a princess. I wanted to see her dress, and at least watch the ceremony. But, I couldn’t. TV was out, and the satellite wasn’t going to go back up for several more days.

When I was contacted by a PR rep and asked if I wanted to review and/or giveaway a copy of The Royal Wedding on DVD, I jumped at the chance. Even if I didn’t get the chance to review the DVD, I could still share it with my readers.

Well, guess what? They let me have a copy to review as well! I was so excited!

As soon as it arrived, I popped some popcorn, put the DVD in, snuggled up with Lucy and Parker, (the other kids were at school, and hubby was at work), and started watching. Lucy didn’t move. She loved the idea of becoming a princess, and as we watched, she kept asking me if someday she could become a princess too. I told her this DVD proves that anything is possible.

The DVD is fantastic. Having released on May 24th, the DVD is about 2 hours long, and it features Catherine’s arrival at Westminster Abbey, the entire ceremony, the carriage procession, and there’s even the traditional balcony appearance at Buckingham Palace. And that’s not even all of it! There’s also a special feature that includes a 50-minute documentary of William & Kate – A Royal Engagement.

Royal Kiss

It was so nice to be able to watch the events without commercial interruption, and see everything I missed. Now, I get to give one of my readers the opportunity to win a copy of The Royal Wedding: William & Catherine for themselves!

If you can’t wait to get your hands on a copy of the DVD, head to the BBC America Shop or Amazon.com and grab a copy. (Amazon has it on sale for just $4.99 right now, and you can get it shipped for free if your order totals $25 or more!)

To Enter 

Simply leave a comment on this post and tell me the answer to this question: Did you watch The Royal Wedding on the day it aired?
*Mandatory. If this is not done, you cannot win.

Want Extra Entries?

  • Blog About this Giveaway. Be sure to include a link to Blessed Beyond Words or this post. (5 extra entries)
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    • Win a copy of The Royal Wedding on DVD. Giveaway hosted by @angievinez – Ends 6/9: http://tinyurl.com/3egzp37
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Fine Print: Contest is open to residents of the US. If you already do any of the above, you qualify. Please leave a comment for each of the extra entries you complete. However, you must first leave the required comment as stated above. Giveaway will end on June 9th at 11:59pm (EST), and the winner will be selected via the “And the Winner is..” plugin. Winner will be notified via email upon selection, and will have 48 hours to claim their prize.

Disclaimer: I was contacted by a representative of BBC America. I received a copy of the DVD in order to facilitate my review. Opinions expressed are 100% my own. The sponsor is fulfilling the prize as stated above. I was in no other way compensated for this post.

 

 

Zippies – Pals that Hang Around {Review}


Having 6 kids, I am always looking for a fun way to label my kids’ stuff so they don’t lose it. Zippies have become our favorite way to do just that – and more!

For this review, the kids and I received a set of Series One Zippies pals. Immediately after they arrived, the kids each grabbed their favorites, wrote their name and my cell phone number on the back, and started attaching them to their favorite items. Zander and Jace each tagged their book bags and hung one from their belt loops. Parker put one on his belt loop and another on his shoe. Lucy wore one like a bracelet for days. Even my teenager got in on the fun and she attached one to her book bag.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve seen these Zippies all over the house, tagging all sorts of items. From baby dolls to drinking glasses, even hanging on towel racks so that everyone knows whose towel is hung where. My kids absolutely love Zippies.

There was one drawback: When the kids took the Zippies to school, the other kids were totally jealous and tried stealing the Zippies. Not cool. Luckily, we had labeled the back of them in permanent marker, so my kids were able to prove to the teachers that they did belong to them. We were then asked not to bring the Zippies back to school because everybody wanted them. I sent in a note to both of the boys’ teachers and gave them the website where parents can purchase Zippies. Maybe if enough kids start buying their own, then we can enjoy tagging the kids’ school stuff again. I would think teachers and other parents would appreciate having childrens’ items properly labeled so that things don’t get lost or stolen.


