Archives for July 2011

I Wish I had Thought of That!

My addiction to Pinterest has shown me more great ideas in a few days than I could come up with in a lifetime.

Here are some of the great little tips and tricks I’ve found:

How about a Pringles can to keep uncooked spaghetti fresh?

Pringles can

Idea & Photo From http://nonobvioussolutions.tumblr.com/

Or a super-easy way to make heart-shaped cupcakes?

heart shaped cupcakes

photo and idea from http://www.musesofmegret.com/2009/02/12/valentines-day-hack-make-heart-shaped-cupcakes-with-a-regular-tin/

Maybe you need a cute way to get cupcakes to the kids’ school, but don’t want to shell out big bucks for a fancy dessert tray? Make your own – cheap and easy!

Make your own cupcake tray

Photo & Idea from http://decorganizecrafts.blogspot.com/2011/05/diy-desert-stand-tiered-plates-tiered.html

And those are just a few of the amazing ideas, tutorials, and projects I’ve found. If I ever get free time, I might become dangerous… and it’s all thanks to Pinterest.

Share with me some of the creative ideas you’ve found…. I’ll be sure to pin them too! 🙂

Rizzoli & Isles #Giveaway

This giveaway will end Saturday, August 20th @ 12:01 AM EST.

Rizzoli & Isles
Rizolli & Isles is back for another season of best friends working together. Solving crime never looked this good!

The characters are based on the Rizolli & Isles book series by author Tess Gerritsen whom you might also know from The Surgeon, The Apprentice, and Vanish.

Best friends, Jane Rizzoli (Angie Harmon) and Maura Isles (Sasha Alexander) work side by side using their expertise to figure out the “who done it” as well as the “how done it”. Growing up at opposite ends of the economic spectrum, the two best friends remain strikingly different from one another in many ways. The glamour behind these two powerful, smart and sexy women makes this a must watch show.

Rizzoli & Isles airs on TNT Mondays at 10/9c.

Rizzoli & isles
To celebrate the launch of the new season, I’m giving one lucky reader Rizzoli & Isles Branded Caution Tape and Season 1 on DVD. (And I am incredibly jealous that I can’t keep them both for myself!)

I love Rizzoli and Isles. I started watching at the end of Season 1 and loved it so much that I set my DVR to record every episode – new or not – so that I could see all the episodes that I missed that first season. Now, we’re just a couple of episodes into this season, and I’m loving it just as much. This is my can’t miss show every Monday night.

Enter using the Rafflecopter Gadget below.


Disclaimer: The information and prize has been provided by YouCast and the Turner Influence Network. They are also sponsoring the giveaway and will fulfill the prize to the winner selected.

Georgia Tax Free Weekend – August 5th – 7th

 

Walmart

Edited to Add: At this time, I am not 100% sure if GA is hosting a tax free weekend or not. I do not want to mislead my readers, so I have contacted the PR rep that forwarded this information to me. If I don’t hear back from her before this goes out to my email subscribers, I want you to know that I’m still looking into this. It is never my intention to give my readers false or misleading information. I will let you know as soon as I hear back. I’m so sorry for the inconvenience.

I love a way to save money, and next weekend, Georgia is once again offering a tax free weekend – just in time for back to school.  (Well, for most people! Since my kids go back on the 4th, I’ll just barely miss the tax free deals.)

But just because I can’t take full advantage of the tax free weekend, doesn’t mean that I want my readers to miss out!

One way to keep your back to school costs even lower is to shop at Walmart.

This year, Walmart is making back-to-school shopping even easier with new store improvements. Back-to-school items are now organized, both in stores and online, in one place and categorized by school age group, so families can quickly and easily shop supplies appropriate for their child’s grade. Many of the most common school supply list items are located down the center of the back-to-school aisle allowing families to quickly check these items off their list.

For those who prefer to shop online, Walmart.com offers free shipping to home on a broad assortment of back-to-school essentials such as school supply bundles, calculators, pens, notebooks, crayons and more.