I am definitely looking forward to using Zippies this summer. We are always at the park, and we always have bottles of water with us. With Zippies, we can quickly and easily tag the bottles of water, and know which bottles are ours. This will prevent germs from spreading, and each kid will always know which bottle of water belongs to them.

I absolutely love Zippies, and I am so glad we were introduced to them! The kids loved the first set so much, that we can’t wait to see what Zippies they come out with next. I’m hoping for some more girly ones – daisies, hearts, bling… Other animals would be fun, too. Monkeys, giraffes, hippos… you get the drill.

For more information on Zippies, check out their website: www.ZippiesFun.com. You can also find Zippies on youtube, facebook and twitter.

I would highly recommend Zippies to any parent, and I know for a fact that my kids have been recommending them and showing them off to all of their friends.

Disclaimer: I was contacted by a member of Rosica on behalf of Zippies. I recieved a set of Zippies as mentioned above in order to facilitate my review. I was in no other way compensated for this post, and opinions expressed are 100% my own.

 

The Last Day of School!

I am so, so happy that today was the last day of school! For the last few days, the kids and I have been working hard on making gifts for the boys’ teachers, and preparing for today.

Here are the gifts we made:

Ms. Jane's Gift
Ms Lisa's Gift
Those are Jace’s teachers’ gifts. Ms. Jane is the class helper, and Ms. Lisa was his teacher. They each got a candle that we decked out with their favorite flowers, and Ms. Lisa also got a handmade bracelet. I made the bracelet for her, and I love the way it turned out. here’s a close up:

teachers bracelet
Here’s Zander’s teacher’s gift:
mrs raymond's gift
She got a decorated candle, a matching frame, and a bracelet. She was such an amazing teacher, and exactly what Zander needed this year. Here’s a close up of her bracelet:
teacher bracelet
I hope the teachers enjoy their gifts.

As for us, I am SO glad we get to sleep in tomorrow…. as long as everyone cooperates!

When is the end of school for your kids? What kind of gifts do you give to the teachers?

Infants’ & Childrens’ Tylenol Being Improved

TylenolAs a mom of 6, I’ve been trusting and using Tylenol for a long time. I’ve used it for myself, and I’ve used it for each of my kids. That’s why I was so disappointed when the big Tylenol recall happened. I felt duped. The brand I trusted most to help me care for my kids was being recalled. For months, I’ve been unable to purchase Tylenol’s Infant Drops in local stores. It’s because Tylenol voluntarily pulled this product from the shelves until they can make the necessary changes to improve the safety and quality of the product.

I appreciate the fact that Tylenol is willing to make these changes so that parents everywhere can trust they are giving their children only the best once again.

Product Enhancements include the following:

Infants’ TYLENOL® will include a new, enhanced bottle with a protective opening and push-in syringe which will:

  • Provide even better dosing accuracy and ease of administration to infants
  • Allow for better control when dispensing the medication and reduce spillage
  • Further reduce the risk of children being able to get to the medicine in the bottle

Tylenol will also be introducing enhanced bottles with the protective opening on Children’s TYLENOL® products.

Infant Tylenol children's tylenol
There will also be new dosing directions related to the change in concentration on Infants’ TYLENOL®:

  • Infants’ TYLENOL® will have the same concentration of the active ingredient, acetaminophen, as Children’s TYLENOL®, which will standardize dosing across our products and age groups.
  • Tylenol has been working closely with other manufacturers of pediatric acetaminophen products to encourage an industry wide transition to one concentration across infants’ and children’s acetaminophen products.
  • There will be a time period when more than one concentration of infants’ acetaminophen products will be available in stores and parents and caregivers might have both in their medicine cabinets. Caregivers should be mindful to always read and follow the dosing directions on the package that is being used.
  • When Infants’ TYLENOL® products return to store shelves, they will include these changes.
  • As always, Infants’ and Children’s TYLENOL® products will continue to include specially designed dosing devices appropriate to the age of the child.
  • Parents and caregivers should contact their child’s healthcare provider if they have questions about dosing instructions.

Here are some Helpful Tips for Giving Medicines to Infants and Children:

Simply remember to NURSE:

  • Never give adult medicines to children.
  • Use the measuring device (syringe, dropper, dosage cup) that comes with the medicine every time you use it. Don’t use kitchen spoons (teaspoons or tablespoons).
  • Read and follow instructions on the label. Never give more than the recommended dose and do not give the medication more frequently than recommended.
  • Store all medicines out of the reach of children. Immediately following use, always restore the child resistant cap and put the medicine back into a high and out of sight location.
  • Every child grows. Know the infant’s or child’s weight and/or age to help determine the appropriate dosage.

I am really looking forward to these changes. As parents we worry about so much already. It’s so nice to see that Tylenol “has our backs” and is working to improve the products that we give to our children. I will continue to trust and use Tylenol when it’s needed around here.

To learn more about the changes Tylenol is making, visit the Tylenol products update page or visit www.tylenol.com.

Disclaimer: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Tylenol and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Pampers Winner Announced

Because this giveaway was different than most other giveaways I host on this site, I wanted to announce the winner differently as well.

Recently, Pampers contacted me and asked if I would pay it forward to someone in my community, and then ask one of my readers to do the same. To read the entire post and all of the comments, click here: Pamper’s Little Miracle Mission

There weren’t a whole lot of entries, but the ones posted were all compelling. I really do have such a great group of readers that want to reach out and help their community.

After an entire weekend of debate, back and forth, and asking advice from family members and friends, I finally picked a winner.

Congratulations to Cheryl W. with comment #13. You are the winner of the $50 GC to help pay it forward in your community!

Here’s the comment that Cheryl left:

13 Cheryl W.

We were hit with a tornado, in Tushka Oklahoma, on March 14th. Homes were leveled, our children lost their schools and people are without a job. In my daughter’s class, there is a girl who is just 16, pregnant and her family lost their home, vehicles and job. We would love to be able to donate diapers and wipes to her and hopefully share the love of Christ with her in such a difficult time.

Thank you, again, to all who entered. I really wish I had a gift card to give each one of you. I hope you soon get the opportunity to pay it forward to your friends and neighbors.

Stick to It with Clingo {Review}

ClingoClingo is your personal mounting solution that is perfect for putting any phone anywhere. They offer a wide range of products, and they guarantee that you can stick your phone, peel it off, and stick it back on again, over and over.

I had the opportunity to test out a couple of products from Clingo.

First was the Universal Podium. This has truly been a wonderful piece of equipment to have around here. I use my phone in the kitchen all the time, because I have lots of different apps that have recipes on them. Before, I’d put my phone on the counter, and it would quickly end up covered in flour or some other substance because I was using my hands to pick up the phone while I was cooking. With the podium, I set the stand on the counter, stick my iPhone to the podium, and I’m good to go! I’ve never once had my phone fall off of the podium, and when I pull my phone off, there’s no sticky residue left behind. (Which is totally awesome!) It’s easy to stick, remove, and repeat over and over again. And if the sticky part happens to get dirty? There are super easy instructions included on how to clean it off and make it just like new again.

universal hands free podiumThe other item I got to test out was the Universal Mobile Tether. This is great for using in my office area. I stick one side of the tether to my computer monitor, the other side to my iPhone, and then I’ve got instant hands-free access to my phone and can play music, sync my phone to my computer, or do anything I need to do. I’ve even used it with Ashley’s cell phone to make hands-free phone calls to clients while working on their project. (My phone doesn’t hold a signal in our house.)

I am super impressed with the Clingo products I received, and there are several others I’ve got my eye on like the Universal Vent Mount, the Parabolic Sound Sphere, and others. If they work as well as the two products I received for this review, I am certain I won’t be disappointed. I’m betting that if I had had the Universal Vent Mount, my iPhone never would have ended up getting the screen smashed to bits.