A sampling of back-to-school items available online at Walmart.com include:

  • School supply value bundles starting at $10 on Walmart.com only; free shipping to home
  • Toddler size school uniform bundles starting at $6.47 – (bundle available only on Walmart.com, individual school uniform items available in select Walmart stores); free shipping to home
  • Toy Story and Cars licensed backpack/lunch bag combo sets – $13 (available only on Walmart.com)

Walmart has everything moms need to find on their child’s school supply list – whether the kids are starting kindergarten or heading off to college. Some of their deals include the following:

  • 70-Sheet, 1-Subject Notebook (wide or college ruled) – 20 cents
  • 100-Sheet Composition Books – 40 cents
  • 150 Sheets of Filler Paper (wide or college ruled) – 75 cents
  • 1-Inch Economy Binder – 92 cents
  • 24-Ct. Dixon No. 2 Pencils – 94 cents
  • 12-Ct. Crayola Colored Pencils or 10-ct. Crayola Markers (fine or broad) – 97 cents
  • 10-Pack of Bic Cristal Pens (Black, Blue or Red) – 97 cents
  • 4-Pack of Sharpie Pocket or Tank-Style Highlighters – $1.47
  • 6-Pack of Elmer’s Glue Sticks – $1.97

For additional back-to-school information including sample shopping lists, back-to-school bundles, tips on hassle-free mornings as well as study tips for new students, please visit http://www.walmart.com/school.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post in any way. Happy tax-free shopping!

Rio & National Friendship Day Twitter #Giveaway #RioFriendshipDay

Rio on DVD

Big things are just around the corner! First, this Saturday July 30th, it’s National Friendship Day. Then, on August 2nd, the smash hit RIO releases to Blue-ray and DVD.

I’m working with 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment to help celebrate both with a super fun twitter giveaway for my readers!

Rio is celebrating National Friendship Day (July 30) with beach takeovers and ecards.(Learn more about the beach takeovers here: RIO Takes Over Your Beach.)

Rio Beach Takeovers
Also, mall takeovers are happening in these areas, including “Friendship Rio style”  a  2 – 3 hour event  with the Rio trailer played, children engaging making a friendship bracelet, create your own mask, fun Rio activity sheets, write a friendship letter, take the friendship pledge, and watch scenes from the DVD!
(Learn more here: RIO Takes Over Your Mall.)

7000 Arundel Mills Circle Hanover MD
1065 Brea Mall Brea CA
3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway Grapevine TX
6301 N.W. Loop 410 San Antonio TX
5000 Katy Mills Circle Katy TX
3333 Buford Dr., Ste 1000 Buford GA
1201 Hooper Ave. Toms River NJ
One Mills Circle, Suite One Ontario CA
2700 Potomac Mills Circle Prince William VA
301 Mt. Hope Avenue, Ste. 1900 Rockaway NJ
4502 S. Steele St, Ste 1177 Tacoma WA
400 Ernest  Barrett Pkwy. Kennesaw GA
6901 22nd Ave. North St. Petersburg FL
6020 E. 82nd St. Indianapolis IN
8111 Concord Mills Blvd. Concord NC
3 Del Amo Fashion Center Torrance CA

Rio ColoringThe Rio coloring app is available for FREE NOW on Android Market and iTunes App Stores with two characters and one background available for coloring. Once the Rio Blu-ray is released on Aug. 2, the insert included will unlock the additional 10 characters and 4 background within the app. In total: 12 characters and 5 backgrounds OR 60 unique coloring pages.

For those in the LA or NYC areas, a hands-on demonstration of the app will be available at Santa Monica Place in LA and Roosevelt Field Mall on Long Island at a KIOSK with iPads, approximately 40-49” off the ground, easily reachable by children, to try the app.

To celebrate all of the excitement, I get to give away one RIO themed gift bag stuffed with plush Blu and Jewel dolls, a Rio-branded beach ball, stickers, magnetic photo frame, notebook and keychain, as well as beach visors (not pictured).

Rio Friendship Bag with DVD

Since this is a twitter giveaway, all the action will take place on twitter by using the hashtag #RioFriendshipDay. But, I need to be able to pick a winner. So, you’ll need to make sure you include @angievinez in your tweet as well.

What do you tweet?

Almost anything you want – tell me how you plan to spend Friendship Day, tweet me links to cool ideas for friendship day projects, tell me why you love Rio, tweet to your followers about the giveaway with a link to the post. **Just make sure you have @angievinez and #RioFriendshipDay in your tweets.**

Then, you can tweet as much as you want. That’s right! There are unlimited entries in this awesome giveaway.

The giveaway will last from now (July 28th) until NOON ET on August 3rd. After that, I’ll go through all the tweets containing @angievinez and #RioFriendshipDay, and I’ll randomly select a winner.

Ready? Set? TWEET!

Fine Print: Open to US Only. Winner will be randomly selected after the close of the giveaway. Winner will be notified via email upon selection, and will have 48 hours to claim their prize.

Disclaimer: I am not being compensated for this post in any way. The sponsors, (ThinkJam and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment) will fulfill the prize as stated above.

Are You on Pinterest?

PinterestI know, I know. I just talked about Google+, and now I’m talking about something else. But Pinterest is something that I have needed for years, I just didn’t know it.