If you’re like me and constantly have your phone with you, but you need the ability to keep your hands free, I would highly recommend Clingo products.

For more information on clingo, check out their website at www.clingo.com. You can also follow clingo on twitter, find clingo on youtube, and become a fan of clingo on facebook.

Disclaimer: I was contacted by a member of Tailwind Public Relations on behalf of Clingo. I received samples of their products to facilitate my review. Opinions expressed are 100% my own. I was in no other way compensated for this post.

Who Will Be Crowned the World’s Greatest TV Dad?

Right now, ManofTheHouse.com has a contest going on to find out who will be the World’s Greatest TV Dad.

This is such a fun contest! It’s bringing back a flood of memories for me. They’ve got dads from the TV shows I grew up watching: Cliff Huxtable, Danny Tanner, Jason Seaver, Carl Winslow, Charles Ingalls, Tony Miscelli… as well as dads from the shows I currently watch: Phil Dunphey, Adam Braverman, Richard Castle, Eric Taylor.

Voting is in the early stages, so they’ve got 32 of the best tv dads paired up to compete against each other. Those that survive this round will go on to compete in the next round, as it will continue until the winner of the World’s Greatest TV Dad title is determined.

Vote for Your Favorite TV Dad

Click to Vote

If I could select the winner right now, I’d have to pick Charles Ingalls. He was a hard working man who loved his family more than anything. He was devoted, strong, and strict, but at the same time, he could laugh and joke and carry on. He gave his family 100% – and more.

I was so blessed to have a dad in my life that was like that. My dad worked hard, held a firm hand over us, and was the biggest goofball on the planet. (Think Tim Taylor.) I never, ever doubted that my dad loved me, because he showed me every day that he was here on earth. He’s gone now, but for the first 19 years of my life, I was the luckiest daughter in the entire world. Sure, my dad embarrassed the snot out of me. That’s what dads do. I’ll never forget all those years of playing basketball with my dad sitting in the stands at every home game. You could hear him shouting louder than anyone else in the gymnasium. I remember shaking my head in embarrassment, wishing he could be anywhere but there. But now, I’d give anything to look up in the stands and see him cheering my kids on at their games. I’ll never get the chance to see that, so I’ll just be eternally grateful that he loved me enough to come and cheer me on every chance he got… no matter how embarrassing it was back then.

Now, I’m grown up, married, with a family of my own. And the man I choose to marry is such an amazing father. He loves his kids more than words can speak, and you can see it in his eyes any time you look at him. He works hard, and he works a lot to support our large family, but he loves to goof off and have a great time as often has he can. My kids are so blessed to have a dad like him.

I have had a ball voting in the World’s Greatest TV Dad contest. I’ve picked all my favorite dads for this round, and I can’t wait to see who moves on to the next round.

Head on over to ManofTheHouse.com and check out the World’s Greatest TV Dad contest. Then, cast your vote for your favorite dads, and leave your thoughts in the comment section on any page – or every page, if you’d like!

Here are the rules, straight from ManofTheHouse.com:

There aren’t many. Vote as many times as you’d like, as often as you wish. Each new round of voting begins at 12:01 AM Monday morning and ends at 11:59 PM Sunday night. Share your favorites with your friends, get them on your side and get them to vote, then debate with other voters in the comments below. Tell us what you think makes dad great today – the attributes you believe make a good father and how the role has changed over the last 50 years.

Remember – vote early, and vote often to help your favorite dad move up in the bracket.

I can’t wait to see which TV dad is crowned World’s Greatest TV Dad!

Now tell me: Which TV Dad are YOU voting for?

Disclaimer: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of P&G and received promotional items to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Electrolux Accessories {Giveaway}

Electrolux AccessoriesThis giveaway will end Sunday, June 5th at 11:59pm EST.

Looking for a convenient place to purchase home appliance and product accessories?

Look no further than the Electrolux Accessories Store. There, you’ll find products and accessories to meet every need in your kitchen, laundry room, and other areas of your house.