A very dear friend of mine, Alea from Premeditated Leftovers asked me if I would create a “Pinterest” button for her and add a “Pin this” button to her posts. I had no clue what she was talking about, so I told her she was going to have to give me more than just a website name.

When she heard that I had no clue what Pinterest was, she sent me an invitation and told me that I had to get in on this.

I joined, got the info I needed to create her a button, and let it sit there for a few days. Last night, hubby had to work late, and I decided to poke around on Pinterest.

Oh.my.word.

Where has this been all my life? Seriously. The OCD Organizational Freak inside me is screaming with glee right now. This site is amazing.

You find things online that you want to bookmark, and you “pin” them to your boards. (You create the boards, and they can be regarding anything you want: style, fashion, jewelry, for the kids, for the home… I even have a board that has party ideas for the Phineas & Ferb party I’m throwing next week.) You can also “repin” something that someone else has pinned. (That’s how I’ve found most of my pins – people are finding really great stuff all over the web and pinning it for me to find!)

It’s invitation only, so if you want in, you have to find someone that can send you an invite. (I can, I can! Just leave a comment and let me know you want in.)

If you’re already on Pinterest, look me up. I’d love to follow you and see what great stuff you’re finding online!

Find me on Pinterest.

Pampers Helps Families in Need

PampersIt’s hard to find companies that go above and beyond to help out families in need. But I have to say that Pampers does just that. Never before have I seen a company so committed to giving to families in need.

Their latest mission is to help out families in the US disaster regions.

Here, take a minute to read what it’s all about:

This is a very special mission. There have been many families impacted by the recent natural disasters across the U.S. As a result, affected parents are spending the majority of their time dealing with basic essentials, which leaves them little time to bond with and nurture their babies. With your support, Pampers wants to make their lives a little easier. Show your support by simply clicking the “I support” button on the Miracles Facebook app.

For every click of the “I support” button on the Miracles Facebook app, Pampers will donate one diaper, one pack of wipes, and one dollar* to Direct Relief International® to help babies in affected areas. For every story shared on the Miracles Facebook app, we will donate an additional two diapers, two packs of wipes, and two dollars* to Direct Relief International®.

All you have to do is go to the Miracles App on Facebook and click “I Support.” Then, if you’d like, you can enter to win a year’s supply of Pampers for your little one. They don’t ask you to donate money or put you through hours of ridiculous offers and surveys. You just have to click the I Support button and you’re done.

It only takes a second, and your support will help a family in need. Isn’t that worth just a few moments of your time?

Click here to show your support.

Disclaimer: I have not been compensated for this post in any way. I think it’s a great cause and one I know my readers would want to support.

Moby for Families: A Must-Have iPhone App {Review}

Moby App for iPhone

Photo Courtesy of Moby

I have a husband that works an insane amount of hours. I have a teenage daughter that is a social butterfly and wants to spend as much time with her friends as she possibly can. She is always going somewhere: church revivals, youth meetings, friends’ houses.

Before I installed the Moby App, I felt like I was constantly texting the same words over and over – to both my husband and my daughter: “Where are you?” I know, it sounds nosey, but I worry about my family, and I just feel better when Ic an instantly know where they are and not have to worry that they’re in danger, or that my daughter isn’t somewhere that she doesn’t need to be. And, it’s completely private. Ashley’s location is only shared with me (and my husband), not with my 5 million facebook friends. I don’t have to worry about someone seeing her “check in” and knowing exactly where she is. It’s safe, secure, private, and an excellent app for parents of teenagers. Learn more about why Moby is great for families here: http://www.mymoby.com/product/why-moby/families/

I’ve been using the Moby app for almost 2 weeks now, and I *love* it. I think I would love it even more if my husband and my daughter had iPhones, but for right now, it works great for us. I can set it so that Ashley can share her location with me for 3 or 4 hours, and I can check in any time I want to. And, I can quickly and easily share my location with both my husband and my daughter. If nothing else, the Moby app would be the ideal tool to have in case of an emergency.

Whenever I go out, I’ve usually got 6 kids in tow. If my car breaks down, or we get in an accident, I then have to worry about getting the necessary information to my hubby – or to anyone else that could help. With just a few clicks of a button, I can immediately send my location to hubby and let him know that it’s an emergency. I haven’t had to test out that feature yet, thankfully, but it makes me feel better knowing that I have it there as an option.

I am super impressed with the Moby App for the iPhone and would recommend it to any family.

Here’s some need to know info about the Moby App:

  • The Moby App is available in the App Store. (Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Requires iOS 4.1 or later.) Learn more here: http://www.mymoby.com/product/
  • Moby Support is amazing! I was having trouble linking my husband’s phone with mine, and they were able to quickly and easily resolve the issues and get us linked. You can contact them by email at support@mymoby.com, and you can also follow them on twitter: @mymoby
  • Their YouTube page features other important how-to videos which are great for setting up your iPhone, and learning everything you need to know about the App and how it works: http://www.youtube.com/user/MyMobyApp
  • A new Moby application is launching next month (8/11) with improved battery life. (YAY!! Great news!!)
  • The Android version is being designed now, and it should launch in late August or early September. It will have the same great features as the iPhone version, and you’ll also have the ability to share locations between iPhone and Android devices. Get on the pre-registration list here: http://www.mymoby.com/product/android
  • The Moby App for iPhone is FREE. Just download and install. Gotta love that!

I love the Moby App, and it’s been a great tool for my family. Visit the Moby website, find Moby on facebook, or follow Moby on twitter to learn more today!

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

Total Salon Concepts {Local Review}

Hiawassee, GA Salons
I will be the first to admit that I don’t take care of myself like I should. Any extra money we get goes to my children first, then my husband. I honestly cannot remember the last time I just bought myself a new shirt. It’s been a very long time.

So, when Tina of Total Salon Concepts asked me if I would do a review and help promote her salon in return, I jumped at the chance. It’s been almost 2 years since I even just had my hair cut.

Before I get to the review, here’s my before picture:

Before
Scary, I know. My hair was long and out of control. I knew I wasn’t going to make things easy for Tina.

But, Tina was great. In fact, my whole experience at Total Salon Concepts was amazing. I put my hair in Tina’s hands, and let her do what she thought was best. We talked about it for awhile, but in the end, I decided that she knew what was best for my hair, and I let her have at it.

Tina put me completely at ease. We talked and talked while she worked her magic. (By the way, do you know how nice it was to have grown up conversation?!)

So, want to see how the cut and color turned out?

After

I absolutely love the cut that Tina gave me. I almost burst into tears when I told her that it had been forever since I felt so pretty.  I sincerely meant that, too. It’s been a really long time since I’ve had something done for myself. And Tina was right when she told me that it’s my job to take care of my kids’ Mommy. If I’m not taking care of myself, I’m not being the best mom I can be.

My Mother-in-Law had purchased a pedicure for me from Total Salon Concepts, and Tina gave me that right after she finished the cut and color. Talk about heaven. The spa foot bath, the scrub, and the massage were amazing.

Thank you, Tina, for everything – for the experience, the cut, the color – and even the purple sparkly toes. I love everything so much, and I will certainly recommend you and your salon to everyone I meet.

If you are heading to Young Harris, GA (or Hiawassee, or Blairsville, or anywhere nearby!), and you want to pamper yourself, definitely check out Total Salon Concepts. The women there will have you feeling relaxed, refreshed, and rejuvenated in no time! In my opinion, they are the best salon in the North Georgia Mountains.

So what do you think of my new look?

Affresh Follow-Up: 1 Month Later

affreshIt’s been about a month since I last posted about my experience with Affresh® Dishwasher Cleaner. I have been asked to post a follow-up and give my readers my thoughts and opinions about the product and see if I still recommend it.

Well, I can tell you: I certainly do still recommend it.

I did notice that toward the end of the month after using the Affresh, that the generic dishwashing detergent didn’t work as well anymore, and I had to switch back to the good stuff. But, immediately after I used the Affresh for the second time, everything went back to the way it was before: any kind of detergent worked really well on getting even the nastiest dishes clean.

And I’ve gotta say it again: Affresh Dishwasher and Disposal Cleaner makes my whole house smell amazing when it runs through the dishwasher. I just love it. Even if it didn’t work as well as it did, I’m pretty sure I’d buy it just to get that clean, fresh smell that lasts all day. 🙂

Because we don’t have a disposal, the pack (that costs just $5.99!) lasts me for 3 months. I think I can handle such a small price to pay when it’s saving me oodles of money in dishwasher detergent, and it’s keeping me from needing to run my dishwasher over and over and over again just to get the dishes clean.

I love how easy it is to use, and I would highly recommend it to anyone that owns a dishwasher. It has made a huge difference around here, and I actually love doing the dishes now!

Have you tried Affresh Dishwasher and Disposal Cleaner? What are your thoughts?

Remember: You can purchase Affresh at retailers nationwide including Sears, Best Buy, Lowe’s, Kroger and Food Lion, and www.affresh.com. The Affresh® tablets are also available via a subscription through the Web site to help consumers save time and money – which is an awesome idea, and a way to make sure you keep those odors from coming back. At just $5.99 for a package of 6 tablets (that’s a 2 – 3 month supply!), the affresh tablets are an excellent value for your money.

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

Daddy Did What?