Electrolux’s Accessories division recently contacted me and asked if I would help spread the word about their website while offering up a $35 Gift Certificate to one of my readers. After taking some time to browse their website, I thought $35 could definitely come in handy for one of you. There are lots of products available for purchase including water and air filters, cleaners, and so much more.

To Enter for a chance to win a $35 Gift Certificate to the Electrolux Accessories Store

Head to the Electrolux Accessories Store and take a look around. Then, come back here and leave a comment telling me what you think you’d purchase with the $35 gift certificate.
*Mandatory. If this is not done, you cannot win.

Want Extra Entries?

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    • Enter for your chance to win a $35 GC for Electrolux Accessories hosted by @angievinez – Ends 6/5: http://tinyurl.com/3jcdxh6
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Fine Print: Contest is open to residents of the US. Gift certificate does not include tax, shipping, or handling. If you already do any of the above, you qualify. Please leave a comment for each of the extra entries you complete. However, you must first leave the required comment as stated above. Giveaway will end on June 5th at 11:59pm (EST), and the winner will be selected via the “And the Winner is..” plugin. Winner will be notified via email upon selection, and will have 48 hours to claim their prize.

Disclaimer: I was contacted by a member of the Electrolux Accessories Division and asked if I would host a giveaway. The sponsor is fulfilling the prize as stated above. I was in no way compensated for this post.

Gotta Brag for a Minute…

This afternoon, Ashley had an awards ceremony at school. It was the 6th and 7th grade Honor Awards ceremony, and Ash told me she’d be getting an award for having all As. She kept hoping that I could come, but she never pressed me about it. (What she didn’t know was that I had already made plans to be there! I wanted it to be a surprise.)

I loaded up Lucy, Parker, and Gage and we headed to the school. For the first time ever, I ended up getting really good parking. Stuck Gage in my Ergobaby carrier, grabbed Lucy & Parker by the hands, and headed in to the auditorium.

Ashley’s best friend recognized me and shouted across the auditorium to Ash that I was there. Embarrassed to death, Ash wouldn’t even look my direction. She kept right on talking and giggling with her friends.

That’s ok. She’s 13. Mom’s just not cool when you’re 13. Besides, all of her friends know how strict her parents are, so she didn’t want to point me out to any of them.

The ceremony started, and the first awards presented were for having a score of 900 or above on their CRCT tests. (The CRCT is a big deal around here. A really big deal, and they put way too much pressure on the kids to do well on these tests.) After they went through the entire 6th grade, they moved onto the 7th graders. (I hate having a last name that starts with V!) They called Ashley’s name, stating that she had received a perfect score in Science, as well as a score over 900 in Social Studies.) I beamed. Announced it on facebook immediately, and told the world that I couldn’t be more proud of my daughter.

After that, they handed out the general awards for 6th grade, and moved onto the awards for 7th grade. During that time, Ashley also received an award for having all As in her classes, and she also received the “Best All Around” award. (Basically, best all around means you’re an excellent student, you’re kind, respectful, and just a joy to be around.)

I am so proud of Ashley. We really struggled with putting her back into public school after homeschooling, but I truly believe this is exactly what she needed. She is thriving and excelling in every class, and I could not be more proud of her.

Thanks for letting me brag on my girl. My heart is truly overflowing right now!

got milk? and the Importance of Role Models

Got Milk?As a mom, it’s my job to be the right kind of role model to my children. I want them to look up to me, respect me, and maybe even want to be like me when they grow up. That why I have to stop and think about everything I do. If I take on too much, it affects my children, and makes it seem like I don’t have time for them. If I eat a few cookies before dinner, they see that and that’s all it takes to instill a few unhealthy eating habits in their lives. If I grab a big, cold glass of milk to enjoy with my dinner, and leave the soda in the fridge, they see that too, and it can help them make the right choices in their own lives.