My husband will frequently send me text messages throughout the day, and Parker loves to be the one to tell me that I’ve gotten a new message.

Today, though, I was doing something in the kitchen, and Parker came over to me to tell me I had a new message.

Parker: “Mom! Daddy sent a message.”

Silence.

Parker: “Moooom! Daddy sent a message.”

Silence. (I was busy. You know you have selective hearing too.)

Parker: “MOM! DADDY MADE A MESS!”

I guess he figured that if I heard that I’d finally come running to see what he needed. There was certainly no more ignoring him after that. 🙂

Don’t Miss these Fantastic Deals!

SaveMore has some really great deals going on right now, and I want to make sure you don’t miss out on them.

  • ThredUp – You should all be quite aware of how much I adore ThredUp. It has been wonderful for getting school clothes for the kids this season. And right now at SaveMore, you can get 2 boxes of kids clothes for just $16. (Valid for new ThredUp members only.) And, remember, if you haven’t signed up for SaveMore, you get $10. That means you could get 2 fantastic boxes of kids clothes (or toys, or books…) for just $6. And since it’s a $31.90 value, you can’t beat that deal! Click here to grab this deal!

 

  • Bunnies & Bows – $30 of Personalized Pillows & Pillowcases for just $15 – I hadn’t seen Bunnies & Bows before this SaveMore deal, but boy, are they really cute! And their prices are fantastic! You could get several things with $30. New SaveMore users can score this for just $5 if they use their $10 credit for signing up. Click here to grab this deal!

SaveMore

Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Blessed Beyond Words.

Walmart & Box Tops for Education {Giveaway}

This giveaway will end Friday, August 12th @ 12:01 AM EST.

WalmartMy kids go back to school on August 4th. (Can you even believe that? I swear, it was just last week when they got out of school!) Anyway, all summer long, we’ve been saving up our Box Tops. I’m actually quite crazy when it comes to Box Tops. Those little coupons work like cash for my kids’ school, and they’re an easy way for me to help when budget cuts have been so bad. My kids know that you never, ever throw a Box Top away, and we have a special jar to put them in until we can send them in to the school so they can redeem them. When I’m shopping, I always look to see if there’s a Box Top on the item I need, and if there is, I’m much more likely to purchase the item with the Box Top instead of a private label brand.

Right now, you can head to your local Walmart and find up to 70 participating products that each contain 4 Box Tops! It’s literally like Box Top Heaven, given how much I love Box Tops. I received a $25 gift card so that I could head to Walmart myself. I ended up with oodles and oodles of Box Tops, and I left the store giddy with excitement! My kids’ school is gonna love me this year!

You already know how great Walmart is for helping families to save money. Right now you can get your favorite brands like Nature Valley, Cheerios, and Yoplait, and earn cash for the upcoming school year.Walmart Gift Card Giveaway

To learn more about the Box Tops for Education program, and find out more about how you can help contribute to your school, visit www.boxtops4education.com/.

To find out everything you need to know about Walmart, check out their website. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.

In order to encourage you to shop at Walmart and stock up on Box Tops for your family’s school, MyBlogSpark and Walmart have given me a $25 Walmart Gift Card to give away to one lucky reader. Entering is easy! Just use the Rafflecopter widget below.


 

Disclaimer: The information and $25 gift card to Walmart has been provided by Walmart and General Mills through MyBlogSpark. They are also sponsoring the giveaway and will fulfill the prize to the winner selected.

Don’t Fret the Sweat {Awesome Beach Giveaway}

This giveaway will end Wednesday, August 10th @ 12:01 AM EST.

Don't Fret the SweatWe are really lucky to live just a few minutes from the lake. A few years ago, the town took a section of the lake and turned it into an amazing little get-away spot. There’s a beach with gorgeous white sand, lots of pavilions, and a playground for the kids. We love going there and getting away from everything for a few hours.

Yesterday, we started packing up to head to the beach with some friends from church. All of a sudden, there was a knock at the door. It was FedEx with a great big box addressed to me.

I opened the box, and I was blown away by what was inside!

Here’s what I found:Beach Bag Giveaway

  • Orange & White Beach Bag – the perfect size for carting all our stuff to the beach!
  • Yellow & White Beach Towel – oh my gosh! This thing is super soft and absorbent!
  • Beach Ball
  • Water Bottle
  • Coppertone SPORT Sunscreen SPF 50
  • Degree Men’s Deodorant
  • Suave Women’s Deodorant
  • Degree Girl Deodorant
  • Vaseline Aloe Fresh Moisturizing Gel
  • A 2GB iPod Shuffle – pink: my favorite color!
  • A $25 iTunes gift card

Awesome package, right?

I know! My kids and I were so excited, and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect! We had a blast using all the products during our trip to the beach, and we will definitely be taking everything back with us every time we go.

So how did I score this amazing beach bag full of goodies?

Well, it’s courtesy of Unilever and their Don’t Fret the Sweat Campaign. (Have you seen the widget I have in my sidebar yet? If not, you need to check it out!)

As the mom of a teenage girl, I understand first hand the importance of teaching your child to care for themselves. Sweat is a big deal – especially to teen girls, and they don’t want to smell bad while playing hard. Finding the right deodorant is incredibly important, and Unilever and Don’t Fret the Sweat can help you do just that. Take a minute and visit their Product Matchmaker and find exactly what you need: www.DontFretTheSweat.com/matchmaker

To promote the Don’t Fret the Sweat Campaign and encourage you to join in the fun, I am giving away another Beach Bag full of goodies to one lucky reader. That’s right! You’ll get the same gift pack mentioned above! (Colors, products may vary slightly. Retail Value: $137)

I’m going to try something a little different and use Rafflecopter for this giveaway. You can do one entry, or you can do them all! It’s up to you!


Disclaimer: I was contacted on behalf of Unilever and the Don’t Fret the Sweat Campaign. I received the items mentioned above, however all opinions expressed are 100% my own. Unilever is sponsoring this giveaway and will mail the prize pack to the winner at the end of the giveaway.

Walmart Listens to Shoppers

Last night after church, I had to make a quick stop at Walmart and pick up a new fryer. (Right in the middle of frying up my famous fried chicken, my $100 fryer kicked the bucket!)

I quickly grabbed a new fryer and walked over to the grocery section to grab some canola oil. As I was walking through the store, I spotted this:


Did you see that? Walmart really listened!

Almost 2 years ago, I put up a post about our new local Walmart. Truth be told, I hated it, mostly because they took away the fabric and craft section. I am always making things, and I am always buying some kind of fabric or craft supply. And for the past 2 years, if I needed fabric or craft stuff, I had to drive 45 minutes to our not-so-local Walmart in North Carolina. It was such a pain, especially when they decided to close the mountain road for almost a year and send you on a 30 minute detour – for an already 45 minute trip! (Yes, I’m griping. That’s a long drive with 6 kids.)

So, last night, as Ashley and I were walking through Walmart, I let out a squeal when I saw this. One would expect that to embarrass my teenager, but she was every bit as excited as I was to see the fabric department coming. We oooohhhed and aaaahhhhed over the little bit of fabric they already had out, and made plans for several projects in the weeks to come.

Thank you, Walmart, for actually listening to your shoppers and bringing the fabric section back! I’ll probably be in the store daily now.

Now, if we could just get stores to listen to us about the length of girls’ shorts….

Warning: This Will Probably Offend You

Last night, I ran to the grocery store. I had dropped the kids off at my Mother-in-Law’s for the night, and hubby and I were going to have an evening to ourselves. (For the most part. We still had Gage, but he’s easy!)

While I was walking through the grocery store, I couldn’t help but notice how short shorts have gotten. I noticed one girl that had an iPhone sticking out of her back pocket. Her iPhone was longer than her shorts were.

I was flabbergasted. What makes wearing shorts that short acceptable?

And that’s not even what got me the most. The girl was walking through the store with her mom and dad. She was probably 14 or 15 tops.

As the mom of a teenager, I think it’s absurd what some parents will allow their children to wear. I’ve seen good Christian girls show up for church events in shorts that are shorter than iPhones. Do parents just not care any more? Do they think it’s not worth the fight?

I understand wanting attention – and wanting to show off what the good Lord gave you. I, too, was once a skinny little thing, with legs up to my neck. I wanted to push the boundaries of the dress code my church, school, and parents had all set. And I did. But, when I got caught, I was grounded for what seemed like eons. (And, yes, I always got caught.)

I am so blessed to say that I rarely have problems with Ashley and her wardrobe. She has been given a few things from some girls that I’ve simply had to ask, “If you were standing in front of Jesus, would you be embarrassed to be wearing that?” Now, every time she puts something on, she asks herself that same question. Rarely do I have to ask her to change her clothes. She’s only 14, but she understands the rules her father and I have in place, and she doesn’t push it. (Yes, I know how lucky I am!)

My husband and I do have a strict dress code, and I’m not ashamed of it. Ashley is not to wear low cut tops without a tank top underneath. Skirts and shorts go to the knee. And if she’s swimming in a pool or at the lake and boys are around, she wears a pair of shorts over her bathing suit.