My mom had a completely different view of parenting and motherhood than I did. My mom is a career woman, amazingly successful in everything she does. But she was always traveling, always gone, and I really struggled with that as a kid – especially as a teenager. She showed me exactly what I didn’t want to do. I wanted to have a houseful of kids, stay home with them, and show them that I would always be there for them whenever they needed me. I love my mom, but this is one area that we will never see eye to eye on. And that’s ok. She made her choices, and those choices helped shape me into the role model that I am today for my children.

So, am I perfect? Of course not. I fail daily. I take on too much, I get bogged down with community work, church work, and chores, and I let my kids down. But I am striving to be a better mom. I’m striving to be the role model they need in all aspects of life – parenting, eating, lifestyle, spiritually…

The got milk? Milk Mustache Campaign wants to help gear up Moms with resources, tools, and information all on teaching kids those important life lessons. On their Facebook page, they recently launched a new, interactive section chock full of information on the importance of role models in a child’s life. On the page, you’ll find a touching video about moms, a fun eCard app that allows you to send a customized e-card to someone you love. You’ll also find recipes that include – you guessed it! – milk, and lots of easy ways to get more dairy in your family’s diet.

Please take a few minutes and check out the Milk Mustache Campaign on Facebook. Be sure to “like” the page while you’re there!

Then tell me, In what ways are you striving to be a good role model for your kids?

Disclaimer: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of the National Milk Mustache got milk? Campaign and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Make It Special With InvitationBox.com

InvitationBox.com is a fantastic little website that offers stylish and trendy party invitations for any occasion you can think of!

invitationbox.comRecently, InvitationBox.com sent me several sample cards with Gage’s name on them. These cards are really cute, and the quality is fantastic. These are perfect to use as thank you cards for some of the gifts that we have received for this little guy. I am really impressed by the quality of the printing, the thickness of the cards, and the hundreds of different options that InvitationBox.com offers. My favorite part is that they’re personalized. It’s a one-of-a-kind card for my one-of-a-kind baby boy. 🙂

Here’s some information about InvitationBox.com:

InvitationBox.com offers one of the internet’s widest selections of invitations, announcements, stationery products and gifts to make every occasion special, from brands you know and trust.

We offer over 9,000 products that include a wide variety of designs ranging from classic and traditional to modern and chic elements. We carry some of the most popular vendors in the industry, Inviting Company, Stacy Claire Boyd, Odd Balls, Picture Perfect, SanLori Designs, Cross-My-Heart and Paper So Pretty, just to name a few.

I spent some time browsing their website to see what all they had to offer, and the choices just blow me away! They offer everything you could possibly think of… and more! There are birthday invitations, wedding invitations, Christmas cards, even Baby Calling Cards. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! They offer tons of products and they all are available in hundreds of really cute designs. Take a look at all the adorable options that popped up when I typed the word “monkey” in the search box: Monkey invitations I am hooked, because they are just too cute!

They are certain to have something to fit every need, taste, and budget.

Right now, you can save 10% on any order over $50 by using the code Mayflower11 up until May 31st. And they also offer free shipping on orders over $100. Also, be sure to check out their clearance section for some really cute products.

To learn more about InvitationBox.com, I invite you to check out their website, follow them on twitter, become a fan on facebook, and take a peek at their blog.

Birthday season in our house is just around the corner. It starts in July, runs through October, and then picks up again in March. It’s busy, busy around here for months at a time. Now, with InvitationBox.com, I can get thank you cards, party invitations, and more all on one easy to browse website.

Check out InvitationBox.com for all your party needs!

Disclaimer: I was contacted on behalf of InvitationBox.com and received complimentary samples in order to facilitate my review. I was in no other way compensated for this post, and opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Get a Photobook for just $10!

Plum District is having an amazing deal right now.

You can get a Classic, 8.75″ x 11″ Hardcover Photobook – a $35 Value from PhotoBin – for just $10!

This would make the perfect Father’s Day gift for any man in your life. That’s what I’ll be using mine for, and I’m certain hubby will love it.

The deal only lasts a day, so you need to hurry and take advantage of it.