How can we be so strict? Well, let’s think about this…. My husband was once a teenage boy. He *knows* the kind of thoughts that run through a boy’s mind when they see a half-naked girl. And if our daughter is the one dressed like that, she is the one causing that boy to have those thoughts. Therefore, she is sinning by causing that boy to sin. As a parent, it is my job to keep my daughter on the right path, and setting a dress code is just one way I’m trying to do that.

How do you feel about dress codes? Do you enforce them in your household?

More Great SaveMore Deals!

I’ve already confessed to you how much I love SaveMore. (And the fact that they give you $10 credit when you sign up – and another $10 for each person you refer to their site!)

Right now, they’ve got some amazing deals going on!

Here’s my favorite deal, and the one that I couldn’t pass up:

BoaPix

  • $39 for a Custom Artist-Designed 30″x40″ Photo Collage (a $147 value) with free shipping!

Upon redemption, customers will upload up to 30 photographs for professional touch-ups and juxtaposition (placement). BoaPix will send a proof for approval to the client and then proceed with printing on 30×40 giclee-quality paper with the client’s choice of a solid color or mirrored edge.

That is an amazing deal! $147 for just $39?! And no shipping? You could get your Christmas shopping off to a fantastic start. Or, just treat yourself because you deserve it!

Here are the other deals they’ve got going on right now:

Eves Addiction

  • $15 for $30  or $20 for $45 worth of Jewelry from Evesaddiction.com (Shipping not included)

D’dara

  • $15 for $30 or $20 for $49 Worth of Designer Fragrances (FREE Shipping!!!)

 LiveThinHCG

  • $19 for $49 Worth of HCG Weight Loss Drops (Shipping $6.75)

Head on over to SaveMore and start shopping today. Remember – you get $10 just for signing up. AND, if you help spread the word, you get $10 for each person you refer to SaveMore.

SaveMore

My Emotional Breakdown

This morning, I took Gage in for his 4 month well visit. I haven’t been looking forward to it for weeks now. I knew he was going to get shots, but I also knew that I was going to have to admit defeat on breastfeeding.

A few weeks ago, I posted that I was looking for Low Iron Infant Formula. Since that post, much has happened.

Gage will nurse for 30 – 45 minutes at each feeding. As soon as he’s “done,” he starts screaming. I’m not talking about just crying, either. These are ear-piercing-gimme-more-food type screams. Every time he nurses, I follow up with a bottle. He drinks 6 – 8 ounces every.single.time. If I go all day without nursing him, I can only pump 1 – 2 ounces total. I’m just not producing anything at all this time around.

It’s apparent to me that I am just not producing enough breastmilk to give him what he needs. And that breaks my heart. Breastfeeding is so important to me.

The nurse weighed Gage, and he tagged in at 14 pounds, 3 ounces. He’s 25.5 inches long, so that puts him on the chunkier side of the growth chart. (Even though he’s in the 50th percentile for weight and 78th percentile for length. Not sure how that works.) Anyway, apparently all the formula he’s been getting is working.

(By the way, he’s doing just fine on regular formula now. It just took a few days for his system to get used to it. All is well, and no low iron infant formula is needed!)

I told the doctor exactly what I mentioned above about him not getting enough. She knows how important breastfeeding is to me, so she was very kind. She said this may just be God’s way of telling me I need to take a break. She reminded me that I can still nurse him at night and in the morning if I want, and any breastmilk he gets is a “bonus.” Everything she said I already knew, but it doesn’t make it hurt any less to hear that I’m failing at breastfeeding this time around.

I discussed all the ways to increase my milk production with her – and everything that I’ve tried. Absolutely nothing has worked, so maybe it’s time for me to admit defeat and just give him bottles during the day. I’m still going to continue nursing him at night and first thing in the morning. That way, I’ve got hours and hours in between to build up my supply of milk. It just tears me apart that I can’t just nurse him any time I want to and actually do him any good.

Have you had experiences with low milk supply? Did it effect you emotionally? Any advice or tips you can give me?

It’s funny. I’ve nursed 5 of my 6 kids, but this flabbergasts me… I just don’t get why I’m not producing anything this time around.

Guest Post: Win a Tamron 70-300mm Lens

Tamron 70-300

TakeGreatPictures is giving away a Tamron 70-300mm Lens to one lucky winner in their summer contest giveaway! The Tamron SP designation is reserved for lenses developed with special emphasis on extraordinary photographic performance. Engineers are free to innovate in an uncommon atmosphere where optical performance comes before price, resulting in lenses that satisfy the demands of discerning photographers. In addition to entering, contestants will also be automatically become subscribers to TakeGreatPictures.com’s monthly newsletter to stay up to date on all their contests and prizes.

The contest is open now and runs through to the end of August.  Entries must be received before September 1, 2011.  For more information on how to enter, please visit http://www.takegreatpictures.com/photo-tips/contests-shows-workshops/win-a-tamron-70-300-mm-lens. 

Disclaimer: This is a guest post sent to me on behalf of TakeGreatPictures.com. I was not compensated for this post in any way, but thought my photography-loving readers would like to know about the contest and enter.

Fun & Easy Art Project

I love making things. You all saw the projects that the kids and I made for Father’s Day, right?

Last week, I had to come up with a creative “reveal” gift for my Secret Sister at church. It had to be something that would be a dead giveaway that I was her Secret Sister. In her gift bag, I included three items:

  1. A black apron with the word “Mom” embellished on it.
  2. A set of magnets with photos of her daughter and one of her and her husband.
  3. A pencil box decorated with monkey stickers. (If nothing else, I knew this one would be the dead giveaway. Too bad she already knew it was me!)

The magnets were such a hit that I had dozens of people asking me to make some for them. So, I figured you all might like to know how to make them as well.

Here’s the set that I made for my own fridge:

Fridge Magnets
I know. Not really the best picture. Sorry. I was in a hurry. But, I think you get the idea.

Now, here’s the fun part: Here’s how easy it is to make these yourself!

Items Needed

  • Thin piece of wood. (I used the inserts to the board that I purchased to make one of the Father’s Day Gifts.) You can buy small pieces of wood at any craft store.
  • Art Program on your computer. (I use PhotoShop and/or Paint Shop Pro. If you don’t have one, GIMP is a free one that’s great!)
  • Printer & Copy Paper (Don’t use photo paper, plain paper works better.)
  • Modge Podge (available in any craft store, walmart, etc.)
  • Magnets (you can buy the round disks or the strip of magnets that you can cut to size. Both have an already sticky back and are perfect to use.)
  • Clear Spray Sealer (optional. I used the glossy finish sealer.)

Now that we’ve got everything we need, here’s how to make the project:

Find the digital photo that you want to use. (Or scan a hard copy to your computer.) Open it in your photo editing program. Crop the photo to a square (if the wood you are using is square). Resize your photograph to the same size as your piece of wood. Print out the photo. (Then, make sure that it matches the size of the wood you’re about to apply it to. I always size it just a bit bigger than the wood, because it’s always easier to cut off more than you need, but it’s impossible to add more on.) Cut out the photo. Apply Modge Podge in a thin layer on the wood, then attach the photograph to it. Work quickly, because Modge Podge sets up fast. You’ll want to make sure there are no bubbles. Allow the Modge Podge to dry. Then, you can spray the photo with a clear sealer if desired, or just add a magnet to the back and stick it to your fridge. (Be sure to allow it to dry for 24 – 48 hours before handling it too much whether you seal it or not.)

See how easy that was? It’s perfect for a quick gift for someone special, or to add more fun to your fridge!

Let me know if you try this project.

Are You on Google+?



Just what I need… one more place to network online. But, honestly? I love networking. And I love when I can organize my contacts in one easy to find, easy to follow place.

I’ve been on Facebook for several years now, and I love it. I’ve found tons of friends from highschool that I probably never would have reconnected with had it not been for Facebook. Not only that, but I’ve made some really great friends and contacts through Facebook and my blog, my fan pages, and my personal profile page.

But… (there’s always a but, isn’t there?) I’m up to over 4,000 friends on facebook, and it’s way out of control. I miss out on so much that’s going on in friends’ and family members lives because I’m so bogged down with news, links, and junk from the thousands of people I’m friends with. I know there’s a way to organize it all, but who has the time to sit down and do it? Then, there’s the 5,000 friend limit – which is connected to my page likes. That drives me bonkers! I try to “like” a page, and I can’t because I’m over my friend limit. So then I have to go through and delete dozens of people that I don’t interact with that are in my friends list.

So, when a friend introduced me to Google+, I was skeptical. I don’t need one more thing to take up any more time in my day. I am busy enough with 6 kids, this blog, my WTE blogging gig, my blog design business…. you get the drift.

BUT, (there’s that word again!), I really do like Google+. I love that everything I already do on google is integrated into Google+. I love the circles. I can keep all my contacts, business or otherwise, separated into groups, and then I can stream just those groups. If I can convince my family and friends to join the fun on Google+, I’ll never miss out on important announcements again!

I’m by no means a Google+ expert. I just started using it. But, so far, I like what I see. I think it’s worth giving it a try.

If you are on Google+, I hope you’ll add me to your circle. And if you’d like an invitation, leave a comment here with your email address or drop me an email and I’ll send one your way.

Have you tried Google+? What do you think?