Click here to see the deal.

This just in: I heard that if you use the code supportsmall, you can get the deal for $8 instead of $10! (20% off your order.) That makes it even better. Thanks to my friend Lanamae for letting me in on this little tip!

Internet Down

I love technology…. when it works. When it doesn’t work, it makes me crazy. Literally.

I had to leave my house in order to gain internet access on my phone, and to be able to connect to the internet. My ISP went down today, and they’re working on getting it back up. Meanwhile, I can’t pull winners, can’t put up posts, can’t do anything.

UGH.

Please hold tight while my ISP gets their act together and has things up and running again. As soon as I’m able, I’ll be back with posts, winners, and so much more.

Thanks for your patience, and I’m so sorry for any inconvenience this may cause anyone.

Have a great day!

Seasoning Special Days with Mrs. Dash

Mrs. DashI’ve already posted a couple of times about how much I love Mrs. Dash, and how I have made some serious changes to my diet thanks to these fantastic seasonings. (If you’re new here, or you missed the previous posts, you can read them here: Spice Things Up with Mrs. Dash and Still Spicing Things Up with Mrs. Dash)

I still use my Mrs. Dash seasonings all the time. I was *so* happy when Mom Central and Mrs. Dash sent me some more seasonings, because I was almost out of most of my favorites!

Lately we’ve been using Mrs. Dash to spice up our special holidays. Eater was wonderful, and so was the ham with some Mrs. Dash Original Blend applied before cooking. And for Mother’s Day, I made my favorite – homemade chicken and dumplin’s, only instead of salt, I substituted in the table blend. No one even noticed, and the chicken was gobbled up! For Father’s Day, we’ll be using some of the Grilling blends, because we’ll definitely be grilling out that day.

We’ve actually been grilling out a lot lately. I love having a back porch and a fabulous grill. We use it constantly, and the Mrs. Dash grilling seasonings are my favorite way to prepare chicken, burgers, and even steak on the grill. My husband loves it, too, and because they’re so easy to use, he never complains about being “forced” to cook dinner. I’m sure he won’t even mind when he has to pull out the grill on Father’s Day. 🙂

Here is a fantastic recipe from the Mrs. Dash website that I’m definitely going to try:

Summer Steak SaladSavory Summer Salad
Serves: 4
Ready In: 25-35 min

Ingredients
Salad
1 Tbsp. Mrs. Dash® Garlic & Herb Blend
1 beef top sirloin steak, cut ¾ inch thick (about 1 lb)
1 medium onion, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
6 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1 medium tomato, sliced
4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and sliced
New York Style® Sea Salt Bagel Crisps®

Dressing
2 Tsp. Mrs. Dash® Garlic & Herb Blend
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. olive oil

Directions
1. Whisk dressing ingredients in small bowl. Reserve ¼ cup dressing for salad. Brush remaining dressing
on onion slices.
2. Heat grill or cast iron grill plate.
3. Rub beef with 1 Tbsp. Mrs. Dash® Garlic & Herb Blend. Grill steak 7 to 13 minutes to desired
doneness, turning occasionally. Slice steak.
4. Grill onion 10-12 minutes, turning occasionally, until tender.
5. Arrange lettuce on serving platter and top with sliced steak, tomatoes, onion and eggs. Drizzle with
reserved 1/3 cup dressing. Serve Bagel Crisps® on the side.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 321
Total Fat: 13 g
Sodium: 136 mg
Total Carbohydrates: 15 g
Protein: 34 g

Sounds yummy, doesn’t it? I love steak, and this sounds like the best way to prepare it in a salad!

Have you tried Mrs. Dash seasonings yet? What do you think of them?

To see all the flavors of Mrs. Dash seasoning, and to find more yummy recipes, check out www.MrsDash.comMrs. Dash Seasonings and don’t forget to become a fan of Mrs. Dash on Facebook!

Disclaimer: I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Mrs. Dash and received a gift certificate to thank me for taking the time to participate.